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AleSmith Old Numbskull - Barrel Aged - AleSmith Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
94
outstanding

89 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 89
Hads: 379
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 8.64%
Wants: 386
Gots: 110 | FT: 20
Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kmcnair on 12-13-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 89 | Hads: 379
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
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. (612 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
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. (615 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.8/5  rDev -11.2%
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. (677 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
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. (1,374 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
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! (2,806 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
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. (762 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.69/5  rDev +9.6%
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! (793 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.19/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2012 thanks to rudzud

No head, hazy reddish murky color.

Taste big sweet malts, toffee caramel, syrup, juicy, big sweet candy malts, little oxidation, light vanilla barrel and faint bourbon.

Taste brings sweet candy, smooth caramel, nice toffee, velvety smooth soft malts, complex, nutty, chewy, little nougat, nice vanilla barrel faint bourbon, touch of oxidation. (369 characters)

Photo of kojevergas
3.74/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

1 pint 9.4 fl oz brown glass bottle with black foil-ed over unbranded pry-off pressure cap purchased at the brewery in 2012 or 2013 and served cold into a goblet at low altitude in Austin, TX. Reviewed live as a bourbon barrel barleywine. Allowed to warm over the course of consumption.

Expectations are high given the brewery and bourbon barrel aging.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1 finger wide. Whie colour. Creamy and smooth. Retention is subpar - about 1 minute - though that's understandable given its age and 11% ABV. Leaves no lacing as it recedes.

BODY: Dark auburn-brown. Translucent. Not real vibrant. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears aptly carbonated. Not unique or special looking, but apt for a barleywine. Looks good overall.

AROMA: Smells sweet. Vanilla-forward; the oak has receded. Marshmallow, toffee, English dark malts, crystal malts, treacle, cream, white oak barrel sugars, and caramel.

Aromatic intensity is high. It's on the sweeter side, but it's certainly appealing.

No yeast character, overt booze, or off-notes are detectable.

TASTE: Subtle refined bourbon barrel character replete with vanilla and slightly toasty oak. Ample barrel sugars. Marshmallow. Treacle. English dark malts, sweet amber malts. It's sweet, yeah, but the barrel just melts into the base seamlessly. Great overall balance. Good depth of flavour. Average flavour duration and intensity.

Some might find this too sweet, but I think it really works - especially with the soft marshmallow. I've had more complex and intricate beers in the style (e.g. King Henry), but when you're forced to compare a barleywine to beers in the ilk of King Henry you know they're doing it right. Tasty stuff from Alesmith.

The marshmallow steals the show. This isn't the most subtly executed brew, but boy is it balanced.

TEXTURE: Soft and creamy, with a shockingly sleek silky feel and a great overall presence on the palate. Comforting without being boozy or syrupy. Complements the taste really nicely. It definitely elevates the beer.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, or rough.

OVERALL: Highly drinkable for its 11% ABV. This is a definite improvement on the base beer, and the bourbon barrel - while not the most intricate in character - seamlessly melts into the beer. Really tasty stuff. I'm glad I cellared it as long as I did, and I'll plan on cellaring my other bottles a bit longer; she's only getting better. More proof Alesmith is one of San Diego's best breweries. A very good barleywine.

High B (2,556 characters)

Photo of MasterSki
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
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. (1,157 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
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. (1,140 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
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. (517 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by ygtbsm94. Thanks Brad!

The beer is hazy and appears brown to amber in color. The head is off white and thin. The aroma is bold and offers malt, booze, toffee, dark fruits. Very enticing. The flavor really delivers. A delightful beer to sip and savor. Medium to full bodied. Very malt forward and well balanced. A gem - I definitely recommend this beer. (370 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.11/5  rDev -27.3%
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. (2,835 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.16/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a wine glass. 2013 bottle.

Appearance - Deep murky ruby body. Nice khaki head. Thick collar.

Smell - Bourbon is strong. Very oaky. Vanilla. Nutty malts. Smells a bit oxidized.

Taste - Sweet caramel. Nutty. Bourbon builds. Very oaky. Bitter in the back end. Oxidation is a mixture of sherry and bitter cardboard.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy. Boozy. Well carbonated.

Overall - Fantastic barrel. The wood permeates and some oxidation goes a long way in this beer. (489 characters)

Photo of corby112
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
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. (1,278 characters)

Photo of weeare138
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to hopdog for sharing this rare gem...
Bottle # 152/449
Appears a dark mahogany toned amber with a small, light tan head that slowly fades out. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of bourbon, caramel, oaky vanilla, and a touch of spice and brown sugar.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with more of a nutty flavor coming through to compliment the sweet, & savory flavors.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, chewy, mildly syrupy, and sweet in the finish.
Overall, whatever hangups are in this beer with the sweetness, the good points far outweigh any negative ones. (582 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
4.69/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 vintage, bottle 279/479

Pours a dark amber with a frothy, 2 finger beige head that recedes after a minute. Lacing is decent.

Aroma is of bourbon alcohol, earthy hops, and caramel. The sweet malt does well in balancing the earthy hop bitterness. The Alcohol is very noticeable but the bourbon is delicious. The finish is nice and long with some pine notes and bourbon.

This is very well carbonated. The mouthfeel is sticky and the beer has a medium full body.

The drinkability is excellent. I drank the 750ml bottle to myself and still wanted more.

