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 JDV
1.22/5  rDev -69.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Goldish amber with white fluffy medium lasting head. Smells musky, sweaty and simply not good at all. I've had skunky beers that smelled possibly better. Taste is somewhat smooth creamy and just grossly sweaty, and yeasty. Kind of like moist dirty laundry. Not good. One of my least favorite beers ever, and undrinkable for me, although it didn't taste like a beer that had gone bad. I simply didn't like this one, and Samuel Smith's Lager and Nut Brown ale were quite good.

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Photo of RoyalT
2.21/5  rDev -44.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance – The body is a light orangish yellow and clear. The head is nice and thick but went down quickly.

Smell – There wasn’t much of a nose to this one. I could pick up some grain and cheap sugar along with a big, musty smell.

Taste – The nasty grain and sour tartness that I’ve come to expect from lesser breweries is here in spades. This stuff is horrible.

Mouthfeel – Light, fizzy carbonation and extremely thin, even for a Pale Ale.

Drinkability – Thank God my wife agreed to put away the rest of this one. She wasn’t too happy with it though and said that she definitely won’t “buy again” (this from a Sam Smith fan).

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Photo of Shiloh
2.48/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pretty enough with limited crown, but at the expense of the taste buds.
Geez this is sweet, they must have run out of hops at the Tadcaster Brewery the day this brew was introduced.
Body is a medium, carbonation is all but missing but the colour is nice.
I'm sure this organic style is appreciated by some, and this may be a special product...but I don't see it!

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Photo of scruffwhor
2.54/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours the traditional medium amber, and clear rust hues. With very little visible carbonation. The aroma is very bland and a tart malt with some very bland hop bitterness at the finish of the sniff. The taste is even more tart and almost a sur weet malt. Hints of stiny hops in the midde of each taste. This was not what I expected from this renowned brewery.

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Photo of Budlum
2.55/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Quickly diminshing head starting at a meager 0.25 inches giving way to a thin blanket driven by the very high effervesence of this brew. Clear, amber body almost as "bubbly" as a freshly served flute of champagne.

Fresh, spicy hops immediately on the nose followed by a rush of sweetness suggesting syrup or honey. A definite roasted malt presence similar to that of a finely crafted Vienna lager.

The hops apparent on the nose are immediately absent. Definite roasted malt presence that gives way to a, dare I say, cereal malt-esque finish that lasts for an unpleasantly long time. A little too watery and not packing much flavor. What happened to all the good stuff I smelled? I can certainly believe this was organically produced beacuse it tastes like dirt. The only highlight was that it picked up a sugary mouthfeel as it warms.

Despite the absolute lack of flavor, mouthfeel is good and pleasantly creamy. However, forget about experiencing any of the effervesence present in the glass.

I'm sure the drinkability of this is high because it may take another three or four to figure out what SS was going after with this one.

My only thought is that this may have been sitting on the shelf for far too long. I can't possibly imagine SS producing this beer in the state in which I sampled it. Hopefully I can find another and review this one again. In a blind test, I would NEVER believe that this beer was from the same brewery that produces the outstanding SS Imperial Stout.

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Photo of Dogbrick
2.7/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

For once a lighter Sam Smith beer that was not lightstruck! Still a thorughly average beer though. Pours a golden color with a thin white head and a little carbonation and thin lacing. Earthy, fruity and yeasty aroma. On this thin side and lacking in any obvious flavor. Unbalanced but drinkable, still I'll go back to the Imperial Stout next time.

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Photo of yelterdow
2.76/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in an English pint glass at just over fridge temperature. $2.99 at Wyckoff Liquors, who also had the entire line of SS beers refrigerated.

Appearance- Pours a bright gold with a clean, white two finger head that laces nicely... the thin foamy mat plants itself firmly over the course of the tasting.

Smell- A metallic edge to a doughy malt character hits the nose first... there's a mild pungency about the aroma that I find undesirable. With no sign of a freshness date, it's hard to say whether or not this may be an off bottle. Some smoke notes peek through the husky, very organic qualities here.

Taste- This drinks like a very ordinary pale ale... a relatively good balance of malts and hops, some grainy aspects, and an English hop bitterness that drys the finish. Unimpressive and uneventful.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- The mouthfeel only wakes up slightly when aggravated... otherwise it's thin. I won't be visiting this again.

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Photo of KajII
2.88/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

[Best served in an English Pint]

The pour was a clear light orange with a small (less than 1 finger) white fizzy head which diminished almost immediately after being poured with very poor lacing.

