Smithwick's Imported Premium Irish Ale | Guinness Ltd.

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Smithwick's Imported Premium Irish AleSmithwick's Imported Premium Irish Ale

Brewed by:
Guinness Ltd.

Style: Irish Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Mebuzzard on 04-01-2006

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Reviews: 798 | Ratings: 2,732
Photo of GRG1313
2.25/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

From the brewers of Guiness.

Pours brown/black with a thick, firm and pillowy off white head. Nice looking and inviting.

Nose is lightly sweet, lightly burned black coffee with a plum character. Better than it sounds.

Mouthfeel is thin and watery with no character or appeal. Feels like a light coffee flavored water in your mouth.

Flavors follow. Light, weak and watered. Like a weak cup of coffee to which one added light carbonation and some water.

No reason to drink this one, unless one needs to hydrate and there no water in sight.

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Photo of kylehay2004
2.89/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: quarter finger head. Hazy, dark brown with amber hues.

S: not a whole lot on the nose. Maybe some malt.

T: opens with metallic bitterness up front. lots of malt.

M: high carbonation. Medium body. crisp, moist finish.

Overall: A little more bitter than I like. The aroma is non-existent. One of the better regular beers at your standard irish pub.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.53/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber color with a 2 inch off-white head that fades to a puffy small cap. Nice rings of lace form all down the glass on the drink down. Smells of caramel malt and maybe some fruity aromas. There is also a distinct herbal/hoppy smell as well. Taste is of caramel malt, bread, and a bitter herbal/hop finish. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a smooth and clean mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer and my first of this style.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

one of the better large scale imports. pours deep amber in color with a fluffy white head. smells like a cross between a guinness and a bass, malty and roasty and defiantly english in nature, although its not made in england. flavor is very well balanced, drinkable for its color, and fairly priced. finish is a bit dry, but it adds an appealing character to this brew. one of my favorite beers to take on the golf course

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Photo of Knapp85
3.95/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is really nice to have from time to time. The beer poured out as a really nice red color, the beer is clean and clear looking. The smell of the beer had a good malt quality to it with a bit of earthiness as well. The taste of this brew is good in my opinion, it's got plenty of malt and just a touch of hops to bitter the finish of it. The mouthfeel is very smooth and easy to drink. Overall I like the beer quite a bit. Worth trying for sure.

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Photo of metter98
3.53/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear dark amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half-finger high off white head that quickly died down and consistently left a thin head covering the surface and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of tea leaves in the nose along with notes of toasted malts.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste has flavors of tea leaves and toasted malts as well as a very slight amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. The finish leaves your mouth a little dry.
O: There’s nothing overly special about this beer, but it’s a nice change of pace from just drinking Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s very easy to drink and I wouldn’t have a problem knocking back a few of these.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.24/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a copper/red color, nice big fluffy head to it that sticks around with a lot of lacing. Taste is pretty light bodied, nice mouthfeel though. Nice and malty, some caramel taste in there. Pretty well balanced and smooth, definitely very drinkable. The lightness of the body hurts this beer a lot IMO, but still pretty solid. For being a mass produced import it was much better than I thought it would be... it's St Patty's Day weekend... be Irish and give this beer a try.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.65/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It's an honor to now sit down with a glass of this classy Irish Red Ale, now brewed under the Guinness umbrella.

A dark amber color gives a glow of red, crimson, or ruby with medium brown low lights. Great clarity shows off the colors and give the impression of cleanliness. A soft creamy head forms an eggshell topping on the beer, retains well, and laces equally.

Classic butterscotch aromas fill the olfactories first, but with a blend of toffee/caramel, bread crust, buttered toast, lightly kilned grain, and subtle fruitiness.

Moderate through and through, the flavors of caramel turns to butterscotch and complex malt flavors for the bulk of taste. Where the flavors of toffee and caramel are present, there's only a timid sweetness beyond. Non-descript fruitiness from dark grains accompany the toffee richness for interest and intrique. Richly kilned grains, fresh baked bread, and deep caramelization give extra flavors to keep the sweetness from becomming one-dimensional. Low on bitterness, the beer relies on malt complexity to carry it from nose to finish.

