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Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale - Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome AleSamuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,718 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1718
Reviews: 1070
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 12.53%

Brewed by:
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-29-2001)
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Ratings: 1,718 | Reviews: 1,070 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Richardbeerlover


2.56/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Pours a medium brown with minimal head. Smells malty and clean. Not much going on and has a slightly bitter finish. Clean tasting but not much substance at all. Very thin. Carbonation is low to medium. I was expecting a thicker more substantial beer due to the winter ale moniker. A bit disappointed in this one.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2014 23:22:22 | More by Richardbeerlover
Photo of TheBullsHorn


3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes of toffee, caramel, malt, toast and subtle English hops prevail throughout the nose. With each sip, the same notes are revisited, though the carbonation carries the flavors throughout the palate. The flavors are never perceived as overly sweet- or "extracty" as some other winter warmers can come across. Finishes a touch dry, but that makes you want to take another sip.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2014 04:42:29 | More by TheBullsHorn
Photo of jwhancher


3.81/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into large stemmed ice tea glass. Enjoying after a nice winter/spring hike through the woods in Pocono Pines. Appears bright orange copper with very nice steady carbonation and head that fades to thin film. Some lacing on the glass sides. Smells of chestnuts & hazelnuts with woody, earthy hop aroma. Tastes nutty & sweet upfront with light caramel touch. Some candied fruit seems evident. Sweet malt taste fades to even bitterness that helps round this one out. Mouthfeel is medium to full. This beer reminds me of cracking open some nuts on a cold winter day while tending to a fire.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2014 18:14:19 | More by jwhancher
Photo of 312HopBomb


4.06/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Served in a Domaine DuPage tulip it pours a clear red amber with a high froth of white that settles slowly leaving an impressive lacing.

The nose comprises black cherry and rum soaked raisin with sweet malt notes.

The tastes brings a sweet malty flavor but balanced. Some dark fruit and fig and black cherry with some alcohol and some earthy hop in the background.

The mouthfeel is medium with low/moderate carbonation.

Overall a nice winter warmer and it is just as tasty as I remember it from back in the day.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2014 00:26:45 | More by 312HopBomb
Photo of JudgeRoughneck


4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

AROMA- light toffee, fresh grain, lightly tasted, dried golden raisin, - all light and subtle, moderate acetylaldehyde, very low D, medium-low floral hop

FLAVoR- medium intenity smooth and lush light caramel sweetness dominates, medium-high spicy/floral/fruity hop presence, medium-low black currant and yellow raisin character, maybe some white grape, acetylaldehyde is moderate, light smack of buttered toast in the finish, no lingering bitterness.

Mothfeel- full-bodied, creamy, medium-low carbonation, no noticeable alcohol,

APPEARANCE- new penny copper, extremely clear, low white head

OVERALL- never got the whole winter angle, not exceptionally warming, just a super-solid UK ESB that goes down smooth

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2014 07:12:54 | More by JudgeRoughneck
Photo of thegodfather1076


4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Front label is extremely eye-catching with great colors and nice graphics. Label gives a bit of brewery info, states “Product of England”, “2013-2014”, “Brewed at Yorkshire's Oldest Brewery”. Back label gives a nice description and back story of the beer, ABV info, web info, and a bit of brewery info. Neck wrapped in gold foil. Bottle has “Samuel Smith” and Bottle at Yorkshires Oldest Brewery Est. 1758” embossed in the glass.

Appearance: Winter Welcome was aggressively poured from its 550ml Victorian pint bottle into a 20oz Imperial pint glass leading to a 2½ finger eggshell white head of a medium-thick density resting atop a clear amber/copper colored beer. Head retention was an excellent 5min 8sec before fading to a thick coating and thick ring with excellent lacing.

Smell/Aroma: Smell is a bit fruity with a nutty buttery malt aroma and nice scents of molasses, brown sugar, and candied fruits. A bit of clove spiciness and a bit of light hops balance out the nose nicely.

