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RATINGS: 452   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.63   SEASONAL: Winter   IBU: 85   EST. CALORIES: 360   ABV: 12%
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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 Ė e.g. Stone Old Guardian BELGO Barley Wine Ė in odd years (2011, 2013, 2015Ö). It was met with a bit of resistance (to say the least) since we werenít originally offering the traditional Old Guardian alongside it, but weíve mended our ways and decided to make both. Youíre welcome.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
GarrettB (1093) - San Diego, California, USA - NOV 22, 2012
July 13th, 2011 - Stoneís philosophy seems to be "Brew whatever the hell you want", and I respect that. They donít feel obliged to put a wheat beer and an amber on the menu just because the brewing crowd does. Their panoply of beers crowd into a hoppy, sweet section of the brewing spectrum, and this does cause for some personal confusion. Itís never very easy for me to define or delineate Stone brews from each other. They all have a strong, bold flavor profile, and plenty of hops. This problem appeared again with my sampling of the Old Guardian Belgo. Barleywines I know - I know them well. But the introduction of a Belgian yeast strain confounded my poor palate. Was I in Escondido, or Brussels? Or both? It glows with Stoneís signature red amber body, and lurks beneath a thin white head. Sweet cherries and cough medicine form the nose, with lots of caramel and toffee, sweet and sticky. And of course, thereís a strong edge of hops in the aroma, but where would a Stone beer be without that? Probably without the Stone brand on its label. The taste isnít as strong as the smell, but itís got that wind-up alcohol punch that leaves brewery tourists stumbling out the front doors after only a few small samples. Bubble gum and cotton candy emerge in the mid-taste, but are kept under tight lid by both the hops and the booze. Finally, in the aftertaste is a warming bitterness with caramel, and a featuring of the caramel richness from the barley wine style parameters. This is a good beer, and while itís fine for summer, I see this being more appropriate as a winter brew.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
dalekliz (882) - San Diego, California, USA - NOV 8, 2012
2011 bottle. Pours a dark amber-brown with a big foamy off-white head. Rich sharp aroma, of yeast, dark fruits, preserved citrus, sugar, malt, hops. Taste is sharp and sweet, of malt, yeast, preserved oranges, citrus hops, caramel. Lingering rich hops and caramel. Very tasty.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 4/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Reynolds314 (2440) - Connecticut, USA - NOV 4, 2012
This beer was a dissapointment. Pours caramel colored with little head. Aroma is even cloying here just tons of sweetness. Taste is more of the same with overwhelming sweetness and booze. Doesnt have much subtlty to it at all.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
SaintMatty (5526) - Uppsala, SWEDEN - NOV 3, 2012
650ml Bottle - Copper with a small head. Leather, spicy fruitcake and malt feature in the rather boozy aroma. Warming, rich and fruity taste with notes of raisins, sultanas, spicy malt, pine and toffee detected. Rich and indulgent. Definitely one to sip.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
jredmond (5628) - Manhattan, New York, USA - OCT 31, 2012
Draft at pony HK courtesy of streets, Annie, and Brendan. Pours an amber body with white lacing. Aroma is maple syrup, light booze and vanilla. Mouthfeel is slick with notes of maple, molasses, vanilla, oak, sweet malt and booze.

   AROMA 3/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 3/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Ernesto987 (3930) - Connecticut, USA - OCT 26, 2012
meh, this might be past itís prime, not a fan and I hate barleywines already so 3.2 is generous

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
buttslamify (52) - - OCT 13, 2012
This is my big problem with stone. Bitterness and hoppiness it great, but when your slamming it into a barley wine, it destroys it. This was not enjoyable, it was well made (thus the 3.3), but not enjoyable at all. Donít get me wrong, stone is an amazing brewery, one of the best, but outside of their ales (IPA, strong american, etc) Iíve been underwhelmed.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
TimE (3353) - Tokyo, JAPAN - OCT 8, 2012
fairly yeasty, aromatic, alcohol well hidden, smooth, heavy buy not cloying. A touch of brown sugar. Fairly hoppy.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
videofrog (57) - Austin, Texas, USA - OCT 6, 2012
From notes, 5/14/11: Poured a 22oz bottle into a snifter. Aroma: Strong medicinal alcohol and piny hops. Canít detect the malts until it warms up, caramel is faintly there at that point. Appearance: Dark amber thatís lighter around the edges when held up to the light. White head fades quickly. After warming up, carbonation bubbles disappear. Taste: Peppery, alcohol, hops. Caramel malt, honey, & fruit (grapefruit?) are all too subtle and give an unbalanced taste. Palate: Hard to tell with my mouth being a little overwhelmed by the alcohol and hops. A little on the thick side for a barleywine. Carbonation is light. Overall: Worth giving a try. I was expecting more complexity. Alcohol just overpowers and drowns out everything else.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
kevinator (1057) - The Colony, Texas, USA - OCT 6, 2012
Not what I was expecting. Sweet and sour smelling with alcohol. Cool cloudy copper color with paper thin head. No lacing. Slight fruit sourness with heavy malt. Thereís no mistaking this is a barley wine. The alcohol was hidden well. Iím all for hoppy BWís, but the hops presence didnít seem to blend as well as it should. It left a very dry and lingering finish.

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