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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

299 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 299
Reviews: 82
rAvg: 4.32
pDev: 8.1%
Wants: 376
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: 299 | Reviews: 82 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of nickd717
4.45/5  rDev +3%

750ml bottle via trade, 2007 vintage.

Very nice appearance - deep clear reddish-brown in color with a one-finger light beige head leaving a thick bubbly ring.

The aroma is excellent. Sweet sticky caramel malt, maple syrup, and big woody -bals.

The flavor is great, unapologetic and complex. Somewhat sweet, but not too much so, with caramel, toffee, and maple syrup. Barrel aging is evident with a big woody presence and some sherry-like oxidative notes.

Fairly full-bodied with soft carbonation and slight syrupiness.

Really nice and interesting -bal aged beer. Great to finally tick this one. AleSmith once again does not disappoint.

nickd717, Nov 17, 2010
Photo of JAXSON
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.

Cheers,

Chad

JAXSON, Nov 09, 2010
Photo of CrellMoset
4.15/5  rDev -3.9%

Bottle # 53/449, 2007 vintage, courtesy of a very generous PA trader a few years back. I've been sitting on this one for a while, hoping to have it alongside the regular Old Numbskull (which I'd yet to try before a few minutes ago). Excited to track this one, it's poured in to a brandy snifter and enjoyed with some aged Edam.

Appearance: Pours a hazed, dirty sepia, far more bole than copper amber like the un-bal Old Numbskull. Streams of loose, free carbonation race upwards towards the head, itself a lightly tanned one-finger high, erratic, uneven, sort of what you'd expect from a barrel aged beer. An aggressive pour yields a half finger of dull tan head that fades remarkably quickly, though again perhaps about what one would expect from a -bal beer, and the remnants provide little surface dusting, a thin, half-crescent collar, and little to no lacing on the sides of the glass. It's about what I expected, I suppose, though it's not terribly inspiring.

Aroma: Dark toasty malts and sweet barrel sugars represent a nice, well-blended complexity that's sort of lower on the nose and less complex than the regular Old Numbskull but somehow manages to surpass it in terms of enjoyability if not complexity. This one's straightforward, showcasing a nice amount of barrel notes - vanilla, coconut, hints of raisins - and some nice bourbon that's definitely mellowed and subdued itself in the years its been sitting around in various and sundry cellars (mine and the BAs its come from before me). Faint astringent and tobacco-y hops round this one out, full-bodied and robust.

Taste: Sort of dull, compared to the non-bal version. Sipping them side by side, the -bal version is a little hollower, subtler perhaps, with a toastier mouth and less hop presence. The malts are dryer - toast, dark toffee, well-attenuated caramel, and very dark brown sugar compliment a few darker barrel notes (mostly coconut, slight vanilla, and dark barrel sugars), but none of that varied toffee, varied caramel, wholesome breadyness, etc. The hops are well-aged, just as they are in the non-bal version, slightly leafy, mildly astringent, like tobacco and leather intermingling with dark malts, well-blended alcohol, and dark fruity esters. There's a definite bourbon presence here, but it's blended in well with the toasty elements of the base beer here, with the fruit and base beer sugars sort of sinking in to the background ... though the spice does emerge slightly after letting this one warm to near room temperature. The fruit esters also lack a little bit here, with slight raisin and cherry overtones busting through the bourbon without much else coming to the surface. Just not as multidimensional as the non-bal version.

Mouthfeel: A little lighter, more carbonated, brighter than the non-bal version. I imagine that's probably because this one's been thinned a little by the spirit addition and the aging, though. After a little while it becomes more manageable in terms of lift, though it still has plenty of the attributes of the non-bal version.

Drinkability: I liked this one a little bit less than the non-bal version, truth be told. It just lacked a lot of the complexity and had a lot more unwanted spiciness and aggressiveness. Maybe this one would hold its own against the aforementioned when they were both aged differently (the aged Old Numbskull I had was an '07, as well), but nonetheless ... this one's simply lacking in a few places, with the bourbon (or the aging) covering up a few of the really nice notes that I got out of the non-bal version. Don't get me wrong - the -bal version is splendid, with the vanilla and coconut overtones amplifying some wonderful elements of this brew ... but it definitely leaves a few of the highlights untouched.

