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

Kilkenny Irish Cream AleKilkenny Irish Cream Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

237 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 237
Reviews: 135
rAvg: 3.44
pDev: 18.31%

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

Style | ABV
Irish Red Ale |  4.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Now brewed here:
 http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profi ... /209/52083 

(Beer added by: Todd on 05-08-2002)
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Ratings: 237 | Reviews: 135 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of MarkoNm


3.15/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2014 20:08:45 | More by MarkoNm
Photo of Tebuken


4/5  rDev +16.3%
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 .

Serving type: on-tap

08-14-2013 15:06:27 | More by Tebuken
Photo of jimiboi


4/5  rDev +16.3%
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.

Serving type: nitro-can

08-04-2013 11:01:13 | More by jimiboi
Photo of CampusCrew


3.56/5  rDev +3.5%
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

Serving type: on-tap

04-18-2013 20:58:31 | More by CampusCrew
Photo of machalel


2.98/5  rDev -13.4%
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.

Serving type: nitro-can

03-27-2013 01:38:02 | More by machalel
Photo of JamesHenjum


2.2/5  rDev -36%
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.

Serving type: nitro-can

08-09-2012 03:22:52 | More by JamesHenjum
Photo of PorterLambic


3.45/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Serving type: nitro-tap

07-26-2012 20:14:11 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of Mellonius


3.78/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

07-10-2012 00:07:59 | More by Mellonius
Photo of davey101


3.1/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

Serving type: nitro-tap

04-07-2012 02:05:40 | More by davey101
Photo of sailorastro


3.38/5  rDev -1.7%
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

Serving type: on-tap

03-22-2012 21:17:24 | More by sailorastro
Photo of stpracer

3.93/5  rDev +14.2%
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

Serving type: on-tap

03-11-2012 19:21:46 | More by stpracer
Photo of spdyfire83


2.78/5  rDev -19.2%
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.

Serving type: nitro-tap

02-19-2012 08:48:42 | More by spdyfire83
Photo of mikechance


2.95/5  rDev -14.2%
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!

Serving type: nitro-tap

02-15-2012 06:12:32 | More by mikechance
Photo of Damian


2.83/5  rDev -17.7%
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.

Serving type: nitro-tap

02-12-2012 06:15:36 | More by Damian
Photo of Ruds

United Kingdom (England)

2.7/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from tap into a Kilkenny glass at the Kings Head pub in Galway, Eire

Coppery-light brown in colour with a small white head

Sweet aroma on the nose but not a great deal going on other than a little malt and sugar

Tastewise verges on a sweet but a (and certainly not rich in this respect) caramel flavour is present and a very faint bubblegum taste. Not a lot of bitterness if any? - an easy drinking beer if you wish!

A creamy mouthfeel and drinking experience to boot with little carbonation

Overall - I had not tried this beer for perhaps 15 to 20 years and did so largely because I was getting bored of Guinness! I would only drink this again in similar circumstances and will not be seeking it out!

Serving type: on-tap

01-23-2012 21:07:56 | More by Ruds
Photo of KTCamm

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at an Irish pub in NYC. Standard Irish pint glass.

Pours a reddish brown color, with a perpetual creamy head that really survives the entire meal.

Smell is nonexistent - very mild "beer smell" if anything.

Incredibly creamy taste and smooth creamy mouthfeel. There's a light caramel red taste, and little bitter if any. Smooth throughout.

A very enjoyable afternoon beer.

Serving type: on-tap

12-29-2011 00:56:00 | More by KTCamm
Photo of weissbierdrinker


3.68/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a amber red color with a nice foamy heady.
Has a woody sweet malty tinge.
Taste is slightly sweet up front but then quickly changes to a malty dry finish.
Very easy drinking beer and very popular as well. Had my first in Amsterdam. I'm surprised it's not been added. I could drink this stuff all night and night get bored.

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2009 15:21:10 | More by weissbierdrinker
Photo of laituegonflable


3.73/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark ginger sort of brown with a mother-of-pearl head of very dense bubbles that sits like a gelatinous mass on top, not going anywhence. Has a huge reverse cascade when first poured and leaves some leopard-skin lacing down the glass. Very nice.

Smells sweet and pleasant, with Irish cream, a hint of nutmeg and a slight tartness, kind of a white wine vinegar character. Not the most complex nose, but very nice all the same.

Taste is similarly sweet with a creamy, velvety mouthfeel. Has a slightly bitter pang to the mid-palate but finish and linger are creamy and soft. Main palate tastes of that Irish cream with a slight herb flavour and a distinct vinegar acidity on the back. Mouthfeel is so smooth, one might expect it to be sweeter. It is interesting and rewarding though, but not as quaffable as it may have been. Still very pleasant drinking, and a great after-dinner drop.

Serving type: nitro-tap

06-01-2009 06:41:18 | More by laituegonflable
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

2.48/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

I used to be entertained by what ensues from the pouring of a nitro-can. The dizzying dance of bubbles, the grading scheme of colours and shifting balance of lofty foam; it really is a spectacle, albeit an unauthentic one. Nevertheless, this seesawed carbonation reveals a lovely rusty caramel tone and a head unsurpassed in terms of creaminess.

It's too bad the aroma doesn't offer as much to the senses. Actually, it offers virtually nothing to the senses. The beer's appearance suggests something sweet, malty and lightly toasted with a gooey abundance of caramel. Alas, its aroma - or lack there of - implies none of the above and offers little except a stale, easily overlooked hint of corn adjunct.

