Old Numbskull - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
AleSmith Brewing Company

Old Numbskull - Bourbon Barrel-AgedOld Numbskull - Bourbon Barrel-Aged
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American Barleywine
Ranked #9
Ranked #896
4.31 | pDev: 7.66%
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States
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
Photo of Mauerhan
4.62/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

first off a HUGE thanks to pehlman for cracking this. also nice to enjoy this with aimstatus and the very sexy olieipa.

pour is beautiful. a rich deep brownish red. a small amount of lacing. a small layer of head.

smell is great. the oak is the star of the show. with a supporting role of malts vanilla caramel with a cameo of booze.

taste...yum. nothing else describes it. sweet. woody notes. very smooth ride. sweet malts take my tastebuds for a ride.

mouth is rediculously smooth. alcohol is hidden like a fucking ninja. awesome brew.

if I had the chance to I would crack this bad boy as much as possible. its a great beer.

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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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Photo of weeare138
4.5/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to hopdog for sharing this rare gem...
Bottle # 152/449
Appears a dark mahogany toned amber with a small, light tan head that slowly fades out. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of bourbon, caramel, oaky vanilla, and a touch of spice and brown sugar.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with more of a nutty flavor coming through to compliment the sweet, & savory flavors.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, chewy, mildly syrupy, and sweet in the finish.
Overall, whatever hangups are in this beer with the sweetness, the good points far outweigh any negative ones.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.69/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 vintage, bottle 279/479

Pours a dark amber with a frothy, 2 finger beige head that recedes after a minute. Lacing is decent.

Aroma is of bourbon alcohol, earthy hops, and caramel. The sweet malt does well in balancing the earthy hop bitterness. The Alcohol is very noticeable but the bourbon is delicious. The finish is nice and long with some pine notes and bourbon.

This is very well carbonated. The mouthfeel is sticky and the beer has a medium full body.

The drinkability is excellent. I drank the 750ml bottle to myself and still wanted more.

2006 vintage consumed on 9/27/2009

This showed signs of complimentary oxidation. The malt was very aggressive in the flavor, with notes of maple, and tons of bourbon. The nose had some nice tobacco character.

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Photo of hopdog
4.94/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

750ml Bottle. Batch 1, bottle # 200 of 225.

Poured an amber color with a small off white head. The vanilla aroma and tastes really stands out. Vinous. Other aromas and tastes of wood, citrus, raisins, dried fruits, and alcohol.
Smooth body.

This beer was/is just way tooeasy to drink!

Notes from and tasted on 1/15/05

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Photo of Floydster
4.54/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle, 2005 vintage, #50/223, originally purchased from at the release for twenty dollars with a two bottle limit, 900th review, taken from notes, poured into my Dogfish Head snifter

A-Color was a mix between a murky medium brown and deep copper, very small 1/8 inch bubbly light tan head that went away immediately, no retention, not a spec of lacing
S-Huge bourbon smell, caramel, vanilla, cream, oak, deep rich malts, hint of citrus, dark fruits, candied sugar, milk chocolate, toasted coconut, and
T-Starts off with a huge bourbon taste, only had put this in the fridge for about twenty minutes so it was practically room temperature after the first few sips, lots of malt make up the middle while the finish is warm and full of whiskey, tasted sweet like a dessert but not in a bad way, the smoothness allowed this to go down easier, not as fruity as the non-barrel aged version, oak and vanilla become prominent later on, by the end there is a nice mix between caramel and booze which actually balance each other out somehow, enjoyable to drink
M-Creamy, boozy, sticky, sweet, and spicy mouthfeel, medium bodied, not much carbonation, taste lingers for quite some time, best thing about is the thick feel even thought he body is not full
D-Tried to drink the whole bottle by myself and made it through three quarters of it, ABV is high and got the best of me after a while, not heavy on the stomach though, smooth as can be, nice warming feel on a cold night

Last of the barrel aged Alesmiths I needed to try and while this was not better than the Speedway, it beat out the Wee Heavy, this barleywine has really mellowed out, I wish I would not have traded my only other bottle, this stuff will most likely improve even more with age, I look forward to next batch being released in the future, cannot wait to drink again, highly recommended

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Photo of largadeer
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: '06 vintage, bottle 92 of 208, enjoyed side by side with barrel-aged Wee Heavy. Turbid dark amber, semi-clear as it thins. No head, just a thin sheet of bubbles and a hint of carbonation. Not exactly what I'd call a good looking beer, but it's appropriate for the style.

