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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

1,233 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,233
Reviews: 599
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 14.99%
Wants: 74
Gots: 311 | FT: 18
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: 1,233 | Reviews: 599 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of khiasmus
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 1

A- Beautiful crystal clear honey color with mild white lace.

S- Honey, raisins, toast, biscuits, almonds, barley, alcohol, cane sugar, vanilla, fruit. Ultra-complex... and if they made a perfume like this I would jump the woman wearing it.

T- Wild. very spicy, very alcoholic. Peppery and sweet with fusel alcohols that kick and warm. Sweet lingering finish.

M- Slightly carbonated, but silky-smooth and slick on the tongue. A very slight lingering dryness due to the alcohol, which is overshadowed by the honey-sweet overall finish.

D- It's so complex, so sweet, and so alcoholic, that you can't drink much... unless you're a fan of beers such as EKU 28. if you get the chance, TRY THIS BEER. But share it.

Photo of RoyalT
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This wasn’t “florescent orange” like I noticed last year but was not clear and had a small head. The ABV was unchanged from 2005 so I guess that makes sense.

Smell – The orange and especially the cherry are very strong at the nose. They drown out any sense of hoppiness. The aroma though is excellent without a hint of alcohol or cheap ingredients.

Taste – The raunchy wine flavors are almost moldy and the wood is soaked and soggy, The alcohol is much more noticeable at the taste. The flavors work well together but lack any hint of hops that is presumed from the style classification.

Mouthfeel – This is medium-bodied with no boozy mouth sting.

Drinkability – This is one of the more drinkable samples from the Avery booze dungeon. It didn’t get a stellar rating but I will buy occasionally.

Photo of russpowell
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Looks like batch 2, pours an effervescent caramel with 4+ fingers of fluffed up white head. A little lacing & just a hint a head ring on the side of the glass

S: Smokey & cakey & boozey

T: Breadyness, inrense plummy & apricot flavors & along with some strong oak char. Raisins, rum & sweetbread follow. Finishes dry, with hints of vanilla, maple syrup candy, bourbon & pralines along some warming booze. I feel there's a little too much taste-wise colliding to rate a higher score

MF: Medum bodied/chewy, vinous with low carbonation

Drinks alright, the dryness & smokeyness detract some. I'll take this over the beast or the devil stout Mestophiles any day

Photo of ZAP
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in May 2006-

Pours a slightly hazed orange....oak and sweet berries on the nose along with some vanilla...

Very rich and sweet flavored...vanilla bean, oak, nougat, and sweet berries at the beginning....a mild alcohol spiciness on the finish.

Big body on this...creamy texture....carbonation is about perfect.

I'm surprised at how little I taste the booze in this beer. At 14.5%, I expected it to be prevelant but this is highly drinkable. Certainly a sipper but a highly drinkable sipper....

This is a special big hitter in my book...I'd certainly purchase this again if given the chance.

Photo of hammer09
2.65/5  rDev -31.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I have to admit that I expected a lot from this beer, having previously tried Avery's the Beast Grand Cru. However, Samael's Oak Aged Ale left something to be desired. This is not a bad beer; it just didn't live up to my expectations.

Samael poured a medium, cloudy amber with a thick and foamy head. The cloudiness tends to detract from this beer's appeal and visible carbonation appeared lazy. Lacing was thick and clinging. Smell is sweet and very alcoholic with vanilla and acetone aromas. In fact, the aroma of this beer is much like that from a bottle of scotch. Hop character, if any, was overpowered by the aromatics wafting from my pint glass. Taste was (grimace) very, very sweet and alcoholic. Almost bourbon-like, which makes sense given this beer's style. Definitely overpowering for a first quaff, but not bad if the beer is sipped. Mouthfeel is warming and alcoholic with a smooth, creamy character. Carbonation is minimal.

It's not that I wasn't impressed with Samael's drinkability, but there's simply too much going on in this beer. The alcohol and aromatics overpower the aroma and flavor of the beer. Was it worth the $7.95 that I paid? I don't believe so. Is it a bad beer? No. But next time, I think I'll reach for a bottle of scotch instead.

