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

Not Rated.
Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome AleSamuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

1,105 Reviews
THE BROS
83
good

(Read More)
Reviews: 1,105
Hads: 2,026
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 11.81%
Wants: 35
Gots: 146 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-29-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (31) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,105 | Hads: 2,026
Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
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. (464 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.2/5  rDev +15.4%
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. (569 characters)

Photo of t0rin0
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have to admit I've become a bit jaded in the past couple months drinking a bunch of belgian beers that people have brought back from europe. So when I tried this beer it seemed a bit mild at first, nothing innovative. It was poured at fridge temperature and consumed partially and then allowed to warm up a few degrees before being finished. There was a considerable difference between cool and cold for this beer.

It poured a nice light brown and very clear color. There was a decent head but it disapeared right away and left no lacing anywhere. The smell was a bit fruity and malty. As it warmed up some spices were noticeable and there was a faint hint of alcohol present that wasn't there at colder temps.

The taste was kinda predictable and british when served too cold. Some generic malts and some hop bitterness. The spiciness was fairly mild and it was a little dry. The flavor didn't change much with temp but the aroma enhanced it a bit. It had a moderate amount of carbonation and a nice aftertaste. Pretty drinkable over all. (1,043 characters)

Photo of acurtis
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sam Smith's Winter Welcome Ale - 550ml brown bottle poured into shaker. Beautiful amber with off white head. Amazing lacing. Exceptional winter brew. This beer is so smooth yet thick tasting. Sweet caramel earthyness comes through strong. Smooth finish. (253 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.72/5  rDev +2.2%
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. (736 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
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. (418 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.61/5  rDev -0.8%
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. (905 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.32/5  rDev +18.7%
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 (590 characters)

Photo of Knapp85
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
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. (518 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
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. (596 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
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. (365 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pale amber with brilliant clarity. A nice tight white two finger head rises, and leaves a good bit of lace behind as it settles into a thinner cap.

Smell: Honey, fruitcake, a bit of apricot. Toasted malt and husky grain make up the backbone. This has more of an estery character than most of Samuel Smith's beers.

Taste & mouthfeel: Butterscotch and fruitcake, toasted nuts, honey; definite winter warmer flavors on display here. Medium bodied, bordering on light. Not an overwhelming beer by any means, favoring more subtle nuance than most American attempts at the style. Little hop flavor, but a firm bitterness appears in the dry finish. Solid stuff, I'd gladly drink it again. (695 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
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. (1,158 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.56/5  rDev -2.2%
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. (2,305 characters)

Photo of zeff80
3.57/5  rDev -1.9%
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. (319 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.02/5  rDev +10.4%
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. (1,155 characters)

Photo of oberon
3.8/5  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. (317 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.3/5  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. (463 characters)

Photo of nickfl
4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - One finger of off-white foam on top of dark-copper colored body with good clarity. The head dies down quickly and leaves only minor lace.

S - Light caramel malt with some bread and toast notes. Some very light, musty British hops and a nice, fruity aroma of red apples from the yeast.

T - Sweet malt flavors up front with lots of toffee and a little caramel. Some fruity yeast notes of red apple with plum and light, earthy hop flavor. Finishes with mild, balancing hop bitterness that interacts with the malt to bring out more toasted character and a little bit of roast that lingers in the finish.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly dry finish.

D - This is a great winter beer with all the expected British ale flavors and a malty essence that helps to make it appropriate for the season. I really enjoyed this as a break from the all too commonly over spiced winter beers that some other breweries produce. This managed to be warming and malty without huge, cloying doses of spices and most importantly, I could easily see myself drinking this at any time of year. (1,094 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
2.82/5  rDev -22.5%
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. (656 characters)

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.33/5  rDev +19%
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. (1,150 characters)

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
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. (920 characters)

Photo of Slatetank
4.08/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
I remember having this about 14 or 15 years ago and it was pretty much tops on my list...lets see how it fares these days. Poured from a dark brown bottle into a Samuel Smith's half pint.

A beautiful sunset copper color with excellent clarity and rocky thick 1/2 inch capp with tight bead. The carbonation is visible in the liquid and rises quickly. The last clings in a wavy pattern. An aroma that is very good, it kind of reminds me of fruit cake. The kind you want to eat which is slightly apricot and cherry tinged with some mellow herbal notes and light spice which brings to mind dry ginger. The light mineral quality from the yeast accents the slight caramel in the malt and there is a slight leather note with mellow woody accent. This is a decent beer feel-wise, actually it is superbly balanced with somewhate high carbonation and great yeast and malt cohesion, the alcohol is restrained and there is a pleasant amount off bitterness which leads to a semi-dry finish. I can't really complain as it is moderatly full feeling, but not enough to seem sweet.

I really like the malt body which is light toasted and caramel with a gentle herbal quality that is not quite astringent in the hop aspect. There is a stone fruit element from the hops which seems to blend very well with the sweetness in the malt body and the hops give a slight spiciness which is fitting for the style. The slightly higher than average abv for an English ale is common in winter styles so I think the gentle alcohol in the flavor is not out of place. I really have fond memories of this from my formative years of craft beer enjoyment, yet somehow I find this beer to be timeless. It really doesn't bother me that it is sold out of season because it has the kind of flavor that is not bogged down by spices or heavy/sweet malt. I recommend this if you like this style of English ale.

re-review 12/7/14 -25th Anniversary edition
Deep bronze with good clarity thin tan head with fine bead and lace that sticks ok retention. The smell has an herbal hop aroma with slight malt scent which is light caramel and fruity spiced yeast ester rounds out the smell. The feel is moderately spiced in texture with medium high carbonation and mild sweetness with a mostly dry finish.

The taste is great excellent yeast in the initial flavor with slight herbal hop flavor up front and gentle caramel in the malt profile with a toasted taste and slight spice quality in the yeast which adds a complexity and balance from the hops which is very enjoyable as it finishes on the dry side. Overall this is a solid English ale -festive in flavor with nice hops adding to the complexity I have drank this annually and enjoy it as much now if not more than when I first tried it in the 90's
3.75 look, 4 smell 3.75 moutfeel 4.25 taste 4 Overall (2,869 characters)

Photo of Jason
3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 18.7 oz clear bottle that has gold foil on top and raised glass below the neck, no freshness though on the label it has the years for the 2002-2003 winter season.

Appearance: A small-bubbled two fingered lace lies on top of a copper hued brew. Decent clarity with a better than ok head retention.

Smell: Faded butterscotch, fruity esters and a honey/caramel like malt sweetness. Hop aroma grassy with a light oily pungency.

Taste: Smooth as much as it is crisp with in the pleasant mouth feel. Malty palate with a medium body and level carbonation. Bready malt flavours ride on top with hints of caramel and grain. Candied fruit with some buttery diacetyl and light alcoholic esters to boot. Hop bitterness is perfect and balances very well and does not intrude with excessive hop flavour at all. A little dry in the finish with a touch of butterscotch and a slow warming feeling from the alcohol that has a mild peppery flavour.

Notes: A cast and mold for a lot of the US breweries to build from in the past. Now it seems middle of the road in comparison to what is in the American market now. (1,120 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.43/5  rDev -5.8%
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. (483 characters)

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Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
82 out of 100 based on 1,105 ratings.