Old Numbskull | AleSmith Brewing Company

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Old NumbskullOld Numbskull
1,509 Ratings
Old NumbskullOld Numbskull

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,509 |  Reviews: 525
Reviews by StoneTSR:
Photo of StoneTSR
4.13/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to again to ren for this one!

APPEARANCE: Wow! This is an exceptionally good looking beer. An opaque, solid, copper penny red beer poured into a snifter with a strong two-finger head resting on top. The lacing was very strong and covered a good 80% of the back of the glass.

SMELL: A nice strong smell right off the bat, as soon as this thing is cracked. Caramel is dominant, but vanilla and a hint of piney hops are also present.

TASTE: Balance is the key word here. A nice, long, slow transition from brown sugar and caramel sweetness up front to a surprisingly bitter, grassy and slightly anise flavored finish takes the palate on a joy ride through each sip.

MOUTHFEEL: The carbonation is there, but not terribly strong. Otherwise this is a sticky, not not at all mouthcoating beer. The dry finish prevents this sugary, delicious beer from becoming too sticky.

OVERALL: This is an outstanding example of a Barleywine. The big, complex, hoppy and malty flavors come together and provide a prototypical Barleywine experience.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.99/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Approximately 1 year of age on this bottle.

Pours a beautiful butterscotch blonde-caramel color with a lovely head of 3 fingers, egg foam color. Lots of lace left behind as the head recedes.

Beautiful fruity and caramel aromas waft to the nose, with notes of vinous grape, popcorn ball, butterscotch, caramel, slight chocolate, and the same yeast of Speedway.; Slight smokiness, mouth-watering.

Flavor brings much more bitterness than the nose would suggest; with some of those grape notes giving off a white wine-meets-sauvignon flavor, with smokey caramel lingering in the background and alcohol heat lapping it at its heels. Hints of fruitcake develop as it's left to rest on the palate, with hints of raisins. That's the good. The bad is that it indeed tastes like oxidized hops, like someone aged a 120 minute in the sunlight for a year. Some onion and garbage flavors too.

Feel is velvety, then leathery, then hot, and dries out considerably on the finish. Carbonation is medium-light.

Overall, it's a great beer until it hits your lips. It's not something I'm overly excited about. The more I drink it the more it tastes like old oxidized hops or a very poorly aged 120 minute. Probably would not revisit.

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Photo of oberon
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber color near brown with a white tight sticky head that is gone pretty quickly.deep vanilla aromas mixed with a generous hopped piney aroma intermingled nicely.Wow what a combination of sweet caramel and alcohol with a generous amount of grassy piney drying hop very balanced and indredibly flavorful barley wine big time winner here I wish I had more what a flavor combination with a big alcohol punch.A little harshness in the mouthfeel dept. kept it from being off the charts.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.44/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Thick, dirty brown with a big-bubbled head that impressed for a 9+ ABV BW.

Smell – Even cold, this thing had da funk. The malts are sharp, winey, and sugary sweet and the hop balance is huge. The fruit aroma I would say includes dates, figs, prunes, and maybe some chewing tobacco.

Taste – Oh, is this sweet. The alcoholic juices explode on the palate. This is a tasty Barley Wine indeed.

It has a lot of deep, white grape wine flavors. These are mixed with monster alcohol-infused overly-ripe fruits. Again, the figs, dates, and prunes (maybe a bit of plum and apricot as well) are all very strong. You get the idea. The malt backbone is cleary overran by the fruits, but it is there and very noticeable.

Mouthfeel – Yes, this full-bodied BW has some good dryness at the end, which is a welcome sensation after getting your ass (or should I say tongue and tastebuds) whooped by this heavy-hitter.

Drinkability – I must share in LBB’s shame and take this one down myself. I don’t think I know anyone else in the immediate area who would like this thing, anyway. You have to be a huge beer/barley wine lover to keep a straight face while drinking this one down.

Comments – AleSmith does it again!

