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AleSmith Old Numbskull - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Old NumbskullAleSmith Old Numbskull

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

1,158 Ratings
THE BROS
88
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,158
Reviews: 455
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 9.98%
Wants: 180
Gots: 291 | 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: 1,158 | Reviews: 455 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of DovaliHops
4.32/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly hazy (almost clear) reddish amber color with a small cream colored head that disappears quickly. Scent is very malty with strong fig aroma. Figs and raisins come through the scent the most, but there are also other dark fruits and toffee in there. I also get raw honey and chocolate. Taste is quite exquisite. Very well balanced with the hops, malt, and dark fruits. This one has been aged over a year, so I'm sure it's more hoppy when fresh, but this just tastes great. I get vanilla, toffee, and honey too. The alcohol is definitely there, but balance almost perfectly throughout all the flavors. Fantastic barley wine style ale. Mouthfeel is thick and full-bodied without being too syrupy. Drinkability is fairly high. This is a very rich beer, almost like a dessert... but it doesn't bring down the drinkability very much.

Photo of pecokid
4.29/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This beer stopped me from watching the Stealers / Ravens game. I have no idea what vintage it is but I know I bought it at Grapes of Mirth in Ohio a couple of years ago. The hops are (still!?) overwhelming. There is no bitter/sweet balance, it is so much hops. The hops are intense. For perspective I started the day around 5 PM with Troegs Mad Elf, then Troegs Nugget Nectar, and then blended with some of my homebrew milk stout. There may have been half a glass of Samuel Smith Winter Welcome in there just before the Ale Smith Numb Skull. The viscosity of the liquid is tremendous and it utilizes every IBU of the hop character. I feel ashamed of myself for drinking this on any random day. Appearance: Copper/orange, slightly cloudy. Smell: Citrus herbal. Taste and mouth feel are difficult for me to separate. The taste is powerful hoppy and very sweet. The mouth feel definitely coats the entire palette. Drinkability is understandably low on this.

PS, for those of you on BA who are lamenting/debating Troegs Nugget Nectar and Bell's Hopslam, I may suggest you may consider a pause to consider this. Not the same style, but wow, it may give you some perspective.

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

On-tap at the brewery

A - Poured a dark copper brownish color with a tan head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is of citrus hops on a sweet malt backbone

T - Just like the smell citrus hops on top of sweet malt

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

D - This is a good hoppy Barleywine thats very enjoyable with its good taste its a little too easy to drink worth picking up to give it a try sometime

Photo of farrago
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An average pour yields a super-sized, frothy head of reddish tan delicate, large bubbles which dimples down to the surface, while wispy the lacing pretty much there for good. Vibrant sunset red color, all burnt and aglow, the orange influence helps maintain transparency and brightness, only few scattered micro-bubbles to be seen. Tangerine, grapefruit initiates its presence in your nose, the pine, vanilla cream, coal tar, moss and lichens, toffee hit you scattershot, takes awhile to sort it all out, the breadiness is sweet and close to fruitcake, however, the nectarine, apricot, pineapple scents not aggressive, overall the hops clearly in control and, while messy, the good kind of messy. Medium-bodied and lighter of touch than expected, the carbonation flips the flavors like flapjacks in your mouth. Here you feel the alcohol and there's a whiskey, vanilla, oak barrel aspect upfront. The tangerine, pink grapefruit, blood orange citrus remains a major factor. Pine sap, floral dew, orange pekoe tea, moves into plusher golden raisin, fig to apricot, nectarine, mango, pineapple fruit. With some warming you get additional caramel, honey coating. Overall sweet and not that dry while at the same time not uncritically relying on sugar to impress. Hard to fully accept it within its typed idiom.

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

Review from notes taken on 12/9/10 and shared with wishuwerebeer. Bottle care of joefc earlier in the year. My best guess is this is an '09 bottle.

Poured into a snifter, this brew appears a clear ruby amber color with a creamy tan cap. Fairly decent retension, as the head fades it leaves patchy lace clinging to the glass.

