Aroma, hint of caramel maltyness. Hint of pruneish bite. Brown sugar sweetness. Hint of Centennialish hop in the background. Hint of alcohol "burness", it's a barleywine so that should be expected. Needs to warm up for that to come out. All the aromatics are subtle, nothing is clearly prevalent or over powering, but it's complicated, pleasant, and blended well. It smells... subtly great.
Look, Deep caramel translucence. As brown as red can get. Long lasting lace with big bubbles that cling to glass for a long long time.
Taste: This is growing on me as it warms up. Is it warm, sure- it's a barelywine. There's a tight carbonation, but it doesn't contribute a bubble bite. It's caramel sweet malty beer with a hint of hop in the background. The sweet hides *some* of the alcohol, but it's there. This is a great beer. The opposite of a session beer, this is a great night cap to drank slowly and appreciated.
Pours partially clear with floaties. Foam is huge with tightly packed tan bubbles that froth up as it slowly recedes. Lacing is very sticky, webbing up the sides of the glass.
Aroma is classic American barleywine. A prune scent leads but not the usual dark prune, more a ripe prune: another year of aging and it will turn to the dark side. Brown sugar, molasses, and caramel sweetness add to round out the malt profile. Hop dankness shows through late and defines days gone past that carried a hoppier profile. A touch of earthiness shows as it warms, possibly from the cellaring.
Taste is light up front but builds steam as it goes. Similar to the aroma. Alcohol presence builds towards the end, occupying the finish a burning on the way down.
Medium body with minimal to almost no carbonation. Attenuation almost makes the beer dry.
Could do from another year or two in the cellar, possibly cooling of the alcohol burn, becoming more complex allowing the fruits to become dark. Enjoy!
Reviewed: Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 22:42:10
Tasted: Thursday, December 20, 2012
$9.99 for 750 ml bottle
One fine body…
over 24,906 ratings
A West Coast style barleywine. A huge malt profile and a very aggressive dose of premium domestic hops give Old Numbskull a tantalizing complexity, from the aroma to the aftertaste.
"Well ya see, Norm, it's like this... A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That's why you always feel smarter after a few beers." - Cliff Clavin, of Cheers