Samael's Ale | Avery Brewing Company

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Samael's AleSamael's Ale
Very Good
1,496 Ratings
Samael's AleSamael's Ale

Brewed by:
Avery Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: British 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.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,496 |  Reviews: 658
Photo of Beaver13
3.17/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle (2005). Pours a hazy orangish reddish amber with small floaties. It has a thin off-white head that quickly goes to a thin collar.

The aroma is sharp alcohol (nail polish remover and fuel) and fruits (figs and pineapple) with some very sweet caramel.

The flavor is a burst of treacly candy-like sweetness. There is some fruitiness (apple, raisin and melon) and woodiness and caramel in there. There's a little burnt bitterness at the finish. The alcohol is surprisingly well hidden (I was expecting the worst after smelling it). The mouthfeel is medium bodied and oily/syrupy.

Overall, it was definitely interesting. Way overboard on the sweetness, which I normally hate but this was surprisingly not that bad. I found myself freely sipping it rather than forcing it down which I normally do with the sweet beers.

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Photo of PorterLambic
4.94/5  rDev +27%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

First, let me say that I've had very mixed experince with barleywines. Had I known this was one, I probably wouldn't have had it. As it turns out, this was an absolutely perfect beer to toast the passing of a friend. Monte would have loved it. R.I.P.

Pours a rich dark amber color with a good, light tan head. Good retention too. Looks like bourbon.
Smell is malt, oak, bourbon with a faint hint of apple cider vinegar.
Taste is AMAZING! Sweet with flavors of bourbon, green apples, perfectly roasted malt, grape, a hint of smoke and charcoal and more that I could even figure out. The most complex beer I have ever had, by far, period.
Very full bodied, oh so extremely smooth, creamy, luxurious on the palate, just a liquid velvet flowing across my tongue.
You must drink this beer! An all-time Top 10 beer.

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Photo of nlmartin
3.18/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

The beer was poured from the bottle into a pub glass.

Appearance: The beer poured a very clear amber coloration. There was minimal head on the beer. Streaks of lacing remained on the glass.

Smell: The beer smell consisted of sweet cherries and lemon zest.

Taste: Dam is this beer almost sickeningly sweet. Very thick malty sweetness coupled with the fruityness of berries, green grapes and cherries. Small amount of hoppyness present.

Mouthfeel: This beer is plus sized on the body. Dam is it sweet. It is practically to sweet.

Drinkability: This is a very thick beer to drink. Frankly all I could do was sip the beer. This would probably be an alright beer to split several ways. Almost to much for one beer drinker to finish.

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Photo of neonbrown82
2.36/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

This is one of the worst brews I've ever tried. It pours very light with a thin wispy head that dissolves to nothing in an instant. The carbonation is very minimal, expectedly. Doesn't look too terribly bad, but it doesn't look to particularly great either.

The smell is bad. Like vinegar and grapes and cider. With the acidity and tartness and whatnot, it almost reminds me of a sweet white wine. Only in the smell can I even detect the slightest hint of oak chips (which by the way is a pet peeve of mine when a brewery mentions their beer is oak aged when it is actually just soaked in oak chips for a short while).

The taste is just as bad as the smell, and much more cloyingly sweet. The alcohol is surprisingly smooth, but that is too much to say for every other detail of this beer. Tastes like green grapes, apple cider, and vinegar. Only a slight bit of hoppiness and no oak flavor.

The body is thick, syrupy and very puckery. Not very good. Disgustingly sweet and vinegary, and coats to the mouth. Pretty much everybody I sampled this beer with ended up pouring out most of it (and I sampled it with two independent groups of people).

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Photo of TastyTaste
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark copper color, slightly hazy. Head is just not there. maybe a couple bubbles around the outside of the glass, but that's all.

Smell: Smell is sweet and woody, raisins and slight citrus zest. This reminds me of Gale's Conquest Master Brew that I had a while back.

Taste: Sweet and very strong, honey and lemon, grape character, and a definitely noticable woody characteristic. Alcohol burns.

Mouthfeel: Oily slick, light carbonation.

Drinkability A very odd beer, a cool bottle, but maybe not balanced at all, which in this case, makes for a beer that isn't one of my favorites (Reminds me of sme Ginger Wine I had a while back). Still, I am glad to have sampled it. Thanks to LuckySevens82.

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Photo of snipersb23
5/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Been a member of this site for a while but this was the first beer that I had to vote on. May be the best beer I've had and I've had thousands of them. Similar taste to Samichlaus except even better (which I didn't think possible). Incredibly smooth going down for 14.5% alcohol. Would love to see how this ages in the bottle. A must try beer for anybody.

