1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

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)
View: Beers (28) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 1,718 | Reviews: 1,070 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of pezoids


5/5  rDev +36.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The sample I tasted was the 2002-2003 version.

I must give this beer a perfect score. The reasons are: 1. I have had this beer many times before in the past and have never been dissapointed. 2. in my opinion, this is the perfect example an English ale that I would like to drink (and brew!). In other words it just doesn't get any better than this.

The beer poured out with perfect clarity, a bright copper color.
A pleasant citrus aroma rises from the tall dense white head.
The head slowly laced the glass as the beer was consumed.
This beer has a good malt body to match the perfect hop

Very clean aftertaste with an excellent drinkability. I wouldn't change a thing with this beer. There's no wonder that I wait for this one to come out every year. A superb beer and worth waiting for every year.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2003 00:42:45 | More by pezoids
Photo of putnam


4.93/5  rDev +34.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The Nose: (the beer's, not Gogol's)
What perfection. Deep, alluring, sophisticated and subtle, the aromas offer a hint of the trademark Tadcaster blueberry and cream, but with a well of roasted and polished sugars as anchor: Asian spices, date syrup, toasted sesame, new leather, fruit wood...wow. And concise! No clumsy hop intrusions, canned fruit, or mustiness to blur the statement.

The Palate:
Subtle as opposed to decadent. Creamy, milky texture allows the aforementioned traits to dance and glide across the lingual plateau. No beef. No glitzy hops (but enough to dry up the finsh.)

I want more. And I fault the beer for not being more concentrated.

A perfect drink.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2002 15:53:03 | More by putnam
Photo of mapman97


4.9/5  rDev +33.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is more a classic English Bitter than a winter brew in my opinion but never the less a fine ale. Pleasantly bitter with a smooth finish, medium amber in color with a thick head that goes away to a small froth that clings in rings all the way down the glass. Very drinkable. I always look forward to this comming out in the late fall and then I stock up quickly because it is highly sought after here in central Texas and disappears around Christmas. This the Winter Ale all others aspire to.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2002 23:42:36 | More by mapman97
Photo of bk3nj

New Jersey

4.88/5  rDev +33%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

An excellent winter beer; very tasty, with caramel and butterscotchy notes giving way to a malty aftertaste...and with enough alcohol to warm you up without knocking you out. (A great replacement for a glass of milk before bed though..) Another excellent beer from Tadcaster.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2002 16:50:17 | More by bk3nj
Photo of GClarkage


4.8/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12/31/04- Purchased at Trader Joe's in San Mateo, CA.

Presentation- Poured into my Hangtown Brewery pint glass. 16.7 oz bottle with no expiration date.

Appearance- An inch head with average lacing. Nice light brown ale color pour.

Smell- Mmmm, a sweet soft candied scent. I guess maybe caramel, but a candy one rather than the typical malt caramel smell.

Taste- One of the best mixes of malt and hops I have tasted. Perfect combo for me. Sweet caramel and other candy tastes abound with a bit of a roasted flavor in the background.

Mouthfeel- Moderate carbonation and an average mouthfeel. Aftertaste is just a tad bitter and hangs around a bit longer than expected.

Drinkability- This has always been on of my favorites. I love just about everything from Samuel Smith. I will always have a few of these each holiday season.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2005 17:52:35 | More by GClarkage
Photo of schusterbauer


4.6/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appears a very clear orange/brown color in the glass, with a 1-finger off-white head that leaves hints of lacing. smells of buttered rum, caramel, and a slight hint of bread/yeast. tastes like buttered rum/butterscotch; lots of biscuit flavor; a very nice peppery finish with hints of nutmeg, and a good amount of hops bitterness. these flavors, playing off of one another, put me more in the mind of winter and the holidays than the candied sweetness of other winter warmers. mouthfeel is quite buttery and oily, which actually seems just right to match the flavors. drinkability is high. this is a very understated and classy beer that truly does make a nice winter warmer. the spices seem right for a cold night by a fire, and the abv is just enough to give you a kick of warmth without overdoing it.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2006 14:41:39 | More by schusterbauer
Photo of shabbtastic

New York

4.6/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presented in an 18.7oz bottle with gold foil around the neck. Very decorative and informative label!

