1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

955 Ratings
THE BROS
92
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 955
Reviews: 656
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 11.89%
Wants: 33
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 955 | Reviews: 656 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium brown with slight amber tones with a real nice big head,the aroma was more malty with some light hop aromas lingering.The taste up front is of lightly sweet malt with a hop smack that hits and lingers thru the finish.There is a winey,fruity undertone to this beer wich I like and havent tasted on any other pale,a good solid English classic.

oberon, Aug 19, 2003
Photo of JohnnyDuvel
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I realized recently, after reading an article about English ales, that I had never tried this one (despite the fact that I love Samuel Smith's beers). This is a very tasty (albeit subdued) ale. Typical butterscotch-like flavor (like a lot of other English ales), nice balance - which seems to be Smith's calling card. Goes down incredibly easy for an ale, which is the high point of this offering. Certainly nothing earth shattering, but holds up well against the competition (Fuller's, Young's etc.) As good as most pale ales I've had.

JohnnyDuvel, Aug 08, 2003
Photo of bmills1608
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured from the big clear bottle a deep clear amber with red highlights. Really nice big thick head. A pretty beer. On the nose was caramel malts, butterscotch, some soft herbal hops and brewed tea. A very nice nose, but nothing overly complex.

Taste starts out a bit malt-sweet and faintly nutty. The distinctive Samuel Smith flash of flint/metal followed the malt. Some smooth diacetyl and low ale fruitiness also were evident. As with all S.S. brews, hops balanced beautifully with the malt. A nice Goldings bitterness rounded out the flavors nicely and put the beer in supreme balance. Doughy mouth coating flavors and some mild dryness from the hops finished the beer nice and clean. Highly drinkable. Mouthfeel I thought was above average - lightly creamy and very smooth with tight and somewhat sparse carbonation.

Overall impression - A solid Sam Smiths offering. Less complex I thought then some of their other beers, but what it may not have had in the complexity department is made up in drinkability. A prototypical English pale ale.

bmills1608, Aug 04, 2003
Photo of avylover
4.4/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a nice dark brown with a very small white head. Aroma was instantly of british hoppiness, with some maltiness in the background. Taste is nice & bitter up front, then finishes with a beautiful butterscotch taste. Nice carbonation and very clean mouthfeel too to make this one drinkable beer. Went great with some traditional style cheese fondue - I could have drank all night, but I was too stuffed after such a great meal!!

avylover, Jul 27, 2003
Photo of Reidrover
3.28/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

One of the excellent Sam Smith beers I had yet to taste.
Comes in the Sam Smith 550 cl CLEAR bottle of course..with the White rose of Yorkshire prominent on the label.
After pouring into my British Imperial pint mug the beer looks nice crystal clear darkish brown with a rather large frothy off white head..good lacing.
Oh man..this does not smell to good..I detetct a little skunk! I had heard this was a problem with Smiths beers but this is the first time I have had it happen.
The taste is not too badly affected by the skunkiness though..so maybe it was just slightly skunked?Its a well balanced pale ale to be sure malts preedominate..but the hops are ever present underneath.Not a great falvour though.
rather average mouthfeel.
Its drinkable..but I would rather have an American Pale..this is below my expectations for Sam Smith.

Reidrover, Jul 26, 2003
Photo of hotstuff
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I found this beer to have a very smooth flavor to it along with a fruity aroma.There was no overwhelming bitter aftertaste observed with this beer.While I would not consider this to be an outstanding beer, it is one that I would consider drinking for the evening.

hotstuff, Jul 23, 2003
Photo of TheDM
3.15/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Ah much better than that lousey Budweiser I just had. The aroma was very hard for me to place, but its color is a nice amber brown and yielded an invigorating head of small to medium light brown bubbles. A slightly above average taste yet very drinkable.

TheDM, Jul 07, 2003
Photo of MJR
3.75/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a dark copper with a hint of red. The body is crystal clear with a tan head that settles to a sturdy cap.

Smell: Overall, the aroma is a bit weak. What's there is a good balance of sweet malt and earthy Fuggle hops. As is the standard for Sammy Smith brews, there's a fair amount of buttery diacytel.

Taste: Starts off with a restrained, but firm bitterness. The sweet malt shows up midway, with slighty fruity and toasted bread notes. The diacytel is there, but is well controlled. Finishes with a green, hop flavor as well as a slighty burnt edge.

Mouthfeel: Dry and crisp with a light-to-medium thickness. The finish has a bit of a grainy astrigency.

Drinkability: Fairly good. This is a well made English pale ale. No great characteristics, but no serious flaws either. I could do without the astrigency on the finish, but it's a small issue in an otherwise solid brew.

