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Samael's Ale - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Samael's AleSamael's Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

617 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 617
Hads: 1,359
Avg: 3.87
pDev: 14.73%
Wants: 82
Gots: 368 | 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)
2015: 14.60% (Batch #11)
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 617 | Hads: 1,359
Reviews by trappistlover:
Photo of trappistlover
3.82/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(12oz bottle from Total Wine Desert Ridge. Batch 3, bottled April 2007). Pours cloudy brown, almost like melted caramel, with a minimal tan head. Carbonation is light with some floaties. Aroma has caramel, oak and dried pit fruit. Taste is sweeet, with more oak, caramel and vanilla. Full bodied with a sticky texture. Finish is smooth and a bit boozy. This is a nice, flavorful sipper that woud be great in the winter months.

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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.

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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).

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Photo of Jjski
4.59/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

fresh, vintage 2013

a-copper, transparent, short fizzy head. beautiful, inviting

s- candied orange rind, grand marnier

t- carmel booze, grand marnier, booze and booze

m- syrupy

o- I'm as fan of huge beers. This bordering on a liqueur. It is not overly complex at the moment, but the potential for serious aging is there. Potent, one and you are done. Total sipper, bordering on leaving the realm of beer- sorta ice wine character. Very concentrated flavors. The ant-quaffable malt beverage.

in the category- as good as Olde School, I like Insanity a bit better due to the barrel flavor.

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Photo of DrinkNewport
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is from Batch 5, bottled in April 2009.

The pour reveals a brown and cloudy beverage with a moderate off-white head.

Unsurprisingly, this barrel-aged beer has a strong aroma...and that aroma is of bourbon. That's it. A whole ton of booze to the nostrils.

WOW! That feeling when you take a sip is...this is an intense beer. Like, "Why don't I invite 4 close friends by to split this 12 oz bottle" intense. I'm getting the sense that it's a beer that changes with every sip. There's a lot of heat from the alcohol.

Overall, this is the type of beer that pushes the envelope. It will probably take you out of your comfort zone. It's a quality experience, but know what you're getting yourself into.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I picked up a bottle of Avery's Samael's Ale a month and half ago for $8.49 at Holiday Market. I've been meaning to try this beer and it's the first time I've seen it in a long time and I knew I had to get it, so lets see how it goes. bottled March 2014 Batch #10 14.2% abv. Poured from a brown foiled 12oz bottled into a snifter.

A- The label looks good, it's got a nice design to it and i think it's a little eye catching. It poured a nice hazy caramel color that took on more of a ruby and crimson color when held to the light with one fingers worth of tan head quickly died down to a thin ring that eventually faded away and it left some patchy lacing behind. This is a really nice looking beer, I have no complaints at all, the head was better than expected.

S- The aroma starts off with a higher amount of sweetness that has a molasses like aroma to it with the oak being the first to show up and it imparts a nice and big oak aroma with the vanilla really coming through nicely and some nice woody aromas showing up in the background with just a little bit of toasted coconut aromas. Up next comes the alcohol which is very noticeable and it's followed by the malts which impart a nice caramel, toffee, caramel malt, barley, slight fudge and sweet malt aromas with the caramel really sticking out the most and it goes well with the oak aromas. This beer had a very nice aroma, I really liked it but's it is very sweet smelling.

T- The taste seems to be very similar to the aroma and it starts of with high amount of sweetness that has more of brown sugar and slight molasses aspect this time with the malts being the first to show up this time and they impart all those nice aspects that they did in the aroma with the caramel still sticking out the most and it's followed by a somewhat lighter dark fruit flavor. Up next comes the oak which imparts the same nice aspects that it did in the aroma with the vanilla still sticking out the most and the combination with the caramel flavors makes it feel like a sweet ans sticky dessert. On the finish comes the alcohol that's pretty noticeable and warming with just a light burn to it that goes into the aftertaste along with a lot of sweetness and some caramel and vanilla flavors. This was a nice tasting beer I enjoyed the caramel and oak flavors, but the sweetness was a little too much for me.