The smell of this brew is quite malty with a big fruity sweet nose that smells of caramelized sugars, fruity hops and a mellow indication of alcohol. Once warm, there is a vanilla smoothness about the nose which is quite enjoyable.

The taste of this brew is toasty caramel malt that is initially sweet that turns herbal bitter and bold with alcohol. A bit of a mineral quality exists with the herbal hops that lasts on the tongue. The alcohol warms the back of the throat with a mild fruity flavor that is somewhat rind-like. The initial grainy sweetness that was upfront and toasty turns lightly musty and drying as the brew warms and the alcohol comes forward.

Medium to full bodied brew with a moderate to light amount of carbonation. This is quite a contrasting brew from start to finish, from fruity sweet to herbal and bitter. Very bold and enjoyable it wouldn't hurt to have a few of these in the house with varying ages.

Photo of JamnesCameron
4.54/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Purchased late summer 2010, guessing it is a recent vintage. Blue lettering on bottle and silver foil.

Poured into a snifter.

Pours a muddy, reddish brown with a good finger of light tan head. Appears effervescent, but head does not last. Should be much clearer.

Aromas of orange and grapefruit citrusy hops, some piney resins, and a rich toffee malt backbone to brace everything up. A little winey, with some raisins and figs showing up as well.

First sip is..well...not as bitter as I was expecting. Very restrained bitterness, like an English barleywine, but with American west coast hops. Bitterness is in a nice balance with the malt. Toffee malt and a little alcohol bite ride along together in the finish.

Mouthfeel is huge, chewy, not cloyingly sweet. A little hop bitterness gives a slight pucker effect, but so that your cheeks cave in. Some alcohol warmth as well.

Outstanding example of a barleywine. Good balance, nothing excessive or "in your face" that is typical of American versions of the style. Very nice.

Photo of bosco7
4.44/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not sure of the vintage. Poured with no head and large soda like bubbles.

Graham crackers, hint of cinnamon, caramel, and raisins in the nose. Fantastic.

Tastes phenomenal. Bread pudding comes to mind with all the bready and caramel flavors. Hops have dropped out on this one. Finish is warming.

Mouthfeel is full and inviting. This is what a barleywine should taste like. My only complaint is with the lack of a head

Highly recommended.

Photo of ekardz
3.45/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a reddish amber, little to no head, with almost no carbonation. Smell dark fruity notes, plums/raisins, resiny, malty, and somewhat boozy. Taste lots of sugar, malts, not much alcohol, lacks the flavor and complexity I was expecting in this barleywine. Medium bodied, no carbonation, dry finish. Very drinkable for 11% but not much flavor or reason to drink. Would not purchase again.

Photo of Pahn
4.21/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into Duvel tulip. Not sure when this was bottled, but I've had the bottle for about 6 months.

Appearance: Free pour yields a two and a half inch fluffy offwhite head that dissipates very slowly and sticks all over the side of the glass. Pours a translucent, orange-ish dark red and leaves streaks and walls of thick lacing. Looks great.

Smell: Cascade hops and sugary malt reminiscent of other great American barleywines like Great Divide's Old Ruffian or Avery's Hog Heaven. The sugary sweet notes are very deep... they're thick and fruity; decadent. One sniff tells you exactly what style of beer this is, and that it's probably a pretty good representation of the style.

Taste: Up front there's the same sugary, caramely, fruity sweetness infused with Cascade (I think) hops as in the smell, followed by a pleasantly strong bitterness tinged with some emerging chocolate flavor that segues into a slightly roasted tasting finish. Alcohol is felt in the chest but not in the taste.

I seem to be writing "taste follows smell" in a lot of recent reviews, but the degree to which it's true in this beer is particularly notable. I'll go with the most ridiculous analogy that came to mind... it's like the smell is getting a good look at an attractive person, while the taste is making love to that person. You experience all the things that drew you in from the start, only more closely and potently, along with additional surprises.

