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AleSmith Old Numbskull - AleSmith Brewing Company

AleSmith Old NumbskullAleSmith Old Numbskull

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

891 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 891
Reviews: 436
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.44%

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: 891 | Reviews: 436 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of notchucknorris


4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Slightly haze reddish chestnut color with a thin off white head. The lace absolutely coats the glass. Insane.

S: Big and hoppy aroma with huge pine and floral notes. Grapefruit and orange zest, pine resin, caramel and a rich malt presence in the back.

T: Floral hops and pine held up by a big toasted bread malt backbone. Orange zest, toffee, and some sticky floral hop resin. Totally unlike any other barleywine I've had. And I like it.

Serving type: on-tap

10-07-2013 20:02:42 | More by notchucknorris
Photo of ffejherb


3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Regal Beagle in San Diego, CA on 6/28/11.

A - Auburn/burgundy-toned liquid with ruby highlights and a rocky cap of beige foam on top that reduced to form craggy patches of lace around the tulip.

S - Nose smells of dark fruit, particularly raisins and dried apricots, with a faint dose of alcohol. Subsequent whiffs revealed notes of cocoa, molasses and earthy hops. A hint of floral and perfumy notes developed in the backend as the liquid warmed up a bit.

T - Toffee, caramel and dark fruit, especially raisin, dominates the initial flavor of the barleywine and mingles with earthy hops and bitter molasses, giving Old Numbskull a mild herbal hop bite in the finish.

M - Medium bodied with a syrupy texture and bittersweet finish.

D - Straddles the line between English and American barleywine. Hop bitterness is fairly restrained overall. A very good barleywine, but not one of my favorites.

Serving type: on-tap

07-05-2011 23:05:19 | More by ffejherb
Photo of Retsinis


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

A: Served in a Chimay goblet, the beer pours a murky/cloud dark copper brown. A half to full inch of creamy foam head forms both a consistent ring, and layer of film on top. Great lacing.

S: I pick up on scents of sweet malted barley, sticky toffee, caramel, and some citrus hops for balancing. Smells pretty decadent though.

T: Caramel, rich toffee, sweet malted barley, and citrus hops that add the right bitterness. Great balance, and a nearly perfect mirror to the nose, so much so I find it difficult to add anything I haven’t already described, only that I could easily take large gulps of this, but know better not too.

M: Medium to light, and a light creamy quality.

O: Very nice stuff. Good represenatation of the style, and just in general, a good sipping beer. Alcohol is well hidden, and you get a slow nice warming while sipping. I can only imagine what the bourbon barrel would do to this, hoping to try that version some day.

On a side note, another good beer on tap at Instant Replay, $5 for a goblet of it, pretty great deal.

Serving type: on-tap

05-09-2011 23:09:39 | More by Retsinis
Photo of HopHead84


4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


God bless Alesmith's extended tasting room hours. On tap at Alesmith, Alesmith tasting room.

A: Appears a color at the crossroads of brown, red, and orange, with perfect transparency. The frothy head rises one inch above the liquid, leaving lingering bubbles and scattered lacing after the recession.

A: Aroma displays a monolithic hop profile with a mixture of pine and grapefruit. There's a firm bready malt foundation with light toffee notes and a touch of alcohol. Some earthy notes are evident as well.

S: Upper moderate bitterness with bold grapefruit rind and flesh notes, as well as pine and traces of orange. Malt provides some bread flavor in addition to light caramel notes. As the beer warms up the subtle malt sweetness comes through, constantly hounding the bitterness but never coming close to overtaking it. Alcohol is masterfully hidden for 11%. The finish is dry and bitter with lingering pine and grapefruit.

M: Upper medium body with moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is dry and sticky, with a low astringency and some warming in the finish that stays with you for a while.

Overall: Another awesome Alesmith beer that I overlook far too often. One of my favorite American Barleywines and really fantastic when fresh.

Serving type: on-tap

02-05-2011 02:00:46 | More by HopHead84
Photo of armock

New York

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

On-tap at the brewery

A - Poured a dark copper brownish color with a tan head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of citrus hops on a sweet malt backbone

T - Just like the smell citrus hops on top of sweet malt

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

D - This is a good hoppy Barleywine thats very enjoyable with its good taste its a little too easy to drink worth picking up to give it a try sometime

Serving type: on-tap

01-09-2011 23:36:24 | More by armock
Photo of womencantsail


4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Alesmith

A: The pour is a dark amber color, bordering on brown, with a fluffy off-white head.

