Winter Welcome Ale
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

Winter Welcome AleWinter Welcome Ale
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Winter Warmer
Ranked #183
Ranked #37,483
3.69 | pDev: 11.92%
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
England, United Kingdom
Winter Welcome AleWinter Welcome Ale
Notes: This seasonal beer is a limited edition brewed for the short days and long nights of winter. The full body resulting from fermentation in ‘stone Yorkshire squares’ and the luxurious malt character, which will appeal to a broad range of drinkers, is balanced against whole-dried Fuggle and Golding hops with nuances and complexities that should be contemplated before an open fire.
Reviews: 1,201 | Ratings: 2,343 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of LiquidAmber
3.77/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass. Pours a medium to dark coppery amber with a fine, two finger light khaki head with good retention and nice lacing. Aroma of biscuit and lightly caramel malt, nuts, dates and raisins. Flavor is biscuit and dry caramel malt, tea, apple juice, nuts and dark dried fruit. Surprisingly dry biscuity finish with light grassy hops in the aftertaste. Medium bodied with light creaminess. Has a dry, brown ale profile with an earthy spiciness and light grassy hops that are most dominant in the finish. This really reminded me of Anchor's holiday ale, but less hoppy and piney. I would have assumed that Anchor's may have been influenced by this one from an old British brewery, but it is the 30th anniversary version, and the Anchor one is over 45 years old. Interesting.

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Photo of drmeto
3.64/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

-pours a clear copper with a medium to big,foamy,offwhite head
-medium to high carbonation visible
-Follows the nose + very spicy
-medium body
-medium carbonation
A solid, slightly beefed-up English ESB.
Though i was kinda missing the Typical English toffied malt base.

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Photo of MNAle
4.02/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Aroma is spicy, fruit, plums, somewhat earthy.

Color is amber-brown with some rising bubbles to a 3/4 inch off-white bubbly head with OK retention, leaving thick lacing.

Taste is quite good, with the earthiness more predominate than in the aroma, but good contributions from the spicy and plum flavors as well. No bitterness. Rich bready malts that never become too sweet. A good interplay and moderate complexity to the flavors keeps it interesting and enjoyable. Excellent, in fact, considering the ABV. The finish is on the dry side, and the aftertaste of the different flavors lingers.

Body is on the thin side of medium and smooth. Goes down very easily.

Overall, an enjoyable winter seasonal that won't leave you completely looped (even with the 550ml bottle).

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Photo of jkblr
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle stamped SG25S1 (30th anniversary edition, so from this year) poured into a becher glass at fridge temp 6% ABV. The beer pours bright medium amber in color with light khaki head. The head recedes to a thin cap and leaves a few spots of lacing. The aroma is rich with malt and subtle spice. The taste is a fantastic expression of British malt (definitely some Maris Otter) along with earthy English hops. Mildly bitter. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with less than medium carbonation and a dry finish. Overall, excellent. I wish that I could find this fresh every year.

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Photo of MissouriMule
3.89/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is to me a basic English bitter. The color is a medium amber, the head lingers, the body and mouthfeel are just this side of light, and the taste is malty sweetness alongside a touch of bitterness. It is solid but unremarkable. To my mind Fuller‘s ESB is a better-executed variation on Winter Welcome‘s theme.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
2.84/5  rDev -23%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

From old, undated notes. Poured from the bottle.

See-through piss color.

Frothy white head; strong lacing.

Bread-y malt nose; hint of lager?

Thin mouthfeel.

If you blind-folded me I would guess this was a Budweiser.

Not very good, save for a few bread notes. I usually love this brewery, but this is an exception. Barely any flavor, plus some macro notes.

Swing and a miss.

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Photo of HattedClassic
3.64/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours a nice white and creamy head that takes a while to dissipate and leaves a good amount of lacing and head on the surface. The beer itself is a clear light brown amber that looks really good.

The smell is decent. It has a nice spicey pepper note alongside a nutty and earthy hop note that mixes well with a moderate caramel note.

The beer has a moderate and earthy bitter hop note that dominates the taste and is followed up with a caramel and nutty note.

The beer is light bodied but with a bit of weight to it that puts it on the border. The carbonation is tingly and the beer goes down fairly smoothly.

Overall, this is a decent beer and one worth getting even if it isn't up to the extreme tastation!!!!

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Photo of aleigator
3.26/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a crystal clear, lighter brown color with a small, beige head.

Smell is defined by caramel, toasted malts and lighter licorice, with a faint copper appearance.

Has a light and refreshing mouthfeel with a bubbly effervescence during its finish.

Tastes of bakers chocolate, sweet caramel and spicy licorice, together with cardamom and anise. Has a roasted malts middle part with just a caramel nuance to it, balanced by matured, dry hops. Finishes with maintaining hops, less caramel and a rustic grain flavor, creating a short and clean aftertaste.

