Decadence 2010 English-Style Old Ale
AleSmith Brewing Company

Decadence 2010 English-Style Old AleDecadence 2010 English-Style Old Ale
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English Old Ale
4 | pDev: 10.5%
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Decadence 2010 English-Style Old AleDecadence 2010 English-Style Old Ale
Notes: Same recipe as Decadence 2005.
Reviews: 139 | Ratings: 209 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of BucannonXC5
3.99/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Type: 750-ml bottle (25.4 oz.)
Glass: AleSmith Barrel-Aged Reserve snifter glass
From: Bine & Vine in Normal Heights (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $18.00
Purchased: Feb. 26, 2016
Consumed: March 13, 2016
Misc.: Bottled in June 2010 (I think for month); Gold foil on bottle neck

Really looking forward to this one. Saw it become available in Bine & Vine’s online newsletter and picked up that day as part of a big purchase. AleSmith’s regular Old Ale was fantastic and I hope this is close. Hopefully it hasn’t past its peak.

Poured an auburn, caramel, murky color with 1-to-2 fingers of khaki tan, fizzy head. Average spotty lacing on the sides of the glass. Average retention. (Sight - 4.00)

Smelled dark fruits, sugary caramel, toffee, musky leather, dried tobacco, toasted brown sugar, brown bread, hints of oaky wood, light molasses and some candied dark cherry juice late. Lots of different flavors here. (Smell - 3.75)

Taste followed the nose somewhat. Very interesting flavors. Got dark fruits - grapes, dates, raisins, figs and even dried cherries - sugary caramel, sticky sweet toffee, earthy leather, tobacco, brown sugar, brown bread, some oaky wood, faint molasses, not as musky as the smell and maybe even a touch of vanilla. That alcohol is well hidden for 11 percent. (Taste - 4.00)

Medium body. Sticky texture. Soft carbonation. Long, smooth, somewhat warming finish. (Feel - 4.50)

Liked this a lot. Would have liked to have one fresh awhile back to compare, but this was really good for the style. May have underrated it just a tad. (Overall - 4.00)

3.99 | 89 | B+

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.09/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Brown beer, red hue to the edge of the liquid, aroma was so boozy, dark fruit boozy, like pruno.

Taste was hearty, hot, substantial roast and earthiness. The old ale just smacks of alcohol throughout it, from a brewery pretty good at minimizing the alcohol impact in so many other big beers. Its leans just as much English barleywine as it does old ale, but seems perchance to lack the body to carry such an abv.

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Photo of jlindros
3.98/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Been sitting on this for a while, let's see how it held up.

Light fizzy head, murky dark brown chestnut color.

Nose mild oxidation, big aged soft malt, candy caramel, candy notes, little yeasty, candy sweet, little nutty toffee, fluffy.

Taste sweet candy, caramel, chewy nougat, fluffy almost marshmallow, aged soft brown, little oxidation, dusty, creamy brown malts, no booze, mild syrupy, little bitter earthy hop. Finish sticky, mild soft aged malt, lots of brown malt, little candy, no booze.

Mouth is med bod, lighter carb, no real booze.

Overall pretty good, held up pretty well, a touch of oxidation, otherwise a pretty nice beer.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.8/5  rDev -30%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

2010 vintage (obviously). I don't have the "commemorative Decadence Ale glass" the label advises me to use, so I'm serving this into the closest shape of glass I have - a La Chouffe stem-tulip. 750ml dark brown glass bottle with intricate classy label and gold foil-ed over unbranded brass-colour pry-off pressure cap acquired at a SoCal bottle shop last year and served into a La Chouffe stem-tulip in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Cost was $20.00 USD. Reviewed live. Expectations are fairly high given the brewery. Reviewed as an English-style old ale because that's the label identifies it as.

Served cold - straight from the fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a half finger wide head of khaki colour. It recedes too quickly - inside 20 seconds - for me to note the thickness or creaminess, but does leave a floater ring for an additional minute or so. No lacing at all.

Body colour is a very dark nontransparent translucent amber-brown. No floating yeast particles/sediment is visible. I wouldn't call it rich, vibrant, or glowing. It's an intimidating appearance for a beer. Appears adequately carbonated.

Sm: Marshmallow, traces of what I think is oak, heavy residual sugars, some somewhat starchy dextrins, brown malts, biscuit malts, light toasted character, and very very timid hop character - if anything, I get a nebulous trace of herbal character, but nothing I'd call English. I also pick up on some murky fermented fruit - cherries and dark currants are most prominent. It's pretty bready, with plenty of brown bread crust character.

