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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.

958 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 958
Reviews: 443
rAvg: 4.13
pDev: 10.17%
Wants: 168
Gots: 266 | FT: 16
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: 958 | Reviews: 443 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BlindPig


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

A- Thin tan head which fades to very little lacing. Murky amber orange color.
S- Sweet alcohol. Citrus hops with malt present also. Grapefruit rind is also there.
T-Citrus taste like grapefruit or orange rind. You can tell that it is rind instead of the fruit. Alcohol taste is mixed in as well and gives a warming in stomach. Nice bitter taste that is big from first sip till the aftertaste. The aftertaste really coats the tongue in bitterness and a bit fruity. Also on the sweet side. Has a nice dry finish also.
M- Low carbonation, smooth, oily, taste clings to your tongue though. Medium body which is maybe a bit on the thin side for this big of beer.
D- Very good. Nice complex brew. Definitely one you have to be in the mood for and if you are this beer would just be amazing.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2006 18:45:56 | More by BlindPig
Photo of kirok1999


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

Damn near impossible to read bottle, blue print on dark green bottle. Oh well, here to drink, not read.

A- Medium light copper with lots of yeast sediment floating around. Thin white head with minimal lacing. (2007 edit- Massive head and huge sticky lacing that shows every sip)

S- Citrus hop note at first, some resin and sweet fruity notes too. (2007 edit- smell hasn't changed much)

T- Sweet and citrusy. Kinda thick and cloying, Some slight burnt caramel, dark fruit, with a lingering burnt aftertaste. (2007 edit-This was a 2006 bottling and a year has made a drastic difference- smooth, mellow, the burnt notes are gone leaving the wonderful sweetness, fruit and caramel)

M- Thick and bready.

D- A good barleywine. Not my favorite, it's not quite sweet enough for me and a little too burnt/bitter. Still, a good product and one I wouldn't hesitate to buy again. (2007 edit- Damn near my favorite barleywine. Buy as many as you can and age them at least a year. Wonderful creamy goodness!!)

Serving type: bottle

08-28-2006 23:42:58 | More by kirok1999
Photo of cheers2beers


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

Appearance: This beer pours a deep ruby cider with very minimal head to speak of. Just a thin white ring around my snifter is all that remains of any head. Just a hint of laceing to be found.

Smell: The aromas are very much candied apples, spicy rich malts, butterscotch, and caramel. A little alcohol is noticed but not to strong in the nose. Hmmm, buttery?

Taste: An alcoholic buttery nipple if you will, thick molasses, caramel. A wonderful butterscotch flavor that permiates the palate. There is little to no hops detected yet this seems to be very well balanced with an extremely complex and layered malt bill. Nice English malt bomb if I do say so myself.

Mouthfeel: Full and thick, almost syrupy in its feel. Low carbonation which is right on for the style. It leaves a wonderfull and lingering slick streak in your mouth that makes u want more.

Drinkability: Despite the 11% abv, this is perilously drinkable. This is my second English Barley Wine and I gotta say that it gives some of the top American examples a run for there money. Alesmith has done it again!!!


Serving type: bottle

07-13-2006 23:52:45 | More by cheers2beers
Photo of warmstorage


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

750ml champagne style bottle, ~$10.99 (?) from Hi Time.

Pours deep amber, almost reddish. Clear, with limited tan head. Even a vigorous pour on the second glass yields limited head.

Aroma is malty sweet, with notable alcohol, and caramel notes. Slightly musty/dusty smell comes out as it warms, which is not unpleasant, but not pleasant, either. Limited hops noticeable in aroma.

Taste is malty sweet and full, with hints of prunes/figs, and possibly overripe stonefruit? Finishes with a hot alcohol zing in the mouth, and more sweet malt. Moderate hops are noticeable in the finish and aftertaste, though not pronounced, and are appropriate for style.

