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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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1,779 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,779
Reviews: 1,074
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 12.53%
Wants: 21
Gots: 55 | 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: 1,779 | Reviews: 1,074 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of weissbierhead
3.45/5  rDev -6%

550 ml. clear glass bottle with gold foil over the cap. The first impression after opening the bottle was the skunky aroma. Fortunately it dissipated rapidly. It pours an amber to orange color with a pale head. The flavor is slightly caramel to toffee. I was expecting something spectacular (Samuel Smith's rep.) and instead found something quite ordinary.

weissbierhead, Nov 27, 2002
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +18.5%

This is one of the beers that I actually look forward to enjoying as winter approaches; and I like to buy a case as it's not a heavy beer and it can be enjoyed year round. I've cellared bottles that have shown no sign of age after a year or more! It pours a clear, light orangish-brown/auburn with a full and frothy yellow-tinged head that holds extremely well and leaves excellent lace. The aroma is distinctly buttery (but not quite butterscotch), alongside honey, caramel and toffee. A light fruitiness adds to the toffee but isn't really distinct on its own. Hop aroma is basically absent by design, although there is a mild background grassiness. The body is medium with a lightly creamy mouthfeel. The flavor starts with a mildly fruity toffee that's coat-tailed by softer caramel notes and then a light butterscotch before a balancing bitterness comes up. It finishes semi-dry with some lingering buttery sweet malt. Some alcohol is noticeable as you come to the end of a pint, but for the most part it's fully cloaked. An exceptional ale that proves that a little bit of diacetyl can be a nice thing! Highly recommended and worth seeking out.

NeroFiddled, Nov 26, 2002
Photo of CharlesRiver
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%

Poured light amber in color with a small head that did not last. Malty in smell and in flavor. Not your typical "Winter Ale" in terms of flavor. It kind of tastes like a strong British pale ale. I have to say that I have always been so impressed with all the Sam Smith products, but this one doesn't do it for me. A good beer but not what I think of in terms of a "Winter" brew.

CharlesRiver, Nov 26, 2002
Photo of BeerBuilder
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%

Pours to a beautiful copper/amber color with a thick off-white head. Aromas are of light caramel malt and fruity hops. This beer has a nice fruity hop flavors balanced with light caramel malt flavor. It is relatively light in body, smooth, with a semi-sweet finish. Overall it is a tasty, well-balanced beer with a strength that sneaks up on you.

BeerBuilder, Nov 26, 2002
Photo of Jason
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%

Presentation: 18.7 oz clear bottle that has gold foil on top and raised glass below the neck, no freshness though on the label it has the years for the 2002-2003 winter season.

Appearance: A small-bubbled two fingered lace lies on top of a copper hued brew. Decent clarity with a better than ok head retention.

Smell: Faded butterscotch, fruity esters and a honey/caramel like malt sweetness. Hop aroma grassy with a light oily pungency.

Taste: Smooth as much as it is crisp with in the pleasant mouth feel. Malty palate with a medium body and level carbonation. Bready malt flavours ride on top with hints of caramel and grain. Candied fruit with some buttery diacetyl and light alcoholic esters to boot. Hop bitterness is perfect and balances very well and does not intrude with excessive hop flavour at all. A little dry in the finish with a touch of butterscotch and a slow warming feeling from the alcohol that has a mild peppery flavour.

Notes: A cast and mold for a lot of the US breweries to build from in the past. Now it seems middle of the road in comparison to what is in the American market now.

Jason, Nov 22, 2002
Photo of Mark
2.42/5  rDev -34.1%

I was so bummed out by this beer I'm almost depressed. First the damm clear glass has got to go! What is with S.S.? Very skunky nose dominated, toasty malt flavor and every other nuance was ruined by the skunk smell which seeped in to the taste as well. Appearance was nice, deep amber body, thick head and sheets of lace. Good rounded mouthfeel the only other positive. I know this is a good brand of brew and I looked for it while in London, (no luck) but I don't know if I will buy any Sammy again until they bottle their product properly. I seem to recall the IPA is in a brown bottle, why not the rest?!

