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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.

962 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 962
Reviews: 443
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 10.17%
Wants: 168
Gots: 269 | FT: 17
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: 962 | Reviews: 443 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ClockworkOrange


3.93/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A foil wrapped and capped 750ml bottle split with psycohops and poured into a pair of shaker glasses. The barleywine appears a cloudy crimson brown color with about two fingers of dense tan colored foam. Aromas and flavors consist of lots of caramel, brown sugar, hints of citrus such as tangerine, dates, raisins. Falls between medium and full bodied with ample carbonation. Noticeable alcohol heat throughout. Went really well with some sharp cheddar.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2009 05:20:31 | More by ClockworkOrange
Photo of WeisGuy

New York

3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a - pours a brilliant copper color with a dense, two-finger tan head, retention around the edges, first pour is quite clear

s - very strong aroma of orange and other citrus mixed with heaps of caramel and toffee, smells quite sweet, but it's evident that there is a substantial hop component mixed in there

t - intense bitterness cuts through the caramel and toffee sweetness up front, lots of orange and lemon on the mid-palate as the sweet flavors subside a bit, finish is surprisingly dry and bitter, with alcohol making its presence known by warming the mouth and throat, this greatly tends towards an American-style barleywine rather than an English version to my palate

m - medium-bodied and highly carbonated, a surprising amount of carbonation in this considering the style, very dry on the finish, good amount of alcohol warming

d - just about what I expect from the style, though the lower amount of sweetness than the typical English barleywine raises the drinkability a bit in my book, definitely a sipper

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2009 01:16:02 | More by WeisGuy
Photo of BARFLYB


4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into some small snifters. Picked this one up in NY.

A- Numbskull has a ruby red look with some brown highlights. A frothy off white head reached about a inch in height leaving some sticky lace. Some bubbles seen rising up.

S- A big burst of hops with caramel malt giving off some candy. Some burnt sugar with a lot of barley. Getting some light dark fruit scent in the distance. Also some alcohol from this beast.

T- Not sure the age on this but the hops are still present with just as much malt sweetness. Candi, dark fruits, figs and raisons with a big amount of sweetness worthy of being called a english barleywine. Some vanilla. The hops giving off a pine like taste. Some alcohol seeping through a bit more than in smell.

M- A bit hot with a above medium body with a light amount of carb. Some bitterness in the finish from the big hop bill but enough malts to smooth it out. For a B-wine this big, it is a smooth sipper.

D- Not knowing the age of the bottle I would say this is not extremely fresh as I did not get a hop bomb like some other reviews. What I did get was a delicious and great balanced barleywine that I would not mind having another bottle.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2009 02:10:59 | More by BARFLYB
Photo of Phenom

New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From a bottle I have had for over a year, and I suspect may have been on the store's shelf for a while before that.

A: Inch high head that quickly subsides to a thin tan film. Orange-brown and slightly cloudy.

S: Does not exhibit much of the citrus hop aromas that are described on the bottle, due to the age. More of a malty deliciousness. Plenty of fruit, raisin, plum.

T: Hop bitterness still there, but not much of the bright citrus hop flavors. As it warms the hops do become more prevalent. The malt and warming alcohol flavors blend nicely.

M&D: The mouthfeel is outstanding, with just the right amount of carbonation. It is stunning how well the alcohol is integrated. You barely notice it at all, which makes the beer dangerously drinkable. The smoothness is off the charts.

I would love to try it fresh because I am a hophead, but for anyone with the patience to age this beer it becomes a truly wonderful smooth malty treat.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2009 01:54:23 | More by Phenom
Photo of TexIndy


4.3/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got from ummagum who got from South Bay - many thanks! Poured from a 750ml capped bottle into a Duvel tulip. No dating info but this should be a fresh batch. Ruby red in color with the usual Duvel tulip carb geyser. Great lacing as well. It had a massive beige head that ever so slowly settled into a thick bubbled foam.

The aroma was excellent. It was citric hops, resin, malt base and a dose of alcohol. Not as hoppy as an ADIPA but more balanced with the heavy dose of malt. The taste was excellent as well and a little better than the aroma as the alcohol was less present. I love the hop/malt balance. You get the great hop flavor right from the start but the malt keeps it from overpowering. It also keeps your tongue from getting shredded so you are ready for more. You can smell the 11% ABV but not really taste it but you definitely feel it halfway thru.

Overall, an excellent Eng Barleywine. I highly recommend this one. Because of the high ABV and 750ml size, sharing would be a good idea. For me, I wish they'd bottle these larger ABV beers in 12oz bottles as well. I'd probably drink them more often as I usually don't want a whole 750ml but a 12oz would hit the spot. As they don't, the drinkability is hurt a bit. Rotation: not available here but if it was maybe a bottle every few years due to the size and price. Definitely would try on tap.

