Old Numbskull - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
AleSmith Brewing Company

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AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States
Barleywine - American
Ranked #13
Ranked #1,353
4.3 | pDev: 7.67%
May 04, 2022
Dec 13, 2004
Notes: A West Coast style barleywine. A huge malt profile and a very aggressive dose of premium domestic hops give Old Numbskull a tantalizing complexity, from the aroma to the aftertaste. A year spent in bourbon barrels adds amazing depth and complexity.
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Photo of mntlover
4.39/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by mntlover from Tennessee

Pours a deep burgundy small tan head falls fast no real lace.

Aroma is big chewy caramel malts, toffee, good bourbon notes. Brown sugars, vanilla light alcohol notes that blend well.

Taste follows the nose, big chewy malts, caramel malts, toffee, dark cherries good bourbon notes, vanilla, oak, deep dank hops. Rich old fashioned Barley Wine.

Mouthfeel is big chewy malts, medium label carbonation.

Overall is a big nice barrel aged Barley Wine.

May 04, 2022
Photo of Gatch
4.63/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
by Gatch from Massachusetts

Somehow got my hands on a 2013 Reserve bottle, consumed on Hallows Eve 2021. Most of the qualities of an American Barleywine have faded at this point, so it’s all bourbon and barrel and wood and booze. Incredible dessert beer; it aged so well. Bravo AleSmith!

Nov 01, 2021
4.25 by TylerJ from Iowa on Apr 06, 2021
4.28 by cd34 from Illinois on Aug 01, 2020
Photo of Brutaltruth
4.34/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Brutaltruth from Ohio

From the growler via Jungle Jim's Eastgate-2016 vintage-and
enjoyed in a snifter. This mighty fine BBB (?!?hmmmm) pours a
dark red tinged mahogany with a decent head of off white foam that
settles to thick ring and light dusty film. Nose of bourbon, cherries,
brown sugars, vanilla, faint oak, and toffee. Flavors excel by an
excellent presentation of bourbon and vanilla notes that are
mellow and balanced with brown sugars, toffee, cherry, brandy
notes, and touches of leather and tobacco with wafts of toast.
Very nice mouth feel; medium body, light near faint carbonation,
and a rich warming finish that is subtly dry and sweet.

Overall, a true WOW of a brew......ahem...$40 a growler, but
it is worth it!


Apr 18, 2020
4.37 by Hopelessly0 from California on May 14, 2019
4.28 by shelby415 from Oregon on Apr 07, 2019
4.59 by stephenlee from England on Jan 31, 2019
Photo of rodbeermunch
4.16/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by rodbeermunch from Nevada

Pours a brown color with a tan head 1/4". Aroma transforms in the barrel, instead of hops, now its like it magically transformed to an Old Ale or English Barleywine. You get a good amount of malty otterness and bourbon in a rich way.

Taste packs a massive amount of toffee and caramel underneath a boozy undercoating you don't even have to ask your manager about. The year long aging in the barrel seems just right, the bourbon is strong, but not so strong itenvelopes everything else about the beer. Sweet tandem bike ride bruh. Starts to pull some dark fruit notes, I didn't see that coming. This beer really transforms in the barrel. Swear it seems like they made a different barleywine for this one. The hop flavor and bitterness seems to just vanish. Gonna be hard to crush the last bottle of this hiding away.

Jan 03, 2019
4.25 by smartassboiler from Illinois on Nov 24, 2018
4.11 by 7irondave from Massachusetts on Nov 09, 2018
4.5 by NickThePyro from Washington on Oct 09, 2018
4.31 by StoutSnob40 from California on Sep 23, 2018
Photo of emyers
4.41/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by emyers from Illinois

2016 vintage. 750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours brown color with a thin white head.

Nose: sweet caramel up front followed by oak, bourbon, and a bit of alcohol.

Taste: bourbon and sweet caramel up front. Finish is sweet with a touch of alcohol heat.

Feel: full-bodied, rich. Medium-low carbonation.

Jul 28, 2018
Photo of dafla67
4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by dafla67 from Pennsylvania

Drank at the brewery. Pours a deep red/amber color. The smell is of caramel and dark fruits. The taste is complex with the caramel, fruits, vanilla and bourbon at the end. The bourbon lingers nicely. The feel is pretty heavy and creamy.

