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Samael's Ale - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Samael's AleSamael's Ale

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

1,133 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,133
Reviews: 582
rAvg: 3.88
pDev: 14.95%
Wants: 66
Gots: 271 | FT: 16
Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  16.90% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes/Commercial Description:
A super-caramelly, oak-aged strong English-style ale, brewed with Columbus, Fuggels hops and two-row barley, caramel 150L malt.

2007: 14.50% (Batch #3)
2008: 15.53% (Batch #4)
2009: 16.45% (Batch #5)
2010: 15.82% (Batch #6)
2011: 15.31% (Batch #7)
2012: 15.47% (Batch #8)
2013: 16.90% (Batch #9)

(Beer added by: ommegangpbr on 06-24-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,133 | Reviews: 582 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JamesS


4.47/5  rDev +15.2%

Had it Avery's 15th aniversary party.

Poured a great dark copper color with great head and excellent lacing. It had a wonderful aroma, very fruity, with fig and grape scents, with a wonderful maltiness to go with it, very deep and strong. Wondeful taste, very strong and deep, with wondeful malty and fruity characteristics (fig mostly, with a little grape). It went down wondefully smooth for such a high ABV beer. Fantastic!

08-04-2008 00:34:01 | More by JamesS
Photo of tai4ji2x


4.3/5  rDev +10.8%

bottled 2005. poured into tulip.

almost clear, dark brown amber. head forms only w very forceful pour, but again soon fades to wisps and a thin ring. not really any lace.

initial sniffs of oak and malty sweetness that approaches molasses and dark rum. hints of port and alcoholic vanilla extract.

sweet and syrupy maltiness, w more rum and port character, where the oak also helps to remind one of such things. subdued resiny hop gives moderate to low bitterness as an undercurrent, and goes into the sweet finish.

smooth, almost syrupy. very gentle carbonation.

the very sweet flavor and the high alcohol cut down drinkability slightly. otherwise quite enjoyable for me.

07-30-2008 06:24:05 | More by tai4ji2x
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

4/5  rDev +3.1%

Pours a one finger cream head that fades quickly to a ring leaving no lace. Murky amber color. Light carbonation and heavy bodied. Sweet alcohol nose. Flavor is a strong molasses and woodiness with late alcohol warming. Drink this cold. Pricey at $8.19 for a 12oz bottle from Yankee Spirits South Attleboro, Ma. 2005 vintage.

07-28-2008 22:21:00 | More by jdhilt
Photo of tedpeer


3.68/5  rDev -5.2%

Batch 2 - 12 ounce Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours amber with a hugh head that settled to a film rather quickly.

S - Smells good. Fruity with a touch of alcohol.

T - Caramel and fruit. Touch of alcohol at the end. Sweet.

M - Thick, creamy, slightly carbonated.

D - Because of the sweet, it's a sipper.

07-21-2008 01:29:19 | More by tedpeer
Photo of Goliath


3.48/5  rDev -10.3%

Pours a deep amber/ruby color with a very thin light tan head. Poor retention.

This beer is quite fragrant. Raisins, dates, oak, vanilla, cherry, and a bit of alcohol.

Taste is alright. Notes of oak, cherry, dark fruits, brown sugar. A bit of an alcohol warmth. Slightly cloying.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, thick, and syrupy. Carbonation is fairly low.

Drinkability is moderate. Flavor is decent, however alcohol is high and it is fairly harsh. Definitely a sipper.

07-16-2008 03:56:15 | More by Goliath
Photo of Gehrig


4.88/5  rDev +25.8%

I went for a long run, came home and got cleaned up before tonight's Yankees-Boston game, and thought about grabbing a summer beer, then thought twice about it. Although I've had a few good ones this summer, I figured what's the point? After several disappointments, why not try something more complicated, a different style, something that looked intimidating and brash?

Something like Samael's Ale. This was truly a surprise, a big, bold, brash, complex but sweet beer. It poured no foam at all, but emitted a cloudy, dense cider-brown with crimson trim--very impressive. The nose is big and boozy, but full of berry, fig, brown sugar, molasses, oak, and orange, all tremendous. The same goes double for the taste, sweet with berry, sugar, oak that is present but could be bolder, somewhat syrupy yet not cloying. Great mouthfeel, thick without exactly being viscous. In fact, the mouthfeel is a slightly effervescent cider in texture and to a degree in taste. The alcohol is masked well, but creeps up near the end with a flash of tightness. However, this one isn't difficult to drink in the slightest. There is strength to this strong ale, but its sweet, complex taste is a revelation, a very sweet strong ale.