Smell: Lots of musty barrel aroma upon first smell. After letting it breathe and warm up a bit the complexities start to come out: rich toffee and vanilla, bourbon barrel, iron, dates and a lingering hint of musty barrel. Very complex and interesting, but somewhat boozy, especially once it reaches room temperature.

Taste & mouthfeel: The taste closely mirrors the aroma. Dried fruit, toffee sweetness and boozy bourbon are most prevalent. Rich, but not actually extremely sweet - the oaky tannins do a lot to balance the flavor. The hoppiness of the regular Numbskull has completely subsided, though the barrel-aged version is both more mellow and complex. The mouthfeel is full and coating with little noticeable carbonation. A friend compared the texture to vintage port, and I think that's accurate. Alesmith did a good job minimizing oxidation, as there's barely a trace of it. The finish is long and semi-drying with a slight heat that's both fitting and pleasant.

A great beer overall, and I'm very glad I had the chance to try it. It's not something I'd reach for often, however.

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4.44/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Carlos for this great brew.

2005 version.

Almost no head at all even with a vigorous pour, only a skim of light tan bubbles. Body is rich brown with some burgundy notes when held to light. Nose has a very nice oaky bourbon character with toffee and carmel malts. Big rich but mellow and smooth on first sip with huge bourbon notes. Carmalized malts give way to dark fruits that sour slightly on the back of the tongue. A dusting of mineral based spices coats the back of the tongue, as well creating a slightly thick mouthfeel. This is a big beer and the bourbon feel almost comes back to bite you as you drink more. About a 10oz. pour is plenty.

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Photo of ArrogantB
4/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 bottle #45/208. Looks just like the regular version, orange with minimal head. It smells boozy, whiskey, etc. The taste immediately revealed the difference between this and the
regular Old Numbskull, booze. It was as if the barrel-aging was fighting the original character of the beer with vanilla and booze. The beautiful, bitter hoppiness I have tasted in numbskull was defeated by brute strength. This was a nice complex beer but I feel like the barrel-aging obscures some of the best aspects of an already terrific beer.

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

Bottle #88/233 of the 2005 bottling

I had been saving this for a special occasion, like many others have been, but last night I actually grabbed this out of the fridge, thinking it was the regular one. I did not actually open it, as I realized what it was after a second, but figured I had waited long enough to try it and went ahead of popped it anyway. I enjoyed this one over the course of 4 hours served into a snifter at various temperatures and times.

Appearance - The pour was rather nice, a rich ruby tinted brown liquid came gurgling out of the bottle. Really no life to it here at all, which surprised me, but not really. No head, no lacing, and no carbonation were apparent. Lots of cloudiness though and a rich, old ale like translucence to it.

Smell - The aroma was fantastic, rich, and very pronounced notes of Bourbon were all over this from the very start to it. It was obvious that the age had done some nice things to this one. You really had to let it warm though for a good deal more of its subtleties to be released. Once I did this, some wonderful notes of caramel, vanilla, and hints of candied sugar came out. Lots of woody aromas here as well, as the all too familiar oak notes started coming forward.

Taste - The flavor was a bit more mellow then I thought it would be. All remnants of the original were gone, leaving a wonderfully sweet and mellow aged beer in its wake. Started off with a huge rush of bourbon, rich and a touch hot with alcohol, but quickly mellowing as fast as it could warm up. Nice touches of vanilla are all over this one. Huge oak and woody flavors, with some touches of toffee thrown in. Aftertaste was a solid splash of bourbon and a long lasting sweet taste that really just seemed to get stronger the further out it got.

