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

279 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 279
Reviews: 82
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 8.1%
Wants: 368
Gots: 88 | FT: 13
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:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 279 | Reviews: 82 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
t0rin0

California

4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

08-12-2012 12:40:51 | More by t0rin0
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

4.24/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at AleSmith Brewing Company in San Diego, CA.

Pours a murky dark orange-brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a wisps of film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, bourbon, and wood. Taste is much the same with a woody flavor and an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp but medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with a great aroma and some tasty barrel aged flavors.

Serving type: on-tap

01-21-2013 20:09:57 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of djrn2
djrn2

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -7.4%

08-24-2013 18:14:59 | More by djrn2
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

4.1/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Photekut for busting this out at the Jackie O's release. Served in a SAVOR snifter. 2006 vintage -- 48/208.

Pour yields a caramel-colored brew with a thin off-white head. Nose is filled with aromas of sweet bourbon, caramel, and a bit of brown sugar. Mild booze there as well. Flavor is not as integrated as the nose, but the bourbon is nice. Not terribly bourbon-forward, however. Also some caramel, sweet bread, and some brown sugar intermingling. Mouthfeel is medium with low carbonation and a bit of booze in the finish. A very excellent brew that I had wanted to try for some time. Thanks again, JR.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2011 13:32:22 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.2/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #88/233 of the 2005 bottling

I had been saving this for a special occasion, like many others have been, but last night I actually grabbed this out of the fridge, thinking it was the regular one. I did not actually open it, as I realized what it was after a second, but figured I had waited long enough to try it and went ahead of popped it anyway. I enjoyed this one over the course of 4 hours served into a snifter at various temperatures and times.

Appearance - The pour was rather nice, a rich ruby tinted brown liquid came gurgling out of the bottle. Really no life to it here at all, which surprised me, but not really. No head, no lacing, and no carbonation were apparent. Lots of cloudiness though and a rich, old ale like translucence to it.

Smell - The aroma was fantastic, rich, and very pronounced notes of Bourbon were all over this from the very start to it. It was obvious that the age had done some nice things to this one. You really had to let it warm though for a good deal more of its subtleties to be released. Once I did this, some wonderful notes of caramel, vanilla, and hints of candied sugar came out. Lots of woody aromas here as well, as the all too familiar oak notes started coming forward.

Taste - The flavor was a bit more mellow then I thought it would be. All remnants of the original were gone, leaving a wonderfully sweet and mellow aged beer in its wake. Started off with a huge rush of bourbon, rich and a touch hot with alcohol, but quickly mellowing as fast as it could warm up. Nice touches of vanilla are all over this one. Huge oak and woody flavors, with some touches of toffee thrown in. Aftertaste was a solid splash of bourbon and a long lasting sweet taste that really just seemed to get stronger the further out it got.

Mouthfeel - The feel was a little bit thinner then what I had hoped for, but still more the decent. Not much carbonation here, well actually none, and it took a little getting use to, however, once you did it was found to have a good bit of weight to it. Nice touches of chewy like consistency at times, and the lightness contributed to its drinkability.

Drinkability - Speaking of which, this was a very good sipper. Really easy to go down, which aside from the bourbon aging, most of the alcohol notes were extremely well hidden. Very nicely blended, as it warmed it seemed to get even easier for me to go through with it. Very nice indeed.

Overall I thought this was a fine example of the aging process, and the metamorphosis that a beer can go through in a barrel aging. Nothing like the original, this came out to be much more an old ale then a hoppy barley wine. Another winner from Alesmith, and now that two out of three of the big barrel age beers from Alesmith are done; I cannot wait to get a hold of the big one!

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2008 00:23:26 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

09-19-2012 18:47:04 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

4.03/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I forgot to write it down, but I believe it was Paul who shared this 2007 bottle. Thanks!

A: The pour is sort of a murky dark amber/copper color with a small khaki head.

S: Moderate amounts of bourbon hit the nose followed by some vanilla and brown sugar. Plenty of caramel and toffee sweetness to go with it. No real hop character left at this point.

T: Surprisingly restrained bourbon from an Alesmith barrel aged beer. Vanilla, brown sugar, toffee, and bread, and yes, some bourbon too. Perhaps a hint of chocolate, and definitely a bit oxidized.

M: Medium to full in body with a moderate carbonation.

O: Not as overwhelming as some of the other Alesmith barrel aged releases, but quite good, and significantly better than the previous times I've had it.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2011 22:26:40 | More by womencantsail
Photo of acurtis
acurtis

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -19%

08-24-2013 18:27:03 | More by acurtis
Photo of kjkinsey
kjkinsey

Texas

4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

06-26-2014 02:43:44 | More by kjkinsey
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

4.72/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2004 vintage. Bottle #61.

Appearance: Pours a clearish, deep copper-hued body that's completely still.

Smell: Heavy bourbon scent that's a real treat to get a snootful. Gobs of vanilla and caramel eliciting memories of caramel-coated vanilla cheesecake or maybe a good crusty creme brulee. Plus, some crushed up citrus-flavored cookies.

Taste: Luscious, sweet-tasting vanilla bean and caramel. Taste of oven-baked sugar cookies. Toasty wood character. Drop of orange oil. Hint of dried dark fruitiness. Slightly oxidized malts. Freshly shaved coconut. Sweet, warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Still but pretty sticky and creamy.

Drinkability: In a line-up of various BA Old Numbskull vintages, I greatly favored the 2004 bottling. Powerfully delicious and almost cripplingly good!

