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AleSmith Old Numbskull | AleSmith Brewing Company

490 Reviews
For Trade:
AleSmith Old NumbskullAleSmith Old Numbskull

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by xlperro on 02-14-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 490 | Ratings: 1,373
Photo of andrenaline
4.24/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled Sept. 2013, this one has been aging for some time. Pours a nice ruby colour, finger of head with little retention or lacing. Loads of caramel and toffee malts, hints of earthy hops. Surprising hope presence with earthy cedar and hints of spruce tips, loads of toffee and caramel, dark fruit notes and a lingering bitterness. Smooth with a touch of dryness. The ABV is non-existent making it insanely drinkable and dangerous. I will definitely try to procure more of this.

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Photo of Cannibalgasm
4.16/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle.

A: Pours a deep ruby amber color with an inch and a half of frothy off-white head. Retention is solid and leaves behind some nice lacing.

S: Strong aromas of caramelized malts and earthy hops up front. Then notes of brown sugar, toffee, dark fruits, nuts, vanilla, and fig. There is a lot of pleasant aromas colliding at once.

T: Sweet toasted malts, barley, caramel, and brown sugar up front. In the middle you find notes of dark fruits, fig, honey, toffee, nuts, and vanilla. Finishes with some nice earthy hops and pleasant level of noticeable alcohol to really balance the brew.

M: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Slick and smooth with a nice alcohol warmth and perfect level of astringency to balance the sweetness of the malts.

O: A very well balanced and delicious barleywine. I really find myself enjoying this one and wishing I had more to continue drinking it. Another thought is that this would probably age incredibly well. I will be picking up a couple more to decide what to do with and would recommend any fan of barleywines to give this one a shot.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.38/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Old Numbskull pours a hazy dark copper color with a big, lacing long lasting head. There is a very earthy aroma with hints of hops and oak. Big earthy flavors, big hop notes, some oak to finish. Nice body, strong flavors. Overall its very strong and sharp, earthy notes are a bit over powering, but still a decent beer.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a copper body with one finger head and left lace patches. Bitter, earthy hops dominant aroma that I have not experienced in a barleywine although there are some toffee and bread notes as well. Caramel and toffee sweetness, along with hints of figs, plays a supporting role to a leading citric/bitter hopped flavor profile. Medium to heavy bodied and a slow sipper, this is indeed a hopped up barleywine that packs a hop wallop and still gives off (limited) sweet and boozy notes. I liked this beer and enjoyed taking my time with it (the hops and booze perk up as beer warms) but I'm not completely sold on "hop bomb barleywines" (just my personal preference).

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Photo of beermeplz
4.55/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Easily one of my favorite non-BA barleywines. Wonderful, sweet bread aroma that carries over into the flavor. Rich and sticky but not cloying, with some pleasant bitterness on the back end...definitely a sipper. A great go-to for a high-quality barleywine that's complex enough to keep you coming back for more.

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Photo of chinchill
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

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Photo of drpimento
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I don't get everything it says on the bottle. However, the appearance is very good with nice frothy, long lasting, cream-colored head, plenty of lace, a a very clear honey amber color. Aroma is fresh hops, malt, caramel. Flavor gets more interesting while being similar to nose, brings some fruit, a see saw of sweetness and bitterness that is very long, but then has resin solvent flavor at the very end along with a wee bit of alcohol. Body is good but is interfered with the weird solvent/bitter. Overall a powerhouse that I think would be better as it gets warmer.

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Photo of SawDog505
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a 16 snifter bottled 5/27/14. Pours a dark auburn, with a 3 inch off white head that leaves behind plenty of lace, as it slowly settles. Excellent retention.

Smell is loads of brown sugar, caramel, toffee, piny hops, vanilla, and some dark fruit.

Taste follows very well with burnt caramel, toffee, brown sugar, with a piny and dark fruit finish, very nice and very aggressive, but balanced.

Body is medium large, plenty of life, on the dry side, and a sipper that drinks pretty easy for what it is.

