Samael's Ale | Avery Brewing Company

very good
1,463 Ratings
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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.

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 Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,463 |  Reviews: 645
Photo of BigJarv79
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of Exiled
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of kkrez
5/5  rDev +28.9%

Photo of bpfrush
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of Jspriest
4.75/5  rDev +22.4%

Photo of bonkers
3.65/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured from a 12 ounce bottle, april 2011, into a SA perfect pint glass. The pour is a bright amber, very slight white head, no lacing. The aroma is full of caramel, vanilla, and hot alcohol. It has notes of vanilla, oak, caramel and lots of hot alcohol. It has a very hot finish, almost to the oint of burning. The body is medium, carbonation low, very alcoholic. This beer needs to be cellared to calm down the alcohol.

 423 characters

Photo of DaveHS
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Vintage 2010

A-Pours chestnut amber with a thin, bubbly off white head. No lacing.

S-Intense French oak aroma. Lots of vanilla extract and candi sugar sweetness, accompanied by the pale malt onslaught you'd expect from a 15% old ale. Hints of musty old wood permeates through the fog of sugary aromas.

T/M-Again, this is heavy on the French oak. Reminds me of the first batch of Damnation 23. Musty, woody sweetness is mostly what's happening here. Not a lot of dimension. But if you like French oak, this is for you. Rich and full bodied, with a moderately thin mouth feel and a lingering oaky finish. The alcohol is well disguised, but like the other beers in this series, I can't help but think it would work a little better at a lower ABV.

O-French oak bomb.

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Photo of uawildcat
2.54/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured into a glass. 2007 vintage.

Poured a clear dark color until I let a little bit too much into the glass and the yeast got decanted as well. Opps.

It smells pretty good like berries, booze, and brown sugar. Awesome smell.

Taste is overwhelmingly like nail polish remover, artificial strawberry, and fire. Not acceptable. Even after 4 years of aging it still is too hot.

The mouthfeel is unimpressive. Too thick, too hot, too sticky.

Overall, a poorly done big beer. I can barely tolerate sips. Drain pour.

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Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev +3.1%
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 stabzmcgee
3.66/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is very enticing, sweet malts with light hints of fruit. Appearance is dark amber brown. Frothy tan head that sticks around and laces the glass. Taste is incredibly complex for how sweet it is. Notes of vanilla and oak with many malt backing and a sweet candy end. For a 15% beer this is dangerously drinkable. Palate is lively and fizzy carbonation.long sweet finish. Overall a fantastic addition to the cellar, I am super excited to try it after it is aged for a year or two.

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Photo of jsanford
3.62/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an stemmed Avery glass. Batch 5 from 4/09.

A - Pours a hazy orange-brown with a creamy khaki-colored head that fades to a nice ring and slight haze.
S - HUGE malty aromas of caramel, toffee, vanilla, sherry, and oak sawdust. Smells very sweet, but the booze is surprisingly well hidden.
T - Lots of initial sweet flavors of caramel, toffee, and malt leads to a very woody, sherry-like finish. Alcohol is necessarily noticeable in the taste, but you can sure feel it's effects in the back of your throat!
M - Big and sticky, with a full, syrupy mouthfeel and lowish carbonation.
O - Definitely a big, boozy monster, but the flavors that are present are quite nice. Not really my thing, but I'm glad to have experienced it!

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Photo of KAP1356
3.97/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Smokin Joe's in Pittsburgh. To my surprise, this came in a damn big glass. At least 10 oz....

A - Presented a nice copper-amber color that was slightly hazy (I'm guessing from being slightly colder on tap). A very faint eggshell white cap receded to just the collar.

S - Quite sweet. Lots of fruits covered in brown sugar. Caramel, toffee, oak and some slight vanilla come after adding nicely to the nose. No real aroma of alcohol.

T - Rich flavors of caramel, english toffee, brown sugar, dark and sweet fruits. Alcohol isn't as noticeable as I thought, but it is definitely obvious it's a strong beer.

M - Full bodied beer with a nice smoothness, but there was a good amount of stickiness to it. Nice carbonation.

O - For such a big beer, this was VERY drinkable. Dangerously so as I was contemplating another order. But, I refrained. I will definitely seek this one out in bottles to see what age does to it.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy orange-ish to brown color with a light tan head. In the aroma, vanilla, oaky, and small alcohol note. In the taste, bourbon like, oaky, vanilla, and a small alcohol burn. A smooth and medium bodied mouthfeel, with a adry oak in the aftertaste. It is like drinking bourbon light, a good sipper.

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.95/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

thanks to CruisaC for this one.