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.33/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Ok, this one has a very cool label. Avery has some of the best labels.
Pours a deep copper color, with dense white head. The oak aroma smacks you right off the bat.
Oak and alcohol is all I smell.
Taste is vanilla, oak, alcohol and some malt. Hops seem to be there, but can't get past the oak and vanilla.
A slight burn and this brew slides down to a 'worth a try' beer. Interesting, though.

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

Got this bad boy at Sams. 12oz bottle, brewed may 2006, batch 2, O.G.1.135.
Poured straight down the center of the glass into a nonic the head is rather tight, sits an inch thick with good retention and slight lacing. The body is a deep slightly hazy reddish orange. Smells of sweet malt, lots of esters (tropical fruity) some banana, candies pear, plum, port like scents, sugar, and little cinnamon. Alcohol is present, but not over powering. The hops are a little over overwhelmed in the nose. The taste, sweet rich body with nice carbonation to keep it from being too syrupy, the hops come out in the middle with a little bitterness and some alcohol warmth to finish. The oak can be experience much more as it worms up, very slight but nice nuance. This is a tasty barley wine, approachable, but definitely not for the faint of heart. A Syrupy sweet, yet complex punch in the face. Try it for crap sake.

Photo of Sephiroth
2/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Bottled in May of 2006, Batch 2. Pours with decent head, no lacing, color is orangeish red, or reddish orange if you prefer. Aroma of cherries and strawberries soaked in rum.

Whoa. This is a big beer. There is a sharp sweetness that I don't care for. Various sugary flavors running rampant. This is simply not ready to drink. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy. To say that it is coating doesn't come close to explaining it. Not drinkable by a long shot.

Photo of geexploitation
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Brewed in May 2006. Pours clear and orange-amber, with a surprisingly large head for something this alcoholic. Big vanilla aromas (not surprising, considering it's flavored with American oak chips) but also a compelling mango aroma, some butter and spice. On the palate, initially just a touch acidic and fruity (the mango again comes to the fore, along with some apricots) before growing sweeter and sweeter through the finish, which stays sharply and cloyingly sweet. It's not my favorite part of this beer. There's a burst of fruit and raw alcohol at the end. Substantial carbonation throughout the palate, which is kind of surprising given the style. Overall, this is rather good. I'm surprised I liked it as much as I did... the vanilla oakiness wasn't too overbearing, as it was attenuated by some fruit. The carbonation also helped it from becoming too heavy. Not bad at all, and certainly original.

Photo of warmstorage
4.83/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 ounce bottle, brought in from Colorado by a friend of a friend. I paid him $50 for a six pack. I'd had it twice before, and knew what I was in for, and it was worth every damn penny.

Bottle states "Bottled in May 2006 Batch 2"; states 14.5% ABV, OG 1.135. Yowza!

Pours a deep orange with a reddish hue, fairly hazy. A little bit of sparkly carbonation fizz and a white head that goes away quickly, leaving no lacing. It does leave almost a sheen in the sense of wine or liquer leaving "legs" on the glass. I'm using a wide-mouthed wine glass.

Aroma is fruity and spicy, hints at apricot. The alcohol is apparent even in the nose. As it warms, you can definitely get some wood out of it, and maybe a bit of leather.

Taste is a flavor explosion: apricot, wood, spice, and alcohol heat dominate, with a thick yet surprisingly carbonated mouth. Delicious, just like every time I've had it. It lingers long with spice, bitter orange, maybe hints of bergamot, and tangerine.

This beer manages to put down 14.5% alcohol in a warming, but definitely not hot way. It's a heavy beer, no doubt, and not for the uninitiated.

A note on my scores: the "5" for drinkability is both how I objectively feel about this beer, and relative to other huge, 'extreme' beers. The 5 for taste? I could drink this every single day for the rest of my life, until cirrhosis of the liver set in. I mean, this stuff is absolutely magical.

My rough plan is to drink a bottle a year for the next five years, but I have very serious doubts it'll last that long. (Ummm, anyone out there who wants to trade some truly unique, rare, big beer, like Dark Lord, Utopias, Millennium, etc., beermail me.) I LOVE this stuff. It might well be one of my five favorite beers in the world, out of well over a thousand I've tasted.

