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

2,205 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: 2,205 |  Reviews: 1,156
Photo of Atlas1
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've never had the Winter Welcome but have always wanted to give it a go. Even despite the fact that it hardly feels like winter here in San Antonio.

Poured into a belgian snifter to capture as much aroma as possible for my first time with this beer. Lighter in color than I pictured it; sort of a golden copper color with a decent frothy head which thins out quickly but leaves some good lace. The nose is earthy, with some tart funk blended with vague fruits. I also detect caramel mixed in with some un-discernible spices. The taste is also a bit funky, with some tangy banana, caramel malt, apple pie, and clove flavors. A strange, but not altogether unappealing taste. Mouthfeel is stiff with a dry finish.

I like this beer. It's not at all what I was expecting. Most winter warmers are bigger and spicier with more of a noticeable punch. But the winter welcome is relaxed in its delivery. It invites you in and then subtly impresses with its array of flavors and layers. More complex in the end than you might think at first. Give this one some time to grow on you as you imbibe, and your final ratings just might end up different than your first impression.

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Photo of mltobin
4.02/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served at The Gramercy Tavern.

The bottle has neat little "winter scene" illustration, while kitschy is also appropriate for the style and the season.
The smell is rich, a bit hoppy, with some sweet and spice tones.
The taste was very pleasant with hints of caramel, vanilla.
The mouthfeel is not too sharp for a winter warmer, which I like, some of the maltiness lingers on the tongue.
This is a quality winter warmer, and though it has been over a year since I last had anything from Samuel Smith, I was pleased with this choice.

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Photo of nasty15108
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle (2008-2009) into a Sam Smith pint glass.

A - Poured a clear amber color. The pour produced a head of slightly off-white foam that subsided into a thin bubbly layer. The lacing was soapy and scattered.

S - Malty with hints of buttered biscuit, green apple and spice.

T - Malty up front with slight hints of butterscotch and Holiday spice. Finished off with a fair amount of hoppy bitterness.

MF&D - Thin/Medium bodied with a slightly creamy mouthfeel. Not as warming as one might expect, but all in all an excellent ale. I could drink these all winter.

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Photo of superdedooperboy
4.07/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A fresh 2008-2009 example poured into a snifter glass produces an amber-colored liquid with a small, quickly-fading head of off-white foam, leaving little behind on the glass. A bit of chill haze blurs the clarity of the beer.

Aroma is quite conservative and consists mostly of holiday spices, such as cinnamon and nutmeg, with perhaps a touch of ginger.

Somewhat lighter-than-expected in mouthfeel, with a medium body and mild carbonation. A very typical soft, subdued sweet and biscuity malt flavor wafts over the front of the palate, melding in the middle with a mild spiciness and finishing with much the same.

The lighter body and less-than-extreme alcohol content combine to give this ale a nice level of drinkability, perfect for quaffing at the pub on a cold winter's night.

A year-old 2007-2008 bottle offers attributes similar to the fresher batch, but with some noticeable differences. The nose develops aromas of raisins and a tinge of booze that mix with the spiciness originally detected, which are a bit more subdued than before. Mouthfeel fills out a bit more and flavors of dark fruits and a sweeter malt profile, also displaying a bit more of an alcoholic presence, finishing very dry with just a hit of sweetness.

At its freshest, the prototypical Winter Warmer is rather timid and reserved, at least in comparison with its later counterparts, particularly those of American origin. With a year's worth of mellowing-out, it picks up trace attributes of a barleywine, despite its relative low alcohol content, with a bit of added complexity. Not as "warming" or complex as many others, but still a delightful drink for the chilly winter months.

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Photo of Vendetta
2.95/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours relatively well, a very bright golden copper. Thin white head that lasts.

Aroma's very malty, almost sour smelling.

