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Smithwick's Ale - Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd

Smithwick's AleSmithwick's Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

507 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 507
Reviews: 296
rAvg: 3.38
pDev: 16.27%

Brewed by:
Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd

Style | ABV
Irish Red Ale |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Todd on 04-16-2002)
View: Beers (3) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 507 | Reviews: 296 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of woemad


2.95/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this in an imperial pint glass for $4.50 at the Blue Spark in downtown Spokane - probably the best tap selection in the downtown core of the city. I decided to try this because I've heard it's basically the same beer as Kilkenny, a beer I drank a lot at an Irish pub in Lubeck, Germany. While I was mostly a Guinness snob in those days, I remember liking Kilkenny because it was different from most beers I'd had up to then (excepting all the great German beers I was - alas - only slightly aware of at the time).

Arrived with a big nitro-head in an imperial pint glass. I didn't expect that because I'd never seen anything besides Guinness or some other stout put on nitro. By and large, I'm not a fan of nitro beers, as I feel it masks the flavor in return for a good looking head that the uninformed drinker can ooh and ahh over. This was no exception. The color of the beer itself was a dark copperish-redness. Was clear enough I could dimly see my hand on the other side of the glass. Lots of lace.

The smell took forever to show itself, and when it did, it wasn't really worth the wait. Sweet bready maltiness with a little bit of apple scent. The maltiness seemed over the top, or in need of some hoppiness to balance it.

The taste was marginally better than the smell, but it still wasn't terribly impressive. Sweet, bready, fruity malt, with a slightly toasty aspect at the beginning. There was no dryness at the finish to try to balance things out. The taste simply vanished at that point. Blandly sweet, I'd call this.

I haven't had enough Irish red ales to know the standard mouthfeel, but I thought this was rather thin. I'd have like a little more body.

A decent session beer if nothing better, but there were plenty of things better at the bar where I had this. The Mac & Jack's amber I had before this would be a far better choice for session drinking.

Serving type: nitro-tap

09-12-2005 21:10:48 | More by woemad
Photo of ElGordo


2.73/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber color with a nice cascading effect, ending in a half-inch creamy head. Nose is kind of funky, like a cheap American adjunct lager - a little bit of sweet malt, but mostly skunkiness/garbage. The taste is a little smoky up front, with a bit of a phenolic quality. Overall, it's bitter, but not from the hops - maybe the tap lines haven't been cleaned in a while. Mouthfeel is good, rich and creamy. Not the most drinkable beer, but it goes down easier after a while.

Serving type: nitro-tap

05-11-2005 02:58:31 | More by ElGordo
Photo of crookedhalo


3.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a garnet red with some brown highlights and a thick beige head that stays fluffy down to the bottom of the pint. Really kind of hard to pick on any aroma other than some weak, earthy malt and a dulled fruitiness, maybe a dash of cocoa. Weak, lightly toasted malt taste that is pretty enjoyable, dulled chocolate malt notes as it warms. Watery mouthfeel, probably around the same strength of Belhaven or Boddington's. Easily drinkable due to low ABV. This beer has some character, but lacks some at the same time. A touch acidic in its malt profile and a bit minerally in its water content.

Serving type: nitro-tap

08-10-2004 18:11:22 | More by crookedhalo
Photo of Boto


4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draught in Ireland: This one is a crystal clear amber color. A bit of a tight, white head. Somewhat sweet and malty taste, with just a hint of bitterness. What a real Irish Red tastes like!! I'm not sure if it tastes differently anywhere else, as I have only had it in Ireland. I'm interested if it is any different in the States.

Serving type: nitro-tap

03-06-2004 21:34:44 | More by Boto
Photo of francisweizen


4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An above average dark red ale. This beer was presented to me at the Claddagh Irish pub in downtown Montreal, QC. This beer had a wonderful blood-red, black colour with a huge, frothy nitro head. It smelled of roasted malts and some bittering hops. The taste is very simple, but very good. This beer has many roasted flavor notes as well as some caramel and chocolate malt notes, and some slight hop flavors. The mouthfeel is very smooth and super creamy. The drinkability is also very good. A definite session beer. It's a shame that this is not available in the U.S...

Serving type: nitro-tap

03-28-2003 13:32:14 | More by francisweizen
Photo of curasowa

New York

2.85/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear, brownish-red color with two fingers of off-white head that fades with a decent curtain of lace.

Aroma: Grainy, grassy, a little nutty, cooked veggie.

Taste: Mild roasted malt flavor that is a bit nutty and astringent, some light bitterness towards the finish, then a pretty grainy finish with a little dish rag.

The Rest: Decent body and carbonation, but fairly unremarkable otherwise. It lacks a robust, appealing malt profile; this is much to grainy tasting.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2014 19:14:03 | More by curasowa
Photo of Alextricity


3.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Had on-tap at Three Blind Mice in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. From what I can tell, this is a permatap over there and it comes at $4.50 a pint, or something like that.

