Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale - Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
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Ratings: 3,095 | Reviews: 1,380 | Display Reviews Only:
3.23/5 rDev -21%
550ml brown glass bottle with foiled-over pressure cap acquired as part of a $9.99 3 bottle/1 glass gift box at a local Trader Joe's and served into a New Belgium stem-goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are fairly high given its current glowing reviews and my opinion of the brewery.
Served after a warming period following its removal from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.
Presentation: The label is alright. The foil is a nice touch. I'm glad it's brown glass and not green or clear. The Michael Jackson quote on the back label is a nice touch: "Samuel Smith's of Tadcaster has the richest, maltiest and nuttiest of brown ales." Though I do have to complain: no oxford comma, Michael Jackson?
A: Pours a three finger khaki colour head of great cream, good thickness, notable frothiness, and great retention - though the modest ABV diminishes the impressiveness of that achievement. Decent lacing. Body colour is NOT brown, but actually a translucent chestnut-amber. Nontransparent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.
Sm: Caramel, a nice blend of biscuit, dark, and caramel malts, cherry fruit, nuts (though far less than anticipated - especially considering the style), butterscotch, fig newton, and toffee. A delightful very British aroma (as strange and vague as that sounds). Assertive and true to character. Amber malts. Minimal floral hopping. A fairly strong aroma.
T/Mf: Cherry comes through quite a bit, actually, complemented by surprisingly overt bright fruity hop esters. Hm. Caramel and toffee, sure. Cream, buttery qualities. A butterscotch kiss on the climax. The fruitiness and bold hop presence are actually a bit off-putting, especially as it warms. Sugarcane. The foundation lacks the maltiness I'd expect of a good brown ale. And where are the nuts? Their absence is unforgivable given the style. Too sweet, especially on the finish - an attribute worsened by the smooth and wet texture. Smooth and wet - in a brown ale? And on the finish, no less? This should be coarse, dry, and malty as hell - with some cream to take the edge off. This is not that. No yeast or alcohol comes through. Good carbonation and thickness. Fruit syrup does come through, or perhaps just artificial fig extract a la fig newtons; though this is not the dark fig you'd get in a good quad, it is bright, thin, and out of place. I'm disappointed in both the build and balance, though I must admit I do enjoy it all around. It's just a failure as a Brown Ale is all. Hopping feels as English as can be.
Dr: The lack of nuts and strangely fruit-forward build make this a failure of a Brown Ale, but I still like drinking it. I wouldn't get it again, though. It seems anything but traditional. a good buy at Trader Joe's. Brown Ale fans steer clear, but this is worth a go and is quite drinkable if you simply enjoy beer. It's tough to come up with a letter grade on this one because it's not at all to style, but I do like it for what it is outside of conventions.
12-13-2012 07:19:31 | More by kojevergas
4.2/5 rDev +2.7%
01/18/09- Purchased at Whole Foods in San Mateo, CA.
Presentation- 12oz bottle, forgot to look for freshness info. Poured into a my Samuel Smith pint glass.
Appearance- Carmelized brown in color with about a 1/2 inch head. Leaves some light spotty lace behind.
Smell- Toasted caramel malt, a bit of chocolate malt and a light nutty aroma.
Taste- Seems to have crossed over to almost an american version of a brown ale. Fairly hoppy, nice sugary caramel malt base with a hint of chocolate. Bready and lightly nutty as well.
Mouthfeel- Medium to slightly higher carbonation level. Nice earthy sweet aftertaste.
Drinkability- I guess this is the benchmark for me per style. Very good beer as always is the case with Samuel Smith.
01-19-2009 15:40:25 | More by GClarkage
District of Columbia
4.15/5 rDev +1.5%
550ml brown bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Clear dark copper brown color. Nice off white, light tan color head that is thick and dense and has nice retention and thick sticky lacing.
S: Nutty, malty, a little caramel, slightly sweet. Also surprisingly, some alcohol in the background. I'm still not crazy about the smell of brown's in general I suppose, but this is better than most.
T: By far the best english brown I've had. I've been down on this style recently but this definitely overcomes that. First thing I notice is a smooth, buttery taste quickly followed by a nutty, malt taste. Slightly sweet to start and a dry, slightly hoppy finish. The butter remains underneath everything else.
M: Thick, smooth, buttery, moderate carbonation, not as dry as other brown ales I've had recently. Very pleasant
D: Beer gets a little heavy with the thick, nutty, buttery taste which curbs the drinkability a little, but this is by far the best brown ale I've had.
