Samael's Ale | Avery Brewing Company

BA SCORE
87
very good
1,470 Ratings
THE BROS
77
okay
Read the review
Samael's AleSamael's Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States
averybrewing.com

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.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,470
Reviews:
648
Avg:
3.88
pDev:
14.43%
 
 
Wants:
85
Gots:
422
For Trade:
22
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,470 |  Reviews: 648
Photo of dragonWhale
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of HopStoopid120
5/5  rDev +28.9%

Photo of RandyJ
3/5  rDev -22.7%

Photo of JMBSH
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of jheezee
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of seanmonaghan13
5/5  rDev +28.9%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
2/5  rDev -48.5%

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.

 766 characters

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.

 515 characters

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.

 535 characters

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.

 483 characters

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!

 734 characters

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.

 926 characters

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.

 306 characters

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 smelling...no 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 beer...no, 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+%

 847 characters

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.

 1,151 characters

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.

 1,727 characters

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.

 1,222 characters

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.

 920 characters

Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
3.88 out of 5 based on 1,470 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

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