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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

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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 mrasskicktastic

New Jersey

1.4/5  rDev -61.9%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

2005-2006 release.

A - Pours an attractive mahogany with a one finger head that dissipates quickly and leaves only spotty lacing behind. Color good, head bad.

S - This smells like Budweiser. Stale, musty grain. I am sorry to say it, but this is a very foul smelling beer. I'd expect more from such a reputable brewery.

T - The flavor is dominated by that musty grain from the smell. There is a bitterness, not a hop-like or coffee-like bitterness though, it is very unpleasant. After it warms a bit, there is a stomach acid like flavor. There is a slight sweetness underneath, but it is overshadowed by the bitterness and musty grain.

M - Medium viscosity, very drying, leaves a film in my mouth.

D - Not good at all. Once I get past the smell, the terrible flavor and the ascerbic bitterness, I am left with a dessicated mouth with a bad aftertaste. The only thing I can think of doing that is worse than letting that aftertaste sit in my mouth is taking another sip. This is one of the worst beers that I have ever had. BMC me over this one.

I am guessing this might have been skunked from the other reviews. The clear bottle likely. Although I have never taken it outside in the day. Even if skunked, this beer should not have scored this low if it was good in the first place. I strongly suggest that Samuel Smith's put this in a brown or opaque bottle. I will not try it again and my review stands (since I definitely didn't skunk it) until they do. I shall assume this is simply a poor quality brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2005 05:56:23 | More by mrasskicktastic
Photo of thlayli87

New Jersey

1.75/5  rDev -52.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours a medium brown with a small head that dissipates very quickly. Bittersweet aroma that I can't place. Overwhelming bitter flavor. Not the pleasant hoppy bitterness of a well- crafted ale, this is unpleasant and somewhat medicinal taste reminiscent of Silly Putty. Mouthfeel is thin and watery and the carbonation doesn't last-the beer goes flat rather quickly. I am disappointed in this one, as I'd heard good things about it. Really don't care for this. Drank about half and had to drainpour the rest. Won't be getting this again.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2012 01:29:08 | More by thlayli87
Photo of ScarletLady


1.8/5  rDev -51%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Shared the bottle with a friend. Nice light amber color, looks good. Tasted as bad as it smelled. overwhelming odor of vinegar. Decent thickness but the more I sipped the more the vinegar taste built up in my mouth. I could not drink it. Maybe I just got a bad bottle. Is 'blech' an acceptable review word?

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2005 18:17:55 | More by ScarletLady
Photo of granger10


2/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I must have gotten a skunked bottle. I heard this doesn't happen with Sam Smith's but I'd hope that this bottle wasn't their true beer. Even though it was skunked it still seemed better than macro lights! But I couldn't finish this. I don't know if I'm supposed to review skunked brews but I wanted to let it be known that I got a Sam Smith's brew that was skunked. I'm going to get this again and re-review it sometime.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2003 11:29:31 | More by granger10
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 Shultzerdugen


2.08/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I've had this beer before, the 1996-96?, maybe and it was substantially better.
Unfortunately, the bottle we tried seemed oxidized, and light struck.

Appearance: Amber, walking the line between copper and straw with a white two finger head.
Smell: Skunky! Underneath some biscuit and floral undertones.
Taste: Skunky, in fact overwhelmingly so.
Mthfl: Still has good CO2, slick and smooth.
Drinkability: Obviously I didn't want to go on with any more.

This is a good beer, and I thought SS used something in their clear bottles to prevent oxidation and problems with light. I'll try it again next year and hopefully have better luck.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2005 14:09:07 | More by Shultzerdugen
Photo of kevinjosephlee


2.08/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Bottle poured into a glass

A: A hazy, pumpkin orange with a rich, off-white head with moderate retention and some lacing.

S: A malty, bready aroma, with some alcohol and no hops in the nose.

T: Strong malty flavor and some sweetness that is nicely balanced with some hops biterness.

M: The body on this is much lighter than anticipated, but the bitterness remains in the aftertaste. A dryness as well. There is also a sort of saltiness and astringency.