A tasty, well balanced, and drinkable English style barleywine: well worth a pint or three. However, as I often feel, the $10+ for AleSmith's 750ml (26.2 oz) bottles is steep, especially given that similarly excellent beers can be had for $5 and even less, for 22 ounces. I like the beer, but I dislike the feeling that I'm paying for fancy marketing, bottles, and foil wrapping. I might buy it again for a special occasion, but I don't, and won't, buy it regularly.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2006 00:02:16 | More by warmstorage
Photo of scottoale


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

Picked up this growler of one of my favorites while at the Speedway BA release...ohh yeah! From the growler to my favorite tulip glass, pours a deep red-copper with a thick, frothy 1/2 inch of sticky lacing head. Beautiful looking stuff, the lace left is delicate and intriquet...lots of it...very nice !

The smell is quite a bit hoppier than the bottle of this that I just reviewed, probably fresher and definitely sharper in the nose, none the less it's the bomb.

The flavor is still just awesome and just hoppier than the bottle I just had recently, it's just much fresher and will age beautifully, no doubt! The malt backbone still supports the sweetness, yet the hops dominate this still young Barleywine This is still the taste I live for and aging is just an option...for better or worse it still kicks ass either way.

Full bodied and a mouthfeel that's just gettin better, day by day...drinkability? YES please!!! Another growler is in order ASAP !


Serving type: growler

07-05-2006 01:56:49 | More by scottoale
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


3.43/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2003 Bottle.
Silver Foil on Blue & White screen printed bottle.
Listed at 10% Alcohol by Volume.
Sampled at 3 Years Old.

I purchased this bottle in early 2003, so this is about 3 years old. This is a long forgotten about bottle discovered hidden inside a box that had been cellared since I purchased it. As it was time for a beer stash clear out I figured it was worth giving it a whirl to see how it aged.

Appearance: Murky turbid brown body clears to a deep mahogany torso. Has a still-life village pond look with no head whatsoever lest a few single lone bubbles around the edge of the broken meniscus. Zero carbonation. Looks very, very tired.

Nose: Chewy toffee with a sweet malt caramel in the back end. Fusel alcohol punctuates the sweetness and adds some soft whisky tones.

Taste: Big thick dollop of hefty sweet malts with a lick of alcohol. Warming at the start and sweet in the finish. Gentle liquorice and anise spices the cheeks after the swallow and lingers. The general feel however is of a brew that is fading though, Old Numbskull has been a favorite brew when fresh, but aged it really does not seem to improve at all.

Mouthfeel: The alcohol still packs a punch, albeit with a sugar coated caramel boxing glove. Decent strength in the body and a dependable feel. The alcohol and sweet malts conspire to maintain a bold feel, though it feels like it is waning a little.

Drinkability: Despite the flaccid appearance and rather tired taste profile, it wasn’t all that bad in the Drinkability stakes and I worked my way through this one quietly whilst adding some BeerFlys. But it was clearly past its best.

Overall: Still has that slap of Old Numbskull Barleywine, but I expected a little more longevity from such an expensive brew that markets itself alongside other high end brews. I would not recommend cellaring the Old Numbskull beyond the 24 months mentioned in the “6 to 24 months or longer” on the back of the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2006 06:05:02 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of TheBungyo


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

Not a whole lot of head or lacing to speak of but the sun kissed caramel body is still inviting. Not to mention the massive nose that makes me think of a passionate kiss on the first date. It's full of magnificent caramel, bitter grapefruit hops, sherry, rum, and raisins. If I could, I would buy this again and again. Pure pleasure. Taste reminds me of Sierra Nevada Bigfoot with the hops slightly muted. This isn't a bad thing as it gives the malt a chance to shine. In all, the taste is largely the same as the nose with the hops being far more understated. I'm really enjoying this. Mouth is lightly carbonated lending a velvet feel to the body. I could drink lots of this. I would love to prepare a big meal and serve this instead of dessert. A fantastic effort at a barley wine.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2006 07:32:27 | More by TheBungyo
Photo of waldowin


4.7/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear amber, with a small white head forming and quickly fading. No visible carbonation.

