Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

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

Not Rated.
Kilkenny Irish Cream AleKilkenny Irish Cream Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

146 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 146
Hads: 360
Avg: 3.4
pDev: 27.65%
Wants: 19
Gots: 62 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd

Style | ABV
Irish Red Ale | 4.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Todd on 05-08-2002

Now brewed here:
 http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profi ... /209/52083 
View: Beers (5) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 146 | Hads: 360
Photo of CantankerousCaveBear
3.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Fond memories of this one. Was one of the first beers I purchased. Not much needs to be stated, creamy mouthfeel, quaffable. Quite watery, and lacks substantial flavours or aroma. Faint caramel and toffee sweetness. Even fainter traces of roasted graininess. Served me well at house parties and playing drinking games like flip cup and beer pong.

 346 characters

Photo of GarthDanielson
3.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a nitro-can into a shaker pint, the beer has the cascade effect into a caramel coloring with a dense, smooth, cream colored head. Aromas of tangy cream, sugary and caramel sweet notes, and roasted notes. Flavors are roasted sweet forward, with caramel and nutty notes blending together, and some sugary highlights. Smooth and light in mouth, and the nitro really rounds out any edges. Tangy and sugary aftertaste, most noticeably caramel linger through the smooth, easy finish. Classic, and easy enough to drink, but there are better Cream Ales out there.

 567 characters

Photo of Bunman3
3.41/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have a soft spot in my heart for Kilkenny. I picked up my obligatory St. Patty's 4 pack of nitro cans today. This really is a lovely looking beer - I do love the cascading action as it assembles itself for consumption. The aroma is a faint bread and yeast, and the flavour is super soft on the palate. This is beer for people who don't really like beer, in many ways (my wife loves it). Overall, though, drinking a Kilkenny is a good thing.

 442 characters

Photo of RoadLizard
3.26/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I tried this as part of a Guiness sampler pack. It wa actualy pretty good. Extremely smooth & creamy which I like for this style. Perfect head with a little lacing down the glass. It didn't have a prominent smell but the flavor is there if a little muted. It could be more bold but the flavor is there and works.

These draught can cream ales are not supposed to be "in your face". They are mellow, have low ABV, and are meant for easy drinking. This one fits the mold perfectly.

 487 characters

Photo of illpass78
3.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

14.9 oz. nitro can poured into a nonic.

Appearance: Pours a clear red/brown with a big off-white head.

Aroma: Kind of muted, but there's some tea and toffee and malts.

Taste: Also kind of malty and toffee-like. Like a less-hopped Smithwicks.

Mouthfeel: Really nice creamy texture. The nitro widget clearly helps. Somewhat light but not in a bogus way.

Overall: Decent Irish red. Wouldn't not drink again.

 409 characters

Photo of Redrover
3.45/5  rDev +1.5%

16 oz can poured into my Samuel Smith Pint glass. The beer is a nice amber with a thick and creamy tan head. It is a looker.

it has a nose of light malts, a hint of toffee and a bit red apple.

Lightly roasted malts and a bit of caramel in the taste. It is slightly sweet and not overly complex.

The mouth is creamy but thin.

I don't mind having one once in awhile, but it is not a beer I actively seek out.

 418 characters

Photo of Cayce
3.25/5  rDev -4.4%

Tried it with the Guinness Variety pack a few days ago. 440ml Served in a glass.
Note: I have never had an irish cream draught before, so I may be shooting in the dark with this one.

I actually enjoyed this beer quite a bit. It is very, very smooth and goes down easy. A pleasing caramel color with about 2 fingers of foam.

Definately has the draught characteristics and same smell as well. Smells alot like Guinness, maybe not as potent.

The taste is very smooth and the best way to describe it is 'creamy'. Has a nice body and well-balanced. Nothing really sticks out to me.

The mouth is also a smooth a full flavor. Not carbonated at all, almost like flat beer but sweet instead of bitter. Not gassy at all either.