Mouthfeel - The feel was a little bit thinner then what I had hoped for, but still more the decent. Not much carbonation here, well actually none, and it took a little getting use to, however, once you did it was found to have a good bit of weight to it. Nice touches of chewy like consistency at times, and the lightness contributed to its drinkability.

Drinkability - Speaking of which, this was a very good sipper. Really easy to go down, which aside from the bourbon aging, most of the alcohol notes were extremely well hidden. Very nicely blended, as it warmed it seemed to get even easier for me to go through with it. Very nice indeed.

Overall I thought this was a fine example of the aging process, and the metamorphosis that a beer can go through in a barrel aging. Nothing like the original, this came out to be much more an old ale then a hoppy barley wine. Another winner from Alesmith, and now that two out of three of the big barrel age beers from Alesmith are done; I cannot wait to get a hold of the big one!

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Photo of Overlord
4.34/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been saving this for a special occasion. Guess my 500th review (!!!) will have to do.

Pours a kind of ugly brown with a bit of foam and maybe some bubbling. Hmmm. Well, let's move on.

Nice aroma. I really enjoy Old Numbskull, and the overlay of Bourbon with caramel malt, a fig/prune/raisin (I can never tell the difference between those three ...) backing, and vanilla is very good.

The taste is robust and complex. There's definitely a shoeleather bourbon overlay, but unlike the BA Wee Heavy, the underlying Old Numbskull characteristic still shines through a bit ... though there's a heavy oak/bourbon backing. Vanilla, vanilla, vanilla.

This is a very good beer, but I can't say it's better than the base. In fact, it definitely isn't. I'd say the alcohol content is about 20%, so keep that in mind if you're planning on pounding a few before driving home from the boardwalk.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.69/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2004 vintage. Bottle #61.

Appearance: Pours a clearish, deep copper-hued body that's completely still.

Smell: Heavy bourbon scent that's a real treat to get a snootful. Gobs of vanilla and caramel eliciting memories of caramel-coated vanilla cheesecake or maybe a good crusty creme brulee. Plus, some crushed up citrus-flavored cookies.

Taste: Luscious, sweet-tasting vanilla bean and caramel. Taste of oven-baked sugar cookies. Toasty wood character. Drop of orange oil. Hint of dried dark fruitiness. Slightly oxidized malts. Freshly shaved coconut. Sweet, warming finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Still but pretty sticky and creamy.

Drinkability: In a line-up of various BA Old Numbskull vintages, I greatly favored the 2004 bottling. Powerfully delicious and almost cripplingly good!

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Photo of hoppymeal
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 OStrungT
4.12/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle #131

This beer pours a golden brown color with a very tiny light tan head. The head fades very fast, leaving a slight lacing.

This beer smells of Borubon. I can smell a slight oakyness to is as well. It has a hint of vanilla also. It has a dark fruity aroma also. Some figs and raisins. It has a strong very sweet caramel aroma. A hint of pine is also present.

This beer tastes much like it smells. Bourbon is the dominate flavor. I taste a strong sweet caramel malty flavor as well. Some fig flavor is present. A slightly piney hop flavor is also detectable. A very slight vanilla flavor is also present.

This beer is very aggressive. It leaves a Bourbon like aftertaste. Thie beer has almost no carbonation at all.

This beer would be a bad session beer for a number of reasons. First, it is very aggressive, and would be hard to drink all night. Second, the alcohol content is too high to enjoy for many hours. Third, it costs $20 a bottle, and it would be hard to afford to drink it all night. Fourth, they only bottled 227 of these.

Overall: I liked this beer, as I knew I would. I think it was worth the $20. I hope AleSmith puts it out again.

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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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Photo of Callenak
4.88/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2002 bottle.

Acquired this one in a trade a few months back and have been dying to try it. I cracked it open at a good friends birthday party this weekend, where we planned on drinking many great beers. We of course led off with the old numbskull to give it the freshest pallet.

