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

2,203 Ratings
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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: 2,203 |  Reviews: 1,154
Photo of JayS2629
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Rich copper with creamy head and nice foamy lacing.

S- Caramels, oats, sweet malt and notes of spice.

T- Citrus, roasted malt, pine, hops and apice and clove.

M- Creamy and full bodied. Not too thick.

D- Very good. Above your average winter ale.

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Photo of beerprovedwright
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice head from my bomber pour, about two fingers of rich off white bubbles. Color is a 11 on the SRM chart, with a slight fogginess. Smells like caramel, oats and sweet malt. Flavors are hints of caramel, citrus, juniper berries, and roasted malt. Full body of creaminess and marshmallow feeling between my teeth and tongue. Not a beer to try and make a staple because it is seasonal, but none the less it is one to have a few times while it is available.

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Photo of mynie
3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Weird business.

I've been taking beer seriously since about two months after my 21st birthday. That means that I've been reviewing for, oh... 77 months. That's a lot of memories, right? That's long enough so that the memories aren't really discrete, they're these nondescript blurs that don't happen so much as they are realized, weeks months or years later, when I think back and somehow miraculously remember how the fall of 07 was particularly dreary, or the winter of 09 was mild and happy.

And I remember Sam Smith's Winter Warmer, since it was widely available during the winter of 04, right when I started taking beer seriously. I remember how very, very nice that winter was, even though outside it was very awful and cold. Everyone I knew was happy and all the people I loved also loved me. All the lights were rich and amber and one day, on the way home from Target, I spilled some potpourri in the backseat and so for two months every trip was wonderful and spicy.

And there was this beer. Everywhere, at all the beer stores. The beer selection back then was awful, but this was everywhere and the bottle was lovely. How on earth did I never drink it?

I realized I hadn't drank it a long time ago. Maybe it was 06, or at the latest 07. And then I almost bought it, but... but it was too much pressure, like by drinking it I would be trying to reclaim some lost era, like no matter how good the beer would be it wouldn't be as good as my memories of the time that had passed and so I would judge it too harshly.

But now it's just sitting here. Poor little guy. Might as well drink it, and seeing as I can't let my impressions of it exist separate of my expectations of it, I'll just try real hard not to let those stupid expectations unfairly influence my review:

This is a thoroughly average beer. It should be beloved, as this brewery should be beloved, because it's so goddamn old, and because were it not for Sam Smith's beer nowadayws would be very different than what it is. It's also worth the low price (that's neat because in my review of SS's nut brown ale, in 04, I joked about how expensive this was! Good lord, things have gotten worse since then.)

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Photo of Mancer
3.54/5  rDev -3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer poured a copper color with an off-white head. I should add that the head is where this beer thoroughly disappoints, for the reason that there is no head, ever. The bottle was nearly vertical in order to give slight life into the head. The initial smell of the beer is sweet with fruity notes. The initial taste of the beer is that of bready malts, candied fruits, and spices. The spices have a bite to them on the tongue. They seem to work with the carbonation to be more pronounced. The brew has a light to medium body with medium to heavy carbonation. The carbonation is almost soda like.

This beer is a bit of a let down. Granted, I am no expert on this style, I expected better from Sam Smith's. I was really disappointed in the nonexistent head of the beer and the soda like carbonation. Overall, its drinkable and decent, but not a go to for this style.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.82/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ahh, nearing the end of my vacation...Almost Turkey Day and then, back to work...Such is life.

Pours a beautiful deep amber, clear and crisp. A quick, frothy two finger head forms, hangs out for a smoke, then takes off as quickly as it arrived. Mr. Head left some evidence of his arrival with a small headband of persistent foam, but nary a line of lacing was to be found. Goodly carbonated. Some sweet fruit and malt dominates the nose - ripe banana, apple cider and a hint of mango being the most evident. Somewhat subtle on the nose, this doesn't reach out and grab ya. Spritzer-like mouthfeel from the carbonation greats you straight away. Kind of a creamy texture, also, which is pleasantly surprising. This is a very British tasting ale, and carries that malt tang from the beginning anll the way through the long finish. What I find most surprising is the abundant hop character here. Mr. Hops comes over right after malty has said his hellos and hangs out long after malty leaves. Mr. Hops is the loudest of the attendees and is loved by all. As always with Mr. Smith, this is reasonably priced.

