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Samael's Ale - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Samael's AleSamael's Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

1,246 Ratings
THE BROS
77
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,246
Reviews: 602
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 14.73%
Wants: 72
Gots: 321 | FT: 21
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: 1,246 | Reviews: 602 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kmurray8621
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into a Portsmouth Brewery snifter.

A: cloudy, deep orange-bronze color. 1/2 finger head initially after the pour, which dissipates quickly to a ring of tiny, fine, foamy bubbles with some slightly larger ones sprinkled in.

S: oaky, malty aroma with medicinal undertones and a bit of coconut mixed in.

T: super sweet and rich, with toffee and brown sugar flavors, combined with a strong alcohol burn.

M: full, syrupy body. you can feel the sweetness as you drink, expecially the residual stickiness left on the lips after each sip.

D: the combination of the very sweet taste and high alcohol content make it difficult to drink more than one. I'm having a hard enough time just finishing this bottle.

Photo of glid02
4.37/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage.

Pours a hazy brownish-copper color with a half-finger cream-colored head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of thick caramel malts with good amounts of toffee. Also present are hints of vanilla, sweet cherries, and apricots.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Lots of caramel, toffee, and butterscotch flavors up front are joined shortly by vanilla, milk chocolate, and various fruit flavors. As it warms the chocolate and fruit flavors intensify a bit. The ending is on the sweeter side with light bitter undertones.

Mouthfeel is very good. It has a very smooth thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall this was a very impressive big ABV beer and the bold flavors do their job in covering up the alcohol. Certainly worth a shot.

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.26/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 1 consumed Aug. '06. Crystal clear copper color with zero head. Fairly strong aroma of sweet malt, cherries, alcohol and then hops. The flavor starts out with sweet cherries and plums then the warm alcohol hits. There's also some hop flavor and bitterness that slowly build toward the finish. Hops still take a back seat to the sweet malts. I sense a bit of the smoke in the finish.

I need to re visit this batch soon.

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

On tap at Coles, served in a 5 oz snifter.

Pours a clear bright orange, some neat tangerine highlights, thick off white head forms, pretty admirable for a brew of this strength, lace chunks stick to the side of the glass as it settles to a thin ring. Smell is intense, big alcohol, very woody, citrus, vanilla, a bit harsh, fruit, raisins, toffee, brown sugar, very rough and intense. Taste is similar, but nice, big alcohol and toffee, rich, vanilla, oak, sweet and sugary, butterscotch, toasted wood, sherry, a bit rough. Mouthfeel is full bodied, syrupy with low carbonation, some big warmth going down. A little rough going down, but I was surprised I enjoyed this one, a sipper for sure and wouldn't want more than 5 oz.

Photo of afausser
3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 5, bottled April 2009.

Appearance: Pours a deep reddish copper with very little head, but with a lot of bubbles that keep it going. Lacing is pretty good for the ABV, as is retention of what little head there is.

Smell: Caramel, toffee, and heavy candy scents along with heavy fruits--raisins, apricots, apples. Oh, and the alcohol.

Taste: Like the smell, very heavy on sugar. Tons of candy taste, particularly toffee and caramel, and again, heavy fruit taste--I'm getting cherries out of the taste, which I didn't get from the smell. Vanilla, anise, and oak.

Mouthfeel: A lot of warming, and a lot of carbonation. Syrupy and thick.

Drinkability: The ABV in this one is high, and not easily overcome. It's a good beer, but will be difficult to make it through the bottle.

Photo of mikedashg
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 4, Bottled April 2008. Tasted September 2009.

A - very bright apricot copper orange with a thin tan/yellowy head and tons of yeast floaties. chuck full of em. I even left some in the bottle that was solid sediment.

S - very boozy, apricots, fruits, figs

T - very sweet (but also, really bitter) and boozy, vanilla, oak, apricots, fruits, figs, caramel, mayple syrup

M - very sticky, syrupy and viscous on the tongue, moderately high carbonation

D - not too drinkable, because it's a strong one. But very delicious at the same time. About what you'd expect for such high ABV. Sweet and boozy. Reminds of carbonated sherry.

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

It has a deep red/brown body with a little cabonation. The head and lace are both very thick and off-white. This beer has a aged wood and candy like aroma. It has some very heavy fruit esters with a little bit of hops to it. The mouthfeel is buttery, full and has some alcohol presents. A lot warmth to it. There is a very rich and sweet aftertaste.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Per the label: Bottled in May 2006 - Batch 2. I don't quite recall the location of purchase, but apparently it was for $8.49.

Appearance: Pours out a lightly cloudy, pecan-colored body with a thin, ivory-hued head that settles into a small ring around the inner perimeter of the glass.