Creamy and moderate in mouthfeel, yet taking a moderate oily feel at mid palate and carries through to the finish. Where it hurts the crispness and cleanliness, it accentuates the fullness and 'fatty' portion of the taste. This becommes nearly as much of a deterrant as it is a benefit.

Smithwick's is the classic Irish Red Ale and is largely responsible for defining the style. Where the diacetyl is acceptable, and celebrated in this beer, it still provides an ill-concieved distraction for me.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.91/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An Imperial pint at the local Irish Pub.

This widely available ale saved me from the tyranny of the Irish Dry Stouts when I toured Ireland a few years ago. I was familiar with the bottled version available at home, but not particularly impressed by it. On draft, Smithwick's was, and is, a whole different story.

This beer arrives to the table a dark-ish amber hue, perfectly clear, with an ambitious finger or two of puffy, soapy white head, which leaves a nice webbed pattern of lace around the glass as it slowly seeps away.

It smells slightly of grainy malt, and a bit of earthy, leafy hops. The taste has a fairly sizable bit of floral hops, and slightly sweet grainy malt - simple, and verily workable.

The body has got some decent weight, the carbonation is very low, helping this to be a very smooth pub draft, and it finishes off-dry.

This is a stellar session ale, one I will continue to enjoy when in UK/Irish-theme pub land. It's also amusing/confounding to ask for this at the typical locations, in the manner in which the Irish pronounce it, and getting blank stares.

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Photo of brentk56
3.51/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear amber color with a two finger head that leaves a few shards of lace

Smell: Vague grainy aroma

Taste: Grainy opening, with a growing biscuity flavor that blends together by mid-palate; after the swallow, the mslty flavors dominate slightly through the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate to high carbonation

Drinkability: I wasn't expecting much but was pleasantly surprised; not inspiring but accessible and acceptable

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Photo of kojevergas
3.68/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a conical Guinness pint glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are quite high; I drank more than me fair share of this in the auld country and I know it's good.

Served refrigerator cold. Side-poured with standard vigor as I know it doesn't have carbonation issues.

A: Pours a three finger head of good cream, good thickness, and excellent retention. Colour is a transparent dark copper-amber. No yeast particles are visible.

Sm: Toasted clean malts, some cream, a tiny amount of hops, and hints of fruit esters - maybe cherry or raspberry. A mild strength aroma.

T: A great toasted malt foundation with really light subtle fruit esters, full bodied clean barley, and great amber hops. Built brilliantly. Complex and subtle enough. Efficient and enjoyable. Pleasant. I really like it. Layered. Fantastic.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with enough coarseness and dryness to coax out the flavours. Suits the flavours extremely well. Perfectly carbonated.

Dr: Obscenely drinkable. I've had this countless times and I'd definitely have it again. Definitely best on draught. I love it, but in fairness it is limited by its complexity and subtlety. Well priced. I'd recommend this to friends. One of the better Irish reds; certainly the best macrobrewed Irish Red I've tried.


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Photo of LXIXME
3.7/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Large off white head quickly dies above a clear deep amber colored beer.

The aroma is on the lighter side with light grain malts that are caramel and lightly roasted.

Toffee to roasted caramel malt taste that has a light grain aspect to it.

A slightly dryish aftertaste with a little bit of the tastes of this beer remaining with it on this medium bodied beer.

Not a remarkable tasting beer other than the fact that it is a really drinkable beer, smooth, and easy on the palette.

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Photo of zeff80
3.75/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Poured out an orange/amber color with a white, two-finger head. Leaves a little lacing.

S - It smelled of malt and some grassy-like aromas.

T - It tasted malty and with a slight bitter hoppiness.

M - It was crisp and light to medium-bodied.

D - This is a pretty good Irish Red Ale. I've had it on tap before and it was much better, but it is still pretty good from a bottle.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.23/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a moderate darkened amber color with a bit of an off white head. The nose brings forward a bit of roasted and toasted malt as well as some slight hop characteristics. The taste is quite bready with some roast and a bit of hops. Moderate feel with good carbonation. Drinks fairly well and is a decent alternative at some bars, but nothing I'd really come back to.

