AleSmith Decadence 2010 English Style Old Ale | AleSmith Brewing Company

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AleSmith Decadence 2010 English Style Old AleAleSmith Decadence 2010 English Style Old Ale

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Same recipe as Decadence 2005.

Added by jerz on 06-14-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 139 | Ratings: 208
Photo of Arbitrator
2.72/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. I let it warm up as I was drinking so I could savor the entire flavor evolution.

A: Pours a very dark, but clear, maroon body. The head rises to a half finger in height, light tan in color. Retention isn't great, but it leaves a large-bubbled collar and no lace.

S: Nuts, dark fruits (plums, mostly, with some dates), and a booze presence. Somehow it smells woody, even though it's not barrel-aged.

T: It's nutty, with a tangy plum presence and a touch of raisins. Brown sugar. This has that very light tartness that I've come to regard as an AleSmith signature: the same light cherry presence that I detected in Decadence 08, Grand Cru, BA Speedway, and regular Speedway (though that was infected, I'm sure of it). It doesn't really work. In fact, it comes across as a less satisfying version of Decadence 08. The one nice thing is that, as I'm eating some almonds with the beer, I detect a very light character of leather in the exhalation. I wish it were stronger. Otherwise, it comes off as a fairly uninspired old ale: not much cohesion, not much "oldness," not much presence.

M: Medium bodied. It lacks the richness and complexity that I'd expect from an old ale. Low carbonation, which would bring out the flavor more, but it's not really there. There's also some booziness that's out of place in a beer that is not rich enough to justify it.

D: I'm really not enthused about this one. It's a pretty middle of the road example of an old ale; I'd spend the extra money and go with a Cherry Adam or Matt, or even two Adams for the same cost. Skip it.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.8/5  rDev -29.6%
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 Overlord
3.08/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Hmmm....I love Alesmith to death. I really do. Peter was really nice to me on the few occasions I've made it down, and I've been a pretty loyal purchaser over the years, and will remain so.

But I've not been blown away by the last two or three Decadence beers.

Pours a slightly ruddy light brown. A few bubbles, but no real head.

Smells faintly of malt, more strongly of kind of ... I don't know .... cherry? Some sort of strange fruit undercurrent. TAste is surprisingly nutty, malty, brown sugary and ... tangy? What is that? This tastes nothing like the 2005 Decadence. At least, what I remember of it. Too much fruit, too much alcohol bite, and that weird spicy/tangy aftertaste.


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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.09/5  rDev -22.4%
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 hooliganlife
3.27/5  rDev -17.8%
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 Beerandraiderfan
3.36/5  rDev -15.6%
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 doubleipa
3.42/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This review is from 2009. PIcked this up in Portland in 2005. Heavy malt, heavy yeast, raisin, tawny port, clove, alcohol aroma. Zero head, hazy body. Flat carbonation, medium to full body, and sryupy texture. Tastes more like an aged barleywine. Can feel, but can't taste the alcohol. Have two more of these, but don't know wuite what to do with them.

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Photo of itsfreeasinbeer
3.45/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: brown with no head, just a bit of lacing.

S: maple syrup and raisins

T: caramel, toffee, and alcohol. This has a very intense alcohol characteristic that is overpowering.

M: Heavy

D: This beer is true to its name, decadence. This is a once in a while type of drink when you're looking for something that smells like maple syrup but has the potency and aftertaste of whisky.

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Photo of JDV
3.48/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by miketd. Thanks!
Pours dark amber to maroon and is mostly opaque. Smell is light, thin aged, mellow sweetness, and tea leaves. Taste is hoppy caramel with a slightly watery sweetness. Still a surprising hop characteristic. Interesting, but I prefer the BA version highly as well as the 06 Decadence.

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Photo of avaulteriam
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Meh, I'm still not big on Old ales or English style BWs. Nose is very fruity, some dark fruits. Big beer with a vinous character. Nothing special, in my opinion. Reddish tinged brown with offwhite head. Nose is sweet and malty, a bit musty and vinous.

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Photo of xraided81
3.5/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a 750ml bottle into a 4oz tasting glass. Pours a deep amber brown with ruby highlights. A thin off white head is present. Dark fruit is the dominates the aroma. Taste if of dates, prunes, raisins, there is a sharp astringent and dry after taste, it could be due to the high ABV, since this beer is still young, would like to know if this dryness mellows out. Mild hop presence in the taste, Roasted malt lingers in the palate. . This is a good, but not great example of the style, Old ale. I have never tasted an old ale with this dry taste. I would buy this again, but would like to age it at least a year and compare my tasting notes, and see if the taste improved.