CrellMoset, Aug 15, 2010
Photo of cpetrone84
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.

cpetrone84, Aug 10, 2010
Photo of MasterSki
4.13/5  rDev -4.4%

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 22, 2010
Photo of rye726
4.58/5  rDev +6%

Vintage '05. Thanks Nick!

Another very nice barrel aged beer from Alesmith. Pours a rich mahogany with a thin tan head.

Nose has floral hops, peppery booze, fruity malts, caramel, whiskey, oak and vanilla.

Tast has more of a barrel presence than the aroma. Bourbon, wood and vanilla over a big American Barleywine.

Full creamy body a bit over carbonated, but still quite nice. Good beer, but would be better if aged in a wine barrel.

rye726, May 31, 2010
Photo of alcstradamus
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.

alcstradamus, Apr 26, 2010
Photo of DefenCorps
4.4/5  rDev +1.9%

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.

DefenCorps, Mar 24, 2010
Photo of John_M
4.38/5  rDev +1.4%

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.

John_M, Mar 24, 2010
Photo of rhinos00
4.47/5  rDev +3.5%

Very grateful for the opportunity to try this one. Thanks Shane! Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a Rochefort chalice. Split with Pecorasc. 2007 Vintage (Bottle #422/449)

A- Pours a dark maroon color with tan hues throughout. Semi-cloudy. Produced a fingers width of off-white head. Reduced to a thin ring throughout consumption. Probably should have been a lower than a 4.0, but this is such a good beer that I don't want the appearance to skew the ratings.

S- This was a 'tweener...wish there was a 4.75 button. Caramel and toffee upfront. The bourbon is there, but it has a very mellow, vanilla quality to it. Also a bit of wood. Think almonds soaked in bourbon. Some sweetness from candied malts is imparted into the aroma as well.

T- As soon as the beer hits the palate, caramel/coconut galore. Infused is bourbon, oak, vanilla, alcohol, and candied malts. Interesting to note that the bourbon was very mellow and well integrated. There was definite heat from the alcohol, but it was only felt in the chest, never in the taste. All the components were balanced nicely.

M- Medium bodied with good carbonation. Really like that there was some amount of residual stickiness...could have used a little more viscosity to put it over the top.

D- As stated above, for a BA beer, this pretty mellow. The only thing prohibiting me from consuming much more than I did was the gathering of alcohol heat in the chest. This is somewhere in between a slow and moderate sipper.

Overall, I've come to the conclusion that my favorite BA beers are english barleywines. I can't think of a better style of beer to match the bourbon characteristics. This is another great example to support my conclusion.

rhinos00, Jan 27, 2010
Photo of Pecorasc
4.6/5  rDev +6.5%

Vintage 2007, split with Rhinos00 and poured into a Leffe glass.

A- Appears brown, but shows a deep cherry red when held to light. Thin whisps of head that swirl from the beading and active carbonation. Khaki colored collar. Sediment floating throughout.

S- Sweet carmel and bourbon dominate. Very little barrel or oak flavor. Huge english malt base with some alcohol. Very smooth and refined.

T- Vanilla and coconut bourbon flavors, followed by intense matliness, including breads, nuts, and grains. Subtle english hops in the finish. So smooth it almost tastes like cream. No identifiable burn from the alcohol, but you know your close to the fire. No oxidation at all, even at 3 years. Every few sips I would detect a little roasted character- I'm not sure if I was even tasting that at all. Absolutely perfect.

M- Velvety smooth with texture from very small bubbles of carbonation. Clings to the palate and coats the lips.

D- Sips by sip, this doesn't drink all that slow, but the warming sensation gives the impression that this is only a couple glasses and done. Considering the 11%, nice drinkability.

Pecorasc, Jan 27, 2010
Photo of Lothore
4.53/5  rDev +4.9%

2007 113/449

A- Pours a deep ruddy brown color with a very small light brown head that fades quickly.

S- Absolutely amazing. Huge raisin and brown sugar notes, vanilla, bourbon, caramel.

T-Very decadent and rich. Lots of brown sugar, dark fruits with deep caramel and bourbon notes.

M- Thick with medium carbonation.

D- The taste doesn't quite deliver what the smell promises but non the less I think this vintage is drinking very well right now.

