Old Guardian OAK - SMOKED Barleywine | Stone Brewing

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Old Guardian OAK - SMOKED BarleywineOld Guardian OAK - SMOKED Barleywine

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.40%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by EgadBananas on 02-18-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 171 | Ratings: 760
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.

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Photo of Beerquester
4.77/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Let me just start by saying I have tasted a lot of barleywines, but strangely do not enjoy most of them. This, however, is the exception. When this was offered on draft at nearby Bottleworks, I just couldn't help going back for more. This beer had all the great qualities I look for in a barleywine, without going overboard on any one thing. In other words, it was very well-balanced between the malts, hops, smoke, and oak. You could tell there was some alcohol in here, but not an overwhelming warming sensation. Oak and caramel (with some toffee) comes through very prominently, with smoke in second. Full-bodied with velvety texture, fully attenuated, crisp. Color medium amber, off-white and long-lasting head and very pleasant finish to the beer with no unpleasant aftertaste. A little more on the sweet side than the hoppy side of the spectrum, but as I stated, very closely balanced.

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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.

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Photo of ISmith87
4.75/5  rDev +19.6%
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.

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Photo of TempeBeerMan
4.71/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle into a nonic pint.

A - Pours a hazy, opaque, bronze with a creamy, three-finger, eggshell colored head that developed in a huge cascade from the bottom of the glass when poured. Honestly, this might have been the best looking pour I have ever seen. Ridiculous lacing coating almost every inch of the glass as the level of fluid drops.

S - Not as strong of an aroma as expected. Getting smoke, peat, oak, butterscotch, toffee, sticky hops, and caramel. Smells good, just lacks "punch".

T - The mild aroma disguises a big taste. Flavor profile matches the nose listed above almost note for note. (A good thing). Slightly more sweet than bitter. Some dark fruits not immediately noticeable (date, fig) appear as it warms. Two things stand out: 1) How understated the oak is here. This is not Oaked Arrogant Bastard, where the woodiness comes out and pulls your jersey over your head and beats you. Here it just lays back in support, and adds a truly magical touch, and 2) How smooth and well balanced this beer is when you consider it's a barleywine, it's oaked, and it has such a big hop profile. Alcohol an afterthought. Delicious.

M - The very definition of "full bodied". Knife and fork, please? Medium carbonation. Wet, sticky/oily finish. Everything comes together in perfect harmony.

O - A unique and interesting barleywine. Most of the traits from regular Old Guardian are there, but with any harsh or "hot" elements smoothed out by the smoky oak (not that there was really that much to begin with) Kudos to Stone for taking an already impressive beer and making it kick even more ass.

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Photo of ItalianPisces84
4.71/5  rDev +18.6%
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.

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Photo of Tilley4
4.71/5  rDev +18.6%
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...

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4.67/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Old Guardian pours a darkish red hue, with a long lasting lacing head. There is a pronounced wine like aromas, with lots of smokey notes. The taste has a nice subtle and smooth wine like flavor, with lots of smoke. Easy to drink, and great full flavors. Overall a fantastic barleywine, the flavors come together, unique, and I think its the best barlywine to date.

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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.

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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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Photo of MaineBrewing
4.57/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Purveyed from the Bier Cellar in Portland ME, 22 oz bomber 6.99.

A- poured into imperial pint glass (why not?) a little over aggressively, seemed to not want to produce head at first but then resulted in an immense 3 finger off white head. Body is a beautiful amber to redish. Head takes a long time to reduce, leaving both apparent legs and copious amounts of lacing. Looks amazing headwise, body seems a little light in color for the style. But I guess I can't knock this for the hue, the head retention and lacing is amazing despite the high abv. Probably the best looking barleywine I've had.

S-Intense aroma of malt, alcohol, piney resinous hops. Nice toasted notes, almost roasted barley-ish. Strong smoke comes through more pronounced as it warms, coupled with the sweet malt notes, it is almost reminiscent of barbecue sauce, or even bacon.

