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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011

Educational use only; do not reuse.

139 Reviews

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Reviews: 139
Hads: 348
Avg: 3.74
pDev: 15.51%
Wants: 9
Gots: 109 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: muttyd on 02-14-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 Alström Bros
Reviews: 139 | Hads: 348
Photo of UTCengOwl
3.93/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had Real Ale's double ESB this week... but that description seems much more apt for the 2011 Old Guardian. The color, nose and taste all go down that route. Deep red with a fantastic pour on the head. Dissipated quickly, but is excellent. The nose has huge stone fruits and boozy caramel goodness. Double ESB all the way. The taste is strong in the same way... where did my American hops go? Thankfully the taste strays away from medicinal. The Belgian version should be interesting.

Overall, this beer is good, but not great. Give me my hops! I might need to go crack a Bigfoot now so that I can be reminded of what I love about American barleywines.

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Photo of northaustin
4.6/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours a lovely ruby, that is somewhat hazy. a finger of even, light almond head with nice retention and minimal spotty lacing.

smell: super fresh. there is a war going on between the hops, malt and alcohol armies. lets say its the year 1969. the malt flavor is the south vietnamese, the hop flavor is the north vietnamese and the alchohol is like america: once a brute force, that is slowly getting defeated and will soon diminish and leave the others to settle it. or is it more like a yummy world war 3 in my mouth?

taste: big fat honking man meat slaps you in the grill with west coast hops. youre getting dp'ed by flavor, you look up, only to be showered in the juices of brewing success!!
but seriously, this blend of light caramel flavored malts, classic west coast citrus hop varieties and subtle alcohol makes my day, and rivals almost all other barleywines i have tried to date.

mouthfeel: god.

drinkability: satan.

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Photo of utfiero
4.64/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Color- apricot nectar.

Aroma- decomposing meat and fruit, not very appealing. Hardly a head when poured.

Taste- I've found ambrosia. This bottle is a 2011 batch and we tried it mid-year. It starts buttery and semi-sweet with apricot and grapefruit marmalade, in the middle sweetens somewhat then finishes with a lingering citrus hops. A delight!

Poured from 650 ml bomber into wine glasses for tasting.

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Photo of Krakistophales
4.32/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark copper with a finger of white head that recedes quickly into a halo.

S: Sweet, fruity aethers first hit the nose, followed by honey and caramel, and a bit of candy. Also a big boozy note, akin to a port or sherry.

T: At first, cherries, plums, and other assorted candied fruits, followed by a slight hop touch and bitters at the end.

M: Nice carbonation, oddly refreshing, with a powerful, warming sensation that crawls through you as it goes down.

O: Quite a tasty barleywine. It's probably the hoppiest and most subtle I've ever had, but I reach for this one when the mood strikes me...which happens to be quite often.

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Photo of matttttYCE
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber of the 2011 regular version poured into my Dogfish Head snifter/specialty glass (with nucleation engraving on the bottom).

Appearance - Medium aggressive pour brings about 2 fingers worth of slightly off white creamy looking head. Color is a deep copper red / orange that isn't exactly clear, but hazy (there's a bit of sediment in it). Head sticks around pretty well actually and leaves some lace, not much though.

Smell - Can't help but get the smell just after pouring. It's a nice sweet caramel, toffee, and biscuit with some dark fruit in there as well. Those are the dominant smells here but there's also some nice hops in there more like earthy and piney. Definitely not as hoppy as I remember the 2010 being, and not really like Stone's signature hop aroma, but I still like it and think it smells good, but not great.

Taste - Sweet, dark fruit, caramel, a bit of a nutty taste, some toffee, along with noticeable alcohol, and herbal, earthy hops more towards the finish. This seems less boozy than last years as well, which is nice in my opinion. Trying my hardest to compare this to the style overall and not just to last years version. I feel that even if I hadn't had the 2010, I would think this was really just average in taste for an American Barleywine. I thought good and hard about this and it really is more average in taste than above average.

Mouthfeel - This has kind of a velvety texture/consistency to me. Not thick and chewy but velvety and rich. Carbonation is there but somewhat lacking, I think. Contributes to the very smooth, full consistency and medium-high body. Finish is pretty lengthy, wet, coats the mouth, and leaves you with a some decent burn in the throat on the way down. DEFINITELY A SLOW SIPPER! I think this is just slightly above average in the mouthfeel, so I'm going with a 3.0. Closer to average than above average.

