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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

586 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 586
Reviews: 370
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 12.78%
Wants: 46
Gots: 16 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-27-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 586 | Reviews: 370 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HardTarget
3.33/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: Floral hops, a note of honey and lemongrass.
Appearance: Hazy golden straw color with the sheerest head of off white smaller bubbles.
Flavor: Honey flavor really pops at first, but a nicely balanced hop bitter quickly jumps in before it gets too sweet. Strong toffee and caramel tastes. There is a slightly off aftertaste, an orange rind sulfur taste. It has that “rain water” flavor that I get from organic brews.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, nice carbonation level, slight chew, very oily.
Overall Impression: Forgive the fragmented sentences, but this one just isn’t inspiring me. In general it has a good flavor with an odd twist. As for style, it seems bang on. Drinkability, I can see others making a session of it, and Brits needing a fix now and then, but for me, it just isn’t my cup of tea.

HardTarget, Sep 05, 2004
Photo of marcobrau
2.95/5  rDev -26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber color and foams up. The head disappears a few seconds later like with many English ales - that's okay, I like the lighter carbonation. The aroma is fruity and a bit musty. The first sip is full of fairly sweet, caramel malt flavor, and gets fruitier and juicier towards the finish. A light bitterness exerts itself about two thirds of the way to the finish, which is flowery, slightly dry and lightly bitter. The taste of minerals that the Tadcaster brewing water and unique fermentation is famous for shows up towards the finish; especially as this pint comes up to room temperature. Overall, a very easy drinkin' English ale, with some delicate flavors that are probably eclipsed by other more assertive British brews. It's certainly worth trying and makes for a good session beer; athough a bit strong for such classification.

marcobrau, Sep 01, 2004
Photo of tjd25
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The head was soft, dense and foamy. It faded into a nice white collar. The body is a pale transparent orange color. The smell is sweet and pleasing, malty with fruity notes of figs, raisins and a nice caramel aspect. Some apples, and maybe some pears. The taste shows the same malty and fruity notes as the smell; caramel, figs, apples, raisins, pears, with a thick herbal/straw like/grassy hoppiness, lasting in the palate. Hints of alcohol, kind of surprising since it’s only 5%. I didn’t really think about the mouthfeel as I had this beer. It was hard to isolate it from the taste. Is that a sign of weakness? Maybe. I enjoyed this organic ale and wouldn’t mind having it again, although I wouldn’t want it to be an everyday beer.

tjd25, Jul 30, 2004
Photo of stoutman
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Like most Samuel Smith's products, this is a very nice beer. It looks good in the glass, has a firm clean head and presents with an uplifting English hop aroma. Great body and firm balance. Hazy golden color, little head. Earthy hops and dust flavors in the background, herbal hops in the foreground, citrussy aftertaste, tingly mouthfeel with a medium body. Tasty. As for organics, I really can't tell the difference.

stoutman, Jul 23, 2004
Photo of cbl2
3.15/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Crystal golden w/ inch thick white head that leaves a slight lace as it settles.


Mildly hoppy w/ some subtle malt hints.


Reminiscent of an IPA w/ a cascade hops flavor up front & in the finish. Little to no malt characteristics. Good but not as great as the rest of the Samuel Smith fleet.

cbl2, Jul 01, 2004
Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a great pour,rich golden with a nice fluffy head that sticks to the glass like glue.Aroma is lightly minty and and soapy pretty subtle but appetizing.Taste has a tea quality to it as well as some green leafiness with a lean malt backbone that holds it together.Not a big flavored beer just very appetizing and drinkable like it should be,what else is expected from Samual Smith's?

oberon, Jun 10, 2004
Photo of DPMomutant
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clean, clear golden color with a moderate head that retains and laces well.

Very nice and malty in the smell. A bit vienna smelling which is alright by me.

A nice malty taste up front with a little hop surprise in the back.

The carbonation is active but not harsh and the beer itself has excellent consistency allowing it to go down smooth.

It doesn't blow me away, but it is a fine quality ale and is session-worthy.

