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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

605 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 605
Hads: 1,322
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 14.47%
Wants: 80
Gots: 348 | FT: 24
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)
2014: 14.20% (Batch #10)
2015: 14.60% (Batch #11)
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 605 | Hads: 1,322
Photo of Jjski
4.59/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

fresh, vintage 2013

a-copper, transparent, short fizzy head. beautiful, inviting

s- candied orange rind, grand marnier

t- carmel booze, grand marnier, booze and booze

m- syrupy

o- I'm as fan of huge beers. This bordering on a liqueur. It is not overly complex at the moment, but the potential for serious aging is there. Potent, one and you are done. Total sipper, bordering on leaving the realm of beer- sorta ice wine character. Very concentrated flavors. The ant-quaffable malt beverage.

in the category- as good as Olde School, I like Insanity a bit better due to the barrel flavor. (592 characters)

Photo of JohnBender
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

$6.99 for 12 oz at Central Market in Austin. Batch 9. May, 2013 Release.

A- Dark ruby red. White head, dissipates quickly.

S- Booze and booze. A little Caramel. Oak. Booze. Booze.

T- More of the same. Complex. I am definitely a person who loves a boozy beer, so I absolutely love it. That said, if someone told me it was 10-12%, I would believe them.

M- Easily the best part. Damn near perfect. Coats the mouth, chewy and thick. Wonderful feel.

O- Really love it, though I understand how some would not. (510 characters)

Photo of JGlitz87
3.51/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

2013 Batch

A: Deep amber/copper color with little to no head. The little head that is present stays strong and leaves good amount of lacing.

S: Heavy on the booze. If you did not know by looking at the bottle, the smell is your first warning this is not a beer to be taken lightly. Smells like a very sweet bourbon cocktail.

T: First wave is very smooth caramel. Shortly after than comes the strong wood and booze flavors.

F: Warms the body going down. Medium bodied and very smooth.

O: I like strong drinks, but this is a bit too heavy on the alcohol to enjoy a full bottle solo. I can imagine sharing this with a friend and enjoying it, but taking down a whole bottle at one sitting by oneself is a daunting task. (724 characters)

Photo of CFHMagnet
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Annual Release May 2013 Batch 9" appears on the label.

My pour yields a finger of yellowy head over a tawny copper body. The head dies in a minute to a good frothy ring, and I notice a lot of "floaties" in the beer. Lace tries, but cannot seem to cling to the side.

It smells very woody, and very much like booze. Digging deeper brings deep caramel and vanilla notes, along with a rich dark fruit.

The beer tastes like caramel up front. Dark fruit and something slightly citrusy blend with vanilla, more caramel and wood, until the alcohol jumps up at the end and smacks me in the mouth.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied but this is a serious sipper. (653 characters)

Photo of shleepy
3.99/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This one is a bottle of Batch #9 (May 2013), with a hefty 16.9% ABV. Possibly the strongest beer I've had to date, and certainly the strongest one I had a chance to review.

A: Dark amber, edging on red. Small but resilient off-white head.

S: Caramel, bright ("green") herbal notes, mandarin oranges, and maybe a touch of vanilla.

T: Heavy caramel maltiness, but this is honestly a fairly pleasant maltiness. I've had plenty of weaker beers that have an intolerable maltiness when paired with similar herbal, bitter notes, but this beer is actually well-balanced, which is a surprise. The secondary sensation is the aforementioned herbal bitterness, but it's not too overwhelming. Some bitterness does linger on the tongue for a while. The aftertaste is almost an after-"feeling," with the warm alcohol burn in the back of the throat backing up a light cookie/malt flavor. And that's just after the first sip. Vanilla and honey notes also become evident in the long run.

M: Very, very heavy, not surprisingly. I could be wrong, but it seems to still have some residual sugar. Had some nice, fizzy carbonation at the beginning; but given that you'll probably be sipping on this one for a while (I know I have), it will die down.

