Samael's Ale | Avery Brewing Company

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Samael's AleSamael's Ale
Very Good
1,489 Ratings
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.

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)

Added by ommegangpbr on 06-24-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,489 |  Reviews: 656
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is boozy and rich with fruit, yeast, oak. A ring of lace otherwise almost no head on peachy coloured unfiltered body. Taste is coconut from the barrel ageing.
Pineapple, apricot, peach. Above average mouthfeel. Pretty drinkable for such high alcohol. Bottle at Beerbistro with Todd B.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of jaydoc
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Texasfan549
3.85/5  rDev -1%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.19/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pour sampled at mrbubbler's tasting courtesy of brwilson.

Bottled in May 2006. Batch 2.

Pours a murky dark orange with a tan head that settles to nothing. No lacing on this one. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, wood, and citrus zest. Taste is the same with some honey flavors as well. There is a mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good barleywine that has aged pretty spectacularly over the past 6 years.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.22/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a really monster brew. or should i say demon (hehe). batch 7, april 2011, 15.31% abv. pours a thick hellish looking red with plenty of yeast floaters (intentionally vigorous pour) and a 3/4 inch off white head thats thick as a milkshake into my leffe chalice. smells very oaky, new american would by my guess because of how sugary it seems to be in the nose. flavor is a complex barleywine style thick sweet caramely beverage that hides the alcohol quite well for over 15%. plenty of rich woody notes like a fine bourbon. as it warms the booze element comes right to the fore, wow this is huge. leaves a nice spicy aftertaste too. mouthfeel is really nice, full bodied but with extraordinary carbonation for a wood aged beer, really really bright and lively in the mouth, almost overwhelming with the alcohol.yeast hangers on give it a sort of chewy feel, but its welcomed here. overall a very distinct beer, too be expected from avery's bigger stuff. is it worth $7.79 for a 12oz. bottle? hard to say. i think for a first trial yes, but i won't purchase it again at that cost, not soon anyway. too many other beers to try at the same price, but the buzz here is akin to a wine drunk, and im sure i will feel this one in the morning. a beautiful sipper and a new friend... samael

edit: 2014 edition is awesome, a little lighter in alcohol, it needs less cellar time i imagine. so much oak on this, just glorious slow sipping brew. i stay away from it sometimes because even 12 ounces is heavy lifting, but i am reminded again just how good this beer is. top tier strong ale.

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Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of GRG1313
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16.45% abv. April 2009, Batch 5. Pours a very dark red amber with thick tan head.

Nose of rich cooked fruit, maple/toffee and ripe pears.

Mouthfeel is rich, bold and creamy.

Flavors are of big sweet cream sherry with bold oak undertones. Rich brown sugar, maple/toffee with coffee and hints of bittersweet dark chocolate. A strong sherry - sherry coffee finish with some oak character and some bitter coffee/chocolate and bitter maple. A bit of ripe/old raisins, as well.

The more one consumes the harder and harder it is to go back because of high sugar/sweetness. Liquid dessert but not as rich and inviting as the two others in the series.

A sipper but also good with dessert. Drink with care. The alcohol really creeps up on you!

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Photo of spycow
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

These beers are crazy. The look of them isn't too out of the ordinary or anything. The color is a rich looking brownish amber color with a thin tan head on top. The smell of is quite strong, boozy, malty and sweet. The taste of the beer is also like the nose. It was very sweet with a kick of hops and booze in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is on the thicker side and has a oily quality to it. Overall this beer neds to be sipped. It's big and very bold. Really should be enjoyed over the course of an hour or so, in my opinion anyway.

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Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2/5  rDev -48.6%

Photo of nmann08
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of Taphouse_Traveler
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of metter98
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is cloudy caramel in color and has a light amount of carbonation along with some small yeast particles visible near the bottom of the glass. It poured with a thin beige head that gradually died down, leaving some lacing on the surface and a thick ring of dense bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are moderate to strong aromas of caramel, oak, toffee and vanilla in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and is quite complex; the caramel flavors seem to stand out most prominently. The initial taste has a light amount of sweetness.
M: It feels full-bodied and a bit sticky and syrupy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a large amount of warmth from the alcohol, particularly in the finish.
O: The alcohol is definitely perceptible, but is relatively well masked for a beer of this strength. It’s a nice beer to sip with all of the complex flavors and it seems to age rather well.

Note: 2009 Vintage (Batch #5)

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Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of biboergosum
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz, red-foil capped bottle, 2014 edition (batch #10), and 14.2% ABV, this time around.

This beer pours a clear, medium red-brick amber hue, with two healthy (huh) fingers of loosely foamy, and mildly bubbly beige head, which leaves a few instances of splotchy snow rime lace around the glass as things very slowly sink away.

It smells of sharp, wooden alcohol straight off the bat, followed by some dense bready caramel and toffee sweetness, heady pale orchard fruit, bruised banana, brown sugar, a separate leafy, perfumed alcohol essence, and a relatively subtle - which only means so much here - savoury, almost current seasonal spiciness. The taste is boozy banana right away, before the rest of the alcoholic's bread recipe comes crashing through - thick, almost gooey caramel, bread pudding, and soused cinnamon and nutmeg spice esters - with some vanillan wood, muddled black fruit vinous port notes, and rather sedate earthy, leafy hop bitters.

The bubbles are quite understated in their low-key frothiness, the body a viscous medium-full weight, and smooth and creamy and boozy and smooth and creamy and boozy, and well, you get the idea. It finishes sweet, sweaty (me, not the beer), well warm, ethereally woody, and complex in its fruitiness, but not really anywhere else.

