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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

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1,779 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,779
Reviews: 1,074
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 21
Gots: 55 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,779 | Reviews: 1,074 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BEERchitect
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%

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.

BEERchitect, Mar 21, 2006
Photo of falloutsnow
3.4/5  rDev -7.4%

A resurgence of cold weather here in Connecticut made it seem like drinking a "winter welcome" would be fitting this evening.
A: Flipping off the bottlecap, a moderate pour produces an off-white, prodigious, but light and frothy head. The beer itself is a light caramel-orange color, not far from iced tea. Clear with no haze and visibly active carbonation that decreases with time. The head lingers as a thin foam for the entire drinking session, gradually wearing away into a ring around the perimeter of the glass. No lacing.
S: Aroma is very upfront about its sweetness and has a floral hops presence in the background.
T: Hops permeate the taste in a surprising way, as they do not dominate the scent by any means. The light, sweet maltiness is filtered through a haze of hops that blend together rather effortlessly; quite balanced and little bitterness from the hops. Some hints of unripe pear. As the beer swirls to the back of the mouth, faint alcohol traces seep into the presentation. Finish is of tangy malt and light floral hops.
M: Medium-light body with moderate carbonation that allows for some foaming in the mouth. Dry finish as expected from the hop presence.
D: Quite drinkable, though a bit light in the body for a winter warmer. The aspects that make up the beer are well-interwoven and successfully pulled off, though nothing is, by itself, particularly interesting or defining.

falloutsnow, Mar 16, 2006
Photo of scottoale
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%

Appearance in the 550ml. clear bottle is inviting, as well it pours a nice medium copper-brown ale, with a slightly off-white head of two fingers. A handsome ale, with a nice lacing trailing behind.

First off the nose is a malty, nutty, roasted, slightly skunky, somewhat potent, airomatic overload of a brew. A rather nut brown smelling beer, with a bit extra everything for an appealling (makes you want to taste it) character...nice.

Tastes very much as it smells, a strong tasting nut brown ale, with lot's of personality, ie. flavor...or shall I say flavour ?

Mouthfilling, sweet to a hop balanced finish, good carbonation with a solid medium body, it's got a creamy and satisfying finish that temps you to have more.

A very tasty English brew, nice seasonal offering and consistant, year after year.

scottoale, Mar 10, 2006
Photo of jabocu
3.78/5  rDev +3%

Bottle poured into glass.

A – Crisp amber and copper tones. Looks very clear and clean. Nice cap about half an inch thick and light yellow.

S – Smells like caramel popcorn. Very sweet with a hint of hops. Has a very rich smell.

T – Deep caramel taste. Roasted hops and grapefruit. I can feel the hops coming through all flavors.

M – Carbonation is right on. It wakes the senses and then mellows out nicely. Very warm and refreshing. Finishes dry.

D – Very warm and inviting. Perfect for a cold night for sipping and talking. Very enjoyable and satisfying. Definitely a winter ale.

jabocu, Feb 19, 2006
Photo of CRJMellor
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%

Pours copper and gold hued with hyper clarity and a bright white head.
Aroma has a honey note lingering in the faded caramel and butterscotch sweet notes. Some grassy and oily hops play in and out in the background.
Flavor starts with a subdued caramel malt and doughy note and moves to a oily, light citrus hop note and then finishes with a big grainy, alcoholic estery pop.
Mouthfeel is a lot thinner than my memory served and to be seems flawed for style. A certain dryness in the finish seems a bit out of place as well. I would expect a little more backbone with a WW.
Drinkability is still solid and relatively potent just note the kind of warming and meaty beer I used to crave and seek for fullness.

(This review and beer were sort of a mid-career review for me as I remember drinming this brew back in the early 90's as my beer experimentation began. Looking back my palate has certainly developed and the seach for great beers continues on.)

CRJMellor, Feb 12, 2006
Photo of Mebuzzard
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%

poured into pint glass.
Cloudy hazel, caramel color with some redness. Frothy head that thinned out, but did not disappear.
Aroma of almond, malt, and pear...some ginger.
Tastes a crisp, yet malty, caramel flavor. Some spices in it but nothing like some of the American winter ales.
Some fruit..pear perhaps. Quite drinkable.

Mebuzzard, Feb 11, 2006
Photo of danielharper
4/5  rDev +9%

Purchased from the BP in Five Points, Huntsville, AL.