Quite simply, one of the very best beers I'd ever had, and one of the three best I've ever had from Avery. A triumph.

07-03-2008 20:15:08 | More by Gehrig
Photo of JayDub


3.88/5  rDev 0%

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Deep amber in color. A creamy head of about one finger from a hard pour, settles to a thin sheet. A bit of lacing on the way down.

S - Ok, this is a bit strange, but I'm getting a strong sense of coconut milk in the nose, but not a bad thing. Also the aroma of wood chips soaked for grilling. A bit of alcohol warmth in the back.

T - Loads of malty sweetness, almost syrupy. Hints of oak aging and some hop spice, but I can't get past the sweetness. The alcohol is not shy about asserting its presence.

M - Thick, almost syrupy body that goes down in little sips. It's actualy a fairly dry finish. The moderate amount of carbonation helps cut through some of the sweetness.

D - The 15.5% ABV is very warming and demands some respect. This is a decent sipper as a night-cap, not something I'll probably try again in the summer heat, but would welcome it again on a cold winter night.

06-25-2008 03:59:10 | More by JayDub
Photo of scottoale


4.35/5  rDev +12.1%

Had this on tap at the PP Strong Ale Fest year before last and it didn't leave the impression that it does, fresh from the bottle. Bottled in April 2008, Batch 4...it pours a nice dark amber-orange with an off-white, one-finger head that settles slowly. The label on this 12 oz. bottle states the ABV as 15.53%, and you better believe it!

The smeel is ultra sweet and fruity, comprised mostly of over-rippened fruit. Lots of red and green grape, Fuji apple and Red Delicious come through strong. Kiwi, mango and alcohol fill the void on subsequent sniffs.

The taste, as it smells, only much sweeter and warming strong to the hilt! Wow, kinda reminds me of MD 20/20...only tastier.

Thick and smooth in the mouth...very warming and very potent as well.

An interesting brew that would probably age well and tone down nicely...worth a try for sure.

06-22-2008 22:15:28 | More by scottoale
Photo of kzoobrew


3.68/5  rDev -5.2%

Pours a ruby cooper color. Decent white head, decent lacing.

Big oak smell. I catch slight wiffs of sweet pineapple gruit fruit aromas. Some earthy notes.

The oak comes across in a big way. Malty sweetness is also big. Fresh fruit flavors slight hoppiness on the tongue.

Smooth drink though slightly syrupy.

Is quite drinkable for the abv, surprising actually. It is a sipper, definitely a one a done, no need for a second of this brew.

06-22-2008 01:50:09 | More by kzoobrew
Photo of NCSUdo


4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

12 oz bottle, bottled April 2007

A: Deep mahogany with ruby mixed under a rusty brown head. Decent lace and retention.

S: Big rich smell of some sweet malt but huge oak character. Boozy, dominated by the wood though. A distinct bourbon character.

T: Taste is a little more subdued then the nose. Wood dominates again, but not as big as in the smell. Sweet up front, brown sugar and a little molasses. Bourbon character is there still, with a mild bitter finish. Definite alcohol in the finish.

M/D: Creamy, full body. Nice mouthfeel. Drinkability, well... This is a big, bold beer and I don't know much I could take. Overall, a very good beer.

06-20-2008 23:38:11 | More by NCSUdo
Photo of MisterClean


4.97/5  rDev +28.1%

Bottle from tasting at Manderes.

A - Red-copper in color, medium head, dissipates slow.

S - Very wheaty, oak, pine, and yellow grapefruit.

T - Oak, wheat, corn, and pine. Superb.

M - Well balanced, easy to enjoy. Perfect with a cigar.

D - Possibly the best ESA I've had.

06-20-2008 04:53:41 | More by MisterClean
Photo of lightindarkness


3.95/5  rDev +1.8%

Acquired in trade with vasdef42, thanks!

Batch 4 - Foiled cap pops with a loud pfft, releasing instant smells of caramelly malt and oak. Pours a deep orangey copper with a nice creamy, khaki head.

Nose has an individuality to it, with plenty of caramel and rich earthy tones, dark brown bread, and nice mellow smooth oak, not harsh or too old, but very round. I don't notice as much alcohol as I'd expect.

