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Smithwick's Imported Premium Irish Ale - Guinness Ltd.

Not Rated.
Smithwick's Imported Premium Irish AleSmithwick's Imported Premium Irish Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,237 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 2,237
Reviews: 738
rAvg: 3.46
pDev: 15.03%
Wants: 22
Gots: 142 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Guinness Ltd. visit their website

Style | ABV
Irish Red Ale |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Mebuzzard on 04-01-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,237 | Reviews: 738 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

3.58/5  rDev +3.5%

Pours a deep amber with 1/2" of head. Nice retention. Smells of caramel malt. Taste is caramel malts with a hint of yeast. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and crisp; decent carbonation.

Rather one dimensional, but it's not a bad dimension. This is my go-to St. Patty's day drink.

08-14-2011 02:40:23 | More by tdm168
Photo of jondeelee


3/5  rDev -13.3%

Smells grainy and yeasty, with obvious notes of lightly-toasted malts. There's also a slightly stale quality to the aroma, as if beer-soaked bread had been left out overnight.

On the tongue, malts are the most obvious and immediate flavor, coming through in light streams of Grape Nuts cereal-like notes, or lightly-toasted barley. Hints of wheat bread can be found, along with biscuit and light caramels, and perhaps a shade of apricot right at the edge. Hops are a vague shadow in the background, providing only the merest hint of a grapefruit buzz, but still nicely complementing the malts. The aftertaste varies little from the body, and fades off quickly. Carbonation seems a little high to me.

Overall, this is a decent ale, and given its safe, middle-of-the-road approach (which is not a criticism; there *is* a place and purpose for such ales), it's easy to see why so many choose this as their drink of choice. It definitely goes down easy, and could be quaffed in great quantities.

08-09-2011 16:14:56 | More by jondeelee
Photo of smbslt


3.28/5  rDev -5.2%

Bottle into a pint glass. 3 finger head, fine, creamy consistent and ample carbonation. Clung in layers to the opposite side of the glass. Great reddish brown color but with an almost unnatural/artificial clarity.

Roasted malt not overly complex or interesting.

Far more interesting than the smell. Mild maltiness fading into the leafy tea notes and finishing a resinous dryness. Takes a bit to pick up on the flavors.

Better than expected. More complex than some of its mass produced qualities would lead a drinker to expect.

08-06-2011 03:48:15 | More by smbslt
Photo of Hanby


3.15/5  rDev -9%

A- Deep reddish brown with three fingers of foamy head, diminishing into nice lace which lingers throughout.

S- Roasted malt.

T- Roasted malt, caramel, and maybe a very slight hint of black tea.

M- Smooth and full.

O- Good brew, but not great. I enjoyed trying it. There simply isn't much that stands out here.

08-03-2011 00:43:44 | More by Hanby
Photo of thehyperduck

Ontario (Canada)

3.53/5  rDev +2%

Never had this one before despite its near-ubiquity. Pours a brilliant red-amber colour, topped with a puffy, lumpy off-white head. Decent retention; a modest cap lasts for most of the drink and copious quantities of lacing stick to the sides. The smell is pretty subdued; roasted biscuit malts, caramel and some grassiness.

The taste of this stuff isn't overly complex but it's still solidly-made and I definitely like it. Lightly roasted bread and biscuits, a bit of brown sugar. Dries a bit in the finish with some leafy hop bitterness. Roasted malts are probably the dominant flavour but there is a nice balance achieved, it's certainly not especially sweet and the bitterness blends nicely. Thin-to-medium bodied, a little heavier and fuller in the mouth than a macro lager. Very smooth drinking with fairly low carbonation.

I've been meaning to try this for a long time but never got around to it until now. That's unfortunate for me, because this stuff is pretty decent. Nothing fancy, but a perfectly sessionable red ale; I certainly could have picked much worse for my 100th review.

07-31-2011 18:45:40 | More by thehyperduck
Photo of GrizzlyBehr


3.38/5  rDev -2.3%

poured from bottle into pint glass

appearance- a dark red amber color, quickly dissipating head, good glass beer

smell- pretty average smell, hints of dark malts

taste- good a nice malt flavor, slightly roasted, and slightly sweet, good finish

mouthfeel- average, has a light coated feeling

overall- a good irish red very satisfying

07-27-2011 02:33:21 | More by GrizzlyBehr
Photo of spitInTheOcean


3.08/5  rDev -11%

smells caramely and malty.

amber. clear. long lasting, thick, off white head.

slightly sweet and malty, but im sorry, this beer is pretty much flavor less.

medium- light body and it has a crisp finish that briefly leaves a flavor of corn in the mouth.

i think this beer lacks character, and thats why i did not score it better.