Taste is supremely malty, without any of the spice present in some of the American winter offerings such as Boston Beer Co's Old Fezziwig. Small hints of earthiness... Clove, tea leaves. But not very present in the beer. Still enjoyable, but I definitely prefer the spice be a bit more present -- Pretty American of me, I suppose.

The consistency is a bit thin but passable. Finishes smooth without any hint of alcohol.

Overall, average brew. I tend to prefer the American version due to the much fuller and more complex taste, but I can understand the draw here.

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Photo of scottg
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
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 Irie
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice amber body with slow bubble activity. Short head with a little lacing but no retention. Smells thick with malt and a hop finish.
Drinks well with slight carbonation bite and a slight thickness. Hoppy finish after-bite is stronger than the initial malt flavor. Good balance, but the bitter is a bit sharp without too smooth of a transition. Very smooth with good drinkability, but a bit lacking on the palate.

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Photo of magictrokini
2.7/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Neat-o, I get to drink a beer out of a clear glass bottle. All good beers do well in the light. Christ. Clear orange with a solid white head. Musty aroma of caramel malt and floral hops. More toffee, caramel, and a fuggel-like bitterness. Then there is the strange, salty, veggie finish... seaweed. Come on guys, this is just bad.

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Photo of BBM
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer poured a clear copper tone with a sturdy white head atop it. Mild aroma of fruits and caramel.

Sweet roasted nut taste with that classic English hop bitterness on the back end. Oily mouthfeel and smooth. Not Sam Smith's best work, but an enjoyable, drinkable winter ale nonetheless.

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Photo of biggred1
3.71/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pefectly clear copper color with a fine collar of foam around the glass, minimal lacing. Smells of roasted malts and cinnamon with a whiff of herbal hops. Taste is very mild for the WW style but that's not a bad thing, mineraly and slightly irony, nice toasty malts with a mild hop bite. Medium bodied and easy to drink.

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Photo of Bagman007
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- Clear, brown coloring with a good amount of head.

S- Can smell the hops and spices pretty well. A slight yeast smell to it, but it's not bad. Also has a hint of caramel.

T- Can taste the hops and spices, but they are not overpowering by any means. Can also taste the malts and caramel very well.

M- Good carbonation and it goes down very smoothly.

D- Very drinkable beer as it's not overly hoppy. You should be able to down several in a sitting. This beer is pretty average compared to other Winter Warmer's.

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Photo of thekanna
2.48/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Sampled this beer at Chevy Chase Wine in Chevy Chase, D.C.

Appearance: Pours a dark amber with clearly visible carbonation, like a watered-down cola. Not much head present.

Smell: Not too noticeable of a smell. Slight yeast aromas and some spice - cardamom and cinnamon.

Taste: Slightly spiced and sweet inception. However, towards the end there is an overbearing hop bitterness that overwhelms what subtle flavors the brew had. This bitterness leaves a dry and slightly undesirable aftertaste, like fresh bitter melon.

Overall: I was not too impressed. I am a fan of bitter beers with strong hop flavor, but the bitterness of these hops just dominate and overpower all the delicate flavors that could be noted from this brew.

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Photo of captenaj
3.62/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I found this beer as part of an Old Chicago winter beer festival. The wait-staff tried to bring me a Sam Adams at first. Once I got the correct beer, I found it to be a pleasing amber color, although I tend to like my beers darker. The aroma was pleasing and not over powering. The taste was subtle, but not too subtle. Spice-like but not too much so. The mouthfeel was thin but appropriate. Overall, a very pleasing beer. I had it with a spicy pasta dish which may have been too strong for it. I would recommend it with food that is more subtle.

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Photo of roblowther
4.3/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 edition. Clear light copper with gold highlights & an off-white dense head and nice, nice lacing. Smell is hops, notes of peppermint, and earthy undertones. Taste is very balanced, very mild but with lots of detail. It has nice malt, muted grains, floral hops, and a whole lotta 'I like it'. Mouthfeel? It tastes like a silk couch in my mouth. Very, very drinkable. The balance makes it one that I could drink until I ho ho ho.