Overall a world class American Barleywine that makes you want to sip faster than you should.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Beautiful rustic ice-tea pour produces a dark, beige foam topping, 2 fingers strong. Slow creep of micro-gold beads crawl up the glass walls. Nice thick milky lacing, full coverage on the vessel. Monster head on the second pour, freshly baked bread topping with tons of residual sugars and malts clinging to the glass walls.

S: Nose is sweet toffee, brown sugar, and fresh, wet citrus with a hint of fresh lime. Bit of fresh, wet apple-pear fruitiness sneaks in.

T: Flavor is sweetly toasted vienna and honey malt laced with a citrusy alcohol background. Wet citrus hopping, semi-dry lemon with some stalky grape nut notes. Sweet and worty, dark fruit of plum and figs, dark crystal raisiny character with some apple-plum yeastiness. Warming alcohol, soothing, never overtakes, with a bready-citrus finish.

M: Syrupy mouthful, full bodied, some carbonation texture that turns chewy.

O: Overall sweet, syrupy, sticky with warming citrus-alcohol notes. Strong visual and aroma, solid flavor and a great sipper ovet the long haul that reveals layers of spectrum over warming.

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Photo of GOBLIN
4/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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Photo of founddrama
4.85/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Velvety smooth. A little boozy but dangerously drinkable. Sparkles a bit on the tongue. Sweetness present but not *sweet*.

Good comparison here is Old Horizontal. Both make Ridge Runner look like a Pabst.


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Photo of stephens101
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Burgundy in color with a bubbly, fluffy tan froth. A prominent caramel malt aroma is followed by notes of gum and cherry. Tastes of caramel, cherry, alcohol, taffy, spice and pine. Becomes slightly phenolic as it warms. Heavy and creamy. The alcohol heat lingers at the back of the throat.

Hot as hell and sweet as pie makes for very fine drinking.

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Photo of MadCat
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: A reddish amber color with a short white head that leaves good lacing

Smell: Strong caramel malts and fig, some earthy and spicy hops

Taste: Fruity, caramel malts, light earthy and spicy hops

Feel: Full body, low carbonation

Overall: A pretty good barleywine, though it probably isn't something I would hunt for

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Photo of hansavijaticar
4.77/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

8 months old bottle. Beautiful clear copper colour. Caramel, hazelnuts and a bit of peppery hops on the nose, same flavours, but surprisingly bitter finish. No alcohol in smell and taste. Love it, one of the best beers I've tasted.

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Photo of barczar
4.01/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nice dark fruit notes, with deeply caramelized toffee character in aroma.

Flavor is a bit lackluster, in comparison. Sweet, with a big bitterness at the finish.

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Photo of KYGunner
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Despite a relatively weak body the head was an immensely dense for that left a thick film on the glass. The nose is a bit weak and boozy but I do get a lot of malt base.

The flavors are strong and diverse with mostly malty tastes. I get chocolate and caramel malt but not the sweet variety. I also get fig and dark fruit, molasses, brown sugar, maple, tea leaf, barley and grainy malt. It's a bit thin but the 11% is completely hidden.

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Photo of Radome
4.46/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a goblet.

L - Color is deep copper verging on brown, with red highlights. It is clear when held up to the light. Head is light tan in color and is made of teeny tiny bubbles. Starts as a thick, creamy layer and drops to a semi-opaque layer on top of the beer. Solid, unmoving lace is left on the glass.

S - Aromas are very malty, reminiscent of graham crackers, gingerbread, molasses and sherry. There is an erarthy and spicy hops aroma, but well in the background.

T - Strong malt flavors of graham crackers, light roast, brown sugar, molasses and aged sherry. There is some earthy/spicy hops flavor, but it is muted against all the malt flavor. Clean despite the aged sherry character. Complex.

F - There is a medium to high hops bitternes. Low carbonation. Medium to thick body. Strong alcohol burn. All well-fitted to the style.

O - I find this to be on the bitter side and also to have an excessive aged sherry character, but it is still complex and enjoyable.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%

Silver foil capped 750mL bottle from Halftime Beverage. 2012 vintage. Served in a Barrel and Barley teku.

