ESCONDIDO, CA—Stone Brewing Co. is celebrating the release of its big, malty, fiercely hopped strong ale: 2014 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine. Beginning today, eager consumers and collectors may pick up a bottle of this annual release at retailers in select markets across the country.
Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine is a brawny beer with a rich malt backbone and assertive New World hop profile. The beer pours a burnt amber color with strong citrus and tropical fruit aromas. Its flavor is rich and malty, displaying hints of molasses and brown sugar up front, with apricot and pine notes in the finish.
“Each year, the beer’s recipe is slightly adjusted to allow us to play with different malt and hop varieties,” explains Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele. “All in all, I aim for the same end result: a well-rounded, complex beer that’s ready to drink now or age at cellar temperatures for many years.”
Fans may enjoy 2014 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine now, or properly store it to enjoy in the future. Over time, the hoppiness of the beer will fade and its initial sweetness will smooth out, transforming the beer into a much different, even richer and more refined brew.
2014 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Quick Facts
Name: 2014 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine
Stats: 11.6% ABV, 80 IBUs
Availability: Limited 22-ounce bottles and draft, beginning February 24
Hops Bill: Nugget, Cascade, Delta, Chinook
Distribution: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, and WA
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 make small adjustments to the recipe every year, just a little bit, as it provides an opportunity to try some different hops or malts. This year, the changes were minor. We used Nugget instead of Magnum for the bittering hop, and we replaced the CTZ hops in the whirlpool with Cascade to give the beer a piney, more citrusy note. It’s a well-rounded, complex beer that is ready to drink now, or can be aged at cellar temperature for many years.
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