Samuel Smith's Organic Best Ale | Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)

very good
373 Reviews
Samuel Smith's Organic Best AleSamuel Smith's Organic Best Ale

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

Style: English Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-27-2001

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Reviews: 373 | Ratings: 608
Photo of thebrood1987
5/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The smell is fantastic. A nice deep rich candy malt smell with a slight floral smell. I also get the yeast in there as well. On the first sip I get a nice carbonation and slight hop bite with a very rich malt candy flavor that is out of this world. Its so smooth.. It ends with a tinge of floral bitterness.

I also get a slight salty taste but in the best way possible probably from the hard well water they use in the beer. This is my favorite malty forward beer I've ever had. Maybe I'm biased though because I'm a big organic food advocate and saw organic and instantly wanted to try it. but wow what a difference.

This is definitely not an American beer by any standard. Not to say American beers aren't balanced but this is the best balanced beer I've ever had. Definitely one of my favorites of all time.

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Photo of hopmashian
5/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is as close to perfection as a brewery can come for this style. Smooth and well balanced. I wonder if I could get this in a pub in the UK. Better yet on draught in So Fl.

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Photo of theteleman
5/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A beautiful amber color with a highly carbonated massive white head. This beer is perfect to me. Like nothing I have ever tasted before, a truly unique brew that is incredibly balanced and still complex and interesting to taste. My expierence in pale ales has been Sierra Nevada/West Coast type stuff, and dont get me wrong, I love the brews that come out of the West coast but this is just so different yet still so enjoyable to sip on. Go buy one! Cost me 3.50 at PW Mart in Poway CA, a decent price for a really outstanding beer.

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Photo of TAREUA
5/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Sometimes revisiting a beer you found to be great even a few days later can be like seeing that old girl friend again. "Did she always bark like that when she laughed?" This beer is so good it keeps getting better with each revisit. I have found myself daydreaming about having another pint of this on a beach somewhere.

English style pale ales are the epicenter of beer: stouts off to port, and lagers to starboard. I always found this brewery to be good not great, but this beer is great. The head is thick and white. The aroma is the wonderful scent of rich ale, not daisies or tar pits or tequila. The mouthfeel is full not fizzy, not syrupy; but liquid that can taste flavorful, while doing what beer is meant to do, quench your thirst. Their is a fine balance in this beer that allows hints of sweetness and grain to come and go on your tongue without as much dry bitter flavor as an English style ESB. Smith's regular Old Brewery pale ale I find a bit murkier and more malt dominated. This beer is a wonderful drinker, and a great reminder to me that beer is about the beautiful flavor, not just an excuse for intellectual excercise.

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Photo of t3hcho53non3
4.95/5  rDev +25%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I want to preface this by saying this is my favorite favorite favorite brew of all time.

A: Pours a clear yellow amber color with a finger head that quickly dissipates but leaves decent lacing.

S: Very complex fruity sweetness with organic undertones and earthy undertones

T: Heaven on earth. Earthy tasting with organic overtones.

M: Medium body with little to no carbonation

D: Very drinkable and very complex. You must drink more than one of these in a session before you can accurately review it.

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Photo of inhoc00
4.88/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Samuel Smith organic ale poured into a Guiness american pint glass (note - must get some imperial pint glasses!!!)

A - Saw earlier review that said sam smith lager and ale very similar. Not at all. This was much more amber in color with a good solid two finger head.

S - Simple, basic caramel and light hops.

T - Same as the the smell similar to to good ESB.

M - Such simplicity and balance. Nothing overlaps. Hops, alc. and malt all in line or should I say in queu. (I don't know about that spelling.)

T - WOW. Session ale. I have recently started trying the Sam Smith lineup and have not be upset about a single one (even the cider). Sam Smith seems to be the Honda Civic of the beer world - nothing flashy, simple, 5% alc, reliable taste. Love this stuff.

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Photo of Offa
4.85/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a wonderful, very drinkable and quenching, yet subtley complex and very well-integrated ale.

Light, bright amber, it has a medium off-white head steadily shrinking to a thin, permanent foamy top with weak foamy lace.

The aroma is lightly fruity, citrusy, leafy, with strong yeasty bread and a very fresh character that screams "ale."

The taste is pleasant, fresh, crisp, extremely even, consistent, balanced, and well-integrated throughout from start to finish. It is lightly sweet with light balancing bitterness plus a hint of fruity-yeasty sweet-sour and light zesty tartness, all integrated extremely well, playing together simultaneously and complementing each other rather than clashing. It tastes of faintly tart fruit, leaves, citrus (esp. lemon), with hints of yeasty toast and butter. The finish is lightly bitter with a lingering leafy-citrusy bitterness balanced by faintly buttered toast sweetness. The feel is firm, not quite oily, and zesty and lively.

