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Samuel Smith's Organic Best Ale - Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

Not Rated.
Samuel Smith's Organic Best AleSamuel Smith's Organic Best Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

370 Reviews

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Reviews: 370
Hads: 601
Avg: 3.96
pDev: 12.88%
Wants: 74
Gots: 20 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
English Pale Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-27-2001

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 370 | Hads: 601
Photo of hopmashian
5/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is as close to perfection as a brewery can come for this style. Smooth and well balanced. I wonder if I could get this in a pub in the UK. Better yet on draught in So Fl.

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Photo of archyquaffer
4/5  rDev +1%

Poured from the quasi-imperial pint bottle into a shaker glass. A semi-aggressive pour produces a snow white head of about a half inch. The beer is an extra pale golden, slightly hazy, with medium carbonation.

Light floral aromas and touch of honey-like sweetness with a dry mineral quality are skillfully combined here. A slightly puckery pungency shines forth, a rather unique quality that I suspect stems from the yeast and stone squares.

An excellent and accessible example of an English pale ale. Lighter in color and a bit more subtle than their organic pale ale.

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Photo of Foyle
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a thick, sudsy cream colored head that recedes slowly with mild lacing. Color is a mostly clear rich amber with moderate carbonation streaming.
Aroma: raisins, apricots, toffee, yeast rolls.
Mouthfeel: light bodied with a bit of ale fluffiness and a mostly dry finish.
Flavor: initial flavor is the sweet barley malt-- toffee, caramel, and white bread. The middle has some butterscotch and fruity esters with a earthy hop bite in the finish.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a golden yellow color with a fingers worth of head that fades down to a tiny layer of mini bubbles

S: Pale English malt, some grassy, floral, and earthy hops, a burst of fruitiness, and some graininess all come out

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with a good bit of fruit and grain combo along with some floral notes, followed by the earthy and grassy hop notes. Finishes with a light sweetness and a touch of diacetyl

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: Extremely well balanced, with the malt and hops working very well together. Nice and easy to drink to boot. Definitely recommended for fans of English ales

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Photo of theteleman
5/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A beautiful amber color with a highly carbonated massive white head. This beer is perfect to me. Like nothing I have ever tasted before, a truly unique brew that is incredibly balanced and still complex and interesting to taste. My expierence in pale ales has been Sierra Nevada/West Coast type stuff, and dont get me wrong, I love the brews that come out of the West coast but this is just so different yet still so enjoyable to sip on. Go buy one! Cost me 3.50 at PW Mart in Poway CA, a decent price for a really outstanding beer.

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Photo of thebrood1987
5/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The smell is fantastic. A nice deep rich candy malt smell with a slight floral smell. I also get the yeast in there as well. On the first sip I get a nice carbonation and slight hop bite with a very rich malt candy flavor that is out of this world. Its so smooth.. It ends with a tinge of floral bitterness.

I also get a slight salty taste but in the best way possible probably from the hard well water they use in the beer. This is my favorite malty forward beer I've ever had. Maybe I'm biased though because I'm a big organic food advocate and saw organic and instantly wanted to try it. but wow what a difference.

This is definitely not an American beer by any standard. Not to say American beers aren't balanced but this is the best balanced beer I've ever had. Definitely one of my favorites of all time.

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Photo of LXIXME
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big white head settles to a decent lacing above a clear caramel golden colored beer.

A light nutty caramel malts aroma.

The taste is similar to the aroma but seems more full and brings a hint of hops along for the ride.

Light dryish aftertaste on a medium bodied beer that has a bit of tastes remaining for a bit after drinking a glass of this.

A pretty decent beer, seems sort of like a slightly watered down version of their porter, or something like that.

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Photo of mick303
4.03/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

This is labelled as "Organic Pale Ale" so I'm hoping I've got the right one. Very tasty in any case.

Into a tulip glass this has a nice off-white soapy head, good retention. Colour is a bright caramel brown, slightly reddish. Really nice film and lacing. Very attractive. 4

S – an interesting nutty caramel, roasted apples with a rich fruitiness. Has light apple and floral notes on top of a caramel malt and mineral base. Hop presence is not especially aggressive, an inviting slightly earthy and grassy profile. 4

T – bready full maltiness, lemon and earthy bitterness, some nice bracing minerality with some yeast character toward the end. Good balance of mineral acidity with the malt and hops. Cinnamon and caramel sweetness but a good yeasty/bready character as well. Mild but quite a bit going on. Mighty tasty stuff, balance is well executed. 4

M – light with lots of carbonation, tingling and malt forward with a full crisp finish. Full flavoured and easy drinkability. Very lively. 3.75

Very tasty English Pale Ale. Not in your face in any respect. I gravitated to the mineral and yeasty body. This is a well-executed ale, worth a try as it does good service to this style. 4.25

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Photo of biegaman
4.01/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

There's a number of benefits to organic products and apparently we can add aesthetics to that list. Samuel Smith Organic Pale Ale is one of the most handsome beers I've laid eyes on. With a glowing complexion it is comprised of stratified shades of amber (deep on top, bright on the bottom) and a bustling crowd of bubbles that make the beer busy as a Shanghai market.

