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!

AleSmith Old Numbskull - Barrel Aged - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Old Numbskull - Barrel AgedAleSmith Old Numbskull - Barrel Aged

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

302 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 302
Reviews: 82
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 8.1%
Wants: 375
Gots: 101 | FT: 15
Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kmcnair on 12-13-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 302 | Reviews: 82 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JasonFromLA
5/5  rDev +15.7%

JasonFromLA, Jan 25, 2013
Photo of Photekut
5/5  rDev +15.7%

Photekut, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of Gonzoillini
5/5  rDev +15.7%

Gonzoillini, Jan 13, 2013
Photo of PeprSprYoFace
5/5  rDev +15.7%

PeprSprYoFace, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of MontereyBay831
5/5  rDev +15.7%

MontereyBay831, Jul 25, 2013
Photo of HaveUSeenMyCellar
5/5  rDev +15.7%

HaveUSeenMyCellar, Apr 09, 2014
Photo of Big_Dave
5/5  rDev +15.7%

Big_Dave, Aug 06, 2014
Photo of woooobeer
5/5  rDev +15.7%

woooobeer, Aug 14, 2014
Photo of ksherry112
5/5  rDev +15.7%

ksherry112, Nov 29, 2011
Photo of josephwa
5/5  rDev +15.7%

josephwa, Oct 27, 2013
Photo of Franberry
5/5  rDev +15.7%

Franberry, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of heavenlyStash
5/5  rDev +15.7%

heavenlyStash, Mar 15, 2013
Photo of ScaryHairy44
5/5  rDev +15.7%

ScaryHairy44, Jun 05, 2013
Photo of miadw3
5/5  rDev +15.7%

miadw3, Jan 25, 2013
Photo of hopdog
4.95/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml Bottle. Batch 1, bottle # 200 of 225.

Poured an amber color with a small off white head. The vanilla aroma and tastes really stands out. Vinous. Other aromas and tastes of wood, citrus, raisins, dried fruits, and alcohol.
Smooth body.

This beer was/is just way tooeasy to drink!

Notes from and tasted on 1/15/05

hopdog, Nov 04, 2008
Photo of DmanGTR
4.95/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to Joe for bringing this to our tasting. This is phenomenal. Review from notes.

2006 Vintage poured a clear ruby/garnet with a long lasting off-white head. Beautiful shades of red glittering in my glass. The world has just been set right. I was expecting a ginormous blast of bourbon and sweetness, but this is mellow and refined. The vanilla, oak, and toffee are deliciously blended and gives way to a touch of figs and even a bit of molasses cookies. The oxidation offers a touch of vinous character. I find nothing to critique. Just let me sit and enjoy this wonder. Carbonation could use a sliiiight reduction, but a gentle swirl is all it took. I wish there was a 4.8 I could give in the mouthfeel category instead of a 4.5. Coats the palate with caramel goodness. This is bewildering. Probably the highlight of the night.

And this is also my 500th review on BA :)

DmanGTR, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.93/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2006, bottle #204 of 208.
Pours brown in color. There are some reddish highlights. A little foam around the edges.
Smell is absolutely heavenly! This is what I'm all about! Smell is bourbon with plenty of vanilla to support it. I can't stop smelling this thing.
Taste is even better than the smell. Much more vanilla to comingle with the bourbon flavor. This is one incredbile beer. I like this better than the BA Speedway. Just a little bit of alcohol that warms the back of the throat. This is world class and among the best beers that I've had. The real deal. Full on the mouthfeel. The only knock that I can think of is that it's just a bit hot. You get some heat in the throat that escalates as it goes.
World class beer. Outstanding.

FtownThrowDown, Jun 13, 2009
Photo of Callenak
4.9/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2002 bottle.

Acquired this one in a trade a few months back and have been dying to try it. I cracked it open at a good friends birthday party this weekend, where we planned on drinking many great beers. We of course led off with the old numbskull to give it the freshest pallet.

Poured in an AleSmith tulip glass. Pours a surprisingly light auburn color with a great head. Not bad after 4 years of aging in the bottle plus probably another year or two in the barrel. The BA Speedway I had was a little light in carbonation and I was worried this would have the same trait. Not a chance. Perfect carbonation for the tongue and the style.

It smells great. Similar to the regular numbskull but with a hint of vanilla, oak, and bourbon. I've had a few other barley wines that have had 4+ years on them and they all tend to pick up a similar smell. Not oxidation, something I can never put my finger on. Either way, it's very enticing.

This beer knocked me off my feet. I wasn't sure how the years would be to it, but it stood strong. First taste is sweet. Something I don't remember being as strong in the regular numbskull. A mild alcohol warming to it but less than expected. The bourbon and oak wasn't as strong as I would have thought but still apparent. The BA speedway I had definitely kept a stronger bourbon presence that this did. Either way, this was perfectly balanced.

