Winter Welcome Ale
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

Winter Welcome AleWinter Welcome Ale
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Style:
Winter Warmer
Ranked #175
ABV:
6%
Score:
83
Ranked #37,290
Avg:
3.69 | pDev: 12.2%
Reviews:
1,192
Ratings:
2,324
From:
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
 
England, United Kingdom
Avail:
Winter
Wants
  40
Gots
  255
SCORE
83
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: 1,192 | Ratings: 2,324 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by MaxSpang:
Photo of MaxSpang
3.36/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011-2012. Served in a snifter.

APPEARANCE

This beer's color is somewhere between apple juice and red wine - very clear with orange and red light beaming through the glass. Depending on the angle, the beer can look yellowish-orange to very dark orange. The head was about 2 fingers and almost pure white. The head dissipated to almost a sliver, yet the lacing was still high. A very, very lovely looking beer.

SMELL

The smell has some definite spice to it - I get a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg, with perhaps a touch of clove and an afterthought of black pepper. There is a distinct banana aroma as well. Some very mild dark fruit and raisin notes came through. There's a VERY slight "Belgian" twang on the nose as well, almost like there's a Wit underneath all of the other aroma.

TASTE

There's a slight tartness that lingers on the tongue as you drink, which was unexpected but refreshing. Most of the flavor, however, mildly echos the nose. I get a lot more nutmeg than cinnamon on the tongue, as well as some allspice and perhaps a bit of cloves. The banana makes a brief appearance, but is forgettable. The raisin character is a little more pronounced in the taste compared to the nose, though not quite as strong as some of the high-alcohol beers. There's a good amount of a stale bread character, which works well in this beer. I am detecting a little saltiness on the back of the tongue as well. Overall, the flavors of this beer are mild and slightly muted, but pleasant.

MOUTHFEEL

At only 6%, this beer actually warms you up a bit. The body is sort of middle-of-the-road, not too thick nor too dry. The slight tartness coats your mouth a bit, which sort of makes you smack your lips after you take a sip (it's not a mouth puckering beer by any means). It's a beer that is both easy-drinking and good to sip, so it would be good by the fire at night or at your favorite pub.

OVERALL

This beer is pretty tasty, but it lacks a lot of things. The flavors are somewhat muted. This makes it very approachable, but those looking for a big-flavored holiday beer may be disappointed. It's still a good beer and I would definitely drink it again. The best part about this beer is that even though it's only 6% ABV, it does actually warm you up a bit. Drink this beer slow, letting it warm up over time, and your mind will eventually start to wander towards red sweaters and the crackling of a fireplace.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of gmoneyproductions
4.13/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

18.7 oz bottle poured into a pint glass
didnt catch the date but this was a christmas 2015-2016 label
pours orange gold to amber moderate white head that faded quickly
smell slightly nutty, slightly fruity somewhat sweet with hints of caramel and yeast
taste is malty fruity nutty
feel is somewhat viscous
this is a christmas classic always enjoyable

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Photo of MaxBrews
3.27/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured into pint glass at room temperature. Flowing out of the bottle the beer produces a nice fluffy white head and a reveals a rich caramel color. The head quickly diminishes into a soapy lacing.

The aroma is of bready malt, fruity esters; aromas of green apple, spice and alcohol.

The flavor of this beer is rather straight forward it consists of bready malt, green apple, and black tea. It has the flavor profile similar to many English Pale ales, just a bit more alcohol forward.In other reviews of this beer some people complained of a dryness, I found this beer to balance a malty sweetness with battering hops quite well.

I enjoy most beers by Samuel Smith; their English classics. Not overly complex or overdone but a bench mark into English beer styles. The Winter Welcome however is underwhelming. There are no off flavors, it's a well crafted brew, but it leaves a lot to be desired. I find myself seeking a more robust malt flavor, not in terms of robustness, but a certain sweetness and caramelization. I have found English beers to have more of an earthy hop characteristics compared to American beers, I think if this beer was just a touch more complex it would be perfect. I just found it far too easy to easy to drink this without much contemplation.

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Photo of Jaysauras
3.99/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Loved the look of the pour. Poured a beautiful amber color with a cream colored soapy head. Good lace. As crisp and clean looking of a beer as you'll ever see. Stunning.

S: The nose is a bit tame. Smell of biscuits, malt, and caramel. Has a very slight fruity citrus scent as well. Sort of smells of an IPA without the hops. Some definite winter spiciness to it. Potentially nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon as well. Depending on the sip and smell you get it different each time it seems.

