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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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1,968 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,968
Reviews: 1,103
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: 1,968 | Reviews: 1,103 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Enola
3.03/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured out of a bomber into a pint glass, this beer appears a reddish orange color. It has a very small head. The smell is a bit overpowering. The taste is fairly bitter with the alcohol peeping through. The mouthfeel and drinkability are both average. This would not be on top of my list but is probably worthy of trying again sometime.

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

Clear 550ml with 2005-2006 on the label poured into an imperial pint.

Clear copper with two fingers of white that sticks and leaves wispy lace.

The nose has butter, honey, and some english hops that are showing just a bit of skunk underneath their floral aromas. Slight metallic note in the background.

The caramel from the malts are upfront followed by some apple and then butterscotch and a slowly building bitterness from the hops. Lingering bitterness in the aftertaste, a bit grassy.

Smooth mouth with enough carbonation to give it balance. Very drinkable. Not spicy like other winter warmers, but I like it.

Photo of Mitchster
4.25/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2004-2005 edition. Paid $1.49/bottle on sale.

Pours out to a clear amber, forming a sticky khaki head of very fine meringue bubbles. The retention is excellent. Carbonation is moderate. There is something oddly appealing about the aroma....skunky Heineken, and caramel sweet malt, overpowering the fusels and butterscotch you will typically smell had there been no skunk. As it warms, vanilla becomes apparent, the hops blossom with a minty character and grainy, toasty malt appears. Swirling stirs up the butterscotch. There is no doubt when you open a Sam Smith ale..you can smell that notorious nose across the room. The mouthfeel is slick yet oily with a medium body and oxidized, soapy finish. The taste is of course very English with plenty of butterscotch (but not overwhelming as the skunk balances it out)...lingering caramel balancing out the medium strong herbaceous and woodsy bitterness. Alcohol is imperceptable. There is a semi-ruddy cardboard finish and aluminum or copper in the aftertaste. This really isn't a great beer in the strict flavor sense (it's quite average by all marks), yet despite it's faults, Sam Smith of any type is intriguing and appealing for it's nostalgia alone which makes it an absolutely divine pleasure. Maybe it's the gold foil, maybe it's that unique bottle (bottled at yorkshire's oldest brewery est1758). It's about as "beer" as beer can get, and lazily transports me to the seat of an English pub in the early 1800's. Recommended. Best enjoyed cold (~45F) as it gets soapier when it warms.

Photo of hoffman
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Great pour to a two finger head in my pint glass. Nice rich honey red color head sinks from two fingers down to minimal if nothing, with a slight lace all the way down. Smell is different to say the least very deep, pungent grains overrule most other smells but there is a waft of sweet malts, and possible a hint of yeast....can not pin point it, hop smell is non existant. The taste is ok, relatively bland, sweet, but not overpowering....kind of blah. Mouthfeel is nice, full, creamy, good. Not a bad brew at all....i want to try others fromt this category to compare, so it did that for me....

edit: sitting here letting the beer warm....I have to say that the sweetness is not as overbearing as I thought that it was....this is not bad brew at all....

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

12 oz bottle from 2005-2006, first I've ever seen of this Sam Smith offering. Pours a bright clear copper with 2 fingers of dense beige head, but not very good retention or lacing. Smell is very malty, not very sweet, with just a slight roasted edge. Taste is the malt from the nose intermingled with hints of wood, mineral water, and a slight butteriness. Slight bitterness on the finish suggests hops, but nothing really comes through in the taste. Medium/thin bodied with fairly low carbonation, this is a pretty easy drinker. I have pretty limited exposure to the style and was expecting something much spicier, but I must say I did enjoy this beer and might pick up another pack before the season ends.

Photo of SurgeonGeneral
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Serving temp: 48F Serving glass: Pint glass

Presentation: Clear 550ml bottle, 2005-2006 winter season clearly marked. Samuel Smith's always has my favorite looking bottes. The gold foil, the busy label with colorful sayings & inviting Winter scene. A+

Aroma: Very unique smell, here. Tough for me to pick out what I'm sensing.. let's see, malt for sure, very grainy. A little bit of sweetness, with a meaty aroma there too. Almost like a robust beef smell. That hard water smell that I grew up with, living off of well water; lots of minerals in here. Bit of a floral hoppines to it, but very light.

Appearance: Rather clear deep copper coloring w/ good sized bone colored head that retains well. Sub-par lacing.

Taste: Clean, metallic & really not all that interesting. I wonder where that interesting smell went. Some of the malty sweetness is there, and the hardness of the water is also present, but beyond that, not much to this beer. Easy going bitterness to round out the subdued malt profile.