T- Taste is very complex, and very smooth. Big malt flavor with burnt sugar, smoke, roasted, and sweet character. Malt profile extends through the finish. Hops are present with definite flavoring hops, with a floral and pine flavor up front and a nice bitter finish, certainly enough to quell the sweetness that is ever present. With a few less IBUs this would be too sweet. ABV is well masked.

M- one of those brews where I skip to mouthfeel before even touching taste, it stands out. So smooth, great balance of carbonation, Heavey body but by no means thick. Finishes very balanced and I was afraid it would be too sweet.

O- I love the idea of a smoked oak barleywine. I love this style in general, but it's good to have something unique like this to break the monotony when all you drink is barleywines in the winter and they start tasting very similar. It's a shame this is only a limited release, this is just an absolutely enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Beerlover
4.57/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

wow. what. a...BEAST! pretty new to the barleywine style, this is probably my 5th so I'm still kinda wet behind the ears on this one. Stone doesn't disappoint again (do they ever!?)

appearance: beautiful crimson amber color, unfiltered, thick beige foamy head.
smell: deliciously balanced aromas of smoke and woodseyness .
taste: YUM! onslaught of hop bitterness shocks thee ole palate, not piney, not citrusy just bitter. then the sweetness from the oak highlights the slight smokiness blended with faint nuttiness.... this a complex pig, and would go great with some b.b.q. sow! I think if this aged for a bit that bitterness would be more rounded out, still not offensive thoe.
mouthfeel: is good, not great a touch on the carbonated side for me but again very balanced and not bad at all.

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Photo of MusicaleMike
4.57/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Cellar review. 22oz bottle served at cellar temp (about 55-60F) in a balloon snifter.

The body is a beautiful clear ruby mahogany color with a soft, stable tan head on top that has a creamy texture to it.
The aroma is showing a little age to it, slightly musty. Underneath that is a mixture of sweet caramel, vanilla, nougat, oak, smoke.
The taste is sweet, with more notes of caramel, butterscotch, oak, honey, spice, subtle smoke, and the body is effervescent enough that the carbonation lifts this heavy, full-bodied beer right off the palate and makes this a much more quaffable drink.
I love smoked beers and this is right up my alley. Barleywines can be a bit too sweet, and I think that the bitterness of the hops combined with the oak-smoked malt made for an interesting package that took the attention off the sugary malt background. I would definitely drink this again, and I could see this beer pairing incredibly well for food. Sharp cheddar, blue cheese, candied walnuts, duck, rotisserie chicken, or barbeque.

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Photo of J_Dub
4.53/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours an amber/copper color. Minimal lacing but with a decent off-white head initially that vanishes quickly.

The initial smell is of malts. This is very quickly married with a robust oak aroma. I can almost smell the "heat" of the alcohol. Wonderful smell overall.

The taste is similar to the smell. Immediate malt and oak mixture. After a few sips I can detect a certain sweetness to it. Some brown sugar perhaps. Some bitterness but surprisingly little compared to what I was expecting. Even less bitterness than many IPA's. The 11% is almost completely hidden by the wonderful smokey oak, malt, dark sugars blend.

Thick mouthfeel with the appropriate amount of carbonation (small) for the style. Very smooth especially considered the complexity of the flavors.

My favorite barley wine by far. I'm actually not a fan of the style but this may have converted me. Wonderful color, smell and taste combine to make this Stone another great beer. The price was such that I will be buying this more often.

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Photo of Mdog
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Red-orange, lots of particles, big head. Pretty.

Smell: Big smoky ham aroma.

Taste: Moderate caramel sweetness followed by a lot of smoke. Lasting smoky finish. As it warms up a hint of citrus shows up before the smoky finish.

Overall: This is more like it. I tried the Belgo Old Guardian a couple years ago and it was a boozy mess. The oak smoked version gives the big malt base of the barleywine and piles on the big smoke of a rauchbier. Tasty stuff if you like smoked beers.

