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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 Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

amber brown color, with good head and some lacing. Smell of alcohol in original review, getting more barleywine aroma 3.5 years later. Warms you up, in the winter. Malt sweetness, some apple fruit and mild spice. Hops and carbonation abundant that tingles tongue. had a second bottle two years later that went very well with sushi because of mild astringency. Bottle 3.5 years later hops in finish carbonation just right cellaring for nine months.Medium mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2003 01:17:35 | More by Sammy
Photo of UCLABrewN84


4.22/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011-2012 vintage.

Pours a crystal clear dark amber with a 1 inch puffy orange-white head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. Thick foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasty malt, caramel, and some fruity aromas. Taste is of sweet malt, caramel/toffee, fruit, and some slight herbal hops on the finish. There is a mild bitterness that quickly fades from the palate after each sip. This beer has a crisp level of carbonation with a bubbly mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that I could drink all year if it was available.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2011 04:15:02 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Coppery tangerine with amber trim. The pale ecru head is on the large side after a vigorous pour and holds its shape for a good, long time. Tiny pearl-like bubbles decorate the surface and turn into tiny divots when they burst. Once the beer is almost gone a nearly unbroken band of lace covers the midsection of the glass.

I took my time describing the appearance because I caught a whiff of skunk when I popped the cap (damn this clear glass!) I'm hoping that time will allow the bad humors to escape. A tentative sniff tells me that the nastiness is still present, but it's weak now. Trouble is, there isn't much in the nose to cover up the lingering little black and white bastard. There's a suggestion of fruity, herbal, English hops, but nothing else of note. Sans skunk, add a half point.

Thankfully, the flavor isn't affected or I would have poured this bottle out and tried again another day. I don't know whose idea it was to call this beer a winter warmer, but it isn't anything like that style as I understand it. It tastes like a sweeter, less hoppy English pale ale or ESB. I do like it though.

The flavor is dominated by plenty of sweet toasty caramel malt and fruity, modestly spicy hops. It tastes like wheat toast covered with a thin layer of orange marmalade and sprinkled with a smattering of nutmeg. Since oranges and nutmeg could be considered holiday flavors to some extent, I guess that calling it a winter warmer isn't completely out of line after all.

The finish is a shade more hoppy than malty, lightly sweet and as clean as the finish on a lightly sweet beer can be. The body/mouthfeel is no more than medium, although it holds its structure long enough after the swallow to trick me into considering it medium-full. I don't mind the slightly sprightly carbonation one bit (since I threw style adherence out the window six ounces ago).

Winter Welcome is a strange brew. I've already alluded to the bottom line: it drinks like a sweeter, less hoppy pale ale and is pretty tasty, all things considered. I don't know that I'll buy it too often because the clear glass makes each purchase a Russian Roulette of sorts. Samuel Smith has brewed a damn fine beer here. Why the powers that be insist on leaving it vulnerable to the depredations of UV light is beyond me.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2005 23:49:11 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle poured into a pint glass

A - Poured a very nice clear amber with a good two finger head of white foam on top. Nice side glass presentation after a somewhat slow fade. Decent amount of carbonation coming up from the bottom.

S - Aroma was nice and spice and suprisingly hoppy,. A good amount of nutmeg, maybe a touch of cinnamon and a nice piney aroma rising up through it.

T - The flavor was very nice, goo strong ale with a nice roundd spiceness and a hop fueled finish. Touch of almost a wood like smoked flavor lying deep within and a nice rounded profile. A touch on the sweet side as it warmed, but very nice.

M - Lighter then I would have thought this was like a nice session ale. A little flat with the carbonation, butnot distractingly so. Nice smooth feel with a good lingering taste.

D - Great, I really could have gone or another one of these when I was finished as it was just that good. Ligh ABV and body made this one you could sip on all night.

Now overall I have to be honest I have not been the biggest fan of their beers over the years but this one was very nice. I really enjoyed it and would easily grab for it again.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2007 14:07:55 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006-2007 Version (Brown Bottle!!!!)

