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Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Guardian BELGO BarleywineOld Guardian BELGO Barleywine

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

568 Ratings
THE BROS
75
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 568
Reviews: 301
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 16.48%
Wants: 18
Gots: 96 | 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:
Beer added by: srroos on 02-08-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 568 | Reviews: 301
Photo of WVbeergeek
4.7/5  rDev +29.1%
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.

Photo of russpowell
3.26/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up at Wilbur's in Ft. Collins a week ago...

Pours caramel/scarlet with 1+ finger of fluffy tan head. Nice viscosity to this, near zero lacing & head retention

S: Pears, green apple skins, faint boozey & phenol notes

T: Follows the nose, some candi-sugar sweetness, a touch of pineapple & dryness, some sneaky funkyness sneaking around the edge of my throat. Faint boozeyness & herbal hoppyness as this warms. Finishes with boozey pears & bit of tartness & candi-sugar. Would probably bump this up a bit as an example of Belgian PA...

MF: Chewy, slick with slight carbonation.
Carbonation picks up as this warms

Belgian Barleywine is a style that not working for me so far. Nice try by Stone, but this failed to excite me, maybe in a few years this will impress, not so far...

Photo of mactrail
2.82/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Orange and coppery amber in the Saxo tulip. Smells like brettanomyces and butterscotch. Head flattens out before too long. Only a few stray bubbles enliven the appearance.

Truly peculiar. So hot with alcohol, it's like some kind of salsa. The bitter burn also kicks in making this tough going after a few sips. Very woody, and the bitterness makes it taste like something charred and doused with red wine. Fain vinegar hints. Sugar seems to have been eaten, though there is some lingering candy flavors. The Belgian yeasty taste is nice for a while, but it gets lost in the sourish, spoiled fruit flavors.

I wish Stone would get over the need to overdose so many beers with hops. This is so bitter after a while it is just undrinkable. From the 2011 batch in 22 oz bottle.

Photo of MarkyMOD
4/5  rDev +9.9%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bought a bomber of this for $5.99 at my local store. Pours a cloudy orange/brown, very little head or carbonation to it. Strong alcohol aroma.. pretty much expected from a 12% ABV. Taste is medium bodied, and first thing noticed is the sweetness. Overly sweet, almost mouth puckering. Some dark fruit almost shines through, slight alcohol burn is in there too. For a 12% ABV, it's smoother than I thought it would be, but it's definitely sweet and isn't the most drinkable beer... going to be hard to finish the bomber in one night. A slightly above average barleywine I'd say, but I've had much better.

Photo of MasterSki
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had this on-tap at Small Bar Fullerton. Got a stange-like taster glass of this one.

A - My buddy Andres had a goblet of this, and it looked almost identical to the other versions. Perhaps a touch cloudier body and slightly more foam.

S - Huge Belgian yeast, with some fruity esters that evoke stone fruits. Very yeasty and bready, with much less overt caramel sweetness. Not as hoppy as regular Old Guardian either. You can definitely pick this one out of a lineup, but I don't think it's an improvement.

T - Taste is again very evocative of a Belgian Strong Ale rather than a barleywine, with plenty of yeast and fruity esters mixed with sugar and toffee. Better balance of sweetness and other flavors here. It's hard to believe such a minor change in recipe results in a drastically different beer, but such is the power of the Belgian yeast. Again, the hop character seems muted - I think this batch was available at EBF, so it's not super-fresh at this point.

M - It's a little thinner than the other Old Guardians I had, with some dryness in the finish rather than unabashed stickiness. Seems appropriate for the Belgian style.

D - My sample went down easily enough, but I don't think I could have done a full goblet of this one.

Photo of drabmuh
4.32/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yep, on draft at Churchkey, after drinking more than 20 Stone beers last night, its no wonder why I woke up with the taste of hops on my mouth.

Beer is ruby red and has a tiny head of off white tiny bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass.

Aroma is malty with these odd esters in there from yeast and bready and fruits. Smells really interesting.

Beer is big bodied and very malty up front but the midpalate gives way to these great Belgian characteristic esters and some late bitterness finishes it off well. Its a very good barleywine IMO.