Taste is good, but a bit harsh. A lot of caramel, but not too sweet at all, with a rich warm depth. Oak really has a strong presence, with some mellow smooth flavors. What begins as smooth with a lot of nice depth kind of burns up in alcohol heat and bitterness at the finish, making the oak and other flavors a lot more harsh and seemingly less balanced. The overall flavor comes across as really well done, but it swallows with a taste and feel that are momentarily sharp. Once the alcohol burns off there's a softer caramel vanilla bready taste left over. When it warms it drinks a little like bourbon.

As for feel, the original fuller medium body holds little weight against the fumy alcohol finish. Some slickness left over, but I keep getting a lot of fumes.

I'm pretty torn over this one. I really like the nose, and I really like the overall flavor, but the alcohol and harsh finish detract a lot from my ability to really enjoy this beer. It's good in most respects, but kind of sharp. Interestingly, the more I drink, the more I enjoy it, but sip slowly!

06-15-2008 03:43:46 | More by lightindarkness
Photo of srandycarter


3.63/5  rDev -6.4%

A - Dark clear amber, small head leaves fast, thin sudsy, but persistent lacing.

S - Some malt, dried or cooked dark fruit, booze evident.

T- Big taste! Raisins, dark fruit, lots of booze, an explosion to the senses.

M - As with the taste, big fat coating mouth, big flavors that balance well, nice carb.

D - Even tasting the alcohol, this one is pretty drinkable, considering it makeup.

06-06-2008 05:23:57 | More by srandycarter
Photo of coldmeat23


3.98/5  rDev +2.6%

GLASS: Pint Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees

Pours a nice coppery/caramel color. Thick, creamy, 4-finger head that dpops down to a nice thin layer just covering the liquid in a solid fashion. Nice lacing on the glass. The only negative is that there is already quite a good amount of sediment.

Smells of sweet malty goodness, just begging to be tasted. Caramel, raisins and a touch of alcohol, not unlike a fine port.

Big sweet malts engulf the mouth. Very port-like in it's taste. The alcohol is not quite as prominent as I expected, which is nice. Light caramel taste on the back-end with a hint of cinnamon(?) or perhaps that's just the oak chips coming through.

Feels very smooth in the mouth with only a slight touch of alcohol burn. This breaks up the sweetness, so it works to it's own advantage.

Overall this is quite nice, but one that is a bit too sweet for me to consume much at one time. A definite sipper.

05-27-2008 20:52:37 | More by coldmeat23
Photo of johnnnniee

New Hampshire

4.05/5  rDev +4.4%

Bottle says bottled in 2005.
Pours a beautifully clear amber, orange, reddish color without much head or lacing. Aroma is boozy, oakey, sweet caramel, some raisins. Taste is oak and bourbon but sweet, fruity, caramel malts. Carbonation is low, Mouthfeel is sweet and sticky. Good brew, definitely a sipper.

05-20-2008 23:54:49 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of ccrida


4.4/5  rDev +13.4%

12 oz bottle (May 2006 - Batch 2) poured into my meantime snifter, Samael's Oak-aged Ale is a hazy burnt orange with a large, olive tinged off-white head that fairly quickly settles to a thick, foamy skim, leaving light, scattered lace. I dig the bronzed, hazy glow to it, like an LA sunset, crowned with an attractive collar to the last sip, impressive for the size and age of this bottle (which was evidently cellared and/or capped better then some of the other reviewers, who had flat batch 2 bottles).

Strong aroma of rich caramel malt, fruity English ale and oak esters. As you get accustomed to it, the alcohol becomes more evident, although it's pretty light and clean.

Taste is very rich, more of the same sweetness and fruity notes from the nose, nice depth, and surprisingly smooth and balanced for the size, I'm sure the cellar time certainly helped. The oak character really provides a nice, fairly subtle counterbalance to the thick sugars and alcohol vapors. Very sherry/port like, but with carbonation. Lingering aftertaste with exceptional depth, spicy and smokey.

Mouth feel is very creamy and carbonated, with a dry, boozy finish leaving me with heavy hobo breath and tingling lips.

Drinkabilty was really high for me. In spite of the crippling ABV, the taste is smooth and the booze is clean, and my 12 ounces went down way to fast! I really like English style barleywines though, and am really digging this over the top take on the style by Avery. I happy to say they have another winner in their The Demons of Ale series, 3 for 3 with the extreme beers, love it! Part of my high scoring reflects the level of craftsmanship exhibited by pushing the envelope while still producing a very tasty, highly drinkable product.

05-15-2008 00:34:31 | More by ccrida
Photo of shbobdb


3.83/5  rDev -1.3%


Vertical tasting! Hell yeah! My score represents a composite of the experience. Date(s) of tasting: 05/08/08.

