Stone Brewing Company - Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine
Beer Type: American Barleywine
Appearance: 22 oz. brown bottle with the classic printed Stone design. Poured a crimson/copper color with a thin off-white head that laced nicely.
Smell: First up you can smell the booze. This is followed by a yeasty sweet bread, caramel, and a trace of dried fruit or apple.
First Drink: Tons of yeast flavor up front.. almost like a strong Belgian ale. More of the dried fruit and sweet caramel comes through in the finish.
Mouthfeel: Big body with a bit of sticky alcohol mouthfeel and plenty of carbonation. Not what I was expecting.
Last Drink: A lot more hop bitterness and something slightly... spicy?
Drinkability: This is not an easy drinking beer. Punches you in the face with complex flavors if you can make it though the booze up front.
Notes: I honestly can't say if I like or dislike this brew. It's really intense. I liked the original Stone Barleywine a bit more I think. This one is a 2011 special brew - or "odd year release" as Stone calls it. Odd indeed.
Verdict: 3.75 out of 5. There is more going on here but I am having a hard time finding it. Could be a great beer for aging?
Links: Beer Advocate and Stone Brewing Company.