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AleSmith Old Numbskull - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Old NumbskullAleSmith Old Numbskull

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1,157 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,157
Reviews: 455
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 177
Gots: 290 | FT: 20
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,157 | Reviews: 455 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cool looking barleywine, almost a rust color. Unique aroma, everything but the kitchen sink. Citrus, raisins, toffee, caramel, brown sugar.

Taste, deliciously smooth. Alesmith always pulls this shit, huge abv, no sign of it on the palate. Way to go. What I really liked about the mouthfeel here was that it wasn't an overly sweet or alcoholic barleywine. Worked well with the low carbonation. Resisted the urge to make this hoppy and bitter, which was a pretty good choice after having drank this. Malt was thick enough to cover the alcohol, but wasn't chewy or challenging, just complimentary.

Props to 'em for bringing this to the SDIBF '11.

Photo of Knapp85
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out as a brownish amber color. The head is nice then it settles into a bubbly white film of the beer leaving some decent lacing. The smell is hoppy and malty, but there are way mote hops on the nose for sure. The taste is a little citrusy sweet with a good malty finsh. The hops really kick ass on this brew. The mouthfeel is smooth and yet has a great bitter quality. Overall it's a barley for the head head I think. Pretty Impressive brew it think.

Photo of perrymarcus
3.83/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle served in a snifter.

pours a deep copper, almost mahogany tone while yielding a 3/4" beige head. very impressive retention and a fair amount of lacing.

nose is hop-forward (floral, citrus) with a significant malt presence evident as well.

flavor imparts more of the aforementioned hops, with notes of caramel, brown sugar, and a hint of dark fruits. very tasty barleywine, though far from mind-blowing.

medium-full bodied with adequate carbonation.

overall this is a damn fine american barleywine. IMO i'd stop short of calling it truly outstanding, but no question it's flavorful and enjoyable; i would be very open to a revisit.

Photo of lackenhauser
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fairly deep bronze color. Decent level of CO2 going on. Buttery, malty aroma. Quite sweet and caramel like. Big malty blast of flavor. Again caramel and buttery sweet. Nice raisen like quality-quite the dried fruit and fig like presence. Long lingering toffeeish flavor. Hint of booze in the finish. Nice mouthfeel-somewhat sticky and sweet. Great US barleywine and a real sipper on a cool spring evening.

Photo of MikeyMikee
4.53/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 3/3/10. Cellared and served at 55'F.

A- Hazy Copper with a tan head. awesome retention and lacing.

S- Floral and piney hops..with come citrus (orange and lemon zest) to it which is suprising because its over a year old. Slightly bready, caramel and brown sugar notes.

T- Orange oil and lemon zest are definitely upfront followed by a bready and biscuty feel probably from the pale malt..There is a slight hop bite mid-mouth but its not too bitter, you can tell the hops have faded a bit for there is a "hole" in where I feel that there should be hops. This was probably a hop bomb fresh though..There is some sweet caramel in the middle that gets subdued by the grainy pale malt and there is also some molasses and dark fruit in the middle to the end.

M- Soft, medium carbonation with a very smooth mouthfeel. There is a little sting and warmth from the alcohol and a slight bite from the hops.

O- It is a really drinkable great beer. The booziness is a little overpowering in the finish but overall it is a really great beer. This beer covers all the bases and I'm certainly glad that I have more in the cellar. I wish I could have tried it fresh as well.

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

A: Served in a Chimay goblet, the beer pours a murky/cloud dark copper brown. A half to full inch of creamy foam head forms both a consistent ring, and layer of film on top. Great lacing.

S: I pick up on scents of sweet malted barley, sticky toffee, caramel, and some citrus hops for balancing. Smells pretty decadent though.

T: Caramel, rich toffee, sweet malted barley, and citrus hops that add the right bitterness. Great balance, and a nearly perfect mirror to the nose, so much so I find it difficult to add anything I haven’t already described, only that I could easily take large gulps of this, but know better not too.

M: Medium to light, and a light creamy quality.

O: Very nice stuff. Good represenatation of the style, and just in general, a good sipping beer. Alcohol is well hidden, and you get a slow nice warming while sipping. I can only imagine what the bourbon barrel would do to this, hoping to try that version some day.

On a side note, another good beer on tap at Instant Replay, $5 for a goblet of it, pretty great deal.

Photo of drabmuh
3.44/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Is this beer suppose to be flat? Beer is brown and hazy with nearly no head, no carbonation, no lacing. Oh no!

