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Old Guardian OAK - SMOKED Barleywine - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Guardian OAK - SMOKED BarleywineOld Guardian OAK - SMOKED Barleywine

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

730 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 730
Reviews: 161
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 13.01%
Wants: 10
Gots: 113 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.40% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: EgadBananas on 02-18-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 730 | Reviews: 161
Photo of jancona
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Taste of vanilla, caramel apple, a sweet hop profile (like DFH 120) and a touch of smoke. Delicious.

Photo of 57md
4.34/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 release - consumed with 2 years of age on it.

Dark copper in color with honey edges. The nose is both smokey and sweet. The wood is also noticeable in the nose.

The smokiness blends perfectly with the sweet malt notes and the hop bitterness. The bitterness of the hops still provide a punch on the finish - even after two years.

The alcohol is well in check considering that this baby weighs in at 11.4%

I did not have this offering when it was first released so I cannot compare this aged bottle with the fresh version. That said, it appears that time in the cellar has done wonders for this little number.

Photo of JJKBeerLvr
3.28/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bottle into pint glass in April 2015.

Appearance: Dark red with thin tan head.

Smell: Pleasant, with both a sweet caramel-like aroma as well as hops.

Taste: Interesting taste. There is a strong hop flavor with some sweetness. Also some spice and earthy flavors. But the flavor is dominated by the hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thin bodied.

This is an interesting barleywine ale. It has more hops than others I have tried. It is thinner than expected, but the flavor is not overpowered by the alcohol.

Photo of ilikebeer03
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottled 2/7/13. opened 4/4/15

A: pours a deep amber with an off white head. good retention and lacing.

S: earthy, piney hops, malt sweetness.

T: malt sweetness, piney /citrusy hops. oak, slight smoke. caramel, toffee. 11.4% abv nicely hidden.

M: slick, and oily. nice carbonation.

O: delicious beer. very interesting. truly, an "odd" beer...unlike the 2015 "extra hoppy"

Photo of travolta
4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: A smooth, light khaki head with very nice lacing and great retention. A burned peach/raspberry color.

Nose: Oak, smoke, some pine citrus, and toffee.

Taste: Very nice malt heaviness, oak, toffee, with nice pine running through. Hides the alcohol perfectly. The malt balance is tremendous in this beer. I do not think it needed the oak. The oak dries out the taste a little bit.

Photo of Tilley4
4.71/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Truly amazing... The oak really mellow the base beer and the result is a shining star... Smooth yet intense... Silky finish... Notes of chocolate that are blowing my mind... Hops have fades into a floral masterpiece... A sublime experience., I could sip on this until I ended up facedown somewhere...

Photo of jzeilinger
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%

A - Pours a dark butterscotch amber color with a light toffee layer of creamy foam that camps out on top and doesn't subside.

S - Toasted oak, smoke, roasted toffee, and some citrus.

T - Initially, the fusel alcohol is overpowering and taints what flavor is there. Roasted toffee base sweetness up front with a touch of smoke and very little oak, and a long, lingering pine/citrus bitterness. The oak surfaces more halfway through the glass but the bitterness remains aggressive with lots of bite.

M - Heavy body, full, chewy, slippery, stickiness on the lips, velvety smooth with gentle carbonation that's almost creamy.

O - This 2013 bottle could stand a little more age on it to mellow things out and let it blend better. I'm wishing I had a few of these bottles on hand to see how they develop with time.

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the Old Toad in Rochester, NY.

Pours a dark amber orange, with a half inch head, and big sheets of lacing down the glass. Looks great.

Smells like oak, caramel, smoke, tobacco, pine, and citrus hops.

The taste is much the same. The big flavors hit you like a tree branch to the face, but in a good way. It's strong, but with no real alcohol burn. There's piney and grassy hop flavors, leafy tobacco flavors, oak, a little bit of vanilla, smoke, and caramel. The flavors all combine together really well.

