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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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1,919 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,919
Reviews: 1,094
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 29
Gots: 99 | 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: 1,919 | Reviews: 1,094 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Backer2004
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Saw the Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome announcement in an ad today in All About Beer Magazine and thought I'd try it out. Liked the updated label each year with the dates of the winter season. The clear glass bottle doesn't do anything for me but did not worry about the skunking process. Really beginning to enjoy the winter warmers but this is still not as good as Sam Adams or Avery's. Nice mouthfeel (but nothing too impressive for the style). A bit on the expensive side at the store ($8.00 for 4-12 ounces). Probably will try others instead the rest of the season and pass on this purchase again.

Photo of littlebibs
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Received this Winter Welcome Ale as a gift and opened her up
and slowly poured, careful not to breath in to deep as I to, have,
in the past, experienced the "special skunked" release. To my
surprise this ale wasn't half bad. Nice head and the lace stayed
around the glass as I drank. Typical Samuel Smith tastes but also some welcome
bitters and spices- well balanced. I dedect some fruits and a nutty
caramel back there but its the dry hop ending that I liked about this
ale and I gave it a higher rating. Although its on the lighter side
I would like to find this on tap this winter. Not bad at all.

Photo of bashiba
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours an almost perfect shade of amber with a nice thick creamy head that clings to the glass.

Smell is a very light bread and caramel odors with some malt sweetness as well.

Taste has a heavy toasted malt flavor with a little bit of mineral flavors and a nice juniper like hop finish.

Mouthfeel is medium full and very dry.

Drinkablity is fine, but not great, not so good I would want to sit and drink a bunch of these.

Photo of Wolfsdenbrew
3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Well, first the aroma was a little skunky...if they would just use brown bottles. The aroma was a little yeasty and sour with very little hop bouquet.

Poured a beautiful fossil amber color with a nice thick beige head. The head was longlasting and composed of small tiny bubbles.

Taste was sweet and malty, with a slight hint of cinnamon and clove. There were also subtle hints of chocolate, toffee and butterscotch. Again there was very little hop finish to this beer.

Good carbonation level but a little thin on the body. Head was surprisingly creamy.

All in all it went pretty well with my ice cream birthday cake.

Photo of slitherySOB
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ooh, a delicious beer. Pours a lovely, transparent amber with a thich, two finger head that's sticky as Scotch tape. Lace sticks around like foam. Nice. Smells a bit skunked at first. But that weakened a bit. Nice, bready malts, herbal hops, and some minerals. Very soft scent. Very soft taste as well. Overall, a soft, bready malt flavour balanced by bitter minerals and sharp, citric and floral hops. Mouthfeel is nice and dry. Very drinkable. I like it.

Photo of beertaster13
2.95/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Very dissapointed, don't think the clear bottle lasted the trip. Pours a nice dark honey with streaks of cherry wood, the head is like whipped cream. The smell was of cinnamon and nutmeg with almond finish, nuts galore. The taste was very robust with dry nuts and a dark toffee tingle, taste seemed dull and metallic, medium bodied, pour clear bottle ruined this one.

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.5/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love and hate Sam Smith's bottles. I hate them because most, though strangely not all of them (the India Ale is in brown glass) are clear glass. This has resulted in several skunked samples. I love Sam Smith's bottles because the labels are so stylish. They have a cool Victorian thing going. The Winter Welcome label might be my favorite because its equal parts monty python. Anyways enough blabbing....

This beer pours the color of a well aged Scotch Whisky with a fine beaded white head. Head retention is excellent with sheets of lace left on glass. The aroma is of fruity malts, earthy fresh hops, butterscotch (diacetyl?), and that characteristic dry Sam Smith's Yeast. The taste is of caramel malts, all spice, citrus notes, nuts and some medicinal hop bitterness. An pleasant alcohol spicyness also makes itself present. The finish is slightly astringent. This beer is much lighter in body than I expected. It has the complex and velvety mouthfeel I find in most Sam Smith beers.

This is a really good ale that seems like more of a bitter than a winter warmer. Its well balanced and quite robust in flavor.

Photo of FormatKid
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up 550 of this from my local beer stop, happy to see a seasonal or two at old Harry Food. As always I’m frightened by the clear bottle (for good reason this time). Upon opening my senses were assaulted by some of the most potent skunk I’ve experienced to date so I poured it and let it air out a bit. I have to say though it really is an attractive brew, crystal clear copper colored body with a light tan head that is thick and resilient, leaving sheets of lace on the glass as it recedes. After it airs out a bit I do detect some sweet malt and leafy, earthy hop underneath the prevailing skunk. As I take a drink I pick up on the creamy, almost buttery malt flavors, the middle presents a nice, robust, flat bitterness, with tiny hints of rum and raison. Nicely bitter through the finish with a smattering of earthy flavor and sweet hints of rum in the aftertaste. Not a bad beer, but I will be the millionth person to complain about the packaging.

