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

1,153 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 1,153 | Ratings: 2,202
Photo of byrd
3.36/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Winter Welcome 03 - Large frothy off white head that becomes rocky and piles above the rim. The head lasts a long time and becomes a thick frothy lace. Color is a clear copper. Nice appearance. Aroma is of subdued grainy malts and a hops that stands out but seems a bit different to me. The mouth feel is a bit on the light side. Slightly malty start, but not very sweet. Fairly well hopped brew that becomes evident shortly after the start. Hops are pretty well pronounced, fade in the finish, but don’t disappear completely. The malt becomes a bit more noticeable and a slight bit more sweet as the brew warms. This is an okay brew, but I don’t know if I enjoyed it enough to want more then one or two. Didn't seem very complex. Seemed like a pale ale that left me pretty unimpressed.

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Photo of WaltTrombone
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had purchased a bottle of this a few weeks ago at the local beer store, and thought that it was skunky and vinegary. It was the first beer I've ever tossed down the drain. On looking at the label, I found that it was the 2000-2001 vintage, so I resolved to try a fresh bottle. Freshness wins with this beer!

It poured a clear, light amber, with a fluffy off-white head. Aroma was malty, with a touch of lemon. Tastes were malt, faint lemon, leather, coriander, caramel. Mouthfeel was thin, with a light carbonation. It finished with leather and lemon.

It didn't strike me as being particularly wintry, like some offerings that have spices, or higher ABVs. However, this struck as the kind of beer the macros wished they could make. It'd be a good intro to better beers for a macro drinker, for sure!

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

Light orangey-yellow. Or maybe yellowy orange. Crisp and dry in taste. The malt is understated, but it still provides a good balance to the hop finish. I had a bottle that tasted better a couple months ago. This one was good anyway. I like this as a winter beer.

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Photo of Foxman
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The first thing that caught my eye is the busy label on the bottle, and the almost preternatural clearness of the beer.

It pours a crystal clear real amber. A thick creamy off-white head grows prodigiously and sticks around a bit. There is moderate stringy lacing.

In the aroma, the hops first bring some floral and light citrus notes. There's a notable but muted metallic tang. A gentle sweet malt aroma pervades in the middle, along with a slightly yeasty sourness.

First in the sip comes the semi-sweetness of the malt, quickly giving way to a blend of citrus tang and hops bitterness. Midway, there's an ephemeral wisp of raisins. Towards the end the grainy malt components morphs into a biscuity roundness. There's a very light hops bitterness at the very finish.

It's almost medium bodied. Not overly clingy, it still coats well enough to distribute flavor to where it needs to be. There's a slight hops tingle at the finish.

Thre's nothing remarkable here, but it is somewhat north of just OK. The singular off-putting quality was well bested by mostly full and diverse characteristics. It's nice enough, but not as big and bold as you might expect from a seasonal Winter brew. Still, if you get past the seasonal aspect, it's flavorful and enjoyable enough to drink a few, not matter what time of year.

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Photo of GreenWBush
4.11/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2003/2004 Edition. 12 oz. bottle.

I will attempt to write this review without prejudice, but that might be difficult. The Chandos Pub, a London Samuel Smith-only near Trafalgar, sucked my wallet dry almost every Wednesday through Sunday. If you ever make it there, the cask-conditioned Old Brewery Bitter is exceptional and the nitrogen-fluffed Extra Stout pints are more than worth your 2 quid.

This beer pours out a light copper with a small head, but a nice clingy, wiry lacing. The smell is of malts and slight skunkiness.

This beer is for lovers of Samuel Smith. It has that classic Old Brewery taste. It really isn't anything exceptional, and it won't sell you on the brewery. But if you love Sammy's, you'll love this one.

To be critical, the sample I experienced had a hint of a slightly off, almost metallic taste. The first few sips tasted like sucking on a beer cap, or the foil on top of the bottle. I thought that this year's WW had the perfect level of alcohol, and it just seemed perfectly hopped.

