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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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1,799 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,799
Reviews: 1,077
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 21
Gots: 62 | 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: 1,799 | Reviews: 1,077 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AbePhroman
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sammy Smith creates some of my favorite brews, especially their Imperial Stout. I only tried this one once before last February and I didn't like it that much, but I figured I'd give it another shot. Paid $3 for the 550ml bottle. Poured a clear amber into my glass with a white foamy head. It lingered for a little bit then settled with little lacing. Smelled sweet and of roasted malts. Taste the same. A sweet ale with a heavy malt taste. I did enjoy it more this time around. 6% abv means drink it up fellas! As for myself, it is rather dry to drink often.

AbePhroman, Dec 09, 2003
Photo of moulefrite
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bright amber/glowing orange in color-sports an ample, creamy top and lace that can be brought to head with a bit of swirling. Aromatics feature fruity malt that borders on slightly sweet. In the mouth, the beer is crisp and clean. Flavors lean towards the bitter-sweet side and favor toasty malt. Fruity hops keep a fine balance and linger, while sweet bisquit like flavors add complexity. The beer finishes with a touch of sweet malt and a mild hop twang. Good, yet not an awe-inspiring brew.

moulefrite, Dec 09, 2003
Photo of Hobbz
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Love the labels more than the beer and always have (though I do think Sam S. the brewery is a top-notch operation and though I do drink several of these Sam Smith Winter Welcomes by tradition each year).

Appearance/smell: Poured with good heading into the glass. Color was light a ruby-red. Little aroma, evidence of malt and caramel sweetness.

Mouthfeel/taste: Thin mouthfeel at first, but with medium-high carbonation (helped the score). Taste was of English and crystal malts with a fruity, real ale flavor. Good balance with hops serving only to detract overt sweetness.

As I stated, I do drink several of these each year. I don't have to drink the best at all times, and with this one, I don't. But it is a pleasant "eternal-return," albeit a too-expensive one.

Hobbz, Dec 08, 2003
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a birght amber with a lacy white head. Smells of light sweet malt and lightly bitter. Not much going on for the aromas.

Tastes is creamy smooth and lightly spicy. Has a nice hoppy finish but the hops don't do much to asert themselves. Light sweet malt flavors, very lightly fruity. Light spiciness but overall this beer is just plain smooth and creamy. Mouthfeel is creamy and a bit light-bodied. Feather-like hops aftertaste.

For a Strong Ale is is amazingly smooth and creamy. Tremendously drinkable and very tasty. However all the elements just don't add up for me. A very nice ale but not one I would associate with a "Winter Warmer" type of brew. I just expect more boldness with a winter beer. I will save the other bottle until early spring...

ViveLaChouffe, Dec 08, 2003
Photo of merlin48
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

550ml clear bottle with the really nice label. Pours an almost clear golden amber with plenty of off-white head. Nose seems more spices than malt. Mouthfeel is adequately carbonated with a tang on the tongue. I like the taste, but it's difficult to describe. Nothing at all like any Sam Smith I've ever had. Sweet malts dominate, caramel with a spice background seem to provide most of the taste, with a dry hop finish. Fruits are in the picture as well, but this brew is a puzzler for me to describe, to be honest.

merlin48, Dec 07, 2003
Photo of rkhaze
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light amber with a big spongy off white head. Left ok lace.
Aromas of sweet malt, light caramel, spiciness and mildly tart yeast.
Tasted of sweet bready malts, lots of fruitiness and a pleasant tangy hop presence. No huge upfront flavors but everything was nicely balanced.
Smooth but light bodied for the style with good carbonation. Definitly a quaffable beer.
Not my idea of a winter beer but it wasn't bad for what it was.

rkhaze, Dec 07, 2003
Photo of WesWes
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a light amber color with a lacey white head. The aroma is good, but nothing spectacular. It has some fruity qualities to it along with a scent of light crystal malts and an elevated abv. The taste is good. It is a stronger than usual amber ale. It has a good balance between malts and hops. It's a low/medium bodied ale with good carbonation. It is a fine sessions ale.

WesWes, Dec 07, 2003
Photo of alexgash
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this following the AVB winter solstice, and I liked this one more. Pours a medium copper body with a small off-white head. Smells of plums, red wine, some candy sweetness, and yeast. Interesting. Taste has some lightly sweet malts, more plums, some vinuousness. Bitter hops follow and linger into the finish. There's also some lingering brown sugar sweetness. Distinctly Sam Smith's tasting. Better than AVB, but still no jubelale!

alexgash, Dec 05, 2003
Photo of filabrazilia
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - A clear copper that is amazingly transparent. This is a very nice looking beer. It had a thin head that only formed the edge of the glass. Lacing was minimal.

Aroma - There were mild fruit and spice elements I could detect. Not much else.

Taste - Not alot of flavor here. There was a sharp kick in the tongue (from the hops, I suppose).

Mounthfeel - This definitely lit up the bitter sensors on the tongue. The carbonation was also sharp and bubbly.

