AleSmith Old Numbskull - AleSmith Brewing Company

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AleSmith Old NumbskullAleSmith Old Numbskull

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1,231 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,231
Reviews: 465
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 9.95%
Wants: 187
Gots: 305 | FT: 22
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: xlperro on 02-14-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,231 | Reviews: 465
Reviews by Floydster:
Photo of Floydster
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle with silver foil purchased from the Beverages and More in Torrance yesterday while on sale for about eleven dollars

Split with my dad last night as our New Year's Eve drink of choice, decided to hold onto the bottle of Surky Darkness a little longer for another special occasion

Poured into my Firestone pint glass with a deep amber brown color with a bright red tint when held up to the light, large 3/4 inch creamy off white head that stayed almost the whole time, great retention and lots of sticky lacing

Smell was complex but a little boozy and strong, some oak, vanilla, raisins, sweet caramel, cream, figs, cognac, and other dark fruit aromas, smelled something different each time it seemed like, all over the place

Taste was hot but not in a bad way necessarily, first few sips had some dry hoppiness but the beer became sweet once it warmed slightly, some toffee and sweet white zinfandel-like tastes shortly after, got some caramel and creamy accents following that, lots of malt in this one and not as much of a hop profile like I was expecting, by the end I could taste fig and a signifcant amount of chocolate, lots of sediment in the bottom of my glass once I started to reach the end, took me about an hour and a half to get through twelve ounces, great tasting beer overall

Body was really thick and looked sludgy, good level of carbonation, aftertaste stuck around for a long time and it was nice, both chewy and spicy, great mouthfeel

Could drink another bottle of this no problem but it is certainly a sipper, heavy stuff but not overwhelmingly filling, alcohol percentage is very high though which makes it drinkability lower than it would have

Great way to end 2007 with a bang, also wanted to drink this one soon as I will be trying the barrel aged version in the upcoming weeks most likely, even though I do not know how much better it could taste than this

Another fantastic beer from Alesmith, one of the better barleywines on the market, cannot wait to try this on tap, highly recommended regardless of its hefty price tag

Hello 2008 and another year of great beer drinking, definitely going to pull out some amazing beers from my cellar this coming year, hope everybody had an enjoyable holiday

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber color near brown with a white tight sticky head that is gone pretty quickly.deep vanilla aromas mixed with a generous hopped piney aroma intermingled nicely.Wow what a combination of sweet caramel and alcohol with a generous amount of grassy piney drying hop very balanced and indredibly flavorful barley wine big time winner here I wish I had more what a flavor combination with a big alcohol punch.A little harshness in the mouthfeel dept. kept it from being off the charts.

Photo of RoyalT
4.44/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Thick, dirty brown with a big-bubbled head that impressed for a 9+ ABV BW.

Smell – Even cold, this thing had da funk. The malts are sharp, winey, and sugary sweet and the hop balance is huge. The fruit aroma I would say includes dates, figs, prunes, and maybe some chewing tobacco.

Taste – Oh, is this sweet. The alcoholic juices explode on the palate. This is a tasty Barley Wine indeed.

It has a lot of deep, white grape wine flavors. These are mixed with monster alcohol-infused overly-ripe fruits. Again, the figs, dates, and prunes (maybe a bit of plum and apricot as well) are all very strong. You get the idea. The malt backbone is cleary overran by the fruits, but it is there and very noticeable.

Mouthfeel – Yes, this full-bodied BW has some good dryness at the end, which is a welcome sensation after getting your ass (or should I say tongue and tastebuds) whooped by this heavy-hitter.

Drinkability – I must share in LBB’s shame and take this one down myself. I don’t think I know anyone else in the immediate area who would like this thing, anyway. You have to be a huge beer/barley wine lover to keep a straight face while drinking this one down.

Comments – AleSmith does it again!

Photo of TCHopCraver
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes on 9-17-10. Props to zoso1967 and TCGoalie for bringing this brew to my mouth.

A: The color is a little strange... its murky, light brown, reddish orange hue reminds me a little of loose feces (not really in a bad way, though). Atop this curious looking body is a one finger, khaki head in my oversized wine glass. The carbonation bubbles are moving very slowly and the lacing is thick and swirly.

S: A very robust smell of musty caramel and brown sugar emanates from this numbskull. There is a slight citrus presence of orange zest along with some white pine coming from the hops. I also smell some thick, creamy butter. The biggest aroma in the batch is that malty, mustiness.

