Review of Stone Old Guardian Belgo 2011

10 Jun
Hi guys.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying the Old Guardian Belgo 2011 (Odd year release) produced by the Stone Brewing Company located in Escondido, California.

I have always liked the “regular” Old Guardian that they produce, however I have not ever tried the Belgo version.

Let’s get to the website,, and see what kind of information we can drum up about this particular brew.

When our illustrious brewing team spiked a few barrels of the Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine with our Belgian yeast strain last year, we absolutely loved it. So much, in fact, that we knew we needed an excuse to make more. So, in our unending quest to constantly challenge the status quo (even our own), we came up with Odd Beers for Odd Years, a program to release odd beers – e.g. Stone Old Guardian BELGO Barley Wine – in odd years (2011, 2013, 2015…). It was met with a bit of resistance (to say the least) since we weren’t originally offering the traditional Old Guardian alongside it, but we’ve mended our ways and decided to make both. You’re welcome.

Let’s give it a try, shall we?

This brew came in a 22 oz. bottle and it had an ABV of 12.0%.

I poured a very cloudy, amber to copper/brown color.  The head was light tan, very creamy and smooth in texture.  It was nicely compacted and sized ok for the style.  The retention time was surprisingly good and the lacing seemed alright.  A gorgeous set of alcohol legs were left on the glass when tilted from side to side. 

The nose brought about a significant amount of caramel and toffee sweetness as well as hints of apple butter.  Some other fruits were identified too.  Pear and orange maybe?  Toasted breads were found as well, however they weren’t strong enough to overtake the fruit or the sweetness.

The taste was very sweet.  A lot of caramel malt combined with an apple/orange citrus mixture.  The bitterness was reserved to a light citrus pop.  I was able to find more of the toasted breads as well as a yeasty component in the taste.  More so than the aroma anyway.  It had some sort of spicy bite that I was struggling with also.  Overall, not too bad though.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  Mostly smooth, dry, chewy and sticky.  The carbonation seemed good enough and a solid amount of warmth was felt at the very back end.  Plenty of flavor was left covering the palate for the entire drink too.

Well, this beer wasn’t bad.  It might not be my favorite American Barleywine, but it definitely wasn’t the worst I’ve ever had either.  It’s a nice sipper that could really be enjoyed during the cooler months of the year.  It was quite sweet however, and that may be troublesome for some.  I, personally, didn’t have a problem with it, but I doubt that it could be something that I would want to drink everyday anyway.  In my opinion, it’s worth a try, but if you can afford to sit on a bottle for a little while it may become more harmonious and mellow with the sweetness.  Who knows though?  With that being said, when you get the opportunity to try the Stone Old Guardian Belgo 2011 Edition let me know what you thought of it.

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone.  I really appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  3.6 out of 5
Grade:  B 

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Posted by on June 10, 2012 in Country: USA, Stone


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