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

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

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1,937 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,937
Reviews: 1,098
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 30
Gots: 102 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-29-2001)
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Ratings: 1,937 | Reviews: 1,098 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BradtheGreat7
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle with 2011-12 winter welcome logo thats beautiful and unique Samuel Smiths. Poured into a standard pint glass.

A -Glowing dark amberish color with some copper hughes. Good clarity under a rich white head with nice lace. Head disappeared shortly after pour.

S - good spice aroma. Maybe cinnamon and nutmeg with a hint of pepper. Nice English style malt aroma.

T - malt flavors of caramel and toffee. Toasted malts come off as somewhat grainy which I enjoyed. Excellent touch of fruit that I picked up as fresh red apples with a nice portion of spices from the hops. All Samuel Smiths have that distinct flavor. You just know it's a Samuel Smiths.

M - medium body that brings medium carbonation. Good mouthfeel that's more crisp and tight than smooth.

O - this is an original winter warmer and a pretty good one. A good brew for the cold temperatures just around the corner. This is Samuel smiths through and through. Not the best winter warmer In this day and age, but still an excellent choice for the winter months. Definitely something that will be found in my refrigerator this winter.

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

Poured a 2" custard head which held on a while. Nice clear dark amber body. Quite aromatic, I didn't even have to be near the glass to smell it, strikes me as herbal and some spices. Taste has some caramel, much less of the spice than the smell, and other characteristics I find hard to put a finger on. It's medium rich with a medium length finish. All in all a nice beer.

Photo of secondtooth
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This review is of an aged bottle, approx. 1 year.

Seems a transparent amber in appearance, with a luxurious off-white head. This gives way to impressive spider-web lacing.

Aroma is malty, syrupy, almost medicinal.

Tastes unusual...sweet at first, almost shockingly. The followthrough, though is sharp and hopped, with slightly acidic elements and a subtle nuttiness.

Overall, an impressive and unexpected collision of flavors. Sam Smith can do no wrong.

Photo of MaxSpang
3.33/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011-2012. Served in a snifter.


This beer's color is somewhere between apple juice and red wine - very clear with orange and red light beaming through the glass. Depending on the angle, the beer can look yellowish-orange to very dark orange. The head was about 2 fingers and almost pure white. The head dissipated to almost a sliver, yet the lacing was still high. A very, very lovely looking beer.


The smell has some definite spice to it - I get a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg, with perhaps a touch of clove and an afterthought of black pepper. There is a distinct banana aroma as well. Some very mild dark fruit and raisin notes came through. There's a VERY slight "Belgian" twang on the nose as well, almost like there's a Wit underneath all of the other aroma.


There's a slight tartness that lingers on the tongue as you drink, which was unexpected but refreshing. Most of the flavor, however, mildly echos the nose. I get a lot more nutmeg than cinnamon on the tongue, as well as some allspice and perhaps a bit of cloves. The banana makes a brief appearance, but is forgettable. The raisin character is a little more pronounced in the taste compared to the nose, though not quite as strong as some of the high-alcohol beers. There's a good amount of a stale bread character, which works well in this beer. I am detecting a little saltiness on the back of the tongue as well. Overall, the flavors of this beer are mild and slightly muted, but pleasant.


At only 6%, this beer actually warms you up a bit. The body is sort of middle-of-the-road, not too thick nor too dry. The slight tartness coats your mouth a bit, which sort of makes you smack your lips after you take a sip (it's not a mouth puckering beer by any means). It's a beer that is both easy-drinking and good to sip, so it would be good by the fire at night or at your favorite pub.


This beer is pretty tasty, but it lacks a lot of things. The flavors are somewhat muted. This makes it very approachable, but those looking for a big-flavored holiday beer may be disappointed. It's still a good beer and I would definitely drink it again. The best part about this beer is that even though it's only 6% ABV, it does actually warm you up a bit. Drink this beer slow, letting it warm up over time, and your mind will eventually start to wander towards red sweaters and the crackling of a fireplace.

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

A: Beautiful burnt amber color, perfectly clear, with a very thick cream-colored head. Gorgeous.

S: Malt with some raisin/currant scents.

M: Dense but not syrupy. Pleasant level of carbonation. Doesn't coat the mouth.

T: Some spiciness in the flavor that I couldn't smell; beautiful malty flavor with some clove, pumpkin, currant, Christmas-y tastes. No discernible hoppiness. Like the previous poster mentioned, flavor got better as the beer reached room temp. My next one will sit out of the fridge for a bit before I pour it. The aftertaste is nice. Not a sweet beer.

O: This is a great cold-weather beer. Very enjoyable. I think I'll be buying it again in December. I can't imagine drinking this with food, it feels like an after-dinner beer. I can't see drinking two in a row, but it would fit in well with some other English ales.

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.

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Look: Pours a glowing amber, half inch head, decent lace.

Smell: Apple, plum, cinnamon and some earthy hops.

Taste/Mouth: Follows the smell. Reminds me of a spiced apple cider. Alright, I guess. Thin in the mouth.

