atpayne (615) - Zionsville, Indiana, USA - DEC 15, 2005
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Botttle 32 of 240 at the Indy gathering, thanks to Sprinkle. Cloudy orange with a little head. Aroma is bitter but not overpowering. Alcohol and a bit of oak character also in the aroma. Sweet malts and a woody flavor and a realy strong hop bitterness which has a chalkyness on the finish. Still has a fresh hop feel, but I think some of that comes from the alcohol seeming to kick up the bitterness with a bite. Despite this bite it still has quite a nice smooth barrel influenced finish. I want to check this one out in a while.
jsquire (3721) - St. Marys, Ohio, USA - DEC 12, 2005
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
2004 Bottle 32/240. Thanks to Sprinkle for this bottle (and thanks to whomever sent it to him). Murky orange color with a fine beige head that left nice lace. Buttery caramel nose with wafts of alcohol. Lots of oak, vanilla and caramell sweetness. Warming alcohol on the exhale. I think the barrel overtakes the underlying barley wine. Very nice beer, but the barrel does not give the same wonderful compliment to the Old Numbskull as it does to the Speedway.
hippie4beer (162) - Indianapolis, Indiana, USA - DEC 12, 2005
4.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Bottle. #32/240. Thanks to SPRINKLE for sharing this. Pours a hazy chestnut color with a thin head. Aroma of Alcohol with a smokey nise finish. Flavor is hugley hoppy with a creamy woody flavor with an alcohol finish. Not too complex, but a definately a treat.
bb (7382) - Alamo, California, USA - DEC 8, 2005
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
UPDATED: NOV 13, 2006 Bottle. #208/240. Rich amber beer with a thin light beige head. Bourbon notes in aroma - strawberry, sweet malt, and alcohol. Strng bourbon flavor with some vanilla and oak. Some fruit. Noticable alcohol. The bourbon just overpowers everything and is way too much in your face. Thereís a good beer underneath, but its being hidden by the bourbon. Tasted in a side-by-side comparison with the regular Numbskull, and this one tasted more of alcohol and had much less complexity.
Schultsc (572) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 4, 2005
4.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: SEP 25, 2008 2002 Vintage. Incredible. Everything that makes regular Old Numbskull outstanding is here as a foundation for an even more evolved, profound beer. Highly complex aroma, richness, and bitterness with added bourbon and wood character from the barrel, along with vanilla, caramel, subtle red fruits, and style-appropriate oxidation. The level of complexity here is beyond comparison. Itís like various layers of the beer are decomposing to form new flavors and aromas while at the same time revealing still more levels waiting beneath. This beer rewards careful comtemplation--philosophising even. Very intellectual. Very special.
chilehead (186) - Laguna Niguel, California, USA - NOV 30, 2005
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Super, super good! We had bottle #95/250 released this year. A wonderful beer. Tasted this alongside several other alesmith brews and some big barleywines and this really stood out as a winner. I cantí wait to try the other bottles I have over the next 10 years.
Nose is of oak and butterscotch. Barleywine forwardness is mellowed and softened, nicely rounded by the aging itís gone through. Caramel and tawny notes, a beer you could slosh in your mouth for minutes before swallowing. Disclaimer: non-BA Old Numbskull is one of my favorites, so I was destined to really love this beer.
elnadeau (786) - Laguna Niguel, California, USA - OCT 31, 2005
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Thanks to chilehead for sharing this bottle, #75 2005 vintage. I know this will improve with cellaring, but itís gorgeous already. Very pretty in the glass, aroma is caramel fruity sweet malt, hints of oak and some hops. The oak barrell aging rounds out the overall flavor, IMO does not overpower the complexity but enhances. Definitely worth the trouble my neighbor went through to drive down to the brewery & stand in line to buy this ;)
FlacoAlto (3810) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - OCT 30, 2005
2.8 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 10/20
2004 Vintage bottle, # 202/240, Sampled October 2005
It is with much anticipation that I open this baby up. I really could not believe the news that I would be able to purchase this beer at my local bottle shop here in Tucson, AZ (thanks again LittleGuy). It pours a deep amber color that when held up to the light shows a mostly brilliantly clear cherry red color. The head is a frothy, creamy, rocky mix of textures and is a light amber to tan color. As I pour this beer I get a big caramel maltiness coupled with a shot of Bourbon aromatics. The oak is strongly evident in the nose; at first comes a tannic woody note that moves to notes of vanillin and finishes off with a strong note of buttery oak. Underneath the wood character there is a hint of the former hop monster that this beer was: I get hints of floral pine, and remembrances of grapefruit long suppressed.
The beer has no apparent sweetness to it (at least what could be there is drowned out by the other flavors). The mouthfeel on this one is incredibly rich and smooth up front, creamy would be an apt description for this beer to be sure. The taste actually has a bit of sourness to it, really just makes this beer slightly tart up front. The tartness coupled with fruitiness, reminds me of tart plums and apples. All of these are just peripheral flavors though; this beer is absolutely dominated by the oak character. Throughout is a buttery oak note that is joined by notes of vanillin as well as a tannic woody astringency that reminds me black tea. The finish is still quite hoppy though with a solid bitterness that tries to peak through the oak, but ultimately succumbs to the buttery oak notes which linger long after the beer has left my mouth. Hints of this beers former glory surface from time to time; at times I get a faint trace of a sharp hop flavor that is a mix of citrus and herbs, but then it vanishes just as quickly as it was noticed. At other times I get wisps of malt character (like notes of sweet caramel and rich toffee), but they too get quickly trampled by the Bourbon Barrel.
This beer has mostly become a vehicle for the barrel flavors, what flavors that do peak through from the Old Numbskull play a supporting role to mitigate / round-out the oak flavors. I bet you a mixture of half fresh Numbskull and half this beer would be quite tasty, there would still be a big hop and malt presence to balance out the barrel contribution. As this beer stands it does not have enough balance nor complexity to be great. I have never been a fan of barrel aged beers for barrel aged beers sake; I really prefer a bold beer flavor with the supporting role being played by the barrel character. In this case the barrel character plays the lead role, and somewhere down there in the supporting cast there is an aged version of Old Numbskull.
<font size=-4>Purchased: <a href=http://www.ratebeer.com/Places/ShowPlace.asp? Liquors, Tucson, AZ<font size=-1>
KAggie97 (3529) - Ugly, Hot, and Humid Spring, Texas, USA - OCT 22, 2005
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Bottle, GABF 05, poured by Mr. AleSmith himself. Pours a luscious solid gold with an aggressive raisin/ yeast aroma. Flavor is alcohol, raisin, yeast, and a slight bourbon finish. Palate coats perfectly. Outstanding.
walleye (1080) - Sterling Heights, Michigan, USA - OCT 20, 2005
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
thanks to BBB63 for this bottle #92. had this on 6/10 at kuhnhenns bash. poured a amber brown, with no head. aroma alcohol, caramel brown sugar and malts and dark fruits. flavor caramel, alcohol (bourbon), malts fruit, woody. this was very good wish I could get more.