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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.

549 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 549
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: 549 | Reviews: 299 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of farrago
3.05/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Two plus fingers of tan-orange foam, moderate density, mixes in some larger bubbles without much dimpling, forms a good layer across the surface which lingers well, the lacing forms solid sheets which slowly glide downwards without much residue. Cloudy amber red with more brown in the center and brighter orange at the glass bottom, a few scattered bubbles visible, deeply hued for sure. There's a burnt edge to the nose which highlights the smokiness as well as caramelized sugars, candied orange peels, pine sap, equally concentrated and close to dried fruit apricot, peach, pineapple, cherry with fresh ginger slices to boot, avoids extremes of both hoppiness and maltiness ending up in a muddle in the middle. Full-bodied, thick and bottom heavy, this in spite of super-creamy carbonation. The ginger, coriander, clove spice pairs with orange peel, caramel, toffee, pine, too boozy and rough and tumble for the florality to show a lot. Curiously, any yeast or dough notes seem to get stamped out, never mind anything remotely tasting like barley. It carries the signature "Stone" profile but little grace and balance. The finish is at once very sugary and astringent.

farrago, Mar 15, 2011
Photo of Retsinis
3.23/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this bottle at a tasting, split between myself and 3 others, so I got about 5 to 6 oz.

Review from notes.

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Bruery tulip glass.

The beer pours a dark copper, with a amber red hue. Small half inch of beige head rose, and dissipated quickly, no lacing really.

The smell has the distinctive Belgian yeast whiffing off of it, along with citrus hops, caramel, and tropical fruit notes.

The initial draw had a bit of spice to it, mixed with banana, caramel, and some hop bitterness. Kind of a cornucopia of flavors going on in here. As it warms a bit more, some dark fruit notes also come through, as well as the Belgian yeast and the heat.

Mouth feel was a little heavy, spicy, with a decent amount of carbonation. Heat comes through a bit too much for me.

Overall, I did like this better than the regular Old Guardian, fresh that is, since it is not as hoppy or bitter. It was worth a try, and glad I did, but out of the gate this recipe needs a bit of tweaking in my humble opinion or perhaps aging will meld things out. Still better then my expectations were though, but I do not plan on picking any more up.

Retsinis, Mar 14, 2011
Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Am I the only person who liked this beer? First off, it pours a beautiful amber orange color, though the head formation and retention is a little lacking. Nose is largely Belgian, with fruity yeast notes making a big play. Flavor is really nice actually, though maybe a bit sweet. Fruity up front with a bit of clove, followed by some hoppy bitterness. Finish isn't too lingering which is a bit of a shame. Decent mouthfeel and really great drinkability in my opinion (especially considering the ABV). This is very different from regular Old Guardian, but I happened to like it quite a bit.

LordAdmNelson, Mar 14, 2011
Photo of Stinkypuss
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Stinkypuss, Mar 14, 2011
Photo of raszputini
2.73/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I must say to begin with that I am very picky with barleywines. Many I just dont' like. This is an interesting combo a barleywine with belgian style yeast and sugars. Nose is what you'd expect - a combo of belgian fruitiness and phenols along with the yeasty nose from a barleywine. Taste starts like a trippel with coriander and belgian sugars and then morphs into a barleywine. Complex - definitely not a session. Rough around the edges. I think simply pouring a blithering idiot into a cheap trippel would yield similar results.

raszputini, Mar 14, 2011
Photo of Overlord
1.25/5  rDev -65.6%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I admit, I was not enthused when I heard about this beer. I think stone should retire their belgian yeast strain and burn all samples, this beer is that bad.

Pours a beautiful orange amber. Great head. The cake is a lie!!!

Smells like cleaning solvent with abrasive citrus, nasty yeast, and alcohol. Wow. This is horrid.

Taste, if anything, is worse. Pine cleaning solvent, harsh awful booze, truly atrocious rotting citrus yeast....one of the worst beers I have ever had. I must, however, praise stone for having their bourbon aged beers at the winter storm. I love stone! But not this beer. Awful bitter earthiness, runaway spicy yeastiness, nothing melds and the entire thing is dry, solventy, and abrasively harsh.

One of the least drinkable beers ever.

