AleSmith Old Numbskull - AleSmith Brewing Company

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AleSmith Old NumbskullAleSmith Old Numbskull

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461 Reviews
very good

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Reviews: 461
Hads: 1,241
rAvg: 4.15
pDev: 8.92%
Wants: 187
Gots: 315 | FT: 21
Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: xlperro on 02-14-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 461 | Hads: 1,241
Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.66/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

1 year old.
appearance: Quite hazy dark orange-brown. Impressive plush off white head. Thick, messy lacing.
smell: piney hops are prominent. Some bright fruit and caramel.
taste: More piney hops up front. A rather thin taste and a bitter, dry finish.
overall: I thought a year back would do more for this guy. Interesting and complex. Alcohol well hidden. If you dig American Barleys that are hopped up more than most Dipa's you'll probably dig this. Personally I prefer my Barley's more malt centric. (501 characters)

Photo of thebigredone
3.81/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Not sure of the vintage on this, at least a year old. Possibly two.

Pours a medium brownish orange.

Smells of hops and light sweetness.

Taste is initial bitterness, followed by light toffee and caramel sweetness. The bitterness stays through the mid-palate and the finish. 11% ABV is fairly well hidden.

Mouthfeel is viscous.

Overall, a pretty good beer. Not sure if this would have been better fresh or not (never really intended to age it so long), but I would be up for trying a newer vintage. (501 characters)

Photo of BingCrosby7
3.55/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

A: A beautiful amber/auburn color, initially the former then it fades into the latter. The finished product a deep auburn, verging on nutty brown. Tan, foamy head with nice retention. About a finger and a half of head for a good while.

S: Lots of yeast and sweet hop to the smell. Semi-sweet, fruit lingers in the glass. A slight tinge of alcohol afterwards.

T: A bitter initial sip, hoppy on the tongue. Definitely some booze as well, but not so much so that it masks anything. Very interesting flavor, but not one that lingers. An elusive complexity, this beer.

M: The carbonation is perfect and the overall finish is very dry. This is probably as good as it gets.

O: I'm not too sure what to think about this beer. It has a very interesting flavor profile and the finish is wonderful. I think this would pair well with a variety of heavy meals. This, however, is not my go-to AleSmith. Definitely worth a try, though. And I would definitely want to age this. (969 characters)

Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into snifter; no bottle dating, but was purchased in late 2011. Pours hazy deep ruby red color with a small dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lasts. Light soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big caramel, raisin, apple, orange zest, floral, brown sugar, pine, molasses, toast, orange rind, brown bread, and floral earthiness. Damn nice aromas good balance and complexity of dark malt and fruity/earthy hop notes; with good strength. Taste of big caramel, toffee, orange zest, apple, toast, floral, pine, orange rind, brown sugar, brown bread, chocolate, light roast, and floral earthiness. Fair amount of floral/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, orange zest, orange rind, light fruits, toast, light chocolate, brown bread, brown sugar, floral, pine, light roast, and floral earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic balance and complexity of deep malt and hop flavors; with a nice bitterness/sweetness balance, and hardly any cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and very full bodied with a creamy, slick, and fairly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic well aged barleywine. Fantastic complexity and balance of deep malt and hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on. A highly enjoyable offering. (1,413 characters)

Photo of sommersb
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tasted On: 06-02-2013
Freshness: Not indicated
Packaging: 750ml brown bottle, pry-cap with foil
Glassware: Snifter
Purchased: Received in a trade

Appearance: Murky reddish-brown beer, topped with over 3 fingers of off-white head. Superior retention and lots of lacing on my glass.

Smell: Fantastic aromas start with tropical fruit and piney hops, followed by the sweetness of dark fruits. Other smells include vanilla and oak.

Taste: Big 'wow' factor in the first sip -- a very rich beer comprising both big hops and big malts, for an excellent balance. Also a fairly hefty amount of alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy, with a moderate amount of carbonation. The finish is both bitter from the hops and richly sweet.

Overall: There's nothing small about this barleywine; the hops are big, the malts are big, and the alcohol is big. Kudos to AleSmith for a beer that's bold and powerful yet still balanced.