At first, I considered giving this only a 4.0, because while the tastes are deep and great, they're not really anything I've not had before. I bumped it up to 4.5 because the malt flavor up front really is excellent, and the way it incorporates bitterness, extra notes of roasted flavors and chocolate, without any solvent like alcohol (in an 11% beer) is very impressive.

Mouthfeel: The weakest aspect of this beer, which isn't saying much considering that the beer is quite good. Medium body that's a little on the thin side. Mild carbonation. Approaches creamy but doesn't really get there.

Drinkability: This beer nails the style, so if you like spending a night with slow drinking, solid American barleywine, you'll have nothing to complain about with Old Numbskull. I'm not sure I'd pick it up if I saw it on the shelf next to the other barleywines I've mentioned above, but in a more abstract, generalized way of looking at it, I would definitely have this beer again.

Old Numbskull is a pretty refined take on its style. The flavors are distinct and clean, the bitterness is amped up but used to great effect, and the alcohol is well-hidden (at least as far as the taste is concerned).

Photo of misinformed
3.61/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle, pint glass, reviewed 11/29.

A- Medium amber/orange/brown beer poured with a 1" rocky, tan head. Nice "Brussels" lacing as it was consumed.

S- Not very assertive. Malt, notes of honey sweetness. Some faint floral notes, but not a lot of hop scent.

T- Mild floral hops, with some faint citrusy sweetness at first. Following the hops are dark roasted malts. Caramel and a little bit of bittersweet chocolate. Finishes bitter, with a bit of citrusy sweetness again. Balance leans towards darker malts, with some hops to back it up.

M- Medium bodied, lightly oily. Not anything particularly interesting here. No noticeable carbonation or heat.

D- No trace of the alcohol anywhere. I like the darker roasted malts here, but there aren't enough hops to balance it out. I'd describe this as lightly sweet with a mild bitter finish. The flavor seems sort of faded or washed out, especially the hops, but without a bottle date it's hard to tell if that was the original intent. Not my favorite by any means, but a solid barleywine.

Photo of Gobzilla
3.9/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a reddish brown with yellow highlights and had a thin bubbly head and left a little frothy lacing sticking to the glass. A nice bouquet of hops are noticeable on the first whiff with caramel coming through as well alongside candied sugar notes but faint dark fruit character. The booze comes out more on taste but meshes good with the caramel notes alongside hopppy and slight brown sugar accents. It still had some good sweetness from the malts and candied sugar. The brew was medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a sweet slight dark fruity, hoppy, and sticky finish. It drank pretty good and the hoppy bite did add a little dimension to this barleywine. Alesmith does the style right; solid barleywine.

Photo of Tilley4
3.4/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a murky brown with a small head... Very murky and dull...

Big faded hop aromas here along with sweet toffee and caramel malts... Raisiny fruity sweetness with a little booze...

Definitely faded a bit... Very sweet and syrupy with the malts dominating... No booze really. Not much in the way of hops either. All sweet malts and fruits...

Probably an older bottle... Tough getting through this... Too sweet for me...

Photo of emmasdad
3.63/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage. Pours from the 750 ml bottle a medium to dark clear reddish-orange color, with a little white head on top. Aromas of toffee, caramel, citrusy hops and a little vanilla. Medium bodied, and drinkable, hides the 11% alcohol fairly well. Flavors of citrusy hops, sugary fruits and sweet caramel. A nice barleywine, easily drinkable for its ABV.

Photo of billab914
4.01/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured caramel brown in color with a big, fluffy and frothy off-white head to it. A thin, frothy layer remained covering the beer well into drinking it and left some great lacing as well. Exceptional looking barleywine overall.

The aroma has some big citrus notes to it with pineapple juice and grapefruit being the most prominent. As it warmed more of the malty, caramel like flavors really started coming out.

The taste shows more of malty, caramel and fruity flavors more prominently than the aroma did. The citrusy, grapefruit like flavors show through enough that you wouldn't mistake this for an English version though. The bitterness and sweetness really seem to balance each other out pretty nicely. Very flavorful beer overall.

