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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.

1,052 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,052
Reviews: 445
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 10.19%
Wants: 177
Gots: 279 | FT: 19
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: 1,052 | Reviews: 445 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tmoneyba
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

tmoneyba, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

BigMcLargeHuge, Nov 17, 2008
Photo of hopdog
4.45/5  rDev +8%
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.

hopdog, Nov 10, 2008
Photo of Goliath
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Goliath, Nov 05, 2008
Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.13/5  rDev -24%
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.

FtownThrowDown, Oct 31, 2008
Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.8/5  rDev +16.5%
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.

Wetpaperbag, Oct 29, 2008
Photo of BretSikkink
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

BretSikkink, Oct 27, 2008
Photo of funkyspunk87
5/5  rDev +21.4%
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.

funkyspunk87, Oct 06, 2008
Photo of cswhitehorse
3.78/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

cswhitehorse, Sep 30, 2008
Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

mikesgroove, Sep 09, 2008
Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

SkeeterHawk, Sep 08, 2008
Photo of OlieIPA
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

OlieIPA, Sep 02, 2008
Photo of Enola
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

Enola, Aug 03, 2008
Photo of mentor
3.55/5  rDev -13.8%
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.

mentor, Jul 23, 2008
Photo of ncvbc
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
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!

ncvbc, Jul 23, 2008
Photo of JDV
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by MiguelMandingo. Thanks!
Pours dark caramel maroon colored and opaque. Smell is hoppy, warm caramelly with a touch spicy cinnamon. Taste is similar with warm, toasty, spicy hoppy caramel and cinnamon like malt and balancing hops. Very drinkable for a big barley wine. Great beer all around.

JDV, Jun 30, 2008
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A full four fingers of super thick rocky tan foam head erupts with a strong pour. Leaves lots of lace as it fades. Body is an attractive deep brown with ruby accents throughout. Nose i huge with invigorating doughy malts and zesty spice along with pie like fruit tones. Bold rich dark fruit tones. Bold rich dark fruit tones enter the mouth on first sip with a peppery backround. Burnt pie crust teams with piney hops show up on the back of the tongue. Dry powdery spices stay long on the tongue after the sip. Alchol is very well hidden except for a nice warm belly. Sweetness is there but short and dry. Leaves an almost glittering spicey bitter feel for the mouthfeel. This is a big hearty barleywine that will last you all night.

SPLITGRIN, Jun 20, 2008
Photo of wcudwight
3.7/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Received in a trade.
I think this is the 2006 version.
Beautiful polished brass color with a thick vanilla colored head. Head falls and forms a tight cap on top of the beer. Crystal clear.
Lot's of caramel in the nose. Hints of vanilla and honey. Big brandy like aroma.
Flavors are pretty identical to the nose. Big caramel malts. Vanilla, honey, apricots. Boozy finish. The finish is a bit to boozy for this lightweight.
Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. It fits the style very well. A very filling beer.
A nice beer to have as a night cap once in awhile.

wcudwight, Jun 18, 2008
Photo of Beerbuddha
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- dark, golden amber color

Smell- syrup, citrus and a nice hoppy bitterness

Taste- Hops, syrup

Mouthfeel- thick and syrupy. ver little carbonation

Overall- Not bad overall, this beer is not a hot weather brew in my opinion but rather is something nice to drink during the cold weather months.

Beerbuddha, Jun 11, 2008
Photo of barefootbrewer
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - This beer poured a clear brown with a small head...to be expected.

S - Strong of malt and caramel. Deep aroma.

T - Once again malty and caramel dominates. There is some slight hop bitterness and the alcohol is noticeable.

M - Full and creamy.

D - I love English Barleywines and this one is no exception!

barefootbrewer, Jun 09, 2008
Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Alesmith Old Numbskull
750mL brown bottle (capped)
Silver wrapper, Blue printing

A: poured into a snifter and allowed to warm a little. The barleywine pours a clear, mahogany color with some small flaky sediment floating around. small halo of off-white head clings to the glass.

S: very resiny and hoppy aroma. nice thick and warming scent of wonderful citrus hops mostly overly ripe oranges. Some black pepper, some big pine aromas. This is what a barleywine should smell like.

T: such a smooth, well-balanced flavor. Tons of citrus hops right off the bat, with perfect malt flavors to balance it out. Strong citrus flavors are still lingering. Some big pine flavors, along with some of that black pepper from the aroma.

M: Very smooth and clean, as well as being rich and thick. perfect low carbonation level.

D: for 11% this is extremely drinkable. I am not sure why this isn't the standard for barleywines, since it is absolutely amazing. I always like BWs, but this just made me love them.

paulthebeerguru, Jun 07, 2008
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear, mahogany-hued body with a small, though creamy-looking, off-white head.

Smell: Sweet-smelling, sugary pine resin scent followed by dried orange peel and then a bright aroma of tropical fruit medley. Some notes of brown sugar sprinkled on toast as it warms a bit.

Taste: Sweet caramel maltiness with a hot, clean booziness on its tail. A touch of pine. A taste of brown sugar blended with simple syrup and a variety of fruit juices. Strong, earthy hop bitterness, though it allows the malts to do most of the work. Everpresent, underlying yeastiness. Bittersweet, warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Slightly above medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: A delightful barleywine fresh (you certainly can't say that about all of them) and one that I suspect ages quite wonderfully.

ChainGangGuy, May 27, 2008
Photo of nickfl
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - One finger of off white head, settles relatively quickly, leaves spotty lace. The body is amber-brown and clear.

S - Spicy, citrusy hops. Notes of pepper and lemon backed by sweet caramel malt and a hint of coffee.

T - A big, spicy wallop of hops up front, tempered by thick malt. Spicy notes in the middle; mustard, pepper, cumin, and basil. Toasty notes of toffee and caramel continue into the finish, where they balance the pungent bitterness and fade into a mildly carbonized roast quality.

M - Heavy, oily body, medium carbonation, and a sweet finish with lingering alcoholic warmth.

D - Fairly drinkable for such a big beer. The alcohol is readily apparent, but not unpleasant. The hop character is the dominant flavor here, but it is kept in check by the huge malt presence. An interesting, and distinctly American, take on a classic English style.

nickfl, May 26, 2008
Photo of Trueant1
4.72/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

No date on bottle. Bought it in 2007 and am drinking it in May 2008.

Pours a medium orange and sits in the glass hazy with lots of yiesties. Leaves a great coating of lacing. A thin head at best.

Smells of sweet malts. Very "bready". Citrus hops and alcohol also on the nose. Perfect smell!

Tastes sweet and thick up front. An asprin and alcohol burn on the way down...a good thing.
Many darker fig flavors in here, pineapple, alcohol, cream, and vanilla. WOWWEEE~!

My favorite thing about this delectible brew is the rich and thick overly malted mouthfeel. A meal in a bottle. WHat a great brew! Memorable.

note: need to purchase a case for aging!

Trueant1, May 09, 2008
Photo of Wasatch
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Silver Wrapped

I've been sitting on this one for about 1.5 years.

Pours a nice brownish color, not much carbonation, not much of a head/sticky lacing either. The nose is big and malty, nice tones of dark fruit/spices, with some caramel notes. The taste is slightly sweet at first then the malts come into plan. The alcohol is pretty present on this one. Medium body. Very drinkable tough. Worth a seek.

Wasatch, Apr 19, 2008
AleSmith Old Numbskull from AleSmith Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,052 ratings.