Samael's Ale - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Samael's AleSamael's Ale

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very good

1,218 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,218
Reviews: 592
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 14.99%
Wants: 71
Gots: 295 | 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
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Ratings: 1,218 | Reviews: 592 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of BeerNinja007
1.58/5  rDev -59.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Pours a dark golden amber colorwith a dense off-white head. Smells syrupy sweet, like caramel or honey, with a hint of lemony citrus and maybe apple. Taste is too sweet and it feels thick on the tongue, almost like mead. Definately oaky, some smoke flavors, caramel, and again a hint of apple. Very slick mouthfeel, I think from the sugar. Alcohol burn is mildly apparent. Overall I'm quite disappointed.

Update: dumped this down the sink, couldn't finish. Bleh!

Photo of quasimoto
2.45/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Deep reddish amber color, with absolutely no head on this beer. Very disappointing.

S - Strong aromas of cherries, nail polish remover, wood stripper and that is about it.

T - there is tons of alcohol. Super heavy sweet cloying body that is just overpowering.

M - Heavy body, and super sweet. The bitterness is barely there.

D - I wont look for this again, and I should have drank only half. Way too sweet.

3.78/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep reddish orange amber body is very attractive. Almost 3 fingers of fat tan head that leaves nice lace as it fades. Nose is vibrant with spicey fruit notes, creamy vanilla hints also exist. Super sweet syrupy feel coats the mouth at first sip. Kind of like a thin port. Carmeled malts and soured sweetness dominate the palate. You catch notes of plum and waxy cherry candy. Alchol warms the belly well, but is well hidden in the taste. Nice sipping style. Quite drinkable, but only one at a time. Wow!

Photo of trancefishy
2.45/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I think I've had this bottle sitting stored properly for a year or so.

Poured it a bit violently to get a nice head, but it just ran away. The beer is a nice amber colour. Looks nice.

The smell is about what I expected, sweet and alcoholy.

I was waiting for a taste-wallop. Something deep and well blended. What I got was a mouthfull of sweet and I actually said "yuck!" after my first sip. It's just sugar and alcohol.

I really am not sure I even want to finish this beer. It's just not that good. I actually felt inclined to write this solely because this beer was so poor.

Photo of Bighuge
4.43/5  rDev +14.5%
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.

Photo of BeerSox
4.22/5  rDev +9%
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.

Photo of Minkybut
3.43/5  rDev -11.4%
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.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.55/5  rDev +17.6%
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.

Photo of jabocu
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Photo of kirok1999
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

Photo of Suds
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
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.

Photo of Shaw
3.63/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

Photo of AndoBrew
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

Photo of OStrungT
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
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.

Photo of akorsak
3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
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.

Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,218 ratings.