Notes: I am not very impressed with this offering. My friends have raved about Sam Smiths, but this was not the greatest.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2009 21:36:53 | More by kevinjosephlee
Photo of IntriqKen


2.15/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

2006 - 2007 edition. Tasted fresh! October, 2006
Pours a medium golden amber with a half finger head that melts to fine respectable lacing.
Aroma is again, unimpressive for a winter warmer...toasted malt and little else.
Taste is much like the aroma....toasted malt....sweetness...light hop drying on the end. More is needed from a winter warmer.
Aftertaste is clean, but just clean. Light toasted malt...nothiing else.
I enjoy Winter brews and look forward to them. This is merely an English Amber. Good as an English Amber..totally uninspired as a Winter Warmer.
A number of reviewers have said they thought they got a bad bottle which is why I picked up a fresh one this year to re-review it.
Nope....they aren't skunked...they just aren't that good.
Good English Ale? Yeah...quite possibly. But scored to style....very poor.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2006 03:21:08 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of BeerBelcher


2.15/5  rDev -41.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I didn’t care for this. This beer had a grainy aroma and a malted milk-ball flavor, of which I am not a fan.

Appearance was a clear and brilliant tan/copper color. Aroma was very grainy and cereal-y. Flavor was very much like a malted milk ball, which I really didn’t like. Mouthfeel was relatively smooth, but if you don’t like the way something tastes, does it really matter?

I would not recommend this.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2007 22:21:07 | More by BeerBelcher
Photo of Naerhu


2.23/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Copper color with off-white head poured from a clear bottle.
Smell: Skunky aroma
Taste: Oddly bitter, with crunchy barley. Slightly sweet. No butterscotch, caramel, toffee or pretty much any other pleasant flavor.
Mouthfeel: Agressively carbonated with a medium body.
Drinkability: This ale is obviously skunked, likely a result of its coming in a clear bottle. I did not bother finishing the bottle. Think I am giving up on Sam Smith until the quit their clear bottle marketing.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2005 00:04:32 | More by Naerhu
Photo of JDV


2.25/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours copper and clear. Smell is metallic and skunky malt. Tart malt flavor, with no noticeable wintry spices. Sweaty, musty lager like flavor. Slightly creamy and full body for the style, but not impressive overall. Drinkable, but too musty, doughy and stagnant flavored to be enjoyable for me. Somewhat poor example of a style I'm not particularly fond of.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2008 20:05:43 | More by JDV
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 kinger


2.35/5  rDev -36%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

My second experience with Samuel Smith and I promise I will not be suckered again. Paid $4 bucks for this average looking, smelling, and tasting ale. Decent beer but definitely should not call itself a holiday brew. Nothing spectacular here just like their renowned oatmeal stout simply average but extremely overpriced. Good bye Mr. Smith

Serving type: bottle

07-29-2008 19:53:06 | More by kinger
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 Bighuge


2.38/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer smells skunky. It also tastes a bit skunky (although not as bad as in years past). This beer has never impressed me. It's one of my least favorite winter brews.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2002 16:55:23 | More by Bighuge
Photo of babyhobbes


2.4/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured with a huge off white head. Brew is amber colored and looks good. Scent was horrible at first..thought we got some weird macro! Oddly enough, the smell is mellowing out over time..but still isn't particularly pleasant.

The is a rather disappointing beer. There isn't much taste and the mouthfeel is like any other macro.

I am going to have trouble finishing this.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2004 02:28:34 | More by babyhobbes
Photo of Nubster

West Virginia

2.4/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

For me this was not good. The color was nice and amber and the head was about 2 inches but only stuck around a short while. The smell was kinda fruity with a strong alcohol odor. Reminded me of a wine. Taste was sharp and carbonated and bitter from start to finish. Even though it was only 6% ABV it still had a strong alcohol taste. Mouthfeel was light and watery. For me the drinkability was not there. This is just not a beer for my taste. I won't be revisiting this one anytime soon.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2008 23:19:18 | More by Nubster
Photo of Mark


2.42/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I was so bummed out by this beer I'm almost depressed. First the damm clear glass has got to go! What is with S.S.? Very skunky nose dominated, toasty malt flavor and every other nuance was ruined by the skunk smell which seeped in to the taste as well. Appearance was nice, deep amber body, thick head and sheets of lace. Good rounded mouthfeel the only other positive. I know this is a good brand of brew and I looked for it while in London, (no luck) but I don't know if I will buy any Sammy again until they bottle their product properly. I seem to recall the IPA is in a brown bottle, why not the rest?!

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2002 20:22:54 | More by Mark
Photo of Trigcove


2.42/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

When I read some of the other reviews of this brew, I had to go back and check the label to make sure I was drinking the same beer. Turns out, I was. My impression seems quite different from others.

It poured into a pint glass with a huge, light tan head that stuck around for a couple of minutes. It's a deep straw color, a few shades darker than an American Lager, about like Old Hen or any of the other English Ales. This surprised me; being a winter ale, I expected something much darker. Little to no lacing.

