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Samael's Ale | Avery Brewing Company

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very good
636 Reviews
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Samael's AleSamael's Ale

Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 16.90%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
A super-caramelly, oak-aged strong English-style ale, brewed with Columbus, Fuggels hops and two-row barley, caramel 150L malt.

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)

Added by ommegangpbr on 06-24-2005

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Reviews: 636 | Ratings: 1,434
Photo of Rcaros
4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured about .5 finger of off white creamy rocky mix head. Golden amber in the glass

A lot of oak, wet oak, heavy dark fruit, generic preserve jam smell.. very nice onnthe nose.

A lot of the same in the taste. Dark fruit forward, nice oakiness, the alcohol is there and you feel it evaporate on your palate. Getting cinnamon / spice for some reason. . Very good
Medium plus feel.. very good beer

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Photo of Slatetank
3.83/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I tried this from the bottle that was cellared.

The color is a dark amber shade almost bronze with good clarity and thin beige head with fine bead. The smell is mostly malt with a a hint of alcohol and woodiness perhaps hop derived. The feel is good for the strength with a nice level of body with balance toward the malt.

The taste is very good better than I would expect with a nice English malt character that has a light toffee-like sweetness and there is a mild bitterness with a light toasted grain and some alcohol with gentle stone fruit from the yeast. This is a very good strong ale..I want to try a fresh bottle now since it seems they have lowered the alcohol slightly perhaps that will improve my overall enjoyment.

 733 characters

Photo of dar482
3.45/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

The beer comes in a medium to deep amber color.

The aroma offers sweet caramel, sugary, oak, dark fruit, cherry, plum.

The flavor hits of cloying in sweet sugar, sugar water, plum, booze, light amounts of oak, but the sweetness is just overwhelming past a couple small sips.

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Photo of stortore
4.07/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into a snifter. Bottled May, 2015, batch #11.

Pours an orange/amber color, a little hazy, with a half inch head and little lacing. Smells of figs, plums, malt, raisins, dates, some cherries, a light mustard aroma. The taste pretty much follows- figs. raisins, dates, malt, caramel, toffee, less plums than the nose, light cherries and oak. Some alcohol. It's pretty sweet. Very smooth for the ABV, medium bodied, appropriately carbonated.

Gotta say, I like sweet, but this is a little cloying, so I can see why others rate his lower. Good flavor and aroma, liked it, glad I tried it. The sweet thing and the price point make the purchase of batch #12 an iffy proposition.

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Photo of ReviewingUnderInfluence
3.73/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

16.9% old ale aged in bourbon barrels? Down! Caramel, toffee, booze. Beautiful sticky mouthfeel. This is one to age for sure. A couple years would do wonders for this

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Photo of TheSixthRing
2.59/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.25

Bottle is marked as batch 11, released in May, 2015

Appearance - Pours a relatively clear, bright copper red with an off-white, finger width head. Fair carbonation, then dissipates to thin, consistent layer of suds with a fair ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell - Notes of caramel, raisin and a bit of sweetness and tartness, like sugary lemon cake.

Taste - Caramel and an overload of honey and cane sugar. A bit of fig and wooden oaky notes come through in the finish, but are muted by the domineering sugary sweetness.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied and sticky as hell, coating the mouth and leaving syrupy residue on the lips.

Overall - Overtly sweet; cloyingly so. Not my preference. Tastes like drinking a blend of vodka, honey and cane sugar. Ugh. Sorry Avery, this is horrible.

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Photo of Czequershuus
5/5  rDev +28.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a pink tinted pale amber with a large, fluffy head. The aroma is redolent of walnuts, dates, raisins, plum, candied apple, overripe peach, and fresh cut flowers. The flavor provides and integrated taste of cherry, plum, fig, date, nutmeg, walnut, cinnamon candy, overripe peach, mellow vanilla, and clementine oranges. The mouthfeel is full, rich, and creamy. Overall I found this beer completely incredible - so complex, with so much variety in terms of fruit and nut, and spice flavors, both sweet and a touch sour, rich without being overwhelming - just a perfect tipple.

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Photo of Guppy314
3.34/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bought in May-2016 with ABV==16.3%. This poured a burnt copper with a thick head. It has a really syrupy mouth-feel and thick tastes of malt, burnt molasses, toffee and oakyness. I'm totally OK with the "boozy" high alcohol; but wow, just hate the sweetness.

 261 characters

Photo of MacMalt
3.86/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip glass. It pours a coppery orange color with a thick, foamy, ecru-colored head and lacing. The smell is predominately oak, caramel, brown sugar, and molasses. The taste is very hot and boozy with burnt oak, burnt sugar, molasses, malt, and maybe a hint of apricot. It is also extremely sweet - even for an English Barleywine - and extremely potent. It has a chewy, syrupy mouthfeel with light carbonation. I'm not a shrinking violet when it comes to high ABV but I think this would be a lot more enjoyable at around 10.5%. Overall, it is definitely a drinking experience. Just not one I'd have on a regular basis.