Drink: Glad I tried it, but wouldn't do it again. There are plenty of much better winter warmers around.

Photo of brewskifan55
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass

Appearance: burnt orange color, slightly opaque; a one finger head; one of the best labels I've seen

Smell: Malty, floral, spices

Mouthfeel: Thick; sits on the tongue

Taste: Very complex. Light and malty, spices linger on the tongue. I picked up traces of orange, coriander, lemon, nutmeg, pumpkin (almost too many flavors). Let it warm up a bit. It evens out the taste.

Overall: Not as malty as I was hoping for, but another great entry from this brewery. Definately reminded me of a far away winter in this sultry Mississippi heat wave.

Photo of Slatetank
4.09/5  rDev +11.4%
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

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

First had: bottle from Pinocchio's beer garden, Media, PA

Poured a clear amber with three fingers of head as a result of a vigorous pour. Bubbly carbonation noticeable. Toasty caramel malts in the aroma; spicy, with hops in the background. Nice caramel malt base, with spicy flavors of nutmeg, toffee, and a light fruitcake sensation. Hop bitterness follows, leaving a decent dry finish. Medium-bodied and quite drinkable.

Photo of bigrzman
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out of 1 imperial pint bottle into Samuel Smith glass creating an ale with a rich copper color, thick creamy white head that lingers, Minimal carbonation like most English Beers and a mighty glow.

Smells clean with trace elements of grains and earthy hops.

Big berry malt flavors, toasted caramel malts, and other fruit esters mixed with a moderate earthy hop. Malt sweetness takes a 60/40 balace here.

Mouthfeel is drying, warming, and moderate in body.

Overall this does make a good winter pint. It can easily be followed up by another but this is not a session beer and is a wee heavy. Overall good beer.

Photo of magine
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

****revised per 2010 - 2011 version****

Winter Warmer 2010 - 2011 edition.

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a clear light amber - orange color. With a off white sticky head thats settles to a pocketed lace island. Some patchy, sticky lace. Decent looking brew.

Brew smells of sweet malts, some floral hops; bready smell. Decent nose.

Brew is very bubbly and smooth, nice medium feel to this one. Very balanced. A sweet initial taste, caramel malts, bready yeasts, fruit hops. Finishes very clean and has hardly any aftertaste. Has a great balance of hops and malts. Has a nice earthy taste to it as well. Good tasting brew.

This brew is very, very drinkable. Very easy drinking and would drink a case of it - nice. Very good winter warmer. The only thing I could see that could be a negative, is it is a bit low in the warming for a winter warmer. But hey its very good so who cares.

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

This is my first experience with Samuel Smith beer. And it likely won't be my last.

The pour was as about as perfect as it gets. Nice thick head about an inch thick and it clings very well to the glass. The smell has hints of citrus and coriander.

I tend to like my beers on the hoppier side with a particular affinity for Fuggles hops. It's on of the reasons I chose this beer and I wasn't disappointed. The taste almost has a hint of a Belgian white to it, but not as sweet. The finish is really dry with hints of orange. I like a dry finish, though.

The 6% ABV is a perfect match for this beer. Not too high, but just enough. I could easily have about 4-5 on a Friday night and be a happy man.

Much recommended.

Photo of lwillitz
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

550mL-bottle poured into Samuel Smith "Tulip" pint glass

A - crystal-clear yellow-orange topped with 2 fingers of off-white frothy head; head fades fairly quickly, but laces the glass nicely; occasional bubbles of carbonation rise to the top

S - fruity with a hint of spice (allspice?); alcohol is noticeable

T - caramel malts are prominent, balanced by a strong hop presence; same spice as is present in the nose; hoppy bitterness leaves a dry finish

M - medium-bodied with ample carbonation; nice and chewy

O - Good ol' Sam Smith never disappoints. I recommend Winter Welcome and anything from this brewery. Try a pint!

Photo of samie85
3.4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a very clear light copper color with two fingers of thick, frothy, off-white head.

S-A bit of caramel with maybe a little ginger and cinnamon.

T-A little bit of ginger and allspice with some bitter, earthy, flowery hop finish.

M-A little watery with some mild carbonation and a bit of a slickness to it.

D-I was honestly expecting something a little darker for some reason. It looks and drinks like a pale ale; I envisioned there being more of a spice profile as well, but it's very easy-drinking.

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

Poured from a bottle into a schooner. No obvious best before date.

A - golden brown clear brew with a fluffy head that dissipates after a couple minutes with little to no lacing.

S - wet hops and caramel malts on the nose; quite promising going on smell alone!

T - a little more subdued than the nose suggested with both the bite of the hops and the caramel malts not really coming though with enough power. There's a little spiciness in the middle, but this also disappears

M - light mouthfeel with fleeting carbonation

D - it does go down very easy, could drink a bunch in front of the fire

Overall a decent, but not exceptional brew.

Photo of tdevo
3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - poured a nice clear, copper color. Nice foamy head, but it quickly faded. No lacing.

S - faint smell of malt and not much else.

