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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

1,068 Ratings
THE BROS
89
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,068
Reviews: 445
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 181
Gots: 279 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of AleSmith Old Numbskull Alström Bros
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Ratings: 1,068 | Reviews: 445 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A superior barleywine. Well carbonated, tasty orange and some roast, and lovely dark colour. Fruit was apricot peach, and honey on the tongue, well malted, and mollasses. Booziness in finish. 2000 vintage. Bottle dark for aging. Full mouthfeel. Thanks Don

Sammy, Feb 20, 2005
Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -2.9%

t0rin0, Aug 12, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky dark amber with a 2 inch foamy orange-white head that settles to a small cap. Random chunks of lace stick to the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, and lots of citrus fruits and citrus zest. Taste is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, citrus fruit, citrus juice, and citrus zest. A mild bittersweet flavor lingers on the palate after each sip. This beer has a medium body and is smooth on the drink down. Overall, this is a very good barleywine with a nice balance between sweet and bitter.

UCLABrewN84, Oct 31, 2011
Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

spycow, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -2.9%

djrn2, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -2.9%

zestar, May 05, 2014
Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Reddish copper with some nice head and lacing.

S: Somewhat hoppy and a decent amount of malty sweetness. Some dark fruits and sherry notes as well.

T: Malty sweetness and some mild earthiness alongside some pine and citrus hops.

M: A little hot, but overall not too bad. It's medium bodied and could definitely use some aging.

D: A nice sipper that improves a lot as it warms up, but still a little too much alcohol.

Thorpe429, Oct 01, 2009
Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -9%

acurtis, Feb 10, 2013
Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -2.9%

nmann08, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of metter98
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is hazy amber brown in color. It poured with a thin off white head that died down and left a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of caramel malts and citrusy hops in the nose. The citrus becomes more dominant as the beer warms up.
T: The taste has flavors of caramel malts and citrusy hops along with some notes of alcohol.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little thick on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation along with a little crispness from the hops.
O: This beer is quite hoppy, quite unlike other beers in the style. I think this would be a barleywine that would be enjoyed by hopheads because it tastes like a hybrid between a barleywine and an imperial IPA.

metter98, Oct 29, 2012
Photo of Texasfan549
3.75/5  rDev -9%

Texasfan549, Dec 29, 2012
Photo of brentk56
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a hazy rust colored body with a beige head that declines to a ringlet but does leave some lacing behind

Smell: Surprisingly hoppy for a barleywine (but knowing the source, not too big a surprise), I pick up some fusel alcohol, a touch of caramel, and loads of piney hops

Taste: Swirling it around my mouth, I get a full taste of nuts and caramel; aftern the swallow, a number of fruits make an appearance - peaches, orange pith and a bit of coconut; only later do the hops make their presence felt, and the piney/pithy hops do it with a vengeance although a touch of sweetness remains in the finish on the tip of the tongue

Mouthfeel: Medium/thick bodied with relatively low carbonation

Drinkability: Having been to the AleSmith brewery, I understand why they bottle in 750 ML bottles; however, that is a barleywine to consume and I wish more brewers would bottle their high gravity beers in 12 oz. bottles

brentk56, Apr 16, 2006
Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -2.9%

kjkinsey, Dec 22, 2012
Photo of BEERchitect
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Now that's a true American Barley Wine! Big on everything; from hops, to barley, to alcohol, to richness. Full of flavor and intimitating from beginning to end. Big barley, bready, hoppy aromas stare down over a dense, ruby colored brew. Leaving good head retention and lacing, evidence of great proteins. Overwhelming flavors of barley malt, taking on molassas and brown sugar proportions. Intense hop flavor casts a piney, citrus shadow on on the malt base. Well aged and melded into a bitter, earthy, malt sweetened beverage. Alcohols take on caugh syrup intensity and reach a light solvent evaporative sensation. Though thick and heavy on the palate, the beer finishes a balanced sweet / bitter ratio. As great as it is, I often have problems assigning very high marks to the extremely-hopped Barley Wines. Alcohols strength also keeps me from scoring higher.

BEERchitect, May 18, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glowing tangerine-vermilion with diamond-like clarity. Old Numbskull is an absolutely stunning color when backlit with late afternoon sunshine. The pale orange-ecru cap is an impressive three fingers in size despite the double digit ABV, and is wonderfully sticky in the bargain. Even without all the thick, soon to be crusty lace, this would be a fantastic looking beer.

The nose is composed of caramel malt, orange liqueur, cherries and white rum. It's immensely powerful without necessarily relying on alcohol to make it so. Although my bottle isn't vintage dated, I'm pretty sure it's from 2005. That's plenty of time for things to have come together into a neat and tidy, fruity, boozy bundle.