Smells of chardonnay, raisins, rum, bourbon, and cherries, with a hint of vanilla.

Wow! Despite being an English Barleywine, my lesser favorite of the American/English styles, this stuff has a real *pop* to it. Up front flavor is all raisins, cherries, alcohol, rum, and vanilla, with a nice grapefruit wallop in the finish to keep it from becoming cloying. Chewy, but just enough carbonation to keep it from being syrupy. Wonderfully balanced and smooth. The sweetness gives out to the hops at the very finish, leaving you absolutely ready for the next sip of sweet to start the cycle over again

This beer is 10%, and not too subtle about it, but it's still a real treat. Going to finish a 750mL tonight, with very little effort. It's a very good thing this bottle isn't bigger, or I'd be in real trouble.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2006 07:05:57 | More by waldowin
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle (Courtesy of Hogtownharry): Poured a clear medium brown color ale with a small foamy brown head with minimal retention. Aroma of sweet caramel malt is dominating without being too sweet though. Some floral hops are discernable but nothing overwhelming. Taste is also dominated by sweet malt but I can’t find any complexity of dry fruits characteristics that I usually enjoy. Some hops provide a slightly bitter finish but nothing to overshadow the rest of the beer. Body is defiantly too thin and watery for my liking and alcohol is well hidden. Even do I usually enjoy English style barleywine, I cannot say that I was overly impressed by this one.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2006 19:42:10 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of sinstaineddemon


3.78/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - coppper red color, with a half finger thick tan head, no visible carbonation, tons of suspended sediment

S - smells like a typical barleywine, that great molasses and dark fruit aroma ive come to love

T - well balanced between high ABV and barleywine sweet flavors, that brown sugar/molasses sweetness, like a nice scotch

M - smooth and balanced, a nice barleywine

D - high due to the smoothness, but lowered due to the ABV

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2006 05:12:36 | More by sinstaineddemon
Photo of BEERchitect


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

Now that's a true American Barley Wine! Big on everything; from hops, to barley, to alcohol, to richness. Full of flavor and intimitating from beginning to end. Big barley, bready, hoppy aromas stare down over a dense, ruby colored brew. Leaving good head retention and lacing, evidence of great proteins. Overwhelming flavors of barley malt, taking on molassas and brown sugar proportions. Intense hop flavor casts a piney, citrus shadow on on the malt base. Well aged and melded into a bitter, earthy, malt sweetened beverage. Alcohols take on caugh syrup intensity and reach a light solvent evaporative sensation. Though thick and heavy on the palate, the beer finishes a balanced sweet / bitter ratio. As great as it is, I often have problems assigning very high marks to the extremely-hopped Barley Wines. Alcohols strength also keeps me from scoring higher.

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2006 02:10:33 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of BassBone


3.9/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the non-vintage version in a blue bottle with foil and a standard cap. I think I chilled this one a bit too long. Poured a great cloudy, orangey-tan into a chimay glass I had laying around. Had a lovely if short-lived tan head with some moderate lacing. Initial hit on the nose was of citrus and fruit with a bit of pine, followed by some complex malts and a dash of hops. The piney smell was was carried through in the taste with a hint of citrus and some up front hops that give it a bitter kick. As I sip it I get used to it and begin to notice the subtleties of its taste. It goes down slowly, but not unpleasantly. All in all a decent brew, and quite a lovely barleywine. I will buy another bottle and try aging it.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2006 05:24:11 | More by BassBone
Photo of nlmartin


4.6/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer was purchased at Jungle Jims for $9.99. There is not a date present on the bottle. This beer was poured into a wide mouthed wine glass.

Appearance: The beer pours a clear peach to amber coloration. There is a one finger head creamy off white in coloration. No real retention was noted on the head. Foam clings to the glass during consumption.

Smell: This beer has a supreme smell combo. This beer is loaded upfront with huge green piney citrus resins. The beer has a pleasing malty fruityness, bits of tropical fruit combine with an apple peach combo.

