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

311 Reviews
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Smithwick's AleSmithwick's Ale

Brewed by:
Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd

Style: Irish Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 04-16-2002

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Reviews: 311 | Ratings: 704
Photo of charlzm
1.7/5  rDev -50%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

On draft at Molly Malone's Los Angeles, 1/13/08.

Nice light copper hue with modest head. Aromas of musty malt. Mouthfeel was like flavor: thin and watery. Only the faintest hints of malt and hop aftertaste bitterness emerged from the watery brew. There's subtle, then there's Smithwicks. This is like the water that was used to rinse out a glass a real beer had been served in.

I won't be drinking this stuff again.

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Photo of hseritt
2.01/5  rDev -40.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A: Got the Smithwick's from the tap in a pitcher. The color was a very dark color... no head and looked almost flat.

S: No smell to speak of.

T: There was very little taste -- kind of like an extremely light (or non-alcoholic) Guiness. If I come across a bottle of it, I will give it a shot since the tap version may have been kind of old.

M: The consistency may have been the best thing about this beer. It had a good medium feel.

D: Other than just trying out the bottled version for Pete's sake, I don't think I'll ever order this or even drink on a weekend afternoon.

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Photo of deliriumtremens
2.07/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

More than anything else, this reminds me of the Michelob All-Malt, which in itself isn't an insult, as I rather like the All-Malt. But I was expecting more from a beer that's as hyped up as Smithwick's. Very little smell or taste to speak of. A little bit of a metallic tinge that you'd expect from Busch or Tecate out of a can. There's a very slight sweetness in the taste that despite being almost undetectable still manages to be cloying, and a sharp bitterness that seems to come more from the carbonation than from hops or roasted malts. The mouthfeel is thin and watery, just terrible, which is suprising for how carbonated this beer is. I wanted to let the beer settle to let some of the carbonation out, but it just stayed fizzy, and the taste only gets worse as it warms.

The appearance is exceptional, certainly, a nice mellow brown color with a medium white head that sticks around for a good long time. But other than that I was amazed at how bad this beer managed to be. Better than macro-swill, but only very slightly so. I'd rather go with just about any Leine's or Michelob brew for less money, or spring for a real Irish like Beamish or Guiness Extra Stout (never been a fan of the Draught).

 1,212 characters

Photo of guildofevil
2.21/5  rDev -35%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This is one of the standard draft beers in Ireland and the only ale you'll find in some pubs.

It is brewed by Smithwick's Brewery Kilkenny (and Cherry's brewery, Waterford), but they were bought out by Guinness years ago and since Guinness have been bought out by Diagio, the brewery name is little more than a marketing tool.

It's a pretty looking beer. Red/Brown with a low, off white, head. Some lacing, but overall not great head retention. All of this is AOK for the Irish Red style of ale, though.

The aroma is muted. Not much in the way of hop character on the nose, allowing sweet malt and caramel notes to come through, to an extent. Nothing much to get excited or offended by.

It tastes a lot like it smells. Low on bittering hops, this beer comes off as a mild, slightly sweet offering. The yeast makes no discernible contribution to the flavour profile, which lacks the esters which make more interesting offerings, of the same style, stand out. Some caramel notes, but overall lacking any real depth of flavour.

This beer is the mass market version of the Irish Red style. It is brewed and sold with, more or less, the same marketing philosophy in mind as the big international bland lager brands.

The caramel notes, essential to the Irish Red style are, I am told, achieved by the addition of caramel, not caramel malt, as you might expect.

This beer used to have a sister beer called Phoenix Beer, brewed in Cherry's brewery, Waterford, but I have not seen it in years. Even when it was available, Phoenix Beer was so incredibly similar to Smithwicks, that many suspected it of simply being a different label for the same beer.

If you like Irish Red, you would be better off going for a Beamish Red or a Porterhouse Red, if you happen to be near a Porterhouse.

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Photo of DogFood11
2.21/5  rDev -35%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

Hell yeah on the appearance! Chunky big bubbled head leaves massive lacing, highly filtered, Amber body. nice.

Sweet malts take the lead on this brew, almost toffee like in the aftertaste, tends to stick to my teeth a bit. Carbonation loses steam but still is sharp and stinging. Mouth ends up going sweet and lingers. Lackluster. Theres not much balance here and I don't mind that if the dominance is well put together but the malt bill is just soft, and hops are non existent.

light sweetness up front, sting sizzle pop carbonation in the middle and soft lingering malts to finish. Reminds me of something Gordon Biersch would make, forgettable for the most part.

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Photo of GooberMcNutly
2.25/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

16 oz can. Poured well carbonated into a tall glass with a good white head and no foam fall. Aroma was of strong hops and the first sip confirmed it: very bitter. Malty character flavors with some oaky flavors and even some pine essence, but not enough to overcome the bitter hops.

 281 characters

Photo of psugrad98
2.35/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Reddish amber in color. Moderate head and almost no lace. Aroma of faint hops with carmel notes.