DPMomutant, Jun 06, 2004
Photo of claytri
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Ale poured a nice golden, on the dark side, with a thin white head that quickly went to lace. It had a wonderful aroma of malt and hops, quite inviting. The taste was rich and bitter with plenty of complexity. Hints of Citrus and banana with a strong hoppy finish. The feel is smooth and oily having a bit of bubble to it, and finishes with a dry hoppy twist that leaves a fine aftertaste. I believe this to be a very good beer and a fine example of a British Bitter. I would put it at the top of my list of bitters, but it still won't top out Sam Smith's Pure Lager on my pecking order. All in all another fine beer from Samuel Smith's.

claytri, Apr 25, 2004
Photo of granger10
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer poured a slightly dark golden color with a moderate off white head. Some lacing but not much. Smell is of fruity esters and bready yeast. Taste is very easy and enjoyable. I notice a definite caramel sweetness up front combined with a buttery diactecyl. Butterscotch becomes prevalent the more this warms. Apple undertones and a biscuity base. Hops don't work with the malts too well and seem a bit off. But this is definitely a nice easy beer to drink and relax to. Drinking good beer AND helping the environment, can't get better than that!

granger10, Apr 24, 2004
Photo of GreenWBush
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Finally time to be objective about a classic i've been enjoying for years.

Found a dated and closed case, so no questions about lightstruck skunk concerns.

Samuel Smith's Organically Produced Ale comes packaged in a classically minimalist way. No hop vines or biergirls, just classic lettering. Dark bottle, $2.50.

Comes out of the bottle in a flap of unexpected carbonation. Seems like they've kicked it up a notch, or maybe the older examples weren't good indicators. Immaculate and sheen presence, cleaner than its US grandsons. Light Bronze. Spotty but indignant lacing.

Hints of apple-sweet malt, olde school British yeast, no traces of alcohol. Slight Brit0hop intonation, but nothing at all overpowering.

A delightfully smooth ale that is mysteriously simple. Hops and malts are equally graceful in their footsteps, and your mouth leaves the ordeal as it began. Slightly obvious colloquial-water profile that is part of the love affair. Thin mouthfeel but enough profile to be good in winter or summer. I couldn't be happy with one bottle on a night, its so consistently good.

GreenWBush, Mar 29, 2004
Photo of ngandhi
3.43/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Virtually uncarbonated and perhaps for the better. Besides being classically British, the lack of head prevents too much of the noxious smell of this brew from wafting up into my nose. Gigantic butterscotch and grain come out as the beer warms, but the smell is primarily of lime and apple.

Once it warms, this beer is a whole other beast and we begin to understand why the Brits want their beer at such precise temperatures. For those short moments this brew hovers around 57 degrees, it reminds me of old ale and is actually tolerable. Ready to give it a 2 in smell, after noticing the true colors of this beer I actually come to respect it. And the warmer it gets the more the diacetyl hides the otherwise unpleasant hop profile and finally makes me realize that there might actually be something to British beer.

Warm or cold, however, the palette never really develops. Though dominated by disgusting lime straight out of the fridge, there's a consistent flavor of bruised apples that never goes away. The finish is very dry, trying maybe to highlight the graininess and yeast and counteract the ill-fated hopping.

There's no unifying element in this brew. It's a mess of British this and British that and, as entirely unAmerican as this tastes, it comes off as a hack job of British beer. Shipyard can do better. Blasphemey, I'm sure, to knock one of Britain's oldest and most prized breweries. Perhaps it's the importing of ingredients from other places to ensure organic certification, but this tastes amateur at best.

Relax, relax.

ngandhi, Mar 26, 2004
Photo of Quaffer
4.43/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

18.7 oz. Bottle

Appearance: Slightly hazey and amber-orange in color, this beer produced a think, two-finger head on the pour. It settled down very slowly and never disappeared completely. There remained a cap of foam on top of the brew for the entire time that I was drinking it. A light amount of lace was left behind as the beer was consumed.

Smell: There was a lot going on with the aroma. It had a good, classic ale smell to it, but there was something else to it that set it apart from other beers. It was hard to put my finger on, but it was there. Tons of fruity esters, especially right after the pour. These mellowed out as the beer sat and became more defined. Apple and a hint of banana became very eveident at that point. There was a lot of sweet malt and a little bit of roasted as well. Also on the nose was a candy-like sweetness and an earthy aroma that really set his beer apart.

