Samael's Ale
Avery Brewing Company

Samael's AleSamael's Ale
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Barleywine - English
3.93 | pDev: 14.25%
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Samael's AleSamael's Ale
Notes: A super-caramelly, oak-aged strong English-style ale, brewed with Columbus, Fuggels hops and two-row barley, caramel 150L malt.

2006: 14.50% (Batch #2)
2007: 14.50% (Batch #3)
2008: 15.53% (Batch #4)
2009: 16.45% (Batch #5)
2010: 15.82% (Batch #6)
2011: 15.31% (Batch #7)
2012: 15.47% (Batch #8)
2013: 16.90% (Batch #9)
2014: 14.20% (Batch #10)
2015: 14.60% (Batch #11)
Reviews: 665 | Ratings: 1,519 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of SHODriver
SHODriver from North Carolina

4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a snifter to a deep orange beer which is topped by a dense and slightly rocky finger of off white head which fades quickly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing
S: Smells of caramel and dark fruits with a touch of raisins along with a hint of oak
T: Taste is caramel and dark fruits up front with some woody oak notes. There's a little vanilla and a touch of spice along with some faded hops. On the finish there's more caramel, dark fruits, spice, and wood.
M: This beer is full bodied and slightly syrupy on the palate. Carbonation is surprisingly effervescent and slightly prickly while the ABV gives this one a drying finish.
O: Overall this is a pretty nice beer that has held up well to time since it was bottled in 2016. Really nice complexity and flavors and the alcohol is fairly well hidden.

Jun 14, 2021
Photo of harrypowers
harrypowers from Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Got a bottle from May 2015, batch 11.

Pours a turbid reddish brown with a small head and some lacing.

Smells of malt and dark fruit. Tastes of really sweet malt, cherries and plums with a warm boozy finish.

Medium body with light carbonation. Lush syrupy mouth feel.

This 5+ year old bottle is like sipping very strong port wine!

Too bad the brew is retired!

Feb 20, 2021
Photo of HipCzech
HipCzech from Texas

3.99/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving: 12 oz bottle ("March 2016, Batch No. 12, 31.25 P, 16.3%") poured into a 9 oz Libbey Embassy snifter.

Appearance: Hazy copper with a brief, fizzy head of off white bubbles.

Smell: Malt-forward aroma of toffee and burnt sugar, candied fruit, vanilla and a hint of boozy barrel.

Taste: Malt focused flavor continues from the nose with rich sweet caramel, dark dried fruit, vanilla, and hints of oak and earthy hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium to fully body, boozy warmth and slightly viscous, and gently carbonated.

Overall: A big, potent malt bomb.

Dec 11, 2020
Photo of jlindros
jlindros from Massachusetts

4.11/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Another one I have no idea how I haven't reviewed, batch 5, 2009. Pulled from the cellar, excited for this one.
No sound when I pop the cap, limited rust, very small head flashes away in almost an instant, legs basically just coat the glass, dark mahogany brown color

Nose brings loads of big sweet candy malt, caramel, toffee, etc, a bit of vanilla oak notes, a bit of papery oxidation with some earthy dirt like characters, some dark fruits with a bit of raisin, date, a little chocolate, and some cedar like spicy oaky character, a bit nutty as well

Taste brings loads of sweet malts and sweeteners again, big caramel heavy with molasses, candy syrup, toffee, etc, more big dark fruit with raisin, date, candied fig, more molasses and earthy sugars, some oxidation but not too much bringing a little papery note but more on the winey port wine character, a bit of a BBQ sauce but not a ton, touch of oak and cedar spice notes, getting a little like prune and Glogg, some warming tingly alcohol but doesn't feel like almost 17%, mild sticky finish but semi sweet, earthy dark fruits and mild paper oxidation lingering

Mouth is fuller bod, syrupy, almost no carb, some warming tingly alcohol

Overall interesting for sure, really nice aged barleywine, wish it had more carbonation and oak characters, but aged quite well otherwise.

