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Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Guardian BELGO BarleywineOld Guardian BELGO Barleywine

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

551 Ratings
THE BROS
74
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 551
Reviews: 299
rAvg: 3.63
pDev: 16.8%
Wants: 18
Gots: 94 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: HopHead84 on 02-07-2011)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 551 | Reviews: 299 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Pahn:
Photo of Pahn
2.4/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22oz bomber into an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: Free pour yields a one inch offwhite head that dissipates steadily leaving no lacing. Pours a translucent red and leaves spots of lacing.

Smell: Belgian yeast and citrusy, piny west coast hops. Smells like Houblon Chouffe only a bit sweeter. Very airy and inviting. With warmth it gets very boozy.

Taste: Spicy Belgian yeast up front with piny hops, leading to a confusing finish that's mainly dry and astringent. Some roasted flavors and maybe some malt sweetness are in the background, but they're overtaken by harsh bitterness and dryness.

Once I start to get used to the strange, flavor-draining bitterness mixed with dryness, the overwhelming solvent burn comes out to take its place as the other dominant flavor in the beer. After the first sip, there's no sweetness to the flavor whatsoever (this is a barleywine??). Some interesting things happen occasionally, like Belgian yeast playing off of, I guess, some of Old Guardian's big maltiness, but they're so fleeting and so kill-flies-with-sledgehammers annihilated by the alcohol, dryness, and astringency that they may as well not have happened at all.

This beer tastes over-attenuated, abrasive, yet bland. Rating to style, it probably deserves a 1 for taste, but at least it didn't taste like garbage.

Mouthfeel: Extremely dry. Medium bodied, very carbonated, and bitter, but hard to get anything from it besides aggressive dryness.

Drinkability: The best thing I can say is that I finished the bottle. I would have happily given it away and drank something else.

I was excited for this beer, because Stone is my favorite brewery and Old Guardian is a great barleywine. This beer was a hot, dry, bland mess. I can't even see years in the cellar doing anything to improve it. I don't understand why this beer is so dry, and so bad.

Pahn, Feb 25, 2011
More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
4.63/5  rDev +27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance – This is a bright, rich brown in color with a brown-white head. The head is full and fluffy and offers a terrific compliment to the deep, colorful liquid.

Smell – The big hops and rich Belgian yeast are perfectly balanced. The yeast is like a great BSDA and the hops are like the classic Old Guardian. The wine aspect of the beer is right on as well.

Taste – This is incredibly open for being so young and doesn’t require aging. The yeast is a thing of beauty here and the hops are large but don’t interfere with the malt base. The wine character is crisp.

Mouthfeel – This full-bodied Barley Wine is smooth as can be with some light carbonation and just a touch of bitterness at the end. The sugary nature keeps this going down easy.

Drinkability – This is an amazing drinker for being so young. It’s a big beer but is not heavy-handed. It seems like an impossible task to get all of these big flavors working so well together but they managed to nail it.

RoyalT, May 02, 2011
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.88/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

In a tulip glass the beer was a bright cherry amber color, nicely carbonated. Very thin, almost nonexistent, tan head.
Spicy, sweet fruit aroma, with the spice tickling my nose. Caramel malt. Somewhat floral.
Predominantly caramel malt taste. Very sweet and spicy. Hops late, mostly citrus.
Alcohol noticeable. Medium-bodied.
Overall, nice take on an English barleywine. The alcohol made for some slow going. I probably should have shared this with someone.

lordofthewiens, Apr 06, 2011
Photo of generallee
4/5  rDev +10.2%

generallee, Apr 27, 2013
Photo of mverity
3.34/5  rDev -8%
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.

mverity, Mar 03, 2014
Photo of Jason
3.23/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz brown bomber with "2011 Odd Year Release" on the label.

Rusty orange amber color, hazy with a thick crown of off-white head. Smells of a booze soaked fruit cake, black peppercorn and a box of band-aids ... chaos in the nose. The smooth creamy body does not even have a chance to show off its lushness. Bitterness from the hops, medicinal phenols and a sharp peppery tone from the alcohol all try and whack the taste buds at the same time. The malt is there, you can feel that creaminess but the hops and alcohol does not even give it a chance ... even when the this beer warms up past 55*F there is not much to really pick from the rubble. The alcohol borders being super hot, hops don't want to let go and the spicy Belgian flare kicks this beer right between the legs. Right there in the end a kiss of overripe fruit and a hint of caramel ... but that is it.

Interesting to try but this 12% train wreck does not want to leave any survivors, taste buds are beaten to a pulp and each sip ends up being a chore.

Jason, Mar 06, 2011
Photo of Billolick
4.5/5  rDev +24%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stone bomber, Belgo Bwine, 2011 "Odd year release" version, picked up yesterday @ Ardsley, NY's DeCicco market.

Pours darker copper, lt. mocha head, stays at 1/8 of an inch, and leaves fine spots of lacing.

Malted up nose, with some whiskey and darker malt flourishes.