Poured in an AleSmith tulip glass. Pours a surprisingly light auburn color with a great head. Not bad after 4 years of aging in the bottle plus probably another year or two in the barrel. The BA Speedway I had was a little light in carbonation and I was worried this would have the same trait. Not a chance. Perfect carbonation for the tongue and the style.

It smells great. Similar to the regular numbskull but with a hint of vanilla, oak, and bourbon. I've had a few other barley wines that have had 4+ years on them and they all tend to pick up a similar smell. Not oxidation, something I can never put my finger on. Either way, it's very enticing.

This beer knocked me off my feet. I wasn't sure how the years would be to it, but it stood strong. First taste is sweet. Something I don't remember being as strong in the regular numbskull. A mild alcohol warming to it but less than expected. The bourbon and oak wasn't as strong as I would have thought but still apparent. The BA speedway I had definitely kept a stronger bourbon presence that this did. Either way, this was perfectly balanced.

I tried to approach this beer as unbiased as possible, keeping my expectations low. I was completely blown away. I enjoyed it more than the BA Speedway. Already working on another trade to get a 2004 bottle. I would highly recommend this beer. Worth trading another prized possession to get one.

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Photo of scottoale
4.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another AleSmith special release from the brewery on 9-1-06. 2004 Barrel-Aged, bottle # 89/227 hand written in silver on back of the standard "Old Numbskull" blue and grey silk-screened green champagne (flat bottom) bottle with crown cap and gold foil cover.

With an aggressive pour comes an auburn to dark mahogany brown ale with initial haziness and an ivory cream colored head of one fat finger. The carbonation is moderate with miniscule bubbles that keep the creamy froth head from settling to not less than 1/8", and leaves plenty of thick, tight lace, sticking to the glass. The haze (from the chill) clears, leaving the ale with good clarity for one with a big, heavy body.

Sweet and malty right up front that gets pushed even further with a big dose alcohol from the bourbon barrel...big time boozy aroma that drowns out the normally hop heavy scent you get from the traditional Old Numb-er. Just by the smell, I'm sure this stuff is a tad stronger than the listed 10.0%ABV of the non-B-Aged version. As it warms a bit more, the oak comes through and more alcohol right behind it...it really smells good to this old Barleywiner!

Starts off rather sweet and malty only to be pummeled by the essence of the vessel that it was aged in...bourbon soaked oak that melds into the malt that turns it velvety and just a bit chewy in viscosity. Toffee, caramel, black licorice, chocolate and a ripe fruitiness, backed by an alcoholic vapor that shields the once pungent hops to a mild tang, rather than a bitter finish. A nice warming follows each sip, with a pleasant boozy aftertaste that lingers...nice.

Big bodied, mellowed hop-monster that is not for the faint hearted...strong and tasty, it's aging to excellence.

A sipper indeed!

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.32/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle# 184/240, sampled on 4/29/06. Pours from the 750ml bottle a nice deep copper amber with a tint of red and a small foamy cap. Looks very nice in the glass...luminescent. Aroma is sweet caramel with some fruitiness and toffee. Big woody barrel aromas envelope these scents with a touch of booziness. The wood really stands out, slightly overpowering the underlying aroma, but it's still a treat for the nose.

First sip brings deep caramel toffee flavors with dark, ripe fruity undertones. Rich maltiness and a tad nutty. Huge woody flavors race across the palate that are a bit astringent. Quite dry overall with a touch of vanilla. The underlying barleywine seems quite mellow at this age and the barrel flavors are running strong. Overall, this was quite an enjoyable brew.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied. Goes down with ease and not much alcohol burn at all. I'm really glad I had the opportunity to sample this bottle thanks to blitheringidiot, I doubt I'll ever lay eyes on another bottle again. I only wish Alesmith would expand their Barrel Aging a bit, so these bottles wouldn't be so damn hard to find. Worth a try if you can come across it!