S: A fresh citrus hop aroma, primarily grapefruit. In the background (and the essence of the beer) are great notes of brown sugar, toffee, caramel, and perhaps dark fruits.

T: The flavor opens up with great sweet malt, caramel, and toffee. This is followed by a grapefruit citrus flavor and a piney bitterness on the finish.

M: The body is definitely on the full side with a smooth and moderate level of carbonation.

D: I'm not always the biggest barleywine fan, but Alesmith has a proven winner with Old Numbskull. I especially enjoy it fresh, but with some age (or from a barrel) it's delicious as well.

Serving type: on-tap

03-29-2010 05:24:15 | More by womencantsail
Photo of snpub540


4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice mahogany color with a khaki colored head that left very clingy lacing the whole way down. Some nice ruby highlights that popped out when I held it to light.

Smell was very sweet with a hint to the alcohol content. Pine hop aroma in there as well.

Taste was very balanced and super smooth. Caramel malty sweetness up front with a resiny, pine hop bitter finish. Nice alcohol warming sensation.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied and smooth. Drinkability is amazing for such a high ABV beer. Alcohol flavor isn't harsh, pretty much non existent. I think its my new favorite barleywine!

Serving type: on-tap

02-02-2010 23:13:38 | More by snpub540
Photo of bulletrain76


3.9/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draught at The Red in Santa Cruz. Deep amber with a lasting, creamy head. Candied fruit and butterscotch aroma. The flavor is really malty with caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, and some berries. The alcohol flavor is clean and smooth, but present. Hops balance nicely and never distract too much from the rich malts. Very nicely balanced and drinkable overall, quite smooth and full, but missing excitement for me.

Serving type: on-tap

12-15-2009 04:57:06 | More by bulletrain76
Photo of paytoplay


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

Have had bottles before, all great. This note is from draft at the brewery from a super fresh batch. Hop bomb! Wow. Totally not what I expected. The beer was so fresh it was extremely green pine hoppy. Very interesting. Guessing bottles were still fermenting and carbinating from this batch it was so new. Very refreshing and super easy to drink 10% beer. Fun to try but I prefer bottles of this and with a year or more of age they get better and better

Serving type: on-tap

06-26-2009 01:17:20 | More by paytoplay
Photo of Halcyondays


4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours red/brown with a full orange-tinted head, heavy lacing down the glass, a bit of a soapy look in the head.

S: Rich fragrant English-style malt, treacly sweet, piney and floral hops.

T: The flavour is quite nice, seeming to be a hybrid of American and English styles. The malt flavour is great and complex, think early JW Lees - heavy caramel, notes of oak and vanilla. Once you think it's going one way, the hops set in showing its San Diego character. Certainly not as rough as you would find in an Old Crustacean or a Bigfoot, but they clearly make their presence known - rich grass and hay, cedar.

M: Smooth, silky, definite ethanol presence, but not boozy, full-bodied.

D: A real nice barleywine here that is not over the top with hops. I think this would age really nicely allowing the English-type malt to show it's stuff. Another winner from San Diego, an easy sipper, drinkablity as a beer is good, for a barleywine, it's fantastic.

Serving type: on-tap

05-10-2009 20:18:36 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of MiScusi


3.48/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Lucky Baldwin's Pasadena for their Strong Beer Fest.

Poured a nice dark orange color with an off-white thin head. Smell was a malt soup for me with some earthy hops thrown in. The taste was a soup of big sticky sweetness, alcohol, and then cleaned out with some earthy hops. I thought this was ok, but probably wouldn't get it again. I prefer the barleywine style that Bigfoot and Old Guardian hit. This was a little to soupy, syrupy for me, but wasn't undrinkable.

Serving type: on-tap

04-16-2008 14:52:53 | More by MiScusi
Photo of bennetj17


3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On-Tap @ Zachary's Pizza. Arrived at my table with a nice tan foam the dissipated slowly. The color is sort of a hazed mahogany. Nicely balanced smell of caramel, fruit, and hopps in the aroma.

The alcohol really blew me away in the flavor, and it was something I didn't detect in the smell. It's like sipping some kind of liquor to which I'm not accustomed to. The other flavors are quite nice however, with raisiny caramel malt, and moderately intense hops. The alcohol, while readily detectable, fortunately doesn't really burn as it goes down. In fact it really smooths the whole thing out keeping the mouthfeel from being very thick/heavy. The carbonation was very nice and subtle also.