Thanks to my cousin Brian for this one! (959 characters)

Photo of PicoPapa
3.94/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750mL bottle. Pours a dark brown murky swamp water color with lots of sediment floating around and an inch of head. Lots of lacing. The aroma is boozey with sweet caramel and bread. Some citrus and spicy hop notes. The taste is the nice alcohol burn with some orange peel and caramel. Some breadiness and piney hops. Warming alcohol at the finish. Pretty well balanced. Creamy mouthfeel with a good deal of carbonation. Overall, this is a well crafted Barleywine. I hope I can grab a bottle to age. (498 characters)

Photo of yamar68
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Another winner from Hugonaut13:

Swampy, glowing red body with an oily finger of off-white head that leaves drastic lace with a bit of booze legs.

Interesting. Deep malt aromas with chocolate and orange. Citrus and chocolate don't always work together for me so I can really appreciate the combo when it's a success. Raw, earthy barley sweetness with vanilla and peat.

The citric bitterness is still quite evident... papery malt flavors can't quite compete with the hops and alcohol content (which I like).

This is pretty damn unique. I'd be interested to see how the barrel aged version compares. (601 characters)

Photo of themind
4.07/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Numbskull is a very good barley wine as I enjoyed it very much. The skull pours a very generous head and has crisp carbonation. The aroma to me is molasses and dark fruit. The skull was hot but I did not age this one very long. I would purchase this again and since I have five more bottles I can experiment with age. Overall this is not Fegleys brewery barleywine but it's good.

Bottom Line: Good! (399 characters)

Photo of SLeffler27
3.7/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Builds a one inch, rocky, beige head that slowly drops, leaving a coating of lace above a reddish brown, hazed ale.

This has a nice balance of sweet malt and pine, offset against orange. Fruit is more prominent than any spice.

A Dogfish Head snifter showcases this quite bitter beer with lots of grapefruit and pine tar. The background contains black tea and, oddly, some roasted malt. The finish is drawn out and builds in bitterness.

A full body with fine, prickly carbonation and dry alcohol as expected. There is a touch of astringency in this chewy beer with a woolly texture.

Old Numbskull is definitely a sipping beer with strong flavors. Bitterness is assertive and it warms well, probably best with a meal. I’ll finish this bottle with dinner tomorrow. (767 characters)

Photo of Vixie
3.56/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep red color with a large tan head that longers for some time

Smell starts out a bit sweet, candy like with caramel and a bit of sweetness. There is a bit of a floral and grassy mix from the hops as well.

Starts out on the sweet side with caramel and candy sugar notes, then the hops kick in. The sugar taste is similar to a Belgian candy sugar.

Feel is pretty decent, maybe a touch on the thin side.

This beer reminds me a lot of an IPA. It starts out a bit sweet, but the hops kick in so fast, the sweetness is quickly overwhelmed. I think cutting back on the hops a bit would provide a better balance. If you like a hoppy beer, give this one a try. I am not a big fan of a lot of hops, but if you are, worth trying. (733 characters)

Photo of Teleweizen2
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - pours a deep murky cherry wood/ mahogany color. bubbly frothy light tan foam. leaves little dots of lacing against the glass.

S - nose is deep and sweet. notes of blackstrap molasses, burnt sugar, and gooey caramel. faint notes of citrus as well as hints of clover honey, black peppercorns, and allspice.

T - deep toasty, caramel flavors. notes of burnt sugar and molasses. almost like an unsalted pretzel. deep woody, almost tree bark like flavors as well. notes of allspice blend with herbal and earthy bitterness. peppery notes on the finish with maybe a tinge of warming alcohol.

M - Full bodied. buttery texture. almost like it has touched oak. carbonation is medium at best adding to the syrupy thickness of it.

O - a feel like i caught this beer at a strange time. It seems like it is inbetween trying to be hoppy and trying to be malty. I would definitely like to give it a try again though to get a better idea of where the sweet spot is. (958 characters)

Photo of Lucho
4.09/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a nice and thick caramel with a 1 1/2 finger head that leaves the 1/2 head for a while. There is some sediment.

