Beer Review: STONE OLD GUARDIAN OAK-SMOKED BARLEY WINE

Beer Review: STONE OLD GUARDIAN OAK-SMOKED BARLEY WINE

Publisher: Stone Brewing Co.
Genre: Barleywine, Beer Reviews
Print Length: 22 oz. bottle
ISBN: Not applicable

Stone Brewing’s “Odd Beers for Odd Years” program unveils its 2013 edition of Old Guardian, this time with a distinctive touch—Oak Smoked. Let’s break down the elements of this unconventional barley wine.

A Tantalizing Pour

The appearance kicks things off with a hazy, bright amber pour, crowned by a fluffy tan head that gracefully settles into a thin soapy cap. The thick foamy lacing hints at the robust experience to come.

Aroma: Smoked Intricacies

The aroma captivates the senses with a marriage of smoked malt and sweet toffee notes. However, a departure from the classic Old Guardian nose is evident, replaced by a strong smokiness that takes center stage, overshadowing the once-prominent hoppy nuances.

Taste: Spicy, Woody, and Bitter

Diving into the taste, one encounters a spicy and woody profile, distinct from the meaty character often found in smoked beers. The blend of spicy bitter hops, apricot, and subtle toffee notes creates a complex symphony. The finish leaves a lingering bitterness, intertwined with the pronounced woody essence.

Mouthfeel: Bold and Unrefined

The mouthfeel, though a bit rough, aligns with the full-bodied nature expected from a barley wine of this caliber. It adds to the overall boldness of the experience, leaving an indelible impression on the palate.

Overall Verdict: A Bold Evolution

In the realm of Old Guardian iterations, this Oak-Smoked rendition stands out as the most audacious and refined. The sharp, woody, and bitter notes create a unique symphony of flavors. While pondering the impact of aging on this brew, one can’t help but hope that the distinctive ‘OAK-SMOKED’ essence remains, even if time smooths out some of its edges. Stone Brewing succeeds in pushing the boundaries, offering a barley wine experience that defies convention and demands attention.