I don't know that I'm looking forward to trying it. It's a neutral aroma of average strength.

I don't find any of the stale cardboard notes that would indicate oxidation. I also don't detect any yeast character. There is some light alcohol warmth.

T: I dig the fruity character - there's some nice grape/raisin, cherry, and currant character. The foundation is bold, with plenty of (English) brown malts, biscuit malts, marshmallow, and dextrins. Brown bread character and accompanying bread crust is emphasized in the profile. I do pick up very light traces of cardboard, but oxidation is far from rampant here - it's light enough to be pleasant and complementary. If you've got a bottle, I'd drink it now. Plenty of caramel/caramalt. Heavy on the English malts, but I'm not finding any noticeable hop character. Toffee. A kiss of fig. There's also no yeast character. It has a pleasant alcohol warmth, but isn't boozy or hot.

Overall, it's enjoyable enough but isn't particularly complex, subtle, nuanced, or intricate. It's really just a middle-of-the-road old ale. I expected far better from Alesmith. Balanced and cohesive enough, but not gestalt. I'm unimpressed. Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour for the style.

Mf: Feels a bit tannic to be honest, which I didn't expect. It's coarse and dry for the style - I'd say entirely too coarse - to the point that its coarseness and relative roughness on the palate is the beer's biggest overall flaw. A biteen stale (or "old" if you enjoy puns). Decent carbonation. Okay body and presence on the palate; it's certainly heavy. The texture is far rom ideal, and doesn't at all feel custom-tailored specifically to the taste.

Not gushed or astringent.

Dr: There are far better old ales available below this price point (North Coast's Old Stock Ale comes to mind). I certainly wouldn't buy this again; I'm not convinced Alesmith - as excellent as they are at American styles - is great at making Belgians or English beers. ABV isn't really all that well disguised. It's a sipper, but hey - it'll get you drunk.

This isn't an old ale for the discerning drinker, and while enjoyable enough, I'd caution friends from purchasing it at its MSRP.


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Photo of Greywulfken
4.41/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: into a snifter, dark brown ale with a slim cap of tan bubbly head. Some lace motes trail down the sides of the glass.

S: dark wet fruits and dark booze; sugars like toffee and treacle, suggestions of floral and herbal autumnal spice

T: warmed in the glass to reveal a dark malty fruity base, full of dark sugars and orchard fruits; tastes like date, plum, raisin, and fig - fruits sift among a spiced character, reminiscent of warm winter holiday treats

M: creamy smooth, soft and slightly fuzzy; slightly sticky and with a flash of drying chalkiness on the close

O: nothing wrong with having an old ale with 3 years on it. Grand drinking experience.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.99/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - Murky brown. Small khaki head. Wispy with a small collar.

Smell - Really nice. Oxidization has set in, but it's sherry not cardboard and I like that in this style. Caramel malt and even a tinge of grapefruit hop still there.

Taste - Amazing, I still get hops. Grapefruit bite right up front before the brown sugar malt takes over. A touch oxidized, again, with sherry flavors. Toffee and slightly bitter in finish.

Mouthfeel - Thick, but not too sugary. The oxidation is very nice. Low carbonation.

Overall - Age seems to have done this well. I don't know about the style, though. I would have pegged it as an American Barleywine.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown with a finger of frothy khaki-tan head. Fades fairly quickly.

S - Sweet caramel malts, brown sugar, caramelized malts, some dark fruit, dark caramel malts, toffee, English yeast, nuttiness, vanilla, and some booze.

T - Sweet caramel malts, brown sugar, caramelized sugars, raisins and other dark fruits, darker caramel malts, nuttiness, vanilla, English yeast, and some booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth with a sweet and warming finish.

D - Nice balanced old ale. A touch on the thin side.

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Photo of hooliganlife
3.27/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

2010 vintage

pours deep brown, creamy head. bit of a cola look.

deep dark fruit, some roasted nuts and toffee. sweet malt.

a bit oxidized, flat sweet malt and faint toffee and butterscotch. not a lot going on here.

nice smooth body, mild to moderate bite. bit of a dry finish.

ehhh past its prime.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1565th Review on BA
Bottle to Snifter

Shared with Daysinthewake & Litheum94
Purchased from Walnut Liquorette for $16.99

App- More of a rust/caramel color in the glass without a head to speak of. A bit of a denser pour but still retained and creamy and shiny look to it. There was no cling. Looked like a darker cordial in the glass.

Smell- It was a traditional old ale to me. A large malt presence with a bit of creme on the nose. Retained a small quad like nose. Picked up on some dark fruits and touches of vanilla as well.

