Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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

Not Rated.
Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale AleSamuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

658 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 658
Hads: 990
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 14.51%
Wants: 43
Gots: 35 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 07-11-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (31) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 658 | Hads: 990
Photo of stangbat
3.47/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I generally really like Samuel Smith's beers, however this one will not be on my regular rotation. It smells great, a little like their Nut Brown Ale, which along with the Oatmeal Stout are two of my favorite beers. It looks nice, and the mouthfeel is good.

But it just seems like it is lacking flavor. It seems like the beer finished a little dry and bland. I can't really put my finger on it though. Maybe my palate is accustomed to American Pale Ales that are higher hopped. Overall, not bad. But I don't think it is worth over $2 a bottle, which I will gladly pay for their Nut Brown or Oatmeal Stout.

 608 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.48/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer seemed a bit excited from the trip from the corner store to my glass. It foamed up a bit upon popping the cap, but I managed to rescue most of it into my glass. As I am pouring this brew, I get definite, disappointing notes of light struck beer. The beer is topped by a frothy, initially three-finger thick, large bubble, lace inducing, tan colored head. The beer itself is a brilliantly clear, ruby hued, dark amber color. The light struck skunkiness seems to fade with time, and notes of toffee, a wisp of diacetyl, toasted grain and some caramel do a fair job of masking that particularly offensive aroma. There seems to be a touch of earthy, lightly herbal hops, though one could certainly wish for a bit more.

My taste buds are greeted by a nice sharp bitterness from the get go, it combines with the carbonation to give this brew a decent bite through to and even magnifying in the finish. Soft fruity notes of apples, a touch of grape-like raisin and some notes of lightly sweet caramel balance out the hop bitterness. There is a nice level of underlying toasted malt character here; it gives the beer a sort of toasted biscuit type note. Also there is just a wisp of diacetyl again, it adds a really subtle buttery quality to this brew, but I am a touch sensitive to this particular flavor. It is not offensive though and helps to add some more complexity to this brew. While light and quaffable, this brew has a certain malty heft to it that is quite nice, again it is another thing that helps to balance the noticeable bitterness.

This is not a bad brew, but it is certainly not great either. Shipping this in brown bottles would certainly help this brew immensely. Still I am perfectly happy sipping an Imperial pint of this brew. While some flavors may be too much, or others lacking, this beer really struck a nice balance between the hoppy bitterness and the multifaceted malt character; it is something the English seem to do well, even in a beer like this.

 1,987 characters

Photo of Beastdog75
3.49/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nearly everything Samuel Smith produces can be considered a classic, and their Pale Ale is certainly no exception. This is a good pale ale for almost any occasion. Of course, it is also customary to gripe about the clear bottle that this is served in, but I found that the exposure to light didn't effect the flavor as much as I thought it would have.

Sam Smith' s Pale Ale pours a golden amber color with hints of red and brown. A slightly off-white head forms and lasts for about 3 to 4 minutes, leaving some whispy lace behind. The aroma unfortunately did suffer from being lightstruck, lending a skunky aroma, but it managed to subside enough to give some hints of caramel. There is a smooth, moderately carbonated mouthfeel to this beer. As mentioned, the skunk did not hinder the beer all that much. There is a good malt presence with notes of caramel and buttery toffee. A light-moderate harshness/roughness was present in this beer, and it might be due to the light exposure, but I have nothing to back that up. I found the hop presence leaned towards the stronger side of things, with the beer being bitter and drying in the finish. The aftertaste had more notes of caramel, and the bitterness lingered long after the beer was done. This one finishes out with a light alcoholic warmth.

I do see this beer as being a good pairing for pub grub: perhaps some bangers and mash, fish and chips, or maybe even a prime rib. This is a good drinkable pale ale, and other strong offering from Sam Smith's.

 1,510 characters

Photo of Tim460
3.49/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours a clear amber color with a nice off white head that lasted quite a bit before turning to lace. Looks great. Hops as well as a nut smell is present. Taste is just average. Slight malt taste, hops become apparent halfway through but nowhere near as apparent very subdued. Medium bodied with a dry finish. High drinkability due to low alc % and sublte taste.

 366 characters

Photo of rangerred
3.49/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

550ml bottle into an English pint.