Well balanced beer with a nice, spicy, bitter twist to balance the sweetness in this very well.

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Photo of OlaB
3.79/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear amber color with a medium top off white head that dissolves slowly.
Aroma is malts, caramel,bread, raisins, dates and spices. The taste is sweet with notes of dried fruits and spices. The background is malty with bready caramel notes. The finish is bitter with spicy hop notes. Aftertaste has a decent lenght. Mouthfeel is smooth and soft with a medium carbonation and a medium body.
A nice winter warmer, but nothing extremly exciting about it.

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

Pours a clear amber color with a thin foamy head. Small pour. Very mild retention. Lacing is very good. Bready aroma with mild Christmas spiciness. Taste is the same. Bland. Light to medium bodied with mild to moderate carbonation.

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Photo of REDAMI
3.52/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 550ml bottle into Chimay goblet.

L - Medium amber/copper pour with minimal off-white head and slight lacing.
S - Doughy, mild sweet roll yeastiness. A hint of raisins on the back.
T - Bitter, distinct hop profile, orange peel/pith, coriander.
F - Dry mouthfeel sticks with you.

Very English, sortof ESB meets Tripel.

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Photo of JonnoWillsteed
4.17/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L- Pour carefully if going into a UK pint glass, it's not bottle-conditioned but at 550ml with a bit of foam it will completely fill it! Quite dark chestnut brown and clear. A slow pour leaves a 3mm fine white head.
S- Trad, toasty and malty with some caramel.
T- Corrr, this is nice. A good winter-warmer trad ale profile and they've somehow wrung that out of 6.0% ABV. It's remarkable in a way as there is a moderately rich yet dry flourish in the finish that almost imitates the 'alcohol zing' of say a 7.5%-8% beer. This isn't just a first impression, the same has happened on the first dozen mouthfuls on a clean palate.
F- A wonderful balance drawn from multiple quarters. Medium rich, deep and pungent, refreshing yet satisfyingly fulfilling on the palate, ie this isn't a chugging beer, neither is it a session beer (IMHO).
O- Zero out of place or balance for the style. For me the stand-out feature is they've built all this taste/feel etc profile upon a relatively modest 6.0%. I'd definitely drink this again, it's really a gem of a find!
[x-ref: FWIW this is my 781st beer review, I'm anticipating that this will definitely and righfully be in my top-10% and probably top-5%].
550ml bottle BB: July/20. Bought from Wholefoods London W8 £3.49
The lable is slightly updated, rather than as illustrated^ the central cartouche featuring...?rugby players, it states '30th Winter Welcome Anniversary'.

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Photo of MichaelProcton
3.46/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Relatively aggressive pour yielded a big white cap that dissipated relatively quickly but left some good lacing down the glass. Color is a nice honey, almost like a cream soda, with excellent clarity and limited carbonation. The smell is dominated by sweetness: dark fruits, sugary candy, and a touch of malt fullness; if anything, it may come off as a bit cloying. The flavor is a bit better balanced, though I can tell it's past its best by date. Hops are much more pronounced than they were in the scent. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, but there is also some sharp carbonation that wasn't exactly visible. Overall, a beer that I might have let slip by me now that we've made it to late July.

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Photo of cardfan212
3.34/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 550 mL bottle into a shaker pint

Look - A vividly clear amber body topped with an aggressive pillowy tan head. Pour it hard, and watch the spectacle. This is one great looking beer, really brightens up this rainy day.

Smell - Light crackery malt with a bit of allspice and pepper on the tail. Herbal hops linger all around.

Taste - Surprisingly uninteresting. After all the buildup before the first sip, I was expecting to love this, but there isn't a whole lot going on. Slight notes of spice and resiny bitterness. Tastes like if you drank an APA, then filled the dirty glass with water and drank that.

Feel - Pretty watery. Thin body and very little carbonation. Would normally be not great, but it kinda works in tandem with the faint and subtle flavor.

Overall - I know it isn't exactly fair to review a winter beer in late May and expect it to be everything it should be, but that's what I'm doing. My local liquor store was trying to clear out stock and had these bottles on sale for $2, so I gave it a shot. I'll definitely have to come back to it in 6 months when I can get a fresh bottle, because I think this could be really good.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
3.96/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Had on tap at gingerman in NYC.

Look is a cloudy orange amber with a thin white head.

Aroma is all kinds of British fruity and delicious.

Taste is smooth and sweet.

Excellent midwinter beer.

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Photo of jlindros
3.82/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Reviewed as part of BJCP training. 17A. British Strong Ale.