I think this is a enjoyable choice. I could see myself grabbing some of these for the holidays as it kind of reminds me of the consistency of light eggnog (not the taste). Definately better than the Winter Spirit I reviewed and has a lot more going for it as far as appearance, body, and complex flavors. Not everyone may like it, but definately is a nice change if you want to try something different. Cheers.

 1,151 characters

Photo of humuloner22
3.75/5  rDev +10.3%

I had this beer the first time when I was in Spain. I think that was the case anyway. I remember it was nectar of the gods in those days. But then again I was just a student and had not had all that much exposure to fantastic beers at that point in my life. Since then I had been searching for this beer with no luck. Then the other day I totally stumbled upon this Irish Discovery Pack and could not believe my eyes when I saw that this was included in it. I did a double take. Really!

Appearance: Red clear beer with a nice creamy off white head that stays until the last drop is consumed. The color is a bit unusual, it definitely has red hues to it but, it almost has a copper brown shade going on. It changes a bit in the light. And it changes depending on the type of light.

Aroma: Not a lot going on. Hardly anything. Very mild ale aroma, if that is even a good description.

Taste: Creamy, love the texture, I guess that is what turned me on to this beer to begin with. Its a lot like Smithwicks, but think of that in a nitro form. Its not an overwhelmingly flavorful beer, but I am giving it points for its enjoyability and nostalgia.

Overall: This is not really a spectacular beer. I have had a lot of better beers, A LOT, but this one allows me to wax nostalgic. Its better than a lot of beers out there but if I had just had this one for the first time it would honestly get probably a 3.5 or 3.75, but I am biased based upon a youthful tromp through Europe when I drank this beer many years ago. It still good. If you can find it try it for yourself. I wish they would make it more readily available in this part of the USA, I would buy it more often for sure.

 1,680 characters

Photo of RandomExile
3.85/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: translucent dark caramel, rich creamy beige head, spike-topped, sheeted lacing
S: nutty, malty, mild
T: malt and caramel, toasted, woody
M: med-full bodied, smooth with light carbonation, dry
O: delicious toasted red

 219 characters

Photo of kevofficiel
2.96/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Irish Red Ale. One of my first Irish beer.

The smell of it I find it really smooth. A little of bit of that caramel touch.
The carbonation is also great. You have almost 2 finger of head that stays until you drink the beer.

The taste is really different than any other that I try for a red ale, its really creamy and the taste powerful but not too strong. I don t find anything spectacular about that beer, if you are in Quebec the Boreale or the Belle Gueulle Red ale will do a much better job

Would I recommend it ? Its a small Yes. Just give it a try if you are at the bar but don't buy a whole pack

 605 characters

Photo of bluedognever
3.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I had this at Ri Ra at Mandalay Bay in Vegas. A very drinkable Irish ale - soft creamy mouthfeel. Nothing extraordinary but rather tasty. Lightly carbonated and malty - not extremely hoppy. A few hints of citrus bot nothing overt. It has a nice finish. Went perfectly with fish & chips.

 286 characters

Photo of MarkoNm
3.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark ruby color and is covered with a nice and slightly cream colored head that stays around for a while.
Pleasant malty aroma, aroasted, and some nice caramel too.
The creamy beer has a nice bittery taste, some caramel here too and some coffee as well. Bitter aftertaste.
I used to not care about red beers, but now I have to say I really enjoy Kilkenny. Very drinkable.

 379 characters

Photo of Tebuken
4/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Deep ruby color not brilliant.Has a nice beige foam that lingers quite enough leaving some laces.Perfect carbonation.

S- Malty sweet aroma, complex yeast odors are present too.No hops aroma.

T- Malty, some roast caramel with a nutty touch(subtle), coming to a balanced bitterness in the aftertaste.Very complex flavor, tasty,very tasty.

M- Medium bodied,very smooth velvet mouthfeel.

O- Great beer, it belongs to one of my favorite beer style .

