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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.

562 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 562
Reviews: 300
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 16.48%
Wants: 17
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: HopHead84 on 02-07-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 562 | Reviews: 300 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of flexabull
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright copper color, slight haze, and a pretty nice off white head.

Aromas are very yeast dominant, bubblegum, and some booze.

Strong yeast flavors up front, spices, bubblegum, and light creaminess. Finish is dry, with some earthy hop flavors.

Mouthfeel is good, crisp and clean.

Drinkability is ok. It's an interesting tasting beer, but I mostly just get yeast flavors, and not a whole lot else. Worth trying, but I prefer the original version better.

Photo of Zorro
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear reddish orange colored beer with a small tan colored head.

Smell is distinctly Belgian. Sweet smoky with a spicy yeast aroma this smells strongly of cardamom. Scents of lemon, coriander and black pepper.

Starts out sweet with a cardamom aftertaste. Black pepper, lemon, coriander and a hint of vinegar. Can't taste the ethanol but you can really feel it warm your chest. Smoke and a little honeysuckle in this on.

Mouthfeel is thick.

Drinkability is OK. This one really needs time to develop, not yet ready for prime time.

Photo of rye726
4.13/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice to see more Belgo/American fusions. Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter at room temp. $7 for the bomber. Nice looking beer, oaky red color wit a silky beige head. Nose has a great fresh hop and peppery Belgian yeast presence over a malty barleywine. Taste is also well complimented by the additional hops and Belgian yeast. Great beer.

Photo of Zodijackyl
4.5/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber split with my brother. It's a February and this is a 2011 release so it is most certainly fresh despite the lack of a freshness date (that I can find).

Pours very dark amber with a thin off-white head. Aroma of sticky barley, somewhat creamy yeast and somewhat medicinal hops. Taste has less astringent bitterness and is less tannic than most heavier barley wines. Very creamy malt - barley and a very creamy taste and feel from the yeast, and perhaps a bit of wheat, or something reminiscent of Belgian wheat beers beyond the yeast. Quite a smooth and malty taste, but lacking the astringency of most barley wines. Mouthfeel is excellent, creamy and smooth. This is the most drinkable strong barley wine I have consumed.

Photo of Barleythenred
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A very decent drinkable brew, specially at 12%, but it is in need for aging. I give it about 3 to 5 years before opening. but other than that it was very good but again time needs to happen to clean out some of that ethanol flavor. Apricots are very apparent at the end. Hops bursting out like an IPA, with a subtle taste of Belgian yeast.

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 FosterJM
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

261st review on BA
Bottle to snifter

App- A nice light red with some pink highlights. A pretty consistent one finger head that didn't last long.

Smell- Take a regular Old Guardian and kick it up with some yeast and funk.

Taste- This was pretty good. It took a while to get used to it but it was a nice blend of flavors. Had some crystal malts with a nice dose of yeast that paired well with the other flavors.

Mouth- A nice medium body with a matching carbonation level. Not too much of a lasting effect. Had that yeasty feel on the back.

Drink- Not a bad re-work of the style. I prefer the original personally.

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

22 oz bottle split and poured into a Duvel tulip. 2011 vintage, 12% ABV, Age at Cellar temp (55°F/13°C) or Below. Enjoy by 04-14-11 (which, laughably, has been determined as a typo)

Thanks to my fiancee for nabbing this at Binny's while I was in town!

A - Gorgeous clarity albeit filled with chunky yeast, the beer has a nice golden amber color that's topped by an off-white, poorly retained (alcohol-induced) head. Nice spotty lace is left adorning the glass.

S - Very dry, champagne-like Belgian yeast with light citrusy notes, white grape, earthy clay, and spicy esters. Munich and caramel malt play a nice role as a backbone but there isn't much in the aroma besides yeast.

T - Spicy Belgian yeast overwhelms the flavor with tart, citrusy notes and earthy undertones. The yeast has great qualities to it but it totally overshadows the normally complex malt backbone of OG. Citrusy, spicy hops poke through though.

