Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 541 | Reviews: 298 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by tewaris:
3.3/5 rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
12% ABV; 85 IBU's
Served in a 10 oz. Chalice like glass.
Hazy and dark amber, this beer was noticeably darker than 2007 Old Guardian. Poor head and poor head retention, but that could be these glasses too. The aroma is very different from what I expected in the sense that bubblegum and fruit notes have completely obliterated any notes of hops and malts. Not bad but not what I would want in a beer of this kind.
The taste retains the bitterness but has flavorful Belgian twist to it. The resiny character that I associated with many American Barleywines is missing. However, the strong Belgian notes don't seem to gel as well with the sticky and heavy mouthfeel on this one, as they do with the relatively lighter body on Belgian-D/IPA's. I don't see the need to resort to Belgian yeast for a beer of this kind and in that sense it doesn't work.
Further, the Belgian character is not complex, but rather full of bubblegummy notes. A well done beer for what it is but I am not buying it again!
Scores: Appearance 3/5, Aroma 3/5, Taste 3/5, Mouthfeel 4/5, Overall 4/5
Serving type: on-tap
03-31-2011 02:33:49 | More by tewaris
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.