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Photo of do_ob
3.67/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle into a snifter. Dark, rustic apricot in color and topped off with about 1/2 a finger of vanilla-colored foam. Sweet caramel, red licorice, charred oak, and candied sugar on the nose. The aroma seems more complex than those few characteristics, but it's tough for my to describe. Overall, very sweet and candy-like with a big, boozy backdrop. The taste is about the same, only intensified. Incredibly sweet, with gigantic notes of sweetened caramel, red & black licorice, oak sap, sweet booze, and tons of sugar. Probably the sweetest tasting beer I've ever had. The mouthfeel is very syrupy and dense with little carbonation. The aftertaste is a bit medicine-like, aikin to a cough syrup of some kind.

Overall, not a bad beer but way too sweet for my liking. Well balanced enough, and the flavors are nice, but the ABV coupled with a cloyingly sugary taste makes this one tough to drink on your own.

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Photo of rarigney
4.67/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This may be one of my favorite beers, ever. I wasn't expecting to be as impressed based on the community average rating. It looks great in the glass, light mahogany with a thin head. It's somewhat sweet with some fruity notes and a definite alcohol presence. As an earlier review stated, "Think caramel covered apricot soaked in rum."

I am putting this one back on my shopping list to cellar a couple for later.

 413 characters

Photo of Dactrius
4.24/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Hopcat. Smell is strong oak. Taste follows suit with the oak being so strong it almost completely overpowers the base beer. I'm not usually a fan of oak aging because it seldom seems to mesh well; this beer seems to avoid that problem by having such a strong oak character that there isn't much left to mesh with. Drinking this is like giving an oak tree a bj.

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Photo of Furlinator
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the Brew & Meatball Company on 04/28/16.

I assume this is the 2016 vintage, as it is labeled as 16.3% ABV.
Heavy caramel malt and sweet, vague fruit accents with noticeable alcohol presence. Think caramel covered apricot soaked in rum.

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Photo of tobelerone
4.24/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This one has been hanging in the cellar a while, 2014 vintage. Gorgeous burnished body, small head and modest lacing but retains a thin sheet of white head throughout the glass. Aroma and taste are both a bit rudimentary but just spot on at the two year mark; lots of brown sugar, caramel, burnt sugar and molasses, a subtle woody oaky note and a faint hop character but basically zero bitterness. After two years any booziness has been tamped down and the overall effect is well rounded, sweet and smooth, a little sticky but not cloying. Medium body and carbonation, maybe slightly thin, but that contributes to the drinkability.

I will be buying more of these this year; would love to see what this is like fresh, but it's a terrific drinking experience at the two year mark for fans of the English barleywine.

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Photo of Biggiekrock627
3.79/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had 2012 poured on tap at Euclid Hall in Denver on March 9, 2016. The aging helped meld a series of complex flavors but there was somethimg missing to tie it all together and the alchol seemed more in your face vs balanced.

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Photo of DrAnnaNemis
4.03/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Really nice rendition of an English barleywine. I'm really not a big fan of barleywines so I was not expecting to like it as much as I did. Pours a murky copper with practically no head and some particulate matter floating around. What little aroma it has is like a sweet wooden scent. Taste is where this beast hits the mark. Oak, vanilla, figs, honey, cherries. All blended together yet distinctly separate. Mouthfeel is overly sweet but slick and the lingering alcohol aftertaste supplies plenty of warmth. Really nice beer with a great buzz!

 545 characters

Photo of Slack
4.21/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2015 Batch #11 with 6 months of age on it

Light mahogany in color with maybe ¼ inch of head.

Sweetness, fruit, vanilla, booze and oak on the nose.

Taste is sweet with an oak background. Pick up the same fruit note along with caramel.

Mouthful is medium heavy with low carbonation. Finish is cloying, sweet, and warming.

This beer hit the mark as an after dinner sipper. As it warmed a lot of the notes became more pronounced. Would definitely enjoy it again in the same capacity.

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Photo of SheaDawg
4.8/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Surprisingly light on the palate for a beer with such a high ABV. I had a May 2015 batch 11 beer. I would recommend this to anyone and everyone.
L: reddish blonde with no head
S: hint of pear on a sweet note
T: sweet, almost cider like. Extremely smooth. No evidence of a high ABV! Impressively light on the palate
F: carbonation is nearly nonexistent. Refreshing

 369 characters

Photo of mr-jj
3.3/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Split between a pair of snifters from a 12 oz bottle.

Color is clear amber with a thin head. Aroma is caramel apple, oak, and booze. Taste is really sweet and sherry-like - reminds me of a dessert wine. Mouthfeel is syrupy with a drying bite of alcohol at the finish. Overall, it's an interesting experience. It's a nice drink to sip for dessert, but not what I expected.