[NAH; rare-size/$;y-tap]

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2009 02:29:24 | More by TexIndy
Photo of JohnQVegas


4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle into red wine glass. Let this one get to cellar temps at least before trying.

Pours a deep, dark copper-brown, just a bit hazy, with a gorgeous fluffy, light-khaki head that clings desperately to the sides of the glass as it settles fairly slowly into a thinnish cap, though it stays thicker around the edges. Very nice looking beer, from the gorgeous color to the impressive (for the abv) head.

Nose is fantastic as well - tropical fruits mesh with a rich caramel malt note that even carries some rich cocoa hints. There's a bit of solvent-like fusel in there as well. Overall, well rounded, complex, and delicious.

Taste is a bit less complex; up front is a perfect balance between orangey fruits, hop acidity, drying alcohol and rich caramel with a touch of brown sugar from the malts. Nice mesh between everything; bit of alcohol bite in the throat on swallow. Warming for sure. Really impressive - I was prepared to give this one a 4 until it really started to warm up, then it just came alive.

Mouthfeel is much lighter than expected - full in flavor, light, soft, and very spritzy in carbonation. Lots and lots of soft, tiny bubbles. Just a bit oily, but not a hint of syrupy or stickiness. Very, very well done.

Surprisingly drinkable - nice balance and a fantastic mouthfeel made this a perfect match with some nutty, buttery-sweet Midnight Moon cheese.

Serving type: bottle

08-05-2009 18:48:21 | More by JohnQVegas
Photo of bobjonesSD


4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a growler into a wine glass.

A key to this beer was letting it warm up from the fridge to merely a slightly cool temperature. This really opened up the scent and flavors and revealed the fruity notes underlying the hoppy overtones.

A - Very nice reddish caramel brown color. Reasonable head and lacing even from the growler.

S - I thought this was quite nice actually. A subtle cherry hint along with some fresh hops.

T - Once warmed up a very good flavor with a good balance between hops and darker fruit.

M - Reasonable mouthfeel - not precisely 'clean' on the palatte but a good finish.

D - Good. A little bit more of the 11% alcohol comes through at the warmer temperature but I still wanted to drink another glass after the first.

Serving type: growler

08-03-2009 00:25:57 | More by bobjonesSD
Photo of smcolw


3.88/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Foamy lace that leaves extensive lace on the glass. Copper red color and clear.

A surprising amount of hop aroma in this beer. Solid malt base. In two words: well balanced.

An interesting mix of powerful, alcohol heavy malt and strong hop. Thick, almost oily mouthfeel. Decent carbonation. Spicy finish from the hop, but the aftertaste has a powerful alcohol component. This is a pleasant, but a strong beer. I only notice the strength in the swallow. Easy to enjoy, easy to overindulge.

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2009 23:52:32 | More by smcolw
Photo of KBoudreau66


3.73/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Finally started getting a good selection of Alesmith brew's in Massachusetts, so I picked a 750 ml bottle of this one.

Poured in to a snifter an impressive looking, brown leather like color with about one finger of frothy, slightly off white head. A slight carbonation that rolls from the bottom, up the side of the glass.

Has a very sweet caramel, and brown sugar aroma up front. There is some type of fruity aroma that I can't quite put my finger on, but it's along the lines of apple. Hops and alcohol phenols in the undertone. I can tell just by the nose on this, that it could use at least a year to settle down, which comes as no surprise with most barleywine's.

The taste for the most part falls in line with the nose. Very sweet, caramel malts, with a slight burnt brown sugar flavor. The hops stand out more than I expected which is a good thing. The alcohol flavor isn't as harsh as I thought it would be, but certainly has a slight burn going down the esophogus.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, but on the heavier end of the spectrum in that particular category.

The drinkability on this brew is what you would expect from a barleywine. It's a high octane, slow sipper. It's still a very well crafted and tasty beer, but it took me a very long time to polish off the 750 ml it was bottled in. Overall this was a great beer. I plan on buying another one and adding it to the collection for it to age. Like most barelywine's I would expect this to be much better if I gave it at least a year if not two.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2009 23:46:20 | More by KBoudreau66
Photo of bort11


4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

mikesgroove is leaving me numb from the neck up. Thanks to him and the Fight Club Project Mayhem BIF.

750 ml bottle poured into a Boulevard Smokestack chalice. Half inch of white lacy head. A few rings on the glass and a solid cap on the surface. Color is a clear reddish amber.