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Photo of cubedbee
4.21/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle from 2005 poured into a snifter, this is a beautiful glowing amber with great ruby highlights, a thin spotty head as expected, and some very nice spidery lacing left behind on the glass. Nose is very sweet, somewhat like vanilla, with a fairly assertive bourbonlike alcohol note. Taste is also more sweetness, thick syrupy molasses-like, with nice flavors of oak, vanilla, almond, some slight fruit and a slight bourbony finish. Very nice and flavorful, borderline cloying on the sweetness, but never quite getting too much. For how high octane and sweet it is, this really is amazingly drinkable. I just sipped it alone, but it would also go great with some cheese or even desert.

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

12 ouncer "bottled in 2005", with a red foil covering and nice looking art on the label. Pours a farily dull shade of almond, that upon close inspections reveals a fruity fruity dark melon hue, the puffy head noisily shrinks to a thin film and leaves some spotty and fine lacing. Nose here is of some fresh fruits and then mostly fusil alcohol and some paint thinner/varnish type of odor. This stuff smells strong! I consumed this at about room temperature. Very flavorful and obviously stong beer. Notes of vanilla, sherry, port, oak, leather, minty freshness and glowing, warming alcohol. Wow, what a brew. This will be over the top for many, and too sweet for others, but I found it to be a potent late night sipper, would be fine with some stinky cheese, pepperoni, nuts, dark bread or with a decadent dessert. I'm sure this would be amazing after 3-5 years of careful, temperature and light controlled aging. If youve got that type of patience. Strong beer lovers-Go get some and enjoy!

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Photo of benito
3.45/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

The Avery website lists this as a strong ale (English-stlye) rather than a barleywine, but this may be splitting hairs...
I had a bottle from the July 2005 vintage that I drank at the end of November.

It pours a transparent orange with good carbonation and little head or frothiness. Good lacing. This is surprisingly
light in color for a beer this strong and heavvy: a cool trait. The bouquet has a unique sour tinge to it, with hints
of cotton candy. The taste is syrupy sweet with a heavy body and a long aftertaste of carmel and sugar. There's a
delicate hoppiness at the end of each sip that perfectly compliments the beer's sweetness. At 14.5% ABV, the fact that
there's no alcoholic taste is a testament to the brew's complexity and body. In fact, the body is remniscent of a nice
cognac or desert wine.

Pricing a single 12 oz bottle at between 6.99 and 7.99, the folks at Avery know that they have a fine BIG beer here-
one that is meant to be savored rather than sessioned. Given the high ABV and hole in my wallet, I'm happy to oblige.

A very special treat.

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Photo of beerinator
2.98/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Light amber, copper. Burnt umber. Light white head disappeared quickly.

Aroma: Bourbony aroma. Roasted caramel sweetness. The main smells seem smoky and fairly sweet. Hints of vanilla and spicing are dulled and muted by the upfront aromas.

Taste: Thick, syrupy laced with vanilla. Hints of sweet cherry and almond. Very very sweet. Full thick cough syrupy mouthfeel. The flavors here aren't that bad. But the thickness of the mouthfeel just aren't quite what I expected from a big beer from Avery.

Notes: Like I said, the flavors and aromas here don't seem off, but the beer it too syrupy in mouthfeel. Where did all the sugar come from if this finished at 14%? I don't believe I'll be buying this one again.

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Photo of Blakaeris
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light copper color. Head is decent but not extraordinary and leaves no lacing. Smell is a complex combination of malt, caramel, burbon and dark fruit with a dangerous amount of alcohol.

Taste is sweeter than expected. Definite bourbon and fruit flavors. the maltiness is surprisingly sweet and is pronounced up front. Very nice.

Mouthfeel is smooth and interesting without being overly oily.

I think this is a dangerously drinkable brew. Especially at 14.5%. I woill pick this up again. It would be a great beer to add to the beer the beer cellar.

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

Poured into my snifter a very nice copper with some reddish highlights and just a touch of white head.

Smell is very bourban like with sweet alcohol mixing in with hints of oak and vanilla.

Taste is very sweet with hints of vanilla and honey mixing in with the strong alcohol taste.

Mouthfeel is has a nice medium fullness with tons of tongue warming alcohol goodness.

Drinkability is good as long as you consider this is closer to a good sipping bourban rather than a quick drinking beer.

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Photo of cheers2beers
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a snifter:

Wow! This ale is definitly one of a kind.
As I pour this demon of an ale I am surprised at the head considering the abv.The head rose to a two finger width but disapated to one quarter inch then to a small white ring within two minutes.The color is a dark almond upon first glance.Yet when held to the light it reveals shades of amber,pumpkin,and burnt sienna.
The nose hairs really stand up on this one! Wafts of molasses,vanilla,and a even a slight sweet bourbon aroma.The complexity on my tongue is almost to much to handle.Totally caught me off gaurd.The sweetness of this colossal brew is quite interesting and cloying at the same time.Flavors of oak can be detected vaguely.Alcohol really blazes through my mouth along with the sweet molasses again.As this ale warms the accents in taste and aroma are even more potent.The mouthfeel is really smooth,even syrupy.
This brew would be great as an after dinner desert drink,but i could not have more than one per sitting.I think this beer would be a good canidate for cellar ageing.


