Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 541 | Reviews: 298 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Foxtrot:
3.7/5 rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
Hmmm, Odd beers for odd years. This should be interesting.
2011 Bomber pours into my Stone IRS snifter a clear rusty orange hue with and abundance of head and lacing, which is spot on for the style. Long lasting retention even after the foam has faded to just a few bubbles around the edges.
The aroma is heavy on the phenolic and cloves. But just beneath the surface is some light lemon and citrus. To sum up the entire nose, its is simply yeast. It would be nice to get some malted sweetness to come through.
The taste was a big turn around from the nose. Double doses of bubblegum, clove and phenolic esters jump out on the first sip, but are quickly snapped short due to dry roast, and burnt caramel. I mean that in a good way, if that makes any sense. Some slight fruity undertones of lemon zest, due to the hops, but also some hints of banana, and perhaps some over ripened orange. Very dry in the finish with some warming in the chest and throat. The blending of esters that are typical in a Tripel, with a Barleywine makes for a interesting beer with lots of depth and complexity.
Mouthfeel is this beer's bread and butter. Rich and decadent, but silky with a milkshake quality.
Drinkability gets a modest score. The heat is welcoming, but this beer gave me a tremendous buzz after one bomber. Give it a year or two, and this baby will start to turn into a worthwhile buy.
Serving type: bottle
03-03-2011 09:35:59 | More by Foxtrot
More User Reviews:
3.6/5 rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25
The "BELGO" part is as emphasized in the appearance as it is on the label; this much froth and foam is equivalent to bold, capitalized print reminding us that ONLY BELGIAN yeast could produce a head of such mass and magnitude. Otherwise, however, Old Guardian looks much the same glassy, clear-ish, burnt amber beer as always.
What I love most about American barleywines is their combination of rich, sticky-sweet maltiness and candied, citrusy hops. Old Guardian - even fermented with Belgian yeast - exemplifies that profile as good (maybe better) than anything else; the figs, flower petals, dried apricots, and candied grapefruit are completely unperturbed by the yeast.
When aging beer, the yeast is typically the last thing to go. Hops, they fade fast. Malt, it thins out and oxidizes. Alcohol, it mellows. But the yeast, it seems to sometimes gain strength when left to brood at the bottom of a bottle. And yet this beer, distinguished by its use of Belgian yeast, at three years of age, has plenty of malt and even hops but little appreciable yeastiness...
Which is especially curious because Belgian yeasts have invariably the most character, distinction, and longevity of any. Indeed, this 2011 vintage has held up mighty fine but seemingly with no thanks to any additional esters or phenols. The crushing bitterness, the familiar dried and rotting orchard fruits, honeyed malt and nut brittle notes of standard Old Guardian still prevail.
Old Guardian is a consummately American barleywine. Even fermenting it with a strain of Belgian yeast can't change that. I didn't quite understand the appeal of a 'Belgianized' barleywine and, frankly, I still don't - it didn't make the beer any better or, surprisingly, more distinct. Maybe a side-by-side tasting would yield a different conclusion, but I didn't like this enough to buy it again.
Serving type: bottle
03-28-2014 16:09:53 | More by biegaman
3.34/5 rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25
Bottle poured into a snifter. Great reddish-amber-brown color with thick tan head that held pretty well. Good lacing and legs. Full body and medium carbonation. Aroma is of toffee, some mahogany, medium roasted malt sweetness. Taste is funky. The big thing that throws me off is that it tastes like burnt marshmallows. That burtn flavor is front and center and I'm glad I was splitting this bottle because I would've drain poured it if I tried to finish it myself.
Serving type: bottle
03-03-2014 03:55:48 | More by mverity
Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine from Stone Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 541 ratings.