Samael's Ale | Avery Brewing Company

very good
1,467 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: 1,467 |  Reviews: 647
Photo of Thickfreakness
4.7/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2011 15.31%

A- Cherry/Copper color poured into my DFH glass. A two finger tinted head that drags a bunch of decently sticky lacing down with it. Carbonation at first... but settles down to a quiet murmur.

S- Caramel, toffee, fresh mission figs wrapped in proscuitto... tons of brown sugar, oatmeal raisin cereal, vanilla, maple syrup, over-ripe banana's, and some alcohol that brings out, and enhances all the flavors.

T- WOW! Cinnamon buns drowned in vanilla/maple/brown sugar/caramel!!! This tastes just as the nose implies! This is friggin' brilliant! Some notes of marshmallow, salted caramel, macadamia nuts, dried cherries, fresh figs, and a really nice burst of alcohol!

M- Sweet, thick and syrupy!!! A wonderful, warming touch of alcohol that opens up the nose and tastebuds. Sugary sweet and full of dark dried fruit!

O- An amazing blend of vanilla/oatmeal raisin cookies/dried fruit/maple syrup/brown sugar/and booze!!! This is absolutely rediculous! Other than GI KH... this is the best BW I've ever had!

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Photo of Dizzle32
3/5  rDev -22.7%

Photo of yamar68
4.14/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage poured from the 12oz bottle to tulip:

Pours a deep, ruby mahogany with a fizzy, short-lived suggestion of foam. Minimal beading and lacing with lovely legs. Nice looking big beer.

The nose is stuffed with little dark fruits - raisins, figs, plum. Some solid caramel malts, toffee, brown sugar, the booze is pretty balanced for what it is.

Even on the tongue, the 15.31% abv is pretty tame. A lot of the dense fruits are apparent in the flavor. The booze doesn't burn as much as it warms. There's a ton going on here - a great beer to sip and relax on... the body is rather thin and carbonation fades real quick.

Of the demon series, I place this one just behind The Beast. They all take a similar direction, and this one really only suffers in its mouthfeel and appearance. Everything else is pretty well executed. Real good brew.


2007 vintage - batch 3:

Swampy copper brown body capped with a surprising amount of light khaki head that leaves loads of sticky lacing and oily booze legs.

No detectable alcohol character... moldy caramel and toffee dominate the nose, just barely resisting oxidation, coffee cake, nutmeg, smells pretty damn syrupy.

Dull, smooth, fruit cake, dry, the finish leaves me asking for more... not enough booze but also not enough complexity... I can't imagine that this one will improve at this point. Certainly smooth but less than impressive.

Drink 'em if you got 'em.

4 / 3.5 / 4 / 4 / 3.5

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

A - Poured a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. There was a faint lacing following a pleasant faint reddish brown pour.

S - the aroma was an inital hit of oak with a following hint of ripe fruity sweetness.

T - the taste is pleasant. This is a very sweet brew requiring a lenghty tasting. Sit back and appreciate the sweetness, the slightly caramel, spicy,raisin, apple flavor. There is a rather raw element to the favor that is rather jolting at first, but mellows as the brew warms.

M - there is a nice mild carbonation to this brew that balances with the carbonation.

O - This is a drinkable beer. This would be enjoyable on a long winter's night by the fire with a good book. The beer has a slightly raw taste that might be bellowed by a bit of aging.

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Photo of Thiago
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of Swervine44
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of drewone
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of Etan
3.6/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a brandy snifter. Batch 3 (2007).

A: Pours a dark reddish brown with a small tan head. Lots of sediment falls out at the end of the pour.

S: Intense dark fruits in the nose. Sweet prune, molasses, brown sugar, raisin.

T: More intensely sweet, slightly-oxidized dark fruit: grape and raisin, plum, mushy prune, noticeable oak, very subtle vanilla, cooked sugar, caramel, mild cocoa, a bit of musty sweet oxidation, hot alcohol underneath.

M: Slight tingle of carbonation, thick body.

O: This is surprisingly drinkable for an almost-15% beer, with the alcohol relatively smoothed out and hidden, so the age has done its job there. Other than that, it's very sweet, cloyingly so.

 712 characters

3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Aschap
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of coz
4.5/5  rDev +16%

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

Batch 5, April 2009. Pours an almost-clear, reddish amber color with a very small off-white head that disappears quickly. Scent is initially heavy with an inviting oak aroma. A little bit of booze with a ton of dark fruits and a very sweet, candy-like aroma. Tons of malt with some sweet caramel and wood. Taste is initially VERY sweet...this beer tastes like creme-brule... very sweet and desert-like. Sweet dark fruits with some candy-like flavors. A ton of caramel and malt flavors with a nice warming sensation from the high ABV. For how high the ABV is, the booze is nowhere near overwhelming. Solid beer. Mouthfeel is full bodied and a bit on the syrupy side. Drinkability is scary for how high the ABV is. Overall, this is a very solid beer. Glad I held onto it for so long, as I amagine this not being as good when fresh.