What I like most: The really nice, hoppy balance.

What I like least: The heavy carbonation.

Verdict: Excellent, well-priced British ale that might not meet the "Holiday Ale" criteria for many New World beer lovers...I like it, though. Worth trying.

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Photo of ludachris
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One finger of cream coloured whispy head crowns its nearly clear honey amber effervescent body but doesn't stay around long. Thin sheets of lace are left streaked across the sides of the glass as the beer recedes.

The nose is subdued at first but slowly opens up as it warms, revealing sticky notes of candied cherries, figs, mineral water, grains, and lightly buttered bready malts. Faint suggestions of clove and cinnamon are present, but nothing really in comparison to other Winter Warmers I've had, which are much more spice forward.

Ah, the spices assert themselves much more in the taste. Clove and nutmeg tickle the tongue as notes of figs and candied cherries with a subtly tart bite make their way to the back of the palate. Minerally and dry in the finish with a touch of fruity esters and a herbal hop touch.

Its slippery character is kept in check by a good amount of carbonation. Medium bodied and nicely balanced.

Based on the other offerings from Samuel Smith's I've had as well as other Winter Warmers I've had, this one is a bit of a let down. It's tamed with nothing really to grab my attention. Maybe a good intro to the style, but far from the best the style has to offer. If this is your first Sam Smith's, don't judge the brewery off of this; wait until you have their Imperial or Oatmeal Stouts ;)

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Photo of matt062286
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a slightly hazy goldenrod. (Was a little surprised by the lightness of the beer, as other Winter Warmers I've had have been darker). Healthy sized dense off-white head that dissipates slowly. Light lacing and thin patchy head retention.

S - Sweet malts dominate, traces of orange and red cherry from the hops. Also can pick up on a bit of roasted malt.

T - A not-quite sweet yet not-quite bitter hop flavor initially. Hearty, grainy malt follows. A bit of residual toasted malt flavor, and a hint of maple syrup. Being categorized as a Winter Warmer, I expected some spice, but this is still a good beer regardless. I do get some of the "warming" from this beer; it tastes like it has more than 6% ABV.

M - Medium body, moderate/light carbonation.

D - I drank from a 550mL bottle (little more than a pint) and felt it was the right amount. This is one to relish a bit more even though it is still pretty low in alcohol.

Enjoyed this one very much, look forward to having it again.

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Photo of claspada
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Aromas are of floral hops, honey/caramel malts, English tea and some lighter orange peel. Fruity esters reminiscent of apple or pear. Some zesty spice notes finish out.

The taste begins with medium-thick bready, biscuity and sweet malts. Honey and caramel add subtle complexities to the nutty malt. Flowery and earthy/herbal like hops provide ample bitterness. Crisp and refreshing in body with a surprisingly light mouth feel this it proves a very easy drinking brew.

Overall this is a very tasty brew, not one of Samuel Smith's best, but good none-the-less. Worth a try because of its quality and reasonable price.

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Photo of Sachsenfreude
3.96/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Amber colored with a white head and decent lacing. Not much to the smell, some bready malt sweetness and very slight hop spice. Got some beer in my nostril during the smell and I can now detect a sweet nuttyness as well.

Some malty sweetness upfront but quickly turns to a mild spice, before turning bitter in the finish. Toasted malts hang around in the aftertaste. Pretty well balanced. Carbonation is gentle and the finish is smooth but not crisp and a little dry. Medium body would put it simply.

All around a good beer and considering I drank a 550ml. bottle in 4 minutes without trying to rush I would say this is very drinkable.

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Photo of dwilson01
3.57/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured from a bottle into my arrogant bastard pint glass. The body is a clear brown with a hint of reddish amber, this is topped by a perfectly formed creamy off-white light tan colored head which dissipates evenly with moderate speed leaving thick lacing on the glass.

The smell is interesting, one that I have come to recognize sam smith brews by, a malt forward nutty scent grabs me first and this one is combined with a nice holiday spicing to liven it up a bit. The hops are very subtle, slightly floral and fruity in the background of a perfect homey christmas smell.

