Old Numbskull - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
AleSmith Brewing Company

Old Numbskull - Bourbon Barrel-AgedOld Numbskull - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
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Style:
American Barleywine
Ranked #9
ABV:
11%
Score:
95
Ranked #896
Avg:
4.31 | pDev: 7.66%
Reviews:
100
Ratings:
446
From:
AleSmith Brewing Company
 
California, United States
Avail:
Rotating
Wants
  378
Gots
  111
SCORE
95
World-Class
Old Numbskull - Bourbon Barrel-AgedOld Numbskull - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
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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Reviews: 100 | Ratings: 446
Reviews by bcrossan:
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4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

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look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.82/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Originally reviewed November 26, 2006. Bottle at O'Briens in San Diego. Rich bourbon cream aroma, resplendent with cherries, raisins, hints of milky chocolate and dark brown rum cooked with bananas. Ruby pour, with orange-yellow fringes. Hardly any head. Flavor is along the lines of the arom, with rich, creamy and almost oily sugar tannins, lots of tawny, pear, raisins and sweet cream vanilla, intended for oaky sugars. Quite light on the carbonation, which is a bummer. There’s a sweet tinge of euro-like hops along the backedge, but it makes the old hop presentation moan, as this is more subdued and to my liking. I enjoyed the light oxidization character of this beer, as truer to the plummy, raisin-like sweetness characters of the style, but without carbonation and some warmth noticeable from the barrel, I don’t find this a phenomenal improvement over the straight version.

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4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.92/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2006, bottle #204 of 208.
Pours brown in color. There are some reddish highlights. A little foam around the edges.
Smell is absolutely heavenly! This is what I'm all about! Smell is bourbon with plenty of vanilla to support it. I can't stop smelling this thing.
Taste is even better than the smell. Much more vanilla to comingle with the bourbon flavor. This is one incredbile beer. I like this better than the BA Speedway. Just a little bit of alcohol that warms the back of the throat. This is world class and among the best beers that I've had. The real deal. Full on the mouthfeel. The only knock that I can think of is that it's just a bit hot. You get some heat in the throat that escalates as it goes.
World class beer. Outstanding.

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4.75/5  rDev +10.2%

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4.21/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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4/5  rDev -7.2%

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4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

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4.2/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of badbeer
4.3/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 Version:

Reddish amber color with an off-white head. Smell is really sweet with lots of bourbon and butterscotch and some vanilla. Sweet caramel, quite a bit of booze in the taste, as well as oak and some bourbon flavors. High carbonation and medium body. Thanks to iowaherkeye for sharing a sample and to doubleo for giving me a bottle to share with some age on it. I'm looking forward to seeing how this ages and hopefully develops.

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4.5/5  rDev +4.4%

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4.22/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005, Bottle 127 of 223. Pours a murky brownish copper, zero head, completely still regardless of how aggressive it is poured. Aroma is a strong worn leather aroma, somewhat salty, some rich tobacco and sweet prunes mixed in as well. Alcohol is evident in the aroma as well. Taste shows some of the leather and salt notes but they are much more mild then in the aroma. Some decent sized bourbony bite following the leather and pruniness, a good amount of vanilla as well as a fairly strong drying woodiness before a bite and warmth of alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium, low carbonation keeps it thinner on the tongue, good amount of drying wood and biting alcohol in the finish. An outstanding barleywine, aroma is incredible, the taste is powered quite a bit from the barrel ageing and the alcohol is big as well though never too much. A very good beer, the barleywine characteristics meld perfectly with the barrel ageing in the aroma but are overwhelmed in the taste.

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Photo of tectactoe
4.06/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Again, one last big thanks to Kevin R for breaking out the barrel aged AleSmith goodies. This was the last of the bunch. BA Numbskull pours a seedy copper-ish and overtly muddled brown color. Label it mostly opaque and call it a day. It takes just moments for the khaki head to settle to a dollop of foam in the middle and a crust that outlines the top of the brew.

Very sticky and very deep is the aroma; a brick road paved with elements of prune, raisin, caramel, and toffee, upon which a boisterous crew of bourbon-lathered barrel staves comes tap dancing heavily across. Acetone notes here and there, thundering in and out, covered up by some sweeter grape and brown sugar notes in the finish.

I can already tell that this sucker is going to be a bourbon punch in the throat... or at least it smells that way. It should be noted that the base beer is quite pungently sticky and delicate in and of itself - without its superior pungency, barrel-aging of this magnitude would likely create an undrinkable beer. Sweetness and heat tend to balance, so I sure hope it does, here.

I have a bowl in front of me filled with grapes and prunes, lacquered in a 50/50 mixture of brown sugar and bourbon, and I'm shoveling them in my face with dry, spicy oak spoon each time I take a sip of this beer. It's quite hot. It's quite sweet. But definitely more hot than sweet, like the type of girl you meet at a bar and are afraid to date because she's got no morals or ethics, but she's a freak that can bring you to your knees.

BA Numbskull finishes with more (heavy) bourbon, boozy oak, slightly burnt coffee, bourbon, sweet prunes, bourbon, and brown sugar. Did I mention it was bourbon-y? Order up a cocktail with 2 parts bourbon, 2 parts brown sugar, 1 part prune juice, add 2 dashes of cocoa powder, garnish with a date and a sprinkle with oak chips. Viscous, heavy, thick, and carbonated well enough for the style it represents; creamy, heavy mouth feel.

This beer was pretty good, no doubt, but I don't exactly think it lives up to the acclaim it has been given. Perhaps I should have let the bottle mellow out a bit more? As is, it's a bit too "in your face" with the bourbon and heat to thoroughly enjoy more than a four ounce sample. It's delicious in extremely small doses; the flavors are excellent and work well together, but it becomes clamoring and cumbersome in larger ones due to its heat. I'd like to have this again with more age and see how it fares.

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4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

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4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

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4.25/5  rDev -1.4%

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4.35/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Garnet brown color with significant tan carbonation. Smells of bourbon, caramel, boozy dark fruits, and wood. Taste is more of the same. Not too hot, and the hops are totally mellowed out compared to fresh Numbskull. Medium bodied and medium carbonation. Really nice and much different from regular Numbskull.

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Old Numbskull - Bourbon Barrel-Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 446 ratings