1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Samael's Ale - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Samael's AleSamael's Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

1,138 Ratings
THE BROS
78
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,138
Reviews: 583
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 14.69%
Wants: 68
Gots: 275 | FT: 17
Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  16.90% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes/Commercial Description:
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)

(Beer added by: ommegangpbr on 06-24-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samael's Ale Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 1,138 | Reviews: 583 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Aroma is boozy and rich with fruit, yeast, oak. A ring of lace otherwise almost no head on peachy coloured unfiltered body. Taste is coconut from the barrel ageing.
Pineapple, apricot, peach. Above average mouthfeel. Pretty drinkable for such high alcohol. Bottle at Beerbistro with Todd B.

Sammy, Feb 23, 2011
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +3.1%

t0rin0, Nov 08, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.23/5  rDev +9%

Bottle pour sampled at mrbubbler's tasting courtesy of brwilson.

Bottled in May 2006. Batch 2.

Pours a murky dark orange with a tan head that settles to nothing. No lacing on this one. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, wood, and citrus zest. Taste is the same with some honey flavors as well. There is a mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good barleywine that has aged pretty spectacularly over the past 6 years.

UCLABrewN84, Apr 09, 2012
Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -22.7%

djrn2, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a nice amber-garnet color with a very thin tan head and no retention or lacing. The nose brings forward a lot of sweet malt plus some caramel and brown sugar. A bit of dark fruit and a lot of booze there as well. The flavor brings forward much of the same, though it's not as integrated, likely due to the fact that the alcohol is really taking over. Plus, there's a bit too much sweetness. Both of these characteristics pervade throughout the feel and finish. Pretty good, but needed more time or it needs to be toned down a bit.

Thorpe429, May 19, 2011
Photo of nmann08
3/5  rDev -22.7%

nmann08, Jan 06, 2014
Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

zestar, Jul 13, 2014
Photo of metter98
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%

A: The beer is cloudy caramel in color and has a light amount of carbonation along with some small yeast particles visible near the bottom of the glass. It poured with a thin beige head that gradually died down, leaving some lacing on the surface and a thick ring of dense bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are moderate to strong aromas of caramel, oak, toffee and vanilla in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and is quite complex; the caramel flavors seem to stand out most prominently. The initial taste has a light amount of sweetness.
M: It feels full-bodied and a bit sticky and syrupy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a large amount of warmth from the alcohol, particularly in the finish.
O: The alcohol is definitely perceptible, but is relatively well masked for a beer of this strength. It’s a nice beer to sip with all of the complex flavors and it seems to age rather well.

Note: 2009 Vintage (Batch #5)

metter98, Mar 22, 2012
Photo of brentk56
2.83/5  rDev -27.1%

Appearance: Pours a clear dark amber color; the head fizzes away like soda, leaving no lacing and the carbonation is virtually nil

Smell: Paint thinner

Taste: Starts out with a sweet caramel flavor that just gets sweeter through to the finish; elements of vanilla, bourbon and oak

Mouthfeel: Thick and flat

Drinkability: A tough one to consume; I don't mind sweet beers as much as some but this one lacks complexity

brentk56, Aug 15, 2007
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%

2005 vintage. Autumn leaves russet with an infusion of Sunkist orange. A spirited pour results in almost no head, just a slim slice of ecru colored creaminess that is now all but gone. The snifter is essentially bare as well. It's hard to fault the appearance too much given the ABV and the style.

The nose is classic English strong ale. Of course, English barleywine works just as well (maybe better) given the overlap between those two styles. Each sniff delivers musky caramel, boozy fruit, scented pipe tobacco and newly tanned leather. It's amazing how little alcohol is evident since this bad boy is almost 30-proof.

Four years in the bottle has tamed this beast (not 'The Beast', that's a different Avery brew). I'm glad I chose a snifter because Samael's is a sipper par excellence. It's sweet and rich and warming, with a muffled explosion of flavor each time the taste buds are bathed. Barely above room temperature is the only way to go.

With nothing but pale and caramel malt, it's not surprising that sticky toffee pudding holds down the bottom end. Versions from 2007 onward add roasted malt for additional flavor and bitterness, but I like this recipe just fine. Who cares if the Columbus and Fuggles hops have long since faded?

Other flavors include cherries and oranges soaked in bourbon whiskey, vanilla and brown sugar syrup, part of which is the result of aging on American oak chips. It works here as well as it does in Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale. That is to say... very well. If I had any idea this beer was this good, I would have cracked the crown years ago.

The mouthfeel is right up my big beer lovin' alley. There isn't enough carbonation for it to be mouthfilling, but it's sappy and sticky and is a pleasure to sip. I wouldn't change a thing.

Samael is the Angel of Death and resides in Seventh Heaven. Avery Samael's Ale makes me glad to be alive and is a truly heavenly brew. Never mind the $7.99 price tag for 12 ounces (4 years ago), this is exceptional beer that I will now add to my cellar whenever the opportunity presents itself. Bottom line: devilishly good.