Overlord, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of charmcityboh
3.43/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

First off, a perfect looking beer, but from Stone, what else can be expected?
Smell is overly boozy, but some caramel sweetness does creep in there.
Gotta say this on drinks a little hot. Or at least that is how I recall this beer at the start. As I type this, nearing the end of the bomber, I find the taste much more subtle, with hints of caramel and a slight grapefruit sweetness. But then again, I cant help feeling the 12% ABV is just taking advantage of me here, making my judgement cloudy. I remember this being too boozy when I started this journey an hour ago. But now I'm cool with whatever.
This beer is not bad, but its not great either. Will pick up a few to cellar, this will surely age well.
And for future notice, review all 12% brews at the start of the bomber, not the end, as I am having a lot of trouble typing right now. Good night all!

charmcityboh, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of Bajasith
3.1/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a translucent ruby red color with a small single finger head.
Smell was of unmistakable Belgium yeast, fruity with alcohol masking the hops... Almost astringent in aroma.
Taste, where do I begin... A mixture of a triple and DIPA... Alcohol dominates and steals the show. Some malt/hop sweetness tingle but are blown away with the warmth of the 12% ABV...
Mouthfeel is moderate to dry. Slight bitterness at the end.
I love that Stone brews are bold yet this one did not rank with those other brews I would enjoy over and over again.

Bajasith, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of AlCaponeJunior
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Well it's reddish brown and a bit hazy. There's not much head but the lacing is nice.

Smells of strong malts, plenty of yeast and a light fruitiness, with a touch of hops and noticeable alcohol.

Taste is strong, fruity alcohol notes dominate, with cherry, plum, apple, pear and peach all showing a tinge of flavor contributions. Malts are plentiful and powerful, complimented by a light yeastiness. There's also a pungent sour bitter component. Overall it's quite flavorful and a good example of the style.

Feel is rich and alcoholic, with a strong warming going down. Bitterness is light but pleasant. Fruity sweetness, complimented with a dichotomy of bitter sourness, lingers on.

Drinks well enough for the style, but it's not something I'd seek out very often.

AlCaponeJunior, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of Bfarr
3.33/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Slightly hazy red amber and thin tan head with no retention or lacing. Intoxicating barley and yeast aroma. Salty yeast and sweetness upfront that mellows into a little smoother taste. A little more hoppy flavor is accentuated by the yeast and a light lingering salty/bitterness. Good warming, a little more than the regular OG. Slick but biting mouthfeel with a light mouthcoating.

Definitely more challenging than the normal OG yet still not complex but yeast adds another dimension when the sweetness comes through. I don't think it was as good overall as the normal OG, but I think I still enjoyed it a little more because I could take my time.

Bfarr, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of gopens44
3.1/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Purchased at Beer & Wine Westpark - lost receipt, so I can't recall the price and threw out the bottle before I noted the date (my bad) but it was obviously circa 2/11

A - Dark ruby brown-ish and fairly unmuddled. Head was foamy and pretty nice in size, checking in at a decent 3/4 " or so with a slightly off white / beige color

S - All that I got here at first was the yeast smell, but that's sorta what I expected. Following the yeast was a more familiar aroma of the original, but still overpowered by the yeast.

T - Again, the Belgium yeast was the dominant taste, which was followed up by faint plum, a smidgeon of wood and plenty of alcohol presence.

M - Medium bodied with a dry finish. Some level of a cloyingly sweet aftertaste film thing going on.

D - I'd like to see what would happen with some age on this, but as a fresh libation, it misses the mark.

gopens44, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of nlmartin
1.15/5  rDev -68.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Where to start with this beer? I guess the beginning is the proper place. This beer was chilled and served in an Imperial Pint glass.

Appearance: This is the beers shining moment. The body of the beer is a bright shining caramel amber coloration. The head of the beer looks a creamy caramel tinged off white. No real head retention but not expected for the ABV. The beer is wearing a wonder bra. Now you may ask what brings a wonder bra to mind? You think your girl has a great rack and she takes her bra off and you wonder where her tits went. The beer looks like its got a great rack but leave me wondering what the hell happened?

Smell: The aroma of the beer is confusing to say the least. Heavily peppered caramelized apples, wet band aids, grapefruit, pine citrus slamming into a wall of solvents, rubbing alcohol, an odd mint and clove. This beer smells very odd to me.
Taste: This beer taste awful! This is like biting into a band aid used on a chemical wound. Lots of rubbing alcohol and other solvent flavors. Very very astringent flavors. Sure its hopped up but the hops are ramming against a wall of astringent cloves.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability: The body of the beer is astringently dry. Just bitterness and more bitterness complete with alcohol burn. Drinkability this is a drain pour. This is awful! Is this beer an Arrogant Bastards joke on fanboys? You guys will drink anything and love me! Sorry it aint so. Stones stumbled with Emperial IPA. A very poor offering. This beer is a straight up piss pour effort. Hopefully this beer goes the way of new coke. Yuck!

nlmartin, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of jwinship83
3.83/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz bottle picked up as soon as i noticed it on the shelf. drank from my la fin du monde tulip.