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Photo of scootny
4.83/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge off white head with scads of lace and great retention. Small amount of haze in a golden amber fluid. A toasty nuttiness greets my nose sitting atop a bed of light sweet malt and somewhat lemony hops. Simple but so well done and pleasing to the nose.
Taste is full grains and and toasted biscuits. Hops are perfectly balanced in this one and feature light lemon and herbal leafy notes. Finish is very clean and dry with bread crust and a hint of earth. Feel is soft and supple with a gentle, fine carbonation. Another super session ale from this brewery.

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Photo of mcsquint
4.8/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 550ml bottle into a mug.
A - Slightly cloudy, golden amber in color with a foamy, slightly off-white head.
S - Aroma of malt and fresh fruit.
T - Unbelieveable! Malt with notes of fresh apples and peaches.
M - Medium mouthfeel with just the right amount of carbonation.
D - Probably the most drinkable British ale I've tasted. Considering you would pay the same price for a pint of domestic($3.89), this is a bargain. There are many more expensive ales of lesser quality out there.
Samuel Smith continues to produce the highest quality beers in any category.

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Photo of smokinyodas
4.78/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Just think of all the best things you could say about a lager and this would be the one for me. After drinking 4 of these just now I'm completely lost for words. The pour is a beautiful clear gold with a nice white foamy head. The smell and taste are fruity and floral without being overdone. The body and mouthfeel is just right, full and not heavy. Perfect introduction for anyone wanting to try a drinkable lager or share with a lady friend. And the best part is this beer is USDA Organic and free of chemical pesticides.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
4.77/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: nice golden brown color with about a 1/2 an inch of head retention and decent head retention.

Smell: Nice fruity smell, not strong but very pleasant

Taste: VERY VERY BALANCED AND SMOOTH. Oh man the best tasting pale ale I've had so far. I can't wait to try the regular pale ale.

Mourthfeel: Very nice crisp carbonation

Drinkability: A session beer. I could drink one after the other.

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Photo of Todd
4.76/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: Great big 550ml custom brown Victorian pint bottle (a real pint), with old-style labeling. No freshness stamp. Organically Certified brew.

Appearance: Pours a mean head with a wild carbonation rush that creates a magnificent foamy white head. Beer is a bright, clear gold.

Smell: Nose of dried fruit, grain and perfumy fresh floral aromas. Like smelling a delicate flower.

Taste: Body is full, but not heavy. Mouthfeel is even and smooth. It's a rather malty brew, but not in the sense of powerful sweetness, but rather presence. The sweetness is there (a touch fruity, like unsweetened mixed dried fruit with an underlying dextrin), however it is well-rounded and balanced to perfection. Hops come in with a slight, building tingle on the palate then slide away leaving a raw hop leaf and semi-herbal/floral taste. The end dries up, just a bit, with fresh grain flavours and a faint coarse hop astringency. Light metallic finish.

Notes: Hmm ... how pleasing, and similar to their organic lager in many ways(?) ... but who cares. Just think of an ale, one for any occassion, never too strong, never too weak and never overpowering in any of its characteristics. A perfect balance of organic ingredients. If you have that picture in your head, it's this ale.

Thanks to Merchant Du Vin for the fresh sample.

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Photo of biercircus
4.73/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So, I'm a teacher. I give students As based on good, quality work and an understanding of the concepts that I'm trying to get across.

I am not a teacher of beerdom, but Samuel Smith Organically Produced Ale would get an A in my class.

A- Nice amber gold color. Quintessential British Pale Ale. Head is a good and half to quarter inch thick. Perfect.

S- Biscuity malty lightly hopped floral aspects. Refreshing to the nostrils.

T - Balanced. This is the epitome of a good session beer. Too many American beers throw too many flavors together and don't blend them enough. Sometimes that's good, but for this beer, and any classic British Pale Ale, it should be smooth and balanced. Not too many hops or too malty, sweet, or bitter, but a combination of all that goes down extremely smoothly without losing each aspect's distinctiveness.

M - Smooth, silky, soft, thick, lightly carbonated. You can swirl it or down it; any way you drink it, the mouthfeel has body that smoothly makes its way down your throat.

D - Perfect. I can't imagine a better example of this style. It is supposed to be drunk without too much fanfare. It's like a good friend that you can rely on, but won't surprise you with a ton of drama or bells and whistles. No Arrogant Bastards here... Just an old mate at the pub.

