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Samael's Ale | Avery Brewing Company

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Samael's AleSamael's Ale
Very Good
1,477 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: 1,477 |  Reviews: 648
Photo of carln26
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper color with virtually no head or lace. Nose is a blend of vanilla, apple, caramel and a definitive brandy finish. Taste has a lot of candy sweetness up front, followed by vanilla and some mild bourbon heat. Not as much alcohol heat as I expected (this is good). More candy sweetness on the finish. Nice, sweet, port type brandywine. It could use a little hop character. The mouth feel is very smooth. Decent drinakbility tempered by the sweetness.

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Photo of mgdeth
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Rich amber color, not a lot of head (bad pour?). It seems to have a reasonable amount of fizziness. No lacing.

Smell - Malty sweetness dominates the aroma. There is more than just a whiff of alcohol in there.

Taste - Malt also dominates the flavor. However, a vanilla flavor is also present, probably from the oak chips. The vanilla flavor is very close to what I have tasted in Great Divide's Yeti Oak Aged Imperial Stout. No real hops to speak of.

Mouthfeel - So sweet that it is sticky, and heavy. Probably cloyingly sweet for many.

Drinkability - This beer should best be enjoyed in small quantities, and it is very filling. It is too sweet for my tastes - it could be more aggressively hopped.

Comments - Split a 12 ounce bottle with a friend or two.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Poured an orangish amber color at first with a small tanish head that disappeared quickly. There is a steadfast thin ring of foam around the sides of the glass maintained by some rising bubbles. There is no lacing.

Aroma: Fruits and lots of alcohol that burns the nose. It smells like sherry maybe brandy? Heck, I don't know...but I DO know that this thing is seriously fruity.

Taste: Rich, syrupy, citrusy, fruity, warming, sherry-like with a whole bunch more adjectives thrown in there! It is medium-full bodied with no real noticeable carbonation though you can see some bubbles rising. There is a bit of a tart bite that becomes more noticeable as it warms. This beer leaves your palate gasping for air!

Opinion: Well, another fine and over the top offering from our friends at Avery. I bought a couple extra of these to try in a couple years, as I think that this will be about the time that the beer may BEGIN to reach its prime. It is flavorful now, but this beer should be phenomenal after aging some.

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Photo of specsbeer06
3.72/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

this beer had a lot of character to it. It was thick and left a lingering taste that resembles nuts. It was full of body and went down fairly easily. So far it is one of my favorite barley wines, though I can only compare it to a few. The depth of this beer was unlike the beer that I usually drink. I usually prefer a lighter body beer, but this one seemed to hit the spot.

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Photo of merlin48
3.82/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale snifter. Body is a slightly hazed, copper amber color with a small beige head that quickly disappears without lacing. Aroma is fusel and phenolic, with aggressive notes of brandy and bourbon. Cotton candy notes from the turbanado sugars. Overripe peaches and apricots, drenched in brandy. A mild accent of vanilla, and just a hint of char and oak. Mouthfeel has a medium body and low carbonation. Warming alcohol is inescapable. Taste has sweet vinous notes and an assertive alcohol warmth. Nice array of fruits, with baked raisins, stewed apples, and overripe apricots. Some apricot nectar infused with sherry. Huge and powerful, and intended to be so. Nothing subtle here. Very over the top, but not overwrought like the 2004 Beast. Quite drinkable, actually, but watch your step. Avery made a wise move by releasing this in the smaller bottles. A bomber of this would be a bit too heavy for just one person. Thick and syrupy, and big alcohol with a solid fruit component await you here. This is the "Mini Beast".

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Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.4/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer poured into the glass crystal clear golden amber with a low off-white head which lasted well to lace the glass.

The aroma was slightly spicy with alcohol phenolics and a light vanilla coupled with a nice oak presence. The aroma was floral and fruity with golden raisins and caramel coupled with a candy aroma.

The flavor was very sweet with a strong fruity caramel and golden raisin presence. The sweetness was strong and cloying and was missing the presence of bittering to balance. Malty is good, but this one is a bit too sweet for comfort. There was a light spice in the flavor and a lingering vanilla and light oak flavor.

