Samael's Ale | Avery Brewing Company

Samael's AleSamael's Ale
Liked This Beer
3.89 w/ 1,471 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.

User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,471 |  Reviews: 648
Photo of BillHilly
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of hiphopj5
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

Photo of Lynn
4.5/5  rDev +15.7%

Photo of AGoodStout
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of iKrystin
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of emerge077
4.35/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 batch, draft served in an 8 oz. footed goblet.

Dark auburn color, reddish brown with light tan foam that leaves spindly arcs of lacing in the glass.

Aromas of toasted coconut, fried plantains, melted toffee, cajeta. Intensely rich, decadent and sweet. Similar flavors, lots of creamy toffee, toasted oak, bananas foster, vanilla, big bourbon.

Body is thick and syrupy, creamy and sweet with very intense flavors. So much so, it reminded me strongly of Colorado whiskies Stranahans and High West Double Rye. Wouldn't be surprised if they used Strananhans barrels/chips, this tasted very similar. Anything more than a tiny sip and you feel an alcohol burn, it's certainly potent at 16%. Took quite awhile to finish the small glass, but it was definitely savored.

 771 characters

Photo of dubmax
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of brenjames
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%

Photo of RuckusDu
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

April 2007, Batch 3, bottle picked up in Tempe, AZ. The guy said they just got 10 cases of this and sold 9 of them in 4 days. Poured into a Stone Double Bastard tumbler.

A - About a 1/3 finger of rich light caramel colored head that quietly dissipates. Body is moderately cloudy but a deep reddish/orange amber. Almost no lacing.

S - Sweet and a little boozy. A range of fruits from banana and pineapple to currents and prunes. Caramel is strong with this one and light vanilla notes. The complexity really is nice and coherent.

T - Very sweet and slightly oxidized. Probably just starting to fade. Banana on the back-end. Not too boozy but it is present. Caramel and vanilla again with some slight oak flavors.

M - Still has plenty of carbonation and body is thick but not syrupy.

O - Could have been very good but unfortunately this one has started to turn. I will probably try another from my stash to make sure it wasn't just a bad bottle. Great complexity and smooth. The sweetness is a bit over the top.

 1,018 characters

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

Poured into a pint. Shared with my BFF.

A- Dark amber hue. Tin head with minimal lacing.

S- High alcohol and a touch of sweetness.

T - Amazing for a a beer of this ABV. Certainly something that will knock you on the floor... But o so enjoyable.

M - Smooth, warm, and delightful. Carbonation is excellent alongside the heavy medium body.

O - Among the best Barleywines I have ever had. Well balanced ABV which makes a fine brew worth seeking.

 447 characters

Photo of blakelive784
2.23/5  rDev -42.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle served in a pint glass, reviewed live:

A - Pours a nearly transparent copper amber color with no discernible head. The lack of head is excusable given the ABV, though it's pretty mundane overall.

S - Heavy oaky syrup dominates the nose. Maple and ass. Heavily imbalanced. Light floral and spicy hops notes. Imbalanced and uninviting.

T - Off oak dominates the palate. Alcohol is apparent throughout. Caramel is overwhelming. No hops notes are apparent at all. Cloyingly sweet.

M - Thicky and syrupy. Alcohol bite on the finish.

D - Definitely a sipper (if you want to endure it). Bordering undrinkable on account of how sweet and alcoholic it is. I'd never have it again.

 708 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.45/5  rDev -37%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Batch #8 15.47%. 12 fl oz brown glass bottle with foiled over pressure cap served into a New Belgium pilsner glass in me friend's gaff in high altitude Fort Collins, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are high, though I fear it'll be too hoppy.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger head of beige colour, hardly any cream, okay thickness, and pretty good retention considering the ABV. Colour is a clear copper. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Somewhat vibrant, but not horribly appealing.

Sm: Alcohol, pale hops, heavy caramel, toffee, and clean malts. Heavy oak. A strong aroma.

T: Clean malts with some light indistinct pale hops. Some alcohol heat, but it's rather understated for how high the ABV truly is. Caramelized malts. A muddy oak tone. There's little going on here considering the style and oak aging. It doesn't seem worth the effort to age. Some layering. Not particularly complex or subtle. No yeast comes through. A bit boring - especially for the style.

Mf: Smooth and wet - thankfully, because the flavours would do worse if brought out by the mouthfeel. Adequately carbonated. Far too thick and syrupy (its biggest problem by far). Fairly heavy on the palate.

Dr: Drinkable for the ABV, but you wouldn't want to quaff it. Not quite a sipper. I don't much care for it. I certainly wouldn't get it again. I wouldn't recommend it to friends either. A disappointing brew from Avery. They should free up the aging space for a better beer. A very poor example of a barleywine.

High D+

 1,666 characters

Photo of cowboy83
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of Rippeddisc
3.47/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

April 2007
Batch #3

Opened 6/5/12

a - amber/caramel color, no head...after aging 5 years prob expected, lots of sediment floating around

s - caramel, oak, booze, cherry, malty sweetness

t/m - super sweet, syrupy, liquefied candy oak? ha, hangs on palate but not overly thick

o - quite a sweet beer. boozy and unique to have such an old beer (5 years). not overly mind blowing but good. def for desert and worth a try...glad i got this one stored away back then :)

 468 characters

Photo of Spider889
3.43/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2011 batch on tap at the brewery on 9/24/11. Served in a mini snifter.

