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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.
very good

1,204 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,204
Reviews: 587
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 14.95%
Wants: 71
Gots: 290 | FT: 16
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: 1,204 | Reviews: 587 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bighuge
4.43/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Kind of a scarlet red hue. Carbonation is visible in the murkiness of the beer. It slowly surfaces to a thin crop of tan head. Lace is minimal. Aroma is very sweet. Rich feel to it. Some fruitiness underneath all the sweets. Candied plums and tropical varieties come to mind. On the palate, it's sweet up front, but not cloying as I feared. It's very rich overall. The finish brings a little heat, but again, not as much as I was expecting. This beer is put together pretty nicely. It's got lots of those tropical fruits dancing around. Like pineapples and mango and maybe some papaya. And even a ghostly coconut presence. Cherry and nougat and oak strike as well. The beer has a nice bit of carbonation to it to prevent a syrupy mouthfeel. Body is checking in around medium. Maybe medium-full. This is pretty good for being such a heavyweight.

Bighuge, Dec 14, 2006
Photo of BeerSox
4.22/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into snifter

Pours amber with a strong red tint. A thin fizzy head quickly dissapears to leave an almost non-existant rim. Stringy lacing is left along the glass to enclose the paper thin film of bubbles swirling in the middle of the glass.

Hints of light berry and strong alcohol giving the aroma of a freshly painted house mixed with acetone. Even though it sounds odd, the smell is not overwhelming nor unpleasant. It's the beer's way of hailing the warning that this is not your friendly pub ale.

Cascades of sweet cherry flavors, pure vanilla extract and nutmeg that quickly get overpowered by the 14.5%ABV. Very viscous mouthfeel that allows the syrupy cherry flavors to linger a while in the mouth. Very dry finish from the alcohol, but gives way to the oak flavors.

This is a very strong ale. I wouldn't recommend drinking it out of anything other than a snifter or tulip, or another small glass that enhances aromas and promotes slow sipping. Perhaps even taking small sips out of a shotglass is appropriate. All I could do was take small sips and let the flavor soak in. I recommend starting out at a temperature of 40-45 degrees, as this will take a while to enjoy. I feel if it gets too warm, the alcohol may become too overpowering and turn a great beer into paint thinner flavored soda. Don't be intimidated by this Barley Wine's high alcohol by volume, as the complexity makes up for it. This is a beer that can be enjoyed alone among the melodies of your favorite relaxation music, or shared with friends to calm the night. This one gets my full respect.

BeerSox, Dec 12, 2006
Photo of Minkybut
3.43/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured at 50 degrees into a tumbler. Pretty bourbon looking color and a really good smell kind nutty/woody. Beer upon first hitting your palate taste kinda nutty oaky but when you swallow all thatgreat flavor is blown away by 14% alc.
Thats my opinion anyway, I think it would be much better about with half the heat. I will not purchase again.

Minkybut, Dec 09, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
4.55/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm a likin' this brew. This could be my favorite Avery brew since Avery 10. There is a lot of port-wine characteristics in this beer. Shy with the hops, this Barley Wine ascends the style in which it is characterized. Very sweet, syrupy, and oily looking right from the offset. With a deep mohogany hue and a stark white head, it promises intense sweetness and richness. Aromas of sweet brandy-like alcohols, swirled around toffee, caramel, vanilla, rum, and bourbon (I think it is the oak). Tastes even sweeter than is suggested by the aromas. A follow up of rum-soaken cherries, berries, maple syrup, and heavy, heavy malts. Not teeth-hurting sweet, but close. High fruit-cake flavors with the dehydrated old fruits and sugar drenched breads. Heavy and sweet on the mouth. This one is surely a sipper. Very warming without fusals and with a sweet alcohol / oily feel. Finishes like a lot of dark rums and tawny ports that I have drank. This beer is phenominal. Better than Samichlaus in my opinion.

