Smithwick's Ale
Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd

Smithwick's AleSmithwick's Ale
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Red Ale - Irish
Ranked #242
Ranked #49,165
3.38 | pDev: 15.98%
Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd
Smithwick's AleSmithwick's Ale
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Reviews: 329 | Ratings: 774 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of backblast
backblast from Alaska

3.55/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It looks lovely with the dark, ruby red color and white head.

Tasted malts and biscuit up front and it has a little caramel mixed in with a light hop presence and grassiness. However, found this to be very thin in the mouthfeel and it washed away quickly. Would be nice on a hot summer day.

Mar 20, 2021
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teromous from Virginia

3.86/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the back label: "04:55 L0185G D 0 0 3"
From the front label: "4.5% ALC./VOL. 11.2 FL OZ"

Appearance: The body of the beer is a dark tea-like brown with a burnt umber orange tint to it. The beer has very good clarity and a large, rocky, thick off-white head. It has very good head retention and lacing.

Aroma: There is a pleasant spicy hop aroma with a mellow caramel aroma. Black tea comes through.

Taste: There is a mellow earthy quality to the beer with a tiny bit of mineral taste. There are notes of tea leaves and a hint of burnt carbon at the end.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium-light body with good drinkability and a nice clean finish.

Overall: The beer that I have says "4.5% ALC./VOL. 11.2 FL OZ" on the label and it is red with a picture of a tower. The beer is full of great flavor and aroma, and it looks fantastic in the glass. It would go great with pub fare, whether it's a burger or fish and chips. The beer tastes very fresh but I can't seem to find a solid bottle or import date other than what was mentioned at the top. I would recommend it and I would drink it again. Very enjoyable to drink.

Feb 12, 2021
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plaid75 from New York

3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep amber hue with a one finger frothy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a faint caramel and grassy hop.

The taste was likewise muted with some grainy caramel present.

The mouthful was dry and clean.

Overall a decent import. Domestic craft has perfected this style though.

Jan 24, 2021
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realJohnnyHobo from Maryland

3.4/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Properly pronounced as 'smid-icks' this Irish Red is now apart of the Diageo portfolio and is brewed at St. James Gate Brewery, distinctively. Pouring an off reddish tea colour, the head is creamy and over 2 fingers, with a bit of proofing before you're able to consume. I am enjoying this at 9˚c.

A large scent of noble hops hits your nose alongside a bit of sweetened malt, with notes akin to dark bread.

At first taste, there is a large number of sweet malt notes that are pronounced alongside a very medium-bodied mouthfeel. A very nice graininess is found through the beer throughout each sip. 2 1/2 sugar cubes, and there are at/ around ~23+ IBUs. Carbonation is mild, little to no action. There is a citrus note that lingers in the finish alongside a spicy hop note, could be Saaz combined with another 2 - 3 different varieties. Like a lot of ales you do get a bit of yeastiness that has a funky note, but there is nothing unappealing about what I am tasting. Sláinte!

Nov 07, 2020
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Thirstytraveler from Oregon

4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Full disclosure; I grew up drinking Guinness, so I am no doubt influenced by great memories, as this has a similar but lighter and more malty taste. Mild caramel notes, slightly sweet. Very nice light red color, nice head without too much carbonation. This is my go to beer now that it is locally available at Traders Joes.

May 20, 2020
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milkshakebeersucks from Maryland

2.87/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

This one has been popping up in the area since St Paddy's Day is approaching so thought I"d try again after many years. Some things don't change much.

Deep amber with a decent clingy head. Slightly nutty aroma but nothing too enticing. Mild, inoffensive taste that lacks any distinction. Blah. Now back to drinking locally.

Mar 08, 2020
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dd53grif from Michigan

3.5/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear red brew with a foamy head that lasts quite a while. Aroma was sweet, a bit fruity. No hop bitterness. Taste was crisp and fruity. Good mouth feel.

