1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

1,155 Ratings
THE BROS
78
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,155
Reviews: 584
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 14.69%
Wants: 71
Gots: 283 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samael's Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,155 | Reviews: 584 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of assurbanipaul
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy chestnut with a very thin head and slow-moving chains of bubbles rising throughout. Aroma is moderately hot with alcohol, with elements of malt, caramel sweetness, scotch and a very faint dark fruit.

Taste is malty sweet, almost candy-sweet with raisins and some dark fruit and maple syrup. Base is a good bourbon or clean scotch, woody, smokey and peaty, only the slightest tartness in the finish. Alcohol elements throughout with a familiar burn as it is swallowed, but not quite enough to bowl over the other flavors. Surprisingly, very clean, no off flavors for the alcohol to attempt to cover up.

Mouthfeel is thick and viscous, sticky (I've never seen bubbles move so slowly in a beer -- that's worth at least a point). Moves past the barleywine category and is firmly in that extreme beer realm. I drank this young and it is obviously a brew meant to be cellared for years (decades?). I'm not a lightweight by far, but 12 ounces of this is work to finish.

Bottle date 2005, 14.5% ABV.

assurbanipaul, Mar 20, 2006
Photo of grub
2.58/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

pours a light red color, with a slight head that dissappears almost instantly. no lacing.

aroma is dominated by alcohol. smells like acetone or nail polish remover. slight bubblegum smell.

taste is a blast of alcohol. sticky sweetness. bubblegum again. no hops, no real "maltyness".

body is big. sweet and alcohol.

to me, this beer is not very drinkable. the sticky sweetness and high alcohol don't make for a very enjoyable combo. needs some hops or something to balance it out. interesting, but not to my taste.

grub, Mar 19, 2006
Photo of karst
4.68/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear rich cherry amber. A noticably viscous pour that forewarns "beyond - there be devils" Samael was said to have planted the vine in the Garden of Eden - there are many parallels with the inviting sweet fruity aroma - wine like with french oak barrel -vanilla aroma, maybe a little cloying at start (but not thin bodied) satisfying fruity finish with oak and 9+% abv drying. No fusels! ABV just high enough to "leg" the sides of the 0.4 L rastal sniffer. Trapped vapors bring water to my eyes and the awesome flavors assult the mouth and nose. I repour and watch the sweet liquor decappitate its head with a single swing of alcoholic scythe (sometime known as a "ley" - used for cutting oats or barley and symbolically for death.) I remember the Dogfish Head's Old School Barley wine and find this is more drinkable. Happy to share this one with friends - tempt one of yours with this unique barleywines from Avery.

karst, Mar 18, 2006
Photo of Crosling
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich cherry color. Soft fruit and caramel in the aroma, with hints of apple and cherries, light vanilla, light toasted oak and alcohol. Exreme flavor, but in a respectful and succulant manner. Initially cloying and thin, but the finish is absolutely mindblowing with a lingering flavor of raisin and plump red fruit. Really rich. I’m really impressed by this new offering from Avery. The best extreme beer I’ve had in awhile.

Crosling, Mar 18, 2006
Photo of ILiveOffHops
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

bottle from Marty's in Newton MA. served at chilled basement temperature. pours a dark amber, red color with curls of foam. a rim of foam remains. nose is of candy sugar, alcohol! the first sip is amazing. vanilla, sticky sweet alcohol syrup. I could eat this on or in pancakes or waffles. this is truly a strong sweetened barleywine. comparable to Old School from DFH but with more vanilla flavor and more body. the price tag of about $9/bottle makes this a rare treat. best shared. respect beer.

ILiveOffHops, Feb 27, 2006
Photo of Jredner
3.2/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Smelled of bourbon and vanilla. Honey red with no head. This actually has a pretty good flavor if you take REAL small sips. Vanilla and fruit (pear is big) flavors with small sips. Big sips make it like a shot of bourbon. Very Avery-like crazy creation.

