Old Numbskull | AleSmith Brewing Company

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Old NumbskullOld Numbskull
1,493 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:
No notes at this time.

Added by xlperro on 02-14-2002

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 1,493 |  Reviews: 518
Photo of garland
1/5  rDev -75.7%

Photo of Skrypt
1/5  rDev -75.7%

Photo of BGsWo22
2/5  rDev -51.5%

Photo of PNikstad
2.24/5  rDev -45.6%

Photo of maximum12
2.31/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Thanks to Dubbercody for sending this over in an excellent trade. Really, my heart isn't in this after watching the ass-munching Yankees beat my Twins again.

Pour reminds me of fresh apple cider sipped out at the orchard. Smell is overwhelmingly sweet, with an alcholic sting.

Old Numbskull follows a recent pattern of barleywines I've had. Sweet, no much depth, & a tendency towards a wet dog taste that I don't dig at all. Maybe I'm a fresh barleywine guy, 'cause everything I age tends to fall into this camp of 'wet dog'. Loved The Flying Mouflan, but had that fresh.

Not very good, which is odd I was expecting to really enjoy this. May be time to lay off the barleywines for a while. Can't finish this one.

 718 characters

Photo of leftoverburrito
2.5/5  rDev -39.3%

Photo of newbeeraday
2.5/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Photo of Nichols33
2.5/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Photo of MuddyFeet
2.63/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Wow! What a shock. Poured a strawberry red in color. Bit of haze in the glass. Essentially flat but a nice head did form and dissolved down to a resting scum. Nose is all about the alcohol and just a bit of hops.

This beer is only 9.25% ABV?!? I can feel the heat before the beer touches my lips. Kind of permeates its way up the nostrils. Other than the alcohol there is at first a subtle sweetness of malts followed by a pungent, earthy hoppiness that is more American than English. Got some sickly sweet bornw sugar and a little bit of sour cranberries too. Mouthfeel is light. Lots of bitter puckiering from the hops and even more burn from the alcohol. Tougher beer to swallow than I was expecting.

 706 characters

Photo of JohnnyK
2.75/5  rDev -33.3%

Photo of DamienI
2.75/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Photo of Soumya
2.75/5  rDev -33.3%

Photo of crnipeter
2.86/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

Following the brewer's advice I left the beer to mature for 18 months with dubious results.

Deep murky coppery with 1/4 inch of light tan head that gets easily revived with each swirl.

Resinous-woodsy hop aroma mingles with caramel-marmellaty malt foundation and plummy ester undertones.

The flavor starts malty sweet with orange-liquor qualities but the balance quickly shifts towards bitterness. The later combines with alcohol to lend dry finish. The alcohol is too evident throughout the smell and taste and overrides everything else as the beer warms, completely ruining the impression.

Mouthfeel is medium to full with tiny-bubbled moderate carbonation.

Ageing hasn't softened the booze and the beer is just another let down from the Alesmith.
But one must admit the name has been well chosen: the Numbskull...after purchasing it I feel exactly like one - a stupid person, that's it.

 897 characters

Photo of RedDiamond
2.86/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I know the style doesn’t ask for fizz, but my bottle of Old Numbskull was notably flat. Even for a barleywine, this one was lifeless. The aroma is a delicious mix of fruity esters suggesting plum, warm honey, alcohol, and malt syrups. Body is a rich cognac color with lots of dead flocs adrift amidst a few solitary bubbles.

So far, I can live with the beer’s presentation. But the taste is blaringly harsh in its alcoholic temperament and the finish bites like a red ant. The initial outpouring of strawberry-accented malts is hammered by the aggressive finish, while the body feels limp and anemic. At its best moments Numbskull is suggestive of fruited brandy. At its worst, it’s simply disappointing, even after retrieval from ideal cellaring conditions.

 766 characters

Photo of ajm5108
2.9/5  rDev -29.6%
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.

 640 characters

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.

 386 characters

Photo of Arbitrator
2.94/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Lightly chilled bottle into a glass. Purchased for $16 (!) in April 2009 at Perry's in Livermore. God, I hate that guy's prices.

A: Pours a very dark, but clear, maroon-amber body that passes glowing red light at the edges. Two fingers of light tan head fill the snifter and recede over a minute or so into a light collar and tons of scattered bubbles on top of the brew. Thick, sticky sheets of lacing left behind as the head vanishes, and more sticky lace during a sip. Great appearance.

S: Caramel, toffee, grapefruit hops (surprisingly still hoppy for a beer that I purchased over a year ago). I'm surprised this is intended to be an English barleywine.

T: Wow, this is really pretty hoppy. Lots of citrus up front, lending both flavors and an oily bitterness that pulls through into the finish. Malt backbone is supplied by caramel, toffee, and nuts. There's a peppery, boozy bite at the end. I'm not sure I could identify this out of a lineup of other American barleywines, and there are several I'd pick ahead of this one on flavor.

M: Medium-full bodied. Not as chewy as the Old Ruffian I had yesterday, although it's still pretty impressive. Carbonation is prickly. It finishes just a tad dry.

D: I'm liking it, not loving it. Horribly overpriced to me: I'd rather buy 3 Old Guardians instead.

 1,311 characters

Photo of hiphopj5
3/5  rDev -27.2%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle (Courtesy of Hogtownharry): Poured a clear medium brown color ale with a small foamy brown head with minimal retention. Aroma of sweet caramel malt is dominating without being too sweet though. Some floral hops are discernable but nothing overwhelming. Taste is also dominated by sweet malt but I can’t find any complexity of dry fruits characteristics that I usually enjoy. Some hops provide a slightly bitter finish but nothing to overshadow the rest of the beer. Body is defiantly too thin and watery for my liking and alcohol is well hidden. Even do I usually enjoy English style barleywine, I cannot say that I was overly impressed by this one.

 657 characters

Photo of NickMunford
3/5  rDev -27.2%

Photo of bbadger
3/5  rDev -27.2%

Photo of chippo33
3/5  rDev -27.2%

Photo of silentnoiz
3/5  rDev -27.2%

Photo of ejw127
3/5  rDev -27.2%

Photo of CityofBals
3/5  rDev -27.2%

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Old Numbskull from AleSmith Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.12 out of 5 with 1,493 ratings