Flavor/Taste: Taste is of sweet bready malts with a bit of caramel, candied fruits, and toffee on the front-end. Mid-point is still on the sweet side with hints of roasty nutty malts becoming prevalent and a very nice hop bitterness shining through for balance. Back-end is nutty and hop bitter with a nice hop bite with a slightly hoppy aftertaste.

MouthFeel/Drinkability: Thick and full bodied with a smooth creamy mouthfeel and a perfect carbonation. Extremely drinkable and not over filling despite its full bodied nature.

Overall/Comments: Winter Welcome Ale is a great beer that is done very well on every level. Well balanced with a nice nose and tasty flavor profile. A must try. Consumed 12/25/2013. Classified as a Winter Warmer @ 6.00% ABV.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2014 03:54:20 | More by thegodfather1076
Photo of archyquaffer


3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Served from an 18.7 ounce bottle into a 10 ounce sampler. I like the white (Tudor?) rose on the label and the big white draft horses that they still use to deliver beer.

I tried a moderately aggressive pour, but backed off as the suds threatened to overfill the glass. The head is off-white in color and appears plenty sticky. The beer itself is a copper color, crystal clear, with above average carbonation.

I get that semi-sweet, mineral flavor and aroma typical of these English ales, and which I really appreciate and enjoy. I also notice some subtle fruity flavors somewhat like peaches or apple. The hops are very noticeable on the back of the tongue, and provide good balance, but I would say there is very little hop character overall (rather typically). I agree with that, because this is a beer where you want to taste that malt. It does have a dry finish, and the alcohol becomes more apparent as it warms (though it is not all that strong).

This is a very tasty ale, but probably best to limit it to one. Cheerio!

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2014 02:33:09 | More by archyquaffer
Photo of scaliasux


3.33/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Amber-gold. Clear. Medium tall cream-colored head with good retention.

Smell - Rich malts. Raisin and prune. Toffee.

Taste - Dark malt. Chocolate and coffee bean with dark fruit. Seems a little thin. A little sour hops is evident in the finish. Alcohol isn't evident in the taste.

Mouthfeel - Medium.

Overall - Certainly drinkable and likely warming, but not one of the best examples of this style.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2014 05:32:09 | More by scaliasux
Photo of humuloner22

North Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Winter is Coming! I guess its already here for those in the northern hemisphere. I look forward to this one every year. I used to pick up the bomber or two and have one on the solstice day to bring it on in. This year I waited a few days because of various reasons. Nevertheless I was turned on to this beer over a decade ago by a good friend who loved it dearly. On to the review. What a pretty beer this is, it pours a beautiful toffee color. The head remains pretty well intact over the several minutes I gave it to settle. The smell is of Christmas candies and malt, very little hop character shows up in this one. I am a hop fiend if you didn't already guess, but I do like this one for reasons unbeknownst to me. The taste is very similar to the aroma, it has a nice thick sweet mouth feel, almost cloying, but not. It takes you to the edge but reels you back in at the last minute. Overall, I do have a special place in my heart for this one and it brings back a certain time in my life where things were better than I ever would have realized they were while living them. Nevertheless, I do not oversell this one, it is a good beer and one to search out to warm you on those long winter nights that could very well last for years.