Pours a crystal clear deep copper with a one finger fluffy off-white head. Ok head retention with a few streaks of lacing.

The aroma I feel is a little on the weak side and is full of dark fruit, caramel, and toast. I would have liked it all to be just a little more forward, however.

This same lack of excitement carries over into the taste. Nice dark fruit and some grassy hops up front quickly followed by toast and burnt caramel. A nice moderate bitterness lasts throughout adding to the burnt character. Full, slick mouthfeel ending with a bit of stickyness.

Overall, a decent offering from Samuel Smith but I find it a bit lacking. There are better examples out there.

 713 characters

Photo of BadBadger
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A nice ale. Pours a moderate amber color. A nice off-white head forms and lasts. Smell is slightly hoppy. The taste is somewhat better than average, with a pleasant balance of hops and malt. A nice pale ale to enjoy, although not so special that it should be searched out.

 272 characters

Photo of Naes
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This ale pours a dark amber with orange hues and has a tall off-white head that laces and retains quite well.
The aroma is of the typical British style hops with a bit of graininess.
The flavor is less hopy than the nose implies, but never the less, the British style hops definitely are the main ingredient to the flavor. The underlying maltyness throughout this beverage is a bit bready and has a grainy presence as well. Overall, not bad for a British pale ale, but could use a bit more in the flavor department. It is just a bit watered down.
Mouth feel is a bit light, but the carbonation levels are done right.

 620 characters

Photo of JoEBoBpr
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A - Poured a light copper color with white head that lasted very little time and disappeared in to thin film

S - Malts all around. Some hop character a bit not too much going on on the nose. Kind of disappointing. Some soury notes in the nose as well.

T - Nice malty taste with limited hops some soury citrus notes and slight nuts as well.

M - Crisp well balanced. Clean.

D - Refreshing and not too strong.

not my favorite EPA but definitely not a bad selection.

 495 characters

3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - 1/2" off white head down to a cap immediately. No lace. Amber-orange colored beer.

S - Caramel with a light backing of herbally hops.

T - Tea, toffee, caramel. Tangy, grassy hops.

M - Medium bodied with high carbonation.

D - Good drinkability. Another solid Sam Smith's.

 286 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.51/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - orange amber, small tight creamy head almost like whipped cream sitting on top of some hot cocoa.

Aroma - slight caramel malt preceded by a brief hint of skunk which was subdued but detectable. That completely evaporates, leaving the caramel behind in a much weakened state and kind of hard to pick up.

Taste is of lightly roasted caramel malt and some metallic notes. Light bitterness at the finish, fairly good stuff. Edit - fresher sample tried 1/10/05, no metal, very clean taste, adjusting taste from 3.0 to 3.5.

Mouthfeel is fairly smooth, below average carbonation. Not all that memorable but certainly not bad.

Drinkability - if it wasn't for the metallic taste this would easily score much higher. Edit - a different beer when fresh, adjusting score from 2.5 to 4.0.

 800 characters

Photo of longpondbeerman
3.51/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is a very light, floral brew that pours a clear light amber that is typical of the English Pale Ales. There's little head, and less lace, and by the smell, you'd almost think you were about to consume water laced with a hop or two and some lemon. The taste is fortunately more full-bodied, even complicated. It's not too bitter, but what bitterness there is sticks with you throughout. It does not fade. The sweetness, that floral taste, is of rose hips offset by a twist of lemon--a fun and tantalizing feature. The mouthfeel is light and more bubbly than I expected. A good brew, really--though costly over on this side of the Atlantic.

 643 characters

Photo of Mdog
3.51/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear amber, good head.

Smell: Toffee, a little unappealing green apple.

Taste: Mild toast, toffee sweetness, mild tea bitterness.

Drinkability: Nice blend of flavors and lower ABV could make this a session beer.

Beer #2 from the sampler pack, the pale ale is a solid English pale, very balanced between malt and bitterness. I'd like to try this on cask sometime.

 379 characters

Photo of TacoSaladin
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A clear and crisp copper color with a light/frothy white head with semi-decent head retention. I feel the color was a little on the dark side for the style (I classify this beer as a SB) but in hind sight the room was a bit on the dark side.