Mark, Nov 19, 2002
Photo of MJR
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%

I'm reviewing the 2002 version:

Appearance: Pours a light amber/honey color with a foamy, 1/4 inch, off-white head. Leaves a nice pattern of Belgian lace down the side of the glass. I love the bottle on this one...very regal looking with a W. Shakespeare quote!

Smell: Faint 'green' smell of hops. A touch of butterscotch in the nose as well.

Taste: A medium-bodied toffee flavor with a strong butterscotch diacetyl backbone. Not much hops in this one...it's all sweet malt. A touch of honey as well. As I work my way through the bottle, I'm picking up on a very faint spice flavor...can't pinpoint it though.

Mouthfeel: A nice medium body with a very 'soft' finish.

Drinkability: Pretty good. A little too sweet which prevents me from drinking more than one or two. Then again, this isn't intended to be a session beer...

Overall, a solid winter warmer. Nothing I'd go out of my way to find, but a good stand-by for the holiday season.

MJR, Nov 14, 2002
Photo of ADR
3.78/5  rDev +3%

Amber, clear...head is persistant, different bubble sizes and 1/4 inch tall. Nutmeg smell mixed with a little lemon brightness. Full-bodied malt, a long sense of toffee diacetyl and mid range caramel. Slightly floral hops are evident at the close but are subtle. Smooth and drinkable but a little less 'big" than I was expecting. Still, solid, and a product of warm-fermenting experience.

ADR, Nov 14, 2002
Photo of hyuga
4.18/5  rDev +13.9%

2002 edition. Well, again, what did I smell when I first opened this bottle? Skunk. I've never had a skunky beer from a brown bottle, but I get this with the Samuel Smith's clear bottles all of the time. Fortunately, they're never damaged enough for it to last past the initial bottle opening and pour, a little agitation of the brew brings out the true aroma. Still loses aroma points because of this. Anyway, the brew is clear orange-amber with a big-bubbled, sticky white head that goes down completely after a while. I'm getting hints of spice in the aroma, maybe some orange peel. Sweet malt takes most of the aroma, rich caramel. Kind of buttery too. Hops are there, but the exact aroma is hard to pinpoint. Hitting your palate, it's malty and spicy, as a winter warmer should be. Strong caramel malt and subdued spicy hops, a bit of orange peel spiciness and very slight fruit character, I'd say pear. Malt presence is also grainy under the caramel, which makes it crisp. It gets a bit bready as it warms as well, making this beer almost märzen-like. Smooth in the front, but hops come around more in the back. Not as full-bodied as some other winter brews, but definitely a good brew and very drinkable. This would make a good session brew for wintertime. I think I'm going to start getting my Sam Smith's from a store that keeps them more out of the way of fluorescent light, though.

hyuga, Nov 05, 2002
Photo of inebrius
4.3/5  rDev +17.2%

Smooth! Like most of the Samuel Smith's line this beer is a pleasure to drink. Buttery caramel malt and earthy, almost piney, hop twist. Long, mossy hop finish is a bit astringent, but not unpleasant. A Winter luke-Warmer.

inebrius, Oct 28, 2002
Photo of bditty187
3.03/5  rDev -17.4%


Just as damn boring as the years before. I only drank it because it was part of Crescent Moon's "Winter Beer Tour." It lacks any sort of richness and it is far to clean. At least it wasn't light-struck.


(3, 3, 3.5, 3, 3.5 = 3.25)
Reddish-bronze hue, clear, the white head, which was small, faded quickly to a soapy collar. No lace. Well, this is my first S.S. Winter Welcome that has not been lightstuck and you know what, I’m still disappointed. The nose does nothing for me… vague sweet malts, caramel, clean, airy… indifferent. The palate is lightly sweet upfront with a mild bite of alcohol in the middle, peppery-like, the sweet, lightly toffee completes the finish. The hops bitterness is perfect for what S.S. is trying to accomplish. Rather clean. Rather mellow. Medium body, mild carbonation, and slightly tacky mouthfeel… it is drinkable but boring… average. I’d like to see more maltiness, a stronger punch; this is a winter warmer after all. Worth trying once a year… now I have… see you next year.


