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

very good
614 Ratings
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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Ratings: 614 |  Reviews: 374
Photo of Lukie
3.28/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Golden marmalade underneath a small head, which dissipitated into a small lacing that barely covered the top of the brew.

Lot's of lemon citrus, with slight burnt caramel and hoppy bark. There is not a substantial smell at all.

Sour mandarin, with some sweet marmalade to the aftertaste. Again, not overpowering.

Quote easy drinking, but there are better offerings from the famed brewery.

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Photo of charlesw
3.3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle.
Pours light orange-brown. I had to coax the head of it but it was nice and dense and long lasting after coaxing.
Flavor is light and lightly fruity. Nice (light) malt flavor to it. The fruitiness and malt both seem a bit off style (more so for the malt) but, you know, it goes down really well! Some bitterness, but it really is, well, light!
This is a very fine thirst-quenching summer ale and I'd buy and drink it again with that in mind!

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Photo of n0315
3.3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

nice amber/ gold color with nice soft head that ends with a nice lace. almost looks like apple cider. smell of hops and wheat and what smells like a nice balance, not too much of anything one way or the other.

Taste and drinkability were OK, something I would drink every so often but nothing I would go searching for again.

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Photo of PatrickJR
3.3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from an 18.7 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Pale straw with one finger head that leaves a white cap. Minimal lacing.

S - Hardly any aroma. Something vaguely citrusy and almost medicinal; I really can't identify a malt profile.

T - Quite plain, a lot like a concentrated macro. The malt comes through a little bit, albeit it somewhat sour. This out-of-place sourness is a recurring problem I've had with my limited experience with organic beers. No upfront hop flavor, but a bitter/spicy kick in the finish.

M - Good deal of carbonation, with a light to medium body. Borders on watery, but holds it's own.

D - It probably wouldn't be hard to keep putting these back, but the strange medicinal sourness really gets in the way. The almost unnatural aftertaste doesn't help either.

This isn't a horrible beer, but I've definitely had better from Sam Smith's. Perhaps I'm not fully understanding the style, but this is a bland "almost beer" that I feel doesn't really deliver. The flavors are bizzare and out of synch with each other.

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Photo of HardTarget
3.3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: Floral hops, a note of honey and lemongrass.
Appearance: Hazy golden straw color with the sheerest head of off white smaller bubbles.
Flavor: Honey flavor really pops at first, but a nicely balanced hop bitter quickly jumps in before it gets too sweet. Strong toffee and caramel tastes. There is a slightly off aftertaste, an orange rind sulfur taste. It has that “rain water” flavor that I get from organic brews.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, nice carbonation level, slight chew, very oily.
Overall Impression: Forgive the fragmented sentences, but this one just isn’t inspiring me. In general it has a good flavor with an odd twist. As for style, it seems bang on. Drinkability, I can see others making a session of it, and Brits needing a fix now and then, but for me, it just isn’t my cup of tea.

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Photo of beertastegood
3.3/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear golden/copper color with a rocky white head that went down after a few minutes. Smells of nutty toffee and grassy hops. Tastes similar, but with a slight metallic taste that was kind of off-putting. Didn't last too long, but it was kind of strange. Finish is crisp and clean, slightly dry. Medium bodied with average carbonation. Not too bad, but Sam Smith makes many many better beers.

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Photo of scottoale
3.33/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

550ml. stout brown bottle with a skinny neck pours a medium amber-gold with a very thin white head. Fine carbonation bubbles and very little lacing at all.

Smell is of faintly sweet bready, grainy malt with some green, grassy hops in the background. Nice pleasant aroma.

Pale roasty malt flavor with a sweet nuttiness, lightly balanced by hops that give it a smooth, clean finish. Not really bitter, just mellow and clean.

Decent mouthfeel with a light-medium body, mild ABV of 5%, make this an ale you can drink all day, socially or otherwise.

Nice English Pale Ale for sure, Cheers!

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Photo of UnionMade
3.33/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The beer pours a golden amber color, excellent clarity, with a thin ring of whitish head.
Aroma is very light. Malty, with quite a bit of diacetyl butteriness. Some caramel, with a mild british hopping. Very little esteriness, with a touch of pear.
Flavor is initially lightly malty, with some toastiness, overwhemled quickly by a moderate diacetyl buttery taste. A bit of caramel pokes through in the middle, with just a hint of pear. Mild hops appear in the finish, lingering into the aftertaste with some diacetyl. Smooth british carbonation, very mild and smooth. Light to medium bodied.
For an organic ale, this isn't bad at all. I've had some really gross organic beer, and this one was pretty much normal. Aside from the buttery flavor, it's a tasty brew. Worth a try at least once.

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Photo of cichief
3.35/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz.(?) bottle into a shaker style pint glass.

A- Very hazy, gold in color with a very thin white head.

