Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Beerevire: Stone - Old Guardian - Belgo

2011 has been a very odd year. Changing world economies, ecological disasters and not being divisible by two are only some of those reasons. In commemoration of the last on that list Stone has an odd year release of their old standby, Old Guardian. Gene Reviewed the vanilla Old Guardian about a year ago, but apparently 2010 wasn't odd enough for the special version: Belgo.

Let me start by saying that just like its namesake Belgo also has so much text on the back of the bottle you'd think a bible page was glued there. Text that small in a gold on brown color scheme sort of make my eyes glaze over but if even one person has to read this it probably has to be me. Here's the cliff's notes in case you get a bottle of this. It reads like a cantankerous old man wrote about (in this order):
  1. Europeans not appreciating how good their beer is.
  2. A private party.
  3. How long this label is going to be.
  4. Nothing
  5. The flight home from Belgium.
  6. Stats about this beer.
  7. (I'm paraphrasing this one) How much time you just wasted reading this.
Even my seven points were agonizingly long. The redeeming factor here is that the beer is truly excellent. On to the review!

Stone  - Old Guardian - Belgo

This beer is a barley wine style ale which is not that common. It's known for being very malty and high ABV. At 12% this beer is pretty much more wine than ale (the original Old Guardian was 11.4%). It pours a rich honey color without much head retention. It has a very hoppy and sweet smell which is somewhat similar to Duvel.

The initial taste is sweet and crisp with distinct notes of citrus. This passes pretty quickly and leaves a very hoppy aftertaste that lingers for a very long time. The hoppy qualities are similar Stone's Smoked Porter (another favorite of mine.) With the sweetness you really can't taste the alcohol.

The easiest way to describe this beer (aside from "beer") is that it's like biting into an orange slice but not stopping at the peel. It's sweet and fruity then bitter as you hit the pith. 

Overall, I love this beer. It's definitely only for people who "like hops" but it's a fine example of a Belgian style being incorporated into an American brewer's lineup. This is a sipping beer that probably should be enjoyed by itself, and enjoy it you will. It's a limited release (I actually bought the last one) but you can probably still find it if you hurry.

Have you tried this beer or the regular old guardian? What'd you think? Leave us a comment below! Also, it's not too late to win yourself a T-Shirt, don't be shy! We have several to give away so your chances are good but the deadline is almost here.

1 comment:

  1. I bought this, but haven't had time to get to it. Hopefully soon. Loved the regular Old Guardian, and hoping that the Belgian yeast steps it up