Smithwick's Imported Premium Irish Ale | Guinness Ltd.

Smithwick's Imported Premium Irish AleSmithwick's Imported Premium Irish Ale
2,760 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 2,760 |  Reviews: 806
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.06/5  rDev +17.7%
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 -11.3%
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 dbrauneis
3.41/5  rDev -1.2%
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 olradetbalder
2.25/5  rDev -34.8%

Photo of jlindros
3.33/5  rDev -3.5%
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 TheManiacalOne
4/5  rDev +15.9%
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 Thorpe429
3.23/5  rDev -6.4%
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 nickfl
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
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 mactrail
2.31/5  rDev -33%
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 Gagnonsux
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.25/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of Rifugium
3.8/5  rDev +10.1%
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 wethorseblanket
3.48/5  rDev +0.9%

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 vfgccp
3.25/5  rDev -5.8%

Photo of atrocity
2.75/5  rDev -20.3%

Photo of mendvicdog
3/5  rDev -13%

Photo of Gkruszewski
3.25/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of smcolw
3.98/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber/light brown; quite clear. Impressive three-finger head that recedes to a lumpy centered froth. Good lace.

Lots of crystal malt in the smell. Biscuity, sort of like graham crackers. Very mild hop background.

This beer reminds me of what I'd expect from a darker British mild. The hop is present but very subtle. Even the aftertaste has a fine blend of hop and malt. The malt is reminiscent of baked apples and toast. No sugar presence but this is not an overly dry beer. There's a chewiness to the body but the carbonation is adequate to compensate.

I would call this a "round" beer with lots of British characteristics. For a mass-produced beer, this is superior with an easy drinkability.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.61/5  rDev +4.6%
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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Photo of woodychandler
4.11/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Re-reviewed on Su, 08 Sept 2013 for your edification.

My local, in-person trader, tone77, once more came through with some CANs that I had seen advertised, but not managed to score on my own, this being among them.

The extant name, "Smithwick's" is a bit too generic for my taste, especially since the CAN clearly delineates it as "Smithwick's Imported Premium Irish Ale". Also from the CAN: "[undersigned] J. Smithwick"; "Enhanced Draught Taste ".

14.9 fluid ounces?!? What, they don't trust me with a full pound?

The Crack and inverted Glug were textbook perfect! The two-plus fingers of rocky, tawny head were short-lived, however, quickly fading into memory. The color and its clarity were likewise picture-worthy. A deep, coppery-red (SRM = > 22, < 27) with NE-quality clarity and I was (sadly) reminded of one that got away. She was a solidly-built redhead whose coarse hair was precisely this color. We looked like we could have been brother and sister and I wanted to marry her, but she married someone else while I was on deployment. Sigh. Nose had a biscuit-y, malty fragrance and I was really starting to jones for a sip. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, not quite creamy, but on the approach. Imagine what this would be like in an N2 (nitro) CAN ... One draught and already beautiful lacing was beginning to appear in the glass. The taste was malt-driven, but not malty, if you catch my drift. It had a semi-dry biscuit-like quality and I was relieved as I do not like sweet anything, but especially not sweet beer. This finished with a semi-dryness that lingered well past the swallow. At 4.5%, I would definitely put some of these in the cooler for a day at the beach. YMMV.

My original bottle review was dtd 30 June 2011 with scores of 5.0; 4.0; 4.0; 3.5; and 4.0.

I was on a bottle shop excursion today and seeing this as a single-o inspired me to purchase it for a review (at last). The CANQuest (TM) is in search of new CANs for a jump start, so let me know if you CAN help!

From the bottle: "The brewery at St. Francis Abbey in Kilkenny, Ireland has been in operation since 1710. SMITHWICK'Sis Ireland's oldest ale, inspired by John Smithwick's original recipe. This ale delivers a distinctive amber color, full bodied taste and ultra-smooth finish."

As soon as I popped the cap, I was met with a small amount of foam coming through the opening. My gentlest of pours still created better than two thick fingers of tawny head with excellent retention. When they describe this as a "red" ale, that red is a deep-copper with NE-quality clarity, like an Autumn sunset. Drool! As the massive head slowly fell, it created some beautiful lacing. Nose was quite biscuity, not terribly sweet. Mouthfeel was medium and the biscuit malt taste was prevalent on the tongue. Finish was slightly dry and definitely refreshing on a breezy summer afternoon.

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Photo of ZEB89
3.75/5  rDev +8.7%

Photo of duceswild
2.25/5  rDev -34.8%

Photo of Zaphog
3/5  rDev -13%

Photo of womencantsail
3.11/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: The pour is dark amber in color, perhaps mahogany, with a tan head sitting on top.

S: A fairly bland nose, but what is there smells mostly like burnt toast. Some toffee and caramel sweetness is there, almost no hops, and a mild roast aroma.

T: The flavor isn't really much of an improvement at all. The same bitter, burnt toast character is there and just isn't enjoyable at all. Some toffee and mild roast, perhaps a little bit of red apple.

M: Light to medium in body with a moderate level of carbonation.

O: Wasn't a fan of this one at all. The burnt toast thing was really off-putting.

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Smithwick's Imported Premium Irish Ale from Guinness Ltd.
Beer rating: 3.45 out of 5 with 2,760 ratings
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