Taste: This beer has a very tasty upfront pine resin hoppyness. There is a bit of citrus grapefruit and lemon zest. There is a very good malty caramel and fruit combination.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: This beer is veryu full bodied. The alcohol is pretty well covered up. The residual alcohol shows up as a pleasing spicyness. This beer has a pleasing spicy, hoppy and malty balance. This is just a excellent drinking beer. The beer was empty before I was aware of it.

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2006 21:00:34 | More by nlmartin
Photo of SupaCelt


4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one is a looker without a doubt. A gentle pour produced a tan head that was more than sufficient to top off the delicious looking honey orange liquid that lies beneath it. Quite clean. Very good from a visual standpoint. The nose lays out some crusty malt dynamics. It reeks of dirty, sugar cane-like sweetness with some toasty and frankly burnt aspects. It has a roughness to it that gives it the barley wine attitude that is so appealing. The thing is raw and to be respected. Alcohol vapour rips through at times in true wraith fashion. The taste is funky old sweetness with a dryness fueled by the alcohol. Scorched caramel and apple skins in a sense. Somewhat chalky. This barleywine stays decent without overstepping its malt boundaries into a cloying demise. Brash, but accommodating. Nice. The mouthfeel is fairly light in my experience. The lighter and less intrusive use of malt lends to a lighter body and a drinkability that flourishes due to both the superb taste and less filling nature of this brew. Well tuned. Not an abomination. Wish we had this stuff in Da Mit.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2006 15:05:24 | More by SupaCelt
Photo of hero27


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

750ml green bottle. 10% abv.

Dirty, ashy-brown color. Head is pretty sticky, which is surprising considering the oily consistency of the brew.
Thick, resiny hops permeate every sip..and you can just sense this bad boy is packing a punch..after the 2nd glass out of the huge ass bottle, I started to realize why it was called Old Numbskull. Beautifully alcoholic, with thick accompanying caramelized malts. Syrupy, coating mouthfeel that lets you savor the array of flavors with every sip.

I'd love to lay a bottle of this down for a good 4-5 years to see how it matures. As it is, it's certainly a barleywine to be reckoned with, and one well worth trying.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2006 02:33:13 | More by hero27
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

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

Appearance: Pours a hazy rust colored body with a beige head that declines to a ringlet but does leave some lacing behind

Smell: Surprisingly hoppy for a barleywine (but knowing the source, not too big a surprise), I pick up some fusel alcohol, a touch of caramel, and loads of piney hops

Taste: Swirling it around my mouth, I get a full taste of nuts and caramel; aftern the swallow, a number of fruits make an appearance - peaches, orange pith and a bit of coconut; only later do the hops make their presence felt, and the piney/pithy hops do it with a vengeance although a touch of sweetness remains in the finish on the tip of the tongue

Mouthfeel: Medium/thick bodied with relatively low carbonation

Drinkability: Having been to the AleSmith brewery, I understand why they bottle in 750 ML bottles; however, that is a barleywine to consume and I wish more brewers would bottle their high gravity beers in 12 oz. bottles

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2006 18:25:06 | More by brentk56
Photo of Birdiebeagle


4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle Pours a light brown with red tints. Has almost no head. Has a good sweet aroma with a good mix of hops. Looks sort of flat with a slick texture. Has a bold duration and a good strong finish. A nice amount of bitterness. I would call it medium bodied. A very smooth drink with a touch of dryness. Very complex, it keeps my mind jumping and changing. This is one you just have to try for yourself and make your own judgement. After the 750 I decided I liked it.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2006 12:53:04 | More by Birdiebeagle
Photo of Sephiroth


4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to KingG for the trade. Pours with moderate head, leaving nice lacing. Body is an orange-amber color. Smells hoppy, Cascades I think. Caramel, molasses, some cherry-berry fruit aromas as well.