Jul 02, 2020
Photo of mushroomcloud
mushroomcloud from Texas

3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2005 (14.5% abv). Opened 12-10-19.
14 years in the bottle this pours a clean, clear dark brown/mahogany colored beer with no head at all.
Dark fruit, brown sugar, burnt sugar, and booze in the nose. Port or brandy like sweetness.
Fig, prune, plum, brown sugar -- intense flavors remain at 14 years old. Still some oak aromas and flavors lingering.
Boozy but not hot.
Smooth mouthfeel, not much carbonation left at all. Rich flavors and a medium finish.
Pretty cool to finally open this, it made it through 4 moves and 14 years with me.

Dec 11, 2019
Photo of Roguer
Roguer from Connecticut

4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nutty caramel-colored brown ale, thick in the glass. Excellent head production for the style, despite the sky-high ABV. Similarly good retention and lacing. Nearly a blonde barleywine.

Nose is swimming with tones of dark fruit, bananas, toffee, brown sugar, coffee beans, grass, earthy hops, and absolutely no sign of oxidation (despite being more than 2 years old).

Intensely sweet on the palate, but somehow not particularly boozy. Bubblegum, brown sugar, banana, fig, grape, pear, apple, vanilla, caramel; it's all sweet tones, with almost nothing else, save touches of oak around the edges.

Unbelievably smooth. It's a full bodied sipper, but is far less boozy and harsh than beers that clock in 3-6% lower.

Jun 11, 2019
Photo of Radcpa
Radcpa from Washington

4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aged for three years. Deep amber appearance with white head that dissipates quickly. Light almost cider aroma. Taste is also a cider like without any hint of alcohol.

Apr 19, 2019
Photo of Mitzvahman72
Mitzvahman72 from California

3.07/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3

This is poured from a batch #12 bottle dated March 2016, with a ABV of 16.30%.

With a murky amber color, the aroma is a rich, sharp, malt booze aroma, as the flavors contain overly rich raisins and biscuits, oddly balanced with hops in a nearly unpleasant way. The mouthfeel is in really good shape, as it supports the sweet sake raisin bread aftertaste. Overall, it is pretty good, but I’d rather have what Angel Michael is brewing. Also, in terms of the high alcoholic sippers, I highly recommend the barrel aged Numbskull and Olde Ale/Special Reserve from Alesmith Brewing Company, Rye-on-Rye from Boulevard Brewing Company and Chanukah in Kentucky from Schmaltz Brewing Company! If it's too alcoholic for you, I recommend the Bourbon Barrel Aged Brown Ale from New English Brewing Company.

Aug 29, 2018
Photo of morimech
morimech from Minnesota

3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Cannot find a batch # but I assume it is from the last year it was released. Cloudy dark amber with yeast floating in the fluid. A large head forms and slowly settles. Aroma of caramel, vanilla, oak, and alcohol. Flavor is full of caramel and oak. And boy is it super sweet. Bordering on cloying. Alcohol is strong and hot. Not balanced at all. Not sure age has helped this beer as I did not sample a bottle when it was fresh. Big body and nicely carbonated results in a full mouthfeel.

Aug 19, 2018
Photo of weareallfalafel
weareallfalafel from Virginia

4.57/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bath no. 10, btld March 2014, and cracked open four years later. That said, it should be pointed out this review is a bit unfair due to its age, which did nothing but good for this. Pours a deep, dark copper color with an inch of off-white head that falls slowly, which I didn’t expect from an old high-abv beer. Smell is huge! Dried fruit, figs, caramel, toffee, nutty, and you can smell the booze. Big nose, and equally big flavors. Malty is an understatement of course, but lots of toffee, oak character is present, and jeez is this sweet. It’s not quite cloying, but it’s cutting it close. As it warms, (and you really need to have this at cellar temp, like it’s really, really imperative that it not be too cold) It gets more layered and you can taste more and more under the sweetness. It’s full bodied, but not quite as thick as I’d expected based on Avery’s other big-ass beers. Overall, damn good stuff. Sweet, but expectedly so, and not without complexity and nuance.

