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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

1,246 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,246
Reviews: 602
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 14.73%
Wants: 72
Gots: 320 | FT: 21
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,246 | Reviews: 602 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brdc
4.37/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Small capped bottle poured into a snifter.

Copper colored, reddish highlights, thin white head that does not hold very well, certainly due to the high ABV.
The rich aroma overflows from the glass, malty and sweet, with a generous caramel serving, fruitiness, alcohol related notes quite similar to port wine, and a contribution from oak and vanilla that is quite restrained, which makes it interesting without overwhelming all the other notes.
Minimal carbonation adds to the velvety sensation on the palate. Full, sweetish malts with loads of caramel and an intense sweet fruitiness, some oaky and buttery notes, relatively balanced by some alcohol heat, again port wine like and some mild bitter bite.
Certainly a sipper, a good nightcap but limited drinkability, as expected, due to intense sweetness and high ABV.

Photo of Mdog
4.19/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Murky brown, chunks of yeast (I think), good head for a strong beer.

Smell: Big wood smell, vanilla, booze.

Taste: Very tasty, big sweetness, vanilla, lots of caramel, bourbon flavors. Hides the alcohol.

Drinkability: Definitely a special occasion beer since it is so expensive per 12oz.

2007 bottling, picked it up for half price to give it a try. Glad I did, it was a powerful blast of flavor. I'm starting to understand why the barrel-aged beers are so popular!

Photo of grayburn
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured a nice burnt orange into the glass with surprisingly heavy head, decent retention, and heavy lacing.
Smelled strongly of oak, with a sharp, almost acidic phenolic character. Followed by some dried fruit that may have come from the yeast.
The taste is very yeasty, it has a sharp character that is only slightly calmed by the oak. There is a lack of hop presence, and I feel that it is missed. I realize the idea behind this beer, to take the showcase away from the hops, I just feel they got a little left out.
The mouth is good, reasonable carbonation, slightly acidic.
I could hardly finish a 12 oz split between two people, this beer is a sipper, but it is worth trying if you enjoy oaky and yeasty characters.

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single 12oz bottle from Arctic Liquors in Steamboat, CO. Around $8. April 2008, Batch 4, bottle notes it at 15.53%.

A: Cloudy copper color, with a sand colored head. Very dense, excellent retention for the ABV. Awesome lacing. Murky and ominous looking.

S: Cinnamon and spices, fresh baked bread, raisins, alcohol, the alcohol is really hot on this one, faint hints of the oak aging as well, slight wood, but not as present as I hoped for. Still a very tasty smelling ale.

T: Reminds me of a rum soaked cinnamon roll, and in no way is that bad, oak flavors are there too, and mellow the beer out quite a bit. Alcohol isn't as strong as I had expected. I'm glad to have let this one warm up quite a bit. Very bready, and a faint hint of bitterness, piney to place it.

M: Hot alcohol, this one burns the whole way down, but much like a bourbon, extremely dry, dries out the mouth nicely. Not as sticky as I had expected.

D: Dangerously drinkable for the ABV. Tasty all around and dangerous. I think I'll let the other bottle age for a few more years and see if the booze mellows out anymore. Solid beer, and I'm glad to have the girlfriend here to help me with it.

Photo of LieutenantWort
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours thick & smooth, a little head that quickly subsides, not too much lacing. Lovely deep mahogany color. Holding the glass up to the light, there's some obvious suspended sediment in there, looks a little like a natural cider (not an old bottle, either -- bottled <6 mos ago).

S: Very sweet. Rich, sugary notes along with some of the oak flavor coming through.

T: A bit tangy at first, quickly deepens and the nutty oak flavors dominate. The ABV is very high (bottle says >15%), and the alcohol comes through on every sip. Tastes a bit like a smooth bourbon.

M: Syrupy and thick. Subtle carbonation. Almost an oily mouthfeel.

The closest thing in my experience that I can compare this brew to is Great Divide's Oak-Aged Yeti Imperial Stout. Though both are very good, I prefer the Yeti because the lower ABV leaves room for a more interesting flavor profile. This is quite nice, but a little too much like sipping bourbon for me (nothing wrong with sipping bourbon; just that I'd buy bourbon and not an ale for that experience.)

