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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.

580 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 580
Reviews: 299
rAvg: 3.37
pDev: 16.32%
Wants: 8
Gots: 29 | 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: 580 | Reviews: 299 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GCBrewingCo
3.68/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

The beer arrived on the table crystal clear deep amber brown with a ghost white head which lasted well to coat the glass.

The aroma was lightly fruity with a light caramel impression. Also present was just a slight smokiness.

The flavor was lightly fruity with a crisp flavor. Very light caramel and a low bittering component. Also present was just a slight sourness.

The finish was dry with light lasting caramel and slight bittering. The body was medium light. Kinda boring, but very drinkable.

Draft at Ship & Anchor in Sandy Springs, GA.

GCBrewingCo, Jul 12, 2005
Photo of HoorayBeer
4.35/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a wonderful rare find here in the United States; I have only seen it on tap or offered in bottles ina handful of places. Smithwick's Irish Red Ale was served in a nice pint glass. It had a nice dark brick red color to it, very appealing to the eye.
There is a thin head, that seems to have stayed for most of the time I was drinking it, it faded around the inside of the pint glass as I drank it.
Smithwick's gave off a very rich and powerful olfactory smell that was hard to ignore while drinking. Had a slight malt smell to it.
The taste was fantastic, very rich with a slight malt taste. Very sweet subdued after taste. In all a great beer. I am kind of partial to this beer however, I would take a Smithwick's anyday!

HoorayBeer, Jul 06, 2005
Photo of BEERchitect
3.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A much better Irish Red than the Killian's that I drank the night before. Looks like Coca Cola with nice ruby and orange highlights. Has great head retention. Smells malty sweet and herbal. No reall hop detection. Tastes toasty sweet, slightly biscuity, caramelly, and malty. Round mouthfeel, but not heavy. Finish is malty and tacky to the palate. Never detected much hop character, just enough to offset the sweetness.

BEERchitect, Jun 30, 2005
Photo of Dogbrick
3.18/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I thought the draught version of this beer was a little better than Killian's, but the bottled version? Not so much. Dark amber with a medium beige head. The lacing is sticky and thin. Light malt aroma. Medium-bodied with flavors of malt and caramel. The finish is hoppy but not very flavorful. I can take it or leave it.

Dogbrick, Jun 24, 2005
Photo of Brent
3.03/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A pretty average example of the style, all around. Did pour a nice, glowing amber with an impressive head. Aroma was muted, with some vague malt. Seemed a bit underweight - all along I had the impression that the beer needed more malt substance. Mouthfeel was on the thin side. A bit of tartness and some caramel, but not all that much. A snoozer.

Brent, Jun 22, 2005
Photo of PatYoda
3.13/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear copper with a great, billowy cream colored head and lots of lacing. Smell is pretty weak. A little caramel biscuit can be detected along with some mild hop. Taste isn't too bad. A tad watery on the palate, though very smooth. Tastes like a bit of sweet caramel, very light, some biscuity malt, and a faint hop bitterness. I wanted something light tonight, but this goes a bit too far in its wateriness. Certainly nothing offensive about it though.

PatYoda, Jun 20, 2005
Photo of Mitchster
3.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out to a clear dark auburn, forming a soapy light beige head with very good retention and creamy lacing. Carbonation is moderate. The aroma is more akin to a lager, specifically, it has a Euro-Lager nose with a touch of skunkiness, otherwise with some English yeast characteristics of caramel. Mouthfeel is crisp, clean and wet, like a lager with a medium body. The taste begins with mild herbal hoppiness, followed by a well-balanced malt body with a touch of amber malt, however there is a faint hop spiciness in the middle, akin to basil and oregano. Distant touches of roasted grain give it some appeal. The finish is bright with mild woodiness and moderate bitterness. Drinkability is decent.

This surprised me. I wasn't expecting much as I am not a fan of this style in general, but for being an easy to find mass-appeal bottled beer, it's not too bad.

Mitchster, Jun 19, 2005
Photo of BUD
4.4/5  rDev +30.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass; the color was an exceptionally appealing amber, with nice clarity(for a red beer). The head that formed had an off-white appearance approximately an inch and a half in thickness. It never really went away while I took 20 to 25 minutes to enjoy this beer. When I had about an inch of beer left in my glass, there was still a quarter-inch of head left.

The aroma seemed well balanced with the malts and hops.

Taste was very smooth since it had low carbonation to it. Definatley a creamy or buttery mouthfeel. Quite satisfying to the taste buds. Very refreshing compared to say a Killians Red Lager(which I happen to like).

I have already purchased 12 bottles of this beer and began to share it with my friends. Enjoyed very much.

BUD, Jun 10, 2005
Photo of Jason
2.95/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown bottle with no freshness date. Big foamy off white head, good retention. Bright reddish copper in color.

Clean caramel malt aroma, hint of hop and buttery diacetyl.

Water caramel malt palate in a moderate body and medium carbonation. Mild on the hops with not much of a finish other than a lingering toasted grain husk flavor.

Decent at best, taste mass-produced and to light on the palate. Many American brewers make a better Irish style red ale.

Jason, Jun 07, 2005
Photo of TheDeuce
3.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Smithwick's Ale

Appearance-pours a gorgeous ruby red color with a HUGE head, the head sticks around leaving tons of fantastic white lace, WOW!!