I actually finished this glass with ease, although it might not be a good idea to have more than one. It's too strong for my tastes, and I think that's why I waited to try this on tap rather that drop 12 bucks fro 750ml of it. I would recommend trying it...

Serving type: on-tap

04-07-2007 18:19:26 | More by bennetj17
Photo of drewbage


3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on draft from the Stuffed Sandwich in San Gabriel

This is that mystical first glass of beer that you have after a beer tasting and you finally get to have a full glass of something!

Aroma is redolent of fruity malt. Almost like a berry malt topped with crumbled brown molasses brown sugar. After this initial impression a large piney resin ball comes pitching out of the glass and into your nose.

The beer as served was dark brown with no head and a shadowy haze hiding the grog monster who lives in the glass.

Flavor is presented first with a touch of sweetness that is quickly brutalized from the tongue by a burly pine hop flower flavor that lasts through to very last caramelly drop makes its way to your throat with a long lingering warmth of alcohol.

Serving type: on-tap

12-16-2003 23:49:45 | More by drewbage
Photo of seand


4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear dark amber with a small amount of tan head. Just some spotty surface film retains, leaving mild lacing.

S: Densely sweet honey, brown sugar, and malt, with notes of dark fruit.

T: Sweet and complex to start, leading into a striking hoppy note that dominates the finish.

M: Full body, medium carbonation.

Overall, excellent. It has a lot going on, and does a good job balancing and not making anything overwhelming.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2014 00:03:15 | More by seand
Photo of kdahnke123


3.71/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

1/23/14 Bottling poured into a snifter.
A - Pours a medium amber color with one finger of off-white head that lingers and becomes a long lasting lacing.
S - Very, very hoppy. Almost a piney smell.
T - Hops up front with a mildly malty finish.
M - Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O - More of a triple IPA than a barely wine. It needs quite a bit more malt to be the balanced barely wine I was expecting. This is my first Alesmith ale. Maybe they are all on the hoppy side...

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2014 21:57:13 | More by kdahnke123
Photo of oldmankoch


4.26/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an excellent hazy amber/red copper with nice 2 finger frothy khaki head that depletes to 1/4 inch and stays. Leaves Killer sticky lacing.

Smell is where this beer is lackluster (or I could just be getting a cold) either way the scents don't really smack you in the face. I pick up some base hops & malts plus mango, cinnamon, caramel, honeysuckle, and pine.

Taste is where I really appreciate this beer. It seems to be a blending of the best of both worlds. English meets American Barleywine. I feel there is a great balance between the two styles with the beer being hop forward and finishing with a great malty/caramel finish.

Mouthfeel is definitely medium bodied with nice carbonation and a slick oily chew.

Overall great and one of the top end Barleywines I've ever had

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2014 22:11:58 | More by oldmankoch
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2014 05:32:30 | More by Beaver13
Photo of BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

3.91/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another beer I managed to get my hands on and have a decent sized sample of during the Belgian Beer Board website Pre-Brugge Beer Festival bottle swap on 31st Jan 2014. Thank you whoever brought it.

My second ever Alesmith, I hope to meet some more one day.

Misty reddy brown with a light beige topping.

Dark fruits and caramel hit the nose initially, then more subtle notes arrive: light citrus hints and yeast esters mingle with the stronger said fruits and caramel malty molasses.

The taste is very similar to what your nose has told you: semi-sweet caramel, dark fruits with an underlying yeastiness with a citrus trace or two. Most enjoyable.

Rich and deep body with the alcohol just about kept in check.

Overall a very good brew and one I'd happily have again: maybe a bottle to myself next time.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2014 08:21:07 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of eduardolinhalis


4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle served in a snifter glass.