Full flavor BW, waves of caramel malts, infused with whiskey, some wood, smoke...with a long gently malty finish. Also some ripe tropical fruit comes to mind. I keep coming back to the smoke, the soft woody notes and the whiskey barrel undertones. Complex, dense flavors, heady stuff @ 12%, alcohol present but well hidden.

World class. Sublime. Got to get more of this one...

Billolick, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of reitzbrewing
4.25/5  rDev +17.1%

reitzbrewing, May 21, 2014
Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Common Table.

The beer pours a reddish color with a white head. The aroma is very fruity. I get a lot of oranges as well as some yeast, brown sugar and alcohol notes. The flavor is full of alcohol, Belgian yeast, orange citrus notes and some brown sugar. Overall, I get a lot of standard American Barleywine with a nice Belgian yeast spin to it. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Very nice.

Mora2000, Apr 24, 2011
Photo of Skye1024
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Skye1024, Apr 30, 2012
Photo of Altenor
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Altenor, Jun 28, 2013
Photo of dogfishandi
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 "odd" year release

22oz. bottle at cellar temp poured into a snifter. split with friends.

pours out a very clear deep reddish bordering on copper/ bronze with a big light tan colored head, great retention and nice lace.

very strange aroma. kind of a meaty almost bologna like mixing with dark fruits, prunes and some rich maltiness. the barleywine nor the belgian yeast really show like i expected.

i find the yeast and the barleywine a lot more in the taste. tastes similar to a belgian dark or a quad. a nice range of fruitiness, lots of dark dried fruits. hints of a meaty flavor. rich maltiness mixes with a slightly spicey, slightly phenolic yeast. finishes with a slightly resinous hop bitterness and spicey yeast.

i didnt like it at first, but the more i drank it, the more i started enjoying it. still definatly nothing special and nothing i would come back to. the belgo stone imperial russian was way better, as well as the origianl old guardian. not something i would really recommend or buy again.

dogfishandi, Aug 13, 2011
Photo of ehammond1
3.95/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler

Stone Brew Co.
Escondido, CA

A murky and cloudy deep copper. A big, beautiful, persistent off-white head. Gorgeous. Leaves not so much rings of lacing as sheets of it.

Belgian yeast mixed with orange citrus hop notes make up the majority of the nose. It's certainly unique. There's some other sweet fruits in the nose as well as some alcohol.

Taste is of orange juice, caramel, Belgian yeast, alcohol, some bitterness, and some darker fruits resembling maybe figs or plums. It all comes together surprisingly well, but I do think this beer requires some age to really improve. I, however, didn't have that option.

Silky and sticky. Appropriate and nice.

I went in to this beer with very low expectations. I honestly expected not to like it, but that wasn't the case at all. Where I expected to find a failed experiment gone terribly wrong, I'm left with a very enjoyable evening sipper. Kudos to proving me wrong!

ehammond1, Mar 17, 2011
Photo of sourdog
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

sourdog, Jun 24, 2014
Photo of TKEbeerman
4.22/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into my SN bubble glass, this brew always pours an amazing harvest moon red with a fluffy tan head with an orange tinge.

S: It's aroma has very distinct Belgium notes, and I am definitely taken back at the fact that Stone is able to pull this off. This has brought depth to a barelywine that was one amazing monster to begin with. An almost perfect balance of malt, hops, and spices the nose contains the classic piny resinous Stone hopes balanced with gobs of caramel malt, classic yeasty Belgium clove and spice.

T: The flavor is a tame version of the original OG. Instead of the hop blast, it's a hop blast tamed by Belgium cloves and a sweet malt backbone. This brew is a like peppery candy explosion, and the ABV...I'm not sweating it!

MF: The mouthfeel is full and really smooth for the hop bill that I know is in this brew.

Overall, this beer is a home run. If Belgium were to brew a barleywine, this is what I think it should taste like. I really had my doubts when I heard about this odd beer, and I still do with the IRS, but I just can't wait to try that one either.

TKEbeerman, Apr 05, 2011
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours about the most orange looking barleywine I've ever seen, right up there with O'Dell's India Barleywine, that bright dipa style orange.

Aroma yields the belgo yeast for sure. Not clovey, nice, but definitely pungent.

Citrus themes, fruity ester, big time alcohol. Caramel. Like a triple belgian ipa. Ample hopping, leans to the pine side. This beer is kinda all over the place, but yet very dominated by the belgian yeast and all its typical bringings. Not much in the way of sweetness. The alcohol heat is a tad bothersome, tastes like a homebrew novice just dumps liquor into the beer at times. I go back and forth whether the belgo yeast makes it neat or tedious. Just depends on your mood.

Great price

Beerandraiderfan, Sep 15, 2011
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.72/5  rDev +30%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appears in my Unibroue La Fin du Monde chalice with a semi hazed glowing blood orange tinted body and a very nice thicket of khaki tan head forming thick. Leaves behind fine intricate detailed lacing on my glass.

Aroma contains upfront peppery, spiced yeast inspired notes with a deep caramelized sugar tone going on with ripened plums/apricots and other hearty fruits. A touch of booze crosses the palate as well, what a beer.

