AleSmith Old Numbskull | AleSmith Brewing Company

505 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: 505 | Ratings: 1,440
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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Photo of MadCat
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: A reddish amber color with a short white head that leaves good lacing

Smell: Strong caramel malts and fig, some earthy and spicy hops

Taste: Fruity, caramel malts, light earthy and spicy hops

Feel: Full body, low carbonation

Overall: A pretty good barleywine, though it probably isn't something I would hunt for

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Photo of hansavijaticar
4.77/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

8 months old bottle. Beautiful clear copper colour. Caramel, hazelnuts and a bit of peppery hops on the nose, same flavours, but surprisingly bitter finish. No alcohol in smell and taste. Love it, one of the best beers I've tasted.

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Photo of barczar
4.01/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Nice dark fruit notes, with deeply caramelized toffee character in aroma.

Flavor is a bit lackluster, in comparison. Sweet, with a big bitterness at the finish.

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Photo of KYGunner
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Despite a relatively weak body the head was an immensely dense for that left a thick film on the glass. The nose is a bit weak and boozy but I do get a lot of malt base.

The flavors are strong and diverse with mostly malty tastes. I get chocolate and caramel malt but not the sweet variety. I also get fig and dark fruit, molasses, brown sugar, maple, tea leaf, barley and grainy malt. It's a bit thin but the 11% is completely hidden.

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Photo of Radome
4.46/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a goblet.

L - Color is deep copper verging on brown, with red highlights. It is clear when held up to the light. Head is light tan in color and is made of teeny tiny bubbles. Starts as a thick, creamy layer and drops to a semi-opaque layer on top of the beer. Solid, unmoving lace is left on the glass.

S - Aromas are very malty, reminiscent of graham crackers, gingerbread, molasses and sherry. There is an erarthy and spicy hops aroma, but well in the background.

T - Strong malt flavors of graham crackers, light roast, brown sugar, molasses and aged sherry. There is some earthy/spicy hops flavor, but it is muted against all the malt flavor. Clean despite the aged sherry character. Complex.

F - There is a medium to high hops bitternes. Low carbonation. Medium to thick body. Strong alcohol burn. All well-fitted to the style.

O - I find this to be on the bitter side and also to have an excessive aged sherry character, but it is still complex and enjoyable.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%

Silver foil capped 750mL bottle from Halftime Beverage. 2012 vintage. Served in a Barrel and Barley teku.

Pours chestnut with orange hued highlights and a two finger cap of dense, pale head. Retention is nice with a thin halo and a huge, lingering island of froth. Lots of splotchy lace.

Malty aromas of cereal, caramel, bread, earthy hops and faint toffee.

Flavors are earthy, sweet and boozey. Lots of grain character. Cereal, caramel malts and an alcohol flavor without the burn. Piney, resinous, herbal hop bitterness. A great mixture of big, sweet malts with earthy hops and an appropriate nip of booze.

Sticky, oily, medium feel with mild yet present carbonation. Resin, cereal and burnt caramel finish.

Two year aged Old Numbskull is tasty for sure but I recall fresh being a touch better for its more vibrant hop character. Time trades the fresher hops and hotter booze for smooth edges, fuller feel and more sweetness. All in all you can't go wrong either way. This is an excellent American barleywine.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.54/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2014 bottle. I can't believe I've never reviewed this.

Appearance - Deep amber body. Medium off-white head. Thin collar.

Smell - Citrus. Nutty barleywine malts. Caramel.

Taste - Sweet caramel. Nutty and toasty malt. Aggressively hopped. Culminates to quite a strong hoppy flavor. Grapefruit bitter finish.

Mouthfeel - Well carbonated. Medium heavy.

Overall - It's hoppy, which I know everyone doesn't love, but this is very nice.

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Photo of jellikit
3.25/5  rDev -21.5%

Appearance: Amber. Clear. Lots of bubbles rising to a thick tan head.
Smell: Christmas tree.
Taste: golden raisin, molasses, booze. Fusel Booze, and citric hops.
Mouthfeel: medium high carbonation. Dry.
Overall. Big. Boozey.

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Photo of Bowers-Brew
4.29/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served @ 50deg in Bruery snifter.

A - Nice brown body with Amber highlights. Thick ~1.5-2" tan head when poured aggressive.

S - Smell seemed to change a little each time I inhaled. Hops are very present, probably partially due to this still being a little fresh. Lots of caramel and toffee malt notes.