Jredner, Feb 26, 2006
Photo of Mitchster
4.43/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Paid $6.99 for a 12 oz bottle. Bottled in 2005. Brewed with 2-row , turbinado sugar, american oak chips, and caramel 150L. Hopped with Columbus and Fuggles.

OG=1.146. 14.5% ABV.

Pours out to slightly hazy copper, requiring a hefty pour to achieve a thin soapy off-white head with poor retention and sparse lacing. Much lighter than expected. The bubbles take their lazy time to meander towards the top. No sediment in the bottom of the bottle. Mild to moderate carbonation. Attractive red-foil lined cap. The aroma is wonderful with a vinous quality comparable to Sam Adams Triple Bock. Tons of dark syrupy fruits, pineapple, canteloupe, and rum soaked cherries. A warming woody oak presence is strong, perfumy and sweet like a port. When swirled, the oak and a warming vanilla alcohol presence is enticing. Cleanly fermented. Wonderful nose-filling presence. The mouthfeel is vinous and very syrupy with a dense body. The taste is very interesting...very sweet with an interesting sourness which I attribute to the oak. The turbinado sugar is here in droves and it's positively belly warming as it goes down. I am very sensitive to fusel alcohols and I detect none. There is isopropyl and some acetones, but this beer is never harsh. Lots of canteloupe, cherry, orange, honey, maple, dates, treacle, and vanilla. This does not taste like it's 14% ABV, but it sure feels like it. Hops are neglible in any shape or form. Absolutely no bitterness whatsoever. The aftertaste has an interesting nutmeg character in the fumes.

This beer is definitely a sipper. I'd like to see some roasted malt and more IBU's in this fallen angel to balance it out. A must-try.

Mitchster, Feb 19, 2006
Photo of HardTarget
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Maple, woody, and hard core alcohol. This beer means business.

Appearance: Little to no head on this copper/amber glass.

Flavor: Cognac, rich malt, some vanilla, light wood flavors all blend together quite nicely. Flavor is intense, rich, and pleasant.

Mouthfeel: Thick texture that triggers a chew, firm carbonation, and it has a mouth coating quality that last at least 54 minutes.

Overall Impression: Wow, intense. I thought it was like Sam Adam’s Triple Bock, but then I opened one of those and noted the differences. Still, this is rich, flavorful, tasty, but STRONG. It’s not playing. Treat with respect and enjoy. Recommended. Thanks to Pegasus for sharing the bottle.

HardTarget, Feb 05, 2006
Photo of mrasskicktastic
4.75/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - This barleywine pours an attractive orangish auburn color, no head or lacing. I can't say that surprises me though.

S - Very potent oak smell. A sweet caramel and vanilla is underneath. Some vague esters are there, smells like honeydew melon, pineapple, dates, and a faint golden raisin. What do you know, the abv is very detectable. Barring the prominant alcohol, it is a very pleasant odor, but it is nothing spectacular.

T - Very potent, slightly smokey, oak taste, but in a very good way. It is very sweet, will a strong vanilla presence. There are again fruit flavors, honeydew melon, bananas, a fainter cantaloupe, a bit of red grapes and a little pineapple. A decent fruit salad in one bottle. You can taste the alcohol, but, considering the abv, it is fairly well masked (i.e. it doesn't dominate the flavor). Some of the smoked oak and fruit linger through for a soothing mellow aftertaste.

M - Very smooth and thick. With this strong of an abv, it is a miracle that I am calling this fairly refreshing.

D - This beer is everything that bourbon wishes it could be. Sessionable? That's a stupid question, one of these and I'm very drunk already. But this is definitely a dessert beer. This 12 oz bottle cost me $6 (on sale), I am strongly contemplating buying a few other bottles before this sale ends. I bet this would store extremely well. I think this is my new favorite barleywine. I can't believe that it is rated "so low" (compared to other barleywines). This is one of my favorite beers. In fact one bottle is almost too much.

mrasskicktastic, Feb 04, 2006
Photo of Beaver13
3.23/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle (2005). Pours a hazy orangish reddish amber with small floaties. It has a thin off-white head that quickly goes to a thin collar.