Serving type: bottle

02-11-2014 02:45:13 | More by humuloner22
Photo of Maxwell


3.79/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours a deep golden-orange color, with a big fat and sudsy head of off-white bubbles that leave sticky tendrils of lacing on the glass. The head has a great lasting retention that I expect from such a beer, and the beer overall looks like a classic “ale,” if that makes any sense. The beer’s body is gorgeously clear, and it really sits in the glass as a pretty sight to see. On the nose, the beer smells of sweet malt, almost like apple-juice with a touch of vinous, white wine thrown in. Soft, minerally scents mingle with the sweet malt and further suggest a Pinot Gris or sweeter white wine to the nose. Soft caramel bread and tart green apples hide in the edges of the scent, but definitely add further definition. I enjoy the smell of this beer more and more as it opens up, but I can’t help but think of it more as a sweet white wine. On the tongue, the beer tastes sweet and vinous with a solid bitter middle and finish. Tart, malic acid seems to be light but present in the beer and a soft spice mingles with the bitters nicely. The beer is very much a testament to balances, though it gives a nice vinous sweetness as the strongest character. In flavor, the beer begins as sweet white wine, almost in the pinot gris range, with soft notes of green apple and cider. It then suddenly opens into beer with a wash of bready malts and a nice herbal bitterness that balances out the vinous sweet of the beer and carries it into an earthy finish with a touch of generic holiday spices and apple juice. The finish is middling in length, with sweet crackery malt, dry cider, and good-old English hops. In the mouth, the beer feels medium in body with a middling to strong carbonation, a light astringency from the hops, and a thinner, highly drinkable mouthfeel with just enough weight to remind us its beer. The mouth is left dry save for thick saliva in the cheeks and a bitter tingle along the middle of the tongue. Overall, this beer is good. It is far different from other Winter Warmers and Christmas beers that I have had, and initially it disappointed me. Once I got past the fact of its subtlety, however, I was able to appreciate the beer as yet another balanced and superb creation from Sam Smith. This beer nicely showcases what can be done with malts, hops, and a little touch of spices. I’m not wild about sweet white wines, but I found the character interesting. This is a light and highly chuggable winter warmer that is defined by its subtlety and balance. A great execution of the individual parts of brewing.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2014 00:38:13 | More by Maxwell
Photo of gr0g

New Jersey

3.84/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drinking the 2013-2014 and really enjoying it. Ripe apple and grape notes on the nose. Fruity esters are strong in the palate. A really great unspiced winter warmer, very much like an ESB.

Reviewed from notes on 10/28/2011:
Pours a dark amber color, very much like a marzen, with a good head. Head fades to a thin film leaving little lacing. Aroma like an English pale, but with more malt character coming through.

Very nice flavor combining caramel malt, apple or pear-like fruit notes, and bitterness from the hops. Problem is, the flavor is too muted; would love for them to amp this up a little bit.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2014 22:50:57 | More by gr0g
Photo of BeerDocT


3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance 3.75: Poured out a very attractive (and unexpected!) coppery color. Completely translucent. Decent head (1/4" or so) quickly faded away. Lacing was passable as well.

Smell 3.75: Nice nose on this brew. English hops and a deep maltiness balanced by a sharp acerbic bite.

Taste 3.75: Large, chlorophyll-enriched front (thanks to those English hops) with a strange (though not entirely unpleasant) waxy taste. Middle is where a smooth, subdued barley malt comes to the fore with very little hop interference. Finish is dry and refreshing with an emphasis on the malt once again...but this is balanced and very pleasant. Aftertaste is short and focused entirely on a hoppy remnant mixed with cereal grains.

Mouthfeel 3.5: Well-balanced and certainly does not detract from the enjoyment of the beer.

Overall 3.75: A good beer. Balanced, sessionable and very enjoyable. It is a striking looking beer, it has a unique taste and I would recommend it to all who enjoy English ales. Worth a shot for those of you who are not fans of English ales.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2014 05:28:30 | More by BeerDocT
Photo of dwren89


3.03/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: golden amber, excellent clarity with thin fizzy white head

Aroma: not overly aromatic, but nice fuggle/Kent Golding hop aroma, some warming spice notes, and caramel malt hints

Taste: very drinkable, not very winter warmer-ish though. More like a spiced lager than anything. Clean, balanced, some spiciness and an odd grape-like note on the finish.

Mouthfeel: medium body, medium carbonation

Overall: Not my favorite winter warmer, and frankly not very following of the style. Some spicy warming notes, but little malt character overall. Not a bad beer by any means, just not what I was expecting.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2013 21:43:24 | More by dwren89
Photo of jimmah120


3.54/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

550ml foiled cap into nonoc pint

Big fluffy head, orange-amber color a little darker than your average IPA. Smells like a muted Belgian. Crispy and light, only slight syrup feel, spruce, clove, vegetal hops, sweet malt, rubbing alcohol, spice, drying finish.

