Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine | Stone Brewing

302 Reviews
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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.

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Reviews: 302 | Ratings: 572
Photo of Krakistophales
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy red with half a finger's worth of head that dissipates quickly and leaves some border lacing behind. Carbonation is solid throughout the draught.

S: A touch bit of honey, lemon zest, coriander, and some floral notes.

T: The middle is full of tart cherries, blood orange, and maybe some grapefruit. The aftertaste is pretty hoppy, boozy finish.

M: A bit of a lingering carbonation, but other than that it goes down rather smoothly and is highly drinkable if the flavors are up your alley.

O: Definitely a sipper, but a beautiful beer. It's sweet, but the bitterness and citrus notes balance the sweetness, while still retaining complex flavors. Definitely a great beer.

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Photo of tpd975
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Diego for this one.

A: Pours an amberish brown hue with an average tan head. No retention or lace.

S: Aromas of belgian yeast. Lightly sweet and fruity with hints of citrus and grass.

T: Worlds different than regular Old Guardian. Yeasty Belgian esters mostly banana and bubblegum with mild spicey notes. The hops are still here with nice sweet pine and enough bitter citrus to make this a real interesting brew.

M: Medium in body, nice carbonation for the style.

D: Very good. Tasty and unique. I would say Stone put a unique yet tasty twist on this one.

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Photo of gueuzeonhigh
4.28/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a slightly hazy red amber.
Long lasting head with some lacing

At first a quite fruity and flowery nose. Almost transported me to a florist shop. But after a while the nose settled down to a fraction of what it was at first popping the top.

Flavor-- I might as well admit that I'm a Stone Brewery Groupie.
The flavor of this beer is robust to say the least. Bitter comingled with malt. While the ABV slightly exceeds 11 % I notice that the alcohol is subdued. Whatever it is with the flavor the bitter note has me smacking my lips.. and I could envision getting very well toasted on this beer. Alas I only have one bottle.
A wonderful fruity and flowery flavor.

A long lasting "Energizer Bunny" finish that keeps going and going--

The mouthfeel is very cordial- it's as if this beer had a greater viscosity on my palate... the flavor lasts so long it incites me to keep taking swigs to renew the flavor.

Drinkability-- this is the only thing I'd downgrade-- thanks to the 11+% ABV. I admit w/o it the beer wouldn't be a barley wine.. still under the influence of this libation I'll be welded to my chair only to be released with a pounding headache.

Highly recommended a wonderful beer.

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Photo of TKEbeerman
4.25/5  rDev +17.1%
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 willPS21
4.25/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My introduction to barleywine. Since it was stone, I felt it was time. Don't know why I found it in a store in the middle-of-nowhere, MD, but the gargoyle called me, and I answered.

Poured into my $1 gold rimmed Stella snifter-like thing. The color is somewhat bourbony to mahogony with its' cherry hue. A bit menacing considering its abv. The 1F head was strikingly white/amber by comparison, but had a 45sec halflife.

S: it has a smell, but I can't follow it. It seems a bit boozy and sugary with an edge of bourbon, but it certainly doesn't kick you in the face like some. Pretty tough to chase down.

T: I encourage you not to try to "wade in". Dive in. This will reduce the bitter effect of the hops and allow them to express their more floral tones sooner than later. There are definitely some earthy tones and floral tones involved, somewhat like a field of wildflowers, but I can't partition out specific elements. Depending upon which part of the tounge it rests on before swallowing, it seems to have different profiles. I got some very bready notes one sip, but only one.

aT: Aftertaste is a very important gauge, and it's *damn good*. The bitter hops kick fades to fruitier and aromatic tones, and frankly the flavors improve in your mouth with time. One of the most composed aftertastes I've enjoyed with a distinct floral sweetness that eminates very gently from all corners of your mouth with a clear numbingness accompanying.

M: Somewhat thick , perfect carbonation it would seem, and leaves a medium-well sticky finish.

D: if you're starting off with this, you won't charge through it. If you're a bit oiled up, you're in real position to put yourself to sleep. I would say for the abv, it's very drinkable. The alc heat is VERY subdued, an important point.

Boozy wildflower: my best two word description. Something that can be very enjoyable. The brewing seems entirely masterful in this presentation: the aftertaste and disguise of alc reflect this best.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Old Guardian Belgo

Appearance: You can see it's got a little bit of body as you pour it: the stream of liquid isn't clear (more from viscosity than yeast); and as it hits the surface of the beer in the glass it doesn't foam up, but it seems to be teeming below, and eventually a thick fingered head of foam rises almost out of nowhere. The head is a yellowed off-white, and the body is a hazy ruby with orange highlights. The head retention is very good, and once settled, it still maintains a thin covering of whispy lace. Short walls of 'mountainous' lace ring the glass, but nothing much is left above.