Its like beer jell-o to me - I could make myself very sick if this beer wasn't prohibitively priced. Lovely.

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Photo of Beervis
3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I was a little disappointed by this one!

Unlike the other Samuel Smith's offerings, I felt this one lacked that punch to make it a winner. I have heard many good things about this beer, so maybe my expectations were a little too high.

It pours a light copper colour with a thin, lacy head. Taste-wise not a very complex beer. Overall, tasted pretty "standard" to me as far as Winter beers go. A bit of a dry smell and strong alcohol taste, but other than that, nothing special.

With all the Winter beers out there, and their aggressive tastes, this one doesn't quite measure up in my opinion.

It was "Just OK"

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Photo of DESTRO
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is the 2003. having been dissapointed with past batches i heard this years is an improvement, so ill give it a shot. plus it was at the gas station and it has to be better than anything else there right? pours a lovely copper with a medium bubbling white head which dies down to a thin white ring. a strong aroma of toast (yea like as in bread), maple and a nice nuttiness. the flavor follows suite with a biscuit like malt followed by a brown ale like nuttiness. light hops, not much and it finishes on a sweet note. smooth mouthfeel, coates nicely and has crisp carbonation felt on the back of the throat. goes down easy. a big improvement over the last one i had, but maybe it was past date, seemed a little skunked. this ones a keeper.

paid $2.99 for the pint bottle

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Photo of Admiraldinty
3.73/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a peachy-orange with a nice two-fingered head. Aroma seemed a bit skunky at first (not surprising, given the clear bottling), but also slighly hoppy and had sweet maltiness. Fairly smooth, but dry mouthfeel. Sweet maltiness, with a fairly drying hops presence. A little candied fruitiness. Also, there is some alcohol present. Overall, not a bad brew. I don't know that I'd call it a winter beer, although it does have a bit of a warming feeling. Still, certainly not a waste of money.

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Photo of rdrummer
3.2/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

As Winter Ales go, this was a disappointment. It is okay to look at although even the appearance seems weak by comparison. It does have a good white head with considerable lacing. It smells of hops and other grains with some hints of sweetness. The taste is a hoppy blend of grains, but there is an acidic undertone that gave it a funny feeling in the mouth. It seemed to be slightly oily. I couldn't drink a whole lot of these. I expect more from a brewer like Samuel Smith.

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Photo of paganbeast
3.28/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Surprisingly mild. Samuel Smith's brews generally have much more character and texture to them. The aroma was gentle, with a delicate head. The flavor was slightly fruity and smooth. Had I not opened the bottle myself, I would've been surprised to learn that it was a Samuel Smith. Welcoming a mild Winter.

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Photo of allboutbierge
2.77/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Maybe its me, but I have always enjoyed winter brews that were forceful and spicy. Though I liked this one somewhat, it was a puppy where others are St. Bernards.

Color was a slight mixture of orange and beige with a light red hue. Head was fizzy and white and left a very light lace. Aroma was fairly subdued but exhibited qualites of nutmeg and apples. All scents were very weak however. Fairly was equally weak. Flavors are moslty sweet and offer a little fruitiness-no real spice qualities. Mouthfeel was full but not heavy.

Ive always loved all Sammy Smith brews but this was threw me for a curve.

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Photo of John1985
3.26/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ale came in Imperial Pint clear bottle. The ale poured with a nice white head with a beautiful deep amber color. Aroma was skunky that eventually cleared somewhat. The flavor had a nice balance between toasty malt and hops. Pleasant bitter aftertaste that tickles the tongue. Overall impression is that this is not a bad ale but this is not what I expect in a Winter Warmer. I expect a richer more substantial ale (e.g. SN Celebration Ale).

I must say I always wanted to try this beer because of the label on the bottle.

