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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
2,220 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,220 |  Reviews: 1,160
Photo of velosuds
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 550ml bottle into a clear pint glass. Attractive label suggest this beer's complexities should be contemplated before an open fire. Not sure that would have made any difference for me.

A-Pours a light orange amber hue with a one finger head. Modest retention and lacing.

S-Somewhat subdued malt aroma that is biscuit like with caramel. There is also a faint hop presence.

T-Was lacking for a winter warmer. Not nearly as luxurious or complex as the label suggests. Had a sour twang that diminished as it warmed.

M-Tad thin.

D-This was disappointing from such a good brewery and not on par with their other offerings.

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Photo of Trigcove
2.44/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

When I read some of the other reviews of this brew, I had to go back and check the label to make sure I was drinking the same beer. Turns out, I was. My impression seems quite different from others.

It poured into a pint glass with a huge, light tan head that stuck around for a couple of minutes. It's a deep straw color, a few shades darker than an American Lager, about like Old Hen or any of the other English Ales. This surprised me; being a winter ale, I expected something much darker. Little to no lacing.

The aroma was very rich with malts and got me a bit excited, since I'm very much a malt fan.

The taste was... odd. The malt was there, but very dry. There was a significant amount of bitter hops, and there was a "saltiness" about it that was a little offputting.

The mouthfeel was about average for an English Ale, but nothing near what I would have expected from a Winter Ale.

The sort of saltiness makes it less drinkable and I can see myself having one, but not several.

I gave this beer fairly low marks in all catagories, not because it's a bad beer, but because it just doesn't measure up to the style. To my way of thinking, a Winter Ale should be dark, rich, inviting, complexed, and warming. The only thing warming about this ale is the ABV. It's basically a standard English Ale with a bit more dry hopping, carbonation, and possibly some spice added.

 1,381 characters

Photo of Mavajo
3.89/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear orange amber with a small head that fades quickly. No lacing. Nose is sweet and fruity with maybe a touch of citrus. Taste is much of the same with also a bit of tartness. Mouthfeel is fairly thin with mild carbonation. Drinkable and enjoyable but nothing special.

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Photo of TheJollyHop
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ahh Winter Welcome. I have been hearing mixed things about this one. Well let me start off by saying there is nothing to anticipate with this seasonal. Balance isn't quite where it should be, and mouthfeel was a little thin for me.

Well it pours a deep amber with a small amount of head. Head diminishes pretty quickly. So far so good.

Alright so still anticipating some quality stuff I go in for the smell. For the life of me, all I could smell was some sweet malt scents and lemon. Kind of like a sweet, beery earl grey tea. But since I am not going to fault Sam Smiths for my inability to pick out some other scents.

First sip and I can only pick out the burst of bitterness and sweet aftertaste. Second time around I detect some lemon (citrus), some spice, some pepper. Given the beer's alcohol content I am not surprised with the beers thin and light body. I have to admit it drinks well, just not enough of a balance for me to want to continue drinking if I have other options.

I would describe this beer as hoppy upfront with a attempt at balance by malt. Nothing overly exciting, and considering I wasn't looking for an IPA I would have enjoyed a stronger malt supporting role, or a smaller hop role.

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Photo of bret27
3.13/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of Trader Joe's.

A: Amber w/white foamy head.

S: Malty + sweet. No real hop presence.

T: Malty+sweet, but w/a distracting taste. More metallic than bitterness. Some describe diacetyl or hops, not sure, but I can say not really pleasant. Maybe some wintertime spices? Taste isn't really complex or appealling.

M: Good for a good English ale.

D: Would be quite satisfying if not for the strange taste.

Overall: Not impressed. Any ok ale, but probably the worst I've had from samuel smith, which is saying kind of a lot because they make quite a few beers.

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Photo of WestValleyIPA
3.41/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from my 18.7 oz bottle into a pint glass. Very very fruity and floral on the nose, reminiscent of a hefe almost. Disappointing color. I guess not what I was expecting from a holiday beer. Lighter than expected, and more along the lines of a spicier straight English bitter. Typical of Samuel Smith; never an A; never an F.

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Photo of KTCamm
4.33/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 12 oz bottle 4 pack into a pint glass. I prefer the 500 ml bottles, but this is all they had. The 2009-10 version.

The pour is dark copper w/ medium white foam. Slightly reddish orange.

Smells like a malt bomb. Very flat though, no other discernable aromas.

Taste is lightly sweet w/ a light hop kick. Light plum front taste. Relatively clean finish. Well carbonated in the mouthfeel.

Very drinkable, solid winter brew. One of my favorites. Everything this brewery turns out is gold.

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Photo of rapidsequence
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.

Appearance: Its a decent looking beer. Its a clear amber with a whitish foamy head formed by a hard pour. Most of the head fades, but thin layer remains. Some nice looking lacing cascades down, but doesnt stick.

Smell: Sweet and malty. A little bit toasty. A little whiff of candy, I cant place it exactly.