Smell starts off with a honey sweet malt character. Red fruit sweetness comes through in the finish with a hint of orange peel. It's a little warm in the back of the nose. Taste is more hoppy than the smell. Orange juice and tangerines. Brown sugar a little cinnamon come in with the malt. Peppery warmth from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth with a very loose carbonation. Not as chewy as some barleywines, but does have body.

Blipped "Something is Squeezing My Skull" by Morrissey.

Serving type: bottle

06-28-2009 02:01:29 | More by bort11
Photo of paytoplay


4/5  rDev -3.1%
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 rye726


4.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a peach mahogany color with a silky tan head. Nose has fruity hops, caramel, plums, figs and sherry. Taste has chewy malts, dark fruits, toffee, earthy hops, peppery wine, and vanilla. Thick body is well carbonated. Big lasting finish. Great stuff, should age very well.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2009 06:19:20 | More by rye726
Photo of 0110x011


4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep ruby hue with gold highlights. off-white tan head fades fast and leaves little lace.

S - Dark fruits and sherry. Caramel, toffee, and raisins. Citric and piny hops. Excellent depth.

T - Caramelly sweetness with a dark fruity undertone. Leathery earth paired with a soft nuttiness. Pine-heavy hops in the middle & back. Warm & spicy alcohol on the finish.

M - Medium-full body. Light carbonation keeps it smooth. Not as big as I'd like.

D - Alcohol heat keeps the score down a bit, but the bottle makes for a good sipper all night long.

I'm usually not aa fan of American-style Barleywines. Too much hops, heat, & coarseness (I'm looking at you, Green Flash...). This one may change my mind. Hoppy without losing its Barleywine soul, and smooth and silky mouthfeel, this is at the top of the local Barleywines that I've had. Recommended!

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2009 05:20:00 | More by 0110x011
Photo of jujubeast6000


3.33/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed 5/21/2009 (Bottle aged 5 months @ 53oF):

Pours a dark brown clear color body, off-white color head, decent lacing, lastingish. Strong, aroma, malty and hoppy dry. Very malty sweet. Sweet malty taste, dry. Somewhat hoppy. strong alcoholy taste. Strong. Way too alcoholy as it warms.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2009 16:14:04 | More by jujubeast6000
Photo of quinlin


4.45/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark ruby/amber with a nice creamy head.

S - dried fruit, sweet bold malt, spices, pine, floral

T - very bold, fruity, floral, hoppy, dark malts

M - creamy, full bodied, med/low carbonation, alcohol on the finish

D - very drinkable, all round great barleywine, ill take a glass anyday.

Serving type: growler

05-21-2009 03:23:59 | More by quinlin
Photo of Pencible


4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a hazy mahogany with some tan head. It smelled like rich caramel and orange with some resin and mild yeast. It tasted like sweet caramel and toffee with some bitter orange peel and bready yeast, and a bit of dry resin and alcohol. It was somewhat thick with mild carbonation, and had a bittersweet aftertaste. Overall this had a very strong and delicious flavor with great body. It had big hops and noticeable alcohol, which made this more of a sipping beer (fresh). If aged, the hops would fade and hopefully the alcohol would mellow out too. Combine that with the strong toffee malt backbone, and this beer has tons of potential. Another succulent AleSmith beer, which could be nearly unbeatable if it ages like I think it will.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2009 14:58:30 | More by Pencible
Photo of Halcyondays


4.43/5  rDev +7.3%
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 belgbeerdrinker


3.7/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: cloudy amber color, no bubbles detected, head never appears but thin ring remains
s: sweet, sweet caramel/molasses
t: similar to the the smell -- sweet, sweeter molasses/caramel with some dark fruity raisins, light hops from middle to end, clean finish
m: creamy body with medium carbonation
d: enjoyable barleywine, hoppy bitterness never overplays here

Serving type: bottle

04-27-2009 01:56:28 | More by belgbeerdrinker
Photo of Gambrinus1184


4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22-oz. bomber into a pint glass at ohoove's.

A: Poured a dark amber-brown with hazy prune-like edges. There's a noticeable amount of suspended yeast, which looks like fine granules of sand. A medium tan colored head left a good amount of sticky lace.

S: Smell gives off a nice aroma of fruity esters and some mild bitterness. A bit of caramel and hickory in the nose lend well to the berries and plum smell.

T: Taste is very mellow and smooth. A slightly bittersweet blend of ripened cherry and soft vanilla-aged oak. Alcohol is fairly well-masked but noticeable. The taste of slight hop resin and fruit linger on. Distinctively English in style and quite tasty to boot.

M: Mouthfeel is full bodied and smooth drinking. A sipper for sure.

D: At 11% ABV, it's not a barleywine you'll want to take too lightly. Best to share with a pal (or 5), but trust me, you woulnd't have a problem taking a bomber to yourself.