Pours a nice dark amber hue with a thick off-white head. Head dissipates, but it leaves a nice bit of lacing on the glass.

Spicy, fruity, malty aroma, reminds me more of a weak Belgian than a winter warmer. Really nice.

Dry spiciness upfront, a touch of dryness to the palate, with a nice fruity aftertaste. Pleasant and highly drinkable.

Mouthfeel moderate but enjoyable nonetheless. Not to thick to be undrinkable, but not to thin as to be uninteresting.

Overall, I like this beer way more than I expected to. My favorite from Sam Smith? Maybe.

danielharper, Feb 09, 2006
Photo of rabsten
4/5  rDev +9%

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. The 2005-06 batch.

Nice head, 1 to 1/2 inches. This head stayed around for a while, unlike my other Samuel Smiths this weekend. Laced all the way down, leaving a nice tale of each sip.

Slightly cloudy amber with good carbonation. Smell was citrusy with malt presence.

Flavour was stronger than the other Sam Smiths I've had recently. Hoppier than the Pale Ale, maltier than the Nut Brown. There was a definite spice hinted at too, but I couldn't pin it down. Not as strong as other seasonals (Anchor and Great Lakes, e.g.).

If you're looking for a winter-style ale that doesn't overpower, this would be a fine choice.

rabsten, Feb 07, 2006
Photo of Absumaster
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Amber coloured with very thin lacing
Smell: caramel, fruity very English
Taste: caramel, bitter, fruity, slight maltiness with a dry finish, medium body.
This Winterwelcome ale is a decent beer, but it looks very similar to a best bitter on speed. So not a lot more complex, just a couple of pounds of extra malt or sugar. 85 % pale malt, 10% crystal, 5% sugar, something like that. Fermented with a fruity English yeast, finished. This sounds like I cannot appreciate this beer, but actually I like it.

Absumaster, Feb 04, 2006
Photo of amstelcat
3.05/5  rDev -16.9%

Nice amber color as it is poured into my favorite goblet. Hefty amount of off-white foam with but with not so good retention. Smell is sweet malty, hops not too discernable, and a little sulphery. First sip out of the gate is dry malt and again with the sulpher as the aftertaste. Kinda thin mouthfeel.
I don't know if I would have this again (oh wait, I have three left). Maybe I'm ultra sensitive to the off flavors in light struck beers, but I feel the clear bottle did this beer a mis-service. Too bad, I normally really like Sam Smith's offerings. This one is quite average.

amstelcat, Feb 03, 2006
Photo of hanco005
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

550ml bottle of 2005-2006 edition poured into a pint glass

A—clear, light orange/amber color with a thick foamy, off white 1 inch head, leaves nice lacing as I drink the beer

S—mild caramel malt scent, a little butterscotch, some clove and nutmeg as well

T—mild hop bitterness with simple caramel and some sweet buttery toffee flavor. A nice balance between the hops and malts, I think, the taste goes from bitter to sweet and back to bitter before leaving the mouth

M—somewhat slimy with strong carbonation

D—overall a pretty good brew, but not something I would seek out. I could have maybe one more.

hanco005, Jan 31, 2006
Photo of bennetj17
2.68/5  rDev -27%

Pours a nice copper color with a half-inch light colored foam cap. High clarity. Smell is faint and seems to be just bit hoppy with some carmelly malt aroma. Taste is somewhat sweet and malty, but it rubs me the wrong way, being almost stale or skunky perhaps. Some hop flavor present, but not really bitter. It feels kind of thin and watery on the palate, although carbonation is decent. The off flavors unfortunately made me not want to try this again. I don't know if this one saw too much light somewhere along the way or what, someday I might give it another chance.

bennetj17, Jan 26, 2006
Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%

12oz. bottle. 2005-2006 vintage.

Pours a clear amber with a creamy eggshell head that thins.Nice lacing around the glass.

Rather mild malty aroma. Some hints of caramel and butterscotch. Nice, but quite subdued.

Nice crisp malty flavor with tones of caramel and butterscotch. Followed by a slight hop bitterness and then finishes dry.

Body is fairly creamy but seems a bit thin.

Easily drinkable, I have had a fair share of these over the years. I know it's a winter warmer, but it's no sipping beer. It would actually be a good beer to drink outside on a hot day.

