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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,773 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,773
Reviews: 1,074
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 21
Gots: 54 | 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: 1,773 | Reviews: 1,074 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.83/5  rDev +4.4%

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.

08-29-2003 21:21:24 | More by oberon
Photo of granger10


2/5  rDev -45.5%

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.

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


2.98/5  rDev -18.8%

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.

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


3.03/5  rDev -17.4%

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.

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


4.25/5  rDev +15.8%

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

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


3.78/5  rDev +3%

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.

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


4.4/5  rDev +19.9%

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.

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


4/5  rDev +9%

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.

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


3.93/5  rDev +7.1%

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.


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

British Columbia (Canada)

4.22/5  rDev +15%

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.

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


3.43/5  rDev -6.5%

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!!!

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


5/5  rDev +36.2%

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.

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


3.55/5  rDev -3.3%

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.

03-09-2003 19:46:19 | More by marburg
Photo of feloniousmonk


3.73/5  rDev +1.6%

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.

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


3.1/5  rDev -15.5%

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.

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


3.53/5  rDev -3.8%

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.

02-12-2003 15:49:29 | More by brakspear
Photo of rabidawg


3.73/5  rDev +1.6%

Appearance: Golden amber with a nice fluffy head that turned a little rocky before petering away, leaving a nice lace on the glass.

Smell: Not a very aromatic beer, as far as winters go. Slightly fruity, with minimal spice characteristics.

Taste: As with the smell, the lack of spices is apparent. To me, this an advantage. Carbonation bursts on your tongue at first, and slowly fades into a slight foam in the mouth. The alcohol is apparent, particularly in the finish. Slight maltiness, without much of a hoppy presence.

Mouthfeel: Nice and round, with a very pleasant fullness.

Drinkability: Very smooth, and the lack of heavy spice flavor definitely makes this a very drinkable winter ale.

Overall, a decent winter, but not on par with Sam Smith's other beers.

02-04-2003 21:46:56 | More by rabidawg
Photo of RonfromJersey

New Jersey

3.9/5  rDev +6.3%

Shiny copper body, with little carbonation, topped by a frothy whie head. Very herbal nose, with some caramel sweetness. Nice biscuity start, then a touch of earthy hops arrive, in a supporting role, before a caramel-sweet finish. Long a winter favorite of mine, I shall continue to look forward to its annual appearance.

01-31-2003 22:14:18 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of Bunnyhop


3.88/5  rDev +5.7%

A clear reddish golden beer with a large rocky tan head. The smell is sweet and malty with a nice hint of spice. It is nice and smooth in my mouth. The smoothness has a slight sweet creamy taste to it mixed with its maltiness, there is a taste of spice but not overwhelming, and it finishes with a mild cedarness. Overall, a very nice winter ale, the flavors blend very well with nothing too overwhelming.

(source: Broudy's; Jacksonville Beach, FL)

01-25-2003 10:05:02 | More by Bunnyhop
Photo of BitteBier


3.73/5  rDev +1.6%

Pours a nearly clear copper with a couple finger's worth of tan foam that quicky breaks down to a bubbly lace. Malty grains are the most noticeable component of the smell, which is both spicy and sweet though not overly so. Sweet, malty taste rules the day in terms of the taste. An astringent finish that accompanies a somewhat bitter coating on the lips and mouth (not such a bad thing!). Quite drinkable for a strong ale, with nothing strikingly great or terrible about this beer.

01-21-2003 18:55:56 | More by BitteBier
Photo of chilidog


4.13/5  rDev +12.5%

Winter Wonder, another fine sam smith brew. This one poured a clear amber with a nice medium off-white head that maintained itself & laced very well. The aroma is light, but fruity laced with winter spice. The taste is well blended spice, fruit notes,malt and faint hops. Mouthfeel is left slightly tart or bittersweet with a dry finish.This makes a great "holiday" beer. It does't overpower any meal and to add holiday dress to the table, the foil wrapped good looking bottle looks good next to holiday or special glassware.