M- Not the smoothest, warming, not crisp, syrupy, sticky, fairly cloying, full bodied with a lower amount of carbonation. This beer had a decent mouthfeel, but it was too sweet and sticky for me.

Overall I thought this was a nice beer and a nice example of the style, it had some pretty nice flavors going on, but it seemed like for every good aspect there was a bad one and that just held this beer back from being a standout for the style. This beer didn't have good drinkability, it wasn't the smoothest, it was warming, not crisp, syrupy, sticky, fairly cloying, filling and the taste did a nice job of holding my attention, but the sweetness didn't, half the bottle is the perfect amount for me, I might struggle to make it through a whole one just because of the sweetness. What I like the most about this beer was the malty caramel flavors and the nice flavors and aromas that oak imparted. What I liked the least about this beer was the sweetness it was just way to sweet for me. I might buy this beer again and i think I would attempt to cellar one to see how it ages and if any of that sweetness fades away over time. I would only recommend this to people who enjoy really sweet and really strong beers. All in all I'm glad I tried this beer, but I didn't love it, I just found it to be pretty rough around the edges, but it did have some really nice flavors and aromas to it. This isn't my favorite beer from or Avery or my favorite of the style, it falls in the middle in both aspects. I appreciate the effort it took to make a big beer like this, but the super high sweetness just isn't for me, better luck next time guys.

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Photo of CHickman
3.74/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

April 2012 Bottle (Batch #8, 736 cases) 15.47%; found this bad boy on the shelf at one of my local places and assumed it was ready to consume since it's over 3 years old, so I chilled it a week and drank it. Pours cloudy dark chestnut brown color with a 1 finger foamy tan head that faded quickly and left minimal spotty lacing. A lot of sediment was floating around the brew, which showed more as the beer went down - it looked like a snow globe when there was about 3 fingers left.

Smells of dark fruit that's starting to rot, candied sugar, booze like dark rum, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, toffee, a pear that has soft brown rotten circles, maple syrup and bourbon and/or oak barrel notes. It would be cloyingly sweet but the alcohol is so strong that it negates the sweetness and just seems to add malty, sugary complexities. No hops to speak of in the nose, this is all fermented malt.

Taste is actually pretty nice considering the strong booze and borderline extreme sweetness of this barleywine. Like the nose there's the flavor of dark fruit that's starting to rot with a brown bosc pear that sat way too long leading it off, then a red apple with soft spots and very brown banana coming to mind; the next wave is dark rum or any other sweet booze that seems like it fermented and almost turned to brown sugar, french toast soaked in syrup, candied sugar, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, toffee, apple cider with cinnamon, maple syrup and bourbon and/or oak barrel notes. Complex - check. Boozy - check. Balanced like other English barleywine varieties, not so much. It's more like the sweet mash strained and compressed with a touch of maple syrup and dark rum, but no hops adding leafy or bitter notes.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, with a heavy body like a pea soup, very mild carbonation, and a sweet finish that's a combo of toffee, caramel, wheat bread and dark rum. The alcohol is pretty well hidden throughout but it creeps up and starts kicking your ass about halfway through the pint glass. This is a brew that will put hair on your chest as it's bold and intense.

I've got mixed feelings about this as I wanted to like it more but it was so sweet and boozy that I just carried on to finish the 12 oz bottle I opened. It was almost too sweet for my liking, but I still appreciated this brew.