O: I am very impressed by how they made a fairly tasty, interesting beer with so much alcohol. My favorite beers are lambics, which are almost always between 4% and 6%. I usually wouldn't buy a WINE over 14% ABV (and generally prefer wine that is roughly 12.5%), so this beer is very much out of my comfort zone. The hot alcohol is fairly well hidden, and the beer is complex and very sippable. Bravo. (1,633 characters)

Photo of Samp01
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear reddish brown with a small quickly dissipating white head. Aroma of caramel malt, oak and vanilla esters, very fruity, brown sugar, mild sweet spices and sweet alcohol brandy like aroma. Taste same as aroma. Palate is a full body, sweet spices and alcohol. The finish is sweet caramel, vanilla, yeast and fruity flavors, some oak and vanilla tones, a bit of brown sugar. The ending is mildly spiced with some sweet alcohol. This brew seems to have some a bit of bourbon and brandy notes. A bit rough at the beginning but drinkable (544 characters)

Photo of TheBrewo
3.91/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

We crack a bottle labeled “April 2012, Batch No 8, 736 Cases”, and pour a brew of rich, tawny copper coloring. It holds a nicely reproducible one finger head of vanilla pudding colored bubbles, showing okay retention. This leaves spots clinging to the glass, and an aggregate over half the glass and around the edges of the liquid. A thick chill haze permeates the clarity, and large chunks of yeasty sediment are seen throughout, despite a slow pour. Carbonation appears to be moderate. The aroma starts with insane, cloying sweetness, even when cold from the fridge. As it warms, the malts are pulled more forward to match the outright syrupy sugars, taking form as toasty, bready caramels, with lighter brown malts off in the distance. Otherwise the nose fills with browned apple sweetness, thick and sweet brandy booziness, bright vanilla extract, soft oak, yeasty metallics, red cherry, milder buttery diacetyls, sweet banana esters, and black pepper spiciness. With temperatures approaching that of the room, a pseudo-smoky leathery quality came out, furthering the cause and balance against the dextrin sugars. Our first impression is that the flavoring, especially through the end, is quite hot and borders on unnatural, but remains interesting and extremely robust throughout. As we sip, the taste opens with cloying sugars, as in the nose, burning sting of booze across the tongue, stark black pepper, syrupy caramel malts, and strong phenolic plastics. Peaking is the sweetness max of the taste, with those dextrins, straight brown sugar, thickly toasted caramel malts, faint molasses, banana esters, and distant smokiness. The end comes with bite of pencil woodiness and graphite, iron, melted Army men, soft smoky char, red apple sweetness, warming Christmas spice, peppery booze, and only lighter balance at this point from those sugared caramels and cereal graininess. The aftertaste breathes of those aromatic leathers, plastics, gritty yeastiness, seriously drying oak, big moss, mineral, gravel, sweet booziness of amaretto, rice grain, metallic graphite, and tinny metallics. The body is full and thick, while carbonation is medium to high. There is wild tingle on the tongue and gooseflesh inducing pucker from the booze and the sweetness respectively. The mouth quickly burns to a definitive bone dryness, with the tongue left moving like sandpaper down the hard palate. Each sip gives nice slurp, sip, cream, froth, and finishing pop, and the lips are left a touch sticky. The abv is huge, but decently hidden, and the beer sips slowly, but nicely.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was its taste. This is actually our first taste of the “Demon” series, and it certainly did not disappoint. Samael brought it hard to the palate with massive bready sweetness, nicely matched oakiness, and strong booziness through the end of the sip. While things may have not been the most balanced and concise, the more noticeable inclusions of leather, light smoke, and plastics were happily welcomed to the party, integrating pleasantly amongst the general strength and bigness of this beer. Things calm down quite a bit with warmth, through both the nose and the taste, helping to keep it much, much closer to style and approachable. This guy is monstrous, and considering the abv alone, you should definitely fight off the darkness with some friends, or you just might get swallowed up in it. (3,423 characters)

Photo of lowgear
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2005 vintage.

Opened without fanfare in the kitchen. No carbonation. Dark ruby red color.
Smell- lots of alcohol and fruitcake.
Taste-very sweet, prune, bourbon, very sazerac.
This one really warms your innards.
One more of this vintage in the cellar. (253 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.49/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Bottled March 2010, Batch 6, 15.82% alcohol.

