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

Not Rated.
Smithwick's AleSmithwick's Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

561 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 561
Reviews: 297
rAvg: 3.37
pDev: 16.32%
Wants: 7
Gots: 23 | FT: 0
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 561 | Reviews: 297 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RedLion
3.93/5  rDev +16.6%

Appearance: Gorgeous, rich, saturated amber color. Creamy head. Lots of lacing left on the glass.

Smell: Malty with a bit of citrus.

Taste: Big, wel balanced. Flavors detected across the palate.

Mouthfeel: Pleasant

Drinkability: Very. I'm not crazy about red ales, but this is one that I have a hard time passing up.

RedLion, May 03, 2005
Photo of ffboooboo
3.23/5  rDev -4.2%

Appearance-Red with a thick fluffy white head. A bit of lacing around the glass.

Smell-Not much as far as smell

Taste-Smooth, good balance of malt and hops a bit tart at the end.

Mouthfeel-Kind of creamy, a bit heavy on the carbonation.

Drinkability-Easy to drink, but it leaves a thick feeling in the mouth

Lots of carbonation in this one. Overall a good drink that could be a bit more complex.

ffboooboo, Apr 30, 2005
Photo of guildofevil
2.17/5  rDev -35.6%

This is one of the standard draft beers in Ireland and the only ale you'll find in some pubs.

It is brewed by Smithwick's Brewery Kilkenny (and Cherry's brewery, Waterford), but they were bought out by Guinness years ago and since Guinness have been bought out by Diagio, the brewery name is little more than a marketing tool.

It's a pretty looking beer. Red/Brown with a low, off white, head. Some lacing, but overall not great head retention. All of this is AOK for the Irish Red style of ale, though.

The aroma is muted. Not much in the way of hop character on the nose, allowing sweet malt and caramel notes to come through, to an extent. Nothing much to get excited or offended by.

It tastes a lot like it smells. Low on bittering hops, this beer comes off as a mild, slightly sweet offering. The yeast makes no discernible contribution to the flavour profile, which lacks the esters which make more interesting offerings, of the same style, stand out. Some caramel notes, but overall lacking any real depth of flavour.

This beer is the mass market version of the Irish Red style. It is brewed and sold with, more or less, the same marketing philosophy in mind as the big international bland lager brands.

The caramel notes, essential to the Irish Red style are, I am told, achieved by the addition of caramel, not caramel malt, as you might expect.

This beer used to have a sister beer called Phoenix Beer, brewed in Cherry's brewery, Waterford, but I have not seen it in years. Even when it was available, Phoenix Beer was so incredibly similar to Smithwicks, that many suspected it of simply being a different label for the same beer.

If you like Irish Red, you would be better off going for a Beamish Red or a Porterhouse Red, if you happen to be near a Porterhouse.

guildofevil, Apr 28, 2005
Photo of lackenhauser
3.38/5  rDev +0.3%

Somewhat reddish/amber color. Nice,slightly tan head. Low aroma-slight malt smell with a touch of toasted malt. Malty flavor. Very low hop bitterness. Nice residual malt sweetness. Good enough body for style and to balance with flavor. A decent enough beer-probably a good session beer. Lacking a few intangibles that would make this a better brew.

lackenhauser, Apr 20, 2005
Photo of Star80
3.18/5  rDev -5.6%

Had on tap at Galvin's Public House in Chicago. Not a very impressive looking ale. The head on this beer is an oddish white color. Color is red. A little bit of lacing that doesn't seem too sure of itself. Not much smell, a little fresh fruit and/or tea leaf. Taste is pretty unobtrusive and inoffensive. Clean with a little hop aftertaste. Malts don't do much, which is too bad. Overall this is an okay session beer, which I occasionally end up having one too many. Bad pick-up lines to follow...

Star80, Apr 17, 2005
Photo of vwahaszee
3.4/5  rDev +0.9%

I like red ales in general, so maybe that made me like this beer more than dislike it. However, when it came out of the tap it had almost no head at all, and that was unimpressive. The taste was bitter and fruity, with a pretty smooth feel. It's definitely drinkable because of the pretty good taste, but after a while I could see myself getting tired of it. I'd rank this beer in the middle of the pack.

vwahaszee, Apr 15, 2005
Photo of uncleozzy
2.93/5  rDev -13.1%

The best part about this beer, by leaps and bounds, is its beautiful deep, dark amber color. Gorgeous in the glass with a short white head that leaves lacing up and down the sides. Smells lightly of alcohol and grain; not altogether offensive, but (the horror) almost reminds me of certain American pale lagers. Tastes first of caramel, then of grain, and finally thin, fizzy bitterness. For all its color, finishes bone dry with a tragically meager mouthfeel. Not an offensive beer -- often the best thing available at "Irish" pubs that only serve macros -- but I wouldn't seek it out where better beers are available.

uncleozzy, Apr 14, 2005
Photo of Barraclou
3.3/5  rDev -2.1%

Appearance: It got an awesome dark amber / reddish brown with a generous white head lasting for a very long time.

Smell: I smelled some caramel malts at first, but that's about it.