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

This one pours with a huge foamy head and leaves a nice thick lacing. Smell is a bit off however. A nice malty buttery smell with some herby hobs to compliment, but it also smells a tad like metal or dirt or something. Taste is rather similar. Not a lot of flavor to this beer in my opinion. I did drink it out of a chilled beer mug, which is all that was available, and I would recommend letting it warm up a bit to let the flavors come out. A nice bitterness is this beer's best quality. Very smooth mouthfeel and this beer is pretty light and easy to drink.

Photo of pootz
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1/2 liter clear bottle...2004-05 edition. Nice looking ale in the glass...bright orange amber, lightly cabonated...fair foamy cap that laces well. Aromas of friuts (peach -pear) and fresh cut wood, caramel malts, leafy hops . Creamy body well hopped with the substantial caramel malts in fair balance... medium finish with slow but not over bearing bittering and some warming effect...A nice well rounded ale with no sharp edges...A pleasant drink

Photo of rajendra82
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the trepidation inducing clear glass 550 ml. bottle to the pint glass, the beer looked orange, clear, and possessed a modest sized, short lived head. The aroma was slightly spicy along with perfumey floral scents, and thankfully no skunk. The taste showed typical English beer restraint, and tasted very balanced. There was a buttery, salty, caramelized malt flavor similar to a hard butterscotch candy. The level of hops was high for an offering from across the pond, however the hops were mostly of the aromatic variety with low bitterness. The beer was creamy on the palette with a slightly dry aftertaste. Astonishingly drinkable for a 6% ABV beer, as the alcohol is very well hidden. This does not have the oomph of the other winter warmers, I can find off the shelves, but is a quality beer nonetheless.

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

550ml clear glass bottle.

2004/2005 edition.

Creamy off white head with some large pools of bubbles; head fades rather quickly to a semi-transparent sheet. Some thin and spotted lacing with slightly above average strength. Clear and bright orange/auburn in color.

Faint caramel maltiness with a slightly oxidized character. A bit of a dried fruit aroma as well: raisin, plum, and date. Very mild aromatics.

A big biscuit flavor along with hints of raisin, almond, and oak. Also a distinct nut-like component. A very faint underlying maltiness that's nowhere near as sweet as its aroma implies. A slight nut-filled bitterness that leads to a huge dry finish ( a little too dry for my taste).

Medium bodied; a bit bitter and grainy on the palate, but nothing unobtrusive.

A pleasant ale, but not much flash. Too bland for me to have another pint. Slightly disappointing; one of my least favorites from Sammy Smith.

Photo of Hibernator
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 - 2005 Winter Welcome Edition

I had this out of a 12 oz clear bottle and served in a Samuel Smith's pint glass.

Amberish copper in color with a fluffy head on top, but it disappeared to a ring rather quickly.

Aroma of toasted and sweet malts. I am also getting a strong metallic scent as well.

Strong toasted malt with a slight butterscotch sweetness. Some buttery tastes blend with a peppery hop bite on the finish. Bready mouthful.

I love Samuel Smith's, but this offering was a slight let down. This is a good beer... no question, but at $8.99 for a 4 pack there are many other Samuel Smith's offerings that are much more enjoyable.

Photo of allengarvin
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2003-2004 edition, pint bottle, in an English glass.

Appearance: Nice reddish-copper appearance, not much head retention.

Aroma: Good earthy hop aroma.

Flavor/Body: Good amount of hop flavor, against a soft, buttery maltiness. Bitterness present and balancing, giving a perceived dryness to the finish. Full bodied and well-carbonated for an English beer.

A very nice beer, which I think of as more of a stronger version of their excellent Old Brewery Pale Ale, than as an extra strong winter beer. I've tried aging it in the past, and found that it's best when fresh.

Photo of homersimpson
4.33/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

*version 2004*

Tawny amber with a light tan head.
Has a nice malty nice with a touch of spice and a medium body.
Starts out malty, but quickly moves to spicy overtones and a bit of hop. Finishes out long and spicy.
This year's bottle art features carolers as the theme.

Photo of clvand0
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Came in a clear bottle - that always worries me. Pours an amber color with a small head that mostly dies off. Leaves very little lacing on the glass. Aroma is malty with some hop notes, but there are some spices in there as well. The flavor is very well rounded. Nice caramel maltiness with a balanced hop character and a tiny bit of spiciness just for fun. Could have a little more body, but a pretty decent beer.

Photo of kmpitz2
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer pours a golden amber color with a finger of head that falls to coat the beer. The nose is nicely hopped with a sweet caramel background. The flavor is very caramel, with some sweet hops that hit towards the end of the swallow. The flavor is a bit thin though. The feel is just a light moderate beer, not as thick as I would expect. Drinkability is high, as this beer leaves my glass quickly.