Aug 02, 2019
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ChicagoJ from Illinois

3.2/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

6/24/17 (Chicago). 16 oz draft pour into standard pint glass. $5.50 @ NW Vaughn’s. Dark copper pour, light tan head and carbonation. Light, sweet malt aroma. Mild sweet malt and chocolate taste. Light mouth feel and texture, minimal carbonation. Overall good offering.

May 13, 2019
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RJLarse from Washington

3.36/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

An average red ale. Mahogany color, thin head not much of an aroma to speak of. Taste is malt forward, low bitterness. Probably a good English version of the style, but I like a little more hop presence.

Mar 18, 2019
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EMH73 from New York

3.37/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours a reddish amber with a poorly retained half inch white head that left little lacing. Smells of malt. Tastes of sweet malts, a hint of hops, nuttiness and caramel. Nothing complex about the taste and nothing offensive. Light to medium bodied and carbonation, watery mouth feel, no bitterness to speak of.

Nov 23, 2018
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JimboBrews54 from Michigan

4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sweeter than Guinness but not as draught. This one does have some bitter malts, this also is balanced out again by the sweetness that helps those roasted malts come out. I would still pick it over Guinness and this is a great introduction once again to the category.

Oct 08, 2018
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Amendm from Rhode Island

3.42/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

11.2-oz bottle poured heavily into a 16-oz. mug produced a beige 1/2 finger head which quickly shrinks to ring with moderate lacing.
Brownish amber color looks red-amber in front of light.
Faint smell, some sweet and roasted malt.
Taste follows with a slightly bitter hop start, a semi sweet malty middle and a dry clean finish. A slight spicy after taste lingers.
Light body, a little watery with moderate carbonation. Alcohol is well hidden.
Balanced and easy drink, not as malty as it could be.

Oct 01, 2018
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Kayakguy from Massachusetts

3.46/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours and looks nice with a ruby color and nice head. Take a picture because those are the best qualities. It does not have any smell that is noteworthy. The taste is very balanced which is a euphemism for bland. The alcohol is only 4.5 abv so you could drink several pints of this ale if quantity and volume are your goals. I my neck of the woods we call this a “ Lawn Mowing Beer” which means it is good for quenching your thirst and you can still operate machinery.

Sep 04, 2018
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Zeteckiller from Ireland

3.66/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

One of the first beers I ever drank so I kind of have a soft spot for it.

Lovely clear deep red colour with a white foamy head.

Smells a little malty.

Not overly sweet or hoppy, just somewhere in between.

Easy to drink all night.

I have had this on draught and from pint bottles, draught is better but only if the barrel is fresh.

Best pint of this is definitely to be found in the brewery in Kilkenny after the tour.

Jun 11, 2018
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VashonGuy from Washington

3.54/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Smithwick's was at nearly every pub in Ireland on our holiday, usually right next to Guinness. When I wanted a change from the usual Guinness, Smithwick was the best option. It's a caramel red ale, with a bit of hoppy bite to it. It doesn't have much complexity, but it goes well with meals, and it's pleasant enough.

May 18, 2018
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Victory_Sabre1973 from Minnesota

3.23/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a darker amber color. 1 finger off white head. Retention is good.
The nose is minimal. I get nothing from it.
Taste - is mellow. Slight sweetness. Slight malt. Minimal hops.
Feel is fairly light. Somewhat watery.
So, so beer overall. Nothing to go out of your way for.

Mar 06, 2018
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poisoneddwarf from Idaho

3.77/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Backlog. 12 oz bottle. Never used to be a fan of Irish Ales (probably due to Killian’s), but these maltier styles are growing on me. Aroma is of roasted molasses. Color is deep, deep red. Tastes of mostly malt, little hop presence. Better than I was expecting.

Jun 10, 2017
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pat61 from Minnesota

4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

S: smells rich and malty with light toast and a hint of spice and some dried grass in the background. The malt aromas are medium and the toast and spice aromas are medium low.

