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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 497 | Ratings: 1,404
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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Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle served in a snifter glass.

A: Pours a dark amber (almost chestnut) cloudy liquid forming a medium creamy, thin bubbled beige head. Medium retention and a lot of lingering and molasses lacings left in the glass

S: Delicious combination of caramel and sweet malts. Strong notes of wood and dark fruits. Citrus hops. Notes of orange, brown sugar and nuts. A bit booze in the end

T: Sweet upfront. Strong notes of caramel malts and dark dry fruits. Notes of oak, brown sugar and orange. Citrus hops. Good bitterness kick in the end. In overall, a mild sweet beer with a light but significant bitter end. Balanced

M: Heavy, creamy and molasses body. Medium to low carbonation. Bittersweet malty aftertaste

O: Good drinkability. AleSmith quality. One of the best Barleywines I've ever had. Very tasty but not extremely sweet. Molasses but balanced. Recommended

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Photo of Boto
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle: Didn’t realize I had this for so long. 2003 bottle drank in Feb 2014. This one pours a dark caramel color. There was about no head on mine, nor was there any lacing. The aroma is very nice. Faint citrus hops, along with some caramel malts. No sweetness to speak of. Possible some honey and raisins in there, as well as some toffee and biscuit. The taste is excellent. A slight sweetness, as well as a definite silky texture. Some caramel, raisin, toffee. There is a lot going on here. Actually a faint dryness to the finish. A wonderful offering.

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

Aroma: Citrus, caramel malt, brown sugar.

Appearance: Poured from 750ml bottle. Big light tan head, body is reddish/dark copper and clear.

Flavor: Sweet caramel with a light hoppiness at finish. Clean aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy, slight bitterness and dry. A little sticky at end.

Overall: Good Barley wine, a little too sweet fresh, might be a little smoother with some age. Not a whole lot to the beer that makes it stand out but it is a very nice drinkable beer. $15 for 750ml bottle

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.04/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

a very american barleywine ale, as determined by its aggressive piney hop profile that is just as prevalent in nose and taste as the malt here, which is what english barleywines usually showcase. more of a balanced offering, but a massive one. beautiful red copper glow to this, high gravity for sure, under a khaki head an inch tall and thick as tar. lots of hops on the nose, bitter, which counters the sweetness of the grain well, and it transitions right into the flavor. but grain bill no doubt, caramel sweetness and a dried fruit complex, but the hops wake you right up and this finishes real hoppy and bitter. like all the foiled alesmith brews, the alcohol is brilliantly well disguised and this drinks far lighter than it really is. a scary bottle to finish alone, but i would be happy to try. nice example of the highly hopped american barleywine.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.28/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Red tinted brown with a light brown head, and beautiful.

S: Tons of orange in the nose with some alcohol.

T: Orange/mango, papaya, brown sugar, and some alcohol character, but more burn than flavor.

M: Close to full bodied, average carbonation, a bit harsh with alcohol.

O: A great (I'd say American-style) barleywine.

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Photo of Mdog
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Red-amber with slight haze, good head, good lacing.

Smell: Hoppy citrus, not much malt detected.

Taste: Candy sweetness to start before a big kick of bitter citrus pith. As it warms up, a little more caramel comes through, but this seems more DIPA than barleywine.

Overall: Tasty stuff, but straddles the line between BW and DIPA. Even hoppy BW's like Bigfoot have substantial malt flavors when young, this one leans even harder on the hops. Not a big deal as I like both styles.

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

Bought a 750ml bottle at the brewery back in 2011 on a trip to San Diego. Aged this one in the cellar the last few years. Capped with foil presentation. Cold as heck in Philly right now after about an 8- inch snowstorm so figured the timing was right to open this one up.

Pours a hazy orange amber with nice lasting head. Lacing clings to the sides of the snifter I poured this into. Good solid carbonation evident.

Smells of orange marmalade, candied sugar, and sticky/chewy malt sweetness. Hops seem to have since faded but some lingering piney citrus seem evident in the background. No hot alcohols in the nose.

Tastes sweet upfront with nice firm bitterness that dries out most of the residual sugars before giving way to more sticky/chewy malts. Some dark fruits and light cocoa seem evident.

Feels full, thick and chewy. Exactly what I've come to expect from an American style barley wine. A few years seem to have mellowed out any potential harsh alcohol notes. 2-3 years seem about right to age this badboy.

Overall, another excellent beer from a brewery I truly admire and whose beers all seem to kick some ass.

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Photo of crnipeter
2.86/5  rDev -30.9%
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.

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AleSmith Old Numbskull from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.14 out of 5 based on 1,404 ratings.
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