Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Bitter - Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
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Ratings: 51 | Reviews: 30 | Display Reviews Only:
United Kingdom (England)
4.22/5 rDev +15.6%
I was amazed to find I’d never reviewed this beer having drank it on numerous occasions when in London and other Sam Smith’s pub around the country over the years: anyway I’ve put that right today.
This review is of a pint, hand pulled in the ‘Citte of Yorke’ in Holborn, London; a lovely old pub listed on the BA beerfly database.
Sadly this is now the only beer Sam Smith’s brewery brings out in cask form, everything else is keg or bottle, not cask.
Clear amber body with a creamy head of bubbles which are off-white in colour and produce some good thick lacing as I down the liquid it covers.
The nose is a complex mix of wood notes, autumn leaves, caramel and a fresh loaf of bread.
The taste is equally as complex: malts just about lead the way with a good hop contingent coming up fast behind, well balanced and easy to drink. Semi-sweet from the caramel like molasses in the malts, but with an undertone of hop bitterness which asserts itself half way through each gulp (this isn’t a sipping beer, it’s a gulper).
Still under £2.00 a pint in an historic central London pub (Oct 2011), you can’t go wrong. In fact I had another half in the beautiful Princess Louise half an hour after rinsing this pint I’ve just reviewed.
10-31-2011 16:12:23 | More by BlackHaddock
United Kingdom (England)
3.08/5 rDev -15.6%
Lovely looking clear amber body with a good dense nitro-esque head and nice lace.
Nose of caramel and butterscotch malt. Some
Good solid mouthful of butterscotch and cherries, thick feel, too sweet , no hops. Meh.
So so. Sam smith do great pubs. I love their porter and barley wine, but this is the definition of mediocrity. At best.
07-21-2011 18:58:14 | More by Trizzle
4/5 rDev +9.6%
Halfpint on-tap at the Angel in the Fields.
A: Clear pale copper body under an extremely creamy, persistent off-white head that leaves some light lace. Attractive.
S: Leafy and earthy hops, lightly sweet caramel malt. Simple and enjoyable.
T: Very smooth, well-integrated flavors: nutty + toffee malts, earthy + herbal hops, and some mildly sweet citrus notes. Understated and enjoyable.
M: Light-bodied and soft, with low carbonation. Very nice for an on-tap bitter.
O: I can see how someone could penalize this beer for being a bit on the boring side, but I found its simplicity to be a redeeming quality. Subtle, drinkable, enjoyable.
06-17-2011 01:11:06 | More by woosterbill
3.58/5 rDev -1.9%
On cask at Cittie of Yorke in London. From notes.
A - Poured a slightly hazy dark gold colour with a creamy one finger eggshell head. Soapy bubbles on the sides of the glass. Nice rings of creamy lacing and a half finger of retention.
S - Bready with some butter. Apple comes out. Earthy and some High School locker sort of aroma.
T - Nice gentle malt and hop balance. Bready with some buttery/butterscotch notes with a little crisp hop note. Crackers might be in there too.
M - Nice touch of carbonation. Slightly sweet finish with a light and creamy body.
O/D - High dinkability as this is tasty and low abv. A good beer with depth and interesting parts coming together as you go. A good one but nothing crazy.
05-24-2011 13:17:42 | More by tbeckett
3.63/5 rDev -0.5%
Cask at Ye Olde Cheshire.
A dark amber with cream head... not the greatest lighting in the world though.
Wood on the nose, quite earthy and nutty. Just a hint of dark fruit behind.
Some subtle English fruity malt up front followed by nice vanilla tones. Finish is quite oaky, though not overblown.
A decent enough Bitter. Certainly sessionable.
10-28-2010 10:24:21 | More by CanuckRover
4.05/5 rDev +11%
on tap in London, into pint
A: Beautiful deep tawny copper color. Looks great and inviting, with a half finger head that lasts. Good lacing. Great appearance.
S: Quite hoppy. A bit of roasted malt but the hops dominates the scent.
T: This is not the best tasting beer by normal standards but has a distinctive taste. It is balanced on the tongue a bit by a roasted, slightly nutty maltiness. Blends well. Faint tastes of fruits and bread. I really enjoyed it.
M: Nice carbonation, nothing special. Light feel.
D: Not a session beer for most due to the bitterness. But look at the name! I really enjoyed it. My favorite Sam Smith.
08-19-2010 04:42:46 | More by pauljmccain
3.9/5 rDev +6.8%
The color is amber, the beer is clear, the head is thick and off-white. Some lacing.
Smells of caramel and hay.
Initially butter scotch, then sour fruits, orange, lemon and green apples. A good bitter finish.
Medium carbonation, very soft and easy to drink.
A good solid ale. On-tap at The Earl of Lonsdale at Portobello Rd.
07-29-2010 16:27:54 | More by rarbring
4.53/5 rDev +24.1%
Have had this several times hand pulled from a cask at The Cock near Oxford Circus in London, and in my mind it is the definition of a great English bitter.
A - Looks like a dream in a 20 ounce imperial pint. The ale is coppery and bronzed.