02-07-2008 02:45:02 | More by yourefragile
4.1/5 rDev +0.2%
Reddish mahogany brown hue with brilliant clarity. Looks burnished, shiny and good. Head is a fine film of yellow-white bubbles, that dissipate a little, but leave extraordinarily good lacing. Looks very nice indeed.
A nice dusty grain character on the nose, a lightly roasted sweetness, with an underlying taint of greenness, possibly some crushed leaves. Molasses, roasted almonds. Even something a bit darker, like roasted capsicum. Quite nice. Pleasant, with some interesting characters.
Amazingly smooth on the palate, with a truly delicious, long lingering dryness. Initial nutty sweetness smooths on to a long dark sugar character, which then dries to a grain biscuity flavour - thoroughly delicious. Mouthfeel is creamy and slick - one of the best bottled mouthfeel's I've ever seen. The flavour is just rich, smooth and delicious.
A very pleasant, extremely drinkable brew, full of character, and quite delicious.
02-02-2009 07:45:52 | More by lacqueredmouse
4.18/5 rDev +2.2%
Fear not, loyal followers, I have not abandoned The CANQuest (TM), bottle be getting back to it real soon, I promise!
From the bottle: "Brewed at Samuel Smith's small, traditional British brewery with well water (the original well sunk in 1758 is still in use), best barley malt, roasted barley, yeast and aromatic hops. Nut Brown Ale is relatively dry with a rich amber-brown colour and nutty flavour derived exclusively from small amounts of dark malt. Brown ales are a specialty of northern England. Fermented in 'stone Yorkshire squares'."; "'Samuel Smith's of Tadcaster has the richest, maltiest and nuttiest of brown ales.' (Michael Jackson's Beer Companion)"; "Samuel Smith's brews at a small, traditional British brewery, the oldest brewery in Yorkshire."; Captioning a picture: "Rousing during fermentation in 'stone Yorkshire squares' to redistribute the flocculent Old Brewery yeast strain."
My pour created two thick fingers of deep-mocha head with excellent retention. I would have called the colour "garnet". but I will defer to "amber-brown", and with NE-quality clarity. Nose was both nutty and chocolaty, like a Hershey's Bar with Almonds. Actually, allow me to amend that to a Cadbury's Fruit & Nut bar since I also caught some raisiny smells in there. Mouthfeel was medium and the taste had a molasses quality on the tongue, not sweet at all, but more bittersweet. Interesting. Finish was likewise more bitter than sweet, completely unexpected and welcome by someone who does not really like sweet, malty beers.
06-20-2011 19:36:55 | More by woodychandler
3.28/5 rDev -19.8%
Hmm, the appearance rocks, but I'm not getting much else from this bottles. Perhaps it needs to warm up? Not so much. This ale just doesn't come alive for me. There's a nutty, caramel malt flavor, but its too subtle. It's also a bit on the sweet side in aroma and flavor, almost like sugar was added. I can imagine this might be better by cask, but I was sold a bottle, alas.
04-12-2007 03:33:10 | More by tempest
4.1/5 rDev +0.2%
One of the best Nut Browns next to Rogue Hazlenut Brown..
Poured a deep brown with a nice dirty white head on it. Nose wasroasted malt, caramel, nutty and more complex than I imagined. Taste was sweet dry, slight roastiness that was smooth and mellow. Caramel, chocolate and english matls stole the show. Darn good English Porter
07-16-2008 18:43:34 | More by barleywinefiend
United Kingdom (England)
4.33/5 rDev +5.9%
Now packaged in a brown bottle - Good! BB 11/2008, served (only a month past the expiry date) cool in a straight imperial pint glass.
A: pours a deep and dark mahogany colour with great clarity, very elegant; topped with a well-lasting dark beige froth that, in turn, is supported by very fine carbonation.
S: the aroma (expanding since the pouring) comes predominantly caramely, jammy fruity, and nutty, almost like a dark Bock for the intense sweet edge... as it settles in the glass, an assertively sour edge of dark dates and even ripe red grapes combines with more caramel malts to render a solid nutty and malty platform on the nose, ringing a bell of a Porter w/o the more roasty hint. Very pleasant overall.
