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: 172 | Ratings: 761
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.

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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 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.

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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 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 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.

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Photo of RickS95
3.94/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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Photo of falloutsnow
3.71/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From: Binny's, Champaign, IL
Date: 2013 release
Glass: Tulip

A fairly tasty, good smoked beer; that it's a barleywine implies more about malt usage and less of flavor. I'd take a German rauchbier over this any day for greater depth of flavor and easier drinkability, but this is not a bad beer, though only one I'd seek out again to share with friends.

Pours a 2cm head of light tan to dark beige foam, made up of small to medium-sized bubbles. Retention is excellent, lasting several minutes before falling to a thick ring around the glass and an island of foam atop the body of the beer. Lacing is excellent, the faded foam leaves a honeycomb-like pattern along all sides of the glass. Body is a deep caramel brown color, with light, bringing out amber-brown highlights and tones.

Aroma of caramel malts and smoked beechwood malt, slight Robitussin original cough syrup. Mostly of smoked malt, not leaving much complexity, but not bad either. Actually, when considering the amount of smoked malts that went into this beer, that this is not cloying or overly smoky is a sign of the brewers' skill.

Overall flavor is rich in caramel malt and smoky malt character, with medium-strong hop bitterness without much other hop flavor. Front of palate detects heavy caramel malt with slight campfire-like smokiness. Mid-palate notes smoky, sharp oak-smoked wheat, more campfire than smoked meat. Heavy caramel malt, moderate hop bitterness with little citrus flavor, mild ethanol. Back of palate picks up beechwood smoked malt giving a campfire taste, moderately bitter hops. Aftertaste is of lingering smoked malt, slightly spicy hops, more prominent ethanol, a bit of tanginess, and strong hop bitterness.

Beer is heavy-bodied, with medium-low levels of carbonation, leading to a smooth, somewhat placid mouthfeel. More carbonation could benefit this. Closes semi-dry with a flash of ethanol on throat and in nostrils. Heavy residual stickiness on palate and lips.

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

A - Dark amber/brown. Not quite crystal clear, and tons of lacings. A gorgeous two-finger head that slowly dissipated.

S - Not too boozy for a barleywine. A ton of roasty malts give it a sweet, perhaps caramelly aroma. Some hops and fruit, and of course smoke.

T - Roasty malts are the backbone of this brew. Pretty sweet, and the booze is well masked. Mild hops come through on the end. Not overly smokey: just enough. Definitely fruity throughout, though I can't place any particulars. Maybe apples and cherries? Anyways, it's well balanced.

M - Moderately carbonated and medium to full bodied.

O - Probably my favorite of the few barleywines that I've had. Its a lot to handle, just like any barely wine, but every now and again I get in the mood for an in-your-face beer from Stone. I like this better than the classic Old Guardian. The smokiness completes it.

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Photo of richj1970
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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Photo of mverity
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

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Photo of pkalix
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

so this is barleywine... I always wanted to see what 'barleywine' is...
pours a nice deep red with a yellowish(?), ambitious top. clingy head.
smells . . . . malt-y. one side of my nose is clogging, but the other side is not detecting much other than a slight malt.
taste . . . . heady, bitter, slightly hoppy. what exactly, is a barleywine? I need to do some research. this just tastes a little like an over-hopped brew (typical of Stone), yet not too hoppy, and its greatest trait is being high-abv-ed and drinkable. I can respect that, I guess.
after reading BA's version of a barleywine, I want to try the English version. but this is not bad at all. i'm opposed to the extra hoppiness and bitterness, but I've come to appreciate it a bit more recently. I even taste hops in my mouth at work, sometimes, thinking of my next endeavor.
overall, this is decent. kind of like a higher-classed version of pounding mickey big-mouths, I suppose.... and it's cheaper! in the long run...

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Photo of shand
4.16/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mmmmm, rauchbier barleywine. The balance is rather nice, you get the barleywine in a fairly pure state up front. Then the oak and smokiness come in to rule the finish. There's a bit of booze on the finish that mingles with the smoke. The mouthfeel is on the lighter side of full-bodied, and well carbonated. This was also an excellent pair with some cheese that helped temper the meatiness of the smoke. A tasty brew that's more likely to play with the rauchbier fan as opposed to the barleywine fan.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.91/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance:A beautiful dark (but transparent) copper body with medium bubbles throught...the head coming an off-white rising to just about 3/4" (hard pour of course).

Smell: I can smell it right off the bat, a wood chip smoked...comes in and out

Taste: Tastes better than it smells. Bitter and a little sweet scotch. Smoked...yes it is, not like a rauch bier because so much smoother.Barley and a sweet hops and very complex.

Mouth: Medium and freaking sticky. Think of it as gum never losing the flavor...I place the glass down and dry smoked finish at the end feels reminiscent of barbeque

Overall: This is a very good beer, splash of of something different. I love Stone's original this one they tried to tweak but not as good as the original. Doesn't mean it's bad at all...like I stated before, very good. Having this right after a beautiful steak....Salud!