Taste: I like its mix of bitter roasted malts and caramel.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy, but overcarbonated. Too bubbly for a beer. The finish is very dry.

Drinkability: It is good one, but nothing for selling my soul to the devil. :)

Barraclou, Apr 13, 2005
Photo of Suds
3/5  rDev -11%

I had higher hopes for this one...
For sure, it’s a good-looking brew: a dark burnt-amber colored liquid, very clear, with a beautiful frothy white head. Not much aroma at all…a little grain and a bit of caramel, and all very faint. Almost no hops in the aroma at all. The body was notably thin, which seemed notable even before the taste. A bit of malt, but very understated. Very quiet finish. This beer really didn’t do anything for me.

Suds, Apr 13, 2005
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.4/5  rDev +0.9%

Pours a deep clear copper with a big, frothy, creamy ivory head. Lots of nice lacing. Good looking brew. Smells creamy and lightly sweet. Fruoty malt and light hops.

Taste is dominated b a bready crisp maltiness with some underlying hops to offset the sweetness. That's about it for the flavor, very straightforward beer. Lightly bitter aftertaste and a bt thin in the mouth. Easy drinker but somehow doesn't put it all together to be anything distinctive.

ViveLaChouffe, Apr 12, 2005
Photo of vladimerjr
4.05/5  rDev +20.2%

Best looking beer I ever had. Dark for an Irish rec style beer but very clear and a good tight foaming head. pours picture perfect even with a novice bartender.
Smell is light but pleasant.
Taste is dry like most Irish red's but very pleasant and has more of an aftertaste than most and you don't have to take another sip immediatly to recall the taste.
One of the best Irish Red's I've had, though I do recall having a bottle of one some time ago and it not being half as good which is probably a result of it not being a hot seller around me. I recommend checking for freshness before purchasing bottles.

vladimerjr, Apr 10, 2005
Photo of Hibernator
2.7/5  rDev -19.9%

I picked up a single of the Smithwick's Irish Ale to sample. I had this from a 12 oz brown bottle and served in an imperial pint glass. I was unable to find a freshness date, but there is a number on the back that reads L4286GD002.

Pours a brownish red color with a decent head on top that vanishes too fast. Some spotted lacings appear on the glass.

The nose leaves alot to be desired. Faint whiffs of caramel malts, but the overall scent is very weak with some funky scents in there.

Sweet caramel malts up front, buttery cream in the middle of the sip and then a watery seltzer finish. What happened? This beer started out okay, but finishes on a weak note. Too bland for a true Irish Red. This is not something I see myself drinking again.

Hibernator, Apr 04, 2005
Photo of BuckSpin
3.45/5  rDev +2.4%

I must say I was disappointed it what was my first "true" Irish Red. The color of this brew is almost beyond desciption - a fantastic, clear, ruddy-orange that had a metallic, copperesque quality. Nice 1" cream colored head of tight foam with very clingy, slow lace. The nose was very shy, offering a hint that there is body to the beer. Its even - too even - and mildly sweet, some malt, like the nose its shy. Throat was clean with some subtle citrus, but otherwise an uneventful brew that didn't hold its true "colors". Too bad, because it was beautiful to look at. I guess personality does count...LOL.

BuckSpin, Apr 02, 2005
Photo of RonfromJersey
2.88/5  rDev -14.5%

Crystal clear red-orange body, covered by a huge frothy Irish linen colored head, rocky top which rose above the rim. Very good lacing.

A very vague, almost non-existent aroma, some bread baked much earlier in the day.

A malty start, but not as much caramel I was expecting, more of a bready taste. Not sweet even to start, a very balanced, smooth ale. Hops make a brief assertion in a final twang at the swallow, and linger about the edges during the fade.

Light-to-medium mouthfeel. Thinner than I expected. Drinkability is ok, actually better when it warms up a bit.

This beer was a Holy Grail of sorts for many. I, and many like me, have fond memories of enjoying pints of this in the pubs of Ireland. It's finally available in the US, but sadly, reality doesn't measure up to memory. Has it been dumbed down, like it's famous older brother? Is it brewed in Canada? Or is it that the local beer tastes better than it is when you're on vacation?

Disappointingly, blah at best, I doubt I will purchase again, unless for St. Patrick's Day events.

RonfromJersey, Apr 02, 2005
Photo of Vancer
3.98/5  rDev +18.1%

The draft pour was wonderful: dark mahogany brown with an excellent brown head that laced all the way down. Just a lite malt/ grainy aroma and taste, but not too heavy for a spring day before the baseball game. Great body with this one, perfectly carbed, only had two but it left me wanting more. I will look for this one at *Irish* bars.

Vancer, Mar 31, 2005
Photo of Citadel82
3.1/5  rDev -8%

This is sooo much better than Harp. Smittik's is a beer that you can drink more than a few of and still enjoy. There are no funny flavors and it is very well balanced Not too hoppy and not too sweet. I will definitely pick up a couple of sixers to keep around for a cool refresher during the Hazy Hot and Humid Jersey Summers. Is it me, or is Harp becoming hard to find?

Citadel82, Mar 27, 2005
Photo of Zorro
4.03/5  rDev +19.6%

Pours a clear red amber colored brew.

