Dismiss Notice
Hello, is it beer you're looking for?

Learn more about beer. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for as low as 68% off the single issue price.

Subscribe 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: 987
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 14.51%
Wants: 43
Gots: 33 | 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: 987
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 StonedTrippin
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

the glory of these beers is their price, less than 4 bucks per go? are you kidding me?! the quality to price point is unrivaled in the beer world. while some are outstanding, standard setters, others are just okay. this pale ale is somewhere in between. its clear in the pours, more red than copper, with a finger of off white bubbles that pop down to a thin skin before long. the nose is quintessentially English, with all the caramel malt dusty attic you could ever want, but with a welcomed touch of vanilla extract. the yeast doesn't really manifest itself until the flavor, neither do the hops. the yeast combines with the caramel malt to give a doughy cereal profile, while the hops finish the beer nice and bitter, balancing the vanilla expertly. tastes just a tad old at the end, but ill bet this is nearly perfect at the source on tap. thinner body, which im back and forth between liking and not, and airy carbonation that keeps this beer drinking easily. overall this isn't my favorite beer from sam smiths, but now that I have worked my well into their lineup, I can safely say that the quality of this brew is up to the high bar of the others. again, the economics cannot be beat.

 1,193 characters

Photo of DrewSnyc667
4.44/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Slightly hazy brilliant copper color. Minor activity and almost no head whatsoever

S: Amazingly robust chocolate and caramel. Unique to the stye, I am chewing on the malts before I take a sip.

T: A malt fans delight. Super complex starts like chocolate chandy and ends with a nice little hop crisp

M: Nice amount of carbonation keeps that sweet malt at bay and makes this highly session able

O: I have been really into the English session ales lately and this one is another treat.

 528 characters

Photo of Damian
3.3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Drank from a 1pt. 2.7fl.oz./550 ml bottle
Served in a Samuel Smith's imperial pint glass
Thanks to my dad for this bottle

The beer poured a slightly hazed, deep crimson-amber. A two-finger crown of tight, frothy, beige colored foam topped the liquid and slowly faded to a lasting cap. Patches of lacing trickled down the glass.

The nose was very British. A bit steely and quite mellow overall. Good dose of biscuity malts. Somewhat toasty. Mild toffee notes. Slightly fruity and moderately sweet.

The flavor profile was decent. Biscuity malts dominated. Some toffee. Touch of noble hops. Fruity in the center. Earthy, bittering hops came through in the finish. Crisp and drying.

The mouthfeel was slick, smooth and somewhat creamy on the palate. Medium bodied with a fine and mild effervescence.

Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale might be spot-on for the style, but I found it rather boring. If you have an affinity for British session ales, this might be your cup of tea.

 979 characters

Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale has a very thick, soapy, cream-colored head, lots of thick lacing rings left behind, and a somewhat hazy, amber appearance, with a few bubble streams and some little brown particles floating about. The aroma is pungent, sweet, bready, roasted, and full. Taste is of the same elements, with toffee and a pleasant, and even sharp, hop bitterness in the middle-to-end of the sip. Mouthfeel is medium and slick, and Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale finishes dry, refreshing, and quite drinkable. Overall, this is a most excellent beer!


 576 characters

Photo of WissBrauSean
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep red amber, very clear and with a nice tan head consisting of tiny bubbles that fade to a ring around the glass and a center cap for the rest of the drink. Lacing is a wide and uniform polka dot pattern, but very little of it.

The aroma is of dark fruits like figs and raisins with a caramel malt base and some nice bread to make you feel at home. As it warms, it becomes even more like you wanna put your feet up on the coffee table and drink in the atmosphere.

With the taste you can sort of make out the effect of the hard water as it seems to carry the light hop bitterness on top of a caramel malty, bready, figgy base. The bitterness is mild but apparent with the whole sip as the mild sweetness moves across the tongue and ends up finishing lightly dry with a little bitter at the back of the tongue. It's nicely mild and balanced well leaning a little more to the bitter side.

Mouthfeel is fairly moderate and maybe a little on the thin side allowing the bitter to slightly overtake the sweetness at first. I poured it too cold. As it warms up it becomes even better balanced. Carbonation is perfectly moderate leading to a lasting dry mild bitter finish. English hops for sure. My favourite.

Overall, I would say that this is close to being a world class beer if it were only a little more full bodied, but then it would not be a session-able pub beer would it? It gets a 4+ out of 5 from me!

