On Deck for 2011: “Odd Beers for Odd Years”

Jacob McKean

As a Stone fan, you undoubtedly know and love two of our long-standing special releases: Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine and Stone Imperial Russian Stout. We love them too. We think they’re great beers and both receive sterling marks from BeerAdvocate and RateBeer, the two most prominent craft beer rating websites.

But we’ve been making Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine since 1998 and Stone Imperial Russian Stout since 2000, and if you subtract those numbers from 2010, you arrive at a long time to be making the same beers. So being the dynamic young go-getters that we are, we felt like mixing things up a bit.

Starting in 2011, we’re kicking-off a program we’ve dubbed “Odd Beers for Odd Years.” Translation: in odd numbered years (2011, 2013, 2015, etc…) we’ll be releasing new variations on Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine and Stone Imperial Russian Stout in place of the classic version. A radical redirection for two reliably wonderful beers, we know, but we think you’ll be pleased with the results.

Hell, we are.

The first Odd Beer for Odd Years release will be rocking your collective world in the form of Stone Old Guardian Belgo Barley Wine, which hits shelves in February.

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2010 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine...the last "classic" bottling until 2012

While brewing up 2010 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine, Stone Brewing Head Brewer Mitch Steele redirected 30 barrels of the batch into a fermenter containing the Belgian yeast we love from Stone Cali-Belgique IPA. After 8 weeks of comingling, bubbling, and resting, the results were ready for sampling. And sample we did. The English/American/Belgian chimera was so delicious, we quickly decided to make it the “Odd Beer” version of Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine for 2011.

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And 2010 Stone Imperial Russian Stout...set to be odd-ified in 2011.

So entranced were we with the effects of Belgian yeast on our barley wine, that we chose to go in a similar-ish direction for 2011 Stone Belgo Imperial Russian Stout. It will be an approximately 50/50 blend of classic Stone Imperial Russian Stout and the Belgo-ized version, with a hint of star anise added during the brewing process. You can expect to see this blendo-rific version Stone Imperial Russian Stout on shelves in April of 2011.

31 comments

  1. Bandwagon beer. I didn’t get into Stone because its beer smelled and tasted like feet. And these days, that kind of beer is available everywhere. I don’t mind trying something new – but everyone has done the Belgian thing. Disappointing.

  2. Growler fills? PLEASE! Don’t make me beg (but I will if I have to)

  3. Jeremy Michael Goldman
    /

    I will try anything that you brew, Ye Arrogant Bastards. I revel in your craft.

  4. C. Blake
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    This upsets me greatly… IRS and Old Guardian are the two stone products I buy regularly. I was not a fan of the Cali Belgique nor of the recent few vertical epics the “ruining” of two classically solid Stone products has be thinking I will need to seek a viable replacement that I can get every year…
    If you were releasing these fun beers as side projects, I would not be as upset, but in place of two of your most solid beers… this is a big mistake

  5. tim s
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    Well, i think it’s great! As much as I love both of these beers, I’m stoked to see some variation in their recipes on an alternating basis.

    Were both the 2010 versions of these great? Sure, as is usual, and I enjoyed them both. It’ll be neat to see what the belgian yeast blending will do with either of the blends. Looking forward to them both.

  6. Pingback: Stone Old Guardian, Imperial Russian Stout get belgo-fied next year | Beernews.org

  7. So what your telling me is that I am not getting IRS this spring?

    This is the worst news I’ve gotten all day.

  8. Pingback: Stone Old Guardian, Imperial Russian Stout get belgo-fied next year – The Cyberboozer Pubs and Bars Blog

  9. Dr Will
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    Disappointing, I was actually hoping you guys would start doing IRS year round, rather than every other year now. Damn.

  10. Rich Williams
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    Filling the shoes of IRS will be nearly impossible but the science is exciting and I’ll give it a shot.

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  12. Pingback: AtlantaBeerMaster.com – Stone’s Odd Beers for Odd Years

  13. Really bummed to hear that the Imperial Russian Stout is getting shuffled! Was looking forward to 2011!!! Such a good value for the bottle and a hidden secret…I don’t think many know how good this beer is because it’s grossly underhyped.

  14. Pingback: The Stone Blog » “Odd Beers for Odd Years”: Take 2

  15. Pingback: AtlantaBeerMaster.com – Stone’s Odd Beers for Odd Years Vol. 2

  16. Czar Nicholas
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    This is very disappointing, IRS should not be messed with. I guess I wont be buying your beers on odd years.

  17. Scotty Bailey
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    Anise in the stout? You sure that’s a good idea? I dislike spices like that in my beer that’s why I do not like Sam Adams. But hey you’re the brewmeisters, I trust your judgement folks. I toured your brewery in October and was very impressed.

  18. Stone IRS is my absolute favorite beer. I have one bottle left of it in my fridge, waiting for a special occasion. I am vexed that I won’t be able to get any more of it until 2012! I’ll be trying the Belgo version, but my taste moved away from the Belgian yeast flavor years ago. Can’t you bring us some traditional IRS every year, PLUS the variation on odd years?

  19. Pingback: Stone Imperial Russian Stout Classic 2011 sneak peak | Beernews.org

  20. Pingback: Stone Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine « Beerproof – Adventures in Drinking

  21. I love Belgian stouts. This is exciting and I can’t wait.

  22. Peter
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    The news that I will not be drinking my favorite beer until 2012 has ruined my year!! No matter how much I want to, I don’t think I will be supporting stone if I can’t get the original IMPERIAL RUSSIAN STOUT!!

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  24. No IRS? Bummer. I didn’t like the Cali-Belgie either, and now to find out the beer I’ve been waiting months for is going to be non existent? Major bummer.

  25. Pingback: Review: Stone Old Guardian BELGO (2011) « Passion Beer - Craft beer, brewpubs, microbrewery reviews and more - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  26. john l hale
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    just to let you know the russian stout and the old guardian are the best ever for me a beer that tastes and smells like beer should i live in houston texas and its hard to find here ..thanks to specs liquor helps i stash a case or so thankyou

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  28. Pingback: Stone Imperial Russian Stout & Belgo Anise on a hot July night | BrewManiacs

  29. Robert Richards
    /

    I bought, I drank, I liked. Sorry regular IRS is not here but liked your new twist on it. Missed the release but found a Bevmo that misslabeled it so will be going back to buy the rest.

    Regards!

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