S - Mild smells of sweetness and bitterness.
T - Sweet and bitter all at the same time. Very earthy and robust.
M - Coats your palette with a great, thick feeling.
D - Usually have three in one sitting attesting to the exceptional drink-ability of this awesome ale.
01-12-2010 20:51:53 | More by samyoung
3.7/5 rDev +1.4%
Pours a lovely amber with a dense white head with firm bubbles from tap (Nitro, I believe, at a company pub in Oxford). The aroma has very low levels of earthy UK hops. This is a very estery beer, pears and apples. Raisiny caramel notes lead the flavor, with low levels of bittering hops complemented by low flavor hops and noticeable esters. The beer goes down smooth with a medium body.
07-05-2009 09:37:29 | More by mrandolph
3.53/5 rDev -3.3%
On-cask at The Cock in London. Appeared a hazy golden yellow with a tall white head. Eh, nice and drinkable but a bit plain. The aroma is just a sharp, sweet mellon note and a plain bready flavor. Very drinkable and it fits well into the style Worth a try is you're into Sam Smith beers - but understand, this isn't at the same level as the Taddy Porter or Oatmeal Stout.
04-13-2009 22:58:21 | More by tempest
4.55/5 rDev +24.7%
The colour is medium-dark amber; the finger thick head is beige. Massive lacing occurs.
The smell is bitter with spicy notes. It is very fresh.
The taste is mellow and fresh in a balanced way. Notes of fresh fruits and cream; medium body. The aftertaste is a bit bitter with more of those fruits (apples?).
The carbonation is very mild, but at the same time quite refreshing. The liquid is a bit thick.
A splendid bitter!
09-17-2007 08:23:39 | More by bark
United Kingdom (England)
3.58/5 rDev -1.9%
Having had this beer on cask for many many times at Samuel Smith's houses throughout London (it surprises me just how many very old pubs have been taken over~~), this is the first time I truly feel that I should record what I've tasted. For the pint consumed at the Angel (nr. St. Giles Church and Tottenham Court tube station) recently, was the best I've had in addition to the perfect pouring by the cool but skilful barman there.
A: dispensed with a sparkler (presumably), it comes in a bright and clear, reddish-amber hue; a tight and creamy beige beer head sits on top and refuses to budge throughout the drink.
S: a sour-sweet woody hint buttresses a slightly resinous and dried grassy hops, but very smooth; a fruity overtone of plums asserts itself in the back, rather understated, but dovetails the fore-note just fine.
T: a natural woody, sour-sweet edge and refreshing but softly plummy+apple-ish fruity flavour accompany a very creamy-textured malty entry, complementing each other just beautifully; very faint bitterness struggles to pierce through the impressive silky maltiness, rendering a clean aftertaste and slightly drish hint from both wooden casks (used to age this beer) and hops.
M&D: the mouthfeel is great, silky smooth, perfectly controlled carbonation and medium-bodied, this really is a quaffable traditional ale--maybe a cross b/w bitter and pale ale? For one, I'd recommend drinking this classic ale at this quality little gem, the Angel, for full enjoyment (if one's in central London rather than Doncaster, that is).
Warning: the same beer could be very bland when served on tap, over-chilled, or dispensed carelessly, in another Samuel Smith's pub with poor bar-training and cellarmanship, though.
06-01-2006 16:00:30 | More by wl0307
3.9/5 rDev +6.8%
Sampled onboard the buffet car of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, W. Yorks.
Pours a clear, rich orangey-amber with a nice creamy off-white head which leaves some lacing. Sweet and fruity malts in the nose, with discernable oak notes. Not too powerful, but present. Sweet malts up front with fruity notes of pear, green apple, and peach leading to a lingering earthy hop bitterness with definite oak overtones. Lovely. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Drinkable and quite refreshing.
07-02-2005 22:16:14 | More by foamer
4.33/5 rDev +18.6%
Was excited to try a Sam Smith on cask, from a wood cask at that! Old Brewery Bitter was a solid copper color topped by a thin white head. lacing was smattered about and on the thin side. Sweet malt aroma is strong yet inviting. Sweet malt and hop is prevalent in a long finish. Seems well balanced and is very smooth and drinkable. Had it at the wonderful Citte Of York pub in London.
12-24-2004 03:59:01 | More by Mark
3.78/5 rDev +3.6%
This is "beer from the wood" drawn from an oak cask! An orange/ amber color with a light beige head. The aroma was lighty sweet with a hint of apple. A malty sweetness starts out on the tip of the tongue. Followed by an even smooth bitterness througout the rest ot the tongue. This is one the very few beers that are still served from oak casks. I know because I saw the Cooper making the casks a the brewery.
06-27-2004 19:21:50 | More by ybnorml
United Kingdom (England)
3.9/5 rDev +6.8%
Pours a mid to deep copper colour with an off-white head. Smooth but not too creamy.
Aroma is malty, hoppy and quite nutty - hazelnuts I think.
Subtle fruit flavour, citrussy lingering undertones with hoppy nut flavours and a slightly dry, citrussy aftertaste.