Appearance: Pours a clear medium amber color with a bubbly head that hangs around but fails in the lacing department

Smell: Butterscotch aroma with vague hints of holiday spice

Taste: Starts with a biscuity flavor that is joined by holiday spice and bitter character mid-palate; after the swallow the ale gets fruitier and also provides a subtle but sharp earthy bitter flash

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Nice and flavorful that punches the right buttons in a Winter Warmer

Thanks, beerhandy

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2006 00:27:59 | More by brentk56
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle – Poured a brown colored brew with a medium head with equally medium retention. Aroma of hops with light floral and sweet aspect to it is quite pleasant. Taste is very enjoyable with a good mix of hops and malts. A bit thin on spice with a medium body. Overall, I enjoyed this beer but would have appreciated a bit more hops or spice to make it truly great.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2004 14:35:29 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of BEERchitect


3.25/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Basically a bold pale ale in strength, spices, and flavor. Still, a bit ordinary. A brilliant and bright copper color with aromas of nuts, nutmeg, caramel, and a light fruitiness. Tastes moderately malty, nutty, spices, and wood-sy. A mild apple and berry tartness persistes in the tastes and feel. Moderate weight and creaminess to the mouth. Finishes clean, dry, and less sweet than was expecting. A moderate alcohol warmth and flavor shows throughout, leaving a light plastic flavor in the aftertaste. Moderate in every sense of the word. Will never offend, but difficult to brag about either.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2006 17:39:41 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Thorpe429


3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Winter 2009.

Pours a moderate copper color with an off white head. No real lacing but the head lasts for a bit of time. The nose brings forward quite a bit of spice, but this is mellowed out by some light cake flavors and a bit of caramel. Taste is spice, sugar cake, and light caramel. Moderate body with good carbonation. Overall, a nice balance of spice and sweetness. A pretty drinkable beer.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2010 20:34:27 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of metter98

New York

3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: It poured clear light amber with a thin foamy head. There's a moderate level of carbonation; the beer has good head retention and a thin layer of bubbles consistently coated the surface.
S: The nose is inviting and has aromas of sweet caramel and toasted malts with hints of nuts and toffee.
T: There is a good degree of malty sweetness in the flavor, which is very well balanced. Hops aren't really detectable in the flavors, although they do contribute to a slightly dry and bitter finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and the carbonation lends a good degree of smoothness and almost makes it feel buttery.
D: The beer is relatively easy to drink and I might try it again during the winter when the holidays roll around.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2010 02:14:07 | More by metter98
Photo of ChainGangGuy


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

(2007 Bottle)

Appearance: Clear, light brown body with a small white head that recedes fairly quickly.

Smell: Toasted malt aroma with a bit of caramel and mild notes of berries and spicy hops.

Taste: Biscuity, toasted maltiness with a subdued caramel sweetness and a hint of berry fruitiness. Dries out into a light spicy bitterness. Finishes same.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: It's fine, however wholly unremarkable it may be.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2007 23:14:00 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep gold to amber color with a light almost non existant head,arom is malty and a little spicey-sweet.Taste is a little complex malty and and slightly sweet with some biscuity flavors rounding this out.A slight skunk taste and aroma but I am quite sure it was from the bottle.This was the 2001-2002 offering.

Serving type: bottle

08-29-2003 21:21:24 | More by oberon
Photo of TMoney2591


2.81/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

Is it just me, or does "Winter Welcome" sound like a sex act of some kind...? Anyway, this stuff pours a clear sunset amber topped by a finger of frothy cream-white foam. The nose comprises biscuit, very light dried honey, and the lightest possible kiss of earthy greens. The taste holds notes of funky wheat, dried honey, light biscuit, light grass, and a slightly heavier touch of earthy greens than before. Things don't meld all that well, though. The body is a lithe medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda dry finish. Overall, a sad, muddled, and otherwise nondescript and forgettable little brew.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2013 08:03:47 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.35/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the beers that I actually look forward to enjoying as winter approaches; and I like to buy a case as it's not a heavy beer and it can be enjoyed year round. I've cellared bottles that have shown no sign of age after a year or more! It pours a clear, light orangish-brown/auburn with a full and frothy yellow-tinged head that holds extremely well and leaves excellent lace. The aroma is distinctly buttery (but not quite butterscotch), alongside honey, caramel and toffee. A light fruitiness adds to the toffee but isn't really distinct on its own. Hop aroma is basically absent by design, although there is a mild background grassiness. The body is medium with a lightly creamy mouthfeel. The flavor starts with a mildly fruity toffee that's coat-tailed by softer caramel notes and then a light butterscotch before a balancing bitterness comes up. It finishes semi-dry with some lingering buttery sweet malt. Some alcohol is noticeable as you come to the end of a pint, but for the most part it's fully cloaked. An exceptional ale that proves that a little bit of diacetyl can be a nice thing! Highly recommended and worth seeking out.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2002 19:44:18 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

