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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

166 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 166
Hads: 744
Avg: 3.97
pDev: 27.2%
Wants: 9
Gots: 114 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 166 | Hads: 744
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.57/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 1/16/13.

Pours a clear dark orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, smoked malt, beef jerky, oak, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with smoke, oak, and citrus zest flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of smoke and hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the beef jerky aspect I am getting out of this one is a bit off putting.

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Photo of metter98
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is a lot better than the regular old guardian, with a major new level of complexity. the pour is red tinted with some whiskey colors of gold and brass, and a small foam tan head. the nose is peaty, with notes of smoking wet wood, too green to burn clean. I smell candy sugar and a warming vanilla element from the oak. the flavor is very complex, all the fruity sweetness of the regular version, but its more relaxed, more mature, more wise and profound. molasses and scotch, a nice combination, round out the finish. the alcohol is also hidden much better in this one, the smoke tempers it out quite a lot, and im happy to drink a taller glass of this. full bodied and sweet, but not diabetic like some big barleywines. carbonation is adequate, but could be a little stronger to make this all the more drinkable. overall a beer im glad I got to try, it makes me think much more highly of the old guardian, a beer that lends itself brilliantly to the oak and smoke treatment.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

"Left field, here we go!" Stone Brewing kicks off their trip through the twilight zone in '13 with a Oak-Smoked version of their Old Guardian Barleywine to add to the portfolio of "Odd Beers for Odd Years" that has been dormant since 2011.

Not unlike the original Old Guardian, this version has no deviation because of its smoky influence. It's a deep amber-stained ale that shows bright clarity with mahogany and crimson highlights. Incredibly frothy, the sandy-yellow head blankets the beer's surface with a dense barrier of cream. Bold speckled lace and broken rings adorn the glass with each draw from its rim.

Smoke trumps the aromas, but do so with a strong rebuttal of true starch malt aromas. Surprisingly, the hoppy and toffee aromas that are so prevalent in the standard Old Guardian takes a serious backseat in the beer's scent. Bold mesquite and teriyaki offer a meat-centric scent that's similar to beef jerky. Lightly piney, these hop notes marry up with the smoke tones effortlessly. Fruit aromatics of orange and grapefruit and mildly jammy and inform the toffee sweetness that lurks close behind.

But in taste, the toffee and caramel malts shine. Just as vibrant and succulent as the original, the efforts of smoked oak are relegated to a reserve role in the beer's taste. The longevity of sweetness lives indefinitely on the palate and is accompanied by starchy breads and spaghetti, but then gives way to a growing and intensifying hop character which starts fruity but ends bitter, resiny, and piney. But there it is- the cloud of campfire smoke that was so dominant in aromas slowly cast its ominous shadow over the taste as well, particularly as echos as the beer finishes.

With the first draw into the mouth gives the impression that the ale can be drank like a standard ale. But it's just then that it swells to a marshmallow-like texture that's chocked full of toffee, pine-like bitterness, and peppery alcohol. It dominates the mouth with no apologies before trailing late with growing warmth, residual toffee malt, and smoked oak.

In closure, the oak-smoked Old Guardian shows more complexity than even the ultra-complex standard Old Guardian but the oddly compelling "oak smoked" character throws the balance and prohibits the balance of the beer from at least equaling that of the base barleywine. But for the lovers of smoke, cigars, or scotch whisky- they may find this example superior.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.99/5  rDev +0.5%
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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Photo of oberon
4.17/5  rDev +5%
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.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.84/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

Oh, you brewers just know how to romance me, don't you? Anyway, this stuff pours a clear ruby-copper topped by a finger of off-tan foam. The nose comprises caramel apple, light grapefruit zest, oak smoke, light sweet biscuit, and the lightest kiss of mild ash. The taste brings in more of the same, along with a sharp, bludgeoning twang of pine resin. (Yes, it's possible to be both sharp and bludgeoning: imagine smashing someone's skull with a large, double-bladed war-axe.) Making matters worse, the resin cooperates with the smoke, creating a harshly abrasive bitterness that malingers for quite some time. Hints of the waxy coating on a lemon's peel slide in for occasional visits. The body is a solid medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a drying finish. Overall, I'd venture to say that the smoke did not do anything positive here, as the normally strong and lightly abrasive hop flavors characteristic of Old Guardian haven't abated, but have instead been twistedly enhanced by the hand of some diabolical malevolent force. This stuff hurt to drink, both physically (my tongue is pissed at me right now) and mentally, as I had high hopes for a strong, smoked barleywine. Oh well.