A - Pours a deep ruby color into a brandy glass with a beautiful two finger off white fluffy head that lasted. Lacing was awesome as well as carbonation.

S - Carmel aroma as well as toffee and nutmeg. Malt tones dominate with hints of hop in the back. From what I can smell this is a very balanced offering.

T - Sweet up front immediately followed by toasted malts and finished with spicy hops. What an array of flavors, it really covered the palate well.

M - Full bodied carbonation was perfect, finish was clean. What a great beer!

D - Highly drinkable. To be honest this beer really surprised me. I will be picking a few more of these up soon. Recommended!

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2008 17:32:43 | More by shabbtastic
Photo of Offa


4.6/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was long been one of my favourites, and although I've discovered more and better beer since first trying this, I still find it a great, satisfying ale.

Bright copper, it has a big pale tan head that slowly shrinks to a thin permanent top and leaves a little weak lace.

The aroma is rich toasted bread, caramel, fruit, leaves.

The taste is wonderfully malty in body, taste , sweetness but with nice hoppiness to balance. It tastes of toasted bread, caramel, plums, and hints of dried fruit and sour fruit, with a light raisiny alcholic warmth. It has balancing bitternes that is mostly leafy but with some citrus pulp, as well. It's not as rich as some winter warmers, but it's still an excellent, flavourful, and very balanced beer, exceedingly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2009 16:59:26 | More by Offa
Photo of HochFliegen


4.55/5  rDev +24%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have always been a big fan of Samuel Smith's. This is another great beer by them.
This beer pours a dark amber that is very clear. The head is think and foamy that laces the whole glass.
The smell when I first open the bottle seemed skunky. But after pouring and taking a second smell was anything but. It has a very strong presence of raisins and general fruitiness. As you inhale deeper you can detect a slight carmel tone.
The taste is very strong as well starting with an initial maltiness followed by a carmel and fig taste. It then surprised me by finishing with a slight bite of hops and sort of dry. It was just right. I couldnt detect the alc. even though its 6% ABV. A very smooth beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2004 00:24:19 | More by HochFliegen
Photo of Gigan988


4.55/5  rDev +24%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've always been a fan of Samuel Smith. Their Taddy porter and organic ale are two of my favorites. I picked this winter ale up recently, and decided to give it a try.

I am not a regular connoisseur of Winter ales, but they described high malts on the back and I am always a fan of beers with high malt and lower hops (think brown ales). At first taste, I noticed how great the mouthfeel was to this beer. But what I also noticed was that the beer had more hops than I expected, or self described "goldings and fuggles." That being said, I must say that this beer would not be as appealing without this slight hop character. While it is nothing like an IPA, and hop lovers may be disappointed, I feel it really brings this beer together, and at each sip, you are left longing for another.

A: dark brownish with nice head and lacing

S: hops come through, with a malty aroma that reminded me of Newcastle's smell

T: Very pleasant balance of malt and hops that leaves you longing for another taste

M: excellent level of carbonation and viscosity

D: very high. May take a swig or two to get used to, but it really draws you in after a while and leads you wanting more

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2011 08:22:22 | More by Gigan988
Photo of CAMRAhardliner

Ontario (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love and hate Sam Smith's bottles. I hate them because most, though strangely not all of them (the India Ale is in brown glass) are clear glass. This has resulted in several skunked samples. I love Sam Smith's bottles because the labels are so stylish. They have a cool Victorian thing going. The Winter Welcome label might be my favorite because its equal parts monty python. Anyways enough blabbing....

This beer pours the color of a well aged Scotch Whisky with a fine beaded white head. Head retention is excellent with sheets of lace left on glass. The aroma is of fruity malts, earthy fresh hops, butterscotch (diacetyl?), and that characteristic dry Sam Smith's Yeast. The taste is of caramel malts, all spice, citrus notes, nuts and some medicinal hop bitterness. An pleasant alcohol spicyness also makes itself present. The finish is slightly astringent. This beer is much lighter in body than I expected. It has the complex and velvety mouthfeel I find in most Sam Smith beers.