Lothore, Jan 07, 2010
Photo of pwoods
4.85/5  rDev +12.3%

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 gford217
4.43/5  rDev +2.5%

750mL bottle, 2004 vintage #75/240, courtesy of a very generous BA, poured into a snifter.

Pours a hazy amber brown with a surprisingly big cream-colored head that recedes slowly to a healthy collar and a little lacing. It shows some legs clinging to the sides after each sip.

The aroma is excellent and well-balanced. It's got the underlying BW character with the caramel malts, toffee and dark fruits coming out especially. It's balanced perfectly with the wood and whiskey which brings a bit of vanilla sweetness to the aroma. What sets it apart for me is the balance as the whiskey is not too overpowering.

The taste is just as good with the bourbon coming out a little more than in the aroma with the big sweet malts forming a solid backbone. I do think the flavors are a little more watered down than I expected and that's probably just the age.

The mouthfeel is slick with a low carbonation and medium bodied. It's probably thinned out a little bit over time honestly.

This is an excellent barleywine that was probably world class a year or two ago. The flavors have mellowed out a bit and it's extremely drinkable, but it's probably lost a little complexity and body. Still extremely good.

gford217, Oct 21, 2009
Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.2/5  rDev -2.8%

Wow! It is listed as an English Barleywine, really? This is about as far from an Englsh Barleywine as you can get. Again, Wow!

2007 vintage pours rosy deep copper with brown hues and micro thin off white head. The aroma is smooth oak moving to pine hops, vanilla, caramel and bourbon soaked oak. The taste is smooth goodness with pine hops mixing with vanilla and a mild amount of bourbon. The oak picks up toward midway and to the finish with increasing bourbon and a slight alcohol burn. Yum.

BigMcLargeHuge, Oct 07, 2009
Photo of seaoflament
4.28/5  rDev -0.9%

I finally found a nice occasion to open my last Barrel Aged Old Numbskull this past August. This one was shared at La Bella on 8-25-09 with Joey and Danny (hope you enjoyed this b-day beer, buddy!). A 2005 vintage, bottle #182/223.

Poured a reddish-caramel color with very little carbonation. Light orange highlights on the sides of the glass.

There was a light bourbon aroma upfront but quite tamed with time now, vanilla, caramel, and toffee follow close by. Very malty on the nose with deep toast and multi-grain bread. The bourbon has really toned down now and just becomes an integrated part of the aroma instead of dominating it when fresh.

Super complex malt bomb. Toasted bread upfront with caramel, toffee, chocolate, vanilla, oak, booze, and light bourbon in the finish. The aftertaste is long with hints of earthy noble hops. Lots of dates, raisins, prunes, and fruitiness when the beer opens up. Chocolate corn flakes come to mind as well with some more chocolate cake and smores. Just like in the aroma, the bourbon now hides in the background, creating another layer of complexity.

No carbonation to talk about, but I'm not complaining as it works very well for this beer, a sipping beer for sure. Syrupy and coating on the palate. Drinking the whole 750ml by myself might take a while but I wouldn't complain if I had to do it.

seaoflament, Sep 15, 2009
Photo of tpd975
4.75/5  rDev +10%

Big thanks to retorp for popping the cork on this one. 2007 vintage.

A: Pours a nice clear amber hue with a small head that never really manages to build. No real retention or lace.

S: Huge sweet malt aromas up front. Caramel and brown sugar dominate. The barrel then kicks in and you really pick up the oak, vanilla, and booze. Hints of piney hops hide beneath.

T: Tasty stuff! Roasted malt and toffee right at the start. Subtle piney notes do manage to make an appearence as well. The barrel takes over in the finish and like all Alesmith BA brews it really brings it to another level. Wonderful marriage of oak, vanilla, and booze seem to meld into the wonderful base beer to create something that is hard to put into words.

M: Rather full in body, rich, smooth, nearly flawless.

D: Sip, Savor, and Repeat until the bottle is empty.

tpd975, Jul 05, 2009
Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.93/5  rDev +14.1%

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 DIM
3.98/5  rDev -7.9%

2005 vintage, 71 of 223

a: This was a hazy and almost shiny mahogany color. It poured with almost no head.

s: Wow, beautiful nose on this one! Muted bourbon and vanilla aromas compliment oaky musty fruits like raisins and figs plus some toffee. There might be a little soy sauce lurking around the edges.

t: Falls a bit short of the smell, but not by a whole lot. Toffee and raisin flavors take a bit of a back seat to woody bourbon and vanilla. The finish is smoky wood.

m: Barrel aged b-wines don't need much carbonation, but this one didn't have any. Overall though, the lack of carbonation didn't lessen my enjoyment too much.

d: Thanks to the absurdly generous rallison for the chance to try this one. I enjoyed this more than the score would indicate I think.

