Since 1998, Stone Brewing Co. has released Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine, a much-anticipated robust, malty ale on an annual basis. In odd-numbered years, the company also releases an “Odd Year” version of the beer per its “Odd Beers for Odd Years” program. Today, 2015 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine (the classic version) and 2015 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine – Extra Hoppy will start arriving in 22-ounce bottles and on draft to restaurants, bars and retailers in select markets where Stone beer is sold.
“We started ‘Odd Beers for Odd Years’ in 2011 to focus on Stone’s two longest running annual special releases—Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine and Stone Imperial Russian Stout,” explains Stone CEO and Co-founder Greg Koch. “In this case, ‘Odd’ means a different, new and creative take on the classic version, and it has allowed our brewing team to show off their innovative talent by developing beers like 2011 Stone Old Guardian BELGO Barley Wine and 2013 Stone Old Guardian OAK-SMOKED Barley Wine. We’re always excited to have our fans experience a unique take on each style.”
2015 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine is a rich American-style barley wine that highlights a medley of bready and toffee notes stemming from its heavy malt bill. As the beer begins to warm and open up, fans will discover molasses, banana and subtle tropical fruit flavors. The recipe, created in 1998 by Stone Co-founder and original Brewmaster Steve Wagner, changes only slightly from year to year, and always features a strong hop profile to balance the brawny malt backbone.
For the 2015 “Odd” version of Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine, current Brewmaster Mitch Steele decided to develop an über hopped interpretation of the beer. Steele and the Stone Brewing team wanted to showcase the attributes of the new Azacca hop varietal (which we think kind of sounds like the name of an all-powerful genie), so copious amounts were used to dry-hop the base recipe, which gives the beer a big candied-fruit character and citrus, pineapple aromatics. Just pop open the bottle to release the genie; no rubbing required. Some wishes granted on request. Others not. No telling which.
2015 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine and 2015 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine – Extra Hoppy are ready to be enjoyed as soon as fans please or may be cellared for several months…or even years. With both beers, the hop character will become subdued and the strong malt characteristics will become smoother and more refined over time.
2015 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Classic and “Odd” Release Distribution:
National Distribution: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA and Puerto Rico
International Distribution: Alberta and British Columbia, Canada; United Kingdom; Singapore; and Sweden
Find Beer: find.stonebrewing.com
2015 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine (Classic Release) Quick Facts:
Stats: 11.2% ABV, 80 IBUs
Availability: Limited 22-ounce bottles and draft, beginning February 9
Hops bill: Cascade, Chinook, Delta and Nugget
Classic Release Tasting notes, provided by Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele:
Appearance: Deep amber with a creamy tan head and light haze.
Aroma: A blend of bready and banana yeast esters, toffee malt flavors and citrus hops. Allowing the beer to warm to 50°-55°F really allows the malt and hop character to come through.
Taste: Flavor is rich and malty, with a pronounced yeasty ester profile. It finishes with light citrus and tropical fruit hop flavors.
Palate: Rich and smooth up front. At mid-palate, the beer transitions to a pleasant dryness and lingering hop bitterness with a slight alcohol heat on the finish.
Overall: We sometimes make small adjustments to the recipe, but this year we left it the same as what we brewed in 2014. It’s a well-rounded, complex beer that is ready to drink now or can be aged at cellar temperature for many years.
Classic Release Suggested pairings, provided by Stone Craft Beer Ambassador “Dr.” Bill Sysak:
Appetizers: Stuffed mushrooms, bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese, foie gras, lamb lollipops, caramelized onions on brioche
Entrees: Pumpkin ravioli with sage, vegetarian shepherd’s pie, cassoulet, duck confit, venison, boar
Cheeses: Stilton, Gorgonzola, Maytag Blue, Montgomery Cheddar
Desserts: Fig Newtons, salted caramel apple pie, caramel pecan crunch, sticky toffee pudding, plum-almond tart
Cigars: Dunhill Signed Range Toro, Don Pepin Garcia Lancero, Illusione 888 Churchill
2015 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine – Extra Hoppy (“Odd” Release) Quick Facts
“Odd” Release Tasting notes, provided by Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele:
Appearance: Clear, deep amber with a creamy tan head.
Aroma: Strong candied-fruit aromas from the Azacca hops used in the dry hop, with hints of vanilla and toffee malt.
Taste: Flavor is similar to the aroma. A big candied-fruit character, with a rich malty smoothness and sweetness. The fruity hop notes carry through the entire palate and are reminiscent of pineapple, cream soda, citrus and fruitcake. At mid-palate, some spicy herbal hop notes show up. Decidedly bitter.
Palate: Creamy, rich and smooth up front. Rich and creamy throughout the palate and finished with a pleasant substantial bitterness. There is a light sweetness and a mild alcohol heat on the finish.
Overall: 2015 is an odd year, so we followed our five-year tradition of brewing a variation of the classic Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine recipe. This year we decided to focus on an extra-hoppy version, using the classic recipe as the base. We dry-hopped the beer with a new hop variety, Azacca…a dwarf variety with a name that sort of sounds to us like an all-powerful genie who lives in a bottle (coincidently enough) that was recently developed in Yakima Valley, Washington, and formerly known by the decidedly less genie-like name of “13-AD-483.” We’ve used it before, most notably in last summer’s Stone Collaboration beer Beachwood/Heretic/Stone Unapologetic IPA, but this is the first opportunity we’ve had to really showcase the Azacca hop at this level.
“Odd” Release Suggested pairings, provided by Stone Craft Beer Ambassador “Dr.” Bill Sysak:
Appetizers: Coconut shrimp, roasted pecans, blue cheese-stuffed mushrooms, teriyaki beef skewers
Soups: Beef stew, French onion soup, baked potato soup, chicken and andouille gumbo
Entrees: Tri-tip steak, Peking duck, cassoulet, wild mushroom ragout, butternut squash ravioli, coconut curry
Cheeses: Colston Bassett Stilton, buttermilk blue, aged Gouda, Devil’s Gulch
Desserts: Fruitcake, German chocolate cake, pecan pie, caramel toffee bar
Cigars: Oliva Serie V Melanio, San Cristobal Revelation Legend
About Stone Brewing Co.
Founded by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner in 1996, San Diego-based Stone Brewing Co.is the 10th largest craft brewer in the United States. Stone has been listed on the Inc. 500 | 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies list 10 times, and has been called the “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate magazine twice. The multi-faceted company will be the first American craft brewer to own and operate its own brewery in Europe, and is also building a production brewery and destination restaurant in Richmond, Virginia. Brewing at both locations is anticipated to begin late 2015. Known for its bold, flavorful and largely hop-centric beers, Stone has earned a reputation for brewing outstanding, unique beers while maintaining an unwavering commitment to sustainability, business ethics, philanthropy and the art of brewing. For more information on Stone Brewing Co., please visit stonebrewing.com or the company’s social media sites:Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and The Stone Blog.
Note: The above was taken from an official press release