Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine | Stone Brewing

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Old Guardian BELGO BarleywineOld Guardian BELGO Barleywine
576 Ratings
Old Guardian BELGO BarleywineOld Guardian BELGO Barleywine

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by srroos on 02-08-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 576 |  Reviews: 303
Reviews by sisterray:
Photo of sisterray
4.92/5  rDev +35.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Purchased a bomber at St. Pete Rollin Oats.

A: Somewhere between dark copper and blood orange in color with limited carbonation.

S: Clove, bananas, vanilla, tropical fruity hops, alcohol.

T: I know that I've read that the flavor profile here is a mash-up rather than a proper melding, but that's not my experience. I can detect the cloves, bananas, and juicy hops (as well as alcohol) in turns as well as when they blend together. Floored.

M: Thick, not overbearing. Great template.

O: I read some of the reviews before trying the beer, and Barley Wines are very hit-or-miss for me, so I didn't have especially high hopes, but I love this beer. I like it better than the Double Bastard (don't know if I'm "allowed" to say that). If I can pay this beer an especially high compliment, I'd say this: this is what I expected the Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock to taste like.

Will be purchasing more.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
4.62/5  rDev +26.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance – This is a bright, rich brown in color with a brown-white head. The head is full and fluffy and offers a terrific compliment to the deep, colorful liquid.

Smell – The big hops and rich Belgian yeast are perfectly balanced. The yeast is like a great BSDA and the hops are like the classic Old Guardian. The wine aspect of the beer is right on as well.

Taste – This is incredibly open for being so young and doesn’t require aging. The yeast is a thing of beauty here and the hops are large but don’t interfere with the malt base. The wine character is crisp.

Mouthfeel – This full-bodied Barley Wine is smooth as can be with some light carbonation and just a touch of bitterness at the end. The sugary nature keeps this going down easy.

Drinkability – This is an amazing drinker for being so young. It’s a big beer but is not heavy-handed. It seems like an impossible task to get all of these big flavors working so well together but they managed to nail it.

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Photo of SanFranJake
3.71/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.87/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

In a tulip glass the beer was a bright cherry amber color, nicely carbonated. Very thin, almost nonexistent, tan head.
Spicy, sweet fruit aroma, with the spice tickling my nose. Caramel malt. Somewhat floral.
Predominantly caramel malt taste. Very sweet and spicy. Hops late, mostly citrus.
Alcohol noticeable. Medium-bodied.
Overall, nice take on an English barleywine. The alcohol made for some slow going. I probably should have shared this with someone.

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Photo of generallee
4/5  rDev +9.9%

Photo of mverity
3.42/5  rDev -6%
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.

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Photo of Jason
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22oz brown bomber with "2011 Odd Year Release" on the label.

Rusty orange amber color, hazy with a thick crown of off-white head. Smells of a booze soaked fruit cake, black peppercorn and a box of band-aids ... chaos in the nose. The smooth creamy body does not even have a chance to show off its lushness. Bitterness from the hops, medicinal phenols and a sharp peppery tone from the alcohol all try and whack the taste buds at the same time. The malt is there, you can feel that creaminess but the hops and alcohol does not even give it a chance ... even when the this beer warms up past 55*F there is not much to really pick from the rubble. The alcohol borders being super hot, hops don't want to let go and the spicy Belgian flare kicks this beer right between the legs. Right there in the end a kiss of overripe fruit and a hint of caramel ... but that is it.

Interesting to try but this 12% train wreck does not want to leave any survivors, taste buds are beaten to a pulp and each sip ends up being a chore.

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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...

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Photo of reitzbrewing
4.25/5  rDev +16.8%

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.

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Photo of olradetbalder
3.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of Skye1024
3.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of Altenor
3.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of dogfishandi
3.64/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 "odd" year release

22oz. bottle at cellar temp poured into a snifter. split with friends.

pours out a very clear deep reddish bordering on copper/ bronze with a big light tan colored head, great retention and nice lace.

very strange aroma. kind of a meaty almost bologna like mixing with dark fruits, prunes and some rich maltiness. the barleywine nor the belgian yeast really show like i expected.

i find the yeast and the barleywine a lot more in the taste. tastes similar to a belgian dark or a quad. a nice range of fruitiness, lots of dark dried fruits. hints of a meaty flavor. rich maltiness mixes with a slightly spicey, slightly phenolic yeast. finishes with a slightly resinous hop bitterness and spicey yeast.

i didnt like it at first, but the more i drank it, the more i started enjoying it. still definatly nothing special and nothing i would come back to. the belgo stone imperial russian was way better, as well as the origianl old guardian. not something i would really recommend or buy again.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.94/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Stone Brew Co.
Escondido, CA

A murky and cloudy deep copper. A big, beautiful, persistent off-white head. Gorgeous. Leaves not so much rings of lacing as sheets of it.

Belgian yeast mixed with orange citrus hop notes make up the majority of the nose. It's certainly unique. There's some other sweet fruits in the nose as well as some alcohol.

Taste is of orange juice, caramel, Belgian yeast, alcohol, some bitterness, and some darker fruits resembling maybe figs or plums. It all comes together surprisingly well, but I do think this beer requires some age to really improve. I, however, didn't have that option.