2006 vintage consumed on 9/27/2009

This showed signs of complimentary oxidation. The malt was very aggressive in the flavor, with notes of maple, and tons of bourbon. The nose had some nice tobacco character. (767 characters)

Photo of John_M
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at Dyan's tonight during another excellent tasting. This was probably the belle of the ball on this particular evening. Thanks Dyan. I believe this beer was bottled in 2007, and was I think bottle 297 of 449. In other words, this is an extremely rare and limited beer.

The beer pours a toffee brown color with OK head retention, but with lots of sticky lacing. The nose is very attractive, with caramel, vanilla, brown sugar and butter toffee. As good as this beer smells, it tastes every bit as good. The beer is fairly sweet, and seems to be dominated by vanilla and toffee. Yet this beer is very light on its feet, and so is not at all difficult to drink. The mouthfeel is very smooth and long, and there's a lightness to it that is really quite nice. Alcohol is barely an afterthought, though the way my cheeks are starting to warm is an indication it's up there.

This beer is just a thing of beauty and is one of the better barleywines I've had in some time. As the beer warms, I pick up a bit of chocolate as well... just very, very nice. (1,055 characters)

Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage

A: Poured a murky brownish color with a light sediment presented, a light tannish cap

S: Still has a quantifiable amount of old spent oak spirals, Earthiness, light vanilla and booze

T: Still had some light residual sugar sweetness, with old wood, light vanilla and pinch of raisin remains

M: Medium to big body at this age with lower carbonation, some fading flavors, light booze and stickiness

O: Good but it is peaking IMO or has recently peaked (466 characters)

Photo of glid02
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Grant - thanks! Bottle 43/208 from 2006.

Pours a nice honey-brown color with a half-finger cream-colored head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of large amounts of vanilla with heavy caramel malt aromas lingering in the background. Also present are mild amounts of butterscotch and lighter amounts of thick toffee.

Tastes similar to how it smells, although the booze asserts itself a bit more. Sticky yet smooth caramel malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by solid amounts of toffee. Midway through the sip the flavor profile lightens just a bit with the addition of smooth butterscotch flavors. Moderate amounts of vanilla make a brief appearance near the end of the sip before fading out into a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is very good. It's got a very nice thickness with soft carbonation.

Drinkability is also very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall I'd wanted to try this beer for a good while and I'm glad I had the opportunity. Yet another outstanding barrel-aged beer from AleSmith and one that's well worth a shot. (1,148 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
3.99/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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. (769 characters)

Photo of rudzud
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared this beer during a little cellar cleaning party with JLindros and friends. 2012 vintage. Reviewed from notes.

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a hazy dark bronze with a thin tan head. Decent legs.

S - Aromas of caramel, toffee, vanilla beans, rich bourbon, barrel. No noticeable booze.

T - Taste is similar to the nose. Loads of caramel and vanilla courtesy of the barrel and bourbon. The bourbon is rich and mellow. Incredibly harmonious.

M - Mouthfeel is very smooth, almost silky, with no discernible alcohol.

O - Overall this beer really held up nicely. Age made this barleywine super mellow and drinkable without a hint of the ABV. Tasty.

Serving Type: Bottle (684 characters)

Photo of claspada
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2005 Vintage shared with HimerMan and mrand01 @ a recent bottle share.

Pours a murky caramel, deep copper-hued color with zero head; pretty much par for the course though after all these years.

Aromas begin with copious amounts of vanilla and dark caramel, almost dessert-like in sweetness. Then I get some toasty, sugar cookie and toffee. As it warms the barrel imparted aromas are more detectable highlighted by vanilla, brown sugar and light musty oak.

The tastes are quite lucious to say the least beginning with sweet vanilla bean, caramel, and sugar cookies. Toasted wood character emerges mid-palate. As it warms you get some dried dark fruits and some musty slightly oxidized toasty/bready malts.

The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with zero carbonation (pretty much still like wine). Finish is quite sticky and creamy.

Overall this was super even though I think it is slightly past it's prime. The oxidated notes and low carbonation hurt the overall experience but it's a deal breaker for this style. I would say consume this within 5 years for maximum enjoyment so it is still worth it to seek out the 2007 release but get it soon. (1,148 characters)

Photo of DefenCorps
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I guess it's time to take this off my gots list. Thank you Carlos, for providing me with a beer I thoroughly enjoyed on a crisp, if nippy spring evening. Bottle # 297/449 from the 2007 release.

What a gorgeous pour! Crystal clear ruby red with a dense light brown head with excellent retention and mild lacing, this is one stunning barleywine.

The nose is excellent. Quite a bit of malt character is noticeable with toffee, nougat, booze, vanilla and a mildly floral character, one that reminds me of a saison in its brightness (yes, I know it's not a common description for the nose of a barleywine, but that's my experience, so please let me be) The alcoholic bite really adds to the nose, especially the fruitiness with plums, a little pear juice and a little apple and wildflower honey. Stunning stuff.

The palate is beautifully integrated with flavors of caramel, toffee, dried fruits and nuts with dates being prominent. Vanilla and bourbon are present as well, growing in prominence mid-palate with the brown sugar, maple sugar and honey. Fruity with a pronounced English yeast character, this is great. Warming on the finish with lingering flavors of caramel and toffee, there's also a touch of spice and a chocolate liqueur. Full in body with moderate carbonation and a great finish, I guess it's safe to say that I'm not filing my taxes tonight. (1,359 characters)

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AleSmith Old Numbskull - Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
94 out of 100 based on 89 ratings.