Overall - Not bad at all, but not amazing either. Seems to me like a very middle of the road barleywine (and I've actually been a big fan of most of Stone's beers for a long time now). Maybe it just needs some age on it. But frankly when I find a beer that is just average or above average near fresh, I don't have much want or patience to age any (let alone the cellar space). Glad to have tried this years, but I'll be holding out hope that next years is better. This all is, of course, just my opinion. Take it with a grain of salt. You can easily see some people below me love the beer. Some people feel the same way. I would say this beer is worth trying. You could easily go either way on it.

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Photo of colforbin73
3.91/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this brew pours a good dark frothy rich amber. with an aggressive pour you get a lively one finger head -- held up to good natural light you can really appreciate the rich red color -- AMBER HONEY.

the smell is mild and malty, with just a hint of hops and yeast. there is a good bitterness, but overall the taste is very warming -- the alcohol is present -- a little like drinking a well-honeyed, perfect hot toddy. sweetness and a thick drink are the order of the day here.

this is a real fall brew, bringing to mind mulled cider and all things apple -- a slick slithery treat for raking up 10 million leaves.

not my favorite barley wine -- and not the most accessible - this is an intense malty boozed up brew with some edge -- but i would have another gladly.

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Photo of Heatwave33
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 1pint and 6oz bottle to a Cigar City Snifter.

Color: Deep murky amber with a beige head.

Smell: Caramel malts, yeast, fruit and hops.

Taste: Caramel malts, yeast, fruit, hops and an alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, smooth with a dry finish.

Overall: For the alcohol presence the drinkability was good. Not one of my favorites though. Don't think I will hunt this one down. Cheers.

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Photo of generalnotsew
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Very fat thick off white 2 finger head. Color is dark woody burnt orange color. Visually this beer is flawless. Sticky cement lacing. Smell is caramel and sugar with a stinging bitter hop tint. Also picking up a nice sweet plum as well. Overall smell is a tad too sweet for me but it is definitive American Barleywine smell. Very sugary but also very bitter. Taste is initially very woody slick candy sweetness. Earthy and dirty with a sharp bitterness on the end. The taste takes after the smell in the same order. But it isn't overly bitter. I love bitterness as much as anyone but this years Bigfoot was almost too much for me. This seems to be way more balanced than my beloved Bigfoot this year. Carbonation is perhaps a bit too aggressive. It is pretty sharp. Maybe more Pepsi sharp than Coke. Very high alcohol heat on the throat. It is far too warming. Great beer if not for the carbonation and heat. Smell and taste is out of this world though.

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Photo of Vierenner
3/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Interesting departure from a typical ale. Worthy of trying, but wouldn't purchase a second time. Has sort of a hoppy, bitter, almost sour taste up front ... but beyond that is a nice sweetness. Vanilla flavor comes out after the palette gets accustomed to the bitterness. Alcohol packs a punch!

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Photo of gdrydenc
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark amber that looks almost brown if you don't look through light. Pours with finger solid fingers of middle brown head that is quite resilient. The head sticks around in volume for a while, but remains as a thin layer throughout. Gorgeous beer overall.

S - After the head dies down, I can smell this beer from a ways away. It smells like dark fruits, plums, maybe apricots. Additionally, I'm getting some caramel from it.

T - I think this must be my first ever barleywine, which I find shocking. This baby is a doozy though. At the front, it's fruits and bitterness that stand out. The malt backbone is very present. Pretty boozy in the finish, but the fruitiness remains. Frankly, this seems like it needs some time on it to fully develop.

M - Syrupy, but the taste leaves my mouth surprisingly quickly, which is nice. I don't like it when a beer clings to my palate for too long. Overall, the carbonation seems appropriate, at very minimal.

D - Well, I suppose if I'm reviewing within the style, this is probably about average. However, if I was reviewing for me personally, I would have a hard time finishing a bomber alone and walking after. Not that that's stopping me, though.