This one is medium bodied, with a very crisp mouthfeel, and a moderate amount of carbonation.

This one has a lot of flavors that could clash badly, but they all come together fairly well.

Photo of SHODriver
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: poured into a snifter to a deep reddish brown with a finger of dense light tan head that is slow to fade.
S: smells of smoke and caramel. for being barely over a year old the hops are surprisingly absent
T: taste is piney and citrusy hops with an underlying smokyness and caramel sweetness. still fairly resinous. swallow is smoke, oily piney hops and caramel sweetness
M: this beer sits fairly heavy on the palate with soft carbonation and a drying finish
O: It's pretty rad, the smoke is a nice twist on the style and OG is always a pleaser after it has some time to mellow. In another year or two my last bottle will be drinking super smooth and decadently. I dare to say it would probably taste a bit like a Speyside. This beer needs to be remade and placed into barrels.

Photo of tviz33
4.29/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber in to a tulip.

A- Pours a deep amber body with an off-white/ tannish head that rise up quickly to a half inch and settles just as quick.

S- Lots of bourbon and campfire smoke.

T- So rich and drinkable for such a high octane, smoked brew. Just as the nose indicated, campfire smoke engulfs the palate alongside the bourbon notes, but the barleywine flavor pierces through it all and makes this brew very well-rounded.

M- Medium to full-bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Very smooth and easy on the way down.

O- Pair this one with an actual campfire and friends, and you'll have a good time.

Photo of utfiero
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Color- reddish amber. Full head.

Aroma of tempting breakfast including mild smoked ham and sugared grapefruit.

Taste- Smokey, meaty with gentle hoppy reminders. A very complex, heavy brew. Finishes with a lingering sweet hoppiness with hints of maple bacon and pine needs.

Poured from 650 ml bomber into a Liefmans Goudenband glass (my preferred all purpose beer tasting glass). Tasted March 2013.

Photo of hardy008
4.12/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color with one finger off white head with good retention and lacing. the aroma has smoked malt, oak, and caramel.

Tastes sweet and smoky with a good amount of bitterness for balance. There is smoked malt, oak, citrus, caramel, and dark fruit. Even though this beer has aged for a while, I can taste the hop bitterness which was used to balance out the sweet and smoky malt taste. The alcohol is well disguised for an 11.40 % abv beer.

Medium to full bodied with average carbonation. There is a smoky bittersweet aftertaste. Very nicely made.

Photo of Stinkypuss
4.33/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

The taste is sugary and malty with a dry smoke and oak profile. The smoke flavor lasts into the aftertaste. Fruit, namely cherry and date, come across well with booze and caramel notes. Real deep flavors from the big malts, oak and smoke. Tempered sweetness and very full and smooth. As expected, this beer really opens up as it warms. Overall, quite fantastic.

Photo of buschbeer
4.06/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 Pt. 6 Fl. Oz. bottle
Served in a Stone tulip

A - This beer is deep amber. It is topped with three inches of tan, clinging head.

S - I smell lots of smoke and a little salted pork.

T - I get more smoke, but the barley wine parts the smoke and comes through. It almost tastes like Arrogant Bastard trying to get through.

M - Medium

O - I like this beer. This has more of a rauchbier flavor than just smoke, and the base beer is a nice compliment to the smokiness.

Photo of schoolboy
4.09/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I wanted something unique and new to me today and this fit the bill pretty well. It is a very neat looking barleywine with gorgeous deep brown color, clarity and a nice little head.

The aroma is sweet and boozy. At first it was sort of funky dishwatery (I hope that wasn't reacting with my glass) but it improved - the second glass is way better. The booze also hits in the second glass in aroma and effect.

The taste is all over the place - a busy barleywine. The smoked flavor is down a little low, but it's there and it's good. The aftertaste is hard core and boozy. It's bitter - more so than usual.