T: A crisp taste of spice is what hits you right up front. Cinnamon and nutmeg at the start which settles into a warm bread and honey flavor. In the middle there's also a hint of oak or some other sort of woodiness. Has a very slight bit of apple on the back of the tongue. It has that english bitterness and hopiness to it in the finish that is almost unmistakable for a brewer from the UK. Good blend of flavors and altogether very drinkable. Refreshingly dry.

F: Light and crisp with plenty of tingly carbonation to keep your mouth alive. No wonder it is called a winter warmer, this bad boy is warm from the minute it hits your tongue all the way down to your chest. Warms like a 9%+ while only being 6. Interesting

O: Definitely not my favorite from Sam Smith, but overall a great seasonal beer that is downright sessionable and a must try. I could definitely sit in a pub and throw back a few of these before realizing how much I'd had. Good blend of flavors, and an absolutely exquisite looking beer. It isn't outstanding in anyway outside of the look, but overall it is a very solid addition. Haven't had a bad beer from Samuel Smith's yet. Even with a beer such as this that isn't as enjoyable as others, it's still damn good.

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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
3.92/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From the clear, annually redesigned label covered bottle, it pours amber with a moderate head. Flavor and scent is malty and very nice. Happy Christmas!

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Photo of Myotus
3.72/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured at 45°F from a 12oz bottle into a nonic pint glass. Consumed on 03Feb16.
LOOK: Pours with a half fingers worth of off-white foam that shrivels into a line within 30 seconds. Amber in color. Rising bubbles are medium in size and subtle in quantity. Lacing is thin and subtle.
SMELL: Mild aromas of peaches, figs, toffee, caramel, buttered bread, and tree nuts are backed by subtle spicy and floral hop aromas.
TASTE: Strong tree nut and toffee flavors enter initially are are immediately followed by mild spicy hop and buttered bread flavors. Mild flavors of caramel and subtle peach flavors enter next as spicy hop flavors grow stronger. Mild floral hop flavors and the taste profile as all previous flavors persist.
FEEL: Medium-bodied and highly carbonated. Goes down rough due to the carbonation. Ends with a thirst-quenching finish.
NOTE: I'm very surprised that this wasn't better. I love this brewery and have always thought that they made top notch brews. It's disappointing that they made, what is an English style of beer, so mediocre.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
3.28/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Type: 550-ml (18.6 oz.) bottle
Glass: Stone Ruination pint glass
From: Trader Joe’s in La Mesa (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $2.99
Purchased: Nov. 24, 2014
Consumed: Nov. 30, 2014
Misc.: Silver foil on head and neck of bottle

Poured a caramel, amber, clear color with two fingers of khaki tan, frothy head. A good amount of streams of bubbles coming up from the bottom of the glass. Minimal lacing on the sides of the glass. Average amount of retention on the top all the way down. (Sight - 3.75)

Smelled boozy caramel malts up front, which gave way to plum, dates, roasty malts, toasty nuts, earthy rye hops, and more sugary caramel. Booziness reminded me of Wild Turkey. (Smell - 3.25)

Tasted sugary caramel malts once again. Not as boozy as the nose. Also roasty malts, toasty nuts, raisins, dates, grainy rye malts, toast and slight rye whiskey. (Taste - 3.25)

Medium body. Oily texture. Soft carbonation. Abrupt, boozy, malty finish. (Feel - 3.25)

Nothing too special about this beer. I wouldn’t have it again. (Overall - 3.25)

3.28 | 75 | B-

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Photo of Back_in_the_Saddle
4.22/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

In America, we tend to like our hoppy IPA's, funky saisons and roasty stouts, but this time of year, sometimes to give a shout out to a style that is often overlooked.
This was poured into a mug.
The appearance was an orange gold to amber color with a moderately white head that faded quickly. Light lacing chipped into the beer nicely.
The smell was slightly nutty with some spiced fruity tones to grace a sweet caramel maltiness with some light biscuity/breadiness rolling all around.
The was mainly sweet with an ample amount of the nuts to slide in for the balance. There's a nice semi-sweet to nutty aftertaste leading into the finish.
The mouthfeel was about a light to medium in body with a nice sessionability about it. Carbonation seemed good and semi-smooth.
Overall, this is a classic for its style and nice to me and also goes well with some seasonal spiced cake.

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Photo of Boca-X
3.71/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Nice creamy, slightly off white head. Light amber/honey hue...looks like like an apple cider or tea in my tulip.