Aroma: In the nose it's fruity with a mineralish component (crushed granite) and a suggestion of tartness, as well as a hint of spice/pepper.

Taste: The flavor displays a lot of rich dark fruit upfront, as well as some citrus, and there is indeed a slight tartness to it. The mineralish character is present as well, and it almost seems a bit metallic (in a good way). A peppery spice acts as a thin veil that lays over it. The malt is always present, but it doesn't really show itself until the middle where the fruitiness starts to disperse as it warms. It's got some definite caramel malt character, and a good bit of toastiness. There's a candyish note of sweetness at this point, which is offset by the rising bitterness. Hop notes are present, tying back to the fruitiness: they're mainly leafy (or at least appear to be, muddled in with the malt), but they're also a citrusy and a bit piney as well. It finishes sweetish with lots of fruit and a dusting of yeasty spice, but that evaporates quickly (quite possibly encouraged by the 12% a.b.v.), and it's left mainly dry, lingering with some leafiness, some crumbs of toffee, a hint of black pepper, and a dusty mineral character.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly, for a barleywine, it's pretty nimble. It's full bodied, but it seems almost medium-full. Maybe the pH helps to cut through it, or maybe the alcohol thins it a bit. To be sure, the CO2 bites at your tongue before you really feel the maltiness, so maybe it then just goes less noticed. That, along with the fruit and spice of the yeast and hops (and perhaps alcoholic spiciness), leave it seeming smooth and quick, yet still supple. Interesting.

Drinkability: The high alcohol will certainly clock you. The question then remains, 'if you're having a snifter or two, how much would you want to enjoy another one if you could'? It's complex, but not overly complex. On the other hand, it's not overly full which makes it a little easier to approach after having had two already. Could it be more complex? Yes, but it is what it is, and I think it's fairly engaging as it is. It's certainly worth trying.

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Photo of aval89
4.23/5  rDev +16.5%
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!!

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Photo of SkipWeathers
4.23/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - beautiful reddish color, low head.

S - not too strong, but astringent

T - subtle hops mixed with tropical and dark fruits; banana, cherry, and prune/raisin. Alcohol also very apparent. Honey.

M - tingly, warm, bitter, sweet; a big mix.

O - A fine barleywine style ale. I would recommend sharing the bottle as the alcohol is very high. I drank the entire thing myself but it was hard getting through it. Really liked the presentation and mix of flavors. Kind of a neutral barleywine - part sweet, part hops.

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Photo of djmichaelk
4.23/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, into a snifter.

A - Pours like liquid amber, almost perfectly translucent with no haze. A good couple of fingers of off-white head recedes to a slim ring and leaves rings of lace around the glass. Beautiful looking beer.

S - Caramel and brown sugar lead off. Cotton candy is next, and maybe a little... sweet tart? The Belgo influence seems like it's bringing mainly candied notes to the party. Good stuff.

T - The flavors are similar to the nose -- lots of toffee and caramel, vanilla, and candied sugar. There's a good bit of hoppiness to keep things honest, and a healthy dose of booze. I like the additional flavor elements, and it definitely brings another dimension to the beer.

M - Like most Stone offerings, mouthfeel is nearly perfect. Great carbonation, full round feel, and long dry finish.

O - This is a nice beer. I wonder if people get caught up in the changes and come in with a bad attitude. I'd wager that most would give higher scores if they reviewed this guy blind (like maybe the previous reviewer). Price only makes things better.

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Photo of dwilson01
4.23/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

poured from a bomber into my new belgium glass. The body coloration is great, it has the look of a ruby red grapefruit with a little more orange added in there. The head is thin and basically nonexistent after a minute.

The scent is interesting, I get a small amount of caramel from the toasted malt but a huge fruit component from the hops and yeast. I get apricot, a hint of citrus, and some darker fruits like plum, cherry, and raisin. The boozy esters I pick up on the very back end but it's subtle.

The flavor is great, follows well from the nose with a malty fruity slap in the face with a slightly bitter/sour finish to it. The fruits I get the most of are definitely apricot and plum. Those flavors get twisted around toward the end of the brew leaving you with a lingering malty sweetness that fades into the yeasty sour aftertaste I get. The whole profile together works very well.

The mouthfeel is right on for a barleywine, thick and very smooth with a slight hot alcohol lingering and washing down the throat.