The taste brings out the hops and spices a bit more and a moderately toasted malt seriously has me thinking of chesnuts roasting on an open fire. Solid flavor but nothing to be amazed about, it's mellow, smooth, and to be completely honest it has a tad of that estery alcoholic flavor emanating from it.

Mouthfeel isn't bad, not as creamy as I would have expected from that head and the slight spicing lightens it even more to have me thinking of straight up standard ipa mouthfeel.

Winter brew wise this wouldn't be my first choice but it's a legit offering from Sam Smith that is worth a try.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is barleywine-lite. Give it the time it needs to warm up to let the goodness out, and you'll be rewarded with a fine, malty ale. Doesn't pour with the quality of head normally found with Sam Smith's beers, but its luminous tawny hue will kick start the warming. Richly malty and cordially fruity aroma - vaguely vinous qualities. Allowing it to settle, a smack of smooth, full malt greets, followed immediately by a quiet storm surge of phantasmal noble hops, and a round cherry fruitiness before dropping off fairly dry, though residual sweetness lingers on the sides of the tongue. At its prime temperature, the malt profile is unmistakably barleywine, and it's quite interesting to get these flavors in a mellow presentation. The alcohol, apparent but tame, hangs around start to finish. Very enjoyable all-around.

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

550 ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a reddish brown with one finger of beige head. Foam hangs around and sticks to the glass.

S: Smells of roasted malt, maybe a little caramel. The aroma is weak.

T: The taste is sweet malt upfront followed by some residual hop bitterness. This tastes like a decent English Pale Ale.

M: The mouthfeel is fairly full and creamy with a nice level of carbonation.

D: The drinkability of this is pretty good.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.87/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Winter 2010/2011 vintage. Poured from a 550mL bottle into a snifter.

Brilliantly clear tangelo body with ECE/SAE amber highlights and a soft ivory head that recedes to a bubbly collar and a lasting slick.

Spices, fruit, and hops in the nose - a nice malt backbone surrounded by lush grassy English noble hop notes. Very pure and inviting.

Quite dry palate entry with caramel-toned malt notes and lightly bitter alfalfa/pepper-like hop flavors. Nutmeg, orange zest, and an almost savory/meaty taste round out the profile. Simple, but well crafted. Mild bready finish, with no oxidative notes whatsoever.

Medium-bodied, light to moderate carbonation...could use a little more alcohol as a "warmer."

Straight-forward, enjoyable English ale...nothing special perhaps, but better than a lot of domestic winter warmers.

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Photo of Mit
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a-pours a clear amber with a decent head. Nice lacing.

s-has the malty smells of a winter warmer. Some bready notes.

t-spicey bitterness that you tend to get from European beers. Nice malt flavours round it out.

m-good for the abv. Prob a hair thin for a winter warmer IMO.

d-I had this years ago and didn't like it that much IIRC. I really liked this beer this time around. I'm a sucker for the Winter beers. This one was really drinkable.

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Photo of IPAescotch
3.69/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

S: Nose is a little stuffed up but ill give it a shot: a little bit of hay and spice. Probably more significant than im implying

T: Sharp on the tongue, dry on the mouth. Some definite spice, a wheaty malt character.

M: Refreshing and with a bite. Hops mostly provide aroma, bitterness comes from the malt, though it is somewhat pale

D: Strong spice flavor makes this sippable. Not something id drink in a hurry

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Photo of vdread
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale pours a rich dark amber color with adequate head, average lacing.

smells of caramel, buttery malt, english hops are very apparent.

taste is much of the same. well rounded, overall very biscuity and buttery in the malt profile. the english hops are floral, light, with lots of flavor and low bitterness.

mouthfeel good, medium on all points.

pretty good, enjoyable beer. nothing really jumps out, but it's well balanced, easy to drink.

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Photo of GeoffFromSJ
4.1/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I don't know why after so many years of drinking craft beer I haven't tried this before. Great hops presence while at the same time being balanced. Very subtle flavors like most Samuel Smith beers.

Smooth mouthfeel. Incredibly drinkable. And, yes, a great welcome to winter. Good for late fall when there is a nice chill in the air. Maybe moving to the barley wines after that.

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Photo of MattyV
3.78/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear reddish-brown with a dense, creamy off-white that lasts a long time.

