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

Samuel Smith's Organic Best AleSamuel Smith's Organic Best Ale
BA SCORE
78.4%
Liked This Beer
3.98 w/ 615 ratings
Samuel Smith's Organic Best AleSamuel Smith's Organic Best Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
England, United Kingdom
samuelsmithsbrewery.co.uk

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#4,251
Reviews:
374
Ratings:
615
Liked:
482
Avg:
3.98/5
pDev:
12.81%
Alströms:
4.53
 
 
Wants:
94
Gots:
23
Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 615 |  Reviews: 374
Photo of TheLiterati
3.13/5  rDev -21.4%
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.

 442 characters

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.38/5  rDev -15.1%
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.

 1,637 characters

Photo of jasonjlewis
4.77/5  rDev +19.8%
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.

 407 characters

Photo of Budlum
2.55/5  rDev -35.9%
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.

 1,503 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very s.tern and disciplined Pale Ale done in true and traditional English fashion. I'm not sure if I care whether it's organic or not.

A convincing and masculine copper color pours from the glass with a modest haze, forming a froathy and confident head that retains excellently and lacing every bit as well.

Fruity/malty aromas give some caramels, biscuity character and a non-descript yeasty fruitiness that is in true Brittish form. Light butter-nut quality adds to the complex mix of rich aromas.

Flavors of sweet malts give that classic biscuity, buttery flavor with that English-fruity flavor that you just can't put your finger on. Earthy, spicy, and fresh, this beer has a bitter component that balances the malts well while contributing complexity in flavor and feel.

Rich and creamy early on, the beer releases its carbonation and transitions to a spicy, grassy taste with lasing bitterness into a dry, crisp, clean, and bitter linger.

 950 characters

Photo of mdagnew
3.72/5  rDev -6.5%
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...

 822 characters

Photo of Daredevil
3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

although I have tasted fabulous wines and beers made with high respect for nature, so far I have not tasted any truly outstanding beverage labelled "organic" ... this one is hardly an exception ... there is nothing wrong (and you would not expect Samuel Smith to brew anything below average) with this ale, however there is nothing truly exciting either ... it is a well produced english ale with a harmony between fruityness and bitterness ... that's it .... for any brewer other than Samuel Smith an achievement, for Samuel Smith slightly disappointing ....

 559 characters

Photo of tgbljb
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

 256 characters

Photo of Gagnonsux
3.73/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S. Smith Organic Ale is a clear, sparkling copper color with a thick, medium-sized head. Aroma is weak and hard to discern, a mild herbal hop is noted with a bit of malt sweetness. Despite a medicre aroma, the flavor is dead-on for what I want in an EPA. The malt flavor has a mild caramel/biscuit sweetness with a nice edge of fruitiness. The hop flavor is a perfect match for the malt with a nice blend of floral and especially herbal tastes. This is want I want in an EPA, a nicely balanced beer, with high drinkability and a slightly higher than expected amount of hop flavor and bitterness.

 595 characters

Photo of goochpunch
3.24/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a bubbly amber with a thin yet sticking head on top. Smells of faint bready malts with some nuttiness and a subtle whiff of noble hop. I feel like I have to strain to get anything from the aroma. Nutty and bready malts combine with Tadcaster yeast and herbal hop flavors. Doesn't have as much punch as I'd like it to. Hop bitterness seems muddy. Fairly spot on with the mouthfeel. Solid, but not too hefty, body with a middling carbonation. A good quaffer.

A decent beer, but a really disappointing offering from Samuel Smith (knowing what they can really do).

 569 characters

Photo of Phocion
4.38/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Golden amber with an very creamy head, and excellent retention.

Smells buttery and malty. Earthy hops working their way through, and a little bit of a butterscotch scent.

Excellent balance, this tastes just like it smells. Buttery and malty, with a sweet almost caramel-like undertone and earthy hops.

Medium-bodied, very creamy mouthfeel, but not too thick.

I could drink this one all day. Very creamy, but not too filling. Full-flavored and medium-bodied, a moderate ABV, and a decent pricetag. This is definitely one of my new favorites.

 546 characters

Photo of ProfessorHops
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- orange moderately dark orange. Heads like a pils.

Smell- a very pleasant buttery smell.

Taste- very smooth with touched of whipped cream. When pulled away this beer hops well. The best malt heavy beer that still gives you some hops to keep us all happy.

Mouthfeel- thin and slightly lighter than expected.

Drinkability- very easy to drink. Bitterness of the finish puckers the mouth a bit but nothing to call 911 about.


Weird polar opposites. Light and bitter make drinking in mass attractive. But with such a robust finish makes you feel full. Quencher but not. Drink this ale in between a very easy drinking beer and everything will be grand. Don't pair it with an Imperial Stout you will not be able to get to the bottom of any of the bottles, unless your a real tuff guy.

An other extra comment. I love the way the flavor is introduced by the texture, hard to describe but impossible to ignore and take note to.


Gulp Gulp,
PH

 968 characters

Photo of scottoale
3.33/5  rDev -16.3%
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!

 596 characters

Photo of wedge
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

 525 characters

Photo of tastybeer
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Golden amber color topped by a finger of creamy white head. Diacetyl and buscuit hit the nose with lemon cream lightness. Smell is very fresh with clarity and taste is very accommodating. Lemony bitterness, creamy caramel malts, oat, butter, bread, more diacetyl. Crisp carbonation works well with the freshness and lemon. Mouth feels slick and smooth, creamy and buttery, all balanced by the carbonation. Extremely fresh, buttery smoothly drinkable.

