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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: 270 | 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 JoeyBeerBelly

New York

4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've had this bottle for quite some time and I've forgotten who the heck I got it from?...
but I did get it in a trade, so Thanks!

750ml silver foil wrapped cap with blue lettering served in a small snifter.

L - clear reddish amber color with a tight beige head that remained as a ring leaving some sticky bits of lacing.

S - sweet caramel malt with a touch of earthiness in the aroma.

T - sweet flavors of caramel and chocolate covered cherries upfront is balanced out with an orange rind-like bitterness on the back end.

F - silky smooth, creamy feel.

D - sip this one slowly and enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2009 22:11:04 | More by JoeyBeerBelly
Photo of hellbilly


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

pours hazy and a copper-y shade of brown with a small dissipating almond tinted off white head.

the aroma is quite woody and earthy with a bunch of hot spices and alcohol stinging the nose... vanilla, brown sugar, bitter roast, grass and lots of perfume-y flowers.

the palate is very bitter... it actually seems a bit out of place. flavors of bitter cocoa, caramel, wood, 'british' hops spices, orange and a soapy floral hop finish... ick! that soapiness is rude when this thing warms up.

a medium body is not sticky (very important) but it is thick. the level of carbonation is perfect... very creamy and soft. the alcohol warms the belly nicely!

given the ratings this bottle must be transitioning between good ages for sampling because this is just a step up from ordinary... 7/3/7/4/15/3.6

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2009 00:49:04 | More by hellbilly
Photo of HoustonTX


4.97/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've been holding onto this beer for a little over 2 years now.
Mine is the bottle with the blue logo on the front, with a silver foil top.

Poured carefully, into my Alesmith Tulip. Felt this glass was more than appropriate. This beer pours beautifully, lovely amber highly carbonated body. Gorgeous streaks of orange, red, and yellow - create the essence of the amber glow. Bubbly lace sits around the glass with ease.

Huge nose on this one. Largely bready, earthy, a bit musky, semi-spicy, molasses, toffee, fresh baked crust, fruit esters, a hint of black pepper, and toasted caramel coated walnuts. Just absolutely phenomenal, one of the best noses I've ever
encountered. Words almost can't describe just how intoxicating and amazing the aroma really is. 5+++

The taste is godly as well, the complexity and intensity is mind blowing. Starts out with a nice raw earthy body, gorgeous amounts of breadiness, delicate fringes of nuttiness, and a great reminiscent toastiness - brown sugar, toffee, and molasses, pine needles and oil, dried fruits, and citrus rinds. Flavors are all well balanced and work with each other in perfection.

Nice chewy and thick full-bodied mouthfeel, you just really can't go wrong here.

Intensely malty, one of the more divine malt bombs I've ever had. The best Barleywine I've ever had. Along with intense hopping, and an incredible balance. This beer has the whole package, and the 2 years aging held up beyond belief, and did wonders. This is a world class beer, and there is no doubt about it. Definitely one of my all-time favorite beers.


Serving type: bottle

01-11-2009 23:39:52 | More by HoustonTX
Photo of humanawho


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

A - great brown color with a little red, a nice cream colored head

S - lots of toffee, some light caramel, a little woodyness

T - a lot of nuttyness, walnuts and hazlenuts very strong, some earthy woodyness, and a good sweet toffee taste, some sugary caramel

M - mouth feel is what i expect

D - very drinkable for a heavy beer

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2009 00:00:45 | More by humanawho
Photo of montageman


4.85/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

I received this bottle in a trade a year or two ago. I forgot that I had this in my stash, so I figured that 2009 should be brought in properly with a properly aged barleywine. I believe this is a 2004 or 2005 bottle, so we're looking at around 4 or 5 years of aging. This is a delicious beer. Malty, chocolately, and fruity - everything is here and balance is the name of the game. There is not much in the way of overwhelming flavors here - what you have is an easy drinking barleywine that has aged incredibly well. I'd be very interested to try a fresh one to compare the differences. I guess that means a trip to San Diego is needed! Highest recommendation.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2009 06:03:11 | More by montageman
Photo of badbeer


