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AleSmith Decadence 2005 - Barrel Aged

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RATINGS: 220   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.04   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 330   ABV: 11%
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lucklys' rating

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
lucklys (62) - Chandler, Arizona, USA - APR 4, 2011
Major thanks to Dak, heís still officially (and probably will be forever) my favorite beer person. In the world. (111/124) * * * I have to be frank here and say that my review is going to be sub-par for multiple reasons, specifically that I was really more interested in basking in the moment as well as the fact that I was at least 10 tastes in at this point, so please, forgive me for my terrible notes. * * * Poured into my designated tasting glass from Cigar City Brewing, it appeared a rich dark chestnut brown with ruby/copper highlights and was very murky and speckled with sediment. I canít say much about the head, as I didnít pour it myself, and it was probably a good 2 or 3 minutes before I was able to really delve into it and take pictures, so judging solely from the photographs and what Iíve read about most extensively aged (as well as barrel aged) beers, Iím willing to deduce that what I saw when I was snapping shots is pretty much all there was. A few large bubbles submerged under smaller bubbles in a medium pearly, wheat-colored ring of foam hugged the glass while floating heavily on top of the liquid. As I drank the beer, there was no lacing left behind and no visible carbonation throughout. * * * Now that weíre done with the easy visual part, I canít guarantee my opinions and findings with this beer, but I will try my damnedest to decipher my scribbled notes. As I stuck my nose in the glass, I initially came out with lots of vanilla, milk chocolate, and caramel, which made it seem very sweet. As I returned to the brew, thick oaky notes and pieces of syrupy brown sugar toffee floating in bourbon presented themselves alongside some deep, rich malts and slightly fainter dark fruits, namely raisins and figs, which I actually didnít find until after I had started tasting. Despite all of the very sweet components, the larger presence of the bourbon and oak really smoothed everything out without making it too mild or too heavy. * * * How am I doing so far? Not too shabby for a beer I had 3 days ago in the middle of a busy and delicious tasting, if I do say so myself. Now for the flavors. From what I remember without looking at my notes, and while reading through what I found in the nose, I think that the taste and the aroma were pretty similar and complimented each other in their similarities. According to my notes, the whole drink was ridiculously smooth and dominated by the bourbon and oak flavors. I found some faint dark fruit molasses (raisin and fig again, maybe some dates), quite a bit of vanilla and caramel, sweet dark malts, chocolate, toffee, and a very light doughy yeast that seemed a little out of place. I may have imagined the yeast altogether, but with all of the "specialty yeast strains" they used in this brew, I guess it shouldnít surprise me that some of it may have survived. Regardless, it wasnít a feature that would ever characterize this beer for me, so Iíll just focus on the sweet, sweet dark and malty and bourbony love that poured from this bottle. I did enjoy that there wasnít a sweet aftertaste and that the mouthfeel was creamy without being thick or syrupy. The carbonation was lightly spicy, due in large part to the alcohol (11%) Iím sure, but over the course of my tasting, it actually felt rather soft, though far from flat. Overall, trying to tell that this Decadence was 11% alcohol was impossible. It was just too smooth in execution and too velvety in flavor, which made for one hell of an experience. I only wish that words could do it justice. This was definitely one of my favorite beers from the tasting and I am counting myself extremely lucky to have had this opportunity.


3.5
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
PartyFowle (84) - - DEC 24, 2014
2010 edition, from the bottle. Mostly clear burgundy, with a tight tam head that eventually recedes to nothingness. Nice bourbon and dark fruit blend -- raisins, dates, dark cherries, vanilla, rye whiskey, cocoa. This bottleís a little old, and thereís a background of old honey, caramel and brandy. The flavor is smoother, showing less alcohol and a balanced blend of fig and roasty bourbon. The oxidation shows in a flash at first, then recedes and gives way to the velvet-smooth booze. Medium body, mild CO2, quite a bit of boozy numbness. Past its prime, but not by much. Still a tasty brew.

4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
jmagnus87 (2732) - Rockford, Illinois, USA - DEC 17, 2014
Sampled during RBSG. From notes. Caramel, oak, bourbon, dark fermented fruit.

