Pailhead (6539) - Rochester Hills, Michigan, USA - MAR 17, 2013
Bottle: The aroma consists of moderate smoke, caramel, toffee, citrus, and a hint of chocolate. It pours transparent amber with some very fine sediment floating around. It has a small off-white head that quickly fades to a thin film outlined by a slightly thicker soapy ring. There is some dotted lacing left on the sides of the glass. The flavor starts with caramel, toffee, and light fruit. There is a nice smokey backbone. The finish has moderate citrus notes with grapefruit bitterness. It’s medium-full bodied with light-moderate carbonation and a somewhat sticky mouthfeel. Overall, while my rating for the regular version says otherwise (there’s no beer that I can think of that needs a re-rate more), I’ve really disliked Old Guardian for quite a few years now. I was pleasantly surprised by this version. TheBeerGod (6216) - Newport News, Virginia, USA - MAR 17, 2013
Bottle - 2013 Odd Year Release. Lovely ruddy amber pour with a tall, foamy tan head. Aroma is smoky and sweet with lots of smoked malt, processed meats, caramel notes and dark fruit. The flavor profile is bitter up front from the hops but twisted due to the smoked malts. There’s also lots of caramel, citrus notes, pine, faint brown sugar and dark fruit. Body is medium-full with a dense carbonation and is rather chewy and sticky. Mild warmth as well. Ends with more hop bitterness, softer smokiness, caramel, notes of brown sugar, soft booze, light wood and citrus. adrian910ss (2572) - Doylestown, PA, USA - MAR 17, 2013
22 oz bomber. Pours a clear unfiltered coppery amber color with a medium sized cream colored head. Aroma of smoked oak chips, beef jerky, hops and citrus. Taste is the much the same as the aroma. bleeng (1682) - Seattle still not near Beersel., Washington, USA - MAR 16, 2013
Bomber. Dark amber with a bit white head. Smoky sweet nose. Taste is super rich and malty, with a nice cigar smoky flavor. Goes down really smooth with limited carbonation. This is a very well done beer. notalush (5874) - Denver, Colorado, USA - MAR 16, 2013
Medium amber - some fine suspended particles floating around - soapy lace - quite a sweet nose, with notes of toffee, but there resinous, citric hop character to balance - mild woodsmoke and alcohol underneath - moderate but firm carbonation in the mouth - nice texture - flavor is sweet, but not sticky, and there is plenty of balancing bitterness - a lot of grapefruit and apricot notes - the smoked character is mild and pleasant, but doesn’t completely work with the high bitterness and hop character - still, a pretty good beer.
ccex (1313) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAR 16, 2013
22 oz 2013 bottle pours a clear dark red with small tan head and some lacing. Aroma is full of hickory smoke, bacon, with caramel, citrus, and a touch of vanilla. Taste is sweet with a boozy, slightly bitter finish. Body is medium with lively carbonation. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth. The smoke is the strongest flavor here, with enough others to provide a good balance. Another very good barleywine, although I prefer the regular Old Guardian to this. trevor211 (1681) - Seattle, Washington, USA - MAR 16, 2013
Definitely intriguing, and a far better twist than the Belgo version. Pours the same deep orange-ruby as the original. The smoke is actually pretty subtle in here -- not sure I’d have noticed if you gave it to me and didn’t tell me. The usual boozy caramel-drenched fruit still comes through, and with the hop kick that any fresh Stone beer is good for. The flavor finishes with an acerbic grapefruit note that overpowers any lingering smoke. I’d be really (really) interested to try this one after a few years in a cellar -- once the hops and booze calm down a bit, this one would have a fantastic balance. phikus01 (112) - New York, USA - MAR 16, 2013
This was a very nice distinguished barley wine. Soft perfume and smoke aroma. Caramel toffee hopped smoke all come together like fine perfume even in flavor. So balanced and so unique. Delicious. Ernest (7693) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - MAR 14, 2013
Head is initially small, frothy, off-white, mostly diminishing.
Body is dark amber.
Aroma is moderately malty (caramel, cookie), moderately hoppy (resin, apricot, grapefruit), with notes of charred wood and smoked meat.
Flavor is heavily sweet, lightly to moderately acidic, lightly to moderately bitter.
Finish is moderately sweet, lightly to moderately acidic, moderately to heavily bitter.
Full body, syrupy/velvety texture, lively carbonation, moderately to heavily alcoholic.
Fairly simple nose, but it’s certainly pleasant. Likewise, in the mouth it’s sweet and boozy, but there’s plenty of finishing bitterness to balance it out, so it’s quite drinkable despite its enormity. A very respectable effort. b3shine (8870) - Indiana, USA - MAR 14, 2013
Bomber to snifter (shared with the Mrs.). Looks good; a transparent amberish-brown with sticky off-white lacing. Smells and tastes just like the name suggests: sweet, smoky, and oaky. Good on the palate. An enjoyable variation of the base.