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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: 384
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 Pecorasc
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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. (1,114 characters)

Photo of Lothore
4.54/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

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. (452 characters)

Photo of pwoods
4.84/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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. (544 characters)

Photo of gford217
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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. (1,202 characters)

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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. (495 characters)

Photo of seaoflament
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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. (1,346 characters)

Photo of tpd975
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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. (840 characters)

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.92/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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. (739 characters)

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

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. (770 characters)

Photo of srandycarter
4.02/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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. (443 characters)

Photo of FrndthDuvel
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
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. (648 characters)

Photo of abfraser
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
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. (726 characters)

Photo of waltonc
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
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. (309 characters)

Photo of OlieIPA
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
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! (709 characters)

Photo of Mauerhan
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
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. (631 characters)

Photo of badbeer
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
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. (440 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 hopdog
4.94/5  rDev +15.4%
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 (323 characters)

Photo of Floydster
4.54/5  rDev +6.1%
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 (1,857 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 SPLITGRIN
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
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. (658 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev -6.5%
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. (529 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 Overlord
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
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. (885 characters)

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