While this Hades-tempting offering may be a bit young (all the better, eh, Beelzebub?) at this point in time, it's still a pungent, palate-punching mouthful. The thing is, other than the lurking, erupting alcohol heat, I can't imagine the rest of this changing all that much after any amount of long-term aging. And that's why I don't feel bad about having opened it now.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.57/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm a likin' this brew. This could be my favorite Avery brew since Avery 10. There is a lot of port-wine characteristics in this beer. Shy with the hops, this Barley Wine ascends the style in which it is characterized. Very sweet, syrupy, and oily looking right from the offset. With a deep mohogany hue and a stark white head, it promises intense sweetness and richness. Aromas of sweet brandy-like alcohols, swirled around toffee, caramel, vanilla, rum, and bourbon (I think it is the oak). Tastes even sweeter than is suggested by the aromas. A follow up of rum-soaken cherries, berries, maple syrup, and heavy, heavy malts. Not teeth-hurting sweet, but close. High fruit-cake flavors with the dehydrated old fruits and sugar drenched breads. Heavy and sweet on the mouth. This one is surely a sipper. Very warming without fusals and with a sweet alcohol / oily feel. Finishes like a lot of dark rums and tawny ports that I have drank. This beer is phenominal. Better than Samichlaus in my opinion.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.45/5  rDev -37%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Batch #8 15.47%. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with foiled over pressure cap served into a New Belgium pilsner glass in me friend's gaff in high altitude Fort Collins, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are high, though I fear it'll be too hoppy.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger head of beige colour, hardly any cream, okay thickness, and pretty good retention considering the ABV. Colour is a clear copper. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Somewhat vibrant, but not horribly appealing.

Sm: Alcohol, pale hops, heavy caramel, toffee, and clean malts. Heavy oak. A strong aroma.

T: Clean malts with some light indistinct pale hops. Some alcohol heat, but it's rather understated for how high the ABV truly is. Caramelized malts. A muddy oak tone. There's little going on here considering the style and oak aging. It doesn't seem worth the effort to age. Some layering. Not particularly complex or subtle. No yeast comes through. A bit boring - especially for the style.

Mf: Smooth and wet - thankfully, because the flavours would do worse if brought out by the mouthfeel. Adequately carbonated. Far too thick and syrupy (its biggest problem by far). Fairly heavy on the palate.

Dr: Drinkable for the ABV, but you wouldn't want to quaff it. Not quite a sipper. I don't much care for it. I certainly wouldn't get it again. I wouldn't recommend it to friends either. A disappointing brew from Avery. They should free up the aging space for a better beer. A very poor example of a barleywine.

High D+

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Photo of oline73
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of emerge077
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 batch, draft served in an 8 oz. footed goblet.

Dark auburn color, reddish brown with light tan foam that leaves spindly arcs of lacing in the glass.

Aromas of toasted coconut, fried plantains, melted toffee, cajeta. Intensely rich, decadent and sweet. Similar flavors, lots of creamy toffee, toasted oak, bananas foster, vanilla, big bourbon.

Body is thick and syrupy, creamy and sweet with very intense flavors. So much so, it reminded me strongly of Colorado whiskies Stranahans and High West Double Rye. Wouldn't be surprised if they used Strananhans barrels/chips, this tasted very similar. Anything more than a tiny sip and you feel an alcohol burn, it's certainly potent at 16%. Took quite awhile to finish the small glass, but it was definitely savored.

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Photo of superspak
4.27/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass; batch 1, bottled in 2005. Pours moderately hazy/cloudy dark ruby red color with a minimal wisp of a head that reduces to nothing. Aromas of big raisin, prune, fig, plum, apple, pear, molasses, toffee, caramel, toast, brown bread, oak, light chocolate, vanilla, light clove, and yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with big complexity and great balance of malt, oak, and yeast ester notes; with big strength. Taste of huge raisin, fig, plum, prune, apple, pear, molasses, brown sugar, brown bread, caramel, toffee, vanilla, oak, light clove, toast, chocolate, herbal, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of raisin, prune, plum, fig, pear, apple, molasses, brown sugar, brown bread, caramel, toffee, chocolate, toast, oak, vanilla, and yeast earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity and balance of big dense malt, fruity yeast, and oak flavors; with zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light carbonation and very full bodied; with a very creamy, slick, and moderately syrupy mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is an awesome English barleywine. Big complexity and great balance of malt, yeast ester, and oak flavors; and quite smooth sip on slowly with no booziness. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of zeff80
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from April 2009 - cosumed on 11/15/11

A - Poured out a hazy, light burgundy color with little to no head. It left sudsy trails of lace.

S - It smelled very malty sweet with vanilla and oak notes. A touch of bourbon aromas, too.

T - Good sweet bread maltiness with bourbon, oak and vanilla flavors. There are hints of butterscotch and toffee flavors.

M - It was soft and creamy with a slightly sticky mouthfeel. A full bodied ale with a warm alcohol presence.

O - This was really good with about a year and a half of aging. Curious about a fresh bottle.

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Photo of brentk56
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color; the head builds through a bubble show and leaves a few strands

Smell: Caramel and booze; vanilla and oak

Taste: Starts out with a sweet caramel flavor that just gets sweeter from the turbinado sugar through to the finish; elements of vanilla, bourbon and oak

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A tough one to consume; way too sweet for my palate

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Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 1,489 ratings