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Photo of Crosling
3.46/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bottle # 212. Very aromatic and the wood influence is unmistakable showing hints of oak, vanilla and bourbon along with the malt, which shows a bit of caramel and burnt toffee. The excessive aromatic hops in the regular Old Numbskull has tamed to an almost undetectable level. In the flavor, the hops have again tamed and the wood is clearly evident. Notes of bourbon, oak, caramel and toffee with a touch of vanilla. The body and texture is lacking. This should have been aged in a wine barrel. A bourbon barrel was not the proper vessel for this beer.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.11/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2004 Vintage bottle, # 202/240, Sampled October 2005
It is with much anticipation that I open this baby up. I really could not believe the news that I would be able to purchase this beer at my local bottle shop here in Tucson, AZ (thanks again LittleGuy). It pours a deep amber color that when held up to the light shows a mostly brilliantly clear cherry red color. The head is a frothy, creamy, rocky mix of textures and is a light amber to tan color. As I pour this beer I get a big caramel maltiness coupled with a shot of Bourbon aromatics. The oak is strongly evident in the nose; at first comes a tannic woody note that moves to notes of vanillin and finishes off with a strong note of buttery oak. Underneath the wood character there is a hint of the former hop monster that this beer was: I get hints of floral pine, and remembrances of grapefruit long suppressed.

The beer has no apparent sweetness to it (at least what could be there is drowned out by the other flavors). The mouthfeel on this one is incredibly rich and smooth up front, creamy would be an apt description for this beer to be sure. The taste actually has a bit of sourness to it, really just makes this beer slightly tart up front. The tartness coupled with fruitiness, reminds me of tart plums and apples. All of these are just peripheral flavors though; this beer is absolutely dominated by the oak character. Throughout is a buttery oak note that is joined by notes of vanillin as well as a tannic woody astringency that reminds me black tea. The finish is still quite hoppy though with a solid bitterness that tries to peak through the oak, but ultimately succumbs to the buttery oak notes which linger long after the beer has left my mouth. Hints of this beers former glory surface from time to time; at times I get a faint trace of a sharp hop flavor that is a mix of citrus and herbs, but then it vanishes just as quickly as it was noticed. At other times I get wisps of malt character (like notes of sweet caramel and rich toffee), but they too get quickly trampled by the Bourbon Barrel.

This beer has mostly become a vehicle for the barrel flavors, what flavors that do peak through from the Old Numbskull play a supporting role to mitigate / round-out the oak flavors. I bet you a mixture of half fresh Numbskull and half this beer would be quite tasty, there would still be a big hop and malt presence to balance out the barrel contribution. As this beer stands it does not have enough balance nor complexity to be great. I have never been a fan of barrel aged beers for barrel aged beers sake; I really prefer a bold beer flavor with the supporting role being played by the barrel character. In this case the barrel character plays the lead role, and somewhere down there in the supporting cast there is an aged version of Old Numbskull.

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Photo of walleye
4.18/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to BBB63 for this bottle #92. had this on 6/10 at kuhnhenns bash. poured a amber brown, with no head. aroma alcohol, caramel brown sugar and malts and dark fruits. flavor caramel, alcohol (bourbon), malts fruit, woody. this was very good wish I could get more.

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Photo of BierReise
3.45/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle#124/225Amber and slightly orange like colored body which is cloudy and yielding only a slight scattered film on top. Lots of bourbon in the aroma almost overpowering with vanilla and oak. Malt is buried.Vanilla, bourbon in the flavor.. Body is full and velvety smooth. I think I’d prefer the original much better. The bourbon just overpowers everything else.