Photo of erikm25
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a thick crimson and burgundy hued orange. Head was off white with reasonable retention. The lacing was minimal. This sits in the glass creamy and glowing with amber highlights strewn throughout. Hazy and fuzzy like vibrations out of an Orange amplifier.

S: Hints of butterscotch and bourbon. Sugared and sweetened grapes. Biscuit roundness with hints of ripe dark fruit juices. A tint of alcohol in the backdrop of the nose. Apples coated in brown sugar and bobbed from a barrel of whiskey.

T: Carpet bombs the tongue with caramel and sugary sweetness. Roasted toffee candies with smoked oak and scotch. Buttery vanilla with plums and honey syrup. Handfuls of cherries dipped in bourbon and splashed with mango cream. A bit of spiced clove towards the end. Alcohol is present but in a nice shooting whiskey with strangers type of way. This has tartness, sweetness, and numbing alcohol.

M: Full, creamy, and viscous. Good carbonation. This one borders on being a solid.

D: Well this is a massive beer that despite the high ABV is easy to drink especially if you are in the mood. I would recommend some Venom, Slayer, or Danzig for this one. Very impressive and helps throw things into a nice whirl. The only drawback is that it does not come that cheap.

Photo of ajbick
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a red-brown color. Hazy with very little head.

Smell is malty, oaky, and smokey similar to a bourbon. Alcohol is noticeable.

Taste is malty and sweet, almost honey-like with a nice alcoholic bite to it at the end. Very sweet aftertaste. The oak comes through nicely. It definitely tastes like it's 14.9% ABV.

Mouthfeel is very full. Carbonated, but not too much. Nice balance.

I enjoyed this beer, but it's not for everyone due to its strength. But while strong, it is not overbearing. Makes for a great winter warmer, but most probably won't have more than one.

Photo of thekevlarkid
3.47/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Out of a bottle this mildly intimidating beer (14.9% ALC!) was a hazy deep amber color. The one finger head was tan, displayed mediocre retention and modest lacing. The aroma was of alcohol esters and heat, oak, ripe fruit and doughy malt. The flavors were very rich and sweet. The alcohol was also quite strong. Caramel malt kicked the door in with brown sugar, vanilla and oak in the middle. Fruity esters and candy sugar were in there too. I generally like sweeter beers but I kept feeling this one was truly cloying. The body was medium/full, the mouthfeel average and the carbonation apropos for the style. Probably a real gem when aged, but it would need years.

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

Bottled in 2008, Batch #4
ABV is 15.53%
Pours a clear copper with a tan head that fades fast. Some Floaties from the bottom of the bottle.
It has a very nice sweet malt aroma with some biscuit and dark fruit notes.
Very Sweet flavor with lots of munich that quickly segues into a very dry oaky flavor that is easily identifiable as oak chips. It dosen't have the the smoothness or the vanilla of a barrel but the oak is a not that bad for being chips.
The mouthfeel is thin and hot from all of the alcohol. This is a beer that should be aged for about ten years before opening.
Drinkable now but it is a bit hot and rough.

Photo of chaz410
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased at Brawleys Beverage in Charlotte. Very nice looking beer when poured and honestly the coolest label I've every seen! Has a nice creamy tan head and dark brown cloudy body. There's little bits of yeast sediment in it and probably due to the age, this bottle was sealed in april '07. Smell is very malty, little alcohol notes in there with some oak flavor. Malts are thick and that of sweet raisens and dates. Flavor is great, tons of malts and sweet fruits. Alcohol comes in mid way through but the sweet malts and little spiceyness comes in to counter it quickly. Love this beer, one of my favorites!

Photo of brewbucker
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled in April 2007, Batch 3

Pours a very murky rust color and has a thin quickly fading head. The aroma is very boozy with big ripened fruits (plum), sugary malts, oak, and light band aid. It actually smells quite inviting. The flavor is rich heavy fermented fruits, dates, big malt and maple. It seems the appearance gets better as it warms. Giving it a little swirl creates a head and sticky lacing. I have a habit of drinking my beers too quickly but I think this one is going to last me for quite some time. Very nice overall. A true sipper.

Photo of seedsofchaos
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

A - Red and ambers swirl in this thick caramely brew. Pours with little to no head.

S - Smells slightly of an alcoholic apple cider. Definitely hints of caramel, smoke, and oak. Between whiffs one gets the impression that they are about to partake of an aged bourbon.

