Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine | Stone Brewing

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Old Guardian BELGO BarleywineOld Guardian BELGO Barleywine
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States | website

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
Reviews:
303
Ratings:
572
Avg:
3.63
pDev:
22.59%
 
 
Wants:
17
Gots:
94
For Trade:
5
User Reviews
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Reviews: 303 | Ratings: 572
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...

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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.

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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 WesWes
3.23/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours a dark amber, almost orangish color with a thick frothy off-white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a dry, yet fruity scent that boasts of burnt toffee and yeast esters. It's alcohol ridden with a charred wood character to it. The taste is decent as well. It has a thin burnt toffee favor along with loads of yeast character and a warming finish. Again, it tastes like charred wood that's soaked in liquor. It goes down slow and warm with yeasty/burnt finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. I applaud the concept, but the end result isn't that attractive. I won't be seeking this one again.

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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

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +10.2%
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 liamt07
3.7/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Jason, 22oz in to a tulip. 2011 vintage.

Poured an opaque ruby-brown, with a cream coloured head that's quite transient. Thin collar and a thin layer of head retain. Nose has Belgian yeast qualities right off the bar, spicy hops, citrus zest and rind notes, less caramel malt notes than you'd anticipate from a barleywine. A substantial amount of sharp lemon character came through as this warmed. Taste has thick malt and bready notes with a signature Stone hop assault, in both flavour and bitterness. Yeasty finish and alot of fruity notes derived from the yeast and hops it appears. Full body, spicy and bitter finish. Boozy, medium effervescence. Rich and interesting, but just a little too much going on to make this worthwhile again. Certainly good to split with others.

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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.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.58/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on tap at 1702; March 2011
The beer arrives with a half-finger thick, pale amber tinged head that sits on top of a rich, amber hued beer that shows clear with gold tinges around the edges when held up to the light. A bright berry aroma is backed by notes of candied citrus zest (tangelo and grapefruit being the most noticeable). There is a solid, toasted and caramelized malt character that adds some depth and savoriness to the nose.

The beer has a chewy texture to it, though it is not overly heavy, but it is definitely a sipping beer. Bitter herbal hop flavors try and temper the rich, caramelized malt character that is in this beer. The hint has a touch of coffee-like flavor to it as well as a toasted, whole grain character; though it doesn’t really get roasted. The finish can also have some hot alcohol warming to it at times. Big caramelized hop notes have lots of citrus flavors as well as a softer berry like note and there is also some herbal / menthol like hop contributions here. This is somewhat sweet up front, but it is not nearly as sweet as the nose would have suggested. The hop notes that are herbal and bitter quickly dries this beer out, though it remains chewy and sipping beer throughout. An earthy spiciness with notes of clove, and a definite phenolic character in the finish is noticeable from the yeast. This is enjoyable, but for some reason doesn’t quite seem to be doing it for me.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up at the COOP over the weekend... Poured into my Delerium goblet... 3/4" tannish foam dies pretty quickly but leaves okay lacing... the brew is a hazed orangish lite amber.

Nose shows nice clove notes and some pink bubblegum... some citrus hops show as lemon zest..

Flavor is damn phenolic... the bubblegum is more than present and lingers.. the cloves show as an almost antiseptic quality.. fruity esters make way mid palate with pear and red apple.. a bit of pale malt and minor toasty malt combine with fruity hops just to remind you this is made in America.. I dig this one, but right now it doesn't really come together.... the esters and phenols sorta battle it out for top spot while fruity hops slide in and add more to the overall confusion..

Not really sure what to make of this one; personally, I like it... but I still have more than half a bomber left and I suspect it is going to be a chore.

3.5/4/4/4/3.5

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.73/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.32/5  rDev +19%
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.

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Photo of biegaman
3.6/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

The "BELGO" part is as emphasized in the appearance as it is on the label; this much froth and foam is equivalent to bold, capitalized print reminding us that ONLY BELGIAN yeast could produce a head of such mass and magnitude. Otherwise, however, Old Guardian looks much the same glassy, clear-ish, burnt amber beer as always.

What I love most about American barleywines is their combination of rich, sticky-sweet maltiness and candied, citrusy hops. Old Guardian - even fermented with Belgian yeast - exemplifies that profile as good (maybe better) than anything else; the figs, flower petals, dried apricots, and candied grapefruit are completely unperturbed by the yeast.

When aging beer, the yeast is typically the last thing to go. Hops, they fade fast. Malt, it thins out and oxidizes. Alcohol, it mellows. But the yeast, it seems to sometimes gain strength when left to brood at the bottom of a bottle. And yet this beer, distinguished by its use of Belgian yeast, at three years of age, has plenty of malt and even hops but little appreciable yeastiness...

Which is especially curious because Belgian yeasts have invariably the most character, distinction, and longevity of any. Indeed, this 2011 vintage has held up mighty fine but seemingly with no thanks to any additional esters or phenols. The crushing bitterness, the familiar dried and rotting orchard fruits, honeyed malt and nut brittle notes of standard Old Guardian still prevail.

