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 ThisWangsChung
3.84/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

355 ml bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A: Pours a golden amber color with a mild yeast haze. The head is a one and a half finger eggshell shade. It doesn't retain itself in a fantastic manner, but I love the lacing that's left on the glass.

S: There is a lot of semi-sweet caramel featured in the aroma, alongside touches of butterscotch and toffee. It doesn't seem to feature much in the way of hops; if they're here, then they seem to be merely used as a ballast against the malt sweetness. Still, it's a pleasant aroma featuring a slight mineral touch ever-so-prevalent in many Samuel Smith offerings.

T: Initial flavors of butterscotch, caramel, and toffee give way to some stone fruit esters in the midpalate and a semi-dry, vaguely hoppy finish. There's also a mild finishing astringency on the palate, nothing that's remotely harsh, however. Some of the fruity esters here (like cherry and apricot) help give a cherry pie quality to it. While not horribly complex, I could see myself drinking a few bottles in a sitting - which is always a great thing.

M: It features a pleasing dryness on the back end to counteract the slightly sweet linger. It also has that 'hard water' feel I expect from this brewery; a clean lightness that creates a very drinkable offering.

O: Very solid. I admit I didn't expect it to be this good, seeing as I don't usually gravitate towards the style. If it had a bit more depth, it would be incredible; as it stands right now it's simply very good.

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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 KarlHungus
4.19/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a hazy pale orange color. The head is small, and recedes quickly into sparse lacing. The aroma is a near equal balance of malt and hops. Toffee, biscuit, herbs, and flowers. This aroma has nice complexity which keeps me thinking. It isn't the strongest aroma out there, but I would trade strength for complexity any day. The taste is has the same equilibrium as the aroma. There is nice malt up front, and a slightly hoppy finish. It lacks a little of the pizazz that the aroma has, but it is solid nonetheless. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with lively carbonation, and a smooth texture. Overall, this is a wonderful beer. If it were available in six/four pack form it would quickly become a regular session beer for me. I single bottles I can see myself having it every now and then.

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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 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 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 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 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 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 wedge
4.04/5  rDev +2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear gold with a small bubbling white head. Very pleasant earthy grain and fresh floral and lemon hop aroma over sweet butterscotch. Fresh malty taste is lightly sweet in the middle - more butterscotch flavors and bready grain. No hops really stand out, they just blend right in. Extremely smooth, medium bodied, and made for easy drinking...if you're going to buy one you might as well just buy the 4-pack, its worth it.

Very balanced and enjoyable...perfect for sessioning anytime. Its too bad my glass is gone already.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Samuel Smith Organic Best Ale has a thick, foamy, off-white head and a hazy, murky, orange-golden appearance with some streaming bubbles and splotchy lacing. The aroma is of turned fruit, stinging mustiness, toffee, and English garden. Taste is of turned fruit, toffee, garden soil, some bitter hops, and caramel candy. Mouthfeel is light to medium, and Samuel Smith finishes semi-dry, uneven, and refreshing. Overall, this is a very interesting and enjoyable beer, and I rate it excellent. Check it out!


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Photo of beergoot
4.07/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Excellent medium gold body with a nice heavy, rich white head. Very malty aroma with butterscotch and rich caramel notes. Buttery flavor, caramel and toffee notes with a tinge of hop bitterness. Clean, semi-dry body.

An all-around nice, malt-dominant pale ale. Well-balanced and flavorful.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Quite a nice looking pale, dark honeyish with a great bubbly/rocky white head. That goes to leave good lacing.
The aroma is mostly of honey sweet malts, though the tang of the hops is always there..this smells pretty fresh.
Good tasteng ale, honeyish maltiness, always with some slightly citric hoppiness, near the end the hoppiness takes over and it ends with a good bitter aftertaste.
Quie good on the palate, quite tthick for an English brewed pale.
I found this beer very easy to drink, it appeals to me as a summer beer.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a golden yellow color with a fingers worth of head that fades down to a tiny layer of mini bubbles

S: Pale English malt, some grassy, floral, and earthy hops, a burst of fruitiness, and some graininess all come out

T: Follows the nose. Starts off with a good bit of fruit and grain combo along with some floral notes, followed by the earthy and grassy hop notes. Finishes with a light sweetness and a touch of diacetyl

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: Extremely well balanced, with the malt and hops working very well together. Nice and easy to drink to boot. Definitely recommended for fans of English ales

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Photo of canucklehead
3.8/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This sample came over from Hawaii as it is not available in
B.C. liquor stores. I liked the pale blonde colour and the
slightly sour smell on the nose. This beer is not as dominant
in flavours as the Tadcaster or I.P.A. from Samuel smith. Hoppiness was not huge but balanced well with the rest of the
taste. I would sum this up as nice clean session beer that
works well with cooked meats and poultry.

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Photo of RedDiamond
3.92/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It’s odd seeing such disparity in the reviews of this beer. Either the quality varies widely – a definite possibility given the transoceanic distribution of a non-bottle conditioned session ale – or the taste is such a low-and-outside curveball that many just can’t connect. Personally, I enjoyed the heck out of this beer though the taste is distinctive almost to the point of distraction.