Taste: The sweet malt that I smell is definitely there in the flavor, as is some surprising hops bitterness. A little diacetyl in there, but doesnt detract much. Decent, but not really all that interesting.

Mouthfeel: Not really heavy. Medium for a winter warmer. The carbonation is good. Dry on the finish.

Drinkability: We used to save up to buy Sam Smiths beer when we were in college. Its still pretty good, but not as good as I used to think it was-- probably because of what I can get now. Its been more than 10 yrs since I last had one of these. Its good, but not great. I probably wont buy it again.

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Photo of JTahoe
3.29/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009-2010 edition, 1 Pt 2.7 fl oz dark brown bottle with gold foil.

A - Coppery clear amber with one finger head.

S - Not much up front, gives off just a bit of malty ale aroma.

T - Malty in the traditional English ale manner with a pretty good hop bite for the style. Behind the malts are some hints of caramel and grain. Flavor tapers off quickly to a pretty thin finish. Not as rich and flavorful as I would have expected for a winter brew.

M - Smooth and surprisingly light. Tingly carbonation. Dry finish.

D - Definitely drinkable, but not a favorite ale or warmer.

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass. It pours a yellow/amber color with a crazy big frothy head that will stick around for about 5 minutes or so then it will just turn into a ring around the top layer of the liquid. I would have rated the look a little higher if the head stuck around a little longer and if the beer produced lacing, but it had very little. The smell was pretty good. The smell is good, caramelized malts dominate the smell, the slightest bit of dehydrated fruit with hints of toffee. The taste is a step up in my opinion. Same concept as the taste but here's where you can taste some winter spices, maybe a bit of nutmeg and also a buttery taste as well, but both of these flavors are pretty subtle. The mouthfeel is pretty good, very smooth, kind of a creamy feel and it's very drinkable. I could really see this as a year round beer, I don't see a whole lot that could classify this as a winter warmer with the exception of the slightest hint f nutmeg, it doesn't taste that far off from a year round ale. Still a pretty good beer in my opinion.

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Photo of rebel1771
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crystal clear amber color with a slight head that fades quickly.

S: Toasty aroma of caramel malts along with a sweet honey like smell.

T: Caramel malt flavor right up front followed by a peppery blast finishing with very light flavors of nutmeg and cinnamon.

D: Very drinkable, it's nice that the alcohol content is to high also. Could sit back and enjoy quite a few of these.

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
3.71/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I love the color of this beer... decent head that recedes to a small foam. Some lacing. Smell is good, some apple and bready malt. Taste is a bit herbal, actually, followed by some nice hints of nutmeg, banana, bread, and red apple. Pretty good, but too subtle to be my favorite. Very smooth and creamy, dry finish. Medium body. Warms me up, I can drink this for a while.

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Photo of Marcrates
4.44/5  rDev +21%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a beautiful light amber, with a thick fizzy head. bubbles

S - Rich malt and flowery smell. The perfect balance of ingredients on the nose. Not too strong, but refreshing

T - Can definitely taste the malt up front, tapers off with a good blend of hops and citrus. After taste doesn't linger too long..about 5 or 6 seconds.

M - A good feel to this one.. feels nice and tingly!

D - Definitely drinkable and not overly thick. It goes down fairly easy, but still gives a good amount of taste.

Overall this is a wonderful winter beer! I was very impressed with this one, and I'm looking forward to trying some more Samuel Smith brews. Good stuff!

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Photo of alkemy
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear light amber pour. Frothy two-finger head that shrunk pretty quickly.
I had a couple of these before I went for the review. Malty scent with hints of dried
apricot and prunes. I wasn't a much of a fan of the first bottle until it was nearly finished.
This one seems to grow on me...I probably gave it more opportunities due to local availability. It's somewhat sweet, but has a really dry finish. I just don't know about the
"winter warmer" moniker. It's pretty light in feel and ABV to warm me up once the mercury heads south.

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Photo of BevMoAndrew
3.01/5  rDev -18%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served into a Bruery Tulip glass at about 45 degrees.

Pours a copper color with a white froth. The nose shows a yeasty/biscuit, vanilla, orange citrus, honey, banana, & melon. Sweet and easy to drink, however, not really one that I really enjoyed. Umm...I haven't exceeded my 250 character mark, so that's why there is an extra sentence here.

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Photo of gravytrain
4.22/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Copper color with a nice head that leaves a slight lacing on the glass.

Smell - Nutty aroma that you would expect from the style.

Taste - Roasted malt flovor with very little detection of the hops.

Mouthfeel - Gives a candy like feel to the mouth. Leaves a very pleasant feel that makes you want more.

Drinkability - Very nice drinker. Does not cause any ill after effects.

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Photo of beer2day
4.17/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours orange with a nice frothy 1-finger head. Head fades rather quickly, but the beer laces well.

Tart dried fruit nose, with mostly apricots present. Slightly earthy.

Hits tart and slightly sweet. Apricots and tart fruit in the finish. Mild malt and faint hop profile at the end.