Mouthfeel: Thin- to medium-bodied and fairly smooth, becoming velvety on the back of the tongue and in the throat.

Taste: The flavor was mellow and very enjoyable. There was a nice toasted biscuit flavor that was provided by the roasted malt. Quite a bit of sweetness was present as well, but this was balanced almost perfectly by a nice hops bitterness. The finish had a surprising kick of lemon that complimented the other flavors well. Light notes of other fruit flavors were present at times, but these were background flavors.

A very nice beer that I wish I could get here in Wichita. It goes down quickly and easily, making it a great session beer, especially at only 5.0% abv. Not a powerhouse or a show stopper by any means. Just a great, solid, drinkable ale.

Quaffer, Mar 23, 2004
Photo of TinusTime
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice golden with the slightest hint of orange. Nice white head that lasts and lasts. Smell is of a little sweet malt and floral scents. Taste is very well balanced between the malt and hops. Very English in that the hops are not dominent and balance but dont dominate this ale. The mouthfeel is extremely smooth with just the right amount of scrubbing carbonation on the palate. Drinkability is high. This would make for a great session beer. So well balanced and smooth one could easily make a night of these. Recommended as a very well balanced if not overly flavourful ale

TinusTime, Mar 04, 2004
Photo of Tballz420
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew is a near-pale golden color, with a well formed white head on top. The scent has candy, some english hops and a malt influence. The taste of this brew is a nice combo of the english hop taste you'd expect from this brewery, with a sweet malt balance to it. Buttery touch to it. This brew has a very smooth feel to it. Finish is bitter hops. This is a good beer from a good brewery. A good installment in the english pale ale line. Recommended.

Tballz420, Mar 04, 2004
Photo of Billolick
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one classy, well put together brew. Light in color, with a white head. Very smooth, and pleasant on the old tongue. Subtle bittering combined with a lovely malt palate add up to a delicious ale. English in every way. Too polite to knock you taste buds out of the park, (like some crass American brews are known to do, Iove those beers to, dont get me wrong!) The final pour included some nice yeasty sediment, which sealed the deal, great stuff from Sammy S.

Billolick, Feb 27, 2004
Photo of krberg
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Sometimes its hard to separate myself from mass American culture. It is with that statement I qualify my next. This beer looks like a beer should - golden, with a large white head and a steady flow of bubbles from the bottom to the top. It does smell kind of sour and citrusy, which go me worried that perhaps I bought a bad bottle. It did come from the bodega down the street and while I've never had a bad SS from there I always fear it happening. The immediate taste is almost too smooth and lager-like, but the back of the mouth and after tastes both round this beer out nicely. There is a soft maltiness (which, for some reason, I always find comforting) with a hint of bitterness. This is a nice session beer. Nothing hits you over the head, but it is a quality crafted, well balanced beer. I can see a lot of this being put away on the stoop this summer.
The initial rush of CO2 creates a very thin and gassy mouthfeel. As the beer warms and the gas escapes it becomes a bit smoother. It is still thin though. I suppose that contributes some to an easy drinkability, but I'm not necessarily looking for a beer I can pound. Still, this is a great beer for BBQs and scorching hot days. I would also suggest it to anyone looking to ease themselves or friends into craft beers. Another great beer by Samuel Smiths.

krberg, Feb 18, 2004
Photo of EagleTalon
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A very good looking beer. Deep golden color with orange hue, nice white permanent head with lace. Aroma is sweet malt and noble hops. Flavor is balanced, but toward they dry and crisp side--rather lagerlike. Finishes pleasantly bitter. A very decent selection.

EagleTalon, Feb 10, 2004
Photo of Gavage
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This pours a light orange color with a thick creamy head that produces some small spotty lacing. The aroma is of light malt and decent floral tones. The flavor was nicely balanced between the malt and hops, and the hops produced a stronger than expected bitterness. Very straight forward pale ale as only some distant citrus was detectable.

The mouthfeel was smooth and thin. Slightly lighter in body than other pales. A mild malt and light bitterness rode the tongue during the aftertaste. Very drinkable and enjoyable. Could be a session beer.

Gavage, Feb 07, 2004
Photo of NJpadreFan
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Organically Produced?!

