AleSmith Old Numbskull - Barrel Aged - AleSmith Brewing Company
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Ratings: 296 | Reviews: 82 | Display Reviews Only:
3.1/5 rDev -28.2%
2004 Vintage bottle, # 202/240, Sampled October 2005
It is with much anticipation that I open this baby up. I really could not believe the news that I would be able to purchase this beer at my local bottle shop here in Tucson, AZ (thanks again LittleGuy). It pours a deep amber color that when held up to the light shows a mostly brilliantly clear cherry red color. The head is a frothy, creamy, rocky mix of textures and is a light amber to tan color. As I pour this beer I get a big caramel maltiness coupled with a shot of Bourbon aromatics. The oak is strongly evident in the nose; at first comes a tannic woody note that moves to notes of vanillin and finishes off with a strong note of buttery oak. Underneath the wood character there is a hint of the former hop monster that this beer was: I get hints of floral pine, and remembrances of grapefruit long suppressed.
The beer has no apparent sweetness to it (at least what could be there is drowned out by the other flavors). The mouthfeel on this one is incredibly rich and smooth up front, creamy would be an apt description for this beer to be sure. The taste actually has a bit of sourness to it, really just makes this beer slightly tart up front. The tartness coupled with fruitiness, reminds me of tart plums and apples. All of these are just peripheral flavors though; this beer is absolutely dominated by the oak character. Throughout is a buttery oak note that is joined by notes of vanillin as well as a tannic woody astringency that reminds me black tea. The finish is still quite hoppy though with a solid bitterness that tries to peak through the oak, but ultimately succumbs to the buttery oak notes which linger long after the beer has left my mouth. Hints of this beers former glory surface from time to time; at times I get a faint trace of a sharp hop flavor that is a mix of citrus and herbs, but then it vanishes just as quickly as it was noticed. At other times I get wisps of malt character (like notes of sweet caramel and rich toffee), but they too get quickly trampled by the Bourbon Barrel.
This beer has mostly become a vehicle for the barrel flavors, what flavors that do peak through from the Old Numbskull play a supporting role to mitigate / round-out the oak flavors. I bet you a mixture of half fresh Numbskull and half this beer would be quite tasty, there would still be a big hop and malt presence to balance out the barrel contribution. As this beer stands it does not have enough balance nor complexity to be great. I have never been a fan of barrel aged beers for barrel aged beers sake; I really prefer a bold beer flavor with the supporting role being played by the barrel character. In this case the barrel character plays the lead role, and somewhere down there in the supporting cast there is an aged version of Old Numbskull.
10-30-2005 21:56:18 | More by Gueuzedude
3.19/5 rDev -26.2%
Sampled at the Alesmith taproom. 2013 version.
Appearance: Pours a nice clear auburn color. Decent off white head which reduces to a pretty nice ring around the glass. Looks pretty nice.
Smell: Smells of caramel and strong hopping with a good level of barrel as well. Rye whiskey and wood. Lots going on here, overall it contributes to a bit of a muddled overall scent.
Appearance: Caramel malts and heavy hopping presence up front. Initial impression is that it tastes buttery, and I could not shake that throughout the duration of the beer. The barrel is fairly subtle. Oak tannins and rye whiskey stand out.
Mouthfeel/Overall: Under medium bodied with pretty high carbonation. Okay mouthfeel, probably a little thin for my tastes. Overall, I wasn't a huge fan of this BA version of Numbskull. As I mentioned before, I could not shake the impression of buttery flavor and that pretty much sealed this beer's fate for me. Definitely would not be opposed to trying this again at some point to give it another shot.
10-06-2013 05:17:39 | More by zhanson88
3.43/5 rDev -20.6%
Bottle#124/225Amber and slightly orange like colored body which is cloudy and yielding only a slight scattered film on top. Lots of bourbon in the aroma almost overpowering with vanilla and oak. Malt is buried.Vanilla, bourbon in the flavor.. Body is full and velvety smooth. I think Id prefer the original much better. The bourbon just overpowers everything else.
04-11-2005 02:20:01 | More by BierReise
3.48/5 rDev -19.4%
Bottle # 212. Very aromatic and the wood influence is unmistakable showing hints of oak, vanilla and bourbon along with the malt, which shows a bit of caramel and burnt toffee. The excessive aromatic hops in the regular Old Numbskull has tamed to an almost undetectable level. In the flavor, the hops have again tamed and the wood is clearly evident. Notes of bourbon, oak, caramel and toffee with a touch of vanilla. The body and texture is lacking. This should have been aged in a wine barrel. A bourbon barrel was not the proper vessel for this beer.
03-19-2006 01:26:53 | More by Crosling
3.55/5 rDev -17.8%
Bottle from the latest batch
A - Walnut / light brown with nice off white head that settled down to a layer of foam
S - Malty. Vanilla with light oak to it that gives it some barrel presence. Smells like Bigfoot but with more barrel presence.
T - Dates, vanilla,caramel, oak, and lots of booziness to it. This is also definitely a hoppy American Barleywine and the hops give the beer a bitter finish.
M - Medium body with light astringent finish from the alcohol and oak
O - I thought this was a decent BA barleywine but it was still too hoppy for my taste. The hops and bitterness throw it off a bit.
06-02-2013 03:37:54 | More by jeonseh
3.55/5 rDev -17.8%
2007 Bottle thanks to Kevin!
A-pours a dark ruby red with a light tan head with plenty of bubbles on top.
