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John Smith's Extra Smooth - The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited

John Smith's Extra SmoothJohn Smith's Extra Smooth

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

97 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 97
Reviews: 55
rAvg: 3.12
pDev: 18.91%

Brewed by:
The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
English Pale Ale |  3.80% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-10-2002)
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Ratings: 97 | Reviews: 55 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of david18

New York

3.5/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I spent the better part of the week in London last week and wanted to try as many of the local beers as I could. John Smith's is somewhat of a staple and, in many bars is listed as "extra cold", perhaps for the yanks.

This was one of the more refreshing beers among the british usuals, perhaps the nitro had something to do with it. LIght in color with a good nitro head. Very smooth in taste, perhaps too smooth and less aroma than I'd like. I would recommend it but not whole-heartedly.

However, when in London....

Serving type: nitro-tap

09-16-2010 18:55:23 | More by david18
Photo of FreshHawk


3.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Light amber color with a decent sized creamy, white head. Decent retention with little lacing.

S - Light grain and malt smell. Not that strong.

T - Lightly toasted grain and malt. Some bready flavors and caramel. Also a bit of bitterness with earthy hops. Pretty mild tasting.

M - Medium body that is very creamy and smooth. Good carbonation.

D - Easy to drink and goes down smooth. Mild inoffensive flavor that is meant for drinkability.

Notes: Decent beer for something smooth and easy to drink, especially at places with limited selection (in the UK at least).

Serving type: nitro-tap

03-01-2010 12:42:43 | More by FreshHawk
Photo of jwc215


3.3/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap (nitro) at The Archers (Whitechapel, London)

Pours hazed golden amber with a typical creamy nitro head. Lacing sticks.

The smell is mild - buttery, a bit cedary.

The taste is of light malt with buttery notes and a touch of aspirin-ish bitterness in the pretty short-llved finish.

Very smooth - "Extra Smooth" is right. Creamy, though a bit watery, too.

I was going to give it higher scores, but it is rather dull. It's just a creamy, easy drinking pub ale.

Serving type: nitro-tap

04-19-2009 18:09:12 | More by jwc215
Photo of dauss


3.9/5  rDev +25%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap in England. Very good beer and is also considered a bitter. Not bitter at all. Golden yellow with a fluffly white head that dissapates fairly quickly. It tastes a little bit watered down. Good maltiness, smooth and crisp, very drinkable, but this bitter isn't as good as other ones.

Serving type: nitro-tap

04-26-2004 23:57:10 | More by dauss
Photo of rastaman

United Kingdom (England)

1.78/5  rDev -42.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

This is the type of beer i hate, creamy cat piss, gotta say i hate the nitro tap thingy. Way too creamy and no flavour to boot. Very sweet aswell, pretty crappy if you ask me.

Serving type: nitro-tap

08-09-2002 01:15:15 | More by rastaman
Photo of John

New York

2.48/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Deep gold color. Dense tan head. Light bread with a trace amount of honey in the aroma. Light biscuit flavor with barely any detectable hop flavor. Thin, watery mouthfeel. I suppose at 4.0% abv, a session beer is what Scottish Courage was shooting for, and if so, I guess they've met their goal. There just isn't enough substance here for my taste. IMHO, this is a sub-ordinary bitter.

Serving type: nitro-tap

06-10-2002 11:15:18 | More by John
Photo of RonaldTheriot


4.26/5  rDev +36.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

John Smith’s Extra Smooth has a cascading head, which eventually builds to a creamy, beige bar at the top, with a clear, copper appearance and heavy lacing left on the glass. The aroma is of sweet, creamy, tea, with bread, hops, and barley notes. Taste is of barley malt, bread, bread crust, sugar, caramel, nougat, iced tea, good hop bitterness, and even buttery flavor. Mouthfeel is full, but not heavy, and John Smith’s Extra Smooth finishes dry, refreshing, extra smooth, and delicious. Overall, this is really wonderful.


Serving type: nitro-can

11-12-2013 01:30:24 | More by RonaldTheriot
Photo of Craiger1967


3.01/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a my new Pint glass from Next Door Brewing Co., nice cream and coffee color.

Head is very creamy as well as the first drink of the brew.

Taste: Some Licorice, caramel, grassy notes and subtle burnt flavor near the end of the taste.

Although this is a watery ale, and not too flavorful, I enjoyed drinking this because it's not so overwhelming. Sometimes Subtle beats excessive flavors in which many of our craft beers go.

