Winter Spirit
Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd

Winter SpiritWinter Spirit
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English Dark Mild Ale
Ranked #114
Ranked #45,369
3.3 | pDev: 14.85%
Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd
Winter SpiritWinter Spirit
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Reviews: 12 | Ratings: 57 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of woodychandler
3.48/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The CANQuest (tm) is always on the lookout for new & different CANs to be added to the ongoing madness. One of my local bottle shops was selling this as part of a "Limited Edition Amazing Ales Variety Pack" and I kept one of each for myself while gifting (CANtrabanding) the others to my colleagues.

From the CAN: "A Full Bodied Winter Ale"; "Since 1710".

It is shaping up to be a pleasant mid-Winter day on 16 Jan 2016 & it begins with the Crack! of the CAN. I would have liked to have been able to perform an inverted Glug, but a 16-fl. oz. CAN presents too much of an obstacle to do so. Even so, I managed to raise a brief finger of fizzy, light-tan head with limited retention that quickly fell back to a skim atop the liquid. Color was Copper-Brown (SRM = > 17, < 22) with NE-quality clarity and amber highlights. Nose was rich with malt, a sweet caramel-molasses/treacle admixture. Mouthfeel was thin-to-medium. The taste was definitely caramel-malt with a tinge of molasses to add a slight sourness, which actually made it more to my liking. It could have been intensely sweet, but it was held in check. Finish was semi-sweet as one might expect from my earlier descriptions of the beer. It was a decent beer, but unless the Guinness Generous Ale is worthy, I am not going to recommend buying the variety pack.

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Photo of steveh
4.07/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Something new from Guinness; the Amazing Ales Variety Pack -- just in time for St. Pat's... or is it? One of the beers is called a "Holiday" beer. But to the Winter Spirit. 14.9 oz can -- no nitro, 4.5 ABV. Reviewed to the English Mild style.

A -- Poured into an Imperial Nonic pint, color is deep, clear, copper brown with a light tan head that settles slowly.

S -- Light biscuit malt with some light caramel hints, very reminiscent of regular Smithwick's.

T -- Lightly sweet biscuit malts with some mild caramel and dark fruit esters. The biscuit character turns toward toasted bread with warmth. There's a touch of roasted malt character in the finish through the aftertaste. Some light bittering toward the finish, but could be from the roasted malts as much as any hops. A vinous character lingers through the aftertaste -- nearly astringent, but never getting that distracting.

M -- Body is light-medium with little carbonation and a dry mouthfeel.

O -- A dryer, rather than sweeter, version of the style, but well worth trying to understand -- and enjoy -- the style and how complex a low ABV beer can be.

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Photo of Redrover
3.46/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

14.9 oz can poured into a Guinness imperial pint glass. The beer is brown with amber highlights. It has a thick beige head.

Not a ton of aroma. There is some lightly roasted malts and a bit of something sweet like brown sugar.

There is some medium roast in the taste. It is backed by sweet crackers. There are no off or odd notes. I get a bit of coffee late, but I would like to see a bit more flavor.

The mouth is creamy with a nice low level of carbonation.

It is easy enough to put down and I certainly wouldn't refuse one if offered, but I am not going to go out of my way to grab more.

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Photo of illpass78
3.57/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

14.9 ounce can poured into a nonic.

Appearance: Pours a clear ruby brown with a big, creamy off-white head.

Aroma: Notes of caramel, tea, a little nuttiness and malt.

Taste: Taste follows the nose. It's malt-heavy and has those caramel and tea notes.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat light of body for the style, but the taste is rich enough that it doesn't seem flimsy.

Overall: I expected this to be identical to the Generous Ale that came in the same Guinness Christmas pack. Thankfully it wasn't; more flavor and generally sturdier overall. I might not rush back to it, but it's a nice offering.

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Photo of Treyliff
3.46/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

16oz can, poured into a pint glass

A- pours a clear dark brown color with a two-finger foamy and creamy off-white head that reduces to a thin layer on top that retains nicely

S- husky & grainy malt with a hint of caramel aroma, very faint tea-like hop bitterness with some nutty aroma to close it out

T- chalky grainy malt up front, tastes similar to an English brown, only lighter. Nutty and grainy malt on the finish with some herbal tea on the linger

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel with a smooth & crisp finish

O- English dark milds are session beers, and that's what this is. It's not complex, but is very drinkable

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Photo of wedge6128
2.53/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Its ok, tastes like an off the shelf at the grocery store kinda beer, bud-wiser or some other college frat party yellow piss beer. large hit of nearly flavorless but stinging carbonation and hopes in the beginning mild hint of beer taste in the middle and slightly a mild random grocery store beer taste at the end.

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Photo of Suds
3.25/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown in color. The beer has a nice head and a clarity when held to the light. The smell is faint...distant malt. The taste is mostly malt, with an underlying sweetness. Slim body...thinner than it could be. This is an average, uninteresting brew.