Sweet malty caramel with a touch of bread on the nose.

Again...sweet caramel and malt on the tongue upfront. Medium carbonation, thinner than I expected with a hint of fig in the middle...a bitter dry green tea finish and then a dash of chocolate covered cherry lingers after the swallow.

Honestly I was disappointed with this beer at first, way to thin and watery...almost tea like. That said...as it warmed it became more complex and much more enjoyable. Probably will not buy again...but hey...you buying, I'm drinking!

Let it warm up!!!

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Photo of budgood1
4.07/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

i found this hard to review because of no other beers to compare it to within its style. it's copper in color and pours a thin head, leaving little to no lace. i pick up the slight butterscotch/rum aroma which also had an ever so slight skunkiness. it has a unique sweet buttery/candy flavor which is very agreeable. hop bitterness comes off soft and gentle. alcohol presence is masked beautifully but it warms you quickly. a little thin, but there is enough body and depth to satisfy. i thoroughly enjoyed this winter welcome ale.

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Photo of tatterdash
3.55/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours amber with a yellowish-white foamy head that dissolves rather fast. Aroma of malt and bit of bread, not too much smell compared to other Sam Smith ales. Taste was a bitter toffee malt with a moderately long hoppy bitter finish, a bit of warming alcohol entered as it warmed. Mouthfeel was medium, definitely full bodied. This is not a style I am too familiar with, but the other WW I tried was definitely better scoring.

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Photo of Gmann
3.15/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a golden color, clear, small off-white head with no lacing. It smells of butterscotch. The taste is of caramel malt, some bitter hops, not very distinct. This is my first English version of the winter warmer, definitely not as spicy as the American counterpart. The mouthfeel is light but not watery, fizzy carbonation, crisp. This is quite neutral of an ale but very drinkable.

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Photo of scottg
3.58/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Pours a clear light amber with a thin off white head with thin lacing that settles quickly. Sweet toffee and caramel mix with a grainy cereal aroma with some earthy hops. Caramel up front blend nicely with a tea/lemon like hop character. Medium carbonation and body with a syrup like mouthfeel. Solid drinkability, overall a good beer but nothing special.

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Photo of Chico1985
3.57/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to cbutova for bringing over this random pickup. Always nice to remind myself that subtle English beers still exist in the midst of coffee bourbon barrel maple 13% stout madness.

This poured a translucent amber color, had decent head retention and left some lace behind. Smelled of biscuity malts, some toasted bread, and light caramel apple. Taste is similar, very straight-up English pale/ESB-reminiscent. Pretty malty with buttered toast and caramel with good balancing herbal and light fruity hops. There is some apple and dark fruit presence going on as well. The mouthfeel is decent, kinda on the watery side though, high carbonation.

This is kinda average-seeming these days, but drinks fine. I give it extra props because it kinda seems like an old-school classic. I do wish it had a more 'winter warmer' feel though (spice, deeper malts), this could pass as an English pale to me.

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Photo of deonreds
3/5  rDev -18.7%

Photo of Hewsinator
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of KindaFondaGoozah
3.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of UPMD_Bill
3.66/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Good mix of sweet caramel malt, spice aroma, tart apple with a mildly bitter finish. Carbonation is moderate bit crisp. Overall solid middle-of-the-road winter offering.

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Photo of Bighuge
2.32/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer smells skunky. It also tastes a bit skunky (although not as bad as in years past). This beer has never impressed me. It's one of my least favorite winter brews.

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Photo of slowdaddy
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of gmfessen
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, beer is a copper-amber color with a thin, slightly creamy-looking head. Smell is subtle - bready with a bit of spice and a grainy maltyness. The taste is quite malty and there is minimal spice, with a toasted malt flavor that I had not picked up on in the smell. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a slightly prickly carbonation. Overall this is a drinkable beer and is a decent Winter Warmer.

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Photo of Kelp
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of jhreginaldi
4.2/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the first review I have ever even thought of doing on any beer review site. The taste of this ale made me want to share my opinion on it.

This beer is amazing. It is very drinkable and very tasty. It actually doesnt have as much flavor up front as some of the other Smiths I have had. I dont think that is the purpose of this beer. The middle taste and the finish on this beer is what makes it.

It is lighter but yet very complex. I hate to use oxymoron's when analyzing anything, but it is so true when tasting this beer.

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Photo of Brewsed
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of shagal
3/5  rDev -18.7%

Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 2324 ratings