Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale | Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

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Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome AleSamuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale
2,231 Ratings
Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome AleSamuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale

Brewed by:
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
England, United Kingdom

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-29-2001

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Ratings: 2,231 |  Reviews: 1,162
Photo of MbpBugeye
3.37/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Winter 2009

A- Lighter than I expected. Its a perfectly clear amber beer with a fairly nice fluffy white head. The head fades but only to a thin layer blanketing the top of the beer like a fresh snowfall. There is minor lacing as it goes down.

S- Really sweet. Honey, grass, tea. Mostly lots of honey.

T- Again, honey, grass, tea, biscuity malts. Hops balance it out.

M- Thin, somewhat watery. Finishes dry.

D- Crisp, clean, refreshing.

I love Sam Smith but this is my least favorite beer by them that Ive had.

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Photo of kpoole25
3.29/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2009-2010 edition, 12 oz bottle to glass. Color of iced tea. Fairly good head. Smell was very inviting, very malty. Taste was pretty average though, very middle of the road flavors, basic malt/cereal like flavors, dry finish. Fairly well carbonated. This is the 2nd Sam Smith I've had (the other being oatmeal stout) and they sound awesome but sort of ordinary in the bottle for me.

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Photo of zoso493
3.72/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It's a pretty chilly night in Edinburgh, so hopefully this will do the trick and warm me up. Poured from a 550 ml bottle into a nonic.

Appearance: A vigorous pour produces a honey-amber brew with a massive four-finger, foamy head that fizzes itself away quickly, leaving slight tinges of lacing on the glass.

Smell: Smells of sweet malts, with maybe some chocolate and caramel in there, with a nice blend of light, grassy hops.

Taste: Not a whole going on in the taste. Follows the scent more or less, except with less pronounced malt tastes and slight hop bitterness. Also, some notes of honey.

Mouthfeel: This is easily one of the thinnest craft beers I've ever had. Not that it's so bad, but it's just a strange sensation. Nicely carbonated, though.

Drinkability: This is a pretty drinkable brew, as it's got a pretty low ABV that's not at all noticeable and a very light body.

Overall, this is an all right brew. I have never been impressed with Samuel Smith and this is probably the 7th or 8th brew of theirs I've had. I'm not sure how great of a winter warmer it is, but it is a nice, light beer with a high drinkability. I probably will not reach for this again, though.

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Photo of rtepiak
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a great drinking beer that doesn't have so much to offer at a palate but is quite consistent. yellow/orange with a white head. not particularly murky. peppery and licorice dry but quite mild and simply hoppy lemon zest that doesn't have enough malt to accentuate the herbal side.

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Photo of rootbeerman
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured into boston lager glass

A: pours light amber with a half finger white head. that fell semi-fast.
S: sweet like honey and fruit. light spice. malt
T: sweet honeyed fruit with winter spices. good malt character. very light hop bitterness showing in the aftertaste
M: not to heavy but not to light. mild carbonation
D: easy to drink, would be great for after xmas dinner

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Photo of fastpass17
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle

A: light amber, coppery, thick fluffy white head, good retention

S: Rich slightly roasted, caramel and apple, hop emerges lightly at the end

T: A complex balance of malt, roasted nuts, spice and candied fruit are brought to mind, brought together with subtle hints of hops

M: Solid presence lingers in the mouth, chewy, very enjoyable

D: A great choice for a holiday warmer, warms up wonderfully in the glass

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Photo of Clydesdale
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear, bright golden-bronze color. The orange-tinted head is robust, creamy, and frothy, with good retention. Lacing is very nice as well.

S: Sweet honeylike and caramel notes. Some buttery hints, along with fruit (apples, primarily). Some mild spicy notes, along with a background grassy hop aroma.

T: Taste is similar to the nose. Firm honey and caramel flavors, along with a buttery/biscuity note. Fruity, grassy, and mineral flavors are also present, adding depth. A mild fading bitterness into the finish. A hint of spice, probably nutmeg, lends some holiday flavor.

M: Medium-bodied. Carbonation is soft and somewhat creamy. Slightly dry, hoppy finish.

D: This is a pleasant, tidy winter warmer from across the pond. Still, I can't help but be a little disappointed. There doesn't seem to be anything "special" going on here. Still, an easy drinker and a worthy import.