The aroma is sharp alcohol (nail polish remover and fuel) and fruits (figs and pineapple) with some very sweet caramel.

The flavor is a burst of treacly candy-like sweetness. There is some fruitiness (apple, raisin and melon) and woodiness and caramel in there. There's a little burnt bitterness at the finish. The alcohol is surprisingly well hidden (I was expecting the worst after smelling it). The mouthfeel is medium bodied and oily/syrupy.

Overall, it was definitely interesting. Way overboard on the sweetness, which I normally hate but this was surprisingly not that bad. I found myself freely sipping it rather than forcing it down which I normally do with the sweet beers.

Beaver13, Jan 28, 2006
Photo of PorterLambic
4.95/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First, let me say that I've had very mixed experince with barleywines. Had I known this was one, I probably wouldn't have had it. As it turns out, this was an absolutely perfect beer to toast the passing of a friend. Monte would have loved it. R.I.P.

Pours a rich dark amber color with a good, light tan head. Good retention too. Looks like bourbon.
Smell is malt, oak, bourbon with a faint hint of apple cider vinegar.
Taste is AMAZING! Sweet with flavors of bourbon, green apples, perfectly roasted malt, grape, a hint of smoke and charcoal and more that I could even figure out. The most complex beer I have ever had, by far, period.
Very full bodied, oh so extremely smooth, creamy, luxurious on the palate, just a liquid velvet flowing across my tongue.
You must drink this beer! An all-time Top 10 beer.

PorterLambic, Jan 16, 2006
Photo of nlmartin
3.2/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer was poured from the bottle into a pub glass.

Appearance: The beer poured a very clear amber coloration. There was minimal head on the beer. Streaks of lacing remained on the glass.

Smell: The beer smell consisted of sweet cherries and lemon zest.

Taste: Dam is this beer almost sickeningly sweet. Very thick malty sweetness coupled with the fruityness of berries, green grapes and cherries. Small amount of hoppyness present.

Mouthfeel: This beer is plus sized on the body. Dam is it sweet. It is practically to sweet.

Drinkability: This is a very thick beer to drink. Frankly all I could do was sip the beer. This would probably be an alright beer to split several ways. Almost to much for one beer drinker to finish.

nlmartin, Jan 16, 2006
Photo of neonbrown82
2.35/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

This is one of the worst brews I've ever tried. It pours very light with a thin wispy head that dissolves to nothing in an instant. The carbonation is very minimal, expectedly. Doesn't look too terribly bad, but it doesn't look to particularly great either.

The smell is bad. Like vinegar and grapes and cider. With the acidity and tartness and whatnot, it almost reminds me of a sweet white wine. Only in the smell can I even detect the slightest hint of oak chips (which by the way is a pet peeve of mine when a brewery mentions their beer is oak aged when it is actually just soaked in oak chips for a short while).

The taste is just as bad as the smell, and much more cloyingly sweet. The alcohol is surprisingly smooth, but that is too much to say for every other detail of this beer. Tastes like green grapes, apple cider, and vinegar. Only a slight bit of hoppiness and no oak flavor.

The body is thick, syrupy and very puckery. Not very good. Disgustingly sweet and vinegary, and coats to the mouth. Pretty much everybody I sampled this beer with ended up pouring out most of it (and I sampled it with two independent groups of people).

neonbrown82, Jan 14, 2006
Photo of TastyTaste
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark copper color, slightly hazy. Head is just not there. maybe a couple bubbles around the outside of the glass, but that's all.

Smell: Smell is sweet and woody, raisins and slight citrus zest. This reminds me of Gale's Conquest Master Brew that I had a while back.

Taste: Sweet and very strong, honey and lemon, grape character, and a definitely noticable woody characteristic. Alcohol burns.

Mouthfeel: Oily slick, light carbonation.

Drinkability A very odd beer, a cool bottle, but maybe not balanced at all, which in this case, makes for a beer that isn't one of my favorites (Reminds me of sme Ginger Wine I had a while back). Still, I am glad to have sampled it. Thanks to LuckySevens82.