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Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.68/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A brown (yes, brown!!) glass Bottle from “Sams”. Manly sized at 550ml, a proper Imperial Pint, none of that ‘girlie’ 16 fl.oz. rubbish here! ;-). The dark cream, red and black label gives this beer a very antique feel, a replicate of the old style of English Oval Beer Labels from the late 1800’s that always proudly advertised its contents, indeed – this extends to the statement embossed on the bottom of the bottle itself, “Bottled at Yorkshires Oldest Brewery”. Full marks for the Excellent Presentation.
Pours a lovely inviting very clear Golden color, with a huge head that slowly recedes to rejoin the beer as the initial short carbonation rush fades, leaving some lace clinging to the sides of my Glass, but not much. Aromas are of fresh damp grain, with a feint, floral hoppy strata. Malt dominant start - but not in the usual sense, it is understated, its there - but just doesn’t shout about it. A very light sweetness, that does not last long, starts to makes way for a quite a fruity middle, that in turn yet again makes way for a grainy malty slightly bitter end. A Superb British Pale Ale!. This is the first time I have had this and I am extremely impressed by its 100% Perfect Balance for this Style, I can tell you honestly, that it tastes as good as, if not better than, many beers I have had from the Cask served by Handpump in England. It’s that Good.
This is one of the very best British Pale Ales that I ever had from the Bottle. If Americans want to know how good this style can be, they should get a Bottle of this. Forget that!!, Get a Crate, because the other attribute of a good English Pale Ale – is that it is around 5%, and should therefore be the perfect Session Beer for any occasion and highly Quaffable. This most certainly IS. A Very Accomplished brew from Sam’s - yet again!.
Shit!, I only got One Bottle!!!

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Photo of trackstar1043
4.67/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pour a golden hazy hue with a pure white head 2 fingers in height with great retension.

S - Clean crisp and bright, with the aroma of wheat, citrus, sweet carmel and a slight bitter bite of hops.

T - Just as great as it smells, extremely crisp, refreshing and sweet, by far the cleanest tasting brew I have ever had the pleasure of having.

M - Med-Light bodied with sharp carbonation that awakend the taste buds, fantastic.

D - Simply fantasitic one of the most pleasant surprises in a drink, great any day.

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Photo of WestValleyIPA
4.67/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Beer poured into a Zatec glass with two fingers of head. Notes of oak, honey and citrus. Tastes like heaven if heaven were made of a beer that consisted of a slight hoppy, delicate honeysuckle flower aged in a vanilla oak barrel. Mouth feel like a softer Champagne.

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Photo of sethcroisant
4.65/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A- beautiful golden color with a finger of head. some lacing sticks around, but not a lot.

S- slightly floral/pine-like hops are up front. samuel smiths signature scent of toasted malts is in there as well.

M- splendid texture. very thick and frothy.

T- a lot of malt hits right away. sweet caramel up right away followed by the steely, toasted malt flavor the brewery is so good at using. hops are spicy and just strong enough. they linger on the back of the tongue for a few seconds. sweet and malty in the finish.

O- an absolute home run. perfect balance of hops and malt. novices and beer snobs alike should be able to enjoy.

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Photo of nickthetick
4.64/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: pours a clear gold into a Erdinger weizen glass with almost a finger of white head that leaves a little lacing.

S: fruity, apples, pineapple, peaches, sweet malt, caramel, vanilla.

T: a lot like the nose, sweet apples and a bit of spice all over the place. A nice malt backbone, but overall fruity sweet and tart.

MF: medium body, good effervescence, refreshing.

O: a beautifully balanced, amazingly layered ale. Great flavors and complexity. I'll be purchasing this beer again.

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Photo of KTCamm
4.63/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I love everything about these beer, from the bottle to the label to the taste.

Pours a beautiful copper orange with one finger foam. Good retention. Minimal lacing.

Smell is slightly fruity, malty.

Taste is clean, crisp, hint of map, full of malt, swirling fruit - all coming together in a perfect combination. Goes down smooth with virtually no aftertaste. You could drink this ale after finishing a 10K road race - its that smooth.

Balanced in the mothfeel between taste and cleanliness. There's an elemnt of water to it - its not watery - but maybe thats what makes it so GD refreshing.

I could drink buckets of this stuff.

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Photo of viverlee
4.63/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Squeeze every drop out of the bottle. Lick the glass clean. Set up shop directly under the fucking tap.

STYLE: English Pale Ale

ABV: 5%

LOOK: Long straw, solid pale yellow, Bubble Bobble carbonation. A half-finger head settles thinly but nicely atop an enigmatic aroma bomb.

NOSE: Cherry pie, Nerds, pomegranate, Twix, crackers. There’s more, oh so much more, there there, I can’t stand it.

MOUTH: Bready bready biscuits, cherry tree bark, raspberries, rhubarb, Jesus wafers, butterscotch, Sauvignon Blanc, mystery. Someone who should probably be the next president has managed to layer a world of flavors into this pint, each pull flaunting a new, more curious profile. The finish is surprisingly fruit free, mellow but still prurient. The blokes, they did it right this time.