MaltyGoodness, Jan 24, 2006
Photo of danielocean03
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%

Poured a warm, clear, reddish amber with a white foamy head that fell to moderate lacing. Smells richly of caramel and malt, a hint of hop freshness present. Tastes sweet, caramel, malt heavier than expected, hint of butterschnapps, butterscotch also present. Medium carbonation, mouthfeel is balanced, a little heavier than expected, carries it's ABV nicely. Overall a pleasing brew, somewhat pricey, but would purchase again. Very drinkable, goes down nice and smooth from start to finish.

danielocean03, Jan 21, 2006
Photo of budsboy
2.93/5  rDev -20.2%

Pours very clear, nice white fluffy head that doesn't stick around.

Smell is a bit acidic, with a malty sweetness coming through. Not a lot there to discuss.

A sweet, toasty malt flavor is pleasant if mild. A little buttery, a little acrid.

Fairly light in the mouth with light carbonation. Dry, dry, dry.

It's so dry. I'm not sure I can really recommend it. It's given me a bit of heartburn. It pains me to say it, but I really didn't enjoy this one. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'll give it a go again next year. I respect the Old Brewery. They know what they're doing. Sigh. Maybe next year.

budsboy, Jan 20, 2006
Photo of Derek
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%

March 13, 2009 vertical:

2008/2009 Fresh:

A3.5: Bronze with a thin white head, very little retention or lacing.
S3.5: Marmalade/rind, floral hops, candied pineapple, apple/fruity esters, light caramel.
T3: Very floral hopping, nice fruitiness (predominantly candied pineapple), a little more bitterness than previous vintages.
M:3.5 Moderate body is smooth, moderate carbonation.
D3.5: A decent drinker.

2007/2008 (at 1 year):

Probably the most well-rounded with a slight hop bias.

2006/2007 (at 2 years):

Still my favourite of the more recent releases. It's slightly more malt-pronounced with a light caramel residual sweetness. Seems to be more of a winter warmer in my opinion.


Feb 1, 2008 vertical tasting:

2007/2008 (fresh) Bottle #SH24C1:

Perhaps the most balanced malt/hop flavour of the last 3 years, allowing the fruity esters to be a little more perceptable. Without the benefit of the cellar, the alcohol is a little more warming.

2006/2007 (at 1 year) bottle #SH17B1:

My favourite of these 3, with some darker malt flavours shining through (dark fruit, caramel & bread). With a little more residual sweetness, this one has a little more body as well. It still has a good bitterness and pleasant spicing from the hops. Definitely the best of the 3, and the most reminiscent of earlier vintages. This one's closer to a winter warmer than the other strong ales.

2005/2006 (at 2 years) bottle #SI07A1:

The last of the clear bottles, but I've kept this one in the dark. It's a slightly lighter hue than the newer versions. Amazingly this one still has the hoppiest nose, with a remarkable amount of hop flavour still apparant (earthy-orange citrus). I still think this one lacks the maltyness that a winter warmer should have. There's still plenty of head & a little retention, but there's a slight hint of oxidation (flat, wet cardboard). I don't think I'd keep one for more than the 2 years.


Jan 19, 2006 - 2005/2006 Vintage Fresh:

I picked this up when the LCBO winter release was hitting the shelf (no light exposure). With the recent snowfall, I thought I'd re-welcome winter.

A: Very clear, coppery in colour. Pours with a nice white head, leaves a nice lace, but there isn't a lot of retention.

S: Not a lot of nose. A little malty (bread and caramel), with some grassy hops and a hint of citrous (Goldings?).

T: Seems to be hoppier than previous years. There's a fair amount of hop flavour (Goldings?), with an assertive, crisp bitterness. Certainly balanced to the bitter side, but there is some nice caramel malt flavour. There isn't much fruit flavour... a think a fruitier British yeast would be nice.

M: Moderate body is slightly creamy. Moderate carbonation.

D: Drinkability is good. A few of these should warm you up!

Derek, Jan 19, 2006
Photo of far333
3.78/5  rDev +3%

2005 - 2006 Release: Clear copper color with a minimal off-white head. Aroma of musty grassy hops, nearly skunky, and a metallic cloud hovering beneath. Flavor is pale malt, some light brown sugar and toffee accented with cinnamon and ripe fruits. A grassy hop jumps out of the finish, followed by a fruity tartness that morphs to a lingering syrupy sweetness. There's also the reemergence of the metallic nuance in the lingering flavor. Mouthfeel is full and satisfying.

far333, Jan 18, 2006
Photo of funkengruven
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%

Nice golden brown ale that poured into the glass with a small tan head that left a ton of lacing.

