Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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: 745
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 166 | Hads: 745
Photo of TucsonTom
4.75/5  rDev +19.6%
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.

 256 characters

Photo of Tony49er
3.81/5  rDev -4%
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

 814 characters

Photo of DrJay
3.61/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

 607 characters

Photo of santomark
4.77/5  rDev +20.2%
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.

 1,017 characters

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.

 1,024 characters

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.59/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

3.5 A: Deep amber color. Lots of crap floating around that for the most part is uniformly small. One and a half fingers of frothy beige head. Retention is about what you'd expect from a beer this big, but a formidable ring of lacing is left.

3.75 S: I bought this looking for smoke. I got some. I want more. Otherwise, this is still the just-a-bit-too-hoppy BW. However, I dare say the smoke brings everything together and it's a lot nicer than the original. Caramel, plum, brown sugar, some toastiness, and a nice neutral maltiness. Herbal hops with citrusy and floral components.

3.5 T: Tastes good, but I wish the smoke came through stronger. Like the original, this is a bit too bitter for me. I like my BWs on the sweeter side, but Stone doesn't do things like not hopping the shit out of everything. Anyway, caramel, brown sugar, toastiness lead the way with plum and raisin fruits underneath. Mild smokiness underneath that. Strong herbal hoppiness, again with notes of citrus and floral.

3.75 M: Heavier medium to heavy body. Good moderate carbonation. Reasonably creamy with well hidden alcohol.

3.5 D: Tasty beer. It'd be better with less hops, but it's still good nonetheless.

 1,216 characters

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.

 565 characters

Photo of CloudStrife
3.99/5  rDev +0.5%
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.

 958 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
3.5/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep red from the bottle with a tannish yellow hued head. Wet dog, malts, some oak & smoke on the nose (imagine that). Overall not a lot of aroma. Dry flavor with a hop bitterness. Definite smoke to this. Not much of the sweetness I enjoy from the style. Hints of booze in between the dryness of the oak/smoke. Medium slick mouthfeel with medium carbonation. I was hoping for sweetness, but it is not bad for what it is.

 426 characters

Photo of Kuaff
4.64/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Served in my snifter at cellar temperature, of course...

It's the same beauitiful ruby-mahogany as the standard Old Guardian, but with slightly less clarity. A little more haze. The same awesome, long-lasting beige head.

It smell like the original, but with a subdued woodiness covering everything. The vanilla is slightly stronger in this version's scent. If there's any smoke in the aroma, it's only a subtle hint. The fruity smell is still in there, but with more emphasis on cherry.

It tastes more malty than the original. At first, it's a mix of sweet vanilla and the fruitiness, the vanilla once again being more pronounced than in the original's. This then fades into a grassy, woody, resinous finish... one that isn't quite as bitter as the standard, but still quite bitter and hoppy. It's a "green taste." No alcohol, and not much smoke, except maybe just a bit of smoky earthiness in the aftertaste. This aspect comes through more the longer I sip on it. Simpler summation: It's good.

The feel, to me, is even smoother than the original's, which was already great. Noticeably thicker and creamier, I think (for some reason).

While this is quite similar to the old Old Guardian, it presents a slightly different (and still very pleasureable) barleywine experience.

 1,278 characters

Photo of Sludgeman
3.02/5  rDev -23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

From a 2013 ODD bomber. Could not find an enjoy by date on either the shoulder or bottom. Poured into a small wine glass. A bottle that I could not finish.

I am a big fan of barleywines, but this is a beer I will not drink again. Too bad the aroma does not carry over to this beer’s taste. I could imagine this beer as a single malt scotch without the heat of the higher alcohol.

A – Pours a dark clear amber with a minimal off-white head. Average lacing.

S – Slight smokiness. Some malty sweetness.

T – Smokey, enough to cut and even overwhelm the malt and hops. Slight sweetness and significant bitterness in the finish.

MF – Medium heavy body. Some silkiness initially but ending in an very astringent mouth feel.

 731 characters

Photo of PorterLambic
4.14/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a beautiful, clear, dark brown, the same color as the bottle. Beautiful, creamy tan head. Nice lacing and retention.
Smell is malty, smoky, slight hops, soy, oak. Great balance.
Taste is smoke, malt, soy, light hops, oak. Excellent balance.
Medium bodied, light effervescence. Warming, slight drying in the finish. This is seriously good beer. Get two.

