AleSmith Old Numbskull | AleSmith Brewing Company

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497 Reviews
AleSmith Old NumbskullAleSmith Old Numbskull

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by xlperro on 02-14-2002

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Reviews: 497 | Ratings: 1,402
Photo of TBoneJones
4.01/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Brown pour with some ruby when held to light. Decent head.
Smells robust of malts, and sweet with caramel and milk chocolate hints.
Taste is so well-balanced for a barleywine: it has a steady roasted malt/ sweet caramel, dark fruit and sweet and bitter hop characteristic that makes each mouthful tasty stuff. After s few sips it seems to end on the dry side.
Feel is full with medium carbonation, creamy.
Nice overall beer.

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Photo of unclekeith
4.41/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

8 month old bomber into a goblet at cellar temp

L: Golden amber with a slight haze, nice head, quick to fade to a collar, pretty lacing
S: Sweet caramel, toffee, old hops
T: Not as sweet as the nose, hop bitterness is more up front than the sweetness, long bitter fade, nice!
F: Full bodied, no trace of alcohol,
O: Impressive balancing act - very well executed

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Photo of q33jeff
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle, 25.4 oz, to goblet. Dated 11/15/15

LOOK: hazy brown, thick, shows legs, medium off white head...lasts.

AROMA: malt, spice, toffee, caramel,

TASTE: leather, brandy, toffee, touch of raisin, some late wood or ash.

FEEL: slightly above average body, low carbonation, creamy, alcohol burn is apparent but in a good way.

Another Quality beer from Alesmith.

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Photo of REDAMI
4.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750ml bottle (May 2015) into Chimay goblet.

L-Deep copper brown, thick off-white head. Excellent retention.

S-Citrus/grapefruit hops, sweet malt, toffee and burnt sugars.

T-Roasted grain, bready malts, molasses, apricot brandy, faint bitterness.

F-Alcohol. A thin syrup with oily hops, decent carbonation for it's weight.

A good variety of flavors in a barleywine. Not overly hopped. While the alcohol is noticeable, it's not overpowering. Well done.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11% ABV, 96 IBU, OG=1.106, $10.99 for a 750ml bottle at Goodmans in Kenosha.
Pours out to a slightly hazy deep amber, forming a nice poofy yellow head with very good retention and lacing. Carbonation is moderate. Thick layer of debris in the bottom of the bottle. The nose is fruity, apples, tropical fruit, strawberry jam. Mouthfeel is slick, syrupy, dense bodied. The taste is quite good, opening with lots of strawberry jam and piney hops, followed by dates/figs, lots of sticky malts, a firm bitterness, more fruit in the finish. Well balanced bitterness makes it a bit more approachable than some other sickly sweet barleywines. A little warm and peppery in the finish that is hidden behind the hops, but still able to be distinguished as some drying alcohols. No appreciable flaws in nose or flavor.

A really nice barleywine. The last few Alesmiths I've had were oxidized but thankfully this one is not. Goes down nice, well balanced, definitely worth trying.

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.51/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Alesmith tap house 8.27.16

L - Copper, amber, ruby. Clarity. 2 fingers of head. Lots of lace. Impressive

S - Brown sugar and molasses

T - Same as the nose. Lots of sugar! Awesome sipper

F - Medium carb and body

O - An awesome Barleywine. Doesn't get much better

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.26/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at The Beer Belly in Albany, NY.

This one pours a light brown color, with a small head, and no lacing.

Smells like toffee, sweet dark fruits- prunes and plums mainly, with some nice bready malt too.

Like everything Alesmith makes on the dark and malty spectrum, this is wonderful. It's got a toffee and caramel, with bready malt, and lots of dark fruit. It's described as an American barleywine, but I don't get much hop flavor.

This is medium bodied, a little bit creamy, with a lower level of carbonation.

I'd love to try the barrel aged version of this, I could tell it'd be great. As it is now, though- it's an outstanding barleywine.

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Photo of ElbowRocker
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep copper with lots of fine white head and delicate lacing. Aroma is strongly malty. Notes of fruit and caramel. Thick mouth with intense malt flavor. Caramel / toffee like flavors, similar to a wee heavy but different; fruitier. Very delicious.

