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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.

535 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 535
Reviews: 296
rAvg: 3.37
pDev: 16.02%
Wants: 7
Gots: 14 | 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)
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Ratings: 535 | Reviews: 296 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of proc


4/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am going to start off by stating I didn't expect much from this one. I figured it would be your typical "red" and go from there. However, I was very, pleasantly surprised.

This one pours out to a very, dark amber in the glass with a good-sized head. The aroma is of malt and bread dough. The taste is good, with a nice maltiness giving way to a light sweetness. More flavor than typical amber offerings in this class. This one screams "session" as I could see having several of these at a time.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2005 22:46:36 | More by proc
Photo of Gusler


4.05/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer decamps the 12-ounce brown bottle a pellucid brown with a substantial frothy light tan head that after its decomposion leaves thick layer of lace to surround the glass. Nose is sweet and a touch earthy, nice caramel tone also noticed, fresh and crisp, a nice lightly sweet start that is nicely malted and the top light and gentle on the palate. Finish is modest in its acidity with the hops delicate and the aftertaste dry, nice to see it here in bottles although fresh from the tap is my choice for sampling this nice session beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2005 19:59:04 | More by Gusler
Photo of orbitalr0x


3.38/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Clear copper, rusty, red with a nice pillowy two finger white head. Patchly lacing is left behind as it settles. Nice. Caramel infused with some cereal grains along with a hint floral notes...underwhelming for the most part. Fairly bland.

First sip brings a nice caramel maltiness along with some crisp graininess and a hint of floral/spicy hop as well. A slightly nutty aftertaste and slight mettalic twang rounds it out.

Mouthfeel is smooth and a tad creamy with healthy carbonation. Fills the mouth well. Drinkability is good...as it goes down easy...however this is not something I'd regularly go far.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2005 02:38:58 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of tgbljb


2.78/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Sampled at local beer distributer at Thursday night tastings. Poured an attractive copper color with enormous long-lasting head. Smell was non-existent. Taste was so smooth I felt I wasn't even drinking a beer. Probably would appeal to a Coors Light fan

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2005 02:21:47 | More by tgbljb
Photo of deliriumtremens


2.05/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

More than anything else, this reminds me of the Michelob All-Malt, which in itself isn't an insult, as I rather like the All-Malt. But I was expecting more from a beer that's as hyped up as Smithwick's. Very little smell or taste to speak of. A little bit of a metallic tinge that you'd expect from Busch or Tecate out of a can. There's a very slight sweetness in the taste that despite being almost undetectable still manages to be cloying, and a sharp bitterness that seems to come more from the carbonation than from hops or roasted malts. The mouthfeel is thin and watery, just terrible, which is suprising for how carbonated this beer is. I wanted to let the beer settle to let some of the carbonation out, but it just stayed fizzy, and the taste only gets worse as it warms.

The appearance is exceptional, certainly, a nice mellow brown color with a medium white head that sticks around for a good long time. But other than that I was amazed at how bad this beer managed to be. Better than macro-swill, but only very slightly so. I'd rather go with just about any Leine's or Michelob brew for less money, or spring for a real Irish like Beamish or Guiness Extra Stout (never been a fan of the Draught).

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2005 15:45:24 | More by deliriumtremens
Photo of medic25


4.03/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have to say I was very excited when Smithwicks finally appeared on this side of the Atlantic last year. It was always a favorite session beer on trips back to Ireland, and something I'd crave between visits.
Pours a nice, reddish-brown color, with a very slight white head. Subtle malty odor. The flavor is also quite malty, with a subtle hint of hops providing some bitterness. The flavors in this beer seem to blend together nicely; nothing is too overpowering. Incredibly drinkable- Smithwicks goes down very easily, and has become my new favorite session beer in the multitude of Irish pubs around here that are usually top-heavy with macros.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2005 04:38:16 | More by medic25
Photo of dren


3.68/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had this in many pubs when I spent some time in Ireland. I didn't realize they sold it here in the US. At every bar in Ireland I had to have a Guiness, but the next beer on tap was always Smithwicks pronounced Smithicks, the W is silent. This beer wasn't the best I have ever had by any stretch of the imagination but it was better than most you would have at a typical bar with some imports on tap. I would always choose a Guiness over the Smithicks, but they are two different beers by quite a margin.