You have to try this beer as it is pretty affordable and a classic! Get out there, drink good beer. Life is too short for the mundane!

 1,562 characters

Photo of Jadjunk
3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

"Brewed with hard well water (the original well sunk in 1758 is still in use), best barley malt, yeast and aromatic hops to create a copper-coloured ale with a full, rounded flavor; fermented in 'stone Yorkshire squares'; the finish is a perfect balance of malt and hops. A good many British beers were very dark before the Industrial Revolution; new malting techniques led to pale malts allowing the evolution of this classic brewing style - a cornerstone of British pub culture." Brewed in the style of an English Pale Ale. No bottle date. Available in 550ml single bottles.

Poured from a 550ml. bottle to a pint glass. Served above 44º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a creamy/frothy copper-white head over a mild hazy orange amber body with plenty of vivacious carbonation. Retention is quite nice as the head thickens without settling through time. Lacing is thin but strong. A very enjoyable appearance. 4.25

(Smell) Doughy, biscuity malts, a notable hint of cider and vinegar qualities, evidently acidic. Some mild grain notes. Hard water aromatics. Faint earthy hop notes. Potency is medium. Smells right for the style, not particularly original but not underdone either. 3.75

(Taste) Doughy dry malts, some trace husky caramel & toffee sweetness, a mostly acidic bitterness, not so much hop profiles. Hard water qualities are mild with a mild acidity, good for drinkability's sake. Body depth is right for the style and the sweetness, while tame for this beer makes for a very drinkable English Pale Ale. It swings on the malt side, but it's enjoyable in its own regard. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) Mildly crisp, airy carbonation doesn't mangle the palate much. Body is just shy of medium for the style, below medium overall as well. Alcohol presence is low, pretty tame in this beer. Finish is mildly acidic, a bit doughy and faintly dry. 4

(Overall) This was my long delayed introduction to Samuel Smith's beers and I'm a little ashamed that I waited this long. The beer was impressive on most factors, as the flavor was mild, malty and enjoyable, the balance was nice and the textures were just mild enough to accent the flavor profile. It's a good deal at under 4 dollars a bottle. 3.75

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

 2,267 characters

Photo of Premo88
3.96/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

18.7 oz. bottle (550 ml) poured into pub glass

L: clear reddish brown with tan head ... classic and beautiful. definite red in it; amber incarnate. my gosh is she pretty. not a huge head unless i pour it hard. small, tight bubbles of carbonation really pepper the surface.

S: as good as it gets. seriously, I don't see how a beer can smell anymore BEERY! no doubt, there's lots of malt here, but about halfway down, I'm smelling the hops.

T: uh-oh.

This is disappointing because it's off the charts in appearance and smell, but it simply lacks that special oommph finish of what I think of as a great pale ale. Very balanced, starts off with good bitter bite up front but quickly smooths out into some malty goodness. Where I think it goes wrong is it's not finishing up sweet enough for my tastes ... not how I remember from the the first time I tried it in the mid-1990s. It's much better than Old Speckled Hen, for what that's worth.

F: just fine ... good carbonation, good weight, not overly thick.

O: for such a perfect presentation, it lacks in the most important category: taste. It's not bad. Far from it. It's good, and at 5% abv, you could session the hell out of this taste and be happy. If you want a break from the hop-crazy American pale ales/IPAs/DIPAs, good ol' Sam Smith's will give you that at a decent price. (about 18 cents per oz. in my neck of the woods)

BUT my bet is I am going to find better at a cheaper price. Still, when in doubt, this brew is fine.

 1,485 characters

Photo of sfprint
3.56/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Gushed out the top upon opening, but poured not much of a head. Mild carbonation, fairly transparent, dark strawberry in color. The scent, while not so strong, also reminds me of a not so sweet strawberry. Lovely but weak. Chocolate as well.

The taste has an unsweet juice like quality. Like an unsweet fruit tea, ale. A hair sour.

Mild carbonation, not dry, no sting.

Overall decent, but not nearly as special as everyone else seems to think.

 448 characters

Photo of HabiMendes
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The reddish-brown of this excellent beer looked very nice, but the soon-to-follow aroma... oh, it was impressive! The caramelized malty character shows itself so well, but yet so unobtrusively. We also have a background tofee-like smell. The controlled bitterness at the beginning, which precedes an unexpected, but real, carbonation impression at the palate, is very soothing actually. In the end, the hops appear more clearly, which is pleasant and refreshing. Fantastic beer!