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

12oz bottle purchased as a single somewhere in NoVA, either WF/Vienna, WF/Annadale, Norm's, or Rick's. Red foiled cap.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 1/8" light tan head above the clear orangey copper brew. Head is gone in a flash, with minimal lacing, both of which are not uncommon for the style, especially barrel-aged. Aroma is dominantly of alcohol, with some oaky vanilla notes. Taste is almost excruciatingly sweet malt, with potent dark fruitiness, all ending with a reasonably strong alcohol presence, but not as much as the nose indicated. Mouthfeel is a bit harsh for the style, and drinkability is also a bit tough, what with the strong alcohol and high sweetness. Overall, though, an interesting brew.

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Photo of walleye
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

from the bottle. poured a orange amber, with a off white head. aroma caramel, fruity, woody, hopds. yeast, sugar,, alcohol. flavor the first thing I got was the alcohol a nice smooth alcohol, than out jumped the caramel, honey, fruit and a nice touch of hops. not too bad

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Photo of kmo1030
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

coppery amber colored with very little head when poured, it fades to the faintes of rings around the sides of the glass. apple, caramel, smoky oak notes, honey, alcohol, black ripe cherry, sweet bourbon characteristics, vanilla, and citrus all play roles in the aroma in varying degrees throughout the duration of this beer. it's very hard to put them in any sort of descending order so the preceeding list shouldn't be read as such. the taste consists of rich caramel, vanilla, brown sugar, some almost peach like fruit flavors with the apple and cherries form the nose, oak flavors begin at the back of the mouth and continue as an aftertaste that mingles with the fruit flavors. hints of bourbon come with the spicy alcohol that grows as the beer warms. i notice there are some very meade like characteristics to this beer including the mouthfeel which is very thick, but more carbonated than the appearance would let on. the drinkability is quite good considering the strength of flavor, full body and high abv. a very impressive brew from avery. i'm gonna try to pick of a few more of these for aging if i come across any.

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Photo of cokes
3.76/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Auburn-tinted amber under a surprisingly heathly rise of buttercreme.
Fuseled nose of vodka, cherry juice, dark rum, bourbon, biscuits, and caramel.
Into the mouth, it begins with a dripping caramel and black liquorice hues. And for a moment, this could well be mead, full of honey and sweet alcohol. It gathers thickness, as well as gummi sweet & sour cherry notes. It lingers here a while, sagging under its own girth, with the cherry and oak chip glinting sourness barely offsetting the maple syrup and brown sugar cloy. It rides out with a minced date, apicot, cherry, and blood orange fruitness, still dappled in caramel and cooked sugars. Boil all this into a spiced rum bath.
Heavy, obese, bodied. To say that this drinks like Mrs Butterworth is no hyperbole, nor is it libel. Honestly, this is probably best served poured unto pancakes.
That said, it can be tackled in successive sips, and thus distances itself from Avery's other high proof ventures. Diabetics and other sweet-aversive people beware.

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Photo of AlexJ
3.47/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

This devilish brew pours a deep honey amber color with a short-lived white head that leaves some scattered lace.

The aroma is a striking combination of sweet malt, caramel, scorched brown sugar, and bourbon-laced nuances of oak, vanilla, coconut, and spice. Alcohol delivers quite a punch too.

Flavor is immediately malty sugar sweet, sweeter than any barleywine I've ever had. It's tastey though, filled with caramel, maple, honey, and subtle cinnamon spice. There's a well developed oak note that is toasty and warming. Plenty of the bourbon character comes through too. Good, but I'm glad to be sharing this bottle, this stuff is wicked! Alcohol is rather hot too, but the bourbon notes make the heat seem appropriate.

Body is big, thick, and sticky. Smooth creamy texture with soft carbonation. Drinkability is rather low, this is a definate sipper. This would be great with a few years on it to mellow out the heat. Worth seeking out IMO.

thanks Gabe for sharing

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Photo of mattcrill
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear amber pour with a minimal white head. The head doesn't even stick around with agitation.

Smell: Oak, must, alcohol, cinnamon, and a touch of peppercorn.

Taste: Oh my...sweet but not cloying, cabarnet grapes, brown sugar, molasses, and maple syrup. This is big and bad. Complex and well balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, slippery, and slightly astringent (again, I don't consider that a bad thing...leaves a long finish on the palate).

Drinkability: Dangerously drinkable given the ABV. It takes a lot to impress me with a barleywine. They have the potential to be a mess of alcohol and malt sweetness. Not this one. This is a sweeter one but well balanced and very enjoyable. Nice job by Avery.

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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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Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 1,496 ratings