S- Slight fruit flavor, yeasty, hoppy.

T- A fruity spicy beer, with a mild dry hop finish.

M- Thin body, dry finish, well carbonated.

D- Overall a decent beer, not a great example of the style however.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.35/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out as a medium shade of amber with a tan colored head on it. The head fizzles away pretty fast leaving just a few spots of foam on the top of the beer. The aroma of this beer is mostly malt to me. Not too much hop aroma or anything coming from it besides maybe a little yeast. The flavor is grainy and buiscuty with some light hop bitterness in the mix. The mouthfeel is pretty good, its not overly watered down or anything like that but it's not heavy either. Not a bad brew to try.

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Photo of masikon
3.38/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an classic pale orange to yellow with a fizzy head which recedes leaving no lacing. smell is dry and malty without much on the way of hoppy notes, true to style more on the English earthy side nosewise. Taste is dry and somewhat sweet with some cracker or biscuity suggestions as well as just the hints of sweet butterscotch or honey. A very non-offensive and easy to drink brew, classic in every way...above average but nothing about it really makes it anything to search out.

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Photo of ADR
3.38/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Clear golden appearance with a whitish medium-bubbled head of about 1/4 of an inch and decent duration. Nice slightly thick and complex laces. Fairly un-aromatic and surprisingly grassy for a Pale, almost like a Grolsch in aroma. Malt is straightforward, minimal brown sugar and a bit of freshly-baked white bread. Hops are minimal, slight sense of paprika and re-inforced by the aroma close to the swallow. This brew has a tight balance, but unfortunately, the body was pretty lacking to me -- a teeter-totter balanced by little weight on either side. Too expensive to be a session brew of choice for me, but it is certainly drinkable.

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Photo of gtermi
3.38/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer pours a amber golden body with a thick white creamy head that quickly fades.

S: Really not too much going on here. I am getting a bit of grain, some slight hops and a slight lagery smell weirdly.

T: The taste is pretty damn faint too.. I really dont get why this beer gets so much love, there really arent any hops and the malt is pretty pale and weak.

M: Very smooth and goes down with ease. Has a nice creamy feel with a decent amount of crispness.

O: This is a decent beer, but not as great as people say. I think Samuel Smith is very overrated and just dont make anything that I care for. Maybe I am just not into English beers.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.38/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours with a brilliantly clear, perfectly red-copper color. It is topped by a frothy, initially two-finger thick, light tan colored head that falls back into the beer and leaves a bit of lacing as it goes. Upon first whiff the aroma has dry toasted malt notes that move to toffee and then to a solid fruitiness towards the end. The fruit notes remind me of sweet plums, red grapes, raisins and the aromatics coming off a ripe, aromatic red apple variety. I am a bit surprised how fruity this is, it is not out of place, but it certainly comes to dominate the aroma profile of this beer.

Up front this beer is lightly tart, a touch sweet, but definitely is fruity. The tart character and the light sweetness serve to accentuate the fruit notes; I especially get notes of crisp red apples and sweet even lightly concentrated plums. The beer finishes with a touch of hop bitterness, just enough to cause my tongue and back of my throat to tingle. Actually the tingle of hop character starts in the middle and goes through to the near finish. There is just a hint of astringent herbal hop flavor here, it intermingles quite well with the fruit notes, adding a touch of much needed complexity.

This is quite a simplistically flavored brew. It is well made, clean and expressive of their yeast, but could certainly use a bit more flavor. why does organic have to mean bland? They haven't even gotten to the flavor threshold of most of their other products. This beer does open up a bit as it warms up. Still, nothing jumps out at me, but it seems to become a bit more integrated. Though I am not sure if it is enough to hold my interest.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.39/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My 500th bottle review!

From the bottle: "Organic Best Ale"; "A delicately flavored amber/gold ale in which subtle fruity esters from the Samuel Smith yeast strain interact with a background of maltiness and fresh hops. Brewed with well water (the original well sunk in 1758 is still in use), organic hops and yeast. Fermented in 'stone Yorkshire squares'."; "Samuel Smith's brews at a small traditional British brewery, the oldest brewery in Yorkshire."; "This label is issued only by SamL Smith ... SamL Smith is a small British brewery".

My pour netted me two-plus fingers of eggnog-colored head with great retention. Color was a slightly hazy deep gold and Midas would have approved. Nose had a caramel/buttery sweetness up front with a grassy hoppiness behind it. Mouthfeel was medium with a mild bitterness initially on the tongue, then giving 'way to a mild sweetness. Finish was equally mild and pleasant. It was not bad, but it did not strike me as anything terribly special, either. Have I just committed sacrilege?

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Photo of ngandhi
3.4/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Virtually uncarbonated and perhaps for the better. Besides being classically British, the lack of head prevents too much of the noxious smell of this brew from wafting up into my nose. Gigantic butterscotch and grain come out as the beer warms, but the smell is primarily of lime and apple.

