1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Samael's Ale - Avery Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Samael's AleSamael's Ale

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

1,122 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,122
Reviews: 582
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 14.65%
Wants: 64
Gots: 267 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samael's Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,122 | Reviews: 582 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JayQue


4.05/5  rDev +4.1%

Pours a cloudy iced tea color with a big off-white head that fades fast (expected, based on the 14.9 abv). Leaves minimal lacing. Smell is good - strong caramel malts and sugar. The taste is good. Alcohol is fairly well hidden, considering the high octane. Caramel malt, sugar, and some bitterness in the finish to keep the beer from being annoyingly sweet.

Mouthfeel is very rich, almost syrupy but with just enough bitterness go achieve some balance. Drinkability is average. Too sweet and too strong to swill several of these. Best served as a one-serving winter warmer / nightcap. The effect is the same as hard liquor.

I like this one, and would put it in the rotation for winter beers.

01-19-2008 05:04:01 | More by JayQue
Photo of rye726


4/5  rDev +2.8%

'07 vintage poured into a snifter at 50F.

Amber or cedar brown color with a thick and full tan head. Good lacing and excellent retention for a beer of this strength.

Nose consists of sweet berried and caramel malts. Nice oak charcter with some floral hops and a dominant alcohol smell.

The flavor also has a big alcohol presence to it. There are also ripe plums and cherries with sweet candy malts. An oaky vanilla and faint citrus hops in the finish.

Thick and a bit syrupy. Good amount of carbonation.

Definately a sipper to be shared with a few friends. Another unique tasting from Avery.

01-11-2008 04:49:32 | More by rye726
Photo of Douglas14


4.03/5  rDev +3.6%

Pours a deep burnt orange/ red color. Has an extremely rich caramel smell with touches of oak coming through also.

It tastes intensely of dark sweet fruits (cherries for sure). It is very sweet and sugary. The oak comes through just enough to notice it but not enough to ruin any other flavors. Great balancing.

It has a very full body with a creamy texture.

Great beer and great take on the barleywine style.

01-08-2008 03:02:07 | More by Douglas14
Photo of blackie


4.33/5  rDev +11.3%

bottled in 2005, in my possession since winter 2006, received from BeerBeing on the final leg of No BS Part Deux

a: Into my Piraat snifter, gives a negligible, fleeting head that quickly disappears. The beer is a slightly hazy, deep orange-amber in color.

s: A blast of raw sugars, malt sugars, oak, and ethanol. Lots of ethanol, but I wouldn't call it hot in a pejorative sense, as it's a welcome compliment to the sweetness. Boozy and quite cordial-esque. Hops take a backseat, and that's a good thing...I love a boozy malt bomb. Great, impressively strong oak presence adds a vanilla complexity. Reminiscent of baked sweets dripping in dark sugar glazes. I love the aroma, and could keep my nose in here all day long. Fruits are at a minimum, but I do get thick concentrated date, as often comes with such a heavy malting.

m: Quite low carbonation, gently brushing the tongue with each conservative sip. The body is slick and full as can be.

t: I can feel the warming effect soon after my first, cautiously small sip. The flavor is ridiculously rich and heavy on the sugars. A pure malt monster, with a range of caramelized sugars coming through. Love the oak too, which adds considerably to the depth of flavor. Thick, condensed date syrup. Leaves a sugary coating on the lips after each sip. Doesn't come across quite as complex as on the nose, but still a 4.5 caliber flavor. I can understand why some don't like it, but I really do.

d: A sipper of course, and pretty enjoyable one. Not for the weak of palate.

01-04-2008 03:16:22 | More by blackie
Photo of pibbxtrasucks


1.75/5  rDev -55%

Beer pours dark amber with a thin bubbly cream colored head. Smells sweet and strong, you can tell by the smell it is going to be a big beer. No hop aroma. First taste is incredibly sweet. Cloying sweet. The sweetness leads into a slight oak taste (Note: as this is my first "oak" beer I am only assuming that is the flavor I am picking up) Just before the finish you taste the 14.5% alcohol. Leaves you mouth feeling sticky and sweet. Mouthfeel if very thick, almost like syrup. I'll try my best to finish this since I payed 7 bucks for a 12oz, but I wouldn't recommend it.

