AleSmith Old Numbskull | AleSmith Brewing Company

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491 Reviews
AleSmith Old NumbskullAleSmith Old Numbskull

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 491 | Ratings: 1,385
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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Photo of bnes09
4.46/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Light ruby, mahogany color. Somewhat transparent. Nice head for the strength. Leaves soft lines of lacing.

Deeply spicy hop aroma. Hints of rye.

Solid bready, grainy, buttery malt backbone contrasting a spicy pine and herbal hop. Both are well pronounced without overpowering. Peach and orange rind flavors come across mid drink adding sweetness, spice and complexity.

Full bodied yet not syrupy. Excellent carbonation. Drying from the hope and booze.

Awesome stuff. One of the best barley wines I've had in a while.

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Photo of 81tillinfinity
4.79/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Deep rich barleywine that is bursting with flavors of toffee, dried fruit, peaunut brittle, and sweet hard candy. The hops are perfect giving the beer a great bitter balance. The alcohol is warming but unobtrusive so watch out. A great available barleywine.

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.58/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a deep reddish amber with a rather large tan head. The aroma consists of prune, raisin, nutmeg, and apricot. The flavor follows through with rich dried fruit, a moderate level of sweetness, and a spicy hop character. The mouthfeel is velvety but not syrup, perfect for the flavor profile. Overall this is a very solid barleywine, lots of character, but suitably relaxing as well.

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Photo of HattedClassic
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The beer pours a fairly nice looking head. The head is a nice creamy off-white almost eggshell color that is pretty pleasing to look at. Since my glass has a nucleation point, I can't really guess as to how long it would take to dissipate.

The beer smell is pretty good but has a slightly off-setting note. The smell has a bouquet of fruity malts, slight cinnamon spice smell, and alcohol. The malts and cinnamon note work well and the alcohol sweetness is okay but it has a slight chemical smell to it. Not enough to ruin the smell but it is a bit off-putting. The beer certainly has a resin note to it but it's more in the background as the malts take center stage.

The taste is better than the smell because it has the same notes but without the chemical note. The taste is definitely pretty fruity with a very nice cinnamon spice note complementing it and the bit of alcohol sweetness adds some character as well. The hop bitterness is also there but does not take center stage.

The feel is not bad. The beer is heavy bodied but on the lighter side of things. However, the lighter body gives the impression that something is missing.

Overall, not a bad Barleywine and worth getting it at least once.

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Photo of Omnium
4.09/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber into a mason pint.
A. Deep cherry amber with a finger of fizzy tan head
S. Sweet caramel and toffee pine and orange juice some candied dark fruit. A little toasted nuttiness. Some vanilla.
T. Really sweet malt but not like diabetes. Very rich caramel and toffee, so.e slight woody tones. Good nutty creaminess and slight fruit hop profile
M. A little chewy but overall balanced.
O. This is the first barley wine I hav enjoyed, really rich and full

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Photo of SportsandJorts
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes. Drank 1 year after bottling date.

Appearance: deep reddish orange color. a two finger tan head forms and sticks around for ages. leaving behind a frothy lacing as it lingers. dark, hazy and opaque.

Smell: sweet malts, caramels and toffees and some raisins. large hop presence ranging from herbal to earthy and resiny.

Taste: opens with sweet and soft/smooth malts. notes of toasted grains, sweet caramels, hinting at a light toffee. dark fruits filter in ranging from figs to raisins. hops are on the backend and moderately strong. notes of herbal, earthy and resiny hops. alcohol comes in nicely at the very end.

Mouthfeel: heavy, soft rather than chewy. bitter, warming and lingering.

Overall: a great barleywine. best american version I've had in a while. at one year old I'm not too sure how much has changed but I can see this one aging slowly and nicely over a long time. the everything on this is balanced just right.

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AleSmith Old Numbskull from AleSmith Brewing Company
92 out of 100 based on 491 ratings.
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