MJR, Jun 28, 2003
Photo of ElGuapo
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A deep reddish amber pour with a large off-white covering of foam on top. Sweet malts and floral hops make a great balance in the nose.

A rich bodied pale ale done just the way it should be. Big sweet malts come in first and are then met with hops. This is an english pale that defines the style. A little bit sweet, but definitely not cloying. It does have a somewhat nutty flavor. It seems like a bit of the nut brown was presenet in this one. This is one great ale.

ElGuapo, Jun 16, 2003
Photo of Suds
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer is a deep copper color with a thin, but steady head. It’s quite clear, and has medium carbonation. Aroma is a mix of floral hops and a sweet mustiness. The taste is exactly what I’d expect from a good pale. Fine balance of hops and malt. It’s a bit on the sweeter side, with a woody-nutty tone, and has a medium mouthfeel. Finish is a mildly hoppy, and could certainly stand additional bitterness. This is a pleasant, drinkable pale ale….no off-flavors, and it’s certainly better than average.

Suds, Jun 14, 2003
Photo of GeoffRizzo
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark amber hue, a struggling head with spotted lacing. Faint, dull aroma, some hops and raisins tough to detect. English malts and hops, some fruit noted off the top, somewhat bitter, yearning for the hops. Some spices and a dry and rich body. Hoppy and bitter balanced makes it a good drink, anytime, anyplace. Another SS top quality brew, mark as a staple.

GeoffRizzo, Jun 07, 2003
Photo of IronDjinn
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A very fine specimen. A nice rich amber colour with a fair white foamy head that lasts a minute or so, leaving a fine lace on it's way down the glass. Strong malty aroma with a bit of spicy hops.
Rich malty flavour balanced out nicely by the hops, goes down very easy and is quite refreshing. The malt definitelty dominates over the hop content in this pale ale. A formidable session brew.

IronDjinn, May 25, 2003
Photo of Tballz420
4.15/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep amber color with a pillowy creamy white head on top. Nice malty aroma. The taste is pretty similar to some other english style PAs that ive had. A pretty malty taste with a nice blast of hops. I can definately picture myself having another one of these soon. Damn fine beer.

Tballz420, May 07, 2003
Photo of Garin
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On the pour, this is a slightly cloudy coppery orange. The head is billowy and creamy, and fades within a couple of minutes leaving a nice clingy lacing.

The aroma is mild, sweet, and yeasty, with malt and a touch of hops. Flavours of herbs, orange, spice, and hops are detectable. The malt vs. hops is very nicely balanced, with assertive kicks of each alternately taking centre stage. Some butteriness is obvious, but not overwhelming. A nice toasted grainy/grassy flavour complements the dry and bitter in the finish.

The mouthfeel is nice and creamy, with medium carbonation. The carbonation is just a touch more than I'd like it to be, but I'm not really complaining.

Garin, Apr 24, 2003
Photo of jlervine
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally, proof that my Samuel Smith run tonight was not in vain. This ale poured a copper color with a thick head that took forever to go away. The remnants followed the beer all the way down. Fragrant hops reach my nose from the glass. The taste is fantastic. Sharp, crisp, lightly bitter, and then gone, with a lingering maltiness and bitterness duking it out on the back of my tongue. This is what I like from a pale ale. Simply fantastic.

jlervine, Apr 17, 2003
Photo of Riggo
4.35/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A classic, to my mind, but subtle compared to so many of the "big" ales brewed in America. This mellow and tasty ale has a certain un-nameable charm that causes me to love it despite its lack of "bells and whistles". There is something of the old country in this brew that just never quite seems duplicated here in the states.

Fills my glass with a brilliant golden copper color, like dark scotch. A sturdy beige head is tightly-beaded and the texture of sea foam. Head retention is good, with moderate lacing. An understated yet alluring nose is musty and malty with notes of buttersotch, mineral-chalkiness, fruit (apples), caramel, and tobacco. In the mouth, an exceptionally well-balanced ale, nutty and malty, with a clean hop background. Fruity (orange and lemon) and earthy (oak, malt, buttery toffee, caramel) with a long malty yet dry finish. Aftertaste is dry and lemony. Mouthfeel is good, especially the lower carbonation. Drinkability on this one is high, especially in the sense of looking forward to another glass.

A subtle yet charming brew that gives me what I think may just be a hint of what real cask beer in England might be like. I suspect that this ale loses a good deal on the trip overseas and even in being bottled rather than on tap or handpump in the motherland. (Incidentally, I have had a few bottles of this beer that were most likely lightstruck. I had reason to believe that this particular bottle was kept relatively protected from light and that seemed to be borne out in tasting.)