T/M - Lots of hops and malt, with sweet clean finish. A little thin feeling considering the carbonation was more than expected.

O - A solid American Barleywine. Alesmith hasn't disappointed me yet, so I didn't expect that they would here. Will get another bottle and cellar it for a little longer next time. Prost!

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Photo of richj1970
4.27/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 750 ml dated 12/18/2013.

A: Pours a rich mahogany brown and slightly cloudy with generous two to three finger tan head. Long lasting retention with head settling like a cap on top. Lots of sticky lacing,

S: Caramel and toffee. Dates and raisins. Roasted barley. Earthy hops and fresh pine cones.

T: Rich toffee, butterscotch, and caramel. Sweet dark fruity flavors with dates and plum. Biscuits drizzled with honey. Finishes with a big hop punch that cuts through the sweetness.

M: Thick and chewy with an average carbonation.

O: Very well done. Wonderful barleywine, and incredibly drinkable even considering ABV and fairly assertive hops.

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Photo of pat61
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%

Aged 18 months
Nose: caramel, toffee, plum, dark raisins, some biscuit and hop.
Pours deep hazy amber to chestnut with a clingy 1" light tan tinted foam cap that descends to a thick film but is easily roused. Has legs and is lacy.
Palate: Initial attack of rich malt flavors, dark caramel, a hint of dark chocolate, fruit, dark grapes, plum, prune, and then sherry to port flavor, alcohol, heat and a lingering sweet finish accented by hop bitterness.
Creamy chewy body with soft, medium carbonation.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
4.54/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Cloudy brown ale, with a thin head that is a bit off-white. Has a slight orange tint to it and I have to say very beautiful. Heavy bubbles to the body, looks delish. Serously.

Smell: The aroma that this brew gives off is very f'n addicting. Feels like roasted caramel, with a wave of barley hovering your nostrils. Yes I said it.

Taste: Has a caramel alcohol taste, complex and a tad sweet but feels just right. Honestly It's like a honey carbonated bourbon and I am not complaining at all.

Mouth: It's sticky, but only for a few moments...I am pairing it with pretzels and has an almost dessert feel to it.

Overall: I can honestly say this beer is one of the best American Barleywine beers I have had. I actually had one of my favorite a few hours earlier but this just tops it by a few notches. I have seen and hesitated in buying this and finally bit the bullet because I have been impressed with other Alesmith beers, this one hit nail in the coffin, Kevin approved! Salud.

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

Nice mahogany brown color with excellent clarity. There's a quarter inch head of light brown foam on top. Brussels lacing. Strangely on this barleywine I smell more of a piney hop aroma than malt. The taste has a strong pine hop edge but there's plenty of malt to back it up. Plenty of interplay between hops and malt going on. The mouth is somewhat sticky,but the drink ability for this barleywine is quite amazing. I notice hop aroma fades as it sits for awhile.

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Photo of RickS95
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful. Medium brown color, rich looking, opaque. Light tan, dingy white head. Good retention. Consistent tiny bubbles. No lace, but a creamy top left behind when bubbles have diminished.

Toffee and caramel, LOTS of malt that you might expect. Hops presence is muted by the malt.

I agree with the bottle--toffee and caramel malts served with a dose of dark fruits. Floral hoppy notes in the finish.

Full bodied and chewy. Very thick. High ABV is well tempered. Sweet from the malts. Has a bitter finish, but not a palate destroyer. Only slight heat. Smooth and creamy.

Overall, it's a very easy beer to get down, despite the style and ABV. I enjoyed every sip of this, not much not to like.

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Photo of Phigg1102
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an incredible deep amber with a tan head, color is remarkable on this. Aroma is deep roasted barley, grapes, alcohol, with heavy bready nuttiness. Taste follows the aroma well, with some residual sweetness and a tinge of hop charecter as well. This is one of the best looking beers I've ever seen, and The flavor is tops in this style.

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Photo of StaveHooks
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled on 1/23/14

A - Pours a dark copper with a thick khaki head. Thick sheets of lacing with nice retention.

S - Toasted caramel barley, toffee, citrus peel, pine hops, fruit bread, sugary alcohol.

T - Follows the nose with fruity caramel malts, sweet bready toffee, citrus oils, pine, with a kiss of leafy green hops. The sugary grains are nicely matched with the dominate hops, and the beer finishes quite dry.