(3.5/3/2.5/2.5/3 = 2.85)

As soon as I opened the 550ml (clear) bottle I could detect a fairly noticeable note of skunk… damn. I aired it out a moment in my mug… then I could detect some lovely sweet maltiness, maybe some caramel. Brownish-orange hue with an off-white head. The complexity of flavors was minimal, some sweet malt, butterscotch, and some underlying sourness. This beer is surprisingly average. I got annoyed at the tacky mouthfeel it created. Maybe I’ll try it again later this year... I did and the second bottle (from another source) was far worse. Will my third try be the charm?

bditty187, Oct 23, 2002
Photo of StevieW
4/5  rDev +9%

16 oz. clear bottle. Amber color, fluffy hop filled head. Laces nicely down the glass. Carmel malt sweetness is prevalant and very inticing. Decent English hop smells faintly pop through. Taste is a combination of toasted carmel matly sweetness and a nice hop finish. A bit thin feeling for a Winter Welcome Ale. I had one bottle last year, and kept one bottle and recently reviewed. This is one you definitly need to drink right away, no doubt the clear bottle dulls the flavors.

StevieW, Oct 16, 2002
Photo of beernut7
4.33/5  rDev +18%

Had this brew sitting arounf since last winter. House got cold so I decided to break into it...good decision. Pours into a nice orange-strw color with a foamy white head. The aromas of British yeast and buttery tones is very inviting. Very smooth flavor with a buttery caramel maltiness and a clean smooth full-bodied finish. The alcohol content is not niticeable at all. This is going to be a perennial favorite for me I think.

beernut7, Oct 10, 2002
Photo of Jon
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

This ale pours a nice amber color with an off-white head that doesn't retain particularly well. The smell is rather bland, with a little skunkiness penetrating through. There is a hint of spiciness in the nose, however. The taste is quite malty with some spicy, herbal notes and just a touch of what I presume to be Fuggles hops. The mouthfeel is rather oily, with minimal carbonation present. Not a bad beer, but I wasn't ready for another.

Jon, Oct 03, 2002
Photo of BeerResearcher
4.47/5  rDev +21.8%

Winter Welcome is one of England's best representations of the winter or Christmas brew styles. Full bodied (almost syrupy). This ale is so velvetty smooth and well rounded, its difficult not to guzzle it down. Good thing for the large bottles! The tea-like hops with a hint of citrus bitterness are noticeable early in the glass, but sort of fades under the rich malt, but that's cool, this is a quality malt, cherry sweet, roasted especially for the holidays.

BeerResearcher, Sep 24, 2002
Photo of Dogbrick
2.58/5  rDev -29.7%

Like the Pale Ale I had the day before, this bottle was slightly skunked. They really need to leave the clear bottles to their Stouts. Skunking aside, this had a decent spiced aroma. The flavor was kind of lacking though and I was not really all that interested in finishing the bottle, which is never a good sign.

Dogbrick, Sep 24, 2002
Photo of ryanocerus
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

It poured an amber color with a quickly dissipating head. The aroma was slightly hoppy with a faint straw smell. The taste was sweet, neither malt nor citrusy, I could not put my finger on it. Not a bad beer, but not my first choice.

ryanocerus, Jul 26, 2002
Photo of marc77
3.35/5  rDev -8.7%

The orange - amber colored brew is topped by a well retained off - white head. The surprisingly mild aroma consists just a hint of caramel sweetness and fruitiness from the Sam's yeast strain. Hop nose is mild as well, but distinctive earthy Fuggles hop nose is discernible. As the brew warms, that distinctive Sam Smith diacetyl butterscotch note nudges its way into the aroma as well. Light in body for a strong ale, but the fairly low carbonation and residual dextrins allow for a pleasant mouthfeel. Not particularly complex in malt flavor, and compared to other British strongs ales it's a touch bland. Biscuit malt flavors dominate. Very grassy and earthy hop flavor... Fuggles all the way. Finishes with lots of toasted malt flavors and an enjoyable sweetness that coats the tongue. This is the first bottle of Winter Welcome I've had that wasn't skunked! It's not outstanding, but is quite drinkable nevertheless.