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Photo of mactrail
3.81/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beautiful brew in the Ommegang chalice, with plenty of suds and that orangey dark amber color. Medium body with a pretty sharp mouthfeel. I don't smell much but barrels and some alcohol.

Some sweetness to start along with the big toasted malt flavors. Then the oak and smoke seem to dry this out nicely in the aftertaste. The smoke is tantalizing but not too strong. Lots of bitter hops. Very tangy and -- what's the opposite of "mellow"?

A tasty strong beer, but a little austere for late evening sipping. From the 22 oz bottle bought at Dick's Liquor in La Jolla; I hadn't seen it elsewhere.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.73/5  rDev -31.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

2013 Odd Year Release. 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with pretentious label and branded (also pretentious) pressure cap served into a Mitchell's of Lancaster flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are actually fairly high; I'm in a barleywine mood and even though I'm usually underwhelmed by Stone's solo beers I'm strangely optimistic. Cost was $6.00 at a local SoCal beer store.

Served straight from the fridge and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger beige colour head of okay cream, pretty decent thickness, and pretty good (~4 minute) retention. Body color is a quasitransparent translucent copper-amber with orange hues. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Generally appealing for the style, but there's nothing unique or special here. Light lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Sm: Bright fruity esters. Nectar. Floral hops. Light timid rauchbier-esque smokiness; it doesn't add a whole lot but it's there. Not picking up any oaky notes. Light apple. My broken nose can't pick up anything beyond that. It's a pretty light aroma - damned light for a smoked barleywine. I'm worried about the depth of flavour already. No yeast character is detectable. Maybe some alcohol.

T: Oh boy. That's an imbalanced mess. Stale malts mix with smoky character in the third act. Bleh. Murky fruit and floral notes in the body - also tinged by that crappily executed smoke character. No oak comes through. There's no subtlety here at all. No yeast character comes through. Maybe some bland floral hops. Yeah, this isn't good at all. Really poorly done. It's like no care was put into the beer.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but irritating from the smoke - especially in the third act. It's kind of scratchy, actually. Not at all a pleasant or refreshing texture. Poorly executed. Quite bad for the style.

Dr: Stone screwed this one up big time. I definitely wouldn't get this again. The worst barleywine I've had in recent memory. Poorly executed in general - and made even worse at its unfairly high price point relative to the low quality. Messy, bland, and irritating all at the same time. Difficult to drink. Another crap beer from Stone.

High C-

Got considerably better as it warmed.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap 3/15/2013 at Track 84 in Warwick, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a bright coppery red color, with a short off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is faint but contains caramelized malts, dark fruit, bourbon and some hops.

T: The taste starts out with a hearty malt character followed by mild flavors of dark fruit, caramel and bourbon. The hops presence is a bit subdued but brings a good balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, very strong kick, good representation of style, it’s a good beer but I prefer the regular versions because of the more pronounced hops bitterness.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
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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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.86/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I don't see the point of this beer. Besides just doing it to be contrary, since it's an odd year and all.

Robust, sure. Thick body. Yeah. But the smoked element to it just clogs up the works. There is nothing really shining here. It's just a wad of barleywine-ness. But the nose is all rauchbier. I would hope that this one will get more interesting over time.