4.7/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ruby red color with a creamy beige colored head with excellent retention and lacing. Smell is sweet, yet hoppy. Smooth pine and citrus notes perfectly balanced by sweet caramel and dark fruit aromas, I also get a little bit of sherry and some other vinous notes. Taste is sweet caramel and brown sugar with a beautiful array of hops joining in as well; finish is hoppy, but still plenty of sweet malt to it. Flavors are in perfect harmony, nothing overpowers anything else, instead they all work together. Full bodied, but not cloyingly sweet; carbonation is at about medium levels. Excellent beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2008 23:43:02 | More by badbeer
Photo of johnnnniee

New Hampshire

4.38/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had this bottle about a year, but I'm not sure how old it was when I purchased it. I can't find anything on the bottle regarding a bottling date.
Pours a beautiful red color with a thin off white head that disappears quickly. Smells of Caramel and burnt sugar some citrus hops in there too. Tastes of Caramel, toffee, pine and grapefruit. Finishes kind of dry. Nice mild lingering malt and citrus. Mouthfeel is sticky and syrupy, body is medium, carbonation is low. Alcohol is very well hidden, dangerously drinkable. I love this Barley Wine.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2008 01:07:43 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of JoeMayo


4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a somewhat light brown color with very little head.

S- I'm not sure how reflective of the style this beer is. It strikes me as a "West Coast" barley wine as it is not nearly as subtle as the English barleywine style. It had the nice maltiness, resembling toffee and caramel, but had a heavy hop influence. Even after a year, this barleywine had a really citrusy hop kick in the nose.

T- Again, doesn't taste like an english barleywine, but is very good. The malt takes the lead with a rich toasty flavor with notes of caramel and toffee. Although the malt is dominant, the hops certainly make thier presence known. A really refreshing, crisp hop profile comes through with notes of grapefruit and orange.

M- This doesn't have that superfine carbonation that many alesmith brews have that I love, however, it is exactly the mouthfeel I would expect for a rich barleywine such as this: modestly thin with a lingering wet finish.

D- For the ABV, its not boozy at all. I was impressed that after a year, this beer was still so hoppy. Overall, a really unique take on the style, but a very good beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2008 16:24:32 | More by JoeMayo
Photo of magictrokini


4.15/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Great beer. A little tricky to pour at first, was hard to keep the yeast in the bottom of the bottle. My fault, I was a little too excited to try this beer. Strong taste; alcoholic, with nice mix of flavor. Enjoyed this beer a lot. Will definitely buy again. I would like to age one for a year and see the difference.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2008 19:28:21 | More by magictrokini
Photo of rkuhnel


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

Copper color with medium tan head. Powerful nose and obvious alcohol. Carmel sweet, with lots of hop pop. A multitude of other subtle flavors makes this something very unique. Good mouthfeel. Costs a fortune but worth the price. Super brew. Wish it was not so hard to get up my way.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2008 03:35:48 | More by rkuhnel
Photo of tmoneyba


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

Bottle from Basket Gourmet in Cincy.

Poured reddish-brown hue with large off-white head that mostly lasted with good lacing. Complex aroma of hops, malt and caramel. Full body with chewy malt texture. Flavor is full with the same complexity as aroma with a medium dry hop finish of moderate to long duration.

This is one of the best.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2008 15:17:32 | More by tmoneyba
Photo of BigMcLargeHuge


4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12/02/06 Walk the Line Barleywine Festival, Dunedin, FL. 1999 vintage sampled from a 0.750L bottle. It poured a hazy brownish orange with tan head. The aroma was light with burnt oak, sweet caramel. The flavor was smooth fruity kind of sweet red wine maybe, vanilla, caramel and sweet candy orange. Delicious. I really enjoy the way the hops have rolled over with all this aging compared to a fresh bottle. It really starts to turn into a classic barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2008 16:45:32 | More by BigMcLargeHuge
Photo of hopdog


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

750ml bottles.

Talk about tasting various versions of this beer at the same time! We did the BA version, and 2 different vintages of the non-barrel aged version (Vintages '03 & '99). Poured a medium amber color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas raisins, plums, alcohol, and caramel. Tastes of dark fruits (the same plums and raisins), caramel, and had a light to medium alcohol burn in the finish. Sweet.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2008 21:50:06 | More by hopdog
Photo of Goliath


4.33/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a somewhat clear dark amber/slightly reddish color with a half inch yellowed head. Excellent retention and some fine lacing.

