Sunday, March 3, 2013

Stone Brewing Company - 2013 Old Guardian Barley Wine

Oak-Smoked. Yow-za!
Ah, it's Sunday night and I'm having a simply amazing time watching Food Network programs all by my lonesome. Oh, there are other people in the house, but they're either sleeping or  sequestered (I just had to use that word today) in a bedroom. Even the dog is snoozing early. I think the boy is listening to his House/Trance/Dubstep or whatever the f**k they call it nowadays. To me, it just sounds like somebody torturing a cat with a stun gun. Sorry, back to the beer review.

Old Guardian poured into my tulip glass a deep amber color with a thick tan head that rose up to almost two fingers high. The head dissipated at a moderate rate and left behind copious amounts of foam that lasted throughout the entire drink.

Aroma is big on the booze. Sweet malt and stone fruit scents are present and accounted for.

Taste is a big, bitter, boozy bang to the tastebuds right from the get go. While the label proclaims "OAK-SMOKED" in bold lettering, I was pleasantly surprised to find the smokiness is rather subtle in this brew. Nice. The flavors of brown sugar, and vanilla are left on the palate along with an interesting spiciness that seems very familiar, but I just can't put my finger on. The flavors become more complex as the beer warms up. Apricot and a rich maltiness in the finish.

Medium to full bodied with nice carbonation. Good stuff. At 11.4% ABV, you taste the alcohol, but it doesn't get in the way and this is a very drinkable barley wine.

If I EVER muster up the self-discipline to cellar some special releases, this would be a good one to save for a year or two. I'm giving Old Guardian 2013 Odd Year a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4.

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