The beer pours a dark reddish gold color with a very small head. Smooth going down with a carmel sweetness accompanied by malt flavors. Again, it is a good beer to drink on tap at a bar. Not something I would search for, but if it was available I would certainly have one. Of course I have only had this beer on tap in Ireland. That may make it taste a little better. The Guiness I had over there seemed better than what I get here, but maybe it was just the atmosphere.

Writing this review has my mouth watering for beer...work needs to end soon.

Serving type: on-tap

03-02-2005 19:17:17 | More by dren
Photo of Backer2004

North Carolina

3.93/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I did not realize this was considered a red ale until looking on this website. Looked much darker in a smoky bar last night and felt heavier on the stomach, reminded me a porter. Therefor, this loses some points in comparsion to other reds. A good balance of hops and malts and drinkable enoght o enjoy two in a row.

Serving type: on-tap

02-27-2005 19:39:40 | More by Backer2004
Photo of mac56


2.8/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Add on edit, I first reviewed this beer back in February and didn't like it. Actually when I had another bottle today, I'd forgotten I'd even had it before!

What a difference a few months makes. I must have had a bad batch back then, or a particularly good one this time around. Rich flavor, slightly dry, creamy mouthfeel, butter and caramel notes. I unsay the bad things I said about it before. A very nice sessionable beer.

- - -

Irish lawnmower beer.

Beautiful deep amber color. Creamy head that receded quickly with minimal lace. Virtually no aroma.. Slightly creamy mouthfeel. Very little flavor, even after I let it get a bit warmer.

I wanted so much to like this. I found it unremarkable in the extreme. For an ale, this is actually a decent light lager. See also: "Lawson Creek Red Ale".

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2005 19:54:03 | More by mac56
Photo of ZAP


3.38/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Rich looking amber..clean appearance...very light aroma...small whiff of caramel....taste is caramel like malt ..small peatiness..subtle smokiness...lighter bodied...almost watery..slightly acidic on the finish...

Not a bad session style beer more along the lines of a mild...subtle in every aspect....nothing I would seek out but I wouldn't turn it down either..

Serving type: on-tap

02-24-2005 06:07:21 | More by ZAP
Photo of rowew


3.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz longneck bottle. Indecipherable freshness code on label. "Brewed by Guinness" prominently displayed.

Appearance: Pours reddish with a slight haze. Thick off-white head that slowly fades.

Smell: Mainly malt, with a little bit of caramel sweetness. Slight herbal notes that might be hops in there somewhere.

Taste: Malty and creamy - well balanced with just enough hops to add a slight bitterness. Nice mild roasted flavors in there as well. Medium bodied with a nice creamy mouthfeel.

Overall impression: All in all a nicely drinkable beer. Nothing too outstanding, but a decent choice if you want an easy drinker.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2005 03:48:03 | More by rowew
Photo of BamaScholar


3.8/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a pint at the fabulous Irish pub McCreary's with a large fish and chips.

Head provided bonus carbonation and beer appeared a warm, robust copper-vermilion red. Taste is initially and consistently malty but with the slight nuttiness and smoothness typical of the Irish reds I've had before. Has some bitterness; less overall than pale and other ales.

The beer completed the fish and chips nicely--has more body than the Harp lager also on tap at the pub, but is less filling than Guinness stout which has, of course, a nice taste but is rich and heavy, especially eating fried food along with it. During happy hour the special was buy one get one on draught pints, so I had two and the drinkability was good, with the smoothness shing through the most.

Serving type: on-tap

02-24-2005 01:42:51 | More by BamaScholar
Photo of ski271


3.58/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Champ’s in State College.
Appearance: Dark copper with a reddish twinkle. Very light tan, small but thick creamy head with good retention. Excellent lacing, leaving rings as it goes down.
Smell: Malty sweetness, slightly doughy, just a hint of fruity hops.
Taste: Light esters over a moderate malt backdrop. A little bitter and grainy on the short finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, creamy texture turning a little dry toward the finish.
Drinkability: Not bad. Enough character to make it interesting and slightly unique, but not too heavy. I could drink several of these in a sitting.

