Samael's Ale | Avery Brewing Company

very good
1,470 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.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,470 |  Reviews: 648
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...

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Photo of macrosmatic
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.19/5  rDev +8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pour sampled at mrbubbler's tasting courtesy of brwilson.

Bottled in May 2006. Batch 2.

Pours a murky dark orange with a tan head that settles to nothing. No lacing on this one. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, wood, and citrus zest. Taste is the same with some honey flavors as well. There is a mild bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good barleywine that has aged pretty spectacularly over the past 6 years.

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Photo of elec
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of cisteve
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

Photo of neckbracesub
4.5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of bschinelli
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Caterwaul
4.5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of Immortale25
4.87/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

So I'm celebrating my 250th review with a sexy selection from my cellar. Poured into a Southern Tier tulip-style glass. Label says Bottled in April 2009 Batch 5.

A- Pours a dark, murky brown color with a full two-finger off-white head that retains a little before reducing to a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of surface foam. Average lacing.

S- Very sweet bready malts with some oak astringency in the background. Notes of maple, vanilla and caramel.

T- A lot of sweetness that's mostly malt-driven but the oak chips are definitely big contributors to the party. Boozy, medicinal aftertaste that reminds one of the ABV but isn't too powerful. Tannins develop on the palate as the beer warms. Complex flavors of vanilla, molasses, raisin and bourbon.

M- Sharp and full of alcohol twang with a semi-dry afterfeel and also syrupy. Medium-low carbonation.

O- Surprisingly, the best out of the trio. A bit challenging to finish the bottle, but that's what friends are for.

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Photo of Kevlee722
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of George2744
4.25/5  rDev +9.5%

Photo of IPx
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of paulozanello
3.9/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a cloudy caramel brown color with fain red hues. Head is tan with medium retention and small to almost none lacing, both appropriate within the barley wine style.

Aroma is very strong and pretty awesome: lots of vanilla, wood/oak, caramel malt, mollasses, roasted nuts and faint red fruits. A little alcohol burn as it warms up but pretty low considering the 15%abv.

Taste starts out malty and sweet with burnt candy sugar, mollasses and caramel , finishing with wooden notes and lots of alcohol. Aftertaste is boozy, woody, mildly sweet and lingers moderately.

Body is very high with moderate to high carbonation, maybe a little too high for the style but on the other hand, high enough to contain the alcohol perception.

Overall a great looking and smelling beer but a little to boozy on the palate. Still very well worth it's price.

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Photo of metter98
3.85/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is cloudy caramel in color and has a light amount of carbonation along with some small yeast particles visible near the bottom of the glass. It poured with a thin beige head that gradually died down, leaving some lacing on the surface and a thick ring of dense bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are moderate to strong aromas of caramel, oak, toffee and vanilla in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and is quite complex; the caramel flavors seem to stand out most prominently. The initial taste has a light amount of sweetness.
M: It feels full-bodied and a bit sticky and syrupy on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a large amount of warmth from the alcohol, particularly in the finish.
O: The alcohol is definitely perceptible, but is relatively well masked for a beer of this strength. It’s a nice beer to sip with all of the complex flavors and it seems to age rather well.

Note: 2009 Vintage (Batch #5)

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Photo of ScottyC54
3.75/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of pixieskid
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of MrVonzipper
3.5/5  rDev -9.8%

Photo of Mudawg
2.75/5  rDev -29.1%

Photo of strongaf
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of redfacedshooter
4/5  rDev +3.1%

Photo of UltimateLivewire
4.75/5  rDev +22.4%

Photo of vfgccp
4.5/5  rDev +16%

Photo of PicoPapa
3.12/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle. Bottled in April 2007, Batch 3, ABV 14.9%. Pours a murky swamp water brown color with sediment floating around. No head. Minimal lacing. Big whiff of alcohol with some dark fruits, and some caramel. Has a bit of a nail polish remover smell. Taste is boozey brown sugar with some dark fruits, vanilla and oakiness at the end. Creamy mouthfeel. This hot, boozey taste along with the sweetness make this a real slow sipper. Can't imagine how hot this tasted fresh. I love barleywines and Im not scared off by high ABVs, but the booziness combined with the sweet brown sugar and dark fruit flavors are almost a bit too much for me with this beer. Overall im glad I tried it, and it was pricey but I wont be buying this again.

 734 characters

Photo of abraxel
3.72/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2005, poured in 2012. Let's see how this baby aged.

A - A vigorous pour yielded no head at all, just a little bit of fizzing around the edges that died out quickly. It's a muddy, reddish brown. Fine color, but no head is a bit of a deal-breaker for appearance.

S - Woo, I can sure smell the barrel. (Note: upon further inspection, this was made with oak chips, not a barrel. Oh well, it still tastes like a barrel.) Lots of boozy oak, with tons of sweet, slightly singed caramel, vanilla, and toffee. It smells delicious.

T - Sweet, sticky, fruity malts are prominent, with some oak notes and an interesting twinge of burnt marshmallow that lingers. This is rather different, more complex, yet slightly less tasty than the aroma. I like the additional complexity, but I don't love the fruity aspect of the malts, for some reason. To its credit, the alcohol is incredibly well hidden. If it weren't for the slowly encroaching buzz, I would never believe this is ~15%.

M - Pretty thick and very smooth, with no carbonation and negligible alcohol presence. A slight prickle of carbonation would be welcome, but that's not a huge flaw.

Overall, I quite enjoy this, but it's not amazing. I've never had this beer fresh, so I can't comment on the effect of seven years' aging, but it's still rather tasty after so much time.

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