DIM, Apr 01, 2009
Photo of srandycarter
4/5  rDev -7.4%

Number 166/449

A - Brown/ prune juice color, with red highlights. Small head, leaves completely. Low lacing.

S - People talk bourbon, but my first impression is brandy or sherry, wood, nice malt base. Hops are hard to discern.

T - Big boozy shot of brandy laced beer. Bitter is apparent at end.

M - Medium body, creamy texture, good carb, not incredibly balanced, but for this style, pretty good.

D - Nope. Too big, too thick, too strong.

srandycarter, Mar 08, 2009
Photo of FrndthDuvel
4.1/5  rDev -5.1%

Bottle number 438 of 445 2008 poured a pinkie sized off white head into a Duvel tulip. Head vanished quickly,leaving a ring to the end,no lacing or sheeting.
Smell is all about the bourbon barrel,some vanilla. Kind of thin feel in the mouth, not much carbonation,taste on the bourbon side with a hint of chocolate/Vanilla. The barrel is the highlight of this brew. Certainly not sessionable. Well not tonight anyway. Of course I have just came back from O'Brien's where it was all about Pliny The Younger>My Bloody Valentine>Cask Stone Sublimely. So this review may be tainted. lol But for a late night sipper to end the night it is working.

FrndthDuvel, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of abfraser
4.08/5  rDev -5.6%

A: Dark brown with lots of carbonation. Nice looking beer

S: Holy bourbon! I don't know how previous reviewers could call this even remotely subtle. Huge aromas of oak and vanilla. There's some caramel lurking in there, but this is all about the bourbon.

T/M: Same as the smell. On the positive end, this is really smooth and well balanced, which can be a problem with some beers with bourbon aging. Very delicious. My only knock is that I thought it was too one-dimensional. All I got was the bourbon flavors, which I thought dominated over pretty much everything else. That's not to say it wasn't quite tasty.

D: Definitely mellowed out the hops from the original version. This one goes down nicely despite its intensity.

abfraser, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of waltonc
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%

Garnet brown color with significant tan carbonation. Smells of bourbon, caramel, boozy dark fruits, and wood. Taste is more of the same. Not too hot, and the hops are totally mellowed out compared to fresh Numbskull. Medium bodied and medium carbonation. Really nice and much different from regular Numbskull.

waltonc, Jan 22, 2009
Photo of OlieIPA
4.35/5  rDev +0.7%

Thanks pehlman...you the MAN!!!

A: Poured a light-brown hue with a very carbonated look. Even though it settled in with little head, the lacing on my glass was amazing.

S: Very subtle...oak barrel with a little bit of alcoholic back.

T: A strong barrel-age quality along with hints of malt sweetness. The flavor isn't as diverse as I anticipated, with the barrel-aging flavor taking the lead.

M: Full-body with a gentle amount of carbonation

D: Alcohol is present, but not overwhelming at all...especially for a barley wine! Smooth taste along with a complimentary oak character make for a great combination.

Overall: One of the best barleywines that I have enjoyed. Seek out! A must try....cheers!

OlieIPA, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of Mauerhan
4.63/5  rDev +7.2%

first off a HUGE thanks to pehlman for cracking this. also nice to enjoy this with aimstatus and the very sexy olieipa.

pour is beautiful. a rich deep brownish red. a small amount of lacing. a small layer of head.

smell is great. the oak is the star of the show. with a supporting role of malts vanilla caramel with a cameo of booze.

taste...yum. nothing else describes it. sweet. woody notes. very smooth ride. sweet malts take my tastebuds for a ride.

mouth is rediculously smooth. alcohol is hidden like a fucking ninja. awesome brew.

if I had the chance to I would crack this bad boy as much as possible. its a great beer.

Mauerhan, Jan 07, 2009
AleSmith Old Numbskull - Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 299 ratings.