Serving type: on-tap

02-23-2005 19:35:43 | More by ski271
Photo of putnam


2.75/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

There is a grey cast to the otherwise reddish brown liquid. The aromas are rudimentary: malt, water, can (poured from a bottle too!) Tanned, crusty starches define the flavors. Slightly aggressive in its fizz. Neutral bitterness engineers its way underneath watery caramel syrup flavors to acheive flawless balance. No depth, no surprise and, the worst sin of all, no creamy texture. The finish is plainly crude. The flavors vanish as soon as its gone leaving unattractive manipulated impressions. Still, it's downable, and more benignly flavored than many North American mega-commercial beers.

A huge letdown versus the draft sample.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2005 22:02:57 | More by putnam
Photo of goonster


4.15/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

OK, I've heard a bunch about this beer, and now that it's finally being rolled out stateside, I get a chance to drink it, review it and come to obvious conclusion:

This is the prototypical Irish Red Ale and its tap handle should be found next to that of Guinness just about everywhere.

Pours a clear, full, bright red. Very clear. Head is a foamy, tall, close to white.

Aroma is not much to write home about. Bright malty sweetness, with a suggestion of hops and fruity esters.

Flavor is sweet, clear malt, with decent balancing bitterness, but not a whole lot of hop flavor. Esters balance out the sweetness. This was served too cold at The Sumney in West Point PA, but that's probably the case most everywhere.

Body is medium-light, with moderate carbonation. Minerals are pretty light too, so this point goes down easy. Remember that this is medium-low gravity style with adjuncts permitted so you get a pint of easy-drinking goodness to wet your whistle. In that humble department "Shmiddick's" is pretty much the champ.

I will agree that the relatively high carbonation hurts drinkability. Hopefully pub managers on these shores will learn to dial down C02 pressure and ease up on the chilling to give this baby the presentation it deserves.

Serving type: on-tap

02-21-2005 03:05:17 | More by goonster
Photo of SilentSabre

North Dakota

2.95/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a bronze reddish colour with a slightly off-white foamy head. Really sticky lacing and a layer of white frost that hangs around for a while. The smell is almost exclusively malt with noticeable hints of hops trying to poke through. The taste is malty and almost tastes salty. It has quite a bit of carbonation and is really thin. It has a very pronounced dryness to it that I just do not care for at all. I have heard a lot of hype concerning this stuff and I don't know why. If its appearance wasn't what it was, this would completely suck. As much as it pains me to say so, Killian's Irish Red (American made Irish red) is superior to this stuff (IRISH made Irish red). I will say these kind wors about this stuff, though. For a few seconds after you swallow it, it leaves a lovley toasted malt taste in your mouth that is quite pleasant. I'll probably give the remaining five of these to folks I work with. Many people like this stuff, I say "stay away".

Alright, today is 20 Feb and I have had another one of these things. This really is terrible. I think I was extemely generous in giving this stuff a 3.something or other for an overall rating. If Sprite made a beer, this would be it. WAY too carbonated.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2005 05:12:34 | More by SilentSabre
Photo of garymuchow


3.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Light fizzy sweet water malt character. Pretty simple aroma. Very lager like. Qualties that seems to come from a light pilsner type of malt.
Nice deep amber of mahogany. Full fizzy head, but not dense. Lots of lacing.
Light in flavor. Dry start to finish. Largely a malt character. Bitterness mid to finish. Not all that complex or intersting.
Fullness from carbonation makes is filling. Medium light feel.
I drank this fairly warm, so I'm not sure if this had a impact on the flavor. This was okay, but didn't impress me greatly. Too much fullness from the carbonation to make it a session beer.
Given to me by Mark at 3 Corners.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2005 01:47:54 | More by garymuchow
Photo of RushLimbmalt


4.33/5  rDev +28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber color and has a frothy white head that leaves a ton of lace. The aroma is of caramel and a touch of hops is in there too. The flavor is a bitter hop bite up front and a nice smooth ale character in the middle followed by a hoppy, dry finish. More proof that our friends on the other side of the pond can brew some groovy beer. I could definitely drink this all night and not get bored.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2005 22:58:05 | More by RushLimbmalt
Photo of WesWes

New York

3.68/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a reddish/amber color with a creamy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a dry slightly malty scent that boasts of pale and bit of crystal malts along with some hops to boot. The taste is decent also. Again, it is slightly malty with a dry finish, but the hops stand out a bit more as it's quite bitter. It goes down easy, but seems a tad watery fro my tastes. I guess that's the Irish style. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a low/medium bodied brew with good carbonation. This is a fine Irish ale. I wish it had a little more malt character, but it fits the style just fine; a good drinker.

