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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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1,106 Reviews

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Reviews: 1,106
Hads: 2,028
Avg: 3.65
pDev: 16.71%
Wants: 36
Gots: 145 | 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.
View: Beers (31) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 1,106 | Hads: 2,028
Photo of jimmah120
3.55/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

550ml foiled cap into nonoc pint

Big fluffy head, orange-amber color a little darker than your average IPA. Smells like a muted Belgian. Crispy and light, only slight syrup feel, spruce, clove, vegetal hops, sweet malt, rubbing alcohol, spice, drying finish.

I would buy it again, good for sharing.

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Photo of Chiefy770
4.11/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a 550ml bottle. 2013-2014 printed on label.

Appearance: Light brown translucent body with a slight amber tint. A white foamy head tops the body off.

Smell: Sweet notes of caramel clash with modest notes of citrus. The toasted malts hold these two countering scents in check.

Taste: Toasted malts and grains. Notes of fruit really stand out on the initial sip but the malts kick in and level this one out nicely. Sweet notes of caramel are broken up by the hops. Hard to detect any notes of spice. The label indicates a full body but this is nothing more than a medium bodied brew.

Overall: I was overall impressed with this brew. I am not a fan of many of the spiced winter warmers which is probably a reason why I enjoyed this one so much. There are very few, if any traces of spices added here. Incredibly drinkable and I will definitely be getting a couple more of these before the season is over.

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Photo of Aaron_Ramson
3.82/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Copper color of a pale ale, nose is fruity, vegetal, corn husk, herbal botanical. Tastes of mild grain, masa, fruity yeast, ending on a soft hop bite. Fully carbonated, slightly boozy at the finish. Easy and reminiscent of an ESB, I don't get the Winter Warmer aspect of it. Enjoyable non-the-less.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.6/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a bright and clear copper color with a nice two-finger creamy off-white head that retains long after the pour

S- sweet and bready malt with some caramel, earthy and floral hops, light sulphur-like water that is typically found in their beers

T- caramel malt sweetness with some fruit cake flavor, herbal and floral hop, yellow raisins, toasted bready malt on the finish

M- medium body and carbonation, foamy and creamy mouthfeel leads to a smooth finish

O- easy drinking with big malty notes, but nothing extreme. A serviceable winter warmer that isn't over-heavy on the spices like some

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Photo of spense727
2.31/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Freakishly clear with a color similar to hangover piss=
Smell - Smells reminiscent of maltier, roastier Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Taste - Taste is incredibly mild. Not much there, Slightly malty and is a letdown from the smell. Metallic in the aftertaste.
Mouthfeel - Very easy to drink. Extremely light in the mouth.
Overall - Ugh. Not worthy of another bottle.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.59/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

550ml bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Pecan-brown with a 1.5-finger head that slowly settles
S: Nutty, fresh malt & caramel
T: Nutty/malty, again some caramel on the finish but overall a bit bland
M: Light-bodied, a bit watery
O: Not getting any of the hops mentioned on the label. Nor spice I typically associate with a winter warmer. No discernible flaws here but needs to be more bold

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Photo of 2Cents
2.29/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 2.25 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A. Clear amber with a moderate amount of carbonation bubbles, a real headless wonder.

S. Smells like a cheap American adjunct lager.

T. Like some one through a few spices in a Miller High-life.

M. Thin with some carbonation.

O. I haven't had this in quite a few years.,I remember liking it . Either my pallet has changed or this is a bad year for the Winter Welcome.

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Photo of Cozzatoad
4.02/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

550ml bottle, forgot to check dates but it's the 2013 label

A- Amber colour, nicely transparent. Big white head with amazing retention, also leaving nice lacing

S- Slightly toasted malts, sweeter notes of caramel, a hint of fruitiness (apple?)

T- Sweet malts (caramel), herbal bitterness and a hint of roastiness in a perfect balance. A warming spicy note, again slight fruitiness

M- Medium to full body. Quite a good dose of carbonation for an english ale, bringing a lively but still delicate feel. I would say that this is the mouthfeel of a typical english ale but with a bit more strenght than usual, which enhances a warming feel. Very nice, though i can't really find the words to explain why...

O- Easily drinkable, warming without boasting a very high ABV, complex enough to keep your interest. Samuel Smith delivers again

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Photo of davetharave
2.07/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.75

Color, a lovely brick-amber shade. Very attractive in the glass. Unappealing vegetative smell with faint malt and hops and other aromas not usually associated with beer.

Taste is a very confusing amalgam of conflicting flavors, extremely hard to pin down, some malt but nothing like the delicate biscuity taste of prior years. After a few seconds in the mouth a plastic-like flavor dominates. The beer tastes spoiled and chemical-like. Simply not enjoyable; considering how good this beer has been in past years, a huge disappointment.