Photo of biking4beer
3.1/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle bottled in May 06

Crystal clear copper with yellow around the edges. Very minimal, whispy head. A few bubbles

Slight Belgian yeast aroma. Very candy sweet smell.

Really sweet taste. Belgian candy sugar is the predominant flavor. Very prominant alcohol.

This beer is thick and oily. Not much carbonation. Not very drinkable. Too sweet. Too much of an alcohol burn. It's worth giving a shot.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled May 2006, Batch 2

The fluffy off-white head retains longer than any 14.5% beer can be expected to. It eventually dies, of course. Color is a deep, cloudy, dark amber.

Smells of sour pine, butterscotch, molasses, and, uh, paint thinner? A caustic heat ripples through the nostrils. Clearly a high-test beverage.

That wild aroma heat is surprisingly subdued in the flavor, a flavor of deep and super-satisfying complexity. The predominant impression is apples stewed in brandy, brown sugar and cinnamon. A velvety butterscotch smoothness tames all that alcohol, which only shows up as a warming glow. Robust fruit as it warms. Drinks like a liqueur without being as ridiculously sweet as most of them. Lays on the tongue like liquid silk. Thick but not sticky or intrusive. This is an absolute pleasure.

This is remarkably mellow, the sweet elements and huge alcohol thankfully don't dominate...no doubt helped by the 9 months in the bottle, and it would be probably still be quite drinkable at ten times that age. It's a pricey bastard ($8.49 per 12 oz. bottle) but because it's so damn good, and lasts as long as a 22 ouncer, I'd purchase it again.

Photo of dherling
4.63/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 2, bottled May 2006. 4 months oldfor a barley wine is pretty young, but here we go. Medium brown with a light orange hue, semi-cloudy haze with an off white fizzy head that dissapears quickly. Lots of stuff going on in the nose, apple, orange, grapefruit, red wine, port, oak, raisin. The only down side of the nose is how faint it is. I had to cover the glass with my hand and inhale deeply to get all these nuances. Not a fill the room nose. The same cannot be said for the taste, which I can say right off the bat would benefit from some serious aging. This is huge, real big. Tremendous amount of malt and sweet raisins. Everything fromt he nose is here, along with some pine, a little smokyness, and cherry. As you drink this, the red wine notes in the nose fill your nose, and take center stage there. Truly amazing, wine inthe nose, beer int he mouth. Despite it's Schwartzenegger approach to attacking my palate, it actually finishes quite cleanly. The warmth is still there, but it's not cloying or distractive, it's pleasent. I can't believe how drinkable this is.

Photo of hero27
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle. Red foil draped over the cap & neck.
Bottled in May 2006.
14.5% abv.

Avery makes some big-ass beers, and this one is no exception..

Hazy brown..thin, unassuming head.
Abundantly sweet..smooth, oaky presence comes and goes as it sits on the tongue. Thick, coating mouthfeel..the sweet, slightly fruity array of malts are particularly interesting..this certainly ranks up there with some of the sweetest beers I've had.
A slight alcohol burn, but nothing overbearing considering it's sitting at nearly 15%. A sipper through-and-through..the warming effect is pretty evident right from the start of this one.

A barleywine that will certainly satisfy your sweet tooth. Thanks to Quaffer for the chance to try this one!

Photo of cbl2
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

$6.49 12 oz. Bottled May 2006, Batch 2.


Amber brown, shining with bright spots of orange topped by a quarter inch of tight white foam that settles rather slowly.


Sharp notes of oak, a blend of chardonnay and sherry, coupled with a burnt caramel aroma and a shock of alcohol.


Insanely sweet at first, with flavors of overripe fig and belgian candied sugar, gives way to hot alcohol, sherry-like in its nuttiness. Subtle oaked nuances are present throughout, lending the beer a vanilla aspect, though they never dominate. Mouthfeel is slick and viscous, and as you let this warm in the mouth it takes on a distinct chardonnay oaked quality. A touch too sweet, but intriquing nonetheless.

