AleSmith Old Numbskull | AleSmith Brewing Company

503 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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 503 | Ratings: 1,424
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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Photo of Bob_Horne
4.75/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours a deep ruby amber color with a half inch of frothy off-white head. Retention is solid and leaves behind some nice lacing. S: Strong aromas of caramelized malts and earthy hops. Followed by notes of brown sugar, toffee, dark fruits, nuts, vanilla, and fig. Lot of pleasant aromas colliding at once. T: Sweet toasted malts, barley, caramel, and brown sugar. In the middle you find notes of dark fruits, fig, honey, toffee, nuts, and vanilla. Finishes with some nice earthy hops and a pleasant level of alcohol to really balance the brew. M: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Slick and smooth with a nice alcohol warmth and a nice astringency to balance the sweetness of the malts. O: A very well balanced and delicious barleywine. I think that this would probably age incredibly well.

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Photo of andrenaline
4.24/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled Sept. 2013, this one has been aging for some time. Pours a nice ruby colour, finger of head with little retention or lacing. Loads of caramel and toffee malts, hints of earthy hops. Surprising hope presence with earthy cedar and hints of spruce tips, loads of toffee and caramel, dark fruit notes and a lingering bitterness. Smooth with a touch of dryness. The ABV is non-existent making it insanely drinkable and dangerous. I will definitely try to procure more of this.

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Photo of Cannibalgasm
4.16/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle.

A: Pours a deep ruby amber color with an inch and a half of frothy off-white head. Retention is solid and leaves behind some nice lacing.

S: Strong aromas of caramelized malts and earthy hops up front. Then notes of brown sugar, toffee, dark fruits, nuts, vanilla, and fig. There is a lot of pleasant aromas colliding at once.

T: Sweet toasted malts, barley, caramel, and brown sugar up front. In the middle you find notes of dark fruits, fig, honey, toffee, nuts, and vanilla. Finishes with some nice earthy hops and pleasant level of noticeable alcohol to really balance the brew.

M: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Slick and smooth with a nice alcohol warmth and perfect level of astringency to balance the sweetness of the malts.

O: A very well balanced and delicious barleywine. I really find myself enjoying this one and wishing I had more to continue drinking it. Another thought is that this would probably age incredibly well. I will be picking up a couple more to decide what to do with and would recommend any fan of barleywines to give this one a shot.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.38/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Old Numbskull pours a hazy dark copper color with a big, lacing long lasting head. There is a very earthy aroma with hints of hops and oak. Big earthy flavors, big hop notes, some oak to finish. Nice body, strong flavors. Overall its very strong and sharp, earthy notes are a bit over powering, but still a decent beer.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a copper body with one finger head and left lace patches. Bitter, earthy hops dominant aroma that I have not experienced in a barleywine although there are some toffee and bread notes as well. Caramel and toffee sweetness, along with hints of figs, plays a supporting role to a leading citric/bitter hopped flavor profile. Medium to heavy bodied and a slow sipper, this is indeed a hopped up barleywine that packs a hop wallop and still gives off (limited) sweet and boozy notes. I liked this beer and enjoyed taking my time with it (the hops and booze perk up as beer warms) but I'm not completely sold on "hop bomb barleywines" (just my personal preference).

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Photo of beermeplz
4.55/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Easily one of my favorite non-BA barleywines. Wonderful, sweet bread aroma that carries over into the flavor. Rich and sticky but not cloying, with some pleasant bitterness on the back end...definitely a sipper. A great go-to for a high-quality barleywine that's complex enough to keep you coming back for more.

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Photo of chinchill
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at BrewDog's Aberdeen pub.
Ruby-copper body with a creamy tan head. Particularly good head for a barleywine.
Boozy feel but alcohol is partly hidden in the taste.
Medium-full body with near medium carbonation.

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Photo of drpimento
4.42/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I don't get everything it says on the bottle. However, the appearance is very good with nice frothy, long lasting, cream-colored head, plenty of lace, a a very clear honey amber color. Aroma is fresh hops, malt, caramel. Flavor gets more interesting while being similar to nose, brings some fruit, a see saw of sweetness and bitterness that is very long, but then has resin solvent flavor at the very end along with a wee bit of alcohol. Body is good but is interfered with the weird solvent/bitter. Overall a powerhouse that I think would be better as it gets warmer.

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Photo of SawDog505
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a 16 snifter bottled 5/27/14. Pours a dark auburn, with a 3 inch off white head that leaves behind plenty of lace, as it slowly settles. Excellent retention.

Smell is loads of brown sugar, caramel, toffee, piny hops, vanilla, and some dark fruit.

Taste follows very well with burnt caramel, toffee, brown sugar, with a piny and dark fruit finish, very nice and very aggressive, but balanced.

Body is medium large, plenty of life, on the dry side, and a sipper that drinks pretty easy for what it is.

Overall a world class American Barleywine that makes you want to sip faster than you should.

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Beautiful rustic ice-tea pour produces a dark, beige foam topping, 2 fingers strong. Slow creep of micro-gold beads crawl up the glass walls. Nice thick milky lacing, full coverage on the vessel. Monster head on the second pour, freshly baked bread topping with tons of residual sugars and malts clinging to the glass walls.

S: Nose is sweet toffee, brown sugar, and fresh, wet citrus with a hint of fresh lime. Bit of fresh, wet apple-pear fruitiness sneaks in.

T: Flavor is sweetly toasted vienna and honey malt laced with a citrusy alcohol background. Wet citrus hopping, semi-dry lemon with some stalky grape nut notes. Sweet and worty, dark fruit of plum and figs, dark crystal raisiny character with some apple-plum yeastiness. Warming alcohol, soothing, never overtakes, with a bready-citrus finish.

M: Syrupy mouthful, full bodied, some carbonation texture that turns chewy.

O: Overall sweet, syrupy, sticky with warming citrus-alcohol notes. Strong visual and aroma, solid flavor and a great sipper ovet the long haul that reveals layers of spectrum over warming.

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Photo of GOBLIN
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not sure why anyone would sleep on Ale Smith. But if you do . . . don't. This is a delicious barleywine. Toffee, caramel and other subtle sweet flavors come together to make this more than another enjoyable sipper.

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Photo of founddrama
4.85/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Velvety smooth. A little boozy but dangerously drinkable. Sparkles a bit on the tongue. Sweetness present but not *sweet*.

Good comparison here is Old Horizontal. Both make Ridge Runner look like a Pabst.


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Photo of stephens101
4.38/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Burgundy in color with a bubbly, fluffy tan froth. A prominent caramel malt aroma is followed by notes of gum and cherry. Tastes of caramel, cherry, alcohol, taffy, spice and pine. Becomes slightly phenolic as it warms. Heavy and creamy. The alcohol heat lingers at the back of the throat.

Hot as hell and sweet as pie makes for very fine drinking.

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AleSmith Old Numbskull from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.14 out of 5 based on 1,424 ratings.
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