The overall aroma is sweet and of hops, leaning more to the sweet. Also this beer has hints of caramel.

This beer was less bitter tasting than expected. There was more of a focus on the malts. The carbonation was appropriate with a dry (sweet) finish with a hint of hops.

All-in-all I think this beer is a little too mild on the bitterness for a English Pale Ale (SB). With that said, this is a very enjoyable drink.

 696 characters

Photo of slitherySOB
3.52/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My last of the Samuel Smith beers. Until, of course, I'm lucky enough to find more. This ale pours a nice, copper colour with a small but firm white head. About a finger's worth of foam floating atop the copper. Their are a few whisps of lace. But, not much. No more than a few strings here and their. Smells of fruit candy, grass, lemon and bread. Taste is mild. Bready, sweet, with a bit of a bitter grass finish. Mouthfeel is a bit granular, rough. I like it. Drinkable as a session beer. But, not overly complex. Simplicity is what makes this beer good.

 557 characters

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12oz. clear bottle (how do they get away with that?!) with the gold foil around the top.

Appearance: An opaque copper-colored appearance with a frothy, bubbly head that rings the glass distinctly after each quaff.

Smell: Just a little bit of citrus hoppy aroma....but there was also a whiff of "skunkiness" to this one as well.

Taste: Nothing in this beer really jumped out at me. The hops didn't outpower the balancing sweetness from the malts. Just a decent-tasting pale ale.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation and crispness of the hops make for a good mouthfeel.

Drinkabilty: Definitely one of the more "puckering" type PA's I've had. This one really finishes dry. That was kind of a turn off for me.

 725 characters

Photo of PatrickJR
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Deep transparent copper, 1/2 inch head that recedes quickly to thick white collar. Nice stream of bubbles from the bottom.

S - Predominantly coffee and caramel, with some spicy hop character in the background.

T - Lots of caramel malt with dark fruit overtones and a faint hop bitterness in the background. Usual Sam Smith's sourness near the finish.

M - Pretty smooth with a decent amount of carbonation.

D - I wouldn't mind drinking a few of these, but I wouldn't mind not drinking a few either. It's good, but it's something inbetween a pale ale and a light stout or porter.

A fairly poor representation of a pale ale if you ask me, but a tasty beer nonetheless. The hops don't shine through at all, one of the hallmarks of the style, and the malts are far too dark to constitute "pale." The beer is on point, but like their India Ale, I feel the name is a misnomer.

 927 characters

Photo of Bruiser81
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This brew poured a deep amber color with an impressive head. However it dwindled quickly leaving just a ring around the glass. The aroma was malt and maybe a little bit of maple or molasses. The smell was also a bit skunky, but it wasn't bad. The taste was a bit calm with nothing really jumping out at first. There is a little bit of sweet malt up front. The finish balances out well with just a little bit of a bitter hop taste. This beer goes down smooth with just the right amount of carbonation. I will probably drink this brew again. I'm not a big fan of Pales but this one was decent.

 591 characters

Photo of matt7215
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

550 ml bottle from a LCBO gift pack

pours amber with a solid tan head that lingers and laces. very nice looking pale ale though quite different to the eye then some american pale ale styles.

aromas of pale malts, toffee, caramel, minimal hopping.

the flavour is malt forward with slightly sweet floral caramel and rounded bitterness. very malt focused but not totally lacking in hops they just play second fiddle to the malt structure.

the mouthfeel is mediocure but not bad in anyway.

this brew is quite drinkable but not my favourite pale ale.

a solid brew but not something i buy much of even though it is availible in my area.

 636 characters

Photo of laituegonflable
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a golden brown colour with an ecru head, lightly dispersed and hanging around reasonably well. Some very nice lacing effects, but slightly thin. No carbs, clear body. Looks tasty.

Nose has some nicely balanced malt and hop characters. A strong, almost syrupy pale malt character blends with a slight grassy hint of hops. Actually, on second thoughts I think the malt dominates and it's slightly sweet, kind of mediciney but not bad.

First taste is a bitter one, especially compared with the smell. A quite strong malty mid-palate is fenced in by a spicy front and a slightly herbal and also sour, earthy finish. Quite an interesting palate although there is still that slight medicinal flavour lingering at the back which gives it a bit of a downer. Mouthfeel is quite stimulating - the beer looks smooth but comes alive with a bit of a tingling, sparkling effect over the tongue.