Riggo, Apr 10, 2003
Photo of Pegasus
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy amber colored with a large off-white head, good carbonation, and lots of sticky lace. Substantial aroma of floral hops, lesser notes of malt. Tasting begins with toasted malts and slight fruit notes, soon the taste flows into mildly bitter hops. Finishes dry with dark malt notes. The mouth feel is quite pleasant. A rather fine pale ale.

Pegasus, Apr 08, 2003
Photo of beerluvr
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a nice off white head, slowly settling on top of beautifully clear golden-amber liquid tinged with red. Nose is the "patented" Sam Smith buttery/diacetyl, with grassy notes & little hop. Taste is marvelously smooth and fruity, nice gentle carbonation makes this go down quickly. Restrained but adequate hoppiness mixes nicely with a medium-bodied maltiness. Finishes slightly sweet, with a bit of dryness coming back after the swallow. All in all, a fine English-style Pale Ale, unique in character and taste.

beerluvr, Apr 03, 2003
Photo of Running4beer
4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured an deep amber/rust color with an off white head that was thick but settles to a thin lace quickly. The aroma of malts jump at your nose and some caramel does too. Sweet malt and caramel taste is followed by a slight bitterness a good one, two punch to this tasteful beer. Light carbonation and smooth mouthfeel. The balance of flavors and mouthfeel make this an easily drinkable brew.

Cheers!!!

Running4beer, Apr 03, 2003
Photo of Bruiser81
3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
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.

Bruiser81, Mar 31, 2003
Photo of Scooter77
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Samuel Smith’s is well known for it’s great beers and this one’s no exception. Pours a hazy golden color with a thin, bubbly head that dissipates quickly, leaving a very thin lace on the glass. Nose is full of floral hops with small hints of sweet malts and caramel. Taste is sweet with mild hops. Very well balanced. This is a very smooth and refreshing brew.

Scooter77, Mar 22, 2003
Photo of WaltTrombone
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer came in a 550ml clear glass bottle, as part of a Samuel Smith's Beer Nut package. It poured a medium amber, with a huge off-white head. The aroma was a sweet malty one. Taste was also sweet malt, balanced by a touch of bitter hops, and some grapefruit notes. The mouthfeel was posh and luxurious, and a smooth, light hoppy finish.

An excellent beer! I liked this better than the Nut Brown Ale, very smooth and drinkable. A good session ale.

WaltTrombone, Mar 08, 2003
Photo of RonfromJersey
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear copper body, topped by foamy, frothy four-finger off-white head. Outstanding lacing. Aroma has biscuits, floral and herbal hops, and a proper dash of British sulfur. Taste is malty but dry, with enough hops to dry out the initial malt surge, and have some left over for a little tingle in the aftertaste. Nothing too big here, this is basically a slightly stronger session beer, or what passes for a session beer from Sam Smith. I don't think I could afford to actually use their beers for that purpose. This is a fine English ale though.

Regarding the clear bottles and skunkiness, I offer three possibilites. 1. I 've been incredibly lucky in never having a skunked Sam Smith. 2. Some reviewers imagine skunkiness at the sight of a clear bottle. 3. What some call skunkiness is the sulfur quality characteristic of many English ales.

RonfromJersey, Mar 01, 2003
Photo of feloniousmonk
3.35/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a huge, and well-retained creamy head, with a pale amber color. Aroma is soft, slightly floral, faint fruitiness, some citrus, but very mellow in the hop department. Overall, a sweetish palate, practically nil on the bitterness scale.
Light texture, very easy mouthfeel, lacks some substance. Doesn't need any really, for the purposes of this style. It's a pub ale, with not so much flavor to take your attention from the football or the darts. Slightly coppery, tangy taste, a little buttery.
My least favorite Samuel Smith's beer, just too mild and pale for my taste, although perfect for what it tries to be. I compare all "pale ales", sometimes unfavorably, against hoppier American craftbrew versions.

feloniousmonk, Feb 27, 2003
Photo of LiquidBreadMan
2.68/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The clear bottle is attractive, but I have to wonder if it affected the taste in a bad way. No doubt, Samuel Smith Pale Ale looks good -- really good. However, the taste reminded me of the canned Carling Black Label that we used to hide in the woods, as young teenagers.

The poured appearance is richly golden with a light amber hue (hey, I said it looked good), with a thick short-lived head. Aroma wasn't bad, but it was on the malty side -- not citrusy such as I expect with a Pale Ale. The taste was very Budweiser-esque, or warm canned Carling Black Label: overly sweet (corn, no doubt) with a putrid (skunky) finish. Carbonation, which may have helped this brew, was almost nonexistent.

LiquidBreadMan, Feb 16, 2003
Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
87 out of 100 based on 955 ratings.