I love the aroma, really nice. The nose is malt dominant with big caramel notes taking the lead. Some dark fruit (raisins and plums), as well as toffee, booze, and a faint citrusy hop in the background.

The taste is nice. Some nice big caramel and toffee notes take the lead. Some raisin plays a nice role as well as a big boozy alcohol presence. Citrusy hops are faint, but there.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and slightly syrupy. This beer is lightly carbonated with fine and gentle bubbles.

Drinkability is fairly high. The flavor is nice, though not as aggressive as I had hoped. Still, it's a solid Barleywine and I'm diggin it. Another great Alesmith offering IMO.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2008 00:32:18 | More by Goliath
Photo of FtownThrowDown


3.13/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark burgundy in color. A very short lived head forms on the pour and is gone quickly. Smell is malty and alcohol. But to my chagrin, a large amount of hops as well. The hops are too prominent in the flavor. I was hoping for a low hopped 'English' barleywine, which I prefer. The hops are just too much to get past to focus on the rest of the beer. My least favorite beer from an otherwise standout brewery.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2008 18:09:21 | More by FtownThrowDown
Photo of Wetpaperbag


4.8/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had this bottle for about two months or so now. I wish I had another.

A- Nice dark copperish color. The head is a tight foamy mix of large and small bubbles. The head looks creamy and wonderful.

S- I'm digging the smell of this beer, very complex smelling. There is wonderful citrus hop smell, pineapple and mango as well that is combined with a great malt profile. Caramel, honey, sweet baked bread. This is very nice smelling.

T- The first taste of this beer was sweet honey, its there pow right off the start. The hop taste is mild at first, but comes more in the aftertaste, with nice grapefruit flavors. Each drink there is more and more flavors that come though. I just got a mouthful of cinnamon and spices. This is a delightful and amazing. I'm kinda beer geeked out for sure with this beer. I had my wife try this and she was amazed at how this beer changes with each taste. I like how the beer keeps me guessing. Excellent barley wine. I wonder how this would do when aged.

M- Feels good in the mouth, not drying, and the thickness is mixed well with the carbination.

D- Hell Yes! and More Please! I think this is excellent, and even though this should be sipped its hard not to just drink it.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2008 02:59:33 | More by Wetpaperbag
Photo of BretSikkink


4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Burnished amber-orange color, not really very dark actually. Head is tinted just a hair; it retains well enough but the lacing is just ridiculous. It's a little spotty, but leaves no piece of the glass fully untouched. Beautiful.

Strong caramel component to the bouquet but the piece de resistance is clearly the hopping: bright, citric, very orangey and displaying a fair amount of alcohol firepower.

In the mouth, the Numbskull is a real delight. Not an oppressively hot or peppery barleywine, this beer could moonlight as a double IPA without requiring a huge stretch of the imagination.

The star of the show is obviously the West Coast hopping; leaving large amount of Curacao liquer, grapefruit pith, and straight up alpha acid residue to linger good and long on the palate. In fact, one of the only things about this beer that makes me think English (rather than American) barleywine is full, syrupy mouthfeel and palate-coating thickness that comes from a very light carbonation load.

The alcohol is poorly masked, but matched nicely by the other flavors - I've talked a lot about the hops but the caramel malt is particularly prominent throughout, and helps build that mouthfeel. A crystal-like malt is also in evidence, lending a pleasantly light toffee flavoring as well.

Humongous ale all the way around; this is a beer to be respected and drank slowly. Every sip is a gem, and even if this isn't my absolute favorite barleywine (and the price tag really hurts me), this is an ale I would like to get to know better.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2008 03:14:38 | More by BretSikkink
Photo of funkyspunk87


5/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Alesmith Old Numbskull
AleSmith Brewing Company
Style: English Barleywine
ABV: 11.00 %

Out of the big bottle into a chilled glass.

Simply incredible...the best barleywine I have ever tasted. 11%?! You cannot even tell. So smooth and tasty you'd think it was a regular beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2008 22:14:12 | More by funkyspunk87
Photo of cswhitehorse


3.78/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Old Numbskull poured a reddish brown color with some sediment coming through and floating around. It had sudsy wave like lacing.

