Samael's Ale - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Samael's AleSamael's Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,296 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,296
Reviews: 619
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 14.73%
Wants: 79
Gots: 341 | FT: 25
Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  16.90% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ommegangpbr on 06-24-2005

A super-caramelly, oak-aged strong English-style ale, brewed with Columbus, Fuggels hops and two-row barley, caramel 150L malt.

2007: 14.50% (Batch #3)
2008: 15.53% (Batch #4)
2009: 16.45% (Batch #5)
2010: 15.82% (Batch #6)
2011: 15.31% (Batch #7)
2012: 15.47% (Batch #8)
2013: 16.90% (Batch #9)
2014: 14.20% (Batch #10)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,296 | Reviews: 619
Reviews by bashiba:
Photo of bashiba
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my snifter a very nice copper with some reddish highlights and just a touch of white head.

Smell is very bourban like with sweet alcohol mixing in with hints of oak and vanilla.

Taste is very sweet with hints of vanilla and honey mixing in with the strong alcohol taste.

Mouthfeel is has a nice medium fullness with tons of tongue warming alcohol goodness.

Drinkability is good as long as you consider this is closer to a good sipping bourban rather than a quick drinking beer.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Jeffreysan
4.8/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

2014 vintage 12 oz bottle, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, deep, dark, mahogany color, with a quarter of a finger of off-white or oatmeal-colored head that slowly dissolved away into a lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Very aromatic, with lots of bready, toasted malt up front, followed by lots of dried stone fruit aromas, such as prunes, raisins, dates and apricots. There are also some big aromas of candied sugar, some vanilla, oak and boozy alcohol. Smells great! Honestly, these are the aromas that I was expecting, but didn’t get, from The Beast.

Taste: Oh. My. God! What a spectacularly, exceptionally, fantastically, incredibly, awesome beer! Tons of toasted malt up front, followed immediately by tons of balanced brown sugar, caramel and maple syrup-like sweetness, and dried stone fruit, such as prunes, raisins, dates and apricots. I also get flavors of burnt-orange peel, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, a touch of woody oak, and some faint, piney, hoppy, bitterness. Outstanding!

Mouthfeel: Chewy, creamy, yet slightly viscous, and smooth as there is no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 14.2%, there is quite a bit of pleasant alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: Words like spectacular, exceptional, fantastic, incredible, awesome, outstanding, etc., don’t do this beer justice! It is quite simply, one of the best beers I’ve ever had! I definitely need to pick up a few more bottles to age.

Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a rich deep burnt orange with a white one finger head that clings nicely to the glass,seems to be quite highly carbonated.Big vanilla bean aromas go well with the underlying oak almost a spiced rum feel on the nose.Chewey thick mouthfeel but it glides nicely down the hatch coating the mouth nicely just sublime,flavors like aroma are heavy on vanilla but there is dried fruit flavor as well like prunes and or raisins.This a sipper but is exceptional when sipped another big winner from Avery.

Photo of RoyalT
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This wasn’t “florescent orange” like I noticed last year but was not clear and had a small head. The ABV was unchanged from 2005 so I guess that makes sense.

Smell – The orange and especially the cherry are very strong at the nose. They drown out any sense of hoppiness. The aroma though is excellent without a hint of alcohol or cheap ingredients.

Taste – The raunchy wine flavors are almost moldy and the wood is soaked and soggy, The alcohol is much more noticeable at the taste. The flavors work well together but lack any hint of hops that is presumed from the style classification.

Mouthfeel – This is medium-bodied with no boozy mouth sting.

Drinkability – This is one of the more drinkable samples from the Avery booze dungeon. It didn’t get a stellar rating but I will buy occasionally.

Photo of tuckevalastin
3.52/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Cloudy copper with a small off white head

S: Strong caramelly sweet smell with hints of oak. Lots of booziness.

T: Huge caramel malt flavors dominate the taste. The sweetness also hints at dark fruits. The booze is also noticable here, as is the oak.

M: Full bodied and creamy. Not much carbonation and alot of heat. No bitterness though.

D: Sip, Sip, Sip... the malt sweetness and heavy alcohol don't attempt to hide in this beer.

Overall, I bought this beer without reading the label and without knowing anything about it. I was surprised at how big it is. I've had lots of big beers and this seems to be one of those that "brags" about it's bigness. The booze becomes too much of a focal point and the malt sweetness is a bit over the top. This isn't necessarily a bad beer just isn't the best of its kind.