L: pours an alluring brilliant copper amber to light copper brown under a moderate sized cream colored foam cap with moderate retention.

T: creamy, spicy palate with moderate malt, a trace of nuts, and moderate malt and hop spice. The malt flavors are fairly complex with a light sweetness and a hint of caramel. The bitterness is mild and spicy and just enough to keep the beer from being cloying.

F: Smithwick's is a creamy beer with a medium light body and slightly below average carbonation.

O: The fresher this beer is, the richer and more nuanced the malt flavors and aromas. Like a fresh cut bouquet of flowers, the malt character dies fast.

Mar 31, 2017
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Squire from Mississippi

3.42/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Dark reddish brown with white cap and decent lacing.

Aroma of caramely malt with a light whif of floral hops.

Taste is a simple combination of sweet malt, hint of toffee and whisp of hops. Can't say what variety of hops but there are some in there. Mildly rich if that makes any sense.

Rather thin texture.

Overall it's not bad for a universally (almost) available brew that's been around long enough to ride on a reputation. Acquaintances who tell me they like this also carry memories of having been introduced to it on draft or very fresh, neither condition of which is available locally. So these are my thoughts subject to revision and extension if I ever come across a better example in the future.

Mar 05, 2017
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down_to_clown_69 from North Carolina

3.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.25

Ahhhh Smithwick's. Takes me back to being a wee lad on the Irish shores of Killgehangy. My mum used ter pour it in our bottles. "Makes the kinder grow tough" she'd say. Naturally, I feel a certain kindred as I sip this fine, premium beverage here in our local Irish watering hole. Lit only by a lone candle, this sultry brown ale saddles its way up to me as if she were to say, "Hey there, got any plans later tonight?" To which I would reply with a wink and a nod, "Certainly mam, with you and 11 of your closest friends."

We made love all night, the bar patrons were appalled. I couldn't care less. Here's to Ireland. As they say on the shores of Killgehangy, "Once you go Smithwick's, you never go backwicks."

Mar 01, 2017
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WalterFeegis from Arkansas

3.93/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What in the hell does it matter what a beer feels like? I can understand the look being a nice addition and the smell is really only needed right before the first drink, but all that really matters is first Taste and then maybe feel. There have been instances where a beer was so silky smooth it really stood out and should be noted for no other reason that it really felt good. The bottom line is taste and this beer tastes good. I first had Smithwicks at an Irish pub with corned beef and cabbage and it was an excellent combination. Came from a tap. Now, since then I've had it both straight from bottles and poured into glasses and it remain one of my favorites. Leaves a nice taste in my mouth without overpowering everything else. My wife doesn't like dark beers and although this really isn't dark, it's darker then what she normally drinks and she likes it as well. This is a great middle of the road brew.

Oct 07, 2016
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ordybill from Georgia

4/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the tap. The appearance is a clear light brown color with a large white head. The aroma is full of grains and has a slight sweet scent. The taste is a very good blended grain flavor.

May 17, 2016
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Bruno74200 from France

3.21/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

On On tap on several occasion, this one benefits from a nitro draught system thanks to their Guiness owners. Classic Irish red ale with no hop presence and a big influence of the malt. Maybe overly sweet and definitely out of balance. Maybe a bit better than a Kilkenny ale

Dec 23, 2015
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stevoj from Idaho

2.65/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Nice pour, creamy thick head. All else lacking, kind of weak and watery, unimpressive, tasteless. Now I know why they mix with this Guinness in the Derry pints.

Dec 22, 2015
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jeffdr123 from Florida

3.4/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Drank from draft at Shannon's Irsih Pub in Glen Ellyn, IL. Great pub. OK beer. Looks nice with a short head that lingers. Not much smell to it. Sweet malty taste. A little boring. If sweet tea were carbonated, it would taste a little like this.

Sep 29, 2015
Smithwick's Ale from Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd
Beer rating: 77 out of 100 with 774 ratings