T: the foretaste is dominated by lots and lots of syrupy dates and carmalised walnuts, followed by sweet black-tea, fat raisins, brown sugar, toasted malts, and more sour-sweetness of dark stone-fruit jam, all of which, in a sense, are integrated well in a swallow. The aftertaste, with a semi-salty kick, prolongs the sour-sweet fruity-malty taste, while quietly the bitterness from earthy and tea-leafy English hops as well as from roasted malts also manifests itself, providing a soothing balance from the back of the palate.
M&D: pretty soothing on the carbonation, with random spritzy bites from the microscopic fizziness; this ale is a delicious, richly fruity malty brew, more in line with a richly fruity Premium Bitter enjoyed in winter time (or Winter Warmer?) than a generally milder Brown Ale tasted elsewhere. Comparing with the notes of the last bottle tasted two years ago, however, it seems this bottle gives out a much richer fruity presence of dark malts than the nuttiness overall. Well, I have to say I quite like both.
* Tasting Date: 11/07/06
BB May 2007, served cool in a straight imperial-pint glass.
4.5 A: bright and dark-reddish chest-brown in colour, coming with an effervescent creamy frothy head, building up to a 3cm thick and sustaining very well; very gently carbonated. Elegant.
4.5 S: hop resins combine with a deep-running aroma of slightly sweet-roasty tinge of nuts, creamy toffee, melted brown sugar, raisins and date-preserve, plus a mild but soothing flow of citric as well as tea-leafy hops at the back. Harmonious, semi-rich, delicious.
4 T: a floral+tea-leafy flavour of hops approaches surprisingly early on the palate, mixed well with a creamy-smooth roasted-nuttiness with both the sweet edge of chestnuts and the sour edge of raw nuts or grains; hops' bitterness gradually develops, which, along with bitterness from roast walnuts, creeps down to the ends of the sides of the tongue, providing a soothing bitter kick towards a satisfying and superbly lingering nutty finish... A restrained diacetyl undertone stays deep down in the aftertaste as well.
4 M&4.5 D: rounded, creamy-smooth on the mouthfeel, plus a softly-carbonated texture, this medium-bodied, delicious beer drinks only too well. Reasonably flavoursome, with a subtle balance arrived at b/w bitter-sweetness of roast-malts and a sour tinge of dark fruits, this simply has to be one of my all-time favourite English brown ales alongside "Rigglewelter" (Black Sheep).
12-23-2008 20:08:40 | More by wl0307
4/5 rDev -2.2%
Smaller clear bottle, without any freshness dating to be had. Pours dark honey amber and just about clear. Light almost white head and some non-descript lacing left behind. Nice nutty/malty nose. Lovely malty, subtle nutty ale, clean and refreshing. Classic British take on the style, IMHO, fine, fine sessioner.
05-21-2005 15:58:30 | More by Billolick
4.28/5 rDev +4.6%
An old friend which I've never reviewed. Pours a nice slightly reddish brown with a medium height creamy head. Nice typical dry British malt and yeast with a touch of nuttiness and perhaps copper in the nose. Smooth and earthy in the taste department with a creamy finish and a light dry roastiness that indeed tastes a bit nutty. Delicious and straightforward. A touch of residual sweetness in the finish, but moderately dry overall. Spot on for the style, and much less hoppy and than American versions, but there are some gentle earthy hops there. Smooth and creamy, slightly nutty in the mouth. Overall a pleasure to drink.
05-06-2009 22:37:48 | More by Georgiabeer
4.03/5 rDev -1.5%
A: Pours a crystal clear dark reddish brown (more brown) in color with some light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall light beige head that reduces to a thin layer over the entire surface of the beer with a thicker patch and ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate lacing is observed.
S: Lots of aromas of malts (caramel and bready), nuts, and just a hint of bitterness.
T: Wonderful flavor for the style, lots of maltiness - dark and bready - along with some very nice nut flavors. This beer also has a very light hop bitterness on the finish which I really enjoyed.
M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.
O: Another oldie but goodie - I have been drinking this beer since the mid-1990s and it has always been solid. Probably the quintessential English brown ale. Very easy to drink, enjoyable, and sessionable. Definitely one to get another time.
03-21-2012 23:23:38 | More by dbrauneis
3.9/5 rDev -4.6%
(Served in a low-ball glass)
A- This beer has a warm brown hazel body that is clear with lots of tiny little carbonation bubbles. The head is a light yellowish-tan that fades after a bit.
S- The smell is of pot caramel with a slight dry nutty note in the finish.