The aroma had a nice hoppiness to it which was flowery, spicy with some caramel in the background. The taste was rich and spicy. It was real smooth and balanced. Not too hoppy not to malty. The abv was well hidden and it was smooth and creamy and delicious. It was well malted and a very enjoyable brew.

Serving type: bottle

09-30-2008 04:48:48 | More by cswhitehorse
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-09-2008 10:27:59 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of SkeeterHawk


4.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have had this bottle a little over a year as well...just the same as I had the Grand Cru that I just reviewed from Alesmith. Anyway, I always like American Barley Wines after they have had a few years to soften up, so hopefully this one is about in its prime. Let's see...

Appearance: The beer pours with very little head and is a cloudy burnt orange color with really no bubbles rising and only a few sticking to the edge of the glass.

Aroma: Some grainy malts along with a boat load of hops are the predominant aromas that I get after the pour. As the beer sits for a little bit, it gets a little bit more of a chalky impression...probably because the hops have a bit of age on them. This isn't a bad thing.

Taste: The flavor is really bold with tons of hops and plenty of spicy alcohol to make sure that the palate doesn't get bored. The hops are a mix of grass and citrus, and the malt is just plain strong with some grainy qualities, but mostly sweet maltyness that makes no secret that this beer is strong. The alcohol is definitely there and is a key player from the first sip until at least a minute after the sip with the burn on the back of the throat. The overall balance of the beer is pretty balanced for a Barleywine. It is just barely tipped toward the hops at this age, so it was probably quite hoppy as a fresh beer. Either way, this is a pretty good example at this time.

Opinion: This is a pretty good beer. I would have liked it to have a bit more carbonation so that the mouthfeel would have been somewhat lighter, but still this is not out of style. I like the flavor and overall balance and presentation, so I would certainly like to try this one again. I am a little weird in that I don't really like fresh Barleywine, and this one at ~2 years old is pretty much in its prime. Again, I would like a tad more fizz, but still it's not bad at all.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2008 03:54:14 | More by SkeeterHawk
Photo of OlieIPA


3.8/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep amber red...little head with great lacing.

S: Sweet and fruity...maybe some sort apple...but I think I'm crazy.

T: A very distinct taste for a barley wine....sweet. I'm not using that word in the way in describing how good it is...but is has a sweet taste.

M: Light to medium body and carbonation.

D: I'm not a barley wine type of guy, but I have to admit this beer is pretty good.

Overall: Homer Simpson would like this beer...its very, very good. Just make sure you put a "Duff" label on this before you give it to him.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2008 04:37:31 | More by OlieIPA
Photo of Enola

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a cloudy mahogony with a lasting head. The smell is a rich blend of hops and alcohol. The taste is smooth at first with a firey finish, mellowed hops are a nice taste. The abv shows but the mellowness makes this brew quite drinkable. An ear warmer for sure. This brew would certainly age well.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2008 16:57:00 | More by Enola
Photo of mentor


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

2003 bottle shared by mmtmatrix, thanks for the opportunity. Pours a cloudy dark copper liquid with a tiny off-tan head. Smells soured caramel, oxidation, piney hops, oranges, and some alcohol sting. Brown malt doesn't quite hit chocolate...more hazelnut.

Tastes sherry-like oxidation with some chocolate. Decent clean alcohol sting that gives me some heartburn. Oranges are still present as a hop flavor, but any piney character has fallen into caramel oxidation flavor. Esters are coconut and apricot. Finish is a fight between carbonation acrid and alcohol sting. Md-thick body and respectible carbonation after being aged such a long time.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2008 07:10:36 | More by mentor
Photo of ncvbc

North Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark copper brownish, somewhat murky. Great sugared citrus scents up front then deep malts. Grapefruit essence drenched in sweetness. Caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and some toasted bread. Taste is pretty good and even though I've had this bottle for a while now the hops show through, almost too much so. Still, pretty well balanced and quite enjoyable without any trouble. Nice, big, and chewy in the mouth. Great feel. Also, drinks quite well despite the big size it boasts. Split this with a friend but could have enjoyed it all to myself, no question.

Thanks to seaoflament for this bottle!

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2008 03:36:42 | More by ncvbc
AleSmith Old Numbskull from AleSmith Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 962 ratings.