01-18-2003 06:51:25 | More by chilidog
Photo of TheLongBeachBum


3.53/5  rDev -3.8%

A 1 Pint 2.7 fl.oz, clear glass Bottle. Has probably the most colourful beer label in the entire world. Labelled as 2002-2003 aside the White Rose, which also has in the centre a Pint of Sam’s topped with a picture of the Coronation (St. Edward’s) Crown with the words “The Queens Golden Jubilee 1952-2002”. Wow – A truly regal beer.
Pours with the usual “glugginess” as the beer struggles against the ‘vena-contracta’ from the wide bodied bottle, through the long thin proboscis-like neck. Head is a slightly off-white mass comprised of a smooth collection of fine sized bubbles. The head is restrained and remains at 1” for some time, slowly rescinds to ½”, but I kept some beer back in the 550ml bottle (a tip from a brewery worker from Sam’s I may add), so the continuous act of topping up helped head retention. The Ale is a dark copper-amber color, extremely clear and fresh looking. In a handled 20 fl.oz Glass, it looks excellent and most quaffable.
Nose is of fresh fruit, apples & pears with some lemon-grapefruit traits. Some biscuit malt and freshly baked, broken bread mixed with the smell of half empty Cereal boxes come through in the aromas as well, which offset the earlier smells. Nice nose.
First Mouthful: is a malty, sweet beginning – middle is of hops, some spices with a dry finish. Second mouthful; the middle tastes stronger and there is a deeper fruitiness about the beer, finish is still dry, but slightly more acidic this time. To say that this beer is filtered and not bottle-conditioned – it is surprisingly complex and does alter as you drink it. Inherent carbonation is good and adds to the overall spritzy mouthfeel, it can sometimes feel like the Carbon Dioxide is playing “Bouncy Castle” on your tongue though at times.
The finish is bitter, long and astringent. Almost lambic like, I guess I like this, but I see that this could be a draw-back for others and some thought must be given to marks here – after all its is supposed to be a Winter Warmer, and not a Gueuze!!!
The really dry finish aside, this is still is a highly accomplished, high quality beer that will not disappoint, but it may very well "surprise" a few people. I have to say though that this is not one of my favorite Sam's beers.
Welcome to the wonderful weird world of “Sam’s”.

01-15-2003 22:24:45 | More by TheLongBeachBum
Photo of Jarod


4/5  rDev +9%

This beer poured in from a clear bottle an amber gold color. I liked the label. The head was the color of white and thin, not lasting at all. No lace present. The aroma was light and soft. It had hints of rose pedals, light malt and hops and it smelled like a white zinfandel wine. The taste was simple like a white zinfandel wine. To put it in a more complex way- sweet malt, flowers, fruit, light hops and dry at the finish. To be honest I had trouble with this beer, no distinct flavors came at me so I asked the wife to nose the beer and taste it, so if the review doesn’t quite sound like Jarod, that is because Jarod had some help on this one. It is a decent beer, probably would only get again if the choices were limited.

On a side note, wife liked it and even though she is not a beer drinker, she liked it.


550ml clear glass bottle.
1995 - 1996 edition.
Gold foil cap
Shakespeare phrase

This beer poured an almond color that when held to the light had orange tones on the edges, and the clarity had a chill haze to it. For the age of this beer it still had decent carbonation. The head that was produced was beige/butter cream colored, fairly dense and creamy that lasted to about ½ glass then slowly fell to a thin foam on top and a ring on the edges of the glass. It produced a sheet like lace on the glass when it was at full density, then spotty as the foam decreased. The aromas were pronounced and easily detectable, sweet malts, spices (clove, nutmeg), wood, sweet ripe fruits (cherry, apple, pear), some nut and alcohol soaked fruits (blended alcohol with fruit). The flavors were well blended and mellow, but detectable (each and every one), tastes of malts, spices (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg), wood, earth tones (mild), light alcohol, fruit (both ripened and alcohol soaked), and some roasted nuts. The aftertaste was of spices and wood. Pleasant. Medium bodied. Wow I was worried that this would have gone south d/t to it not being bottle conditioned, clear glass, not a high ABV, poor storage conditions, etc., but it was really good. Big aromas, smooth blended flavors, overall appearance made this a very pleasant beer to drink. I was thinking of ageing it more, but through the advice of Venom to try it before it would be too late, I did, and enjoyed it immensely. Thanks for not letting me miss this one.