May 03, 2018
Photo of Harrison8
Harrison8 from Missouri

4.19/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a murky orange-brown with a finger of khaki foam. Aroma is biscuit and toasted malts with a hit of smooth oak, and alcohol. Flavor profile is toasted, nutted, caramel, and biscuit malts with robust notes of caramel, oak, and alcohol. Mouth feel is thick with a velvety, large texture with a touch of fizz on the tongue. Overall, a huge beer, but it's smooth. Alcohol is present in both the aroma and flavor profile, so it isn't the smoothest of offerings. This is the 2015 version, aged for about 2 1/2 years.

Served in a 12oz snifter from a 12oz bottle.

Apr 20, 2018
Photo of HorseheadsHophead
HorseheadsHophead from New York

4.65/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled in March 2016. Aged two years at time of consumption.

L: Hazy, dark amber with some small floaties. Topped with a surprisingly large rocky beige head. Long-lasting retention, with some lacing.

S: Huge cherry, fig, prune, and date. Brown sugar, caramel, port wine, and brandy. Toasted pumpernickel bread and fruitcake. Boozy warmth. Toasted oak.

T: Huge bread and dried dark fruits. Toasted pumpernickel bread, fruitcake, and brown sugar meet sour cherry, date, fig, and plum. Tastes like a huge brandy or port wine. There's some cooked apple and pear, and red wine. Mild oak tannins as well. Some black cherry. Quite sweet overall, with oak tannins and booze cutting through it, with some lingering warmth on the finish.

F: Full, but not thick or chewy. Smooth, slick, and oily. Moderately carbonated. Slick with residual sugars. Just barely dries out on the finish with oak tannins.

O: An excellent huge beer. Phenomenal. A monster.

Mar 29, 2018
Photo of stevoj
stevoj from Idaho

4.44/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Bin 22. OMG! This really hit the spot right now. Tastes perfect. Medium to dark amber, small white fading head. Nice sweet malty aroma, very welcoming, caramel, toffee. Taste too favors sweet malts, some woody notes, caramel. Doesn’t present itself as boozy, but its apparent. Smooth, but ass-kicking. Good night.

Mar 05, 2018
Photo of Sabtos
Sabtos from Ohio

2.26/5  rDev -42.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2

A veritable sandstorm in a glass, the body is a dark burnt amber behind the millions of specks of sediment, topped by a khaki blanket that disperses to a few separate areas, leaving craggy walls of lace.

Smell is toasted ginger snaps, bourbon, toffee, and pine wood.

Taste is toffee, oak, Belgian candi, sweet applesauce and a mix of fiery pine and bourbon. It's overly hot and coming off like cough syrup.

Moderate body, crisp froth, with a semi-dry tangy burn.

While somewhat better than the Beast I cracked just before this, I can see why Avery discontinued many of these. They must have been really expensive to make, and the market for people that want to regularly down beers that drink like hydrochloric acid must be pretty small, considering there's plenty of actual spirits in people's cabinets already.

Jan 14, 2018
Photo of arizcards
arizcards from North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up a 12 oz bottle from TW Arrowhead 10-22-2011 for $7.99. Batch #3 was bottled in April 2007 - 14.9% abv. Did not realize i had a shelf turd LOL!

Beer poured a burgundy brown with an okay off white head that dissipated quickly. Lots of sediment which i would expect from a ten year old beer.

Nose is malty with lots of dark fruits.

Taste is plums and prunes over a large malt base. Not overly sweet but no overt hop profile.

Mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied and smooth.

Overall this brew was very drinkable after ten+ years. I have never had a fresh version and with this brew being retired i doubt i will ever get that opportunity.

Jan 13, 2018
Photo of SomethingClever
SomethingClever from Ohio

3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass bottled in 2010.

A: head is non existent body is a caramel light brown with just a touch of haze. A few floaties but as a 7 year old bottle I think that is acceptable.

S: it smells of prunes, figs, raisins, lots of alcohol,

T: lots of prune figs and soft toffee a good bit of oxidation.

M: Soft mouthfeel carbonation is still there but it is light. Syrupy.

O: it drinks like an oxided old ale would. Light carbonation syrupy lots of prunes and dates. Alcohol is surprisingly well hidden in the taste.