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've been waiting some time to try this big boy from Avery. Sweet angel of death label. The Samael's pours from the 12oz bottle a slick reddish orange hue with a small taught bubbly off white head. Slow moving active carbonation appears to have to work its way against the brew. Aromas begins intensly with sweet caramel and a huge array of fruits. Plum, raisin, black cherry and more. Wisps of vanilla, alcohol and a well integrated oaky note. A sweet, decadant brew with resinous hops lurking in the background. Draws me into the beer, which is always a good thing.

First sip brings an intense blast of incredibly sweet viscous caramel maltiness with brown sugar. Fruity flavors spread out all over the palate, notes of cherry, grape, plum and raisin. A bit hit of toffee and vanilla moves in midway through each sip. Flows down with a good dose of oak and a touch of hops. There are so many flavors going on here! Alcohol is evident but not overpowering. Overall, tasty stuff, but it ends up being too damn sickly sweet for me and that takes away from the experience.

Mouthfeel is big, thick and dense. This is a sipper for sure. Goes down smooth without too much alcohol bite. Drinkability is definetly hindered due to the abv and the sweetness here. One bottle is more than enough. A very tasty brew, just needs to have the sweetness dialed down IMHO. I'm looking forward to the Mephistopheles in my cellar, as I sampled it at the EBF and enjoyed it quite a bit.

Photo of lordofthewiens
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 4, bottled April 2008. In a snifter it was a pretty cherry amber color with a small tan head. Very sweet aroma, caramel and fruit. Fairly hot alcohol aroma. Sweet, sweet taste. Caramel, a bit of fruit, some late hops. Alcohol still pretty noticeable. Syrupy mothfeel. A barleywine on steroids.

Photo of Beaver13
3.17/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle (2005). Pours a hazy orangish reddish amber with small floaties. It has a thin off-white head that quickly goes to a thin collar.

The aroma is sharp alcohol (nail polish remover and fuel) and fruits (figs and pineapple) with some very sweet caramel.

The flavor is a burst of treacly candy-like sweetness. There is some fruitiness (apple, raisin and melon) and woodiness and caramel in there. There's a little burnt bitterness at the finish. The alcohol is surprisingly well hidden (I was expecting the worst after smelling it). The mouthfeel is medium bodied and oily/syrupy.

Overall, it was definitely interesting. Way overboard on the sweetness, which I normally hate but this was surprisingly not that bad. I found myself freely sipping it rather than forcing it down which I normally do with the sweet beers.

Photo of Jason
3.39/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz red foiled brown bottle with a vintage date on the label.

A- Pours a thick off white head that looks so damn creamy and sticks to the glass well. Deep orangey amber shows some tiny bubbles struggling to rise to the top.

S- Fusel, paint thinner, cherries and lemon peel soaked in grain alcohol. Cooking wine?

T- Malty and sugary sweet, bordering cloying. Quick ruffle of hops, then the alcohol sets in with a slow warming feeling. Ripe berries with a layer of caramel show the sweetness off even more, mild tartness in the middle. Faint oak character ... vanilla and a earthy nutmeg.

M- Syrupy body with a viscous creamy smoothness.

D- All I could do was take little sips ... very heavy on the palate. A 12oz bottle could be split among two or three people as an after dinner drink.

Photo of tjthresh
3.46/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

When is enough enough? Smell like scotch whiskey, and tastes like scotch whiskey. Hell, it must be scotch whiskey. It all tasted fine. My score relect that. I think everybody should try it. With that being said, Samaels doesn’t really have many characteristics of a beer..

Photo of merlin48
3.82/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter. Body is a slightly hazed, copper amber color with a small beige head that quickly disappears without lacing. Aroma is fusel and phenolic, with aggressive notes of brandy and bourbon. Cotton candy notes from the turbanado sugars. Overripe peaches and apricots, drenched in brandy. A mild accent of vanilla, and just a hint of char and oak. Mouthfeel has a medium body and low carbonation. Warming alcohol is inescapable. Taste has sweet vinous notes and an assertive alcohol warmth. Nice array of fruits, with baked raisins, stewed apples, and overripe apricots. Some apricot nectar infused with sherry. Huge and powerful, and intended to be so. Nothing subtle here. Very over the top, but not overwrought like the 2004 Beast. Quite drinkable, actually, but watch your step. Avery made a wise move by releasing this in the smaller bottles. A bomber of this would be a bit too heavy for just one person. Thick and syrupy, and big alcohol with a solid fruit component await you here. This is the "Mini Beast".

