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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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1,757 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,757
Reviews: 1,074
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 21
Gots: 48 | 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: 1,757 | Reviews: 1,074 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of freed


3.05/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clear bottle? Why...why....why?

Pours amazingly clear with a red straw hue. No head, at all. Aroma, well, you guessed it. Skunked hops that hide all other aromas. Taste is spooked by the initial tide of sour bitterness. Several sips are needed before the rusty malt flavor finally delivers. Its a pleasant malt flavor, but the whole experience suffers all in all.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2003 01:37:33 | More by freed
Photo of tavernjef


3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Nice clearish amber brown syrup color with a inch tall ivory head of thick fluffed cotton, settles slowly to a thick skim on top that never leaves, lace is thick in most places with a favorable thickness nearer the edge of the glass leading up to moth holed sheets and some strings. Smell comes across kinda grassy and dry, toasty and sweet, a nice little mix. Taste is simple yet with some favorable little flavors coming through. Some mild toasted malt grains, dryish hops, grassy hay-like notes, all just kinda there, not in strength but in a presense thats quite easy and milding. Nice lightly drying finish with a mix of dry hops and toasty breadish malts that has just a twinge of very slight bitterness that grabs in the back of the throat. Feel is a solid medium body, packed nicely with mellowness and easy carbonation. An exceptional drinker, oh so good. Not heavily flavored, but whats there makes for some fine easy drinking, nothing harsh; very calm, easy, and relaxing. What a fantastic English Old Ale in the way of drinking it down. A pure session beer; if ever need be, I could drink alot of these.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2003 23:54:43 | More by tavernjef
Photo of RoyalT


3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – Very clear and thin-looking brown with a nice big head that laced the glass.

Smell – Nice, toasted malt aroma with a lot of sweets. I can pick up mostly molasses and dark sugars.

Taste – A little grainier than I had hoped, but otherwise it is not bad. The sweetness backs up a bit but is still present.

Mouthfeel – Thin in the mouth, which was disappointing for a winter ale. The brown sugar syrup almost films the teeth, though. There’s also a refreshing dryness to this one.

Drinkability – It’s drinkable, but if I’m in the mood for a seasonal winter ales I can find lots better.

Update – I originally had this in 2003 so thought I’d give the ’05 a review. I enjoyed it a little more this year, which may just mean that my palate has changed a bit. I still think it’s thin but will raise some of the other scores up a bit.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2003 01:36:31 | More by RoyalT
Photo of kbub6f

New York

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

I enjoyed this last year and was looking forward to seeing it again this year. I've had some off-tasting Sam Smiths in Texas, so I snatched this up the day it came into the store. I was rewarded with a fresh bottle.

The head is medium-sized, a creamy tan-colored and dense. Nice. Body is clear, deep amber. Also nice. The aroma is sweet caramel with just a touch of metal. It's probably too cold. Nice grainy malt notes with fruit. A little sour. Nice bitter finish with tangy malt. Bready when warm. Good hoppy burps. This is very fruity, quite malty and nicely bitter. It really needs to warm, though.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2003 17:11:19 | More by kbub6f
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

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
Photo of Stopper


4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This light-colored barleywine pours a transparent orange color with a gigantic fluffy, nearly white head, mostly of small bubbles, but with a few big ones in there. The head dissipates, but very slowly. The aroma is pretty malty-sweet. The mouthfeel is pretty smooth -- it seems that most of the bubbles have risen to the head, although it's still a bit effervescent. Initially there's a very nice balance between the base-malts and the hops, and a flowery fruitiness is very quickly the dominant flavor. This fruit evolves into a very noticeable, though mild, earthy hop finish, whose bitterness and dryness become more evident as the malt sweetness fades.

This certainly isn't as big in body, sweetness, or alcohol as most barleywines I've had, but its sweet floral hoppiness is particularly enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2003 03:50:43 | More by Stopper
Photo of Rumrunner


3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

550 ml. clear bottle. 2002-2003 version listed on the lable.

A very winter feeling ale. I wish I was at a ski lodge by a fire drinking this one.

It pours a deep amber with a nice head that lasts. Excellent lacing. The picture of a ski slope map across my glass. Even the clear bottle had lacing in it after the final pour. Nice consistent bubbles float to the top. The scents give and airy grass and buttery malt to start with. A hint of pine cone but mostly malts.

The flavors are very heavy malts. Butterscotch and candied fruit. There is a sweet dough taste and some sour bread. I wish the hops were just a bit more present. There is a pine flavor but it gets bounced by the malts. A good buttery and caramel aftertaste. If you are a malt-o-phile this is a great ale for you. I like it but I want a bit more hops.

A deep sticky mouthfeel. It is sweet on the tongue. It leaves an oily quality. Easy to drink and I recommend this as a sipping ale.

I liked this offering. I did not love it. It is I have to be in the mood to drink it ale. It would go great with a cigar on a cold night.