Smell is pretty clean, not offensive, but nothing really describable, rather bland smelling actually.

Tastes really good. Aromatic Malt flavors make their way to a very very slight bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is a little dry, with some bitterness and a slight sweetness that makes its way through.

Pretty drinkable, especially now when it's -15 degrees out there. No doubt this does exactly what it says it does. Warms you right up.

funkengruven, Jan 16, 2006
Photo of wingnutter
3/5  rDev -18.3%

Bought a single of this to try, but grabbed one out of the case next to the shelf in hopes of getting one with minimal light exposure.

Pours a nice clear golden with an average head that dissapated before I took a drink

Smelled a bit skunky (surprise surprise) with some sweetness in there. Initially bitter with a touch of skunkiness, but the skunk taste exits quickly and a sweet caramelly, malty flavor takes over, with perhaps some apple cider in the background. Hops are also present, but nowhere near the level they could be.

Goes down smooth, and as it warms up a bit it gets a tad sweeter, with an almost buttery mouthfeel.

Worth a try but nothing I would seek out again. Id hate to try one that was sitting on the shelf next to the lights.

wingnutter, Jan 16, 2006
Photo of Gusler
4.03/5  rDev +9.8%

Release 2007 – 2008
Upon the pour from the 550ml clear bottle, it sets in the glass an unclouded brownish amber with a substantial creamy light tan head that evaporates slowly, leaving a thin veil to obfuscate the glass. Nose sweet malt, with serious hints of spices, crisp, clean and appetizing, start is ambrosial with a delectable malt presence, and the top is moderate in feel. Finish is purposeful in its acidity, hops delightful, dry and pleasing aftertaste.

Release 2006 – 2007
The beer departs the 550ml clear bottle a clarion bruin with a monstrous light tan head, that is creamy in texture, and after its slow erosion the lace forms a thick curtain to drape the glass. Nose has a dominant malt aroma, backed up by the spices, nice touch of tartness also present, start is somewhat sweet with a pleasant grain profile, and the top is moderate to light in feel. Finish is modest in its acidity, hops pleasant, and the aftertaste dry.

Release 2005 – 2006
The beer departs the 550ml clear bottle a perfect brown with a behemothic light tan head, that is creamy in texture, and after its slow demise the lace forms a thick blanket upon the glass. Nose has a nice sweet caramel and spice aroma, backed by a bit of green apple tartness, start is slightly sweet with a light but pleasant grain profile, the top is moderate to light in feel. Finish is benignly acidic, the hops perfect, and the aftertaste dry, and a beer I look forward to each year.

Release 2004 - 2005:
The beer escapes the 550ml clear bottle a splendiferous brown with a modest frothy light tan head that erodes quickly leaving a thin but concealing sheet of lace upon the glass. Nose is sweet malt with a hint of sour apples, and the start sweet malt with the top light to moderate in feel. Finish is benign in its carbonation, the hops adequate in their spiciness, a drinkable beer, but one I find lacking personally, give me a Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout any day over this beer and I must admit I prefer SSOS over 90 percent of the beers I sampled over the last 50 years.

Release 2003 - 2004:
The beer as it dwells in my glass see-through deep amber to dark copper color, the head is unboastful in size with a semi creamy texture and the color a pleasing light tan, the lace forms a somewhat patchy sheet on the glass. Nose is sweet malt and caramel, fresh and clean with a sweet malt start, the top is fair to middling in its feel. The beer finishes with a crisp acidity and pleasing and mild hop spiciness, drinkable as always, but not one of my favorite Samuel Smith beers.

Release 2002-2003:
The pour translucent deep amber or copper if you like, the head is quite pronounced, beige in color, the lace in thick sheets. Nose is malt, caramel, and a bit spicy, pleasant enough. Front is malt, the top is slender in feel with the finish minimally carbonated and the hops pleasant, very dry lingering aftertaste. A decent beer, but as with last years, drinkable but not SS's best by far.

