Decadence 2005 Bourbon Barrel-Aged | AleSmith Brewing Company

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Decadence 2005 Bourbon Barrel-AgedDecadence 2005 Bourbon Barrel-Aged
36 Ratings
Decadence 2005 Bourbon Barrel-AgedDecadence 2005 Bourbon Barrel-Aged

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by scottoale on 12-17-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 36 |  Reviews: 19
Reviews by Floydster:
Photo of Floydster
4.82/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #500, chose to drink something very special for this milestone, it was the hardest to find beer in my entire cellar, and I am one hundred percent happy with my choice to drink this tonight

750 ml bottle purchased from the brewery where I sat in line for over an hour and a half, cost me twenty dollars with a one bottle limit unfortunately, bottle #49 out of 124, darker bottle version with gold foil, not the first batch with green bottles that is shown in the picture of the description

Split this with four friends tonight that have all been eager to see what this tasted like since I put it in my cellar, wish I would not have shared after tasting it, could have easily drank this baby all by myself

Poured into my Dogfish Head snifter with a dark reddish brown color, looked more red in the light, appearance was really murky but it looked like nothing I had seen before from a beer, practically no head, but the little one immediately following the pour was certainly off white and creamy, not much carbonation or retention though, minimal lacing as well

Smell was complex and had a great mixture of aromas overall, bourbon was definitely the overpowering scent but it was fantastic and spicy smelling, I also got some fermented dark fruit inlcuding raisins and prunes mostly, lots of vanilla, good amount of oak, some light chocolate and toffee scents, sweet malt but not overwhelming like some old ales tend to be, the bourbon really helped balance out the different smells of this beer

Taste had a very nice bourbon introduction, each sip was far different from the next, along the way I could taste lots of dark fruits that I also smelled beforehand, there was huge amounts of vanilla and oak towards the middle, once it warmed it became even easier to drink and there was some sweet caramel and toffee flavors, a hint of hoppiness somehow that gave a somewhat dry finish, the balance between the bourbon and malt was something special and made this beer so smooth, most high alcohol beers in this style have a sweet aftertaste but this one definitely did not, more of a spicy finish with a miniscule amount of boozy flavors, this stuff will probably get even better in the next year or so when all the tastes mold together even more, fantastic taste overall, this is the type of beer that could potentially turn someone into a beer snob, I am sure I will never get the opportunity to drink this again but I am thankful I did this time around regardless, this beer had a taste I will never forget

The body had a perfect level of thickness, it was not too thin and flat like some of these barrel aged beers tend to be, it had a little carbonation and the beginning but nothing overpowering, the mouthfeel was both spicy and creamy, taste lasted a long time afterwards and gave the chest a burning sensation like a glass of whiskey would

Could have drank this all night long, had about ten ounces total probably and wanted a lot more, skeptical about sharing this in the first place and after the first sip I became even more, not heavy, not filling at all for a beer of this nature, the alcohol is hidden better than any other beer I have had at eleven percent, this stuff was incredibly smooth and had flat out scary drinkability

Very pleased that Alesmith found more of this to bottle right before they released this along with the BA Old Numbskull and Wee Heavy a couple months ago, was scared I would not get a bottle of this based on my position in line, there was so many people there, some flew from the east coast just to grab the five bottle limit, that is some dedication to beer drinking, could not see myself doing that for any beer, but that is because my disposable income is far less than many

This was hands down the best old ale I have ever had, if not the best beer period, regular Decadence was pretty good when I tried it but this gave new defintion to the word, I wish I had a case of this stuff, it probably continue to get better with age by continuing to mellow and let the bourbon take control of some of the sweeter malt and fruit flavors, highly recommended even though you will probably have to trade away a lot of beer to land a bottle, an amazing brew to say the least, I wonder what will hold up to this one if anything, do whatever it takes to find a bottle of this gem

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More User Reviews:
Photo of aquazr1
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of OStrungT
3.87/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle #222 out or 280.

This beer pours a murkey brown color with a slight mohogany tint. It has an almost nonexisting head. What tiny head there is looks light tan. It disappears in seconds leaving a surprising lacing.

This beer smells strongly of Bourbon. It also has a vanilla like aroma to it. Some oak notes are present. Behind all that, I can detect some very sweet caramel malty aroma. The alcohol content is present in the aroma as well.

This beer tastes much like it smells. It tastes mostly of Bourbon. Behind the strong Bourbon flavor, I taste some vanila flavor mixed in with a slight woody flavor. It tastes very sweet. A lot of caramel flavor.

This beer is very full bodied, and quite aggressive. It warms the throat as it goes down, and leaves a Bourbon like aftertaste. It is almost uncarbonated.

This beer would probably not make a very good session beer at all. It is high in alcohol, and it tastes very aggressive. Not to mention that only 280 bottles were ever released.

Overall: I like this beer, but I think that some of the other barrel aged beers AleSmith makes are a little better.

