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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

1,246 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,246
Reviews: 602
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 14.73%
Wants: 72
Gots: 321 | FT: 21
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: 1,246 | Reviews: 602 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of atsprings
4.03/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled May 2006, Batch 2. Pours a dark amber with a thin head that is still much more than you'd expect for a beer this strong, spotty lacing lasts on my Stone Old Guardian glass. The aroma is dominated by alcohol and sweet caramel with a hint of oak. The taste is very complex, but the general medicine-like alcohol gets in the way. There is a good blend of oak, vanilla, caramel and a nice but sharp pine hoppiness provides the best backbone it can for all that malt. The beer is very heavy on the palate and very sweet. This is one that takes a long time to drink, and pretty much leaves me ready to go to bed.

Photo of Derek
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled in May 2006, Batch 2.

Not what I expected from Avery, or an 'American' Barley wine. It's more of an English barley wine... but on steroids!

A: Deep copper-amber with an off-white head. Not much retention, but it's got some leggy-lace.

S: Big alcohol nose, sherry, fig-like aroma from the abundance of fuggle hops, a little nectarine from the american hops, fruity esters from the ale yeast.

T: Toffee, vanilla, candy-apple, raisins, prunes, figs, nectarines, slight spicyness. Initially sweet, but an assertive bitterness kicks-in midway and stays through to the finish. Alcohol is quite assertive (even after a year in the bottle!).

M: Full body is fairly well-attenuated for its strength, but there is certainly some residual sweetness. Relatively smooth, but quite a bit of hop acidity.

D: A REAL sipper (it's a brut, but I like it).

Photo of KarlHungus
4.57/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 3, bottled in April 2007.

This brew pours a hazy brown-ruby color. The head is massive, billowy, thick, and recedes very slowly into thick lacing, and leaves foam stuck to the side of the glass. The aroma is of dates, plums, hints of caramel, maple syrup, smoke, and oak. It reminds me a lot of a good Australian Rare Tokay. The taste is a mirror image of the aroma. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a high level of carbonation. Overall, really like this beer. It borders into dessert wine territory, but does a fine job of it. I can't wait to see how well this ages.

Photo of bluegrassbrew
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a snifter. 2006 batch # 2

Pours a deep tangerine color, almost like ruby red grapefruit juice with a small dirty white head.

Smells like dark fruits and maple syrup. Sweet and fruity with a bit of perceivable alcohol.

Taste is very fruity and malty. Has the sweet malt of a Belgian Dark Ale and the fruity hop flavor of an IPA. Very tasty!

Mouthfeel is good, a bit syrupy though.

Overall a very tasty brew that is more balanced than the other Barleywines I've tried to date. High alcohol is hidden well.

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

Bottled May 2006, Batch 2

Pours a slightly cloudy dark amber color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy/creamy head, nice sticky lacing afterwards. The nose is sweet malty, bourbon, oaky, and nice touch of caramel. The taste is slightly sweet, malty, very nice touch of bourbon, oak, some caramel. The ABV is hidden well for this brew, nice warm feeling going down. Medium body, very well done brew. Very drinkable, this is a very nice/tasty barleywine, one of the best I've had to date, highly recommended.

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

I was very suprised to find this beer so easy to drink. The oak comes through nicely and even with the high alchol, it is very easy to drink. I intend to cellar a few and revisit them in a few years, I'm sure the malt will continue to mellow nicely. Avery has made a nice sipper here, great one to have on a cold winter's night. If you like Barley-Wines, this is a must-try.

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

A- mostly clear bronzed amber, tiny bubbly off white head didn't last more than a second or two, just settled straight to a little ring

S- malty, nutmeg, alcohol, fruity

T- strong alcohol heat at finish, burns in chest after, some hops noticeable but malts way to dominant to pick out flavors, lots of residual sugars, syrupy caramel, faint earthy flavors, some wood at finish, vanilla there too, grape

M- chewy and sticky, lots of alcohol burn

D- fair warning, you could choke on this beer if you do more than sip it, very potent stuff, complex, but i think Avery went to far with this one, worth a drink though its a tough one to drink

Photo of Vancer
4.8/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A hazy oak brown, an actual ivory head does not indicate a death brew at 14.5 % alcohol.