A: Pours a dark amber (almost chestnut) cloudy liquid forming a medium creamy, thin bubbled beige head. Medium retention and a lot of lingering and molasses lacings left in the glass

S: Delicious combination of caramel and sweet malts. Strong notes of wood and dark fruits. Citrus hops. Notes of orange, brown sugar and nuts. A bit booze in the end

T: Sweet upfront. Strong notes of caramel malts and dark dry fruits. Notes of oak, brown sugar and orange. Citrus hops. Good bitterness kick in the end. In overall, a mild sweet beer with a light but significant bitter end. Balanced

M: Heavy, creamy and molasses body. Medium to low carbonation. Bittersweet malty aftertaste

O: Good drinkability. AleSmith quality. One of the best Barleywines I've ever had. Very tasty but not extremely sweet. Molasses but balanced. Recommended

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2014 23:00:23 | More by eduardolinhalis
Photo of Boto


4.44/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle: Didn’t realize I had this for so long. 2003 bottle drank in Feb 2014. This one pours a dark caramel color. There was about no head on mine, nor was there any lacing. The aroma is very nice. Faint citrus hops, along with some caramel malts. No sweetness to speak of. Possible some honey and raisins in there, as well as some toffee and biscuit. The taste is excellent. A slight sweetness, as well as a definite silky texture. Some caramel, raisin, toffee. There is a lot going on here. Actually a faint dryness to the finish. A wonderful offering.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2014 22:28:17 | More by Boto
Photo of buzzardman


4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Aroma: Citrus, caramel malt, brown sugar.

Appearance: Poured from 750ml bottle. Big light tan head, body is reddish/dark copper and clear.

Flavor: Sweet caramel with a light hoppiness at finish. Clean aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy, slight bitterness and dry. A little sticky at end.

Overall: Good Barley wine, a little too sweet fresh, might be a little smoother with some age. Not a whole lot to the beer that makes it stand out but it is a very nice drinkable beer. $15 for 750ml bottle

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2014 20:52:40 | More by buzzardman
Photo of StonedTrippin


4.04/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

a very american barleywine ale, as determined by its aggressive piney hop profile that is just as prevalent in nose and taste as the malt here, which is what english barleywines usually showcase. more of a balanced offering, but a massive one. beautiful red copper glow to this, high gravity for sure, under a khaki head an inch tall and thick as tar. lots of hops on the nose, bitter, which counters the sweetness of the grain well, and it transitions right into the flavor. but grain bill no doubt, caramel sweetness and a dried fruit complex, but the hops wake you right up and this finishes real hoppy and bitter. like all the foiled alesmith brews, the alcohol is brilliantly well disguised and this drinks far lighter than it really is. a scary bottle to finish alone, but i would be happy to try. nice example of the highly hopped american barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2014 19:15:38 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of BierJager89


4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Red tinted brown with a light brown head, and beautiful.

S: Tons of orange in the nose with some alcohol.

T: Orange/mango, papaya, brown sugar, and some alcohol character, but more burn than flavor.

M: Close to full bodied, average carbonation, a bit harsh with alcohol.

O: A great (I'd say American-style) barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2014 22:02:05 | More by BierJager89
Photo of Mdog


3.98/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Red-amber with slight haze, good head, good lacing.

Smell: Hoppy citrus, not much malt detected.

Taste: Candy sweetness to start before a big kick of bitter citrus pith. As it warms up, a little more caramel comes through, but this seems more DIPA than barleywine.

Overall: Tasty stuff, but straddles the line between BW and DIPA. Even hoppy BW's like Bigfoot have substantial malt flavors when young, this one leans even harder on the hops. Not a big deal as I like both styles.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2014 21:16:03 | More by Mdog
Photo of jwhancher


4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bought a 750ml bottle at the brewery back in 2011 on a trip to San Diego. Aged this one in the cellar the last few years. Capped with foil presentation. Cold as heck in Philly right now after about an 8- inch snowstorm so figured the timing was right to open this one up.

Pours a hazy orange amber with nice lasting head. Lacing clings to the sides of the snifter I poured this into. Good solid carbonation evident.

Smells of orange marmalade, candied sugar, and sticky/chewy malt sweetness. Hops seem to have since faded but some lingering piney citrus seem evident in the background. No hot alcohols in the nose.

Tastes sweet upfront with nice firm bitterness that dries out most of the residual sugars before giving way to more sticky/chewy malts. Some dark fruits and light cocoa seem evident.

Feels full, thick and chewy. Exactly what I've come to expect from an American style barley wine. A few years seem to have mellowed out any potential harsh alcohol notes. 2-3 years seem about right to age this badboy.

Overall, another excellent beer from a brewery I truly admire and whose beers all seem to kick some ass.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2014 01:47:34 | More by jwhancher
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AleSmith Old Numbskull from AleSmith Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 891 ratings.