This is a little bit of a let down from Stone. Usually their special brews are very special, this one is very good, but not a genre killer.

Photo of metter98
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On-tap at Mugs Alehouse, Brooklyn, NY

A: The beer is very dark hazy amber in color. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that died down, leaving lots of lacing on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass and lots of lacing down the sides.
S: Moderate aromas of smoked oak chips are present in the nose.
T: The taste is mostly dominated by flavors of oak along with notes of smoke.
M: It feels just about full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I wasn't very impressed with this beer as it seemed a little too smoky, and these aromas and flavors didn't mesh with the underlying barleywine.

Photo of kaseydad
4.25/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle version review.

Pours a very clear amber colored ale with a good amount of cream colored frothy foam. Big lace.

Smell is really good. A lot of smoke right out of the whiff. Reminds me of second day campfire clothes smell. The oak is very present as well. It really hits the mark on nailing what it states on the bottle. Some cannot say that. There is also the nice barley wine sweet flavor in the back of the nose, but barely. This monster is all about the oak and smoke.

The taste has a lot of oak coming through and heavy dose of smoke and char on the swallow. Still pleasant though the flavor might cause pallet fatigue rather quickly. Light sweetness on the back end as well. Like the aroma, the barley wine character tries to make a scene but is quickly relegated to understudy.

Mouthfeel is slick and oily.

Overall this was a fun experience for the odd year beer from the Stone crew. I notice my pallet changing even now as I was not a huge fan of smoked beers, but that has come full circle. I enjoyed the in-your-face smoke and even took me back to younger camping years....minus the good beer.

Photo of ISmith87
4.75/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Picked this one up at TW in Glendale. I have to admit at first I wasn't so sure about it, but for some reason smoked beers are never rated as highly as I think they should be. This one is very similar to The Bruery's Smoking wood at 1/3 of the price.

A - 4.75 - Nice copper crystal clear beer wtih an off white head that leaves great lacing.
S - 4.75 - Bourbon, caramel, vanilla, smooth smoke, butterscotch/toffee type notes,
T - 4.75 - follows the nose with the same smooth smoke, bourbon, caramel and vanilla. Butterscotch, toffee,
M - 4.75 - Medium-heavy. Alc is noticeable but integrates with everything else, this is VERY easy drinking for a smoked, 11.4% beer. Aftertaste is smokey bourbon.
O - 4.75 - Absolutely amazing for the $6 price. This beer is a perfect example of why beers don't need to be that expensive. I'm really surprised at how much it tastes like The Bruery's Smoking Wood, and would much rather have 3 bombers of this than one bottle of SW.

Photo of BierJager89
3.91/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Opaque mahogany with a slightly tan head.

S: Smoke is dominant in the nose, not much else going on there.

T: Smoke, malt, oak, a little citrus and pine, kind of porky, but pretty good.

M: Full bodied and kind of smooth.

O: Not the hoppy barleywine I expected. Smoke character is also not the scotchy character I was hoping for. Could have been better, but I'd recommend it.

Photo of ItalianPisces84
4.71/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured a rich dark-medium caramel with a medium head that faded quickly, leaving behind substantial lacing, which persisted for as long as the beer remained in my glass. Smell was mostly of barley and alcohol, with some smoke. Likewise, the flavor was richly malty but not at all overly sweet; in fact, this is probably one of the bitterer barleywines I have tasted. It's ABV is high enough (over 11%) that the alcohol flavor is clear, though crisp, not harsh. Smoke is there, too, and more powerfully than in the bouquet - particularly in the aftertaste - almost to the extent that it borders on tasting a little like a porter. Because it is a very viscous, almost syrupy (but not in any way oily) brew, the aftertaste lingers for quite some time (a good several minutes after the last sip). As such, the carbonation is rather sparse, but not at all at the level of "wounded soldier," and the bubbles which are present are small and feel bright on the tongue. Because of its high viscosity, there is an "after mouthfeel," which is pleasant but leaves one's lips a little sticky... good beer for a first date? :-p But seriously, this is a ridiculously good beer. Thus far (1 - 27 - 2014) I would say it is my favorite beer. Period. If you see it, give it a try. Or two. Or seventeen. This is an absurdly good beer.