T- The sweet soft caramel malt flavor had a slight nugget off flavor that tasted like it was caramelized in the pot and not really caramel malt. After that was a pronounced nutty flavor and a smooth finish with a faint bitterness.
M- This beer had a medium mouthfeel with a good creamy texture to it.
D- This beer had a good strong nutty flavor which many nut brown ales lack. That was a very nice part of the beer but there were some slight off flavors in the toasted malt and I don't think the clear glass bottles helped.
04-25-2006 23:10:11 | More by rhoadsrage
3.5/5 rDev -14.4%
Pours a light tan, three finger head, fades slowly and leaves a good lace. Light-medium carbonation and light-medium bodied. Deep, clear amber color. Nose is not distinguishable. Starts with a light mellow sweetness and finishes with a good balance of malts and hops. $2.32 for a 12oz bottle from Northend Superette Manchester, NH.
02-04-2005 23:54:00 | More by jdhilt
4.03/5 rDev -1.5%
Pours a clear dark brown ale.
Smell is fruity and perfumey with a mild malt aroma.
Nice flavor, malt and burnt sugar, a bit of perfume. Mildly sweet with a brown sugar after taste. Prune and Raisin flavors come out later.
Very drinkable, mild yet not bland.
02-17-2004 02:37:45 | More by Zorro
4.43/5 rDev +8.3%
Had some tonight with deep dish pizza, on to the beer:
Well, as you'd expect, it's brown. It has a very nutty aroma, interweaved with rich, sweet malts. Imagine going to one of those buffets with the soft serve ice cream machine, and filling your bowl with the assorted sticky toppings mixed with peanuts. It also has a little alcohol kick at the end of each sip, more so as the beer gets warmer. The hops keep the sweet taste in check from being too sweet, and it makes for an overall pleasent drinking experience.
03-12-2007 04:38:32 | More by DoubleJ
United Kingdom (Wales)
3.83/5 rDev -6.4%
Poured into Sam Adams Sensory Glass
Pours 1 and ½ fingers of light tan head. Ok retention leaving some splattered lace. Color is a clear copper brown.
Aroma: Hmm.. I seem to really enjoy the aroma. Carmel, light chocolate notes, nuts, and grassy hops. Very elegant in a way.
Taste: Roasty malts, caramel, light chocolate again. Grassy hops with some nut flavor, sugar. I am fairly impressed here.
Mouthfeel: Creamy, a little crisp, kind of has a skunky flavor to it. Light to medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends with a roasted malt flavor aftertaste.
Overall, this beer exceeded my expectations. It is a good brown ale. Worth buying. The only part I didn't like was the English part of it and it bringing some skunkiness with it. Still, I like. My big bottle won't be hard to finish.
10-10-2009 03:25:23 | More by mothman
3.5/5 rDev -14.4%
Pours a dark brown color with nice carbonation, small head, a little bit of lacing afterwards from a clear bottle. Scents of malt, sweet caramel. Nice taste sweet, malty, and nutty. Medium body with a dry finish. At 5% ABV would make a good session brew. The clear bottle throws me off.
09-29-2005 02:05:26 | More by Wasatch
3.8/5 rDev -7.1%
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 light beige head forms on top of a clear mahogany liquid. The head was short-lived, and there was little lacing during the drinking experience. Minimal aroma, maybe the slightest of hops essence, but the taste is a good match of malt and bitterness. The flavors kind of swirl around the tongue duelling for superiority, and the bout ending a pleasing draw. Not surprisingly, another worthy ale from Sam Smith...
02-09-2004 20:15:41 | More by ppoitras
4.23/5 rDev +3.4%
550 ml bottle into imperial pint glass, bottled on 8/21/2012. Pours fairly crystal clear reddish copper color with a 2 finger dense and fluffy light khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass. Aromas of big caramel, molasses, raisin, toast, toffee, brown bread, light nuttiness, floral, and toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt and moderate fruity notes. Taste of big caramel, molasses, toast, toffee, raisin, brown bread, floral, nuttiness, light roast, and toasted earthiness. No bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, molasses, toast, toffee, raisin, brown bread, floral, nuttiness, light roast, and light earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic flavor balance and complexity of malt flavors with moderate fruitiness; very robust for 5% with no cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a creamy and fairly slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent english brown ale! Great balance and complexity of robust flavors; and very smooth to drink. A highly enjoyable offering.
05-17-2013 04:08:42 | More by superspak
Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
91 out of 100 based on 3,095 ratings.