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: 369
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
Ratings: 279 | Reviews: 82 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of FrndthDuvel
FrndthDuvel

California

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

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.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2009 04:15:02 | More by FrndthDuvel
Photo of abfraser
abfraser

California

4.08/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2009 03:16:16 | More by abfraser
Photo of waltonc
waltonc

Colorado

4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2009 15:19:39 | More by waltonc
Photo of OlieIPA
OlieIPA

California

4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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!

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2009 05:02:51 | More by OlieIPA
Photo of Mauerhan
Mauerhan

California

4.63/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2009 20:42:21 | More by Mauerhan
Photo of badbeer
badbeer

Iowa

4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 Version:

Reddish amber color with an off-white head. Smell is really sweet with lots of bourbon and butterscotch and some vanilla. Sweet caramel, quite a bit of booze in the taste, as well as oak and some bourbon flavors. High carbonation and medium body. Thanks to iowaherkeye for sharing a sample and to doubleo for giving me a bottle to share with some age on it. I'm looking forward to seeing how this ages and hopefully develops.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2009 03:51:43 | More by badbeer
Photo of weeare138
weeare138

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2008 20:20:21 | More by weeare138
Photo of HopHead84
HopHead84

California

4.68/5  rDev +8.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2008 05:56:42 | More by HopHead84
Photo of hopdog
hopdog

Pennsylvania

4.95/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml Bottle. Batch 1, bottle # 200 of 225.

Poured an amber color with a small off white head. The vanilla aroma and tastes really stands out. Vinous. Other aromas and tastes of wood, citrus, raisins, dried fruits, and alcohol.
Smooth body.

This beer was/is just way tooeasy to drink!

Notes from and tasted on 1/15/05

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2008 18:10:21 | More by hopdog
Photo of Floydster
Floydster

California

4.53/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, 2005 vintage, #50/223, originally purchased from at the release for twenty dollars with a two bottle limit, 900th review, taken from notes, poured into my Dogfish Head snifter

A-Color was a mix between a murky medium brown and deep copper, very small 1/8 inch bubbly light tan head that went away immediately, no retention, not a spec of lacing
S-Huge bourbon smell, caramel, vanilla, cream, oak, deep rich malts, hint of citrus, dark fruits, candied sugar, milk chocolate, toasted coconut, and
T-Starts off with a huge bourbon taste, only had put this in the fridge for about twenty minutes so it was practically room temperature after the first few sips, lots of malt make up the middle while the finish is warm and full of whiskey, tasted sweet like a dessert but not in a bad way, the smoothness allowed this to go down easier, not as fruity as the non-barrel aged version, oak and vanilla become prominent later on, by the end there is a nice mix between caramel and booze which actually balance each other out somehow, enjoyable to drink
M-Creamy, boozy, sticky, sweet, and spicy mouthfeel, medium bodied, not much carbonation, taste lingers for quite some time, best thing about is the thick feel even thought he body is not full
D-Tried to drink the whole bottle by myself and made it through three quarters of it, ABV is high and got the best of me after a while, not heavy on the stomach though, smooth as can be, nice warming feel on a cold night

Last of the barrel aged Alesmiths I needed to try and while this was not better than the Speedway, it beat out the Wee Heavy, this barleywine has really mellowed out, I wish I would not have traded my only other bottle, this stuff will most likely improve even more with age, I look forward to next batch being released in the future, cannot wait to drink again, highly recommended

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2008 17:03:42 | More by Floydster
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 SPLITGRIN
SPLITGRIN

Kentucky

4.43/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Carlos for this great brew.

2005 version.

Almost no head at all even with a vigorous pour, only a skim of light tan bubbles. Body is rich brown with some burgundy notes when held to light. Nose has a very nice oaky bourbon character with toffee and carmel malts. Big rich but mellow and smooth on first sip with huge bourbon notes. Carmalized malts give way to dark fruits that sour slightly on the back of the tongue. A dusting of mineral based spices coats the back of the tongue, as well creating a slightly thick mouthfeel. This is a big beer and the bourbon feel almost comes back to bite you as you drink more. About a 10oz. pour is plenty.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2008 21:04:43 | More by SPLITGRIN
Photo of ArrogantB
ArrogantB

Colorado

4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 bottle #45/208. Looks just like the regular version, orange with minimal head. It smells boozy, whiskey, etc. The taste immediately revealed the difference between this and the
regular Old Numbskull, booze. It was as if the barrel-aging was fighting the original character of the beer with vanilla and booze. The beautiful, bitter hoppiness I have tasted in numbskull was defeated by brute strength. This was a nice complex beer but I feel like the barrel-aging obscures some of the best aspects of an already terrific beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2008 03:59:56 | More by ArrogantB
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 Overlord
Overlord

California

4.35/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been saving this for a special occasion. Guess my 500th review (!!!) will have to do.