This is a really good ale that seems like more of a bitter than a winter warmer. Its well balanced and quite robust in flavor.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2004 04:33:07 | More by CAMRAhardliner
Photo of Brad007


4.5/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amber color with a small, less than one-finger head. Aroma is nice and malty, spicy and to the point for the style. Taste is somewhat fruity with spice at the back of the throat. A second sip confirms the spices in what appears to be a well balanced beer. This isn't overpowering like a few other winter warmers I've reviewed. Nice and actually quenchable for a cold fall evening.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2007 00:03:27 | More by Brad007
Photo of Gehrig


4.5/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

An impressive beer from Samuel Smith, Winter Welcome Ale is a tremendous way to enjoy a cold Fall or Winter evening, coupled with a good book by the fire or chin-wagging with friends. I had this 550 mL bottle chilled in the refrigerator for a couple days rather than warm, and it was absolutely delicious. This beverage pours a nice brown-red body with a rich head, with a nice slightly fruity aroma emanating from it. The taste is smooth and delicious, with a nice blend of fruit and mild spices coming forth. It finishes smoothly and is delicious enough to have a few. One of my favorite Samuel Smith products. Though I cannot say I've ever had a bad one from this first-rate English brewery, Winter Welcome Ale ranks high on my list from them and in general, and should be a welcome addition to anyone's refrigerator as 2007 winds into 2008. A very fine product.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2007 00:47:18 | More by Gehrig
Photo of BeerResearcher


4.47/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Winter Welcome is one of England's best representations of the winter or Christmas brew styles. Full bodied (almost syrupy). This ale is so velvetty smooth and well rounded, its difficult not to guzzle it down. Good thing for the large bottles! The tea-like hops with a hint of citrus bitterness are noticeable early in the glass, but sort of fades under the rich malt, but that's cool, this is a quality malt, cherry sweet, roasted especially for the holidays.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2002 20:09:03 | More by BeerResearcher
Photo of oelergud


4.47/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very clear ruby body, low carbonation and a stubornly steady off-white head.
Smells alot more alcoholic than it is and has a good deal of malt and some caramel in the nose.
Taste is awesome, sweet malt fills your mouth, a little dry finish, faint hops comes through after the maltiness subsides.
Full and solid body, leaves a slick feeling and does down easy.
Yet again an excellent brew from Samuel Smith!


Serving type: bottle

12-14-2003 03:53:31 | More by oelergud
Photo of DuqTroops


4.47/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought at dinner with my wife (2006 version).

Appearance - golden amber color. a little orangish color.

Smell - nuttiness. not overwhelming alcohol version.

Taste / Mouthfeel- great sense. didn't expect this. very easy to drink not overwhelming at all. didn't make you feel warm inside, like a normal winter beer does. very easy to drink.

Drinkability - seeing that I bought a couple more bottles for the weekend, it is very easy to drink. great beer!

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2006 03:09:49 | More by DuqTroops
Photo of JayTheFinn


4.47/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Very tasty! I gave it high marks for sheer drinkability. This one goes down smooth!

A - Clear light copper body with a strong, long lasting head.
S - Smells sweet and spicey, like the scent of a carrot cake that the neighbor just made.
T - Nice mild malty mix. Subtle alcohol taste. Just enough spice, while not overwhelming the tongue.
M - Lingers on the tongue for a good long while.
D - I could drink these all day!

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2006 04:19:42 | More by JayTheFinn
Photo of mttaylor1066


4.45/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

If you're put off by overly sweet or gigantically spiced winter warmers, this might be for you.

This beer does not leave its base style, Samuel Smith bitter, behind. However, it does touch it up with some kind of spice that I can't put my finger on.

As a result, this is a "dry" winter warmer that is highly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2011 19:58:15 | More by mttaylor1066
Photo of neonbrown82


4.43/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer was very similar to the Sam Smith India Ale. The beer pours to a beautiful amber color with a decent tan head. Smells of hops and caramel with a hint of fruity aroma. This was one beer that left me craving for more, but I ended up having to settle for the IPA I mentioned above, which will have to substitute for the Winter Welcome during the off-season. Exceptional beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2004 07:00:12 | More by neonbrown82
Photo of Marcrates


4.43/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a beautiful light amber, with a thick fizzy head. bubbles

S - Rich malt and flowery smell. The perfect balance of ingredients on the nose. Not too strong, but refreshing

T - Can definitely taste the malt up front, tapers off with a good blend of hops and citrus. After taste doesn't linger too long..about 5 or 6 seconds.