BuckeyeNation, Apr 25, 2009
Photo of Phyl21ca
2.5/5  rDev -35.6%

Bottle courtesy of Boboski: Poured a clear dark amber color ale with a small foamy head with little retention and no lacing. Aroma of brown sugar is domination with some subtle alcohol signs. Taste is dominated by some very sweet malt with very little hops and also very little signs of oak. Alcohol was way too predominant and the beer was way too sweet for my personal taste. It seems that Avery big beers series are either hit or miss and this one would be a miss.

Phyl21ca, Mar 13, 2007
Photo of BEERchitect
4.55/5  rDev +17.3%

I'm a likin' this brew. This could be my favorite Avery brew since Avery 10. There is a lot of port-wine characteristics in this beer. Shy with the hops, this Barley Wine ascends the style in which it is characterized. Very sweet, syrupy, and oily looking right from the offset. With a deep mohogany hue and a stark white head, it promises intense sweetness and richness. Aromas of sweet brandy-like alcohols, swirled around toffee, caramel, vanilla, rum, and bourbon (I think it is the oak). Tastes even sweeter than is suggested by the aromas. A follow up of rum-soaken cherries, berries, maple syrup, and heavy, heavy malts. Not teeth-hurting sweet, but close. High fruit-cake flavors with the dehydrated old fruits and sugar drenched breads. Heavy and sweet on the mouth. This one is surely a sipper. Very warming without fusals and with a sweet alcohol / oily feel. Finishes like a lot of dark rums and tawny ports that I have drank. This beer is phenominal. Better than Samichlaus in my opinion.

BEERchitect, Dec 09, 2006
Photo of mikesgroove
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%

Samaels Oak Aged



2006 Bottle



A – Poured a very hazy light amber, it had a lot of orange tint to the color and almost a pumpkin color to it. No head formed on this at all, which was quite suprising. There was ample side glass lace however which trickled down the glass throughout the session and made some very nice concentric rings throughout. Could not really tell if it was carbonated well upon first look due to the haze and cloudiness, but the color on this one was very nice.



S – Aroma was intresting. I had thought it would be dominated, even overwhelmed by the 14.5% abv, however I really did not pick up much of this in the aroma at all. In fact I picked up a lot of oakey aromas, some grassy, earthy tones, and a lot of maple sugar. It had a very sweet profile which really surprised me. I think the aging may have mellowed it as I had one fresh a while back and it came off quite hot. This seemed quite a bit more balanced and almost dare I say tame. Was really looking forward to sipping to see how mellow it may have gotten.



T – Now see this is why I age things. This was soo much more calm then when it was fresh. The alcohol was really toned down and allowed what were I think the more true flavors to come out and really added to the character on this. The sweetness really started to come through and added a whole new element to it. Lots of maple and oak flavors wrapped them selves around it, and almost all of the hotness was gone. It was actually quite smooth. Aftertaste was rather pleasant and nowehere near as harsh as I had remembered. This really was a whole different brew then what I had remembered. Very complex in the flavor profile as it seemed every sip brought out something new.



M – Very smooth which actually surprise me quite a bit. I had expected it to be somewhat harsh, but this was remarkably subtle and smooth. Not a lot of carbonation, and the feel took on more of a brandy like conisitency, however it was very nice as is. A good sipper that did not come off too thin or too thick.



D – Well here in lies the dilemma. Do you rate it low based on the obnoxiously high ABV, or do you rate it for what it is. I always like to do the latter so I will base it on that. It was great. Noramlly when they get up this high, it is very difficult to have much without really getting burned out. This was the exception to that rule. It was super smooth, and don’t get me wrong, you could definitely tell how strong it was, but not from the flavor. I thought this had a remarkable drinkibility for how strong it was.



Overall to say I was impressed would be putting it lightly. I am usually one for big brews, just tend to back off when they get this big. This one however really seemed to hold its own. It was soo mellowed and drinkable, it was almost a shame I did not have another, although that is probably a good thing. I wish I had aged more then one as this was really quite nice and was perfect over the course of a couple hours to just sit and relax with. Definitly recommend trying this one.

mikesgroove, Oct 03, 2007
Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

spycow, Mar 10, 2013
Photo of GRG1313
3.55/5  rDev -8.5%

16.45% abv. April 2009, Batch 5. Pours a very dark red amber with thick tan head.

Nose of rich cooked fruit, maple/toffee and ripe pears.

Mouthfeel is rich, bold and creamy.

Flavors are of big sweet cream sherry with bold oak undertones. Rich brown sugar, maple/toffee with coffee and hints of bittersweet dark chocolate. A strong sherry - sherry coffee finish with some oak character and some bitter coffee/chocolate and bitter maple. A bit of ripe/old raisins, as well.

The more one consumes the harder and harder it is to go back because of high sugar/sweetness. Liquid dessert but not as rich and inviting as the two others in the series.