 1,124 characters

Photo of mindfuldave
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of GRG1313
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of trappistlover
4.24/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

(750ml bottle shared at Dak's!!). I got the bottom of the bottle and all that deliciousness. Pours cloudy brown with tan head. Aroma had lots of bourbon notes still. Taste is sweet bourbon and vanilla mostly. Full bodied with a creamy texture. This is a super beer that has held up marvelously!

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.59/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had the pleasure of obtaining a bottle of this wonderful beer and I chose specifically New Years eve to crack it open. Come hell or high water I was gonna try this beer. Served at cellar temp, bottle 127/280 this wonderful beer was decanted into an oversized wine glass and consumed on 12/31/2008.

The pour was very nice, a rich dark brown in color with a very cloudy nature to it. Some small sediment in the bottom of the glass and a light tuft of off white foam rising up over the top of the glass. Small retention left behind nothing more then a bare top on this one.

The aroma was loaded with vanilla and oak notes. Thick with barrel aged goodness, it was just spot on perfect for what I was hoping. Notes of toffee and caramel coming through very nicely as well as it warms. THe first taste was smooth as could be, age treated this one quite well. A wave vanilla and bourbon just washed over the tongue, smooth, subtle and inviting with a delicate warming as you sip. Each sip more complex then the one before it. Rich caramel and vanilla are dominating every sip. There was a mellow and subtle grain base here that left the last sip with a long vanilla backlash.

Overall this was a tremendously good beer, something that I was glad I got to try and was worth me tracking it down. I would gladly get this one again, it was just that damn good!

 1,353 characters

Photo of scottoale
4.62/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Released Dec. 2006

Barrel-Aged 2005 Decadence bottles 182 & 187 of 280.

Pours a very dark chesnut brown with small ivory head and relitively low carbonation...looks like an English old ale.

Smells very strong of caramel and toffee with loads of alcohol to back it up...mmm, sweet and chewy!

Tastes of the forementioned times five, very tasty off-the-bat, but needs a bit more maturation time for the carbonation and for the flavors to meld. None the less, this stuff is tasty, has a nice booziness to it and a nice complex flavor worth savoring.

A true sipper of big proportion, let this one age for at least a year and then pop it open with great expectations...I'm sure you'll be more than doubt!

Big body, big ABV...enjoy it for it's flavor!

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Photo of jwolfie70
4.39/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Overlord for splitting this baby with me. I was very excited to get the chance to try this beer.

Pours a dark brown, with some carbonation surviving. The smell is pretty complex, molasses, dark fruit, bourbon and vanilla coming through. The taste was pretty complex, and the bourbon was not overpowering (a fear with these type of beers).

Alesmith is definitely one of my favorite breweries.

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Photo of pperez38
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of rbrefbeerman
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of ppoitras
3.65/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle acquired from an SD friend in my time of need. Thanks for the opportunity, Scott. 2005 vintage, #85 of 280, gold foiled cap.

Poured in a heavy glass chalice, poured with a scant skimmy tan head over the cloudy chestnut brew. What bubbles there are quickly retreat to the rim, with a slight swirly film coverage. Aroma is deep rich malts, oaky vanilla notes, and a dominant alcohol presence. Taste is sweet dark maltiness upfront, sharp fruitiness in the middle, which gives way to the oaky alcohol that warms all the way down, leaving some numbness in its wake. Mouthfeel is up and down, with the high on the malty start, the nadir on the overpowering fruit tartness, and somewhere inbetween the alcohol charcter. Drinkability is ok, but I wasn't as wowed by this to start, and the barrel couldn't change it much for the better. A nice brew, but not my Alesmith favorite.

 886 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of hopdog
4.45/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle. Bottle # 69/280.

Poured a deep and cloudy brown color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of oaky woodiness, vanilla, dark fruits, and some caramel. Tastes of dark fruits, vanilla, bourbon (but not over powering), wood, chocolate, and oak. Medium alcohol burn in the finish.

Notes from 12/17/07

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Photo of IrishColonial
2.5/5  rDev -38.7%

Photo of womencantsail
3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for sharing this, Chris.

A: The pour is a murky amber color with a finger of off-white/khaki colored head.

S: Smells of bourbon and oak with tons of vanilla. Pretty typical Alesmith barrel aged beer nose. Dark fruits and booze with a mild tropical fruit note to it, strangely enough. Sweet toffee and caramel with a light toasted malt aroma. Plenty of oxidation, too.

T: Just like the aroma, the bourbon, vanilla, and oak characteristics are quite powerful. Lots of sweet malts, particularly toffee and caramel. A little bit of cherry with some other dark fruit notes such as plums and raisins.

M: Medium bodied with a sort of surprising amount of carbonation.

O: This was a bit too oxidized on the aroma and maybe too boozy. But, something I've really wanted to try. Glad to have done so.

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Photo of Lucklys
4.79/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


I have to be frank here and say that my review is going to be sub-par for multiple reasons, specifically that I was really more interested in basking in the moment as well as the fact that I was at least 10 tastes in at this point, so please, forgive me for my terrible notes.