Aroma of the beer is unimpressive, mildly sweet, some fruitiness, overall VERY WEAK.

Beer begins looking up in flavor, seriously. About damn time. Beer is medium in body, thick on the palate, Mildly bitter at the end but entirely from grains, a late residual sweetness, not my favorite but a decent beer overall. Sucks I'm ending my night with such an unremarkable beer.

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

Shared at Dark Lord Day. Poured into a 8 oz. Chimay goblet.

A: Pours a reddish amber with a brownish hues. About a 1 finger foam. Good retention.

S: Citrusy with orange and lemons, caramel/toffee, sugary, hops and raisins.

T: caramel and brown sugar, citrus flavors, raisins, dark chocolate notes, hops and roasted malts.

M/D: medium body, medium carbonation. A good representation of the style, nothing outstanding, but very solid barleywine.

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 750ml bottle to glass at Shannon's Big Bad Barleywine Tasting on 4/9/11.
*From notes

A: Unfiltered - there are quite a few floaties in this one. It looks like freshly squeezed acai juice. This isn't nearly as dark and robust as most of the other barleywines we poured. A good pour yields a 1.25 head and minor lacing.

S: Hops, big hops and some sweet alcohol esters.

T: This is a prime example of an American (primarily west coast) barleywine. Loads of big, robust hops and forceful malt that break onto the mid-palate. The heavy alcohol and figs appear at the end, but the bitterness from the hops reemerge on the finish.

M: Pretty standard here, with good thickness and a rich, velvety nature that kept me coming back.

O: This one followed the Mother of All Storms and I must say, it didn't fall flat. This is a quality American Barleywine that I would recommend without hesitation.

Photo of Suds
3.75/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chestnut in color, with a firm off-white head, this beer is clear and relatively low in carbonation. The aroma is intense with malt...caramel and bread, with a little alcohol and fruit as well. The taste is malty and sweet, with a sharp alcohol bite. The hops are not pronounced in the aroma, but intense hop bitterness comes out in the taste. West coast. The body is a little light for the style, but still sufficiently rich. Nice balance for the style. Lingering hop finish, accented by the warmth. Overall good.

Photo of KAP1356
3.95/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle (with silver foil on the cap) purchased in May of 2010 into a Victory snifter...

A - Hazy caramel-amber color with a nice rich 2 finger tan head forming. Nice retention and some nice sticky lacing.

S - Toffee, brown sugar, malts, raisins, dates and a hint of vanilla all mixed with some piney and some citrusy hops. Very sweet aroma and some booziness detected as well.

T - Very bready taste along with toffee, caramel, dates and brown sugar. Very very sweet but with the hops, it doesn't quite reach the level of cloying.

M - Thicker and very rich. Heavy bodied with moderate carbonation. Almost syrupy after drinking most of the bottle.

O - Nice barleywine and one with a pretty big hop presence. One bottle was defnitely enough. I was worried that the sweetness would make this one hard to finish, but I was able to get through it.

Photo of Hatzilla
4.17/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into a tulip. Bottle purchased August 2010.

A: Pours a cloudy amber with a foamy two finger beige head, leaving some lacing on the sides of the glass.

S: Figs, dark fruits, toffee, spices and malts. Also some grapefruit hops are present, but muted.

T: Spicy dark fruits with caramel, malts and toffee. The citrus hops make another welcome appearance. There is a slight taste of alcohol, but not bad considering the strength.

M: A little thick, but pleasant all the same. Nicely carbonated and full bodied.

D: With the strength and bottle size, one is plenty. On the other hand, I found it easy to put away the whole bottle. A great barleywine - pick it up if you see it.

Photo of csiewert
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer imported and shared with a friend at the Abner pub in Norman, OK.

Pours a clear red color with some bubbles on the top. The aroma is strong with apples and bread. The taste has hints of apple, cherry, raisins and caramel. The mouthfeel is very smooth and velvety and finishes with a nice fruity aftertaste. The alcohol is a little present as it goes down your throat. Overall a great barleywine.

Photo of billshmeinke
3.38/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter. A light brown/copper with some golden hues at the edges. NO head just a couple bubbles that die very quickly.

Smells of caramel/toffee/brown sugar sweetness. Then a touch of citrus/grapefruit hops. Light notes of oxidation.

Taste follows nose. Tastes of caramel sweetness, brown sugar. Some rsutic bread. Light alcohol spice and hints of dark fruits. Also, some resin and citrusy hops. Light wet cardboard notes too.