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

330 ml bottle into pint glass, bottled on 11/30/2014. Pours fairly crystal clear deep reddish copper color with a 2 finger dense and rocky off white head with great retention that reduces to a nice cap that lasts. Nice dense soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, plum, pear, apple, herbal, grass, light nuttiness, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, and fruity yeast, and earthy hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, plum, pear, apple, herbal, grass, light nuttiness, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light herbal/grassy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, plum, pear, apple, herbal, grass, light nuttiness, and yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice robustness, complexity, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and earthy hop flavors; with a good malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and moderately creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish as expected of 4.5%. Overall this is a very good Irish red ale style. All around good robustness, complexity, and balance of dark/bready malt, fruity yeast, and earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of nickfl
3.58/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured with one finger of white foam on top of an amber-brown body with good clarity. The foam settles at a reasonable pace and leaves excellent lace.

S - Light caramel malt with a very light hint of musty hops.

T - Moderately sweet bread malt up front with a little bit of hop flavor. More toasted flavors in the middle with a watery caramel character. Finishes with light biscuit sweetness and toast as well as weak balancing bitterness.

M - Moderately light body, moderate carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

D - Not bad really. It has a pleasant malt character and avoid balancing hop presence. Nothing special but a reasonable example of the style and certainly not the worst choice at the kind of establishments where one is likely to run into it.

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Photo of jlindros
3.33/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Nice frothy 2 finger head and very clear toasty amber orange brown color.

N: Toasty malty aroma. Some sweet dark malts, and just a hint of hops.

T: Raw malt flavor, some syrupy almost adjunct like flavors. Slight hop taste. Sweeted dark malt flavors. Rustic earthy malt and hop flavors.

M: Medium body, decent carbonation.

F: Finishes slightly bitter, a little spicy hop flavor, fading sweet malts, a little bit of that nagging not so tasty syrupy extract flavor. Finishes pretty clean otherwise.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.06/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Not unlike Guinness which now owns Smithwick's, there are several versions - at least 5 to be sure:
- Irish draught with an original gravity of just 9 Plato
- export to Canada (Smithwick's Export) with an OG of 12 and 5% abv
- an Italian version at 13 Plato
- and a slightly bigger Italian version starting at 15 Plato (Kilkenny Strong)
- the bottled version that's now being sold in the US at 4.5% abv which is brewed by Guinness in Dublin.

The US version is dark with a rich mahogany color and deep amber highlights. The head is creamy and ivory in color. The head retention is quite good, and it leaves some very nice rings of lace about the glass.

The nose is limited, but a whiff of dull roasty malt and some delicate yeasty fruitiness can be discerned. It's clean, and that differs from the slightly buttery version that comes out of the abbey brewery in Kilkenny because it's different yeast. I much prefer the "English" character of the former.

It's light-medium bodied and remarkably smooth and creamy - note, this beer really needs to be enjoyed at, or just below, cellar temperature.

The flavor is a bit fuller than the nose implies with a nice combination of scortched caramel (it's not particularly sweet), lightly toasty malt, and dull roastiness. A thin thread of yeasty fruitiness floats about in there, and some earthy and leafy hop flavors give it ballast; as does the limited (@ 28 IBU's), but very firm, bitterness. A touch of toasty and nutty malt appears in the finish but immediately vanishes, followed by some more leafy hops and a dull, lingering bitterness.

It makes a great session ale, but there's really not much more going on. If I were out at the pub I'd have one or two of these and then switch up to Guinness. Some of the other versions, however, offer more character.

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Photo of chinchill
3.06/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

330 ml bottle. 4.5% ABV.

Appearance: Dark red-brown color with a creamy and durable tan head that leaves the glass partly coated with foam.

Aroma: earthy hops; light spiciness and faint off-notes.

Taste: nearly as hoppy as malty; mild bitterness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied with medium carbonation.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
3.48/5  rDev 0%

11.2 ounce bottle.

A: Pours a clear copper with a solid one-inch thick off-white head which fades to a thin cap and leaves semi-rings and spots of lace.

N: Caramel malts, mild toffee, faintly floral with mild honey overtones.

T: Slightly toasted and roasted malts, caramel and toffee, biscuits and nuts.

M: Semi-moderate body and medium carbonation. Clean, sharp, semi-dry malty and nutty finish.

O: Solid for the style - enjoyed. Note: the bottle looks like the one posted for the "superior" Irish ale, but this one clearly says "premium".