M - A good feel to this one.. feels nice and tingly!

D - Definitely drinkable and not overly thick. It goes down fairly easy, but still gives a good amount of taste.

Overall this is a wonderful winter beer! I was very impressed with this one, and I'm looking forward to trying some more Samuel Smith brews. Good stuff!

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2009 20:53:13 | More by Marcrates
Photo of brandon911


4.43/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First review!
Poured into an oversized wine glass.

Color is a dark amber, a fair amount of light is let through. It had about a three finger head.

Smells delightful. A slight hint of spice is there. Fair amount of hops and malt and some hints of toffee.

Tastes like Christmas in a bottle! The spices are retained in the taste. Fairly bitter with lots of malty goodness.

I would definitely get this again!

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2011 01:08:20 | More by brandon911
Photo of jlervine


4.4/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured an amber color with a crisp white head. The smell was very malty with a hint of citrus. The taste was excellent - malty sweetness giving way to a strong hops character, finishing up with almost a lemon aftertaste lightly mixed with alcohol. Starts at the tip of the tongue and works it's way back from there. I was honestly expecting something a bit heavier in flavor for a barley wine, but I was pleasantly surprised - it seems closer to an English ale.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2003 18:18:51 | More by jlervine
Photo of smcolw


4.4/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Orange to dark amber in color, clear. Nice creamy head that has good staying power and leaves thin lace as the beer is consumed

Stong malty aromas; slight hop touch, most likely a flavoring hop. I like the subtle sweetness of the smell.

Surprising hop on the front of the tasting. A full creamy malt flavor is present and well-balanced with a bitterness that makes for a complex experience. The aftertaste is very long lasting and remains an excellent balance of mellow malt and zesty hop.

Clearly a superior beer with excellent balance all around where all of the ingredients are noticeable. Savor the flavor profile, where the liquid transforms the flavor the longer you are able to concentrate.

I reviewed this beer one year ago where I gave an overall score of 2.4 because the beer had skunked. Obviously, this time around I am reviewing a fresh bottle. The dramatic rating change reflects that this beer truly is superior when consumed promptly after the case is opened (and then exposed to the light). As long as Samuel Smith's insists on putting their beer in clear glass bottles, I shall remain wary of purchasing it. All I can say is ask the bartender or retail clerk when the beer arrived to protect your purchase. Seek this beer out...if it is fresh!

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2004 03:37:20 | More by smcolw
Photo of richdebs

United Kingdom (England)

4.4/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'll start off with the general information I know about this beer. It is brewed once a year and always comes witha similar label witha different festive scene in the middle. I always get a decent stock in and confess to it being one of my favourite beers. The bottle sampled is my last of the 2004-2005 vintage.

Appearance. The beer is a chestnut brown colour which is perfectly clear. The head is an inch deep, light and fluffy and a very pale brown in colour and stays until the end.

Smell: There is a dark beery smell which promises good things to come.

Taste: Top bollock. The beer is malty(if you've been to Tad, it tastes like Tadcaster air), but quite spicy. The alcohol shows up in the swallow.

Mouthfeel. Fizzes down the throat very well indeed/

Drinkability: Absolutely top notch beer. Can't wait for this year's edition.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2005 21:47:25 | More by richdebs
Photo of andjusticeforale


4.4/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a terrific shade of amber; a wooden type brown with a slight, non-anticipated head.

The smell is quintessential English pub ale; with each whiff you are transported to a Nineteenth Century London pub, Dickens at your side, you can almost smell the wet wool and beechwood pub stool.

The taste is what you would expect from a thicker, stronger, very subtly spiced pale ale; and it is just that. A malty thickness to the middle, delicate hopped quality with a combination sweet and dry-bitter finish that is balanced to near perfection.

The mouthfeel could not be better, thick and full but eminently drinkable. This is complex enough to stop and think about, yet smooth enough to sessionize, and what a jolly session that might be. The consistency of bottle to bottle is fantastic; there are never disappointments. Each sip leaves you wanting more. Truly one of the finest winter seasonals, and a stand-out among a terrific product line.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2005 12:44:14 | More by andjusticeforale
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
83 out of 100 based on 1,718 ratings.