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Photo of BeerDrinkersWorldTour
3.57/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Dark brown and even ruby against the light this beer boasts a fizzy foam head atop a light streaming CO2 body.

Smell - Grainy and malty but frankly very mild and uninteresting.

Taste - This beer actually has very good bitter and sweet balance there is pretty good malt falvour and there is some hop pinch in there as well.

MF - There is some interesting tingle in here not just as the result of the CO2 but also a funny boozy element you do not expect from a 4.5% brew. Then it finishes with drying linger.

Overall - Not the worst thing I have ever tasted this beer is actually well balanced and has some pretty good hop character and a nice enough mouth feel it is even one of the better and more balanced beers to be produced by Smithwick's

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Photo of billybob
3/5  rDev -9.1%

poured from a 16 oz. can it looks like a glass of coke smells of slightly sweet cherries and roasted malt. taste of roasted malt is weak and watery with no complexity to it. mouthfeel is light and watery the can says its a full bodied winter ale i found that to be very disappointing. not something i would buy again.

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Photo of Cayce
2.75/5  rDev -16.7%

So I got to try this with the Guinness variety pack yesterday. Came with two of them. I tried one yesterday and one the day before that.

Appearance: Beer is a very light, grainy color with about half a finger of foam on top. Not very pleasing and looks like alot of cheaper beer other than foam color.

Smell: To be honest, there isn't alot that can be told from the smell. There is a faint sweet smell and maybe roasted hops a tad. Not a very complex smell and, again, smells alot to me like a drugstore beer.

Taste: The taste may be on the more positive side...somewhat. It has a light taste at the beginning, but has a tad more body to it in the middle. I don't really taste any "winter" characteristics of this beer. There is a faint mintyness in the body but overall, doesn't taste very well made. It tastes like Guinness and Kilkenny Irish Cream mixed. I sensed a sweet and roasted hop flavor somewhat. It tastes like a beer that they cheaply made to create more choices for the brand. It could benefit from more hops and more complex flavors. There just isn't a lot going on to keep me interested, however its not bad. Still could be an enjoyable beer if your looking for something better than the cheap stuff.

Mouth: The beer has the same consistency as eating cotton candy. It has a gassy, carbonation that builds up to not much of a bite. There is a little bitterness at the end. I didn't enjoy the feel to it as it felt like a light beer with no interesting tones to it.

In Conclusion...

If your looking for something with an interesting style and complex flavor, look elsewhere. It didn't really stick out to me as anything special and I could name a number of beers in the same category that I've enjoyed more. Its a totally different beast than alot of other Smithwick's which is sad to say. HOWEVER, I can see it being enjoyable none the less. It isn't as boring as a drugstore beer and there is a somewhat different taste and if you like Guinness, there is a very distant flavor similar to that in it. For the price, I guess not awful, but you deserve better, my friends.

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Photo of flyingpig
2.14/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

500ml Bottle from SuperValu, Ireland (£1.99):
Chestnut with some red tinges and a thin, bubbly head that is a darker than usual beige colour. This fades to a soapy lacing after only a few seconds with a tiny bit of lacing on the sides.

Weak with some earthy malts and a light sugar aroma. There is a nutty smell with some faint roasted notes, a little biscuit and a hint of grain towards the end.

Caramel & grain start things off but the taste is my no means a sweet one. This is followed by some roasted malts and a little bitterness but there isn't much else to be honest and it taste fairly bland.

Some grain comes through on top of a moderately bitter, medium body and moderate carbonation that almost seems gassy and bland.

A really poor beer I'm afraid and one that was both too bland and too simple with not enough going on to distract from what was basically bitterness and some roasted flavours. Avoid this one if you like beer with some flavour.

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Photo of bareju
3.05/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

500mL bottle for 2 Euro on sale, poured into pint glass

A: Beautiful white two finger head, dark but clear reddish brown. Good lacing on the glass.

S: Smell is strong but fairly simple; biscuits and brown sugar are very apparent.

T: Taste is fairly one-dimensional, and weak. Biscuits and brown sugar, with a slight hint of nuttiness at the end, as the label promised. No bitterness or alcohol to contrast with the sweet flavors. Tastes a bit watered down, similar to their Irish red ale. The aftertaste is slightly unpleasant.

M: Thin, lightly carbonated. Has the mouthfeel of a bad lager. Very smooth.

O: Not particularly impressive. Would definitely benefit from some more flavors, especially spices like cloves in a winter seasonal ale. Reminds me of a mix beween Guinness draught and Smithwick's red ale. The price and easy-drinking makes this a nice winter session beer, and the value isn't bad.

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Winter Spirit from Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd
Beer rating: 77 out of 100 with 57 ratings