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Photo of DanGeo
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of t2grogan
3.5/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of TCHopCraver
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes on 9-17-10. Props to zoso1967 and TCGoalie for bringing this brew to my mouth.

A: The color is a little strange... its murky, light brown, reddish orange hue reminds me a little of loose feces (not really in a bad way, though). Atop this curious looking body is a one finger, khaki head in my oversized wine glass. The carbonation bubbles are moving very slowly and the lacing is thick and swirly.

S: A very robust smell of musty caramel and brown sugar emanates from this numbskull. There is a slight citrus presence of orange zest along with some white pine coming from the hops. I also smell some thick, creamy butter. The biggest aroma in the batch is that malty, mustiness.

T: A musty caramel and brown sugar sweetness is tempered by a tingly pine hoppiness. The order of that taste on my palate is the brown sugar upfront, with the musty caramel taste in the middle, finished by the drying pine hop bitterness.

M: This numbskull MF has a very creamy, buttery, medium feel on my palate with a lovely, dry hop bitterness at the end.

D: I really could not detect the 11 % a.b.v. at all. This is very smooth drinking beer that is not exceptional, but was quite tasty and will be worth another try in the future.

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Photo of MadScientist
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle is a little over a year old from date of purchase at this point with no brewed on date.

A: A medium copper with a ruby hue that has a moderate chill haze. The head is made of rocky, light tan bubbles, it doesn't get very tall and has a decent retention.

S: A rich malt aroma and faded citrus hops. The malt is strong and the hops are moderately-light. There is a light dark cherry and orange fruitiness with a moderate alcohol aroma. There is a light bit of spice from the yeast.

T: Sublime and dangerously smooth, the alcohol comes back and makes it's presents know after the sip with a warmth in the throat. There is a strong malt flavor with moderate caramel and moderate sweetness which is more than countered by a moderately-strong hops bitterness. There is a little bit of the citrus hops flavor left. Some fruitiness with a moderately-light red cherry flavor and orange. The balance is moderately bitter with a medium finish. The aftertaste is of slightly lingering hops bitterness that is a lot like a bitter orange rind.

M: Medium full bodied with moderate carbonation and a moderate creaminess. Moderate alcohol warmth.

O: This beer has nicely mellowed over the year and could be a little dangerous for as smooth as it is. The alcohol warmth is there but one could easily sip themselves into a stopper if the was served in a pint glass.

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Photo of GameOfBeers
4.18/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SanFranJake
3.59/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Dmann
4.4/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A very nice barleywine. It poured a slightly cloudy burnt orange color with almost no head at all. The color was very nice though when put up to the light. The beer gave off a very fig like smell mixed with slight alchohol tones. The flavor was one of great balance. At first the sweet malts hit me and the great silky mouthfeel mixed the alchohol flavors in well with the rest. There was a nice raisen and citrus flavor and it finished off nice and clean with a little bit of hops sneaking through. I wish I knew what year this was becasue it seemed like it had aged a bit and the hops were no longer there to balance out the rest of the flavors. A very solid offering and one worth trying.

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Photo of DahWag
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of bulldogg915
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%

Photo of DaftPatrick
3.5/5  rDev -15%

Photo of 3HovsepiansBrews
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Burnt orange with a white head.
S - Citrus fruits, caramel, and alcohol.
T - Citrus, caramel, coffee, floral notes, alcohol, and a nice hop bitterness at the end.
M - Heavy body with medium carbonation.
O - A lot of flavor and aroma in this beer. Also, the pleasant mouthfeel makes this a really enjoyable beer to drink.

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Photo of Jpinoniemi
4.5/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Beaver13
2.91/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

750 ml bottle. Pours clear ruby amber with a big creamy off white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is toasted toffee malt, some sugary fruit and strong alcohol.

The flavor is sweet toffee malts with some fruit and a harsh ashy alcohol finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, OK barleywine, but too much over the top alcohol.