It's hard to appreciate the grassy hop and caramel malt flavours from the other side of a giant head that ostensibly acts as a sponge, but the aroma manages to give some (subtle) indication of what to expect on the palate. Slightly dank, slightly sweet - it's a quintessentially British ale alright when it combines notes of wet fields with confections.

Making a beer like this on the scale of a brewery like Carling would break even the bank of England. Nevermind the obvious additional costs with going organic, but anything this clean and wholesome - a beer not only free of adjuncts but actually brewed from high-quality ingredients - would cost a small fortune. Plus the significant use of hops! Imagine the price of a 2-4?

Good ingredients make for a bready, biscuity, lightly toasted maltiness and hints of marmalade, yellow plum and apricot preserves. The hops have a lightly dank, herbal component that, aided by a particularly stiff water, leaves a grassy, leafy green-type bitterness (which is balanced by nougat-like sweetness). Very quaffable but a bit heavy for a session option.

Samuel Smith is, in my mind, as much a British emblem as the Crown Jewels or Buckingham Palace. There may be no beer that better blends England's proud brewing traditions with its modern environmental and gastronomic values than Organic Pale Ale, or, as it's also (perhaps more aptly) known, Organic Best Ale. I wish more flagship offerings were this good.

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Photo of thehyperduck
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

550 mL bottle from the LCBO; bottled on May 22 2013. Always pumped to try out a new beer from this brewery, which has not yet disappointed me with any of their offerings. It's labelled as their 'Organic Pale Ale' in this market, although the label art is virtually identical to that in the picture so I must assume this is the correct place to put this review. Served well chilled.

Pours a beautiful, clear orange-amber colour, topped with roughly 1.5 fingers of frothy, foamy off-white head that wilts away over the next five minutes or so. In its wake, it leaves a smooth, creamy cap and a few modest smudges of lacing. Mild, clean aroma that leans toward the malty side - butterscotch and toffee come through nicely, as well as toasted biscuits, sultanas, and some leafy hop notes. Plain, but otherwise spot-on for the style.

Fortunately, the flavours are much bolder than the subdued aroma might first imply. Once again, the malts are the star of the show, but there is a sturdy hop backing that balances it perfectly. Toffee sweetness and doughy, biscuity malts start us off, as well as some light toasted nuttiness and lemon zest. This leads into some hoppy bitterness, which becomes more prominent toward the end of the sip, providing a pleasant, earthy dryness that lingers. Earthy, leafy aftertaste with a strong mineral vibe from the hard well water. On the light side of medium-bodied, with a somewhat smooth, creamy mouthfeel. The carbonation was a little high for my liking at first, but it settles somewhat as the beer warms.

Final Grade: 4.22, a very respectable A-. Samuel Smith's Organic Pale Ale is an immaculately balanced ale that is guaranteed to please any fan of English pales. While the malts are probably more likely to draw the bulk of your taste buds' attention, the earthy bitterness provided by the English hops is a perfect counterweight to their biscuity, toasted sweetness. This is one of the best EPAs I have ever had the pleasure of trying, although at this price point ($3.85 per bottle) it's not exactly the cheapest tipple as far as this style goes. Well worth a try for any English ale fan.

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Photo of Auraan
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured a gorgeous amber with a half finger off white head. A nice look that reminds one of an English classic. Scents of caramel, honey, sweet malt and slight apple juice. Not amazing, but it entices one to taste. Flavors of grainy malt, slight caramel and honey sweetness, particularly in the middle of the sip, though both are extremely muted and a nice moderate level of bitterness with some floral hop flavors. Finish is slightly dry. Very well done. Subdued, yet with a hoppy character. Not greatly hoppy like an APA. It balances it's bitterness with a nice grainy malt back bone and a very slight sweetness to make it quite drinkable. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation. Perfect for a session ale. A classic English pub style, executed extremely well. The best EPA I've had, well worth drinking.

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Photo of AmitC
3.81/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 500 ml bottle into a snifter.