Overall, I say this beer is far to sweet and unbalanced. I recommend tasting this with a friend or two, perhaps 4 or 6oz would be the perfect amount.But 12oz alone is just to much to drink of this strong ale... flavored with oak chips?

01-01-2008 02:39:45 | More by pibbxtrasucks
Photo of brewdlyhooked13


4.22/5  rDev +8.5%

It's been too long since I last defrosted the mini-fridge, tonight was the night. Keeping the bottles in a cooler during the task, I chose this one to enjoy afterwards, so the serving temp is probably in the 50's somewhere.

Appearance - pours a drab orange/amber, some little floaties in suspension. Not much head, though a small wisp remains on top along with a thin collar. Goes well with the Maudite logo on the glass.

Aroma - a sweet and fusel nose, candi sugar and yeast pushed up via a flamethrower of alcohol vapor. A little citrus fights through as it sets up.

Taste - very sweet, I can tell the moment it hits the tongue. The alcohol distracts attention from that a bit, which is a good thing. Pineapple on the swallow is an easy one to pick out. Cherries on the front and mid-palate are pretty evident too. It's like drinking a sweet beer-flavored cough syrup. Again, not a bad thing. The alcohol hits the belly with a fierce punch of heat, this could be a heartburn-inducing beer. A huge barleywine, I find it rather appealing. I don't taste any hops, but this bottle is two years old so they may well have faded into the oblivion. Finishes quite warm and sweet, and warm...

Mouthfeel - thick though not syrupy. Carbonation is low key but present. A good fullness without going overboard.

Drinkability - eight bucks a bottle is a stiff price to pay, but I like this one and would consider putting another one down in storage.

12-22-2007 02:49:41 | More by brewdlyhooked13
Photo of Stoneman78


4.38/5  rDev +12.6%

Bottled in April 2007, Batch 3
Poured into the new Sam Adams Lager glass
A- Pours a clear bright orange hue with amber highlights, head is a very thin layer of white condensed bubble that dissipates to a mere ring, minimal lacing
S- Amazing aroma dominated by wonderful oak and vanilla aromas, sweet malts, molasses, brown sugar, dark fruits
T- Taste follows suit of the aroma save for a strong overriding alcohol presence, the oak and vanilla comes out first followed by a range of dark fruits that are raisin-heavy, finishes with a sweet dryness
M- Full-bodied, thick and chewy texture, lively carbonation
D- At almost 15%abv, this is definitely a sipping beer to enjoy over time, i can only imagine how wonderful this would be with a few more years of aging, i am a big fan of Avery and this may be my current favorite from this brewery

12-06-2007 06:35:10 | More by Stoneman78
Photo of jim102864


4.6/5  rDev +18.3%

This is a knockout effort from Avery. I can only imagine what a cellar aged bottle tastes like.

Mine was an April 2007 vintage that just bursted with aroma the minute the cap was popped. Poured this 12 oz beauty into me Trois Pistoles chalice and the pleasant aroma of ripened fruit could be noticed from several inches away. Specks of yeast floating in the glass along with a ruby-strawberry-red appearance. Nothing more than a sliver for a head.

Again the nose was hard to miss which is a solid start for any brew. Vanilla dominates, but hints of cocoa bean and banana were detected as well along with ripened strawberries. The aroma is similiar to some Belgian Quads which frequently are odiferous and fruity like this is. Very bountiful aroma throughout the experience.

The taste was boozy in the finish with a light burn. You can taste the barrel stored oak chip influence along with vanilla, sweet cherries and strawberries. Delicious.

Mouthfeel was slightly cherry and creamy up front with a mellow and warm alcohol bite in the finish. Excellent.

Interestingly drinkable given the rocket fuel level abv, however, while there is slightly detectable alcohol in the taste and aroma, it is a very easy drinking, yet ballsy and fascinating beer. I love the expressive nose in this barley wine which is why I rated it exceptional in that category. One fine brew and one of the best barley wines available. Highly recommended!

12-05-2007 13:00:58 | More by jim102864
Photo of DavidEddie


2.68/5  rDev -31.1%

2005 vintage.

Appearance - Ruby brown. Not much head, a bit of lacing around the sides of my glass.

Smell - Booze, ripe melon, tropicana fruit punch, carmel, oak, very sweet.

Taste - As it smells along with cherries, coconut and a bit of vanilla. Very sweet (too sweet) and boozy.