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Photo of kbm
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very clear copper with a respectable white which dissipates leaving a thin white blanket. Decent lacing.

Smell: Super sweet malt upfront with other spices and super sweet dried fruits. Did I mention sweet?

Taste: There's not much more to say than a lot of sweet malt with a mild hop presence. Maybe a little bit of the sweet dried fruits promised in the smell but pretty one dimensional.

Mouthfeel: Thin. Doesn't quite fulfill my expectation of a robust winter beer. Mild to generous, slightly sharp carbonation.

Drinkability: The thin mouthfeel makes this beer very drinkable. However the sweetness does become a little much at times.

Three bucks a 550 ml bottle is hard to beat, so even though this SSWW isn't my go to winter beer, it's definitely something I pick up every year for the occasional veg-out winter weeknight.

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Photo of BlackHaddock
3.19/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2009-2010 Brew according to the front label on this brown 550ml bottle. Poured into an 'Old Speckled Hen' vase shaped pint glass.

The bottle was a present my wife brought back from York after a girly weekend there, thanks darling!

Amber coloured body, not bright but see through, an off-white foaming head sat on top.

Aroma is figs, dates and plums. Once those smells are in the nose the malts come out to play, biscuity and sweetish.

The taste is more malt than hop, with the aforementioned fruits (in the smell) also lurking within the brew. Not as sweet as some UK brewed 'Winter Warmers' but just a little too much for my tastebuds.

I found the beer to be slightly thin and watery for the style and had trouble finding the alcohol content at times during the tasting.

Disappointed with the mouthfeel, otherwise a pleasant enough drink. A long, long way from my favourite Winter Warmers though.

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Photo of josefnewsong
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color with some nice frothy head. Not too much in the nose, malt and a little spice. Flavor is bready malt and pine. A touch of hops in the finish, which is sticky and a little dry. This is an enjoyable and drinkable ale for the winter months, just a bit on the light side but still yummy.

On a side note...I had this beer on the last day of November and went to bed, woke up December 1st and there was snow everywhere, first snow of the season! I don't know how Samuel Smith's did that...

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Photo of Augustiner719
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Poured from a 550ml bottle into a Duvel glass

Appearance: Pours and very coppery, orange color. Medium 1 finger head with moderate retention and a little lace down the side of the glass. Very light colored compared to the other winter warmers I have had in the past.

Smell: Smells like candied orange peels with ginger, and a slight cinnamon stick aroma. Has a bit of caramel in the background.

Taste: Tastes very light for the style. Judging this against other winter warmers or winter ales I would say this doesnt match up. Its got an awkward citrus and bitterness note on the front end that is impossible to get past. Almost like redwine vinegar soaked raisins.

Mouthfeel: Overly carbonated and thin. Not the best and close to the worst mouthfeel on a winter warmer i have had.

Drinkability: Compared to the style this blows in my opinion. But, for a flavorful brew that has a bit more complexity that some fuller bodied beers its good. I wouldnt go out of my way to find this, but its a great alternative to some of the english beers like Bass.

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Photo of Josievan
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Color is a dark orange/amber combination.

Smell: Not a lot going on. A little malt and possibly a touch of spices.

Taste: The malt is the dominant taste. There's also a slight caramel sweetness. Any spices present are very faint and subtle. Has that signature Samuel Smith balance of flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Very smooth, another staple of this brewery. Alcohol is expertly masked.

Drinkability: A highly drinkable malty winter brew.

Notes: Compared to the other winter warmer I've had, this seems kind of run-of-the-mill. it lacks the holiday spice flavors I like in a winter warmer. However, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. I would recommend this beer, and most any Samuel Smith beer for that matter, for its balanced flavors and smooth mouthfeel. I'm not sure I understand why people get so excited for the annual release of this beer, but it's still clearly a well-crafted brew.

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Photo of jminsc76
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a decently-sized, pillow-y head atop an orange body. Displays a slightly reddish tinge as I hold it up to the light. Has some decent legs as the head subsides.

Aromas are light, and smells of biscuit and fruit such as strawberries. The overall bouquet is complex and pleasant. As I open it up, that bready aroma really comes through.

The flavors exhibit that usual English balance between malts and hops, with a good quantity of spiciness. Various flavors wash over the palate, with a slight bite on the finish. As I give it a breather, some creme brulee comes in at the back.

