Samael's Ale - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Samael's AleSamael's Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,218 Ratings

(view ratings)
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 depechemode1983
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Hazy reddish brown in color. Head is lacking and there is no lacing at all. I like the color though.

S - The nose is very smoke with some sweet bourbon characters. They come together and i can help but think coconut. Lots of caramel with vanilla and a bit of alcohol. Very sweet.

T - Sweet slightly toasted brown sugar with alcohol being noticeable. Vanilla and caramel again. Taste like it smells but more robust.

M - Medium bodied and syrupy. Carbonation is lacking but i don't mind that in an English Barley Wine.

D - A very flavorful and robust beer. I love it. One will be last me through at least the hour.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a plastic tumbler.

Back in the day, this beer kicked my sorry ass. Let's see how things have progressed, eh? It pours a hazy russet-amber topped by a half-finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises buttery toffee, vanilla, oak, caramel, and a small touch of booze in the back, though that remains decidedly demure. The taste holds notes of harshly sweet toffee, light whiskey, caramel, and maple syrup. The sweetness is a bit annoying, but at least it's not o'erwhelming. The body is lightly hefty, with a very light moderate carbonation and a syrupy feel. Overall, a pretty decent b-wine, but too sweet for my liking. Other than that, though, not too bad.

Photo of Vdubb86
3.85/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Sam Adam's Perfect Pint Glass

Thanks to GraniteSkunk for sending a beer I probably wouldn't have pulled the trigger on.

This beer pours a tawny amber color with an ecru foam covering the surface. The beer needs to be allowed to warm up before enjoying due to the fact that it's repugnant until at correct temperatures. The smell is strongly of figs, plums, butterscotch and rum. There is really no alcohol aroma behind the beer, but that doesn't mean that this beer isn't strong. The taste of this beer greatly follows the nose in almost every way except there is a residual vanilla taste that comes from the oak. The mouthfeel is sticky and cloying along with the buttery mouthfeel I could honestly do without. This beer I sipped and still got buzzed, so it's drinkability is highly questionable. A good beer overall, but for the love of God, let the thing warm up!

Photo of despainmakesbeer
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled April 2007, batch 3.

Murky opaque mahagony brown color. Thick syrupy appearance at pour and swirl. 1/2" light tan head at pour settles to dense, frothy-like bubbled ring at edge of glass with some covering to the face. Decent lacing on the glass. Very rich aroma. Heavy caramel smell to aroma, along with some undecided dark fruit notes and even some aromatics reminiscent of smoked pete. THe oak smell of this very much like a lagvulin J.W. Lees. No hops present in this one. Maybe even some small hints of chocolate malt to this. Overall an aroma leaning towards some dark nutty, earthy notes. Very thick, syrupy mouthfeel. Sits very heavy. Low carbonation. Rich in flavor as well, packed with caramel, pete notes, dark fruit, some chocolate. Finish with warmth leans towards the alcohol content, slightly medicinal. Aftertaste brings more of the pete and nutty flavor with a big caramel and alcohol kick. Definitely one to sip on. A very complex and tasty drink to say the absolute least.

Photo of gueuzer
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle. 2005 vintage. 14.5%

App- thick syrupy pour. Copper colored with little head. Long legs on the glass.

Sm- Caramel, oak and booze. The alcohol burn was surprising given the age.

Ta- Everything an english barleywine should be. Toffee, raisins, bread pudding, marmalade, vanilla, toast, sherry. There was a slight alcohol presence , but very subdued.

Mouthfeel. Syrupy sweet. Had with chocolate cherry bread from the Denver bread company. A magnificent desert.

Overall, this aged exceptionally well and i am hard pressed to think of an american brewer with a better barleywine given proper cellaring. I would say that this will continue to improve and I will sit on my remaining ones for a few more years.

Photo of turboge
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled in March of 2010, batch 6, ABV 15.82%

A: Dark amber with small head that doesn't fully disappear and a lacing left over throughout the glass.