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
markextrae (1324) - NETHERLANDS - SEP 28, 2014
Bottle sample 2010 version. Poured dark amber to Brown colour. Caramel, oak, dark fruits, oak, Bourbon, plums, vanilla, Nice big mouthfeel

4.2
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
mcberko (7248) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - SEP 27, 2014
750mL bottle, pours a deep dark mahogany with a small tan head. Nose is divine, with loads of bourbon barrels, brown sugar, vanilla and oak. Flavour is very sweet and complex, with loads of bourbon barrels upfront, followed by vanilla and brown sugar. Very complex, with lots of sweetness, bourbon and vanilla. Somehow this isnít anywhere close to cloying. Nicely balanced. Wonderful stuff.

4.4
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
slowrunner77 (6114) - Reno, Nevada, USA - SEP 24, 2014
This 2010 old ale, which Iíve mistaken added as 2011 for reasons unknown started as a nice malty old ale and got heavy heavy bourbon influence from the long time in a barrel. Loads of vanilla, booze, spice and roasty malts. So smooth n tasty I think it a significant improvement to the base. Maybe even a little fruity."

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
48FanInCali (748) - California, USA - AUG 25, 2014
2010 version - lots of caramel, brown sugar, and vanilla on the nose and taste. Not as sweet as other I have had in this style before but it is holding up well to the aging. The base beer is one of my favorite Old Ales around so I am glad the Alesmith has made it an annual release. That way BA versions of this should be an annual event. Not as good BA4D or the Bruery Anni beers but not far behind that group.

2.8
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 10/20
FlacoAlto (3810) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - AUG 9, 2014
Sampled May 2014; 2010 version
A steady pour into my teku glass produces a fat-one-finger thick, light brown / amber tinged, dark tan colored head. The beer is a concentrated amber / rich brown color that shows a hazy, red tinged, amber hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells of smoky, caramelized malt, musty woody oak notes, lots of Bourbon spice, a significant warming / hot character from the alcohol and barrel. There is perhaps a touch of tartness, and a bit of fruit character here as well; reminds me of dates, perhaps some fig notes, Bourbon contributed melon, as well as some sour apple notes. There is a toasted malt character that has a toasted brown sugar character to it, a rich toasty caramel character, and a rich toasted not-quite-sweet brown bread character.

Thick and viscous as it first hits my palate, the finish is dried out significantly, and the body is burned off by a lingering heat of Alcohol and Bourbon barrel fusels. Up front this has a rich, caramelized, malty, concentrated fruit contributing (raisin and date) character that is more rich than sweet. There are rich nutty notes here brought out by the dark malt character and the barrel aged oxidation character, as well as toasted whole grain, brown bread flavors. There is a hint of barrel induced tartness to the finish that is accentuated by the Bourbon flavors, and there is a significant spicy, peppery wood character here as well as a hint of rounded, toasted oak.

The Bourbon Barrel character is way too heavy in this beer to be remotely balanced. I tend to not like beers that pick up significant heat from spirit barrel aging, and this one certainly has. An interesting experience, but not really something I want to be drinking much of. This reminds me a lot of the 2004 Vintage of the Barrel Aged Old Numbskull, which was another beer ruined by too much barrel character.

4.5
   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
Sparky (2243) - Phoenix, Arizona, USA - JUL 31, 2014
Pours cloudy iced tea brown with a thin tan head. The nose is brown sugar, dark fruits, sweet bourbon and oaky vanilla. The taste is molasses, raisins, caramel and bourbon. Medium semi-creamy mouthfeel. Awesome. 4.5

4
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
anders37 (17658) - MalmŲ, SWEDEN - JUL 9, 2014
Bottle @ RBSG Grand Tasting. Pours a dark amber color with a small off-white head. Has a fruity malty bourbon woody caramel and dark fruit aroma. Fruity malty woody caramel and toffee flavor with hints of bourbon and dark fruit. Has a fruity malty woody toffee and caramel finish.

4
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
GenDV138 (1896) - Falls Church, Virginia, USA - JUL 5, 2014
Bottle during RBSG 2014 Grand Tasting at Schlafly Tap Room thanks to brokensail. 2010 release. Dark amber brown with off-white head. Aromas of caramel, dark fruit, toffee. Tastes of bourbon, caramel, toffee, dark fruit. Medium-full body with a dry finish.


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