M - Heavily carbonated and medium-bodied, the Belgo OG feels much thinner than normal. It's also very dry and slightly bitter-finishing, but it's got a very nice feel overall.

D - For 12%, this guy is very drinkable. Belgianized flavor and high alcohol are well done but at the same time the yeast is far too overwhelming and overall it reminds me nothing of a barleywine, especially the Old Guardian, and that's really my only "problem" with it, which I wouldn't say is much of a problem at all. An interesting stab at Belganizing. I'll get one or two more bottles, but they'll be in the cellar for a while. It seems like a beer that'll get better with age.

Photo of xnicknj
4.35/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into snifter glass

Pours a transparent deep burnt cherry with golden orange hues. A soft white head fades out into clouds of film with rings and spots of lacing left on the glass.

Plenty of malty presence in the nose with a noticeable Belgian funk followed by soft fruit sweetness. Light alcohol warmth and hop bitterness as well.

A nice punch of pine hops right up front, quickly followed by some sticky bitterness. The Belgian yeast comes right to the forefront with funk and assorted fruit flavors. Pineapple and grapefruit swirl with a bit of acidity. Boozy warmth with caramel and syrupy malt backbone. Finishes bitter, hoppy, and warm.

Fuller body, a bit syrupy and creamy, decent carbonation. This is still a bit hot but is super drinkable considering the ABV and complex taste. I tried this on tap a while ago and wasn't sure how I felt but I'm convinced right now.

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 brew3crew
4.15/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At jungle jims event with 1arrogantbastard. Had side by side with regular old guardian

A-pours. Deep amber with minimal head
S-funky and sweet. Belgian for sure.
T-tastes a lot like it smells. Belgian and malty. Not too much hops here.
M-medium bodied and pretty smooth
D-nicely drinkable but not as nice as the regular. Dangerous.

Photo of edrachman
3.91/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a snifter with little white creamy head that leaves nice lacing. Deep amber color with hints of red.

Very dry aroma - presumably from the barley - with malty notes. Exotic fruit (rather than citrus) is in the background of the aroma - but can't exactly place the fruit. The alcohol really comes through.

Taste a fruity malt. There is a dryness as well. The Belgian yeast is definitely discernible in the taste, but a little tough to describe.

The mouthfeel is nice - good amount of carbonation and a certain smoothness that goes down nicely. The malt flavor makes the beer a little less drinkable than ideal, but otherwise top notch.

Photo of rdilauro
3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a golden glow with little head. The two aromas I picked up was malt and citrus/honey. It was a very big beer, full, not very carbonated.
It was very soft, almost too soft. Too malty for my taste and the finish was somewhat boring.
I wish that the barley was match with some stronger hops and more flavor

Photo of cpetrone84
3.41/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on draft at the Stone Total Tap Takeover in Baltimore.

A-pours a transparent orangish amber color with an off white dense and creamy head.

S-the nose brings light notes of yeast, very citric aromas, orange peels with notes of caramel malt backbone.

T-caramel malts and light notes of brown sugar set a foundation. this gives way to a nice spicy yeast. a big time citric hop presence is strong in the back adding orange peels with a hint of pine. the finish has a moderately aggressive bitterness to it.

M-medium body, very syrupy with a slightly muffled palate and medium to light carbonation.

D-tasty and balanced, nice amount of spice with enough malt body. the typical huge hop presence in the back.

Photo of sweemzander
3.21/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

on tap at the Barley House. Poured into a snifter.

(A)- Pours a caramel colored amber and produced a minimal but present white cap of foam that stuck around for a bit.

(S)- Very dry with a mineral-like yeasty bite. Bits of fig and caramel.

(T)- Similar to the smell. Very yeasty. That belgian yeast strain rlly takes center stage with some caramel and fig bits in the far background.

(M)- A good carbonation level to it. The one plus to the overpowering dry yeast is that it really covers up the 12% this carries along with the hop addition.