Appearance - Reddish brown with a temporary khaki head. Big bubbles that burst and disappear as soon as the beer settles. The thinnest of collars remains. I pulled back the pour as soon as I saw the chunks coming. At 15.82% alcohol, I didn't really need that last ounce anyway.

Smell - Woo that's oaky. Really nice character to the oak. Lots of vanilla. Lots of brown sugar and booze. Simply, but I'm liking it.

Taste - The oak character translates very nicely into the flavor. The vanilla flavors are amplified. It takes center stage for a moment. Then it becomes a little more monotone. Slightly fruity, slightly bitter, caramel. Nothing terribly exciting here. Could use a bit of depth. Booze and oak take over in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Pretty damn boozy, but at least it isn't overly sweet. I might reassess the sweetness halfway through the glass, but for now, it's not overpowering.

Overall - The nose was quite appealing and some of those flavors held through, but this beer might just be too big for its own good. (1,109 characters)

Photo of AdamHart22
3.79/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a 12oz bottle into a tulip.

A - Dark as the devil's soul with hints of brown color when held up to the light. Head and lacing non-existent

S - Oil, molasses, wood. Great nose and my favorite part of the beer.

T - This needs to mellow... most likely for several years. Its just too much when its fresh out of the barrel - everything gets kind of muddy and actually tastes like I'd imagine oil would.

M - Heavy, sweet, and cloying. Like a barley wine mixed with... oil. Notice a theme here?

O - I'd pass on this unless you intent to cellar it for at least a year. I can tell there is potential for something epic but you need to give this guy some time to develop. (672 characters)

Photo of ummswimmin
3.96/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is from the 2012 batch. I've had it in my cellar for almost a year.

I poured this into my snifter and the very strong nose slapped me in the face. The aroma on this one has a lot of rich fruit and oakiness. It smells like a cross between very strong old ale and the english barleywine. The 15.47% ABV comes as no surprise.

The flavor is over-whelming; even as a sipper. This should be poured in small amounts among multiple people. I would say that the strength and body almost work like a brandy/bourbon. I recommend this for a cold night among friends. (562 characters)

Photo of duracell
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle. 15,31% ABV.
Batch #7, April 2011. Had it on 5 Feb 2012.

A - Small off-white head disappearing quickly to leave a thin topping. Dark burgundy color. Lots of yeast settling at the bottom.

S - Candy sugar, wooden character, boozy with hoppy notes, esters (raisins, plums).

T - Raisins, dark fruits. Some spicy wooden notes. A hint of vanilla and some caramel.

M - Good balance sweetness/alcohol. Full body. Bitterness on the low side. Low carbonation. Relatively smooth. Alcohol is not overpowering.

O - Good drinkability for the style. Malt-oriented with a nice oak character. Recommended. (605 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
3.89/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Batch #8 - April 2012

A: Pours a hazy to cloudy dark copper to caramel in color with some light amounts of gentle visible carbonation, moderate amounts of white yeast particles in suspension, and moderate amounts of garnet red highlights. The beer has a tow finger tall dense foamy tan head that slowly reduces to a thick layer evenly covering the entire surface of the beer with a very slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of sweet malts with both caramel and toffee notes. In addition, there are fairly strong aromas of oak and vanilla. Light amounts of alcohol.

T: Similar to the smell, upfront this beer is fairly sweet with strong flavors of malts with notes of caramel and toffee. Afterwards, there are some lighter flavors of brown sugar and molasses. Light amounts of bitterness but some moderate to strong flavors of alcohol towards the finish.

M: Full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Sticky with some moderate to significant amounts of alcohol heat, especially towards the finish.

O: Though it comes in a small bottle, this bottle is really intended for sharing because this is a big beer and the alcohol is not all that well hidden. I recommend slowly sipping this one over a fairly long period of time but it was nice on a cold winter evening. Very nice amounts of complexity. (1,403 characters)

Photo of BlackBelt5112203
4.23/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz Batch 8 bottle poured into a snifter at cellar-room temperature.

L – Deep amber color with a 1-finger bubbly, slightly rocky, cream-colored head. Pretty good retention and lacing. Clear with a good amount of bubbles and some legs on the side of the glass.

S – Lots of sweet caramel, brown sugar, and some molasses with some dry, woody oak and definitely a good dose of alcohol. This smells like it’s going to be a whopper.