T: A musty caramel and brown sugar sweetness is tempered by a tingly pine hoppiness. The order of that taste on my palate is the brown sugar upfront, with the musty caramel taste in the middle, finished by the drying pine hop bitterness.

M: This numbskull MF has a very creamy, buttery, medium feel on my palate with a lovely, dry hop bitterness at the end.

D: I really could not detect the 11 % a.b.v. at all. This is very smooth drinking beer that is not exceptional, but was quite tasty and will be worth another try in the future.

Photo of MadScientist
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle is a little over a year old from date of purchase at this point with no brewed on date.

A: A medium copper with a ruby hue that has a moderate chill haze. The head is made of rocky, light tan bubbles, it doesn't get very tall and has a decent retention.

S: A rich malt aroma and faded citrus hops. The malt is strong and the hops are moderately-light. There is a light dark cherry and orange fruitiness with a moderate alcohol aroma. There is a light bit of spice from the yeast.

T: Sublime and dangerously smooth, the alcohol comes back and makes it's presents know after the sip with a warmth in the throat. There is a strong malt flavor with moderate caramel and moderate sweetness which is more than countered by a moderately-strong hops bitterness. There is a little bit of the citrus hops flavor left. Some fruitiness with a moderately-light red cherry flavor and orange. The balance is moderately bitter with a medium finish. The aftertaste is of slightly lingering hops bitterness that is a lot like a bitter orange rind.

M: Medium full bodied with moderate carbonation and a moderate creaminess. Moderate alcohol warmth.

O: This beer has nicely mellowed over the year and could be a little dangerous for as smooth as it is. The alcohol warmth is there but one could easily sip themselves into a stopper if the was served in a pint glass.

Photo of Dmann
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A very nice barleywine. It poured a slightly cloudy burnt orange color with almost no head at all. The color was very nice though when put up to the light. The beer gave off a very fig like smell mixed with slight alchohol tones. The flavor was one of great balance. At first the sweet malts hit me and the great silky mouthfeel mixed the alchohol flavors in well with the rest. There was a nice raisen and citrus flavor and it finished off nice and clean with a little bit of hops sneaking through. I wish I knew what year this was becasue it seemed like it had aged a bit and the hops were no longer there to balance out the rest of the flavors. A very solid offering and one worth trying.

Photo of 3HovsepiansBrews
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Burnt orange with a white head.
S - Citrus fruits, caramel, and alcohol.
T - Citrus, caramel, coffee, floral notes, alcohol, and a nice hop bitterness at the end.
M - Heavy body with medium carbonation.
O - A lot of flavor and aroma in this beer. Also, the pleasant mouthfeel makes this a really enjoyable beer to drink.

Photo of Beaver13
2.91/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle. Pours clear ruby amber with a big creamy off white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is toasted toffee malt, some sugary fruit and strong alcohol.

The flavor is sweet toffee malts with some fruit and a harsh ashy alcohol finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, OK barleywine, but too much over the top alcohol.

Photo of Jason
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 750 ml brown champagne bottle corked and capped with a vintage year of 2000 on the label.

Appearance: Lucid yet mildly chill hazed tawny sunset hue, bone coloured lace creeps up the side of the glass.

Smell: Faint solvent within a ripe figgy aroma, sweetness and spicy alcohol clash but in a good way.

Taste: Smooth with a mealy, thick and creamy. Mellow alcohol for its strength, alcohol has melded well with the malt, faded hops and ripe fruitiness. Fruitiness rages up front with the middle being juicy and full of malt sweetness, hops and alcohol draw a line for balance. Finish is more of a twang from the alcohol and a ghost like wet paper flavour.

Notes: A touch of age has hit the brew, it seems to be at its peak if not passing it so this holiday winter season of 2002/2003 is the time to pop the 2000. Impressive and a good go at the Barleywine style.

Photo of merlin48
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Label says this one is 10% abv. Served into a tulip glass, Numbskull pours a magnificent, clear ruby mahogany body with a perpetual, two centimeter beige head that coats the glass with chains of sticky lace.
Aroma is on the malty side, with toffee, molasses, and lots of dark fruits like figs and dates. A resinous note of spruce is also in the mix, as is a "slap you in the face" whiff of raw alcohol.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, with a medium low carbonation and a bite of alcohol.
Taste has a solid base of malt sweetness, featuring toffee, maple syrup, and caramel. Rum soaked dark currants and figs are also noted. Hops bitterness is slightly muted, but lends a note of fresh pine needles. Plenty of alcohol warmth is present throughout. Dark fruits become more assertive at room temperature, and the finish is simply a superb balance of all the components here.
This is a very well constructed barleywine that would benefit from some aging. Alcohol presence is a bit too pronounced, at this stage, to enjoy more than one of these at a sitting. Wish I had a few of these to lay down.