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Photo of CuttDeez
3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - This bomber poured into a tulip was brown with amber notes in the light and a kahiki tan beautiful head with lace.
S - Pine hops, roasted caramel, dark fruits, and notes of bitter citrus. There is also a distinct alchohol burn in the nose's back end.
T & M & D - Caramel sweetness is obvious. Then comes a hop that overwhelms the taste buds and dominates. It finishes slightly bitter and then the high alchohol warms and covers. I also can pick up grain as the beer warms a little more making the beer slightly bready and chewy.

I was disapointed in the dominance of hops that seem to mask hidden flavors that were alluded to in the nose. I believe if this was aged a bit those subtle flavors would shine through making the beer much more palate friendly and complex. I picked up an extra bomber to try in the future.


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Photo of tbern007
2.76/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear copper. Very thick head, remains for a while.
S - hops, pine, orange citrus, smells like I'm about to have an IPA but you can smell the alcohol on top of it.
T - Starts like sweet orange, moves directly and quickly into bitterness, hops, finishes dry. Very bitter and extreme west coast hops.
M & D - not well balanced. I've had barleywines before and this is taken to an extreme with the hops. Alcohol is noticeable in the flavor. Feels syrupy.

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Photo of Thanby
3.54/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours like a hazy iced tea with a thin beige head and a bit of lacing.

Nose has a very citrusy character, kinda sweet, orange, pineapple, toasted malt and some citrusy hops to fill it out.

First taste is big on the pineapple and immediately the hops kick you in the mouth. Huge bouquet of bittering hops. Thick, rich malt coats the tongue and paves the way for more hops, a little bit of an apple flavor, pine, a bit spicy and maybe a touch sour (not totally fermented maybe?) Lingering hops spice and a bit of sticky malt sweetness.

Huge body, a bit of spice from the carbonation, two or three years in a cellar would probably round it out to a nice molasses body and mellow hops, but still good fresh. Not the easiest drink, but tasty nonetheless.

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Photo of capeannbass36
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- 2011 bomber poured into a Duvel tulip. Slightly hazy, orange, amber with a slightly yellowish tan, cream colored, two and a half finger head that faded after 5 minutes. Light lacing remained throughout.

S- Sweet malt, caramel. A little piney hops. Some booze.

T- Bready. Sweet malt. Caramel. Slightly bitter pine hop finish.

M- Light carbonation, but still somewhat creamy.
Very warm in the belly.

O- Like it a lot. Especially the finish. Only a hint of bitter hops. Just what I like. Not too sweet or syrupy. Will gladly have another.

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Photo of b3shine
3.37/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Draft to snifter. Probably the worst from Stone I've tried - but that's relative to Stone's upper-end craft brews. Just too intense and bitter for a barleywine. A little too liquidy, especially given the high alcohol content (which is overly apparent). I'd drink it again, but only if someone else ordered the round.

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Photo of begforme4484
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A nice reddish-amber color with a good amount of head. Nice sticky lacing.

Lots of malts, candy, molasses on the nose. Definitely some dank resinous hops in there too. Hint of alcohol.

Somewhat on the sweeter side than I was expecting. Slight hop bitterness persists throughout the entire beer/sip.

Smooth and creamy, medium bodied.

This was a more subdued Olde Guardian than of years past. That said, it still was good in it's own right.

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Photo of surprenant1138
4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Hazy, murky, dark amber pour leaving almost no head. Slight lacing. Smell is lightly earthy, nutty, with some maple syrupy hints. The hoppy taste is there, but moreso after the swallow. It is then that the rich malty flavors rise. Mouthfeel is light, not too heavy. This tasty barleywine is not my favorite, but it certainly keeps me content.

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Photo of alexhahn82
3.36/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A. Pours full with chasing carbonation that dissipates at a medium rate, 1.5 finger head light semi cloudy non filtered amber.

S. Smell is of barley wine, as it should. Nothing too impressive scent wise.

Taste. This is where I say call me crazy, but after the poor I tasted a semi sour (good sour) flavor for about 30 seconds, then it dissipated into a mild semi sweet caramely flavor.

M. Semi syrup feel but not a thick chewy viscosity. Semi peppery bite from the alcohol with a nice dry crisp carbonation bite.

Overall. On a whim purchased this beer at The Nugget, was the last one and usually the customers there have a good palette. Definitely worth a try, gonna have to try to scrounge up another bottle for the cellar.