Taste- Its a good old ale. Really had a lot of flavors melded well together and didnt have a harshness or lack of balance as some do. This was more smooth with the flavors complimenting. The vanilla was there and then the malts came in with a caramel sweetness that played off a rich cream like flavor.

Mouth- A small medium body with a bit of a low carbonation. Residual flavors of malty caramel and a bit of a sweetness behind it.

Drink- Did this side by side with the BA version and we all know who wont the battle but this was a good beer. A very good beer. Would love another bottle.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from 10/2010 notes. Poured into a pint glass. Pours a dark red hued amber with a small tan head that leaves light lacing. Malt and dark fruit aroma. Flavor of classic old ale rich malts and dark fruit with a hint of roasted malts. Fairly sweet. Medium bodied with a hint of creaminess. A very nice, enjoyable old ale.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.12/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pour at the bottle share hosted by Adam Fine Wine & Liquor held at Sophie’s Place in Redondo Beach, CA.

Pours a clear dark amber with a foamy khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, and some very nice fruity aromas. Taste is much the same with a citrus zest flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a very nice aroma and tasty flavor.

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Photo of emerge077
3.71/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown, copious foam with lasting coverage. Opaque and impenetrable.

Smells like old shit. Bread dough and toffee with a side of oxidation. Sweet pastry.

Tastes like heavy oxidized nutty malt, creamy and smooth, slightly creamy lactic toffee and mild bitterness. Its alright, other Alesmith beers are much better.

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Photo of BMoney575
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on 5-24-12

Appearance: a deep red/brown color with thick tan heads that sticks around forever. Slightly hazy, and heavy duty.

Smell: all caramel and burnt sugar, with the absolute perfect amount of age. Deep and complex, with and unexpected fruity character. Very good.

Taste: nothing as good as the smell would indicate. The flavors are muted, and all that shows through are the aged hops. The finish is very flat and borderline metallic, with a dead finish. The abv is well handled, though.

Mouthfeel: surprisingly good, very thick and creamy with great carbonation. Makes the best of the disappointing flavors.

Overall: I've not had a fresh one, so it's hard to tell if the age is problem or not, but I was hoping for more.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.67/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750mL bottle poured into a tulip. Got this awhile ago in a trade but cannot remember from whom.

(A)- Pours a pretty dark burnt sienna color. Some tan froth and bubbles.

(S)- A nice richness. Caramel, leather, and a musty toffee/honey malt profile.

(T)- Similar to the smell. A warmth of caramel, leather, toffee, honey, and a subtle raisin.

(M)- A very subtle carbonation level. A good balance of rich and sweet malts without being too sweet or cloying.

(D)- Overall, an easier drinking old ale with a well hidden ABV and balanced sweetness.

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Photo of Jwale73
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle served at 52 degrees in my KTG snifter. Pours a semi-hazy mahogany hue with a loose, 1/8th inch cream-colored head that dissipates into a cluster of bubbles around the shoulders and forms an oily slick across the surface. No lacing on this beer. Nose expresses plums, figs, caramel and hazelnuts - definitely smells like an Old Ale. Taste follows nose - backbone is pleasant and malty with just a trace of oxidation to keep it from being overly cloying. I also get some grape juice as it warms as well as a sugary character and some earthy hops bittering at the finish. Mouthfeel is light-medium in body with a carbonation that falls somewhere between still and mild. There's also a trace of acidity, but surprisingly little heat despite the abv. All and all, I think this beer might continue to improve with a year or two more on it, but it's drinking pretty well right now. That said, I wouldn't recommend this one for long-term cellaring. Overall, a decent example of the style, but not worth seeking out considering the quality and accessibility of Fuller's Vintage Ale.

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Photo of Sammy
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A knock-you-on-the-rear big beer. Big mouth feel,great fruitiness, surprisingly hoppy.A real American take on this style, more of an American strong ale. I would like to drink more as so tasty but booze bill took its toll on us. Share with friends!
Gotten in trade.

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4.14/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750mL to snifter. Sampled 3/20/12. I think I paid $25 for this at an extremely expensive bottleshop shortly after this beer was released.

A: Pours with a light brown foamy/sudsy head that falls quickly after a short, 1 finger rise. A small film lasts for quite some time, as does the bubbly collar. Random dots and thin slings of lace cover the after each tilt, but they slide back down before the next. The body is a really dark auburn chestnut color - nearly opaque. You can't see through the glass, but there is decent amount of transparency when looking at an angle.