Pours chestnut with orange hued highlights and a two finger cap of dense, pale head. Retention is nice with a thin halo and a huge, lingering island of froth. Lots of splotchy lace.

Malty aromas of cereal, caramel, bread, earthy hops and faint toffee.

Flavors are earthy, sweet and boozey. Lots of grain character. Cereal, caramel malts and an alcohol flavor without the burn. Piney, resinous, herbal hop bitterness. A great mixture of big, sweet malts with earthy hops and an appropriate nip of booze.

Sticky, oily, medium feel with mild yet present carbonation. Resin, cereal and burnt caramel finish.

Two year aged Old Numbskull is tasty for sure but I recall fresh being a touch better for its more vibrant hop character. Time trades the fresher hops and hotter booze for smooth edges, fuller feel and more sweetness. All in all you can't go wrong either way. This is an excellent American barleywine.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.54/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2014 bottle. I can't believe I've never reviewed this.

Appearance - Deep amber body. Medium off-white head. Thin collar.

Smell - Citrus. Nutty barleywine malts. Caramel.

Taste - Sweet caramel. Nutty and toasty malt. Aggressively hopped. Culminates to quite a strong hoppy flavor. Grapefruit bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Well carbonated. Medium heavy.

Overall - It's hoppy, which I know everyone doesn't love, but this is very nice.

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Photo of jellikit
3.25/5  rDev -21.5%

Appearance: Amber. Clear. Lots of bubbles rising to a thick tan head.
Smell: Christmas tree.
Taste: golden raisin, molasses, booze. Fusel Booze, and citric hops.
Mouthfeel: medium high carbonation. Dry.
Overall. Big. Boozey.

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Photo of Bowers-Brew
4.29/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served @ 50deg in Bruery snifter.

A - Nice brown body with Amber highlights. Thick ~1.5-2" tan head when poured aggressive.

S - Smell seemed to change a little each time I inhaled. Hops are very present, probably partially due to this still being a little fresh. Lots of caramel and toffee malt notes.

T/M - Lots of hops and malt, with sweet clean finish. A little thin feeling considering the carbonation was more than expected.

O - A solid American Barleywine. Alesmith hasn't disappointed me yet, so I didn't expect that they would here. Will get another bottle and cellar it for a little longer next time. Prost!

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Photo of richj1970
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750 ml dated 12/18/2013.

A: Pours a rich mahogany brown and slightly cloudy with generous two to three finger tan head. Long lasting retention with head settling like a cap on top. Lots of sticky lacing,

S: Caramel and toffee. Dates and raisins. Roasted barley. Earthy hops and fresh pine cones.

T: Rich toffee, butterscotch, and caramel. Sweet dark fruity flavors with dates and plum. Biscuits drizzled with honey. Finishes with a big hop punch that cuts through the sweetness.

M: Thick and chewy with an average carbonation.

O: Very well done. Wonderful barleywine, and incredibly drinkable even considering ABV and fairly assertive hops.

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Photo of pat61
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%

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.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.54/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Cloudy brown ale, with a thin head that is a bit off-white. Has a slight orange tint to it and I have to say very beautiful. Heavy bubbles to the body, looks delish. Serously.

Smell: The aroma that this brew gives off is very f'n addicting. Feels like roasted caramel, with a wave of barley hovering your nostrils. Yes I said it.

Taste: Has a caramel alcohol taste, complex and a tad sweet but feels just right. Honestly It's like a honey carbonated bourbon and I am not complaining at all.

Mouth: It's sticky, but only for a few moments...I am pairing it with pretzels and has an almost dessert feel to it.

Overall: I can honestly say this beer is one of the best American Barleywine beers I have had. I actually had one of my favorite a few hours earlier but this just tops it by a few notches. I have seen and hesitated in buying this and finally bit the bullet because I have been impressed with other Alesmith beers, this one hit nail in the coffin, Kevin approved! Salud.

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Photo of Franziskaner
4.1/5  rDev -1%
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.

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AleSmith Old Numbskull from AleSmith Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 490 ratings.