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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

1,217 Ratings
THE BROS
78
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,217
Reviews: 591
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 14.99%
Wants: 70
Gots: 292 | 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
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Ratings: 1,217 | Reviews: 591 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of PatronWizard
2.15/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Picked up a 12 oz and felt it was time with my lunch today.

Pours a right proper ruby amber with a decent head.

Smell is FRUITAAAY. And glue? Some sort of plastic adhesive fo sho.

Intensely strong flavor, and sadly enough, not to my liking. Some caramel, apple, other fruits, wood, elmers school glue, and a healthy dose of good old fashioned alcohol. Big alcohol burn. So I looked at the ABV: bottle says 15.53%. Are they fucking kiddin me? I like liquor and when I drink liquor I drink it straight, but not to wash down my lunch!

Feel is very thick, syrupy, suffocating. Could've been a little better if not for the alcohol sting.

Drinkability is nil.

So I don't know if I can make it through this beast, which pisses me off and I decide to take (6) 2 oz drinks to polish this off and keep my manhood intact. And I did.

Been typing the above from notes, and now have to say that a bottle of this noise will result in increased joy directly afterward, even if it is hard to take down.

Overall: only once baby

Photo of Big78CJ
4.47/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed this beer while #1 UGA trounced Georgia Southern in the season opener. Go Dawgs!

A. Burgundy color with slight tan fizzy surface. A bit thick looking

S. A bit sweet with bubble gum and honey mixing with vanilla and clove. The clove aroma mixes into a tasty whiskey back.

T. Very sweet with intense oak flavor from the chips, brought our more by the turbinado sugar. The oak taste sticks with you, feeling you just finished a good scotch.

M. Slightly thick body from the sugar and high alcohol. Didn't realize this was bottle conditioned but thankfully I paid attention while pouring.

D. I am very glad I picked up several of these when I had the chance. This is a great beer to split with friends at a tasting.

Photo of changeup45
3.6/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled, April 2007. Pours a deep amber color with an impressive head considering the abv that quickly settles down to patches and a foamy ring. Aroma is sugary, cherries, oak, malt and some alcohol surfacing. The flavor is very sweet with caramel, plums, cherries, lots of oak with a spicy alcoholic finish. The beer is a bit hot and a little too sweet, even for an English Barleywine. Very warming and definitely a sipper. 12 ounces seemed to last forever. I wouldn't have wanted any more.

Photo of jwc215
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottled in May, 2006 (Batch 2), poured into tulip glass:

Poured bright, shiny rubyish orangeish brown with a thin tan head that settles to a patch. Some trailing lace sticks.

The smell is of strong caramel, some orange marmelade and a fruity booziness.

The taste is of strong caramel, candy sugar and orange marmelade. This is sweet, candy-like and boozy. Not sure I get the oak part - maybe a touch of vanilla in the finish. As it progresses, some raisin/fig-like fruitiness comes through under the blanket of caramel and booze.

Syrupy and full-bodied, the heat approaches burning, though not too badly for the abv.

Not bad drinkability for being so sweet and boozy, all things considered. Liqueur-like - glad I chose it for last night's nightcap, as it sure made me ready for a good night's rest. Interesting, and tasty, but it's a bit much - I wouldn't have minded splitting this one, though it's only a 12-ouncer.

Photo of GatorBeerNerd
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a beautiful deep amber brown with not much in the way of a head even with an aggressive pour. What is there quickly dissipates to a ring with a bit of bubbles across the top. I really love the color, but I would prefer more head and lacing.

S: The smell is extremely boozy to me. There is a hint of oak in there, but the almost 15% ABV really comes through in the nose. I do not really enjoy the overwhelming booze aroma it has, but its not offensive either.

T: Sweet malty taste when it initially touches the lips. The oak flavor mixes well with the sweet malty taste. The alcohol warmth hits when you swallow the beer. It leaves a sweet after taste in the mouth. I was a little worried after the aroma, but it is a very tasty brew.

M: Very thick syrupy mouthfeel. Very little in mouth carbonation which is no surprise after the lack of any head.

D: This one is certainly a sipper. I am surprised this one is a summer release since it has much more in common with winter warmers that most summer brews. The ABV and oak flavor make it tasty but you are not going to be able to knock these back one after another.