About two and half fingers thick off white colored head that stays as a thin layer. Color is golden. Very clear and transparent. Nice lacing on the sides. A lot of bubbles seen rising up.

Aroma is very subdued. Malt presence. Some minor noble hops as well as some weed like hop notes. Slight caramel is off flavor i guess. Strength is moderate. No alcohol or warmth.

Taste is slightly better with a more balanced presentation. Hops and malts blend in really well and provide a nuanced flavor. Some bready malts and slight caramel. Hops are very subdued to have any presence of bitterness. Finish is dry. No bitterness whatsoever - low for pale ale.

Mouth feel is light bodied. Good amount of carbonation. Borders on being a one dimensional lager like ale.

One of the worst stuffs from Samuel Smith that I have had so far.

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Photo of pkingdesign
4.2/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.75

Clean ale flavor, extremely smooth and drinkable, a bit of citrus flavor and in the nose. Good head that lasted through the first several sips. I poured mine straight from the 'fridge into a chilled glass. Was delicious when very cold. One of my favorite beers overall.

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Photo of smokinyodas
4.78/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Just think of all the best things you could say about a lager and this would be the one for me. After drinking 4 of these just now I'm completely lost for words. The pour is a beautiful clear gold with a nice white foamy head. The smell and taste are fruity and floral without being overdone. The body and mouthfeel is just right, full and not heavy. Perfect introduction for anyone wanting to try a drinkable lager or share with a lady friend. And the best part is this beer is USDA Organic and free of chemical pesticides.

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Photo of McNealc31
3.1/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very clear for an ale. Aroma is mostly toasted malt and butterscotch candy. The butterscotch flavor carries through, blending with grassy hops. Very smooth. There is a hint of lemon in the finish. And that classic English hard water, as well.

Overall, I thought this was fine. Definitely not bad, but I don't think I'll be getting a craving for it again. Just didn't have enough flavor for me.

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Photo of Premo88
3.89/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz. bottle poured into pub glass

L: no great head, but crazy bright orange color -- VERY different. the color is a 5. that clear orange look is super sweet. the weakish head and lack of any noteworthy lacing looks disappointing for such an otherwise good beer.

S: fruity, citrusy (more orange than grapefruit) but with tons of good malt about halfway down. really smells like what I think of as a good English pale ale.

T: orange, sweet English pale ale, *NOT* always that sweet finish but more sweet up front with a very dry, carbonated watery-like finish. no major hop bite anywhere, but a goodly enough taste of hops to make it taste like good beer.

F: great carbonation, easy to drink, lightweight ... but a hair watery at times, at least to me.

O: love it in many ways, and it's certainly different from Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale -- the citrus notes distinguish it if nothing else. LOVE it as a break from our hop-tastic IPAs on this side of the pond because it gives me a different angle on the more malty English pale ale.

I will drink this from time to time several times a year. Not a champion beer but awfully good.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.84/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

355 ml bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A: Pours a golden amber color with a mild yeast haze. The head is a one and a half finger eggshell shade. It doesn't retain itself in a fantastic manner, but I love the lacing that's left on the glass.

S: There is a lot of semi-sweet caramel featured in the aroma, alongside touches of butterscotch and toffee. It doesn't seem to feature much in the way of hops; if they're here, then they seem to be merely used as a ballast against the malt sweetness. Still, it's a pleasant aroma featuring a slight mineral touch ever-so-prevalent in many Samuel Smith offerings.

T: Initial flavors of butterscotch, caramel, and toffee give way to some stone fruit esters in the midpalate and a semi-dry, vaguely hoppy finish. There's also a mild finishing astringency on the palate, nothing that's remotely harsh, however. Some of the fruity esters here (like cherry and apricot) help give a cherry pie quality to it. While not horribly complex, I could see myself drinking a few bottles in a sitting - which is always a great thing.

M: It features a pleasing dryness on the back end to counteract the slightly sweet linger. It also has that 'hard water' feel I expect from this brewery; a clean lightness that creates a very drinkable offering.

O: Very solid. I admit I didn't expect it to be this good, seeing as I don't usually gravitate towards the style. If it had a bit more depth, it would be incredible; as it stands right now it's simply very good.

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Photo of Huffs
3.56/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a pint glass with a nice white head developing which lasted reasonably well and has descent lacing. Appearance was an amber / gold color with a slight haziness. Aroma was of citrus and grain. Taste hat notes of caramel, fruity citrus. Mouthfeel was full and creamy with a light, hop aftertaste.

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Photo of CuteZombieDoll
4.26/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

From a bottle, poured into a large beer mug.