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Photo of vacax
3.51/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This Decadence is a dark mysterious brown with a few fingers of light chestnut head that is finely composed, with high retention and great lacing. I worked on this glass slowly, and quite a long while later there is still sticky lace on the side of my glass and swirls of bubbles on top the beer. The aroma is heaped with dark brown sugar, hazelnuts, maple syrup, alcohol, and some bubble gum esters.

The flavor is malty up front with caramel but the malt complexities are largely drowned out by lots of banana-like esters and alcohol. Thick cookie/caramel finish, doughy and a bit grassy. I can definitely see this improving with a few months on it, the alcohol dying down, the esters clearing up a bit, and the malts coming together, but right out of the gate this one is a bit rough. Medium body, not as substantial as expected, and moderate carbonation to suit it. Decent old ale, may be good with some age.

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Photo of mothman
3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into NB Globe Glass

Pours 1 finger of creamy khaki head. Fades to a thin layer. Leaves some lace. Color is a hazed caramel brown with a slight ruby hue to it.

Aroma: Rich and malty. A strong amount of toffee and caramel mixed with some warming alcohol. A lot of dark fruits show. Shows a slight grassy hop profile. It is pretty much all malts and fruits. Some raisins show.

Taste: More booze shows here. Fairly boozy. Lots of toffee with caramel. Raisins, dried fruits, and candii syrup. A bit hoopy, but mainly malty.

Mouthfeel: Warming and creamy. Medium to full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends hot and sticky.

Overall, a fairly big old ale. Pretty malty, but still pretty good. A little bit slower drinking, but I expected that for the high abv. Decent English old ale. I would have this again.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
3.6/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer was saved for a special occasion, and today being Thanksgiving, what better day o drink a brew called Decadence than the day when everyone shoves food into their faces until they want to sit on the couch and fall asleep?

This beer was a clear red offering, with a very thin layer of foam. Poured into wine glasses, as this was to be shared among several people.

Aroma was somewhat vinous, mainly rich malt with a slight mustiness (as expected of an old ale). Also slightly sweet and loaded with dark fruits.

Taste was of rich musty malt, very strong. There was some slight roasted character there as well, and a bit of sweetness. Very very strong... almost too much flavor. This one could have used more time to mellow.

Mouthfeel was full and rich, pretty good. Quite chewy and a bit oily. This one coated the mouth.

Drinkability... gonna have to take a little away on that one. The flavor was a bit too raw, too brash. I was glad that I had brought this to share. No way I could have done a whole bottle solo.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.61/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to overlord for the bottle. Served in a snifter.

Pours a very dark brown color with a fairly large head for the style. Bubbly tan head with a good cap and collar throughout. The nose has a subtle sweetness with a bit of fruit and some caramel plus brown sugar. Slight amount of booze there as well. The taste is a bit more plain and quite mellow. Booze comes back again. There is a slight brown-sugar sweetness there and mild fruits throughout. This is good, but not the caliber I expect from AleSmith. The feel consists of a medium body with light carbonation. This is pretty drinkable for now, but it seems like it needs more time to mellow out a bit.

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.61/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On cask at O'Brien's in San Diego on 9/2/05.

Appearance: On cask this beer is certainly a beauty to look at. Creamy tan head cascading in the glass of brownish red beer. Excellent head retention and beautiful lacing as it is consumed.

Smell: Resiny hop scent with some strong sweetness backing it up. There's not much else in the nose. Some slight toastiness and caramel, but mostly a sugary hop scent.

Taste: Wow, this beer is vinous and sweet with flavors of fig, raisin and toast. Even from the sweet nose this is not what I expected. It's hoppy with an alcohol middle that is syrupy and resin-like. The ending is long with more caramel and sugar along with a hop bitterenss. Each flavor is quick and supported by the rich malty base. The darker raosted malt flavors stand out with a brown sugar and molasses quality.

Mouthfeel: Thick and full bodied and syrupy. The incredible amound of sweetness in this beer makes it feel even thicker. Nonetheless this beer is quite smooth if you can get over the initial shock of sweetness.

Drinkability: The sweetness of this beer really borders on cloying. Too much of a good thing can turn bad. This beer is not bad, but not one of Alesmith's best. I look forward to trying this from the tap or bottle to taste the difference versus the cask.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
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 BMoney575
3.65/5  rDev -8.3%
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 HalfFull
3.66/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium brown into a wine glass, sporting half an inch of creamy tan foam. Clear and crimson in the light, the pour offers good retention and soapy lacing.

