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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 | Stone Brewing

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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011
BA SCORE
3.85/5
Very Good
351 Ratings
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States
stonebrewing.com

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by muttyd on 02-14-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
141
Ratings:
351
pDev:
15.06%
Bros Score:
3.28
 
 
Wants:
7
Gots:
105
Trade:
1
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 351 |  Reviews: 141
Photo of Trilogy31
1.56/5  rDev -59.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Maybe one of the the worst beers i have ever had. I cant knock it on the appearance but on the nose it is very muted with nothing coming through. The taste is some malts and hops as well, but it is ridiculously hot with a pronounced well vodka taste. Not a good trait in alcohol much less a beer. Love double bastard and stone in general and will even give this beer a chance 2-3 years down the road hoping it mellows a bit. All in all a complete atrocity.

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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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Photo of tbern007
2.76/5  rDev -28.3%
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 MetalHopHead6
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone Old Guardian is earthy, thick, and long-lasting.

It poured a very nice dark copper with ruby highlights. It had little-to-no head but left a ton of lace. The smell and flavor had a great deal of complexity, with a dark fruit sweetness, followed by an earthy, grassy middle, and a salty roasted nut finish. A slightly unpleasant metallic aftertaste lingered. The feel was thick, full, and bitter, with a dry finish and very long-lasting.

Old Guardian has a beautiful dark color and a nice balance of sweet and bitter flavor with an extreme bitter feel and an aftertast that begs for a water chaser.

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Photo of whoneeds8
3.35/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a westmalle chalice a deep amber with a 1/4" head that disapated rather quickly. The nose has some carmel with leather hints.

Being a fresh barleywine, this has a supprising hop bite to it. (Is it just me or has there become a new style in barleywines lately with a little too much hops?) The basic barleywine taste I'm accustom to is there, but the hops kick you in the butt and make you forget what you're drinking. The high alcohol burn takes away from the mouthfeel and causes a little pucker. This is one that needs some aging.

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Photo of broken22
3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
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 northaustin
4.6/5  rDev +19.5%
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 imbibehour
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

Extremely clear pour into a snifter with a fast disappearing head. Head was a faint off white color and tight bubbles. Gorgeous red hued very clear and transparent body

On the nose is sea salts and yeast, and a small blast of mild sushi style soy sauce. This might be off putting for some but I actually like this smell. Hints of warming alcohol.

Taste unfortunately is very lacking. Cough syrup sensation borderline medicinal, but it has also a tea tannic quality too it as well, perhaps rosehip. Mouthfeel is not too bad but still a bit wet, and the finish is really missing. Not even boozy tasting and a very front forward palate. Unfortunately the cough syrup Halls like bent is too prominent for me on this so I can't make this better than average.

Not sure if this improves with age, but this does not feel like a barleywine I want to be consuming right now. There's certainly better ones you can have than this at this time.

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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.

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Photo of steelerguy
3.23/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Deep amber, thin head that hangs around for a bit, low carbonation, nice looking barleywine.

S - Good bit of hop aroma, along with some sweet caramel malt, the alcohol comes through but in a somewhat astringent way.

T - Big malt backbone, nice hop bitterness, and a big smack in the face of alcohol that does not come on in a smooth way.

M - Moderate body, but actually pretty thin feeling for a barleywine.

D - A 22 oz. bottle is about all I could drink in one sitting and I think all I ever need to drink from the 2011 batch.

Overall...Stone...WTF??? This was way below par.

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Photo of mryuk
4.2/5  rDev +9.1%
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 katan
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into a goblet

A - Pours an almost blood red color - deep dark amber for sure. Head formation is strong, 1/4" down to a film. Very clear, very filtered.

S - Potent nose - lots of caramel malts and a backdrop of hops and associated bitterness.

T - Starts off lightly sweet, some caramel malts. Mid-stream gets very strong very quickly - edgy - lots of bitterness. Alcohol warmth comes in heavily. Finishes with a grainy bite along with a big bomb of bitterness.

M - Moderate body, at times clingy and sugary. Carbonation is moderate - doesn't do enough to lighten the body. Aftertaste is boatloads of alcohol warmth and bitterness.

D - somewhat harsh to the palette - west coast american barleywine for sure. abv is pretty strong.

This beer probably would have registered as an "in your face" barleywine and I probably would have liked it - but the belgo version comparison really has shown me an interesting balance to the style. I guess I probably prefer one that isn't so potent. I should age one of these for comparison.

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Photo of Jason
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz brown bomber with a vintage date of 2011 on the labeling.