BEERchitect, Dec 09, 2006
Photo of jabocu
3.7/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a syrupy deep burnt orange color with no head. Aroma is rum-soaked raisins, oak, fruity esters of apple and pear, slight bubblegum and alcohol dryness. Flavor is syrupy sweet of caramel malts, honey, raisins, bananas foster, french oak and vanilla. Peppery and spicy notes in the dry finish. Very warm from the 14.5% alcohol. Full Body, Low carbonation, and definitely a sipper.

jabocu, Dec 07, 2006
Photo of kirok1999
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy dark, dark orange, very slight white head, slow carbonation bubbles rising to the top.
Smells of dark caramel, cherries, sweet candy sugar. Taste is very malty sweet with hops enough to back it up. Super lingering sweetness with tones of dark fruit, raisins, cherries. Very mild carbonation. Cloying sweetness as expected for a 14% ABV. Thick and sweet. Just a sipping brew, great for dessert.

kirok1999, Nov 17, 2006
Photo of Suds
4.15/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew is a rich copper color with a faint haze and a thickly packed off-white head. The aroma is fascinating: intense character of hops and alcohol, mingled with spicy phenols, fruit, vanilla, and wood. It’s a complex aroma, with nothing subtle about it. The smell is a little jumbled, and lacks the a real well-crafted roundedness…still, there’s a lot of great aromas in there. There taste is intensely sweet with an immediate warming. Very malty and sugary. It can get a little cloying, and could be a little more balanced. Still, it’s a solidly strong and enjoyable flavor. Again…nothing subtle here. Full and thick mouthfeel. Quite drinkable, given the ABV. I’d certainly have one of these again.

Suds, Nov 12, 2006
Photo of Shaw
3.63/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Another of Avery's very pricey big brews. I paid $7 for the 12-ounce bottle. The clerk did a double take when she rang it up and said, "That's some expensive beer!"

This beer is orange. A glowing orange. Crazy. It doesn't have much head, just a thin ring in my glass.

It smells of fruit, candy, wine and alcohol. Very strong and very complex.

The taste is something. I'm trying to figure out if I like it or not. I could see how someone could call this a "syrupy mess." I won't. I couldn't discern the oak chips over the massive orange-flavored sweetness, which I'm guessing is from the sugar.

The body is awesome. It's like syrup: thick and slick.

This is a little too extreme to make it highly drinkable. At 14.5 percent, I'd stick with one.

Overall, this is an interesting experiment. If this were a homebrew I'd like it more, but it's just too out there and too expensive for me. I'd only recommend this for those who want to try beers that push the limits of what we think of as beer.

Shaw, Oct 29, 2006
Photo of AndoBrew
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

*did not mind would not buy again unless it was at least 2 yrs old, but would not watse the time myself*

app: nice ruby ish copper color, very clear. nice sturdy cream head. lotsa bubbles rushing up. It i lacking a magical shimmer, I like my BW's to look like something made for god's.

smell: nice carmel hints, then maybe raspberries, WTF.. it also has hints of coconut sun tan oil with a touch of pineapple... odd, but not offensive.. oh did I say booze.. there is not much in the nose actually, justa titch.

taste: wonderful taste of all the flavors mention in the nose, then ZAP!!! BOOOZE, you make a face, you recoil in fear, then it calms down and you have the after taste of coconut and sweet fruits, and a warm mouth.

lest try again. ok, much different now that my mouth is numb to the booze.. I like I am suprised I do not hate this, I was worried after having the demon stout that this would be nothing but flavored sugar and booze.. but it is a little more than that..

all said and done, I think this taste like it is in the flavor family of jw lees type sweet twany port bw's. but it does not meet the class of any of those, it is an american atempt at some huge legends, and it falls short.

mf: nice, thick yet lively.. not bad at all

drinkable?: yes, After first shock it sre it, it is not to sweet it is not to salty it is not to hoppy or boozy to not drink.

OA: I like it ok, I would reach for a jw any day over this.. maybe in a big handful of years this will be more refined.

AndoBrew, Oct 26, 2006
Photo of OStrungT
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours, into a Stone Old Guardian glass, a clear golden brown color with a very light tan head. The head fades slowly, leaving a decent lacing.

This beer Smells ow whiskey. It has a mild oak aroma also. A slight vanilla aroma is also present. It smells very sweet. It has a slight dark fruit aroma. Like raisins. Also, it smells slightly of alcohol.