Older Bottle (Bottled May 2006, batch 2)

It pours looking like apple cider. I left it in the freezer to cool, so it is at proper Coors light serving temperature and incredibly cloudy. A very faint head forms, mostly just islands of soap-scummy bubbles.

Then I had to wait 30 minutes before I could really drink it. This beer really needs to either be at room temperature or pretty near it.

The beer is super-complex. My first impression is "port". This beer really tastes a lot like a nice tawny port. A nice balance of warming alcohol, excessive sweetness, and a huge blast of oak. The combination really works as long as you are in the mood for it. The 12oz bottle helps too, I've spent 3 hours on the first part of this vertical, so I can't imagine what choking down 22oz would be like.

In addition to the overall "port" character, the specific flavors that I can identify are: pineapple, lots of pineapple, toffee, bitter black tea, concord grape, caramel, and pinot noir.

Very nice. Very warming. The day is rainy and miserable, and the beer is a wonderful means of fighting off the weather.

Younger Bottle (Bottled April 2007, batch 3)

Very different from its older brother. More a ruby and less a tawny port, and since the carbonation still makes its presence known, this feels more like a "beer".

Adn it suffers for that. Chocolate, toffee, pineapple, and an excessive amount of oak. There is still a lot going for this beer, but it lacks the roundness of its more mature predecessor. The oak is too heavy and the rest sorta doesn't gel.

I'm not saying it is "bad" but, good lord, the '06 was just a pleasure to drink, whereas I'm 2/3rds of the way through the '07 and I am sick of it.

If you've got 'em, sit on 'em!

05-09-2008 18:56:12 | More by shbobdb
Photo of hrockefeller


3.8/5  rDev -2.1%

12 oz. bottle, bottled in May 2006. I had put off purchasing this beer due to the price, but after I found it for $5.99, I figured it was now or never. Poured into my glass with a two finger head that quickly dissipated, but clings to the glass.

Appearance: brownish red, somewhat cloudy.

Smell: Oak, raisins, general fruity smell that I can't quite put my finger on.

Taste: More of the same, with an emphasis on a very sweet (perhaps too sweet) fruity taste. Alcohol note is barely detectable, only there once the sample was swallowed a few seconds before. Oak at the end.

Mouthfeel: Thin, dry at moments, then finishes coating the mouth.

Drinkability: Good enough to consistently want another sip, once your taste buds get used to the initial surprise of the sweetness.

Overall: Very glad I decided to purchase and sample this beer. It's just a little too sweet for my general preferences, but could be good for pairing and special tasting occasions.

05-08-2008 19:55:05 | More by hrockefeller
Photo of aerozeppl

New York

3.93/5  rDev +1.3%

May 2006.

A: Nice deep amber color/ Decent amount of head for the abv and style. Really nice looking.

S: Booze, raisins, figs, sweetness, earthy mustiness, oak.

T: I had this bottling a while ago and it was MUCH rougher. This has really smoothed out. Sweetness and fruits hits you first. Tons of dark fruit and apples. Sweetness really dominates.

M: Damn this is heavy. Very glad we split this. Nice syrupy tone to the body that coats everything.

D: Again age does this beer wonders. Still a sipper though. The ABV cuts down the drinkability for me but I would not have minded drinking the whole 12oz myself. Never drink this fresh.

05-04-2008 18:46:16 | More by aerozeppl
Photo of Avryle

New York

3.68/5  rDev -5.2%

Bottled May 2006

A- Slightly hazy brown-orange. Small tan head

S- Sweet, sweet malts with fruity undertones

T- Sweet malts dominate with tones of apples and raisins. Mellow tones of oak has mellowed this out. Good, but not complex.

M- Thick & syrupy. Leaves a nice warmth down the throat.

D- This is what is meant by "sipper." Mouthfeel is way too heavy for easy drinking and the ABV is such that its a good idea to split a 12oz bottle if you have any desire to do anything else during the day.

05-04-2008 18:34:23 | More by Avryle
Photo of paco1029384756


4.18/5  rDev +7.7%

Bottled in May 2006, Batch 2. Drank in May 2008. Dark orange/brown appearance with almost no head. Scent is heavy on caramel with strong oak and malts. Strong sweetness with caramel, dark fruits, oak, malts and alcohol. Tart mouthfeel with slight thickness. High drinkability for a beer of this strength.