Jun 17, 2017
Photo of jmasher85
jmasher85 from Maryland

3.81/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2015 vintage, cellared for 2 years. Pours a clear copper with almost no carbonation or lacing.

I'll second the Alstrom Bros' review that the combination of strong alcohol, sugary, fruity sweetness, and earthy oak does give a almost cooking wine/masala-like aroma. Not in a bad way, but know what you're getting into. You know that wet, malty smell you get on brewery tours? That's kind of what I'm smelling here.

Flavor is like an amped-up English barleywine, where subtlety and complexity is exchanged for power and thickness. It's very sweet in a sugary syrup and dried fruit way. Again, wet and musty malts, apricots, red grapes, and toffee lead the way. If there's any oak influence at all, it may have either faded away, or it was only ever there as a hint of earthy dryness in the finish. It's the candy sweetness that stays in your gums though. After-belch comes up like Dr. Pepper, a bit.

Mouthfeel is thick, with only a little prickle of carbonation, and the finish lasts quite a while. Overall, sweeter than any beer if like to go back to considering how little else is going on. That said, there was nothing offensive about this beer and it was quite enjoyable, again, provided you knew what you were getting into.

Jun 07, 2017
Photo of sjrider
sjrider from California

4.37/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark burnt orange amber color with thin whitish head that dissipates quickly leaving minimal lacing. Lots of sediment. Nose is caramel,oak and dark fruit. Taste follows with a lot of barrel and malt sweetness. Warming alcohol but not intrusive. Deceptively easy drinking ale, I like this a lot.

May 20, 2017
Photo of wordemupg
wordemupg from Canada (AB)

3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

355ml 2013 bottle poured into tulip 1/4/17 thanks Beersnake1 for the want

a amber liquid the looks like a slow moving snow globe from all the sediment, two fingers of tan foam makes a little noise as it fizzles leaving no lace, long legs remind you shes big

S soft caramel galore, burnt brown sugar, virgin oak, sugar coated raisins, boozy but nowhere near what I expected, some canned plums perhaps?

T fruity booze and caramel is all over this one, intense compared too the nose, apple sauce spiked with brandy

M syrupy and hot, has enough bubbles to soften it up, hits your head but definitely makes some noise going down lots of oak on the finish

O lots of good things happening here but shes over the top boozy and might never calm down

This one has enough sugar and booze that I might regret cracking it as a nightcap tomorrow when I wake up.....

Apr 02, 2017
Photo of ClavisAurea
ClavisAurea from New York

3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2016 Bottle.

Oaky, intense malts, alcohol astringency, pretty sweet. The booz was initially intense but it mellowed to a silent roar. I'd highly recommend this beer. Avery certainly knows how to execute a massive beer with grace.

Mar 21, 2017
Photo of earljones199
earljones199 from New Hampshire

4.15/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 bottle. Tons of caramel and oak. First time having this and I wonder how much of the great flavors are from the extended aging. Too bad it's not in Avery's production lineup anymore

Mar 08, 2017
Photo of 57md
57md from Pennsylvania

3.86/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a striking copper with just about a half finger of head. The nose has soft bourbon notes. The overwhelming flavor note is sweetness but there is an accompanying mediciney quality that is off-putting.

Feb 19, 2017
Photo of Thankin_Hank
Thankin_Hank from Texas

3.96/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A different barley wine with an odd color, probably unfiltered, but with a nice light aroma, tasty and very strong on the alcohol. Another retired Avery. Respect Beer!
Batch #12.

Feb 01, 2017
Photo of Franziskaner
Franziskaner from Missouri

3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Copper to amber in color and very hazy from the bourbon barrel aging. There's a fingernail of beige around half of the rim. The aroma is comprised of a hefty dose of malt, sweet bourbon, and woodsy oak. The taste is very sweet light malt, bourbon, and earthy oak. The mouth is warm with alcohol and rather chewy.

Dec 03, 2016
Photo of socon67
socon67 from New York

4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Batch #8, server in a snifter. Caramel brown pour. Scents of candi sugar, caramel, and toffee. Flavors are sweet and balanced. The aging has balanced this big beer well. Perfect for a chilly day.

Nov 21, 2016
Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 1519 ratings