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Photo of marcobrau
3.32/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber color. Clear Imperial pint bottle. I poured this into an 8 oz "dimpled" English mug I acquired as a souvenir from the Real Ale Festival a couple years ago. The beer poured with very little foam. The scant bit of aroma I pick up is predominantly of malt with a bit of a flowery character. A well-carbonated medium-bodied ale with sweet caramel malt and fruit flavors. A little tawny, like a port or sherry, towards the finish. This is a very nice character for an English ale. The finish, which is bitter and dry, is somewhat short. The wine-like character of this beer is its highlight, however, as an old ale it falls a bit short.

Many winters ago I bar I used to go to sold these at the cut rate of $3 a bottle. The size of the bottle and cheap price seemed to attract quite a range of drinkers. It was quite amusing to see many Miller and Bud drinkers quaffing an English beer just because it was cheap and came in a big bottle!

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

This wasn't too bad of a brew in my book. It was a kind of orangey/light red color with an off white head. The head wasn't spectacular or anything, but stayed around a little. You could tell that it was carbonated though. The smell was a little on the spicey side with hints of fruits. The taste was similar to the smell, but more along the spicey side, with hops and different winter spices used. It was alittle too hoppy for me, so I'll stick with my malts. If you are a fan of the hops, go for it.

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Photo of PSUDREW
2.49/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a nice dark orange color. Nice bit of head, some lacing don at the end. However, with what people have proclaimed of this beer, i am not impressed. I am going to have to get some more (3 tries thus far), but this just ain't cutting it. Has not very citrus/hop taste, not very malt taste, just a general bitter flavor to it. It didn't smeel mich like anything, and in all honstly, that prob helped it. I hope the boys over at SS do better, becuase I am used to a higher standard from them, and this doesn't cut it!

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Photo of OatmattStout
3.4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pale orange color and a small head with some lacing. Not much of a smell but some light buttery notes. Taste was straight forward with good balance but nothing really lumped out at me. Was really expecting something spicy and bold from a good brewery like SS, but was left feeling flat. I will save the rest of the 4 pack for my macro drinking guests who feel adventures this Christmas.

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Photo of Beastdog75
3.18/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(2003-2004 edition reviewed)

Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome is indeed the seasonal offering brewed by those Tadcaster folks. It is actually the first Sam Smith beer that I've tried that has disappointed me somewhat. Instead of brewing somthing memorable, this winter brew (that clocks in at 6% abv) is more of the middle of the road type of ale that is good at warming you up on a cold night, but the flavor is far from memorable. The bottle bears the English proverb "Blessing of your heart you brew good ale" quoted by Sir Proteus' clownish servant Launce in Shakespeare's "The Two Gentlemen of Verona." For me, this was the most memorable feature of the beer.

The Winter Welcome pours a golden amber color with a nice slightly off-white foam that retains well, but leaves almost no lace. The smell reminded me of a lower-strength Scotch Ale. Some malt sweetness was detectable, with some "dark fruits" and a bit of graham cracker too. The mouthfeel was reasonably smooth, but a bit more carbonated than expected. A malt sweetness hits the tongue up front and carries some light butterscotch notes. To me, the most predominant flavor in this was the alcohol. There were some dark fruits detected, and the alcohol gives the beer a drying effect, along with the decent spicy/citric hop bitterness. The beer is bitter and warming going down. Dryness continues in the aftertaste, and some apple-like notes arise as well. This beer finishes off with a good amount of warmth in the belly.

This was the least memorable Sam Smith's I've had. Luckily, I snagged my bottle right out of the case so there was no time for it to get lightstruck. There was more of an alcohol flavor than I was expecting, and while the flavors were good, it would have help up better if it were a bit more complex. A drinkable ale no doubt, but not as outstanding as the other beers in the Sam Smith's line.