A- this one pours a dark amber colored body with a large and fluffy eggshell colored head on top. the head lasts for a while and leaves behind large rings of lacing. very nice.

S- the first thing that comes to mind when i take a whiff is spices. lots of coriander and a little bit of pepper. some orange zest and banana as well. the alcohol makes itself known. some sweet caramel and bready malts.

T- the sweet caramel and toasted bread like malts i could smell come to the front of the taste. after that the spices i could smell (pepper and coriander) come out along with bubblegum, banana, and orange peel. at the end i get a healthy dose of alcohol.

M- medium bodied, bordering on full with ample carbonation. moderate to intense warming from the alcohol.

D- its amazing how changing the yeast can change a beer. i think i liked the original version better, but this one is still very very young. lets see what a little time in the cellar will do to it. too strong to attempt a second, this is a bottle that is best to split with someone.

jwinship83, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of bamadog
2.7/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Review is from notes taken on 3/10/2011 and poured from the bottle to a goblet.

Appearance: Pour is a dark apricot/coppery color with lighter orange highlights and it starts with a 1/4 finger creamy off-white head that fades quickly to a thick, but uneven skim hanging around on the surface; body is fairly hazy and shows moderately slow carbonation bubbling up from the bottom; only a couple of small spots of lacing are left hanging around on the sides of the glass.

Smell: First and foremost, I would say there is plenty of Belgian yeast flowing out of this one and it has a bit of a smooth banana like aspect to it and is probably the best aspect to it next to the sweet bottle.

Taste: Sad to say it, but it's a bit of a mess -- lots of the Belgian yeast right up front and there's a super sweet blast of malts (possibly some candi sugar in there as well?) and it turns the stomach a bit as it's a little too sweet; then there's the assault of the strong and grassy hoppiness that one would expect from Stone, and if it wasn't for unbalanced sweetness, it would probably be pretty good; definite presence of big alcohol rounds it all out.

Mouthfeel: Body is moderately thick and of medium mouthfeel; carbonation is smooth and fitting of the body; a very thick and sticky coating is left all over the palate and the belly is left quite warm from the 12%ABV.

Drinkability: Not too high -- the uber-sweetness turns it and I can't finish the bottle. Worth trying, but only once.

bamadog, Mar 11, 2011
Photo of goldbot
2.98/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2011 odd year release, 22 oz bottle.

Pours dark, tawny with some copper hues around the edges. Very hazy/cloudy. Very little tan head that dissipates immediately. Some lacing. Lots of malt aroma - bread, caramel, grain. Also a strong Belgian yeast characteristic. Spicy, floral, a bit sulphury. The aroma lacks somewhat underwhelming but is quite pleasant.

The flavor profile in this beer is out of this world. Tons of malt as expected from a strong barleywine. However it is overshadowed with tons of spicy Belgian yeast notes. Typical coriander, orange peel notes. Also a strong floral hop character with some hints of pine resin. Strong aftertaste of hops mixed with yeast notes. Incredibly bitter on the back end.

Complex and interesting brew but lots of clashing of flavors going on. Hopefully this one ages well and becomes a bit more balanced and even.

goldbot, Mar 10, 2011
Photo of Gosox8787
2.7/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Presentation: 22 oz. bomber bottle poured into my Portsmouth Brewery tulip glass. Served at room temperature.

Appearance: Light brown to darker orange in color. Pours a one finger white, piloowy head with decent retention.

Aroma: The Belgian yeast definitely hits first. Lots of fruit notes and clove here. Hints of caramel and booze soaked raisans behind that. A touch of grassy and herbal notes round out the aroma. I really do not get a cohesive aroma from this. A lot of the notes don't really work well together at this point.

Taste: Belgian yeast notes of fruit and clove are definitely present and assert themselves first. There is definitely a strong caramel and dark fruit presence here as well. There is also a ton of hops here. Bitter, astrigent hops really take over the beer and actually completely overpower the other components at times. The hops really do not pair well with any of the other components, especially the Belgian yeast. Together, they impart an artificial and almost band aid quality, which clearly is not appealing. There are some qualities here, but they are drowned out by bitter hops and too much booze.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and smooth. Not a ton of carbonation. I would prefer a bit crisper feel for a beer that feels this heavy, in flavor and feel.

Drinkability: I had a lot of problems finishing a bomber of this. The ABV was not too bad for 12% but I just really did not enjoy the combination of flavors working here.