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Photo of superspak
4.24/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass; batch 1, bottled in 2005. Pours moderately hazy/cloudy dark ruby red color with a minimal wisp of a head that reduces to nothing. Aromas of big raisin, prune, fig, plum, apple, pear, molasses, toffee, caramel, toast, brown bread, oak, light chocolate, vanilla, light clove, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with big complexity and great balance of malt, oak, and yeast ester notes; with big strength. Taste of huge raisin, fig, plum, prune, apple, pear, molasses, brown sugar, brown bread, caramel, toffee, vanilla, oak, light clove, toast, chocolate, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of raisin, prune, plum, fig, pear, apple, molasses, brown sugar, brown bread, caramel, toffee, chocolate, toast, oak, vanilla, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity and balance of big dense malt, fruity yeast, and oak flavors; with zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light carbonation and very full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and moderately syrupy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome English barleywine. Big complexity and great balance of malt, yeast ester, and oak flavors; and quite smooth sip on slowly with no booziness. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of MakeMineADoubleJack
4.65/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2010 vintage. I consider myself lucky to have found this at a store only several months ago. I can imagine this being too hot when fresh, but nearly five years of aging have given this beer wow factor.

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Photo of rudzud
3.96/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 batch 4, thanks to someone for sharing.

A - Poured into a tulip cloudy copper hue with a thin had that fades quickly.

S - Aromas of caramel, toffee, alcohol, malts, faint cardboard.

T - Taste is light almost quiet malt heavy, very sweet and caramel. nicer toffee.

M - Mouthfeel is lightly carbonated, not syrupy.

O - Overall this beer was pretty good considering that age. Very glad to try!

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Photo of marct13
2.43/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

2015 12 oz bottle into a teku. It's a nice color in the glass and actually looks more like wine than beer. The nose is pretty much non existent which gives you no warning for the taste. We like English style barleywines, so sweet isn't generally a bad thing for us, but this was over the top. It almost reminds me of the syrup you would use to make a flavored soda. The alcohol is well hidden, but the sweetness makes it kinda hard to finish the glass. The mouth feel is thin for a barleywine as well. In this case, again, it's more like wine. Overall it just isn't something I'd go for if I wanted a beer. If you were looking for a dessert wine, this might be for you.

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Photo of Hop_God
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A:Ruby reddish brown. Tan to white head that goes away quick. This looks like the amber cane with the insect in it from Jurassic Park that the old man has. Google it.
S: booze, caramel, more booze, bread, candied fruits. It smells like i broke into a candy factory being run by liquored up Oompa Loompas.
T: Sweet sweet sweet, boozy, but damn I like it. Caramel, burnt sugar, syrup. yes this is very sweet, but complex and fantastic. As it warms this beer takes you on a roller coaster of flavors. Very complex and tons of notes going on, Dates, vanilla, even some oak.
F: This bad boy coats your mouth like cough medicine, but with an awesome taste. creamy, basically no carbonation. Very thick and chewy.
O: This beer is fantastic. I know a lot of people will say too sweet or too boozy, but i love the high ABV. I also love liquor so that may play a role. Any while yes, this is quite sweet, it is done in a way that deserves appreciation and this will be a great beer to age to see how much more it can develop.

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Photo of argock
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a clear glass snifter. Bottled April 2007 (Batch #3) on label. Purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA).

A: Not too appealing with dishwater brown hue and millions of floaties and no head.

S: Delicious sweet brown sugar, maple, and vanilla aroma with some tobacco and oak barrel notes. Good but not really far above many other barrel aged beers in any way, and behind many.

T: Flavor is very English and oaky with a lot of maple syrup and vanilla notes, dark caramel malt flavors like raisin and burnt sugar, with tobacco and earthy hops notes. A nice beer but it misses something, and maybe I should have drunk this sooner.

M: Very smooth and silky overall. Low carbonation and full-bodied for sure.

O: A nice beer but not really worth the price tag. I would actually rather try a fresher version near bottling to see if there is more zip -- this one seems on the way down and a little dead.

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.14/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A 12oz bottle dated April 2008, so aged almost 6 years.

A - Thick brown, cloudy, with no clarity. A touch of head and lace, but looks murky and thick!

S - Oak and booze!

T - Sweeter than sugar and boozy. Malty. Wow, sugar just keeps on keeping on in the aftertaste. Lots of oak, a touch of bourbon, and booze.

M - Thick and oily.