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Photo of Rastacouere
4.25/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Rubyish orange to medium brown, hazy. Good color really. A light off-white cover tops it all. Big peppermint bourbon aroma. The regular numbskull’s fruit salad (integrated melon, pineapple, cherry, banana, mango etc.) aroma is there, soaked in alcohol gently. Elegant woody riped fruits counter adequately the pencil shavings dryness emanating from those luckily subdued hops. I doubt I would enjoy the blend if hops were as straightforward as in the regular numbskull. Soft liquid caramel, subtle and smooth palate requires lips licking swiftly though it’s not cloying in a bad way. Very low carbonation contributes to the smooth feel. Full bodied, minty, earthy finish. Satisfying sipper from skilled craft brewers. Bourbon is the focus though, but the silky palate carries it well enough that it’s worth seeking even if you’re getting tired of those and I admire the retraint of those hops showing just a slight piney gap. I don’t know if age would really help that one. It’s pretty well integrated as is, its alcohol components are warming and fitting the sipper state. I’m glad to see I enjoyed it as much as the regular though. The bourbon aging has worked very similarly with this than with speedway. Thanks to Alex for sharing!

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.52/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #43/225
Limited Brewery Only Release December 2004.
Brewed 2002. Aged in an Oak Bourbon Barrel in 2003. Bottled in 2004.

Presentation: Green glass 1 Pint 9.4 fluid ounce (750ml) bottle offering from Alesmith. This is in fact the “normal” Old Numbskull bottle, which has a picture of a blue & white colored straight sided frothing Pint glass atop an Anvil with the words “Old Numbskull Barley Wine Ale” written below in blue. Listed as 10% Alcohol by Volume. The difference here is that 'Barrel Aged' bottle has a Gold Foil covering the neck and crown cap, rather than the normal Silver foil. The reverse of the bottle has the words “2002 Barrel-Aged #43/225” written in silver ink. Cost $16 directly from the Brewery.

Appearance: Hazy looking darkish chestnut brown body reveals a cleanly polished body. When backlit, striking flashes of ruddy red amber brighten the otherwise pastel brown appearance. Decent enough head at first, vanilla colored with some light tan character. The head soon fizzes, collapses and dissipates to ultimately reveal a very thin covering, which settles down quickly and leaves a bubbly halo ring. The odd swirl of the Barrel Aged Old Numbskull in my Goblet helps to reinstate the head and halo ring, and reveals some low levels of dissolved conditioning.

Nose: The nasal character of the usual Old Numbskull has been altered quite significantly here. Now it has an aged matured strong powerful vanilla laden Bourbon character. I didn’t get any wood, so to speak, until the end of this brew, and even then it was muted somewhat. It’s all about the Bourbon, yet not in an overpowering way.

Taste: Warming start, Bourbon laced malty introduction fills the mouth, the high alcohol soaks the cheeks and induces a buttery vanilla feeling. The middle heats with a strong ethanol flame, which follows through into the swallow. Leaves traces of vanilla toffee on the tongue which is chewy, but this is soon cut away by the harsh yet smooth Bourbon flavored alcohol. Finishes with heat and alcohol, but controlled and inviting. A real sipper – but beware, I can feel this one creeping upon me, I guess it’s more than the original 10%!

Mouthfeel: A powerful high alcohol Bourbon “burn” at first, but once the mouth is coated after a few sips, it is an appealing feel, assuming you like Bourbon that is. Malty and chewy at times, especially when it warms.

Drinkability: Very nice, the Bourbon Barrel Aging has worked extremely well and the benefits are plain to see, or rather taste. Is it worth the $16 for the bottle?? Well I’m not really sure, but this is not your every day release so you pays yer money and you takes yer choice.

Overall: Tasty stuff and recommended, but unless you bought some from the brewery, I guess you may never get to try it. Bummer.

Thanks to BA AleOha for picking up this one for me.

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

Bottle #144 of 225

Brown/garnet hue with a very faint off-white head. Aromatics are loaded up with an oaky vanilla character. Big alcoholic bite in the flavor, sweet caramel, roasty chocolate, dark dried fruits, cherries, vanilla, honey, oak & bourbon, there is huge complexity in this one. Mouthfeel is full, sticky and syrupy, more carbonated than I was expecting. The alcohol bite in this one is pretty intense, but it is a good sipper... makes you feel all nice and warm as it goes down. Overall, this is excellent.

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