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Photo of Sabtos
3.4/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Very dark amber, with a faint beige ring of velvet foam.

Big time, heavy caramel and molasses dominates this barleywine all over the nose as well as in flavor. Werther's Original also comes to mind, but with some commingling heavier dark fruits.

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Photo of CoreyC
3.53/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice ruby red with a long lasting head
S - Dominated by citrus hops
T - Starts with nice malt favors and some sweetness, but finishes too bitter for me
F - Nice, sticky
O - Good underpinnings, but too hoppy for me fresh. I have another I'll wait on for two years

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Photo of anon
4.07/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Was hoping for a decent one on my 500th rating and this one was fitting. Excellent appearance on the pour. Billowing tan coloured head measuring close to 3 fingers. Retention is top notch with lace to last a lifetime. Deep Amber/mahogany hue.

Heavy on toffee and dark fruit on the nose. Caramel, plum, fig, faded hop presence. Following through on taste is a heavy toffee and malt layer, very sweet and sugary, with butterscotch, cereal, caramel, plum, raisin, fig and peach being present. A slight dry and bitter hop layer is subdued by the heavy sweetness. Earthy, Oak and soily, grassy flavours add to the light bitterness.

As barleywines go this is an excellent one. High ABV in this brew makes itself known and becomes a bit boozy as it warms so it's best enjoyed as a sipper. Pair with a meaty meal to heighten the flavours. Cheers.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Type: 8-oz. draft
Glass: Clear snifter glass
From: AleSmith Tasting Room in San Diego, Calif.
Price: $4.25
Purchased: March 7, 2016
Consumed: March 7, 2016
Misc.: Reviewed after picking up Port Wine Barrel Wee Heavy

I had this a few times on tap (tasters) at AleSmith, but this would be my first time reviewing it. Wanted to have this so that I could eventually have Reforged, a blend of this, Wee Heavy and Speedway Stout.

Poured an auburn, amber murky color with 2-to-3 fingers of khaki tan, fizzy head when I got it. Good amount of spotty, foamy lacing on the sides of the glass. Excellent retention. (Sight - 4.00)

Smelled sugary caramel, toffee, Citra, orange creamscicle, brown sugar, hints of butterscotch, dark fruits and peppery spices. Smooth for an American Barleywine and not too hoppy. (Smell - 4.00)

Taste follows the nose, but probably served a tad too cold. Toffee, caramel, light butterscotch, boozy hoppiness, honey, orange zest, Citra hops, oakiness, some spicy pepper, hints of dark fruits and some dry leather. (Taste - 3.75)

Medium body. Sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, boozy finish. (Feel - 3.50)

This was pretty good for an American Barleywine. I’d have it again. (Overall - 3.75)

3.80 | 86 | B+

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Photo of MesaDan
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Opened this baby up after 14 months of aging. Some sediment in bottom of bottle. Poured with a light tan head that turns lacey on edge soon. Nose is a subtle sweet grass. Initial mouth feel a bit sharp but still smooth for the ALC %. Sweet front pallet with some fig taste and a subtle finish of malt with a bit of bitterness.

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Photo of ajm5108
2.9/5  rDev -30%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Nice deep amber pour with vigorous foam. Aroma has candied plum, fruit cake, loam with some tannins and citrus hops. Not a bad smell, but oddly, it reminded me of handsoap (but not in an off-putting way). Lots of sweet malt upfront, and there definitely is some juicy hop flavor underneath it (tropical orange flavor). The astringent alcohol / tannins flavor comes out big at the end, and is a bit harsh and not blended well with the rest of the flavors. Gives it a pine sol vibe, at best maybe a stale pale ale, but not what I really look for in a top-flight barleywine. Feel is medium bodied, a little oily. Overall it is just an ok beer.

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Photo of the_awesometeer
4.01/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Cloudy, dark caramel coloring with an extremely thick cream colored head. It smells typical of barleywine with the sweetness of caramel and dark fruits The taste follows the nose with the tinniest sense of hops. The alcohol is well hidden.

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Photo of GStone899
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

One of my favorite beers of all time is Great Divide Old Ruffian barley wine so I had high hopes coming into this brew. It does not disappoint. Not as great as the Old Ruffian but solid. That 11% alcohol creeps up on you. Very smooth finish.