Photo of WesWes
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours a dark amber, almost orangish color with a thick frothy off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a dry, yet fruity scent that boasts of burnt toffee and yeast esters. It's alcohol ridden with a charred wood character to it. The taste is decent as well. It has a thin burnt toffee favor along with loads of yeast character and a warming finish. Again, it tastes like charred wood that's soaked in liquor. It goes down slow and warm with yeasty/burnt finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. I applaud the concept, but the end result isn't that attractive. I won't be seeking this one again.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

Photo of imperialking
3.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of orangesol
3.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of GClarkage
4/5  rDev +9.9%

Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, 2011 vintage. Pours clear red orange color with a dense 1 finger light orange head with good retention that reduces to a thin lacing cap that lasts. Not much lacing left on the glass. Aromas of dark fruits, spices, caramel, citrus, and sweet malt. Definitely some interesting aromas. Taste of sweet caramel, spice, honey, molasses, and fruitiness. Decent amount of bitterness noticed on the finish, but mostly a lot of lingering flavors of caramel, molasses, fruitiness, and some citrus. Very smooth drinking for 12% as well, still quite a sipper though. Medium carbonation and full bodied. No alcohol in the taste and a fairly large warming on the finish. Overall, a very nice barleywine with Belgian characteristics. Tasty stuff!

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on tap at 1702; March 2011
The beer arrives with a half-finger thick, pale amber tinged head that sits on top of a rich, amber hued beer that shows clear with gold tinges around the edges when held up to the light. A bright berry aroma is backed by notes of candied citrus zest (tangelo and grapefruit being the most noticeable). There is a solid, toasted and caramelized malt character that adds some depth and savoriness to the nose.

The beer has a chewy texture to it, though it is not overly heavy, but it is definitely a sipping beer. Bitter herbal hop flavors try and temper the rich, caramelized malt character that is in this beer. The hint has a touch of coffee-like flavor to it as well as a toasted, whole grain character; though it doesn’t really get roasted. The finish can also have some hot alcohol warming to it at times. Big caramelized hop notes have lots of citrus flavors as well as a softer berry like note and there is also some herbal / menthol like hop contributions here. This is somewhat sweet up front, but it is not nearly as sweet as the nose would have suggested. The hop notes that are herbal and bitter quickly dries this beer out, though it remains chewy and sipping beer throughout. An earthy spiciness with notes of clove, and a definite phenolic character in the finish is noticeable from the yeast. This is enjoyable, but for some reason doesn’t quite seem to be doing it for me.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.32/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours amber with a medium white head, frothy, good lace.

S: Yeasty, leather, pepper, the Belgain character is overt and inviting.

T: Strong crystal malt flavour overall. The yeast is heavy and truly dominates the beer in a good way. Heavy leather, mushroom and bacon fat with a hint of funkiness, intense and flavourful.

M: Full-bodied, resiny but smooth, easy carbonation.

D: A really good take on the classic Old Guardian. Well worth a pickup, I loved this.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes.

A: Pours a hazy brown/copper color with a one finger tan head on top. Decent retention, with a thin layer of foam lasting for the duration with patchy lacing left behind.

S: Some caramelized malt, dark fruits, mostly some plum and raisins, a bit of toffee and some light alcohol.

T: Heavy on the caramel and some sugary sweet dark fruit, again plum and raisin. There is a little bit of toffee and bread.

M: Medium to full bodied, rather thick, with moderate carbonation.

O: Better than expected, but hard to place in context since I have not had regular Old Guardian as of yet.

Photo of Billolick
4.43/5  rDev +21.7%
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...

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Old Guardian Belgo

Ontap, pours a clear mahogony and a small off white head. In the aroma, candied fruits, yeast and booze. Tastes almost like a belgian quad, big time maltyness, fruit notes, alcohol also checks in. Toffee, cherry, kiss of piney hops rounding it out. A nice big beer and the belgian yeast really made things interesting. Would have it again.

Photo of corby112
4.18/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this bottle up yesterday and am curious how it stands up to the standard version.

Pours a dark golden orange/amber color with golden blood orange hues when held to a light and a one finger frothy yellowish-beige head. Decent retention, quickly settling into a thick lasting ring that leaves sporadic streaks and spots of lace behind.