The finish was sweet (go figure) with a candy flavor that lasts a bit too long and too strong into the afteraste. The body was full and the carbonation level was low. The alcohol warming after consumption was very high and noticeable. This one needs to dry out and since there was no sediment in the bottle at all, I am not sure that it would have aged much. A few years and this beast might be ready for the glass, but right now it is too darn sweet.

12 ounce bottle, thanks mentor!

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Photo of Rastacouere
2.51/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Clear light orange to amber hue, limited head. Sweet highly phenolic and ethanol fuel nose. Heavy licorice and cane sugar essences, greenish young oak feels rough around the edges. Extreme level of sweetness, chocolatey and brown sugar in a most concentrated way. Strong oaky alcohol presence, little burn grapsing the tongue. Limited goldings presence, vegetal finish, gently hoppy, but not enough to provide anything resembling balance. Rather heavy carbonation, syrupy palate, not cloying, but agressively sweet. Still, there are some rather pleasant flavors in there. I would not count on it, but maybe it is even that with some age, this would become palatable.

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Photo of OldSock
3.74/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance and Presentation – 2005, 12 oz bottle with red foil around the cap. Poured into a snifter the beer is a light brown with a bit of red. The head is almost non-existent and there appears to be no carbonation flowing through the beer.

Smell – Fusel alcohols with some wood and over ripened fruits. The solvent alcohol character is a bit overwhelming, but what can I expect from a 29 proof beer. My eyes are a bit dry after a day at the beach, as a result the alcohol vapor stings my eyes a bit unpleasant.

Taste – Despite the nose the alcohol does not overpowering in the taste at first. There is definitely a warming sensation, but the flavors of the beer shine through on top of the alcohol. Specifically there is oak, caramel sweetness, toasted grains and ripe fruits. Surprisingly low hop usage for an American Barley Wine. After awhile the alcohol really starts to assert itself and the rate at which I drink quickly falls.

Mouthfeel – Syrupy with almost no carbonation. The lack of carbonation helps to hide the alcohol.

Drinkability and Notes – This is a solid sipping beer, complex, but not exactly drinkable. Worth a try particularly if you like big English Barley Wines. I wish they would drop the alcohol to raise the drinkability and hop a bit more liberally to better balance out the near cloying sweetness.

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

The beer pours very nicely with an incredibly rich clean amber color.

Not noticing the ABV prior to smelling it I was taken off-guard by the strong alcohol smell. Soon after the smell of the alcohol the oaky-ness comes through and reminds me very much of the Weyerbacher series of beers aged in oak casks. The overall effect produces something that smells like candied oak.

At first the taste is too sweet and scotch-like. As the beer warms a bit and so do my senses I begin to grow fond of the brew. Even though it is extremely sweet it definitely becomes bearable especially for a late night drink.

To enjoy this beer it must be on intermittent occasions and most certainly on a cool night. Drinking it slowly over about an hour had a very decent effect of being both enjoyable and not too over-powering.

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Photo of rajendra82
3.88/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Provided direct from Colorado, as it’s not available in Georgia yet, Samael’s Oak-aged Ale came in a 12 oz. brown bottle with red neck foil, removing which revealed another layer of red foil. After removing the neck coverings, the beer was poured at room temperature into a goblet. The body looked gorgeously red –amber with viscosity that retarded the rise of the CO2 bubbles, although a small head did for and stuck around for a little while.

The aroma was succulently lusty with an undying sweetness. There was alcohol present in the nose of course, but not quite indicative of the rocky mountain high ABV that the brew possessed. As good as the smell was, the taste let me down a bit with an over the top sweetness. It took a few more sips to grow on me, and by the end I was enjoying the alcohol candy.

Very thick, tongue coating, sticky mouthfeel. Sip by sip, as I tried to get the beer down, the warming effects go stronger and stronger. As a strong nightcap, a very good drink. Not suited for any other purpose.