This will always be a better alternative to the mass produced yellow beers here in the US, so this is definitely a nice summer type quaffer.

Serving type: nitro-can

09-21-2013 18:21:24 | More by Craiger1967
Photo of IchLiebeBier


2/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Copper; large creamy head, long lasting

Aroma: Malty; bready; light hops; light caramel

Taste: Very thin; not much flavour to talk about; pretty unimpressive

Remarks: From nitro can

Did not score A, T, S, M at that time; disregard those scores

Serving type: nitro-can

06-15-2013 14:09:46 | More by IchLiebeBier
Photo of JamesMN


3.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Dark honey hue with a slight chill haze and a nice puffy off-white nitro head.

Aroma: A touch of pale malt giving a bready aroma with hints of caramel. Surprisingly aromatic for a nitro-can.

Taste: Pretty watery (and at 3.8% ABV what do you expect) but some actual flavor in there as well. A nice caramel malt presence as well as a light hoppy bitterness on the back end. Aftertaste of light bitterness and watery caramel with a touch of a metallic off-flavor.

Mouthfeel: Just below medium in body and super smooth due to the nitro. Sessionable.

Final Thoughts: John Smith's Extra Smooth proves that a low ABV beer can pack in some flavor and be enjoyable. Would like to see more brewers pushing below the 4% ABV mark and making true "session beers." Would I drink it again? Yes.

Serving type: nitro-can

05-11-2013 02:37:59 | More by JamesMN
Photo of OtherShoe2


3.28/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours medium amber with a nice thick creamy head from the widget. Nice thick cream clinging to the glass.

Some malt and herbal notes in the nose. The head does block alot of aroma.

Mild and easy to drink, Lightly bitter malt, some medicinal or tea-like qualities, some malty grain, and a long mild bitter finish. A little lean, but not watery.

Mild tingle and slight astringent notes.

Overall, this is one that you can drink gallons of in the pub. The nitro helps a ton. Ok brew.

Serving type: nitro-can

04-27-2013 00:06:04 | More by OtherShoe2
Photo of Bouleboubier


3.06/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Had this on tap once or twice in Scotland, summer '09. It was everywhere. When you're walking around 8+ hours a day each day, this is one of the better ultra-light malt beverages to take in while relaxing.... I got chewed out for saying so on this very site after I returned...

Basically, this is a super-mellow, nitro-pour pale ale - so minimal aromas and flavors, (almost, but not quite) extra-smooth texture, supreme drinkability!

Really, very little discernible aromas - very light fruity esters, not much malt, if at all - even less hops... clear, coppery.... sanded-down-to-the-nub malt and fruity on the palate, some briefly-lingering grassy hop bitterness... flash of mellow body roundness up front, carried away by a tight, sudsy cream wash.... a slowly increasing sense of mild diacetyl or corn sugar or something - could be imagination.

I'm afraid for even those who don't drink beer, the blatant non-offensive qualities of this may seem a tad dull. But boy does it refresh!

Serving type: can

01-29-2013 07:18:40 | More by Bouleboubier
Photo of Offa


3.38/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is not great or complex, but it's a good solid beer, esp for the low abv. It's similar to a number of other British nitro-can bitters/pale ales, better than some and not as good as others.

Bronze/dark gold, it has a creamy white head typical of nitro and long lasting.

Aroma is nice slightly buttered toast, wet leaves.

Taste is nice bread, slight toffee element, hint of metal, a woody-tea bitterness quite noticeable, strong in the finish and lingering. It's simple and straightforward, but is very drinkable and pleasant while being interesting enough - it's got more character than, say Boddington's Pub Ale.

I note that I ignore the can's instructions to "serve cold" and serve at proper British ale temp.

Serving type: nitro-can

12-19-2012 00:43:48 | More by Offa
Photo of rangerred


3.38/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

440ml nitro can into a pint glass.

Pours a rich clear copper with a cascading tan had that settles into a two finger cap. Really good lacing and head retention.

Aroma has a definite metallic twang but otherwise is pretty light. Some pear and caramel but nothing really sticks out too prominently.

The taste is quite nice. Caramel and bready grain along with pears and some peaches. Caramel and toffee along with toast provides a light roasted character. Bitterness is sharp but pleasant although it comes close to being acrid. Finish is crisp and clean giving this beer tons of drinkability.