07-25-2011 03:28:15 | More by spitInTheOcean
Photo of Stocean1

Ontario (Canada)

3.3/5  rDev -4.6%

A - poured a massive three finger head with patchy lacing - good rention - a dark amber colour with a ruby hue - S - malty, hint of hops, a little bready - T - a dry discuit, a stale malt, some bitter hops - nothing to write home about - decent carbonation and medium body - overall nothing spectacular and not worth seeking out

07-20-2011 18:19:58 | More by Stocean1
Photo of ckollias


2.95/5  rDev -14.7%

Enjoyed this 12oz bottle out of a large snifter glass.

A: Burnt Sierra (crayola) in color with a thick frothy three-finger white head after a violent pour. Head sticks around for awhile and leaves a gorgeous trail all the way down the glass finally ending in a wispy lace.

S: Faint malty and caramel aroma. Not a lot here. Not a bad aroma just not a lot if it – even after a violent pour.

T: Mild toffee and roasted malt flavor. Similar to the smell not much here in flavor. Smooth ale – would except nothing less from the brewer’s of Guinness. Not a ton of flavor here but an easily drinkable brew.

M: Medium body and medium carbonation

O: Decent Irish red ale. Nothing special – and a little watered down. Nothing I would keep on hand or grab again.

07-20-2011 01:16:25 | More by ckollias
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.53/5  rDev +2%

Pours a clear amber color with a 2 inch off-white head that fades to a puffy small cap. Nice rings of lace form all down the glass on the drink down. Smells of caramel malt and maybe some fruity aromas. There is also a distinct herbal/hoppy smell as well. Taste is of caramel malt, bread, and a bitter herbal/hop finish. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a smooth and clean mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer and my first of this style.

07-16-2011 03:09:27 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of Eramen


3.35/5  rDev -3.2%

A - An attractive red, hazel-brown ale, not much of a head to speak of but it laces the glass well enough.

S - There is an indistinct fruity pleasantness along with caramel. A bit disappointing actually.

T - Buttery caramel, red fruit mixing well with a nice maltiness.

MF - Too watery for a fuller appreciation, carbonation is mild and just about right.

O - A decent enough Irish red ale and the most popular one here in Ireland. I often find myself drinking this in most pubs in Dublin due to the fact that American adjunct beers are all the rage here and no other ales are stocked! :(

07-11-2011 16:26:37 | More by Eramen
Photo of Kartoffeln

Ontario (Canada)

3.55/5  rDev +2.6%

A: Pours copper auburn with a bubbly beige head that dissipates to a well-retained cap of dense foam, leaving some spotty lacing.

S: Biscuit malts and floral, slightly herbal hops are rounded out by lighter aromas of copper, roasted malts, caramel, and ripe fruit.

T: Slightly sweet biscuit malts forward with hints of caramel and bready malts and faint undertones of nuts, yeast, and roasted malts that gain prominence towards the finish alongside very light floral, vegetal hops.

M: On the heavy end of light-bodied with low, smooth carbonation. The finish, mildly bitter between the roasted malt and vegetal hop flavours, is exceptionally clean and dry.

D: Smithwick's isn't bad, it's just not very distinctive or complex - it isn't even really all the roasty. It is, though, very sessionable and full of biscuity goodness; it seems to be relatively easy to get on tap around here, to boot.

07-09-2011 21:48:16 | More by Kartoffeln
Photo of MoreThanWine


2.85/5  rDev -17.6%

Poured a 3" linen colored head. Body in masstone looks like brown tea but held up to the light it's really an attractive clear auburn brown. I got no smell at all from it, not even after warmed. Taste when cold was any basic BMC, after it warmed it had the slightest hint of the weakest of dark beers. To me this is another beer just built to look a certain way while having nothing offensive of any kind in the flavor to make sure it has mass appeal.

07-09-2011 13:20:51 | More by MoreThanWine
Photo of Knapp85


3.95/5  rDev +14.2%

This beer is really nice to have from time to time. The beer poured out as a really nice red color, the beer is clean and clear looking. The smell of the beer had a good malt quality to it with a bit of earthiness as well. The taste of this brew is good in my opinion, it's got plenty of malt and just a touch of hops to bitter the finish of it. The mouthfeel is very smooth and easy to drink. Overall I like the beer quite a bit. Worth trying for sure.

07-07-2011 01:21:59 | More by Knapp85
Photo of woodychandler


4.1/5  rDev +18.5%

Re-reviewed on Su, 08 Sept 2013 for your edification.

