This year Stone Brewing is releasing 2 beers in their “Odd Beers For Odd Years” series. Initially the idea was to just release Old Guardian and Imperial Russin Stout in Belgo/Belgianized odd versions. The Stone faithful complained, the brewery lamented and will be releasing both. The Belgo Old Guardian has already arrived. Next up is the Belgo Russian. 2011 will be an odd year for it indeed. Details from the label indicate this beer will full of star anise, a seed pod of the evergreen tree that boasts a licorice flavor. Bottle copy:
Stone Imperial Russian Stout is so thing, rich and well, sinful you might feel certain that you are to be doomed to the fiery pits just for thinking about taking a sip. It almost seems evil. Rest assured, however, that our ever faithful gargoyle has done his job well by successfully warding off all evil spirits. In fact, we guarantee that no sin was committed in the production of this seemingly pernicious brew. We will admit that we used copious does of decadence in creating the viscous beauty you have before you, but no actual sin… You’ll have to add that on your own.
This particular edition is brewed in the authentic historical style of an Imperial Russian Stout, and then, shall we say… embellished. Specifically, by using a Belgian yeast strain, adding liberal amounts of star anise, and oaking it (which arguably could be considered “historical” as they used wooden barrels back then rather than todays stainless steel).
While our original version is “intensely aromatic (notes of anise, black currants, coffee, roastiness and alcohol) and heavy on the palate,” this Odd Year version doesn’t just have “notes” of anise… it screams it. Big, loud, & proud. LIke the Russian Czarists. Presumably. Truth is, we can’t say for certain, but one sip it’s easy to imagine it to be true.
Style: Russian Imperial Stout (Belgianized)
Availability: 22oz Bombers. Draft.
Arrival: Late Spring, 2011.
Stone Brewing launched a new program for 2 of their most popular beers – Old Guardian and Russian Imperial Stout. The idea was to “Belgianize” the beers for odd years. (2011, 2013, 2015 etc) A great idea for sure, turned to public outcry when drinkers found out they will not be able to have their barlywine & stout in 2011. Stone caved and said they will be producing both in 2011. The first edition of the “Odd Beers” has arrived.
What you need to know:
It’s Stone’s Old Guardian Barleywine. Ale yeast out. Belgian yeast in.
When our illustrious brewing team spiked a few barrels of the Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine with our Belgian yeast strain last year, we absolutely loved it. So much, in fact, that we knew we needed an excuse to make more. So, in our unending quest to constantly challenge the status quo (even our own), we came up with Odd Beers for Odd Years, a program to release odd beers — e.g. Stone Old Guardian BELGO Barley Wine — in odd years (2011, 2013, 2015…). It was met with a bit of resistance (to say the least) since we weren’t originally offering the traditional Old Guardian alongside it, but we’ve mended our ways and decided to make both. You’re welcome.
Style: Barleywine (Belgianized)
Hops & Malts: Unspecified, other than lots.
Taste Expectations: Caramel and toffee. Dark fruits from the bananas interlace throughout. Bit of booze, hop bitterness. Good balance.
Availability: 22oz bombers. Draft. Seasonal, odd years. Next brew, 2013.
The Belgian editions would be brewed on odd years – 2011, 2013, 2015, etc in place of the regular editions. The beer drinkers at larger didn’t greet the idea with open arms. So much so that Stone decided to release the regular editions on odd years too.
Per their Twitter Feed – the Belgian beers are now being bottled. (Image on the left). Headed your way soon…
A few days ago Stone Brewing (Escondido, CA) announced that they were going to switch things up a bit. Starting in 2011, and continuing every odd year after, a couple of beers would go “Belgian”. Namely the Russian Imperial Stout, and the Old Guardian Barleywine. Apparently the Stone beer drinking breathren didn’t take that so well. Or, not at all actually. Prompting Greg Koch, CEO of Stone to write this on the Stone Blog:
When we’re right, we’re right. And this, we suppose, is a chance to own up to that. It’s sort of a “They told us so…but we didn’t listen now did we?”
It wasn’t broken. Yet, being who we are, we couldn’t resist the urge to tinker. To mess with the “well enough” and not leave it alone. We won’t apologize, anymore than a lion would apologize for downing a gazelle, an orca would apologize for munching a seal, or marauding space aliens would apologize for enslaving humanity as dinner.
You see, sometimes we don’t notice just how right we are. But you’ve reminded us. And we got the message. Hard.
We recently announced the “Odd Beers for Odd Years” idea that explained the concept that in the “odd year” of 2011 we were going to release so-called “odd” versions of Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine and Stone Imperial Russian Stout. We thought it was a pretty cool and fun idea.
Many of you thought that idea was only slightly preferable to humanity being enslaved by space aliens. Some even wondered if that’s what had actually already happened to us at Stone (to which we say “No, that’s not happened,” but truth be told how can you really know.)
So then, what are we so right about? Well, it turns out we were already right…before the Odd Years idea. Cue: About face. Sorta.
To recap: we’ve now decided to go ahead and release the — dare we say — ‘classic’ versions of Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine (the OG OG?) and Stone Imperial Russian Stout. And, just so we don’t have to embarrass our moms with a complete retraction, we’re ALSO going to release the “Odd Beers” versions, starting with the Stone Old Guardian Belgo Barley Wine in February 2011.
Yes, we realize that some conspiracy-theorist is going to think we had this idea all along and that we were only just whipping everyone into a frenzy to get attention (as if we could do that more than some folks do it to themselves). That’s OK, they’re probably also the ones that think we’ve been commandeered by space aliens.
So, it looks like both. For 2011 at least.