Mouth feel - Fair amount of thick carbonation. Sticky and syrup like.

Drinkability - Alcohol presence was there but not harsh. I felt this beer was just too sweet for my liking. 12 oz was too much.

11-19-2007 04:26:09 | More by DavidEddie
Photo of BeerBelcher


3.48/5  rDev -10.5%

This was the last of the Avery trio for me to try, having already had Mephistopheles and The Beast), and I thought it somewhere between the other two. I'm not sure there's any merit in evaluating these three on a "true to style" basis, as I'm pretty sure part of Avery's intent in launching these beers is to "bend" some styles. On a purely "tastes good/is easy [or least punishing] to drink" basis, I enjoyed Samael's considerably more than The Beast, but considerably less than Mephistopheles.

The beer a surprisingly bright red color with a pretty well-textured head of fine bubbles that faded rather quickly to a scummy coating. Aroma was definitely extremely caramel-y, but not of the malted-milk ball variety. Flavor was also a lot of caramel maltiness that was not cereal-y and I found to be rather pleasant. I got some vanilla-ness off of the oak, and I also got a lot of spiciness that was reminiscent to me of eggnog. This nutmeg/nogginess was easily the most surprising and enjoying aspect of this beer to me. Mouthfeel was pretty astringent and definitely warming.

I thought this beer was pretty good, and was definitely interesting.

11-16-2007 18:34:31 | More by BeerBelcher
Photo of bluejacket74


4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

12 ounce bottle, 2005 vintage 14.5% ABV. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a cloudy brown/orange/copper color with a very small tan head. Head retention is low, but the lacing is good. It smells boozy, like sherry, oak, figs/raisins, and vanilla. The taste is very, very sweet. It tastes like sherry/booze, brown sugar, vanilla, figs, and oak. It's a very malty tasting beer, I can't taste any hops at all (that's not a bad thing in this case). Mouthfeel is full, it's thick and syrupy in the mouth. Drinkability is pretty good too, considering the ABV and the sweetness. I think this beer has aged pretty well, I'm disappointed that this is the only bottle I had. I'm drinking this faster than I should, but I think it's pretty good. It really should be a sipping beer just because of the ABV. I'd definitely recommend this to others, but maybe age it a while before drinking it.

10-26-2007 00:41:46 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of genog


4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Had this at Z Cucina with Adam Avery. It was an evening of pairing delicious food with two beers at each course. Great food, and great beer!

Pours into a snifter a beautiful light, golden color with no head by the time the beer arrived at our table. Smell is malt, sugary, caramel, molasses, alcohol, and strong oak notes. Taste is of nutmeg, alcohol, some dried fruit in the distance. Mouthfeeling is smooth, like a fine cognac, and a slight alcohol burn in the chest is present as well. Very sticky mouthfeeling. Absolutely very nice beer! Enjoyed every sip.

10-23-2007 03:22:45 | More by genog
Photo of KAF


3.95/5  rDev +1.5%

Wow! Maybe I should have aged this a little bit longer. The oak flavor in this was over-powering. It was almost like biting into an oak tree. Still delicious though. Very dark amber in color with not much head. Oak, raisin and other dark fruits in aroma. Very sugary. The alcohol is also noticeably present.

10-19-2007 21:15:36 | More by KAF
Photo of Scoobydank


4.43/5  rDev +13.9%

L: REddish Amber with an off white head that sticks to the glass.
S Butterscotch, caramel slight hint of oak and some raisons
T: Very port like. Little raison with sweet malts
M: Very full thick and syrupy
D: AWESOME!!!! This beer would be perfect after dinner. It warms your tummy.

10-08-2007 01:05:43 | More by Scoobydank
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

3.98/5  rDev +2.3%

Samaels Oak Aged

2006 Bottle

A – Poured a very hazy light amber, it had a lot of orange tint to the color and almost a pumpkin color to it. No head formed on this at all, which was quite suprising. There was ample side glass lace however which trickled down the glass throughout the session and made some very nice concentric rings throughout. Could not really tell if it was carbonated well upon first look due to the haze and cloudiness, but the color on this one was very nice.