550ml bottle. Pretty involved English culture and brewing history-heavy label on this bottle - what with the traveling circus-style information layout.

This beer pours a glassy medium golden amber hue (it reflects the Christmas tree lights very nicely), with two fingers of weakly puffy, generally bubbly off-white head, which leaves a curtain of sudsy lace around the glass as it lazily falls away.

It smells of mild bready caramel malt, brown sugar, simmering applesauce, and a few warming spices - cinnamon, clove, and ginger. The taste is consistent with the aroma - caramel and subdued toffee malt, dark sugar, and soft muddled holiday spices, with only a smidgen of booze warming.

The carbonation is fairly inert, the body a decent medium weight, awkwardly smooth, and a tad creamy. It finishes on the bittersweet side, genuinely malty, lightly spiced, and replete with a residual noble hop essence.

An adequately comforting winter ale, reminiscent of holiday seasons past, spice and malt-wise, if not altogether warming. Still worthy as an New Year's offering, as I root for the Canucks versus the dreaded Yanks in their Junior hockey showdown.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2010 08:15:23 | More by biboergosum
Photo of feloniousmonk


3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2001 bottle, reviewed in December '02. Now why is it I never saw the '02 anywhere? So, the question is :how does it hold up after a year?
Thin white head, dark reddish appearance. Vinous nose, raisin, reminds me of a barleywine, but just a smidge. Spicy, aromatic, with notes of vanilla, sweet and malty. Smooth, and quite downable, with just enough flavor.
This used to be a wintertime staple for me, but I've fallen for the darker, bolder type of winter ales.
Quite good after 12 months, nothing wrong with it at all, though it tastes maltier than bottles I had last winter.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2003 17:50:26 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007/2008 release, poured from an 18.7oz bottle into a Samuel Smith imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep reddish orange color, with a large foamy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is full of fruit (apricot & fig) and spices with some caramel and hops in the background.

T: The taste is malty and fruity with flavors of apricots, figs, honey, caramel and some spices. There's a decent hops presence for the style that provides a good balance despite the sweetness up front. The after-taste is sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, decent kick, good representation of style, I was expecting this beer to be well-crafted and it is, but I was not expecting it to be as light as it is considering the style. Overall, it's a good beer to drink for a long period of time.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2008 04:34:58 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of russpowell


3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours amber/copper with 3+ fingers of rocky sand colored head, keeps a tight 1/4" head 1/3rd of the way down. Average lacing & minimal head retention

S: Slight fruittyness, berries & a whisper of leafy hops & tobacco

T: A bit of caramel, leafy& metallic hops up front. More caramel & leafy hops as this warms along with fruitty/jammy (apricots & apples) notes. Finishes with cakeyness, leafy hops, fruitty notes (some berries) & a bit more caramel, plus a bit of dryness. Grew more complex the warmer it got

MF: Medium-bodied with low/soft carbonation

Drinks alright, I could do 2-3 of these before boredom set in. This year's seem more hoppier than most I've had. Works well

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2007 09:29:46 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes

New York

3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a light amber color with a lacey white head. The aroma is good, but nothing spectacular. It has some fruity qualities to it along with a scent of light crystal malts and an elevated abv. The taste is good. It is a stronger than usual amber ale. It has a good balance between malts and hops. It's a low/medium bodied ale with good carbonation. It is a fine sessions ale.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2003 00:53:13 | More by WesWes
Photo of drabmuh


4.4/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bottle into a 3 Floyds imperial "pint" glass (I think it's only 12 ounces). Beer is amber and clear with a decent off white head of medium and small bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass. Carbonation appears low.