This beer tastes much like it smells. A whiskey flavor up front. Some fruity notes. It has a very sweet caramel malty flavor also. Whiskey is the main flavor though. Also, it has a slight alcohol taste.

This beer leaves a whiskey aftertaste mixed in with some caramel malt sweetness. It is decently carbonated. The alcohol warms as it goes down.

This beer would not be a good session beer. Too much alcohol.

Overall: This beer is ok. I hate to say it, but sometimes I am not overly fond of the whiskey flavor of barrel aged beers. Sorry.

OStrungT, Oct 26, 2006
Photo of akorsak
3.48/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: The ale is a ruby red color with an orange tinge. Head is small but has laced sporadically in the seidel.

S: The aroma is a strong malty, buttery smell, the oak chips have not completely overtaken the ale.

T: The taste is cloyingly sweet, the oak chips definitely have influenced the beer here. What does emerge is malty and definitely barleywine-like. No hop flavors emerge from the sweetness. The alcohol is well hidden here, but damn is it sweet.

M: The sweetness detracts from the strong malt presence. The well-hidden alcohol is also dangerous, as the beer is a hefty 14.5%.

D: The drinkability is severely limited by the abv as well as the cloying sweetness.

akorsak, Oct 26, 2006
Photo of Graham21
3.38/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured a nice translucent amber orange into a wine glass. One finger head that left nice rings in the glass.

carbonation not so great

Nose has an alcohol smell, along with some citrusy fruits , and a overwhelming perfumy smell. Smells like alchol and raisins, which almost burns the nose.

Tastes of sugar, some fruits, some spice but overall too sweet and not enough complex flavors, its almost like a liqueor.

Drinkability not so hot. Probably wont be having anymore of these

Graham21, Oct 25, 2006
Photo of BlindPig
2.68/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A- 1/2" off white head. Clear dark copper/amber body.
S- Alcohol, some darker fruits and maybe even some lighter ones are all in there. It's almost like plums mixed with bananas. Some citrus notes also coming through. Has a light smell of some kind of hard alcohol that I can't put finger on.
T- Big alcohol taste up front that fades to a big warming in back. Big malts and fruits make their appearance. The oak does come through a little bit in all the BIG! flavors. Very sweet! Almost like a syrup. Has that maple syrup taste in it too. Theres one other main flavor that is standing out big time that I can't put my finger on. Almost like a alcohol soaked fruit or something.
M- BIG body, low carbonation. Kind of oily and cloggy at same time.
D- Way to sweet and strong for me. The flavors are not well collected IMO. I don't think is to good at all. Which is a huge let down at $7 a bottle.

BlindPig, Oct 20, 2006
Photo of jmz62565
3.48/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear reddish orange with a smallish white head. Not bad,but nothing really special either. The smell is extremely pungent with oak wood, burban,dark fruit, and a TON of alcohol. The taste is very sugary sweet with bourban, oak wood, dark fruit, and vanilla. This is sooo sweet it's hard to drink and with the very high alcohol this is a sipper. The m/f is heavy with the flavors mixing OK,not great,but Ok. A tough beer to drink, I think I'll be sipping this all night. ZZzzzz. Cheers.

jmz62565, Oct 14, 2006
Photo of nflmvp
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a copper/ruby color building almost no head. Just a light foam formed on the surface and it was gone almost immediately, leaving the faintest ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell was VERY sweet and somewhat fruity with a hint of alcohol on the nose.

Taste was also very sweet with dark sweet cherry and raisin.

Mouthfeel was heavy and thick. Sipable, but not much more than that.

Drinkability is nice but certainly not anything other than a snifter type beer. One in a sitting is all I'd want but I will certainly visit this one again.

nflmvp, Oct 11, 2006
Photo of Bierguy5
3.35/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz. foil wrapped bottle. Brewed in 2005. 14.5% ABV, OG 1.146. Pours a very clear copper/amber color. Thin tan foamy head disappears immediately. The aroma hits you from across the room. Vanilla, orange, wood, some fusal alcohol, and rock candy. Very thick and syrupy, with almost no carbonation. Flavors are woody, very sweet, orange whisky marmalade, and other fruity. Thick and tongue coating, overly sweet with no bitterness to balance this one out. Very warming as well. This was interesting to try, but I could have split a bottle with someone.