The aroma was very rich with malts and got me a bit excited, since I'm very much a malt fan.

The taste was... odd. The malt was there, but very dry. There was a significant amount of bitter hops, and there was a "saltiness" about it that was a little offputting.

The mouthfeel was about average for an English Ale, but nothing near what I would have expected from a Winter Ale.

The sort of saltiness makes it less drinkable and I can see myself having one, but not several.

I gave this beer fairly low marks in all catagories, not because it's a bad beer, but because it just doesn't measure up to the style. To my way of thinking, a Winter Ale should be dark, rich, inviting, complexed, and warming. The only thing warming about this ale is the ABV. It's basically a standard English Ale with a bit more dry hopping, carbonation, and possibly some spice added.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2009 17:21:38 | More by Trigcove
Photo of rundocrun


2.45/5  rDev -33.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 550 mL bottle into a pint glass.

A - Color is of dark, amber honey. Has approximately a 1/2 finger of coarse white head that fizzles down to nothing quickly.

S - Not much aroma to be had here. What little I do smell is an off-putting mix of artficial-smelling fruitiness, citrus, and rust (yes, rust).

T - Sweet up front with an acidic tang. It rolls over the back of the tongue and takes on more hop bitterness. A background of candy sweetness pervades through the entirety of each sip. Finish is slightly dry with a little caramel or burnt sugar character mixed in, but otherwise quite bland.

M - Thin body. Tingling, effervescent carbonation hits the tongue with every sip. Finishes dry, but with some residual sugars.

Overall - Definitely not up to snuff with the other Sam Smith beers I have sampled. Quite disappointed actually. Needless to say I'll be avoiding this for my future holiday beer purchases.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2011 03:21:10 | More by rundocrun
Photo of PSUDREW


2.48/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a nice dark orange color. Nice bit of head, some lacing don at the end. However, with what people have proclaimed of this beer, i am not impressed. I am going to have to get some more (3 tries thus far), but this just ain't cutting it. Has not very citrus/hop taste, not very malt taste, just a general bitter flavor to it. It didn't smeel mich like anything, and in all honstly, that prob helped it. I hope the boys over at SS do better, becuase I am used to a higher standard from them, and this doesn't cut it!

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2003 04:53:27 | More by PSUDREW
Photo of steinlifter


2.48/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured a clear caramel, bit of foamy head that dissipated, but left a slight collar, smell was a bit skunky, (wonder if I got a bad one?), can't really distiguish anything else because of the skunked aroma taste was again skunked up,I taste a bit of tea, this one must have been light struck, if it is supposed to taste like this, then I can't really give it a good review, Mouthfeel is crisp and clean, drinkability, not good judging by this example, I'll have to try this again.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2005 01:07:43 | More by steinlifter
Photo of thekanna


2.48/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Sampled this beer at Chevy Chase Wine in Chevy Chase, D.C.

Appearance: Pours a dark amber with clearly visible carbonation, like a watered-down cola. Not much head present.

Smell: Not too noticeable of a smell. Slight yeast aromas and some spice - cardamom and cinnamon.

Taste: Slightly spiced and sweet inception. However, towards the end there is an overbearing hop bitterness that overwhelms what subtle flavors the brew had. This bitterness leaves a dry and slightly undesirable aftertaste, like fresh bitter melon.

Overall: I was not too impressed. I am a fan of bitter beers with strong hop flavor, but the bitterness of these hops just dominate and overpower all the delicate flavors that could be noted from this brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2008 05:51:06 | More by thekanna
Photo of sevenarts

New York

2.48/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Reddish amber/orange, good-sized off-white head that fades to a small skim.

S: Caramel, butterscotch, some spices and grassy/herbal notes.

T/M: Sweet caramel malts dominate up front, with some mild spiciness around the edges and a crisp, bright finish. Moderate body and some sharp carbonation.

O: Despite my love for Samuel Smith's beers in general, I'm not really a fan of this one. Its character is pretty one-dimensional and the spice character isn't very pronounced. Everything just gets drowned out by the overriding caramel, so it's just way too sweet and simplistic.

Serving type: bottle

12-19-2012 01:24:19 | More by sevenarts
Photo of bewareOFpenguin


2.5/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I think they swapped the labels at the store on me with Bass. Poured amber, light head. Really bland, non carbonated taste. Total disappointment. Maybe this beer could welcome some hops or better yet some taste? My wife said it tasted like beer she remebers from college. That was the frosting on the cake.

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2002 06:58:39 | More by bewareOFpenguin
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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.