Aroma is almost lagerish with this kind of sweet backbone of pilsner malts. It's a little weak in the nose.

Beer is medium in body and I really like this beer. I've been too cautious approaching this beer because it's really good. The back is moderately bitter, but the forward has this great malt backbone that carries throughout the beer. This is truly phenomenal. I would drink a case of this. It is that good. More please.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2011 04:40:47 | More by drabmuh
Photo of zeff80


3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours out an amber color with a creamy/tan two-finger head.

S - Smelled of spice/cinnamon and very nutty.

T - It tasted grassy and had hints of oak. A slight bitter bite, too.

M - Cirsp and sharp. Medium-bodied.

D - Pretty good beer. I found it interesting that it tasted very different than it smelled.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2006 13:00:43 | More by zeff80
Photo of Knapp85


3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured out as an orange color, not quite what I expected but pretty nice looking. The head was white and fluffy. The smell of the beer has some sweet malts blended with some winter spice notes that balance the aromas nicely. The taste of this beer is a little on the light side but remains pretty good. It's got that typical English flavor to it with the spices in the mix. The mouthfeel is decent, roughly medium bodied and has average carbonation. Overall not a bad winter brew, but not my favorite either.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2011 18:41:15 | More by Knapp85
Photo of jwc215


3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours copper with orangish/reddish hues. A frothy fead that descends to a lasting thin cover tops it off.

The smell is earthy, bready with a touch of pepper.

The taste is of caramelish sweetness with a bready, nutty undertone. Some fruitiness and pepper come into play. Leafy bitterness in the finish cuts the sweetness, almost too much so. The spiciness is mild.

It approaches full body, but stops just short. It coats somewhat, but carbonation is a bit high for style.

It's only somewhat "warming" wiith some vague, restrained spiciness. It's decent, but not one of this great brewery's better offerings, IMO.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2007 22:51:38 | More by jwc215
Photo of BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2009-2010 Brew according to the front label on this brown 550ml bottle. Poured into an 'Old Speckled Hen' vase shaped pint glass.

The bottle was a present my wife brought back from York after a girly weekend there, thanks darling!

Amber coloured body, not bright but see through, an off-white foaming head sat on top.

Aroma is figs, dates and plums. Once those smells are in the nose the malts come out to play, biscuity and sweetish.

The taste is more malt than hop, with the aforementioned fruits (in the smell) also lurking within the brew. Not as sweet as some UK brewed 'Winter Warmers' but just a little too much for my tastebuds.

I found the beer to be slightly thin and watery for the style and had trouble finding the alcohol content at times during the tasting.

Disappointed with the mouthfeel, otherwise a pleasant enough drink. A long, long way from my favourite Winter Warmers though.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2009 17:33:19 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of RblWthACoz


3.4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear ruby with a little bit of head that leaves a little bit of lace on the way down. Nose has a touch of pine and surprisingly (for a 6% ABV) I am getting alcohol. Taste is rather dry. I don’t think I have had a beer this dry before. Seems a bit woody, kind of like sucking on a piece of oak. For a winter warmer, I am not feeling very warmed. Mouthfeel is standard. Drinkable, sure. But I think there are better of the style out there. Overall, a disappointment I’d say.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2007 06:36:27 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of WVbeergeek


3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2003-2004 Winter Welcome Ale

Appearance: Pours a copper tone with a cream colored rather thin head forms full dwindles kind of fast, lacing is formed in a big collar than with each sip the rings become more and more sparse. Aroma: Fruits seared in alchohol come through with a very mild burn, and this one contains more hops than I was expecting. Floral hopping with a slighty nutty doughy edge to it characteristic of many of the Sam Smith's I've tried. Taste: The malt profile consists of a doughy sweetness backed by fruit tones, alcohol notes, and a great nutty flavor. The most impressive part of this ale was it's hop profile fairly hoppy bitter finish tops of the flavor for me. Mouthfeel: A tad thin sort of a sharrp carbonation in my eyes a Winter Warmer needs to have more body going on. Drinkability: Decent not a beer I yearn for but glad I tried this year's edition after passing on it last year numerous times.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2003 15:23:24 | More by WVbeergeek
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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.