I would buy it again, good for sharing.

Serving type: bottle

12-23-2013 02:24:50 | More by jimmah120
Photo of Chiefy770


4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a 550ml bottle. 2013-2014 printed on label.

Appearance: Light brown translucent body with a slight amber tint. A white foamy head tops the body off.

Smell: Sweet notes of caramel clash with modest notes of citrus. The toasted malts hold these two countering scents in check.

Taste: Toasted malts and grains. Notes of fruit really stand out on the initial sip but the malts kick in and level this one out nicely. Sweet notes of caramel are broken up by the hops. Hard to detect any notes of spice. The label indicates a full body but this is nothing more than a medium bodied brew.

Overall: I was overall impressed with this brew. I am not a fan of many of the spiced winter warmers which is probably a reason why I enjoyed this one so much. There are very few, if any traces of spices added here. Incredibly drinkable and I will definitely be getting a couple more of these before the season is over.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2013 01:08:46 | More by Chiefy770
Photo of Aaron_Ramson


3.81/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Copper color of a pale ale, nose is fruity, vegetal, corn husk, herbal botanical. Tastes of mild grain, masa, fruity yeast, ending on a soft hop bite. Fully carbonated, slightly boozy at the finish. Easy and reminiscent of an ESB, I don't get the Winter Warmer aspect of it. Enjoyable non-the-less.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2013 03:20:20 | More by Aaron_Ramson
Photo of Treyliff

West Virginia

3.59/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a bright and clear copper color with a nice two-finger creamy off-white head that retains long after the pour

S- sweet and bready malt with some caramel, earthy and floral hops, light sulphur-like water that is typically found in their beers

T- caramel malt sweetness with some fruit cake flavor, herbal and floral hop, yellow raisins, toasted bready malt on the finish

M- medium body and carbonation, foamy and creamy mouthfeel leads to a smooth finish

O- easy drinking with big malty notes, but nothing extreme. A serviceable winter warmer that isn't over-heavy on the spices like some

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2013 20:22:58 | More by Treyliff
Photo of spense727

North Carolina

2.28/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Freakishly clear with a color similar to hangover piss=
Smell - Smells reminiscent of maltier, roastier Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Taste - Taste is incredibly mild. Not much there, Slightly malty and is a letdown from the smell. Metallic in the aftertaste.
Mouthfeel - Very easy to drink. Extremely light in the mouth.
Overall - Ugh. Not worthy of another bottle.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2013 01:20:15 | More by spense727
Photo of ONUMello


3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

550ml bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Pecan-brown with a 1.5-finger head that slowly settles
S: Nutty, fresh malt & caramel
T: Nutty/malty, again some caramel on the finish but overall a bit bland
M: Light-bodied, a bit watery
O: Not getting any of the hops mentioned on the label. Nor spice I typically associate with a winter warmer. No discernible flaws here but needs to be more bold

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2013 05:49:53 | More by ONUMello
Photo of 2Cents


2.35/5  rDev -36%
look: 2.25 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A. Clear amber with a moderate amount of carbonation bubbles, a real headless wonder.

S. Smells like a cheap American adjunct lager.

T. Like some one through a few spices in a Miller High-life.

M. Thin with some carbonation.

O. I haven't had this in quite a few years.,I remember liking it . Either my pallet has changed or this is a bad year for the Winter Welcome.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2013 06:36:34 | More by 2Cents
Photo of Cozzatoad


4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

550ml bottle, forgot to check dates but it's the 2013 label

A- Amber colour, nicely transparent. Big white head with amazing retention, also leaving nice lacing

S- Slightly toasted malts, sweeter notes of caramel, a hint of fruitiness (apple?)