 478 characters

Photo of mfnmbvp
3.95/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

550 ml (1 pint) bottle, uncapped and poured into a Boulevard tulip glass. No bottled on date present.

A - Pours a rich robust copper color with a nice thick fizzing two and a half finger cream colored head.

S - Figs and dark fruit sweetness hits me at first. Alcohol smell, but a pleasing alcohol smell. Some roasted bready malts and nut scent in the backbone, to be sure. Roasted malts seem to become more dominant as the beer warms a bit.

T - Roasted malts and dark fruits. Very malty, well-watery finish with a hint of green apple sugars lingering for a bit. Slight hint of cream maybe as the beer begins to warm. Almost reminds me of this nice 18 year old bottle of Hermes Glogg (mulled wine) that I drank last summer. Not extraordinarily hoppy, like many of the pale ales that I have come to favor, but this beer has a well-crafted sweetness to it, and is definitely worth having.

M - Smooth, clean body. Dry finish, but not too dry. Again, the lingering taste of green apple sweetness and some dark cherry and fig sweetness complimenting one another well.

In all, a flavorful beer to be sure. Reminds me almost of the Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout, only smoother and lighter in body. A nicely balanced beer, and easy sippin with a moderate 5.0% abv. I would probably opt for the Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout over this beer, but it was definitely worth checking out.

Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale ---4/5.

 1,423 characters

Photo of notchucknorris
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a dark copper color with a nice and thick cream colored head. Lots of lacing down the glass.

S: Toasted grain, pale malt, a hint of golden raisins and some freshly baked bread.

T: This isn't the hop bomb I've come to look for in pale ales, but it's sneaky good. Some toasted caramel malt, honey malt, and grain with just a touch of hop bitterness. Some fruity esters linger in the background. Finish is squeaky clean. Super drinkable.

 447 characters

Photo of BEERMILER12
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a golden orange color with 2 fingers worth of rocky head

S: Slightly fruity yeast, pale malts, and some light earthy hops. Simple, but good

T: Follows the nose. Starts out with plenty of fruity goodness rounded out with pale malts and light earthy hops that provide a nice light bitterness. Again, fairly simple, but good

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: A good little English pale with a nice profile and great drinkability. Worthy of the name and a purchase

 485 characters

Photo of FLima
2.81/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Amber color, a bit darker, and with a decent head.
Faint smell of caramels, malt and vanilla.
Taste follows smell, sweet malty taste with caramels and vanilla. Flavor got a bit unpleasant after it warmed up, a bit soapy.
Light to medium body with low carbonation.
Malty beer, traditional English Pale ale, don’t look for complexity. Second time I tried and this one didn’t go well, maybe because I had it too warm, I will need to give it a new try.

 452 characters

Photo of mscudder
3.26/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Into a pint.

A - Deep amber hue, much darker than a traditional pale ale. Two-finger off-white head sits atop. Good retention with some nice lacing.

S - Some sweet caramel malts and biscuit notes. Nothing big going on here.

T - Lots of pale buttery malts with some mild dryness on the finish. This pale ale is on the sweet side but by no means is the sweetness robust.

M - Slightly watery medium body with average carbonation.

O - There seems to be a decent reason why I looked past this brew for such a long time. The other brews out of Sammy Smith's dwarf what this beer presents.

 587 characters

Photo of GotWad629
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice amber/copper color with a thick creamy white head

Smells of malted barley, pine, earthy hops, caramel, and vanilla

Tastes is extremely smooth, slight hint of caramel, pine, and vanilla

A nice medium mouthfeel

Overall a well balanced and easy drinking brew. A good break from the super hopped up American pale ales. Just what I would expect from the Brits, balance and modesty.

 395 characters

Photo of beergoot
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful, exceptionally clear copper color crowned with a rich, creamy, dense, sticky and faintly tan head. Richly sweet caramel malt prevails with a faint apricot presence (not very sweet or anything, but still a very light and subtle fruit scent) underneath; sweet sticky bun. Nice light, sweet, grainy malt flavor overall; soft caramel at first; bread-like; nice fade-in of hop bitterness gently complements the malt sweetness. Medium-body, clean, semi-dry finish.

A most enjoyable beer; nicely balanced with a low-key complexity.

 543 characters

Photo of 401J
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle into a wine glass on a snowy new england night in the colonial seaport town of Bristol, R.I. while watching The Voice with my auburn haired mistress.

This beer pours a beautiful sharp orange color with a nice head of some unorganized larger bubbles.

