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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

305 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 305
Reviews: 82
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 8.1%
Wants: 374
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
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Ratings: 305 | Reviews: 82 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

t0rin0, Aug 12, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
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.

UCLABrewN84, Jan 21, 2013
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -7.4%

djrn2, Aug 24, 2013
Photo of Thorpe429
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.

Thorpe429, Apr 05, 2011
Photo of zestar
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

zestar, Feb 28, 2013
Photo of spycow
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

spycow, Apr 27, 2013
Photo of acurtis
3.5/5  rDev -19%

acurtis, Aug 24, 2013
Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

Texasfan549, Jun 26, 2014
Photo of Phyl21ca
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.

Phyl21ca, Sep 19, 2012
Photo of mikesgroove
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!

mikesgroove, Jul 08, 2008
Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

kjkinsey, Jun 26, 2014
Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -7.4%

GRG1313, Nov 25, 2011
Photo of womencantsail
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.

womencantsail, Apr 20, 2011
Photo of ygtbsm94
4.5/5  rDev +4.2%

ygtbsm94, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
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!

ChainGangGuy, Jun 02, 2008
Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -7.4%

Knapp85, Mar 15, 2014
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev -1.6%

westcoastbeerlvr, Jan 10, 2013
Photo of largadeer
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.

largadeer, Oct 02, 2008
Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -7.4%

JAHMUR, Aug 11, 2014
Photo of SocalKicks
4/5  rDev -7.4%

SocalKicks, Apr 24, 2013
Photo of MasterSki
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.

MasterSki, Jun 23, 2010
Photo of drabmuh
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.

drabmuh, Jun 13, 2012
Photo of oline73
4/5  rDev -7.4%

oline73, Feb 05, 2014
Photo of mendvicdog
4/5  rDev -7.4%

mendvicdog, Apr 12, 2014
Photo of mdfb79
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.

mdfb79, Aug 05, 2013
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AleSmith Old Numbskull - Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 305 ratings.