(Escondido, CA) – Last month, Stone Brewing unveiled their 2017 release calendar. Many longtime Stone fans noticed that both Stone Imperial Russian Stout and Old Guardian Barleywine Style Ale did not show up on the product matrix. Word began swirling from retail and wholesalers that these two longtime strong ale staples were to be discontinued this year. For those who have been following Stone closely over the past two years, have seen Stone tweak some beers, while completely eliminating others, mainly due to lack of product demand. As with other mature craft breweries, this has been a must to stay nimble and competitive with much smaller breweries that are able to keep cranking off new and innovative recipes at a far quicker clip.
In recent years, Stone has had great success with Stone w00tstout, a partially barrel aged Imperial Stout, clocking in at 13%, as well as their winter offering Xocoveza Stout, a popular Mexican Chocolate style strong stout. By comparison, the two new stouts seem far more interesting than Stone Imperial Russian Stout. With that said, it is sad to see the gold standard, highly rated, ultra cellarable staple not included this year.
Old Guardian, on the other hand has struggled in the last few years, as the popularity in barleywine has dropped considerably in favor of it’s hoppy cousin, the triple IPA. Stone attempted to remix this beer with different and more hops, and yet this beer still collected dust on the shelves.
We reached out to Stone to see if these beers were in fact retired along the likes of Pale Ale, Ruination 1.0, Smoked Porter, Levitation, OAKED Arrogant Bastard and Sublimely Self Righteous Ale, and this is what Stone had to say.
“Sorry, but Old Guardian/Imperial Russian Stout are not on our release schedule for the year. That’s doesn’t mean this beer is permanently retired, just that it’s not on our schedule for the coming months. We’ll be sure to let you know if/when you can expect to see a new batch pop up again. In the meantime, the good news is these beers are great with some extra age, and you can find previous years’ editions at our Company Stores and your local bottle shops.”
So there you have it, there is a chance these beers are brought back in the future. Possibly in a mixed pack scenario or a throwback lineup much like the Stone 20th series.