Side note: d/t the age of this beer I noticed that when empty, the clear glass was not clear anymore, it was stained almond colored.

01-14-2003 09:58:55 | More by Jarod
Photo of Dantes

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Package: 1 pint, 2.7oz. (550ml) clear bottle, with nice bas-relief. 6.0% ABV, 2002-2003 edition with no other dates.

Cost: $2.49 per bottle.

Presentation: Poured into pint glass at ~45º.

Appearance: Achieved a medium off-white head, which dissolved quickly into a thin but solid lid of foam. Color is a bit paler than I recall and definitely lighter than the benchmarks from Young’s and Fuller’s. More yellow than amber or mahogany. Bead is moderate to large.

Smell: A warning whiff of grapefruit, telling me that this will have an edge I often find a bit unpleasant. Malt and hops come through, but overall, this is a relatively austere bouquet for a winter warmer. I miss the doughy cereal aromas and toasted barley I look for in this style.

Taste: Yep. The grapefruit taste is there first. Followed by some herbal notes and then the hops. Not enough malty fullness to achieve a good balance. Finish is very dry and astringent. Would benefit from some more caramel and toasted barley. Tastes like the grain bill was a bit light.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is surprisingly coarse. Perhaps the carbonation is what disrupts the fullness of the beer. A bit too prickly on the palate. It prevents the warming aspect of what is meant to be a winter warmer. Body is too thin.

Drinkability: Although not unpleasant, I can think of many options I would turn to before having this again this year. In the past, I don’t remember this being so austere. However, I will try it again next year.

I regret having to review this right after Todd; but I did just have this yesterday, and I didn’t see his until I went to paste this in. Perhaps this suffered in comparison to the Fuller’s 1845 I had the day before, but the fact remains that this was not as satisfying as that was, nor is it a match for the other traditional British winter ales.

Backwash: Although a representative of one of my favorite styles, I enjoy the Young’s Winter Warmer and Fuller’s Old Winter Ale much more.

01-12-2003 11:22:49 | More by Dantes
Photo of Todd


3.6/5  rDev -1.9%

550ml clear glass bottle. 2002-2003 edition.

This ale started off with a rich, bright amber colour ... topped with an impressive two-finger, pure white foam head; creamy consistency with plenty of retention and touch of stick.

Aroma is that of a typical English ale: toasty malts, herbal hops (a touch of coarseness) and that mineral foundation; a bit metallic. This brew's bouquet is quite soft and pleasant.

Malty flavour; toasted malts, touch of caramel. Sharp-ish hop character offsets the malts with a thin edge of citric bitterness, coarse feel, cheesy flavour in the background and a hoppy spice array of flavours helps to round things off while getting lifted into the mouthfeel by the beer's tight and lively carbonation. Notes of yeast throughout. Bone-dry finish with traces of hop flavour.

I've always had a soft spot for Samuel Smith's beers. They were probably one of my first introductions into English ales back in the mid-80's. The Winter Welcome is not only the quintessential winter warmer beer, but it's an old classic and favourite of mine. However, its dryness does get on my nerves after one, making this less drinkable in my opinion, less "wanting of another." A touch sweeter and OBT might have a grand winter session ale in their arsenal of beers.

01-12-2003 10:38:04 | More by Todd
Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
83 out of 100 based on 1,773 ratings.