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

The Samael Ale comes is a cool bottle with great art work showing a faint prince of demons. It was brewed in May of 2006. The color is a cloudy mahogany with no foam head at 14.5 it looked more like a barleywine than an English strong but it went down none the less. It had the small stream of bubbles rising in the middle of the glass.

I loved the aroma. It was sweet and figgy and of oak. I also got a deep dark fruit smell like. The taste was sweet wine like with a oak chip finish. It almost becomes cloying but walks the line and remains nice and sweet. On the finish you get the tinge of alcohol and the oak. Very nice. Overall a fun experience and will buy one of these every year or every two years.

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

so, 227 reviews as of my posting. Guess this has been around a wide area. Bottle note's this is batch 4. Over 15% abv as noted on the label and it requires a very slow sipping approach to handle. I've got a couple more in the cellar to age and share with adventurous friends. I'll note it's probably too strong for me to buy more.

Photo of Pencible
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Two years aged, this poured a hazy burnt sienna with no head. It smelled like very strong dried apricot hops, sweet caramel malt, melted butter, and a hint of oak and alcohol. It tasted like powerful and sweet apricot and raisin hops, fresh cut oak, super sugary caramel, and blatant alcohol. It was somewhat thick with a bit of carbonation, and had a strong and lasting bittersweet aftertaste. Overall this was a very unique and bold ale, that drank almost like a cordial. It was fairly complex, but was still clean. It's overwhelming sweetness was reminiscent of the 120 Minute IPA, meaning this beer must be sipped, and it's difficult to finish an entire bottle.

Photo of bort11
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into my Boulevard Smokestack Series goblet. Thin tan head, but there is a spiral galaxy of lacing on the surface. Color is a deep reddish brown.

Smell is a malt bomb of dark malts, baked apples, plums and a very distinct alcohol. Taste is burnt currants, hint of mint, dark bread, and candy sugars.

Mouthfeel is sticky and full bodied. This is a winner!

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

Had it Avery's 15th aniversary party.

Poured a great dark copper color with great head and excellent lacing. It had a wonderful aroma, very fruity, with fig and grape scents, with a wonderful maltiness to go with it, very deep and strong. Wondeful taste, very strong and deep, with wondeful malty and fruity characteristics (fig mostly, with a little grape). It went down wondefully smooth for such a high ABV beer. Fantastic!

Photo of tai4ji2x
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottled 2005. poured into tulip.

almost clear, dark brown amber. head forms only w very forceful pour, but again soon fades to wisps and a thin ring. not really any lace.

initial sniffs of oak and malty sweetness that approaches molasses and dark rum. hints of port and alcoholic vanilla extract.

sweet and syrupy maltiness, w more rum and port character, where the oak also helps to remind one of such things. subdued resiny hop gives moderate to low bitterness as an undercurrent, and goes into the sweet finish.

smooth, almost syrupy. very gentle carbonation.

the very sweet flavor and the high alcohol cut down drinkability slightly. otherwise quite enjoyable for me.

Photo of jdhilt
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a one finger cream head that fades quickly to a ring leaving no lace. Murky amber color. Light carbonation and heavy bodied. Sweet alcohol nose. Flavor is a strong molasses and woodiness with late alcohol warming. Drink this cold. Pricey at $8.19 for a 12oz bottle from Yankee Spirits South Attleboro, Ma. 2005 vintage.

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

Batch 2 - 12 ounce Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours amber with a hugh head that settled to a film rather quickly.

S - Smells good. Fruity with a touch of alcohol.

T - Caramel and fruit. Touch of alcohol at the end. Sweet.

M - Thick, creamy, slightly carbonated.

D - Because of the sweet, it's a sipper.

Photo of Goliath
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber/ruby color with a very thin light tan head. Poor retention.

This beer is quite fragrant. Raisins, dates, oak, vanilla, cherry, and a bit of alcohol.

Taste is alright. Notes of oak, cherry, dark fruits, brown sugar. A bit of an alcohol warmth. Slightly cloying.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, thick, and syrupy. Carbonation is fairly low.

Drinkability is moderate. Flavor is decent, however alcohol is high and it is fairly harsh. Definitely a sipper.

Photo of Gehrig
4.88/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I went for a long run, came home and got cleaned up before tonight's Yankees-Boston game, and thought about grabbing a summer beer, then thought twice about it. Although I've had a few good ones this summer, I figured what's the point? After several disappointments, why not try something more complicated, a different style, something that looked intimidating and brash?

