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Samael's Ale - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Samael's AleSamael's Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,234 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,234
Reviews: 600
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 14.73%
Wants: 73
Gots: 311 | FT: 19
Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  16.90% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ommegangpbr on 06-24-2005

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

2007: 14.50% (Batch #3)
2008: 15.53% (Batch #4)
2009: 16.45% (Batch #5)
2010: 15.82% (Batch #6)
2011: 15.31% (Batch #7)
2012: 15.47% (Batch #8)
2013: 16.90% (Batch #9)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,234 | Reviews: 600 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of WesWes
4.12/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great! It has a wonderful burnt toffee aroma along with a kick ass wood aged scent. It lends a nice vanilla character to the beer. The taste is good as well. It has a wicked oak flavor that wraps itself up with the caramel notes and burnt toffee flavors. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine beer. It's a sipper for sure, but damn is it tastey.

Photo of almychristopher
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

this beer pours a crystal clear color with an off white head. the aroma speaks largely of the caramel malts, and dried fruit, maybe a bit of raisin in there, but the oak mellows it all out with the vanilla and earthiness. the taste follows with the fruity esters up front with a lot of sweet roasted malt, little in the way of hops to speak of. the full body is nice but for a beer of this maginitude I could use a bit less co2. a nice barley wine none the less

Photo of Westsidebuddha
3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought at Beverage Warehouse Los Angeles, Calif. Bottled in April 2009, Batch 5.

The smell off the bottle was oaky and maybe a bit brandy. I poured it into a pint glass and had it sit for 10 minutes. Wow. Definitely can smell a strong slighty burnt oak aroma. Poured a dark golden color. No head and slight bubbles. First taste is strong but not overly strong with a slight roasted flavor and an alcohol back end. Good mouthfeel as it doesn't overwhelm it as I expected it being 16.45%. Drinkability is a strong ale with a strong alcohol back end. Would be a good winter beer on a cold day or night. This is a take your time and drink beer. Drinking off a pint glass, I'm getting the smell and taste of this and it's a grabber. Back end taste a little like candy? Overall, a good beer that I'm glad I finally tried.

Photo of charlesw
3.05/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

It's beautiful. I worship this beer. Omm. Etc. A deep light brown with hints of amber. Nice sized head lasts a while. Lace? 10 minutes later, man. Longer. It's nice. Very nice.

Smell? Well, it smells like an English barleywine. What? This is in the same category as HSA? Not even. Someone is smoking crack. Sweet, prunes, huge alcohol, sour prunes, rotten prunes? Baloney and rotten prunes? What?

Oh. Well it's an English barleywine. Duh. Who put it in English Strong Ale? Lame. They have no idea what they're talking about. Tastes of prunes, huge alcohol, the fake cherry flavor of childhood medicines, some astringency. The wife, I would not shit you, spat it out in the sink and said that it was disgusting - medicine soaked in oak. I guess... Out of the mouths of babes, and all... So, yeah. Maybe with another 10 years on it...

Pretty close for an English barleywine. Mostly. Other than the medicinal bit (and the burps - whoa!).

Photo of gford217
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, batch 4 bottled in 2008 and clocking in at a hefty 15.53%.

Pours a dark, clear amber with a small beige head that leaves a soapy film and a small collar on the top with little lacing.

The aroma is very sweet with tons of caramel and a slight sherry character. There is plenty of wood in the nose as well with the oak and vanilla coming out especially. Overall a sweet boozy nose.

The taste is more boozy than the aroma for sure. The caramel, vanilla and oak are there in the beginning but they give way to a serious burn in the finish. There are some fruits in the taste as well, with some grapes and figs...soaked in booze of course.

The mouthfeel is fairly well carbonated for a beer of this ABV, though it's still extremely slick on the palate. Very little doubt about that high ABV though - it definitely makes itself and warms you up after each sip.

This is definitely a sipper as it shows the alcohol (and the wood character) very prominently. It's very sweet as well and overall has a pretty limited drinkability.