Very big mouthfeel.

One of the great winter beers. Never disappoints.

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Photo of alpinebryant
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured sunny marigold orange tinge.
Smelled sweet and malty with a bitter twang

Tasted light caramel flavor , sweet, malty, bitter dry finish. Some yeasty spice also bites the mouth on first taste.

Overall not a bad beer, I am not big on most winter ales, the trend seems to continue with this beer.

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Photo of enfield249
3.97/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a pale honey gold color, about 2 fingers of white head.

S - Smells malty sweet, slight aroma of spice.

T - Dark fruit up front, followed by a very balanced hop and malt flavor.

M - Medium, which I would describe as a little light for a winter warmer. Lots of CO2

D - Overall this is a very drinkable beer, however it strikes me as light for a winter warmer, with little of the dark fruit/strong malt flavor one expects.

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

From notes. Very clear, amber, foamy white head with retention and lacing. SMELL is faint. Grainy with faint hops and a bit of malty sweetness found with a swirl. TASTE is grainy, fruity, spicy, malty. Balanced well overall with some perceptible hop backing and light bitterness. FEEL moderate carbonation, medium body, viscous, fairly clean finish. OVERALL easy drinker, not really big like many other winter beers. Very good, but not amazing.

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Photo of kegger22
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5


Poured a clear, deep amber with a two finger head that dissipated to a skin. The aroma was cotton candy sweet. The taste was malty sweet, but there was a sour note in the aftertaste that didn't quite fit. The feel was medium bodied with light carbonation. Drinkability was very good. I could see downing 550 ml, while sitting in front of the fireplace, on frosty January evening.

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Photo of brewmudgeon
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

winter welcom
3-3.5 generally clear golden light amber. 1-inch head is pretty fizzy, quickly gone leaving a faint ring. a second pour coaxes some temporary lace.

3.5-4 smells like german malts, sweetness, caramel, slightly toasty, similar to the malt component of salvator. but there's also a vague fruitiness sorta reminiscent of marischino cherries.

3.5-4 sailor jerry rum, light caramel. finish alternates between tannic and slightly sweet. flavors not particularly bold, but their reserve is pleasant not bland. kind of reminds me of bruegel belgian ale.

4 about medium in body, the carbonation turns creamy with a warm pour.

4 much better than i expected, after not liking the brown ale.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.11/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had in a 12oz bottle poured into a Tulip glass. Nice reddish color with a small head that dissipated very quickly. Earthy aroma and a malty finish. Very little hops and a nice warming level of alcohol. Overall it was a decent session ale (although slightly strong) and was super cheap ($.85/bottle) so I can't complain too much.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A half-liter bottle poured into a nonic Imperial pint glass. The ale appears a clear ruby brown color with two fingers of creamy ecru foam. Aroma and flavor are nice and malty with notes of fruits, a touch of nuttiness, caramel, and toasted bread. Medium bodied and amply carbonated. Classic and consistent.

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Photo of prototypic
3.41/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Winter Welcome is clear and a nice gold color. Some backlighting reveals a slight reddish tint. Very interesting. It's topped with a vanilla colored that's over two fingers deep. It was extremely slow to dissipate and left thick, sticky lacing on the glass. Surprisingly, it's a bit of a looker.

The nose is not impressive at all. It's weak and getting much of anything out of it is a struggle. Light yeasty and biscuit-like scents hit first. They're followed by pale and caramel malts. It smells a little sweet, but not overly so. It's a little grainy throughout. There are some light hoppy notes that emerge late. They smell mostly floral. That's about it. I was expecting some spicy notes, but they're not here. Very anemic and average.

The flavor is better. It's malty and a little sweet initially. A mix of pale, caramel, and toasted malts is present and gives it a pretty solid base. There's some light orange and apple fruity notes. Fortunately, light spices are noted. Pepper, nutmeg, and a little cinnamon are noted. I was questioning the style classification up until this point, but it passes the laugh test. Floral hops are present and give it an earthy quality. There's a grainy aspect to it that's probably also attributed to the hops. Alcohol is buried pretty well and goes unnoticed. It finishes slightly hoppy and spicy.

Winter Welcome has a medium body, but not by much. Carbonation is middle of the road and doesn't really help or hinder the feel. It's not quite smooth, but it's not bad. Drinkability is above average. I don't feel too strongly about it either way. The flavor's pretty good, but not great. I guess there's something to be said for the fact that it goes down easy, but it's not immensely enjoyable. I'll call it above average.

Winter Welcome's an okay beer that's a little disappointing. I had hoped it'd be better than it is. Its biggest problem is that there's absolutely nothing that stands out about it. It's just kind of there. It's alright and isn't a bad beer by any means, but there's a hell of a lot better winter seasonal releases out there. It's not worth spending too much time with this. A little more of something would help. Spices or hops would be a great place to start. That would add some much needed pizzazz. As it is, it's worth a try, but I wouldn't suggest picking it up on an annual basis.

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Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 2,220 ratings
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