Something like Samael's Ale. This was truly a surprise, a big, bold, brash, complex but sweet beer. It poured no foam at all, but emitted a cloudy, dense cider-brown with crimson trim--very impressive. The nose is big and boozy, but full of berry, fig, brown sugar, molasses, oak, and orange, all tremendous. The same goes double for the taste, sweet with berry, sugar, oak that is present but could be bolder, somewhat syrupy yet not cloying. Great mouthfeel, thick without exactly being viscous. In fact, the mouthfeel is a slightly effervescent cider in texture and to a degree in taste. The alcohol is masked well, but creeps up near the end with a flash of tightness. However, this one isn't difficult to drink in the slightest. There is strength to this strong ale, but its sweet, complex taste is a revelation, a very sweet strong ale.

Quite simply, one of the very best beers I'd ever had, and one of the three best I've ever had from Avery. A triumph.

Photo of JayDub
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Deep amber in color. A creamy head of about one finger from a hard pour, settles to a thin sheet. A bit of lacing on the way down.

S - Ok, this is a bit strange, but I'm getting a strong sense of coconut milk in the nose, but not a bad thing. Also the aroma of wood chips soaked for grilling. A bit of alcohol warmth in the back.

T - Loads of malty sweetness, almost syrupy. Hints of oak aging and some hop spice, but I can't get past the sweetness. The alcohol is not shy about asserting its presence.

M - Thick, almost syrupy body that goes down in little sips. It's actualy a fairly dry finish. The moderate amount of carbonation helps cut through some of the sweetness.

D - The 15.5% ABV is very warming and demands some respect. This is a decent sipper as a night-cap, not something I'll probably try again in the summer heat, but would welcome it again on a cold winter night.

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

Had this on tap at the PP Strong Ale Fest year before last and it didn't leave the impression that it does, fresh from the bottle. Bottled in April 2008, Batch 4...it pours a nice dark amber-orange with an off-white, one-finger head that settles slowly. The label on this 12 oz. bottle states the ABV as 15.53%, and you better believe it!

The smeel is ultra sweet and fruity, comprised mostly of over-rippened fruit. Lots of red and green grape, Fuji apple and Red Delicious come through strong. Kiwi, mango and alcohol fill the void on subsequent sniffs.

The taste, as it smells, only much sweeter and warming strong to the hilt! Wow, kinda reminds me of MD 20/20...only tastier.

Thick and smooth in the mouth...very warming and very potent as well.

An interesting brew that would probably age well and tone down nicely...worth a try for sure.

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

Pours a ruby cooper color. Decent white head, decent lacing.

Big oak smell. I catch slight wiffs of sweet pineapple gruit fruit aromas. Some earthy notes.

The oak comes across in a big way. Malty sweetness is also big. Fresh fruit flavors slight hoppiness on the tongue.

Smooth drink though slightly syrupy.

Is quite drinkable for the abv, surprising actually. It is a sipper, definitely a one a done, no need for a second of this brew.

Photo of NCSUdo
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle, bottled April 2007

A: Deep mahogany with ruby mixed under a rusty brown head. Decent lace and retention.

S: Big rich smell of some sweet malt but huge oak character. Boozy, dominated by the wood though. A distinct bourbon character.

T: Taste is a little more subdued then the nose. Wood dominates again, but not as big as in the smell. Sweet up front, brown sugar and a little molasses. Bourbon character is there still, with a mild bitter finish. Definite alcohol in the finish.

M/D: Creamy, full body. Nice mouthfeel. Drinkability, well... This is a big, bold beer and I don't know much I could take. Overall, a very good beer.

Photo of MisterClean
4.97/5  rDev +28.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle from tasting at Manderes.

A - Red-copper in color, medium head, dissipates slow.

S - Very wheaty, oak, pine, and yellow grapefruit.

T - Oak, wheat, corn, and pine. Superb.

M - Well balanced, easy to enjoy. Perfect with a cigar.

D - Possibly the best ESA I've had.

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

Acquired in trade with vasdef42, thanks!

Batch 4 - Foiled cap pops with a loud pfft, releasing instant smells of caramelly malt and oak. Pours a deep orangey copper with a nice creamy, khaki head.