I'm picking up notes of sweet malt, dark fruit, spice, and toffee in the nose, but I really have to look for them. All malt up front, with both roasted and caramel/toffee characteristics. The hops don't provide much flavour/aroma, but they do lend a touch of bitterness in the finish that nicely balances out the sweet malt profile. Again, the flavours were pleasant and nicely balanced, but not as big and intense as I expected.

Medium body bodied and soft carbonation gives it a rich and creamy texture.

Overall, pretty tasty and easy-drinking... this might make a nice session brew over the upcoming cold months.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


Pours an ever so slightly hazy orange-gold. Moderate white head retains well.

Smells fruity sweet, figs and apples.

Taste is mildly sweet with grainy malt notes and a bit of mild bitterness at the end.

Mouth is moderate to full with tingly carbonation on the tip of the tongue.

Fairly good beer, not a home run but easy to drink and tasty. Fits the season well.

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Photo of burnerfinger
2.88/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

dont truly remember buying this - just found it in the fridge.

A; poured from the 18.7 oz bottle into my new belgium goblet. poures red/oragne and quite clear.
no skunkiness here - and a dark brown bottle.
brings up a nice head that settles with medium lacing

s: sweet maltiness along with an thinly veiled ABV content a strong bit of fruitness here.

T: fruity, with a missing hops bite. more than a bit wine- ish. but not too bad.. the ABV is winning me over

M: really not what I expected for a winter warmer. seems a bit slanted towards the belgium trippel. thin on body

D: not all that drinkable, not lovin the taste. probably will leave it at just this one. but THANKS for the buzzz

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Photo of deafcat
4.15/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a - nice, deep amber, full finger head with solid retention.

s - spicy, maple smell. smells like a delicious Canadian winter night by the fire.

t - delicious spicy, malty taste. A little sweet, a little spicy, excellent for a winter brew.

m - light taste, decent carbonation. Nice spicy sensation gives tactile mouth massage.

d - excellent drinkability. Living in a cold climate, I could see sipping on this one all night playing boggle in front of the fire.

Overall, this is a nice brew for the price. Compared to some other winter warmers I've had, this one definitely takes the cake. Will be stocking up on this for the next few months. Will be a Christmas companion. Went great with cinnamon-chocolate-baked apple dish.

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Photo of mbrown26
3.93/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First attempt at a winter warmer and will definitely have to try more.

A: A nice copper color with a head that likes to last. I'm about half way through the glass and the head is still there, albeit small.

S: Had a nice comforting smell. Caramel? Definitely a malt presence. Has a fresh, summer smell, but doesn't correlate to the taste.

T: The alcohol is hidden somewhere in the flavor. I got hints of caramel and every once and a while a vanilla flavor. Not much spice is present.

M: Lower carbonation. This one is nice on the palate. Has a bit of an alcohol bite on the cheeks and in the back of the mouth.

D: Very drinkable and easy to down, but no real need to.

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Photo of stingrayvr6
4.22/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass. Showed an amber gold with a frothy white head, great retention and lacing. Smell of sweet bready malts, caramel and vanilla. Taste of the same with the addition of dry and earthy hops balancing the finish. Great beer, exemplary of the style.

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Photo of trevorjn06
4.32/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a copper/brown color with one finger of head that quickly recedes to a thin, frothy layer on the surface. Some lacing on the glass.

Aroma is malt, some caramel, minerals, a slight nuttiness, light fruit and some buttery notes.

Taste is very reminiscent of other Samuel Smith beers: a smooth, nutty and slightly toffee-like base flavor. It begins with malt and fruit on the tongue, then transitions into caramel and hints of butterscotch. The finish is very smooth with creamy malt, nuttiness and some light fruitiness.

Mouthfeel is smooth and mouth-coating. Low carbonation.

Overall this beer is very easy drinking, yet flavorful and complex. It goes down easy and is quite wonderful, though does not posses the strength and, sometimes, spice associated with many winter seasonals.

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Photo of deaconoflove
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Ap. Beautiful reddish copper color. Very bright and clear. No head...must have been too cold when I poured?
Sm. Nice light spiciness along with sweetness. Clean and fresh.
Ta. Follows the light spicy/sweet smell with gentle tartness and bitterness.
Mf. Clean and crisp and smooth.
Dr. Very good. I don't "session".

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Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
3.65 out of 5 based on 2,203 ratings.
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