Photo of TucsonTom
4.75/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Part of a tap takeover at Tap + Bottle in Tucson, Ariz.

The oak-smoked malt used in this version of Old Guardian creates an extremely tasty, complex and unique barleywine. The smokiness helps it from being overly sweet.

It's fabulous and should be tried.

Photo of Tony49er
3.81/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Serving Type from a bottle poured into a Tulip Glass

Appearance- Bright ruby read color, tons of alcohol legs, big foamy head but goes away quickly

Smell- Booze, oak wood, spices, warmth, caramel sweetness in the nose

Taste- Classic barley wine style ale but with a nice Stone Brewing twist, booze, malty, sweet malts, caramel, brown sugar, spice oak

Mouth feel- smooth, booze, soft on the front of the pallet but a little hotter on the back end

Overall- A very good Barley wine I have had the original Old Guardian or regular release, I like the twist of this one but only wish they would release it more then once in bottles, A very good take on a Barley wine with a Stone Brewing twist, If you are able to get this beer via any means possible I think you should do so I only wish I had a few more...CHEERS

Photo of DrJay
3.61/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very clear, deep reddish amber in colour topped by a thin beige cap of soapy bubbles. A bit of lacing, decent head retention. Aromas of caramel and marshmallow, burnt sugar, booze and faint smoke. Same in the flavour, but with a sturdy earthy/citrus bitterness. Woody astringency and booze combined with lingering bitterness in the finish. Full bodied, low carbonation, alcohol burn rather than warmth, astringency. I was surprised at the low levels of smoke in the beer, but it could definitely do with less oak character. Still enjoyable though, just not refined yet. Some aging will probably help it out.

Photo of santomark
4.77/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip glass.

A - Beautiful hazy bronze, shallow, murky. Wonderful 2 finger head, fades very nicely. So inviting.

S - Oak, very very oak. Reminds me of a rich robust bourbon at times, there is a lot of oak in this. Smokey, can almost smell the fire. Molasses, sweet brown bread ingredients. Nice malt. This is equally as inviting.

T - Oak wood is very abundant in this, just when I think the oak will remind me of bacon, the smoke hits the nose and cools you down. Big malt presence in this for me. Charcoal. Molasses, tastes of ingredients you'd fine in a brown bread from the south. there's a sweetness as if vanilla was in here. Very southern tasting.

M - Big and bold, heavy body, smoke is apparent throughout the body as well, you can feel it as if you were by a fire. It's very pleasant. creamy at times, smooth and silky.

O - I like this one quite a bit. Everything is so refreshing and wonderfully balanced. This reminds me a lot of their Southern Charred. I will keep this in the rotation.

Photo of Slatetank
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I had this at Hunger N Thirst served chilled in a snifter during the Christmas event.

The color is deep amber bordering on red with hazed look and thick tan cream with fine bead, a very attractive ale in the glass. The smell is great with subtle sweet and smoky nose with slight pine hop esters and subtle alcohol. The feel is great moderately bitter with medium carbonation and slight sweetness to balance out the intensity of hops smoke and alcohol, the feel is pretty light for the abv with lingering bitterness.

The taste is very good with malt gentle in relation to the smoke which is noticeable up front with a more fruity alcohol and hoppy taste coming in second. The flavor is pretty well blended since it tastes slightly piney as it warms with more warming alcohol in the finish. Overall I like this west coast style barleywine fresh so the hops are bright, but this could be a good candidate for a little age to mellow the alcohol. I like the level of smoke which doesn't detract from the drinkability at all.

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Old Guardian OAK - SMOKED Barleywine from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 730 ratings.