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AleSmith Old Numbskull | AleSmith Brewing Company

491 Reviews
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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: 491 | Ratings: 1,377
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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Photo of RickS95
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful. Medium brown color, rich looking, opaque. Light tan, dingy white head. Good retention. Consistent tiny bubbles. No lace, but a creamy top left behind when bubbles have diminished.

Toffee and caramel, LOTS of malt that you might expect. Hops presence is muted by the malt.

I agree with the bottle--toffee and caramel malts served with a dose of dark fruits. Floral hoppy notes in the finish.

Full bodied and chewy. Very thick. High ABV is well tempered. Sweet from the malts. Has a bitter finish, but not a palate destroyer. Only slight heat. Smooth and creamy.

Overall, it's a very easy beer to get down, despite the style and ABV. I enjoyed every sip of this, not much not to like.

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Photo of Phigg1102
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an incredible deep amber with a tan head, color is remarkable on this. Aroma is deep roasted barley, grapes, alcohol, with heavy bready nuttiness. Taste follows the aroma well, with some residual sweetness and a tinge of hop charecter as well. This is one of the best looking beers I've ever seen, and The flavor is tops in this style.

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Photo of StaveHooks
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled on 1/23/14

A - Pours a dark copper with a thick khaki head. Thick sheets of lacing with nice retention.

S - Toasted caramel barley, toffee, citrus peel, pine hops, fruit bread, sugary alcohol.

T - Follows the nose with fruity caramel malts, sweet bready toffee, citrus oils, pine, with a kiss of leafy green hops. The sugary grains are nicely matched with the dominate hops, and the beer finishes quite dry.

M - Medium body with just the right amount of carbontion.

This went down very quick. Good stuff.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.36/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL, bottled on 09/24/13
L - huge beige head tops a bronze colored ale. Head retention is remarkable, as is the lacing
S - huge malt presence with caramel, toffee, bread, vanilla, juicy pineapple and mandarin are faintly present
T - big and boozy, very flavorful and complex; caramel, toffee, bread, nut, vanilla, fruit which is still a bit tropical with the pineapple and orange, earthy hop. More sweet than bitter.
F - full body, nice carbonation, actually very well balanced, with the booze lingering more than anything
O - different and delicious barley wine. For such a heavy beer, it managed to be pretty refreshing. Glad to try it. It's awesome see this brewery available in IL!

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Photo of tmzl
4.14/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Look: Pours with huge, thick, creamy (bit of big bubbles), yellow (light mocha) head. Good, slow retention, some random sticky lacing left on the way down. Leaves a very thick, mountainy, creamy top layer. Clear, deep amber.

Smell: Oak the most dominant, bourbon. Malt driven center with molasses and caramel, medium intensity. Lightly hop driven freshness, mostly pine. Also very light alcohol notes, they get up when it warms up. Sugary and a bit salty.

Taste: Medium-light honey, molasses start, that goes to medium sweet caramel, molasses middle and finishes with light pine bitterness with medium molasses, honey sweetness with a bit of oak. Oak and bourbon still stand strong. Lots of bitter honey sweetness stays on the lips. Nothing spikes out, everything in line - superb balance.

Mouthfeel: Full body, syrupy, bit of alcohol warming.

Overall: Expected it to be a lot sluttier, but everything stays in good taste. Mostly amber malt and barrel driven, but the hop character is very welcome and lifts this one to a superb level.

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Photo of seand
4/5  rDev -3.4%
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.

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Photo of kdahnke123
3.71/5  rDev -10.4%
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...

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Photo of oldmankoch
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
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

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Photo of Beaver13
2.91/5  rDev -29.7%
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.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

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Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
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

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Photo of Boto
4.43/5  rDev +7%
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.

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Photo of buzzardman
4.14/5  rDev 0%
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

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.04/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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Photo of Mdog
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

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Photo of jwhancher
4.41/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

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Photo of crnipeter
2.86/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

Following the brewer's advice I left the beer to mature for 18 months with dubious results.

Deep murky coppery with 1/4 inch of light tan head that gets easily revived with each swirl.

Resinous-woodsy hop aroma mingles with caramel-marmellaty malt foundation and plummy ester undertones.

The flavor starts malty sweet with orange-liquor qualities but the balance quickly shifts towards bitterness. The later combines with alcohol to lend dry finish. The alcohol is too evident throughout the smell and taste and overrides everything else as the beer warms, completely ruining the impression.

Mouthfeel is medium to full with tiny-bubbled moderate carbonation.

Ageing hasn't softened the booze and the beer is just another let down from the Alesmith.
But one must admit the name has been well chosen: the Numbskull...after purchasing it I feel exactly like one - a stupid person, that's it.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.21/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 ml capped bottle with blue foil. Bottled 9/24/13.

Served chilled into a goblet, Old Numbskull is a hazy ruby amber color with thin white head. It settles quickly but leaves a little lacing behind.

Aroma fruity, hoppy and sweet with pleasant caramel apple and candied citrus notes.