I questioned the English barleywine classification prior to opening the bottle and I still question it after drinking several ounces. Reading AleSmith's website (where they use phrases such as 'a West Coast style barleywine' and 'domestic hops') and listening to my palate, I think this is an American barleywine without a doubt.

The dominant flavors are the same as the dominant aromas. Stickysweet caramel and orange oil are still in the spotlight. It's a shame there isn't more resinous hoppiness, but I guess that's to be expected after almost two years in the bottle. I hereby resolve to drink my barleywines fresh rather than aged from now on.

The reason I like Old Numbskull rather than love it is because of the still too-prominent alcohol. More hop bitterness would have masked it more completely; yet another reason to load up on the humulus lupulus. If you like your American barleywines to be on the sweet side, and like them tongue numbingly boozy as well, then this is the beer for you. It pains me to say it, but I expected a little more from one of my favorite breweries.

I've had bigger, stickier, chewier mouthfeels. However, this one is more than adequate for the task at hand. Increasing both malt and hops by at least 50% would have improved this big ale in any number of ways. I feel like I've been taking small sips, but I'd better slow down even more because my skull is beginning to feel numb.

As noted, AleSmith is one of my favorite American craft breweries and is a permanent fixture in my top-10. As a result, my expectations for Old Numbskull were stratospheric. In the final reckoning, it isn't one of my favorite barleywines, but it's still good beer and should warm me nicely well into the night. I'm guessing that I'll sleep like a baby too.

BuckeyeNation, Mar 09, 2007
Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle (Courtesy of Hogtownharry): Poured a clear medium brown color ale with a small foamy brown head with minimal retention. Aroma of sweet caramel malt is dominating without being too sweet though. Some floral hops are discernable but nothing overwhelming. Taste is also dominated by sweet malt but I can’t find any complexity of dry fruits characteristics that I usually enjoy. Some hops provide a slightly bitter finish but nothing to overshadow the rest of the beer. Body is defiantly too thin and watery for my liking and alcohol is well hidden. Even do I usually enjoy English style barleywine, I cannot say that I was overly impressed by this one.

Phyl21ca, May 23, 2006
Photo of GRG1313
3.5/5  rDev -15%

GRG1313, Dec 13, 2013
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -15%

ygtbsm94, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a chance to crack open this 2007 bottle the other night for a decent nightcap, well a little more the decent we will say. Served in a goblet at cellar temperature. This one was consumed on 09/06/2008.

The look was very nice with a rich and very cloudy amber color being evident straight away. Lots of carbonation be seen streaming up to the top of the glass at first and this was converging into a nice one inch high head of white foam that did its best to hang out as long as possible. Some nice web like side glass lacing was also fairly evident.

The aroma was very hoppy, much more then I thought it would be to be honest. Nice notes of a very floral and pine like hoppiness that seemed to just build with time. Nice bready and bisuit like middle was dashed with some light fruits and a decent overall touch of grain. The flavor was more of the same, definitley a hoppy barleywine for sure with a good healthy dose of piney hops that dominated most of the profile. A good touch of bisuit in the middle and an almost grape tasting after taste doninated. Nice blending out of the alcohol, though this was still a beast, especially to finish on my own. A rich, feel, chewy with a medium body that was very coating and quite nice.

Overall I thought this was solid, though I liked the BA Version much better, but can you really blame me! I would defintly get this one again though as it was very well done and a very solid beer overall.

mikesgroove, Sep 09, 2008
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.

womencantsail, Mar 29, 2010
Photo of Knapp85
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a brownish amber color. The head is nice then it settles into a bubbly white film of the beer leaving some decent lacing. The smell is hoppy and malty, but there are way mote hops on the nose for sure. The taste is a little citrusy sweet with a good malty finsh. The hops really kick ass on this brew. The mouthfeel is smooth and yet has a great bitter quality. Overall it's a barley for the head head I think. Pretty Impressive brew it think.

Knapp85, Jun 09, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear, mahogany-hued body with a small, though creamy-looking, off-white head.

Smell: Sweet-smelling, sugary pine resin scent followed by dried orange peel and then a bright aroma of tropical fruit medley. Some notes of brown sugar sprinkled on toast as it warms a bit.

Taste: Sweet caramel maltiness with a hot, clean booziness on its tail. A touch of pine. A taste of brown sugar blended with simple syrup and a variety of fruit juices. Strong, earthy hop bitterness, though it allows the malts to do most of the work. Everpresent, underlying yeastiness. Bittersweet, warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Slightly above medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A delightful barleywine fresh (you certainly can't say that about all of them) and one that I suspect ages quite wonderfully.

ChainGangGuy, May 27, 2008
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4/5  rDev -2.9%

westcoastbeerlvr, Nov 14, 2011
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 SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%

SocalKicks, May 03, 2013
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AleSmith Old Numbskull from AleSmith Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,068 ratings.