T- Sweet malts (caramel), herbal bitterness and a hint of roastiness in a perfect balance. A warming spicy note, again slight fruitiness

M- Medium to full body. Quite a good dose of carbonation for an english ale, bringing a lively but still delicate feel. I would say that this is the mouthfeel of a typical english ale but with a bit more strenght than usual, which enhances a warming feel. Very nice, though i can't really find the words to explain why...

O- Easily drinkable, warming without boasting a very high ABV, complex enough to keep your interest. Samuel Smith delivers again

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2013 22:32:39 | More by Cozzatoad
Photo of davetharave


2.03/5  rDev -44.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.75

Color, a lovely brick-amber shade. Very attractive in the glass. Unappealing vegetative smell with faint malt and hops and other aromas not usually associated with beer.

Taste is a very confusing amalgam of conflicting flavors, extremely hard to pin down, some malt but nothing like the delicate biscuity taste of prior years. After a few seconds in the mouth a plastic-like flavor dominates. The beer tastes spoiled and chemical-like. Simply not enjoyable; considering how good this beer has been in past years, a huge disappointment.

This year's version of this Winter ale is the fermented beverage equivalent of a stocking full of coal. I hunt for this beer in stores into March and April trying to locate every last bottle but not this year. I don't know what Sam Smith did but I sure hope they fix it for next year's batch.

(I drank several bottles and they were all the same so this is not a one-off 'bad bottle' experience)

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2013 23:07:48 | More by davetharave
Photo of DenisKolkin

Ontario (Canada)

3.64/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a 550 ml bottle and served fairly cold into a pint glass.

Appearance - Clear, copper /bronze color, with a generous 2 fingers of white head that disappears at a moderate rate. Very few bubbles visible to the naked eye. Spidery lacing, but sparse.

Smell - Fruitcake saturated in alcohol (not that the alcohol smell is that strong). A little bit bready, reminiscent of Christmas baking. A few other Christmas spices and definitely a bit of cinnamon for good measure. Yummy.

Taste - A few tropical fruits up front, transitioning into Christmas baking. A few spices namely cinnamon but subtle. Bitterness on tail end and lingers for a while on the tip of your tongue.

Mouthfeel - Dry finish and medium bodied. Mouthfeel improves as the beer warms.

Overall - Pretty good overall, didn't like this as much as the Shepherd Neame offering in this style at first, but once the beer warmed a bit more, I found this to be preferable. A recommended selection for this style.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2013 00:45:22 | More by DenisKolkin
Photo of Bernoulli

South Carolina

3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A nice golden orange color. Minimal head with a slight bit of lacing.

Very subdued smell, but possibly a hint of apple?

Malty and sweet with a some bitterness around the edges. Can tell it's higher alcohol than the typical American beer, but nothing too obvious.

Smooth and eminently drinkable.

A very solid ale we would buy and serve... (with all the pumpkins and coffee stouts and the like... it's just doesn't have that extra flavoring to stick out -- maybe that's a good thing?).

Another quality entry by the always reliable Samuel Smith.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2013 22:13:51 | More by Bernoulli
Photo of StonedTrippin


3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

not the conventional American style winter warmer, but a nice incarnation of something comparable. the pour is clear and brassy, super light for what I was expecting, and flaunting a sensational inch and a half of snow white foam that puffs up above the rim of my globe. light English malt nose, honey sweet, but also bittering hops to balance things. a rather bland, or rather mellow smell and taste to this. its sort of gentle, not a true winter warmer, but more of an introduction to the season as the name suggests. this works in late October, but im not sure how well it would go in January. 6% abv is nice for sessioning, but not so much for warming. I don't taste much spice either, which is okay amidst all the pumpkin ales around right now. medium body, enough gravity, and some bitter to counter the sweet in the conclusion. a solid beer overall, but not one I will probably go back to honestly.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2013 02:40:32 | More by StonedTrippin
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Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
83 out of 100 based on 1,718 ratings.