Photo of Billolick
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ouncer "bottled in 2005", with a red foil covering and nice looking art on the label. Pours a farily dull shade of almond, that upon close inspections reveals a fruity fruity dark melon hue, the puffy head noisily shrinks to a thin film and leaves some spotty and fine lacing. Nose here is of some fresh fruits and then mostly fusil alcohol and some paint thinner/varnish type of odor. This stuff smells strong! I consumed this at about room temperature. Very flavorful and obviously stong beer. Notes of vanilla, sherry, port, oak, leather, minty freshness and glowing, warming alcohol. Wow, what a brew. This will be over the top for many, and too sweet for others, but I found it to be a potent late night sipper, would be fine with some stinky cheese, pepperoni, nuts, dark bread or with a decadent dessert. I'm sure this would be amazing after 3-5 years of careful, temperature and light controlled aging. If youve got that type of patience. Strong beer lovers-Go get some and enjoy!

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 4 from 2008.

The beer pours a deep red color with a tan head. The aroma is heavy on the oaked notes with some toffee mixed in. I also get some alcohol and dark fruit notes.

The flavor is once again very heavy on the oak. The background flavors include toffee and caramel malt as well as some cherries and plums. There is also a brown sugar and molasses sweetness that adds to the beer. Finally, the alcohol is quite present, as you would expect from a beer that is nearly 15 percent.

Medium to thick mouthfeel and low carbonation.

Photo of jamesmk48
3.56/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

This is the sweetest damn beer I've ever had. Its borderline undrinkable, but I refuse to abuse alcohol. All of that being said, It was very flat ( zero head), no alcohol flavor, super super sweet, and really thin like I was drinking cold spring water, but it wasnt the worst beer i've had. If you like meads or barley wines this might be up your alley. CHEERS

Photo of BigE90
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 6

A: a sediment layer had formed in the bottom of the bottle prior to pouring. Upon pouring it was a cloudy amber color, after sitting for 10 it became a clear deep amber in color.

S: Was strong oak and alcohol smell upon swirling.

T: Definetly taste the oak within along with a sweetness like honey taste. The alcohol warms the mouth but not to over powering. Clean finish afterwards, no hops tasted.

M: Clean sweet aftertaste, no lingering bad aftertaste but can definelty feel the prolonging alcohol warming effect.

O: Not bad for a what I would classify as a strong ale. The sweetness of it is just a bit too much for me. Other than that a good strong ale.

Photo of magictrokini
2.97/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Disappointing. Pours brown with floaties suspended in the thick, carbonation-free liquid. No head could be forced from this one. Aroma is very nice, sweet and caramel with a heavy oak quality. The oak is very apparent in the taste, just as the description points out. Problem is it only enhances the overly sweet caramel-malt of this brew. The alcohol came out as the beer warmed, making this sticky-sweet syrup that became undrinkable. I will try this again, and pray I just got a bad bottle this time around. Maybe it will have gone down from its oppressive $8 a 12-oz price.

Photo of kingcrowing
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

Pours a clear red color with some sediment but it's not effecting the flavor much at all. Nose is very malty, boozy, and sweet.

Taste is sweet, boozy, sharp and a bit harsh. There's oak and sweet candy and lots of tasty dark fruits. Mouthfeel is light and crisp it's a bit sweet but well balanced.

Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%

2012 vintage consumed autumn 2012
Nose: sherry, sweet, some oxidation - slight wet cardboard
Pours copper to reddish amber, some haze and floaties, 1/2" off-white foam cap
Palate: Sherry, anise, coriander, very rich, rich malt.
Medium full body, medium low carbonation, warming with some hot to solventy fusel alcohols on the finish.

Photo of MattyG85
4.77/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a snifter glass. April 2011 Batch no. 7.

Appearance: Dark amber orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. Decent one finger head quickly fades into a spotty layer. Light amount of lacing.

Smell: Big aroma of caramel, oak chips, and dark fruits. Also some hints of vanilla, raisin, toffee, maple syrup, brown sugar, apple, roasted malt, and a little booze. Very complex and enticing.