Smell: hops and sweet malts and caramel. There is a slight vanilla scent too. there is some alcohol presence

Taste: This is yummy. sweet malts and caramel with a good hop backbone. nice west coast style.

Mouthfeel: medium to thick body with a great mouth feel. leaves a malt and sweet resinous quality.

Overall: This is a really good beer. A great interpretation of a hoppy barelywine. (521 characters)

Photo of eric5bellies
4.53/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Drank from my Duvel tulip

A - Pours a dark clear copper mahogany colour.

S - Intense aromas of wood whiskey, hop and malt. Has a cola aroma too. Very intense.

T - Up front some some nice hop and malt flavours.Wow the finish is long and chocolatey and toffee, very nice indeed.

M - Full body and medium carbonation.

O - This is a massive beer, the flavours are very complex and its one of the few beers that you can smell from the glass when its on the table in fri=ont of you. Highly recommended. (501 characters)

Photo of C_bill
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a large wine glass. Smell is very alcoholic with some malty notes, but nothing specific. Deep amber to ruby in appearance with a good head initially that dissipates fairly quickly. Good lacing throughout drinking the bottle.

It has a very malty taste, with toffee being the most predominant flavor. It is pretty well balanced, but the hop flavor doesn't really show through the maltiness and alcohol level. Very viscous.

Overall a good representation of the style, though it could have a little more hop balance. (542 characters)

Photo of korguy123
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I think this has been on my wants list since I signed up to BA years ago.
2012/2013 bottle into snifter.

Super hazy burnt copper/brown pour. Slightly creamy, half finger light tan head. Lacing is minimal.

Right up front alcohol, citrus, sweet cookies, dark stone fruits, caramel, toffee and some bitter pine.

Bitter pine, sweet candied sugar, caramel, light coffee, sweet malts, dates, figs and a touch of alcohol. It's amazing how the aroma has a strong alcohol and the taste has almost none.

Light to medium body, low carbonation with a slight alcohol warmth.

This was well worth the wait. It's listed as American but it has an English influence. (653 characters)

Photo of BilbosNuts
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a tulip.

A: Pours a cloudy garnet color with a off white, thick, frothy head with great retention. Appears still and leaves some spotted lacing behind.

S: Very strong dark fruits up front with a big kick of alcohol and piney hopes towards the finish.

T: Matches the aroma to perfection. Dark fruits including figs, raisins, and plums come through initially, followed by a slight booziness and a light hoppy finish.

M: Medium bodied and lightly carbonated. The alcohol is hidden dangerously well. Finishes with a slight drying effect

O: A solid barleywine all around. Alesmith continues to impress me. I will seek this one out again including other offerings from this great brewery. (719 characters)

Photo of McD0uche
4.12/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep red/apricot color with some haze topped by a nice billowy caramel head. The retention is superb, and as the head subsides, leaves a good amount of lacing on the glass.

S: Caramel, citrus, hops, malts, toffee, licorice, fruits.

T: A bold, complex flavor that is sweet, boozy, and similar to the smell... ...with caramel, yeast, and hops dominating the palate. Very delicious.

M: Well balanced--the carbonation is at the right level. A little chewy. Finishes dry.

O: I thoroughly enjoyed this barleywine, and will be aiming to pick some more up so I can age it to perfection. (596 characters)

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.01/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: creme head, soft-ish and spongy - really (infected-looking) hazy, burgundy liquid - some spotty, crystalline looks like a barleywine, however, the amount of haze, even when pouring very carefully in an attempt not to disturb the sediment, was off-putting to the eye

S: potent, orange-peel citrusy hops, (rasp)berry fruit puree...dark, raisin-y crystal malts...vaguely perfumy it warms, a ton of smelled good, nothing unique...perhaps a little muted by yeast

T: caramel malty, dried-out caramel chews....backed with a ester-y alcohol and a good bit of raisin in the aftertaste...immediately reminiscent of SN Bigfoot (or any textbook American barleywine)....bit of a yeasty flavor on the edges, dry, piney hops....the alcohol is not harsh or hot and it's felt a hair above and ahead of the malts....little bit of smoke and tobacco on the end

