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Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine | Stone Brewing

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BA SCORE
82
good
303 Reviews
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
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 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 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 soulfly1492
4.32/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Can smell this one from several feet away during the pour. Lots of barley, caramel, citrus hops, spicy yeasty phenols. Lots of dark fruits as well, dates and apricot. Mild alcohol.

Appearance: Cloudy, looks like a cup full of caramel when held up to a bright light. Deep copper, like caramel of course. A pour from high above the glass develops and a moderate head which is light brown with orange highlights. Great retention, like an espresso, a nice thin frothy layer. Obscene amount of lacing.

Taste: Wow. Super bold. Moderate barley, lots of pine and orange citrus hops. Some dark bitter grapefruit. Some sweet apricot also. Definitely seeing the Belgium yeasty phenols. Tart citrus. No flavor is particularly harsh, just bold all around.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Slick and creamy.. Finishes dry, of course considering the 12% ABV and boat load of hops. Mild to moderate hop sting.

Overall: Bold and beautiful. A bit over the top but it goes down quick nonetheless. The aftertaste lingers for some time.

Notes: 2011 Odd-year release. Drank on 4/4/2012.

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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.

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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 TIJAE
4.33/5  rDev +19.3%
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.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
4.34/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Part of the "odd years" category at Stone...

The basics: 12% ABV and $5.99/bomber...good stuff, that...

Super clear orange-red amber. nice two fingers of head, very creamy. Poured very thick, an ode to the massive malt backbone herein. Not really carbonated, and the bubbles move slooow...lacinbg is actually excellent given how short the head is.

Nice, sweet aromas. Lots of caramel and vanilla. I get the Belgian yeast they used, also. Very nice and subtle nuance. Not a huge hop caharacter in the aroma profile, however. This is pretty much to style with the added falre of the Belgian yeast. Pretty cool...This is a winner so far.

Flavor is incredible. It's not even remotely as huge and overpowering as I feared it might be. The alcohol is very present throughout and commandeers the ship for itself. You can't really escape it, so the best thing is to join in with the crew. The malt is also very forward, and I also get a very big hop punch to it, starting early middle and carrying all the way through. This is awesome for a barley wine. The price makes this a tier 1 selection for sure. This is drinkable to a fault, so people will get painfully hammered off it...Find and stash a few bottles to mellow it out a touch, but it's great now...

What I like most: The surprisingly balanced flavor profile.

What I like least: The rather subdued appearance, but only a touch.

Verdict: Excellent and uniqgue version of the style, this is awesome and well-priced enough to be an all the time type of ale. Find it!!!

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Photo of xnicknj
4.35/5  rDev +19.8%
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.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.37/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap in a snifter.

Appearance: Slightly hazy caramel color. Soft white head with a ring of lace around the edge.

Smell: The Belgian yeast first makes itself apparent in the smell. As opposed to the regular Old Guardian, the aroma contains a variety of spices - cloves, all spice, and cinnamon. Smells like Christmas.

Taste: I found the taste of the Belgio-Barleywine to be worth an extra .5 in the taste department compared to the regular Old Guardian. Bready notes are present up front, balanced with a variety of spices. The robust malt flavor gradually fades to the light citrus hops. Almost no alcohol is tasted over the course of each sip; it is masked perfectly. The ending is smooth and balanced, with nearly no aftertaste. I am actually left with a nice floral aroma in its place. Still a little hoppier than most barley wines, though.

Mouthfeel: A nice, bubbly feel. There is also a slight graininess here.

Drinkability: Great taste, but knowledge of the ABV will slow me down.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.38/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the tap into a tasting glass.

The color is a red/amber that is clear with a finger or two of white foamy white head and some nice lacing.

The smell is a little fruity and has a pretty strong yeast flavor that comes right out as well. This was a bit surprising for Old Guardian.