A- Pours a hazy orange-gold. Decent head that disappears quickly, and good lacing on the side of the glass.

S- Very sweet and fruity, with hints of toffee.

T- Starts very sweet and fruity at first, then finishes slightly floral and just a teeny bit hoppy.

M- Full, but not super heavy.

O- Fruity, flavorful, with a full mouthful. A definite go-to beer for me, and I would recommend it to others, especially for people who are big on eating (And drinking) organic.

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Photo of sethcroisant
4.65/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A- beautiful golden color with a finger of head. some lacing sticks around, but not a lot.

S- slightly floral/pine-like hops are up front. samuel smiths signature scent of toasted malts is in there as well.

M- splendid texture. very thick and frothy.

T- a lot of malt hits right away. sweet caramel up right away followed by the steely, toasted malt flavor the brewery is so good at using. hops are spicy and just strong enough. they linger on the back of the tongue for a few seconds. sweet and malty in the finish.

O- an absolute home run. perfect balance of hops and malt. novices and beer snobs alike should be able to enjoy.

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Photo of bambam2517
3.43/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From the bottle to a pint glass at 48F. As an aside, I love the bottles Sam Smith's is using!! Such a satisfying glug-glug-glug during the pour...

A - Dark golden body with a flat white froth that begins very minimal and does not last. Faint carbonation.

S - Nearly nothing! If I put my nose right into my glass I get a faint flowery aroma, but I dont get any of the wide range of esters in other reviews. There's certainly nothing bad about it, but very unremarkable.

T - Just a hint of pear up front. Subtle citrus and coriander aftertastes. Mild in a nice way, not a boring one.

M - Extremely easy drinking, finishes so clean and doesn't bog me down. Even at 5%abv no hint of alcohol whatsoever, its just so fresh. Reminds me of a farmhouse ale.

O - Feels like a real standard, this could be a go-to beer for me if it were more readily available here in AZ. Its versatile enough for most occasions and meal pairings. Id like to have it on hand for when im not in the mood for trying standout/"different" beers.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass

Appearance – Pours a lightly hazed light orange amber color with a two finger white head. The head has a good level of retention, slowly fading to give a nice level of lacing.

Smell- Wow. I was not expecting the huge fruit aroma that was in this one. An apple aroma mixed with some peach and pear are big and bold. Mixed with these are hints of caramel as well as a light bready smell.

Taste – The taste begins with a bready and fruity sweet flavor. The fruit flavor is initially of a peach and apricot flavor, but transitions to a more apple flavor as the taste advances further. Upfront there is also a caramel sweetness that soon gets overwhelmed by the apple. Toward the end the flavor has a malty and cider like taste. A light bitter citrus and herbal flavor come to the taste at the very end with it slightly leveling out some of the sweetness.

Mouthfeel - The body of the beer is on the slightly thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that is on the average side. While the carbonation level is average, it consists of tiny little bubbles that seem to tingle the tongue. This when combined with the slightly creamier body, is wonderful for the fruit flavors of the brew.

Overall – This beer has a fabulous nose and feel. The taste is not quite up to the former two but is still rather good. One to try if you have the chance.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
4.22/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - clear golden copper, respectable head retained very nicely, some random spot lacing
S - gentle apricot and orange peel, caramel and light grain, earthy on the back end
T - earthy and peppery hops of front, citrus rind hoppiness is there but more subtle than the nose, biscuity and light caramel malts, then a metallic crisp hop favour cuts through everything on the finish
M - somewhat light body with medium carbonation, just dry enough to make this very easy drinking
O - this is a very fine example of the style, it is not overbearing in any aspect but the mix of subtle flavours creates a bold tasting yet easily sessionable pale, highly recommended

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Photo of tone77
3.45/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 18.7 oz. bottle. Has a light golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is malty, a bit sweet. Taste is crisp, mild, some malts, kind of on the mild side. Feels light in the mouth and overall is a decent beer but it's nothing great.

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Photo of gtermi
3.38/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer pours a amber golden body with a thick white creamy head that quickly fades.

S: Really not too much going on here. I am getting a bit of grain, some slight hops and a slight lagery smell weirdly.

T: The taste is pretty damn faint too.. I really dont get why this beer gets so much love, there really arent any hops and the malt is pretty pale and weak.

M: Very smooth and goes down with ease. Has a nice creamy feel with a decent amount of crispness.

O: This is a decent beer, but not as great as people say. I think Samuel Smith is very overrated and just dont make anything that I care for. Maybe I am just not into English beers.

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Samuel Smith's Organic Best Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
89 out of 100 based on 370 ratings.