M: a fullish body, a little residual syrupy-ness, yet not too viscous....the alcohol and the moderate bitterness do a decent job of establishing some balance, taming the concentrated crystal malts - it's dry enough and its warmth is nice and mellow

O: a solid effort - nothing particularly noteworthy other than the heightened yeast flavor and the moderate depth and intensity of the caramel flavors (1,287 characters)

Photo of GotWad629
4.06/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a murky amber with a thick head that slowly dissipates leaving a good amount of sticky lacing.

Smells exactly like a west coast barley should. Caramel and toffee with a big citrus presence.

Toffee, caramel, pine, citrus and resinous hop all come through in the flavor. A very complex beer for sure. A perfectly balanced west coast barley wine. The hops are definitely present but they don't over power the malt profile.

The mouthfeel is thick and chewy. It ends with a nice dry finish.

I've got to cellar this one (527 characters)

Photo of rapidsequence
4.44/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle that Erin got for me. No date, but I've had it for 6 or 8 months.

Appearance: Its a real beaut. Mostly clear dark amber color, off white head with surprisingly good retention, and incredible sticky lacing.

Smell: Rich sweet malt with lots of caramel and toffee notes. Fruity esters and some citrus hops, but its not super bight with hops as if it were fresh. A little boozy.

Taste: Very big, sweet, and boozy, but not hot. Fruity esters. Lots of dark crystal malt flavors from caramel up to a touch of cocoa. Hoppy bitterness and citrus flavor.

Mouthfeel: Big and sticky. Dries out some in the finish. Great.

Overall: A pretty excellent barleywine. I'd like to have a real fresh one to compare. (713 characters)

Photo of DmanGTR
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Review from notes

Deep maple, quite clear, with a nice frothy off-white head. Touch of orange peel, brown sugar, and pine. Pretty nicely done. The mid palate is exploding with flavors of citrus, pine, malt, maybe even a tiny hint of cocoa. Finishes strong and alcoholic, with hints of sweetness, biscuit, grapes, and citrus. However, a touch boozy at this point in time. Very full, thick, and chewy body and fairly brisk carbonation. This beer has much potential to age. (472 characters)

Photo of BMMillsy
4.31/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750 bottle that has been sitting for 2 months, maybe slightly longer. Pours a beautiful deep red-orange, clear, with big creamy head that has an orange/beige hue. Smells like serious pine and toffee. Was surprised at the hop presence in the aroma here. Nice toffee flavor, with a hit of hop on the tongue. Bit of grapefruit and slight booze, but hides the abv awfully well. This is a bit too easy to drink, and definitely the most balanced of the style that I have ever encountered. Very nice. (493 characters)

Photo of cdkrenz
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This bottle was cellared for 2 years at a temperature ranging from 53 to 65 degrees.

A - Clear reddish body with minimal head. Nearly no carbonation in this ruby bodied beauty.

S - Pungent fruits of apricot and prune.

T - The pungent fruits transition well into the flavors. There's a definite sharpness in the finish which is likely a remnant of the large amount of hops it took to brew this beverage. Outside the finish the hops have receded well leaving the malt well balanced and tasty.

M - Thick body making for a brew that doesn't go down all that easily, however, who would expect an easy drinking barleywine. Certainly not this guy. Job well done once again.

~ This is a great example of a barleywine. It aged well and I wish I had another bottle available. (772 characters)

Photo of dgilks
4.13/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Hay amber colour with a creamy, off-white head. Good head retention and nice lacing.

Sweet and earthy with some toffee malt. Very nice.

Sweet toffee malt and lots of earthy, resinous bitterness. Nice fruitiness. Touches of citrus. Good.

Medium-full body with moderately-high carbonation. Good.

A really nice Barleywine. Sure, it's not barrel aged but it works well and is well crafted. (389 characters)

Photo of ElSid
4.17/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The Beers of California


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. (875 characters)

AleSmith Old Numbskull from AleSmith Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 461 ratings.