The taste is a pretty sweet fruit flavor with some plum and dried apricots. There is a nice bitterness as well in the beer on the back end where the hops takes over and gives a bit of a knock at the taste buds. Some grapefruit and tangerine flavor.

The feel of this beer is pretty light and is a bit easy to get down then Old Guardians in the past. The alcohol does not seem to be as pronounced and does not seem to warm the palette as much.

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Photo of obywan59
4.41/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a crystal clear light ruby with a 3 1/2 finger pale-tan head. It looks very elegant in my Old Guardian glass, almost like a liqueur except not so clingy.

Not a lot going on here, but nice. Hard candy sweetness and Belgian yeast.

The bitterness was borderline off-putting on the first swig, but I soon adapted. Very sweet. That, along with the Belgian character and the strong taste of alcohol, combined to remind me of a hard candy I enjoyed as a child. It had a brownish color and a barrel-like shape. I don't remember what it was called. Bitterness rises after the sweet to balance. The beer is vaguely licorice-like in flavor with a whiff of cherry as it warms.

Relatively light-bodied for such a sweet brew. Pleasant feel of light syrup and very warming to boot. A nice combination.

Another over-the-top creation from Stone. Perhaps a bit too over-the-top, judging by the reviews, but right down my alley. A sipper for certain, but not a chore for this sweets lover. A beer to relish, a beer to challenge your taste, and a beer that I would not hesitate to sample again.

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Photo of NickMunford
4.42/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a perfect amber hue, with pretty much no head or lacing. I did pour it from a bottle in a smaller than normal snifter, so maybe there wasn't enough of a fall for the liquid to produce a head.

S: The first thing that hits me is a delicious malty sweetness, which immediately makes me think Belgian rather than barleywine. As it warms up, a spiciness emerges which reminds me of a spiced beer... nutmeg, cinnamon and the like.

T: The Belgian influence is immediately apparent to me. If fact, it makes me want to expand my palate by trying more Belgians. I've tried a few and liked them, but tend to go for craft American brews before going to the world beers, but I need to remedy that. Anyway, back to the point, this is a great marriage of malt and yeast. The hops is balanced out well and comes in at the end with a mild bitterness.

M: This has a substantial mouthfeel, with moderate carbonation. There is a lingering bitterness in the aftertaste.

D: This is much more balanced and drinkable than the regular Old Guardian, in my opinion.

I know I should score this a little lower for the style, because it seems to be half Belgian and half barleywine, but it tastes so good! I had to give it high marks.

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Photo of avalon07
4.42/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a bright amber color and a cloudy consistency. There was a half inch of foamy head that lasted an average amount of time. Average lacing.

S: A big aroma of hops, yeast, fruit, and caramel. Very aromatic.

T: Tasted of Belgian yeast, a big shot of hops, caramel, citrus, pepper and some other spices. An extremely complex and powerful flavor. Not your classic American Barleywine.

M: A highly carbonated beer with a somewhat slick finish. Medium-bodied.

D: As I said, this is not classically of its style, but it is extremely tasty and drinkable.

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Photo of MadCat
4.42/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First off, this is a bit different than what the other reviews would suggest. I enjoy belgians, and I enjoy most of the different brews stone comes up with, so this excited me, though I've never had Old Guardian before. And I'm quite pleased with the results.

Appearance: Amber brown typical of barleywines, minimal white head, leaves no lacing.

Smell: Beautiful boquet of fruit and hops. Banana, plum, raisins, a little bit of orange and pine in there. Hints of alcohol, which is less than I would expect for 12%

Taste: An explosion of flavor. More banana, plum, raisins, orange, pine, along with some hop bitterness, and some balancing sweetness that reminds me of a Belgian Quad. Tastes like a hoppy quad. Quite good in my book.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, light carbonation, semi-dry, bitter finish

Drinkability: From the reviews, I thought I would have to choke down the first glass, and have to save the rest of the bottle for another night. Not necessary at all.

Overall, I'm glad I got a second bottle, and might be picking up more because I think it is that good. Maybe I'm in the minority, but that means more for me!