Batch 6, March 2010

a - opened and filled my FW mini snifter. very nice transparent mahogany with a thin bubbly head that vanished quick. super slippery lacing. looks great...

s - as soon as i opened the bottle, the sweet smell of english barleywine filled the air. as i went in for a closer inspection damn that is strong wonder the whole room smells so good. classic nutmeg, brown sugar, malt only. caramel, vanilla, toffee, oak.

t - taste is also very nutmeg, brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, toffee oak. very powerful and strong and RICH.

m - thick and rich. leaves a bit of a tingle. syrupy for sure.

o - overall, this is a big, a HUGE beer. it is an english barleywine to the MAX. i am a big fan of these flavors, but they are a bit extreme here, but what would you expect for 16+%

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.04/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Presentation: 12oz brown pop top, red foil, and cool label; Batch 5, bottled April 2009; split with the old man into two snifters

Appearance: Murky, kind of like fresh apple cider. Pours with a nice dark ivory cap which fades to absolutely nothing in about 2 seconds. It's 16.45% abv...I think I can forgive the poor head retention.

Smell: Lots of caramel, some light, boozy fruity esters (overall, reminiscent of caramel apples kind of) and just a hint of caramelized oak. Booze is there, but remarkably understated for this abv. Two years in the bottle probably helped quite a bit.

Taste: Wowza. Boozy, and more boozy. Some caramel apple, dry oak, and a hint of spice. The oak is nice, as is the caramel apple. The spiciness, I'm thinking, is maybe coming from the alcohol. The booze actually comes through more in mouthfeel and spicy sense.

Mouthfeel: Although no head, feels prickly and overcarbonated.

Overall: Hot and unbalanced, even after two years, even though there are some nice flavors underneath. I found a case of this on the shelves recently, and so I wanted to see how it was (and if I should get another one). I shall not be.

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Photo of apteryx
4.35/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

April 2007, Batch 3. 12 oz bottle poured into Chimay glass.
A: Dark amber, tiny head that dissipates quickly. Somewhat murky and cloudy, but then again I poured most of the liquid out of the bottle (shit was expensive!). A little bit of chunky yeast sediment settled quickly.
S: Musty old wood. A bit mushroomy/earthy. Some sherry-like oxidation. Some other indescribable but similar things. I don't know about this one.
T: British-style barleywine on crack plus sherry. Definite booze presence, a lot of caramelly/toffee sweetness. A bit of sherry character with undertones of oak, but that element is way overpowered by the sweet/alcohol combination. Like a way less intense (at least in terms of oxidation and lack of carbonation) and sweeter version of Angel's Share. Later addition: a lot more oak in the aftertaste as you get more towards the bottom of the glass.
M/D: Surprisingly carbonated for its lack of head retention. Adds a cerrtain necessary sharpness. This beer is definitely for savoring, not sessioning, but given that, it is very drinkable. The 14.9% abv is pretty well hidden, although it does start to make itself known near the end.
O: Overall, very tasty, also unusual. It has a moderate sherry-like component to it, and also, at about 15% abv, it's pretty intense for a beer. This particular bottle probably would have benefited from another 1-2 years of aging at ideal conditions (not that it was aged in ideal conditions at any point in this case). Still, though, there was a significant amount of oxidation aromas and flavors present in the beer. The aroma was somewhat off-putting, but all of the other elements work well together to create an over-the-top Americanized Eniglish-style barley wine.

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Photo of OutFox
4.05/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottling. ABV is at 15.31%. Included that because I have seen different levels on different vintage bottlings. Enjoyed on 9/11/2011 during Jets win (which probably made it better). Taken from notes.

A - Poured into a small wine tasting glass and shared with my girlfriend and her brother and mother. Dark sort of amber with an off white head. Love the look.

S - Sweet sort of alcohol mix. Very pleasant actually. Its more sweet than anything, with obvious hints of oak and caramel.

T - First off its quite sweet. Which isnt normal for a beer but I can see why its like this to balance out the alcohol level. Its really pleasant, lots of oak flavor, sweet malt, caramel, subtle hints of all. For being 15.31% I got no alcohol in the taste. I mean you would really have to try and focus on it to get some. Its well blended and its a young bottle only a couple months in the bottle.

M - Very light, surprisingly so for what the beer is suppose to be style wise. Its acutally quite refreshing.

O - Good. Actually its quite good. Id love to taste some prior vintages and really look forward to future ones. This beer probably isnt for everyone but I really enjoyed it. Its almost like liquid alcoholic candy. Crazy.

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Photo of EricMichael
3.68/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled in March 2010. ABV 15.82%
Poured from bottle into wine glass.

appearance - Comes out a burnt sienna with a thin head. Cloudy with perfectly suspended yeast that never sinks. Reminiscent of apple cider.

smell - First smell reminds me of apple cider. Mind you, I had not looked at it in the light yet to make the same observation in its appearance. Another intake and I pick up caramal malts and yeast with an alchohol backbone. I didn't really pick up cider as strongly as did from then on.

taste & mouthfeel - Caramel malt that is very sweet. Labelled as oak-aged, but the oak flavor pales in comparison to the sweetness. Very lightly hopped that doesn't really balance out the sweet. Warming alchohol. After about an hour of enjoying the bevarage and it warming up, the final sip tasted primarly of alcohol.

overall - Something to sip slowly. I was happy to split one regular sized bottle into two servings.