The smell is very malty to the nose. Faint floral scents and a mild roasted grain scent.

Taste is mildly sweet and quite malty with the hops making them selves evident in the aftertaste. Fair amount of fruity flavors in there and assertive hop finish.

Mouthfeel is very good.

Very pleasant to drink brew. Complex enough to keep your attention, but never harsh. An excellent choice for a session beer.

Zorro, Mar 27, 2005
Photo of Frozensoul327
2.63/5  rDev -22%

Pours out to a dark amber / brown colour with a long lived, dense white foamy head. No real odor to speak of, kind of a stale smell, with a touch of maltiness detected. The flavor left quite a bit to be desired, as it comes off as plain, bland and generally mediocre. I'd prefer a cheaper Irish Red any day, but this may be up your alley, as it's very smooth, and goes down well. Worth a try.

Frozensoul327, Mar 25, 2005
Photo of Gavage
2.98/5  rDev -11.6%

Copper in color, with a short 1/4" large bubble laced head. Head disappeared immediately to a lone bubble or two along the glass edge. Barely any aroma detectable. The flavor was a simple caramel with minimal bitterness, leaning towards sweet side. Not overly exciting, just a bit more flavorful than a Killian's.

Mouthfeel was thin and smooth. Very slight dry aftertaste. Drinkability is slightly better than average, mostly because it is unoffensive and sports a simple taste.

Gavage, Mar 23, 2005
Photo of clvand0
3.08/5  rDev -8.6%

Had this on tap at the local pub. Pours an amber/red color with a small head that dies off quickly and doesn't leave much lacing on the sides of the glass. The aroma wasn't very nice. Hard to describe, but I didn't like it much. The flavor has a bit of caramel character and some slight sweetness, but I just didn't care much for the flavor of this one. It's not bad, but it's not great either.

clvand0, Mar 22, 2005
Photo of kmpitz2
3.03/5  rDev -10.1%

From notes. This beer poured a slightly brown, deep amber color wtih a 2 finger head that falls slowly. Ther ewas a slight caramel malt in the nose, but also a sweetness that didn't sit well with me. I think it was from corn. There was a touch of hops, but nothing really grabbed me and said it smelled nice. The flavor was slightly spicey in the hop and slightly caramel on the malt, but overall, I was not all that impressed with it. The feel was light and watery with a light carb. All around lacking. The beer was easy drinking and smooth, but taking all the other qualities into account, I was not all that impressed.

kmpitz2, Mar 21, 2005
Photo of Gaisgeil
2.73/5  rDev -19%

I've been meaning to try this for ages, and a local spot had a special on it for St. Paddy's day... it wasn't quite what I was expecting.

Pours a red hued dark copper in color with a thick bulbous head on a moderate pour, a good amount of lacing as I threw it back. Smell is god awful, fairly vile actually. Sort of a sour and thick stale beer smell, and I had two, so it wasn't a single bottle quality issue. Taste was alright, sort of middle of the road, not overly anything really, a characteristic Irish red sweetness, fairly smooth but also a bit stale.

Overall, not really horrible, not exactly noteworthy either though. They need to do something about the nose though, baaad.


Gaisgeil, Mar 20, 2005
Photo of jasonpeckins32
3.93/5  rDev +16.6%

I tried this beer for the first time at an Irish pub in Grand Rapids the other day. It was served on tap in a 22 oz. mug. The beer had a nice reddish hue to it. Not much head, but the little that was there created very nice lacing that almost covered the entire glass from top to bottom.

The smell left a little to be desired. A few hops and a slight bitterness, other than that there wasnt much of anything to speak of. The taste was much bolder than the smell. It had a strong red flavor with quite a bit of bite to it, very intriguing taste. The mouthfeel was very thin and watery. Usually thats a huge downside for me but the flavor made up for it.

This beer's taste is by far its best quality. Other than the nice red kick, there's not a whole lot of characteristics that really stand out.

jasonpeckins32, Mar 19, 2005
Photo of yeagerbm
3.4/5  rDev +0.9%

Finally decided to try this when I found a single. The beer appears dark amber with a sudsy white head and large bubbles. The aroma is plain, I would probably think it was a German lager blindfolded. The flavor is fairly clean with a little graininess. Mildly malty with possibly a faint roasted flavor. The mouthfeel is medium bodied but highly carbonated and a little astringent. Overall its an OK Irish Red that sure beats the artificial Irish Red that is made by you know who. Still not too intersting in my opinion.

yeagerbm, Mar 16, 2005
Photo of SheepNutz
3.58/5  rDev +6.2%

On tap poured into a Smithwick's tulip pint glass. It pours a deep amber color with two fingers of head. Just a touch of lacing left on the glass. The smell is very light. There's some caramel maltiness, but not much else going on. The taste is very very sweet. Lots of pale maltiness with caramel flavors and just the slightest bit of hops. The mouthfeel is decent, and the drinkability is fairly nice. Just your average Irish Red Ale.

SheepNutz, Mar 14, 2005
Smithwick's Ale from Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd
77 out of 100 based on 561 ratings.