Appearance: Nice red color with a small tannish head. Lacing is alright at the start, but spotty the rest of the way. Looks alright. (3.5/5)

Smell: Malty. "Red." Maybe a sort of hoppiness, but definitely malt-forward and grainy. Nothing special, average at best. (3.25/5)

Taste/feel: Blah. It has all the typical flavors you'd find in a red/amber, but this one has a significant artificial sweetener sort of aftertaste that I tend to get in cheaper beers and it turns me off to this a good amount. Grainy. Slightly below average. The mouthfeel on this one is a bit thin with a moderate/high carbonation. (3/5, 3.25/5)

This is just a pretty mediocre beer, and it's about what I had expected, maybe a bit less than. Wouldn't buy again, but I wouldn't turn it down.


Serving type: on-tap

03-04-2014 07:27:01 | More by Alextricity
Photo of kcrosson492


3.06/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Smithwick's Ale (pronounced Smit-icks in Ireland) is a decent choice of ale while in Ireland. Personally, I will probably never have another one because it is just okay. The appearance is the best thing about this beer.

A-Nice reddish color with a decent off-white head.

S-The smell is plain and not very strong.

T-The taste is better than the smell (if that makes sense) and it goes down quite easy.

M-There is an emptiness of feel in the mouth but it is smooth.

O-The beer could be summed up with one word and that word is okay.

Serving type: on-tap

02-11-2014 22:04:32 | More by kcrosson492
Photo of ArrogantB


3.15/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, no freshness date. I haven't had a smithwicks in probably ten years. Now I know why. Boring aroma and flavor, both were grainy and forgettable. Deep red color.I would likely never buy another one of these unless I was actually in Ireland.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2014 21:36:25 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of CalgaryFMC

Alberta (Canada)

2.9/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled on tap at a "Scottish ale house" serving mostly Irish and local brews. A red to dark chalky brown ale with some light butterscotch foam. Astonishingly little in the way of aroma, maybe a hint of dried dark fruit (raisin) and toffee but largely flat on the nose. Taste was mellow toast, dilute caramel sauce, slight hop bitterness, little of the tea-like smooth bitterness and body of other Irish reds. Watery and thin, lingering sweet finish with a little cardboard. Unobjectionable but insipid.

Serving type: on-tap

10-12-2013 19:21:37 | More by CalgaryFMC
Photo of Dsimenson


2.46/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

Has a lovely red brown color. Advertized as a red ale. Thin head on draft in a Guinness glass. Almost no aroma, or my nose is plugged up. A very disappointing taste, mildly citrys, little hops, no malt. Very fizzy, almost like a cola. I'm glad to have sampled it, but i wont be trying it again. At least the fish and chips were good!

Serving type: on-tap

08-05-2013 03:05:24 | More by Dsimenson
Photo of stillrockin67


5/5  rDev +47.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So many ales have a bitter aftertaste. Smithwick Irish Ale satisfies long after the swallow. The only problem I have with this ale is locating it. I try to buy as many six-packs as I can when I locate it on the shelves. Nevertheless, eventually the stores seem to just stop stocking this beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2013 14:05:13 | More by stillrockin67
Photo of Davidvols


5/5  rDev +47.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of my favorite beers. Looks and tastes like a excellent craft beer should - not too hoppy. No strong odor or bitter aftertaste. Drinkable and smooth. No comparison to Guiness, as this one is very drinkable and not "heavy" like Guiness Extra Stout. Great history of brewery as well.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2013 18:04:20 | More by Davidvols
Photo of beer272

New Jersey

2.63/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - looked like an ale that had black patent added to give a dark appearance. Looked very dark in the glass with ruby color on the edge. Head looked OK and with a white appearance.

S - poured out very cold. Negligible smell either malt or hops.

T - ok, body ok. As the temperature rose on the last part of the beer got a taste of butter...

M - Pass, ok

O - This was a light beer, nuetral, ~no hops or malt. Then with black patent added. I would not buy again.

Serving type: on-tap

07-20-2012 18:40:50 | More by beer272
Photo of woodychandler


2.7/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I received this as an extra in a recent trade with KevSal and I was rather surprised to realize that I have never reviewed it in any of its forms. No time like the present, I suppose.

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

My pour produced better than two fingers' worth of dense, light-tan head with great retention in today's heat and humidity. It looked like the top of a coffee ice cream cone. Color was a deep coppery-red with NE-quality clarity, the shade that makes me swoon when it is on a woman. Nose was malty, fairly sweet, nothing terribly remarkable. Mouthfeel was on the thin side and other than a mild sweetness, it really lacked Ooomph of any sort. It was not bad, just lacking. Finish was equally ho-hum. I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, but this was not doing anything for me.

Serving type: bottle

07-17-2012 02:17:40 | More by woodychandler
Photo of Mellonius


3.35/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap at The Royal Oak, Ottawa.

Smithwick's pint glass. Pours a beautiful reddish/grenade color with very little head formation.

Aroma of malts, caramel, and some "fishyness".

Mouthfeel is light, almost watery, with little carbonation. Tastes like it smells. I could not identify some of the annoying, acidic notes in the finish, just before the hops come in.