S: Sweet fermented apricot

T: Very sweet oaky with a strong alcohol presense

M: Not as heavy as anticipated but full of flavor

D: Very hot; must be sipped and very much enjoyed

Not recommended to drink with spicy foods because this beer is hot. Great beer for sipping and when it is cold out. This would probably be most enjoyed around the campfire in early spring/late fall. Glad I have 3 left to enjoy.

Photo of rrski198
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Done from brie notes taken at a beer festival.

A: Amber and red colored. Translucent and looks thick and syrupy. SMall tan head.

S: earthy wood sherry port smell. Sweat molasses and cherries.

T: Holy sweetness. This is similar to an old ale or barley wine (i didn't kow what type of beer it was when I was drinking it) Big time sweet fruit. Alcohol kicks at the end and is spicy. Dirty earth aftertaste.

M: Thick and sweet with a big time malt/fruit sweetness. Gums on fire.

O: This beer is a little to sweet for me but it is complex and a big time beer. Interesting offering from Avery.

Photo of JMforman
4.08/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3


A- Deep Amber with good head and good retention

S- Oak, toffee, alcohol, and oh yes, a pet store.

T- Toffee (very strong upfront and throughout), caramel, liquorish, alcohol, butter

M- Heavy, smooth, buttery (maybe that was in the taste?)

D- Dude, not a session beer.

Photo of jbartlett89
3.3/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

pours a a deep orange almost burnt pumpkin pie color really nice.

smells sweet and malty with alot of alcohol.

taste alot of alcohol with some sweet hints of caramel but mainly alcohol.

the mouthfeel is thick and some what sticky with a slight alcohol burn not too bad but its definitly there. has a sweet almost cider like after taste in way.

this is not a very drinkable beer not cause of the taste but because of the amount of alcohol.

Photo of chilly460
3.1/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Nice orange to amber color with a medium tan head, not much lacing.

S - Trouble picking up anything up anything else but the alcohol, some bread malt smell.

T - A flamethrower, big alcohol burn on the tip of the tongue. Nice caramel malt after the initial hit, big earthy hops to balance at the end.

M - Nice chewy mouthfeel, what I'd expect for the style.

D - Nice warming barleywine, but the burn from the booze slows down drinking.

Photo of mjforres
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into two goblets

bottled April 2009, batch 5
labels says 16.45% ABV

A - muddy brown with a head that collapses quickly.

S - very strong nose with dark fruit, caramel, oak, and alcohol

T - the same notes come through in the taste as on the nose -- there is sweetness, dark fruit, caramel, and a noticeable alcohol bite

M - thick and complex

D - this is a sipping beer and one that would probably benefit from more aging.

Photo of bboelens
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, the bottle states that my particular batch is 15.06%.

A-Red-orange with a slim off-white head that dissipates rather quickly.

S-Alcohol, vanilla, toffee, caramel, coffee undertones.

T-The alcohol is present but not as much as one would expect, oak muddled vanilla, surprising fruity taste with accompanied sweetness.

M-Thick, rather syrupy, little carbonation.

D-Although the alcohol is incredibly high, that's not what brings down the drinkability here, it's actually the sweetness that makes it difficult to do anything but sip.

Photo of perrymarcus
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

bottled april '08 (batch 4)
15.53% ABV

pours a murky brown tone with some ruddy hues to it; a half finger of beige/tan head quickly lapses into a collar around the glass - not surprising given how big this beer is. body clears after settling.

aroma is outstanding, probably one of the better barleywines i've smelled in some time. sweet and toasted malts, dark fruits, oak, and booze dominate a fragrant nose.

flavor is likewise fantastic. follows the nose perfectly, from the malts to the oak to the dark fruits. nice buttery quality to it... a touch of molasses in the finish... complex and well-balanced. the alcohol is there but not as overpowering as i assumed it would be.

creamy, medium-full bodied mouth feel with just the right carbonation level; dangerously drinkable for a brew this potent.