Nose has an individuality to it, with plenty of caramel and rich earthy tones, dark brown bread, and nice mellow smooth oak, not harsh or too old, but very round. I don't notice as much alcohol as I'd expect.

Taste is good, but a bit harsh. A lot of caramel, but not too sweet at all, with a rich warm depth. Oak really has a strong presence, with some mellow smooth flavors. What begins as smooth with a lot of nice depth kind of burns up in alcohol heat and bitterness at the finish, making the oak and other flavors a lot more harsh and seemingly less balanced. The overall flavor comes across as really well done, but it swallows with a taste and feel that are momentarily sharp. Once the alcohol burns off there's a softer caramel vanilla bready taste left over. When it warms it drinks a little like bourbon.

As for feel, the original fuller medium body holds little weight against the fumy alcohol finish. Some slickness left over, but I keep getting a lot of fumes.

I'm pretty torn over this one. I really like the nose, and I really like the overall flavor, but the alcohol and harsh finish detract a lot from my ability to really enjoy this beer. It's good in most respects, but kind of sharp. Interestingly, the more I drink, the more I enjoy it, but sip slowly!

Photo of srandycarter
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A - Dark clear amber, small head leaves fast, thin sudsy, but persistent lacing.

S - Some malt, dried or cooked dark fruit, booze evident.

T- Big taste! Raisins, dark fruit, lots of booze, an explosion to the senses.

M - As with the taste, big fat coating mouth, big flavors that balance well, nice carb.

D - Even tasting the alcohol, this one is pretty drinkable, considering it makeup.

Photo of coldmeat23
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Pint Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees
VINTAGE: 2007

Pours a nice coppery/caramel color. Thick, creamy, 4-finger head that dpops down to a nice thin layer just covering the liquid in a solid fashion. Nice lacing on the glass. The only negative is that there is already quite a good amount of sediment.

Smells of sweet malty goodness, just begging to be tasted. Caramel, raisins and a touch of alcohol, not unlike a fine port.

Big sweet malts engulf the mouth. Very port-like in it's taste. The alcohol is not quite as prominent as I expected, which is nice. Light caramel taste on the back-end with a hint of cinnamon(?) or perhaps that's just the oak chips coming through.

Feels very smooth in the mouth with only a slight touch of alcohol burn. This breaks up the sweetness, so it works to it's own advantage.

Overall this is quite nice, but one that is a bit too sweet for me to consume much at one time. A definite sipper.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle says bottled in 2005.
Pours a beautifully clear amber, orange, reddish color without much head or lacing. Aroma is boozy, oakey, sweet caramel, some raisins. Taste is oak and bourbon but sweet, fruity, caramel malts. Carbonation is low, Mouthfeel is sweet and sticky. Good brew, definitely a sipper.

Photo of ccrida
4.4/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle (May 2006 - Batch 2) poured into my meantime snifter, Samael's Oak-aged Ale is a hazy burnt orange with a large, olive tinged off-white head that fairly quickly settles to a thick, foamy skim, leaving light, scattered lace. I dig the bronzed, hazy glow to it, like an LA sunset, crowned with an attractive collar to the last sip, impressive for the size and age of this bottle (which was evidently cellared and/or capped better then some of the other reviewers, who had flat batch 2 bottles).

Strong aroma of rich caramel malt, fruity English ale and oak esters. As you get accustomed to it, the alcohol becomes more evident, although it's pretty light and clean.

Taste is very rich, more of the same sweetness and fruity notes from the nose, nice depth, and surprisingly smooth and balanced for the size, I'm sure the cellar time certainly helped. The oak character really provides a nice, fairly subtle counterbalance to the thick sugars and alcohol vapors. Very sherry/port like, but with carbonation. Lingering aftertaste with exceptional depth, spicy and smokey.

Mouth feel is very creamy and carbonated, with a dry, boozy finish leaving me with heavy hobo breath and tingling lips.

Drinkabilty was really high for me. In spite of the crippling ABV, the taste is smooth and the booze is clean, and my 12 ounces went down way to fast! I really like English style barleywines though, and am really digging this over the top take on the style by Avery. I happy to say they have another winner in their The Demons of Ale series, 3 for 3 with the extreme beers, love it! Part of my high scoring reflects the level of craftsmanship exhibited by pushing the envelope while still producing a very tasty, highly drinkable product.

Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,217 ratings.