The aroma was of a light bread malt, a slight floral hop and a very mild cobweb yeast with a light fruity ester and a mild hint of caramel.

The taste was a bit malty with a light sweet caramel presence and a slight fruitiness throughout, with the finish becoming mildly bitter towards the end. The flavor faded very quickly from the taste buds with a faint bitterness left behind.

Mouthfeel was light in body and creamy in texture with an average carbonation.

Overall this was a brew that had a decent enough flavor, although it was definitely nothing special. It would however be a decent brew for a hot summer’s day...

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Photo of theopholis
2.9/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance- Poured into a tulip glass. Has a bright gold head with very little staying power. Leaves a decent amount of lace. Color is a light amber.

Smell- Gives off a light fruity smell. Some malt character. Just a whiff of bread.

Taste- This drinks like a typical pale English ale. Some hop bitterness/acid on the tip and edges of the tongue. Interesting change in hop bitterness at the back of the throat. A little malt sweetness, but nut much. Tastes vaguely grainy to. Not bad, but not great.

Mouthfeel- Medium body for the style. A tad over-carbonated IMO.

Drinakbility- It's fair. Nothing to write home about.

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Photo of marcobrau
2.92/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber color and foams up. The head disappears a few seconds later like with many English ales - that's okay, I like the lighter carbonation. The aroma is fruity and a bit musty. The first sip is full of fairly sweet, caramel malt flavor, and gets fruitier and juicier towards the finish. A light bitterness exerts itself about two thirds of the way to the finish, which is flowery, slightly dry and lightly bitter. The taste of minerals that the Tadcaster brewing water and unique fermentation is famous for shows up towards the finish; especially as this pint comes up to room temperature. Overall, a very easy drinkin' English ale, with some delicate flavors that are probably eclipsed by other more assertive British brews. It's certainly worth trying and makes for a good session beer; athough a bit strong for such classification.

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Photo of illidurit
2.96/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. Copper in color with a fluffy white head. Some bubble columns help the retention, and a little lace adorns the glass. Aroma is pretty average. Overly sweet malt with some fruitiness. Flavor is sour fruit and grainy malt. Don't really enjoy this one at all. High on carbonation and low on body and flavor. Not something I'm going to buy again.

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Photo of prosper
2.98/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very light colour, mid-yellow, similar to pils urquell.

Smells of lemony hops, with some light toasty malts.

Taste is decent... nothing special. Bitter, slightly hoppy, a bit floral perhaps with a faint trace of earthyness, and it has a fruity tartness, sort of berry-like. This is really a cream ale, a 'summer bitter.' Not lots of flavour going on here. This was obviously intended to appeal to the lager crowd.

Mouthfeel is very light and dry. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a hefty percentage of plan sugar in the recipe.

Drinkability is decent, but there's really nothing charming about it to compel you to have another.

Overall, a well-made beer, but ultimately a little disappointing.

 710 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
2.98/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

500 mL bottle,

A: Pours golden with a long lasting white head, some lace.

S: Lemony hops, sulfur, grass clippings, sourdough bread.

T: Mineral sulfur character. Definitely has a bit of vegetal flavour in there which I wasn't crazy about. Fairly good malt flavour though.

M: Soft carbonation, fine feel, nothing wrong here.

D: This was OK, but I was pretty bored with it by the end. There is much better from Sam Smith's.

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Photo of Gusler
3/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A limpid gold color on the pour, the head impressive, the lace fine sheets to coat the glass. Malt nose, very clean and fresh. Slightly sweet at the start, the top is flimsy, finish is scarcely acidic, sparsely hopped, quite dry aftertaste, very refreshing beer, a bit light for me, but quite good nonetheless.

 310 characters

Photo of Brad007
3/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Came in a 12oz brown bottle.

Pours a nice pale color with amber hues. Has a thin head that recedes shortly. Aroma is nice and malty with some hints of caramel in the nose. Subtle and mild. Taste is fruity upfront with some nice toasted malt in the aftertaste. Not too bad of a taste but not impressive either.

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Photo of magictrokini
3.06/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours clear amber with an average white head. Earthy, grainy malt aroma with grass for hops. Looks good, smells good, but the taste is flat. Malt sweet and sour/bitter at the same time; except the bitter does not come from what could be described as hops or malt. More of a dirty shoe taste. Too expensive for the weak payoff.

Organic is synonymous with overpriced average beer. Its almost like it has become a warning label: "This beer is not as good as you think it would be, but the ingerdients are 'organic' and we think that is a decnt trade-off for actual flavor." Spare me.