Photo of buschbeer
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle
Bottled April 2007, Batch 3
14.9% ABV

A - Served in snifter. Beautiful dark honey color. Three quarters of an inch of beige head. Well, it was beautiful until I emptied the remainder of the contents, yeast included, making it murky.

S - As I poured I immediately got ripe, dark fruit. I get plum, fig, molasses.

T - Very similar to the aroma, fig and molasses, but I get some alcohol in the flavor. Also lots of dark fruit.

M - Thick but not syrupy. I love it.

D - This is a sipper and it's great. It has a little stronger alcohol taste than I expected considering it's been bottled over three and a half years ago. I really enjoy it. It's amazing to see what some time can do to beers.

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

Batch 2 from 2006.

Pours slightly murky dark amber with a tiny sparkling collection of bubbles that fades almost instantly. It does leave a spotty ring around the beer that sticks pretty firmly to the glass.

Smells of sweet spice cookies. Toasted malts, molasses, raisins, figs, and some oak. Surprisingly little burn from the alcohol.

Taste goes along with the smell, but dark fruits dominate. It's really sweet. Almost cloying. As I work my way through this beer it just becomes really sweet and it's hard to taste much else. There's a nice warming in the finish though. The alcohol was probably more harsh when it was fresh, but I wonder what the hop character would have been like because it's certainly not present now.

Drinkability is a bit low because of the sweetness. Of course it's nearly 15% ABV, but I've had beers with comparable ABV's that are more drinkable.

A very interesting, intense beer. It's a bit of a struggle to finish though.

Photo of movingtrain
3.35/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 ounce bottle sampled from a 12 ounce snifter.

Pours a ruby/amber color...lots of sediment from the bottom of the bottle. No head at all.

Smells of strong alcohol, tart cherries, caramel, clove, dried fruit, vanilla, oak...some heavy whiskey aroma in the glass, and similar in color, too.

Wow...strong in flavor, very spicy...almost like a heavy, heavy cider. There are elements of hard cinnamon candy, apples, vanilla, wood...almost like a liquor flavor, heavy alcohol and dried fruit.

This is a hard beer to has some interesting flavors in it, but there is something stale tasting in the finish. It is such a strong ale, perhaps it is the dried fruit flavors, but while this is a very complex beer, it may be a little to much.

Photo of jsh420
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

bottled march 2010 batch 6

pours cloudy copper amber orange with a 2 finger head that coated the glass with lacing

smell is rather faint past the booze - some fruity vanilla oak

taste was great - love the how the oak and the rich boozy fruity nutty malt mix - this beer is not as hot as i thought it would be and i think in a couple years you would never know this is 15+abv

mouthfeel medium with lots of carbonation and rather sticky

drinkability - while i loved the flavor - i needed almost 2 hours to drink the entire 12oz bottle - man vs booze

Photo of scottfrie
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into snifter, split three ways. Batch 5, bottled April 2009.

A: Pours a glowing brandy color with a thin white film and collar of a head. Some spots of soapy lacing left.
S: Big boozy notes, even after some ageing. There is an old musty wooden smell that comes through from the oak, along with a ton of vanilla. Complex hints of sweet fruits are in there as well, with some notes of strawberries and dark fruits.
T: Follows the nose. Super sugary sweet. This beer isn't really hot, but there is still a ton of the boozy flavor. Notes of oak, musty wood, sweet caramel, orange peel, and berries. Very complex and rich. Finish has a touch of molasses.
M: Full bodied, syrupy viscous mouthfeel with a warming amount of alcohol. Definitely a sipper.
D: I like it. Very smooth and complex. Glad I split this three ways, and for the price I won't be buying this very often (or again), but I thoroughly enjoyed the time this beer and I had together.

Photo of SilentSabre
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My 666th review on the night of a full moon. How awesome is that!