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2008 19:05:55 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of ygtbsm94
ygtbsm94

Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

11-15-2011 04:41:44 | More by ygtbsm94
Photo of Texasfan549
Texasfan549

Texas

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

06-26-2014 02:37:55 | More by Texasfan549
Photo of spycow
spycow

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

04-27-2013 00:00:17 | More by spycow
Photo of Knapp85
Knapp85

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -7.4%

03-15-2014 00:35:45 | More by Knapp85
Photo of GRG1313
GRG1313

California

4/5  rDev -7.4%

11-25-2011 20:58:34 | More by GRG1313
Photo of largadeer
largadeer

California

4.28/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: '06 vintage, bottle 92 of 208, enjoyed side by side with barrel-aged Wee Heavy. Turbid dark amber, semi-clear as it thins. No head, just a thin sheet of bubbles and a hint of carbonation. Not exactly what I'd call a good looking beer, but it's appropriate for the style.

Smell: Lots of musty barrel aroma upon first smell. After letting it breathe and warm up a bit the complexities start to come out: rich toffee and vanilla, bourbon barrel, iron, dates and a lingering hint of musty barrel. Very complex and interesting, but somewhat boozy, especially once it reaches room temperature.

Taste & mouthfeel: The taste closely mirrors the aroma. Dried fruit, toffee sweetness and boozy bourbon are most prevalent. Rich, but not actually extremely sweet - the oaky tannins do a lot to balance the flavor. The hoppiness of the regular Numbskull has completely subsided, though the barrel-aged version is both more mellow and complex. The mouthfeel is full and coating with little noticeable carbonation. A friend compared the texture to vintage port, and I think that's accurate. Alesmith did a good job minimizing oxidation, as there's barely a trace of it. The finish is long and semi-drying with a slight heat that's both fitting and pleasant.

A great beer overall, and I'm very glad I had the chance to try it. It's not something I'd reach for often, however.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2008 20:26:46 | More by largadeer
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
westcoastbeerlvr

California

4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

01-10-2013 00:26:02 | More by westcoastbeerlvr
Photo of MasterSki
MasterSki

Illinois

4.13/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to stowehop for breaking out this rarity. Bottle #154/449 of the 2007 vintage.

A - Pours with a dime of off-white foam that settles to a thick ring and some light haze. Dark ruby-brown color that is only somewhat translucent. Fairly attractive for the style.

S - Sweet dark fruits, and lots of wood and oak. There's also some caramel, burnt sugars, and notes of chocolate covered raisins. As it warms a little more booze comes out - maybe a touch more than I like.

T - Quite tannic, with tons of burnt sugar, caramel, and dark fruits. The bourbon flavor isn't overt, but instead adds earthiness that complements the woody flavors. Finish is surprisingly clean. This is definitely English in character, with minimal hop presence.

M - Surprisingly active carbonation for the style and the 11%+ ABV. Somewhat gritty and tannic, but never gets astringent. There's some obvious heat as well.

D - Definitely a sipper. I had a tough time working through 6-8oz (although it was fairly late in the session). Would love to try again at some point on a fresh palate.

I liked this more than the BA Wee Heavy, but less than BA Decadence and BA Speedway.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2010 23:32:35 | More by MasterSki
Photo of drabmuh
drabmuh

Maryland

4.45/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Brad, served in a snifter. At the time of the review, this is the #5 beer on the "Top Beers - American Barleywine" list on beeradvocate.com.

Beer is dark amber / brown, hazy with a thin off white head of small bubbles. No lacing, low carbonation, low carbonation.

Beer smells like barrel, oak, wood, malt, raisins, plums. Smells really nice, in my face, strong, aggressive.

Beer is medium in body, creamy with a mildly dry finish. It is strong, fruity and malty. Very strong, nice finish, a very good beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2012 19:45:26 | More by drabmuh
Photo of SocalKicks
SocalKicks

California

4/5  rDev -7.4%

04-24-2013 03:54:24 | More by SocalKicks
Photo of oline73
oline73

Maryland

4/5  rDev -7.4%

02-05-2014 01:18:27 | More by oline73
Photo of mdfb79
mdfb79

New York

4.15/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From 08/02/13 notes. 750ml bottle into a chalice. 2012 vintage.

a - Pours a deep, murky reddish brown color with one to two inches of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident. No lacing or head retention on the glass.

s - Smells of delicious bourbon, caramel malts, toffee, bready malts, oak, toasted malts, alcohol, coconut, and light fruit. Nose is really great, with tons of bourbon and caramel mixing together wonderfully.

t - Tastes of slightly harsher bourbon, alcohol, caramel malts, coconut, toffee, oak, dark fruity malts, toasted malts, bready malts, biscuit, and earthy notes. Nice taste to it, but definitely a bit harsh right now. I still like it but I like BBA beers hot...a big step down from the nose right now.

m - Medium body and low to moderate carbonation. Little bit thinner than I expected but nice. A bit hot.

o - Overall I thought this was a very good beer but the taste is a bit harsh right now, keeping it from being great. I'd guess is a few years this will be outstanding. The nose is great and there is a ton of bourbon and caramel throughout. Would like to get another bottle and revisit in a year.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2013 16:55:52 | More by mdfb79
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

3.1/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2005 21:56:18 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of mendvicdog
mendvicdog

Maryland

4/5  rDev -7.4%

04-12-2014 16:41:49 | More by mendvicdog
Photo of corby112
corby112

Pennsylvania

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2011 08:30:36 | More by corby112
« 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 279 ratings.