Beeradvocate Rating: 88

Hayward Abbey Rating: 97

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Photo of BeerLover99
4.62/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: cloudy dark yellow, light white head,
dash of lacing

S: lemon, biscuit malt, earthy grain,
maybe little yeasty

T: floral lemon rind, biscuit malt light crisp bitter finish

M: med/light body, solid carbonation
little bubbly/freshing on palate
dry crisp finish

O: OH MY! I knew that I loved English
beers and breweries, but great to see a
fantastic beer on the lower end of the ABV.
Will get again to be sure and highly recommend.
Mighty fine session brew.


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Photo of Realale
4.6/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Brown bottle!!

Pours a beautiful brassy color. Very dense creamy head rises 3/4" before slowly settling to a solid quarter inch.

Nose is crisp hop, wet stone, and crackery malt. Very British, and very appealing.

In the mouth its light and long, with a solid base of malt, and good bitterness on the finish. The mineral notes are there at the end too.

The mouthfeel is very good, but could move up to exceptional with bottle-conditioning. Very drinkable. Excellent session ale. Probably my favorite of the Sam Smith line-up right now.

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Photo of JasonCoop
4.6/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

pours a slightly cloudy light amber color, foamy white head.

smells like sweet ripe fruit and malts

taste is very malty and slightly fruity. decent body to it, it's pretty smooth.

mouthfeel is nice, not too light. very smooth and drinkable but a bit pricey.

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Photo of magine
4.6/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a pint glass.

Brew has a cloudy dark copper - almost like an iced tea color. Small off white head that fades to a small thin head that is broken up in parts. A little lacing.

The brew has a fruity sweet smell. Somewhat bready, honey maybe even.

The brew has a crisp refreshing taste with a bubbly mouthfeel initially, then has the smoothness. Had a bit of a kick to it. Nice clean, sweet taste with some nice malts. Has some lemon flavors. Nice dry finish with little aftertaste. Very good balanced taste. Very refreshing and smooth.

This brew is very drinkable, a crisp refreshing ale, and yet another well crafted gem from Samuel Smith. An anytime brew and an all timer.

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Photo of hustlesworth
4.59/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- against a combination of moonlight and incandescent bulb, this ale is a stunning dried apricot color with golden amber highlights. i chose my sam adams 'new' boston lager glass instead of my sam smith's imperial pint glass because the large bulb and skinny bottom nicely seperate the hues of hazy beers like this one. some mini bubbles can be seen rising in slow motion through the thin fog. off white/buff colored head looks rich and dense as it settles to a 1/2in thick disk. delicate webs of lace stick to the glass from the initial pour as other slide down like trails of lava from a volcano.

S- intensely fruity, much more so than the old brewery pale ale. a smooth somewhat tart caramel sweetness back up all the fruity yeast aromas conjuring up images of a sticky holiday dessert. sweet egg bread, red ripe berries, mango, melon, dried strawberries, dulce de leche, red raspberry, raisin, prune, and milk chocolate with a slight nutty toasted malt edge, fresh leather, sherry cask, and aromatic wood. a very clean complex aroma.

T- taste is insanely fruity as well with a little bit of milk chocolate. woodsy and toasted up front with some of the glorious stone water tadcaster taste, fruity in the middle with a light english bitterness and tea like hops in the finish. to break it down further, i'm gonna guess fuggles, goldings and some unknown barley. did a bunch of research but still couldn't find an ingredient list, only the affirmation that the beer is totally organic grown in immaculate soil. i like that. nice caramel and toasted malt, red berries and tropical fruit, same as the aroma with a hint of pineapple, hidden grapefruit, and a mild very english bitterness. finish is very clean and fruity (pineapple, red grape, red apple, aromatic wood, tobacco) and only slightly dry with lightly tart and somewhat floral vapors as i breath out my nose.

MF- much fuller than expected, VERY juicy and about as full bodied as i could imagine a pale ale of any variety to be. medium low delicate carbonation lends a certain sophisticated feel to all sam's brews and i often get the feeling of drinking something much more expensive than i really am.

D- i would love to have an old brewery pale ale and another organic ale to compare side by side, and realistically, that endeavor is not out of my reach. maybe there will be a thread about it some day. anyone who appreciates the fruity not so dry angles of an english pale ale will fall in love with this instantly. completely session worthy. if i found a pub with this on tap i could easily make it my home away from home. its organic production makes it even more appealing to me especially in today's world of chemicals and processing. for now though, this is a rare gem that i must travel across 30 minutes of rugged american highway to acquire.

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Samuel Smith's Organic Best Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
3.96 out of 5 based on 608 ratings.
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