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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.
BA SCORE
87
very good

347 Ratings
THE BROS
75
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 347
Reviews: 140
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 14.81%
Wants: 9
Gots: 111 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 347 | Reviews: 140
Photo of emmasdad
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I haven't picked up a bottle of this one yet this year, but seeing it as the beer of the day at the Rackhouse tonight I had to have a glass. Poured a medium reddish brown color with a finger or so of ecru head. Good earthy hops on the nose, along with dark fruits and caramel. On the palate, this one was medium bodied, with flavors of earthy hops, caramel and booze.

Photo of Howlader
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of mikeincharleston
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of brez8791
3/5  rDev -22.1%

Photo of nrbw23
3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Pours a clear red color with a nice tan colored head. Head has pretty good retention and leaves some nice layered lacing.

S- Smell is bready malts, caramel, toffee, some bitterness from the loads of hops. Also can pick up some alcohol here.

T- Taste seems like a mess. Quite a bit of hops here, tea like, piney, and a medicine like taste. Quite a bit of alcohol here too.

M- Fuller side of medium in body and carbonation was ok.

O- Not really impressed just a mess and nothing really goes well. Struggled with this one.

Photo of DaPan
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of tclapper
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of JohneHoodlum
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Arbitrator
1.39/5  rDev -63.9%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

2011 vintage, lightly chilled bottle into a glass.

A: Pours a dark amber body with great clarity. It is capped with a beige-colored head that vanishes quickly into a big-bubbled collar and beads of film on top of the beer.

S: Whoa. This is surprisingly, and off-puttingly, malty. I enjoyed fresh Old Guardian last year, so I picked this up right when it was released, hoping to capture the same vibrant hop freshness in this year's version. Alas, no. Up-front aromas of toffee, molasses, and caramel. Hops are *secondary* (I never thought I'd say this about a Stone beer in a non-hop-shortage year), producing a floral, roselike aroma with citric qualities.

T: Multi-grain bread, caramel, molasses, toffee. Some dark fruit notes that are intertwined with floral hop flavors. The citrus I picked up in the nose is absolutely buried here. An incredibly simplistic, imbalanced flavor that delivers none of the delicious hop freshness I expected from this beer.

M: Boozy, syrupy, and thick. The carbonation seems to be similar to years past, and the booziness is sort of what I'd expect from a big beer this fresh, but the syrupiness detracts a lot, here.

D: I drainpoured about 17oz. Looks like I'll be waiting until 2012 to buy more of the "classic" recipe. Between this, 14th Anniversary, and 101010, Stone has been having a lot of misses lately.

Photo of philbe311
4.04/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Two fingers worth of rich creamy light-to-medium colored tan colored head... Very solid retention... The color is a warm inviting caramely brown... Still with no discernible carbonation... Overall this is a very sophisticated and regal looking offering... Very nicely done...

S - The nose rather subdued which is surprising given both the style and brewery of origin... All the usual suspects are present... Rich caramely malts... Some hints of brown sugar... A subdued hop presence lies beneath the surface...

T - There is nothing timid about the palette... This is much more of what I expect for both the style and the brewery... A big challenging mix of malts and hops start immediately... Brown sugar... Caramel... A very nice hoppy bite... A definite boozy warmth on the finish...

M - A very sturdy medium to full bodied offering... A bit of creamy lushness from the head greats the tongue to start... The finish is bit dry and bit chalky...

D - Overall, a rather solid American Barleywine... Not the best, but better than average... This is my first intro to Old Guardian and I'll gladly pick up a bottle next year to see how it changes year over year... Other than a slightly timid nose, there's no doubt this is an aggressive expected out of Stone...

Photo of JRod1969
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

Photo of Rollzroyce21
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of jaswilson2
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of djaeon
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a regular pint glass.
$5.99 from Holiday Wine Cellar.

A: Pours an enticing hazy amber with a thin head. Little retention and leaves average lacing.

S: Emits a grainy, bready (like rising bread dough) aroma with some light hops present.

T: Rich caramel, moderately bitter grain and hops held together with a good booziness.

M: Feels smooth and goes down leaving a little bitterness and stickiness as an aftertaste.

D: In my opinion, this is one of the more drinkable barleywines out there. It has some bitter hoppiness, but not overly so. It's a bit boozy, but not hot. But still very strong, so it wouldn't be a good idea to have more than one.