A sipper but also good with dessert. Drink with care. The alcohol really creeps up on you!

GRG1313, Aug 14, 2009
Photo of kylehay2004
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

kylehay2004, Jun 08, 2014
Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

jaydoc, Oct 20, 2013
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%

Per the label: Bottled in May 2006 - Batch 2. I don't quite recall the location of purchase, but apparently it was for $8.49.

Appearance: Pours out a lightly cloudy, pecan-colored body with a thin, ivory-hued head that settles into a small ring around the inner perimeter of the glass.

Smell: A sharp, highly sweet-smelling nose of sugars on top of sugars and, for a brief moment, I'd swear I saw the Spectre of Diabetes in the mirror nearby. The scent of candied goodness, abundant caramel, piquant American oak wood, and macerated dark fruits draws you in closer only to be nasally stabbed by some jutting, jabbing currents of fusel alcohol.

Taste: Incredibly sweet! In fact, I'll admit to outright grimacing like I missed the lottery by just one number. And on the second sip, and the third, and the fourth, and so on. It's like a good horror flick that can still make you 'jump' on multiple viewings years later. Caramel candy with pure sugar sweetness that never fully goes away, but merely allows fruity tastes of poached raisins, dried orange peel, and fig juice to arrive. Small pinch of acidity. Faint, long-dead hop character throwing off hints of citrus and spicy, but with no more than a little bitterness remaining at this point -- get real, like anything could really ever cut through this much sweetness. Woody, tannic oak taste with a stingy bit of vanilla, but, just like everything else, you need to get in line behind the sweetness. The only thing that seems to be able to cut through the sugars at all is the alcohol. Finishes sweet with plenty of heat.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: To call this one a slow sipper is a bit of an understatement. While I'd tout other beers for their keen drinkability, here I'd give myself a pat on the back for the ability to drink and endure the entire twelve ounces. Also, it may or may not have been the initial jaw-seizing grimace, but, either way, all this sweetness has caused one of my teeth to hurt. =(

ChainGangGuy, Sep 17, 2009
Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev +3.1%

These beers are crazy. The look of them isn't too out of the ordinary or anything. The color is a rich looking brownish amber color with a thin tan head on top. The smell of is quite strong, boozy, malty and sweet. The taste of the beer is also like the nose. It was very sweet with a kick of hops and booze in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is on the thicker side and has a oily quality to it. Overall this beer neds to be sipped. It's big and very bold. Really should be enjoyed over the course of an hour or so, in my opinion anyway.

Knapp85, Oct 27, 2011
Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%

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.

oberon, Aug 19, 2005
Photo of TMoney2591
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%

Served in a plastic tumbler.

Back in the day, this beer kicked my sorry ass. Let's see how things have progressed, eh? It pours a hazy russet-amber topped by a half-finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises buttery toffee, vanilla, oak, caramel, and a small touch of booze in the back, though that remains decidedly demure. The taste holds notes of harshly sweet toffee, light whiskey, caramel, and maple syrup. The sweetness is a bit annoying, but at least it's not o'erwhelming. The body is lightly hefty, with a very light moderate carbonation and a syrupy feel. Overall, a pretty decent b-wine, but too sweet for my liking. Other than that, though, not too bad.

TMoney2591, Feb 16, 2011
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2/5  rDev -48.5%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of emerge077
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%

2012 batch, draft served in an 8 oz. footed goblet.

Dark auburn color, reddish brown with light tan foam that leaves spindly arcs of lacing in the glass.

Aromas of toasted coconut, fried plantains, melted toffee, cajeta. Intensely rich, decadent and sweet. Similar flavors, lots of creamy toffee, toasted oak, bananas foster, vanilla, big bourbon.

Body is thick and syrupy, creamy and sweet with very intense flavors. So much so, it reminded me strongly of Colorado whiskies Stranahans and High West Double Rye. Wouldn't be surprised if they used Strananhans barrels, this tasted very similar. Anything more than a tiny sip and you feel an alcohol burn, it's certainly potent at 16%. Took quite awhile to finish the small glass, but it was definitely savored.

emerge077, Jun 13, 2012
Photo of largadeer
2/5  rDev -48.5%

largadeer, Jul 17, 2013
Photo of zeff80
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%

Bottle from April 2009 - cosumed on 11/15/11

A - Poured out a hazy, light burgundy color with little to no head. It left sudsy trails of lace.

S - It smelled very malty sweet with vanilla and oak notes. A touch of bourbon aromas, too.

T - Good sweet bread maltiness with bourbon, oak and vanilla flavors. There are hints of butterscotch and toffee flavors.

M - It was soft and creamy with a slightly sticky mouthfeel. A full bodied ale with a warm alcohol presence.

O - This was really good with about a year and a half of aging. Curious about a fresh bottle.

zeff80, Nov 19, 2011
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,138 ratings.