Winter Welcome Ale
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

Winter Welcome AleWinter Welcome Ale
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Style:
Winter Warmer
Ranked #170
ABV:
6%
Score:
84
Ranked #40,140
Avg:
3.7 | pDev: 11.89%
Reviews:
1,219
Ratings:
2,397
From:
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
 
England, United Kingdom
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  41
Gots
  261
SCORE
84
Good
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: 1,219 | Ratings: 2,397 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Chickenhawk9932
Chickenhawk9932 from Pennsylvania

3.94/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice rich amber with an off white head.

Roasted nuts, malty bread, and spicy herb hop in the nose.

Roasted nut and toasted bread with hints of caramel balanced by a spicy bitter herb hop. Finishes dry.

Aug 16, 2021
Photo of HoppingMadMonk
HoppingMadMonk from New Jersey

4.06/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just under average carbonation with about a medium body.
Aroma is malt,dark honey,malty yeasty doughy sticky rolls . Dried dark fruit, mild toffee chocolate and an even more mild tart funk.
Taste is weaker than aroma and has a slight vinegar dry bitterness that the aroma didn't suggest. Malt, doughy bread,dried fruit are all there as in the aroma.
Overall its a very good beer that needs to warm up for the taste to develop properly.

Mar 03, 2021
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imnodoctorbut from Texas

4.15/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2020-2021 ed. bottle.

pours a rich and clear apricot gold body with billowing slightly-burnt cream frothy foam head that hangs around 2 fingers with moderate retention that leaves swathes of patchy lacing as it settles to a patchy cap.

very fruity (dried bright fruit) and bready malt aroma with caramel, backed by that classic earthy combo of fuggle/golding hops

taste pretty much follows the nose. lots of dried bright fruit tart/tang/sweetness. little bit of funk towards the end like vinegar. bready and caramel malt sweet. slight spice in the wings. dried apricot is the leading fruit profile that I'm picking up

clean and mineral-watery mouthfeel. moderately high carbonation, medium-light body. goes smooth with occasional carbo prickles. mild effervescence. less chewy and a lighter than most Winter Ale's I've had in the past. slightly vinegary bitter finish.

overall:
what an interesting little winter ale. this thing definitely stands out compared to other's I've had in the style, keeping the fruit cake notes but then shooting off somewhere else completely and setting the piney notes aside in favor of something...else. it's almost vinegary at times, funky and minerally. very different. I'd sip on this thru a sixer and not blink twice. good stuff.

Feb 19, 2021
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mjsullivan86 from Pennsylvania

3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2020-2021 "Welcome Back Ale" bottle poured into a tulip glass. Pours a golden straw color. Head fades somewhat quickly, but leaves a fine lacing.

My initial smell was largely bread yeast. Almost smelled like a loaf of beer bread. This was less prominent with subsequent smells Slightly sweet.

Taste similar to smell, mostly malt sweetness. I get some subtle dried fruit as well. Slight bitterness that lingers on the sides of the tongue. Well balanced without any overpowering flavors. Thinner mouthfeel than expected based on description; more middle of the road.

Overall, pretty good. I wouldn't put it in the category of winter warmers had I not read that as the listed style. Sessionable.

Jan 28, 2021
Photo of HipCzech
HipCzech from Texas

3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving: 550 ml bottle poured into a Spiegelau beer tulip. 2019/2020 bottling, 30th winter warmer anniversary.

Appearance: Deep, clear amber brown with a creamy head of off white foam. Nice coating of fine lace.

Smell: Figs, dates and caramel evoke fruitcake, along with toasted malt and earthy hops.

Taste: Rich caramel body with hints of toasted grains, dried fruit and baking spice. Finishes crisply with minerals and earthy, bitter hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, crisp and fine carbonation.

Overall: Rich and satisfying ale for cool winter nights.

Jan 18, 2021
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jjamadorphd from Florida

2.75/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

A beautiful specimen when it comes to look and color, absolutely gorgeous, actually. Though it has a decent smell and medium-bodied mouthfeel, the rest of it was a huge disappoint for me. It tasted way to metallic, just distracted from the overall experience and something I won't be looking forward to ever again.

