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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

613 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 613
Hads: 1,339
Avg: 3.87
pDev: 21.96%
Wants: 81
Gots: 357 | FT: 24
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
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Reviews: 613 | Hads: 1,339
Photo of Gregaroo
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Monk's in Philly after Papal visit. Moved to this after brandy barrel aged Angel's Share kicked. Fruity and sweet with great flavors. Went very well with curry mussels.

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Photo of delta490
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #11
Pours a ruddy brown with a very short-lived fizzy cream head. No retention whatsoever. The aroma is big, oaky and boozy with a hint of sweetness and little earthy hops. The taste is quite good, sweet, almost like a port, but with the oak providing a nice subtle background note to check the sweetness from both the malt and the alcohol. Its surprisingly light on the palate given its aging and alcohol content and there isn't any of the burn you would expect.

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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 MarvinSnyder
4.14/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2015- 14.6%

What a great English barleywine with all the potential in the world. Just a little too sweet for my taste though!

Pairs perfectly( alliteration aside) with the pub mix -spicy seasoned peanuts served at the DoG Street Pub.

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Photo of IvoryFoxhole
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 edition, poured into Teku glass.

Lovely ruby red, very odd look for a beer. One finger foamy white head, little retention.

Smell of oak, dark fruit, some alcohol.

Taste is sweet dark fruit, brown sugar, vanilla up front, some malt and alcohol back end to keep sweetness within reason.

Pretty well-balanced between sweet and dry. Alcohol burn there, but not bad (2014 ABV less than most years). Light-medium carbonation. Frighteningly drinkable for this ABV and style.

Definitely a pleasant surprise considering other reviews.

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Photo of ScaryEd
3.29/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

2015 release poured into a teku glass.

Pours a clear mahogany color with a bubbly, cream-colored head that leaves in a hurry. Almost no lacing to be found.

The smell is boozy, with notes of brown sugar, vanilla, and sour apples. I also detect some dark fruit notes like fig and raisin.

The taste is way, way too sweet. So much candied apple and molasses and brown sugar. A bit boozy just like the nose. The flavors themselves are not bad, but this is simply far too sweet for my tastes.

The feel is full bodied with moderate carbonation. It's sticky, syrupy, and just overly sweet. A slight alcohol burn on the finish.

Overall, not a bad beer, but certainly a disappointing one. Avery tends to knock their higher ABV beers out of the park but this one just didn't work for me as well as I had hoped. The sweetness is just overpowering and it's very difficult to finish this beer in one sitting. Took me over an hour just to finish 12 ounces.

I'd be willing to get this again to let it sit for a year or two to see how it holds up. But as it currently stands, it's a solid, not great, barleywine.

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Photo of dpgoblejr
4.83/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Striking golden honey color with not much of a cap or lacing. Aroma is made up of caramel for sure with some fruity esters kicking in with the booze/wine. Super sweet, candied fruits dance on the tongue and the oak adds to the robust flavor. Lots of heat with this barleywine and the syrup consistency coats the palate while the 14.6% abv slightly burns when finishing. I sipped this one for well over an hour and enjoyed it immensely! Hope to find another one someday...

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Slightly hazy copper, barely any head, only lazy carbonation. Pungent, smells of caramelized brown sugar, green apples, licorice, some raw oak, some alcohol. Very sweet, lots of that turbinado sugar and apples, vanilla, toffee, some spiciness. For all the sweetness the finish has that bitter licorice flavor, probably accentuated by tannins and alcohol, although I don't pick up any actual ethanol flavor. Full body, sticky syrupy, trace of carbonation.
Certainly interesting. Unique assortment of flavors, but as for their delivery, it was way too sweet when I was sipping it, and had way too harsh of a finish when I wasn't. I'll give it some respect; it gave me something to mull over and mentally digest, but the nonstop assault on my senses (in a bad way) prevented me from ever getting into this beer.

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Photo of E-McFarden
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Hazy brown amber in color. Head was course and minimal despite vigorous pouring and didn't last long. Lacing is minimal to none. Apples and caramel come through at the foreground of scent, followed by alcohol and white wine smells. Taste is immediately sweet on the palate with molasses and raison flavors. I also get strong caramel and apple-like flavors. This has a small amount of spiciness to it as well. Feel is understandably heavy with little carbonation and a wet finish. Overall its balanced well and hides the alcohol surprisingly well. A little too sweet for me even though its a barleywine style ale.

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Photo of emyers
4.01/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into Founders snifter.

Appearance: Pours cloudy amber with a one-inch off-white head. Great head retention for the abv and leaves a nice lacing down the glass.

Smell: Dominated by caramel malt and fruity yeast esters with just a whiff of hops. Definitely some alcohol there.

Taste: Tons of sweet caramel malt with a bit of oak presence. There is some dark fruit in there as well. Finish is quite sweet with some alcohol heat. Flavor profile is very in-your-face with the caramel malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Very full-bodied and viscous. Low carbonation level keeps it extremely smooth.

Overall: A very unique beer - the flavor profile does not make this extraordinarily drinkable, but as a slow-drinking sipper it's quite good.

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Photo of BWood
3.74/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Solid BA barley wine. Nothing near what BCBBA is or Mirror Mirror is though. Hides the boose well. Has a good lasting finish on the tongue . It's a good looking beer though as it sits in the glass. But not sure if I would buy again.

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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 KYGunner
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I've had this in the past and did not enjoy it but decided to try it fresh and on draft. It's a tad sweet but bursting with oranges, honey, white wine, caramel and apricot. So easy to drink despite the high alcohol content. Maybe it was just the timing but I suggest you give it a second chance.

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Photo of scootny
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Murky and chestnut brown. Wispy head and not much lace. Sweet caramel and alcohol nose. High octane booze and sugars. Cherries, figs, and raisins. Oaken dryness offers the hops up to be a firm signature on the finish. Fusel alcohol is mild and nowhere near commensurate with the abv. Feel is thick and chewy with a syrupy smoothness. Carbonation is mild and well done. This is a brew that goes down easier than you would think and I went through this faster than I should.

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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

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Photo of sourwench429
3.22/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Flatish rum and coke is an apt description. Not necessarily a bad thing but it's a little thin and tremendously sweet. Doesn't have the mouth feel of a bourbon county BW. I would consider getting another to forget about it for probably at least 3 years. Don't drink this year's vintage it's just plain too hot.

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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 Stagga_Lee
5/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Initial notes include peat, caramel, toffee, and hazelnut.
Tastes deeper in the glass develop into fig, raisin, and stronger barrel notes. Another fine addition to the Avery legend series.

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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 bgold86
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle is a year old, purchased recently from a craft brew store. This is the problem, the beer has plenty of carbonation, great nose, and great taste, but the finish has a very clear and up-front sort of metallic/cardboard aftertaste. For a beer that's only a year old (and 14+%)to exhibit oxidation of this nature really doesn't bode well. Disappointing.

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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 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 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 Brob245
3.02/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I'm a big fan of barleywines but his beer is way too sweet. It completly overpowers any other flavors and makes the beer hard to enjoy. A couple of sips and you are done.

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Photo of Joestradamus91
3.19/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Way too sweet in order for me to fully enjoy. The nose was amazing with hints of oak and caramel but the taste was a let down. The alcohol was well hidden though as it did not overwhelm the drinker for such a huge beer with the March 2014 release.

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Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 613 ratings.