Release 2000-2001:
A pour a nice deep amber to copper color, the head adequate, frothy, the lace a fine covering sheet. Nose is sweet, mostly malt, hints of spice start malt and lightly sweet, top skimp in feel. Finish is moderately carbonated, the hops apropos to the style, quite dry, and a drinkable but not one of my favorites from this “World Class” brewery.

Gusler, Jan 13, 2006
Photo of Applesauce1
3.33/5  rDev -9.3%

Got the Winter Welcome at the Pit Stop in Nelsonville, OH.

Poured an amber-copper color with about a 3/4" head into my chilled pint glass.

The head stuck a little to the sides of the glass as it dissipated. Besides that though, appearance was good.

Smell - not a typical winter warmer smell, couldn't smell cinnamon or nutmeg; maybe a little bit of hops, but overall a decent smell; not overpowering
Taste - pretty good, not great though; light hops presence, maybe some of the typical winter warmer spices, but not as defined as other winter warmers; maybe a hint of skunkiness (clear bottle), but nowhere near other imports
Mouthfeel - pretty good, went down well
Drinkability - decent; could drink another one tonight, but not right after this one

Applesauce1, Jan 13, 2006
Photo of tweeder263
3.2/5  rDev -12.8%

Pours out a very clear amber brew with minimal carbonation,,and a 2 finger head. Has a skunky type smell to it,,i cant make out much more. Taste a bit like it smells kinda a lil lile a euro brew at first,not much sweetness. Has some hop goodness towards the end of the sip. Much milder brew then expected,,not bad .Nothing over the top about it but not ba either.i give it a c

tweeder263, Jan 13, 2006
Photo of acrawf6
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%

pours out a clear amber with a frothy white head.

Smells malty. a slight roasted malt and metalic. i also get some mint in it too.... it is crisp and menthol-like that it seems to clear my nose just a touch.

taste is malty too. Also seems salty. certainly tastes like an english ale, but nothing too special. the hops do jump out at ya, but i would say this is a little more malty. there is a little caramel taste to it as well. the aftertaste is hoppy and i think is quite pleasant. but for a winter warmer i think it is just a tad too weak to the flavor.

Mouthfeel is good. good carbonation and a nice balance-the 6%alc gives it a nice full body.. I really enjoy rolling this one around in my mouth.

Overall it is a good english ale, but nothing all that special. it is a little expensive though, but i think it is a good solid beer.

acrawf6, Jan 10, 2006
Photo of Muddybuddy
3.05/5  rDev -16.9%

Sample: a 2005-2006 labeled bottle that I got a World Market in Eugene, OR.

Appearance: A very transparent and clean amber color with no particulate matter or yeasties visible. A caritative head issued from the bottle as well and remained for a reasonable amount of time.

Smell: Wow. The smell I got from this beer upon uncapping it made me think "SKUNK!". It was quite pervasive and made me give pause before actually drinking it. After letting it sit for a little while longer, I gave another sniff and was suprised to find a hop like grassy note and perhaps even butterscotch, but only perhaps..

Taste: There is definitely something more than skunkiness going on here. There are traces of perhaps an oakiness and a more malty body than I expected followed by a somewhat alcoholic warming to the aftertaste. I thought this would be much like Fiddler's Elbow, but was pleasantly suprised. It reminds me of a more malty and sweet IPA with less agressive hops in the taste. Sounds funny for a skunk scented beer, but it's true!

Mouthfeel: This beer is moderately carbonated and isn't caustic on the tongue. Slightly above average here.

Drinkablity: This would make a good winter warmer as the style suggests, but I think the assertiveness of the taste may mean that I would prefer something just a little less cloying for any serious amount of imbibing.

Muddybuddy, Jan 09, 2006
Photo of chOAKbarrell
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%

Wow, this is quite an aromatic beer. The scent exploded out of the bottle as I poured. I'm not really sure how to describe the smell. It's reminding me of a stinky cheap macro lager. Not good. Perhaps I got a skunked bottle?

The appearance is great - a deep amber with a small but frothy head.

Taste is very good. Malty, of course. There's a good bit of citrusy sweetness in there as well. The mouthfeel has a little bit of creaminess to it, which is a pleasant suprise.

In 2004, I was lucky enough to get a half-price case ($30) of S.S.'s Winter Welcome. It was the first time I had ever tried the beer, and I enjoyed it immensely. I'd love to be able to get that deal again!

chOAKbarrell, Jan 07, 2006
Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
83 out of 100 based on 1,779 ratings.