A very quality barleywine, and worth a purchase, but may be a bit too expensive.

05-02-2008 00:50:18 | More by paco1029384756
Photo of Scrumtralecent


3.9/5  rDev +0.5%

A - Bottled in May of '06 and drank in May of '08 in a tulip glass. It pours with a copper/amber color and very little head after initial pour. No lacing or head retention after settling.

S - Hits the nose strong with a very bourbon and liquor smell. The oak and some spices linger in the background. The smell itself is intoxicating.

T - Hits the tongue just as hard as the smell. The bourbon has definitely made its way to the forefront and the burn of alcohol creates an almost spice that makes you not able to take large doses of it. The taste of bourbon and alcohol linger long after swallowing. Very heavy beer.

M - A warm beer both in the feel of the mouth and after swallowing just from the alcohol being so present in the taste. It may be a little sharp for those sensitive to such a taste.

D - Overall, this beer feels more like a liquor on ice than beer. This beer is not for a session or even part of a session really, but a quiet night with a relaxing drink that you'd just like to sip and enjoy would probably be the best setting. The aging of it probably helped, bringing some of the bourbon to the forefront which I enjoyed. With proper aging again and another beautiful night, I would have again.

04-30-2008 01:45:52 | More by Scrumtralecent
Photo of ebit


3.15/5  rDev -18.8%

First barleywine ever so I'm going to review with as open of a mind as possible.

Huge 4 finger tan head off of a straight pour. Body is a crystal clear red amber.

Huge fruity raisin boquet with definite notes of oak. Nutmeg. Slightest hint of grainy malts.

This will be hard to decipher so I'll write down the flavors as they hit me. Raisins. Cinnamon. Sweet and sour. Buttery malts leading up to a detectable alcohol presence. As the more intense flavors subside there is an ever so slightly bitter finish. There isn't much balance here. It's a very rich and sweet beer.

Medium heavy body. Viscosity lingers even after the swallow. Little carbonation.

Drinkability/Overall Impression
This is the definition of a sipper. Intense flavors run rampant on the palate and the thickness of the body allows them to stay beyond expected. While most beers rush straight to the aftertaste, this one lingers on the tongue. Unless you've paired this beer with something along the lines of sourdough bread it will be some time before you reach for the glass again simply because your tastebuds won't be fully recovered yet. Additionally, while alcohol is highly present in the beer the abv still manages to sneak up on you. Overall while I'm not too thrilled about the lack of balance, it still manages complexity and is definitely a unique, albeit overwhelming, beer.

04-14-2008 03:17:51 | More by ebit
Photo of humanawho


3.83/5  rDev -1.3%

I enjoy a good smooth single malt scotch and this beer to me is a like a single malt scotch mixed with a exceptionally sweet barley wine.

The color reminds me of a glass of scotch, nice carmel color.

The smell starts out strong of scotch in this case oak and as it breaths it balances to the smelly i would expect from a oaky sweet barley wine.

It tastes like a sweet barley wine and a smooth scotch combined, interesting and I like it.

The drinkability is what i would expected from a beer like this, one is enough and i could see most people wanting to share one with a friend or two.

04-12-2008 04:55:35 | More by humanawho
Photo of Floydster


2.63/5  rDev -32.2%

12 ounce bottle purchased from Beverage Warehuse over a year ago for seven dollars, May 2006 bottling, split with two friends last night, poured into my Chimay goblet

A-Dark brown with some amber highlights, small 1/2 creamy off white head that disappeared quickly, no real retention or lacing

S-Oak, booze including brandy and cognac, figs, faint cocoa, peaches, berries, bananas, lots of fruit, sweet malt, caramel, toffee, and vanilla

T-Started off with an agressive boozy flavor, faded into some sweet fruit and chocolate, more alcohol in the finish, warming going down, burned the tongue a little bit as well, got some vanilla shortly after with some sweeter malt accents, still too much booze for me, as it warmed it became harder to drink and felt stronger, this brew would have been better if it had half the ABV in my opinion, not bad for it is though

M-Boozy and sweet mouthfeel, also dry at times because of the hot finish, medium to full body, not much carbonation, taste lingered, bit syrupy

D-Could never finish an entire bottle of this, so strong at fifteen percent, heavy on the stomach, far from smooth, alcohol was not hidden, gives new definition to sipper

First experience with this beer and probably my last, could age for another two to three years probably, certainly not my favorite from Avery, not recommended

04-10-2008 14:22:20 | More by Floydster
Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,133 ratings.