Oct 23, 2015

AleSmith Old Numbskull

This is the last of the initial AleSmith beer review burst that I’ve had on the site this week. Phew. And, aside from Speedway Stout — review coming soonish — Old Numbskull was the best of the bunch. With an 11% ABV the brew couldn’t have been given a better moniker.

This particular bottle was packaged in May of this year, so it was just four months old when I cracked it open. For a big beer like this I’d call that pretty fresh. Generally, I like a couple of years on my barleywine, though there are a few that are pretty damn good young. Old Numbskull is one of those beers. It’s got an excellent, hop-forward flavor right out of the gate.


A dense, frothy head of beige foam rests comfortably atop the copper brew.

AleSmith Old Numbskull photo


The aroma is wonderfully citrusy with a solid malt breadiness and supporting pine. Hints of orange zest, grapefruit and caramel are also present.


This is a damn tasty barleywine. A solid amount of hop bitterness carries waves of pine, citrus, caramel and a touch of toffee. Herbal hop notes join toasted malt and a moderate sweetness before everything makes their way to the drying, lasting finish. The beer has an excellent body and appropriate warmth.


As stated above, I believe that there are only a handful of barleywines that are good fresh — most, if not all, require time to mature. Old Numbskull is a beer that is great young and still has signs that it should only get better with age. I’ll be picking up more of this for the future.

Rating: 4.25/5

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