Overall, an unbalanced beer without any direction. Too many big flavors that do not compliment each other. The amount of hops used really confused me, they add no nice hop flavors, just astrigency and bitterness. I would not be against revisiting this beer with some age on it, but I have to imagine it would need at least two or three years for the hops to subside and the malt to become the attraction, when paired with the Belgian yeast. Definitely would not recommend this to anyone at this stage. I was letdown a little by this.

Gosox8787, Mar 10, 2011
Photo of SolomonGrundy
4.35/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Part of the "odd years" category at Stone...

The basics: 12% ABV and $5.99/bomber...good stuff, that...

Super clear orange-red amber. nice two fingers of head, very creamy. Poured very thick, an ode to the massive malt backbone herein. Not really carbonated, and the bubbles move slooow...lacinbg is actually excellent given how short the head is.

Nice, sweet aromas. Lots of caramel and vanilla. I get the Belgian yeast they used, also. Very nice and subtle nuance. Not a huge hop caharacter in the aroma profile, however. This is pretty much to style with the added falre of the Belgian yeast. Pretty cool...This is a winner so far.

Flavor is incredible. It's not even remotely as huge and overpowering as I feared it might be. The alcohol is very present throughout and commandeers the ship for itself. You can't really escape it, so the best thing is to join in with the crew. The malt is also very forward, and I also get a very big hop punch to it, starting early middle and carrying all the way through. This is awesome for a barley wine. The price makes this a tier 1 selection for sure. This is drinkable to a fault, so people will get painfully hammered off it...Find and stash a few bottles to mellow it out a touch, but it's great now...

What I like most: The surprisingly balanced flavor profile.

What I like least: The rather subdued appearance, but only a touch.

Verdict: Excellent and uniqgue version of the style, this is awesome and well-priced enough to be an all the time type of ale. Find it!!!

SolomonGrundy, Mar 10, 2011
Photo of jampics2
3.15/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Into my snifter, the beer pours a nice brownish-red color. Some cloudiness but low opacity. I notice a steady stream of bubbles rising to replenish the nice, fluffy white head that has finally receded to a ring, leaving no lace behind.

The smells are instantly recognizable as having a Belgian focus. There's a ton of yeasty esters atop the sugary, malty base. Banana, white pepper, caramel, apricot, bubblegum, corriander, orange and some booze. The beer has nice expression, but not enough cohesiveness and the booze could take a giant step back. It's almost at a spirit level of phenols.

Taste is a trip, man. Things start off with a nice caramel sweetness with some bright fruit. There's some under-ripe plum, fig, apricot, and banana. Then the booze comes in and flips over the table at our dainty little teacup fruit beer party. There's a huge warming alcohol kick, as well as some lingering bitterness and malt stickiness. A final sweet spike then lingering booze. Brute squad is in the house!

The mouthfeel is a bit on the sticky side, but the carbonation levels feel right. I like the idea of playing around like this. There is a weird mix here of Belgian dark ale and Barleywine. Interested to see if this goes anywhere in a few years, as I love vintage Old Guardian. But, for now, this goes in the "eh" category.

jampics2, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of AgentZero
2.93/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Hazy orange colored beer that poured with a big, foamy head on it. Surpringly low stick on the sides.

S - Belgian yeast is upfront and center. Quite pungent, with a smell of fruits and ethers. Some coffee, toffee, and floral notes round out the aroma.

T - A dose of caramel and toffee with some floral and herbal notes. Then the yeast really takes over. I don't particularly care for the combination of strong belgian yeast and barleywine notes, it is overly pungent.

M - Too much soapy carbonation and fizz, pretty full bodied.

D - Kind of hard to drink this, not even considering the high ABV. It is just an odd tasting brew that I don't care for in most circumstances.

AgentZero, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of Arbitrator
2.83/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

2011 vintage, chilled bomber into a glass.

A: Pours a clear, reddish-maroon body with a short-lived beige head. It leaves a very light collar on the beer. The reddish tint (especially when pouring) reminds me of cough syrup.

S: You can smell the Belgian yeast right away (literally, the yeast), and its effects after. There's a phenolic presence of clove and white pepper that work well with a note of booze. The crystal malt of the base beer shines through with caramel and toffee aromas. It's floral and rose-like.