This year's version of this Winter ale is the fermented beverage equivalent of a stocking full of coal. I hunt for this beer in stores into March and April trying to locate every last bottle but not this year. I don't know what Sam Smith did but I sure hope they fix it for next year's batch.

(I drank several bottles and they were all the same so this is not a one-off 'bad bottle' experience)

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Photo of DenisKolkin
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a 550 ml bottle and served fairly cold into a pint glass.

Appearance - Clear, copper /bronze color, with a generous 2 fingers of white head that disappears at a moderate rate. Very few bubbles visible to the naked eye. Spidery lacing, but sparse.

Smell - Fruitcake saturated in alcohol (not that the alcohol smell is that strong). A little bit bready, reminiscent of Christmas baking. A few other Christmas spices and definitely a bit of cinnamon for good measure. Yummy.

Taste - A few tropical fruits up front, transitioning into Christmas baking. A few spices namely cinnamon but subtle. Bitterness on tail end and lingers for a while on the tip of your tongue.

Mouthfeel - Dry finish and medium bodied. Mouthfeel improves as the beer warms.

Overall - Pretty good overall, didn't like this as much as the Shepherd Neame offering in this style at first, but once the beer warmed a bit more, I found this to be preferable. A recommended selection for this style.

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Photo of Bernoulli
3.91/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A nice golden orange color. Minimal head with a slight bit of lacing.

Very subdued smell, but possibly a hint of apple?

Malty and sweet with a some bitterness around the edges. Can tell it's higher alcohol than the typical American beer, but nothing too obvious.

Smooth and eminently drinkable.

A very solid ale we would buy and serve... (with all the pumpkins and coffee stouts and the like... it's just doesn't have that extra flavoring to stick out -- maybe that's a good thing?).

Another quality entry by the always reliable Samuel Smith.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.61/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

not the conventional American style winter warmer, but a nice incarnation of something comparable. the pour is clear and brassy, super light for what I was expecting, and flaunting a sensational inch and a half of snow white foam that puffs up above the rim of my globe. light English malt nose, honey sweet, but also bittering hops to balance things. a rather bland, or rather mellow smell and taste to this. its sort of gentle, not a true winter warmer, but more of an introduction to the season as the name suggests. this works in late October, but im not sure how well it would go in January. 6% abv is nice for sessioning, but not so much for warming. I don't taste much spice either, which is okay amidst all the pumpkin ales around right now. medium body, enough gravity, and some bitter to counter the sweet in the conclusion. a solid beer overall, but not one I will probably go back to honestly.

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Photo of screamking
3.47/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

550ml bottle poured into snifter.

Pours bright orange amber with a 1 finger off white head. Very sweet aroma, plum and sweet caramel are the biggest notes. Brown sugar and toffee are also there. The. Taste is loaded with caramel and toffee, fresh not roasted. Hints of vanilla hit about mid mouth, with some butterscotch and black pepper sneaking in for the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a huge dose carbonation. Perhaps too much carbonation. Could use a bigger dose of alcohol to add a bit of depth. Overall, it's a decent little trip into the winter ales, but there are a lot more bigger bolder beers In this style for this to have lasting appeal.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a deep amber, lightly brown color with a one finger thick off-white cream colored head. The head has a fantastic level of retention, very slowly fading over time to leave a great leave of thick lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is a rather roasted in nature with a lots of toasted malt and roasted bready smells. Mixed with these aromas are a nice sweeter smell of caramel and some fruit of apple and peach as well as spice aromas of nutmeg and clove.

Taste – The taste begins with a big bready and sweet taste of a more caramel and toffee nature. As the taste advances it initially sweetens and then maintains a rather nice level of sweetness throughout. The roasted flavors get a bit stronger as the flavor advances with some notes of toast coming to the tongue. Along with the light increase in roast, spice flavors come to the tongue along with some lighter herbal hop tastes. In the end the blend of roasted, sweet, spice and light hop leaves a nice pleasantly smooth taste on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the average to slightly thicker side in terms of thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is on the average to slightly above average side. The slightly thicker body was very nice for the blend of roasted, spice and sweet tastes, with the higher carbonation level really making of a more easy drinking brew.

Overall – A rather tasty winter warmer. It has a nice blend of roasted, spice, and sweet flavors which when combined with the rather easy drinking feel and smooth tastes, produces a great winter brew.

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Photo of Jetulio
4.09/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

550 ml bottle poured into a Pint glass
Appearance... amber/orange beer with headoff- white of almost 2 fingers
Aroma... figs and apple, floral, hops. Fresh and strong smell with a nice touch of fruit
Taste... fruits and herbal, bitterness appears and is lasting with a soft touch
Mouthfeel... medium/full body and soft carbonation
Overall... nice seasonal ale with a presence of fruits that combines perfectly with the character of an english ale .