This is a good ale, well-balanced and interesting. Too polite and British to offend or excite me.

 987 characters

Photo of pootz
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1/2 liter clear export bottle...no date codes ..I assume this is parsturized or sterile. Poured a lovely deep amber-orange with a fluffy rocky cap that laces well to the glass. Moderate carbonation. Aroma of floral hopping and apricot tones over the honey malts. Malty body is balanced with some semi bitter hopping some mild complexity and a rather short finish...for all I had heard about this beer , I’m underwhelmed..perhaps this beer suffered from being an export and had it’s normal character killed by pastrurization or serile filtering but this is an average pale....and there are better domestics IMHO.

 613 characters

Photo of sopor
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep brilliant amber with a little over a fluid oz of tan cream head that looks like it will stick around with the help of lots of small bubbles rising. Very small biscuity and caramel nose.

Sweet bready malt with a very well balanced hop note of slight citrus and piney herbs. A hint of woodiness. A light and crisp refreshing body.

Tasty pale ale, and very drinkable, but nothing spectacular enough to get me to stop drinking mt local APAs.

 448 characters

Photo of ccrida
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

550ml bottle into my Samuel Smith's imperial pint glass, the Pale Ale is a hazy, dull copper with a medium sized, orange tinged khaki head that leaves moderate lace.

Smell is grassy hops and sweet, sugary fruit.

Taste is heavy on the esters, sweet, biscuit malt, wet grass and a bit tinny, with a bitter, dry finish, with lingering fruity esters. I don't care for the watery taste of most english ales, which this one certainly has, but it has enough flavor to satisfy. Not my cup of tea, but a good example of the style.

Mouthfeel is really nice and smooth, with a medium light body.

Drinkabilty is ok, I don't care for the tinny, grassy taste, but it's pretty light and easy drinking. Nice to see they dropped the clear glass and started using brown bottles.

 768 characters

Photo of rowew
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 550 ml clear bottle, gold foil around the neck and cap. No date information. I think this has been sitting around a while, but its been in my fridge for most of that time (if there was a date I would know for sure!).

Appearance: Reddish brown in color, clear with a good sized head that fades to average lacing.

Smell: Caramel malt, just a hint of butterscotch (diacetyl?).

Taste: Smooth mouthfeel, great carbonation level (low, but still there). Nice caramel malts, just a bit of sweetness without being too much.

Overall impression: Nicely balanced and highly drinkable.

 599 characters

Photo of wvsabbath
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark burnt orange, not much head, some lacing.

Smell - Malts, yeast, some hops, mild sugars, some floral, grapefruit.

Taste - Bitter, yeasty and some grapefruit bitter hop kick. Smooth as usual for sammy smith beers. Kinda not alot of flavor just straight up pale ale. Has a grassy dry finish.

Mouthfeel - Very bitter and dry. Thin though, low alcohol and not high on flavors. Rather a simple straightforward beer.

Overall - The beer is good but doesnt offer anything new or special to the pale ales. Solid and easy to drink, a good starter beer or if you enjoy bitter beers. I could live without this one imo.

 651 characters

Photo of blackc5
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass at around 50F.

A - Pours a light and refreshing looking amber orange. Medium head that unfortunately fades a bit quickly. Some lacing, but pretty minimal and not the most attractive.

S - Mild floral and citrus notes, nothing too extraordinary here. Some earthiness and just a slight hint of caramel or brown sugar sweetness.

T - A very balanced English pale ale with a nice malty backbone and somewhat dilluted hop presence. Toasted, biscuity malts at first taste, and then on to the mild bitterness at the swallow. Minimal citrus flavor, but some herbal grassiness and even a minute amount of medicinal tastes hidden in the background.

M - Fairly mild carbonation and medium-body. Smooth but not creamy. Clean and a bit caramel-ly. Quite nice.

D - A great session ale me thinks, but not an incredible experience, and not one of Sam Smith's best.

Overall, a decent, slightly above average offering in my book, that satisfies, but doesn't necessarily stimulate.

 992 characters

Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
87 out of 100 based on 658 ratings.