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Photo of KidsDoc
4.32/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On draft at Harrika's BrewHaus

Wow - HUGE beer. You have to like sweet tasting beer to appreciate this one.

Pours smooth, brown/amber with minimal white scattered crown.

Full caramel aroma, limited complexity but a very crisp, sweet aroma. Some woody background.

Taste was more complex though huge caramel sweetness. Hops gave some balance and the oak presence was much more noticeable in taste than aroma giving this beer more dimension.

Mouthfeel was so smooth, but sticky like liquid candy. Carbonation was spot on. The over-the-top ABV was never disruptive in the taste or feel of this beer.

Amazed at how they packed so much fermentation yielding a >12% ABV that goes unnoticed yet still with huge malts and unfermented sugars to offer such sweetness. Many will detest this beer due to the sweetness, but this one was done right in my opinion.

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Photo of sisterray
4.27/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had the pleasure of splitting the 2008 twice - once with my buddy who used to live by the brewery, and once with my brother (they had a few bottles at Shep's).

A: Deep garnet with a nice head. She's a looker.

S: Fermented cherries, oak, rum. Some other fermented fruits I can't quite make out. When I first took this in, I was worried that I wouldn't be able to resist drinking it at a clip much quicker than I knew I ought.

T: Still get the fermented cherries and the oak, and they're very nice. It tastes great - just not as complex as I thought it might be. I will say that the alcohol is present, but it's not a burden. It carries its weight. For the ABV, it drinks very easy.

M: Good medium body. A little oily. Not too carbonated.

O: It's a damn good beer. I purchased my 12 oz bottle for $9, and there are better beers I can get for cheaper, but it's certainly a unique beer and one worth seeking out - for the experience if nothing else.

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Photo of StlHopHead77
3.88/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch #5 bottled in April of 2009

A-Pours a murky,viscous burnt orange with a very slight beige head that was gone quickly and left a thin,loose collar.Transient lacing as well.

S-Rich,sweet malts,brown sugar,dried cherry,booze and whole grain toast.

T-Sweet,smooth malts with orange liquer,Armagnac,oak,butter,golden raisin,
rum cake and fruity esters.

M-Thick and full bodied.Just enough of a syrup consistency to coat the tongue but not cloying.Very sweet but complex and easy drinking.

O-A really,really nice and approachable "extreme" beer.I will definitely buy this again.I could see this paired with a nice Manchego and some Iberico ham.

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Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at their brewpub
2011 batch

Poured into a mini snifter, an oily crimson brown with a creamy off-white head that dissipated almost completely after a minute or so. Sweet nose, lots of fruits and caramel, a bit phenolic. Sweet taste of caramel and toffee candy, oak, dark fruits, mildly hopped for a sense of balance. Alcohol taste is pretty subdued actually, but it's definitely a strong one. "No," my lovely wife said, passing the glass to me. Full-bodied, left a film in the mouth, but nothing a sip of water can't cure. Tasty, but not something you'd spend your whole night drinking.

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Photo of endincolorado
4.39/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep, hazy, red-brown color with a small beige, head that dissipates quickly. Nice sheets of lace cascade slowly down the surface of the glass.

I'm immediately reminded of a fresh-roasted, crusty italian bread. A noticeable scent of alcohol and a faint one of oak are also present.

a powerful, figgy sweetness all but overwhelms the palate. Noticeable, though not unwelcome alcohol is also evident. This drinks much like a nice, carbonated tawny port.

The body is syrupy, but not too heavy. Alcohol and flavors coat the mouth and leave a lasting sweetness, as well as a tingly warmth in the throat.

Definitely a warming beer, and would pair well with a nice cheese or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The alcoholic power of this beer, however would suggest that even half of this twelve ounce bottle would be sufficient. I would buy it again, just to store for a special occasion.

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Photo of unitmonster
2.75/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured out of 12 oz bottle into standard tulip.

A - Ruby colored liquid with some really nice lacing.

S - Delicious caramel, dried fruits, and tobacco.

T - Yuck! It opens very nice and you get a great barley wine flavor, but then the alcohol hits and its way too hot to make this drinkable.

M - Surprisingly light for the ABV.

O - I am not a fan of this. I bought four bottles and I'm hoping it cools down after a few years.

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Photo of bootlegger1929
4.12/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Yum. From a bottle.

Dark copper with bigger head than anticipated.

Dark fruits. English toffee. Oak. Banana nut bread. Alcohol.

Sweet dark malts. Nuts. Alcohol. Lingering toffee. Wood aging is well balanced.

Medium to thin body. Carbonation works.

I like it. Definitely an easy drinking sipper. Gotta be careful with this one.

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Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
3.88 out of 5 based on 1,463 ratings.
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