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Photo of cjgiant
4.11/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I am sure I prefer the English style of Barleywine, but tried to rate to style.
Beautiful copper-amber ale (that eventually shows itself to have decent clarity) that supports a long-lasting and robust reddish tan head.

Nose initially is all hops, but at the right temps, there is a distinct alcohol presence over a fruity malt base.

Taste is toffee and honey combined with an alcohol tinge. These yield to a woody hop bitterness that may only seem that way when combined with the opening flavors. The beer actually slowly changes throughout a long pour. I got a hint of fruitiness in the mid taste at one point, but that went away. I get a little butterscotch in the malt beginning in some sips. The hops seem to be more subdued at closer to room temps.

Overall the extra hop bitterness still doesn't perk my interest largely. I appreciate the nuances and interesting changing nature of the beer, but can easily live without it.

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Photo of scotorum
4.52/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5


Bought exactly a year ago today and cellared.

Poured from the 25.4 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith English tulip.

a; Translucent copper with a two inch thick offwhite head which receded slowly to rocky surface foam and dense patterned lacing.

s: Caramel malt some dark ripe fruit ala plums and alcohol.

t: Follows the nose in all respects, followed by some bite and throat burn. Sweet and dark overripe fruit finish.

m; Full! Silky smooth, great body and carbonation tingle.

o: A truly exceptional barleywine, powerful and flavorful, an excellent sipper and a real cold weather treat.

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Photo of oldn00b
4.39/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick, golden amber with a thick white tan head that retains fantastically through until the last sip.

Nose is big of toffee and caramel - rather standard for a barleywine but very nice. Alcohol of 11% is well hidden on the nose.

Flavor is nicely rounded but not overly complex for a barleywine. Great balance of malty sweetness, caramel notes, but definitely on the sweeter side. It's really nice, but also incredibly heavy and very much a sipper.

Overall a very nice barleywine that skews a bit to the sweeter side.

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Photo of morimech
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Clear deep brass color with a finger of head that settled to a thin cap. Heavy lacing is left down the glass. Aroma of toffee, caramel, rustic musty grains, wood, but the alcohol is well disguised. But not in the flavor. This is a bit hot with alcohol that singes the palate in the finish. Upfront I taste deep malt flavors of toffee and toasted bread, notes of oak, citrus, and dried fruit. Bitterness is moderate. Thick and rich body and superbly carbonated. I would like to try a bottle after a few years in the cellar and see how this develops once the hops fade and alcohol mellows out.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright rusty little pour on this one. Good sweet toffee aroma.

Taste is hoppy but pleasant, not hot, substantial mouthfeel that isn't taxing. A little bit of citrus and amber malt. Really drinks under its abv. Not massively bitter, the hops, citrus and malt all meld well.

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Photo of mchegash
4.18/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Bright red in color, a lot of medium-tan colored head. No rising carbonation visible.

S: Vanilla, toffee, roasted malts, boozy, dark fruits.

T: Delicious blend of oak, vanilla, booziness, slightly bitter hops, toffee, dark fruit. Quite complex and delicious.

F: Medium-full body. Slightly less than average carbonation. A little bit creamy. Goes down fairly smooth, with a little carbonation in the throat.

O: Probably one of the better barleywines I've had.

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Photo of Qbdoo
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A nice copper color with a solid white head. Very sweet, fruity scent. Taste is similar but there's a strong hop bitterness. There's also a peppery quality that I like. Texture, along with aroma, is the best quality: a kind of creamy/oily feel. This is a solid but fairly middle-of-the-road barleywine.

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Photo of Mike_Aguirre
4.91/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Exquisite beer. Pours deep amber, ruby highlights. Aroma is malty and fruity, alcohol is present, no hops. Taste is complex, rich and malty, some fruits, alcohol and kind bitterness. Bold body with medium carbonation. Amazing beer.

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Photo of thorkelson
4.51/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

So thick and malty. Tons of lovely booziness but need to beware next time because I drank way too much last night with this guy as a night cap. Love every ale smith I've had thus far.

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AleSmith Old Numbskull from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.14 out of 5 based on 1,402 ratings.
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