(D)- All in all an interesting take on Old Guardian, however I far prefer the regular version to this. I would be curious to see how this one would age, but from what I am seeing in this glass, I would be hard pressed to buy a bottle if the regular was next to it on the shelf.

Photo of IKR
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Medium amber-red color with small light brown head.

Smell -Citrus hop overtones with a slight musk from the Belgian yeast. Some alcohol also comes through.

Taste - Moderate citrus flavors, with some some toffee/dark sugar flavors. The Belgian musk present in the smell also makes an appearance. The hop bitterness and alcohol are the main players in the finish.

Mouth-feel -Decent body with light carbonation.

Drink-ability - Decent for a 12% ABV beer.

I'm not a hop head and to my tastes, for the last 2 years, Old Guardian seems to have been brewed for those whose tastes lean towards DIPAs. I prefer a more balanced or malt-centered beer and need to seek out the English-style Barley Wines if the trend for American-style Barley Wines to taste like DIPAs continues.

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

Saw this one on the shelf last night at Argonaut Liquors, and figured I should give it a go. Poured a medium amber color with a finger or so of tan foam on top. Aromas of Belgian yeast, oranges and cloves. On the palate, this one is medium bodied and way to drinkable for its alcohol content. Slightly phenolic, with Belgian yeast, some hops and a lingering bitter finish. A very good beer.

Photo of patm1986
4.5/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle poured into Duvel snifter

the beer has an impressive head for a barleywine: very thick and sea-foamy, it retains much like a barleywine, less like a brew with such head regularly would. the cream-colored lace settles after a swirl and a sitting for a few moments. the color of this beer is a beautiful, reddish-brown, like mahogany.

it smells of honey, grapes, raisins, some ambiguous berry, and that all-too-familiar belgian yeast sourness. alcohol coasts underneath, but mildly.

it tastes unlike any barleywine i've had. it's sour, then sweet, then the carbonation explodes with the honey and sharpness of yeast. it has a casecade and simcoe bitterness in the middle there that plants some serious hop-pop.

it's thin-bodied. i haven't tasted a barleywine this light that has such complex characteristics. it's so smooth, and that's a total testament to the yeast; it veils the abv and the hop-forwardness incredibly. this beer just flows through your palate and down the hatch.

at 12 abv, it's a tall order, but the flavor and body deceive that detail. this is a wildly interesting take on the style for me; the belgian yeast really makes everything that seems out of the genre feel like it should be involved invariably. this is beautiful.

Photo of TIJAE
4.33/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased at A&P in Old Lyme for dinner at the Cove - served with a potluck-a-palooza with the Tuesday night gang - Dave's Quiche, Doug's Spinnach, Dan's Stuffed Mushrooms, Jon's Spagetti Casserole, and mini Valentine's cupcakes...
Appearance: Red, with a hint of brown

Smell: Gin soaked olive with juniper berry

Taste: Roasted grain with a long aftertaste that melts in your mouth. It tastes like a freakin' martini - dirty, with a lot of vermouth and olives. That's all we can say about it.

Mouthfeel: Smooth. that's it.

Drinkability: Only in small servings - chill first then swirl in a wide bottom glass until room temperature.

Photo of aval89
4.23/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: dark copper.. nice soft off white head..

S: white grape peel.. light biscuits.. yeast spiciness.. some dark fruits.. slight apricot/banana..

T: apricot/banana.. slight white wine characteristics.. spiciness from the belgian side.. very mild dark fruits.. there is a slight bitterness from the hops but the spiciness is a little overpowering.. also some candy sugars.. wow this brew is very robust & complex.. tasty.. its like a tripel mixed with a barley wine..

Mf: full bodied but smooth.. leaves your mouth a bit warm from both the spiciness & booze..

D: this thing is amazing!.. but with the abv/rough mf it might be a little hard to swallow for some.. but for me this thing was great! A nice way to end the night..