Overall, an average nitro English bitter. Not on the same level as Old Speckled Hen or Tetley's but better than Boddington's. At $7.99 a 4 pack, the price is alright and I can see myself picking this up again.

Serving type: nitro-can

11-06-2012 02:05:46 | More by rangerred
Photo of SmashPants


3.58/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Can: it's a big green can. What's more to say?

Appearance: deep copper with a two finger creamy head. Enticing.

Aroma: very light, almost non-existent aroma. Subtle malt aroma.

Taste: a straight-forward malty ale, light toffee notes, fruit and mild bitterness.

Aftertaste: lingers well. I am impressed that the flavour of what appears to be an English Mild lasts so long.

Mouth feel: medium body with lower carbonation. Carries the flavour well, where over-carbonation would detract.

Overall: very nice English ale, I would love to try it on tap. Malts, fruit and light bitterness, quite flavoursome for an English Mild. Only way I would have it is if it was on sale though - AU$80 a case (2012) is way too much.

Serving type: can

10-01-2012 00:22:24 | More by SmashPants
Photo of thagr81us

South Carolina

3.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served from nitro-can into a Duck-Rabbit nonic. Poured yellow-orange with a one finger off-white head that subsided to half a finger very slowly. The pour really reminded me of a Guinness with the head consuming the entire beer and working its way up slowly to form the final head. Nice. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, cream, grain, and wheat. The flavor was of sweet malt, cream, grain, earth, and subtle spice. It had a light feel on the palate with mild carbonation (almost velvety). Overall this was a pretty average brew. I have to say the pour on this one was pretty cool as it looked like a Guinness only it was a Pale Ale! However, that is where the fun stopped on this one. There was really not a whole lot going on in this one which really made it a bit of a buzzkill for me. Very light on all aspects so good for the non-robust beer drinkers out there, but if you like loads of flavor and complexity. Avoid this one. Trust me, you will thank me if you have the option.

Serving type: nitro-can

09-21-2012 10:46:23 | More by thagr81us
Photo of Viper29223

4.08/5  rDev +30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Very smooth and creamy serve best room temp or take out of the refrigerator for 10 mins before serving one of UK finest bitters hard to find in USA but some liquor stores in MN are now carrying my favorite bitter .If you enjoy Boddingtons try John Smiths extra smooth !

Serving type: nitro-can

08-26-2012 23:56:18 | More by Viper29223
Photo of flagmantho


3.53/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 440mL widget can into a pint glass.

Appearance: nice orange hue with the classic nitro cascading-bubbles look. Head is a thick finger of creamy deep-ivory foam. I think it looks good.

Smell: light, sweet malt aroma with a hint of graininess. Simple but appetizing.

Taste: sweetish malt flavor with a tiny touch of grain and a little bit of earthy hop character. Bitterness is pretty low. The nitro takes a little oomph out of the flavor, but overall it's not bad.

Mouthfeel: medium-light body with a relatively low carbonation. The texture is not particularly creamy, unlike the appearance, but there is a silky smoothness here that I think is decent.

Overall: not a bad beer at all. I feel like this is a session ale I could quaff all day.

Serving type: nitro-can

08-15-2012 02:38:31 | More by flagmantho
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

2.63/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Poured from a can with a nitro-widget. A chalky white head is milky and settles to a 1 finger plus size. Ice tea color, clean clarity with no visible effervesce. Head retention is remarkable in terms of stay. Thick milky lacing sticks strongly and long to the vessel walls.

S: An aroma of dried corn and green corn ears come with a light but noticeable level of awareness.

T: Smooth creamy flavor, corn ears greenery, smooth silty malt lacing on the tongue. Low but noticeable bitterness.

M: smooth and creamy, light and medium body, silty malty leave.

O: Overall the nitro-widget enchances the smooth creamy body, has some sility maltiness, and low bitterness levels. Nice beginning though the flavor tends to lean and thin out deeper into the drink. Don't know if i could tackle two in one sitting. Great visual but dives downhill from there.

Serving type: nitro-can

07-30-2012 23:36:02 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of avalon07

South Carolina

2.65/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Poured from a can to a pint glass. Had a copper color and a clear consistency. There was a half inch of fairly long-lasting, creamy head. Excellent lacing.

S: Not a whole lot of smell, mostly malt, as you would expect.

T: Tasted of malt, light hops, a little grain, and little else. Very thin, watery, and featureless. Definitely one of the blander-tasting beers I've had recently.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a somewhat bitter finish. Medium-bodied.