S: Macerated prunes soaked in alcohol laden molasses. Leather and an earthy air in a deeper layer. Deeper still are sweet notes of caramel and buttered raisin toast. Alcohol remains present throughout, but it is well integrated. Trace scents of vanilla, brown sugar and toffee.

T: Starts out fairly sweet with just the right amount of bitterness and dryness on the mid palate to bring the flavor back into balance. Complex dark fruit flavors stretch across the tongue while caramel sweetness lingers on the finish. Welcomed warming from alcohol. Not unlike a port or Madeira.

M: Decadent as the name suggests. The body leans towards full - soft and velvety - and rolls over the tongue. The effervescence is very fine, providing a very light tingle all the way through. Finishes with a grape skin-like astringency. (Hmmmm, maybe not...)

O: I was happy with this beer personally. Alesmith nailed the style and at 18 months in, Decadence 2010 is a fine beer. At cellar temp: a good beer; at room temp: a bit better.

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Photo of Phelps
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a shaker pint at 1702 in Tucson. They’ve apparently been aging this bottle for more than a year, and yet I still got it for $9. CRAZY prices!

Deep maroon, mostly clear. One inch of dense, creamy mocha foam sits on the top.

The nose is jam-packed, literally. I get tons of sugary raisins, cinnamon, honey, brandy and figs, along with a bit of toast. It’s kind of sweet.

The same heavy sweetness is found in the flavor, except now it’s mixed with booze. Brandy or dessert wine, old grapes, honey, maybe a bit of oak or vanilla — this would lend itself well to barrel aging. Caramel, big ethanol and some earthy hop bitterness roll in at the finish.

Light, massaging carbonation in a creamy medium body. A little tongue-numbing alcohol.

I don’t know why I didn’t expect Decadence 2010 to be so…decadent, but it is. The ABV is big and the flavor is so sweet that drinking an entire bottle becomes a bit of a task. Still, the BA version will likely be delectable.

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Photo of Pahn
3.67/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle into Duvel tulip. Obviously a couple years old.

Appearance: Free pour yields a half inch tan froth that dissipates quickly and lacelessly. Pours a semi-translucent dark maroon and leaves spotty lacing within big legs.

Smell: Chocolate, slight oxidation, dark malts. With time, the balance and complexity grow, with bold, perfume-y alcohol and pastry highlights.

Taste: Vanilla and molasses up front, brown sugar and cookie finish. Hot aftertaste.

After a few sips, the flavor evens out to smoky, cola-like dark malt flavors and a little chocolate. Hearty and warming, but not as boozy as the 11% ABV suggests.

Good, but not up to the standards demanded by the style, name (decadence? not quite), pedigree (Alesmith has wayyyy more talent than this), nor occasion (this is an anniversary beer that impresses less than regular release old ales like Great Divide's Hibernation).

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied. Silky. Low carbonation. Mildly sticky finish.

Overall: A good beer that should be great. I'm enjoying this bottle, but I wouldn't buy it again (especially not at a premium price!), nor would I let it take up space in the beer cellar.

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Photo of projectflam86
4.01/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle aged since summer of 2010.

A- Pours a murky reddish brown color with a thin white foam head that doesn't leave much lace.

S- Reminds me alot of an aged English Barleywine in the nose. Tons of burnt caramelized brown sugar, dark fruits, earthy spice, toffee, and port. Very nice.

T- Similar to the nose but backing off just a touch. Dark fruit and caramel toffee flavors coming through with a gentle touch of alcohol in the finish. The alcohol is nowhere near as noticeable as I would have guessed before sipping so the 18+ months in the cellar must have worked pretty well.

M- A touch thin for such a big beer. Medium bodied with low carbonation.

O- A very solid beer and one that I'm glad I've held onto for this long before trying.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.65/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle poured into a sampler.

Pours a nice amber brown with a small brown head. Nose is a bit sweet and malty. Very small light brown head.

Taste is sweet, rich and quite tasty. Decent Mouthfeel but a bit light.Its very tasty and quite drinkable. Overall its quite good.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.36/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark red edged hues, light brown, beer looked like a mild stout was part of its blend. Aroma was strongly of alcohol, after that there was a heady breadyness to it, followed by raisin and alcohol soaked prunes.

Taste, again, very strong, very hot, and then layer upon layer of flavor, good roasted malt flavor, earthy bitterness, lots of raisin and toffee flavor, dark sugar type of sweetness. Very much what complex old ales are about, distinguished from their barleywine by the complexity and lack of hops. I think I like the barleywine better, it has many of the old ale characteristics without the heat, dark fruit, but has some hopping.