Bit of cherry and fig on the nose along with some light hops. Offers a lot of moderately complex barleywine characteristics to the malt profile along with some alcohol notes, particularly after fresh agitation; yet nothing really grabs you either.

Flavor offers a viscous sweetness with lots of caramel and toffee notes. Body thins a bit on the swallow, yielding light fruit notes noted on the aroma, and finishes with a flash of brown sugar and spice which lingers moderately.

Overall a bit too uniform in nature to be highly memorable, not overly complex. And yet without any drawbacks

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Photo of prototypic
3.67/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The 2010 Decadence release is a very dark copper or amber color. It's clear, and backlighting shows really nice scarlet highlights throughout. A vanilla colored head tops it. It rises to about a finger in depth before falling to a surface covering quickly. It held there for a bit, and left a relatively light, sticky web of lace trailing down the glass.

The nose is good. It kicks off with a wealth of caramel malt. It definitely smells a little sweet. There's a little cocoa-esque chocolate malt in the mix as well. It has a strong fruit presence that consists of light cherry, raisin, and fig. Yeast is a little noticeable. Alcohol is there, but doesn't smell too strong. Not 11% strong anyway. It's not exactly complicated, but it smells good.

The flavor is not quite as good, but it's a close call. It has a nice base of caramel and chocolate malts. The caramel variety is the stronger of the two. The cocoa flavor is subtle, but very nice. Fruit flavors of raisin, cherry, fig, plum, and apple are all present in some degree. They add nice depth. There's an acidic quality to it that's very light and subtle. It has a nice effect, and I like it. Alcohol is definitely noticeable in flavor. Definitely more noticeable than it should be. Perhaps I should've let this one age a little longer. Finishes fruit and boozy.

This one has medium body that leans toward full with a little warming. Carbonation is light and it feels smooth. Not quite creamy, but smooth. Drinkability is above average. The flavor's pretty good, but it is big and boozy. A 750 is a bit much.

I'm a big Alesmith fan. Always have been. The 2010 Decadence release is pretty good, but doesn't quite live up to Alesmith's usual prestige. The biggest problem is that it's way too boozy. It's far more distracting than it should be. Maybe it just needed a little more age. Who knows? It's definitely worth a try, but it isn't Alesmith's best.

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Photo of sweemzander
3.67/5  rDev -7.8%
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 DogFood11
3.67/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crystal clean light copper appearance. A bit of lacing and marginal head. so so.

picked up some dark fruits that are light and mostly malted.

Hop presence is subdued. cinnamon and ginger come through. Is this the yulesmith toned down? regardless its a fine beer that I would seek out at a cheaper price. way to proud of this one.

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Photo of ChadQuest
3.67/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Color is a warm deep ruby copper color, inviting and leads you to jump into it to stay warm, to be immersed into it's warmth of richness, and behold all it's glory, for hours, as if it was a strange reconnaissance photographic journey of a wild james cameron three dimensional motion picture, vivid and stunning in awe, that none but echo the dolphin could match in splendor.
The aroma is mute and stale directly from the fridge, but once warmed, it opens up like the wings of an eagle, soaring over the majesty that is your nasal passages, with whims and notes of hot alcohol that persuade me to desire this in a generous quantity, some fruits that whilst more present when cold let more complex aromas appear upon the heat transcendence transition, simply stunning.
The flavors are that of a gentle construction worker who writes poetry on his lunch breaks, sore from the hours but capable of deep thought into realms only imagined by his desk job brethren, soft with flavors of cherry,dark currants, and rye like subtle spices, yet hard with noticeable instances of harsh alcohol whisky, like a thinking man would enjoy.
The mouthfeel creams up upon the heat penetrating it, whilst cold it was but a metallic and cold feeling object in your mouth, but after the warmth it is but a sight to behold, with your mouth.
A tremendous old ale that i would drink any live long day, drink, eat, and be merry, especially on the eve of your quarter century of birth.

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Photo of Pahn
3.67/5  rDev -7.8%
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 srandycarter
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Very brown, reddish hue. Tan creamy head, leaves to disk fast. Some cling lace.

S - Malt, a sharpness, some dark fruit.

T - Big malt and booze, some dark fruit follows. Bitter finish.

M - Creamy, big, fairly balanced for all that is going on.

D - Too big in flavor and ABV to be sessionable.

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AleSmith Decadence 2010 English Style Old Ale from AleSmith Brewing Company
3.98 out of 5 based on 208 ratings.
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