The body doesn't seem to correspond to its appearance either; it is anemically thin. There is virtually no maltiness and thus little to provide texture or taste. The aftertaste is essentially non-existent and even sitting on the palate there is nothing to distinguish the beer apart from water; it isn't sweet nor bitter. It is entirely featureless.

And apart from that mass of artificial cream, your palate would sense little of anything drinking this beer. The only thing I can make out, apart from that cream precluding each sip, is a slight mineral tinge. Otherwise, I wrestle to find any likeness to flavour. Given it bears almost no resemblance to beer why does anyone bother drinking it?

The brewery tacks the slogan "smooth and distinguished" onto each can. Smooth? By default, yes. Distinguished? Someone please get these people a dictionary. Is that meant to be tongue-in-cheek? Let me be plain and simple: this doesn't smell, taste or feel like beer (and you could make the case about this artificial carbonation) so in my mind, it simply isn't.

Serving type: nitro-can

05-26-2009 20:12:37 | More by biegaman
Photo of Genry

New York

2/5  rDev -41.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a 440 can into a glass snifter.

Pour was terrible, even when I took my time there was too much foam. Appearance is a cloudy grey fading to deep red.

Smells of carbonation from the widget, and not much else. Very muted.

The taste was very, very disappointing. I had thought Guinness went down hill, but Kilkenny has taken a nosedive. Taste was bitter, heavy - borderline rank. Nothing but bitter hops and cream. It made me feel like I was drinking stale water that had been mixed with real Kilkenny, poured on the ground, soaked up with a towel, and strained into my glass.

Mouthfeel was not much better, oily and heavy. What a waste.

Drinkability? I will not be drinking Kilkenny from a can for a long time, though I'm tempted to give it a second chance on tap.

Serving type: nitro-can

05-15-2009 20:22:02 | More by Genry
Photo of atomicbolt

Ontario (Canada)

3.48/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this plenty of times (apparently identical to Smithwick's in the US? There's some story there involving Guinness ownership that I don't remember) but I'll finally review it, 440 mL nitro can.

Nice, creamy look in the glass, with a cloudy brown appearance with red undertones. Creamy tan head settles nicely and laces a decent amount, you can really tell that the nitro-can makes a difference in the creaminess. The smell isn't too powerful, just a bit of caramel malts, some real yeastiness - no idea what effect the nitrogen has on the smell, but maybe I'm smelling part of that reaction.

The taste's quite good. Creamy all around, big malty kick, toasty, caramel, fairly complex. Subsides into a fairly bitter, roasted aftertaste. The bitterness actually hangs around a bit too strongly in the aftertaste, could use a bit more balance there. The creaminess also fades sooner than you'd expect. Not as drinkable as say, a good stout, on account of the bitterness and some off notes in the taste, plus it fills you up pretty quickly. Still, the mouthfeel's quite nice, and the taste is still pretty enjoyable.

Overall it's good, but as a fan of Irish reds, I think the taste profile could be better.

Serving type: nitro-can

04-23-2009 03:42:40 | More by atomicbolt
Photo of BringusKilkenney


4.97/5  rDev +44.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap and loved it probably one of my favorite beers ever so easy to drink.

This cream ale pours a nice ruby red with a little yellow in the light. Nice white two finger head with a one finger that lingers.

The smell is nice of roasted malts and cream just smooth all around.

The taste is of malts and smoothness if that is a taste a bit watery if you concentrate to hard. A great offering for this style and good job for a guiness brew.

The mouthfeel is smooth and carbonated with just a little fizz nice and easy to take down a really nice session beer with the low abv what a great brew to just sit back and enjoy with friends.

Serving type: on-tap

04-14-2009 22:55:12 | More by BringusKilkenney
Photo of Seanstoppable

Nova Scotia (Canada)

4/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Arrived as a cloudy reddish brown. Creamy white bubbles filter to the top as it settles, making for a bit of a show. The taste was a delicious creamy, slightly sweet flavor, with some mild bitterness. Really smooth and tasty, though a bit dry in the end. It reminds me of a really good Guinness, but not as heavy.

Serving type: on-tap

04-11-2009 12:34:02 | More by Seanstoppable
Photo of DoctorStrangiato

Alberta (Canada)

4.28/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 440-ml can into a pub ale glass.

Appearance - shimmering, cascading flow as the beer settled to an amberish- white cream head.

Smell - hops and malted barley, with a hint of both caramel and coffee.

Taste - wow! I'm impressed with the harmonious combination of nuttiness and caramel-vanilla. Pretty complex taste - enjoyable.

Mouthfeel - pretty decent, although just a touch more sparkle or bite would be good.

Drinkability - the low-alcohol, high-taste is a winner. Many of these could be put down in a night.

Serving type: nitro-can

03-18-2009 00:12:51 | More by DoctorStrangiato
Photo of delmarnate


4.88/5  rDev +41.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this beer on tap in Ireland numerous times on a trip there. The taste and mouthfeel are outstanding. Very nice mix of hoppiness and malts with a stronger malt character.The head stayed with the beer the whole glass. Very smooth and drinkable beer. I wish it was available here.

Serving type: on-tap

03-06-2009 20:51:13 | More by delmarnate
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Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale from Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd
79 out of 100 based on 237 ratings.