TastyTaste, Dec 31, 2005
Photo of snipersb23
5/5  rDev +28.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Been a member of this site for a while but this was the first beer that I had to vote on. May be the best beer I've had and I've had thousands of them. Similar taste to Samichlaus except even better (which I didn't think possible). Incredibly smooth going down for 14.5% alcohol. Would love to see how this ages in the bottle. A must try beer for anybody.

snipersb23, Dec 16, 2005
Photo of cubedbee
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle from 2005 poured into a snifter, this is a beautiful glowing amber with great ruby highlights, a thin spotty head as expected, and some very nice spidery lacing left behind on the glass. Nose is very sweet, somewhat like vanilla, with a fairly assertive bourbonlike alcohol note. Taste is also more sweetness, thick syrupy molasses-like, with nice flavors of oak, vanilla, almond, some slight fruit and a slight bourbony finish. Very nice and flavorful, borderline cloying on the sweetness, but never quite getting too much. For how high octane and sweet it is, this really is amazingly drinkable. I just sipped it alone, but it would also go great with some cheese or even desert.

cubedbee, Dec 14, 2005
Photo of Billolick
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ouncer "bottled in 2005", with a red foil covering and nice looking art on the label. Pours a farily dull shade of almond, that upon close inspections reveals a fruity fruity dark melon hue, the puffy head noisily shrinks to a thin film and leaves some spotty and fine lacing. Nose here is of some fresh fruits and then mostly fusil alcohol and some paint thinner/varnish type of odor. This stuff smells strong! I consumed this at about room temperature. Very flavorful and obviously stong beer. Notes of vanilla, sherry, port, oak, leather, minty freshness and glowing, warming alcohol. Wow, what a brew. This will be over the top for many, and too sweet for others, but I found it to be a potent late night sipper, would be fine with some stinky cheese, pepperoni, nuts, dark bread or with a decadent dessert. I'm sure this would be amazing after 3-5 years of careful, temperature and light controlled aging. If youve got that type of patience. Strong beer lovers-Go get some and enjoy!

Billolick, Dec 02, 2005
Photo of benito
3.45/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

The Avery website lists this as a strong ale (English-stlye) rather than a barleywine, but this may be splitting hairs...
I had a bottle from the July 2005 vintage that I drank at the end of November.

It pours a transparent orange with good carbonation and little head or frothiness. Good lacing. This is surprisingly
light in color for a beer this strong and heavvy: a cool trait. The bouquet has a unique sour tinge to it, with hints
of cotton candy. The taste is syrupy sweet with a heavy body and a long aftertaste of carmel and sugar. There's a
delicate hoppiness at the end of each sip that perfectly compliments the beer's sweetness. At 14.5% ABV, the fact that
there's no alcoholic taste is a testament to the brew's complexity and body. In fact, the body is remniscent of a nice
cognac or desert wine.

Pricing a single 12 oz bottle at between 6.99 and 7.99, the folks at Avery know that they have a fine BIG beer here-
one that is meant to be savored rather than sessioned. Given the high ABV and hole in my wallet, I'm happy to oblige.

A very special treat.

benito, Nov 27, 2005
Photo of beerinator
2.95/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Light amber, copper. Burnt umber. Light white head disappeared quickly.

Aroma: Bourbony aroma. Roasted caramel sweetness. The main smells seem smoky and fairly sweet. Hints of vanilla and spicing are dulled and muted by the upfront aromas.

Taste: Thick, syrupy laced with vanilla. Hints of sweet cherry and almond. Very very sweet. Full thick cough syrupy mouthfeel. The flavors here aren't that bad. But the thickness of the mouthfeel just aren't quite what I expected from a big beer from Avery.

Notes: Like I said, the flavors and aromas here don't seem off, but the beer it too syrupy in mouthfeel. Where did all the sugar come from if this finished at 14%? I don't believe I'll be buying this one again.

beerinator, Nov 16, 2005
Photo of Blakaeris
4.33/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light copper color. Head is decent but not extraordinary and leaves no lacing. Smell is a complex combination of malt, caramel, burbon and dark fruit with a dangerous amount of alcohol.