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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 OBeerMeGreatOne
4.48/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice red/orange. Nice half inch of head, decent head and lace retention.

The smell starts with caramel and citrus which is quickly followed by the smoked oak. Some mineral and pine notes are also present.

The taste is pretty fantastic. Caramel and smoked oak are right up front. Citrus and a hint of booze make up the middle. The finish has a nice bitter grass and lemon rind. Very nice. Goes down smooth with just a tad too much carbonation.

I love this version of Old Guardian. I hope I can find one to drop in the cellar.

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Photo of ocelot2500
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear deep amber color with a creamy off-white head that leaves big chunks of lacing.

Smells of caramel malts with a a good dose of smoke.

Tastes of a bit of the smoke off the bat with more standard barleywine notes coming through underneath. Solid smoke notes lead off with caramel malts coming through next. Touches of sweetness come through with some fruitiness as well. Some citrus and pine hops come through blending into a bit of booziness.

Mouth feel is full with a smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is a good take on the standard Old Guardian as the smoke is well represented, but not overdone.

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Photo of bluejacket74
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
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.

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Photo of EgadBananas
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 "Odd Beers for Odd Years" Release

APPEARANCE: tawny red, translucent, ruby, soft yellowish head, finger, foamy lacing.
AROMA: burnt wood, smoke, meat, citrus hops, caramel, toffee, light roast, faint booze, earth, grain.
TASTE: caramel, smoked meat, woody char, medium bitterness, toffee, sweet malts, candied sugar, light dark fruits, citrus fruit hop notes.

***Question: How the hell do you make OG better? Answer: F*cking Oak - Smoke that Ish!

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Photo of DIM
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

a: This was a clear mahogany tinted copper color. It poured with a thick creamy head that stuck around for quite a while.

s: A bit mild over all perhaps, but very appealing. I noticed the oak most of all, with hints of smoke, plus some caramel and piney hops.

t: Wow, there was a lot more smoke than the smell suggested there would be. I found caramel and smoke up front and some surprisingly strong oak flavors towards the middle. The finish was all over the place but in a good way. It was warm but not hot, with a strong piney hop bite, and a very strong smoke presence that lingered for quite a while.

m: Full bodied with creamy carbonation.

o: Overall I'm a big fan. Great stuff from Stone this works extremely well.

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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.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.4/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

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Photo of AdamMY
4.39/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark chestnut brown, witha tan head that laces wonderfully down the glass.

A vanilla and sugary sweetness to it ( think chocolate chip cookie dough), nice of freshly buttered rolls, and a nice honeyed malt profile. It only really loses points in how much I need to look for it, but when I can zone in on its aroma it is heavenly.

The smoke is far more apparent in the taste, and wow that is a strong beer. Everything in the nose but its not hiding this time, but also a very very strong smoked profile, think burnt marshmallows, and the very sweet vanilla profile of say Jack Daniels or any other charcoal mellowed whisky. Sadly this looses points ( very few points) on being such a kick in the face.

Mouthfeel is like candy syrup, yet oddly popping at the same time.

This is a huge in your face beer, and wow it is delicious.

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Photo of Cvescalante
4.36/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This one was poured into my sweet Jester King glass..

A- Beautiful reddish beer, very sticky lacing

S- Campfire smokiness to this one very prominent. You get the piney hop smell and maybe some dark fruit to it.

T- Again smokey. Some mild tart cherry flavor, resinous piney hops to it. Bitter, sweet, smokey...

O- If you don't like smoked beers, this isn't for you. I tend to like them, especially in the nose, but the flavor is pretty great as well. Stone makes beer that may be harsh on the taste buds, but I'm loving this one. I'd buy it again for sure.

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Old Guardian OAK - SMOKED Barleywine from Stone Brewing
3.97 out of 5 based on 760 ratings.
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