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AleSmith Decadence 2011 Maple Smoked Barleywine - AleSmith Brewing Company

Not Rated.
AleSmith Decadence 2011 Maple Smoked BarleywineAleSmith Decadence 2011 Maple Smoked Barleywine

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

32 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 32
Hads: 117
Avg: 3.85
pDev: 10.13%
Wants: 17
Gots: 33 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: HopHead84 on 02-25-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 32 | Hads: 117
Photo of Thorpe429
2.86/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a mini snifter. Pours a moderate brown color with a moderate off-white head that recedes fairly quickly. The nose brings a moderate dosage of smoke alongside just a touch of maple and some caramel and bread sweetness. Flavor has smoke again, and it is a bit overbalanced toward this. Malt in the background. Hints of maple. Body is medium and rich with quite a bit of sweetness. Interesting, though not something I’d necessarily want to come back to.

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Photo of jrob21
3/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

HMOG donation. Brought this back from SD about a year and half ago and it already had about a year of age on it. Not sure what possessed me other than to get the Alesmith rate but I am not typically a big fan of smoke. It has to be done well and pretty damn subtle in order for me to like it. This one still has a bit of smoke going on which is exacerbated a bit by the maple as well. Personal preference here so don’t knock my rate.

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Photo of beagle75
3.15/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a goblet.

A: Clear, dark amber color with less than one finger of diminishing ginger-tinted foam head. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Ripe mixed fruit, bubble gum, and a double dose of wood smoke all add interest to an abundant caramel backbone. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins off-dry, with an early burst of carbonic acid that scatters the refined crystal malt. Woodsmoke is present in the middle where acidity still causes problems but begins to recede. The finish is mildly bitter, with previous smoked malt that tapers off slowly in the presence of pernicious carbonic acidity. No alcohol is detected.

M: Medium to thick viscosity, extreme acidity that burns the palate and sinuses, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: Although flawed, this beer makes an effective argument for the incorporation of wood-smoked malt into a weakly-hopped barleywine. Acidity is beyond annoying here, presenting a legitimate barrier to enjoyment that goes so far as to be painful at times.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.4/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Reddish amber. Big bubbles in an off-white head.

Smell - Sweet maple and malt. A little smokey, but not intense. A counterpoint to the maple, I suppose.

Taste - Lots of maple. The smoke is secondary. Looking for more depth to the malt. Smokey flavor is minimal but sustained into the finish.

Mouthfeel - Lighter than I expected. Too light, maybe. Bitter.

Overall - Not impressed by this. The idea is good, but not enough malt complexity to keep it interesting.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2012)

Alesmith Brewing Company
San Diego, CA

(Aged for 1 year)

A gorgeous barleywine. Flawless, in fact. A near-clear burnt amber with a very persistent, moderately-sized creamy khaki-colored head. Leaves messy, irregular spiderwebs of lace down the glass. Gorgeous.

The aroma is very, very nice, which actually makes the flavor seem worse in comparison because the flavor isn't nearly as nice as the aroma. Sweet toffees and caramels, mild maple sweetness (though I'd probably name it "honey," without the obvious prompting), and a nice, hidden smoke character.

The smoke is far more present in the flavor than in the aroma, which is disappointing to me, as I'm not the hugest fan of smoke-forward beers. Sweet maple and caramels combine, along with a bit of an alcohol kick.

Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

Good, but I wish the smoke was tamed further in the flavor, as the aroma is quite nice.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.55/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on-draught (I saw the pour meself; it wasn't a cask) into a plastic taster cup at Alesmith's tap room in March. Reviewed from notes. Expectations were high given the brewery, style, and description. Maple smoked? Sign me up!

A: Pours a half finger head of nice cream, good thickness, and bad retention. Colour is a maple brown-copper. No visible yeast particles. An appealing appearance.

Sm: Maple, light hops (mainly floral), toasted malt, and caramelized malt. A balanced mild to moderate strength aroma.

T: Maple throughout, with clean caramelized malts. Full bodied. Nice cream. Caramel. Hints of spices and bread. Balanced but simple. Well built. Not particularly subtle. Where's the smoke? Too timid.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with some nice cream. A biteen too thick. Suits the flavours nicely.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable, but very simple for the brewery. Disappointing in this regard. I don't know what effect the aging had. The maple is a nice touch. I'd have this again.


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Photo of notchucknorris
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep amber color with a 1 finger cream colored head. Looks pretty nice.

S: Smell is way more faint than I was expecting. Caramel malt and some citrus hop resin. Not much else there.

T: The smoked malt is there, but it's way faint. As is the maple syrup. Mostly just a big malty flavor with some hints of brown sugar, char and a bit of currant. Claims to be a blend of a barleywine and a rauchbier, but really doesn't show much of either. Probably the most disappointing Alesmith offering I've had to date. Still not a bad beer but not great.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark, thick somewhat clear amber. Not much head nor lace.

S - Sweet caramel, smoke, maple comes out very well.

T - Woody, malty, astringent, not much sweetness in actual taste, boozy.

M - Pretty close to flat, not much volume in flavor contrasts, ok balance.

T - One small one is enough.