T - Great taste! If you love a sweet and bourbony drink, then this is it. Not so much of your typical beer taste here so conservatives beware! Hints of hops but more present is a sweet and roasty caramel. I'm a whiskey lover and this just does it for me.

M - Very smooth but the alcohol does hit a little hard on the front of your palette at first. After the initial alcohol shock it goes down incredibly smooth without much carbonation to get in it's way.

D - Drink after Christmas dinner. We did and we were left impressed by this under-rated brew! I probably shouldn't drink a few of these but I definitely would. Careful, it's a hitter with a high ABV.

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 yemenmocha
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This rather uncommon brew is a real treat if you don't mind something on the sweeter side, and for dessert.

Pours orangey-amber with almost no head. Nose is NYQUIL cherry flavor, with some peachy Southern Comfort spirit aromas.

Palate is a viscous, gooey sugar bomb with cherry, wood, and again peach liquer.

Finish is sickly sweet but enjoyable nonetheless.

Photo of DoubleJ
4.19/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled in April 2007. This should be ready to drink with the alcohol being at a more tolerable level. On to the beer:

Lots of sediment in the body. Milky white head on to this dark orange, almost brown beer. Very aromic. It's big on oak and caramel, a bit of fruity alcohol. Now I hope this isn't too hot to handle. Damn...I'm smoking fumes from my nose. Very very mellow flavor, and yet so darn tasty. Lots of oak and sweet candy...caramel and toffee flavor, fruity. It melts on your palate very pleasantly, that's for sure. You can feel the alcohol, but that's mostly in the throat, not on the palate. I'm loving this, I just wish there was less sediment. Sit back and sip on!

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

I am not sure I have ever had anything quite like this before, Drinks more like hard liquor than beer. Very dark orange color with a small tan head. Very pungent nose of ripe fruit and oak. Smooth mouthfeel and the alcohol is well hidden for something the powerful. Flavor of caramel malts, citrus hops, and ripe fruit. Probably not for everyone but I enjoyed it.

Photo of nick76
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The aroma and taste are so sweet you would swear that there is syrup in it. Very vinous as well. The appearance is golden orange. Flavor is oak like with a somewhat liquor quality. Palate is thick and smooth. Very Good! Even though it's really strong it doesn't knock out your taste buds.

Photo of JoeMayo
3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 Vintage

A- Pours a slightly hazy, golden-copper color with a slight head that reduces to a ring around the snifter.

S- Very boozy. Complex woody notes of oak, cognac, and sweet alcohol.

T- Again, very very alcoholic, however it isn't hot at all...it just tastes boozy. The oak comes through with notes of cognac. I'm not really sure what it is, but some odd, almost minty flavor comes through.

M- Sticky, but slightly thin

D- Although I began to feel the alcohol before finishing the beer, it was certainly not harsh at all and overall pretty smooth given the alcohol content.

Photo of hopdog
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz bottle labeled bottled in 2005.

Poured a medium and cloudy amber color with a small sized off white head. Aromas of wood, vanilla, toffee, smoke, and some alcohol. Tastes of vanilla, toffee, caramel, and some wood. Reminded me of sipping on sherry. Sweet and bordering on cloyingly sweet. Lots of alcohol in the finish.

Notes from 4/27/07

Photo of cnally
3.72/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dangerous looking bottle and abv. Let's go.

Cloudy reddish brown color, looks like apple cider. Very little head and lacing.

Oaky wine-type smells. Big malt and scents of hickory and bourbon.

Holy massive Lord this is a sweet beer. The sugars just attack right up front, but the flavor mellows down into the malt. Spicy spicy. Apple flavors, with a genius alcohol sting on the afterbite.

Sticky as hell feel. Heavy and unrelenting.

Obviously a monster. Wouldn't want to chug this one. But, the overall arch is that it is really powerful. The sum of the parts is less that the whole, it you know what I mean. I will definately get this again if I need to catch a buzz. But not for the taste.

Photo of clayrock81
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy copper with amber tints and decent carbonation leading to a small head. A very thick smell of sweet malts and some dark fruits. I am not sure what I smelled, the aroma was all over the place here. Unbelievable sweet malt taste that knocks you on your ass and there seems to be some floral hops to punctuate a vivid thickness of this beer and give it a slightly hoppy backend. Despite the high ABV the alcohol burn isn't too bad, but this is only a sipper and I still couldn't finish it all. It is like drinking a milkshake it is so thick and as it warms it got a little rough on my throat. This is a dessert beer to split with somebody on a cold winter night for a good occasion.