 582 characters

Photo of NiceGuyMike
3.06/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: golden orange with decent white head.
Smell: malts
Taste: tastes bitterness and malts. Some cherry flavor in the back.
Mouthfeel: Smooth medium body with some carbonation.
Drinkability: this does not excite me, but since it is organic, it's probably saving a tree somewhere (not sure how though).

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Photo of railman
3.06/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served from a 550ml bottle.

Pours an appealing golden orange hue with a fluffy white head that fades quickly. Abundant carbonation of tiny bubbles. Sticky lacing that lingers on the glass.

First smell reminds me of malty bread but not overwhelming. Overall decent but boring.

Tastes kind of malty without being sweet and slight bitterness in the end.

Mouthfeel is a little on the thin side. Would have preferred more body to this brew.

Overall I found this brew to be a middle of the road brew with not much going on in the glass. Expected more from Samuel Smith.

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Photo of wl0307
3.06/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

It's been 1.5 year since I last tried this beer, so a revisit is in order. This 550ml bottle is BB Aug. 07, served cool in an imperial-pint glass.

A: dark orangey golden in colour, coming with a loosely-formed, puffy white head with surprisingly good retention; gentle, constant streams of tiny fizz underneath.
S: upfront is an intense and cloying malty note full of fruit-candy, malt-candy, cane-sugar, a sticky edge of caramel, a touch of honey, with very faint fruity hops behind. The sweetness is simply overpowering, not as nice and balanced as I remember it...
T: biscuity and sugary malts upfront... followed by sugar-cane juice, berry-ish fruits, while a bitter-sweet edge of licorice, hays, and slightly tangy citric hops quietly join in eventually, with just a subtle touch of bitterness of hops as well as pop-corns.
M&D: spritzy and refreshing yet smooth enough, but the flavour profile is simplistic, with very faint inputs of hops submerged by overwhelmingly sweet maltiness. An unbalanced malty bitter overall, IMO. Not saying that it's a bad beer, but Samuel Smith's could do much better than this, I'm sure.

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Photo of necoadam
3.08/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured out a light golden/orange color, hazy, with a nice head to go along with it.

Smell was fairly light, but consisted of some sweet malts along with a touch of earth tones. Some light yeast also hangs around in the background.

Taste was pretty average. Malts start out with a touch of sweetness to it, but nothing overboard. A touch of hops start to blend in along with some citrus notes. Some yeast also finishes at the end. Finished with a honey/herbal tone which seem alright, but was a little too much I thought, need to get toned down.

Mouthfeel was light to medium. Carbonation was in check.

Not bad. I wouldn't refuse this beer but I don't know if I would want to buy another one.

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Photo of McNealc31
3.1/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very clear for an ale. Aroma is mostly toasted malt and butterscotch candy. The butterscotch flavor carries through, blending with grassy hops. Very smooth. There is a hint of lemon in the finish. And that classic English hard water, as well.

Overall, I thought this was fine. Definitely not bad, but I don't think I'll be getting a craving for it again. Just didn't have enough flavor for me.

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Photo of Gmann
3.1/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a slightly hazy, copper color with a small off white head, no lacing. The smell is buttery, sweet malt, a light hint of hops. The taste is caramel malt, some buttery toffee, light dry hop aftertaste. The mouthfeel is a bit watery, nicely carbonated. Not bad, but I am not overly impressed, goes down easy, quite drinkable.

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Photo of TheLiterati
3.13/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice, copper-colored ale, with mild, malty-sweet aroma, and fruity undertones. Hints of woodiness, but not much more.

Hops present, but faintly so, detectible in the nose and in the flavor. Sweet at first, with a faintly crisp finish. Not a flavor powerhouse, but much more pleasant than the straw-colored alternatives, and even tastier than some APAs.

Mouthfeel is smooth, not overwhelming, and contributes to an overall drinkability.

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Photo of cbl2
3.18/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Crystal golden w/ inch thick white head that leaves a slight lace as it settles.


Mildly hoppy w/ some subtle malt hints.


Reminiscent of an IPA w/ a cascade hops flavor up front & in the finish. Little to no malt characteristics. Good but not as great as the rest of the Samuel Smith fleet.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.2/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a cross between a golden color and light brown, fairly cloudy, with a good sized head.

Has a mild floral scent that is also evident in the taste. I really like the carbonation of this beer, really accentuates the taste.

Overall, a decent beer that uses the catch of being an organic beer which have yet to impress. One of the better organics out there though and an improvement over their own organic lager.

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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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