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

736 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 736
Reviews: 165
rAvg: 3.92
pDev: 13.01%
Wants: 9
Gots: 113 | FT: 10
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: 736 | Reviews: 165
Reviews by Tonmeister:
Photo of Tonmeister
4.15/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured in a pint mug

Appearance: reddish amber with a thick off-white head.

Smell: sweet barley with a sweet fruity blend. The smoked characteristics stand out. Caramel, sweet roasted malt and a hint of alcohol.

Taste: Rich and malty, I can taste the smokiness. It is a very sweet roasted/smoked malt, but this is a very well balanced beer. I cannot taste the alcohol. It has a very unique and distinctive taste to it.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a great beer. It reminds me of the Rauchbier style. It tastes like it, but this is definitely sweeter than the german Rauchbier with a slight bitterness towards the end. This is a great balanced beer, I would definitely buy this again.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.17/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a large tulip glass a rich deep amber with a garnet tinge a large creamy off white head atop that left multiple ringe of broken foamy lace as it settled ever so slowly into a frothy mass.Oak, smoke,dark fruit,and stinging alcohol in the nose,it's big and brash no doubt about it.Big dark fruit over top of light smoke and wood,the alcohol kicks in and really hits hard in the finish,there is some pine resin from a generous amount of hops but the brash alcohol sweetness wins the day.It's got a nice creamy texture and it goes down smooth.It's in your face with the alcohol but it's a work of brewing art in my opinon.

Photo of Beaver13
3.14/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle. Pours hazy copper red with a big creamy light tan head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is a bit subdued - some peaty smoke with sweet caramel malts in the background.

The flavor is sweet caramel malts and dark fruits with a big bitter smoke finish. The alcohol is noticeable in the finish too. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation and is a bit watery.

Overall, the smoke is interesting, but the beer is a bit watery with a lot of harsh bitter alcohol.

Photo of mverity
3.78/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Like all of the rest of the smoked series from Stone, entirely too smokey. Color was fantastic. Prefect light brown and it had a great tan head. The smell was sweet and slightly bready. The taste was, as I mentioned, WAY too smokey. The smoke took front and center. The sweet maltiness that I love so much was pushed towards an almost hoppy bitter/sweet mess. I love Stone, but I know now to steer clear of their smoked beers.

Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25


P- Hazed darker almond amber, fine bubble head, leaves what its supposed to leave

S- light malts on the nose

T- Smooth and super flavorful. Light smoke, wood, caramel malts, whiskey come to mind.

M- Smooth is the word here. Lower carbonation , velvet on the tongue.

O- High quality sipper, that I enjoyed every sip of...

Photo of ElSid
3.75/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The Beers of California


Freshness Date: None

2013 Odd Year Release

A: Amber with a burgundy edge after a brisk pour. The head is khaki with small, effervescent bubbles which fade to a rim.

S: Breeze of brown sugar, caramel, and jackfruit. Earthy bitterness, wood, and burnt maple leaves in the back. Interesting nose.

T: Thick and syrupy sugar mix with a grainy, woody burnt warmth and a strong earthy, piney and spicy bite. Finish is astringent and dry with whiskey-like alcohol turning a bit phenolic in the end.

M: Syrupy and full with coating linger and faint carbonation.

O: I usually enjoy big beers but the alcohol here comes off somewhat medicinal and heavy throwing off the balance of this brew. I enjoyed the sweetness, smoke and wood complexity but would have liked more agreement of the component flavors. Expected a bit more from this.

Photo of mjtiernan
4.21/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Pretty standard. Head disappeared quickly. Reddish-brown body. Noticeable alcohol legs.

S: Oh man. The smoked part of this smells pretty good. Honestly, it's mostly smoke, lightly charred oak and alcohol on the nose. Maybe a little dark brown sugar. Where is the usual malty sweetness and hop goodness? Weird.

T: Pretty darn good actually. Some hops up front, then deep wood, smoky-sweet dark sugar and caramel followed by sharp alcohol and pronounced hop bitterness.

M: Full bodied, oily and moderate carbonation. Finishes pretty dry.

O: It's bold, but I like the level of wood and smoke on this. It's a definite departure from the OG that I'm accustomed to, but it's a really nice trip.

Photo of MattyG85
4.4/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice. 2013 Odd year release.