Jul 06, 2018
4.31 by Wisconsin_IPA_Lover from Wisconsin on May 15, 2018
Photo of stevoj
3.96/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
by stevoj from Idaho

Bottle from last night’s share. Thick amber body, small ring of bubbly head, Picking up all of the barley wine essences, but little of the bourbon barrel. Sweet malt, toffee, caramel in both aroma and taste. It doesn’t even present itself as that boozy of a beer. Some dark fruit, raisins, some vanilla

Mar 02, 2018
4.41 by TWStandley from Massachusetts on Dec 28, 2017
4.02 by Mikexw from New York on Dec 24, 2017
Photo of Ristaccia
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by Ristaccia from Nebraska


Dec 14, 2017
4.16 by Futbolmanby from Michigan on Dec 10, 2017
4.24 by MDDMD from Pennsylvania on Nov 25, 2017
Photo of vfgccp
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by vfgccp from New York

2013 vintage.

Oct 07, 2017
4.41 by BeerZombies1 from Nevada on Sep 28, 2017
Photo of BEER88
4.46/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by BEER88 from Washington


Sep 05, 2017
4.88 by BergBeer from Hawaii on Jul 31, 2017
Photo of Treyliff
4.47/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by Treyliff from West Virginia

2016 Vintage
750ml bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours a deep amber color with a thin foamy off-white head that has decent retention

S- tons of caramel and toffee on the nose, as well as leather, tobacco, plenty of wet oak and barrel juice

T- caramel & toffee follow the nose up front, with an immediate hit of barrel notes; wet oak, barrel juice and sweet vanilla. The finish is sweet with more caramel/toffee and plenty of bourbon on the linger

M- medium-heavy body with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that leads into a creamy chewy finish

O- plenty of bourbon blends perfectly with the base beer, delicious

Jul 02, 2017
Photo of BillRoth
4.53/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by BillRoth from Maryland

2012 release; cellared and opened 6/24/17. Had a great 5 year sleep.
Beer had many of the scent and flavor characteristics of Alesmith BBAging. Warm and incredibly rich and satisfying. I believe the extra aging in the bottle removed any trace of higher ABV and could not have been smoother. Great medium mouthfeel; nothing sticky or cloying. Had been a little fearful because some times a BW ages into something too sweet and worse yet... syrupy.The caramel and vanilla were well pronounced without being obtrusive or distracting. All the wood, malts and hops were very well merged into a singularly excellent barrel enhanced version of the great Alesmith Numskull BW. Flavor was distinguished/outstanding.
Frankly...after many years...and many beers...there are now many good barley wines, and BBA is far from rare these days. Having noted that...it was really great to experience something really special and well crafted.
Highly recommend you grab one of the next releases and hide it way for a long while.

Jun 29, 2017
4.25 by lupercmda from North Carolina on Jun 27, 2017
4.35 by wellsnb from Ohio on Apr 27, 2017
4.54 by boogerisu from Iowa on Mar 17, 2017
4.31 by RobinLee from Wisconsin on Mar 09, 2017
4.44 by Biggiekrock627 from Maryland on Feb 13, 2017
Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.29/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by GreesyFizeek from New York

2016 vintage, on tap at Alesmith Anvil and Stave in San Diego, CA.

This one pours a dark rusted looking brown, with a small head, and no lacing.

Smells like caramel drizzled brown bread, dark fruit, piney hops, figs and oak.

Despite the extended barrel slumber, this still has some vestige of hop character left, which was cool and surprising. It was piney and slightly bitter. It may have added some fruitiness, but the base had a figgy fruity flavor anyway so it's hard to tell. There's also raisin, and a nice caramel sort of brittle flavor. This is quite nice, and usual with Alesmith- quite complex.

This has a surprisingly crisp mouthfeel, with only slightly syrupy feelings.

This isn't Alesmith's pinnacle of BA beers, but it's still quite competent and delicious- gets the job done.

Jan 23, 2017
4.19 by Stinger80OH from Ohio on Jan 18, 2017
4.25 by brianmandell from California on Dec 31, 2016
4.02 by Fordcoyote15 from Pennsylvania on Nov 30, 2016
4.28 by IckyT2012 from Florida on Nov 05, 2016
4.11 by EyePeeAyBryan from Arizona on Oct 31, 2016
4.5 by mythaeus from Pennsylvania on Oct 25, 2016
Old Numbskull - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 450 ratings