Bierguy5, Oct 07, 2006
Photo of aforbes10
4.68/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

i am proud as all hell about finding this bottle. we were in Spec's in Houston and i was perusing the Avery shelf when i saw a little red foil topped bottle with no label. but on the shelf there was a tag that said avery oak aged ale. so i hassled a storekeep to put a UPC on it so i could buy it. no idea how old it was but i suspect fairly old because of how DELICIOUS it was. Poured red like a dark wine. very small flimsy head and not any ral carbonation. Stinky grape/musk/oak smell. very pungent. very sweet oak/grape/cherry/malt flavor. very complex and hard to parse apart the flavors. there was a lot more in there that im not able to identify. somewhat sour. very mellow overall and super delicious. maybe the best barleywine i've had.

aforbes10, Oct 06, 2006
Photo of kdmorse
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Two fingers of creamy tiny bubbles top the beer. The slightly cloudy burnt-orange body sits under the shadow of the head. Spotted lacing left as the glass is drained.

S: Sweet fruit. Dates and raisins. Scent of warm, baking bread. Lots of alcohol in the nose. Hints of oak at the end.

T: Fruit! Like a produce section. Raisins, dates, some peach and other sweet, sweet malts. Lots of alcohol warmth. Not a lot of hops noticed, but fairly clean finish for this big of a beer.

M: Syrupy and sticky. Perfect amount of carbonation (which isn't much).

D: Hard to drink the 12oz by myself. Tastes and smells great, but I can't handle all the flavors and alcohol. May be better after a year or two in the cellar.

kdmorse, Oct 02, 2006
Photo of Zorro
3.45/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured in the glass this is a clear copper colored ale with basically no head formation.

Smell is sweet and really rich. Very strong scent of vanilla is the first thing I notice. Very spicy and fruity to the nose. Berries, rum and black pepper are the strongest scents. Cherry and menthol are also quite strong and give this a cherry cough drop smell.

Taste is sweet and full of vanilla at the beginning. The next thing I notice is the berry flavor that mixes with the vanilla to give a berries and cream flavor. A decent amount of bitterness arrives in the after taste but this is a sweet beer. This is a beer that can be described as over flavored. The taste is so intense it shocks the taste buds. Like Avery the Beast this is simply too much.

Mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability is just not really in this. Flavor level is like a Bass Sub-woofer that nearly shakes a car apart; some is good but too much can destroy. Too powerful for regular consumption.

Zorro, Oct 01, 2006
Photo of ThirdCoast
4.7/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Serving Type:12 floz Bottled in May of 06, making it 4.5 months old
Poured into a glass

A: Beautiful Orange with a nice head and many bubbles.

S: Sweet fruits, alcohol, oak...very nice.

T: ... ... ... Oh i have to stop drinking it. This is awsome. At first you get a sweet taste, oranges, sugar. Then the woody oak after taste to finish it off... Very Nice.

M: Feels nice on the tounge, easy to handle, but the lips are a bit numb.

D: I could drink 1 or 2 of these, but i am sure the 14.5% would make me pay for any more that that....

ThirdCoast, Sep 14, 2006
Photo of Hap
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At a conference in Collinsville with my boss and picked this up from a nearby liquor store. Unfortunately, had no glassware, so had to resort to a plastic cup in the room so I won't be talking about the head or appearance too much. This was a pleasant suprise - smell alternated between a sweet, malty beer to a jack and coke. Wasn't sure what to expect, but taste was delicious - complex, molasses with hints of plums, cherries and raisins - subtly arriving at the back of the tongue and warming quickly with the alcohol. Yes, the alcohol is present but it really didn't seem to be overpowering even at 14.5abv. Finishes a bit too sweet for my tastes - I usually expect more hops from a barleywine - but it was still delicious! Daddy recommends!

