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AleSmith Old Numbskull - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Old NumbskullAleSmith Old Numbskull

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

1,057 Ratings
THE BROS
89
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,057
Reviews: 445
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 178
Gots: 278 | FT: 19
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: xlperro on 02-14-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,057 | Reviews: 445 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by hyuga:
Photo of hyuga
4.88/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is the 2002 vintage. There's no date on the bottle, which is a 750 ml green champagne-style bottle with the Old Numbskull logo in blue and a silver foil around the top. No cork. Poured into my glass, it's a dark brown brew with a reddish hue, topped by a small tannish head. The head goes down before too long to a modest lace clinging to the edges of the glass. I have to say this is the most unique barleywine I've ever smelled. Not only am I getting the expected caramel malt, English hops and citrus character (the brewer is said to have used a mix of American and English-style barleywine brewing techniques), and spicy alcohol, I'm getting some tart apple and apricot as well. The flavors are just as complex. At the front, some "English" hop bitterness sets the stage, and then a smooth wave of caramel malt takes over. The malt is slightly bready and yeasty as well. A bit of fruitiness is present, some fig and plum as well as a bit of the tart apple that was present in the nose. Very "Belgian." A hint of "American" citrus is detectable. Leafy/plum skin hop bitterness in the aftertaste, very pleasant. Extremely smooth mouthfeel. Surprisingly lighter bodied than most barleywines, but very complex and enjoyable. Very interesting and unique take on the style. It's like Belgium meets America meets England. I highly recommend trying this one.

hyuga, Sep 05, 2003
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

oberon, Dec 19, 2005
Photo of RoyalT
4.45/5  rDev +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!

RoyalT, Jun 29, 2004
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.

TCHopCraver, Oct 05, 2010
Photo of MadScientist
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

MadScientist, Jan 02, 2013
Photo of Dmann
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

Dmann, Nov 30, 2005
Photo of bulldogg915
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

bulldogg915, Sep 17, 2014
Photo of DaftPatrick
3.5/5  rDev -15%

DaftPatrick, Mar 24, 2014
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.

3HovsepiansBrews, Jan 14, 2012
Photo of Beaver13
2.88/5  rDev -30.1%
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.

Beaver13, Feb 27, 2014
Photo of megamass
4/5  rDev -2.9%

megamass, May 18, 2013
Photo of Jason
3.95/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

Jason, Nov 07, 2002
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.

merlin48, Jan 02, 2005
Photo of ElSid
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The Beers of California

#44

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.

ElSid, Jan 09, 2013
Photo of tigg924
3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

tigg924, Mar 20, 2010
Photo of aquazr1
4/5  rDev -2.9%

aquazr1, Jul 19, 2014
Photo of badbeer
4.7/5  rDev +14.1%
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.

badbeer, Dec 27, 2008
Photo of Mora2000
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Mora2000, Apr 02, 2010
Photo of BrandonDZ
3.75/5  rDev -9%

BrandonDZ, Aug 19, 2013
Photo of GarrettB714
5/5  rDev +21.4%

GarrettB714, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of SkinnyElvis
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Cheers.

SkinnyElvis, Mar 16, 2008
Photo of 1Adam12
4/5  rDev -2.9%

1Adam12, Feb 11, 2012
Photo of SudsSurfer
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

SudsSurfer, Nov 18, 2013
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.

amidabha, Sep 29, 2011
Photo of Altenor
3.75/5  rDev -9%

Altenor, Jun 28, 2013
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AleSmith Old Numbskull from AleSmith Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,057 ratings.