marc77, Apr 22, 2002
Photo of jreitman
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%

Nice amber color. Vanilla smells in the nose. Candy sugar flavors with hints of butterscotch. Bitter, but fairly well balanced. High alcohol level detected in it's dry finish. Overall a pretty decent brew.

jreitman, Apr 15, 2002
Photo of mapman97
4.9/5  rDev +33.5%

This is more a classic English Bitter than a winter brew in my opinion but never the less a fine ale. Pleasantly bitter with a smooth finish, medium amber in color with a thick head that goes away to a small froth that clings in rings all the way down the glass. Very drinkable. I always look forward to this comming out in the late fall and then I stock up quickly because it is highly sought after here in central Texas and disappears around Christmas. This the Winter Ale all others aspire to.

mapman97, Apr 12, 2002
Photo of WilliamPhilaPa
4.22/5  rDev +15%

As I seat here in my shorts & a T-shirt...it may be a mystery to you why I’m just getting to this Winter Welcome(mixed up with my empty bottles, doh!) Head is initially average sized, creamy, white/light tan w/ nice lacing, pretty much fully lasting. Body is clear light honey/amber in color, w/ a medium body. The aroma is moderately hoppy (herbs, flowers), moderately malty (cookie, toasted light bread); w/ nice notes of vanilla (I like); same can be tasted on the palate, w/ a smooth mouth feel. Ends w/ a very nice long sweet finish. I too do not understand the clear bottle, but in response to other reviews, someone was asking what to compare it to, I would say it is very similar to SA Boston Stock Ale. Anyway…my overall opinion is that I enjoyed this brew-it was not skunked what so ever! The only thing that points to a winter welcome is the 6.0abv.(I’m not even sure was constitutes a winter brew) I thought this was a very good Ale…I enjoy the SA Stock Ale a bit more over this though.

WilliamPhilaPa, Apr 11, 2002
Photo of aracauna
3.28/5  rDev -10.6%

This was my first experience with a skunked beer (I've been really lucky so far considering how many beers I've tried). Luckily, it was just starting to go skunky, so it was still drinkable. I should have known better than to buy a winter ale in a clear bottle in late March. They should know better than to export a beer in a clear bottle. My other qualm with this beer is that it shouldn't be a winter brew. The lightness, vanilla, some sweetness and fruit flavors reminded me of Sam Adams Spring Ale. Those problems aside, it was a good beer. Nice Orange color, alcohol covered extremely well, and very pleasant.

aracauna, Apr 05, 2002
Photo of BeerAngel
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%

Pours a clear copper/amber with a nice 2 finger head. It has a faint aroma of lightly sweetened roasted malt. The taste is more of the roasted malt and a tad of caramel in the background with light hopping. This is a light to medium bodied brew that drinks down easy. It is a solid brew, but not a spectacular one. Cheers!

BeerAngel, Mar 29, 2002
Photo of Bighuge
2.38/5  rDev -35.1%

This beer smells skunky. It also tastes a bit skunky (although not as bad as in years past). This beer has never impressed me. It's one of my least favorite winter brews.

Bighuge, Mar 28, 2002
Photo of budgood1
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%

i found this hard to review because of no other beers to compare it to within its style. it's copper in color and pours a thin head, leaving little to no lace. i pick up the slight butterscotch/rum aroma which also had an ever so slight skunkiness. it has a unique sweet buttery/candy flavor which is very agreeable. hop bitterness comes off soft and gentle. alcohol presence is masked beautifully but it warms you quickly. a little thin, but there is enough body and depth to satisfy. i thoroughly enjoyed this winter welcome ale.

budgood1, Mar 07, 2002
Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
83 out of 100 based on 1,779 ratings.