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Photo of tjthresh
3.46/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

When is enough enough? Smell like scotch whiskey, and tastes like scotch whiskey. Hell, it must be scotch whiskey. It all tasted fine. My score relect that. I think everybody should try it. With that being said, Samaels doesn’t really have many characteristics of a beer..

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Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a rich deep burnt orange with a white one finger head that clings nicely to the glass,seems to be quite highly carbonated.Big vanilla bean aromas go well with the underlying oak almost a spiced rum feel on the nose.Chewey thick mouthfeel but it glides nicely down the hatch coating the mouth nicely just sublime,flavors like aroma are heavy on vanilla but there is dried fruit flavor as well like prunes and or raisins.This a sipper but is exceptional when sipped another big winner from Avery.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Label declares that it contains "oak chips" and turbinado sugar to explain its oak imparted flavor, much like Great Divide's Yeti. As if like a wolf in sheep's clothing, this was on the shelf at Whole Foods in Boca Raton, FL. Just the appearance alone from this 12 oz.'er is a warning shot over my bow depicting high ABV countenance of clear amber orange with microscopic rising bubble to an instantly faded top of corner grabbing thin khaki collar. Lace is for pussies! This beer is for kit-shickin MEN!

Aromatic scents immediately tie my nose into a pretzel, with an initial impact of oak wood followed by the one two punch combo of whisky bourbon awl-kee-hawl fusel oak barrel right hook. Deep vanilla and almond extract follow through have me reaching for the ropes before my first throw. A last scent of peach and cooking sherry has me pepped back into the ring. I'm giving this song a 4/5 scent because it has a beat I can dance to.

First swigs: (with intrepidation and hands shaking half through fear and half through delaying trying his octance octapus) Brazen cherry and vanilla round out the first swig with a dry and friendly greeting. Sorta like a screwdriver with a fruity citrous taste shortly balanced by the cut of booze heat. Quite citrous, and a huge thick resiny sugar cling really, with a meld of orange peel mostly meeting with a heavy oaky wooden bourbon shock. Fairly, but not overly complex. Especially crafted as a sipper, indeed, replete with fireplace and snow fall out side, regardless of the curent time of year twith AC blasting that this is attempted. Anything that has me write a review like a James Joyce novel deserves a 4/5 on taste.

Feel is medium bodied and slick, especially for an azz kicker of a 14.5% ABV blow to the skull. A bit thick. Word to the wise, drink Avery's Samael's with a fork in one hand and either a divorce decree or a wrinkled spent losing horserace form in the other because that is what it will cure. Don't plan on speaking the day after trying this liquid sandpaper pour.

Last swigs: Like licking a 9-volt battery and going back for more. Another Sterno inspired treat from Avery. Reminds me of when I used to steal whisky and mix it with any juice that I could find growing up. Somehow this barely squeaks into the ballpark of Weyerbacher Insanity, but not quite as smooth and more Berry juice, overall. If Insanity is Las Vegas, Samael's is Atlantic City. This puts the Mad Dog in Barleywine. Originally this got a wimpy 2.5 DR but after finishing a bottle and banging a crack whore slooty-who, a well deserved Gong Show 4/5 went on the judges board just because this was a tussle.

Joke: What's meaner than a pit-bull with AIDS? The guy that gave it to him. That's Samael's by AVERY. Every BA needs to heed Jim Morrison and "Ride the snake to the ancient lake." Beer is good for what Ale's ya. *hit spellchick*

Beer iz good. Happy behind-an-airport dumpster-toothless-crack whore-style American Barely Wine Beering, ma' beeyatches.

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Photo of mntlover
4.37/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful amber with red highlights almost ruby in color,small pinkey sized head falls to a ring. Some very sparse lace had to basically dump second half of the brew in my Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale glass to achive the head.

Aroma is sweet, cherries, vinegar/wood barrels leaving hints of bourbon, some smokiness. Citrus flavors pineapple mixed with apricot and melon. After siting a while vanilla rises and replaces the citrus aromas.