Showcasing a great head right away, sticky lace on the glass as well. Tawny glow in the light. Tobacco, citric rind and tree sap from the hops with a faint beef broth, caramel and rose water mix ... nose is pretty damn complex. Hops are strong to say the least, like a thick wool blanket that keeps you warm but reminds you that it is wool with an occasional itch here and there that only the smacking of the tongue can shake it. Big fat kernel of bready caramel malt is completely surrounded my the hop blanket and a very warming alcohol wants to clean house or at least the malt character. Hoppy alcoholic finish is more than aggressive.

Boozy mess, insane amount of hops that does not even come close to making sense to me and the combo really just detracts from all aspects. With that said ... if you are looking for something that got pushed over the edge this is your bag then. Nothing horrific ... just overboard.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Still have a 2008, 2009, and 2010 in the cellar. The 2008 was one of my first barleywine's and I really enjoyed it (and I'm not big into the style). That had about a year on it. I was curious how this beer would stand up being fresh.

Appearance - Pours into my Bruery Tulip with a ruddy mahogany color. About a finger of white head is achieved with a moderate pour that dissipates relatively fast.

Smell - Hops, floral, citrus, candied like malt, toasted malts, etc. The alcohol is somewhat prevalent also.

Taste - Similar to the aroma but honestly even a bit sweeter than expected. A decent amount of citrus kick, hops, spicy, stick malt sweetness. Actually tastes pretty good though there is a hint of alcohol.

Mouthfeel - Big body, creamy, decent carbonation, coats the mouth.

Drinkability - Honestly, for as big ABV as it is, relatively so. For such a cheap price a bomber, I will for sure pick up another to age. Pretty impressed to be honest, but needs some aging for sure.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.87/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I just picked this beer up tonight, so I don't have too terribly high hopes that this is ready to drink right now, but let's give a fresh Guardian a shot for a change.

Appearance: There was a solid off-gas when the top was popped, so this beer must be pretty well carbonated. It pours a somewhat cloudy burnt orange color with a very small <1/8" head after a pretty quick pour...surprising after the off-gas. There really isn't any lace left, and the beer doesn't really do that much else visually

Aroma: Surprisingly enough, through the rich malt and somewhat bold hops, I am getting a Bretanomyces presence that is unmistakeable. As the beer warms up some, this Brett character is fading quickly and the alcohol, hops, and malts are making an appearance...in that order.

Taste: The flavor is much more bold and driven by the hops than I thought it would be from the aroma. Overall the beer is full bodied with ample carbonation, but it still comes across the palate as a bit heavy. I don't get the Brett in the flavor at all, and it is fading in the nose...so maybe I was mistaken? Anyway, the hops are becoming a MUCH bigger player in the flavor as the beer warms up. Overall the beer is balanced toward the hops in the finish, but it isn't so much that the beer is hard to drink. The alcohol is contributing as much balance in the finish as the hops are.

Opinion: This is a pretty good beer right now, but I really think that it would be a WHOLE LOT better in a couple years. Right now, it has a lot of flavor, but they are a bit out of balance. I think once the hops start to fade, mixed with the nice bitterness balance, this beer will age really well. One thing said is that this beer isn't as boldly bitter as a lot of Barley Wines are, so I think that it may lean more toward Old Ale as it matures than a Barley Wine.

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Photo of obywan59
4.85/5  rDev +26%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured brom a 650ml into my Old Guardian glass.

Pours a clear reddish amber with a light tan 3 1/2 finger head that leaves plenty of attractive lacing.

I get over-ripe citrus, sweet caramelly malt and alcohol in the nose. A hint of honey. A bit of Belgian-like barnyard scent.

Very sweet caramel malts, a taste of alcohol and long lasting bitter hops.

Rather thin mouthfeel for the style. A plus in my book. Lightly syrupy with a nice bite from the alcohol.

I didn't realize it at first, but this was a fortuitous pick for my 100th review.

The relatively light body combined with the excellent balance between the rather sweet malts and the bitter hops, along with the unsurpassed buzz, makes the Old Guardian series my all-time favorite brew, along with Firestone 13.

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Photo of flannelman808
3.3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: This is a very clear beer with a mother of pearl colored head. The foam has medium to small bubbles and decent retention as well as lacing.

S: Ever try to make simple syrup? Ever try to flavor it with orange peels? That's my first notion along with Bing cherry and brown sugar.