Earthy aroma with hints of floral, pine and citrus hops countered by a sweet, slightly leathery malt presence. There's also some boozy sweetness in the nose with hints of light fruit and bubblegum. The citrus rind presence from the hops are nicely complimented by the sweeter bubblegum and fruit notes. The malt becomes more prominent as it warms with caramel, toffee and biscuit. Very interesting and complex smelling. Not as boozy and/or earthy as I expected. I'm really curious to see how the nose will develop with some age.

Full bodied, complex and well balanced with a blast of fresh, dank, oily hops up front that linger throughout over the sweet malt, booze and sweet Belgian yeast notes into a slight dry finish. Nice and dry/bitter up front with hints of floral pine needle countered by sweet citrus fruit flavor, notably pineapple, grapefruit and orange peel. This is quickly countered mid-palate by some subtle boozy heat, sweet malt and Belgian yeast character. The malt is only slightly leathery with hints of caramel, rye, toffee, biscuit and hazelnut. Toward the end of the swallow, the Belgian yeast flavors make an appearance giving off hints of light fruit and subtle bubblegum. I'm picking up some apricot and apple which blend really nicely with the sweet malt flavor and booze.

The ABV is excellently masked with only slight alcohol flavor and subtle warmth in the finish. This beer is dangerously drinkable making it hard to believe that it's 12%. Much smoother and more quaffable than most barleywines with less of an earthy, boozy feel and flavor. The combination of flavors make it extremely complex and unlike most beers I've had in the style. I was a little skeptical of this one but I really enjoyed it. Highly recommended!

Photo of afsdan
3.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.15/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Huh, I'm surprised by all the lukewarm reviews- I like this beer, and it's exactly as advertised- tastes like a blend of a Belgian IPA and Old Guardian barleywine. As such, it pours a reddish copper with a light head. Nice malty, vinous, sweet base with some dry, crisp hops on top and a touch of yeasty Belgian-style twang in the nose. The taste is more robust, with a nice marriage of big, spicy hops with a long bitter finish and a big malty and vinous middle with a touch of slight sour in the finish just before the bitterness overwhelms it. I really like the interplay here, and although it's a big chewy beer in the mouth with a long finish, the alcohol is fairly subdued for such a high abv brew. I'll definitely grab a few more of these.
Personally, I don't get a phenolic character at all, nor alcoholic heat, and on top of that, my bottle seems fairly integrated. Perhaps some bottles are a little off?

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.16/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

If you've ever wonder how yeast can make or break a beer, try OG then OG Belgo. There you have it; at least the influence of those little bugs.

Pours a nice dark copper, somewhat clear beer. Topped with a soft white foaming head that dwindled to a collar.

Aroma. yeast. Yup, that Belgian kind. Some caramel and light sweet bread underneath. But for the most part it's a mess of coriander, spice and some esters.

Flavor; see aroma. Same. It's not that it's a bad combo, or a bad beer. It's just that it takes away from what the OG has established. I'm not sure if I'm disappointed or indifferent. Probably neither. The caramel and rich notes of the OG are lost here, overpowered by the yeast, which opens the door for the abv to punch ya

Photo of smakawhat
3.44/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured on tap into a snifter at ChurchKey as part of a group tasting.

A ruby cherry red and clear bodied color, really dig this body color. Light off caramel head with some stickiness and good lacing.

Nose is kind of closed, but a small sense of mild cinnamon. Very muted with perhaps some small cherry fruit. Not really dynamic or exciting.

Taste is malt mostly and quick sharp alcohol even for a barleywine, but just tolerable enough on the palate. Estery fruit sense with a novocaine numbing finish and sharp bitter probably from hop stinging.

Kind of odd but not too bad. Sort of a mixture of good and bad overall for a barleywine.

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.77/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Poured a copper color with good carbonation leaving a nice white cap

S: Fruits, bubblegum and caramel is what I got

T: Immediate bubblegum hint, some candy sugar, caramelized sugar, hints of fruits and caramel

M: Sticky, warm with a nice hop bite, thinner bodied than I expected or wanted

D: Its on the verge of average. I would not want another or go back to this. Maybe in a year or two I would give this another shot.

Photo of rab53
3/5  rDev -17.6%

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Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine from Stone Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 568 ratings.