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Photo of Tonmeister
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

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Photo of Roman5150
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

bottle into tulip

appearance: dark red with hints of mahogany, 1 finger white head

smell: roasted smokiness, oak, earthy, beef jerky, if i was smelling blind i would say this was a Rauchbier.

taste: Lots of oak smokiness, roasted malt backbone that has a lot of sweetness, the slightest hint of espresso also makes an appearance. Pretty well balanced, but the smokiness obviously dominates the palate, with the sweet oak body rounding it out. Also getting some notes of caramel, vanilla, and even some borderline-bourbon undertones. The finish is smoky and has a sort of roasted bitterness that lingers.

mouthfeel: medium-high carbonation, somewhat thick bodied

overall: Basically this tastes like barleywine meets a German rauchbier, and in my opinion, that's a damn good combination. Compared to the normal Old Guardian, the malt sweetness is still present, but the hoppiness and bitterness is exchanged for a full roasted, smoked flavor that dominates the palate, but still remains in balance with the rest of the brew. Another success from Stone.

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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 Pencible
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This poured a hazy dark copper with moderate light tan head.
S: It smelled like charcoal and campfire smoke, with some highly caramelized ham and raisin, with a bit of roasted coffee.
T: It tasted like copper hops and peaty smoke and charred oak, with some earthy caramel and alcohol. It had a lasting bitter and smoky aftertaste with alcohol warming.
M: It was thick with lots of carbonation. Nice huge body.
D: This was a great rauchbier. The scent and taste were surprisingly smoky and oaky, with great body. The finish was a little harsh with noticeable alcohol, so it was easier to sip. Age may help mellow, but I kind of like this beast with an edge. I didn't expect such a departure from the standard brew, but was pleasantly surprised.

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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 BurgeoningBrewhead
4.11/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.74/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Split with angrybabboon.

Appearance: Relatively clear, slight haze on a solid amber/copperwith some browns at the edges. Massive light beige head drops to a few clumps. Solid chunky collar lasts for the duration. Solid sheets of lacing.

Smell: The expected big sweet maltiness. Caramel and toffee, lots of toffee. Booze and a solid smoked malt presence. Bacon and oak. Very meaty. Aggressively hopped with citrus and some earthy elements. Some salt and almost maple. The smoked malt actually covers up most of the typical Old Guardian aromas, helping to mute the sweetness.

Taste: Big sugary malt sweetness. Cooked and caremlized pushing toffee and caramel. Leafy citrus from the hops. A bit earthy. Smoke backs up the sweetness nicely, tasting less meaty. Booze and toasted malt. Bready and sweet. A bit rough around the edges. Nice round oak character. Big across the board. Smoke and some ash.

Mouthfeel: Slick and slightly oily. Medium body with an average carbonation. A bit juicier than expected.

Overall: You can smoke whatever you like.

A nice addition to Old Guardian. Unusually find it a bit too muddled and sweet, but the oak and smoke help tone it down. A bit much to think about drinking an entire bottle alone, but enjoyable.

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Photo of angrybabboon
3.43/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Consumed 6/9/13

Cheers to Goblinmunkey7 for sharing this beer

Appearance: Deep amber, with hints of ruby - nice clarity - pours with a big, creamy, off-white head - leaves some nice streaks of lacing

Smell: Very malty with a strong, smoky character - rich, dark, caramel malts - big, cooked grains - some caramelization - earthy and grassy notes - smoky oak, with an emphasis on the smoke - like, very smoky - fortunately, the potency of the smoke diminishes over time

Taste: Malty and smoky, as the smell would suggest - cooked, caramelized malts and grains - very grainy and earthy (which is to be expected with Old Guardian) - sweet caramel and coffee - lots of malty sweetness - lots of booze, which is pretty obvious - a strong undercurrent of smoke, which kind of works, kind of doesn't

Mouthfeel: Full, slick, oily body, with a boozy, earthy finish

Overall: This kind of reminds me of why I don't smoke cigars

This is what I imagine Old Guardian would taste like if you were attempting to pair it with a cigar. It kind of works, but I also think the smoke doesn't add much to the flavor. It's an interesting experiment, but not really an improvement over standard Old Guardian.

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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 LI_PO12
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into Tulip

Appearance- Deep Copper, half finger white head, fairly clear

Aroma-Sweet caramel, toffee, getting the smoke but its not overpowering, grapefruit, citrus, light fruit, pine, some oak, little bit of alcohol

Flavor- On the sweet side but pretty balanced, caramel, toffee, the smoke come through more here, still some citrus and maybe pine hops poking through, very easy to drink considering the abv, but some alcohol shows up as it warms

Mouthfeel-Pretty full, medium carbonation, warming alcohol

Overall-I prefer the original more, but I can't really complain to much here. its a nice experiment. I was afraid it would be an overly boozy smokey beer, but the smoke fits in well and doesn't overwhelm and even seems to hide the abv a bit. Worth picking up if the like the original version. I may even grab one more.

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Old Guardian OAK - SMOKED Barleywine from Stone Brewing
3.97 out of 5 based on 761 ratings.
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