This is a well balanced barleywine. The hops are piney and citrus flavored, the malt provides a nice caramel profile, with some cherry-like fruit flavors. Mouthfeel is nice, heavy without being syrupy. Drinkability is good, but given the size of the bottle, the richness of flavor, and the fact that I can't buy it in IN, I'll save my other bottle for a while.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2006 06:41:02 | More by Sephiroth
Photo of kmo1030


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

rich garnet brown with a thin tan head that doesn't hold up very well.
the aroma has a heavy dose of caramel and molasses. it's got a finat pepperyness. dark fruit are found beneath the sugary aromas, with black ripe cherry, and dark ripe berry aromas, also, hints of plum and fig. the cherry aroma is strangely quite fresh smelling. a whisper of booze in there, but not too much at all. with a little warmth a butterscotch aroma develops.
the taste has got a lot of barleywine type things going on (obviously), lots of caramel and molasses. notes of chocolate and vanilla here and there. some vinous and brandy-like qualities at the finish, following the dark ripe fruit, again cherries, berry, plum and fig. there is some hop bitterness at the finish too, i'm not getting much hop flavor, but the bitterness rounds things out some, actually balancing things pretty well for a barleywine. there is slight sour whisky-like flavor that weaves in an out here and there. the 9.25 abv makes an appearance in the flavor and warms the back of the throat, but by an large it's not overly pervasive here, striking a good balance, but i tend to appreciate a little more boozy beer than others, so it this may start to verge on imbalance. a little butterscotch shows up at the finish as well. funny, but it seems like most of what's interesting about this beer happens at the finish. no problem there though. i'm a little torn for the taste score, but i'll round up and give it the 4.5.
the mouth feel is surprisingly light for the taste, achieving a thicker side of medium body with pretty middle of the road carbonation, though it can be sharp once in while.
reasonably good drinkability for such a flavorful high abv beer. definitely a sipper, but there isn't gonna be a problem finishing this bottle by myself.
a very respectable barleywine, one to seek out, it's got a lot to offer.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2006 02:40:27 | More by kmo1030
Photo of Naerhu


4.95/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Loads of yeast settled in the bottle before opening, gave the bottle gentle shifting to integrate it back into the beer.
A - Reddish opaque body. Small head.
S - Sappy malty aroma, prunes and middle eastern spicyness.
T - Maple, mildly sweet. Luscious. Malt everywhere.
M - Low carbonation, The yeast creates an amazingly, smooth mouthfeel. Lovely.
D - The alcohol is so integrated and the hoppyness is so balanced, this has to be the perfect barleywine.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2006 00:37:24 | More by Naerhu
Photo of rajendra82


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

This bomber came into my possession during a recent stop at Hi Time Wine in Costa Mesa, while I was traveling to California. The presentation was handsome, with the green Champagne style bomber being adorned by silver neck foil, and white and blue lettering.

As I poured out the contents into a tulip, a classic looking barleywine emerged. The color was garnet amber, with a clear body, and a sparse head. Carbonation was rather low, and the head died down to long legged lacing. Aromatically, the west coast hops were not as prominent as some of the other examples of the style. The smell was balanced, or some would even say driven, by the malt, with a musty sweet odor evoking more English examples. Deeper breaths however clearly indicated the presence of piney American hops.

Taste was deliciously sippable, with the initial impression being made by sweet and caramel malt until the citric hop oils literally took over. Finish was peppery and pungent. The beer felt sticky and a little coarse on the palette (which was undoubtedly due to a young age). I can see this one aging quite nicely, but alas I only bought this single bomber. Drinkability was good despite the intensity, since I like the characteristics it possessed. Not the epitome of the style, but a very good example.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2006 04:56:11 | More by rajendra82
Photo of walleye


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

from the bottle. poured amber with a light tan head that left a small amount of lacing. aroma, alcohol, malts, orange, raisins, sweet pineapple, and other tropic fruits, honey. flavor I hope it taste as good as the aroma, a nice blend of fruits and chocolate the alcohol kind of takes a back seat, honey, malts. a nice bitterness and dryness. glad I have another one in the cellar