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Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled in January 2013. Pours moderately cloudy deep ruby red color with a 1 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Nice soapy lacing clings around the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of big caramel, brown sugar, raisin, toast, toffee, oak, smoke, ham, biscuit, pine, floral, grapefruit, and toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/smoked malt, oak, and moderate hop notes; with big strength. Taste of caramel, brown sugar, raisin, toast, toffee, smoke, oak, ham, floral, pine resin, grapefruit, biscuit, and floral earthiness. Good amount of pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, raisin, toast, toffee, oak, smoke, ham, pine, floral, grapefruit, biscuit, and floral earthiness on the finish for a while. Awesome balance and complexity of dark/smoked malt and hop flavors; with a well balanced oak presence and minimal cloying bitterness after the finish. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a slick, very sticky, and moderately crisp mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent Barleywine! All around great complexity and balance of malt, hop, and oak flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the gravity. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From 06/17/13 notes. Had an 8oz. pour of this on tap at Pony Bar on the UES in NYC, side by side with 2010 normal Old Guardian.

a - Pours a hazy amber brown color with one inch of off white head and moderate carbonation evident. Leaves some light lacing on the glass. Looks exactly the same as the normal OG.

s - Smells of smoke, caramel malts, toffee, toasted malts, light dark fruits, and burnt malts. Nose is nice, but the smoke is heavy and dominates it a little bit. I like the normal version better as more comes through.

t - Tastes of smoked malts, toasted malts, oak, fruits, caramel malts, and charcoal. Smoke dominates the taste; not bad, but again, takes away from a great beer by dominating like it does.

m - Medium to full body and moderate carbonation.

o - Overall a good beer but the smoke takes away from the base by dominating it too much. If you like a lot of ham and smoke you'll probably like this one, but I'd much rather just go with the normal version personally.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.34/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Clear, rich, ruby-red coloration, short-lived, film-leaving, off-white head.

Aroma: Deep, rich, immense malt aromatics, swiftly subsumed by oaky overtones. Inevitably, smoke seeps up from below and covers it all. Rearing into the region of "hot."

Taste: First sip, hotness hits hard, blistering the palate just a bit. Fullness of malt flavor makes a magnificent mark. It stays big and bold, with the smoke creeping onto the tongue, and the oak taking over. The flavors are remarkable, almost irresistible, and can feel my brain cells about to lose a bout with insobriety. Satisfying, if not for the high alcohol; delicious, in any event. Alcohol heat never quite becomes a problem, bitterness matches the mighty malt.

A really unique brew, with the intense maltiness of the Old Guardian barley-wine remaining intact and integral, with the oak and the smoke making significant additions from time to time. This is just fantastic on tap, and I'll get some bottles for cellaring, to see how this improves with age.

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Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
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...

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Photo of Gavage
3.94/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a dark orange / amber color with a 1/2" head that slowly falls to a thick surface covering.

Smell: the smoke is up front with some malt sweetness and a bit of hop presence.

Taste: nice malty backbone with definite citrus, nice hop bitterness, mild woodiness, and a dark fruit sweetness all wrapped in a mild smokey blanket. Alcohol is definitely warming and noticeable. Definite has that rachbier feel to a barley wine.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Light crispness to start, smoother and dry at the finish. Long lasting aftertaste.

Overall: a nice slow sipping beer for in front of a fire place on a cold evening. Glad I got to this before the spring warm up. Interesting and hits the spot when looking for a different type of barley wine.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.74/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours a super dark amber to brown with a frothy off-white head leaving lots of lace, great head retention.

S: Mesquite smoke, notes of orange and toffee, smells like BBQ ribs in a way.

T: Lots of dark bready malt, with a secondary undercurrent of smoke which carries the beer. Some minor notes of molasses and treacle with a still heavy grapefruit hop component.

M: Medium to full-bodied, rich, frothy, soft for its size.

O: A good beer, I think it suffers a bit from the oak aging/smoke malt like OA Arrogant Bastard is not as good as the regular. It rounds the beer out for sure, but takes out some of its character. Still a nice brew, and the price ($5.99/bomber) is very nice, but in the end I prefer the original.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.33/5  rDev +9.1%
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.

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Photo of Zorro
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Clear reddish amber colored ale with a medium sized tan colored head.

