Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale - Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

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Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale AleSamuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale

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BA SCORE
87
very good

962 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 962
Reviews: 657
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 11.89%
Wants: 36
Gots: 21 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Pale Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-11-2001)
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Ratings: 962 | Reviews: 657 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.68/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

550ml brown bottle from Lou's in Augusta. Red-copper translucent body with around an inch of initial off-white head that dissipates rather quickly. Smells caramelly and fruity, with hints if a peaty quality. A roasty maltiness dominates the flavor with hints of fruit, diacetyl (coming through as a very pleasing butterscotch flavor). No one quality of the flavor overpowers another I would say. A nice balance and a medium-bodied mouthfeel make this extremely drinkable. Definitely glad I finally tried it, and I'm sure the brown bottle helped the flavor. A new favorite!

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.65/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is an English pale ale at its best (at least I think so tonight).

I'm a big fan of the unique "country" nuances throughout the range of Sam Smith's offerings. By "country", I suppose I mean the overall character of their beers has a "not made in an industrial brewery" thing about it. Maybe its the choice blend of generous, superbly-tuned diacetyl (butterscotch), busting juicy red berries, and nurtured funkomyces.

I've noticed in this and in their other ales a peculiar effect in its appearance where I suppose I get the illusion of it being more dense or concentrated, more rich, or heavier in body than most ales. And, mind you, it has a very clean look - this one sporting lovely a red-copper, almost sepia color to it. Excellent creamy blanket on top. Lace - random.

The scent of esters, resembling weak wine in its fruitiness in combo with a mild aroma of an arguably faint vinegar/alcohol, bursts forth in the nose, enticing next to fairly aromatic malts and butterscotch syrup. Subtle herbaceous hop in the distance. Still sniffing...

I can't help but picture an old country home, maybe Victorian-style, with gaudy, dusty furniture and sallow walls darkened and dulled with age. Tasting that, along with all the smells. Oven-browned malt/bread crust and diacetyl upfront, a touch of bitter on top of the palate, apple/cherry sweetness below, lingering behind.

A strange, wonderful feel to it. Silky. The opposite of harsh in its carbonation. You could tell me this was just pulled-off via engine and I'd bite.

When this is fresh and well-kept - sophisticated, transcendent, satisfying as hell.

Photo of stoutman
4.63/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Round and balanced mouthfeel. High acidity, medium to high bitterness shows great balance. The toffee, orangey, toasty taste make this another of the old tadcaster brewerey must do's. Very well balanced between malt and hops. Dry, hoppy finish.

Photo of jcomp21
4.63/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer reminds me of a lighter version of a belgian quadruple, same sweet flavours just a bit lighter.

A - Dark copper. The body is on the clear side with a light cream head that settles to a sturdy cap.

S - There is a nice balance of sweet malt and earthy Fuggle hops.

T - Sweet malt with a banana toffee stawberry bite and toasted bread notes. Smooth flavour. Finishes with a hop flavor as well as carmelized banana.

M - Dry and crisp with a light-to-medium thickness.

O - This is a well made English pale ale. Very enjoyable and much different than an american Pale Ale.

Photo of hoplover82
4.6/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a clear dark golden color with lots of bubbles in the beer and a full, medium creamy off white head that leaves very good lacing in it's trails.

S-The aroma starts off with soft earthy hop notes, then goes to a strong caramel backbone with some light fruity esthers. As the beer warms, and I swirl my choice wine glass, the beer gives me a kind of english pine hop aroma. I know it sounds weird, but it's not the pungent pine note that american simcoe hops give, but it's like a soft earthy "english" pine hoppiness. It's nice. On the second pour, I get a toasted toffee aroma as well! Very nice and complex.

T-The flavor is much of the same but with less of a hop character to it. A VERY soft bitternes, which the beer definately needs. But the caramel, toasted toffee are the stars in this beer, which is good for the style which I really appreciate. And the fruity esthers carry over to the flavor as well, it's almost like grapes n' fruit of the likes.

M-The mouthfeel is right on. Very creamy and full. And the carbonation is just right. Just the slightest dryness at the very end.

D-This beer is very sessionable. I could drink this beer all night and be goood. I highly suggest this wonderful beer.

Photo of dacrza1
4.58/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a solid burnt orange with a thick, quickly simmering head that flattens out evenly to an off-white ring--a steady stream of effervescence accompanies... bright, fragrant aroma that boasts fresh hops, doughy yeast and sweet malts--a well-balanced scent... soft, smooth vivacious approach with a tickling presence on the teeth--medium to full-bodied, almost demands like an IPA in its heft... first and foremost, punchy hops; last yet least, hearty malts--a crisp, clean and sweet balance that does not usually occur on American soil... not surprisingly, another stud for the Samuel Smith stable...pairing this would be a joyous endeavor... in a pleasant war with Sierra Nevada to be the plae ale I sip in heaven (God willing!)