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A big “Thank you” goes out to Chris & Adam for providing this beer. 12oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: The beer is a copper-brown color with slight red tint. It has a thick, tan head which takes a while to fade and leaves a decent lace on the glass.

S: There’s a pleasant smell, but it isn’t too strong. It’s mostly a smell of malt, with some caramel and little bit of hops. I would have scored this category higher if the smell were a little stronger.

T: You can certainly taste the malt right away and all throughout as you drink it. You can also tell that there’s some hops bitterness trying to poke its way through. Caramel stays behind in a syrupy but mild after-taste.

M: Very smooth with a rich, medium body and light carbonation. It goes down very easy.

D: The smoothness and sweetness makes it very easy to drink. It’s one of those beers that you can pound away without realizing how much you’re drinking. I had tried this beer previously and remember the taste being too strong and too bitter, which made me hesitant to try it again and made me question the hype that I had heard about it, but I’m thinking it might have been skunked that first time. Overall, I think this is a very good beer and would certainly recommend it, especially if you’re looking to try this style for the first time.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.41/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at Village Pourhouse in Hoboken, NJ

A: Pours a clear very dark amber in color with some light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a two finger tall creamy light beige head that slowly reduces to a thick layer covering the entire surface of the beer with an even thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Very significant amounts of lacing are observed (it practically coated the entire inside of the glass).

S: Moderate aromas of roasted/toasted malts and some caramel malt sweetness. There is a very light smell of nuttiness and peat notes.

T: Moderate flavors of molasses and caramel malt sweetness with some light notes of nuts. There is a light amount of peat smokiness and light earthy hop notes. There is a light to moderate amount of bitterness with this beer that lingers in a non-aggressive fashion.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Creamy.

O: Relatively easy to drink but not one of my favorite beers - I think this one might be a little more enjoyable on nitro than it is on tap. This is just on the border of being sessionable - might be just a hint too bitter.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.8/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at Ri Ra Irish Pub, Burlington, VT

Pours a dark reddish-brown, with a nice finger of foamy off-white head. Grains and sweet malts in the aroma, with hints of herbs. More of the same in the taste, thick, sweet caramel malts, toasted bread, a bit leafy, with slight notes of dark fruits. Very little to speak of in the way of hops. Smooth, medium bodied, and very drinkable for a mainstream beer, and a preferred choice of mine for casual drinking.

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Photo of mactrail
2.31/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Flat and dishwatery are the flavors that come to mind. The faintest beer-like smell. Why do I think of bricks and concrete basements? There is something like used tea bags and spoiled fruit here. A hint of sawdust in the nose. Sharpish club soda flavor takes over. No hint of anything hop-like, nor any hint of malty sweetness. The head is big and rather coarse, but pleasant enough.

This is such a wretched beer, I don't think being an allegedly Irish style is any excuse. I went back and looked at my review of bottled Guiness with the new harp logo. The Diageo legacy seems to be making their beers into even more unpleasant industrial concoctions. I feel a rant coming on.

12 oz bottle from Trader Joe's.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.61/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I recently received a coupon for a few bucks off either Harp, Guinness, or Smithwick's in the mail. Coordinating with a sale at the local grocery store, I opted for Smithwick's. Let's give it a go in the bottle.

Appearance: Pours the same crystal clear, mahogany-hued head with a tall, expansive, ivory-colored foam head.

Smell: Smells of toasted bread with the edges ever so slightly burnt and dried herbs akin to getting a quick sniff of a basic tea bag.

Taste: Moderately toasted, caramel-hinting maltiness with a light sweetness and a very, very, very fine hint of roasted grain. Modest fruitiness. Light, lightly leafy hops with not an ounce more bitterness than is needed to balance things out. Finishes dry albeit malty, with a lingering hint of nuts and decaffeinated Irish Breakfast tea.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium-light carbonation. Quite light, but no coming up watery.

Drinkability: I'm preferring this revisit in the bottle over my prior near-tasteless on-tap tastings. Sure, it's still kind of simple and forgettable, but a $3.99 six-pack was a deal this cheap jerk couldn't pass up.

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Smithwick's Imported Premium Irish Ale from Guinness Ltd.
3.48 out of 5 based on 2,732 ratings.
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