Pours a kind of ugly brown with a bit of foam and maybe some bubbling. Hmmm. Well, let's move on.

Nice aroma. I really enjoy Old Numbskull, and the overlay of Bourbon with caramel malt, a fig/prune/raisin (I can never tell the difference between those three ...) backing, and vanilla is very good.

The taste is robust and complex. There's definitely a shoeleather bourbon overlay, but unlike the BA Wee Heavy, the underlying Old Numbskull characteristic still shines through a bit ... though there's a heavy oak/bourbon backing. Vanilla, vanilla, vanilla.

This is a very good beer, but I can't say it's better than the base. In fact, it definitely isn't. I'd say the alcohol content is about 20%, so keep that in mind if you're planning on pounding a few before driving home from the boardwalk.

Serving type: bottle

06-07-2008 10:31:39 | More by Overlord
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 hoppymeal
hoppymeal

Michigan

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

2005, Bottle 127 of 223. Pours a murky brownish copper, zero head, completely still regardless of how aggressive it is poured. Aroma is a strong worn leather aroma, somewhat salty, some rich tobacco and sweet prunes mixed in as well. Alcohol is evident in the aroma as well. Taste shows some of the leather and salt notes but they are much more mild then in the aroma. Some decent sized bourbony bite following the leather and pruniness, a good amount of vanilla as well as a fairly strong drying woodiness before a bite and warmth of alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium, low carbonation keeps it thinner on the tongue, good amount of drying wood and biting alcohol in the finish. An outstanding barleywine, aroma is incredible, the taste is powered quite a bit from the barrel ageing and the alcohol is big as well though never too much. A very good beer, the barleywine characteristics meld perfectly with the barrel ageing in the aroma but are overwhelmed in the taste.

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2008 04:23:34 | More by hoppymeal
Photo of OStrungT
OStrungT

California

4.13/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle #131

This beer pours a golden brown color with a very tiny light tan head. The head fades very fast, leaving a slight lacing.

This beer smells of Borubon. I can smell a slight oakyness to is as well. It has a hint of vanilla also. It has a dark fruity aroma also. Some figs and raisins. It has a strong very sweet caramel aroma. A hint of pine is also present.

This beer tastes much like it smells. Bourbon is the dominate flavor. I taste a strong sweet caramel malty flavor as well. Some fig flavor is present. A slightly piney hop flavor is also detectable. A very slight vanilla flavor is also present.

This beer is very aggressive. It leaves a Bourbon like aftertaste. Thie beer has almost no carbonation at all.

This beer would be a bad session beer for a number of reasons. First, it is very aggressive, and would be hard to drink all night. Second, the alcohol content is too high to enjoy for many hours. Third, it costs $20 a bottle, and it would be hard to afford to drink it all night. Fourth, they only bottled 227 of these.

Overall: I liked this beer, as I knew I would. I think it was worth the $20. I hope AleSmith puts it out again.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2007 00:01:18 | More by OStrungT
Photo of CharlesDarwin
CharlesDarwin

Rhode Island

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

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. There’s 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 don’t find this a phenomenal improvement over the straight version.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2006 19:20:16 | More by CharlesDarwin
Photo of Callenak
Callenak

California

4.9/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2002 bottle.

Acquired this one in a trade a few months back and have been dying to try it. I cracked it open at a good friends birthday party this weekend, where we planned on drinking many great beers. We of course led off with the old numbskull to give it the freshest pallet.

Poured in an AleSmith tulip glass. Pours a surprisingly light auburn color with a great head. Not bad after 4 years of aging in the bottle plus probably another year or two in the barrel. The BA Speedway I had was a little light in carbonation and I was worried this would have the same trait. Not a chance. Perfect carbonation for the tongue and the style.