 451 characters

Photo of jimiboi
4/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love the nitro widget on offer in the canned variety. What a novelty. The creamy texture really does it for me with this ale. It has a deep reddish hue, topped off with a thick layer of cream. I feel really indulgent when I drink this beer and I would recommend it to anyone who has not yet experienced it.

 308 characters

Photo of CampusCrew
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

This is a beer that is totally different on nitro draft and scores can vary a lot. Very smooth eay to drink red ale import. Has much better flavor ok n nitro draft vs can. Sooth light caramel malt. Very low hop presence. Creamy fluffy white head and a sliky smooth body

 269 characters

Photo of machalel
2.98/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Pours a lovely ruby red with that wonderful cascading action thanks to the nitrogen bubbles. Creamy thick head that lasts for quite a long time, and a reasonable amount of lacing down the glass.

Aroma: A collection of sweet malt, caramel, and some faint hops. Nothing to get excited about, but nothing 'wrong'.

Taste: Some light toast, pale malt, and a bit of nuttiness. There is some bitterness, but it is kept in check. Quite simple and clean, and a little sweet.

Mouthfeel: A smooth, velvety, creamy body with that stereotypical nitrogen carbonation. Trying to read through the layers of cream, it does have a reasonably dry finish, and I think the body has been left thin so that it isn't overly heavy when combined with the nitrogen.

Overall: A nice beer, one that highlights subtle malt and nut flavours, and could be likened to a lighter, less roasty Guinness (in a good way). It is not as complex as I would have hoped, but is ahead of a lot of other 'macro' beers out there. Definitely relies on the nitrogen carbonation to stand out, but worth trying anyway.

 1,084 characters

Photo of JamesHenjum
2.21/5  rDev -35%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Light see through brown. Nice creamy head that becomes thin quick, but looks very tasty.

S: Slight creamy malty smell but not much at all.

T: Slightly bitter creamy coffee. But very watery. Not much to it. Very disappointing here.

M: Creamy head with a watery fizzy body.

O: Lacked a lot in the taste and mouthfeel. Needs a lot more flavor to give me any reason to come back for more. Hopefully this was just a bad experience since I did not have it on tap.

 464 characters

Photo of PorterLambic
3.45/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Arrives a clear, bright reddish brown with an uber-tight finger high head of cream colored foam insulating the liquid from the world at large. Great retention but oddly little lace.
Smell is malt, caramel and hops blended like so many English & Irish ales. Smooth in the nose and well balanced.
Taste is malt, hops, wheat, caramel, with light citrus and floral notes. Well balanced.
Medium bodied with a watery, drying finish. Very light effervescence. A smooth brew, easily quaffed in quantity and agreeable to the palate. Not a standout but a solid performer.

 561 characters

Photo of Mellonius
3.8/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Pub Italia, Ottawa.

Pours dark caramel, opaque, with a dense, creamy beige head that forms from the bottom to top just like a Guinness would. Looks pretty decent and desirable.

Aroma is malty, sweet caramel with a hint of hops. Typical british ale smell.

Mouthfeel is pleasant, not dense. Light on the palate.

Caramel and malt tastes, some biscuity undertones. Bitterness is not excessive and the aftertaste gives it a fairly good balance.

I do not have much experience with british beers and am right now trying to learn more. Personally, I found it a very decent beer, which I plan to try again and see how my tastebuds will judge it.

 651 characters

Photo of davey101
3.09/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12 oz pour from a nitro tap at an Irish restaurant in Mohegan Sun.

A - Well its a dark room but it looks like a golden amber/light red body. It took a while to reach my table so I assume I missed the nitro cascading action. About a two finger high bone white head that lasts the entire beer. Tons of lacing and retention. Looks damn near perfect.

S - Boring. Some toasty malt and a touch of nutty sweetness. Struggling to find much of anything happening here.

T - Lightly roasted malts with some caramel sweetness and nuttiness coming through. Touch of bittering hops on the finish. Simple, clean and plain. Mouth feel is creamy and velvety smooth.