Photo of kvgomps
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Photo of GrindFatherBob
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of jsprain1
3.66/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Deep deep red, about as dark as one can safely call amber. Thick head retains at a quarter finger's width and leaves lots of sticky lacing.
S- Resinous hops, citric, and actually much maltier than I would have expected out of a Stone Barleywine. Not terrible smelling, just... unexpected.
T- Caramel malts up front, long resinous hop finish. A bit of citric flavor but pine resin is really the big hop presence. Much boozier than I would like as well. Dark fruit, something like I would imagine an unsweet pomegranite would taste like is also in there.
M- Pretty syrupy, definitely needs a bit more carbonation. Good body to it though.
O- (Still used to putting a d there...) A bit boozy and not as hoppy as I was hoping considering both style and brewery. Alas, I would still drink it again, even if it is more boozy, syrupy, and not as hoppy as I would have it.

Photo of UltimateLivewire
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of avisong
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%

Photo of GilGarp
3.43/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bomber served cold into a pint glass.

Old Guardian is a hazy copper color with thin white head on top. It settles pretty fast but there is some good lacing.

Aroma is strong in both alcohol and hops. The hops aren't the super-fresh citrusy types but more earthy and grassy.

Flavor is also very strong but more balanced than I was expecting. Huge hop bitterness and enormous malt bill colide.

Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied and lower carbonation, which is good. The alcohol is very strong but at least it's not hot.

Drinkability is not very good. Usually I would be able to finish a bottle of barleywine but not tonight.

Overall solid but not exceptional. Old Ruffian and Hog Heaven are far better.

Photo of FLBeerGuy
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of ummswimmin
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been fortunate to have tried the Old Guardian for the last five years. 2010 was my favorite year. It seemed to get better or change with a different complexity each year. This year the recipe seems to have gotten somewhat worse.

I think they may have put their greater effort in the Belgo style. I have that on the shelf as a future review, but I recommend that as a purchase over this bottle. That is to say, if it is available any more at your store.

On it's own, this is a classic Barleywine style. The flavors are standard, without much additional fanfare. The alcohol flavors stand out, as well as the strong barley and malts.

I would recommend the Avery version over this one, or if you live in San Diego pick up a growler of the Ballast Point version (my first and favorite). Just be careful, the ABV will set you up for the night.

Photo of Phelps
3.2/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2011 edition, poured from a bomber into a tulip.

Cloudy burnt umber with a late-arriving one-finger head of medium tan that appears foamy, sticky and dense but disappears rather quickly. Some thick streaks of lace remain. 4

In the nose: caramel, toast, oven-roasted oranges. Nicely citrusy, but balanced by a hefty breadiness. It's pretty rich, with some alcohol and fermenting fruits noticeable. 4

Hmm. I can't taste much except alcohol here. There may be some aged citrus, a hint of caramel and bread but mostly it's booze, almost like orange-peel infused vodka. Caramel sweetness emerges more as it warms, but there's still that undeniable ethanol burn.

Redemption in the mouthfeel. The liquid's nicely velvety, smooth as it moves about. Body between medium and medium-heavy. Very light fizziness. Alcohol is mostly in flavor, as I don't feel it much on the way down. Kind of backwards.

Overall, too much booze in the flavor. I would've liked a little more barley and a little less wine. Hopefully a year in a dark corner will tone down my second bottle.

Photo of BEERMILER12
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a nice reddish-copper color with a nice 2 finger head

S: Malted barley and slightly hoppy nose, some bready notes in the back

T: Big on the malt, with a nice hop presence that brings a decent amount of bitterness in the finish. Bready notes mix in well with the alcohol, which is surprisingly well hidden for a 12% brew

M: Fairly heavy with very little carbonation

D: Pretty tasty even with the new release. The hop bitterness could be toned down a bit, but the alcohol is working very well even right now

This one remains a sipper, especially with the boost in abv. I also picked up the belgo version which I'll be reviewing soon, it'll be interesting to see how it compares

Photo of HalfFull
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber into a snifter glass. The 'standard' 2011 Old Guardian pours similar to the Belgo version, that being a bright and clear caramel brown with a lingering film of swirly lace.

Nose is much more traditional with caramel and lightly candied fruit, a touch of alcohol and brown sugar. Bit light overall. Taste is of well muddled malts and a bit of spice thrown into the mixture. I'm not picking up any overbearing hops as others seem to mention yet there is just enough zest and bitterness to yield a smooth and creamy feel. Touch of citrus oil on the finish.

Overall a nice brew and quite well constructed given the balance. ABV is reasonably masked and yet not too malty sweet either. Somewhat subdued and unexciting at the same time. Flavor profile doesn't encourage cellaring.

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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 from Stone Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 347 ratings.