Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine | Stone Brewing

BA SCORE
82
good
572 Ratings
THE BROS
75
okay
Read the review
Old Guardian BELGO BarleywineOld Guardian BELGO Barleywine
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States
stonebrewing.com

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.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
572
Reviews:
302
Avg:
3.63
pDev:
16.53%
 
 
Wants:
17
Gots:
94
For Trade:
4
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 572 |  Reviews: 302
Photo of mdaschaf
3.53/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes.

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

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

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

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

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

 605 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
3.64/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

a very weird beer indeed, really not sure at all what to make of this one.

I was a touch disappointed by the look to be honest, as it was just a bit dull. Very hazy, golden yellow color came though immediately, but no head at all. Only the slightest broken crown around the edges and a good amount of carbonation streaking up were the only signs of life in this one, very strange occurrence indeed.

The aroma was very nice. Lots of yeast and coriander here. Almost a peppery like note bouncing around in there as well. Hints of grass, and honey as well as some light touches of wheat and lemon. The flavor was very peppery, with a pronounced zing on the tongue from the first sips. Nice and lively feel, which was good as I was afraid it was going to come off dull, but was pleasantly surprised. Coriander riddled throughout this one, which on its own, this would be an excellent Belgian ale, but with this added level of spice it just got that much better. Very dry finish, with the moisture zapped from the tongue and a nice bitter taste left behind to balance and play around. Not hardly a touch of alcohol in the flavor at all, though at 12% it definitely was felt by the end of the bottle. A very nice sipper, and light enough in feel and profile for even the hottest of days.

 1,283 characters

Photo of Slatetank
3.89/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to Mark for sharing this enjoyed chilled from the bomber in a tulip.

The color is dark brown with tan head and lace sticks with translucent clarity. The smell is malt with a date-like aroma with fruity yeast and nutty aroma with slight hop scent. The feel is good with tangy and spicy entry with moderate carbonation and bitter middle with decent balance and spicy alcoholic finish.

The taste is good with bitter herbal flavor mixed with nutty dry malt flavor and tropical accent in the yeast flavor with almond paste type sweet element and caramel in the back with some hop bitterness interspersed into a lightly alcohol flavored finish. Overall this is a very good belgian yeast fermented American barleywine American hops adding citrus and bitterness to balance

 773 characters

Photo of Jason
3.25/5  rDev -10.5%
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.

 1,017 characters

Photo of womencantsail
3.78/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Stone

A: The pour is a dark amber in color with a finger of off-white head and minimal lacing.

S: Wow, a lot of spice (coriander and pepper) going on here. Lots of phenols with a bit of bubblegum. Quite a bit of booze on the nose and it cannot really be covered up by the caramel and bread.

T: A surprising amount of fruit flavor: banana, pear, and citrus. Like the nose, plenty of spicy phenols. The malt is prominent and is mostly of bread and semi-sweet toffee. Noticeable alcohol flavor as well.

M: The body is medium to full with a moderate level of carbonation.

D: This is significantly better than the previous Belgian Old Guardian, but it's still way too boozy for its own good.

 701 characters

Photo of vfgccp
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 2010, enjoyed on tap at Extreme Beer Fest 2015 in Boston.

62 characters

Photo of orangesol
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of MarkyMOD
4/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.31/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

650 mL bottle poured into a CCB snifter. 2011 bottle.

Appearance - Pours a deep burnt orange with a small off-white head. A little bit murky.

Smell - Smells like honey. Really. Exactly like honey. Fruity. Apples. Fascinating.

Taste - No honey here. Slightly sweet up front. Fruity, like the aroma. Apples. Immediately caramelly and then a strong hop bitterness. Astringent in the back. Hot, too.

Mouthfeel - It's hot, but not that bad. Well carbonated. Sweet without being syrupy.

Overall - The reviews make this sound like it's going to be awful. It's a rough beer, but its flavors are just a bit better than average.

 623 characters

Photo of Zaphog
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.7/5  rDev +29.5%
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.

 1,985 characters

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of rab53
3/5  rDev -17.4%

Photo of imperialking
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Photo of smakawhat
3.44/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

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

 640 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.43/5  rDev +22%
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...

 651 characters

Photo of Lare453
4/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.89/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a tulip, this beer pours a hazy, dark copper-red coloring with a decent one inch foamy, off-white head. Aromas are bountiful, with spices and citrus fruit characteristics. Also, some meaty notes in the smells. The beer is creamy and bold bodied, carrying a slightly sour malt flavor, with peppery and nutmeg spices, and citrus highlights. Dark fruit flavors reveal themselves as the beer has time to warm and expand in the glass. Sour notes carry into the aftertaste, and the finish is light, but it lingers longer in mouth. Higher ABV and stronger flavors make this a sipper, especially when served at the proper temperatures. Good dessert brew.

 672 characters

Photo of MasterSki
3.68/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

 1,239 characters

Photo of GClarkage
4/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from 2/2011 notes. Poured into a Nostradamus flute glass. Pours a clear medium red-orange amber. Minimal head and slight lacing. Sweet malt and tropical fruit aroma with a slight sourness. Sweet malt up front blending into Belgian spicing, cloves and cardamom, finishes with an astringent bitterness. Nice start, but not so great finish. Medium bodied. I'll cellar one to see if this finish mellows out.

 410 characters

Photo of IrishColonial
4/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of drabmuh
4.32/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

 550 characters

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.16/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

 741 characters

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

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe