Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Bitter | Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

BA SCORE
83
good
71 Ratings
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Samuel Smith's Old Brewery BitterSamuel Smith's Old Brewery Bitter
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
England, United Kingdom
samuelsmithsbrewery.co.uk

Style: English Bitter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-10-2002

BEER STATS
Ratings:
71
Reviews:
31
Avg:
3.66
pDev:
13.66%
 
 
Wants:
7
Gots:
7
For Trade:
0
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 71 |  Reviews: 31
Photo of Tone
3.35/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear, copper color. 1/5 inch head of a white color. Good retention and poor lacing. Smells of sweet malt, hops, hint of citrus, hint of oak, hint of liquor. Fits the style of an English Bitter. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, slight pale malt, hint of hop, and a hint of citrus. Overall, average appearance, aroma, and feel.

 390 characters

Photo of tempest
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-cask at The Cock in London. Appeared a hazy golden yellow with a tall white head. Eh, nice and drinkable but a bit plain. The aroma is just a sharp, sweet mellon note and a plain bready flavor. Very drinkable and it fits well into the style Worth a try is you're into Sam Smith beers - but understand, this isn't at the same level as the Taddy Porter or Oatmeal Stout.

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Photo of afsdan
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.84/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of BlackHaddock
4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was amazed to find I’d never reviewed this beer having drank it on numerous occasions when in London and other Sam Smith’s pub around the country over the years: anyway I’ve put that right today.

This review is of a pint, hand pulled in the ‘Citte of Yorke’ in Holborn, London; a lovely old pub listed on the BA beerfly database.

Sadly this is now the only beer Sam Smith’s brewery brings out in cask form, everything else is keg or bottle, not cask.

Clear amber body with a creamy head of bubbles which are off-white in colour and produce some good thick lacing as I down the liquid it covers.

The nose is a complex mix of wood notes, autumn leaves, caramel and a fresh loaf of bread.

The taste is equally as complex: malts just about lead the way with a good hop contingent coming up fast behind, well balanced and easy to drink. Semi-sweet from the caramel like molasses in the malts, but with an undertone of hop bitterness which asserts itself half way through each gulp (this isn’t a sipping beer, it’s a gulper).

Still under £2.00 a pint in an historic central London pub (Oct 2011), you can’t go wrong. In fact I had another half in the beautiful Princess Louise half an hour after rinsing this pint I’ve just reviewed.

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Photo of wl0307
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Having had this beer on cask for many many times at Samuel Smith's houses throughout London (it surprises me just how many very old pubs have been taken over~~), this is the first time I truly feel that I should record what I've tasted. For the pint consumed at the Angel (nr. St. Giles Church and Tottenham Court tube station) recently, was the best I've had in addition to the perfect pouring by the cool but skilful barman there.

A: dispensed with a sparkler (presumably), it comes in a bright and clear, reddish-amber hue; a tight and creamy beige beer head sits on top and refuses to budge throughout the drink.
S: a sour-sweet woody hint buttresses a slightly resinous and dried grassy hops, but very smooth; a fruity overtone of plums asserts itself in the back, rather understated, but dovetails the fore-note just fine.
T: a natural woody, sour-sweet edge and refreshing but softly plummy+apple-ish fruity flavour accompany a very creamy-textured malty entry, complementing each other just beautifully; very faint bitterness struggles to pierce through the impressive silky maltiness, rendering a clean aftertaste and slightly drish hint from both wooden casks (used to age this beer) and hops.
M&D: the mouthfeel is great, silky smooth, perfectly controlled carbonation and medium-bodied, this really is a quaffable traditional ale--maybe a cross b/w bitter and pale ale? For one, I'd recommend drinking this classic ale at this quality little gem, the Angel, for full enjoyment (if one's in central London rather than Doncaster, that is).
Warning: the same beer could be very bland when served on tap, over-chilled, or dispensed carelessly, in another Samuel Smith's pub with poor bar-training and cellarmanship, though.

 1,739 characters

Photo of bylerteck
3.52/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On cask at Cittie of Yorke in London. From notes.

A - Poured a slightly hazy dark gold colour with a creamy one finger eggshell head. Soapy bubbles on the sides of the glass. Nice rings of creamy lacing and a half finger of retention.

S - Bready with some butter. Apple comes out. Earthy and some High School locker sort of aroma.

T - Nice gentle malt and hop balance. Bready with some buttery/butterscotch notes with a little crisp hop note. Crackers might be in there too.

M - Nice touch of carbonation. Slightly sweet finish with a light and creamy body.

O/D - High dinkability as this is tasty and low abv. A good beer with depth and interesting parts coming together as you go. A good one but nothing crazy.

 717 characters

Photo of bark
4.53/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The colour is medium-dark amber; the finger thick head is beige. Massive lacing occurs.

The smell is bitter with spicy notes. It is very fresh.

The taste is mellow and fresh in a balanced way. Notes of fresh fruits and cream; medium body. The aftertaste is a bit bitter with more of those fruits (apples?).

The carbonation is very mild, but at the same time quite refreshing. The liquid is a bit thick.

A splendid bitter!

 428 characters

Photo of Zach136
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of FLima
2.89/5  rDev -21%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Amber golden color with a thin head with short retention.
Predominant flowery aroma.
Sweet malty taste with light notes of oxidized apple, toffee and vanilla. Hints of minerals. Dry and mild bitter aftertaste.
Medium body with very low carbonation.
A malty juice. Not really that fun, an average real ale.

 305 characters

Photo of Fatehunter
3.69/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours two fingers of head on a hazy dark straw body.
The aroma is wood and vinegar (not as bad as it sounds).
The taste is mild sweetness with a stronger wood flavor.
The texture is smooth with low carbonation.
Pretty enjoyable.

 228 characters

Photo of trevorpost
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of FLBeerGuy
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of tom10101
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.07/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery Bitter (OBB) divides opinions in the UK, even amongst CAMRA members and experienced beer drinkers. What needs to be understood is that it is predominantly a Malt based beer, and not really like your “run-of-the-mill” English session Bitters.
Also, it is from Yorkshire’s oldest Brewery, it is brewed from the Breweries own well water, has NO adjuncts, does not benefit from any Brewery aids whatsoever, utilises the Yorkshire Squares (made from Slate) system of fermentation, and when distributed to nearly all of its Pubs in Cask Conditioned format, it is supplied in Wooden Casks, YES Wooden!!- NOT Steel, or Aluminum, but- Wood. One of only a handful of UK Brewers left that still employ a Cooper.
Sadly, after the demise of Tadcaster Bitter and Museum Ale :-((, this is now the only Cask-Conditioned beer that Sam’s make. Such a Tragic Shame.
So with the above in mind, you will never find a Handpulled Sam’s OBB with a ‘decent’ head, whilst Wooden Casks will keep the beer in good condition, high carbonation levels are rarely experienced in this format. In the North of England where Swan-Necks, or Sparklers, are used for dispense you may get something resembling a head. As such, the head tends to dissipate quickly to a thin covering. Has a light brown, typical “English Bitter” color, that has a higher than average strength at 4% ABV. Malt is prevalent in the initial tastes, and to a certain extent dominates the beer. However, when “on form”, it has a fruitiness to die for, with a superb hoppy finish that really makes this beer. It often has a long lingering bitter, fruity finish. Mouthfeel is average, which again is perfectly acceptable for this beer – bear in mind people in the UK will often drink a Gallon of this beer in one night. It is a true Session Beer.

Ironic I know, but don’t expect it to be Bitter!. This is a very misunderstood beer, rarely appreciated – but I dearly love it, and in the North of England, in Sam’s Houses you will be hard pressed to beat it for value. Also, Sam’s Pubs themselves take some beating.
Last Tasted at the Historic Samuel Smiths Inn, the White Horse, or “Nellies”, in Beverley, North Yorkshire.
www.nellies.co.uk
Go on - have a look, and see what you are missing.

NOTE: This is the only Cask Conditioned Beer that Samuel Smiths now brew, sadly.
If only you could have tasted their Museum Ale on Cask – oh, it was Wonderous!!

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Photo of woosterbill
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Halfpint on-tap at the Angel in the Fields.

A: Clear pale copper body under an extremely creamy, persistent off-white head that leaves some light lace. Attractive.

S: Leafy and earthy hops, lightly sweet caramel malt. Simple and enjoyable.

T: Very smooth, well-integrated flavors: nutty + toffee malts, earthy + herbal hops, and some mildly sweet citrus notes. Understated and enjoyable.

M: Light-bodied and soft, with low carbonation. Very nice for an on-tap bitter.

O: I can see how someone could penalize this beer for being a bit on the boring side, but I found its simplicity to be a redeeming quality. Subtle, drinkable, enjoyable.

Cheers!

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Photo of Boto
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this in what was supposed to be the oldest pub in London: the "Old Cheshire Cheese". The beer was a rich copper color. A bit of a lingering head. There was a slightly sweet maltiness to the aroma. There was as full, malty taste to this one, with a hine of bitterness coming through at the end. Very Good!

 310 characters

Photo of Adamostella
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of 6thstreetbrewpub
3.79/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of flyingpig
3.94/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pint in Ad Lib, Glasgow (£3.60):
Toffee brown with a cream, thumb sized head on top that is white and holds pretty well.

Bitter with an earthy malt aroma and some lighter fruit notes along with some caramel and a touch of burnt sugar. There is some apples and a few sweet malts too.

Sweet malts and a very bitter taste kick things off along with a nutty taste and a touch of caramel from the nose. There is a fruity undertone with some bitterness towards the end.

Medium bodied and very cream with a nice, rounded bitter finish and a very smooth body. The balance in this one is quite nice too.

Bitter and a great example of the style with a great appearance and a nice balance throughout. There was some nice caramel malts and the hints of fruit were nice too.

 766 characters

Photo of rarbring
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is amber, the beer is clear, the head is thick and off-white. Some lacing.

Smells of caramel and hay.

Initially butter scotch, then sour fruits, orange, lemon and green apples. A good bitter finish.

Medium carbonation, very soft and easy to drink.

A good solid ale. On-tap at The Earl of Lonsdale at Portobello Rd.

 328 characters

Photo of rastaman
2.06/5  rDev -43.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pretty ordinary, sweet creamy mouthfeel, Ok maltiness, not much bitterness, not much hoppyness, smooth aswell and tasted very very flat, lacks bite and once again this is a bit to sweet and creamy for me.

 204 characters

Photo of OldTime
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of spointon
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of cryptichead
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Bitter from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
3.66 out of 5 based on 71 ratings.
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