Smooth and drinks well. Pleasantly light body.
06-22-2004 20:04:51 | More by Doiv
2.53/5 rDev -30.7%
This beer had a unique taste, bitter is definitely the operative term, as this beer is very bitter. I liked it OK, but could not drink more than one in a sitting. Mouthfeel is similar to sucking on a lemon, the beer's appearance is intriguing. I wonder if this is a more popular beer in the UK, where it probably compliments the blander taste of the food there.
04-13-2004 02:43:18 | More by Trentonator
2.93/5 rDev -19.7%
This beer had a medium sized head that contained fine-medium sized bubbles.The hue of this beer was orange and it produced a decent lacing on the sides of my glass.To me it has a fruity, citrusy nose.This is definitely a bitter tasting beer.This is not my favorite style of beer; however, it wasn't that bad.
08-05-2003 00:26:03 | More by hotstuff
4/5 rDev +9.6%
I had this in what was supposed to be the oldest pub in London: the "Old Cheshire Cheese". The beer was a rich copper color. A bit of a lingering head. There was a slightly sweet maltiness to the aroma. There was as full, malty taste to this one, with a hine of bitterness coming through at the end. Very Good!
06-07-2003 10:22:02 | More by Boto
3.13/5 rDev -14.2%
Medium white head of fine and medium sized bubbles that leaves behind a good lacing. It's body is atransparent light semicloudy yellow orange color. It has a mild honey aroma. It tastes smooth with someafter bite and a lingering hoppy flavor. This brew has some character and is drinkable. A decent beer to
sit and have a plesant conversation with.
04-17-2003 15:01:38 | More by TheDM
4.05/5 rDev +11%
I had this one at Cittie of York, a pub in London, which has to be one of the coolest bars in the world. The atmosphere in which this beer was consumed may have skewed my review, but here goes:
Appearance: Clear brown and almost still. This bitter is a hand pumped cask ale, and thus there was very little carbonation present. Very mellow and pleasing to the eye.
Smell: Hoppy aroma, and I do mean bursting with. I've never been good at identifying the different varieties of hops, but one whiff of this beer, and you know they're there (this after all a bitter).
Taste:Hoppy, warm and slightly carbonated; this beer is only slightly bitter due to the hops but it is balanced nicely with a little bit of sweetness owing to a malty character.
Drinkability: I was in heaven getting Samuel Smith on tap. A truly amazing experience. This beer goes down smooth, and with the relatively low alcohol content of 4.% abv, you could drink these all night (speaking from experience). I think I paid 2 pounds 50 pence per pint (roughly $3.75), and it was worth every cent. If you find yourself in London anytime soon, check out Cittie of Yorke.
01-30-2003 16:55:26 | More by cbl2
4.08/5 rDev +11.8%
Samuel Smiths Old Brewery Bitter (OBB) divides opinions in the UK, even amongst CAMRA members and experienced beer drinkers. What needs to be understood is that it is predominantly a Malt based beer, and not really like your run-of-the-mill English session Bitters.
Also, it is from Yorkshires oldest Brewery, it is brewed from the Breweries own well water, has NO adjuncts, does not benefit from any Brewery aids whatsoever, utilises the Yorkshire Squares (made from Slate) system of fermentation, and when distributed to nearly all of its Pubs in Cask Conditioned format, it is supplied in Wooden Casks, YES Wooden!!- NOT Steel, or Aluminum, but- Wood. One of only a handful of UK Brewers left that still employ a Cooper.
Sadly, after the demise of Tadcaster Bitter and Museum Ale :-((, this is now the only Cask-Conditioned beer that Sams make. Such a Tragic Shame.
So with the above in mind, you will never find a Handpulled Sams OBB with a decent head, whilst Wooden Casks will keep the beer in good condition, high carbonation levels are rarely experienced in this format. In the North of England where Swan-Necks, or Sparklers, are used for dispense you may get something resembling a head. As such, the head tends to dissipate quickly to a thin covering. Has a light brown, typical English Bitter color, that has a higher than average strength at 4% ABV. Malt is prevalent in the initial tastes, and to a certain extent dominates the beer. However, when on form, it has a fruitiness to die for, with a superb hoppy finish that really makes this beer. It often has a long lingering bitter, fruity finish. Mouthfeel is average, which again is perfectly acceptable for this beer bear in mind people in the UK will often drink a Gallon of this beer in one night. It is a true Session Beer.
Ironic I know, but dont expect it to be Bitter!. This is a very misunderstood beer, rarely appreciated but I dearly love it, and in the North of England, in Sams Houses you will be hard pressed to beat it for value. Also, Sams Pubs themselves take some beating.
Last Tasted at the Historic Samuel Smiths Inn, the White Horse, or Nellies, in Beverley, North Yorkshire.
Go on - have a look, and see what you are missing.
NOTE: This is the only Cask Conditioned Beer that Samuel Smiths now brew, sadly.
If only you could have tasted their Museum Ale on Cask oh, it was Wonderous!!
12-14-2002 12:30:32 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Bitter from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
83 out of 100 based on 51 ratings.