S-musky dry oak up front, vanilla, bourbon, notes of sawdust, lots of burnt malts, sweet cherries and plums in the back with some dried raisin.
T-again the dry dusty oak is up front with a light touch of vanilla from the barrel. bourbon and some alcohol heat, it sweetens in the back but the malts are somewhat burnt, cherries, raisin and plum.
M-smooth syrupy body but thins out a little lacking some carbonation.
D-this seems to have some malt issues going on, tons of burnt sugars in the flavor and a little too much alcohol. the flavors don't work super well together, the barrel aging is rather pleasant with the flavors it has added but it did thin out a little while in those barrels.
08-10-2010 13:54:24 | More by cpetrone84
3.68/5 rDev -14.8%
From 2009 notes.
2006 bottle, big thanks to Dennis. Pours a hazy medium chestnut with a thin soapy head. Big, malty nose. Oranges, bourbon, and lighter chocolate tones. Flavor is nice...the malt is not overdone and is fully balanced by a smoky, somewhat bitter element. I love that smoky finish in Alesmith beers. Berries and some lighter fruits really shine in this. Bourbon is pretty well integrated and not overdone. A little too much bitter heat, almost peppery, coming through.
Update: sampled this in a spring, 2010 tasting alongside Perfect Storm. This came across as boozy and muddled. Downgrading the rating a bit.
11-09-2010 04:13:45 | More by JAXSON
3.83/5 rDev -11.3%
Originally reviewed November 26, 2006. Bottle at O'Briens in San Diego. Rich bourbon cream aroma, resplendent with cherries, raisins, hints of milky chocolate and dark brown rum cooked with bananas. Ruby pour, with orange-yellow fringes. Hardly any head. Flavor is along the lines of the arom, with rich, creamy and almost oily sugar tannins, lots of tawny, pear, raisins and sweet cream vanilla, intended for oaky sugars. Quite light on the carbonation, which is a bummer. Theres a sweet tinge of euro-like hops along the backedge, but it makes the old hop presentation moan, as this is more subdued and to my liking. I enjoyed the light oxidization character of this beer, as truer to the plummy, raisin-like sweetness characters of the style, but without carbonation and some warmth noticeable from the barrel, I dont find this a phenomenal improvement over the straight version.
12-19-2006 19:20:16 | More by CharlesDarwin
3.83/5 rDev -11.3%
Bottle: Poured a deep copper color ale with a light foamy head with minimal retention and minimal lacing. Aroma consists of sweet toffee and caramel notes with light cardboard notes and light bourbon notes. Taste is also dominated by sweet toffee notes with some caramel malt with some bourbon notes though not as much as expected. Light cardboard notes a re revealing that this bottle might be past its prime. Bourbon notes are not as dominant as I would have expected. Body is a little bit thin for style with medium carbonation and no apparent alcohol notes. Fell a bit short of my expectation but good nonetheless. It would be interesting to try a fresher bottle next time.
09-19-2012 18:47:04 | More by Phyl21ca
3.93/5 rDev -9%
Bottle brought by me, 2007 Vintage, #117/449. Poured into Darkness snifter.
A - Pours a dark brown/reddish color, cream ring, with random whisps on top.
S - Dark fruits, huge oak/barrel, ever so slight hoppy bitterness, caramel, burnt sugars. Perhaps a little more oak-forward then I prefer but otherwise, pretty good.
T - Dark fruit, caramel, oak/barrel. Smooth booze, nice caramel sweetness, and the oak isn't quite as strong as the nose (that's a good thing).
M - Light to medium (a bit too thin), good carbonation, and creamy sweet finish.
O - I think I actually prefer the regular 2007 over the Barrel-Aged version. Perhaps a bit too much oak for me in this one. I wonder how the other years stack up to 2007? I guess I'll have to try them and see.
06-15-2011 18:41:06 | More by Sean9689
3.95/5 rDev -8.6%
Bottle shared by me at our pre-Dark Lord Day tasting. Thanks me! Reviewed from notes.
This one pours a murky copper color with a finger of head. The aroma is big caramel and hops with a strong vanilla backbone and a hefty amount of booziness.
The flavor is an oddly sour/fruity combination, but not in a bad way. Lots of caramel and toasty maltiness. Very boozy. The body is medium and the carbonation is appropriately low. Like most of the barrel aged Alesmith releases, I found this one to be solid, though very unspectacular.
04-26-2010 00:26:54 | More by alcstradamus
3.98/5 rDev -7.9%
750ml Bottle from 2005 - Thanks to Phyl21ca for sharing this
Appearance - Hazy copper/brown colour with almost no head. Hard to make out the level of carbonation and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for only seconds.
Smell - Malts, dark fruits, butterscotch/toffee, hint of chocolate
Taste & Mouth - There is a low amount of carbonation and I can taste malts mixed with some toffee/butterscotch. There is also a bit of a dark fruit taste and a woodiness mixed with a touch of chocolate. The booze lingered a bit on the finish but it was still very smooth.
Overall - Perhaps a bit past it's prime, but still a fantastic beer. The smell was amazing and with a little more carbonation this beer would have been even better. Glad I had the chance to try this.
10-04-2012 18:28:27 | More by spinrsx
AleSmith Old Numbskull - Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 296 ratings.