 360 characters

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

I picked up a bottle of Stone's Old Guardian Oak Smoked Barleywine a month and a half ago for $7.05 at Boyne Country Provisions. I had the 2011 Release of Old Guardian a while ago and I thought it was a very good Barleywine, so I was happy to find a bottle of the Oak Smoked version from their odd beers for odd years series, I'm interested to see how the smoked malts work with this beer, so lets see how it goes. 2013 Vintage. Poured from a brown 22oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The bottle is pretty simple looking even for Stone with just a smaller gargoyle on the bottle with the typical lengthy Stone rant on the back, it looks ok. It poured a nice deep amber/orange color that took on a nice and bright ruby hue when held to the light with three fingers worth of fluffy off white head that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and left lots of sticky lacing behind. This is a very good looking beer, I really like the color and the head and lacing was really nice especially for the style,

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness followed by a good amount of smokey aromas that have more of a quality smoked meat aroma than a campfire aroma but there's still some nice smokey wood aromas going on. Up next comes the malts that impart a sweet, caramel, toffee, and brown bread like aroma with some nice dark fruits showing up in the background. Towards the end I get some lighter hoppy aromas with a little bit of citrus hop aromas coming through. This beer has a pretty damn good aroma, the smoke aspect is pretty noticeable but it doesn't overpower the Barleywine base and there's some nice balance between the two.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with a higher amount of medium sweetness followed by a good amount of oaky and smoked flavors that still lean more towards being similar to smoked meats rather than a bonfire. Up next comes the malts that impart a sweet, brown bread, caramel and toffee like flavors with just a slight bit of dark fruits showing up in the background. Up next comes a noticeable alcohol flavor that's a little warming and it followed by some light citrus and earthy hops with the earthy hops seeming to stick out the most imparting a pretty high amount of medium bitterness. This is a pretty good tasting beer, the balance is pretty nice and the smoke seems to work very nicely with the Barleywine base.

M- Pretty smooth, chewy, rich, slightly sticky, pretty dry, on the lighter side of being full bodied with a slightly lower amount of carbonation that's at just the right level for this beer. This beer had a pretty good mouthfeel, I have no complaints.

Overall I thought this was pretty damn good beer and a very good example of the style, it's not quite a full on smoked beer since the smoke isn't completely dominating and the Barleywine base shows up just enough to provide great balance and the two aspects work very well together, even better then I expected. This beer had pretty good drinkability, it was smooth especially for the style and the flavors did a great job at holding my attention, I kept going back for more and I think one bottle is the perfect amount, but if I was really in the mood for it I might consider trying to tackle another one. What I liked the most about this beer was how well the smoke worked with the Barleywine base, the two worked much better then even I thought they would. What I liked the least about this beer was that it's a one time only release, I think they should release this with the regular Old Guardian every year. I would for sure buy this beer again, when I go back up north I'm going to make sure to grab a couple bottles if there's any more left and I think it's priced nicely. I would recommend this to most Barleywine fan's especially the ones who don't mind smoked beers. All in all I was pretty impressed with this beer, I was a big fan of Old Guardian, but I wasn't sure how it would take to some smoke, but it worked out very well and while I still prefer Old Guardian I think the Oak Smoked version is still pretty damn good. Stone did a great job with this beer, this is the second beer I've had from Stones odd beers for odd years series and they have both been very good, keep up the good work guys, I'm digging these creative versions of old classics.

 4,341 characters

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.

 550 characters

Photo of ONUMello
4.01/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Average brown color with a 1/2-finger head that settles very quickly
S: I can smell this from quite a distance away. Deeply roasted hops, lots of caramel, toffee, molasses, a bit of a blue cheese smell and some woodsmoke
T: Very rich, quite complex- again lots of dark malt and molasses, though the oak & smoke come through heavier on the palate than the nose. The alcohol is noticeable but not overbearing. Pine hops come through towards the finish
M: Full-bodied, fairly viscous, a touch hot... not my ideal mouthfeel but not too far off the norm for a barleywine
O: I really wish Stone used 12oz bottles for this as trying to finish off a whole 22oz bottle solo borders on painful. Overall well made as usual per Stone and it did make an enjoyable pairing with several blue cheeses

 824 characters

Photo of Brenden
3.72/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

 1,062 characters

Photo of JoakimBulow
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A rich and very malty barleywine. Extremely strong i flavor. Made me wish I was better at identifying tastes and aromas but it was indeed both fruity and smoked, almost roasted and coffee-like. A bit too smoky for me and kind of bitter but to have just 1/3 of a bottle was a great taste experience anyway.

 305 characters

Photo of laituegonflable
3.44/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a red colour, with a few bubbles around. Thin but pleasant head, off-white with some trails of lace left behind. Quite pleasant-looking.