Photo of GRG1313
3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16.45% abv. April 2009, Batch 5. Pours a very dark red amber with thick tan head.

Nose of rich cooked fruit, maple/toffee and ripe pears.

Mouthfeel is rich, bold and creamy.

Flavors are of big sweet cream sherry with bold oak undertones. Rich brown sugar, maple/toffee with coffee and hints of bittersweet dark chocolate. A strong sherry - sherry coffee finish with some oak character and some bitter coffee/chocolate and bitter maple. A bit of ripe/old raisins, as well.

The more one consumes the harder and harder it is to go back because of high sugar/sweetness. Liquid dessert but not as rich and inviting as the two others in the series.

A sipper but also good with dessert. Drink with care. The alcohol really creeps up on you!

Photo of popery
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled April 2009. Batch 5.

Sweet, strong and malty, Samael's Ale is good for a decadent nightcap. For me, the best thing about the beer is that it's successful in an abv range well above normal for brewing. It's not the strongest beer ever, of course, but it's the only beer (besides the rest of the Samael demons line) of its size that I can find easily (DFH doesn't ship their big beers to the San Francisco area and Mikkeller Black is specialty store only.

Translucent amber beer with a bit more head and lacing than I was expecting. Of course, the head isn't enormous or anything, but it's respectable.

The aroma is a bit milder than expected. There are some good caramel, raisins and peach notes, but I was expecting a bit more assertiveness.

Brandy, peaches, alcohol, caramel. Sweet but not quite overpowering. There's a fair bit of bitterness, but it doesn't come anywhere close to balancing that gigantic malt. It tastes like a big barleywine. The oak is not very assertive at least as fresh as it is (although I'm not sure if oakiness grows or ebbs with age).

The mouthfeel is a bit syrupy but relatively good for the high alcohol. The alcohol is present but enjoyable.

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.14/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 vintage bottle here. Pours a reddish-caramel color with very little foam. Leaves basically nothing but a couple large bubbles on the viscous and slick surface.

Nose is caramely sweet with some brandy and port alcohol notes. Dark raspberry jam, vanilla, oak, burnt toast and a bit of tobacco.

Very sweet tasting with berry-like fruitiness and a wintergreen mint/menthol alcohol flavor. Oak is there, but is somewhat covered up by an almost distractingly syrupy sweetness. There are a few other flavors in there...cola, touch of smoke and roasted malt. Mouthfeel is thick and virtually has no carbonation. Very much drinks like a port, certainly a sipper. I think I like this better than The Beast.

Photo of cjgator3
4.34/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle
Bottled April 2009

A- Poured into a snifter. Pours a clear copper color with an off-white head.

S- I am very impressed with the aroma. The aroma has a lot of caramel, dark fruit, old leather and some booze as well. There is also a subtle oak presence as well in the nose. With most beers of this strength, the alcohol typically overpowers the nose. Don't get me wrong, it is definitely present in this one but there is so much more going on that it just adds to the complexity.

T- The taste like the aroma is fantastic for a beer of this strength. The flavors are very rich and malty with caramel and a boozy finish. Like the aroma, the alcohol does not seem to overpower this one for me. It is without question hot and boozy, but this beer goes down dangerously smooth. The more I drink it, the more vanilla I pick up from the oak. Wow, this is excellent stuff!

M- The mouthfeel is full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation.

D- Simply put, I am pretty blown away by this beer. It is definitely a sipper, but it is dangerously drinkable for a beer of it's strength. Overall, I would definitely recommend trying this beer. This bottle was only a few months old. I can't imagine what a few years would do to this beer! Time to go stock up on a few bottles of this for aging purposes.

Photo of aubuc1
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle (bottled april 2008 batch 4) poured in to a snifter.

Pours a hazy brown with a thin light tan head.

Mellow boozy smell with some sour ripe fruit. sort of winey.