T – It’s very sweet nearly all the way through with caramel, brown sugar, molasses, and maybe a bit of vanilla. There’s a touch of woody, slightly astringent oak that comes through at the finish along with some slightly bitter citrus and earthy hops.

F – Medium-to-full-bodied with pretty good carbonation, a sticky and chewy mouthfeel, and a sweet, slightly bitter, slightly dry, and hot finish. Some sweet caramel and brown sugar flavors linger, and there’s definitely a throat-warming sensation from the alcohol.

O – This is a pretty tasty English barleywine. It’s got all of the great malty sweetness that you could ask for. The hops and oak are a bit muted, possibly due to age, but I think it might also be due to the higher ABV. The heat may be masking some of the more subtle flavors at the finish. Nevertheless, it’s a tasty beer and very drinkable for one that clocks in at almost 15.5%. This is the last of the Demons of Ale that I’ve tasted, and I’m glad I had the chance to try them all. They were truly an experience. (1,491 characters)

Photo of StaveHooks
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured in a snifter at 56 degrees
2011 vintage (Batch 7)

A - Dark amber/brown body with a small wispy off-white head that forms a solid collar.

S - Sugary oak wood, vanilla, big woody caramel, cherries, caramelized walnuts, toffee, molasses. Sublime aroma.

T - Extremely sweet caramel malts, vanilla cotton candy, scorched cherries, walnuts, the oak helps a little to round off the intense sweetness. Finishes with a slightly bitter alcohol heat, but in a good way.

M - Low carbonation, warming, thin at first but thickens up as it sets, sweet woody aftertaste.

Very little alcohol heat for such a high abv brew. Amazing aroma but the flavor was super sweet, almost to the point of cloying. The wood was bold and mellow at the same time and gave a very nice aftertaste. (787 characters)

Photo of jwheeler85
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled in 2009; drank in 2013

Served in tulip glass

A- Nice deep mahogany with a ruby red tint. A fine 1cm head dissipates quickly. Was careful to decant as beers like this tend to have a good amount of sediment. Glad I was careful; kept all the sludge in the bottle! Winning!

S- First thing I get is a blast of oak. Go figure. Beneath that there's a hint of tart fruitiness. Maybe cherry or apricot. As I continue to sniff it's almost as if the aromas reverse the order in which they present themselves. Now all of a sudden I get a lot of dark fruit with some vanilla behind it. Neat.

T- This one is pretty complex. Sweet dark caramel, oak, vanilla, apricot / cherry. Then I taste the alcoholic heat. Not unpleasant. Then I get a wave of tiny bubbles. The aftertaste is slightly tangy and warming.

M- Low carbonation. Seems very appropriate for the style.

O- This one had been taunting me from the back of my fridge for a while. I generally don't really care for oak aged beers. I usually find them to be too heavy and cloying for my taste. The high ABV was also a little bit scary.

So I was wrong. Surprised at how drinkable it was. Really not much heat at all. I'm sure the 4 years of aging had a lot to do with that though. My first impression was that this reminded me a lot of Sam Adams Utopias in smell and flavor. Obviously it's got a lower ABV and is carbonated, so that's different, but in general it really did remind me of drinking Utopias. Wish I had purchased a few more of these. (1,504 characters)

Photo of EkimGram
3.77/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Taken from my beer journal dated 2/24/12:

*Batch No. 7

Appearance: 12oz bottle poured into a large snifter. Colour is a reddish brown type of copper or rust. Very thin head fades to a thin ring. Also has a ruby quality.

Smell: Aromas are very sweet, bready, and malty. There are also hints of spice and alcohol.

Taste: Very sweet and bready. Tons of dark fruits, a slight touch of hops, and a spicy touch of alcohol all backed by some nice oak notes.

Mouthfeel: Nice, thick full body that has just a hint of carbonation to balance a syrupy, heavy, and sticky finish.

Overall: Excellent, I love the level of the bready malts and the sweetness that is as cloying as expected. The alcohol is hidden elegantly. (712 characters)

Photo of BierJager89
4.96/5  rDev +28.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Batch 5 ('09) had in late 2012. Poured from a small bottle (it has to be small, this one was more than 16% abv) into a small snifter. Shared with two lucky friends.