The nose is mild of vanilla and hints to me that this brew will have a creamy fell to it.

Upon tasting, I am treated to a mouthful of balance. I get all of the vanilla and cream mouthfeel I had hoped for then a late introduction to hops that do not overstay their welcome and fade at the most appropriate of times.. Lovely

This, to me, is the benchmark for pale ales in my young beer tasting career..

 678 characters

Photo of flyingpig
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle (550ml from Fenwick, Newcastle):
A bright red to orange coloured amber with a thumb sized, bubbly white head that settles to a thin lacing around the top.

Mix of malts and fruity hops that make the beer seem quite lively and refreshing. There is some roasted malts, brown sugar and some good fruit smells in the mix as well as some good toffee notes from the middle towards the end.

Fruity with some apples initially followed by a great toffee, a lot of fruity hops and earthy malts flavour mixed with some sugary sweetness to it as well. A great balance and a touch of bitterness right at the end round things off rather nicely.

Medium and quite smooth tasting as well as being very sweet and well-balanced. There is a touch of spice and a nice good amount of carbonation.

Very enjoyable beer with a great fruity flavour and plenty of hops on top of a strong malt base. Everything was well-balanced and worked well together giving a lingering, sweet hoppy taste.

 974 characters

Photo of thierrynantes
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer bottle (35.5 cl.) purchased from Le Souffleur de bières, and tasted in 2012.

Appearance : amber color, with white foam head.
Smell : light hoppy to malty aromas.
Taste & mouthfeel : caramel and malty flavors, with a slightly bitter finish.
Drinkability : a good beer ine English style Pale Ale.

 301 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Into a pint glass. Amber to orange color with a finger and half of head. Great lacing and hold.
Lots of aroma: pear and apple mostly.
Quite malty, minimum bitterness at first, builds towards the end. Lemon.
Soft texture. Medium body, low carbonation.
Nice pale ale to enjoy the malt side of the ale without having to fight through the bitterness of American Pale Ales.

 369 characters

Photo of pkalix
4.33/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

definitely a copper colored pour with a decent opaque one finger head. the head settles nicely and rests on top, becoming a filmy attribute with minimal lacing.
definitely an 'england' style smell (i HAVE to learn my malts and hops more!) and the taste matches the slightly malty smell. typical english smells and flavors. never have been able to explain the differences between english and german brews, but i've always just preferred the german stuff.
i guess the stuff is good to drink; it's a little difficult to session on, but it's not bad overall. i remember having to cross this beer off my list at the famous DER BARON's in las vegas back in the late 80's and it was one of the special ones i looked forward to. it's a good one to try, now and then, but i dont think i want a full six pack of the stuff. maybe a whiskey chaser with it??
one more note- i noticed the pictureon the site has the words on the label with a BLACK background and the bottle i have has a BLUE background. i remember it always being black. wonder if i have something different? or did they change the color?

 1,091 characters

Photo of SouljaSaia17
3.73/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is my 4th type of Samuel Smiths, got it on sale or I wouldnt have tried it otherwise.

A: Beer pours a dark, golden copper color with a solid 1 inch creamy, mocha tinted head.

S: Aroma is pretty faint, but I get some apple and some slightly roasted malts with a hint of toffee and brown sugar on the back end.

T: The flavor starts out with a crumbed apple pie, with whipped cream on top. Also get some brown sugar, caramel or toffee and a little bit of yeast flavor.

M: A little bit more of a malty flavor that is in most pale ales, some creamyness and a hint of subtle spice make this a slow sipper for me.

O: Not too familiar with a lot of English style ales except for Brown ales and Stouts. But as far as a Pale ale goes, it has a nice twist to what im used to drinking. Not quite 6 pack worthy, but good for an English style bomber.

 846 characters

Photo of Hopfenpeter
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a coppery medium gold slightly hazy color. The head is creamy tan and builds about two fingers high. Good retention and good lacing.
The smell is malt and some caramel mostly.
Tasting the beer, up front there are caramel and honey flavors. The middle is dominated by bread and malt flavors. In the end some flowery hops finish and balance the beer nicely.
Great beer.

 374 characters

Photo of heygeebee
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

BB Nov 12

Pours a deep gold/copper. Coarse two finger head. Clear. Clingy lace.

Malts and earthy/bready hops in equal balance on nose. Add in some toffee.

Taste is mainly earth hop driven with caramels to the fore. Well balanced.

Mouthfeel good - no nasty zingy aftertaste.

Good example of style.

 301 characters

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