Label states: Bottled in April 2009 Batch 5. Also says 16,4% versus what's stated above.

Poured a cloudy orange bronze colour; head was about a finger thick of thick, slightly off-white foam for about two minutes. This smells absolutely fantastic! I was expecting an explosion of pine resin and grapefruit rind, but to the contrary, this smells very much like a J.W. Lee's barleywine. Lots of sugary sweet cereal grains, toasted malts, caramel...really nice. This actually sort of reminds me of a cross between maple syrup and the smell of a sweet breakfast cereal.
Taste is powerful sweet malts and big boozy alcohol. Woody, oak flavour appears modestly, but still easily noticeable toward the finish accompanied by the rather assertive booze. This is very nice, indeed, but certainly one to sip on. Especially considering this is a 12oz bottle. Something like this needs to be in a 250mL / 8.5oz bottle or something, but I digress...

Mouthfeel is about what one would expect from a 16,4%'er. This very nearly has the consistency of cooking oil, coating your mouth with each sip. Lightly carbonated just enough to be pleasant.

This is an absolutely terrific American attempt at an English Barleywine. It looks nice in the glass, it smells wonderful, and is just a well crafted, big beer. However, this drinks every bit its advertised 16,4% and will take quite some time to get through 12 ounces.

Photo of kingcrowing
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

Pours a clear red color with some sediment but it's not effecting the flavor much at all. Nose is very malty, boozy, and sweet.

Taste is sweet, boozy, sharp and a bit harsh. There's oak and sweet candy and lots of tasty dark fruits. Mouthfeel is light and crisp it's a bit sweet but well balanced.

Photo of diamondc
4.63/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Batch #6. Bottled March 2010. $9.99 for a 12 oz.

I love the cover art for this bottle. It prepares you for the onslaught yet to come.

A: Surprisingly good. Hazy, mahogany color. There's actually some head on this highly alcoholic beer. Wisps of foam are leftover with some decent lacing.

S: Right away I smell raspberries. Vanilla, caramel, paint thinner, cherries, oak. How did coconut get in there? Amazing.

T: Caramel, red apples, figs, vanilla, whisky, dark berries of all sorts. The oak is actually subtle. Hard to find some hops or bitterness since the malts and alcohol are so in your face.

M/D: So, so drinkable despite the high abv. A tad syrupy on the mouth. Coats the tongue on every swig. The alcohol burn isn't as bad as I thought it'd be. A great, unique beer. Expensive, but worth it.

Photo of stephens101
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

For a number of reasons Avery makes the most terrifying beers in the world, least of which is the cover-art. Since I'm a sucker for good horror, I'm going to dive into this one with avidity.

Dark brown with creamy red edges and a one-finger, quickly fading, bubbly tan head. A broken, spotty lace is left behind. Prolific notes of cherries, chocolate and beer bread rise from the snifter and fill the air. Tastes of big sweet chocolates and maraschino cherries up front with a nice floral middle and an enjoyably bitter end. A slight oakiness is nearly indiscernible. Alcohol is big and hangs in the back of the throat for a while, but considering the magnitude of the other components, all seems to work out well in the end.

Has a creamy, heavy, hot and deliriously satisfying mouth-feel, much like being in a sauna with a couple of horny buxom female prize fighters who want to spar with your beer-gut fat-ass a bit. You're gonna take a few hits with this one, but it's all gonna be worth it in the end. All I can say is approach with caution, take your licks, but don't forget to enjoy the ride.

Photo of PDXHops
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle from Batch 6, bottled March 2010, poured into a Duvel tulip. Mysterious colored body, somewhere between very dark honey and light molasses. The head is modest, but an island skim and a collar of foam stick around a good while. Scattered small patches of lace drip back in.

A whopping 15.82% ABV, says the bottle, and while the nose is fool of warming booze, it's not at all out of place. The aromas remind me a bit of Old Stock; port and sherry notes, vinous and tangy, yet richly sweet. Oakiness is certainly not shy.