The mouthfeel is on the thicker side with carbonation being below average, but I wouldn't call it low. Drinkability is good, it was a very nice barleywine to sip on this evening. The hoppy, citrus flavors went pretty well with the big malty and caramel flavors and really balanced them out as well. Very good beer overall.

Photo of Jayli
3.99/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in to my Brooklyn tulip

A: This beer pours a ruddy, garnet, brown with a RIDICULOUS four finger of creamy, rocky, khaki colored head. The head retains forever and leaves spotty chunks of lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is floral hops, mild caramel notes.

T: Taste is floral hops at the forefront, with just a minor hint of citrus. Not what I would expect in a barleywine! Mild toffee and caramel malts come through and really give a robust middle. Finish is raising and hints of grassy notes.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation, crisp body with a mildly oily finish.

D: Goes down dangerously easy, great kick, nice representation of style. If it weren't for the ABV, I would drink this beer all night.

Photo of TCHopCraver
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes on 9-17-10. Props to zoso1967 and TCGoalie for bringing this brew to my mouth.

A: The color is a little strange... its murky, light brown, reddish orange hue reminds me a little of loose feces (not really in a bad way, though). Atop this curious looking body is a one finger, khaki head in my oversized wine glass. The carbonation bubbles are moving very slowly and the lacing is thick and swirly.

S: A very robust smell of musty caramel and brown sugar emanates from this numbskull. There is a slight citrus presence of orange zest along with some white pine coming from the hops. I also smell some thick, creamy butter. The biggest aroma in the batch is that malty, mustiness.

T: A musty caramel and brown sugar sweetness is tempered by a tingly pine hoppiness. The order of that taste on my palate is the brown sugar upfront, with the musty caramel taste in the middle, finished by the drying pine hop bitterness.

M: This numbskull MF has a very creamy, buttery, medium feel on my palate with a lovely, dry hop bitterness at the end.

D: I really could not detect the 11 % a.b.v. at all. This is very smooth drinking beer that is not exceptional, but was quite tasty and will be worth another try in the future.

Photo of TCgoalie
4.22/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Notes from 9/17/10

All hail zoso1967 for relinquishing his grasp on this bottle for TCHopCraver and I to enjoy.

Pours a murky brown with hues of gold. If you put a couple of ice cubes in it, I may have mistaken it for iced tea brewed with dirty river water.

The smell is typical barleywine, brown sugar, caramel malts, funk but has some added citrus, lemon and orange. I really enjoy the smell of a barleywine.

There is a lot of brown sugar up front in the taste leading to a malt funk which reminds me of how my basement smells(in a good way). There is a substantial pine hop bitterness at the end which drives the aftertaste. The flavor profile is smaller than I thought it might be given the smell.

The feel in the mouth is of a medium bodied nature. There is also a touch of drying in the end.

This is very drinkable and a solid barleywine. I would be happy to have it again.

Photo of fastsrt
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle in snifter.

A: deep amber, frothy tan head, laces the glass well

S: malts, rich fruit,

T: rich malts, well balanced, alcohol is well hidden.

M: on point carbonation, sticky mouth feel, creamy

D: smooth drinker, solid beer, I always enjoy drinking beers from Alesmith, they have yet to have let me down.

Photo of zimmerbloke
3.89/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From Blind Bomber BIF (Thanks to Hophead101!):

A: Pours mildly transluscent brown. Looks dense and full bodied, but the density isn't really apparent when swirling the beer. Quite foamy, light khaki head fades into a thick, sticky lacing.

S: Dark fruit sweetness and heavy oxidation. Some brown sugar and caramel. Very sweet, with some biscuity malt. Pleasantly mild, not at all boozy.

T: Very strong oxidation. No alcohol heat, but I can definitely taste some on the end of each sip. Floral and citrus hops are definitely present, if faded. Only mild hop bitterness is present. Drinks very sweet, but almost like processed sugar. Not entirely balanced flavor profile, but interesting nevertheless.