Taste: Sweet caramel and toffee malts with oak chips and vanilla up front. A moderate amount of maple, apple, raisins, and other dark fruits follow. Alcohol heat is subtle and very well hidden for such a high abv. Very good balance overall.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a lighter carbonation. Very smooth and very little booze is noticeable.

Overall: A very tasty and well balanced brew. Very drinkable and smooth with that high of a abv.

Photo of ADR
3.82/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Mainly clear bright polished copper appearance. Does generate a head, yellowish and of average duration. Laces in simple dripping rings. Aroma works, lots of wood and a strong vanilla presence. Mouthfeel is thick with average carbonation, not too syrupy but slightly sticky -- but more bubbles than I expected. Flavor has a distracting alcoholic bite, not as much raw kerosene as the Beast, but a little heavy-going. Vanilla continues in the taste, charred on-a-grill fruits (nectarines, golden delicious apples), lots of residual sugars. Hops don't come into play. I never really think these types of beer are close to bourbon, but the alcohol is very apparent in the finish and in the stomach, taking away from the next sip and the second half of the flavor profile.

Photo of chinchill
4/5  rDev +3.4%

12 oz 2009 bottle.
First time trying this beer so I don't know if it is past it's peak but it is certainly a great beer. I gotta suspect it is near its prime.
Slightly sweet, slightly oaky, and fabulously rich, this brew has an excellent balance of flavors. High ABV is nicely hidden -- drinks like a 9-11% ale.

(fresh bottle sampled in Oct. 2014 was too sweet and significantly less enjoyable, especially in quantity).

Photo of OStrungT
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours, into a Stone Old Guardian glass, a clear golden brown color with a very light tan head. The head fades slowly, leaving a decent lacing.

This beer Smells ow whiskey. It has a mild oak aroma also. A slight vanilla aroma is also present. It smells very sweet. It has a slight dark fruit aroma. Like raisins. Also, it smells slightly of alcohol.

This beer tastes much like it smells. A whiskey flavor up front. Some fruity notes. It has a very sweet caramel malty flavor also. Whiskey is the main flavor though. Also, it has a slight alcohol taste.

This beer leaves a whiskey aftertaste mixed in with some caramel malt sweetness. It is decently carbonated. The alcohol warms as it goes down.

This beer would not be a good session beer. Too much alcohol.

Overall: This beer is ok. I hate to say it, but sometimes I am not overly fond of the whiskey flavor of barrel aged beers. Sorry.

Photo of stereosforgeeks
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Orange-ish ruby which had a light tan head for a brief moment.

Smell - The alcohol and some caramel malts seem to be the backbone with berries, oak, and cognac notes present well.

Taste - The berries and some grapes hit the tongue first along with the biting alcohol notes. The caramel malts ride through the middle. There is an oily taste, toffee, oak, and cognac that finish.

Mouthfeel - An oily medium body glides on the tongue. There is a small bite of carbonation.

Drinkability - This is a sipper and the ABV will keep this from being something i return to time and time again. I feel like having more hops would help balance the beer.

Photo of glid02
4.37/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage.

Pours a hazy brownish-copper color with a half-finger cream-colored head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of thick caramel malts with good amounts of toffee. Also present are hints of vanilla, sweet cherries, and apricots.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Lots of caramel, toffee, and butterscotch flavors up front are joined shortly by vanilla, milk chocolate, and various fruit flavors. As it warms the chocolate and fruit flavors intensify a bit. The ending is on the sweeter side with light bitter undertones.

Mouthfeel is very good. It has a very smooth thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall this was a very impressive big ABV beer and the bold flavors do their job in covering up the alcohol. Certainly worth a shot.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.75/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

(Served in a snifter) bottle April 2007 batch 3
A- This beer has a dense hazy brown body with a sticky beige head that is creamy. There was a sea of chunks swirling with the carbonation.
S- The rich sweet caramel aromas have a soft oak and wet wood aroma to support it.
T- The caramel sweetness is rich with some nice boozy support and an oak and woody notes to follow. The rich flavor of honey comb comes through and adds some nice depth.
M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with an alcohol heat that grows as the beer warms.
D- This beer has a delicious malt sweetness with some nice support from alcohol and oak that turns a bit to boozy as it is pretty warm. This beer is big and rich which is a great sipper to take the chill of winter.

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Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,296 ratings.