I hope the's no cow manure in this beer!

Appearance- light orange with a big thick billowy white head.
Smell- yeasty mostly with a little malt.
Taste- very good! creamy, buttery malt. A hint of caramel I detect. very tasty!
Mouthfeel- crisp, slighty watery, no bitterness, no carbonation. Goes down TOO smooth.

Overall- A very good Ale. Damn, this was tasty. I shall purchase more!!!

NJpadreFan, Feb 03, 2004
Photo of WesWes
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark gold color with a thin white lace head. The aroma is good. It is quite malty with a yeast fruitiness to it. The taste is excellent. It is full of sweet malts. It has a great balance of malts and hops with a smooth creamy finish. The mouthfeel is great as well. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an awesome beer. It drinks outstanding; a real treasure.

WesWes, Jan 21, 2004
Photo of kbub6f
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Small, white, noisy head. Clear, orange/gold beer. Lots of carbonation. Malty, tangy, buttery, sweet nose. Maltorama! Darkish, buttery caramel. Tangy, bitter finish. A touch watery, a touch metallic when cold. For some reason I'm really into malty British ales these days. This one's a beaut.

kbub6f, Jan 18, 2004
Photo of kunzbrew
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a golden straw color with a fluffy head that does not last long leaving a collar with a nice lace behind.

The strong smell of hops hits the nose hard with a biscuit malt aroma as well.

The sweet malt flavor along with a moderate hop aroma fill the mouth. Strong carbonation stings the tongue as well.

The overall mouthfeel is good but not great, same for the flavor.

kunzbrew, Jan 11, 2004
Photo of moulefrite
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very clean looking bright golden. An attractive buttery looking head that leaves ample creamy, sticky lace follows. More depth here than was expected from the fairly simple color. The beer brings to the table a deep maltiness as well as a fine balance of hop that suggests.... "I'm British!" A lush, almost buttery mouthfeel-brown butter at that-and a fresh squeeze of lemon is present throughout, and a lengthly finish features sweet malt and pleasant bitter. This is a solid ale.

moulefrite, Jan 05, 2004
Photo of RoyalT
2.17/5  rDev -45.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance – The body is a light orangish yellow and clear. The head is nice and thick but went down quickly.

Smell – There wasn’t much of a nose to this one. I could pick up some grain and cheap sugar along with a big, musty smell.

Taste – The nasty grain and sour tartness that I’ve come to expect from lesser breweries is here in spades. This stuff is horrible.

Mouthfeel – Light, fizzy carbonation and extremely thin, even for a Pale Ale.

Drinkability – Thank God my wife agreed to put away the rest of this one. She wasn’t too happy with it though and said that she definitely won’t “buy again” (this from a Sam Smith fan).

RoyalT, Dec 31, 2003
Photo of Beastdog75
3.63/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another organic beer from the Samuel Smith's Old Brewery. According to my Merchant du Vin pamphlet that I picked up in a beer store, this beer uses malted barley, cane sugar, and hops grown by certified organic farmers and that the hops come from New Zealand because the pests that effect hops in Europe aren't as troublesome. Seems like a pretty interesting and well made brew to say the least.

This organic ale pours a nice amber color with some orange hue to it. It also has a slight haziness to it. A decent foamy head forms, lasts about 1 1/2 minutes and leaves sporadic lacing. The smell was dominated by malt. Very sweet, almost caramel like in the nose. This beer feels smooth and moderately carbonated on the palette. As with the aroma, the flavor seems mostly dominated by malt as well. Caramel like notes are present. The hop presence is decent, but pales in comparison to the regular Sam Smith's Pale Ale. The aftertaste has a light-moderate dryness, and has a bit of a nutty flavor to it too. This beer finishes out with a light alcoholic warmth.

Another good beer from Samuel Smith. Those turned off by the more malty brews might want to try something else, as I thought this was one of the more maltier beers that I have sampled. The sweetness lowered the drinkability by just a bit, but this is still a smooth, easy drinking pale ale that has the added bonus of not having any nasty "extras" possibly floating around.

Beastdog75, Dec 24, 2003
Samuel Smith's Organic Best Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
89 out of 100 based on 586 ratings.