The snifter arrives with a dark barleywine that shows excellent clarity. Awesome head retention going on here with lots of visible high-rising carbonation. Leaves a nice honeycomb of lace on the glass after each sip.

The aroma is built upon layers of toffee, leather, cherry, grape soda, mild caramel, and mineral oil. Generally sweet but wonderfully complex.

Whoa there big fella! The flavor is pure sweetness. Honey and molasses duke things out on the front porch of your palate, and this street fight ain't the kind of brawl that you want to risk being drawn into, so you just hide behind cracked blinds and hope to not get noticed. Boy is this fucker sweet. Fruity yeast and over-abundant malt residuals make it difficult to taste the same layered depth that I found in the aroma.

M - Smooth, I suppose, but boozy like it's going out of style. Has a slight vanilla aftertaste.

O - A fun beer to sip on, but I don't see how anyone could handle more than a mini snifter of this beer.

 1,061 characters

Photo of billab914
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2012 vintage poured from a 12oz bottle into my Stone IRS glass. It poured dark amber in color with a thin, frothy, white colored head to it. Nice lacing on the glass as I drank it.

The aroma has a strong oak presence to it that gives it a dry, woody, slight vanilla like flavor. A good amount of citrus hops and sweeter malts are there as well, but the oak seems like the focus. With everything coming together the aroma becomes a lot like a freshly peeled orange strangely enough.

The taste has a bit more of a malty, caramel presence to it at first. It quickly starts to turn more towards the oak and citrus aspects of it with notes of orange, oak, vanilla and bitter citrus rind all lingering into the finish. There are some sweeter, candied like fruits to it as well. It did feel a little harsh at times with the flavors not always being very complimentary of each other.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for the style with carbonation being above average. Overall, it was a pretty decent beer. The oak and the citrusy flavors came together well enough in it. It definitely made me think fresh peeled oranges on more than one occasion. It did however also feel a little harsh and unrefined at times with the oak and citrus flavors clashing a little.

 1,257 characters

Photo of turtlemead
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of zaphodchak
4.42/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Substantial fine head (which subsided), decent lace, and a tawny brown body.

Nose rich with golden raisin, caramel, and oak. Intense and decadent.

Massive boost body dripping with apple, caramel, raisin and oak. Rather port-like, from my limited experience.

Mercifully enough body to support the massive taste.

The oak is barely enough to contain the beast! A truly titanic English barleywine. Drinkable- the 16% is apparent bit not an impediment.

 452 characters

Photo of gueuzegossage
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of TATURBO
3.76/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 purchased from Eagle River Liquors in Fulton, IL. 14.5%

A: Mahogany hue. No Head. Plenty of small floaties.

S: Dark Fruit, Oxidation, Slight Soy/Worchester sauce.

T: Sweet Caramel with Dark Fruit. Syrupy. Very very smooth. Flavors have melded together very well over such a long time, but a lot seems to have been lost as well from the aging.

M: Slick, Smooth, Syrupy. Little if any alcohol remains.

O: Maybe a bit past it's prime but still very interesting to try. Definitely a sweet one but great flavor remains.

 524 characters

Photo of drjman
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of WynnO
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of Mister_Joshy
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of neenerzig
4.82/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A bottle of Batch # 3 (2007) at 14.9% ABV. Poured into my snifter. I bought this beer from the Party Source in Bellevue, Kentucky when I was in Cincinnati at Jungle Jim's for The Weekend Of Fire in early August 2010, and my good buddy Passow and I had to make the trip across the river to this fine establishment to get fine beers like this we can't buy here in Ohio due to totally bullshit laws and asshole politicians. I had been storing it in my cellar until earlier tonight. This beer pours a cloudy, hazy medium copper brown color. Has lots of floaties in it, as man does this beer have a shitload of yeast sediment in it! The most I've seen in any beer in awhile, that's for sure. Also has a tan head that is about 1/3 inch thick when poured that quickly settles to a nice thick ring lining the inside of the glass pretty after first being poured. Not much lacing here either, and only a very slight bit of spotty surface foam. Sweet aromas of caramel, dark fruit, oak goodness, brown sugar, maple syrup, and alcohol are fill the nostrils nicely upon taking some nice deep whiffs. Elegantly sweet yet lightly salted caramel, brown sugar, dark fruit (raisins, plums, cherries, bananas), slightly roasted nuttiness, maple syrup, a hint of butterscotch, and it is all rounded out with a slight taste of alcohol. No discernible hop presence here whatsoever, but I guess that comes as no surprise when a beer has been aging for 5 + years, right?! Fairly boozy tasting for a beer with this high ABV. I've had other beers in the same ABV range where the alcohol taste was masked or blended into the beer as a whole better than it is here, but this beer is still absolutely amazing! Has a smooth, creamy, sticky, slightly chewy, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with light carbonation. This one really coats the inside of the mouth and the tongue with a thick layer of syrupy, boozy goodness! Dangerously drinkable for a beer of this caliber. And to quote my good friend Passow "This is a beer that is so good that you can drink it in bed and it will lull you to sleep."


 2,073 characters

Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
Beer rating: 71.7% out of 100 with 1,471 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.