Almost 0 carbonation medium to full bodied. A touch of heat as well.

I bought this bottle recently, but it tastes like it already has a bit of age on it. Also, some clear carbonation issues. Hard to put down the whole bottle cause of those flaws.

Photo of kk73
4.35/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my glass.

A - Pours a very cloudy copper color with a soft carmel one finger head, and tons of sticky lacing coating the glass.

S - Smells of hops, piney and some citrus. Boozy and alcohol on the nose. Sweet malt profile.

T - Smooth, sweet caramel malts. Some dark fruits. The hops present in the nose are muted but still can detect a citrus rind type hop bite. Boozy in the nose but not so much in the taste.

M - Smooth, thick, and creamy. Medium to full bodied with some nice carbonation.

D - Overall, imo a very nice barleywine. Rich, creamy, and sweet. Not overly sweet, and would definitely purchase another bottle. At 11% abv no problem drinking the entire bottle. Watchout!

Photo of Vonerichs
3.85/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The color is a cloudy caramel, with a generous amount of off-white head.

The smell is heavy on the caramel with accents of pine and, to a lesser degree, citrus hops. It smells extremely sweet.

The taste follows suit with caramel, brown sugar, and dates. It's almost to the point of being coyingly sweet, but the hops cut it just enough to keep it from getting that far. The resinous hops outweigh the citrus hops by far.

Mouthfeel is sticky and on the lighter side of syrupy. Very heavy-bodided. The booze comes through.

Overall, a very good beer but a tough one to have more than one glass. I'd recommend splitting a bottle with friends.

Photo of broken22
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So I was listening to the Founders and current brew master of Stone Brewery talking about this beer on the radio. They had nothing but good things to say about it. I have had this beer before and thought it would be good to revisit and give it a review.

So popping this big bottle open and pouring out ever so cautiously as not to rouse the brewers yeast. The beer looks like apple cider. A creamy head forms and sort of looks like a light pancake batter. The beer smells great. It has a nice fruity aroma with a nice bite from the hops. The label on the bottle says that this beer is "Big and hoppy with citrus and resin overtones" and I couldn't agree more. It really is a tasty brew. I really enjoy the finish on the back end. The mouth feel on this is good. Has a good amount of carbonation and not to heavy.

AleSmith Make some great beers and Old Numbskull is one of them. I would have to say that this beer definitely holds true to the definition of American Barleywines with its strong hop character and fruitiness. I think I want to try and age on of these things to see what kind of flavor changes happen. My local beer store is selling a 750ml or about 25 oz bottle for $10.99 and I recommend you pick one of these up as its good stuff.

Photo of philbe311
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A fingers and a half worth of densely packed creamy yet chunky light tan frothy head... Modest retention gives way to an uneven lacing and thick collar... A warm reddish brown amber color... Mostly still with some faint sluggish carbonation clinging to the sides of the glass towards the top when agitated...

S - Rich caramel... Toffee... Raisins... Brown sugar... Dark fruits... Fig... Bland oranges... A subtle mix of piney hops and graperfuit... A touch of booziness... A hint of vanilla...

T - Much of the anticipated sweetness is absent... Bready malts... A bit of nuttiness... A sturdy pronounced hop bit rises on the finish that is mostly citrusy with a touch of pine mixed in... A bit of booze lingers...

M - Medium bodied... A tad on the thin side... Chalky texture... Perfectly carbonated... Not much viscosity... A bit chewy...

D - An interesting take on the American Barleywine... The appearance and nose are spot on, but from there the drinker is treated to a slight departure from expectations in the other facets... Another excellent job from Alesmith, a brewery that never disappoints...

Photo of MCorrea
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a hazy copper/ruby red. Needed a vigorous pour to produce a short lived 1/2 finger of white head. Fine lacing down the glass as the beer is taken in.

S - Incredible! Dark fruits, rum, raisins, everything you want from a quality barleywine.

T - Lots and lots of sweet malt flavors. Caramel , dried dark fruits, candy sugar. Beautiful!

M - Creamy and smooth. Just the slightest detection of hop bite on the finish.

D - DANGER WILL ROBINSON! This bad boy clocks in at 11% abv and hides it VERY well. A bottle is a bit pricey, so this is good for an occasional treat.

Photo of HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


God bless Alesmith's extended tasting room hours. On tap at Alesmith, Alesmith tasting room.