Smell-very malty initiailly but then turns slightly acidic and hoppy to the nose, not too bad

Taste-initially traces of sweet malt are mixed with really minimal hops, on the later end it turns coarse and dry with a slightly bitter finish, somewhat plain on the tail end...could be the ingrediants.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability-fairly smooth going down, bitter aftertaste could be better, only 4.5% alcohol so a definite session beer for those who like Irish Red Ales.

Overall-this beer got off to a great start then turned rather adequete and plain in the end. Seeing as Guinness now produces it, it may be the ingreadiants have been changed, or perhaps it was always like this. Regardless, this is a decent Irish Red that is passable and true to the style...nothing more.

TheDeuce, Jun 07, 2005
Photo of packetknife
3.58/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I never new this was available in a bottle until today and I must say, I liked it better out of the bottle compared to the taps I've had at two places. Solid amber pour with a thin off-white head that faded into a mill but held and laced all the way down. Very malty and sweet on the nose, made my mouth water almost instantly (good). Brutally smooth and crisp, malts through-and-through with a hoppy sting on the finish. Very drinkable.

packetknife, May 31, 2005
Photo of ommegangpbr
3.23/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a twelve ounce bottle poured into a chalice.
Looks really quite lovely. A dark red, ruby color with an off white, almost tan head.
That seems to be where anything extraordinary about this beer ends.
Smells and tastes very average. Mild malt and hops stuff going on. Finishes rather dry, if not very dry which ups the drinkability some.
This might be what happens when you mix Bass and Harps together, though it doesn't taste as good as either in my opinion.
I'll have to experiment and post my results.

ommegangpbr, May 29, 2005
Photo of whynot44
4/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Medium bodied, deep bronze/amber with a moderate off white head that dissipates to a trace of lacing quickly.

The aroma is mainly toasted caramel malt with just a hint of spicy hops.

The taste is creamy malts and light apple nicely balanced by an herbal hops finish.

Slightly too much carbonation in the taste but a very nice brew, smooth and easy to drink, refreshing.

whynot44, May 21, 2005
Photo of ggroller
4/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brown bottle with a label different than that shown here on BA. The colors are still green, red, and gold but the label depicts a castle in gold with the name Smithwick's displayed in cursive in the forefront.

Clear amber beer with a beautifully fluffy yet stickey finger's head. Sort of like whipped cream sitting on top of a mug of hot chocolate.

Biscuity, bready, maltiness in the nose. A very well balanced, smooth, taste with a thin but crisp mouthfeel. I must admit that I like this beer even though I had serious doubts. I could chug several of these down after mowing the lawn on a hot summer day.

ggroller, May 21, 2005
Photo of Sycodrummer
3.3/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Have had this one both from the bottle and on tap. This review if for the bottled version which according to its lableing is now down under the ownership of Guinness.

Poured from the 12oz. brown bottle into an imperial pint glass yeilding a 2 finger frothy, slightly off-white head. The beer was a deep amber/pale red color with ample carbonation feeding up the sides of the glass. Slight near rings of lace lined the side of the glass during the sample.

Smell is very malty but rather bland after that. A little semi-sweet perhaps but nothing more - rather average.

Taste was rather smooth and creamy with strong malt coming thru and backed-up by slight hop character. Well balanced and smooth, no bitterness, just a creamy smooth taste thats very easy to put down.

Light to moderate on the palate with medium carbonation. Quite easy to drink although a little bland. Many bars in Boston are now stocking it and it makes for a nice alternative to the other run of the mill Irish pub beers.

Good, but nothing special.

Sycodrummer, May 20, 2005
Photo of ElGordo
2.73/5  rDev -19%
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.

ElGordo, May 11, 2005
Photo of zerk
2.8/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a clear amber with a nice off-white head... has a good head retention and leaves a fair amount of lace. Aroma is lacking, with slight notes of toasted malt, and not much else. Flavor is ok, but fairly bland. Notes of caramel and a light bitterness. Over carbonated for the style... fizzed up like a soft drink. While this beer has a strong reputation, I find it difficult to believe that it hasn't suffered at the hands of Diageo. If you're looking for an Irish Red, you could do much better.

zerk, May 05, 2005
Photo of palma
3.9/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a good Irish Red. It used to be great. When I was in Ireland about a year ago, I found that this was pretty much the only beer served in pubs (along with Guinness). And I was happy.

Good looking brew with a solid off-white head.
Nice balanced flavor. Malty with toasted grain and caramel flavors standing out. Lightly hopped. A slight metallic taste too. Semi-dry finish which is enticing.

Too bad they have been bought by Guinness which has since been bought by Diageo. I drink this every now and then and have noticed a decrement in quality.

palma, May 04, 2005
Photo of Truh
3.1/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Made sure to close the cow gates behind me while walking the countryside with this one on 4/27/2005. 16-oz. pint at the Asgard in Central Square.

Tight, creepy bone foam of 1/2 –inch head to start. Deep brown hue with some haziness clouding the eyes, not too sure what’s happening on the inside. Light, caramel flocculent yeast wash on nose along with some peatiness, though this last bit seems like more of an afterthought than anything else. To taste, crunchy caramel, like it was melted and left to crust up overnight, with an astringent after-chase; lip service roastiness and butterscotch too.

Makes do, but nothing much more than that.

Truh, May 04, 2005
Photo of RedLion
3.93/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

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%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

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%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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
Smithwick's Ale from Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd
78 out of 100 based on 580 ratings.