I might be a bigger fan of this with more age on it, thanks to whomever at Sourfest that was pouring this.

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Photo of Brenden
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A deep, dark brownish-red brew shines a fiery red in the light. A tan head is sturdy, remaining at nearly one finger in height for a while. Lacing is left in thin, leggy rings nearly to the bottom of the glass.
The aroma showcases a sweet malt backbone with some strength to it. I expect a bit of alcohol, which I get, and the mixture of sweetness includes dark fruits, toffee, caramel, and something like a blend of figs/brown sugar. I do get a bit of grains along with it all.
This is as sweet as I expect with a very well-masked heat that's more a boozy flavor that adds some complexity. What I don't expect and am pleasantly surprised to find is a hops bitterness that rolls off the sweetness. This is a tasty beer with more balance than many old ales can manage.
The body is medium with a very crisp feel that mingles with a smoothness without losing the gentle bite and flows very nicely.
I'm very glad I got a chance to try this one; a very tasty beer and a great example of the style.

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Photo of claspada
3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 edition.

Pours a hazy dark brown with amber hues and a frothy khaki inch or so of beige head that leaves a nice dose of lacing as the foam quickly recedes.

Aromas begin with a great deal of dark caramelized malts. Then your get a little toffee and light baker's cocoa. There's a little mustiness/earthiness, presumably from the hops, as well as some notes of fruitiness, maybe apple and/or grapes, presumably from the age or the yeast strain. Some hint of vanilla emerge as it continues to warm. It's hard to get past that musty/woodiness however; it's a smell I can't say I have gotten in any beers I have had of late or ever for that matter. Thankfully the unpleasantness subsides once the beer opens up, so note to all: ALLOW THIS TO BREATHE FOR AT LEAST 5-10 MINUTES!

The tastes begin with light caramel maltiness coupled with sweet bready malts and a lot of lesser toffee and darker caramelized malts. The earthiness is present in the background/finish and is not as obtrusive as it was in the aroma. Various fruits also join the party; red grapes, cider apples, plum, cherries, maybe some raisins. I definitely enjoy the taste a lot more than the aroma which continues to baffle me.

The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with medium, border-lining low carbonation. The finish is full and slick with plenty of malt sweetness. Some alcohol in the finish, but nothing major and does not affect the overall flavor profile.

Overall, this beer really confused me and put my taste buds and nostrils to the test for sure. I really enjoyed the flavors but the aromas never quite matched up. It definitely improved as the beer was exposed to the air, so maybe it just needed some time to open up; hey, it works with a good aged wine so why not a good aged beer. This is a quality beer for sure from a highly skilled brewing company. Not my favorite of their offerings and definitely also not my favorite Old Ale (thanks Kuhnhenn for ruining any other Old ale I ever sample again), but still a really quality beer.

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

Decadence 2010 has an almost walnut brown colour that is murky and leopard-like given how many little flakes of sediment made it into glass. Despite the skim, off-white topping, it is, by most standards, a beer for radio. That said, I, personally, find some charm in the unrefined appearance; old ales aren't beauty queens, they're wise old salts.

Some beers are meant for convivial socializing and some are not - the aroma on this one indicates that it was intended for slow, solitary appreciation. It is candy-sweet but rich as a king with toffee and treacle sweetness, dried fruit esters, and a Madeira-like complexity. Earthy, spruce-like notes might be remnants of hops, but by and large this is a malt monster.

One sip and my lips were smackin' and my feet were tappin'. This is one succulent, fruit-a-reffic old ale with more malt depth than most drinkers would know what to do with. I do, however: keep taking sips and try to solve the mystery as to how grain can become such an intricate, multidimensional food once malted and boiled. They've only used barley, but you could imagine many more ingredients given just how complex and layered this flavour is.

The beer has a very nutty, chewy body with a complex blend of dried-fruit, vinous and caramelly malt flavours. There is some (though hardly any) alcohol present as well as oxidative notes akin to those found in Sherry or Port (lowish carbonation and attenuation compound that similarity). The finish is dry and leathery, but somewhat chocolatey. There's also enough spice that the English might think it's Christmas pudding.

Decadence is exactly how it sounds. It confirms that Alesmith is as talented as it is cruel, robbing those of us outside of California of their wonderful masterpieces. This, alongside Kunhenn's Fourth Dementia as the only other American example to come to mind, is at the top of American old ales. If you can find it, buying it should be a no brainer.

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Decadence 2010 English-Style Old Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 209 ratings