Light and fizzy on the palate with no discernable hop bitterness or floral/fruit mouthfeel. Only slightly bitter. Malt is more firmly planted as primary flavor. Mediocre at best. An Irish macro ale.

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Photo of helloloser12345
2.36/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Serving Type: 440ml can. 'New and improved' printed on the can.

Pour: Off white foamy head which soon disappears leaving only a ring around the glass. No lacing.

Appearance: Dark amber

Smell: Slight smell of roasted malts and that is about it, except for the nasty sulphur odour.

Flavour: Very, very thin. No great amount of flavour, slight hint of malt. Too much carbonation.

Overall: Not nice at all.

I feel this review is a harsh though as Smithwicks is a very good beer from the tap or bottled. It is well rounded and full of flavour. It is just nasty from the can!

I will update next time I get it either bottled or on tap.

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Photo of cdkrenz
2.37/5  rDev -30.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance - Deep, deep amber color, almost brown. The head is a pale tan and is nice and foamy as it stands about 3/4 of an inch. Nice lacing as well.

Smell - Interestingly there's a chocolate and coffee aroma.

Taste - The flavor is actually quite mild. There's some unique flavor. I actually taste bubble gum even though there's nothing sweet about this brew.

Mouthfeel - The feel is smooth. There's nothing coarse about it as it goes down very easy.

~ If the flavor were more enjoyable this would be a solid session brew. As for now I think I'll pass.

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Photo of Geneth
2.43/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

An extremely mediocre red. Didn't get much of a smell out of it (granted, it was a little windy). The color was pretty dark, but tasted light. No complexity to the flavor.

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Photo of oxmasterscream
2.46/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Had this on tap at McFadden's Pub at Citizen's Bank Park (Phillies' stadium) in Philadelphia, PA. I remember this beer to be really delicious but something's happened to my taste buds between now and then. This time, I just didn't smell or taste anything redeeming in this beer. It poured a beautiful dark reddish brown color, with a nice, thick head which stayed for the duration of the beer. I tried and tried and tried but couldn't recognize any distinguishing aromas. It just smelled like beer. The taste was very wood-like and leathery if that makes any sense. It's got a strong malty backbone but virtually no sweetness whatsoever. It leaves a bitter tang on your tongue as you swallow. It's very, very carbonated and thick to the taste, so much that it feels like you have to chew the bubbles. I really suffered through the glass and actually left a good portion of it because I found no enjoyment in it whatsoever. I won't be drinking it again.

My disclaimer: This beer is popular and in reading reviews, other BAs really enjoy it. I'm not sure what it is but maybe it's just not my cup of tea. Maybe I've been drinking too many bock style beers, stuff from Belgium, and big IPAs... who knows. Maybe it wasn't so good because I wasn't in Ireland while drinking it this time around. Regardless, I just wasn't impressed.

 1,329 characters

Photo of Dsimenson
2.46/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

Has a lovely red brown color. Advertized as a red ale. Thin head on draft in a Guinness glass. Almost no aroma, or my nose is plugged up. A very disappointing taste, mildly citrys, little hops, no malt. Very fizzy, almost like a cola. I'm glad to have sampled it, but i wont be trying it again. At least the fish and chips were good!

 333 characters

Photo of beveragecaptain
2.54/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Smitchwicks pours out a copper color with a small head. I detected absolutely no aroma in this beer. I stuck my nose so far in that I inhaled foam, but I never smelled a thing. The flavor is quite watery with a bit of caramel. There is some metallic flavor. A hint of hops comes in at the finish. I can't really call this beer bad, but it has almost no flavor. Mouthfeel is thin and watery, without the creaminess I was hoping for. Not something I'll be wasting my time with again.

 481 characters

Photo of elricorico
2.58/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clear reddish brown with a thin cap of off white head. The head seems to have no intention of going away.

The smell seems to have a bit of toffee underlying a floral smell. A bit of a biscuity aroma in there perhaps? Nothing strong enough to make it real interesting, but not bad.

Taste is basically spoiled by a sour metallic flavour that seems to coat the mouth. There is a bit of dryness in the finish, but it doesn't carry through the metallic aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is just bad, I have a film in my mouth from it. The beer is low in body and has a medium amount of carbonation. If it wasn't for the filmy feeling it would be alright.

Well, I could see this being pounded back by someone getting drunk at a bar, but to actually drink for the pleasure, I'll pass.

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Photo of gentlebubbles
2.6/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

I've seen this at a couple of places where it seems suspiciously heavily promoted. I tried it on tap at O'Connor's, where it was served so cold my fingers ached on holding the glass. It had a pleasant amber color, but hardly any head, and only a faint scent of hops. It was too fizzy and cold for me; I could barely taste much but faintly sour hops. Only the prospect of having something else got me to finish this.