Mouthfeel: Clean, clear, rather refreshing. Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Drinkability: I've got to say, I'm dissapointed. Not a beer I can imagine curling up to fire with. Average brew here all the way. I would be happy to quaff a couple pints of this, but don't see myself ever going out of the way to purchase this again for a while.

Photo of BeerBob
3.66/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome 2005-2006 pours a almond brown from a 1pt 2.7fl oz clear glass bottle. Light tan head went to over two fingers with very fine foam bubbles. Lots of lacing on the sides of my 26oz beer glass as I have already gotten into the brew a bit ahead of my self.

Nose is a delightful blend of sweet malt, spice , and hops. Palate is a blend of sweet barley malt, mace, and slightly floral bitter hops that finishes with the bight of carbonation.

This years rendition is a subdued eliteration from last years offering, or my taste buds are on holiday. Nice and inviting, and satisfying to a point, but not all that it could be.

Photo of sinistermadman
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Winter seasonal brews are better reviewed in states that have definable winter weather, but I live in Texas. When it is 70 in January you just have to pretend it is chilly to enjoy a "winter warmer"

This brew pours a clean honey color which emits a nice foamy two inch head that settles to a nice lacing. Smell is of citric hops and english malt. Quite pleasing floral bouqet aroma.

Taste is slightly citric with a sharp hop bite. Not a growling in your face hop presence, but a sharp defined existence. Toasted hops lend balance to the equation. Slightly embittering aftertaste. Mouthfeel is coarse and dry. Not a bad beer that achieves exactly what it intends to do, warm your cold ass on a winter day.

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

Oh Oh!, clear glass warning!!. This should be fresh however. so lets see..
Lovelly looking nice dark golden ale, with a large bubbly/frothy light tan head.
No skunk in the aroma, the aroma is mostly malty and pleasant.
Strong malty flavour out front in the mouthful, with an overlaying warm,woodsy ,bitterness, finishes semi-dry, but has long lasting bitter aftertastes, which I liked.
Pretty good on the palte, quite nicelly made beer.
I liked this beer but for me its not really a dead of winter beer, more a cold ,wet Autumn one.

Photo of NiceGuyMike
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a delicious brew. High alcohol with fruity sweetness goes together so wonderfully; almost sherry type in both taste and smell. Nice redish tan hue and decent head adds to the overall experience. A good amount of bitterness is present, but not overpowering, great balance act. Very smooth. Shame I only got one 550 ml bottle tonight.

This is a true warmer.

I wish SS would stop using clear bottles. I was worrying this would be skunked.

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

Pours a copper color, not much carbonation, small head, nice lacing throughout. Scents of malt and slight sweet caramel. Not a bad taste, kinda sweet/bitter. Medium body. Very drinkable. Why does Samuel Smith bottle in clear bottles is beyond me. Not really sure if I would recommend this brew though.

Photo of mrasskicktastic
1.44/5  rDev -60.8%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

2005-2006 release.

A - Pours an attractive mahogany with a one finger head that dissipates quickly and leaves only spotty lacing behind. Color good, head bad.

S - This smells like Budweiser. Stale, musty grain. I am sorry to say it, but this is a very foul smelling beer. I'd expect more from such a reputable brewery.

T - The flavor is dominated by that musty grain from the smell. There is a bitterness, not a hop-like or coffee-like bitterness though, it is very unpleasant. After it warms a bit, there is a stomach acid like flavor. There is a slight sweetness underneath, but it is overshadowed by the bitterness and musty grain.

M - Medium viscosity, very drying, leaves a film in my mouth.

D - Not good at all. Once I get past the smell, the terrible flavor and the ascerbic bitterness, I am left with a dessicated mouth with a bad aftertaste. The only thing I can think of doing that is worse than letting that aftertaste sit in my mouth is taking another sip. This is one of the worst beers that I have ever had. BMC me over this one.

I am guessing this might have been skunked from the other reviews. The clear bottle likely. Although I have never taken it outside in the day. Even if skunked, this beer should not have scored this low if it was good in the first place. I strongly suggest that Samuel Smith's put this in a brown or opaque bottle. I will not try it again and my review stands (since I definitely didn't skunk it) until they do. I shall assume this is simply a poor quality brew.

Photo of SteveO1231
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 1PT 2.7 FL OZ. Bottle. 2005-2006

Poured a dark reddish amber. Thick foamy off-white head with some great bubbly lacing. Nice carbonation.