Overall, an average red ale. I would have no problem drinking it again, especially in hotter days. But it is not unforgettable.

Serving type: on-tap

07-10-2012 00:22:11 | More by Mellonius
Photo of secondtooth


3.28/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice red-amber. with substantial head. Impressive and detailed lace.

Smell is caramel malty, with a slight hint of hops. Not much here.

Taste is mild and malty, again, with the hops coming in near the finish. Overall, a very plain and unremarkable (even forgettable) ale. Won't pursue this one again anytime soon.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2012 00:38:11 | More by secondtooth
Photo of Ragingbull


3.45/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer was being hailed by all of my the husbands of my wife's high school friends. I stepped out of my own "beer box" and gave it a try.

It pours a reddish brown in color with a light foam head. The nose is mostly malty with some hints of earth and nut. The beer flavor is pretty simple and clean. There is a slight hoppiness to the finish which is really the most distinguishing characteristic aside from the nose. Its okay but with a whole world of beer out there to try I am not sure when or if I will drink it again.

Serving type: bottle

05-08-2009 13:05:40 | More by Ragingbull
Photo of Oxymoron


2.93/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Smithwick's seemed to be the other alternative (to Guinness) in Ireland. Or at least it was the "other" option where ever we went (pubs etc). Sampled a crystal clear, light amber color with a bronze hue. A soft white head with ok retention and lacing through out the tasting.

The nose is soft with a light malty aroma. Some minor sweet caramel and husky notes. Very light overall. Some minor earthy hop aroma but very light. The yeast is very clean, almost like a lager.

The taste is similar in that it has a lager-esk feel. The malt comes out lightly with a more grainy and husky note. But there is a sweet caramel note. There is a bit of butter that comes out but is light. The yeast is very clean with a light phenol but very crisp and clean. Some minor hop notes but limited.

The body is light with a slight dry finish. As mentioned, clean and crisp. Overall this is kind of like a hybrid amber/lager with limited taste overall. Very easy to drink and easily attainable in Ireland.

Serving type: on-tap

04-27-2009 21:57:09 | More by Oxymoron
Photo of vtisme


4.63/5  rDev +37%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one delicious Ale. Arrives a deep ruby color with a finger head that doesnt go away for a while and leaves minimal lacing on the glass. Smells pretty bitter up front and so does it taste, but it goes down smooth and the faint taste of bread is what is left on your tongue on the end.

Serving type: on-tap

03-02-2009 06:42:49 | More by vtisme
Photo of IrishRacer


4.1/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I love the Irish Reds, and one brewed in the Emerald Isle will always get my taste buds' attention. This is my favorite of all the bottled redheads I've had through the years. I enjoy just about everything this beer has to offer. The color, aroma, and taste are all outstanding. Only the aftertaste, maybe something to do with the bottling process, could be a little better in my book.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2009 22:27:19 | More by IrishRacer
Photo of puboflyons

New Hampshire

3.65/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured on tap at Patrick's Irish Pub and Eatery in Gilford, New Hampshire (USA). This tastes a whole lot better on tap than when I buy it in a bottle. At least it did when I sampled it on Jan. 19, 2009.

Appearance - Handsome ruby-brown pour with about a half-inch of frothy off-white head and decent lacing.
Smell - An aroma of sweet malts and almost caramel-like
Mouthfeel - Average to above average body. Holds its body well while thrashing it around on my tongue
Taste - Malted and mild. Not bitter at all. A distant hint of hops.

Serving type: on-tap

01-19-2009 21:15:26 | More by puboflyons
Photo of dpsychoholic69


3.23/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Dark red clear color, nice thick off white head that stayed around awhile, good lacing

S - lots of malts some caramel aroma

T - Malts, some hops, a little thin, sweet bitter finish

M - Kinda chewy, goes down pretty smooth. not much carbonation

D - Drinks OK nothing special, I've had better reds

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2008 03:01:23 | More by dpsychoholic69
Photo of Vendetta

New Jersey

3.3/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Original Rating Date:
June 26, 2008

On tap at the Irish bar and restaurant Grasshopper Too in Wayne, NJ. Pours very dark black with a good amount of head. Smells sweet, a bit of clove, very roasty. Very easy to drink. Dark, sweet caramel taste. Very malty, a little bit of hoppiness but not very noticeable. A little watery, but the Irish should be proud, this is a fantastic effort.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2008 01:21:17 | More by Vendetta
Photo of Haybeerman


3.13/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Clear reddish/brown color. Poured a 2 finger off-white creamy head with decent retention. Heavy, coating lacing all the way to the bottom.

S: Malts and light hop bitterness.

T: Earthy malts and bitter hops. Finished clean with a light, but sdiscernable, hop bitter.

M: Medium body. Little carbonation. Smooth and creamy.

D: Malts and flattish feel could get tiresome, but certainly nothing offensive. Better than many of its style.

Serving type: on-tap

11-13-2008 02:36:01 | More by Haybeerman
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Smithwick's Ale from Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd
77 out of 100 based on 507 ratings.