 829 characters

Photo of Hopstout
3/5  rDev -22.7%

Photo of Trexter103
1/5  rDev -74.2%

Photo of Balvenie
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of cashmier
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%

Photo of EfilsGod
4.75/5  rDev +22.4%

Photo of 6demonbag
4.75/5  rDev +22.4%

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

Poured from a 12 oz botlle. Bought this for $2.50! This is a 2007 vintage-Bottles April 2007-Batch 3-14.9%ABV

It pours with little life, giving way to a light head that wirls up for a second. It is murky, brown, sediment filled monster!

Very pleased with the aroma. I get a lot of oak right away. It has a carmel base with a cherry kick. Booze is present, but not overwhelming. I get a little vanilla, malt, and sugar as well.

This one is keeper. The oakiness is really present, which I like. There is also a dark friut blast with alcohol. It's malty, sweet, and syrupy. It's pretty hot, even with this much age.

Mouthfeel is good with little carbs and fairly creamy. It's a sipper fo sho.

Glad I didn't dish out $9 bones for this one, but it's better than The Beast and I would like to try a fresh one to see how it compares.

 832 characters

Photo of antoines15
3.25/5  rDev -16.2%

Photo of jrenihan
3.82/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled April 2008 (Batch 4)

Beer is very dark brown, a slight caramel hue. A fizzy off-white head dissipates immediately. Appears quite carbonated.

The smell is big, and carries a huge amount of caramel. Oak is strong as well. Alcohol is, unsurprisingly, quite noticeable.

Taste is no surprise after the smell. Lots of caramel, oak and booze. Very sweet, with a molasses and brown sugar flavour. Very big and potent.

Moderate carbonation, full bodied but lighter than expected given the ABV. Alcohol heat is very high, even after sitting for four years.

Overall, some nice flavours but it is just too strong. Not really sure what the benefit of such a high ABV is. I like English barleywines a lot, and like strong beers, but maybe this would be more enjoyable at a nice sedate 10-12%...

 795 characters

Photo of SageO
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of barczar
4.19/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

07 vintage.

Pours into the tulip a deep hazy mahogany opaque color with floaties. A one finger khaki head dissipates fairly quickly, leaving little lacing.

Aroma is rich brown sugar, raisins, molasses, bruised cherries, figs, plums, vanilla, and a hint of oak.

The flavor is cloyingly sweet, but initially, a chocolatey malt richness is delicious. The maple like sweetness surfaces, accompanied by raisins, plums, a hint of burnt sugar, leading to a slight hint of bitterness that rounds out the flavor brilliantly. Alcohol is present, but not obtrusive.

Body is syrupy, with minimal carbonation. There's an obvious alcohol warmth.

Overall, a great dessert beer. It's a bit cloying. Couldn't have more than one. Given the abv, I expected more alcohol dominance, but it was not there. Great malt complexity, given the age, and still a touch of bitterness for balance. Glad I have more than one!

 898 characters

Photo of Greywulfken
4.18/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Batch 7 from 2011 @ 15.31% abv

Haven't reviewed all of the Avery demon ales I've tried, but I've enjoyed them all. With this review (like, my 6th in 3 days), I realize I'm probably teetering on the edge of alcoholism, but I can't stop trying new beers...

A: murky brown swamp water with a film of what's left of the head

S: sugar cane, caramel, spices

T: sweet, of course, but sharp; notes of sharp spices that remind me of clove and ginger and nutmeg, but it gets muddled in with the caramel and molasses sugars; boozy bourbon aspects and I can hear the demons laughing as I drink... some dark fruits (I always think of raisins and figs when I say this, but I don't know if that's accurate)

M: rather full-bodied, some syrupiness, sting of the high abv fits the brew; "chewy"

O: not a session beer - lol - this stuff has balls - I think once you break the 11-12%+ abv, you're in dangerous territory; this was a very sweet, rich, and intoxicating brew, which is what I expected and enjoyed. Not for the dainty drinker. I want the potentcy and (did I hear a whisper of "immortality"?). I didn't really pick up too much oakiness or woodsiness - it was not a dry beer for me - but it was definitely worth the soul, er... I mean, money... I paid for it. Avery makes some really fine regular beers, and some really dark hardcore beers. This is the latter. In closing, my experience (all jokes aside): a very sweet beer, a very strong abv beer, and I can see it being a bit too much for some tastes - I like this type of beer several times a year, but it isn't a staple purchase.

Revisited in 2015, with batch 8 from 2012...

Palate evolved over time, and this batch has some more age on it... that said, delicious fig and pear impressions, suffused with booze sans the sting of alcohol - smooth, creamy, and dense - sediment particles suspended in a body of dark brown opaque ale... 15.47 abv completely hidden in the goodness. No trace of any oak aging, but that was inconsequential to me. A superior experience that elevated prior scores. Previously, overall score was 3.85. Cheers...

 2,088 characters

Photo of macrosmatic
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Samael's Ale from Avery Brewing Company
3.88 out of 5 based on 1,467 ratings.
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