The mouthfeel is light, with a high degree of evanescence due to the carbonation.

Overall, this seems like a good English-style warmer. It's not breaking the bank, and I feel at moments like I am drinking a London Pride with a lot more spiciness to it, but as L.P. is a damn good beer, I don't see why I can't enjoy this.

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Photo of donniecuffs
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is one of those beers that people I know wouldn't shut up about; "oh man, you GOTTA try this..". Yadda, yadda, yadda. Of course, this was the last beer that I needed to check off my list to complete the 'mba' promo at the Cloverleaf, so that added some additional anticipation. Well, here goes...

Poured a deep amber into an American pint glass, with a very thin white head, and almost no lacing or carbo presence. Not much aroma at all; only some subtle pear , caramel, and spices. The flavor revealed a little more intensity, but that's not saying much. The taste was dominated by caramel and brown sugar, with a very feint hint of spices. Decently smooth and medium-bodied, but way too mellow of a flavor for me.

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Photo of GarrisWH
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009-2010 bottling - 550 mL bottle

A - Pours a clear, golden-copper color with one finger of frothy white head. Decent retention, and leaves some sparse lacing behind.

S - An earthy, biscuity, toasted malt aroma with a touch of clove. Hint of spicy hoppiness in the background.

T - Toasty, biscuity malts up front with some of the clove and earthy qualities coming through. There is also a touch of sweet fruitiness, reminiscent of apples, that comes through in the middle. Finish brings a touch of bitterness and a mellow, spicy hop character. Solid flavors overall, but not quite bold enough for a winter warmer, in my opinion.

M - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Perhaps just a shade light in body.

D - A solid offering from Samuel Smith with a nice balance, although its just a bit light in body and flavor to push it to an A rating for a Winter Warmer. Not a bad beer at all in the end though.

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Photo of beertunes
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a clean, clear light amberish gold color with just under an inch of slightly off-white head that dissipated fairly quickly and left better than minimal lacing.

A nice spicey hop aroma greets the nose with a pleasant malt undertone. The flavors are similar with the spicieness dominating and the malt providing support.

The body was smooth and even, but not particularly thick. Drinkability is very good, it would be very pleasant to have a couple of these on a winters eve. Or a summer afternoon. Not what we currently think of as a winter beer, but very enjoyable nonetheless.

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Photo of dbexpert
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A. Golden in color, Good lacing, 2-3" head reduces to nothing after 4-5 minutes
S. Light toasted notes are wisked away by a faint cranberry aroma followed by light citrus notes.
T.Crisp, Lageresc(my new word), dry light subtle spices, very clean
M. Light sweetness, a ton of carbonation. Crisp dry finish.
D. Definitly could throw a few of these back. A good find for the winter.

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Photo of bsp77
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Clear orangish-gold with off-white head that leaves nice lacing.

Smell: Caramel, bread, tea, slightly sour, and English hop spiciness.

Taste: Malty, with notes of bread, caramel, tea, dark fruit and sour mash. Ends with a slight spicy, citrusy and metallic bitterness. The metal taste seems to build some, which is a slight distraction.

Feel: Relatively low carbonation, medium body, pretty dry finish.

Drinkability: This Old Ale/Winter Warmer seems like a bigger, slightly sour, version of a bitter. Very nice drinkability despite the metallic aftertaste. A classic.

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Photo of kshankar
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber with a white head with very little retention. Looks well carbonated

Aroma: Hops, malts..its a winter warmer so I was looking for a mild spice profile. Maybe its there..barely detectable though

Taste: Malty, but the spice does come through in the end blending with the hops.

Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with a nice carbonation to compliment it. Pretty good on drinkability too, as it tastes good. Could have a couple with ease

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Photo of hardy008
3.33/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Amber color with a large off white head. Has decent retention. A nice combination of malt, hops, spices, and toffee in the aroma and the taste. Mild flavors, very mild, smooth, and easy to drink. Nicely carbonated, medium bodied. A good beer, but not great.

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Photo of TLove
2.99/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from Crazy Bruce's in Bristol, CT.

A bit of a disappointment for a winter brew after putting back a Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. But hey, talk about a tough act to follow!!!