Dangerously drinkable brew, 12%? Overall I liked it a lot although Im not sure how well I would have picked up on its belgian style without knowing beforehand. All the aspects of a trip or quad are there if you know to look for them but in a blind taste test Im not sure.

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Photo of Radome
4.22/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber bottle into a snifter.

A - The beer is a slightly hazy orange. The head built to about 1/2" on pouring, then faded to a thin off-white layer with strong lacing.

S - Some caramel, nuts and warm burnt sugar in the nose, then fresh, flowery hops. Capping it all is a whiff of warm alcohol. Very inviting.

T - Initial sense is the flowery hop flavor that matches the aroma. There is lots of caramel and sugar flavor, but with definite Belgian characteristics. Warm, sweet alcohol finishes it off.

M - Body is medium to heavy. Hop bitterness is moderate to high. The finish is sweet and a little heavy, despite the high alcohol content.

D - Good drinkability, despite the high alcohol and sweet finish. I definitely enjoy this Belgian twist on a Barley Wine, although it sounds like I am in the minority aomg other BA reviewers. It reminds me of Scaldis or other high alcohol Belgians.

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Photo of begforme4484
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber/copper reddish color. Looks very similar to the original Old Guardian at least. ;P

Smells a bit spicy. A good amount of molasses and candy sweetness. Hop note also present but subdued.

Sweet up front as was original OG, then the Belgian yeast strain kicks in. It gives this beer a really nice twist. Great combination.

Thick and creamy with a decent amount of carbonation.

I loved this beer. I like the Odd Beers For Odd Years concept. Good for you, Stone.

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Photo of riored4v
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 6/1/11

Poured in to a tulip. Burnt copper color with a clear body. 1 finger, tan head that faded to a thin cap with light lacing.

Smell had a slight musty, dark fruit aroma. Hints of caramel, molasses, booze and a sweet maltiness. Some good floral hop aroma.

Taste had a noticeable boozey presenence along with some good dark fruit. Fairly strong bitterness with pine and resiny hop bitterness. Light floral presence. Caramely with notes of toffee and molasses. Light musty belgian presence. Bitterness dominates. Nice malty sweetness, hints of banana.

Medium body, medium carb. Slightly slick mouthfeel with a lingering bitterness.

Drinkability was decent. High ABV and strong bitterness limit it a tad. But regardless, a nice blend of flavors. Belgian notes are enjoyable.

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Photo of GreenGoblinCC
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Recently found on Draft at Melt, Lakewood OH over the weekend. I like it better than the Normal Old Guardian. Slightly more sweeter than the normal version and packs one hell-of-a punch if you don’t watch yourself. At 12% a glass I highly recommend you sip and enjoy. Definitely if there were any 22oz bottles floating around I would highly encourage anyone to pick them up, will definitely age nicely!

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Photo of Boto
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber: This one pours a clear, coppery amber color. There was a finger of a dense, almost tan head on it that left some lacing. The aroma is nice. Belgian candi sugar, yeasty, bready, grapefruit, banana and some clove aromas, as well as a few others lurking in there. The taste is nice. Some citrus and pine bitterness. Also has an underlying caramel and Belgian candi sugar sweetness underneath. Hint of spiciness. The Belgian breadiness and yeastiness that I get in the nose don’t really show up in the taste. Very drinkable.

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Photo of jera1350
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at The Muddy Pig.

A beautiful ruby red grapefruit juice color with a cloudiness as well. A trace of foam, but that's it.

Big sweet and hoppy barleywine nose with the addition of a strong belgian yeast presence that adds some bubblegum notes.

Wow, kind of like the blending of two beers. Definitely a barleywine with all of it's hoppy and sweet goodness. Big time flavor. In addition, the belgian yeast really stands out. It's really like a big time belgian ipa with a huge malt presence. It's different, and I dig it.

Full bodied and sticky with a slick presence. A nice clean finish though.

I enjoyed this beer quite a bit. I would have this again. I think the base barleywine really makes this beer and the yeast just adds a unique twist that I enjoyed. Well done Stone.

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Photo of srroos
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the 2010 Old Guardian Barleywine fermented with the belgian yeast used on the Cali-Belgique IPA. Enjoyed from a growler filled today at Stone Winter Storm 2010 and poured into a brandy snifter.

A: Clear and reddish-amber with a small tan head, fading quickly to a thin film.

S: Sweet and fruity like the normal Old Guardian, but yeasty like a Belgian tripel. Much milder aroma than a fresh Old Guardian. (little alcohol in the nose)

T: Initially very sweet and malty with notes of dried apricots. Moves on to bitter hops with grapefruit tartness. Finishes with a hot alcohol burn.