Photo of RoterTeufel
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Although I am usually a fan of Samuel Smith's beers, this is not one of my favorites. I concur with some of the other reviewers that they ought to consider bottling in brown bottles. (This is my first, possibly second time drinking this beer as I write this review)

Pours out with a thick foamy head & a toffy/caramel color, transparent as can be. Initial smell was faint of hops & something I couldn't quite put my finger on; smelt like tasty beer to me. It tastes balanced, but somewhat skunked by their trakemark clear bottles - don't get me wrong, I like it, but something is just a little off. Mouthfeel is just about right for me: smooth, but lets you know it has carbonation with tiny bubbles crossing your tongue, if you leave it there long enough. Drinkability is where most Sammy Smith's have their downfall (IMHO); that is why, I believe, they come in 550mL bottles, or 4 packs of 12oz bottles. I could have a couple of pints, or 12 oz. bottles at the most of this stuff at a time, then move on to a Taddy Porter, or Oatmeal Stout.

Photo of Hunter
3.33/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a lovely deep amber, with a thick head of pillowy foam. No carbonation to speak of.

Smell is a little off. Skunky, which is my biggest complaint to Sam Smith's here - can you PLEASE bottle using brown glass??? The clear glass seems to allow simply too much light in.

Taste is smooth and malty, your basic English ale with some spice and secrets thrown in. Almost reminiscent of a Belgian (is there candi sugar hiding in here?) Mouthfeel is silky, with a bitter aftertaste of hops and slightly sour fruit.

I wanted to give this brew a better rating (although what I gave isn't all that bad) because I enjoy this seasonal offering. But between the smell and the somewhat bitter aftertaste I couldn't in good conscience do it.

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

Good enough looking beer. A lively red/orange color. Appropriate head for the style...not much, but present. Decent carbonation.

Smells like Sam Smith. Get some malty notes and even a good dose of hops, but mostly that Sam Smith smell. Don't know what that is...maybe the stone square fermentation...I've often wondered. But oh well. Its sure is pleasent and something unique about the beers.

Very nice flavor. Not quite sure its a Winter Warmer, but it sure is nice. Get some pleasant Sam Smith character up front with the hops coming to dominate quite soon thereafter with a fine bitterness. Fairly clean tasting except for the Sam Smith 'roundness', but that is actually a clean flavor. Get some nice round malty notes in the middle to finish.

Mouthfeel is nice, but honestly the carbonation is a bit much for the style I think. Really a bit too prickly in the mouth. I bet this is wonderful from a cask.

I could drink a couple...quite nice.

Photo of BrewMaster
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 550 ml bottle labeled "2003-2004." Pours amber golden with a light head. It turns to a complete but thin covering of bubbles very quickly. It lacks any hearty aroma to speak of. Perhaps a bit of malriness, but nothing distinguishable to my nose.

In the flavor I get a definate malty flavor along with honey, citrus, and a bit og a metallic flavor. The glass I am drinking it from is a pint glass I use for man beers and is thouroughly cleaned each time, so I don't think the metallic taste comes from the glass. It is also a bit sour in flavor.

Photo of RenoZymurgist
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Very colorful label with a scene of a sleigh trudging through deep powder in the middle of winter. This is the 2003-2004 version which pours an amber brew with a white head that sticks around nicely. Aroma has that distinct english mineral character and some sweet malts but no spices to be detected. Taste is very enjoyable as there is a clean herbal hop bitterness balanced with a slightly sweet malt flavor that segues into a clean, dry finish. The mouthfeel is smooth but lively as there is an average level of carbonation. Very nice ale to sip by the fireside in a cabin during winter though it makes a medicore session beer.

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

This poured a medium copper-brown with a rather small head.
The smell of hops hit me but was crisp and mild.
My first taste seemed a little too malty but I was soon rewarded with a subtle sweetness that seemed to be the dominate flavor.
This isn't a great beer to me but its a decent beer and I certainly wouldn't turn one down.
Price: $1.99 for a 12oz bottle

Photo of cbl2
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Note: 2003-2004 version


Clear medium brown with 1" white head.


A smooth malt and hop aroma emerge that is nicely balanced.


Sweet up front that is instantly followed by a nice kick of herbal hops. Usually not a hops fan, but this is so well balanced that I can't complain.

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

Small white head on this one. Malt aroma but there is something odd about it. Luckluster taste that leave me waiting for something that never arrives. I was expecting alot more because of the style. Malt is present, yet far too subdued. Sames goes for the hops. Great balance. After taste is slightly bready. Heavyer mouthfeel than the taste would let you believe. Drinkable.

Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
83 out of 100 based on 1,919 ratings.