iowaherkeye (2703) - Ocean Beach, San Diego, California, USA - NOV 9, 2006
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
750mL courtesy of my Secret Santa, no idea of the date. Pours a clear orangeish red with a minimal light yellowish head. Aroma has some earthy hops, alcohol, toasty malts and peanuts, dark chocolate covered raisins and dirty caramel. The flavor has some dark chocolateyness up front, fairly sweet almost to the middle, and then turns more bitter. The finish was dry with some lingering bitterness. Iím not sure what it is--either the bit of odd bitterness or too much ETOH, but the taste was not quite superb for me. The alcohol is apparent midway through and continues to be clear down in mi estomago. Maybe I drank this too young--had no idea about the bottling date. Syrupy body, light-moderate carbonation.
IMtheOptimator (1164) - Bethel, Connecticut, USA - NOV 4, 2006
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: NOV 5, 2006 2004 Vintage. Poured a dark murky crimson/grape juice with a small creamy off-white head. Aroma is rich, sweet and oaky, with notes of sweet wine and molasses and some honey. Flavor is off-dry with complex notes of smoky molasses, red wine grapes, and a strong biting dryness that starts sharp in the beginning and slowly fades out, leading to a long dry finish. A nice mix of strength and subtlety. This would be even better if the body were more substantial and the flavor somewhat less smoky. But it still has the delicate Alesmith craftsmanship Iíve come to expect. Solid.
GuilTTy (728) - Cherry Hill, New Jersey, USA - NOV 4, 2006
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
Another nice find from BevMo in Pasadena. Pours a rich chestnut brown with a medium light tan head. Sweet aroma of caramel, vanilla, dried berries and brown sugar. Nicely layered flavors with plenty of roasted malt, pepper, mild hops and overripe fruit. Smooth, rich mouthfeel and a very long, swwet and enticoing finish with a warming alcohol kiss.
kepano (261) - Los Angeles, California, USA - NOV 2, 2006
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Being benumbed by Old Numbskull is not banal, and will beyond doubt beckon your bibulously blockish and bellicose doppelganger, but if beaming you want to be next morning, I would berate this beverage. Beneath a luminous and frothy foam lies a bright copper liquid, lightly brumous. Ethanol is blatant upon the nose, while blends in the background a mixture of apple, pear, almond and cherry; further below unctuous malts remind of toasted caramel, nougat, brown sugar and honey. The complexity is not lacking but the alcohol is what I blame, and again on the palate it bludgeons the taste buds. Bitter coffee, banana and a touch of grapefruit produce the primary flavor, smooth on the tongue but blasting bitterness on the finish. It may seem blasť, but blimey this numbskull is nothing to boast!
hophead75 (2012) - Largo, Florida, USA - OCT 29, 2006
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
750 split two ways. Deep murky copper in color with a small compact off white head. Aroma is sweet caramel, fruit, touches of wood and vanilla perhaps. Taste is sweet caramel, wood, light vanilla, fruit, and subtle alcohol and hops. good stuff!
allfreej (555) - Louisville, Kentucky, USA - OCT 28, 2006
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottled. Pours Coppery, with a frothy, amber head. Aroma is fruity, alcohol, and sweet. Flavor is caramel, citrus, alcohol in the finish. Finish has a nice bitter bite to it. Firm, pleasant mouthfeel. A fine barleywine!
IrishBoy (4103) - Bakersfield, California, USA - OCT 16, 2006
4.3 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Rating # 600 (None of that nasty stuff for a milestone) Bottle; Nose of malty caramel and plums; hazy copper with a covering of large beiege bubbles; flavor of fruit, caramel, and spices in a medium thick body. A little alcohol lasts into the finish. Heavenly tasting!
eboats (1082) - Omaha, Nebraska, USA - OCT 8, 2006
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Poured muddy brown like creek water with a dirty white head. Aroma is big and malty, nutty, carmel and bread. Almost smells chewy. Flavor is nuts, carmel, and bread. Good body with a dry finish. Very average BW.
GarrettB (1462) - San Diego, California, USA - OCT 8, 2006
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: OCT 13, 2007 Iím reading over the commercial description here on the Old Numbskull, and AleSmithís little mini-litany defending the Numbskullís name is making a whole lot of sense. It definitely thumps the skull with a fair bit of force and alcohol, thatís for sure, but Iím uncertain whether Iím really into the whole business of knocking my senses around with muscle bound beers. The real fault is my own inability to translate the salient features of Barley Wines into appreciable characteristics. Even the notorious Old Numbskull, a namesake I can deeply relate to, is above (or below) my sensory radar, depending on whether Iím feeling haughty or humble. All the same, I was stoked to give another AleSmith a try, especially while AleSmith was 1-1 for my taste buds. Again, thanks to my philistine palate Iím unable to appreciate what so many find in the flippantly and friendly titled Old Numbskull. It pours a lovely semi-translucent auburn color, with a wooly brick of foam sitting atop like a life raft in a choppy sea. The smell gently curls out and away from the beer, intimating barbeque smoke, stale pears, an arcane cheesiness, grapefruit, soft peach notes and hops to the nose. Naíer have I smelled something quite as nice, or as interesting. Nothing is exciting as a smell my nose can really ruminate over, and there the Old Numbskull brilliantly succeeds. The denser dunce of the flavor tasters, my own tongue, failed to become the aesthete my nose is. Instead it grappled with a stifling, cloying alcohol, itself accompanied with a spritzy malts. A bit of warmth introduces slivers of licorice flavor to the beginning and a gentle taming of the ethanol, but nothing so radical as to change my opinion of the flavor. The abundance of alcohol is nothing to admire, but the palate is something different. Itís well balanced and light, springy but smooth, almost like I could chew it. Probably one of the finest mouthfeels of any beer Iíve had; a drink entirely welcome to be supine on my tongue. Still, I regret connecting with the Numbskull as a concept more than a beer, which, with great irony, may make me the greatest Numbskull of all. A true testament to the frivolity the brewerís extol so much in their beer christening.
KAME (160) - California, USA - OCT 1, 2006
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
í06 Bottle, Pours a reddish brown with a small off-white head. Aroma is of burnt caramel and alcohol. Alcohol is present in both aroma and taste, but not overwhelming. Taste is of spicy caramel with light fruitiness. One of the better barleywines that really defines the style. This is definitely a winter warmer.