As Durge stated, a tasty barleywine indeed. Sediment made me feel like I was drinking a wine with silt more than a beer. My barleywine of choice from the Warwick gathering.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2009 19:40:34 | More by Gambrinus1184
Photo of Durge


4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brought this home from a visit to San Diego last fall and finally got to it last night at the well chronicled Warwick Drinking Society session hosted by Ohoove last night. This one poured a dark amber color with lots of floaties and a decent oatmeal colored head and nice big clumps of lace. The aroma is incredible with butterscotch malt, buttery smooth and vanilla beauty, awesome! The flavor isn't quite as awesome as the aroma but it is still great with a viscous feel. Buttery malt and vanilla. Plenty of herbal hops bouncing around here. Nice body with even carbonation that makes this reasonably drinkable for the style. Not as robust as some but quite enjoyable to my tastes and a very solid barleywine!

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2009 04:17:15 | More by Durge
Photo of Lothore


4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a nice ruby color with a thick, creamy, 2.5 finger off white head which sticks to the side of the glass all the way down.

S- Loads of caramel, raisin, supremely malty with hints of piney hops.

T- Very sweet from the outset, lots of rich caramel notes and slight raisin and dark fruit to round it out. I wave of hoppiness rushes over your tongue about half way through and is just about perfectly blended.

M- Thick with medium low carbonation. Just about perfect.

D- This is a very drinkable barleywine. It's big and bold but delicious enough to keep sipping on all night long.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2009 01:41:45 | More by Lothore
Photo of oakbluff

Manitoba (Canada)

4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2007 vintage- pours a red chestnut with excellent clarity. A ruby glint comes out of the brew in strong light. Medium sized head, settling down to a frothy off white and some soapy lacing. Nose- caramel, sticky hops, dark fruit. Taste- toasty malts followed by a big hop punch. More bitter than I expected and really cuts into the malt sweetness. Actually this is a very dry barleywine. A little hot in the finish between the booze and the tremendous hop presence. Medium bodied and medium carbonation. A top shelf barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2009 23:03:12 | More by oakbluff
Photo of bigkahunas4


4.58/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this for my 100th review. It was a 2006 vintage, poured into a tulip. The first thing I noticed was the incredible webby lacing on the glass. About a 1/2 finger of thready head, with dense retention. Body was a gemlike amber. Nose was of grapefruit and wet wood.

Flavor on this had great balance - as the hops, surprisingly, were still quite noticeable. Very resiny feel, sweet flavors of chocolate and cherries, move towards an earthy hops finish. Smooth, medium body.

Really a great brew - one I'll need to compare to a more recent version. Though - I can't argue with this aging.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2009 13:58:38 | More by bigkahunas4
Photo of sweetbrew82


3.55/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750 Ml into a snifter/ no freshness date

P: Pours reddish-copper from the bottle, and sits a deep cranberry amber with orange highlights. Hardly any head, even with a vigorous pour. What is there is not thick and creamy like I expected. Rather, it is quite bubbly and foamy. Even after intense swirling, the head was gone immediately, and sank to a thin halo on the surface.

A: Biscuity malts, citrusy hops, caramel, and a touch of toffee.

T: Toasted, sweet biscuity malts dominate throughout. Citrusy hops are more resinous & pungent, rather than leafy and fresh. They do deliver some orange-flavored bitterness, but stay buried underneath the overpowering malts. Creamy caramel and toffee blend in nicely, but only add to the very sweet profile. The biggest problem I'm having here is that the alcohol is way too present, even for a Barleywine. No wonder why they call it Old Numbskull, that alcohol leaves everything numb!

M & D: Full-bodied, rich and creamy, almost no carbonation. I had to subtract from the drinkability score, based on the heavy alcohol presence here.

Notes: Damn! Don't get me wrong, this is still pretty good. But, it's just way too sweet and alcoholic to be great. I wish the hop bill was substantially increased to take the edge off of the sweetness, and aid in the masking of the alcohol. No idea how old this bottle is, but I'm thinking it may have a year on it, at least. Maybe when it's fresh, the hops would be much more effective. Overall, I'm disappointed with this overly sweet malt bomb that I had high hopes for.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2009 22:50:57 | More by sweetbrew82
Photo of illidurit


4.28/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

08 vintage. Pours medium amber color with a fluffy tan head. Aroma is huge toffee with subtler candied grapefruit and oranges. Flavor is multifaceted with toasted bread, caramel, toffee, and graham malt notes along with a tinge of citrus and figs. Thick and chewy body, great nightcap beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2009 08:00:26 | More by illidurit
AleSmith Old Numbskull from AleSmith Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 962 ratings.