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Photo of babaracas
3.33/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2008-2009 version. Pours a clear orange with fast fading head, sticky lacing for the first couple of inches. Smell: very mellow, sweet malts, unfiltered apple juice, very slight toffee. Taste: pale malts, spicy hops, brown sugar+caramel sweetness, green apple, slight buttery notes. Seems like the typical mouthfeel for this brewery. Hmm, tastes like one of their pale ales with ever so slightly more focus on malt sweetness.

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Photo of bigkahunas4
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my SA lager glass from a 550ml bottle. 2007-2008 offering.

Body presents quite an array of colors going from a clover honey to a red sand. Nice and full one finger head, breadlike, with great retention. Nice creamy lacing. Certainly lighter than most winter warmers I've ever had, but I'm intrigued. I felt I noticed a lot of butterscotch upon cracking this guy open. Upon further inspection, I'm still getting some butterscotch, but also a nose more aligned with a Belgian strong ale. Huge malts - they really feel thick in your nose. Some hints of nutmeg and spice come out with some aeration.

The beer is quite creamy in feel with some very, very light viscosity. The flavor of this beer is quite unique, and certainly thought provoking. This roller coaster begins with faint yeastiness, moving to more of an earthy maltiness - caramel undertones here. The finish has that porter sourness, with some nuttiness.

I'd say this was one of the more unique winter warmers I've ever had. I was hoping for a bit better of a flavor experience, as I really didn't think it'd move to porter-like characteristics - and was hoping it was more like the nose, a caramelly Belgian strong. Regardless, worth a try, and one I wouldn't hesitate to pick up if it's in front of me. Like all Sam Smith's this thing packs such a ton of flavor into a low ABV - which just can't be ignored. Such a great brewery.

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Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pale amber with brilliant clarity. A nice tight white two finger head rises, and leaves a good bit of lace behind as it settles into a thinner cap.

Smell: Honey, fruitcake, a bit of apricot. Toasted malt and husky grain make up the backbone. This has more of an estery character than most of Samuel Smith's beers.

Taste & mouthfeel: Butterscotch and fruitcake, toasted nuts, honey; definite winter warmer flavors on display here. Medium bodied, bordering on light. Not an overwhelming beer by any means, favoring more subtle nuance than most American attempts at the style. Little hop flavor, but a firm bitterness appears in the dry finish. Solid stuff, I'd gladly drink it again.

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Photo of leagr
3.97/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

rich, transparent bronze color, ~1.5 cm head that dissipates quickly after a few sips, leaving a meager string of lace around the glass

smells of sweet toasty malts; hints of nutmeg, some floral aromas

very well crafted brew - malts are very prominent, slightly aweet, elements of caramel and spiced with elusive nutmeg and cinnamon - also toasty and nutty

weak to moderate carbonation - very smooth and comfortable - soothing and bathing the mouth with glory - medium body

love it - built beautifully - well balanced

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Photo of philbe311
3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep rich bronze color... Slight amount of carbonation that starts a slow ascent at the bottom but quickly speeds up towards the top of glass... Slight white lush head gives way to solid lacing... Solid head retention, especially given the size of the head of the pour...

S - Malts and more malt... Raisins... Brown Sugar... Pancake batter... Sweet with many layers of depth... Pretty subtle overall...

T - Malty good sweetness followed by a rich and dense spiciness and smoky characteristics... Buttery biscuit... Taste is much more complex and assertive than the nose would lead on to believe...

M - Medium bodied... Rich and slightly creamy... Moderate carbonation... Coats mouth well... Sweetness gives way to a smoky texture and dry finish...

D - Wonderful Winter Warmer... Highly enjoyable and still quite sessionable given its 6% ABV... Well balanced... Well crafted... Well executed... Good complexity... A great way to kick-off the winter season...