Appearance: Pours a deep brownish amber with a moderate amount of bubbles and a little floating sediment. About one finger of off white head that fades into a thin creamy layer. Leaves a good amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell: A big sweet malty aroma with big hints of smoked malt and oak. The smoked malt jumps out and is fairly strong but doesn't dominate. Hints of oak chips and wood. Sweet toasty malts with hints of caramel, toffee, biscuit, grain, and yeast. Slight hint of anise spice with the smoke. Some brown sugar hints. Solid hop presence with hints of grass, pine, and citrus orange peel and lemon. Also some hints of dark fruits with fig, date, cherry, raisin, and prune. A nicely complex and good smell.

Taste: Like it smells, a big complex taste of sweet malts, hops, smoke, and oak. Big smoked malt and oak chip wood taste that is assertive but blends in well. Sweet toasted malts with a big taste of caramel, toffee, grain, biscuit, and yeast. Brown sugar and a little candy sugar. A little anise spice. Good mix of hops with notes of earthy grass, pine, and citrus orange and lemon. Undertones of dark fruit with notes of fig, cherry, raisin, dates, and prune. Alcohol taste is noticeable but subtle. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Full, rich body with a moderate amount of carbonation. Rich, creamy, and slightly chewy. Alcohol heat is there but light. Pretty smooth for such a big complex beer.

Overall: A really good twist on the regular Old Guardian. The smoke and oak give an assertive kick without overshadowing the malts and hops.

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.11/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into 34oz mug. Poured clear dark ruby with a thick off-white head. Smelled clean, with lots of malt. Hops were secondary, with oak and a bit of smoke scent as it warms. Taste was a big spicy mouthfeel, sweet malt and a bit of yeast, bitter hops toward the end. A sweeter smooth oak finish, with boozyness mellowed by the oak but still present, with smoky flavors very present in the finish. As sort of my second foray into smoked beers, I'm loving them.

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

Poured a deep amber, but with very little head that didn't stick around. Rings of lacing were left down the glass. It looks pretty good, but more head would be beautiful. Scents of burnt sugar and smokey wood. Flavor begins with a hit of sweet and roast malt moving into smokey flavors with some hop bitterness and ending with a bitter and smokey aftertaste. Also a pronounced hit of alcohol and alcohol burn. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and sticky, with moderate carbonation. Big, abrasive and intense, like every Stone beer. It's pretty good, and I'll probably pick up a second bottle to age, but I've had better.

Photo of Brenden
3.72/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This barleywine is red, about a medium shade but with lighter hues outward and nearly brown hues in the depths of the body. It's perfectly clear as well. It has a strong, frothy and creamy pillow that sits a little taller than one finger and depsoits plenty of patchy lacing as it recedes.
It's almost as much something like a Schwarzbier as it is a barleywine. There's plenty of piney and citrus hops presence with meatiness and strong campfire smoke. There's also an undrlying fruitiness. A bit of toffee and maybe wood round it out with lots of meatiness from the smoke coming through.
I do like this beer, but I'm surprised I don't like it more. I just don't feel the citrus with the smoke and meat, and the char is absolutely tangy underneath. The smoke goes all the way through from front to finish, which I do like. I just wish this was a bigger, maltier beer with much more barleywine character.
Speaking of, I'm looking for more heft in this beer's body. It's about medium, and crisper than it is smooth. It's not bad, but it's not what I'm looking for.

Photo of CloudStrife
3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled 01.16.13.

A: Pours a clear ruby mahogany with a dense slightly yellowed head. Perhaps poured some sediment into the glass as there is a lot of floaty material in here. Real nice lacing on the sides. Not much visible carbonation.

S: Strong malty aroma dominates the forefront. Lots of roastiness and a touch of dark fruits. Also noticeable is a pronounced smoke aroma. Bit of an aged cheese or farmhouse touch to it.

T: Smoke comes out much more than anticipated from the aroma. Blends well with the roasted malts and the sweet carmel like flavor. Hops are still in there alive and kicking in the backend.

M: Medium body with low carbonation. Touch of hotness but it's subdued from an earlier bottle I had. Perhaps a bit sticky on the finish. Great warming feel for this cold weather.

Overall an interesting and tasty variant of a great barleywine. I'm a fan of most things smoked so this one hits the spot.

Photo of TheSixthRing
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 Release

Appearance - Pours a deep, hazy burnt orange and copper with a rust tinged off-white finger width head. Good retention. Nice, thick layer of microbubbles coat the surface, while the lacing sticks around the glass with a spotty quality.