Smell of roasted malt. Light spice scent. No hop scent at all.

Sweet malt flavor, light taste of spices, Very crisp. A mild earthy, nutlike finish, light bitterness. Very nice.


Photo of Bcant
3.14/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 550cl bottle into a 500cl stein, copper color with large start head and good retention. The bouquet is salty and sweet with notes of salted beef gravy and caramel. Flavors start with whole-grain bread, then light toffee, and finishing with a sharp, slightly metallic, dryness. Overall the taste is slightly thin. It is probably a good accompaniment to the savory fruit cakes and mince-pies the British enjoy at Christmas. Despite the mildly thin taste, the beer feels very big and chewy, though the metallic finish compromises its drinkability a bit.

Photo of mdagnew
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml Bottle bought from The Vineyard, Belfast....

Poured a Golden Orange colour... Head was slightly off white and settled to a nice layer on top....

Aroma - Brown sugar, slight caramel, vanilla, slight pepperiness, hint of banana ?

Taste – Nice hopiness, slight bitterness, caramel notes, nice nuttiness...

Feel - Slightly sharp but smooth after. Not that much carbonation...

Overall - An very good beer... extremely drinkable.... recommended...

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a dimple mug)

A-This beer pours a rusty brown crystal clear body with a bit creamy off-white head. It has a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles.

S- The smell of light bitter musky hops and some sweet malt with notes of caramel and biscuit malt.

T- The bitter taste of hops has a hint of pale malt and a hint of toasted malt and biscuit malt. This beer finishes with a bitter hop flavor but no alcohol warmth.

M-Medium-light mouthfeel with some watery hints. No astringency or alcohol warmth.

D- This beer is light and refreshing and not what I was expecting. I thought it would be more of a barley wine when it is in fact has more qualities of a pale ale. Interesting beer just not what I expected.

Photo of DogFood11
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

smelled plums right off the bat. fluffy off white head that stays and reproduces with every drink...amber color and inviting crisp look.

Poured in a snifter, very aromatic smell of dark fruit, pleasant and clean aroma with a hint of alcohol buried beneath. Sweet candies.

the carbonation and dry finish are a bit over the top in my opinion but I was really surprised to have a beer from england taste this yeast driven. Sweet/spicey candied brew and a big malt and slight hop support system. Real nice beer...I could easily see drinking the four pack in a sitting if need be of course. thanks for saving the day Old Brewery Tadcaster. This drink is for the OBT....

Photo of richdebs
4.38/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'll start off with the general information I know about this beer. It is brewed once a year and always comes witha similar label witha different festive scene in the middle. I always get a decent stock in and confess to it being one of my favourite beers. The bottle sampled is my last of the 2004-2005 vintage.

Appearance. The beer is a chestnut brown colour which is perfectly clear. The head is an inch deep, light and fluffy and a very pale brown in colour and stays until the end.

Smell: There is a dark beery smell which promises good things to come.

Taste: Top bollock. The beer is malty(if you've been to Tad, it tastes like Tadcaster air), but quite spicy. The alcohol shows up in the swallow.

Mouthfeel. Fizzes down the throat very well indeed/

Drinkability: Absolutely top notch beer. Can't wait for this year's edition.

Photo of whynot44
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Medium bodied, nice rich copper color with a medium off-white head.

Aroma is sweet malt, caramel an a bit of spice.

Taste is rich malt, caramel, a bit of spice, creamy smooth. A pleasant hops flavor and bitterness. A very pleasant dry, hoppy finish with a touch of alcohol warmth.

Very drinkable and an excellent fall/winter refresher. Should be very nice after raking leaves or shoveling snow or just for relaxation.

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

1997 Vintage

Pours orange with reddish hue, whitish head falls quick to a crescent.
British malts in the nose, toasty with astringent hops and nice dried fruit note. Caramel component holding up the best, with a finishing chaulkiness.
Thinnish mouthfeel, papery malt, and balanced but stale bitterness.
Minerally and crisp, with buiscuity malt and wet brown bag.

Approaching 8 years old, this Tadcaster native held up better than I thought it would, as fresh examples are often skunky and not hugely flavorful.

Vintage 1998- edit 4/18/06

A little better density to the head, but falls quick as well.
Clarity is terrific.
Slightly more juicy malt character, with crisp fruit in the nose.
Body is a smidge fuller and significantly less oxidation.
Pallet is still on the weakish side, with mild malt, citrus and bitterness.
Drinkability goes up for a year "fresher" vintage.