Smells smoky. Meaty, bacony, yeah. Some speck; with peppery spice. Touch of fennel and plenty of salt. Not very beery, but if you don't at least enjoy this smell you're probably a communist.

Taste has a lot more malt to it. Very strong, sweet toffee flavour upfront that develops into smoky characters, with some wood smoke and slightly charred meat, but also a distinct boozey note. Brandied cherries and sort of empty spiritous flavour which is so sad, because so much more deliciousness was promised on the nose.

Full body, goes down OK but feels like it coats your mouth with lacquer at the end. So dry.

Not sure what's gone wrong between me and this palate, but goddamn that was one delicious smell. Would probably pair really well with a pot roast with speck, or a pulled pork roll, but on its own it just doesn't quite stand up for me.

 989 characters

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served on tap in a chalice glass

Appearance – The beer is served a murky and hazy golden bronze color with a small white head. The head fades quite fast, but leaves a fantastic level of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is sweet and smoky. The sweet is a mix of lighter fruity aromas of citrus and banana as well as a sweet caramel and sweet bready smell. Along these aromas is a whole lot of a smoky smell. The smoke brings with it some smells of bacon and a decent showing of an oaky smell. Along with these smells is a little bit of an earthy and pine smell rounding out the aroma quite nicely.

Taste – The taste begins with a sweetness of lighter fruits and a nice bready and biscuit base. Upfront the smoke is already present with it growing stronger and stronger in nature as the flavor advances. While the smoke grows stronger, some notes of oak develop more toward the middle of the taste being joined by some flavors of alcohol and caramel as well. In the end, notes of pine and earthy hops arrive on the scene as the alcohol and smoke flavors become quite a bit stronger in nature. These flavors when all combined leave a lightly bitter sweet and oaky smoke flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is very thick and chewy with a carbonation level that is on the lower side. The thick and chewy body are great for all the sweet, boozy, smoky and oaky flavors of the brew making this one a rather slow sipper as it should be.

Overall – A slow sipping, moderately sweet but smoky, oaky and nicely bittered barleywine. A nice brew to sit down and sip from time to time.

 1,631 characters

Photo of olivianjeremie
3.46/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is an interesting beer. It has hints of toffee and caramel. Very strong flavour, with a rich amber color. Nice fruity smell, all though in can not taste any fruit in the beer. Very good beer. I had this beer on tap at the Old Toad in Rochester NY.

 252 characters

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.

 1,548 characters

Photo of Oakenator
4.16/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a darker amber brown - still some light showing through this brew. Clean filtered. Ample head on pour and excellent lacing for a high ABV brew.

S: Alcohol present up front and strong throughout. Malting clearly shows through as well as the smoke aroma.

T: Again alcohol 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: Definite presence on the tongue and could be compared to a sipping liquor.

O: Still a great brew and enjoyed.

 663 characters

Photo of Pahn
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a wide red wine glass.

Appearance: Clear orange red. Fluffy and fizzy light tan head, lots of lacing.

Smell: Wow, a big oaky vanilla note--I thought the malt was smoked with oak wood, not aged in oak barrels. Either way, this smells great. Vanilla, faint smokey barbecue underneath (very subtle), some caramel. Bit of piny hops and booze cutting through.

Taste: And there it is, the taste works even better than the aroma. Toffee-like barleywine malt up front, leading to a much more pronounced rauchmalt flavor. Ends on harsh piny-hop bitterness reminiscent of normal Old Guardian.

You'd really think that sweet malt this bold, plus rauchmalt, plus a lot of hops, would all equal "confused flavor / going too far." However, Stone's "balance all the bold flavors together, perfectly" strength is shining through here. Great flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Very very dry. Pretty hot.

Overall: Interesting style, really well done. Amazing to marry fully-hopped American barleywine with smoked beer without doing some cheap shit like aging it in a bourbon barrel. Impressive and enjoyable beer.

 1,118 characters

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.

 1,410 characters

Photo of arizcards
3.81/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a bomber at BevMo in late April for $5.79. Bottled on 02.25.13.

Beer poured deep amber with a nice white head upon the initial pour and is leaving a nice lacing.

Nose is smoked malt dominated with a hint of yeast and citrus hops.

Taste initially was dominated by smoked malts. There are some hints of toffee. Finish is a bit uneven with a bitter citrus rind.

Mouthfeel is thick and smooth from the monstrous amount of caramel and smoked malts.

Overall drinkability is pretty good; the smoothness of this brew definitely makes it worthwhile. Although it was fun to try and would have if offered I do not believe I will track down another bottle.

 661 characters

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