Taste is sweet some fruit hints of cherries mixed with citrus hints. Wood flavors with bourbon, just enough to mask the alcohol. This is a definate sipper, just take it easy and enjoy the flavors, wouldn't want to drink this too fast anyway. As it sits more flavors keep coming out vanilla mainly. No major alcohol noted just hints and a little warming is all I am feeling.

Mouthfeel is nice big and so smooth, very nice this baby is built for enjoying each sip.

Drinkability is good as in it is very tasty, wouldn't ever want more then two guess thats why its in 12oz instead of Avery's usual 22ozer's that or lower the sticker shock a little. Wouldn't mind having a few to cellar hopefully they will make it near me soon. Want to offer many thanks and karma to movingshadow152 for sending me this gem.

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Photo of Jason
3.39/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz red foiled brown bottle with a vintage date on the label.

A- Pours a thick off white head that looks so damn creamy and sticks to the glass well. Deep orangey amber shows some tiny bubbles struggling to rise to the top.

S- Fusel, paint thinner, cherries and lemon peel soaked in grain alcohol. Cooking wine?

T- Malty and sugary sweet, bordering cloying. Quick ruffle of hops, then the alcohol sets in with a slow warming feeling. Ripe berries with a layer of caramel show the sweetness off even more, mild tartness in the middle. Faint oak character ... vanilla and a earthy nutmeg.

M- Syrupy body with a viscous creamy smoothness.

D- All I could do was take little sips ... very heavy on the palate. A 12oz bottle could be split among two or three people as an after dinner drink.

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Photo of bigbelcher
4.74/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow, there is a whole lot of something going on in this beer. At 14.5% Alc you would expect a big alchol bite but it is smooth and sweet. A nice deep dark brown color. Let this beer warm up a little bit and it is simply wonderful. I bought a few bottles for my beer 'cellar' and will let them age for a few years. This one is a keeper.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I wasn't sure what to expect when I ordered this beer at Monk's the other night, but boy was I pleasantly surprised! The label lists the original gravity as 1.146 specific... that's 36.5 degrees plato! Damn!

It pours a clear crimson and ruby-amber body beneath a short but creamy white head that unfortunately cannot hold (of course, at 14.5% abv that's to be expected).

The nose offers light, sweet berry-like fruit juice and malt.

The body is full, and it's supple and smooth across the palate with a restrained carbonation.

The flavor delivers sweet, candyish malt; fruit (berries, orange); alcohol; and oak. The alcohol iis well-cloaked, and it's as well balanced as a behemoth like this can be, with just enough bitterness to keep its sweet malt from becoming overbearing. It is palate coating though, and you might want to have a glass of water on hand for this one.

Big and bold and sweet.... stunning! Definitely unique, and surprisingly enjoyable for such a sweet-malt and alcohol monster!

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Photo of ypsifly
3.7/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Red foiled 12oz bottled in '05, poured into a pint.

Clear copper with good carbonation that seems a bit slow on its way to a 2cm egg shell colored head That leaves thick lace along the inside of the glass.

Lots of alcohol and sweets in the nose. Has an almost brandy character. There's some yeast and wood in there too.

The alcohol doesn't burn, but it makes itself known. It jumps in after a sweet start and takes over. Oranges and sugar jump in for a fumey finish. Sticky sugary mouthfeel. Reminds me of DFH 120. The wood is present in the after taste.