Photo of jujubeast6000
3.02/5  rDev -22%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 10/22/2007 (bottled May 2006, batch 2):

Pours a ruby brown color, lighter edges. Off-white head, frothy but small. Hoppy aroma, grapefruit. Dark woodsy scent, malts and alcohol. Aroma of spices when inhaling deeply, some sweetness and caramel. Caramel and sweetness, dark raisin-y taste. Spices, clove. Sickly sweet aftertaste. Warming up...taste of something dark might be the oak - a hard flavor. A lot of alcohol. Too alcoholy.

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

10/26/08- Purchased at Sun Devil Liquors, in Mesa, AZ. $6.99.

Presentation- 12oz bottle, had a freshness and or batch, but didn't write down. I know it's either a 2005 or 2006. I've had it for a minimum of 2 years. Poured into my JW Lees glass.

Appearance- Copper-mahagoney-caramel color. Pours with a 1/2 inch head, quickly evaporates to a very light rim. Leaves spotty-watery type lace.

Smell- Lots of oak, lots of vanilla, lots of mollasses, lots of sugar and lots of hard alcohol notes. Lots of everything I guess. Smells very potent and very nice.

Taste- Quite like the nose. Oak is strong, but not to overtake the other flavors completely. Vanilla and brown sugar with a dark mollasses malt flavor. Maybe a bit of a buttery flavor or maybe texture. Alcohol notes are strong like brandy.

Mouthfeel- A bit more carbonation would have been perfect. About cask style here, which made it a bit more syrupy than it had to be. Ultra long lasting oak flavor as the next two beers I shared tasted like oak.

Drinkability- Very nice! Will be having more of these in the future. I think they are up to about $9 each now though, which makes it a rare buy.

Photo of IronDjinn
3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Paid close to $8 US for this down in Idaho in Bonner's Ferry. Even the woman at the till in the grocery store commented on it (until she rang through the Dogfish Head Fort for over double that price...). Then looking at the 15.53 abv% listed on the label, I can kind of understand why the big bucks for such a small bottle. 12 oz. brown bottle, red foil around the cap and neck, label states bottled in April 2008 and that this is Batch 4. Let's see how I now fair against the prince of demons...

Two fingers of cream coloured spongy head that starts to dissipate the moment it peaks. Clear chestnut hue to the body, very nice. Leaves a top tier of thick sticky lacing.

The aroma tends to sway between pleasant and pungent, whiskey malt and oak chips on the former side of the fence, a kind of sour barnyard funk on the latter. Very vinuous boozy character as well, like when scotch hits the 27-30 year old point, and you're not sure whether to laugh or cry.

Flavour is rich and intense and layered. Thick toffee and bready cake, chewy sticky sweet, spice and dates and black currants, alcohol warmth plunges from the depths like a leviathan overwhealming everything above the surface. The warm spicy alcohol tends to become the finish as well, and radiates long into the aftertaste. After only half a bottle I'm really feeling this stuff.

For the style and abv% the mouthfeel on this stuff is gold, smooth, a bit of soft carbonation and medium body, inconceivably drinkable for what it is.

Okay, so the aroma still kind of puts me off--entices me then stinks me out--but the rest of this ale is gorgeous, though not deceptive. I'd love to have another one, but know better than that to have another one, this one has nearly looped me enough. Any more and it'd end in tears, tears that the prince of demons Samael would gladly drink himself I'm sure. Not this time buddy boy.

Photo of Yesac
2.63/5  rDev -32%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A - Semi cloud amber with a small head that fades quickly.

S - After the first whiff, it's difficult for my to even word what the smell is. Whatever this smell is, its very strong and sweet/sour. Like a burbony cherry.. it's very complex.

T - This thing has some bite, a pretty strong alcohol taste with this complex cherry and burbon like taste. It's similar to a mead. Unique, but not for me.

M/D - The mouthfeel is pretty thin and not much is left to linger. The strong sour smell and the taste of strong alcohol and the fact of this brew being 14.9% makes it hard to finish.

Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,246 ratings.