Serving type: bottle

10-11-2003 00:41:18 | More by Rumrunner
Photo of AudioGilz


3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Damn these clear bottles. Immediately after popping the cap off, there's the familiar unpleasant "skunked" smell. It's not strong at all, quite mild, but noticeable nonetheless. The beer pours wonderfully though, a clear copperish brown color with a thick head. The aroma is slightly skunky, malty, and my nose is horrible so I don't get all that much out of it. Well the skunking must have just begun, because the flavors didn't involve any skunked flavors. This is a superbly smooth brew with the perfect amount of carbonation. The common and yummy Sammy Smith's yeast character is there with a pleasant balance of malt and hops. I don't sense anything intricate here, just a wonderfully balanced welcome to the horrible Chicago winter that is around the corner.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2003 01:22:04 | More by AudioGilz
Photo of beerguy101


2.95/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Medium brown color, small foamy head. Aroma is slightly malty. A lighter bodied ale. Mild malts and hops. Slight toffee and malt flavors, slightly spicy. Well balanced and very drinkable, but there is not much to this beer. Mouthfeel is full. Finish is clean and dry. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2003 02:10:22 | More by beerguy101
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 granger10


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

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

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2003 11:29:31 | More by granger10
Photo of hotstuff


2.98/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured an off-white head with small-medium sized bubbles that was long lasting. The body was clear and had an amber hue. This was another beer that I found to have a bitter taste to it.It is easy to say that this will not be a beer at the top of my beer list.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2003 22:59:04 | More by hotstuff
Photo of TheDM


3.03/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Another aroma I cannot place. Its initial pour yielded a frothy off white head of small to medium bubbles that lasted a long while with a very nice transparent amber brown body. Initial taste was not full of flavor, but was not bad. There was the hint of an aftertaste that caused me to keep sipping it to try and place it. It was sort of smooth with an aftertaste that was hard for me to place. Not a bad beer, but not a great beer either.

Serving type: bottle

07-06-2003 07:45:46 | More by TheDM
Photo of RBorsato


4.25/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006-2007 version: Solid golden color with a low tan head and nice active carbonation. Aroma and tastes were similiar to the notes from the 2001-2002 version.

2001-2002 version: Dark gold to copperish amber with a full beige head, good carbonation, and light lace. Malty aroma (a bit spicy) with earthy notes. Spicy earthy malt flavor and crisp maltiness (if that is possible). Light medium bodied (leans medium) with a dry finish.

1999-2000 version: A touch darker with more lace. Not as lively or as spicy as the newer bottle. Fuller and more rounded. Smoother and a bit creamier. Not harmed at all by aging - Ages Well !

Good but not sure it's worth the premium price...

2006-2007 version - Tasted 04/09/07
2001-2002 version - Tasted 05/28/03
1999-2000 version - Tasted 05/28/03

($2.79 / 12 oz. 355 ml clear glass bottle emb. with lots of S.S. info): 2006-32007 version
($4.79 / 18.7 oz. / 550 ml): older versions

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2003 11:19:12 | More by RBorsato
Photo of fattyre


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

This beer pours a clear reddish golden color with a large rocky tan head. The mouthfeel is pleasant smooth and rounded. The smell is toasted bread and earthy. The taste is smooth breadlike with hints of tea, warming alcohol and a zesty piney bitterness. A nice pleasing enjoyable ale that seems a bit mild for a barley wine.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2003 19:23:56 | More by fattyre
Photo of jlervine


4.4/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured an amber color with a crisp white head. The smell was very malty with a hint of citrus. The taste was excellent - malty sweetness giving way to a strong hops character, finishing up with almost a lemon aftertaste lightly mixed with alcohol. Starts at the tip of the tongue and works it's way back from there. I was honestly expecting something a bit heavier in flavor for a barley wine, but I was pleasantly surprised - it seems closer to an English ale.

Serving type: bottle

04-17-2003 18:18:51 | More by jlervine
Photo of HardTarget


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

2002-3 550 ML Bottle.
Aroma: A malty sweetness topped with a hint of orange.
Appearance: A sunny tangerine with a frothy head of small bubbles that linger a while, but fade into a light lace.
Flavor: OMG that's good! Very well balanced with a slight edge to a malt sweetness. Has a wonderful lemon/citrus finish and aftertaste. I was shocked to find this in the Barley Wine category, think Strong Ale may be more precise, but still misleading. Those beers invoke the idea of a meal in a bottle. This is more of an appetizer.
Mouthfeel: Full, rich, round, beautiful. Thin for a Barley Wine, but again, not your average Barley Wine.
Overall: Drinkability? Like a book you can't put down. Had no trouble at all with the 550 ML's and could drink two more and be a happy man. Expected a heavier beer for a winter welcome, but this warms the belly and cheers the tongue. I know what I'm going to ask Santa for!
Re-reviewed about a year later. Well, I asked Santa for some, but I was disappointed in the gift. I don't know if this years batch changed, or I got a particularly aged bottle for my first review. This beer is much harsher, none of the fruity malt tastes I got last time. Looks like the category changed from barleywine (good). All in all, a decent beer, but just didn't re-blow my socks off.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2003 10:23:55 | More by HardTarget
Photo of Ave