This is a big ass beer, not session material, but a good sipper. It will be interesting to try this one after a year in the cellar.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer is a brilliantly clear, copper-amber color and, despite a fair amount of carbonation, only has a wispy thin tan head. The aroma is thick and concentrated with notes of port, brandy, alcohol, cherries, cinnamon and sundry other spicy notes, and a hint of buttery-vanilla oak. The beer is quite sweet and fruity, I get notes of cherries and tart grapes, very much in a brandy sort of fashion. The oak is quite subtle, and hits with a hint of buttery, tannic wood in the finish; what a great use of oak, it really is playing a minor supporting role here, just like it should. This is a lot more drinkable than I was expecting, it is certainly a sipper though, as it is quite thick and viscous. But it is pretty tasty for a high octane brew, and is infinitely more refined than the beast. There is a certain amount of hot alcohol in the finish but it is held in check by the fruity sweet notes that dominate this beer. This beer is really quite sweet, though the stickiness is held in check by the high alcohol, which helps to reduce the viscosity.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.02/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Yowza this stuff is not for the faint of heart. Pours a ruddy orange-red color with a medium thin beige head and thin lacing. Huge malt and caramel aroma. Rich and chewy body and insanely sweet. This is definitely a sipper. Malt, caramel, maple syrup flavors along with a sweet sherry taste. The finish is long and sweet and is really the only place I noticed any oak. $8 or so for a 12oz bottle and I am pretty sure I would never want more than one in a sitting. This stuff will put hair on your chest.

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Photo of kmpitz2
4.57/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks Chris.

Thsi beer pours a brilliat amber color with a light coat of head over top. Appearance is rather still. The nose is pretty darn nice. It bursts with cherry sweetness. The alcohol is very apparent in the nose as well. Man. It seems that there is a bit more going on in there, but I can't describe it. A great sweetness and a pretty apparent alcohol. I really do like it. I actually can't stop smelling this one. Time for a taste. I get big caramel and brown sugary sweetness along with the sweet cherry...reminds me of a sherry I had recently almost. Things fade to very light woody tanin on the finish. Really just a hint of the alcohol in the middle, but not offensive. Very nice; maybe a touch too sweet. The feel is thick and syrupy. It doesn't stick and oat too much, but hangs just long enough. Man. Good brew. I really like the nose and flavor. The feel is good and the overall drinkability is pretty damn impressive for 14%. Wow. I am not sure I can wait on my bottle to age, though I think it will even get better with 6-12 months.

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Photo of clvand0
4.69/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours an amber color with no head and doesn't leave any lacing on the glass, but has some active carbonation. The aroma reminds me of alcohol soaked cherries, vanilla, oak, and a lot of sweetness. Smells very nice. The flavor is excellent. Tons of cherry goodness in the taste. The alcohol strangely doesn't make itself known until the warming effect sets in. Very little alcohol in the flavor. Very smooth. The body is on the thick end of moderate and it is supremely drinkable for the alcohol. This is a very dangerous beer. This has to be my favorite Avery beer I've ever had, and they are one of my favorite breweries.

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Photo of Truh
4.32/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wouldn’t turn off the lights with this one on 6/25/2005. 12-oz. bottle poured in a shaker glass.

Soapy dots of butter pat carbonation at the top, but with nothing else of note, either stick or lace-wise. Extreme amber hue that dared you to describe it as something else; flies stuck in honey ascending bubble action – S – L – O – W. Big oak, boubon presence on nose with an equally large malt bill. Wow, very bourbon-like on the mouth, but not biting and actually quietly sweet, almost treacly, but not quite.

Holy hell, I need more of this.

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Photo of Wildman
4.44/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a clear dark red amber color and formed an off white bubbly head that disapated quickly leaving trace lace. A wonderful aroma of changing smells of caramel, malt, oak, plum, and others unknown. A flavor of malt, caramel and candy with sherry elements (fairly sweet). It was a medium, creamy body with a sweet finish that hinted at the alcohol present. Would probably improve with aging.

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Photo of Gusler
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer decamps the 12-ounce brown bottle a reddish-brown with a modest semi-creamy light tan head that disappears rather quickly leaving a fine covering of lace upon the glass. Nose is sweet and sour, hints of Oak, caramel, malt, and of course, a bit of fusel alcohol, a pleasant sniff for sure, start is quite sweet, the malt profile pleasant, the top moderate in feel. Finish has a stern acidity with a nice hop spiciness, quite dry and slightly tart aftertaste and yes, a bit of alcohol bitterness, certainly a belly warmer, but at 14.5 percent alcohol, not as brutal as “The Beast”, and I am sure it will age gracefully.

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Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 1,477 ratings
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