Taste is sweeter than expected. Definite bourbon and fruit flavors. the maltiness is surprisingly sweet and is pronounced up front. Very nice.

Mouthfeel is smooth and interesting without being overly oily.

I think this is a dangerously drinkable brew. Especially at 14.5%. I woill pick this up again. It would be a great beer to add to the beer the beer cellar.

Blakaeris, Nov 08, 2005
Photo of bashiba
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my snifter a very nice copper with some reddish highlights and just a touch of white head.

Smell is very bourban like with sweet alcohol mixing in with hints of oak and vanilla.

Taste is very sweet with hints of vanilla and honey mixing in with the strong alcohol taste.

Mouthfeel is has a nice medium fullness with tons of tongue warming alcohol goodness.

Drinkability is good as long as you consider this is closer to a good sipping bourban rather than a quick drinking beer.

bashiba, Nov 08, 2005
Photo of cheers2beers
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a snifter:

Wow! This ale is definitly one of a kind.
As I pour this demon of an ale I am surprised at the head considering the abv.The head rose to a two finger width but disapated to one quarter inch then to a small white ring within two minutes.The color is a dark almond upon first glance.Yet when held to the light it reveals shades of amber,pumpkin,and burnt sienna.
The nose hairs really stand up on this one! Wafts of molasses,vanilla,and a even a slight sweet bourbon aroma.The complexity on my tongue is almost to much to handle.Totally caught me off gaurd.The sweetness of this colossal brew is quite interesting and cloying at the same time.Flavors of oak can be detected vaguely.Alcohol really blazes through my mouth along with the sweet molasses again.As this ale warms the accents in taste and aroma are even more potent.The mouthfeel is really smooth,even syrupy.
This brew would be great as an after dinner desert drink,but i could not have more than one per sitting.I think this beer would be a good canidate for cellar ageing.

-Cheers2Beers

cheers2beers, Oct 30, 2005
Photo of ppoitras
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle purchased as a single somewhere in NoVA, either WF/Vienna, WF/Annadale, Norm's, or Rick's. Red foiled cap.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 1/8" light tan head above the clear orangey copper brew. Head is gone in a flash, with minimal lacing, both of which are not uncommon for the style, especially barrel-aged. Aroma is dominantly of alcohol, with some oaky vanilla notes. Taste is almost excruciatingly sweet malt, with potent dark fruitiness, all ending with a reasonably strong alcohol presence, but not as much as the nose indicated. Mouthfeel is a bit harsh for the style, and drinkability is also a bit tough, what with the strong alcohol and high sweetness. Overall, though, an interesting brew.

ppoitras, Oct 29, 2005
Photo of walleye
3.53/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

from the bottle. poured a orange amber, with a off white head. aroma caramel, fruity, woody, hopds. yeast, sugar,, alcohol. flavor the first thing I got was the alcohol a nice smooth alcohol, than out jumped the caramel, honey, fruit and a nice touch of hops. not too bad

walleye, Oct 25, 2005
Photo of kmo1030
4.28/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

coppery amber colored with very little head when poured, it fades to the faintes of rings around the sides of the glass. apple, caramel, smoky oak notes, honey, alcohol, black ripe cherry, sweet bourbon characteristics, vanilla, and citrus all play roles in the aroma in varying degrees throughout the duration of this beer. it's very hard to put them in any sort of descending order so the preceeding list shouldn't be read as such. the taste consists of rich caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, some almost peach like fruit flavors with the apple and cherries form the nose, oak flavors begin at the back of the mouth and continue as an aftertaste that mingles with the fruit flavors. hints of bourbon come with the spicy alcohol that grows as the beer warms. i notice there are some very meade like characteristics to this beer including the mouthfeel which is very thick, but more carbonated than the appearance would let on. the drinkability is quite good considering the strength of flavor, full body and high abv. a very impressive brew from avery. i'm gonna try to pick of a few more of these for aging if i come across any.

kmo1030, Oct 17, 2005
Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,155 ratings.