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Photo of petewheeler
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of megamass
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of Jason
3.93/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 750 ml brown champagne bottle corked and capped with a vintage year of 2000 on the label.

Appearance: Lucid yet mildly chill hazed tawny sunset hue, bone coloured lace creeps up the side of the glass.

Smell: Faint solvent within a ripe figgy aroma, sweetness and spicy alcohol clash but in a good way.

Taste: Smooth with a mealy, thick and creamy. Mellow alcohol for its strength, alcohol has melded well with the malt, faded hops and ripe fruitiness. Fruitiness rages up front with the middle being juicy and full of malt sweetness, hops and alcohol draw a line for balance. Finish is more of a twang from the alcohol and a ghost like wet paper flavour.

Notes: A touch of age has hit the brew, it seems to be at its peak if not passing it so this holiday winter season of 2002/2003 is the time to pop the 2000. Impressive and a good go at the Barleywine style.

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Photo of merlin48
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Label says this one is 10% abv. Served into a tulip glass, Numbskull pours a magnificent, clear ruby mahogany body with a perpetual, two centimeter beige head that coats the glass with chains of sticky lace.
Aroma is on the malty side, with toffee, molasses, and lots of dark fruits like figs and dates. A resinous note of spruce is also in the mix, as is a "slap you in the face" whiff of raw alcohol.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, with a medium low carbonation and a bite of alcohol.
Taste has a solid base of malt sweetness, featuring toffee, maple syrup, and caramel. Rum soaked dark currants and figs are also noted. Hops bitterness is slightly muted, but lends a note of fresh pine needles. Plenty of alcohol warmth is present throughout. Dark fruits become more assertive at room temperature, and the finish is simply a superb balance of all the components here.
This is a very well constructed barleywine that would benefit from some aging. Alcohol presence is a bit too pronounced, at this stage, to enjoy more than one of these at a sitting. Wish I had a few of these to lay down.

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Photo of ElSid
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The Beers of California


Bottled Date: None

A: Deep mahogany with hues of burgundy with a finger of creamy off white head which dissipates to an island of bubbles and faint lace on the glass.

S: Smooth at first, almost hot cocoa-esque, with wood, wineyness, berries, and an earthy, bready base with hints of grass.

T: Wood, wineyness and tobacco which transitions to strawberry preserves. The malt is subtle but present and bready with a nice caramel thick sweetness. Then comes the bitter hop attack which is mostly earthy, leafy, and faintly citrus peel. The bitterness transitions to spice on the sides of the tongue and the finish is of warming alcohol.

M: Big and smooth with the perfect amount of carbonation and syrupy linger.

O: A solid Barleywine with good complexity and excellent feel. AleSmith produces well crafted brews and never seems to disappoint.

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Photo of tigg924
3.88/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: minimal head, moderate carbonation, orange-brown in color, slightly cloudy

Smell: brown sugar, toasted malt, alcohol, hops

Taste: big caramel, toasted malt, brown sugar, alcohol, cinnamon, raisin, and a bit of hops--especially at the end

Mouthfeel: sweet with an alcoholic bite, minimal carbonation, slick, full bodied

Drinkability: One of the best and most complex barleywines I have had. The alcohol really hits you over the head here. I do like the caramel taste, but really just a wonderful beer. A sipper though.

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Photo of aquazr1
4/5  rDev -2.9%

Photo of badbeer
4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ruby red color with a creamy beige colored head with excellent retention and lacing. Smell is sweet, yet hoppy. Smooth pine and citrus notes perfectly balanced by sweet caramel and dark fruit aromas, I also get a little bit of sherry and some other vinous notes. Taste is sweet caramel and brown sugar with a beautiful array of hops joining in as well; finish is hoppy, but still plenty of sweet malt to it. Flavors are in perfect harmony, nothing overpowers anything else, instead they all work together. Full bodied, but not cloyingly sweet; carbonation is at about medium levels. Excellent beer.

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Old Numbskull from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 1,509 ratings