Photo of the42ndtourist
4.58/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance is really great. I love the cloudiness and copper-brown colour. All I could ask for would be bit more head. The head does leave a ring and a little lacing, though.

Smell is nice - some hoppiness and a thick sweetness behind that. The taste is malty, hoppy, thick and excellent. I like it, the hop bitterness is not overwhelming - it's not weak at all, but very well proportioned. Good, good, good. Now if only I could get this regularly in Canada.

edit: second review.

It seems I can get this regularly in Ottawa, I just have to pay through the nose at Pub Italia... Still a fantastic beer. One of my favourites, now. The colour is quite distinctive, after a year in England I don't think I ever found another beer with quite the same appearance. I certainly didn't find many with the same abundance of flavour. While I dearly love the crazy hoppy pale ales we produce on this side of the Atlantic, there really is something to be said for a more subtle, complex ale like this one. It reaches Orval-like heights of elusiveness of flavour and impressions. Two beers that are hard to pinpoint because you always notice something different when drinking them. But both beers I can't do without (and can't buy in stores here).

Photo of BBM
4.58/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a hazy burnt amber color into a pint glass with a thin, beige head atop it. Nice amount of lacing around the glass. Aroma was sweet with that distinct aroma of English hops.

Everything here is in fine and subtle balance, with a toasted bread-like malt and a spicy, tart English hop flavor. Crisp, clean, and toned. A light citrus hop buzzes through the brew as well. Delightful from beginning to end. Mouthfeel is well carbonated. I could truly drink this all day, the consummate English pale ale. If there is a finer brewery in England, I know not of it.

Photo of TheHammer
4.58/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Two fingers of head that retained like crazy and produced modest lacing. The body is the classic pale copper with steady carbonation, without a hint of cloudiness. A bit more lacing would earn the perfect score.

Smell: Well balanced caramel malt and fruity yeast with touches of piney hops. Warming didn't really help it's case and it's exceptionally good, but it's just not potent enough.

Taste: Nice sweet caramel malt that turns into a more fruity and yeasty note that is lightly dusted off with a decent but not overpowering hit of hops. There is nothing bad I can say about the taste of this beer. Nothing too complex, but nothing boring.

Mouthfeel: Exceptional transitioning as the experience seamlessly blends together. The carbonation assists the entire beer, the aftertaste is a present mild fruity malt. Once again, there is nothing I can complain about.

Drinkability: I little bit heavier then I'd expect, but still easy to drink regardless. Refreshing, keeps down nicely and smooth. I really like that the aftertaste never gets out of control.

Final Thoughts: I find myself finding the English and Scottish styles far better suited to my pallet then their American counterparts. I think this unseats St-Ambroise as my pale ale of choice. I think the best part is that they kept bitterness in check and didn't aim closer to IPA territory. Highly recommend this one.

Photo of dsa7783
4.55/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The third brew from this company and I have yet to be dissapointed... top quality from all their products, and this pale ale goes above and beyond... the appearance was great... a ruby-red slightly brownish color that frothed with a nice head... smell was full of malts and caramel, and the taste was creamy, slightly bready with a nice hint of malts, caramel, butter, and a slight vanilla after-taste... the mouthfeel and drinkability were exceptional.. the beer went down so easily and had no bitter traces at all... Copped a 550 ml bottle that came in a Samuel Smith gift set that included a nice pint glass... I will definitely purchase this beer again and its quality has made me eager to sample more brews from this outstanding company... Definitely recommended...

Photo of woodychandler
4.55/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nobody panic! My avatar recently changed and I am not drinking beer from a CAN, bottle be getting back to The CANQuest (TM) real soon. For now, I want to concentrate on the Samuel Smith's oeuvre.

Mine is a heavy brown bottle, vice the clear one in the picture. My pour created a finger of tawny head with decent retention. Color was a slightly hazy orangish-amber. Nose was highly malty, underlain with grassy hops. Mouthfeel was silky smooth with tastes of honey and raspberries on the tongue. Great goshdarn! How have I overlooked this beer for so long?!? Finish was very fruity with a little butteriness, to boot. How do they do that? I gotta make a mental note of this one.

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.55/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into pint glass.
A very good beer. This is one of my favorites. Good balance between malt, hops and the other flavors. Nuts, caramel and slight fruits. Easy to drink either warm or cold. Leaves a bit of an aftertaste that doesn't quite match the body.
Could use a thicker head.

Photo of Kallessin
4.55/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours a clear deep amber/copper color with a fluffy/creamy off-white head that settles to a substantial film over the top with some nice lacing on the glass. Very few bubbles visible.

The sweet caramel malty aroma is the most prominent. There's also a moderate amount of floral/herbal hops.

Sweet malty caramel flavors up front, then it quickly goes to some mild bitter flavors with a light fruitiness in the background. I also get a slightly dry biscuit character. Very well balanced.

Medium body with high sharp carbonation. Fairly dry with a lingering finish.

Very well balanced flavors make this a great drinkable session beer.