MF: Medium-light with moderate carbonation. Slightly syrupy sweet.

D: Tasty and smooth for a fresh barleywine, but still very hot. Needs time to mellow.

An excellent brew fresh, but I'd like to try this again in a year. Not sure if this would be one that would hold up for many years though.

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Photo of rootbeerman
4.19/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: pours dark honey brown with a touch of red when held to the light. Head is a thin initial pinky thickness, off white to tan
S: a nice Belgian yeast funk, a touch spicy, malt sweetness.
T: same yeasty light funk and spice. A hint of alcohol. Very malty.
M: just a touch coating, low carbonation.
O: a nice change to the normal OG

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Photo of corby112
4.18/5  rDev +15.2%
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!

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.18/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had a while ago, poured into Lost Abbey Sinners Glass.

A: Very sinewy head and ruby/light brown hazy appearance. With a twirl, tufts of head form and swirl into the body nicely. Beautiful lacing.

S: The big change from regular old guardian here is the Belgian yeast and malts used I believe. Sugary sweet medium fruits and spicy clove notes and to sugary alcohol notes. Cinnamon and ginger seem to be there as well.

T: Dark fruit and plum notes add into the sugary spicy flavors. Almost a ghost of a lactic sour at the back with citrus fruit bite from the stone signature hop array. Some dried fruits and nutty flavors as well. Alcohol definitely present with some heat and sweetness at the back of the palate. Very interesting and complex flavor that I like.

M: Medium feel with appropriate carbonation. A little burn at the back from the alcohol that will die with time, but a little distracting now.

O: A good beer that seems like it will age gracefully, and I look forward to that.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.17/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ The Deli in State College, PA.

A - Medium amber colour with a half finger of off-white head.

S - Caramel, Belgian yeast, brown sugar, some dark fruit.

T - Brown sugar, Belgian yeast, cloves, caramel, sweet candy.

M - Medium body. Light to moderate carbonation.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.17/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is how I remember great barleywines to be- deeply resiny, malty rich, and the beverage equivalent to a swift kick to the teeth.

The pour delivers a deep mohogany, dark amber hue but with an unexpected clarity for both intensely hoppy beers and Belgian-style ales. A froathy off-white cap tops the beer but succums to the alcohol and weight of the beer rather quickly, leaving a thin lace around the edge. Light on lacing, the beer displays brandy legging quite proudly.

Barleywine aromas dominate with the bullyish balance of intense malt sweetness and resiny hop perfumes to match. Alcohol and phenolic spice rise as the carbonation settles and the beer begins to warm. Fruitiness could be attributed to the normal procession of American barleywines ro could be a result of the new Belgian yeast. Regardless, the spicy/fruity Belgian notes are there but are cleaner than in more classic Belgian ales- more like those of Flying Dog Ragin' Bitch or Stone's own Cali-Belgique.

Flavors are much more intense than the nose suggests as the malt sweetness takes on proportions of scorched molasass, dry toast, and caramel-rich breads. Hop aggression soon matches the hops with a growing resiny flavor and sharp bitterness- grassy, piney, and acute grapefruit. In the interest of Belgian yeastiness, the beer adopts added, yet understated fruitiness, along with a peppery, medicinal (perhaps a little soapy) phenolic character that creates as many contradictory flavors as they do complimentary. The intense richness of malt and hop resins combine for a minerally, quite salty taste (with a somewhat metalic note).

Rich with a blend of expansive malt and unresolved syrups give sweetness and a fat mid-palate while leaving a savory stickiness on the mouth. Still, the tongue piercing bitterness create the sensation of dryness on the throat. Bitterness is to the extent that questions a grassy astringency. Alcoholic heat gives restrained yet solventy warmth without the fusal character that's expected from a 12% beer.

The mere intensity of hops with spice, alcohol, and deep malts shout complexity, even at the expense of causing difficulty in drinking, even for the most die hard beer advocate.

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Photo of Suds
4.17/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Well, this isn't what I'd call a normal barleywine. Clear an light brown, the beer has a faint white head. The beer has a fascinating aroma...estery, fruity, a bit of funk and straw...wow, there's a lot going on in here. Some malt scents behind the yeast aromas, and a little flower and wood scents. The aroma is very intriguing as well. It's a peppery, semi-dry, spice-like beer with a solid malt backbone. Alcohol is omnipresent in the beer...not hot, but very warming. Full and rich in body, the beer is mouth engulfing. This is an amazingly engaging beer.

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Photo of emmasdad
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
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.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
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?

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Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine from Stone Brewing
3.63 out of 5 based on 572 ratings.
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