First comes the heavy, cidery aroma rolling off the pale, lightly clouded saffron body. Freaky Brit malts and specialty yeasts come to dominate the nose and taste creating a profile unknown to American pales. Bittering is only introduced for balance with no great reliance on hops for flavor or aroma. The warm honey-toast flavor comes across as dignified and appealing.

This is a classy and distinctive ale. And it’s organic. When the Brits say, “It’s organic, mate,” it doesn’t quite have the same ring as when we Americans say, “It’s organic, dude.” Still, I’ve never had an American pale that tasted remotely like this.

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Photo of Morey
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a very hazy copper-orange color with a nice one finger head following my medium pour. Head has settled to a thin lace after only a few minutes. Little in the way of head retention.

The aroma is malt dominated with a faint sweet/fruity smell. Kind of reminds me a bit of apple cider. Mild, but it's there.

Taste. This is definitely an English Pale all the way. Heavy on the malts, and not so much on the hops. There is a slight bitterness from the hops up front, but the malts rush in to take over and finish things off.

Medium to somewhat heavy mouthfeel with a good carbonation level.

Due to the thick maltiness of English Pales, I have a hard time drinking several of them. I could do a couple, but then I'd be ready to switch it up.

Morey's Bottom Line: I bought a single bottle at Wegmans, and I'm not sure how old this bottle is. That being said, it's pretty malty, but it still taste pretty good. No sediment, and it still had ample carbonation. If you are a fan of malty ales, this won't disappoint.

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Photo of Brent
3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a moderately hazy amber/gold. Lots of apple notes in both aroma and flavor, with an unfiltered apple juice note dominating the flavor profile. Some distinctively caramel malt also plays a central role. Hopping was modest, and the beer a bit on the sweet side.

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Photo of mdagnew
3.72/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle bought from The Vineyard, Belfast...

Poured a nice light coppery orange colour... Slightly off white head poured foamy and meringue like then faded quite quickly to very thin layer... Very light carbonation and some sparse patchy lacing...

Aroma - Nice biscuity / toffee malts, slight spiciness, nutty sweetness, toasted bread notes, some fruitiness (oranges and apples), grassy / hay hints...

Taste – Light spicy hop bitterness, biscuity / bready maltiness, earthy notes, grassy, light fruitiness (bitter oranges), very faint toffee sweetness, light saltiness... flavours maybe lacking a little depth...

Feel - Quite sharp and dry... Medium body... Pretty refeshing and drinkable...

Overall - A pretty solid pale ale.... nothing ground breaking but very drinkable... certainly worth a try...

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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 ummswimmin
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I used an english pint glass to properly enjoy this english ale.

It poured yellow/golden. The label said amber, but I don't see it in the glass.

This tastes like a very good example of a British ale. It was clean, a little bitter, and a lot of wheat flavor.

This is a very drinkable ale. You could almost call this a lawnmower beer.

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Photo of tgbljb
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a crystal clear deep golden color with moderate white puffy head. Smell is if roasted malt and caramel. Taste is fruity sweet and pleasant. Some caramel also found. Finisges suprisingly dry and very refreshing. A good beer, but nothing stectactular.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another world-class brew from Samuel Smith, their organic samples are really above-and-beyond and certainly noticeable for their superior quality that strangles the competition... their Organic Lager was superb, and this is as good if not better... an amazing English Pale Ale... wonderful bronze-colored, copper appearance with minimal head... strong butter aroma with bread-and-butter flavor with a strong caramel and honey taste that stands out for its pure, rich, crisp, and clean taste... wonderful flavor that is truly satisfying... another definite winner from Samuel Smith... amazing sample that scores tremendous points for its crisp, lucid taste that hits home and is really pleasing with its authentic and pure taste... Definitely recommended...

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Photo of allengarvin
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Slightly hazy orange color, white film across the top.

Aroma: Very slight malt with a touch of hops. Low aroma, hard to detect anything.

Flavor: Touch of caramel, fairly sweet malt, with a citrusy, lemony hop presence. Bitterness is moderate, but hop flavor is pleasant. Moderately fruity, with a clean finish. Lacks the astringency and diacetyl of other Sam Smith beers.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation, medium-light body.

An easy drinking, uncomplex beer. Lacks any of the bold characters of the rest of the Sam Smith line.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


Texas Liquor
Carlsbad, CA

Clear copper and auburn with a thick, pillowy, persistent light brown head that leaves small lines of lace down the glass.

Sweet caramel and toffee lead the way in the aroma, with biscuity and bready malts combining for a pleasantly sweet aroma. There isn't much hop presence, but as an English pale ale, that is to be expected. Very nice.

The flavor too is lacking in distinct hop character, which I don't mind in this style. The caramel, toffee, and bready flavors combine well for an incredibly easy drinking pale.

Medium bodied with ample carbonation.

A definitive version of the style, but not quite as good as the classic Sam Smith pale ale.

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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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