Jan 17, 2021
Photo of BubbleBobble
BubbleBobble from New York

3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a clear dark amber from the bottle, 1.5" head that settles to a solid ring, good lacing. Nose is toffee and caramel, roasted malts, red apples, a bit of earthy hops - very reminiscent of a Märzen, with the sweet apple aromas and low hop profile the main differences. Taste starts sweet - fresh apple cider with a slight tartness; malts come, as well as a light toffee note, but not as much as suggested by the nose. There an apple juiciness underlying it as well, which comes on a little strong. That said, the finish manages to stay dry enough to prevent it from getting too cloying. Mouthfeel is on the thin side, but enough body to linger.

Jan 02, 2021
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Historiker from Ohio

3.86/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The last iteration of this I tried was from 2017 or 2018, and it was pretty bad. This year's edition looks and tastes very different, so it's nice to know they're not afraid to tweak the recipe a bit.

Poured a very slightly hazy copper with a sturdy head

The smell is....unimpressive. You get some malts and a faint suggestion of sherry. To be sure, the smell isn't bad - just "meh."

When I took my first sip, I immediately thought "what the hell does this remind me of?". About halfway through, it dawned on me: Bass. It reminds me of a slightly amped-up version of Bass Pale Ale. It had the same subtle malt sweetness, the same faint bitter aftertaste...but this does have more overall depth of flavor.

Solid medium body.

Overall, this isn't a beer I'd want more than one of in a season, but if you're looking for a winter beer that isn't in the porter or stout family, this is a fine choice.

Dec 17, 2020
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Effinwill from California

4.83/5  rDev +30.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Picked up an over-sized bottle at TJs. Different label - covid reference. This is not a hoppy beer. If you want something hoppy do a hazy imperial infused milkshake ipa, kid.
Perhaps, my palate has been destroyed by IPAs but something about the delicate malty, estery balance of this beer was perfect tonight. Strong lace, perfect clarity, generous malt heft, herbal notes, but clean. Best beer I’ve had in a while

Dec 17, 2020
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JohnniEMc from Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found a 18.7 bottle presumably from Merry Olde England, so let's see what it's got. First poured into a clear glass liter mug it's a copper-amber color with a sturdy white head and nice glass lacing. The aroma is very malty with hints of spice. The ale is not very hoppy, but the malts and yeast combine well enough to produce a interestingly complex flavor. It's like an English Bitter with the taste supercharged. It's nice to drink an ale with Winter in its name that isn't overdosed with spices.

Dec 17, 2020
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misteil from Ireland

3.66/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

enjoyed while watching this years toy show, took no notes, was grand but nothing exceptional, way lighter in colour than i would have anticipated, nice malt brown bread and caramel flavours and some bitterness on the finish, bit lacking in body and depth, drinkable enough though, drank by an open fire like the bottle suggested.

Nov 28, 2020
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John_M from Oregon

3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Been drinking this beer for many, many years. Always a lovely harbinger of the Winter holidays.

On tap today at John's Market.


The beer pours a sturdy copper amber color with good head retention amd considerable sticky lacing all around. The nose on this beer is probably the least attractive aspect, though it still showcases attractive sweet malt with some underlying light vinegar. On the palate, the beer is quite delicious. It's moderately sweet, with light vanilla, a hint of dry sherry (there's something of a light oxidation component to this beer that is intriguing), and a kiss of hoppy bitterness in the finish. The sweet malt clearly dominates the flavor profile otherwise. Mouthfeel is medium bodied at most, and this beer is very light on its feet. Alcohol is very well integrated into the flavor profile, and drinkability is terrific.

This isn't a beer I'd want to drink all the time, but I always find it quite welcome over the cold, short winter days we see in the NW.