A: Nothing special. Reddish brown, with so little head that the color of the bubbles is indiscernible (maybe the most specific notes on the head of a beer I have ever taken), but I didn't want the appearance to drag down the rating of this beer.

S: Nose is full of dark fruit and red wine.

T: Sweet vanilla (I love it already), oak, very nice bourbon character, cherry, red berries, a touch sour. Alcohol is present, but dangerously hidden.

M: Full bodied and smooth (of course it was smooth, it was more than 3 years old probably).

O: CRIMINALLY UNDERRATED!!! If you live in California, you can probably still find this beer, but it's old, and trust me, very much worth your money and time looking for it. My rating is going to be a bit higher, just because I feel it is so underrated on BA. (962 characters)

3.31/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

$13.00 for the 12oz bottle, served in a tulip
Batch 6, bottled in March 2010. ABV is listed at 15.82%
Served at cellar temp. Sampled 16SEP12

[A] The pour begins down the middle, quickly moves to the edge of the glass and produces a 2 finger high head. The color is khaki, the texture is loose and airy, and it deflates rapidly - but a creamy cap remains for quite some time. The body is dark amber with a hint of ruby tints. Great depth of color and very clear.

[S] Extremely rich, heavily rendered caramel. Oaky overtones. Toffee and buttery subtleties. Deep in the background, dried mint and other herbal tea-like qualities. Faint vanilla.

[T] Toffee, butter, herbal caramel. Not overly sweet. Plenty of oak flavor. Big tannic astringency. Warmth for the entire chest. Actually (and to no great surprise) 'heat' would be more appropriate.

[M] Mild fuzzy tannic feeling at first sip, then the thick, chewy, sweet, wonderfully full body takes over.

[O] Decent sipper. Mouthfeel aside, nothing overwhelmingly impressive. At over a dollar an ounce, this here bottle is probably my last. (1,089 characters)

Photo of N3rdM3t4l
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into redwine glass. Bottle is from batch 3 bottled in 2007, purchased november 30, 2012.

A: no head at all, a thin ring of white bubbles around the outside. Deep amber honey color. A little light gets through it.

S: very rich and sweet smelling at first. i smell the oak for sure, and that vanilla note thst usually comes from a good oaking. A little toffee in there too.

T: sweet, almost cloying but thats barleywine for you. A bit of that oak, and slight vanilla hints. No hop presence but none of that hop ghost you get from an over aged beer. I was afraid of it because it was botteled 5 years ago. Big alcohol burn on the finish.

M: thick body, but the alcohol keep it from being really chewy. It has a slightly slimy feel, not in a bad way but a little unexpected.

O: I like it, not too familliar with barleywines. but I think this is pretty good. Might even be over aged since it is only 14% abv not the near 16% of later batches. (954 characters)

Photo of tdm168
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - dark orange with a soft, white head that leaves a thin lacing; there is some hop sludge floating about, the liquid is so dense that it's just suspended in the liquid

S - alcohol, sweet, candy sugar, bread, oak, fruit

T - candy sugar, pretty sweet, caramel, oak, vanilla, very malty

M - warm, full bodied, smooth

First, I have to say that I am impressed with how well hidden the ABV is. It was a bit too sweet though so the drinkability didn't become too dangerous as the sweetness slowed me down. The overall flavor was pretty malty but had some nice subtleties like the vanilla notes that snuck through. I really enjoyed this beer, but it was a bit heavy and sweet. It makes a solid after meal drink or sipper in cold months. (734 characters)

Photo of anchordrinker
4.46/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage: 2007 Batch #3

Appearance- Murky dark brown with a small tan head that fades quickly

Smell- Brown sugar, toffee, raisin, caramel.

Taste- light sharp citrus, candied orange, medium-light booze, brown sugar, toffee, sherry-like sweetness.

Mouthfeel- Velvety smooth from years of gentle oxidation. Enormous mouthfeel, thick and syrupy with ample carbo considering the age.