Poured into my designated tasting glass from Cigar City Brewing, it appeared a rich dark chestnut brown with ruby/copper highlights and was very murky and speckled with sediment. I can't say much about the head, as I didn't pour it myself, and it was probably a good 2 or 3 minutes before I was able to really delve into it and take pictures, so judging solely from the photographs and what I've read about most extensively aged (as well as barrel aged) beers, I'm willing to deduce that what I saw when I was snapping shots is pretty much all there was. A few large bubbles submerged under smaller bubbles in a medium pearly, wheat-colored ring of foam hugged the glass while floating heavily on top of the liquid. As I drank the beer, there was no lacing left behind and no visible carbonation throughout.

Now that we're done with the easy visual part, I can't guarantee my opinions and findings with this beer, but I will try my damnedest to decipher my scribbled notes. As I stuck my nose in the glass, I initially came out with lots of vanilla, milk chocolate, and caramel, which made it seem very sweet. As I returned to the brew, thick oaky notes and pieces of syrupy brown sugar toffee floating in bourbon presented themselves alongside some deep, rich malts and slightly fainter dark fruits, namely raisins and figs, which I actually didn't find until after I had started tasting. Despite all of the very sweet components, the larger presence of the bourbon and oak really smoothed everything out without making it too mild or too heavy.

How am I doing so far? Not too shabby for a beer I had 3 days ago in the middle of a busy and delicious tasting, if I do say so myself. Now for the flavors. From what I remember without looking at my notes, and while reading through what I found in the nose, I think that the taste and the aroma were pretty similar and complimented each other in their similarities. According to my notes, the whole drink was ridiculously smooth and dominated by the bourbon and oak flavors. I found some faint dark fruit molasses (raisin and fig again, maybe some dates), quite a bit of vanilla and caramel, sweet dark malts, chocolate, toffee, and a very light doughy yeast that seemed a little out of place. I may have imagined the yeast altogether, but with all of the "specialty yeast strains" they used in this brew, I guess it shouldn't surprise me that some of it may have survived. Regardless, it wasn't a feature that would ever characterize this beer for me, so I'll just focus on the sweet, sweet dark and malty and bourbony love that poured from this bottle. I did enjoy that there wasn't a sweet aftertaste and that the mouthfeel was creamy without being thick or syrupy. The carbonation was lightly spicy, due in large part to the alcohol (11%) I'm sure, but over the course of my tasting, it actually felt rather soft, though far from flat. Overall, trying to tell that this Decadence was 11% alcohol was impossible. It was just too smooth in execution and too velvety in flavor, which made for one hell of an experience. I only wish that words could do it justice. This was definitely one of my favorite beers from the tasting and I am counting myself extremely lucky to have had this opportunity.

 3,536 characters

Photo of mactrail
2.16/5  rDev -47.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Wooof! I looked at the label to see if Brettanomyces was mentioned, so I can only conclude it's a less welcome bacteria in my bottle. Still some malt but mostly the back of the mouth sweet 'n' sour. Oddly salty, very bitter and not from hops. The longer that taste sits on my tongue the more I want a large glass of water. Sorry I didn't taste it sooner, or someone in San Diego is selling a case they kept in the metal shed. Apparently five years is too much for this one.

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Photo of mcallister
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the second release of this beer. Dank fine looking chestnut colored with a yellow head of 2 fingers fading quickly.

Amazing nose. Sweet english malts toffee, caramel, fig, date, raisin, prune, hints of oxidation, bourbon, toffee, wood hints of earth and brown sugar.

Whiskey shows through nicely with that woodsy toasted vanilla lusciousness. Date really shows throght with the fig and prune behind, brown sugar and mollasses. Not as sweet as the nose would indicate with only slight oxidation. Nice with some years to go still.
A sweet potato flavor as well.m

 568 characters

Photo of GClarkage
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of HopHead84
3.8/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Thanks to Chris for sharing at Woodshop Classix.

A: Ruddy brown and murky with a fleeting white head.

S: I'm greeted by caramel and bread with rich toffee and a light cardboard presence. Bourbon is very light and there's a dash of vanilla. Much oak wafts from the glass.

T: Rich caramel blends with toffee, and once again the bourbon presence is light. There's still a little alcohol heat and a lower moderate earthy bitterness. Oak and vanilla are evident. There's more cardboard in the flavor than there was in the nose.

M: Upper medium body with lower moderate carbonation. Mouthfeel is smooth and sticky with warming.

Overall: It was really nice to try this again, but it's undoubtedly far beyond its prime. Cardboard is taking control.

 756 characters

Photo of JDV
4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle in trade from Padrefan98. Thanks for this one!!
Pours a hazy, muddy, brownish color. Smell is aged maltiness, oak and bourbon and very well balanced. Smells great. Taste is raisiny, malty with a light alcohol and bourbon flavor in the finish. Medium bodied, and no real heat from the alcohol for me. Really drinkable and tasty.

 335 characters

Photo of GradyS1
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of Pecan
4/5  rDev -2%

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Decadence 2005 Bourbon Barrel-Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.08 out of 5 with 36 ratings