Overall, I was greatly impressed with this!!

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

4oz. pour from bottle during Stone's Winter Storm. The following review is based on notes taken Thursday, February 10, 2011.

Served in a fluted tulip.

Appearance: Crystal clear, deep reddish-amber body with a big layer of khaki froth on top. Head retains as a moderate-sized crown for the entire session and drags tons of web-like lace.

Smell: Pine battles banana, clove, and bubblegum - smells a lot like a fresh Belgian IPA. Molasses lays down a solid base. The mix of strong aromas masks the alcohol pretty well.

Taste: Banana and bubblegum come forth first, then shortbread, and then a wave of pine and alcohol. Molasses and caramel are surprisingly subdued - apparently not bold enough to hang with the other flavors. Flowery esters peek through in an intensely hot and bitter finish. Bold throughout. Needs time to cool off.

Mouthfeel: Starts full and creamy with fine, rolling carbonation; finishes hot, dry, and bitter. Fresh Old Guardian sort of walks the line between pleasure and pain, though it's leaning more toward the pain end at this point. Still, I'm diggin it.

Drinkability: Intense and hot when fresh, just like the regular version. I'd love to try this in a year or two, but right now 4oz. is more than enough.

Photo of beertunes
3.93/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in fluted tulip. Poured a clean, clear, reddish mahogany with 1/2 inch of head that had low retention and OK lacing.

The aroma was on the sweet side, was malty and had a slight fruit aspect floating behind the yeast perfume. The taste started out the same but was noticeably fruitier than the aroma. The beer was sweet and had a definite alcohol flavor.

The body was good, but was noticeably lighter than I look for in the style. Drinkability was very good, the two I had went down very easy and I look for having more.

Overall, a pretty good beer. I was expecting a trainwreck and it wasn't. Certainly worth trying when you see it.

Photo of duluoz
4.7/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on cask at Stone.

A - golden orange, beautiful creamy head and lacing.

S - spicy Belgian yeast with piney hops.

T - this tasted like Cali-Belgique but hoppier, fuller-bodied, and creamier. hops were really big on it and there was some Belgian candy/bubblegum, but the bitterness prevailed in a good way.

M - smooth and silky like most good cask pours.

D - dangerously drinkable -- not much hint of the 11.2%.

Pleasantly surprised that it tasted like a bigger Cali-Belgique as opposed to a spicier, yeasty Old Guardian. The cask really rounded this out beautifully, it was pretty amazing.

Photo of HopHead84
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3


On tap at Stone Winter Storm 2011.

A: Reddish orange with a big beige head.

S: Decidedly Belgian, with faint coriander and a lot of bubblegum. Old Guardian lurks beneath: toffee, grapefruit, orange, and pine, with a little candied sugar.

T: Grapefruit, orange, and a little pine. Belgian yeast is pronounced. Spicy phenols are evident, reminiscent of white pepper and clove. I detect some coriander.

M: Upper medium in body with moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is sticky

Overall: Not bad, though the regular version is better.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.61/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Reasonably clear, amber-gold body with a thinning, white head.

Smell: Very modest hints of caramel and bread underscoring the simple pale maltiness, a splash of hot orange liqueur, and the expectedly spicy notes from the new yeast strain.

Taste: Sweet and candyish on the first sip. Lightly bready pale malts, some hints of caramel, but they're mainly overridden by a cutting sugariness. Soft touches of clove as well as coriander. Cirusy hops, prominently featuring an orange-like flavor, with a firm bitterness. Like the original version, the alcohol really shines through. Dry, bitter finish with ample alcoholic warmth and some roundabout phenolic accents.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation. Some noted stickiness to the mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Truth be told, the Old Guardian barleywine was never at top of my favorite barleywines list, and was always one I generally considered to be merely OK. Dosing it with a Belgian strain, well, it's still OK, but now with a different yeast.

Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine from Stone Brewing Co.
82 out of 100 based on 562 ratings.