Smell - Nice! Sweetly smokey oak with caramel notes. Slight spice and a touch of alcohol rounds out the aroma. Reminiscent of beef jerky in a way.

Taste - Sweet caramel to start, followed quickly by the smoked oak character. Hops come through in the backend with a strong citrus pith bitterness.

Mouthfull - Full-bodied, near syrupy with low to moderate carbonation levels. Slight heat from the alcohol, but does well to hide the 11.4%

Overall - Nice barleywine. I'd love to do a side by side with this and the regular Old Guardian offering, if only because I've mostly forgotten much of the initial experience. Nice smokiness with this one - IMO, shows a better use of the smoke character than does their Smoked Porter.

Photo of RickS95
3.94/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Sure looks the part with a slow, rich pour of mahogany brown beer. The head is a finger of offwhite, dingy yellow bubbles. There's good retention as the bubbles never really go away. Sure, they dissipate a bit, but they're always there. Nice lace.

As you'd guess, there's a ridiculous amount of malt that fills the nose. Some charry smoke flavor lightens it a bit and there's some citrus wafting up from somewhere. If you take a big, fast whiff, be prepared for alcohol.

Some advice...make your initial impressions on the first sip or two because after that, your taste buds are destroyed and you can't taste or feel a thing. That said, like in the nose, it's got huge amounts of malt, possibly some caramel malts in there, I can't tell because my throat is on fire. You easily pick up the smoke and again, for just a second, I swear there's citrus in there, possibly Cascade hops.

It's harsh, even for a barleywine. I simply can't score it better than OK because I already can't feel my mouth and my throat aches more with each sip. It's extreme bitter and heat all rolled into one. I don't recall the regular Old Guardian to be so manly. Full bodied and did I mention bitter? Hot.

I wish there was a category for extreme beers, because this wouldn't be a barleywine...it would fall into the extreme category. It's over the top bitter. And the heat from the alcohol, wow. Still trying to decide if I should sip the rest of the bottle or invite some friends over to do shots.

Photo of Fatehunter
3.96/5  rDev +1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured a thin head on a muddled amber colored body.
The aroma is rich smoke with subtle spice.
The taste is heavy on the smoke, a moderate sweetness throughout and finishes with a mild bitterness.
A medium body with low carbonation. A lot lighter than expected but nice.
Great balance in the taste and aroma. Pretty good overall.

Photo of flayedandskinned
3.32/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Bottled on 1/16/13
Poured into a Duvel tulip.

Appearance: Pours a perfectly clear, deep amber with rich red highlights. A 2 and half finger tall light tan forms quickly with good retention. Lots of thick, meringue-like lacing adheres to the side of the glass. Great looking barleywine.

Aroma: Smoky, caramel laden malt with very light grapefruit and vanilla accents. Astringent alcohol becomes more and more apparent as the beer acclimates to it's room temperature glass. For as big as this beer is, the aroma is quite subdued.

Taste: Juicy caramel, vanilla infused malts right up front with only a mere suggestion of leafy, citrus-y hops before you're hit with a smoky, bitter and astringent off dry finish. As in the nose, the astringent characteristics of the alcohol become more obvious as the brew warms. Luckily, the smokiness grows as well.

Mouthfeel: Viscous and chewy with soft carbonation.

Overall: A decent barleywine that is not overly sweet and is somewhat complex. I truly enjoyed the smoke character of this barleywine, but other than that this beer is rather pedestrian. The strong alcohol flavor component does it no favors in regards to opening it's flavor profile.

Photo of bashiba
3.5/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a clear dark amber with a thick and creamy long lasting tan head.

The smell was dominated by the heavy smoke.

At first taste there is a bit of the sweet old guardian malt sneaking through but it is quickly overtaken by waves of heavy deep smoke. The hops are present in bitterness only.

The mouthfeel is heavy and oily.

This is a plain and simple smoke bomb. I really like smoked beers, but this is bordering on to much smoke.

Photo of Gmann
3.05/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a golden honey brown color, dark amber. The off white head is tight and creamy and settles into a sparse cap.

I don't pick up much from the aroma. Some honey malt, light oak, and caramel. Not much else, kind of disappointing.

