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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

1,252 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,252
Reviews: 603
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 14.69%
Wants: 75
Gots: 326 | FT: 23
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,252 | Reviews: 603
Photo of MrHungryMonkey
4.37/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nose is highly malty with nice oak notes and a splash of alcohol. Smells quite good.

Pours a deep orange butterscotch color, moderate clarity, mild head. Looks good.

Nicely sweet with lots of alcohol, malt, and gusto. This is a real beer. Complex malt/sweetness/alcohol profile. Quaint tartness that might be from hops. Some deep roasted flavors - wood, caramelized sugar, earth, and faint notes of char (to the degree a blackened cedar plank lends flavor to a fish cooked on it). Note of maple syrup. Finishes oaky, nutty, alcoholic, and dry. Tastes quite good. Feels good too.

Nice drinkability for 15.53%. I remember having one of these when I was newly 21 and loving it right up to the point when it hit me upside the head with its hidden potential. Very good.

Photo of JohnQVegas
3.09/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Bottle, 2005.

Pours brown-amber, with the faintest whispy hint of white head.

Aroma is vanilla, oak, rich, sweet toffee, alcohol.

Taste starts off with a huge cloying sweetness, toffee and caramel, raisins, goes down with a hint of oak and and a big hit of alcohol warmth.

Finish is a syrupy sweetness, mouthfeel is pure syrup, sticky, with a very mild, tingly carbonation.

Just too much, ends up being a sweet, syrupy mess. Maybe a better palate than mine can take the blows from this one and still stand up to it, just felt utterly unbalanced. This one felt a bit young - let it sit for another 3-5 years. 12 oz may be a bit much as well.

Photo of cvstrickland
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

800th BA review
Batch 2, bottled May 2006

The devilish demon the label refers to has languished in the bottle for nearly three years, mercifully separated from the most fainthearted members of human-kind, crowned-and-brown-glass bound in the unholy purgatory of a dark, dank cellar corner. Exhumed from the void and lightly chilled, Samael's Oak-Aged Ale is unleashed with a vigorous pour into my glass....

Hmm. Well, no winged devils, Hell-fire, nor brimstone come shooting out of the bottle, but what does arrive in my Duvel tulip is quite clear, reddish-copper in color, and when held to the lamplight, the liquid glitters golden-amber with a glowing crimson-tinted heart that twinkles like the flickering fires of Hades. A thin cap of off-white foam crowns the brew briefly, retreating as if pursued by demons. Settling quickly, the timid bubbles huddle together in a creamy collar that rings the glass. No lacing sticks, but given the evil-edged ABV, that's no surprise and no problem for me.

The smell is quite fruity, with notes of fresh red apple, fermenting orange, and a splash of tart lemon zest with dark caramel. The aroma of oak languishes under the fruit, presenting itself as seasoned wood-- dry, solid, earthy, and cool.

The taste is sweet and fruity... a splash of apple, a spritz of lime... but just where in the Hell did the coconut come from??!?! Silky-smooth, creamy, sugary, rich Malibu-rum flavored coconut sticks onto my palate, and for the first few swigs I have a hard time noticing anything else. A fine juicy red-apple note cuts through the syrupy tropical fruit, accompanied by liquory caramel and a note of fermented canteloupe. The alcohol factor is pleasantly draped in fruit and poorly-hidden in the flavor profile, and the internal warming effect the drink has on my body feels like some techies pulled the control rods all the way out of an atomic reactor pile, leaving runaway critical mass chain reactions generating spikes of intense nuclear heat in my belly-- and on a chilly evening I'm spending inside, I like it.

The drink is silky, medium-bodied, and surprisingly drinkable-- meaning I think I'll be able to finish the whole 12-ouncer before the core degenerates into the China Syndrome from Hell. 3 years of aging did this beer a real service, and I wouldn't hesitate to throw another case in the cellar except for the arm/leg price point of this truly excellent brew. Worth trying, actually only a little evil, damned tasty and truly superb with a little age on it.

Photo of getkrunkhoe
4.42/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This bottle I acquired in Early '07;
Poured into A snifter.

App- was a dark, yet bright red. No haze what so ever. No head present.

Ar- WHOA! Fig, raisin or prune, Oak, ethanol was def. there. Maybe cherries(sour).

T- was an oaky,pungent, and boozy taste. pleasant for its style. Some dark fruit characters...

MF- was smooth, the near two years I had it maturing really smoothed it out. much more drinkable than a recent batch. felt a little light, but with a harshness to remind you what it is.

definitely worth saving for future enjoyment!

Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Consumed at Pagago's
Poured a burnt orange with a small white one head. Nose is big malt, hops and booze. Taste is sugary and hot. Lots of caramel, malts, wood chips and vanilla. Mouthfeel is nice thick and chewy. This is one massive beer that can bring down even the heaviest hitters. I could not consume another one of these but the one I did drink was awesome.

Photo of shivtim
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Mmm, some-what satanic beer. Love the bottle design. Looks evil. Poured into a pint glass. Deep clear blood orange. Nice tan head. Slow bubbles rising.

Nose is a burst of pungent sweet ethanol, grains and oak

Taste is syrupy sweet malts, oak, lingering toasted flavors, ethanol. Well balanced but intense.

Great mouthfeel. Foamy and full.

Not very drinkable. It's a great beer, but the ABV and strong flavors cut down on one's ability to drink even a full bottle.

Photo of brdc
4.37/5  rDev +12.6%
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%
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 -9%
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 +6.2%
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 -3.4%
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 +0.5%
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 -4.9%
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 -10.6%
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 +6.4%
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 +10.1%
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 +3.6%
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 +12.1%
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 -23.5%
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 +2.3%
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%
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 +3.1%
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%
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 -2.6%
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 -0.3%
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

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Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,252 ratings.