M: The carbonation is weaker than I would like, even for a barleywine/old ale. Still a very smooth drink, but not quite there.

D: At first, the oxidation was a bit too strong for me to want to drink much of it, but as the beer warmed, I really enjoyed it more and more. Not perfect, but I definitely was happy to drink the bomber.

Still trying to work out my feelings for this beer, but I think I like it. At the very least, I think it's well made and I'd like to know how old the bottle I had was. I'll certainly be seeking out more to investigate further.

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.26/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Schlafly tulip from a 750ml bottle.

A - Pours a very nice dark and muddy amber color with some reddish hues and some nice orange hues as well. This beer looks gorgeous. The head is enormous, about 2 inches tall and nice and light tan color with some medium sized bubbles. The head takes forever and a day to recede. Nice sticky lacing all over the glass.

S - Strong citrusy and grassy hop notes come through with a furry. Rich malt aromas have some nice hints on the back end of the nose. Pretty resiny just on the nose alone. If this is any indication of the flavor then I should be in for a nice hoppy bomb.

T & M - Starts off with a rush of citrus hops that coat the mouth in a matter of mili-seconds. There is a slight grainy and malty sweetness in the middle that is very delicious and quasi-balancing. Still the intense resin and hop flavors are so powerful. On the back end there is some slight toasty malt flavors that give some slight coffee hints. There are some caramel and brown sugar hints in the sweetness as well as toffee but like i said before the hop is king in this beer. Great oily and viscous mouthfeel with still good CO2 crispness. The alcohol is present as it warms up and definitely leaves a boozy aftertaste. Would go well with something spicy.

D - Very good Barleywine. Delicious and intense. Might be a bit dangerous on the 11%.

Photo of atigerlife
4.15/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber with a small creamy brown head. Small carbonation rising. Very nice to look at.

Aroma is sweet, malts, overally ripe dark fruits [prunes/figs]. Alcohol in the background.

Taste is sweet, malty, caramel, some hops and hints of slightly old orange and dark fruits. As it warms, the alcohol makes it presence known.

Mouthfeel is syrupy, heavy.

Overall, a wonderful barleywine. Very drinkable given the ABV. Not my favorite style, but I would recommend this [and wish I had another bottle].

Photo of younger35
4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received this brew from Gibby in a trade not too long back. This is one of those beers that is fairly readily available and I've always wanted to try it but never got around to trading for one. Drank from my Bear Republic pint glass while grilling.

Appearance- Pours a murky copper orange with a beautifully creamy one fingered sandy white head. A beautiful cap and collar is maintained the entire beer along with loads of ringed lacing down my glass.
Smell- Full bouquet of Barleywine goodness here. Big hoppy aspect with hints of grass, dandelion, grapefruit and a touch of orange peel. As it warms and melds with the malt that great candy scent arrives. It reminds me of cotton candy or red licorice. Love that. Plenty of toffee and French toast from the malt along with a light whiff of alcohol.
Taste- Starts with a surprisingly subtle mix of hoppy deliciousness and malty brilliance. A mixture of lightly citric hops including lemon zest, grapefruit, and crab apple all invade the taste buds. The malt is no slouch though as the light caramel sweetness counteracts the bitterness beautifully. I get a small dash of toasted malt in the finish along with a bit of booze. The aftertaste lingers with a bit of fruit and caramel.
Mouthfeel- Big and thick and rich with a nice fine carbonation that aids in the super creamy feel.
Drinkability- Easily one of the tastiest Barleywines I've had the luxury of tasting in quite some time. It's super drinkable and has definitely hit the sweet spot in terms of malt/hop balance. Alesmith is a great brewery and between this beer and Speedway Stout, I'm in love. Thanks much Jeff!