Drinkability - This is an easy beer to consume. I was a little disappointed because my expectations were so much higher. I was expecting a little more from this seasonal ale. It's a decent beer but there are other holiday ales I would rather drink.

filabrazilia, Dec 05, 2003
Photo of TastyTaste
3.4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A $7 mistake on the winter beer tour. Was a brown-orange color, with a whitish head. Tastes extremely bland for a winter ale, especially one by Samuel Smith. Cool looking label though, if that is any redemption. Didn't do much for my palate, good or bad.

TastyTaste, Dec 01, 2003
Photo of ngandhi
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Samuel Smith has come to rely on diacetyl -- that strangely familiar, butterscotch nose and palette so familiar to all of their beers -- in a way that Belgian brewers might prize their wild yeasts or West Coast brewers their Cascades. In Winter Welcome Ale, that diacetyl is somehow concentrated, as is everything in this beer, to a rich, toasty must. Though characteristically quaffable, Winter Welcome fumes with brown butter and a melting plastic panhandle nose. The light grain and biscuit palette identifies this immediately as British and a subtle, precise hop bittering make this Samuel Smith's most exacting beer.

Relax, relax.

ngandhi, Dec 01, 2003
Photo of Dmann
3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have had good luck with SS beers in the past so I thought I'd give this one a try. It poured a nice amber color with a small head that faded quicky and did not leave much in the way of lace. The smell was a little skunky with grassy and herbal scents comming through as well. The taste was skunky up front, then a really sweet flavor came through that took me by supprise and stayed there even in the aftertaste. Maybe I got a skunked bottle, so I will give this one another try sometime.

Dmann, Nov 28, 2003
Photo of NJpadreFan
2.63/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Sam Smith's Winter Welcome Ale in a nice big 550 ml bottle!

I poured this into my "borrowed" Bar-A beer glass.
This Ale was a very nice copper/brown with a thick foamy white head.
The smell was slighty skunky with a very grainy odor.
The taste was bubbly, bitter, and cheap tasting. Like a corn/grain flavor you'll find in a macro like Coors!?! I swear I could taste the alcohol in it!!

Sam Smith's Oatmeal Stout is such a good beer, but Winter Welcome Ale is a bad winter brew!

NJpadreFan, Nov 24, 2003
Photo of Popsinc
3.1/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

It poured a nice clear amber/orange with a nice light head. The nose was dull with very mild fuity hints and minimal hoppiness. To be quite honest i was very disappointed with the taste...after all, Sam Smith's Oatmeal is world class and the Pale Ale is good....but this one left me wanting alot more.

A light a creamy mouthfeel with some sweet, fruitiness. Nuff said.

Popsinc, Nov 24, 2003
Photo of irishmoss
3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This ale poured a copper-amber color. Thin 1-finger head with sparse spots of lace. Smelled of malt and caramel. The taste was caramel and malt with a very faint grassy hop presence. Butterscotch with a touch of spice. Easily drinkable, but not what I expect from a winter brew. As far as it being called Strong/Old Ale style, it wasn't strong at all and perhaps tasted a little old.

irishmoss, Nov 20, 2003
Photo of Boilermaker88
2.55/5  rDev -30.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

I've been having some bad luck with beers in clear glass bottles lately. This is the second Samuel Smith's brew I've had that's suffered from being light-struck somewhere between leaving the brewery and my choosing it at one of the local stores.
Winter Welcome poured a rusty orange color with a diminished off-white head that soon amounted to no more than a skim on the surface. The aroma had the unmistakeable scent of a light-struck brew: sourness abounded. By repeatedly abusing my olfactory system, I was able to discern the aromas of caramel and fruity sweetness lurking behind the all-powerful sour odor. The taste was better, but not by much. Initially, there was a sweet flavor akin to carmel-dipped pears, a kind of fruity, syrupy taste. Then a more nutty malt flavor came across before the sourness intruded and finished with a palate-paralyzing bite. The feel was light- to medium-bodied, a bit thin, and dry.
Overall, a disappointment. Winter Welcome probably deserves a second review but I'm a bit put off after my experiences with those damn clear glass bottles. Maybe later, but not too soon. Okay, rant off...

Boilermaker88, Nov 19, 2003
Photo of gnaussea
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark amber, not quite dark enough in my opinion for a winter ale, with a decent head lacking in retention. Nose is medium sweet malt, not particularly bold, with a few misc. spices nestled in taste is much different. The hops hit directly, followed by a sweetness not stong in malt. Some happy spice follows. In general, not a bad brew. Nothing to be joyful about, and not particularly characteristic of other winter brews. In a pinch, it will do, but not this winter.

gnaussea, Nov 14, 2003
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.

freed, Nov 10, 2003
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.

tavernjef, Nov 07, 2003
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.

RoyalT, Nov 06, 2003
Photo of kbub6f
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.

kbub6f, Nov 04, 2003
Photo of WVbeergeek
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.

WVbeergeek, Nov 03, 2003
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.

Stopper, Oct 14, 2003
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.

Rumrunner, Oct 11, 2003
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.

AudioGilz, Oct 10, 2003
Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
83 out of 100 based on 1,799 ratings.