A: Appears a color at the crossroads of brown, red, and orange, with perfect transparency. The frothy head rises one inch above the liquid, leaving lingering bubbles and scattered lacing after the recession.

A: Aroma displays a monolithic hop profile with a mixture of pine and grapefruit. There's a firm bready malt foundation with light toffee notes and a touch of alcohol. Some earthy notes are evident as well.

S: Upper moderate bitterness with bold grapefruit rind and flesh notes, as well as pine and traces of orange. Malt provides some bread flavor in addition to light caramel notes. As the beer warms up the subtle malt sweetness comes through, constantly hounding the bitterness but never coming close to overtaking it. Alcohol is masterfully hidden for 11%. The finish is dry and bitter with lingering pine and grapefruit.

M: Upper medium body with moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is dry and sticky, with a low astringency and some warming in the finish that stays with you for a while.

Overall: Another awesome Alesmith beer that I overlook far too often. One of my favorite American Barleywines and really fantastic when fresh.

Photo of turboge
3.94/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle has blueish lettering with silver foil on top. I don't know when it was bottled. "barley wine ale"

A: Reddish amber with a very small head, spotted trails of lace

S: Raisins and dark fruit

T: The first drink was the best. Very rich raisins with a bite. Some hop taste after it goes down but nothing overwhelming. It warmed my throat. Alcohol masked very well.

M: Very well balanced and somewhat light.

D: I will buy another one of these to age. Enjoying it very much.

I feel it is more balanced like a English Barley Wine without the heaviness.

Photo of WanderingFool
3.87/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This bottle of Old Numbskull has been sitting in my cellar for the past couple years. I'm basing this review on a well preserved aged version of the beer.

Old Numbskull pours a hazy copper color with a two-finger wide off white head on top. As the foam fades a sheet of netted lace clings to the side of the glass.

The aroma is malty with notes of caramel and dark fruits, such as raisins and fig. There's also a nice hint of orange citrus blended in.

Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer is soft on the palate, lightly chewy, with an oily finish. The flavor is malty sweet with enough hop bitterness to balance it out. It begins with sweet caramel malt, raisins/fig, cherry, vanilla and oak. Towards the end bitter orange citrus moves in. It finishes with a touch of medicine and alcohol. Once gone the dark fruit notes and citrus hops linger on the palate.

This is definitely a sipping beer. It held up well after a couple of years. I'm guessing the alcohol burn has mellowed over time. Tasty and well balanced.

Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, copper color with a one-finger, tan head of foam. It left some sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - Sweet caramel malt aroma with some boozy notes. Slightly floral, too.

T - It tasted very sweet. Lots of caramel and some boozy notes. Not much of bitter hop presence to speak.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied brew with a somewhat sticky mouthfeel.

D - This is a good barleywine. Big and sweet.

Photo of Jmoore50
4.12/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I enjoyed the 2008 vintage of this beer along side the BA version. I like to taste the base beer along side a barrel aged beer just to get a hint of what different character might translate over.

This beer pours a nice amber brown color with a good level of carbonation. It has a good clarity to it and when poured vigorously it produces a nice white head.

Even with two years on it this beer has a nice floral hoppy aroma. Lots of caramel, biscuit and bread-y malts in the background give this a strong backbone. It also has some sweet sugars in it most likely resulting from age.

A mellowed hop profile is perfect alongside sweet sugary malt flavors. From what I have read in reviews it sounds like this is a fairly hoppy beer when fresh, so I now understand how the hops are still present.

A medium carbonation that is goes good with the hops, makes it even more drinkable. There is not a strong 'heat' character in this beer which made me happy. I am going to track down a fresh bottle and re-review.

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.37/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 mL pours a very clear, crimson color with a fine-bubbled, light tan foam. Fades pretty fast and leaves some spotty lacing.

Nose has alot of everything in it. Plenty of hops, alcohol, fruit and toasty malt. Not sure what vintage this is, but it is showing a bit of oxidation and this one hasn't cellared long.

Raisiny alcohol up front with a big malt body - toasty caramel. Surprisingly smooth at 11% and not much hop flavor, but shows a biting, resinous hop bitterness. Shows less oxidation in the taste, it reminds me of a burnt raisin bagel...in a good way. This is an excellent barleywine that gets better the further into the bottle you get. To style, yet different. Smooth, but has enough rough edges to make it a sipper and keep you on edge. I like it, but not sure about the ageability.

AleSmith Old Numbskull from AleSmith Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,157 ratings.