Typically good finish from Samuel Smith's and I'm always enamored by the beautiful craft in color and complexity of the body and head. However, the smell and taste are a bit on the bland end. Some toffee and cherry malt flavors with some herbal, spruce notes. A very subtle beer, with some very light spices for a winter warmer. Little carbonation and a little tart in the mouth. Finishes well, though with some earthiness and roundness on the back end. Carries that distinct "English feel" on the finish and round balance notes of smoked portobello.

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Photo of dpodratsky3
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass

A: Very clear, still, copper/amber color, creamy whipped cream like head that is beige, has a nice head but other than that kind of ordinary looking

S: English mild hops with a little hint of citrus, some pale malt also, not much roasty/toasty notes, perhaps some alcohol is apparent as it warms

T: Unexpected, lager like almost like an oktoberfest, carmalized malt big time, but then that familiar english hop flavor comes in to let you know it's an ale, slight tartness is also present in the middle to finish

M: It's ok, something not great about it, but nothing wrong necessarily

D: Also ok, a solid winter session beer

Notes: Like I said before, there is definitely nothing wrong with this beer. It is a good example of a classic english style winter warmer (the original version). However, that said, it was also not very impressive in any area, just a solid above average beer. I will say that it is very easy to drink though.

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Photo of drtth
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Samuel Smith's pint glass. A glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically. Current year's version.

Appearance: The beer as served is a bright clear copper color with a 1" off-white/light tan head that soon recedes to a thin layer of from. Sipping leaves a ring of foam and some leggy but sparse lacing. Eventually the foam recedes to just a small ring of foam with a few small patches on the surface. Even to the end of the beer sipping leaves a few small speckles of lacing.

Smell: The aroma is soft and light toffee malty with traces of herbal grassy hops (Fuggles and Goldings according to the label).

Taste: The flavors are soft, gentle and subtle, with some light toffee maltiness and some very nice herbal grassiness from the hops.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied with light carbonation that is mostly gone by the end of the beer and reveals itself only in some soft prickliness on sipping. The finish is relatively long and starts in the sweetness of the malt and the grassy herbal character of the hops. Then the malt recedes and disappears. Next the bitterness and earthiness of the hops is gone. Eventually all that is left is a bit of dryness that sets the mouth up nicely for the next sip.

Drinkability: I thought this was a very drinkable beer in that one could sit and have several of these in an evening with friends and good conversation. It is well made, well balanced and pleasant to drink. I'll definitely be having this one again in the future.

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Photo of Lunch
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from12oz. bottle, purchased at Wells in Baltimore, MD, into my 20oz. Samuel Smith's Imperial Nonic glass (11/23/09) at an appropriate temperature.

A: Pours a clear light shade of copper with a 1 finger of a creamy white head that dissipates quickly leaving a bit of lace.

S: Not much aroma coming off of this beer, but there is a pleasant bouquet of malt, seasonal spices, citrus, caramel, toffee, ginger, slight bitter hops, and vanilla.

T: Like many other Samuel Smith's beers, the flavors are very well balanced, yet a little mild, but certainly well-crafted. A nice malty backbone takes charge and is filled with toffee, caramel, vanilla, ginger, nutmeg, and various citrus with a slight bitter hops finish.

M: Very crisp and light with moderately high carbonation.

D: Nice drinkability as the flavors are expertly balanced and a relatively low abv., but after a couple I sought a slightly more flavorful beverage.

Overall this beer was a nice winter seasonal and a pleasant departure from many highly spiced winter beers. Recommended.

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Photo of vacax
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007-2008 Winter Welcome. Pours a light amber, the color of whiskey with a large two finger in size head. Samuel Smith's naturally conditioned ales always manage to look attractive and this is not exception with good retention, eyecatching tiny bubbles, fair lacing, and visible effervescence. Smells of hazelnut, raisin, brown sugar, and cinnamon tickle the nose. Interestingly, this comes off as a brown ale, but not as rich as Sam Smith's own nut brown. Primary tasting notes consist of burnt caramel nuts and hazelnuts. Spicy finish almost confuses itself with a solvent alcohol bite. Winelike grape and plum notes. Feel is creamy, but feels excessively light in body due to the active level of carbonation. Tasty, but not Tadcaster's best or the best winter warmer option.

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Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 2,231 ratings
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