Photo of ElSid
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The Beers of California


Bottled Date: None

A: Deep mahogany with hues of burgundy with a finger of creamy off white head which dissipates to an island of bubbles and faint lace on the glass.

S: Smooth at first, almost hot cocoa-esque, with wood, wineyness, berries, and an earthy, bready base with hints of grass.

T: Wood, wineyness and tobacco which transitions to strawberry preserves. The malt is subtle but present and bready with a nice caramel thick sweetness. Then comes the bitter hop attack which is mostly earthy, leafy, and faintly citrus peel. The bitterness transitions to spice on the sides of the tongue and the finish is of warming alcohol.

M: Big and smooth with the perfect amount of carbonation and syrupy linger.

O: A solid Barleywine with good complexity and excellent feel. AleSmith produces well crafted brews and never seems to disappoint.

Photo of tigg924
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: minimal head, moderate carbonation, orange-brown in color, slightly cloudy

Smell: brown sugar, toasted malt, alcohol, hops

Taste: big caramel, toasted malt, brown sugar, alcohol, cinnamon, raisin, and a bit of hops--especially at the end

Mouthfeel: sweet with an alcoholic bite, minimal carbonation, slick, full bodied

Drinkability: One of the best and most complex barleywines I have had. The alcohol really hits you over the head here. I do like the caramel taste, but really just a wonderful beer. A sipper though.

Photo of badbeer
4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ruby red color with a creamy beige colored head with excellent retention and lacing. Smell is sweet, yet hoppy. Smooth pine and citrus notes perfectly balanced by sweet caramel and dark fruit aromas, I also get a little bit of sherry and some other vinous notes. Taste is sweet caramel and brown sugar with a beautiful array of hops joining in as well; finish is hoppy, but still plenty of sweet malt to it. Flavors are in perfect harmony, nothing overpowers anything else, instead they all work together. Full bodied, but not cloyingly sweet; carbonation is at about medium levels. Excellent beer.

Photo of Mora2000
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to slasher007 for sharing this bottle and thanks to kaiser81 for sending the bottle to him.

The beer pours a reddish-amber color with a medium-sized white head. The aroma is much hoppier than expected, with citrus hops, brown sugar and sweet malt. The flavor is more of the same. The beer tastes like oranges covered in a brown sugar glaze. The hop flavor is high but the bitterness is pretty low. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased during my SoCal beercation about nine months ago. Dark amber in color with a thin head. Smells sweet and of fruits and carmel. Taste is sweet with a majority of the flavor coming from piney hops and fruits. Mouthfeel is smooth and I can detect only some of the ABV so it is drinkable despite the 11%. I have had this fairly fresh before and I think it benefits from some time to mellow. Recommended & very reasonably priced.


Photo of amidabha
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

silver wrapper, not sure of the vintage.

a moderate pour into a dogfish head produced a minimal head and a fair amount of lacing and a wonderful deep ruby color. this has a subtle aroma after the pour but it is still slightly too cold to drink just yet, sweet but not overpowering. this opens up quite a bit after it gets closer to room temperature.

this has a spicy, sweet taste that rolls over my tongue with minimal bitterness. there is surprisingly little heat or thickness to the taste and mouthfeel. compared to many this leads me to believe i have an vintage that has aged at least a year but i can't be sure.

this falls in line with what i expect in a barleywine and am sure i will be drinking this one again within the next month.

Photo of magictrokini
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great beer. A little tricky to pour at first, was hard to keep the yeast in the bottom of the bottle. My fault, I was a little too excited to try this beer. Strong taste; alcoholic, with nice mix of flavor. Enjoyed this beer a lot. Will definitely buy again. I would like to age one for a year and see the difference.

Photo of Franziskaner
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Nice mahogany brown color with excellent clarity. There's a quarter inch head of light brown foam on top. Brussels lacing. Strangely on this barleywine I smell more of a piney hop aroma than malt. The taste has a strong pine hop edge but there's plenty of malt to back it up. Plenty of interplay between hops and malt going on. The mouth is somewhat sticky,but the drink ability for this barleywine is quite amazing. I notice hop aroma fades as it sits for awhile.