T: This beer is weird. It starts off with the same imbalanced maltiness I found in the base beer: lots of caramel and toffee. Then the hops come in, but they don't impart any particular flavor, just a lot of bitterness, which pulls into the aftertaste. In the meantime, the yeast gives the beer a spicy, peppery finish that accentuates the booze bite. I find myself grabbing onto the small, estery presence and trying to enjoy what fruit flavors I can pick up (apricot?), but the yeast just isn't expressive enough on that front. This is better than the base beer, but it misses its potential by a long shot.

M: Oddly clashing body. The hops leave their bitter mark; the yeast leaves spicy, peppery phenols in the finish; the booze produces a burning heat. The carbonation seems to be right on the body, but it's one right thing out of several flaws.

D: Far more drinkable than the base beer this year, though I'm not suggesting it's amazing by any means. I put down a bomber and I'm content not to have it again.

Arbitrator, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of HalfFull
3.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Standard bomber bottle served in a wine glass. Shows on the caramel side of brown on the pour, with bright neon orange highlights and a light haze. A thin cap of off white foam settles out in standard style, keeping a steady ring of carbonation.

Yeast notes are quite dominant in the aroma and muddled with rich caramel malts. Bit of spice and alcohol are subtle at first but more prominent with warming. Intriguing though not truly endearing by any means.

Initial taste was all caramalized candied apple with a moderate finish of light brown sugar. Fair amount of hop and yeast spiciness accompanies the finish as well. Warming thins the upfront body a bit while giving the spice components more play. At the same time the sweetness is felt more on the finish with caramel and brown sugar again. Not really that complex in flavor yet doesn't come across as too richly sweet either; but then the ABV is reasonably subdued so the sweetness, while not overly viscous, is surely there.

Overall it seems that simply changing the yeast has a profound effect on this brew though I think that changing the recipe to adjust for such influences could be in order. But then, it wouldn't be Old Guardian then. Hmmm.

HalfFull, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Stone Old Guardian Glass.

Pours a cloudy amber color. A semi hard pour got a thin tan head but it dissipated to nothing. No lacing. Looks like a Barleywine though.

Aroma is actually not that strong. Just a hint of Belgian yeast. Little bit of malt.

Taste is pretty good. Super strong Belgian yeast character. Little bit of clove. There is a lingering bitterness in the finish. Too much Belgian in this batch IMO.

Mouthfeel is heavy. It's a sipper. High carb.

Overall I couldn't finish a whole bomber of this. Glad I split it. Hope th Belgian character settles down a bit over time. It wasn't this crazy of a Belgian flavor when I had it on tap at stone like 6 months ago.

PeprSprYoFace, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of metter98
3.93/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark amber in color and poured with a finger high beighe head that quickly died down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface. The head also left lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of chocolate malts in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste is malty and has some notes of chocolate and hints of vanilla.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied, smooth and thick on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The beer isn't overly difficult to drink because most of the alcohol is well masked from the taste.

metter98, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of gford217
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber.

Pours deep, clear copper with a small, thick beige head that recedes quickly to a big collar and no lacing.

Aroma is odd and very sweet, but not in the way most barley wines are sweet. It's got candied apples and some spicy notes you'd normally see in a Belgian pale. There is caramel, astringent hops and some alcohol burn in the nose.

Taste is also an intriguing mix of sugar-coasted fruits, light spices and honey. The malt backbone and typical barleywine flavors are more event as it warms and the finish is bitter with the "Stone bitterness" that I would always expect in their beers. Astringent and boozy.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and really smooth and sticky on the palate.

This is an interesting and very sweet take on Old Guardian. The yeast bring some sweet and spicy character to things, but I'll sitcom with the original OG.

gford217, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of MadCat
4.43/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First off, this is a bit different than what the other reviews would suggest. I enjoy belgians, and I enjoy most of the different brews stone comes up with, so this excited me, though I've never had Old Guardian before. And I'm quite pleased with the results.

Appearance: Amber brown typical of barleywines, minimal white head, leaves no lacing.

Smell: Beautiful boquet of fruit and hops. Banana, plum, raisins, a little bit of orange and pine in there. Hints of alcohol, which is less than I would expect for 12%

Taste: An explosion of flavor. More banana, plum, raisins, orange, pine, along with some hop bitterness, and some balancing sweetness that reminds me of a Belgian Quad. Tastes like a hoppy quad. Quite good in my book.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, light carbonation, semi-dry, bitter finish

Drinkability: From the reviews, I thought I would have to choke down the first glass, and have to save the rest of the bottle for another night. Not necessary at all.

Overall, I'm glad I got a second bottle, and might be picking up more because I think it is that good. Maybe I'm in the minority, but that means more for me!

MadCat, Mar 09, 2011
Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine from Stone Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 549 ratings.