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Photo of abgba121
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: pours an amber color with about one cm of white head and a good lacing remains, can see the carbonation

S: smells very sweet and malty, almost no alcohol presence

T: also very sweet, like caramel and an alcohol bite at the finish that lingers momentarily. In the middle there is a lip-puckering feel from the alcohol and caramel sweetness coming into one

M: Feels thicker than it looks, good carbonation

O: good beer, I think I would like it more after aging though

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Photo of mryuk
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours unfiltered with a very nice small bubbly head that dissipates quickly.

smell is sweet with piny hops but certainly not overpowering.

the taste slaps you in the face given how subtle the smell is. tons of flavor and excellent bitterness.

mouth is medium bodied with good carbonation.

I enjoyed this beer. definitely going to let a few bottles age in the cellar and see what happens. could be great with age.

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Photo of BigB415
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 vintage pours dark orange with large white head into my 22oz glass. Smells of caramel. Tastes of caramel and alcohol with a little burn on the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is thick with alcohol and notes of caramel sticking around and not going away. It makes me pucker my lips and savor the caramel. If it weren't for the 12% ABV I'd have a couple of these right after the other but I have work in the morning.

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Photo of broken22
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

So lets get to it. Pouring this beer out you are greeted with a nice dark honey color. A nice head formed during the pour and dissipated quickly. The smell is a sharp hop and a sweet almost fruity smell. The taste is very much the same except the hops bite a lot more. There is a lingering bitterness to this beer on the back end. The flavor is reminding me a little of Arrogant Bastard. As I progress though the beer the hops take a back seat so the subtle sweetness I smelled starts to come though. So this beer is definitely a flavor changer on the palate. The overall mouth feel is very much a full bodied beer with a decent amount of carbonation.

Overall it's a decent beer and very much a Stone Brewery flavor. If your into their stuff and you like a kick in the mouth check this out. I don't think this beer is for everyone much like the Arrogant Bastard but you should still try it because you never know...

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Photo of Dlish
3.57/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

A- a Redish brow color, little head that is a rich tan color but disappears quickly.

S- I get a malty chocolate, just a hint of vanilla, a light floral hops in the background. And thats about it.. But kind of normal for barley wines in my opinion.

T- Big malt and alcohol profile, no hiding the the alcohol. Then merges straight into very bitter hops, like horizon lots of grapefruit, or stomach acid its really harsh. This taste could def use some aging in oak or just chilling in the bottle for a while. Although I guess that is what stone is all about In your face beerm and this barely wine def hits that on the mark.

M-Lot of alcohol burn, big bold malt and hops that stay on your tongue long after your taste.

O- This is stone barely wine, if your a stone fan you will love it, if your are not you might now. My recommendation is get a little more creative, or let this 12% booze hound age in some oak or wine barrels for a while.

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Photo of misinformed
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

22 oz, reviewed 3/17/11. Tulip glass.

A- Poured with 1/2" of light tan head that faded really quickly. Beer itself is a nice, clear inviting mahogany. Some light carbonation bubbles are present as well.

S- Caramel/burnt sugar malt sweetness is the dominating scent with just a hint of the sweet citrus hop. Definite alcohol notes.

T- Bitter hops upfront with notes of bitter citrus pith and faint pine/grassy notes. The citrus blends right into the sweet caramel malt which eventually gives way to a mild pithy finish. Huge malt presence here that overshadows the hops.

M- Smooth and light bodied.

O- Way more malt than I remember from last year. The citrus hop flavors do work well with the rich maltiness, but it never quite feels like everything jives. Different flavors are constantly vying for your attention. Even so, I like this beer a lot.

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Photo of BeerMaverick
3.87/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2011 Classic Release

A - The EXACT color of apple cider, a dark brownish orange. There is no head whatsoever, this may be because it is extremely cold. Very minimal lacing, if none.

S - Sweet carmel hints...I want to smell apple cider because it looks just like it. The barley and the alcohol really stand out.

T - This is a very FULL-bodied beer as in after just a few sips I am getting full. With absolutely no translucency, you can tell that this viscous brew will fill you up. The alcohol is very noticeable as is the barley.

M - The alcohol pretty much numbs the tastebuds. Slight hop bitterness as well...nothing too spectacular.

D - This beer is a 12% 22 oz. bomber...there is no way you will have more than one of these unless you're sharing it with someone...like I am...round two!

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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 from Stone Brewing Co.
84 out of 100 based on 139 ratings.