M - Medium body with just the right amount of carbontion.

This went down very quick. Good stuff.

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Photo of barnzy78
4.36/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750mL, bottled on 09/24/13
L - huge beige head tops a bronze colored ale. Head retention is remarkable, as is the lacing
S - huge malt presence with caramel, toffee, bread, vanilla, juicy pineapple and mandarin are faintly present
T - big and boozy, very flavorful and complex; caramel, toffee, bread, nut, vanilla, fruit which is still a bit tropical with the pineapple and orange, earthy hop. More sweet than bitter.
F - full body, nice carbonation, actually very well balanced, with the booze lingering more than anything
O - different and delicious barley wine. For such a heavy beer, it managed to be pretty refreshing. Glad to try it. It's awesome see this brewery available in IL!

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Photo of tmzl
4.14/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Look: Pours with huge, thick, creamy (bit of big bubbles), yellow (light mocha) head. Good, slow retention, some random sticky lacing left on the way down. Leaves a very thick, mountainy, creamy top layer. Clear, deep amber.

Smell: Oak the most dominant, bourbon. Malt driven center with molasses and caramel, medium intensity. Lightly hop driven freshness, mostly pine. Also very light alcohol notes, they get up when it warms up. Sugary and a bit salty.

Taste: Medium-light honey, molasses start, that goes to medium sweet caramel, molasses middle and finishes with light pine bitterness with medium molasses, honey sweetness with a bit of oak. Oak and bourbon still stand strong. Lots of bitter honey sweetness stays on the lips. Nothing spikes out, everything in line - superb balance.

Mouthfeel: Full body, syrupy, bit of alcohol warming.

Overall: Expected it to be a lot sluttier, but everything stays in good taste. Mostly amber malt and barrel driven, but the hop character is very welcome and lifts this one to a superb level.

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Photo of seand
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear dark amber with a small amount of tan head. Just some spotty surface film retains, leaving mild lacing.

S: Densely sweet honey, brown sugar, and malt, with notes of dark fruit.

T: Sweet and complex to start, leading into a striking hoppy note that dominates the finish.

M: Full body, medium carbonation.

Overall, excellent. It has a lot going on, and does a good job balancing and not making anything overwhelming.

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Photo of kdahnke123
3.71/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

1/23/14 Bottling poured into a snifter.
A - Pours a medium amber color with one finger of off-white head that lingers and becomes a long lasting lacing.
S - Very, very hoppy. Almost a piney smell.
T - Hops up front with a mildly malty finish.
M - Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O - More of a triple IPA than a barely wine. It needs quite a bit more malt to be the balanced barely wine I was expecting. This is my first Alesmith ale. Maybe they are all on the hoppy side...

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Photo of oldmankoch
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an excellent hazy amber/red copper with nice 2 finger frothy khaki head that depletes to 1/4 inch and stays. Leaves Killer sticky lacing.

Smell is where this beer is lackluster (or I could just be getting a cold) either way the scents don't really smack you in the face. I pick up some base hops & malts plus mango, cinnamon, caramel, honeysuckle, and pine.

Taste is where I really appreciate this beer. It seems to be a blending of the best of both worlds. English meets American Barleywine. I feel there is a great balance between the two styles with the beer being hop forward and finishing with a great malty/caramel finish.

Mouthfeel is definitely medium bodied with nice carbonation and a slick oily chew.

Overall great and one of the top end Barleywines I've ever had

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Photo of Beaver13
2.91/5  rDev -29.7%
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 BlackHaddock
3.9/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another beer I managed to get my hands on and have a decent sized sample of during the Belgian Beer Board website Pre-Brugge Beer Festival bottle swap on 31st Jan 2014. Thank you whoever brought it.

My second ever Alesmith, I hope to meet some more one day.

Misty reddy brown with a light beige topping.

Dark fruits and caramel hit the nose initially, then more subtle notes arrive: light citrus hints and yeast esters mingle with the stronger said fruits and caramel malty molasses.

The taste is very similar to what your nose has told you: semi-sweet caramel, dark fruits with an underlying yeastiness with a citrus trace or two. Most enjoyable.

Rich and deep body with the alcohol just about kept in check.

Overall a very good brew and one I'd happily have again: maybe a bottle to myself next time.

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AleSmith Old Numbskull from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.14 out of 5 based on 1,440 ratings.
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