Photo of CrellMoset
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A 750 mL silver-foiled and capped bottle. This one was courtesy of BrewerB, and was shipped to me back in December of 2007, if I recall, back when I first began trading. I sat on this one forever, and it's the only regular AleSmith I've yet to try, largely because I shortly thereafter traded for a -bal version of the same, and have been waiting for the perfect moment to crack both one after the other. Ergo, this one has a good nearly three years of age on it. This one was poured in to a 22 oz. snifter that my brother gave me last Christmas.

Appearance: Pours a ruddy, rusty, burnt umber, transparent around the periphery but hazed an inch or two beneath the surface, even with exposure to direct light. I imagine that's partly due to a lack of filtering, but also due to a good few years for the yeast to propagate and whatever and whatever amen to fall out of suspension. The hue is nice, perhaps a little dirty, but the head is a bit of a step up - a foamy, whipped mass of vanilla cream stays atop this beer for an impressive amount of time, given the abv% and style, though it ultimately retreats to the safety of a thin, spotty collar and a few spotty blotches of fluff floating haphazardly on the surface of this brew. The lacing is fascinating, looking almost smeared along the sides of the glass, with some great stick but not a lot of what I would readily or easily identify as "lace." It's reminiscent of other aged barleywines, however, and gives this one that classic aged look I've come to appreciate.

Aroma: Wholesome malts and estery fruits intermingle with spicy, astringent hop remnants. The aroma here is a little muddled at times, but always pleasant, in a far-off, unidentifiable sort of way. There are hints of toffee, maple syrup, and brown sugar, refined, not syrupy, accompanied by a slew of tobacco and thick, musty grass notes. A few peat-like woody notes, faintly sweet and sour, honey-glazed steak-esque.

Taste: Amazingly smooth and complex. There's a well-faded, persistent amount of bitter hop "white noise," if you will, that slightly astringent (in a good way), faintly bitter and acidic background note that permeates everything without overpowering anything. It augments, amplifies, and compliments nearly everything else in the beer, as well. The malt base here is heavily roasted, slightly toasted, and right past the equally dry/sweet line, showcasing tons of toffee, caramel, toast, brown sugar, and molasses. The fruity additions from what I imagine have been a very content yeast strain over the past two-odd years intermingle well with both of the aforementioned, with tons of fruit sugar-y esque notes (from glassy raisins to black cherries to mildly tart figs) interacting with both the aforementioned maltiness and the leafy herbal notes of the hops - themselves dominated by tobacco and muddled mint, though with flashes of citrus at points. Nothing is too biting or intense, and there's no sign of anything approaching an 11% abv except a long-since-faded memory.

Mouthfeel: You don't feel the carbonation, but you do feel the lift, which is a feeling I love. That is, there's no independent prickle, no individually identifiable bubbles or streams of effervescence ... but the slightly thick though not-quite-sweet-enough-to-be-considered-syrupy body does rise up fairly quickly, evenly, smoothly in the mouth for a creamy, nearly velvety mouth. Sublime.

Drinkability: This one's probably around or perhaps just past its peak - I don't really see it getting too much more spectacular with age, as the hops have definitely hit their stride and seem to be on a downward trajectory, even though the alcohol bite has completely faded. After finishing the 750, I'm fearful of tackling the -bal 750 (but I'll soldier on somehow, right?), so you definitely can feel the 11% here, even if you can't taste it. However, as it stands, this is a remarkably well-aged, complex, mature, easy-drinking beer. Crack 'em if you got 'em, and crack 'em alongside a -bal version of the same if you got 'em - who knows when the next time AleSmith will grace us with -bal versions of this or any of their other brews may be! Highly recommended, and cheers.

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Old Numbskull has a very clear, light brown appearance. There is a moderate amount of head and lacing. Sweet malts with hints of caramels, toffee, and alcohol are the basic make up of the scents and tastes. Alcohol is pretty evident throughout the smell, taste, and finish of the beer. The feel is decent, with a prominent butterscotch candy note in the back, which I find to be rather enjoyable.

AleSmith Old Numbskull from AleSmith Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 1,158 ratings.