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

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Samuel Smith's Organic Best AleSamuel Smith's Organic Best Ale

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very good

595 Ratings

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Ratings: 595
Reviews: 371
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 12.81%
Wants: 60
Gots: 19 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 595 | Reviews: 371
Photo of ElGordo
4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear, golden-orange hue with a smallish white, bubbly head that subsides quickly. Pleasant aroma of sweet malt, a touch of hops, and some biscuity notes. Crisp, clean taste, but not in the American macro way. Medium body holds a palate of light malt up front. The hops come out towards the back of the mouth, resulting in a balanced, mellow finish with a touch of biscuit and citrus on the aftertaste. A great beer for a session, this one goes down smooth and easy while maintaining its character.

Photo of kosmoraios
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

How incredibly refreshing. This ale pours a slightly murky orange color into my glass, with a small head that is gone quickly, but leaves some lace clinging to the glass. The aroma is of somewhat toasty malt with a bit of rising bread dough. Taste is crisp and clean with some extraordinarily balanced flavors of malt and hops, a soupçon of citrus and a tinge of very light toffee sweetness. The mouthfeel holds it's own with ample carbonation and pepperiness. Very drinkable ale.

For some reason, this "Organically Produced" version is crisper, cleaner, and just "feels better" if you can dig that. I'm not sure what the cause of that is. Pale Ale is not my favorite style, but I very much enjoyed this ale. I think it is a prime example of it's style.

Photo of neonbrown82
4.39/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured a slightly cloudy golden color with a thing head that recedes to a fine ring. A little unimpressive, but looks provide the least bit of physical stimulation of the beer experience. Presentation is important, but not so important that I was worried this beer might suck due to its unimpressive appearance.

I found the balance between hops and malts to be impeccable in both the smell and taste. Each time I would take a drink or a whiff, I would simultaneously experience the sweetness of the malts and the bitterness and bouqet of the hops. Also detected some esters from the yeast and a slight doughy flavor. Very tasty. I enjoyed this much better than the Sam Smith's Pale Ale.

Photo of allengarvin
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Slightly hazy orange color, white film across the top.

Aroma: Very slight malt with a touch of hops. Low aroma, hard to detect anything.

Flavor: Touch of caramel, fairly sweet malt, with a citrusy, lemony hop presence. Bitterness is moderate, but hop flavor is pleasant. Moderately fruity, with a clean finish. Lacks the astringency and diacetyl of other Sam Smith beers.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation, medium-light body.

An easy drinking, uncomplex beer. Lacks any of the bold characters of the rest of the Sam Smith line.

Photo of CVC
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Came in a dark 18.7 oz. bottle; served in a pint glass.

Pours a hazy golden yellow with a pure white, two-finger, bubbly head. Stays around for a while and leaves a good amount of lace. Smells earthy, and yeast and wheat. Tastes sweet and pale, yeast, wheat, and maybe hints of honey. Organic. Has a solid mouthfeel which fits the beer.

This stuff's all right. It has a very organic taste to it, and it's almost like Fat Tire, but paler and a little better. A little too weak and pale for my tastes, but I'd get it again.

Photo of necoadam
3.08/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured out a light golden/orange color, hazy, with a nice head to go along with it.

Smell was fairly light, but consisted of some sweet malts along with a touch of earth tones. Some light yeast also hangs around in the background.

Taste was pretty average. Malts start out with a touch of sweetness to it, but nothing overboard. A touch of hops start to blend in along with some citrus notes. Some yeast also finishes at the end. Finished with a honey/herbal tone which seem alright, but was a little too much I thought, need to get toned down.

Mouthfeel was light to medium. Carbonation was in check.

Not bad. I wouldn't refuse this beer but I don't know if I would want to buy another one.

Photo of kmpitz2
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a golden color with a finger of head that fell to coat the beer. The nose was very grainey with a touch of honey sweetness. Not overly appealing to me. The flavor followed the nose pretty spot on. Lots of raw grainey flavors along with a bit of honey sweetness. Just not my favorite beer. The feel was moderate and drinkability suffered from the flavor and nose I didn't like so much. Its not bad beer, but just not good.

Photo of SheepNutz
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Half a liter bottle poured into a snifter. It pours a deep gold color with one finger of head. A touch of lacing on the glass. The smell is light and malty, somewhat sweet. Only slightly hoppy. The taste is also sweet, with some honey under a good malt background. A pinch of hops on the finish. The body is fairly thick and smooth. The drinkability is very nice. Thanks to my brother Jack for bringing this (now sign up for BA you wuss!!!).

Photo of waughbrew
3.82/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light gold, small cap of white foam. Light aroma of bicuit, butter, and cider. Flavor lets that biscuit shine rather nicely with an earthy herbal hop note. Finishes a little sweet, but welcomes another sip. A nice beer that does the English proud. I won't go out of my way to import it again, but I will enjoy it when I have it.

Photo of HardTarget
3.3/5  rDev -17.1%
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.

Photo of marcobrau
2.92/5  rDev -26.6%
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.

Photo of tjd25
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Photo of stoutman
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

Photo of cbl2
3.18/5  rDev -20.1%
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.

Photo of oberon
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
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?

Photo of DPMomutant
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Photo of claytri
4.47/5  rDev +12.3%
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.

Photo of granger10
3.87/5  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!

Photo of GreenWBush
3.7/5  rDev -7%
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.

Photo of ngandhi
3.4/5  rDev -14.6%
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.

Photo of Quaffer
4.42/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

Photo of TinusTime
3.98/5  rDev 0%
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

Photo of Tballz420
4.3/5  rDev +8%
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.

Photo of Billolick
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
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.

Photo of krberg
3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

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Samuel Smith's Organic Best Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
89 out of 100 based on 595 ratings.