Photo of mentor
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

A year and a half in my cellar...let's see how this one is developing. Cellar temperature. Pours a crystal clear red light-mahogeny. Thin layer of tan head. Smells estery, sherry oxidation, some alcohol, cherry and vanilla. Toasted grains and caramel. A little bit of vegetable.

Tastes wicked sweet. Oxidation can't compete. Alcohol is present, but serves as the platter for malt sweet and esters. Vanilla is strong and overly sweet. Orange from hops with only a smidge of piney. I seem to recall loving this when fresh, but I'm finding it too sickly sweet. Cherry and berry. Sherry oxidation is much stronger in smell than flavor, in which it is just a hint under the caramel fruity sweet. Classified as an Am B-wine. Sorry hops are so buried they hardly count.

Super sticky thick and mild carbonation. I'm tempted to dilute this with water to make it more drinkable, because, as is, I'm having a hard time.

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

Pours a hazy peach amber color with a wispy light tan head that fades quickly. There is significant visible effervescence, steady streams of very tiny bubbles, that keep the head alive.

The aroma is a not so subtle prelude to the experience of alcohol that awaits.

The mouthfeel is smooth and heavy without being syrupy. I experience less of a flavor "coating" than i did with Beast.

This beverage is also quite sweet with the flavor of sugars and malt. Almost rum-like.

Definitely a sipper. I will reserve this for that quiet time at the end of the day.

Photo of ArrogantB
2.48/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle that I purchased six months ago and paid an arm and a leg for (well, not really but $7 is a lot to me for one beer). The color is a really nice cloudy orange with a small 2 cm off-white head. The smell is of hi-octane alcohol and not much else; as Papa Burgundy would say “stings the nostrils”. The taste is very close to whiskey with a little sweetness. This is not quite as bad as Mephistopheles but it isn’t great. This really isn’t a beer to me but more an after-dinner liqueur like a cognac or bourbon. This is way too big for me and not recommended unless you like liquor-beers. The only reason I cracked this was because I spent four hours in traffic due to a blizzard and my belly needed warming. This beer is good for that.

Photo of goodbyeohio
2.45/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

i believe that during my last review of this beer, my palate was suffering from a severe lack of flavor reception, or perhaps i had an intense sinus cold. or maybe this beer has just turned foul.

fiery glowing orange, clear with slight blur haze. creamy ring and more head than i'd imagine on a 15% beer. lacing is preserved in sheets as the beer moves about the chalice.

aroma of sugary-ripe cherries soaked in everclear. brown sugar-infused vodka gives way to a mildly soapy character. smells rather off and extremely boozy.

holy sweetness! big malts and unfermented sugar greet me immediately, and some sickly sweet fruit puree shows up mid-swallow. the alcohol and intense fruit combine for the perfect grapey triaminic flavor that reviews clutch at so desperately. i actually cough every other sip due to the extreme aggressiveness of this brew. the finish isn't awful, as it leaves some red berry pulp and gingerbread notes behind.

also, on a positive note, the mouthfeel is perfect (slightly fizzy, yet thick- however not too sticky.. kinda creamy) and drinkability, for this abv, is decent.. although i think that's due to the sweetness here. not sure that heaps of turbinado sugar is a proper way to skillfully mask abv, but whatever. probably won't revisit a third time, twice was puh-lenty.

Photo of taez555
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a thick reddish amber body with a small bubbled head that died quickly. You can tell how big this beer because when you swirl it around the glass it leaves huge streaks.

Nose is intense and yet very mellow. Big fruity caramel mixed with LME. Earth, molasses and a present but very soft alcohol. A very very mild wood note blends perfectly into the malt and makes it almost unnoticeable.

Full bodied and then some. Taste is essentially pure malt malt and more caramel malt with a big muted alcohol warmth. Very little in the way of hops or hop bitterness at first, although it picks up a bit more as it warms. Touches of sweet bread, vanilla and molasses dominate the malt taste. For a beer that is labeled as an oak aged beer the oak is surprisingly mellow. The oak is actually closer to a chardonnay type buttery oak as opposed to that smokey bourbon oak taste.

A sipping beer for sure. It sort of tastes like an english barley-wine reduction. It's just so syrupy sweet it's almost hard to drink, but it's still very good. Definitely a beer to share, even for 12-oz.

