Samael's Ale | Avery Brewing Company

very good
645 Reviews
Read the review
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.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 645 | Ratings: 1,460
Photo of wordemupg
3.8/5  rDev -2.1%
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.....

 868 characters

Photo of ClavisAurea
3.93/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

 230 characters

Photo of earljones199
4.15/5  rDev +7%
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

 186 characters

Photo of 57md
3.86/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

 205 characters

Photo of Thankin_Hank
3.96/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

 178 characters

Photo of Franziskaner
3.84/5  rDev -1%
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.

 316 characters

Photo of socon67
4.2/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

 200 characters

Photo of Brutaltruth
3.98/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

An oldie that has been waiting for awhile in the fridge from
the bottle in a snifter. This beast of a brew pours a deep lightly cloudy
brownish mahogany with a light head of off white foam that subsides to a
thick ring, light thin pool, and subtle lacing. Nose of raisins, toffee, brown sugars,
oak, strong grain booze, and vanilla. Flavors follow the nose to perfection with
toffee and brown sugars awash in caramel and booze soaked raisins with notes of
vanilla on the back and a medium oak note. VERY warm on the finish with a slick
and hot mouth feel with low (nearly non existent carbonation).

I think I just lost feeling my teeth.....this one is a warm simmer on the taste buds.

Nice but a touch too much on the booze factor. Could use a touch of balance and
THAT is after 5 years of maturing. Nice but over the top.

 837 characters

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

 398 characters

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.

 276 characters

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.

 697 characters

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

 166 characters

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.

 791 characters

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.

 590 characters

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.

 634 characters

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.

 914 characters

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.

 374 characters

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.

 247 characters

Photo of MJSFS
4.07/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Hazy apricot color with a thin white tightly packed head that leaves no lacing but has heavy alcohol legs. Aroma is sweet caramel, wet oak, and alcohol. Flavor is sugary sweet booze, brown sugar, and barrel. Mouth is heavy and coating. At first this beer was very inviting, and seemed like a treat, but it became difficult to handle as I tried to get through it. It's like drinking a piece of oak soaked in sugar.

 415 characters

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.

 814 characters

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.

 223 characters

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

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
3.88 out of 5 based on 1,460 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.