Old Guardian is a consummately American barleywine. Even fermenting it with a strain of Belgian yeast can't change that. I didn't quite understand the appeal of a 'Belgianized' barleywine and, frankly, I still don't - it didn't make the beer any better or, surprisingly, more distinct. Maybe a side-by-side tasting would yield a different conclusion, but I didn't like this enough to buy it again.

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Photo of Zorro
3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

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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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Photo of Evil_Pidde
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours dark warm amber with a medium-large off-white head that sinks into decent lacings.

S: Sweetness glaore, just what you could expect. Then there's some fruit; red apples and oranges. Yeasty, and alcoholic.

T: Syrupy sweetness, caramell malt, a bit roasted. Lots and lots of fruit; apples, oranges, grapefruit. Some modest belgian yeast. Alcoholic.

M: Carbonation is held way back while body is full and syrupy sticky. Lots of warming alcohol. Aftertaste is as always, short and sweet.

O: This is a nice Barleywine, surprisingly rich in hops. But a barleywine is usually better after a couple of years (if properly cellared), and then the hops will have "died" - and the beer will be better in every aspect. Damn, I only bought this one bottle...

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

2/6/2011

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.

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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 Derek
4/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy copper with an off-white head, very little retention but it leaves some leg/lace.

Aroma of marmalade, candied papaya, mango, toffee and cloves.

Candied papaya, mango, marmalade, toffee, nut, clove with a hint of spice. Strong, resiny bitterness with a light alcohol warmth.

Light residual sweetness with a slightly drying alcohol finish. Carbonation is nicely between a barley wine and a belgian.

A good drinker and nicely crafted. I'd use a yeast with less clove character though.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.77/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Poured a copper color with good carbonation leaving a nice white cap

S: Fruits, bubblegum and caramel is what I got

T: Immediate bubblegum hint, some candy sugar, caramelized sugar, hints of fruits and caramel

M: Sticky, warm with a nice hop bite, thinner bodied than I expected or wanted

D: Its on the verge of average. I would not want another or go back to this. Maybe in a year or two I would give this another shot.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.3/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Soft caramel-cola pour while exiting the glass becomes a dirty apple skin coloring within the glass. A lightly dense and slow paced effervesce rises within a translucent body. Spongey light tan head is atop but lapses rather quickly leaving a clean window dressing.

S: The aroma speaks of boozy soaked apples, pears, and sweet caramel grains. One part sweet, one part fruity, with a light recognition of the Belgian yeast being noted.

T: The flavor brings out more of the yeast character then the nose led on. Pears, fresh fruit, apples all with a rather clean delivery. Sweet speciality grain with a fruity and boozy alcohol warmth is felt not only in the mouth, but going down and in the belly there-after. The flavor is not what I expected from a typical barleywine, the addition of the Belgian yeast did add a new twist or spin but really takes away more then it gives in the end. Sweet, slightly malty and fruity tones come on the close along with a woodsy and piney hopping.

M: medium base, perhaps a bit lighter then one would like from a big barley as it tends to weaken a bit on longer holds. Warming with a sweet and fruity malting aided by a gentle carbonation.

D: Drinkability provides a fruity warming and alcohol tones going down that stays with you a bit after. Traditional slow sipper per style, but really holds little surprise and weakens with interest deeper into a bomber serving. Drinks better slightly chilled rather then warmer, as I generally like my barleys at a moderate warm temp most of the time. Probably wont repurchase but interesting enough to warrant a try.

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Photo of akorsak
2.71/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A bomber bottle.

A: The barleywine has the right look, a coppery amber color, barely transparent, with a thick head. That head reached nearly three fingers and dries in clumps.

S: That's an unusual nose. Candi sugars drive a hard bargain, sweet with a pear and apple sweetness. Plenty of thick malts are amidst the yeast, as is a syrupy shot of anise. LaChouffe with an excess of malts.

T: Too much anise, so much that it easily cuts through the Belgian yeast. And that yeast is pretty damned formidable. Barleywine flavors are lurking below the surface, strong and thick, they just don't have much of a shot at making it through. So cloyingly sweet that I can't stomach the beer. A noble experiment; but so was New Coke.

M: Sweet, the Belgian yeast strain carries its weight and then some. Not your mother's Old Guardian; and if you love her, don't introduce it to her.

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Photo of beertunes
3.93/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

Bottled in 2011. This comes off as an English Barleywine in an American Belgian Barleywine style. It almost tastes like it's barrel aged. Lots of caramel, vanilla and wood. Very intriguing.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.87/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle, 2011 release. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a reddish/orange color with about a half inch off-white head that didn't stick around for too long. There's a small amount of lacing left on the glass. Aroma is caramel malt, bananas, spicy yeast, pepper and a bit of lemon peel. The flavor is a little boozy, but I can also taste pineapple, piney hops, caramel malt, pears, grapefruit, toffee and peppery spice. There's also a nice bitter hoppy finish. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's syrupy and creamy with good carbonation. Drinkability is OK, but I think it's still a little hot and would be better with some aging. I think it's a good brew, I'll have to pick up another bottle and see how this one ages.

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Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine from Stone Brewing
82 out of 100 based on 303 ratings.
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