Photo of JokeInsurance
4.55/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - It pours a caramel/cherry color. The tan, which is a light brown color is exceptional.

S - It definitely has an extremely distinctive smell. As it has a caramel look to it, it also has a heavy caramel taste to it too.

T - Very smooth with a heavy caramel and hazelnut taste to it. The initial taste kinda kicks you in the mouth but after it savored in my mouth for a couple of moments, that is when the heavy flavor makes its impact. Even after it trickles down south, the heavy flavor still lingers about which makes good emphasis.

M - Like what the other reviewers described, it was very smooth, pleasant and creamy.

D - If one can handle a heavy beer by just by sipping and savoring, this beer is for you.

Photo of ppoitras
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

550mL bottle, with foiled cap, part of the Samuel Smith's Selection Box, purchased at Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA

Poured into an imperial pint glass, a creamy off-white head forms on top of a deeply golden liquid. The head has staying power, and leaves thick lace all over the glass. Pleasant hops aroma, which couples with the tastes of an optimal amount bitterness and a bit more malt than most pales ales, which is a plus in my book. Not particularly a pale ale fan, but this one does it for me.

Photo of granger10
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer pours a copper color with a small white head that held for a few minutes. The smell is really bready, akin to biscuits with honey poured on top. The main flavor I get when tasting this beer is caramel. There seems to be a lot of caramel which is complemented by various fruit esters, green apple leading the way. Kind of like a caramel covered apple. There is a grainy base to this which helps the flavors from getting too sweet and works with a floral hop element to complement the caramel. The finish is slightly yeasty sour and quite thirst quenching. Very creamy and smooth with a medium body. This is a classic.

Photo of alarusse
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A+S: Beautiful and clear, deep amber hue with a light brown head which disappeared relatively quickly. No lace, which is a negative for me, personally, as I love the satisfaction of watching a brew slink down the side of a glass, leaving a trail of delightful remembrance. Sweet, syruppy aromas with a slightly alcohol tinge.

T: Delightful. Slightly sweet, biscuity and remotely whiskey-flavored.

M: Works for me. Thin, but the flavor lingers for a few seconds.

D: Not a burden to drink at all. No bitterness on my palette, nice carbonation, especially after a few swishes around the mouth.

Poured from a bottle into half-pint glasses.

Photo of myost88
4.53/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Presentation: Poured from a 550 ml bottle into my Samuel Smith's Imperial Pint.

Appearance: This has to be one of the most inviting looking beers I've had in a while. Pours a light copper color with a fluffy white head that fades pretty quick. Very smooth cascade effect. Kinda hazy, but I liked that.

Smell: I loved the smell here. Floral hop smell right from the start. I got some honey as well. Not a lot of malt in the smell. Again this beer smells great.

Taste: Hoppy bitterness at the start. Finishes with a sweet malt backbone. The malt didnt show up much in the smell, but it balances the hops well in this beer. Nice sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is about right for a Pale Ale. Maybe a little creamier than most.

Drinkability: At 5% ABV this is an excellent session beer. Perfect for the spring or summer. Also I think this would be an excellent dinner beer. When I was drinking it, I really really wanted a nice juicy steak and some potatoes.

Overall: I really liked this beer a lot. Would love to grab this on tap some time. Samuel Smith's has yet to disappoint me. Everything they brew is delicious. I gave it a 5 for drinkability, because I can't think on any situation this beer wouldn't be appropriate for.

Photo of LXIXME
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of double2chin
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of Tearik
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - It appears a little bit darker than what I was expecting from a pale ale.

S - Very earthy

T - Strong hints of caramel and kind of nutty. Leaves a not unenjoyable bitter after taste.

M - Thicker on the pallet than I expected. Overall good feel though.

O - Very nice ale. Will definitely buy it again. This ale has a lot to offer the drinker.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of vlodko62
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of Xzfgiimtsath
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of ssmack
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%

Photo of GreenWBush
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Glass bottle with freshness label ...

Upon cracking this, a strange phenomenon occurs which happens in many Samuel Smith beers: about a dozen giant bubbles bound up and pop inside of the bottle. A strange welcome that whooshes the nose to your nose.

Slightly sour aroma, yeasty tones with biscuit and grain. Sweet malts with a bit of sulfur. Ringwood yeast?

The apperance of this ale in the pint glass is generic golden amber with a huge sticky windowpane of lace from the huge honeycomb head.

The taste is all watery lightly hopped goodness. The mouthfeel slacks because of the lack of chewy malt, but offers a deviation from the normally thick and unappealing-in-the-summer SS's. Hints of suflur are offput by the lovely well water of Tadcaster.

Its damned good, but don't accept a non-fresh sample. Look for the bottled on date that is new to SS. If it looks like its been in the sun for even a good while, forget it. Otherwise it is a spectacularly clean pale ale that is a misunderstood gem. It should be a benchmark.

Everyone has to try it.

And to Merchant duVin (and the manufacturer): Put an end to the CLEAR glass!

Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
87 out of 100 based on 962 ratings.