My local, in-person trader, tone77, once more came through with some CANs that I had seen advertised, but not managed to score on my own, this being among them.

The extant name, "Smithwick's" is a bit too generic for my taste, especially since the CAN clearly delineates it as "Smithwick's Imported Premium Irish Ale". Also from the CAN: "[undersigned] J. Smithwick"; "Enhanced Draught Taste ".

14.9 fluid ounces?!? What, they don't trust me with a full pound?

The Crack and inverted Glug were textbook perfect! The two-plus fingers of rocky, tawny head were short-lived, however, quickly fading into memory. The color and its clarity were likewise picture-worthy. A deep, coppery-red (SRM = > 22, < 27) with NE-quality clarity and I was (sadly) reminded of one that got away. She was a solidly-built redhead whose coarse hair was precisely this color. We looked like we could have been brother and sister and I wanted to marry her, but she married someone else while I was on deployment. Sigh. Nose had a biscuit-y, malty fragrance and I was really starting to jones for a sip. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, not quite creamy, but on the approach. Imagine what this would be like in an N2 (nitro) CAN ... One draught and already beautiful lacing was beginning to appear in the glass. The taste was malt-driven, but not malty, if you catch my drift. It had a semi-dry biscuit-like quality and I was relieved as I do not like sweet anything, but especially not sweet beer. This finished with a semi-dryness that lingered well past the swallow. At 4.5%, I would definitely put some of these in the cooler for a day at the beach. YMMV.

My original bottle review was dtd 30 June 2011 with scores of 5.0; 4.0; 4.0; 3.5; and 4.0.

I was on a bottle shop excursion today and seeing this as a single-o inspired me to purchase it for a review (at last). The CANQuest (TM) is in search of new CANs for a jump start, so let me know if you CAN help!

From the bottle: "The brewery at St. Francis Abbey in Kilkenny, Ireland has been in operation since 1710. SMITHWICK'Sis Ireland's oldest ale, inspired by John Smithwick's original recipe. This ale delivers a distinctive amber color, full bodied taste and ultra-smooth finish."

As soon as I popped the cap, I was met with a small amount of foam coming through the opening. My gentlest of pours still created better than two thick fingers of tawny head with excellent retention. When they describe this as a "red" ale, that red is a deep-copper with NE-quality clarity, like an Autumn sunset. Drool! As the massive head slowly fell, it created some beautiful lacing. Nose was quite biscuity, not terribly sweet. Mouthfeel was medium and the biscuit malt taste was prevalent on the tongue. Finish was slightly dry and definitely refreshing on a breezy summer afternoon.

06-30-2011 17:30:00 | More by woodychandler
Photo of GossageBrewery


3.1/5  rDev -10.4%

Poured this Irish Red Ale from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The ale pours a clear reddish amber color and produces a nice off white head. The retention is average and it leaves an average amount of lacing. The aroma of the Irish Red smells of toasted malt. The taste of the ale is slightly toasted with some caramel maltiness. There are sweet undertones and some hop bitterness. The finish is a little on the dry side. Overall this is an average Irish Red Ale.

06-30-2011 15:27:54 | More by GossageBrewery
Photo of MONKandTUCK


3.23/5  rDev -6.6%

OK, so it's been a while since I've had this one, which isn't something I directly regret. Actually, I regret not having a reason to seek it out, and make it a fridge staple.

A - Twany, kind of Red, but really passing into Brown. I'd be disappointed if I had a Brown Ale pour this hue, but it's barely still Red. Translucent, not transparent. Thinner than a Brown Ale or Porter, but clearly has body.

A- Not impressive, roasted character very muted. Smells like a neutral ale.

T- pleasantly surprised. Very refreshing, stable and full enough of a body to satisfy non BMC drinkers, though remains suitable for warm weather.

This tastes a lot like a generic English Bitter, with the taste of slightly burnt toast and a little char chasing in the end. The roasted malt is faint, but undeniable. There's a balance of sweetness, I suspect from the base malt and crystal malt both. Nothing cloying, it's very faint. But it's perfect for a maltier beer, with some hop and roasted notes.

The use of adjuncts begins to show through.

The finish distinguishes this from both Macro Lagers and Bitters, though it kinda tries to play in both fields.

M- as expected, a medium-bodied smooth mouthfeel that does nothing to offend.

O- Better than expected, but as I drink this one, the uniformity becomes boring. And that roasted malt begins to peek through in an unpleasant way. Not a great beer, but far exceeding its ilk. I wish there were a bit more complexity here.