S – Aroma was intresting. I had thought it would be dominated, even overwhelmed by the 14.5% abv, however I really did not pick up much of this in the aroma at all. In fact I picked up a lot of oakey aromas, some grassy, earthy tones, and a lot of maple sugar. It had a very sweet profile which really surprised me. I think the aging may have mellowed it as I had one fresh a while back and it came off quite hot. This seemed quite a bit more balanced and almost dare I say tame. Was really looking forward to sipping to see how mellow it may have gotten.

T – Now see this is why I age things. This was soo much more calm then when it was fresh. The alcohol was really toned down and allowed what were I think the more true flavors to come out and really added to the character on this. The sweetness really started to come through and added a whole new element to it. Lots of maple and oak flavors wrapped them selves around it, and almost all of the hotness was gone. It was actually quite smooth. Aftertaste was rather pleasant and nowehere near as harsh as I had remembered. This really was a whole different brew then what I had remembered. Very complex in the flavor profile as it seemed every sip brought out something new.

M – Very smooth which actually surprise me quite a bit. I had expected it to be somewhat harsh, but this was remarkably subtle and smooth. Not a lot of carbonation, and the feel took on more of a brandy like conisitency, however it was very nice as is. A good sipper that did not come off too thin or too thick.

D – Well here in lies the dilemma. Do you rate it low based on the obnoxiously high ABV, or do you rate it for what it is. I always like to do the latter so I will base it on that. It was great. Noramlly when they get up this high, it is very difficult to have much without really getting burned out. This was the exception to that rule. It was super smooth, and don’t get me wrong, you could definitely tell how strong it was, but not from the flavor. I thought this had a remarkable drinkibility for how strong it was.

Overall to say I was impressed would be putting it lightly. I am usually one for big brews, just tend to back off when they get this big. This one however really seemed to hold its own. It was soo mellowed and drinkable, it was almost a shame I did not have another, although that is probably a good thing. I wish I had aged more then one as this was really quite nice and was perfect over the course of a couple hours to just sit and relax with. Definitly recommend trying this one.

10-03-2007 00:39:50 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of crookedhalo


3.8/5  rDev -2.3%

Pours a ruddy orangey copper color with virtually no head other that a thin collar around the inside of the snifter. Some green apple aromas, sugary maltiness, oak and possibly some spices, but dull. Flavor is mostly sweet malt with some nuances of oak shining through. A slight cideriness amidst the big alcohol kick. Oak chips adds to its smoothness and takes a little edge off this big beer. An enjoyable slow sipper.

09-24-2007 20:06:25 | More by crookedhalo
Photo of dogger6253


4.68/5  rDev +20.3%

This beer is brown, like muddy brown - very thick looking, almost completely opaque. Yeast particles float around, another layer of slightly darker body near the top, head is light tan and falls quickly to a film.

I could easily smell figs and dark cherries right away and later pulled out raisins, oak, nutmeg. The taste was pretty much an enjoyable smack in the face, the oak and figs coming through, cherries, nutmeg, cinnamon, hops, apricots, dates, raisins, vanilla, and a strong alcohol presence, but not over-bearing in anyway.

Very thick, a definite "sipper" beer due to its massive body and alcohol presence, massive complexity makes this something you have to take your time with. I would like to drink a lot more of this though...

09-21-2007 21:02:14 | More by dogger6253
Photo of franksnbeans


3.48/5  rDev -10.5%

Pours a ruby hued brown with a finger of creamy light tan head that dies quickly leaving sheets of lace. Smells of sweet bourbon, oak, cherry and malt. Stings the nose. Taste is very sweet. Boozy with a sherry character. The oak chips are prominant. Syrupy and spicy. Full and sticky in the mouth. A gynormous brew that must be sipped spurratically. Would be very interested to revisit one of these after aging a few years as there are many flavors but all buried by the booze.

09-14-2007 20:52:20 | More by franksnbeans
Photo of ultralarry2006


3.63/5  rDev -6.7%

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle that indicates that it was bottled in May 2006. It leaves a one finger tan head that has good retention, and leaves some good lacing. Body is a slightly hazy orange amber.

Smell - vanilla, butterscotch, spices, and warm, boozy alcohol.

Taste - like the smell. A swirl of caramel, vanilla, butterscotch, spices, and warm, boozy alcohol.

Mouthfeel - very dry from the alcohol, and with an alcohol burn, and also a lot of sticky-sweet syrupyness.