Nov 15, 2020
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OK_Denise from Oklahoma

3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I am frankly not sure how to rate this style of beer. I think this is only Winter Warmer I have drank. It pours well and has a decent aroma to it. The taste is fairly smooth with mostly a malt flavor and a minimal taste of hops. Not bad at all. You do not taste the 6% ABV at all really. I would not really drink more than one of these at a sitting but that is just me. Well worth trying if you have the chance!

Jul 26, 2020
Photo of Peach63
Peach63 from New York

3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours amber with a 1/2 inch white head. Light lacing.

Aroma of toffee, spice, faint molasses, caramel malts, yeasty.

Taste is malty, spicy, earthy, toffee, caramel, slight licorice.

Medium bodied, light carbonation. Semi-dry finish.

A bit late in the year to try this one but it's a good beer.

Jun 14, 2020
Photo of Colenso
Colenso from Massachusetts

3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Crystal clear, amber, 1/4" medium bubble head that lingers
S: Malt, bread, sweet caramel
T: Malt, lightly toasted grains, noticeable bitter hop finish
M: Please effervescence, smooth feel, a little thin for a winter ale
O: A fine ale, but a little thin for the season and the hop bitterness in the finish could be better balanced and more subdued so as not to overwhelm the palette.

May 16, 2020
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Ozzylizard from Pennsylvania

3.21/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

$ 11.00 (Including tax)/4 pack of 12 oz bottles ($ 0.229/oz). Purchased 4/13/20 at Franklin Beer, Franklin, PA. Reviewed 4/18/20
Bottle neck marked “SG31R1” in white ink. Top of label marked “2018 2019”. On room temperature shelf at store. Stored at home at 42 degrees and served at 45 degrees in a hand washed and dried Samuel Smith pint glass.
Appearance – 3.
First pour – Deep Gold (SRM 6), very slight haze.
Body – Deep Gold (SRM 6), hazy. When held to direct light, same.
Head – Large (Maximum ten cm, aggressive center pour), off white, average retention, diminishing to a five to fifteen mm crown and thick, meringue-like cap. Irregular pieces of lacing remain on the sides of the glass as the head retracts.
Lacing – Poor. Irregular pieces of lacing remain on the sides of the glass as the level drops. See also above.
Aroma – 3.25 – Moderate caramel malt and some hops, no spice, no yeastiness.
Flavor – 3.25 - A bit of caramel/toffee, bright hops, no spice, no yeast. No alcohol (6 % ABV, as marked on the label) taste or aroma. No diacetyl, no dimethylsulfide.
Palate – 3 – Medium, watery, medium carbonation.
Final impression and summation: 3.25. Certainly not what I was expecting based on American winter warmers – more like a malty, weakly hopped, pale ale. A markedly cleaner palate than U.S. winter warmers, sans the godawful spice mixtures. Perhaps the style needs rethought.

Apr 18, 2020
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jcscooper from New Jersey

4.29/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Honey-amber colored, creamy head of small bubbles, floral aroma and delicious caramel malt flavor with great finesse. Fine hop aroma finish and a fruity note. fermentation in open-topped stone vats old world tradition

Mar 22, 2020
Photo of Wattie83
Wattie83 from Pennsylvania

3.42/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Clear copper color with a light khaki head that falls to a thin cap. Sits pretty still in the glass. Smell is fruity, earthy. Taste is sweet at first with a real earthy, almost musty finish. Medium-high body with mild carbonation. Overall a good beer, but not what I think of when it comes to winter warmer. Could see this as an every day drinker though.

Mar 21, 2020
Photo of LiquidAmber
LiquidAmber from Washington

3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

Jan 11, 2020
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drmeto from Germany

3.64/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

Jan 07, 2020
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MNAle from Minnesota

4.02/5  rDev +8.6%
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).

Jan 01, 2020
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jkblr from Indiana

4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
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.

Dec 29, 2019
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MissouriMule from Missouri

3.89/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Dec 27, 2019
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

2.84/5  rDev -23.2%
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.

Dec 26, 2019
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HattedClassic from Virginia

3.64/5  rDev -1.6%
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!!!!

Dec 18, 2019
Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 2397 ratings