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Photo of WeedKing4
3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up at city beer store in San Francisco. pours a clear, chestnut brown. tastes very malty with some smokiness coming through in the finish. Didn't detect much maple in the flavor. You can tell this is a big beer with the alcohol content. I have to admit that I'm a little disappointed with this. The label description sounded awesome, but didn't follow through in taste.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.77/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Cask pour at the Grand reopening of the newly remodeled Alesmith tasting room.

A: Dark reddish orange with a big frothy beige head. Nice color.

S: Beautiful aroma. A duet of maple and beechwood smoke with accompanying brown sugar. Caramel blends with date. Citrus lingers in the background.

T: Sweet caramel with an upper moderate bitterness and a firm beechwood smoke presence. The combination of bitterness and smoke is palate wearying. Citrus is light. Finishes rich and smoky with a firm bitterness. Alcohol is evident in the flavor.

M: Upper medium body with low carbonation. I think this would be better on draft or from the bottle as carbonation might lift some of the bitterness and smoke off the palate. As is, the smoke-bitterness combo is a bit much in the flavor.

Overall: Awesome aroma but the combination of bitterness, alcohol, and smoke is a little too aggressive on cask. Still, this is a quality offering and I can see this being better in a different serving format or with a few months time.

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Photo of spdyfire83
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

271st Review
75cl bottle to wine glass
Vintage: 2011

Thanks ricoch3t for this birthday gift!

A: Medium chestnut brown. 2+ (light tannish mocha) fingernail head on soft pour.

S: Smells of roast pig, smokey, and maple. Deep, rich, and complex. Hints of caramel sweetness and dark malt. Quite interesting and inviting.

T: Taste follows smells, but mostly smokiness here with a touch of sweet maple and caramel. Very smooth, but the ABV is quite distinct (could stand to mellow a bit).

M: Full bodied with loads of carbonation.

O: A really fun beer to try and one that I think would go excellent with breakfast - a huge stack of pancakes, sausage links, and eggs. The only things that could make this a bit more enjoyable would be: 1) slightly less smokiness, and 2) age to let the booziness mellow a bit.

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Photo of nataku00
3.8/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a tulip glass. Beer pours a murky brown mahogany color with two fingers of tan colored foamy head. Head dissipated quickly, leaving some light lacing and a thin collar. Some carbonation visible at the edge of the glass, rising slowly.

Nose is toffee, toasted malt, esters, and sweet woody and earthy smokiness. Not overbearingly smoky when the beer is somewhat cool.

Taking a sip, smoked malt comes through along with some of the toffee. Fairly savory on the tongue, like toffee covered bacon. Middle of the tongue, some sweet esters come through. Finish is mainly smoke, though subdued. Good balance of smoke and sweet barleywine flavors, though not super complex.

Medium body with some surprisingly decent carbonation for an 11% beer, soft and lively on the tongue. An interesting smoked beer that I haven't been completely put off by due to being overwhelmed by the smoke.

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Photo of dgilks
3.81/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clearish red-amber colour with a smooth, light tan head. Good head retention and lacing.

Smoky and fruity. Sweet. Alcohol. Interesting but a little one-dimensional.

Sweet malt with lots of alcohol. Plenty of bitterness. Nice smoke notes. A little simple but it works.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Simple and quite creamy.

A lovely barleywine. Simple but good.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

the beer pours a slightly hazy dark brown that's lighter than expected and has a thin head that dissipates quickly. the nose is sweet and slightly smokey with a touch of booze. the beer drinks like a barley wine sweet and boozy with a touch of smoke. its mouthfeel is not as velvety and decadent as I'd hoped, but it makes a nice dessert beer after a large thanksgiving meal...I'd try this again, but it didn't blow me away.

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Photo of pmarlowe
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On cask at Alesmith tasting room.

A: Pours a reddish amber with a half finger of khaki head. Good clarity. Frothy foam. Really good retention.

S: A good but not overpowering level of smoke, brown sugar, and red dried fruit. The nose is very faint.

T: Similar, although not faint this time. Some char and mild bitterness as well.

M: Medium body and almost no carbonation. I'm not sure how the cask treatment was supposed to improve this, but oh well. I think a tad more carbonation would have brightened this up a bit.

O: Pretty tasty and drinkable for a barleywine. Alcohol is almost completely hidden. More carbonation and fragrant nose would have gone a long way, though.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky brown with a khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks and dots of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt and some subtle smoke aromas. There is no real maple presence in the smell. Taste is of malt and subtle smoke flavors but there is a maple flavor that I am able to pick out. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good barleywine but it tastes better than it smells. I really wish the smoke and maple would be more apparent in the aroma and flavor.

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Photo of cbutova
3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured into a slim a pint glass with a ruby dark red body. Off white head forms to a nice size but falls quick. Nice cloud and great webs of lace.

S- Big dark fruits and caramel. Some smoke, spice and nutty malt accompanies this.

T- Maple sweets and smoky flavors come out here to mix with the big caramel Barleywine backing. Also some yeast spice, raisin, cherry and nut malts.

MF- Creamy thick body with lower carbonation levels. Bitter nutty finish with some alcohol heat to help you ice fish.