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

2008-2009 offering. Very nice tan bubbles cling to the glass, with a brown, but clear hue. Aromas of brown sugar with a hint of spice in the background. Taste was mellow and did have a slight bitterness in the palate after the first few sips- making it more assertive then I remember. Very drinkable, it was gone before I knew. Fresh and enjoyable.

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Photo of JamesS
3.26/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very light amber color, with excellent head and lacing, though, with some wonderful carbonation. Decent scent, very malty, slight hop tinge at the end, although very little as far as spices go for a winter warmer. Good taste, nothing great, I was disappointed with the lack of any real spices or winter flavorings, especially since I really enjoy most of Samuel Smith's beers. It did go down very easily, though, a very smooth brew.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.95/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint mug.
A- A coppery colored beer with a tremendous amount of carbonation with a one and a half finger head that dissapates to a quarter finger and sticks. lots of lacing.
S- Smells of biscuit and butter. A fair amount of spice.
T- Tastes of buttery bread crust, a little spice, amd some cookie taste in there too. kind of like if you took a pepperidge farm milano, and substitutes butter for chocolate. Has that similar diacetyl character found in many of samuel smith's beers. There's a touch of spice in it.
M- Good feel. not too watery and carbonation is perfect. finishes not quite dry.
O- Not a session beer by any means. I thoroughly enjoy one. but not a beer i would necessarily go through a few of in a night.
A good beer, a good winter warmer, makes me warm.

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Photo of GRPunk
3.7/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle of the 2007-2008 vintage poured into a tulip glass.

A- It poured with a 1/2 finger, off-white head that quickly settled to a full lace that left nice sticky rings and spots on the glass. The body was a flairly clean combination of orange, red, and brown hues with medium carbonation that came up in fast jets toward the surface.

S- Initially, I picked up a lot of sweet scents. Pickled ginger and a touch of nutmeg seemed to be the strongest. With a little warmth came the caramel malts, more spice (a little clove perhaps), and straight up brown sugar.

T- The flavor was kind of hard to place, yet it didn't strike me as overly complex. There was a bit of a buttery flavor mixed with some sour apple that created a really dry finish. There was a touch of spiciness added by the hops.

M- It was pretty clean. It had medium carbonation and a dry feel in the finish. There wasn't any real bite from the hops or alcohol (which wouldn't really be expected at 6% abv).

D- I'd say it's one of the more "drinkable" for the style, considering I could see drinking a couple of these throughout the day. That said, it lacks a "wow" factor that would bring me back. I'm glad I tried it, but it's difficult for this beer to stand up to some of its more robust counterparts in the style.

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Photo of BierFan
3.32/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 12 ounce bottle into a Samuel Smith pint glass. The bottle is labeled "2007-2008", so this bottle is left over from last year.

Appearance: Big light tan head with a clear rusty orange colored body. Decent lacing and head retention.

Smell: Caramel malts. Kind of a metallic twang to it.

Taste: The taste doesn't seem to have held up that well. It's not bad, but it seems kinda skunked. Maybe, though, this is supposed to be how it tastes fresh. Still enjoyable. It's kinda like a German style marzen except a little heavier.

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Photo of Dodo2step
3.46/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

P- Market Cross Pub in Carlisle

A- a gorgeous crystal clear dark chestnut pour. A decent sized 2 finger head flaots on top and the head hangs around leaving a nice lacing on the botchy lacing.

S- rich toasty malts with a metal type of aroma as well. There is also some pine and floral type hops as well.

T- a malty and salty type of flavor. a dry floral hop flavor as well. Somewhat toasty and a caramel hint.

M- Smooth and brisk. It feels like i am drinking homemade iced tea. Not dry but not sweet.

D- a decent brew but the malts are tad too much and take away from the flavor. not bad but not a six pack purchase. A nice beer to have with dinner at a seafood restaurant.

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Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
3.65 out of 5 based on 2,205 ratings.
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