The tough thing w/ Irish Red Ales is that they're very much a nuanced English Bitter. And for the few breweries that brew them, an after thought. I suspect that judicious use of Roasted Barley, and then the hops and crystal malt which help to hold balance, really prove a brewer's worth. However, what that translates into a beer style seems very limiting. I dunno, maybe the parameters are too constricting or it's too small of a beer to inspire re-energized interpretations.

Whatever the case, this adjunct (syrup) ridden example can out-compete the fellows it keeps company with (macro lagers), but pales in comparison to the finer ales of the world.

06-28-2011 03:44:23 | More by MONKandTUCK
Photo of Rifugium


3.83/5  rDev +10.7%

First had: on tap at Ri Ra Irish Pub, Burlington, VT

Pours a dark reddish-brown, with a nice finger of foamy off-white head. Grains and sweet malts in the aroma, with hints of herbs. More of the same in the taste, thick, sweet caramel malts, toasted bread, a bit leafy, with slight notes of dark fruits. Very little to speak of in the way of hops. Smooth, medium bodied, and very drinkable for a mainstream beer, and a preferred choice of mine for casual drinking.

06-20-2011 17:46:49 | More by Rifugium
Photo of lespaulrocker


2.78/5  rDev -19.7%

A: Dark copper, small tan head. Moderate lacing.

S: Malty, a little metallic, maybe some hints of citrus.

T: Caramel maltyness shows through first, maybe some toast/bread coming through, a little watery. Not too impressed.

M: Watery, light bodied, light carbonation.

Definitely wouldn't seek it out again.

06-20-2011 16:59:31 | More by lespaulrocker
Photo of flyingpig

United Kingdom (Scotland)

3/5  rDev -13.3%

I had a pint of this on-tap to make a change from the usual pale lagers that were on offer in the pub. A pretty standard offering from an ale & nothing that really had me wanting more. Drinkable & kind of enjoyable although probably not one that I'd look out for again.

1001 Beers to try:

06-14-2011 00:47:41 | More by flyingpig
Photo of dali27


3.63/5  rDev +4.9%

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: A dark reddish brown, mahogany in color. Foamy, creamy light tan head that has lots of staying power.

S: Malted barley scent filled the nose Nicely aromatic.

T: Nice malt aroma transfers into the taste. Really that's what the taste is. And that's not bad. Mild bitterness in the aftertaste which is enjoyable too. What is bad is the bit of metal in the aftertaste.

M: Slightly creamy, but not very full. I would say that it's light feeling with a little bit of substance.

O: A nice beer to drink if you're looking for this style. I think it does more "not offending" than "pleasing", but either way, it's a fairly accessible option in this style that's also pretty good.

06-09-2011 05:17:09 | More by dali27
Photo of BrianBoruma


3.7/5  rDev +6.9%

Had on tap at the Harvestor in Danesfort Ireland.

A: Copper colored liquid with a think head of white foamy bubbles that dissipates over time.

S: Sweet and malty

T: Same as above with some hop bitterness on the back end that is quite pleasant.

M: Medium. Lightly carbonated but the bubbles are present.

O: Very pleasant and refreshing. Enjoyed it.

06-08-2011 08:10:35 | More by BrianBoruma
Photo of kjc51478


3.18/5  rDev -8.1%

A: Appearance is dark amber color with light, beige head.

S: Aroma is weak with some sweetness, caramel, and bread hints.

T: Taste is also subdued but some nice flavors of caramel, toast, and basic sweet malts are present. Hop character is very weak with no discernible characteristics or bitterness.

M: Palate is medium-bodied, slightly thin, average carbonation.

O: Overall this is a decent pub beer that’s not necessary very complex or mind-blowing but very drinkable nonetheless.

06-07-2011 00:39:42 | More by kjc51478
Photo of gskitt

New York

2.68/5  rDev -22.5%

Bland. Pours a nice reddish amber. Looks ok, but Irish Red? eh. Vanilla. Not in flavor but just nothing special. Certainly not bad, just vanilla. Tasted like many adjuncts. Actually, Corona came to mind when I was trying to figure out what this reminded me of. Next time, I'll pass.

05-27-2011 13:46:45 | More by gskitt
Photo of Ralphs66

New York

3.15/5  rDev -9%

Everything about this is average. I liked the coloration and the head was decent, but is faded quickly. Smell is muted, taste even more so. Went down really easy; watery. You could drink this all day (and night) long.. Not impressed, but it was the best offering they had....

05-13-2011 22:20:39 | More by Ralphs66
Smithwick's Imported Premium Irish Ale from Guinness Ltd.
79 out of 100 based on 2,237 ratings.