O - The entire time I was drinking this I kept thinking that it was just a nuttier version of Guinness draught with a copper body. I don't think that's such a bad thing though. Its an easy drinking beer with a bit of flavor to it. I could easily drink this all night, especially at 4.3% abv. Nitrogen or bust though.

 970 characters

Photo of sailorastro
3.35/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Overall: For something a little out of the ordinary, Kilkenney does their cream ale so well it could be mistaken for its namesake.

Appearance: one-finger head shaded perfectly white. Light tan color with an oaky base.

Smell: Cream; nutmeg; eggnog.

Taste: Lemon and bitters touch the tongue but a dominant cream flavor melts over the rest of the palate.

Mouthfeel: Heavier than most any other beer I've tried. Carries a coolness imilar to drinking fresh cream.

Sampled from a pint glass

 491 characters

Photo of stpracer
3.91/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap at an Irish pub in New Castle, Pa.
Standard Irish pint glass.

Pours a reddish brown color that did a reverse cascade. About a one finger creamy head that stayed to the bottom.

Smell is very light and mild. No beer smell.

Creamy taste and smooth creamy mouthfeel. There's a light caramel red taste. Very smooth and enjoyable.

A great lighter - dark beer. Great for the spring/summer.

Serving type: on-tap

 423 characters

Photo of spdyfire83
2.77/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

188th Review
Served in a glass
On-tap at The Brazen Head

A: Medium copper. 1.5 (creamy, off-white) fingernail head.

S: Not too much happening in the nose here, but after much searching I found some vanilla, caramel, and hint of malt. Kind of boring.

T: Very sweet caramel and sticky toffee up-front followed by smooth, balanced bitterness. Not too much else going on here though. Again, quite boring. Sweetness is a bit too much for my liking though.

M: Light/medium bodied with so smooth carbonation. Creamy, oh so creamy. Definitely the highlight of the beer!

O: The lack of aroma and taste of this beer is a bummer because it looks proper and drinks amazingly smooth. It drinks very, very smooth and is quite refreshing; however, not overly enjoyable. Reminds me of drinking cream soda as a kid growing up (good memories), but I'll pass on this going forward as it is too sweet for me.

 893 characters

Photo of mikechance
2.93/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served on nitro-tap at Kinnee O’Reilly’s Irish Pub in El Dorado Hills, CA.

I have never heard of the beer. The waitress described it as a lighter version of Guinness.

A --- Dark red, mahogany, nice but not as dark as I expected. Very little head.

S --- Hint of malts but not much of anything.

T --- Watery, but smooth. A little sweetness in the malts, but nothing that stands out.

M --- Smooth, creamy and silky --- the best feature of the beer. Very little carbonation.

O --- On a warm/hot day it would be a pretty good beer, but it's not one I would go back to very often. I think my wife would love it!

 616 characters

Photo of Damian
2.8/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served on nitro-tap at Vaughan's Public House, Hartford, CT
Served in a Kilkenny pint glass

A one-finger head of super tight and creamy, off-white foam topped the turbulent liquid. The head was reverse cascading and eventually settled to a thick, lasting film. The liquid beneath the head revealed a crystal clear, copper colored body. Thin rings of lacing stuck along the sides of the glass. Quite impressive.

The nose was rather muted. With a thick cap of froth, the only nuances I picked up initially were dry, powdery, yeasty ones. As the head receded, a touch of biscuity malts appeared.

Toasted malts dominated the rather simplistic flavor profile. Touch of caramel. Dry, powdery and minerally notes were also apparent. The finish was surprisingly crisp and hoppy. Earthy and moderately bitter. The hops were typical European bittering hops (most likely Fuggles), but they were used in greater quantity than I anticipated.

The mouthfeel was quite disappointing, especially for a beer poured from a nitro-tap. It was thin and watery with a very subtle carbonation. Far less smooth and creamy than than most nitro beers.

I decided to try Kilkenny ale tonight because it was the only offering at the bar that I had yet to sample, and apparently I discovered why this beer not more popular.

 1,298 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale from Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd
78 out of 100 based on 146 ratings.