Serving type: on-tap

02-16-2005 21:51:12 | More by WesWes
Photo of TastyTaste


3.55/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Darker red in color, small off-white head. Smell is maltcentric, slightly roasted. Hops are not a big part of this beer in any stretch of the imagination. Taste is full and sweet, but has some depth to it provided by the nice malt and slight hop presence. Fairly good beer, nothing I would seek out again, there are tons of better reds out there.

Serving type: bottle

02-14-2005 15:53:56 | More by TastyTaste
Photo of ahking


3.58/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Smithwick's is a very dark red-amber color with a pure white head. I was impressed as to how balanced this beer was between maltiness and hoppiness. The malty flavor wins out here slightly. A very warming beer, caramel-like malts make it very satisfying.

Serving type: on-tap

02-12-2005 16:21:49 | More by ahking
Photo of malthead


3.68/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very nice clear red color, with a beautiful two-finger crowning white head. Smells clean, straight-forward malt and muted hops. Taste is sweet malt, with grainy notes, then light herbal hops with a slightly bitter finish. Above average carbonation, keeping it very light and refreshing. Great drinkability.

Didn't expect to be blown away by this, especially after reading some other reviews, and overall I wasn't. However, this is great for what it is - a light, flavorful beer that doesn't demand too much of the taster - somewhat lower in ABV and wonderful for a session beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2005 05:18:21 | More by malthead
Photo of Beastdog75

New Jersey

3.6/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Harrigan's Pub in Sea Girt, NJ. Smithwick's is supposedly going to become available in NJ in bottles soon, but when I went out to eat last night, I decided to try the more common way of offering this brew, which is on tap. It seems like some people adore this beer, but to me it was just a plain old good ale and not neccessarily something that will turn the beer world upside down.

Smithwick's pours a nice reddish copper color with a finger of foam that retained reasonably well. The smell was quite fruity and struck me as somewhat perfumey. The mouthfeel had a moderate amount of carbonation and body. There is some malt sweetness in the brew, but overall I thought it mostly had a fruity taste to it, similar to some English pale ales. The perfuminess was in there too, and the hop presence was decent, lending a hearty amount of dryness in the finish. The lingering dryness and fruitiness continue on into the aftertaste, and the beer concludes with no alcoholic warmth.

This practically has "session ale" written all over it. I suppose those looking for an Irish beer that isn't a stout will enjoy this. Nothing groundbreaking, but still rather enjoyable.

Serving type: on-tap

02-03-2005 00:53:13 | More by Beastdog75
Photo of redmosquito


3.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Garnet in color with an off white head which left a fair amount of lacing. Nice malt and mineral aroma coming off this beer, with very little hops. The flavor is malt dominated ranging from sweet to toffee and then roasted, with a bitter finish to balance. Nice carbonation and body. This is perhaps the best of the three Irish reds I’ve had, with more body and richer malt character than Murphy’s or Killean’s.

Serving type: on-tap

02-01-2005 17:03:38 | More by redmosquito
Photo of jokelahoma


3.93/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured with a decent head that lasted a good five minutes before settling into a thin layer of foma that followed the glass down to the bottom.

The aroma was all malt. A trace of caramel, with just a hint of roastiness.

The taste had just enough bitterness to provide a good balance for the maltiness. The roasted malts give a bit of a bitter aftertaste, giving the perception that the beer is more bitter than it truly is. There's really no hop flavor to speak of at all. Very balanced between sweetness and bitterness, though.

The body is a solid medium. Not thin, but certainly not thick and heavy. Easily drinkable.

Overall, this isn't a bad beer. I'd not go out of my way for it, but it's much better than many of the "standards" you find on tap. I'll drink it again.

Serving type: on-tap

01-09-2005 07:52:54 | More by jokelahoma
Smithwick's Ale from Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd
77 out of 100 based on 535 ratings.