Photo of Braudog
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thank God I was able to split a small bottle of this with the crowd at the Coastal Wine Connection’s beer tasting. This destroys your olfactory senses with a big sugary caramel "pow" ... Powerfully sweet with a cooked fruit sweetness, just a light bitter or medicinal value, it’s incredibly smooth but with the power of a nuclear power plant. Bronze orange. This is the Eiswein of beer, almost a cognac. For sipping by the fire with a cigar. (#2673, 2/1/07)

Photo of Phatz
4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Samael is an important figure in Talmudic and post-Talmudic lore, a figure who is accuser, seducer, and destroyer. This beer is aptly named. The sweet caramel seduces you like the demon tempter it is, and once consumed this 14.50 % Barley Wine will destroy you quickly.

Appearance: Pour a rich chestnut brown color with red highlights, an off white head and nice lacing.

Smell: Oh the sweet smell of cognac drenched cigars and brown sugar and wood and berries and more alcohol just delightfully burning it way through my nasal cavity and forcing much salivation and anticipation .

Taste: This beer is alcoholic and it doesn’t hide that. I enjoy its bourbon or rum like attribute. Vanilla and woody and loaded with sweet sugars and caramel. Spiced. Raisin and plum come to mind as the beer graces my taste buds with its noble presence.

Mouthfeel: medium body, hot in the mouth and smooth, bordering on syrupy.

Drinkability: Even when shared this is a sipping beer. Don’t abuse the Samael or will feel it’s wrath.

Hope this is helpful.

Photo of crwills
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Had this as one of two celebratory beers around the time my son (Avery) was born. No I didn't name him after the brewery.

Anyway, this was by far the better of the two (the other being Hog Heaven).

Poured a really cool-looking orangy red with a small bubbly head. Faded pretty fast, with surprisingly little lacing for the style and ABV. Aroma is quite heavy on the alcohol (understandable), with brown sugar, little bit of hot pepper, wood, and some good bourbon.

Taste is very sweet, almost cloying but definitely sippable. Spicy hops make themselves known in the middle, and some huge, warm-to-hot alcohol. Vanilla and smoky oak aftertaste. Smooth, oily mouthfeel is a highlight.

This is one overpowering beer, and one of the highest ABV's I've sampled. Small bottle, but even that was hard to finish. I will probably get some more for special occasions though!

Photo of wcudwight
2.7/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bottled May 2006
Pours the color of citrus Listerine with a small creamy pumpkin colored head that disappears quickly.
Smells sweet, sugary and vanilla. I don't smell the oak chips that it's supposed to contain.
This taste like a sugary sweet bourbon to me. It's hard to distinguish the flavors beneath all of that fusal alcohol. Sweet fruity lasting after taste that is rather pleasant.
Mouthfeel is creamy but a bit too syrupy.
For me this is simply not drinkable. I'm not ready for a beer this big and bold.
Thanks to enola for the experiance.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Intense aromatics on immediately opening this bottle, huge fruit esters, and plentiful booze bounding out of the glass!

Dark orange, edging into crimson, with a big , creamy head that died almost instantly.

Aroma: alcohol first, then comes closer whiskey-ish connotations, some vanilla, pungent citrus, pale peach, the crack of a leather whip, the burn of a shot of straight scotch, liquid fire, an orange dipped in gasoline.

Taste: Ah! Hot, hot, hot! BAM!, it bites you right off, then slides down, still hard as hell, finally nestling in, and warming your stomach. Fruit flavors abound, peach, orange, juicy malt, always kept company with hot booze, the stomach getting warmer and warmer still. Gets a bit too sweet for a moment, but this is not intended as anything mild, so one shouldn't fault this ale for being forward.

More I drink, more I like, and the easier it is to take. Gets tastier, too, as it becomes more tolerable. Thick, rough and tumble stuff, but rewarding, in it's way. Definitely a night-cap brew, one to luxuriate the long late night hours away with.

Mmmm, this a killer diller, but not impossible to like. Full flavored, full bodied, long, fruity, boozy finish. And wholly unique.

Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,233 ratings.