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Photo of Samp01
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a cloudy reddish brown color, small white head. Aroma sweet caramel and spices with a bit of yeast notes. Taste is sweet mildly toasted caramel malt , yeast and bready with some toffee sweet spices and a bit of brown sugar flavors. A medium sweet body, smooth with mild carbonation. Finishes with caramel , spices, yeast, and toffee with some mild bitterness . Caramel malt seems to dominate the flavor. Not as overpowering as some other winter ales but overall a good drinking brew.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.77/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Winter welcome ale pours a bronze color with very little head. Their is a sweet, caramel apple like aroma, with hints of a toasty malty undertone. Their is a slight roasted malty undertone in taste, with strong hints of caramel and sweet fresh apples. Easy to drink, and very nice feel, and nice full flavors. Overall a very unique winter warmer, sweet and fruiterer.

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Photo of soju6
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Bottle of the 2012/2013 editon.

A: Pours a dark amber color with a nice solid head that fades to some nice lacing.

S: Aroma of roasted malt, some caramel with a bit of spice.

T: Taste of roasted malt, some caramel sweetness, bit of chocolate and trace of spice. Nice bitterness and a dry finish.

F: Medium body, smooth and creamy texture. nicely balanced. No trace of the 6% ABV.

O: Pleasant beer to relax and enjoy the holiday season with.

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Photo of Brenden
3.77/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A bright, coppery orange, Winter Welcome develops a fairly dense finger of head a few shades off white. It has good retention, dropping a bit but never fully. While the head remains the entire way, the lacing is just short of being as consistent, though it manages some patching around the middle of the glass.
Very much English, this beer surprises me with a fruity component. This mingles with a good balance of light herbal hops bitterness and toasty malts. Some caramel comes out in the sweetness, and a note of grains sneaks through under it all. There's also an ever-present but not off-putting mineral note.
The body has a rolling smoothness and a nice heft, but the crispness bites hard, and it never lets go. The dryness takes a bit of a toll on the palate as well. Otherwise, it's good, but it takes some sitting to tame that bite.

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Photo of ChrisCage
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

One of my favorite breweries....let's get started!!

A- Pours a slightly hazed golden/coppery color and appears to have many columns of fine carbonation rising to the top. The head is impressive, being close to three fingers thick upon the pour, and slowly settling down to a eggshell colored thick layer that just sits there! Lacing is also impressive, with lots of creamy dense foam sticking to my English pint glass! Overall a very nice looking brew....right on par with S. Smith product!

S- Typical fruity esters waft their way into my nose...apricot kernel, banana and perhaps some slightly underripe nectarine....very nice. Following this is creamy yeast aromas, and sweet caramel malt sugars. The finish shows a somewhat dry bitter hop smell....nothing very strong but there nonetheless.

T- The flavors I find are very typical of an English Pale Ale, rather than a winter warmer, as I do not find the alcohol warmth on my palate the way I thought I might. I find the fruitiness found in the aromas to take a backseat to the initial flavors of malt sweetness and the hop profile in the middle and finish to takeover. The alcohol shows itself more right after the swallow, blending in a slightly astringent bite with the bitterness....it's quite nice and makes me know that this is in fact a 6% beer.

M- This is a slightly thinner beer than I expected, leaning more in between watery and medium body....not a big deal but it should be noted. The carbonation is plentiful but very fine, and the hop profile is rather leafy and fresh....just the way it should be!

O- This is a highly drinkable ale! I agree with a prior review in the confusion about what style this should be listed as, but regardless, I think this makes a fine English Ale! The alcohol content is slightly deceiving going from nose to palate, but it's very well balanced, if not slightly underwhelming flavor wise, but does the job with the style. I recommend this one and will purchase again in the future!

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Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.69/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Presentation: According to the code and Fresh Beer Only!, this was bottled August 2nd, 2012, making it seven months and a day old. Not ideal, but at least it’s inside of a year, which is not always the case with a lot of Samuel Smith’s stuff we can find locally. This year’s vintage label (2012-2013) features a rugby match. Into a Sam Smith’s imperial pint.

Appearance: This pours an attractive liquid copper, with a good-sized, loose ivory cap that falls slowly to a thick, persistent film. Great clarity and medium carbonation.

Smell: A lot of the same fruity (apple, in particular) estery (yeast-derived?) notes that I find with most of the Samuel Smith beers, but while they seem a bit out of place in some brews (like the Imperial Stout, for example), here they’re supported by a ghostly hint of alcohol, light yeasty notes, and a mild, toasty malt character. While this isn’t as malt-driven as I’d like it to be (or as the label suggests it is) this really is a nice-smelling beer.

