Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 544 | Reviews: 298 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Ryan011235:
2.4/5 rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5
Poured into an E&J Cask & Cream glass on 12/2/11 while listening to Wesley Willis Greatest Hits
2011 Vintage (duh)
This is a nice looking beer; can't lie there. Toasty amber brown hue; looks very much like a fluid spectrum of autumn leaves. Two finger head has almost a soft yellow hue. The head thins but leaves an impressive enough amount of lace.
Maybe I should have popped this critter sooner because it doesn't smell nearly as bad as I've been told or subsequently feared. Orange peel, tangy apple, random fruit juiciness, toasted bread, some caramel-ish type sugars. Hey Seth, where's the band-aid? I mean, there are some musty, off-aromas going on and it smells disjointed and over-ripe but it could be way worse. No booze.
Eh, this tastes like an perpetual back and forth of "kind of ok" and "unpleasant bull jive." Caramelized sugars, toasted bread, earthy hops and some decaying citric tones seem fairly standard for Old Guardian; however, the belgo yeast imparts a musty (almost vegetal) notion and annoyingly spicy finish.
Medium-full body with appropriately moderate carbonation. Booziness is kept in check, considering the abv (at least for the abv). Still, it's more than warming. It finishes rather dry with some residual hops, too.
This could be so much worse, but I haven't exactly enjoyed it. Thankfully I was able to pawn half of it off on one of my friends. he happened to enjoy it. We'll be cracking the Belgo Anise shortly. It's even less pleasant as it warms.
Serving type: bottle
12-03-2011 03:46:35 | More by Ryan011235
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 544 ratings.