Photo of woodychandler
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is for the 2004-2005 vintage. I was fortunate to get the last remaining bottle at The Bishop's Collar this past Sunday (17 April 05).

It poured with a big head that all too quickly subsided to a thin froth. What was remarkable, though, was the crystal clarity that this beer evinced in the glass. It had a fantastic amber color that just seemed to scream, "Beer!" It had a nice malty nose with an underlying hop bitterness. The mouthfeel tended very much towards creamy. It had a light spiciness, perhaps from the yeast, which seemed o.k. for a winter beer, but in the height of winter, I would have wanted more. The finish was very pleasant, with the same malt/hop balance that I noted on the nose now reasserting itself.

For the '09-'10 vintage: I got a finger-and-a-half of eggnog-yellow head with good retention from my pour. Color was a deep coppery-amber with NE-quality clarity. Nose was warmingly malty-sweet with notes of caramel, molasses and anise. Mouthfeel was full and creamy with a great mix of malty flavors plus the unique yeast strain that plays through all of their beers. It is like that note in a jazz piece that you can hear above everything else. Finish had the caramel up front with the anise bite lingering at the extreme finish. Yum!

Photo of Vancer
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It’s getting late in the season (2004-2005), but this one still poured well, nice lite amber brown with smallish tan head. Enticing butterscotch, spice and malt aroma that tasted just as well. Alcohol was covered by the malt that finished with a balanced hop. Too bad we only had one 550ml bottle to work on, this one could be drank all evening long. Another tasty treat from Sammy.

Photo of arizcards
3.41/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 550ml bottle at AJ's back in January for $3.59.

Pours a solid fluffy head that sustains decently. Color is lighter for a winter seasonal, rather pale actually. Initial smell was who let Peppy LePew into the room? Peppy actually went away pretty quickly and what was left was an unremarkable hint of biscuity grain and a very slight hint of holiday spice. Taste is somewhat complex. The first taste left a heavy impression of the presence of figs or prunes. Subsequent sips left the impression that there are a lot more hops present than what your typical winter beer has. Mouthfeel is decently full but not particularly lively. Overall this is a decent winter beer but it is pretty tough to top DeSchutes, Sierra Nevada, and Widmer Bros (This Year) for a winter welcome style of brew.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.56/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Coppery tangerine with amber trim. The pale ecru head is on the large side after a vigorous pour and holds its shape for a good, long time. Tiny pearl-like bubbles decorate the surface and turn into tiny divots when they burst. Once the beer is almost gone a nearly unbroken band of lace covers the midsection of the glass.

I took my time describing the appearance because I caught a whiff of skunk when I popped the cap (damn this clear glass!) I'm hoping that time will allow the bad humors to escape. A tentative sniff tells me that the nastiness is still present, but it's weak now. Trouble is, there isn't much in the nose to cover up the lingering little black and white bastard. There's a suggestion of fruity, herbal, English hops, but nothing else of note. Sans skunk, add a half point.

Thankfully, the flavor isn't affected or I would have poured this bottle out and tried again another day. I don't know whose idea it was to call this beer a winter warmer, but it isn't anything like that style as I understand it. It tastes like a sweeter, less hoppy English pale ale or ESB. I do like it though.

The flavor is dominated by plenty of sweet toasty caramel malt and fruity, modestly spicy hops. It tastes like wheat toast covered with a thin layer of orange marmalade and sprinkled with a smattering of nutmeg. Since oranges and nutmeg could be considered holiday flavors to some extent, I guess that calling it a winter warmer isn't completely out of line after all.

The finish is a shade more hoppy than malty, lightly sweet and as clean as the finish on a lightly sweet beer can be. The body/mouthfeel is no more than medium, although it holds its structure long enough after the swallow to trick me into considering it medium-full. I don't mind the slightly sprightly carbonation one bit (since I threw style adherence out the window six ounces ago).

Winter Welcome is a strange brew. I've already alluded to the bottom line: it drinks like a sweeter, less hoppy pale ale and is pretty tasty, all things considered. I don't know that I'll buy it too often because the clear glass makes each purchase a Russian Roulette of sorts. Samuel Smith has brewed a damn fine beer here. Why the powers that be insist on leaving it vulnerable to the depredations of UV light is beyond me.

Photo of droomyster
3.74/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an attractive clear amber but with a small white head that quickly recedes, leaving sparce lacing. Smells suprisingly similar to a pilsner, strong on the apples and kiwis and an underlying cherry. Tastes of apples, grassy and citrus hops, malty grains, not very interesting. Finishes dry, lingering bitterness.

Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
83 out of 100 based on 1,968 ratings.