Great tasting beer. Quite sweet and loads of warming alcohol, yet it avoids becoming a booze bomb or sugar bomb due to everything else going on. The carbonation is just enough to cut through some of the sweetness, but a surprising undercurrent of bitterness is even more effective at keeping things from becoming sticky. Vanilla and oak flavors are well integrated. A bit of earthiness and cracked pepper show themselvles at times. Pleasing port washes over the tongue. Nice sipper.

Overall impression: A dangerous beer, one that makes me briefly contemplate tackling 2 16% beers in one session. This one does not deserve to fly under the radar.

Photo of WeeObese
4.63/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, I love this beer. This is my second time trying it and I love it even more. Bottled March 2010, Batch 6

The beer pours with a nice carbonation for such a strong beer.The color is a wonderful red color, and the off white head is small, but last as a thick layer across the beer for a long time.
The smell is alcohol, sweet carmel malt, vanilla, oak slight sherry like oxidation and is awesome. It doesn't jump out and get you but it definitely develops as the beer warms.
The taste is amazing, it has the same as the smell but is much bigger. Starts with rich caramel sweet malt, followed by a alcohol warmth, then a nice oakiness, and finishes like a port or sherry. wonderful.
The mouthfeel is great for such a big beer. It is carbonated perfectly, and is slightly viscous, but not overly cloying.
This beer is huge, but extremely drinkable for its strength. A 12oz bottle is perfect.

Photo of jporf911
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a thick goblet. Bottled March 2010, batch 6.

Appearance- 5 out of 5. This beer looks incredible. Even in dull light, its moderate amber hue is highlighted by a reddish glow, but when held up the bright light, the liquid explodes with brilliantly deep red color. This beer looks evil, like a rich blood-red ruby glowing with malevolent inner light. I'm almost certain the color was a deciding factor in the naming process! Also, I was surprised by the slightly tan head; it was much thicker and fuller than I had anticipated and almost spilled out of the goblet. Strong carbonation bubbles force their way through the thick yet translucent brew.

Smell- 3.5 out of 5. For a beer this strong, I'm disappointed by the weakness of the scents. They aren't lackluster by any means, but neither are they strong enough to justice to this style. Candy-sugar malt and alcohol dominate the nose along with a whiff of vanilla, which is common in strong beers like this. I detect undertones of fruity esters, like sweet plums and cherries. After a few more sniffs, I've decided this beer is enticing but subtle, much like the suave side of the devil.

Taste- 4.5 out of 5. Honestly, I expected to type something containing an expletive and a number of exclamation marks here, but the beer is amazingly balanced and smooth. It does a remarkable job of disguising the high alcohol content. What alcohol taste there is shows itself to be very reminiscent of whisky. There is a slight burn on the way down, but that is lost in the midst of delicious vanilla and oak that wash over the tongue, followed by sweet malt and dark fruit. If you dislike sweetness, then you may find this beer a bit cloying. Although Avery says they brew this with Columbus and Fuggels hops, I don't detect them at all. This is definitely more of an English barleywine with emphasis on the malt. It finishes with a lingering, tingling taste of vanilla and nutmeg. Warm alcohol glows all the way down the throat.

Mouthfeel- 4 out of 5. Thick and viscous but not syrupy, this beer carries its balance of tastes into the body. Gulps are possible, but sips are much more satisfying. Never before have I had a beer so thick and yet so smooth, which is incredible considering its monstrous ABV.

Drinkability- 3.5 out of 5. My god, this beer is good. For a beer about which I had heard a lot of stories about not being able to finish it, I am immensely pleased. It went down so easily that I could definitely drink another; however, its drinkability takes a hit from the prohibitive price. Another hit comes from the fact that it's so strong-- two would be enough for almost any beer lover. Anyone trying to get shitfaced should probably just look for a cheaper, more chuggable brew instead of this pedestal-worthy rarity.

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