Flavor is sweet up front with similar character to the aroma. Orchard fruits and caramel. Middle to end its hoppy but never over powering as the malts just help to balance it out nicely. Alcohol is fairly well hidden for such a strong beer.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied and perfectly carbonated for the style.

Overall a very well made barleywine and one I would definately buy again as a splurge.

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Photo of pmarlowe
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Wine glass.

A: Pours amber with two fingers of yellowish/cream colored head. Excellent retention, with the head only slowly deflating over several minutes, leaving behind a wall of lacing.

S: I can smell the pine and citrus hops from several feet away. Caramel and toffee and some dark fruit that you might see in an old ale.

T: Bitter grapefruit pith and pine hops, with a generous backbone of caramel and mild to moderate, gripping bitterness on the finish. Quite dry, I actually wouldn’t mind a touch of sweetness.

M: Delicate, light carbonation and medium-full body. AleSmith always nails the mouthfeel.

O: Finally getting around to reviewing ON. This is very good, despite my not being a huge fan of the style in general. The draft is excellent, and I think better than out of the bottle (freshness may play a role in this).

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.74/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours deep orange auburn with a near 2 finger sandstone head. Fair to good retention, leaving a fair and consistent layer of suds upon the surface. Lacing is small and spotty with fair stick.

Smell - Fruity esters are strong in this one, with a fair caramel backbone.

Taste - Follows the nose; fruity esters take a prominent role while the caramel character fills in most of the rest. Touches of heat nip around the edges, but an earthy sweetness is mostly to be found in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with low carbonation. Bone dry finish.

Overall - A fairly good barleywine, though mostly forgettable. While it's drinkability is there, it fails to capture the spirit of uniqueness and/or tenacity of your outstanding Barleywine. In the end it comes across as good, but unremarkable.

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Photo of brycemc
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle undated, drinking within 6 months of purchase. Poured from a 750ml into a snifter. A little cold as I start the review, as in 10 minutes out of fridge temp (mid 40s). Letting warm as I drink.

Appearance is a dark reddish copper. Slightly hazy. Nice thick mixed size head quickly dissipates into a thick lacing.

Smell is out of this world. Bready, and spicy, bold with alcohol. Getting some anise-type spices, strong pine notes, some citrus (kumquat is emerging as it warms), just sublime. And it's still a bit cold at this point!

Taste - Lots here! Initial impression is of strong malts and hops to match, a very good balance. No yeast notes to speak of, some resin character, maybe a touch of honey in the long finish. Spices (towards mace and clove?) come through as well, complimenting some bitter citrus. Finish is smooth and long, belying the 11% ABV.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light bodied for this gravity. Plenty of substance without being cloying, just on the edge of the thicker style you sometime get with heavy ales, reminiscent of a 120 Minute but lighter (a good thing). Finish is long and just barely off dry.

This is good stuff, and can easily sneak up you. Recommended!

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Photo of bpasquini
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours this excellent orange, red, copper color, and leaves a small head that has a slight tannish color to it, looks thick and looks creamy as well, beer is pretty murky, can see about halfway through the glass, I really enjoy the way this beer looks!

S: Definitely has a hop forward smell to it, get some orange, lemon zest, very slight hints of grapefruit, and pine. There is also a nice caramel toffee smell to it which makes it smell very sweet, can't detect any booze which is a bit surprising with 11% ABV, the smell welcomes you to the beer unlike some of the other American style barley wines I have tried, the smell is more refined with this beer

T: The taste is still kind of hop forward but it is executed well, the taste almost similarly follows the nose, at first I am getting that piney slight citrus broken down hop profile which is expected, but the hops aren't overpowering, it is quickly joined by the sweet caramel toffee flavor, a few bready malt flavors are joined shortly after and finishes with a crisp sweet slightly bitter piney bite from the hops at the end, the flavor doesn't linger at all, finishes properly, so far the best flavored american barley wine I have tried

M: Love the feel of this beer, it's very chewy! Thick bodied, slightly creamy feel to it, finishes quickly which really compliments this beer, doesn't leave an overbearing lingering broken down hop taste in your mouth like other american barley wines that I have tried, even though this beer is thick and chewy it finishes really crisp!

O: I was quite surprised by this beer, I've been wanting to finally try a solid and this one has done it for me, this beer is extremely well rounded and almost executed perfectly, almost gave up on this style of beer, but this one will keep me trying more of this style, well done Alesmith!

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Photo of hardy008
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Clear copper with a one finger light tan head, with nice retention and lacing. Nice aroma with caramel, toffee, toasted malt, oranges, and dark fruit. Smells both sweet and hoppy at the same time.

Tastes as great as it smells. Has a sweet flavor with toffee, caramel, toasted malt, dark fruit, oranges, citrus zest, and brown sugar. There is a perfect amount of sweetness for me, with a nice hop kick for some balancing bitterness.

Full bodied, chewy, smooth, and easy to drink. Has modest carbonation. One of the best Barleywines I have had in a long time.

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AleSmith Old Numbskull from AleSmith Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 491 ratings.