T: Muted fruit flavors and heightened boozy notes (as noted from the bouquet). Sweet molasses comes hits the mid palate and then some hop bitterness follows in the back palate and help to balance a what otherwise would be a very malty sweet beer.
note: I think this needs time to mellow though I would also guess its not going to get an eyebrow raising degree better, unless your a real sweet tooth. There is just not enough hopping to balance the malts which the aging will mellow (the hopping). All that said a year or two will improve this one for sure, as the time should cut the strong alcoholic notes.

M: sticky booze

D: low given the fusel nature of this one.

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Photo of thatsfine
2.66/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

A: A nice looking brew. A deep amber color with a decent one-finger head that didn't need much coaxing. Dissipated pretty quickly to a ring around the beer. Left some spotty lacing.

S: The smell is predominantly hoppy. Behind the hops are carmelized malts and quite a bit alcohol heat. Not much to write about here.

T: A decent amount of hops and bready, caramel malts. The finish is quite bitter and the alcohol is very present. I understand this is a fresh barleywine and will be hot, but this is too much.

M: The body of Old Guardian is almost thin. I would describe it as medium-thin. Disappointing.

D: Not as drinkable as many other barleywines I have had this winter, but definitely not undrinkable. This was the most disappointing beer I've had from Stone.

I have more of these in the cellar and am glad I do. Time will do nothing but good for this brew. Not a great effort.

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Photo of begforme4484
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
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 wvsabbath
3.52/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Serving Type - 22oz bottle

Appearance - Dark ruby red/brown, no head, some lacing

SMell - Strong malts, carmeal, some hops and plenty of alcohol and sugars, smells a little over the top

Taste - Really alcoholish and maltly. Not as complex as last year. Carmeal mixes well along with molasses to add some sweetness. Has a spice dark fruit flavor also.

MOuthfeel - Really warms mouth up. Actually the aftertaste is dry and bitter. Tounge is numbed from the first sip all the way til the end.

Drinkability - Totally a sipper beer. Alcohol is too much. I split the 22oz with a friend and that was more then enough. I prefer last years version better, but i wonder how good this will be aged for a few years. Not bad, not as good as '10 version.

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

A - Pours a beautiful red/amber into my snifter with about one finger of head that dissipates rather quick into a nice ring around the glass that leaves sticky lace.

S - Big caramel malts, candy sugar, molasses, resinous hops, and a bit more alcohol than I would prefer.

T - Nice hop bitterness that lasts through the whole experience, sweet caramel malts, caramelized sugars, molasses, honey and dark fruit, but it's all masked by the booziness right now, hopefully this one will mellow out with a little age.

M - Still rather smooth and creamy, nice body, sticky.

D - This was a tough one to rate. I love and respect stone, but not nearly as good as some Old Guardians of the past, once again I hope age brings this beer justice.

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Photo of Briken
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy deep red amber with tan head and okay retention. Barley and alcohol aroma. nice balance and warming. Mostly just caramel barley sweetness and floral hops. Smooth and light stickiness.

Seems to have more alcohol and less complexities than past years. It is however much smoother and more balanced and easier to drink. Myself, I always like a bit of a challenge in my barley wine.

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Photo of harrymel
2.76/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured to NB globe.

A: Pours a hazel brown ale with single finger of head which dissipates in a couple minutes leaving a fine, medium sheet of creamy tan foam. Excellent clarity. Visible ribbons from the bottom.

S: So, um, there's barely any nose here. Unusual for Stone...Really unusual. Nose is of bittering hops, slight pine, alcohol. Moderate malt nose, but poorly exhibited. Hints of Apple skins, astringency. Just the slightest, slightest hint of vanilla.

T: Malts, caramels. Both sweet and bitter. Finish is still a bit sweet, hints of tea. Bitter sticks around on the hind-tongue. The beer breathes back hot.

M: Medium body and lower to moderate carbonation. Dries my palate.

D: Too hot. Although if I already had a few in me, this beer would be easier to drink, the beer as is struggles to meet the quality Stone strives for with every beer.

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Photo of UTCengOwl
3.93/5  rDev +2.1%
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 DrJay
3.61/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear, reddish amber with a cap of fine off-white bubbles, a few soapy ones forming a collar. Sticky, spotty lacing, great head retention. Mild aroma. Malty and bready, caramel and alcohol, a bit of citrus. Malty flavour up front, cereal grains and caramel, more bread, with sugary sweetness following. Light citrus, alcohol flavour and warmth, lingering sharp bitterness. Nice texture, nicely integrated carbonation gives the full body some richness. Pretty good, but seems like it needs some aging to really tie everything together.

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Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2011 from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 3.85 out of 5 with 351 ratings
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