Photo of pat61
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%

Aged 18 months
Nose: caramel, toffee, plum, dark raisins, some biscuit and hop.
Pours deep hazy amber to chestnut with a clingy 1" light tan tinted foam cap that descends to a thick film but is easily roused. Has legs and is lacy.
Palate: Initial attack of rich malt flavors, dark caramel, a hint of dark chocolate, fruit, dark grapes, plum, prune, and then sherry to port flavor, alcohol, heat and a lingering sweet finish accented by hop bitterness.
Creamy chewy body with soft, medium carbonation.

Photo of MattyG85
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice. Bottled on 05/07/13.

Appearance: Pours a deep caramel amber orange with a moderate amount of bubbles. Huge four finger light tan head with decent retention. Leaves a lot of clingy lacing around the glass.

Smell: A pretty aggressive hop forward aroma with lots of earthy hints and a big caramel malt base. Upfront presence of earthy, floral, and herbal hops with big hints of grass. Piney hop hints and citrus hop hints of orange, grapefruit, and lemon. Also some apple fruit hints. Toasty malts with hints of caramel, toffee, biscuit, yeast, grains, and cracker. Sweet hints of molasses and brown sugar. Dark fruit hints of fig, raisin, and dates. Noticeable scent of booze as expected for the style. A very good aroma.

Taste: Like the big aroma suggests, a big mix of both hops and malt with good notes of earthy hops and caramel malt. Big notes of earthy and grassy hops along with some floral and herbal hop notes upfront. Dank pine resin hops. Also some notes of citrus grapefruit, orange, and lemon. Toasted malts with notes of sweet caramel, toffee, biscuit, grains, yeast, and crackers. Taste of apple cider lingers. Sweet taste of molasses and brown sugar notes. Dark fruit undertones of raisin, fig, and dates. Some alcohol taste is apparent. A really nice barleywine taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Nicely chewy with a fairly drying finish. Some alcohol is felt as expected but its not overly hot.

Overall: A really great take on the American Barley wine style. Big upfront earthy hop presence with a good balance of bready caramel malt.

Photo of GOBLIN
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not sure why anyone would sleep on Ale Smith. But if you do . . . don't. This is a delicious barleywine. Toffee, caramel and other subtle sweet flavors come together to make this more than another enjoyable sipper.

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

Cool looking barleywine, almost a rust color. Unique aroma, everything but the kitchen sink. Citrus, raisins, toffee, caramel, brown sugar.

Taste, deliciously smooth. Alesmith always pulls this shit, huge abv, no sign of it on the palate. Way to go. What I really liked about the mouthfeel here was that it wasn't an overly sweet or alcoholic barleywine. Worked well with the low carbonation. Resisted the urge to make this hoppy and bitter, which was a pretty good choice after having drank this. Malt was thick enough to cover the alcohol, but wasn't chewy or challenging, just complimentary.

Props to 'em for bringing this to the SDIBF '11.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amber orange tone with a decent sized cream head leaves behind some lacing. Aroma: English style toasted caramel malts slight toffee with an addition of citrus hops, can't help but notice the biscuit note that is in the malt profile interesting. Taste: Creamy alcohol infused bursts of toasted malts with that biscuit finish coming into play, what a great barley wine not excessively hoppy brings it back to the roots of a true barleywine I think I like this one. Mouthfeel: Big beer with a creamy texture to it I would classify it into the medium to full bodied range, what a brew from Alesmith. Drinkability: Easy drinking high abv could be a bad combo, but really effortless only had about a 7 ounce sample but boy did I enjoy.

Photo of chinchill
3.65/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at BrewDog's Aberdeen pub.
Ruby-copper body with a creamy tan head. Particularly good head for a barleywine.
Boozy feel but alcohol is partly hidden in the taste.
Medium-full body with near medium carbonation.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.45/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a chalice)

A- This beer pours a light brown body with a deep amber glow at the base of the beer. There is a yellowish tan head that is bubbly but last for a good bit of the beer as a thin film.

S- This beer has a faint musty quality to the sweet malt that has a light caramel quality to it. The smell of grassy pungent hops with a citrus nose that increases as the beer warms finishes it. There is a nice resiny note that comes through as the beer warms also.

T- The taste of caramel sweet malt has a dry malt note that follows with some honey notes aswell. The big dry pungent flavor of hops finishes this beer. There are big resin qualities to the hops that linger for a bit after each sip.

M-This beer has a medium light mouthfeel with a soft alcohol heat that increases to a whiskey burn in the second glass.

D- There is some nice complexity in the malt which is followed buy a big monster hop flavor. So although the hops are the biggest flavor the malt complexity really adds to this beer.

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AleSmith Old Numbskull from AleSmith Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,231 ratings.