Drinkability - this is a decent ale, but not a great one, so that limits its drinkability for me. But it also has a very high abv, which alone makes this a sipper and not sessionable.

09-10-2007 14:19:45 | More by ultralarry2006
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

2.83/5  rDev -27.2%

Appearance: Pours a clear dark amber color; the head fizzes away like soda, leaving no lacing and the carbonation is virtually nil

Smell: Paint thinner

Taste: Starts out with a sweet caramel flavor that just gets sweeter through to the finish; elements of vanilla, bourbon and oak

Mouthfeel: Thick and flat

Drinkability: A tough one to consume; I don't mind sweet beers as much as some but this one lacks complexity

08-15-2007 00:47:38 | More by brentk56
Photo of tgbljb


3.68/5  rDev -5.4%

Consumed at Ron's Schoolhouse Grille (I did not realize what I was ordering??)
Poured a deep reddish brown color with virtually no head.
Smell is notable for oak and whiskey-like tones, with some nice sweet malt also present.
Taste initially shows lots of sweet malt, then the oak and whiskey tones begin to show through.
The whiskey taste remains in the mouth at the finish.
Toos strong for my enjoyment, especially at lunchtime. but a wellmade beer that does a good job of minimizing yhe high alcohol sensation.

08-05-2007 21:46:06 | More by tgbljb
Photo of tavernseeker


3.78/5  rDev -2.8%

Appearance: Pours a clear ruby-orange with a small white head that quickly dissapears to leave an almost non-existant rim.

Smell: Strong alcohol, sweet dark fruit, some oak and vanilla.

Taste: Very sugary sweet with sweet cherry, bourbon, and vanilla extract.

Mouthfeel: It has an appropriate amount of carbonation, but it's so sweet it's hard to drink and with the very high alcohol content, this is a sipper. Has characteristics of a tawny port.

08-01-2007 05:01:43 | More by tavernseeker
Photo of IntriqKen


4.15/5  rDev +6.7%

Pours a moderately dark amber with lots of red lights coming through.
Very little head that melts to nothing very quickly.

Aroma is all oak...nothing but oak...but deliciously oak.

Taste is very sweet candied sugars with oak flavors coming afterwards then some light hop bitterness and then finally the alcohol overcomes everything.

Aftertaste is sweet burnt candied sugar and lots of alcohol as it warms and penetrates your body.

Great evening brew.

07-30-2007 06:29:59 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of Fugazme


3.68/5  rDev -5.4%

Bottled May 2006, Batch 2

Purchased @ Bierkraft in Brooklyn

Pours a chunky, yes chunky and murky tea-like color... lots of yeastys... slight bubbles leave a nice cap in a brandy snifter.

Big, huge fruity aroma directly upfront leading to a significant alcohol touch on second whiff... lots of caramel and scotch... tad medicinal... maple and molasses

Mouthfeel is creamy and nice... lots of alcohol burn on first swallow... leaves a pleasant bitter finish.

Floral notes... caramel and toffee flavor... big alcohol presence for sure, not hidden at all... a bit much at times and pretty darn sticky sweet...

Overall impressions... I like it, but probably just this once. The alcohol is overwhelming at times.

07-27-2007 01:57:28 | More by Fugazme
Photo of tpd975


3.58/5  rDev -8%

Saw this beer on the shelf and decided to pick it up.

A: Nice dark chestnut red in color with a two finger head and lot of floaties.

S: Lots of Oak, and Booze, some nice maltiness to smooth it out a bit.

T: Holy Smokes this is a huge beer. Very sweet with tons of oakiness. There is a nice malty flavor with a nice balance of hops. This is smooth like Bourbon with a nice alcohol burn. In fact if you take away the sweetness you would think you were drinking Bourbon, strong Bourbon did I mention the booze. The ABV (15%) in this one is front and center.

M: Medium light carbonation.

D: Not really. You have to sip this beer.

Overall: I would call it unique. This is a big flavored beer. Tons of Oak and Booze. If I did not know any beer I would think the glass contains Bourbon. It is very sweet, I like it, but I could see how it would be over the top in sweetness for most. It is not sessionable at all. I sipped the entire bottle. It left me warm and happy. There are many better brews out there, and several better by Avery, but this one is unique. If you have not tried it, grab one and give it a shot. It's an experience.

07-24-2007 20:59:22 | More by tpd975
Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 1,122 ratings.