 415 characters

Photo of jeffboo
2.61/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Reddish copper color with a big light tan head. Strange aroma that I can not quite place, not very interesting, maybe malt ,maybe hops hmm not sure. Light and malty with a hint of roast in the finish but then disappears.Not much happening here, it's finish is ever so slightly bitter and somewhat soapy. Not really recommended.

 327 characters

Photo of Frozensoul327
2.63/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours out to a dark amber / brown colour with a long lived, dense white foamy head. No real odor to speak of, kind of a stale smell, with a touch of maltiness detected. The flavor left quite a bit to be desired, as it comes off as plain, bland and generally mediocre. I'd prefer a cheaper Irish Red any day, but this may be up your alley, as it's very smooth, and goes down well. Worth a try.

 392 characters

Photo of beer272
2.64/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - looked like an ale that had black patent added to give a dark appearance. Looked very dark in the glass with ruby color on the edge. Head looked OK and with a white appearance.

S - poured out very cold. Negligible smell either malt or hops.

T - ok, body ok. As the temperature rose on the last part of the beer got a taste of butter...

M - Pass, ok

O - This was a light beer, nuetral, ~no hops or malt. Then with black patent added. I would not buy again.

 463 characters

Photo of alysmith4
2.64/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Sampled this beer at an Irish pub in Columbus last weekend. Haven't tried many from this style, but I though it was decent. Smell was very earthy.. could detect some hay and straw, as well as a candy-like scent. Taste was okay, a bit odd. The best was to put it was that it tasted "red" of that makes any sense. Kind of like a red-bull energy drink or something.

Overall, it was not my favorite. Not complex enough or well enough developed. Two-dimentional beer at best, but I'm sure it's a decent pick if you like this style.

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Photo of stevoj
2.65/5  rDev -22.1%
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.

 160 characters

Photo of daliandragon
2.66/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Recently sampled this on my vacation to Ireland this past week. This was my first pint in the Emerald Isle, drank during the Man City- Man Yoo match in the hotel pub in Newmarket-on Fegus, County Clare. Review conducted upon written notes.
Color is a dark rddish gold with a mediocre cap of head and sparkling clear body. The nose is based in hops but these are masked by an adjunct aroma, likely corn. Not appealling.
Taste is bitter and somewhat lacking in flavor. Ends in a crisp finish but an astringent aftertaste. Mouthfeel is creamy but dimensional and boring.
Not a good first pint for any country in my opinion. I probably won't be sampling this again any time soon. Not recommended.

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Photo of Gaisgeil
2.67/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've been meaning to try this for ages, and a local spot had a special on it for St. Paddy's day... it wasn't quite what I was expecting.

Pours a red hued dark copper in color with a thick bulbous head on a moderate pour, a good amount of lacing as I threw it back. Smell is god awful, fairly vile actually. Sort of a sour and thick stale beer smell, and I had two, so it wasn't a single bottle quality issue. Taste was alright, sort of middle of the road, not overly anything really, a characteristic Irish red sweetness, fairly smooth but also a bit stale.

Overall, not really horrible, not exactly noteworthy either though. They need to do something about the nose though, baaad.

SlĂ inte!

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Photo of AlexJ
2.68/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've finally done it! I've fried my palate with hops! I guess there comes a point in every hop-lovers' career where beers like this become indistinguishable from Killians and Yeungling. "There is nothing wrong with this beer, it's a good example of the style", that is what I tell myself. Yet my tastebuds yearn for more, it's out of my control. OK, anyway...
-Pours a deep ruby/brown color with good clarity and a nice thick light brown head. Medium lacing and retention.
-Aromas of mild and sweet malts. Faintly chocolatey. Kinda smells like Bass Ale.
-Taste is mild and malty with a slight hoppy nip. Finish is smooth and clean. Very similar to Bass, just a little darker.
-All in all not bad, but certainly nothing to write home about either. Might make a good black and tan though.

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Photo of genaro
2.71/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Smithwick's was a dark amber color with a trace of copper. The head was insubstantial and there was no lace. The aroma was meek, a little caramelly with a slight floral bouquet. As for taste, there was not much happening. It was mellow, and dry with slight touches of caramel, coffee, a bit of sweetness, and a little hop bite. The finish was dryish and chalky. Overall I was disappointed. To me it was a bland beer.

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Photo of Hibernator
2.71/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I picked up a single of the Smithwick's Irish Ale to sample. I had this from a 12 oz brown bottle and served in an imperial pint glass. I was unable to find a freshness date, but there is a number on the back that reads L4286GD002.

Pours a brownish red color with a decent head on top that vanishes too fast. Some spotted lacings appear on the glass.

The nose leaves alot to be desired. Faint whiffs of caramel malts, but the overall scent is very weak with some funky scents in there.

Sweet caramel malts up front, buttery cream in the middle of the sip and then a watery seltzer finish. What happened? This beer started out okay, but finishes on a weak note. Too bland for a true Irish Red. This is not something I see myself drinking again.

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Smithwick's Ale from Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd
3.4 out of 5 based on 704 ratings.
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