AleSmith Decadence 2011 Maple Smoked Barleywine Barrel Aged | AleSmith Brewing Company

very good
91 Ratings
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AleSmith Decadence 2011 Maple Smoked Barleywine Barrel AgedAleSmith Decadence 2011 Maple Smoked Barleywine Barrel Aged

Brewed by:
AleSmith Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Barrel Aged Decadence 2011 is our Maple Smoked Barleywine (brewed to celebrate our 16th anniversary) matured in premium bourbon barrels.

Added by HopHead84 on 02-27-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Ratings: 91 |  Reviews: 13
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.18/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at AleSmith Brewing Company in San Diego, CA.

Pours a murky orange-brown with a foamy tan head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Foamy streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, caramel, toasted coconut, and wood. Taste is much the same with a vanilla bourbon flavor and an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp but sticky mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer but it's quite strong and boozy right now.

 597 characters

Photo of Knapp85
4.11/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of kojevergas
3.56/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml brown glass (black glass?) bottle with black foil-ed over unbranded pry-off pressure cap acquired at Alesmith a year ago or so and served into an EKU 28 stem-snifter in me parents' gaff in high altitude Castle Rock, Colorado. Reviewed live. Expectations are fairly high given its current 90 rating, though I wasn't very fond of the base beer. 11% ABV confirmed per the label. The label features gold font and is classy and intricate. Style per the label: "Smoked Barleywine-Style Ale Brewed with Maple Syrup and Aged in Bourbon Barrels." 2011 vintage (obviously).

Served cold - straight from me fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: No bubble show forms as it's poured.

Pours a one finger wide head of khaki colour. Nice creaminess and thickness. Nice smooth even consistency. Little lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes, and little remains for very long. Head retention is average - about two minutes.

Body colour is a translucent orange-amber of average vibrance. Nontransparent. No floating yeast particles/sediment is visible.

Overall, it's an appealing appearance for the style. I'm looking forward to trying it, but it's not unique or special. What I'd expect from a barleywine.

Sm: The maple is more subtle than I remember from the base beer - or maybe it's just covered up by the bourbon notes, which consists of ample vanilla and oak , but sadly no toasty character. Any smoke character is very restrained/faded. In my experience, smoke recedes with age. Plenty of typical barleywine malts - brown malts primarily. There's also some cream and some hints of fruit - faint cherry and currants mostly. Clearly, a suitable bourbon was chosen given the richness of the oak and seeming extent to which the barrel notes complement (if not develop) the base beer.

No yeast character, hop character, or overt booziness is detectable.

As it warms, the maple syrup emerges a bit more, lending some sweetness up front. The aroma does seem a biteen too sweet, but it's tolerable. It's a pleasant aroma of mild to moderate strength.

T: Ah. So much more well balanced and built than the base beer. The smoke has faded, to be sure, but there is a faint subtle hint of beechwood. The foundation is pretty standard for a barleywine: brown malts mainly, with some biscuit malt, caramel, and cream. The barrel notes are lovely and really complement the base beer nicely; I pick up lovely oak and some wonderful vanilla - neither of which feels artificial. Still, I would like some toasty character. The maple is much more reticent than would be ideal, unfortunately. I'd like it with a bit more wood.

It also boasts some faint burnt sugar, very light hints of leather, and a kiss of dark fruit (which develops as it warms).

Overall, it's a very cohesive build, but not quite a gestalt one. There's abundant complexity here as well as a fair amount of subtlety. The smoke and maple would provide nuance if they were more present, but having tried the base beer I'm glad they've faded. Fairly intricate. Above average depth of flavour. Average duration and intensity of flavour.

No yeast character comes through. It has a pleasant alcohol warmth which fits with the premise of the beer yet admittedly restricts drinkability.

Mf: Has a nice creaminess - especially up front. Smooth and wet. Nice thickness and body. Heavy on the palate, to style. Nice presence on the palate. As well as it complements the flavour profile, the texture doesn't come off custom-tailored to the taste. It's a biteen overcarbonated, unfortunately.

Not oily, astringent, gushed, rough, or hot - though it does have some pleasant alcohol warmth.

Dr: It's a sipper, to be sure, and is best consumed in the winter months. I'm surprised at its quality given the base beer used, but Alesmith has again shown their mastery over barrel aging and heavy American styles. It hides its ABV pretty well, but there's room for improvement. I'll enjoy killing this bottle alone and I almost wish I had another bottle. I'd recommend this to friends, and can verify aging has done it well. One of most improved-with-age beers I've had. I'd definitely buy it again just to see how it develops.

A lovely barleywine with well-integrated barrel notes that will please even the discerning drinker.

Low B

 4,393 characters

Photo of oline73
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

Photo of Rifugium
3.75/5  rDev -8.1%

Photo of billab914
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of nathanmiller
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of vfgccp
4.55/5  rDev +11.5%

Photo of XmnwildX12
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of mendvicdog
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of duceswild
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of mdaschaf
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of drewone
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Deep reddish copper. Small khaki head. Uneven collar. Nothing exciting looking.

Smell - Lots of maple and caramel. Barrel notes are nice without being too strong. Vanilla and oak. Bourbon is nice, but secondary.

Taste - Really mapley. Love that flavor. Caramel. Vanilla and bourbon comes up secondary. Drops off in the finish. Dry and a little astringent.

Mouthfeel - Nice and thick up front, but drops off in the back. Astringent dry finish.

Overall - Very tasty with a disappointing finish.

 548 characters

Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of stakem
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev -2%

Photo of IrishColonial
3.5/5  rDev -14.2%

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AleSmith Decadence 2011 Maple Smoked Barleywine Barrel Aged from AleSmith Brewing Company
4.08 out of 5 based on 91 ratings.
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