Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 544 | Reviews: 298 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by dwilson01:
4.22/5 rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5
poured from a bomber into my new belgium glass. The body coloration is great, it has the look of a ruby red grapefruit with a little more orange added in there. The head is thin and basically nonexistent after a minute.
The scent is interesting, I get a small amount of caramel from the toasted malt but a huge fruit component from the hops and yeast. I get apricot, a hint of citrus, and some darker fruits like plum, cherry, and raisin. The boozy esters I pick up on the very back end but it's subtle.
The flavor is great, follows well from the nose with a malty fruity slap in the face with a slightly bitter/sour finish to it. The fruits I get the most of are definitely apricot and plum. Those flavors get twisted around toward the end of the brew leaving you with a lingering malty sweetness that fades into the yeasty sour aftertaste I get. The whole profile together works very well.
The mouthfeel is right on for a barleywine, thick and very smooth with a slight hot alcohol lingering and washing down the throat.
Dangerously drinkable brew, 12%? Overall I liked it a lot although Im not sure how well I would have picked up on its belgian style without knowing beforehand. All the aspects of a trip or quad are there if you know to look for them but in a blind taste test Im not sure.
Serving type: bottle
03-07-2011 02:54:30 | More by dwilson01
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.