TONS of cherry oak in the aroma, and the quaff ? Wow, no shit, wow. A absolute smooth sip of cherry mash bourbon whiskey, er., ale. An absolute delight, sweet and inviting. A lip-smacking beverage, cloying and yet, not. The oily taste lingers for a few minutes; one can enjoy this for the long haul.

This is one brew I will not forget, it’s that good. Please, I’m not writing to be condescending, but I feel sorry for those that will not be able to sample this.

My heartfelt thanks to beerbeing for this brew, sent in the BA annv. club.

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

Lucious amber color with thin-to-no head. Aroma is definitely sweet- hints of vanilla, light fruit. Taste is rich and sweet, faint vanilla and oak, a bit hot. Mouth is thick and viscous, alcohol burn on the finish. Reminds me more of an old ale in flavor, perhaps. Rich and complex. A fine sipper.

Photo of allengarvin
2.88/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Cloudy orange-amber color, with interesting little particles suspended in the beer, neither floating nor rising. Not much head and little lacing. Noticible alcohol in the aroma, fruity and medicinal. Extremely fruity taste, cloyingly sweet overripe peach flavor. Alcohol very noticible. Bitterness undetectable. Big bodied, with a substantial mouthfeel.

Bleagh, I find myself unable to finish the last 2/3rds of this. Too sweet by half.

Photo of DogFood11
3.79/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

For a 14.5% brew the head and retention are a treat to even exist. Lacing is admirable as well. A light shade of copper that is shiney and has some slow rolling carbonation. Just like the 2005 review except I will add that it has little visible carbonation and is cloudy.

Sweet up front and in the middle and in the finish. Anything interesting here? yes! It is admittedly on the syrupy side of the mouthfeel but there is so much goodness in there that I'll let that slide for now. A spicey, flowery boquet that gets burried some by the heavy malts but its there and contributes nicely. There is a rubbing alcohol edge to it and the warming is off the charts as a result. My body temperature felt like it went up a couple pops while drinking this pup. Aged kendling that is so dry that it would burn in a flash, meaning there is an aged wood feeling more so than a freshly cut tree. As it warmed the syrupy feeling was more prominent and a bit annoying but really more of an afterthought.

Notes: I liked this almost exactly the same as the 2005 version as its identical to my palate. I put almost a year on this bottle of 2006 and that seems about perfect to me. It still has that spicey alcohol edge and the only difference is in the malt bill as it settled into a thicker more complex body.

Photo of stereosforgeeks
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Orange-ish ruby which had a light tan head for a brief moment.

Smell - The alcohol and some caramel malts seem to be the backbone with berries, oak, and cognac notes present well.

Taste - The berries and some grapes hit the tongue first along with the biting alcohol notes. The caramel malts ride through the middle. There is an oily taste, toffee, oak, and cognac that finish.

Mouthfeel - An oily medium body glides on the tongue. There is a small bite of carbonation.

Drinkability - This is a sipper and the ABV will keep this from being something i return to time and time again. I feel like having more hops would help balance the beer.

Photo of Phyl21ca
2.5/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle courtesy of Boboski: Poured a clear dark amber color ale with a small foamy head with little retention and no lacing. Aroma of brown sugar is domination with some subtle alcohol signs. Taste is dominated by some very sweet malt with very little hops and also very little signs of oak. Alcohol was way too predominant and the beer was way too sweet for my personal taste. It seems that Avery big beers series are either hit or miss and this one would be a miss.

Photo of khiasmus
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
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
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
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
3.99/5  rDev +3.1%
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
2.63/5  rDev -32%
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
3.31/5  rDev -14.5%
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
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
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
2.12/5  rDev -45.2%
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
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
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
4.8/5  rDev +24%
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
3.13/5  rDev -19.1%
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
4.45/5  rDev +15%
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.

Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,246 ratings.