Very solid ale with great character + would make a great warm weather session beer.

 537 characters

Photo of kmo1030
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

light golden amber with a thin white head that fades to a ring in a short amount of time.
toasted caramel malty aroma that has plenty of fruity floral qualities as well
light, but rich biscuity caramel butterscotch flavor, caramel at the beginning, butterscotch towards the end. fruityness comes into play in the middle, pear or apple, with somewhat herbal hops at the end cleaning things up slightly preventing lingering sweetness.
almost medium bodied with a moderate carbonation.
good drinkability, nice aroma, combined with a solid pale ale taste, make for a very pleasant drinking english pale ale.

 607 characters

Photo of zjungleist
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light amber in color with a decent white head. Smell has that distinct Samuel Smith smell, which has got be yeast and "old brewery", but other than that it's basicaly sweet and malty smelling. The taste has the same charecter as the smell, fairly sweet, with a very slight hop tang. Mouthfeel is pretty much average. Drinkability is high. This is a simple beer, but that's not always a bad thing.

 396 characters

Photo of daliandragon
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked this up today as a single at St. James Beverage in the local hamlet of the same name. Have high regard for everything Sam Smith's, and have liked every organic beer I've ever tried, so this looks pretty good.
I also like the funky label.
This organic ale is slightly transluscent, eith a rust/amber color and a snowcapped head that soon dissipates to a cap. The nose is yeasty and well balanced, with hops and bitterness easily discernable .
Flavor is thick and broad. Lots of hoppy bitterness but again, balance is the key for this beer. Not loading up on heavy malt or alcohol, this is a tasty, refreshing ale with typical SS quality. Mouthfeel is slightly thin but it's still a pretty small complaint. Simple, clean, and very easy to drink

 754 characters

Photo of skillerified
3.97/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden with some sparks of yellow here and there. Small head and poor lacing. Very clear and very little carbonation visible. By English Pale Ale standards it doesn't look too bad.

The nose favors the earthy scents. This smells like a mixture of pine and cut grass. There is also a faint metalic or mineral scent in the background. There's a slight fresh fruit scent hiding in there too.

Flavor is nice and warm. It favors the malt first. It resembles a bread or maybe cookie dough. The flavor fades to nice mineral and citrus crispness. It's actually fairly refreshing.

Light bodied and well-balanced between a mild early sweetness and a mild late crispness. Goes down nice and easy.

Would make a nice session beer. I'd say it's one of the better EPAs I've had, but I doubt it'll become a favorite either.

 819 characters

Photo of Drew966
4.3/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a hazy orange with a white head from a brown 550ml bottle. Lemon and grain in the nose. Really a refreshing flavor, light, crisp and nicely balanced. Lighter than I generally expect from an ale, but excellent. Highly recommended, this could be an everyday type drinker.

 285 characters

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.8/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hmmmm... A curiously drinkable English Ale, yet nothing exceptionally wonderful. Pours out to a medium gloden color with a large 1 inch head of foam. Average level of carbonation. No lacing to speak of. Aromas of fresh malts and veggies, mixed with grain and husk. Nice. Flavor was middle of the road, some malts, a touch of hops, some wheat notes, with some lemony crispness toward the finish. Mouthfeel was light and thirst quenching. Really did the job. Good drinkability. Again, nothing amazing or ground breaking, but a very good representation of the style. Recommended.

 576 characters

Photo of geexploitation
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I liked this beer; it's not as good as Sam Smith's two stouts, but I like it more than the other beers in the Sam Smith's line. This beer is a nice orangey brown with just a slight head. There's lots of banana and phenol in the nose -- very similar to other Sam Smith's beers. Tasting reveals that familiar Sam Smith's sweetness, but this beer is differentiated by the pleasant, just-above-mild bitterness in the hop finish. The mouthfeel is a bit watery, but this beer is very drinkable. It's mild and easy to put away, but tasty nonetheless. Very good.

 554 characters

Photo of surfmeister
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice brew, but not worth the $$$...
This was an unexpected gift at a holiday party which I shared, most of us said about the same thing, "that's a nice beer", nice, hmm, nice. I would definitely drink this beer again which had all the expected characteristics of an English ale, i.e. "nice hops, nice malt, blah, blah, blah, except for it's price. Many comparable ale out there for half the dinero.

 399 characters

Photo of LarryKemp
3.24/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark straw that was clear with a firm long lasting white head that left some lace on the glass as the liquid dissappeared.

At first, the fruitiness of the hops came through but the with every sip the butteriness took over. That is butter in the nose and butter on the tongue.

The taste was okay. Maybe a hint of sour in the finish. The bottle physically looked good and the cap was good. Maybe just got a bad or an old one.

I was not impressed and probably won't go out of my way to buy another one of these even though I am wanting to grow up and be a vegan.

 588 characters

Photo of DogFood11
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I'd be hard pressed to see how they could improve the appearance of this brew. Big frothy off white head, rolling carbonation, gold color. sticky lacing.

lots of yeast in the nose similar to alot of samuel smith brews its truely a treat. light fruity pierce through the malts and stand out in the smell. Gingerbread comes to mind as there is some slightly spiced up bread to this.

This is a smooth drinking beer which shouldn't surprise any fan of this brewery. Hops get a bit astringent and leaf laden about 3/4 of the way through but it pulls through nicely and finishes with cleansing lemon and grain.

Another winner

 629 characters

Samuel Smith's Organic Best Ale from Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
Beer rating: 78.4% out of 100 with 615 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.