First a smooth warm oaky taste then an alcohol spike that fades in to the warm fruit. The alcohol is unhidable, but interesting warming tastes.

Very good furry mouthfeel but the alcohol certainly affects the drinkability.

Photo of AMoceri7
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

4 Across the Board

A: Deep ruby orange, seemed as if it was full of sediment initially but its look very clear in the light.

S: Brown sugar and maple syrup right up front masked by some mean Crystal malt with a cherry on top.

T: Although the smell only packs half the punch of the taste its all there is to whiff. Brown sugar and maple syrup right up front masked by some sweet Crystal malt with a cherry on top. The hops are a bit behind the scenes, could use just a tad more IMO to classify this as a strong ale. The oak isnt as upfront as Ive had in other oak aged ales, unlike the vanilla from the chips themselves which are very honest.

M: The carbonation seems low, but the combination between the alcohol and carb make for a dance on the tongue.

D: I believe I have been sipping on this for an hour and probably wouldnt have it any other way.

Overall: Great brew again from Avery, a tad on the sweet side but a nice delight. Only thing I would change would a be a little bit more hop and oak character.

Photo of Anthony1
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

poured into a perfect pint

pours a ruby red, clear and fiery. the head thin and quick to vanish, but still was enjoyable. the beautiful body was more then amazing to look at.

smells sweet, some fruits. noticed a strong cherry armoma, which goes well with the ruby color. smells oaky, somewhat like whiskey, a bit of other fruits and citrus that was juiced over burning oak ashes. tastes great, very sweet and fruity. also tastes like buttered biscuits, sweet and yeasty. very silky and tastes great

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.25/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally picked up some bottles of this to cellar.
Bottled in May 2006, Batch 2

Pours a murky, dark reddish amber in color. Nice hiss upon removal of cap. Plenty of carbonated bubbles racing up the glass on the pour. There was about a quarter inch of head on the pour, but it's gone before I get seated at my desk.

Lots of oak in the nose. Some caramel malts and toffee as well. This is the most oak I have ever experienced in the nose of a beer before.

Has a nice sherry like flavor to it. Lot's of caramel malts and toffee in the flavor as well. Very smooth. Surprisingly, there's no sign of the ABV at all. This beer reminds me a lot of an aged JW Lee's. There's a little bit of heat that comes around in the back of the throat.

Still some carbonation in the mouthfeel. Absolutely delicious. Glad I have a few more bottles. This one can still go for some more time.

Photo of mhatters
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on-tap at Ron's in Exton in a Rodenbach Grand Cru glass

Pours a deep amber color with almost no head, just at thin off-white line.

Huge nose, very alcoholic, oak and whiskey, with some vanilla and caramel undernotes.

The flavor follows the nose, the wood and alcohol are the dominant flavors, but also cherries, brown sugar, and vanilla are apparent.

Malty and hot throughout, little hoppiness, caramel sweetness and little carbonation. A strong, powerful beer, I can have one glass enjoyably.

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

Poured from bottle into tulip glass. This thing reads bottled in 2005.

Deep mahogany tone with a scarlett underbelly protruding from the bottom of the glass slightly climbing the sides. Good pour produces almost no head but with a swirl of the glass light carbonation dances where the beer has met the sides. Spotty slippery lacing recedes back into the pool from whence it came.

Most definetely oak aged aroma with a blend of dark sweet cherries possibly grapes and maybe the slightest bit of anise very slight. Very sweet to the nose. Complex for sure.

Big time warming effect. I'm tasting sweet honey, molasses, dark fruits, cherries being one that really stands out to me. Alcohol is right there, but mellow at the same time. It is really brandy like.

Sweet and dry with no stickage. The finish is clean with a warm throat to boot. After flavor resides in the back of the tounge and tonsil area with subtlety.

This is for sure a sipper, but a pretty darn good one for the style, Its a strong ale and it is made to enjoy slowly.