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Photo of Czarkazm
3.67/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Batch #10. Heard this one is really boozy fresh so I sat on it for as long as I could. Pouring out the first half of the bottle, this beer is a clear, burnt orange/amber color with a surprisingly thick off-white head. I saved all the particulates in the bottle for the second pour. The aroma is very sweet, lots of brown sugar, rum-soaked raisins, candied dark fruit, prunes, dates, lots of caramel and dark toffee, and oak. Tasting it, this has got to be the most cloyingly sweet beer I've ever tasted. Very thick and syrupy mouth feel. Tastes like concentrated cane sugar extract, port like qualities, fruit marmalade, toffee, honey oak, vanilla, and cherry. I was surprised by the lack of booziness but the cloying, seemingly-artificial sweetness was a bit much.

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Photo of OnePuttBlunder
4.24/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2008 Version Bottled April 2008

Big caramel bomb to the eyes, nose and the palate. Still retains just enough alcohol heat to remind you you are drinking a 15% beer. Very sweet slow sipping beer.

 196 characters

Photo of imstimpy
4.36/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pronounced 'Shmills
Vintage May 2015, consumed Oct 2015

Pours an orange amber with very little head. With any aging, sediment will be present in the bottom. If I recall correctly, the swill will present a yeast flavor that doesn't compliment the flavor.

The smell is some part oak, almost toffee or orange peel or floral (but not quite), probably more toffee or caramel than fruit.

It tastes nothing like most barleywines. It carries atypical sweetness without much hop. It is simple at first, with oak and caramel, with a hint at the 15%. As the temp rises from 45*F, the complexities present with a better balance and deeper flavors very reminiscent of a tawny port. It passes the wife test, "It's sweet," she says. It also means there is no hop to it.

The feel is caramelly smooth. It coats the mouth, tantalizes the tongue, and lingers with a slowly diminishing flavor.

Vintage 2010, consumed May 2015
OMG it tastes like alcoholic candy- sweet, with flavors akin to some ports. It is light on the tongue, but coats well.

Vintage 2009, consumed Sept 2015
Very similar to the 2010.

At the right temperature, it can be consumed immediately. As it ages, it gets sweeter and even further from the barleywine style. I'm guessing 3-5 years is a great age for this beer, but realize it turns to dessert.

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Photo of Gregaroo
4.08/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Monk's in Philly after Papal visit. Moved to this after brandy barrel aged Angel's Share kicked. Fruity and sweet with great flavors. Went very well with curry mussels.

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Photo of delta490
4.1/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #11
Pours a ruddy brown with a very short-lived fizzy cream head. No retention whatsoever. The aroma is big, oaky and boozy with a hint of sweetness and little earthy hops. The taste is quite good, sweet, almost like a port, but with the oak providing a nice subtle background note to check the sweetness from both the malt and the alcohol. Its surprisingly light on the palate given its aging and alcohol content and there isn't any of the burn you would expect.

 469 characters

Photo of CHickman
3.74/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

April 2012 Bottle (Batch #8, 736 cases) 15.47%; found this bad boy on the shelf at one of my local places and assumed it was ready to consume since it's over 3 years old, so I chilled it a week and drank it. Pours cloudy dark chestnut brown color with a 1 finger foamy tan head that faded quickly and left minimal spotty lacing. A lot of sediment was floating around the brew, which showed more as the beer went down - it looked like a snow globe when there was about 3 fingers left.

Smells of dark fruit that's starting to rot, candied sugar, booze like dark rum, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, toffee, a pear that has soft brown rotten circles, maple syrup and bourbon and/or oak barrel notes. It would be cloyingly sweet but the alcohol is so strong that it negates the sweetness and just seems to add malty, sugary complexities. No hops to speak of in the nose, this is all fermented malt.

Taste is actually pretty nice considering the strong booze and borderline extreme sweetness of this barleywine. Like the nose there's the flavor of dark fruit that's starting to rot with a brown bosc pear that sat way too long leading it off, then a red apple with soft spots and very brown banana coming to mind; the next wave is dark rum or any other sweet booze that seems like it fermented and almost turned to brown sugar, french toast soaked in syrup, candied sugar, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, toffee, apple cider with cinnamon, maple syrup and bourbon and/or oak barrel notes. Complex - check. Boozy - check. Balanced like other English barleywine varieties, not so much. It's more like the sweet mash strained and compressed with a touch of maple syrup and dark rum, but no hops adding leafy or bitter notes.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, with a heavy body like a pea soup, very mild carbonation, and a sweet finish that's a combo of toffee, caramel, wheat bread and dark rum. The alcohol is pretty well hidden throughout but it creeps up and starts kicking your ass about halfway through the pint glass. This is a brew that will put hair on your chest as it's bold and intense.

I've got mixed feelings about this as I wanted to like it more but it was so sweet and boozy that I just carried on to finish the 12 oz bottle I opened. It was almost too sweet for my liking, but I still appreciated this brew.

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Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
3.88 out of 5 based on 1,434 ratings.
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