O - A good brew, but really too strong. A 12oz bottle ought to be split and slowly sipped.

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Photo of Florida9
3.56/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 6 (2010)

A: Dark grayish-brown in color. Dark, but still somewhat translucent. Forms a minimal light tan colored head, but it goes as quickly as it comes. No lacing. Appears flat.

S: Aroma is interesting. Lightly sweet, caramel malts, tobacco, vanilla, and oak.

T: Taste is very sweet. Too sweet. Lots of sweet caramel and toffee, followed by a strong vanilla component that just adds to the sweetness. Oak, earth and an aggressive alcohol note finishes the beer.

M: Full bodied. Lower carbonation. Aggressively alcoholic. More tannic than bitter.

O: A decent brew. Nothing too exciting and not something I'd be willing to purchase again.

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Photo of shleepy
3.99/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This one is a bottle of Batch #9 (May 2013), with a hefty 16.9% ABV. Possibly the strongest beer I've had to date, and certainly the strongest one I had a chance to review.

A: Dark amber, edging on red. Small but resilient off-white head.

S: Caramel, bright ("green") herbal notes, mandarin oranges, and maybe a touch of vanilla.

T: Heavy caramel maltiness, but this is honestly a fairly pleasant maltiness. I've had plenty of weaker beers that have an intolerable maltiness when paired with similar herbal, bitter notes, but this beer is actually well-balanced, which is a surprise. The secondary sensation is the aforementioned herbal bitterness, but it's not too overwhelming. Some bitterness does linger on the tongue for a while. The aftertaste is almost an after-"feeling," with the warm alcohol burn in the back of the throat backing up a light cookie/malt flavor. And that's just after the first sip. Vanilla and honey notes also become evident in the long run.

M: Very, very heavy, not surprisingly. I could be wrong, but it seems to still have some residual sugar. Had some nice, fizzy carbonation at the beginning; but given that you'll probably be sipping on this one for a while (I know I have), it will die down.

O: I am very impressed by how they made a fairly tasty, interesting beer with so much alcohol. My favorite beers are lambics, which are almost always between 4% and 6%. I usually wouldn't buy a WINE over 14% ABV (and generally prefer wine that is roughly 12.5%), so this beer is very much out of my comfort zone. The hot alcohol is fairly well hidden, and the beer is complex and very sippable. Bravo.

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Photo of hardy008
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage

Pours a hazy amber color with an almost one finger off white head. The aroma has caramel, toffee, oak, dark fruit, vanilla, coconut, and sugar. Smells very sweet.

Tastes exactly like it smells. Pleasantly sweet, no bitterness for balance, but I don't expect that with an English Barleywine. The amazing thing about this beer is that there is no alcohol taste for a 14.20 % abv beer.

full bodied with carbonation. A great sipping beer. I am glad I was able to try this beer, and I look forward to trying this years version too.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap, 2013 version:
Pours amber with loads if tiny bubble carbonation, feeding a decent film on the surface. Edge head is fairly thick and lacing is pretty significant. Nose is very nicely sweet: coconut, vanilla, oak, raisin, caramel, a definite hint of booze, but not much for 16%.

Taste starts fruity and sweet, more the latter. Brown sugar (maybe even a tad burnt), caramel, vanilla, raisin, and raspberry-chocolate (light on the chocolate). The coconut mostly missing, but comes in a bit with a lime-coconut/oak/alcohol taste that leads to the end. This transition barely puts a dent in the sweetness. The end taste leaves hints of dark fruit, and still some dark sugar. Feel on a year is quite smooth, medium body but coating flavors make it seem heavier.

This seems like a fortified wine, which might work for some and du finitely not for others. I liked the complex flavors, but did grow weary of the sweetness eventually. A half pour or sharing may be the way to go. I assume a newer release would show its alcohol more, maybe a bit less sweet, also.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of TimBeaulieu
3.25/5  rDev -16%

Photo of Ben7773
4/5  rDev +3.4%

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.

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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.

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Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 617 ratings.