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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 madpentzer
4.43/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Got a couple 22's of this at the local BevMo.

A-Pours a copper-red color into my Gulden Draak tulip glass, with about two fingers of head.

S-Spicy with a little hops and you can definitely pick-up the belgian yeast strain. Smells almost like a Belgian Strong Ale.

T-Bubblegum up front with some toasty malt following. Good hop presence, but not as strong as the regular Old Guardian. Alcohol level is present, but not overpowering.

M-Thick and creamy with a decent level of carbonation.

D-I really enjoyed this beer overall. It went down smoothly, and would probably get even better with age (put the second in my cellar to find out). Another great beer from Stone. Cheers!

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Photo of BierFan
4.45/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a chalice.

Thin head and a cloudy dark amber body that looks like apple cider. Belgian yeast shines through in the aroma more than I was expecting. I'm not sure if this fruitiness I'm smelling is from the yeast or the hops. Time for the first sip. Smooth and sweet. Tropical fruits and a little mint from the hops. Nice bitterness. Kind of reminds me of a fresh Double Crooked Tree from Dark Horse Brewery. I really dig this brew fresh. I'm gonna try to track down a couple more bottles to age and see how it goes.

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Photo of hickmancase
4.46/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Brewery.

A: Hazy brownish orange. Thick-bubbled two-finger head.

S: Glistening hops.

T: Robust. Solid. Excellent and unique hop profile. Strong malt backbone. The strength of the other ingredients didn't quite seem to let the belgian yeast come out.

M: Just like it should be.

D: Quite strong, so it's a sipper. Great sipper, though. Gotta have another one just to double check everything.

9/10

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Photo of patm1986
4.5/5  rDev +24%
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.

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Photo of Zodijackyl
4.5/5  rDev +24%
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.

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.51/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Overall...Outstanding. I REALLY appreciate this...scoring points out the butt for imagination and creativity!!! It's too bad that we've got to stick everything "in a box"...but then again, if we didn't and you pulled it off a shelf with the expectation that it would be representative of an American Barleywine you'd be VERY disappointed...but HELLO..."B E L G O" highlighted, BOLD and "in red"...accompanied by "Odd Year Release"!!!! (if that doesn't adjust your expectations then labels are a lost cause). I'm not going to score it to style. I HIGHLY recommend that every inquisitive BA take the opportunity to consider this one while it's out there. Very Complex...and worth the time. ($7.99 at Sam the Beer Man).
Pours hazy and lighter in color than expected... another hint of a departure from style. An aggressive pour yields a double finger antique parchment colored collar with reasonable hang time. Negligible Belgian lacing and circumstantial visual evidence of carbonation (3.75). I love the aggressive earthy Belgian yeast in the nose. The classic caramel and butterscotch barleywine characteristics are there, but they all but buried beneath the WONDERFUL aggressive earthy Belgian yeast AND fruity LeBleu-like brett character..wow!!
The explosive (NEW) flavors are 'out of the box' and the mouth texture may cause a blur. The flavors are bright, tangy and reminiscent of an oily hoppy-malty-sweet-caramel resin (if that's possible). There is also a very significant apple-pear, harvest fruit thing going on with it.
The mouthfeel has a nicely carbonated, refreshingly light texture...which coincides with the anomaly of its lighter appearance. Had fun with this one!!!

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Photo of shodrod
4.55/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(poured into a snifter)
This beer pours a deep, translucent red with very little head but noticeable bubbles along the edge of the glass at first. The aroma is quite complex with many subtleties all difficult to pinpoint: notes of strawberry, smoke, licorice, wood. The front of the beverage is quite oaky. The finish has obvious notes of the Belgian yeast added to this year's batch; the dryness really adds a new dimension to the glory of the barelywine. A wonderful take on a truly classic style!

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Photo of RoyalT
4.62/5  rDev +27.3%
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 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.

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