Silky and sticky. Appropriate and nice.

I went in to this beer with very low expectations. I honestly expected not to like it, but that wasn't the case at all. Where I expected to find a failed experiment gone terribly wrong, I'm left with a very enjoyable evening sipper. Kudos to proving me wrong!

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Photo of sourdog
3.75/5  rDev +3%

Photo of TKEbeerman
4.25/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into my SN bubble glass, this brew always pours an amazing harvest moon red with a fluffy tan head with an orange tinge.

S: It's aroma has very distinct Belgium notes, and I am definitely taken back at the fact that Stone is able to pull this off. This has brought depth to a barelywine that was one amazing monster to begin with. An almost perfect balance of malt, hops, and spices the nose contains the classic piny resinous Stone hopes balanced with gobs of caramel malt, classic yeasty Belgium clove and spice.

T: The flavor is a tame version of the original OG. Instead of the hop blast, it's a hop blast tamed by Belgium cloves and a sweet malt backbone. This brew is a like peppery candy explosion, and the ABV...I'm not sweating it!

MF: The mouthfeel is full and really smooth for the hop bill that I know is in this brew.

Overall, this beer is a home run. If Belgium were to brew a barleywine, this is what I think it should taste like. I really had my doubts when I heard about this odd beer, and I still do with the IRS, but I just can't wait to try that one either.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours about the most orange looking barleywine I've ever seen, right up there with O'Dell's India Barleywine, that bright dipa style orange.

Aroma yields the belgo yeast for sure. Not clovey, nice, but definitely pungent.

Citrus themes, fruity ester, big time alcohol. Caramel. Like a triple belgian ipa. Ample hopping, leans to the pine side. This beer is kinda all over the place, but yet very dominated by the belgian yeast and all its typical bringings. Not much in the way of sweetness. The alcohol heat is a tad bothersome, tastes like a homebrew novice just dumps liquor into the beer at times. I go back and forth whether the belgo yeast makes it neat or tedious. Just depends on your mood.

Great price

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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.

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

This beer pours a rusty orange color with a light tan head. The head fades slowly, leaving a nice lacing.

This beer smells of sweet caramel. It has a pleasent spicy coriander aroma to it. A slight boozy alcohol aroma mixes in also. It smells slightly of floral hops.

This beer tastes much like it smells. Sweet caramel malt, with some spicy flavors. Coriander and maybe some cloves. The hops are also present.

This beer is full bodied. It goes down smooth, leaving a spicy aftertaste. Carbonation is good.

This beer wouldnt make a great session beer. At 12% ABV, it is a sipper.

Overall: This beer is pretty good. Not my favorite, but still good.

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Photo of stereosforgeeks
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of jeonseh
3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received from a friend so happy to try it out

A - copper in color with a slight haze to it; light carbonation bubbles trail upwards and there is a small white head that only resides on the edges

S - smell is fruity with hints of apricot, clementine and grapefruit with slight caramel sweetness to it. As it warms, the Belgian aspects in the nose start to come out as I note bread and bubblegum flavors. Nose is moderate overall.

T - at first there is a malty sweetness and orange that hits the tongue. The taste then becomes more hoppy with a grapefruit bitterness that becomes stronger and lingers in the finish. As it warms up I start to get more of the Belgian notes that were not there at first as I started to note esters and their bubblegum and clove flavors. Overall it reminds me more of a DIPA than a barley wine.

MF - good mouthfeel with a nice thick, stickiness to it. Feels full within in the mouth and has a slight carbonation to it.

O - an interesting beer that reminds me more of a DIPA, with it's heavy hop presence, than a barleywine beer. Interesting to have the Belgian flavors mixed in there. Worth a try and would be interesting to age to see what it is like as the hops mellow.

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Photo of daveytheformer
3.03/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

into a delirium snifter

Pours a thick cloudy amber almost light brown color with a creamy off white head that rapidly fades to sticky lacing.

Smells like bananas, bubblegum, and a little pepper spice. The yeast is certainly real up front. Upon repeated whiffs there is a lot more going.

Taste strongly metallic and bitter. Alcohol heat, bitter hops and Belgian yeast are all the front end. Candy sweetness is underlying but keeps getting dominated by hops and alcohol

Mouthfeel is thick and heavy with lots of carbonation and booze.

Overall is drinkable but certainly not the best Stone beer I've had. Makes me really curious about Belgo Anise IRS.

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Photo of glid02
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Taco Mac Metropolis in Atlanta.

Pours a hazy brownish-copper color with a one-finger cream-colored head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of burnt caramel malts with hints of booze-soaked pears and plums. Also present are hints of toffee.

Tastes more robust than it smells. Smooth caramel malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by candied dark fruits – plums and raisins. Midway through the sip the flavor profile sweetens a bit with the addition of toffee and light chocolate. Finally, the fruit flavors re-assert themselves near the end of the sip, carrying through to a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It’s got a smooth thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn’t have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall I found this to be a good enough beer but it’s just not as good as the original version. Worth a shot for curiosity’s sake.

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Photo of cisteve
2/5  rDev -45.1%

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Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 3.64 out of 5 with 576 ratings