O: A completely forgettable, mass-produced beer. Not very drinkable.

Serving type: nitro-can

04-28-2012 12:04:54 | More by avalon07
Photo of jazzyjeff13

United Kingdom (England)

2.85/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A 440ml can with a BB of May 2012. Contains a nitrogen widget that activates upon opening.

Poured into a Sam Smith's pint glass (the ultimate sacrilege). A clear amber-brown colour with low carbonation. Yields a large head of creamy white foam with excellent retention; it reduces somewhat but remains as a thick, stable layer. Aroma of sweetish caramel malt and little else - one dimensional.

Tastes of mild, sweet malt with a dry finish. Faint bitterness. Hints of caramel and a slight yeasty note. Mouthfeel is great, thick and smooth. Rolls around the mouth. Dries the palate a little, leaving a weak malty aftertaste.

A bland, mass-produced bitter. The mouthfeel is lovely, but it lacks aroma, flavour - and character. Could almost pass for lightly sweetened water. Why drink this when there are so many great beers out there?

Serving type: nitro-can

11-25-2011 00:18:02 | More by jazzyjeff13
Photo of soju6


3.38/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Served an amber color with a fairly creamy head and some lacing.

S: Mild aroma of malt and a bit of sweetness.

T: Mild malty flavor with a touch of bitterness in the background. Has a clean finish.

F: Light body, smooth and creamy. Quite refreshing.

O: Easy Drinker, good session beer. very common in most pubs I have been to in England. Nothing fancy just a good everyday beer.

Serving type: on-tap

08-05-2011 13:16:54 | More by soju6
Photo of flyingpig

United Kingdom (Scotland)

2.17/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Chestnut-brown colour, and thanks to the widget inside the can settles to form a perfect looking white head that has excellent retention and looks very creamy.Leaves some nice lacing on the glass.

Strong-smelling and very much like a bitter on the nose with a roasted malt & caramel aroma. It is quite earthy almost and there is a whiff of dark chocolate in the beer too.

Very very watery & there is a mild bitter taste in the middle that lingers long after the beer has been swallowed. Through in a light taste of some earthy malts but other than that there is pretty much nothing else.

Light bodied & incredibly watery, perhaps the most watered down feeling beer I have ever drank. It is however smooth.

It's definitely not a beer I plan to drink again and think this will be a one-off. It tasted like dirty dishwater & is not one I can recommend.

1001 Beers You Must Try Before You Die:

Serving type: nitro-can

06-11-2011 00:11:24 | More by flyingpig
Photo of JohnnyP3


3.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 440ml nitro can into a tulip pint glass. Best before date on the can of 30.09.11. Pours a clear copper color with about 1.5 fingers of head that gradually forms as the nitro action kicks in.

Smell is grassy and bread-like malt aromas.

Taste is fairly straightforward--malty with a hint of fruitiness. And some faint caramel notes. While those flavors are there, they are all a bit diluted. Nevertheless, all comes together fine.

Mouthfeel is, as the name implies, extra smooth. Carbonation is mild and there is very little crispness. Smooth and mellow are the operative words here.

Overall, a pleasant, fairly simple beer. Does not get the heart pumping or the taste buds dancing, but if you are looking for something easy going, low in alcohol, and simple, you could do much worse.

Serving type: nitro-can

06-10-2011 19:25:36 | More by JohnnyP3
Photo of kojevergas


2.35/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes in Glasgow, Scotland, at the Eurohostel. There seems to be a bit of confusion and misinformation about this beer and its relation to John Smith's Extra Cold, which can be remedied by reading http://www.johnsmiths.co.uk/brands/extra-smooth.html . The beer I've reviewed here is John Smith's Extra Cold, which is not "just a name for the Yanks". It's a different but related beer.

A: A brief upward bubble show. Dark amber colour with a thick white head (insert obligatory penis joke here). Appealing.

Sm: Light: caramel, maybe coffee. Hard to detect individual flavours with me broken nose.

T: Clean open to body of slight roast and a bit of coffee. Bland. Cleans up in the finish but doesn't add flavour.

Mf: Far too slick and smooth. Slides down your throat without giving a chance to taste - of course, there's not much taste to speak of besides.

Dr: Cheap in Glasgow, but still shite compared to other offerings.

Serving type: on-tap

03-08-2011 00:03:01 | More by kojevergas
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John Smith's Extra Smooth from The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited
73 out of 100 based on 97 ratings.