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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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1,971 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,971
Reviews: 1,104
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 31
Gots: 117 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-29-2001

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,971 | Reviews: 1,104 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Absumaster
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of amstelcat
3.06/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

Photo of hanco005
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of bennetj17
2.71/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

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.

Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.36/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of danielocean03
3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of budsboy
2.93/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

Photo of Derek
3.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!

Photo of far333
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of funkengruven
3.99/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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.

Photo of wingnutter
2.97/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 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.

Photo of Gusler
4.02/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Applesauce1
3.31/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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

Photo of tweeder263
3.19/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

Photo of acrawf6
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of Muddybuddy
3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

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.

Photo of chOAKbarrell
3.84/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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!

Photo of Vipsanius
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The first 4 pack I got of this was very skunky even though I grabbed from the back where it was dark. However, I could tell there was enough to it that I wanted to try it again without the skunked smell. Luckily, the store made a display of the beer using unopened boxes of the beer so I went back and grabbed a few untainted 4 packs.

Poured a nice, fairly transparent copper color with an inch and a half cream colored head that dissipated to half a centimeter that remained that way till the end. Some lacing that sticks around but not a whole lot.

The smell is very earthy with sweet malty undertones and slight spiciness - enough to tingle the nose a little - nothing extrodinary but pleasant and at least not skunky this time.

The taste has a brief malty sweet beginning, then a hoppy dominance that's floral and spicy with a slight citrus bitterness. Finishes dry with a pleasant aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is carbonated - maybe a little too much. Starts watery but the carbonation fluffs it up in the mouth.

Overall its easy to drink, tastes and smells pleasant, good session beer, nothing spectacular but a very solid beer.

Photo of sockeye101
3.51/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a very nice deep copper amber color, very clear and a had a nice off-white tan head that didn't stick around very long but still left a decent lace. The smells were a little sweet, and slightly nutty. I thought the taste was good, but nothing special. There were hints of sweetness and grains and had small hoppiness with no lingering bitterness in the aftertaste. Like I said, this is nothing special, and I had difficulty getting any wow-factor from this beer. But still, it's very smooth and drinks well.

Photo of jakester
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a gift from a friend. 2005-2006 model. I drank it in a goblet.

Pours (from a clear glass bottle) a very clear copper with a one finger head of off-white foam. The head falls to islands and a ring, with decent lacing. Carbonation looks low.

Aroma is sweet caramel-y malt and some nice spicy hops. This beer smells pretty good. As it warms, however, I can pick up some DMS, which seems odd in this type of beer.

Flavor is fairly sweet bready caramel, with a definitely there spicy hop taste. Hop bitterness is low, allowing the malt to shine in this one. This is well balanced and designed. Aftertaste is caramely, with a detectable level of DMS as it warms.

Mouthfeel is pretty darn smooth and creamy, with a gentle carbonation bite on the tongue. Residual sugar is fairly high, drying out slightly in the finish.

Overall, a pretty damn good beer. I know guys who drink this exclusively while it lasts, buying all they can get. The caramel malt is the main profile, but there is a spicy hop character there as well. Recommended.

Photo of BDTyre
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I won't say I'm disappointed, but this is not quite what I expect from Samuel Smith. This is a fairly average winter warmer from a brewery that I expect to do better than average beers.

This looks good, but does not smell any different than an English strong ale, such as Marston's Strong. A faint hint of skunkiness, possible because of the clear bottles. Malt, alcohol, weak hops.

Taste is okay: malty, but not really sweet. Low hop levels, but well balanced. There are traces of coffee and and a bit of caramel in there.

One thing Samuel Smith does well, and one of the high points of this beer, is drinkability. All of there brews are easy to drink and well done for their respective styles and this is no exception.

Photo of sabrills70
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a copper color with a huge head and very good lace. Smells are faint but decent - maily hops with some malt mixed in and a touch of apple. taste is again more hoppy than malty, but not overly. Sweet malt and that hint of apple come through at the end. A bit watery and week for a winter warmer IMHO. Nice drinkability though. Give one a try.

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

Appearance: Pours a very clear reddish orange color with a ¼” head of small tannish bubbles at first pour. The head fell pretty quickly to a small film on top of the beer maintained by only a few bubbles rising. No lacing to speak of.

Aroma: I am glad it isn’t light struck...in this clear bottle, Whew! It definitely has that “typical” Sam Smiths aroma. I don’t know if it is derived as much from the yeast as the hops they use. It has an “earthy” character that is the signature of the beers that come from this brewery. I can smell hops that distinguish themselves from the earthyness. There is a good bit of caramel to the aroma...especially as it warms.

Taste: The beer is malt driven. It starts out with some sweetness from caramel, and then you can notice a bit of contribution from the hops. The floral hoppy flavor, along with a subtle spiciness, lasts well into the finish. The finish is rather dry and well attenuated with some bitterness to linger with the sweet malt. The beer comes across as a bit watery and undercarbonated.

Opinion: Well...this isn’t my favorite offering from Sam Smiths line-up. The beer has a good flavor, but in my opinion it is a bit uneventful. Even though it is a malty beer, the hops give it a bit of a harsh edge that didn’t totally agree with me. I would drink the beer again, but I am not going to be seeking it out like I do their Oatmeal and Imperial Stouts.

Photo of Higravity
3.42/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Found an unopened box at the local so I opened it grab one and took it home made dinner had it while thing were still in the oven. I haven't had one in years as with many of Sam's products due to skunking. Well praise be this one was fresh. A nice oarnge-brown body with a white cap and good lacing. Slight buttery-nutty smell with a hint of caramel twang. Nice average taste of SS beer, full round maltyness cut with the noble hops and metalic zing. Well I can say I will almost never 'buy' one of these again. A shrug of a beer not much of a WW and thin in the mouth.

Photo of hero27
2.73/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

550ml bottle.

I still shake my head every time I see clear bottles, but I'm done trying to figure out why they still use them. Clear copper color. A slight euroskunk aroma as soon as you pop the cap...other than that, it's mostly pale malts and a hint of spices. Tastes are very buttery and diacetyl abounds. Pretty harsh mouthfeel, that makes me want to brush my teeth after every sip. Nothing too impressive here from a brewery that's supposed to have a good reputation. Not one of the better winter ales you can try.. you can get a lot better beers that are a lot less expensive.

Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
83 out of 100 based on 1,971 ratings.