I tried to approach this beer as unbiased as possible, keeping my expectations low. I was completely blown away. I enjoyed it more than the BA Speedway. Already working on another trade to get a 2004 bottle. I would highly recommend this beer. Worth trading another prized possession to get one.

Callenak, Nov 07, 2006
Photo of pwoods
4.85/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml capped dark green bottle poured into a snifter. Notes. '06 bottle.

A: Deep mohagony, opaque. Moderate head on the pour, keeps rising. Good retention and lacing.

S: Loads of wood and age and a nice depth of bourbon. Aged malt sweetness. Great alcohol line. Damn fine barrel.

T/M: Great barrel, very woody, some vanilla and oxidation, soft bourbon. Aged and nicely rounded alcohol and hops. Rich, rounded out malts. A tad dry in the finish. Still a touch hot but nice. Body is medium full with soft carbonation.

D: Absolutely delicious.

pwoods, Nov 04, 2009
Photo of corby112
4.85/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From notes:

2006 vintage. Huge thanks to BigFish for sending this years ago in one of my first trades.

Pours a very dark, murky chestnut brown color with a one finger off white head that quickly fades into a thin ring. Sporadic splotches of lacing left behind.

Slightly earthy, leathery malt aroma with hints of biscuit, caramel and toffee. This is accompanied by an amazing bourbon barrel character. Plenty of earthy oak with a healthy dose of bourbon/booze and a very prominent vanilla character in the nose.

Medium bodied with the perfect balance of earthy, leathery malt, caramel/toffee, alcohol sweetness, bourbon, oak and vanilla. Slight heat but overall the alcohol is excellently masked with subtle warmth in the finish. The malt profile is earthy/leathery yet sweet with hints of caramel, toffee and hazelnut. There's some slight bitterness that adds balance and an incredible bourbon barrel presence. Earthy oak as well as a huge bourbon and vanilla character. I can't believe that Alesmith was able to create such a delicious bourbon flavor without it tasting like a hot, booze bomb. The ABV is incredibly well masked resulting in a delicious, extremely quaffable beer.

This is the best BA barleywine that I've had to date and I wish I that I had more bottles.

corby112, Jan 17, 2011
Photo of timc100
4.8/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2012 vintage

Huge, incredibly well balanced and interesting aroma - hard to find a place to start. Burnt brown sugar, bourbon - caramel, oak, vanilla, oak - wet oak. Then there is another layer of vinous red grape, booze soaked raisin, tobacco and leather. The hops have fadded quite a bit giving an old-caramel note. Amazingly well balanced - each flavor in tune with one another. It tastes fantastic as well, but not as outstanding as the nose. Caramel, brown sugar, toffee, bourbon. booze, and oak dominate. The tobacco and leather come through as well - lesser fruits and sweet vanilla and coconut. I'm not sure how best to describe this, but there is a musty/old-feel to it - like an attic. Full, smooth mouthfeel - appropriately bereft of carbonation.

This is truly outstanding.

timc100, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of kbuzz
4.75/5  rDev +10%

kbuzz, Feb 17, 2014
Photo of pkrager5
4.75/5  rDev +10%

pkrager5, Jul 21, 2013
Photo of scottoale
4.75/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another AleSmith special release from the brewery on 9-1-06. 2004 Barrel-Aged, bottle # 89/227 hand written in silver on back of the standard "Old Numbskull" blue and grey silk-screened green champagne (flat bottom) bottle with crown cap and gold foil cover.

With an aggressive pour comes an auburn to dark mahogany brown ale with initial haziness and an ivory cream colored head of one fat finger. The carbonation is moderate with miniscule bubbles that keep the creamy froth head from settling to not less than 1/8", and leaves plenty of thick, tight lace, sticking to the glass. The haze (from the chill) clears, leaving the ale with good clarity for one with a big, heavy body.

Sweet and malty right up front that gets pushed even further with a big dose alcohol from the bourbon barrel...big time boozy aroma that drowns out the normally hop heavy scent you get from the traditional Old Numb-er. Just by the smell, I'm sure this stuff is a tad stronger than the listed 10.0%ABV of the non-B-Aged version. As it warms a bit more, the oak comes through and more alcohol right behind it...it really smells good to this old Barleywiner!

Starts off rather sweet and malty only to be pummeled by the essence of the vessel that it was aged in...bourbon soaked oak that melds into the malt that turns it velvety and just a bit chewy in viscosity. Toffee, caramel, black licorice, chocolate and a ripe fruitiness, backed by an alcoholic vapor that shields the once pungent hops to a mild tang, rather than a bitter finish. A nice warming follows each sip, with a pleasant boozy aftertaste that lingers...nice.

Big bodied, mellowed hop-monster that is not for the faint hearted...strong and tasty, it's aging to excellence.

A sipper indeed!

scottoale, Sep 02, 2006
Photo of 3rdto1st
4.75/5  rDev +10%

3rdto1st, Jun 06, 2013
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
AleSmith Old Numbskull - Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 302 ratings.