And a Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

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Photo of DagFishHead
3.43/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Crystal clear amber pour. Frothy, tightly bubbled head fades quickly leaving minimal lace.
Smell: Sweet caramel/toffee malt, whiff of butterscotch, earthy/grassy notes, but didn't detect any clear hops.
Taste: Sweet creamy malt to start, top is tingly and acidic, dries nicely with spicy/citrus hops.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with medium carbonation size and level. Alcohol presence becomes apparent later, but hides very well.
Drinkability: Very drinkable, if not particularly memorable.

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Photo of stingo
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A very good brew from Samuel Smith's - while not as warming as other winter brews, the Winter Welcome Ale is definitely an enjoyable entry. A good deal better on the warm side, this ale is not a flavor monster, but a well made beer nonetheless. Well-balanced, with a definite bite to it make it a great "feel good" session beer for those long winter nights.

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Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

amber brown color, with good head and some lacing. Smell of alcohol in original review, getting more barleywine aroma 3.5 years later. Warms you up, in the winter. Malt sweetness, some apple fruit and mild spice. Hops and carbonation abundant that tingles tongue. had a second bottle two years later that went very well with sushi because of mild astringency. Bottle 3.5 years later hops in finish carbonation just right cellaring for nine months.Medium mouthfeel.

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Photo of longpondbeerman
3.28/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep, clear amber with a thick, bubbly white head supported by significant carbonation. The smell was of subtle hops dominated by a sharp ginger tanginess. The mouthfeel was light and sparkling, but the taste is rather disappointing; nothing much stands out--a dull metallic undertone, certainly a little buttery malts. OK.

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Photo of beerluvr
3.46/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with an ample and fluffy white head settling over clear light, light reddish liquid. There was a whiff of skunkiness when I first stuck my schnozz in the glass that seemed to dissipate once things settled down...slightly. Otherwise, some light butterscotch/diacetyl and light maltiness is present with some delicate hop aroma. The taste features light/medium mouthfeel, subtle fruitiness and a nice, slightly metallic hop note, fading into a somewhat dryish and bitter finish. A quality brew that's a fine example of what holiday beers used to be like before the advent of more aggressively flavored microbrewed examples became the norm.

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Photo of RockyTopHeel
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Like Santa’s suit, a foamy white collar sat atop a translucent red brew when I poured my Winter Welcome. The scent revealed a touch of spices, but also gave me my first indication that this particular serving might be a little off, with a light whiff of skunk. Light in the mouth but warm and malty, with a light hint of indeterminable spices and a nice clean finish, with a hoppy character.

I’m giving this one the benefit of the doubt because it seemed a bit off and wasn’t up to par with the other two beers I sampled. I’ll have to try it again, but if it was truly a bit off, it still performed pretty well. Maybe I just expected more.

Part #3 of the 12/8 Hebrew Hammer Holiday Threeway

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Photo of beergeek279
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in the 12 oz. bottle. The color is amber, with a nice white head. The smell is fairly malty. The taste is quite malty, without a lot of hops to really speak of. Mouthfeel is creamy. Drinkability-wise, could have a few.

This may have well been the beer that made me into a craft beer lover...the first great beer that I'd had, and what led me to seek out other beers. That said, now that I've had plenty of better beers, this isn't quite as good as I remember. Still, I'll always have to thank Sam Smith for leading me on the path to beer redepmption, and as such, I'll likely have this one in years to come.

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

2003 batch. Pours a translucent palest copper color with nice light tan head. Strange because the color is lighter than their pale ale. Decent lacing. Not really much to speak of in the aroma department aside from some Englishy malt notes and weak spices and maybe a trace nose of hops. Taste is a little thin, weak buttery malt and scant spice rounded with a mild hop tartness in the finish. Not thouroughly impressed, but a good beer. Mouthfeel seems to be the best part of the brew.

2004 batch. More of a winter warmer than last year's. Malty aroma and a light fruitiness. A whole-hearted improvement on last year's batch, which I recall weighing in at 4.9%. I had to up a couple of stats to average it out. Me likey.

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Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
3.65 out of 5 based on 2,202 ratings.
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