Hap, Aug 31, 2006
Photo of Gavage
3.3/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: dark copper in color with a 1" head that immediately falls to a surface foam. No lacing develops.

Smell: alcohol dominates, but some sweet tones linger in the background.

Taste: caramel, prunes, green grapes, pepper spice, and vanilla make a interesting flavor combination, but it is partially masked by the strong burning alcohol tones.

Mouthfeel: medium-heavy in body with a smooth and almost syrupy consistancy. Aftertaste is long on the alcohol and flavor components, and it never seems to end.

Drinkability: so-so. This may be better with some aging, but the alcohol bite just becomes overwhelming and tiring here.

Gavage, Aug 25, 2006
Photo of Foxman
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

It pours a slightly hazy coppery amber, like rich honey. A finger-plus of soft beige head deflates gradually to fuzzy froth. Slopes of lacing scale the inside of the glass.

The aroma offers up a thick malt sweetness shot through with caramel, tart cherry, prunes, and a light woody earthiness. An underlying layer of alcohol stomps on a muted hop spiciness.

Upon tasting, there's a quick glimpse of caramel malt before a dense, cloying candy sugar sweetness takes command. The middle opens to cherry and raisin, along with a vapory eddy of alcohol. Grain and sugar come through again, this time with a hint of oak. The finish remains sugary and earty, with the merest hint of bitter dryness. It's huge, and hugely sweet, making it tasty, but a bit of a challenge.

Full bodied, the viscous sweet syrup lays like lip-smacking napalm on the palate.

You can't sip this small enough to keep the sweetness and size in check. It's reasonably complex, with various elements daring to brave the profound sweetness. The ABV is obvious at every stop, and only a fool would ignore it. Perhaps it's a bit too big, and too sweet, but each lip-coating sip was easy enough, at least at the start. It's the end of the pint that presents the dilemma.

Foxman, Aug 24, 2006
Photo of mnapier
3.55/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 2 (12oz) May 2006 in an Authentic German style Luettich Balloon glass -

Burgundy, & a slight haze in appearance. A mild reminder stays on the glass, of the recently pour that was started a few minutes earlier.
Taking the glass and swirling it around I notice an air of caramel, but the overwhelming scent of alcohol almost, erodes the oak aroma that is supposed to be present.
A few seconds of reflecting on the aroma and I take my sip, taking in an initial spiciness, followed up by a slight tartness, and a little hint of wood. Pausing for only a second, I take another sip and notice subtle smokiness, followed by vanilla, with the bully of alcohol rearing its head.
Overall mouth feel, lingers in various parts of my throat & tongue.

mnapier, Aug 24, 2006
Photo of instrumentality
3.23/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I poured this brew into my Stone Imperial Russian Stout tulip glass and was quite impressed with the results. A transparent amber body sat beneath a finger of tan head with medium sized bubbles scattered across its surface, resembling raw pancake batter slowly cooking. The head descended to a thin layer, but held up nicely against a good swirling and maintained a solid thick halo that clung to the edges of the glass.

The scent was powerful, but appetizing; a mixture of the sweetness of plums and caramel, the tartness of cherries, and the warmth of alcohol.

One sip and I knew this beer was a force to be reckoned with. It started off sweet (caramel/plum), then the alcohol crept up on me quickly until the back of my tongue and my throat were practically on fire. After a few seconds, this burning sensation mellowed out and I was left with a coating of alcoholic sweetness reminiscent of a mild cough medicine but much more appealing.

Mouthfeel was unusually tingly, a combination of the burning of the alcohol and a clove-like spiciness that rippled over my tongue. The consistency felt almost syrupy, again like cough medicine, coating the palate and tongue long after its descent down my throat.

The sweetness, while initially enjoyable as it offset the intensity of the alcohol, became cloying after a few gulps. I found myself having to back off, to wait until the syrupy coating wore off a bit before replenishing it with another sip. But the more I drank and the warmer it got, the more the cough syrup sensation grew and the more annoying it became, until I found myself forcing myself to swallow the last few gulps. Good thing this wasn't a bomber.

An interesting change of pace, but not one I'm planning to try again.

instrumentality, Aug 23, 2006
Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 1,204 ratings.