It smells great. Similar to the regular numbskull but with a hint of vanilla, oak, and bourbon. I've had a few other barley wines that have had 4+ years on them and they all tend to pick up a similar smell. Not oxidation, something I can never put my finger on. Either way, it's very enticing.

This beer knocked me off my feet. I wasn't sure how the years would be to it, but it stood strong. First taste is sweet. Something I don't remember being as strong in the regular numbskull. A mild alcohol warming to it but less than expected. The bourbon and oak wasn't as strong as I would have thought but still apparent. The BA speedway I had definitely kept a stronger bourbon presence that this did. Either way, this was perfectly balanced.

I tried to approach this beer as unbiased as possible, keeping my expectations low. I was completely blown away. I enjoyed it more than the BA Speedway. Already working on another trade to get a 2004 bottle. I would highly recommend this beer. Worth trading another prized possession to get one.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2006 17:40:27 | More by Callenak
Photo of scottoale
scottoale

California

4.75/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another AleSmith special release from the brewery on 9-1-06. 2004 Barrel-Aged, bottle # 89/227 hand written in silver on back of the standard "Old Numbskull" blue and grey silk-screened green champagne (flat bottom) bottle with crown cap and gold foil cover.

With an aggressive pour comes an auburn to dark mahogany brown ale with initial haziness and an ivory cream colored head of one fat finger. The carbonation is moderate with miniscule bubbles that keep the creamy froth head from settling to not less than 1/8", and leaves plenty of thick, tight lace, sticking to the glass. The haze (from the chill) clears, leaving the ale with good clarity for one with a big, heavy body.

Sweet and malty right up front that gets pushed even further with a big dose alcohol from the bourbon barrel...big time boozy aroma that drowns out the normally hop heavy scent you get from the traditional Old Numb-er. Just by the smell, I'm sure this stuff is a tad stronger than the listed 10.0%ABV of the non-B-Aged version. As it warms a bit more, the oak comes through and more alcohol right behind it...it really smells good to this old Barleywiner!

Starts off rather sweet and malty only to be pummeled by the essence of the vessel that it was aged in...bourbon soaked oak that melds into the malt that turns it velvety and just a bit chewy in viscosity. Toffee, caramel, black licorice, chocolate and a ripe fruitiness, backed by an alcoholic vapor that shields the once pungent hops to a mild tang, rather than a bitter finish. A nice warming follows each sip, with a pleasant boozy aftertaste that lingers...nice.

Big bodied, mellowed hop-monster that is not for the faint hearted...strong and tasty, it's aging to excellence.

A sipper indeed!

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2006 11:05:48 | More by scottoale
Photo of orbitalr0x
orbitalr0x

Illinois

4.33/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle# 184/240, sampled on 4/29/06. Pours from the 750ml bottle a nice deep copper amber with a tint of red and a small foamy cap. Looks very nice in the glass...luminescent. Aroma is sweet caramel with some fruitiness and toffee. Big woody barrel aromas envelope these scents with a touch of booziness. The wood really stands out, slightly overpowering the underlying aroma, but it's still a treat for the nose.

First sip brings deep caramel toffee flavors with dark, ripe fruity undertones. Rich maltiness and a tad nutty. Huge woody flavors race across the palate that are a bit astringent. Quite dry overall with a touch of vanilla. The underlying barleywine seems quite mellow at this age and the barrel flavors are running strong. Overall, this was quite an enjoyable brew.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied. Goes down with ease and not much alcohol burn at all. I'm really glad I had the opportunity to sample this bottle thanks to blitheringidiot, I doubt I'll ever lay eyes on another bottle again. I only wish Alesmith would expand their Barrel Aging a bit, so these bottles wouldn't be so damn hard to find. Worth a try if you can come across it!

Serving type: bottle

05-04-2006 03:09:04 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of Crosling
Crosling

Colorado

3.48/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 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.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2006 01:26:53 | More by Crosling
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 walleye
walleye

Michigan

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

thanks to BBB63 for this bottle #92. had this on 6/10 at kuhnhenns bash. poured a amber brown, with no head. aroma alcohol, caramel brown sugar and malts and dark fruits. flavor caramel, alcohol (bourbon), malts fruit, woody. this was very good wish I could get more.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2005 19:47:17 | More by walleye
AleSmith Old Numbskull - Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
96 out of 100 based on 279 ratings.