Pours a mild fizzy foamy 1/2 finger head that retains well, nice lacing too, clear reddish-amber color

Nose has a lot going on, toasted reddish malts, sweet malts, then various light dried fruits especially appley, little nutty, biscuity, hint of caramel, hint of alcohol, very light grassy floral hop,

Taste starts malty, sweet almost candy like malt, toasted bready malts with mild biscuity, then caramel and toffee, little nutty as well, then more dried fruits, a little apple mostly, plenty of hop bitterness, moderate bitterness with some herbal almost spicy hops, mild warming alcohol but smooth,

Mouth is medium to fuller bodied, a little alcohol warmth but not much, fairly high carbonation, thicker almost chewy like

Overall not bad, basically like a nice English bitter but with more complexity and a bit more alcohol, enjoyable although nothing to write home about

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look: copper with red hues, clear, solid head with good lacing. Aroma: balanced, very light caramel, a mix of floral and herbal hops, tea, a hint of orange in the background. Taste: more balance, a bit more orange than the aroma, and a bit more malt. The hops are pretty much nonexistent. Feel: medium bodied, light carbonation. Overall, its a nice beer even though I expect better from Samuel Smith's.

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Photo of janubio
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasted at Coriasso's in a chalice glass. Pours an amber colour, big head with medium retention, normal lacing. Almost of caramel, bananas, apples, spices. Medium body, creamy texture, good carbonation. Bitter finish. Taste of caramel, apples,, bananas and some spice or herbs that I can't remember now, that adds a bitter touch, like in a jagger. Good.

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Photo of TheDoctor
3.74/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Serving: Bottle
Year: 2017-2018

Pours a relatively clear copper with a decent foamy head. Pretty good retention; stringy lacing. (4)

Spiced vanilla, banana bread (mostly without bananas). (3.75)

Bready malt, pepper, hard water. (3.75)

Thin body with active carbonation and a fairly dry finish. (3.5)

A pretty nice winter beer.
This one reminds me of a pipsqueak barleywine. Unfortunately I feel like the taste isn't that as much as the nose, since there is not as much richness from the malt in it as there is in the smell. Looks nice, smells good (lightly fruity, sweet, spiced bread), tastes okay (a hollow version of the nose, meh feeling (a little thin). A nice beer that I'd love to try fresher, although I'm not 100% as to whether this is this year's or not. Mysteries abound... (3.75)

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Photo of Amendm
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A strong pour from a 12-oz. bottle generates a finger sized light beige frothy head with a few large bubbles, short retention and blotches of lace.
Clear dark golden amber, yellow amber in front of light.
Sweet caramel malt greats the nose with spicy/herbal hops and faint alcohol.
Semi-sweet fruit (plum, grape, apple) blend with the abundant caramel malt as the taste becomes semi-bitter/dry from hops and toasted malt. The finish is clean and quick with a short lived peppery bitter aftertaste.
Medium-full body with average carbonation, evenly semi-sweet and semi-bitter.
Easy drinker, smooth and malty with moderate spice (from hops-not added spice).

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Photo of EMH73
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber with a well retained half inch white head that left tons of lacing. Smells of toast, dark fruits, caramel and yeast. Tastes of toast, caramel, fruity yeast,, toffee, dark fruits, nuttiness and a bit of spice. Medium bodied, soft carbonation, slightly bitter finish, smooth mouth feel.

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Photo of Fatheroftoomany
3.76/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great size head and hazy orange color. Tastes of spice and a classic ale. Easy to drink and finshes smooth. Not much of a smell but easy to drink. Would have another.

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Photo of mj24053
4.15/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Solid English ale. I don't really taste the winter part of it, as in it doesn't seem very different than a regular English ale...can't taste a lot of spices or anything.....but, that's not necessarily a bad thing...just not what i was expecting. Still very good

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Photo of mushroomcloud
4.31/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2018-2019 version
Glowing orange/amber beer with a 1 1/2" off white-sand color head...very good retention before settling in as a solid cap. Patchy lacing left behind.
Toffee, apple, caramel, tea, earth, nuts, tobacco. Fantastic.
Bread, caramel apple. Herbal tea. This may be too simple of a description for what's a very tasty beer. It's complex and simple at the same time.
Medium body, low carbonation and a creamy mouthfeel.
Clean, flavorful finish with a pleasant mild bitterness.
Delicious and so well made. Drink more English beers....

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.06/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

On tap at Tap and Mallet in Rochester, NY.

This one pours a mostly clear light brownish-red, with a small head, and lots of lacing.

This smells very toasty, with some dark dried fruit aromas, fruity yeast, and caramel.

This is pretty light, but it's got a great dark toastiness to it, with some light yeastiness, and a touch of bitterness. It's simple, but basically a well done winter-y British ale.

This is light bodied, slighly creamy, and very crisp, with a very good level of drinkability.

I'm really happy that Samuel Smith beers are starting to show up on tap in the US- it's a great pub beer.

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Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 2343 ratings