AleSmith Brewing Co.
San Diego, CA
Available: AZ, CA, MA, OH, OR, MA
Comment: Old Numbskull is AleSmith’s first barley wine offering.
Alcohol (wt.): 8
Alcohol (vol.): 10
Original Gravity: 1100
Final Gravity: 1026
Malts used: Maris Otter, crystal malt
Hops used: Fuggles, Goldings and “a new English variety that is more pungent and intense”; dry hopped with “a combination of the more aromatic British varieties”, plus Mt. Hood, and Centennial
Red/brown barley wine that weighs in at 11% ABV. Stunning toasted malt and caramel on the nose with hints of nuts. A massive blast of rich, sweet, chewy malt fills the mouth, with undercurrents of burnt fruit and bitter hops. The hops—spicy and peppery—come through powerfully in the finish, balancing the rich malt and fruit notes. Throw another log on the fire and sip and sigh with pleasure.
There’s magnificent mahogany color and a head that speaks for itself; this beer is wonderfully mellow with light bitter undertones, fine maltiness, and hints of caramel and toffee. This is a great beer at 70ºF (21º C), and at 108º F (42º C) even better, more delicious and quite refreshing. AND if you dip your Oreo cookie in this beer, you'll never go back to milk!
An 11% alcohol barleywine in a 750ml bottle? This beer should come with instructions: “Just add friends.” This is a huge beer, but it is nicely balanced, making it very pleasing to drink. Bold hop bitterness pierces through chewy caramel and sticky toffee, with warming alcohol notes throughout. Savor this beer at cellar temperature. Enjoyable now, but this big boy should round out and improve over the next few years.