T - malty flavor that finishes with a slight hop bitterness that I really kind of liked. The bitterness helped to cut the malty sweetness.

M - Much lighter mouthfeel than I thought a holiday beer would have. It did make it very drinkable. Carbonation was bright and spot on.

D - My buddy brought a six that we shared and while I don't usually like holiday beers this one was very drinkable. The malty sweetness balanced nicely with a bitter hop aftertaste. Easy drinking, goes down like you would expect a 6.0% beer to. Looking forward to next year's edition.

Photo of KajII
2.75/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

[Best served in an English pint]

Poured a medium amber in color with a super small white fizzy head and virtually had no lacing to speak of.

The aroma was almost non-existent with a slight hint of bready malts and doughy yeast with just a very slight hint of caramel and some spice.

It tasted slightly bitter with a very, very mild hint of spice in the beginning but the flavor faded quickly and left you with no real flavor at the finish.

Mouthfeel was light in body and watery in texture with a flat carbonation.

Overall nothing special definitely a very light beer that is very light in flavor. Which I find quite surprising coming from this brewer who puts out some of the best tasting beers in the world.

Photo of CMW
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a copper color that is fairly translucent. Head is a good 3/4 inch and fluffy.

S - Malty and sweet. Not picking much else up.

T - Full of malt with a little tad of bitterness. A slight tinge of sugar mixes well but seems more subdued in the taste compared to the nose.

M - Very light and maybe a tad watery.

D - Highly drinkable. This beer confuses me. The flavors are good but not great but I am really enjoying this beer alot.

Photo of KYBrewgrass
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- 4 Poured a fairly bright, clear amber with a small head, and lots of bubbles. Light lacing, but a nice ring of bubbly foam sits around the glass.

S- 3.5 Malty and sweet (caramel). A little nutty. A hint of fruit... It is a good but mildly scented beer all-around.

T- 4 The flavors of the brew definitely align with the aroma, but are more powerful and varied. It is malt/caramel heavy, but there is more going on with a mild hop and spiciness that balances it out well.

M- 4.5 Medium body; rich, lacy texture that goes down easily. Ample carbonation. Leaves me wanting more.

D- 4 This year's batch of SSWW is very welcoming indeed. It's not as powerful as some winters, but its sweet nuttiness and textures are definitely appealing. It is light enough to enjoy all night long if you dig the flavors. I've found it to be worth a shot each year I've tried it, and that goes unchanged this go-around.

Photo of SickGnar
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Golden copper - lighter than expected, but attractive enough. Big bone-white head that keeps a ring and leaves some nice lacing.

S: Toasty, softly grainy malts. Faint caramel sugar cookie sweetness. Faint grainy & herbal hops. Pleasant and inviting - softly rounded malts.

T: Malts are toasty, nutty, light caramel (40L), faintly sourdough biscuit, and an almost pils grainy / sugar cookie sweetness. Herbal, grassy, and somewhat medicinal hops are balanced far more firmly on the palate. Actually it is quite hoppy for something billed as fuggles and EKG. Light diacetyl in background, especially at the end. Some faint fruity esters and a background mineral notes.

M: Average body, quite well attenuated with very few residual sugars. Moderate carbonation. Finish trends to drying, but overall it is lush in a refreshing way.

D: I was rather expecting something darker & more robust. This isn't really roasty or hefty enough to be a Winter Warmer. More sort of a an imperial summer mild. Or just an amped up "festival" version of a Pale. Rated as a hearty Pale, this is rather nice (but not as a winter warmer).

Photo of pavandal
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a rich amber color with no visible head.

Smelled wonderful, deep malty scents with a lot of citrusy goodness thrown in. Also had a slight caramel scent.

On the first sip, you're hit with a strong hop slap in the face. Take another, and you'll notice the bitterness has mellowed and the gentle malt profile has come through. Slight caramel and citrus flavors. The scent gives you the impression of a malty monster, but the taste is rather light and satisfying. Not exactly what I was expecting from a Winter Warmer.

This is a descent brew, but doesn't fit the description of "winter warmer" very well. As a beer, it's awesome though! Enjoy this wonderful beverage anytime of the year, it's light enough to fit right in during a summer grilling session!

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.

Photo of uustal
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber with a pearl one-finger head. Good retention and lacing. Light toffee and caramel aroma. Sweet, sticky caramel malt to start. Hint of timid hops, cinnamon and alcohol on the back end. Good malt character overall. Feels sticky and creamy on the tongue.

Photo of gopens44
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Nice frothy beige head. Slightly hazy and coppery in color.

S - Malty and a little bit nutty. Just a touch of plum or dark cherry coming across as well.

T - Malty with a nice well balanced touch of bitterness. Some nice plum tastes in here as well. Finish comes across just a touch boozy,which surprised me given the relatively low ABV, but not bad or hot in any way.

M - Dry finish with very little aftertaste. Medium carbonation and pretty well bodied.

May be my favorite Christmas seasonal. I didn't know what to expect from this, but I was certainly impressed!

Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
83 out of 100 based on 1,937 ratings.