Once it warms, this beer is a whole other beast and we begin to understand why the Brits want their beer at such precise temperatures. For those short moments this brew hovers around 57 degrees, it reminds me of old ale and is actually tolerable. Ready to give it a 2 in smell, after noticing the true colors of this beer I actually come to respect it. And the warmer it gets the more the diacetyl hides the otherwise unpleasant hop profile and finally makes me realize that there might actually be something to British beer.

Warm or cold, however, the palette never really develops. Though dominated by disgusting lime straight out of the fridge, there's a consistent flavor of bruised apples that never goes away. The finish is very dry, trying maybe to highlight the graininess and yeast and counteract the ill-fated hopping.

There's no unifying element in this brew. It's a mess of British this and British that and, as entirely unAmerican as this tastes, it comes off as a hack job of British beer. Shipyard can do better. Blasphemey, I'm sure, to knock one of Britain's oldest and most prized breweries. Perhaps it's the importing of ingredients from other places to ensure organic certification, but this tastes amateur at best.

Relax, relax.

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Photo of changeup45
3.41/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Another quality beer produced by Samuel Smith. Brown-orange color. Average size foamy head but a nice amount of lace left on the glass. Aroma was sweet and fruity but relatively faint. Nothing too complex with the flavor. Some toasty malts and a little sweet and light hoppiness. A smooth, easy drinking beer.

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Photo of dgallina
3.42/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

550ml brown bottle without intelligible freshness date.

Poured crystal copper with thin soapy head and clingy fine lace. Smells of nutty and leafy hops, caramelized malt. Tastes predominantly of caramel malts, with a cookie-dough and bread center and slightly dry leafy hop finish. Flavor is nice enough, but ultimately a little thin and bordering on phenolic. Thin body with active carbonation. A bit underwhelming overall.

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Photo of bambam2517
3.43/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From the bottle to a pint glass at 48F. As an aside, I love the bottles Sam Smith's is using!! Such a satisfying glug-glug-glug during the pour...

A - Dark golden body with a flat white froth that begins very minimal and does not last. Faint carbonation.

S - Nearly nothing! If I put my nose right into my glass I get a faint flowery aroma, but I dont get any of the wide range of esters in other reviews. There's certainly nothing bad about it, but very unremarkable.

T - Just a hint of pear up front. Subtle citrus and coriander aftertastes. Mild in a nice way, not a boring one.

M - Extremely easy drinking, finishes so clean and doesn't bog me down. Even at 5%abv no hint of alcohol whatsoever, its just so fresh. Reminds me of a farmhouse ale.

O - Feels like a real standard, this could be a go-to beer for me if it were more readily available here in AZ. Its versatile enough for most occasions and meal pairings. Id like to have it on hand for when im not in the mood for trying standout/"different" beers.

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Photo of tone77
3.45/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown 18.7 oz. bottle. Has a light golden color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is malty, a bit sweet. Taste is crisp, mild, some malts, kind of on the mild side. Feels light in the mouth and overall is a decent beer but it's nothing great.

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Photo of BDTyre
3.46/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice pale ale from Sam Smith, but somewhat unexciting and pedestrian.

Amber-gold in appearance with a thin, quick-settling white head. Sweet malt smell, fairly like corn syrup and a mellow hop presence. Taste is a little bit better balanced, but still a bit syrupy. Nice carbonation, easy to drink but not as nice as the organic lager.

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Photo of loren01
3.47/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a golden color, small white head, slight lacing down the glass
S: Smell is slighly sweet, fruity, English hops
T: Slight fruity taste, spicy bitter hoppiness.
M: Very carbonated and crisp. Finishes dry and bitter
D: Drinkable but really nothing to write home about I wouldn't say

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Photo of jmccraney
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of muswellbeerbelly
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The appearance has a hazy golden/blonde colored body with a one and a half fingered white foamy head that dies within about a minute leaving some nice clingy creamy looking lacing. Light carbonation is seen rising at a moderate pace. The smell is mainly sweet through the malt and the grain coming through in a clean yet somewhat soapy way like most English Bitters do, also I got some light corn as well. The taste is sweet through the English malts and gives off a creamy English malty aftertaste that just clings around the mouth. She has a dry bitter (but in that English sort of way) finish. On the palate, she sits a light to medium on the body, comes across somewhat sessionable, and has a carbonation that is actually somewhat smooth and ends up showing a nice creamy sort of aspect that I usually get when I have an English bitter. Overall, wow with the extremely low ABV, one would think this would be extremely sessionable however, because the way it sits on my mouth, its not as sessionable as one would think as there seems to be just enough to give it a heavier sort of feel. I would most likely want this again with some fish and chips.

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Samuel Smith's Organic Best Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
3.96 out of 5 based on 614 ratings.
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