Brewery: AleSmith Brewing Co., San Diego, California
Beer: Old Numbskull
Serving: 750 ml capped bottle
Information: 11% ABV, Serve in a goblet at 50-55°F, Bottled 05/07/13.
Style: American Barleywine
Cellaring: Under proper conditions, this beer can be cellared for extended periods.
Deep bronzed amber is hazed and crowned by a thick cap of ivory foam that rests with length on the beer. Heavy lace coats the snifter as the foam subsides.
Tooth enamel-stripping resiny hop bitterness tears through the olfactory and plunges sticky, sap-laded pine needle and earthy wood chips into gooey caramel and honey drizzled toasted wheat bread.
Bold and assertive, this American Barleywine is rich with toasted, dry bread notes, sweet caramel and toffee sliver, and warm pretzel twist for a thick base and overlaid by mounds of American hops. Earthy bark and pine needle resemble the nose quite closely, overcoming the malts in the end.
The initial feeling of this beer is crisp and lighter but that quickly turns to sweet heftiness, finishing with an incredibly amount of bitterness from the hops on the finish. Lingering with dryness, Old Numbskull warms the stomach up quite nicely while avoiding alcohol heat beyond the thin feel it brings to the body.
Layers of complexity run through this bold and somewhat flagrant beer. Deep maltiness provides a base for heavy handed hopping but expresses wonderful sweetness while American hops are bold and brazen. The end result is a fairly balanced, though hop-leaning barleywine that’s sure to sneak by you with it’s strength.
Score: 91 / 100 - Exceptional