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2006 02:27:23 | More by walleye
Photo of carln26


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

This beer poured a slightly hazy copper to amber color with a thin tan head. Hints of sherry, vanilla, plumbs, and a touch of tangerine on the finish. The taste is sweet and smooth. A mix of fine sherry and brandy. Layers of vanilla, black cherry, plumbs, and the tangerine I sensed in the nose. Incredibly complex. The alcohol heat blends well with the sweetness of the malt. Full, smooth mouth feel. Very satisfying, and surprisingly drinkable. Wonderful beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2006 02:06:26 | More by carln26
Photo of Tupperwolf


3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours into my tulip from a typically handsome green champagne bottle the color of cran-apple juice, deep red with a few tinges of gold-blonde; A bit of experimental pouring comes up with a finger-thick yellowish-tan head of bubbles of quite varying sizes, from invisibly small to poofy. It's hazy, and there are teeeny-tiny bubbles rising. The head sticks around in an opaque tan scum a millimeter thick, leaving behind a lazy wall of lacing on the far side and a sort of caramelization of the glass where the beer's been on the near.

Okay, this is the first barleywine I've ever tried! I'm not really sure what to look for here, so bear that in mind - and I may tweak this review later, depending on what I find with other beers

The first scent I get, I jerk my nose back out of the glass - what the heck is that? Very familiar. Very, very familiar. A pungent, grassy kind of scent - and then it comes to me! This smells like dry cat food. Yup. Maybe petting zoo pellets, even. Some steamed vegetables and cabbage - this smell isn't just malty, it's positively rainforesty. Hiding behind those pungent aromas are a few honey-slick scents of malt. I'm not sure if this is what barleywine smells like, but it piques my interest.

Okay, yep, I see why the style is known as barleywine. If there ever was a beer made out of malts that was like wine, this style is it. It's sweet all the way, with almost nothing bitter on the tongue except the bite of alcohol that is present. Biscuits and honey, more earthy flavors and steamed broccoli, rum, rum, rum. Lots of alcohol hanging out amidst the other flavors. This beer doesn't hide its alcohol - it puts it right out in the open and says, "Hey, drunky, taste me!" This brew celebrates alcohol by putting it in a delicious manner right on center stage.

Great mouthfeel, I think, especially considering how much alcohol is present while drinking this one. A minimally fizzy wash douses the burn of alcohol and makes sure all the flavors go where they need to, then cleanses the palate almost completely, save for some very, very light honey tastes.

Well, for something as brash as this beer - it ain't sweet, but that's the only way to describe the combined heaviness and easy-to-drinkness of the flavors - it's reasonably easy to drink. This glass of beer is half gone and my head is spinning cheerfully. I give it an above average score.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2006 07:59:15 | More by Tupperwolf
Photo of waughbrew


3.1/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 2 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Glowing reddish orange (much lighter than expected) with zero head, just small white patches on top. Tangerine, orange, caramel, nuts, very strong and interesting. The aroma seems to be fruity american hops to me, though this is listed as an English barleywine? Flavor starts with a big nutty malt character that pervades throughout the beer, changing very little. Very annoying and really clashes and ruins the rest of what is going on. Haphazard hopping is very very resiny and, well, bad. These hops taste like the bark of a tree soaked in alcohol. Too bad, really, because this beer has the perfect amount of alcohol presence and an awesome thick, low-carbonation feel. The alcohol warms and stings just a touch. Not syrupy at all - the only thing that makes this hard to finish is the flavor.

Cool color just needs a head, and with the amount of hops they must have used in this one, I guess only the very low carbonation is to blame. Smell is great, but the taste needs major reworking. Scratch the overly nutty malts and the harsh tree-bark hops, and this would be a classic. As it stands, I won't be buying it again.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2006 22:26:19 | More by waughbrew
AleSmith Old Numbskull from AleSmith Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 958 ratings.