Photo of BMoney575
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Sampled on 6-24-09
2005 Vintage
14.5% ABV

Pours a very cloudy deep red color (I poured the yeast in), with no head whatsoever and clear, viscous lacing.

Smell is intense caramel, with an unbelievable boozy kick. No raw alcohol aroma, just huge fermented fruit and tons of age. A sour edge is right at the very end.

Taste is super sweet, all caramelized sugar, and huge alcohol hotness. Not overly complex, a little nutty, and not much of the oak that I expected.

Mouthfeel is super slick and oily, with a nice carbonation.

Drinkability is not very good, alcohol is the foremost character, and dominates anything else, except sweetness.

Overall, worth a try, but not worth $9 a bottle.

Photo of jbphoto88
4.44/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sam pours blood orange in color with a tan head that starts out in a decent spot but fades quickly. The bottle claims 16.45% ABV... at that size I am surprised to have any head retention at all.

The smell is short of divine. Boozed soaked fruits like cantaloup and plum come through right off the bat. Following is a musty oak scent reminiscent to a scotch. There isn't a hint of the high ABV which is both incredible and alarming at the same time.

I am in love. The flavor of musty awesome oak leads this experience followed by semi sweet malts. Caramel mixed with a muted fruit flavor that the only thing ever to come close to this flavor before is the flavored tobacco passed through a hookah. Outstanding and potent. I can feel the warmth of the ABV but again there isn't a dominant boozy flavor. Well done.

Warm! The high ABV come through in the mouthfeel. As soon as it hits the tongue Sam warms every surface it touches. But a creamy coconut milk and vanilla softness soothes just as fast. All I can say is wow. This is a truly outstanding beer and a definite sipper. The warmer it gets the more distinct the flavors and the richer the experience. Well worth the $8 and the brain cells it kills. I can't wait to age some.

Photo of EPseja
3.66/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 12oz. bottle in a brandy snifter at just below cellar temperature. Bottled in May 2006 and cellared properly.

A - Rusty amber color with bright orange highlights in the pour. Translucent medium brown in the glass, with a quick appearance and subsequent exit by the head. Some sediment flecks are visible at the bottom of the glass, but not much is in suspension. No lacing at all.

S - Very vinous, with notes of sherry, maple, dark fruits and holiday fruit-cake. Certainly alcoholic, but not overtly so. Good.

T - Brown sugary sweet with massive vanillin from the oak aging. Cream sherry soaked sugar-covered raisins. Alcohol warmth is forward, but well reined considering the massive ABV. Slightly tart on the back of the tongue with an odd confectionary or children's candy sweetness -- like Tart n' Tiny candies. Considerably powdery and drying in the back of the throat. Considering how sweet this is, I'm surprised it's not all that cloying.

M - Syrupy and thick on the way in. Tongue-coating with a wash of carbonation that gives a subtle boost in volume. Heavy cream body slides easily down the back of the throat like the hyperactively sugared liquid center of some diabolical candy.

D - In a field where most other competitors are half the alcoholic strength, this beer is tough to come to grips with when style is concerned. For what it is, Samael's is a very tasty and downright sugar-raped adult liquid candy of a beer. It has some complexities like a well developed sherry might, but in the end the crazy sweetness trumps pretty much every other aspect.

Photo of froghop
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pour is a dark amber-orange with a small light tan head, and good lacing.

smell first hits you with a whisky smell, then dark fruit, toasted toffee, and wood.

taste is strong, smooth, a little sweet, prune, burnt caramel, toasted nuts, some sour malt, cedar, a little sweet cherry juice, and licorice, ends dry and a little bitter.

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

Fairly light color for the boldness in taste. The head was more than I expected for a beer this strong too. I didn't really like the smell; I'm thinking it must be the oak barrel smell and I just finished an IPA which usually smell wonderful to me. The taste is delicious. Definitely on the sweet side. Not as much of an alcohol flavor for such a high ABV as I expected, but it does finish with a nice warm feeling. Cherry and caramel highlight the flavor. This is a royal beer with a smooth finish, nice aftertaste and fairly drinkable for such a strong beer. Reminds me a bit of Samiclaus but with more of an oak flavor.