Smells of fruit and smoke, mostly plum and melon with some banana. Smells slightly medicinal with a calamine/band-aid phenol smell. Vanilla and oak are in this but the other smells are stronger.

Starts out sweet and smoky with a big melon flavor. fairly boozy it is a bit like dry scotch. Tastes like grilled melon. Bitterness is on the high side.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall interesting but the bitterness is on the harsh side.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.48/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber purchased from K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA. Shared with @tobeerornottobe and @LaitueGonflable in Sydney.

Pours a hazed deep ember hue, orange tinged in places, with an exceptional, fine head of pale beige. Carbonation really is like powder: riotous and dense, but extremely fine. Body is thick but still fluid enough to be glossy. Looks great.

Nose is very mildly smoked, giving a faint wooden character to the otherwise clean maltiness that pervades everything else. I get popcorn characters, a slight meatiness and a pervasive caramel sweetness, all topped with a decent dollop of booze. Nice stuff.

Ooh boy. The smoke comes through beautifully on the nose, though. Big barbeque characters from the get-go, wood-smoked and slightly bitter, all with a creamy malt undertone which adds sweetness and slickness. Hops provide a green edge to the taste, lingering for a while until the smoke caresses them and leads them away. The smokiness is so masterfully done: it's a creamy, sweet smokiness that feels wholesome and comforting and works brilliantly layered on top of the richness of the palate. Fantastic.

Feel is excellent, smooth but light, with nothing to countermand the smoke character on the palate.

Overall, this is really, really lovely stuff. Big and rich, with smoke used to brilliant effect. I do not doubt that I've rated this significantly higher than the regular Old Guardian: I think this integrates better, with the smoke providing an overarching structure and coherence. Really, truly wonderful stuff.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.77/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Picked one of these up at the COOP tonight for $6ish... clear deep amber brew with a long lasting tannish head... good lacing with a firm cap.

The nose is Old Guardian with a little bit of campfire thrown in.... caramel and lesser toasty malt with plenty of pungent hops with the smoke sorta complimenting the sweetness in the aroma.

The flavors mirror the nose with a more pervasive smokiness... standard big bitterness that lingers mid palate through the finish... caramel malts are also very present, a bit of nuttiness also shows up.

Thick and coating on the palate allows the finish to linger forever..

Not sure that I dig this one... I think the bitterness and heavy hop hand clash with the smoked malt.


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Photo of vfgccp
4.27/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Beautiful looking brew. Deep cherry wood honey body. Fine yellowed paper head with great lace and nice retention.

S - Blackberry jelly, craisins, amaretto, camp fire ash.

T - Oak, caramel, peat smoke, tobacco, and honey. Smokey scotch finish with peach, ash, and bitter grape skins. Great integration on the smoke.

M - Super smooth, medium full body.

O - Drinks great fresh. Awesome balance and integration of booze, bitterness, and smoke.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a darker amber color with ample head on pour and excellent lacing

S: Bittering hops, pine, hint of smoked meats, some wood, caramel and heat

T: Booze burn present up front and throughout - kind of to be expected but at the same time not masked as well as standard OG. This also hides some of the hop characteristic. Despite that I do enjoy the smoky flavor and the change up on this brew. Ample malting and sweetness.

M: Medium-full bodied, well carbonated, bittering hops linger as does some booze and caramel

O: Very good, especially for the price.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.58/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Caracole small snifter. Pours an orangey copper amber with a nice one finger off-white head with good retension and lacing. Pleasant aroma of caramel malt, hops, licorice, faint smoke. Wow. Excellent flavor of well balanced smoke, oak, sweet malt, pine hops, finishing with pine and floral hops and smoke. Everything is perfectly balanced. Great medium, creamy body. This is just superb and more complex and interesting than the regular Old Guardian. I will cellar one of these, but it seems near perfect right now. I'm a big fan of smoked beer and this is now at the top of the list. I can still taste sweet malt and smoke as I finish this review.

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Old Guardian OAK - SMOKED Barleywine from Stone Brewing Co.
89 out of 100 based on 166 ratings.