Big with some smoke and maple going on. The Barleywine aspect is strong but it's nice.

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Photo of Drinkerofales
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours clear brown and copper, with purple-crimson in the light. A huge khaki head dissipates quickly to leave some chunky spotty lacing, and a constant supply of bubbles leaves a nice ring.

Smell is maple and wood, just as advertised, some roasted malt, and booze.

Taste is similar, but less in some ways, and more in others. The maple is definitely less, and there isn't a whole lot of smoke, but there is some wood and char. Booze rears it's head, and some very bitter piney hop on the finish.

It's a bit bubbly, and it kind of detracts from the smoothness of the beer. Some burn on the finish reminds you that you are drinking a barleywine, and these two aspects mellow out a little as it warms and airs out.

This is one that will definitely improve with age, and I will be picking some up to do just that.


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Photo of casualcolors
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Handles its components well; for a smoked beer (which I have little tolerance for) and a beer brewed with something as sweet as maple syrup, there's a surprisingly nice balance, and nothing is particularly overbearing. That said, and especially given its namesake, there's a certain intensity missing (ala Abacus) that sadly I seem to personally require out of my barleywines these days. Drinks well, is only mildly cloying, is well balanced by a hint of smoke, and is generally a well put together brew.

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Photo of dar482
3.99/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The beer offers a barleywine base of sweet caramel with medium bacony smoke with a slight woody bitterness.

Age has probably helped this beer out as the flavors could be more imbalanced. It's drinking well.

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +3.9%

Aged in cellar for 3 years.
Nose: faint smoke, sugar, dried fruit, plums.
Pours hazy chestnut under a 2" walnut tinted foam cap with a fine bead that persists and leaves fine lace. Some legs.
Has a rich palate with dark caramel, fig, a suspicion of sherry, plum, a hint of cola and smoke. The smoke is mild - it is not to Aecht Schlenkerla levels. Finishes with a moderate bitter hop accent.
Medium full body to chewy with above average soft carbonation. Even though this is classed as a barleywine it has a very Belgian feel to in in terms of texture and ration of aocohol to malt.

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Photo of jethrodium
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle. Pours a slightly hazy light cola brown with small white head that sticks around for a while and leaves a good amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma is smoky with caramel, slight maple, and a small amount of alcohol. The initial taste is sweet with some caramel. It is also smoky, meaty, and has a bit of maple. The finish has a light bitterness along with some smokiness. There is also a bit of lingering maple. Medium body. Low carbonation. This was better than I was expecting.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.02/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1346th Review on BA
Bottle to Excelcior Tulip
750ml gold foil wrapped

2011 Vintage

App- A lot of color in the glass. A good mix of Ambers, crimson, browns and yellows. A solid quick receding two finger head with no cling or lace. A nice medium density and clarity.

Smell- A lot more subtle than I was thinking it would be and for that I was very happy. A light smoke note with a little bitter hops and moves into a stinging booze with a damp orange and a small sweetness of the maple.

Taste- It's a bit smoky but not over powering. A little char like a campfire with some smooth and creamy malts and has like the nose a smooth damp orange flavor. The bottom of the bottle was much better and was a bit smoother and richer than the top pours.

Mouth- A small fuller medium body with a creamy medium carbonation. A rich malty flavor with some damp orange and a smoky residual flavor remains.

Drink- This was a tasty beer. A bit tangled but could be more layered to say the least. I would like to lay a bottle down for a year or two.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Uncertain 2011 bottling date, but aged at least 11 months...

A: center-pour into a tulip yielded an amber-brown ale with red-orange highlights and a tan two-finger head; dropped lacy motes as the head receded

S: toffee malts and maple smoke

T: nice smokiness to the big malty flavors of toffee, resin; starts sweet with maple accents; very subdued hop bitterness - pick up some on the mid-palate; some alcohol slips through on the finish - this beer was probably a little more coarse when it was fresher - but now it assumes a slightly wine-like character in flavor

M: medium-to-full bodied, mild carbonation; moderately chewy, sticky, and resinous

O: on the sweet side for an American barleywine; the maple and smoke flavors give it some distinction, and it is a fairly decadent beer: rich in sugars and malt, filling; a sipper; warms well (as would be expected) - shares some old ale/Scotch ale flavors like orange and peat, but the body is denser. A good barleywine from a great brewer. It was only a $13-14 bottle in my area (NY), and with an 11% abv, it was well-priced and I'd recommend it, particularly to those who enjoy the style and similar styles.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark burgundy brown color with a generously thick toffee colored lacing ring.

S - Faded smoke/char, roasted toffee, figs, some smoked bacon, prunes, and lots of legs when the glass is swirled.

T - The smokiness and maple has faded quite a bit (big surprise), mostly dark fruit, a touch of woodiness, and noticeable alcohol warming on the back end. There some mild bitterness at the end and at the same time some of the maple starts to come through.

M - Thick, full bodied, boozy with a very dry finish, sugary sticky on the lips, velvet smooth on the tongue.

O - Nicely blended and evolves as it airs out in the glass.

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AleSmith Decadence 2011 Maple Smoked Barleywine from AleSmith Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 32 ratings.