Photo of koopa
3.82/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled MAY 06' Consumed May 09'

Appearance: Burnt orange with minimal head, retention, or lacing. Its hard to have them with a 14.5% abv though.

Smell: Like an English Barleywine to me. Booze and fruit coupled with caramel and leather.

Taste: Fuggle Hops, caramel malt, strawberry bubblegum, booze, etc. Melded fairly well at the 3 year point but I think this one would have been better at age 4 or 5.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, a touch syrupy and undercarbonated. Savory but a bit much.

Drinkability: its going down well for 14.5% ABV but no beer of this strength is very drinkabile IMHO. Sip one bottle over a couple of hours and call it a night.

Photo of iuhophead87
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle at slightly cooler than room temperature.

A- a dark amber color with a cloudy texture. The head is thick and a light tan color.
S- Wow- Alcohol with a citrus aroma. Did I say alcohol? Is this an English Barley wine? Now I smell a little more citrus with some oak undertones.
T- Very sweet up front. Almost like a glazed grapefruit. Then bam! The oak and alcohol kick in. The heat of the alcohol overpowers the citrus flavors, but still leaves enough to get the flavor after the burn.
MF-Burn, Burn, and more Burn!
D- 1 is all I need, this beer would be better to share with others.

I still don't know how I feel about this beer. Very complex with many flavors but yet extremely high ABV. Very good sipping beer, but the flavor wants me to drink it quicker than just sipping.???

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

12oz bottle $8.69 from Vendome. Bottled in April, 2009 Batch 5. 16.45% ABV!!!

A: Transparent dark reddish brown, little to no head

S: Booze, vanilla, hops, more booze

T: Whiskey, overpowering hard alcohol, oranges, oak

M: Low carbonation, burning alcohol

D: Drink more, get drunk more. More of a pounder than a sipper

I love that Avery is doing this experimental barrel aged series. I think this one and Brabant (the other one I've had) would benefit from some aging for sure. I will keep buying these and apreciate the fact that Avery is on the cutting edge.

Photo of BretSikkink
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Orange highlights around a dark brown brew. Served with a foam of tight, medium-sized bubbles about one inch in height and off-white in color. Not much as far as lacing - no surprise there.

The aroma is malty-sweet with prevalent alcohol notes. Dark, over-ripe fruits, caramel, even some herbal notes like tobacco and hints of pine resin.

The flavor is hot, full, and sweet. The hops are definitely present, but are overshadowed by the bourbon-like notes of booze, vanilla, oak, and spice. Rich flavors of toffee, caramel, and brown sugar, along with cherry, plum, and a hint of chocolate.

Full, sticky mouthfeel. A bit light on the carbonation and ends up a little syrupy. But damn if I didn't enjoy that snifter.

Photo of EnojysAnyBeer
4.52/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Brewed in April 2008 Batch 4

A- I've never seen such interesting carbonation streams. What looks like hundreds of streams of near-microscopic bubbles. The head is sort of filmy looking but the rim along the edge of the glass has a hypnotizing color to it. Lace is too thick and heavy to stick. Color is on the darker side of orange/amber/copper.

S- Multiple big aromas all mesh together to make something that is all at once caramel, oak, honey, butterscotch, buttered rum, rose, lemon, and orange. Mellifluous to say the least.

T- Sweet, warm, and complex. Oaken flavors of vanilla and, of course, wood. Lightly bitter, citric, and floral but otherwise devoid of hops. The malt flavor is a very dark, sweet caramel and makes for the backbone of this ale.

M- Delivers all over. Well-carbonated and not thick like sludge.

D- Surprisingly good for beer with 3x the regular alcohol, but don't look to this beer for a session. And the 12oz bottle is more than enough for one serving.

Another solid "experimental" brew from Avery.

Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,234 ratings.