Flavor isn't has harsh as I thought it was going to be, big citric/pine/earthy middle from the big hop additions in this aggressive barleywine style ale spiked with a Belgian yeast strain. Juicy complexity of ripened fruits hints of citrus/plum/apricots. Typically big American alpha acid hops don't blend in the Belgo IPA style that Stone has helped popularize, however with all of this malt in this big bruiser of barleywine I'm getting some nice flavors in the mix. Alcohol/booze is there but doesn't burn or hurt me per se. There's almost perfume like flavors with the spices/aromatics from the yeast strain utilized, wow this is a new direction for sure. I questioned when I heard they were going to go Belgo on odd years with some of their famous big beers, but damn this is good.

Mouthfeel as it warms up so does the heat of the alcohol, big body no effervescence in the carbonation. This is the type of beer that might cure your sore throat. Hop oils are there big bitterness but it doesn't kill the palate completely the warm spiced yeast profile with alcohol makes it seem like a mulled cider or fruit infused fortified wine.

Drinkability overall isn't bad at all, in fact it's kind of dangerous the type of beer that empties faster than your liver can metabolize it. 22 ounce bottle tackled without difficulty, not go forth and preach the word of what European Belgian yeast strains can do to awesome stand up American versions of alcohol, this is experimentation that didn't set us back but moved at least a few spaces forward in brewing.

WVbeergeek, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of OStrungT
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a rusty orange color with a light tan head. The head fades slowly, leaving a nice lacing.

This beer smells of sweet caramel. It has a pleasent spicy coriander aroma to it. A slight boozy alcohol aroma mixes in also. It smells slightly of floral hops.

This beer tastes much like it smells. Sweet caramel malt, with some spicy flavors. Coriander and maybe some cloves. The hops are also present.

This beer is full bodied. It goes down smooth, leaving a spicy aftertaste. Carbonation is good.

This beer wouldnt make a great session beer. At 12% ABV, it is a sipper.

Overall: This beer is pretty good. Not my favorite, but still good.

OStrungT, Mar 25, 2011
Photo of stereosforgeeks
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%

stereosforgeeks, May 20, 2013
Photo of jeonseh
3.78/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received from a friend so happy to try it out

A - copper in color with a slight haze to it; light carbonation bubbles trail upwards and there is a small white head that only resides on the edges

S - smell is fruity with hints of apricot, clementine and grapefruit with slight caramel sweetness to it. As it warms, the Belgian aspects in the nose start to come out as I note bread and bubblegum flavors. Nose is moderate overall.

T - at first there is a malty sweetness and orange that hits the tongue. The taste then becomes more hoppy with a grapefruit bitterness that becomes stronger and lingers in the finish. As it warms up I start to get more of the Belgian notes that were not there at first as I started to note esters and their bubblegum and clove flavors. Overall it reminds me more of a DIPA than a barley wine.

MF - good mouthfeel with a nice thick, stickiness to it. Feels full within in the mouth and has a slight carbonation to it.

O - an interesting beer that reminds me more of a DIPA, with it's heavy hop presence, than a barleywine beer. Interesting to have the Belgian flavors mixed in there. Worth a try and would be interesting to age to see what it is like as the hops mellow.

jeonseh, Dec 25, 2011
Photo of daveytheformer
3.03/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

into a delirium snifter

Pours a thick cloudy amber almost light brown color with a creamy off white head that rapidly fades to sticky lacing.

Smells like bananas, bubblegum, and a little pepper spice. The yeast is certainly real up front. Upon repeated whiffs there is a lot more going.

Taste strongly metallic and bitter. Alcohol heat, bitter hops and Belgian yeast are all the front end. Candy sweetness is underlying but keeps getting dominated by hops and alcohol

Mouthfeel is thick and heavy with lots of carbonation and booze.

Overall is drinkable but certainly not the best Stone beer I've had. Makes me really curious about Belgo Anise IRS.

daveytheformer, May 27, 2011
Photo of glid02
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Taco Mac Metropolis in Atlanta.

Pours a hazy brownish-copper color with a one-finger cream-colored head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of burnt caramel malts with hints of booze-soaked pears and plums. Also present are hints of toffee.

Tastes more robust than it smells. Smooth caramel malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by candied dark fruits – plums and raisins. Midway through the sip the flavor profile sweetens a bit with the addition of toffee and light chocolate. Finally, the fruit flavors re-assert themselves near the end of the sip, carrying through to a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It’s got a smooth thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn’t have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall I found this to be a good enough beer but it’s just not as good as the original version. Worth a shot for curiosity’s sake.

glid02, May 16, 2011
Photo of cisteve
2/5  rDev -44.9%

cisteve, Apr 07, 2012
Photo of ste5venla
4/5  rDev +10.2%

ste5venla, May 26, 2012
Photo of cynical1027
4.5/5  rDev +24%

cynical1027, Feb 21, 2012
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Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine from Stone Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 551 ratings.