Overall- Absolutely insane. It is quite a beast even with this much age so I think it could hold up to 4-5 more years for the very patient. Definitely a decadent awesome treat. (559 characters)

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

12 oz poured into two snifters. 2009 vintage, bottle proclaims a 16.45% ABV.

A - very pretty indeed. Super, super dark, very deep browns. Hardly any foam on the pour, looks like juice.

S - unique. Apple juice and other fruity flavors.

T - hmm. I like the way this tastes, pretty hoppy, but the fruit juice flavor is still present. I think the age has helped this one tremendously.

M - the alcohol doesn't have a huge presence, but there's a strange lingering bitterness that's a little unpleasant.

O - I contend that there's no difference between trying something fresh before something aged, and trying something aged before trying it fresh. With that said, this is a good BW, one that I'd like to try fresh. (714 characters)

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

Poured into a pint glass. Batch #18, bottled April 2012.

The "Demons of Ale", Avery Brewing Company's tribute to all things brutal and awesome is one series of brews that I have been enjoying my time a great deal with. These beers are BIG, and are some of the best I have tasted and with "Samael", Avery has done it again.

A- Maybe it has something to do with the name, but this beer looks almost like it is billowing out of the depths of something. Pours an amber color with a small amount of off-white head lasting through the whole session. There is very spotty lacing, but its there in small amounts. Particulate matter can be seen in the glass, slowly rising to the top and falling back down again, almost resembles what I would imagine the river Styx would look like. Very cool look.

S- Wow. Molasses, caramel, maple syrup, some burnt brown sugar, and something like an aged cheese like smell. There is A LOT going on in this and its never overpowering or unpleasant. Alcohol smell is non-existent. Very interesting smelling beer, one of my favorites that I have yet to come across.

T- Molasses and syrup hit hard at first- sweet, but not overly so. Alcohol then becomes evident but serves more to give it that very oak barrel, bourbon like taste. On the swallow, you get tastes like butterscotch that go along with the continuous molasses and syrup backbone. Bitterness and sweetness perfectly act in unison, giving the beer a very balanced and incredible taste. Sweetness can get a bit overpowering as the session goes on though. But still, I can't see myself tiring of this, it's a slow drinker after all. Good stuff.

M- Silky smooth at first, but later evolves into a slightly dry chalkiness. Even still, the dryness at the end is almost nice, serves as a great way to finish off the brew. Its rather flat too, but to me this works very well with the style. Heavy carbonation would have ruined this brew. Its a very nice balancing act, to an already very well-balanced brew. Excellent.

Avery Brewing Company continues to impress. I have liked nearly every single one of their beers that I have tried, but their Demons of Ale series is the top of the pack and "Samael" is certainly a worthy addition to the pleasant brutality of that series. Find it, buy it, drink it and revel in the brutality. Cheers. (2,319 characters)

Photo of imscotty
4.7/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thank you Bobbie for this 2005 Samael. I never would have had the patience to age this beauty for seven years, but I am glad that you do.

A: Lovely deep amber orange color, almost no head, no lacing, little carbonation apparent.

S: The smell of malt caramel is overwhelming. It smells boozy too, some vanilla. I see that others with more sophisticated noses smell other subtle fragrances, but for me this is one big malt bomb.

T: Caramel malt, caramel malt, caramel malt and vanilla, maple syrup, and molasses. This beer explodes in the mouth with oily sweetness. There was no carbonation apparent, yet it still tingles on the tongue. The alcohol is hidden until you feel the after burn as it slides down your throat and warms your stomach. I am not kidding I feel it radiating to the extremities. This beer is a monster. It is still too sweet. It could age for years more. I love it.

M: I drank mine from a champagne glass believe it or not. I think a whiskey glass would have been better. It does not matter much; this is not a subtle beer. It will explode in your mouth whatever the delivery system. This beer is liquid candy.

O: Let me start by saying that I love big English barleywines. I think there is no better way to finish the day than sipping an old Thomas Hardy's. This beer is great for the style. It is sweet caramel candy, maybe too sweet; you can age this monster for years. It is a sipper, but I was not willing to share, I wanted every drop for myself. If you are lucky enough to find a Samael put it away for a decade and count yourself lucky. Save it for a cold winters night and enjoy. (1,613 characters)

Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 605 ratings.