Taste: The flavors largely follow the aromas, though there is a firm hop bitterness that I was not quite expecting from this beer. The bitterness is clean, and feels like (rough guess, I’m bad at this) it’s maybe around 30-35 IBUs. I was hoping for a bit more maltiness in the flavor department, but again it’s the estery apple and yeast notes that lead here, with only light, crackery/biscuit malt flavors and a bit of the pleasant rustic, earthy character I often find in Yorkshire beers. Fruity and smoothly bitter hop flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium-, bordering on full-bodied and smooth

Overall: I think I finally pegged why it is that I’m sort of let down by this beer. It’s simply not, in my mind, a proper English-style winter warmer, or at least not what we in the States consider to be characteristic of this kind of beer. It doesn’t have a rich, deep maltiness, reminiscent of bread, caramel, or toast, it’s not particularly sweet or hoppy bitter, and it’s definitely on the milder side of the flavor spectrum. I was expecting something more in that vein, and perhaps that’s why I was at first disappointed, that and the way that this beer is marketed, as “brewed for the short days and long nights of winter,” with a “luxurious malt character” and “nuances and complexities that should be contemplated before an open fire.” To me, that description sounds like what I personally think of when I think ‘winter warmer’, though that’s not really what we have here. However, if you look at this in terms of what it really is (i.e. a strong, fruity Yorkshire bitter, whose gravity makes it suitable for cold-weather drinking), you may, as I did, see this beer in a very different light. When I think of Winter Welcome in those terms, suddenly the fruity yeast, light malt character, slick smooth mouthfeel, and nice drinkability make this beer seem much more successful than I’d originally thought. In fact, if it was available year-round and I could get ahold of it relatively fresh, I might even pick it up on a semi-regular basis (in the 18.7oz, ‘Victorian pint’ bottles, of course). This is a quintessentially “English” strong bitter, and it’s fairly good. If you’re looking for what we in the States generally think of as a ‘winter warmer’ in the English tradition (toasty, bready, caramelly, strong, likely darker, and maybe with a hint of vinous character or roast) you’ll likely be disappointed.

Overall: (rated as an English Special/Strong Bitter) 85= B

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Photo of eduardolinhalis
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

550ml bottle served in a Thumbler.

A: Pours an absolutely clear copper color forming a medium bubbled and creamy white to yellow head. Medium to low retention and some spotty and molasses lacings are left in the glass

S: Extremely malty. Sweet malts, toffee, caramel malts, roasted malts. Some spicy hints. Quite fruity and biscuity too. Honey. Flowery and earthy hops. Biscuity

T: Slightly sweet upfront with strong notes of sweet and caramel malts. Toffee, honey, wheat biscuits and dark fruits (plums ans raisins, mainly). Overall a dry taste with considerable hops bitterness. Malts and hops combination is very English style. Not very far from a classic Bitter

M: Medium body and carbonation. Bitter and biscuity aftertaste

O: Easy-drinking beer. Good bittersweet balance. Strong English character. Recommended

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Photo of Huffs
4.05/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a pint glass and a nice creamy head developed which retained and laced well, was a biscuit color. Appearance was dark amber and cloudy. Aroma was sweet and of spice with hints of bread and toffee. Taste was sweet, almost a maple taste, with a bready, spicy note. Mouthfeel was creamy and full. with a sweet, almost syrupy aftertaste.

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Photo of darky
3.82/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This is one beer that I simply do not understand the its classification vs. its flavor profile.

Winter Warmer? Ok, sure, it's a broad category in my opinion I'll let it fly. Now, I am reviewing this blind, without any knowledge of the types of malt/hops/yeast it is brewed with. I've had this beer numerous times, and the one trait I keep coming back to is: sour fruit. I realize this is isn't a sour ale, but when I'm buying beer and I see this, all I can think is, "Mmmmm, sour!"

All that aside, I really enjoy this beer. I can't think of any other "winter warmer" that tastes anything like this. Moderate carbonation, great mouthfeel, 50/50 balance of malt/hops with neither one trying to take center stage. if you've never had this and want to try something 'different', don't hesitate to try this.

Taste: subtle hop bitterness, some banana. The malt is squarely middle-of-the-road, flat, unbiased, zero EQ,....you get the idea.

Overall, this reads as a 'poor man's' Belgian sour ale to me. An odd duck for sure, but you owe it to yourself to try it. Very difficult to review.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.82/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

Is it just me, or does "Winter Welcome" sound like a sex act of some kind...? Anyway, this stuff pours a clear sunset amber topped by a finger of frothy cream-white foam. The nose comprises biscuit, very light dried honey, and the lightest possible kiss of earthy greens. The taste holds notes of funky wheat, dried honey, light biscuit, light grass, and a slightly heavier touch of earthy greens than before. Things don't meld all that well, though. The body is a lithe medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda dry finish. Overall, a sad, muddled, and otherwise nondescript and forgettable little brew.

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Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
83 out of 100 based on 1,106 ratings.