Smell: A sharp, highly sweet-smelling nose of sugars on top of sugars and, for a brief moment, I'd swear I saw the Spectre of Diabetes in the mirror nearby. The scent of candied goodness, abundant caramel, piquant American oak wood, and macerated dark fruits draws you in closer only to be nasally stabbed by some jutting, jabbing currents of fusel alcohol.

Taste: Incredibly sweet! In fact, I'll admit to outright grimacing like I missed the lottery by just one number. And on the second sip, and the third, and the fourth, and so on. It's like a good horror flick that can still make you 'jump' on multiple viewings years later. Caramel candy with pure sugar sweetness that never fully goes away, but merely allows fruity tastes of poached raisins, dried orange peel, and fig juice to arrive. Small pinch of acidity. Faint, long-dead hop character throwing off hints of citrus and spicy, but with no more than a little bitterness remaining at this point -- get real, like anything could really ever cut through this much sweetness. Woody, tannic oak taste with a stingy bit of vanilla, but, just like everything else, you need to get in line behind the sweetness. The only thing that seems to be able to cut through the sugars at all is the alcohol. Finishes sweet with plenty of heat.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: To call this one a slow sipper is a bit of an understatement. While I'd tout other beers for their keen drinkability, here I'd give myself a pat on the back for the ability to drink and endure the entire twelve ounces. Also, it may or may not have been the initial jaw-seizing grimace, but, either way, all this sweetness has caused one of my teeth to hurt. =(

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

Bottled in April of 2007 - Batch 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a DFH signature pint glass:

Appearance: Pours a dark mahogany in color, huge billowing head sits atop this monster of a brew. Lacing and retention are above average with the lacing staying thick and soapy on the glass.

Smell: Aged chocolate cherries here, very potent to say the least. Lots of esters popping out all over the place with a huge alcohol whiff. Small amounts of oak can be smelled but overpowered big time by the alcohol aromas.

Taste: Wow, I get bits of oak alot here now, chocolate is still present but now as much as in the aroma. Woody elements, combined again with those cherries are very strong. Maltiness is thick and sweet, with bits of grain, syrup, and oats. The finish consits of a strong amount of dark fruit, spiciness from the malt, and a huge dose of some alcohol. Very different yet very enticing.

Mouthfeel: Very syrup like, thick on the tongue with lower carbonation. This one is very big bodied on the tongue from the malt yet it's smooth and very reserved.

Drinkability: What drinkability? There is none. This is a slow sipper that will kick you in the pants from beginning to end. I love how the oak elements really pop out of this after tasting it, it almost makes the aroma deceiving, since I got alot of cherries & chocolate in here. Overall these Avery beers are standout brews, although I liked the Grand Cru & Mephistopheles a bit better, this is one of the better barleywines I've had in quite some time. Take caution with this one, it's smooth and not too hard to drink but this one will catch up to you quickly. Highly Recommended!

Photo of siradmiralnelson
4.29/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into New Belgium Globe Glass.

A. Poured a 1 finger head with lots of carbonation. Nice head retention, with little to no lacing. Orange/copper color.

S. Fruit, dark Fruit, malty sweetness, booze, molasses, caramel, cherries. Very complex smell.

T. Caramel, toffee, malt- all kinds of malt flavors, vanilla, oak, figs, maple syrup, brown sugar, booze.

M. Mouth coating sugary sweetness. Well carbonated. Full bodied. Quite a bit of burn.

D. A sipper. A big beer for sure. One I wouldn't mind having again. This beer is one to be enjoyed in front of a fire on a winter's night.

Photo of BigDank
5/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Nothing like a good oak-aged barleywine. This one pours a nice medium brown / amber color with a medium head and a strong smell. Warming alcohol burn from beginning to end but worth it all the while. This one was Batch 4 (April 2008) with an ABV sitting at 15.53%. Drank from a snifter slightly cold (my mistake) but would probably have been even better just at cellar temperature. I really wish we could get Avery here because they make some of the best beers around. Samael's I would have to say though is near the top of the list along with The Beast and Maharaja. May not be something you can drink all night but I wouldn't mind being the one to try. Will have to make sure to grab a few of these the next chance I get. A+

Photo of CHADMC3
4.07/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a murky, almost mud-like brown with just a thin tan head that sticks around for a while.

The big, sweet, port-like aroma wafts from the glass. Additional aromas consist of oak, sherry, roasted malt, and possibly caramel and sweet nut.

Heavy sherry and dried fruit flavor, again featuring oak, but this time with hints of vanilla. Much like the aroma, there is a port-like quality, nut sweetness, and roasted malt.

Thin to medium in body, medium carbonation, aggressive flavor character, and a slight, dry abv burn to finish.

This is a tasty brew for certain, but I am not putting down more than one because of both the high abv, and also the aggressive palate. If you enjoy an antagonistic, high gravity beer, this is a must try.

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.

Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,246 ratings.