3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am never a fan of clear glass bottles, it just makes you think about how much light has hit the beer, but SS seems to pull it off most of the time with out common problems. It pours an ochreish golden brass color, thinish head. Not a nut or roasted ale. Nice even balance of hops & yeasts in the nose, slightest touch of skunk, but not bad. Bites lightly of hops early on the tongue, but warms up with honey & woody flavor quickly. An easy drink that doesn’t get stale on the pallet as some of the style tends to. I could have many, & probably will.


Serving type: bottle

03-20-2003 22:08:44 | More by Ave
Photo of canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

4.22/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This sample came from Maui and was thankfully not skunked.
The nose was slightly skunky but not in a way that detracted
from the beer. The balance was very good with caramel overtones
coming to the fore. This was a very good Xmas style ale that
seems to be a template for more than a few Pacific NorthWest
winter ales. The alcohol is not very high compared to other winter
ales so cellaring for a year may not improve this beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2003 10:13:59 | More by canucklehead
Photo of francisweizen


3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batman...I've been skunktified. This bottle of sam Smiths Winter Welcome must have been light-struck or just plain skunky. It was the 2002/2003 edition and it opened with a loud sound and a rush of carbonation. The appearance was average enough and what one would expect from a buttery English style ale but the smell was pure skunk. The taste was skunky as well but what I could taste through the skunk was pretty good. malty, with a touch of hops, and buttery with some nice alcohol notes. Still for a winter brew this is two week and two suceptible to light damage and skunkiness to be worthwhile. Maybe a fresh-er example would be a lot better, but probably not. The mouthfeel on this was OK if not a little thin and the drinkability was good as well...
Still this is my least favorite brew out of the Sam Smiths that I have had...it was also the first one of their brews that I have ever drank..that was skunky. They should really ditch the clear bottles or at least put warnings on the cases so that packies can keep these things away from the light!!!

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2003 09:28:18 | More by francisweizen
Photo of pezoids


5/5  rDev +36.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The sample I tasted was the 2002-2003 version.

I must give this beer a perfect score. The reasons are: 1. I have had this beer many times before in the past and have never been dissapointed. 2. in my opinion, this is the perfect example an English ale that I would like to drink (and brew!). In other words it just doesn't get any better than this.

The beer poured out with perfect clarity, a bright copper color.
A pleasant citrus aroma rises from the tall dense white head.
The head slowly laced the glass as the beer was consumed.
This beer has a good malt body to match the perfect hop

Very clean aftertaste with an excellent drinkability. I wouldn't change a thing with this beer. There's no wonder that I wait for this one to come out every year. A superb beer and worth waiting for every year.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2003 00:42:45 | More by pezoids
Photo of marburg


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

Pours with a fair amount of head that lasts quite a while, and the beer itself is an orange-ish red color, kind of light rust. Translucent for sure and pretty clear. Malty, caramel, butter nose. Malty taste with a pretty dry finish after a tiny hop kick that makes it a well-balanced brew. A nice beer when you're not in the mood for tea and just need something to drink.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2003 19:46:19 | More by marburg
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 OldFrothingSlosh


3.1/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Clear 12oz. bottle. Very busy purple label. $2.79 as a single as Carytown W&B.

Appearance: For some reason, I expected a "Winter Warmer"-type beer to have more...pizazz coming out of the bottle. I was rather disappointed by the clear golden color. Briskly bubbling head is quickly tamed and sits idly atop beer.

Smell: Not a very "busy" beer. Just a little bit of earth and spice.

Taste: I'm surprised this is considered a barley wine / strong ale. The flavor is on the thin side. There is a mixture of the earthy-flavored hops, the spice, and some sweetness in the background. Virtually no warming from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Again, rather thin. There is a bitter component that also sprouts up in the aftertaste.

Drinkability: Very dry finish with some bitterness thrown in as well.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2003 18:28:18 | More by OldFrothingSlosh
Photo of brakspear


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

2002-2003 Queen's Golden Jubilee

This strong ale is not generally what I think of when I am looking for a "winter warmer" beer. It definitely is British in style, but very mellow and mild, even with a 6% apv.

The beer pours a clear copper color with a moderate tight head forming and lingering, moderate lacing as well.

The aroma is an undistinguished malt base with perhaps slight English hop notes.

The taste is again mellow, smooth, and malty with an English biscuit flavor most prominant, though not very impressive, with a slight finishing hop bitterness.

All in all Samuel Smith's brews better beers than its Winter Welcome.

Serving type: bottle

02-12-2003 15:49:29 | More by brakspear
Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
83 out of 100 based on 1,757 ratings.