The flavor is of a dry toasted oak. Quite dry and bitter. A bit of an apple note from the oak. A light honey sweetness but the beer is screaming for more. The hop profile is dry and grassy and adds to the bitterness of the beer. Not really picking up any smoke, unless some of this bitterness is an ashy flavor. Again, disappointed.

Moderate feel with prickly carbonation. Fairly bitter on the palate, especially in the finish. Not enough sweetness and the ABV provides some belly burn. Overly dry and bitter.

Just not feeling this one. I don't get any smoke except perhaps an ashy flavor. Doesn't remind me of a barley wine or a smoked beer.

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

Very delicious, but I recommend sharing this with somebody instead of trying to tackle it yourself.

Photo of richj1970
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bomber into tulip glass.

A: Dark brown with copper tones. Nice 1-2 finger off white head with some nice lacing.

S: Smoke is coming through nicely. Reminds me of a nice BBQ. Some sweet malts and caramel in the back.

T: Sweet barley mixed with faint smokey and fruit flavors. A bit of spice lingering but having trouble placing it. Fairly complex and nicely balanced.

M: Rich and full bodied. Nicely carbonated. Borders almost a bit too syrupy sweet but it helps to offset the smoke.

O: Complex brew and nicely balanced. Going to drink a regular one later this week to compare, but this was definitely enjoyable.

Photo of Bung
3.54/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz. Fairly deep red pour, a very thin layer of off white.

Aroma, caramel, bready toast, some very light smoke.

Taste, a nice beach wood smoke up front. Caramel and some burnt toast. Resiny hops, turn to an acrid bitterness. The bite just does not mesh with the smoke and sweeter notes. The negatives of all 3 are accentuated, along with the alcohol heat. What starts out great, doesn't end so much a the moment. A grapefruit piney finish that isn't out of characteristic forthe style I suppose.

Medium body, well coating. Bitterness and heat just kind of ruin the drinkability for me. Quite dry. Feels like this one is close to being really good, just not there yet.

The smoked malt was nice, but the bitterness and heat did not work with it very well. Smoke really seems to only work with non-hoppy style beers. Well worth a try, but probably better off waiting this one out in the cellar.

Photo of gillagorilla
3.73/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22 oz. bomber into a Stone pint glass

A: Cloudy with a dark red amber hue to it.

S: Very strong malt and alcohol smell. A very smoky smell as well.

T: Haven't had a BW in a while and I have only had a sip/sample of their regular OG BW. It does taste quite different from what I remember. It is much better after a bit of warming up. The oak and smokiness is quite prevalent. I can't say that I am a big fan of it in this context. However, the beer does grow on you, but it is still too smoky and oaky for me.

M: Very smooth with an alcoholic malt aftertaste.

O: So, far I have not liked the Odd Year Releases, but I haven't had any of the IRS Odds though. I had the Belgo a few months back. This is a beer that is meant to be very slowly sipped. It is quite warming and nice with time between sips.

Photo of goochpunch
3.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a red-amber. Barely any head lingers. Just a ring off bubbles around the glass. Nose is boozy, hoppy, with a slight hint of smoke in the background. Flavor is very sweet and boozy up front. I get a touch of smoke in the middle. Finish is very bitter with some lingering alcohol. Mouthfeel is smooth, low carbonation. This needs some time to mellow. I think the booze is a little rough, and the hops could use a little time to chill just to mesh with everything else. I must say, that slight hint of smoke in the flavor makes this more drinkable than this year's normal OG. Gonna put a bottle of this away for a long while.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a reddish/copper color with about an inch light tan head that stayed around for a long time. There's also a lot of lacing. The aroma is nice, it smells mostly like smoked malt/meats, and there's also some cherry, caramel and oak noticeable, too. It tastes like smoked malt/meats, caramel, oak, citrusy and pine hops, toffee, bready malt, and a bit of booze, chocolate and cherry cough syrup. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it's coating and creamy with moderate carbonation. Drinks pretty easy for an 11.4% ABV beer. I'm a fan of this brew, I'll have to pick up another bottle soon. A pretty good deal for $7.99 a bottle.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.99/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep amber color ale with a large light brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of caramelized sugar with some toffee with light smoky notes. Taste is also a mix between some caramelized sugar, some notes of toffee and some light smokiness. Oak is more concealed but can provide a more rounded finish. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well brewed though smoked notes are not has apparent as I had expected and hops presence is not as present as in the regular version.

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Old Guardian OAK - SMOKED Barleywine from Stone Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 736 ratings.