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 pat61
4/5  rDev +17.6%
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.

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Photo of Squire123
3.42/5  rDev +0.6%
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.

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Photo of down_to_clown_69
3.1/5  rDev -8.8%
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."

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Photo of WalterFeegis
3.93/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

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Photo of ordybill
4/5  rDev +17.6%
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.

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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.

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Photo of jeffdr123
3.4/5  rDev 0%
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.

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Photo of erconn0r
4.02/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank when I was in the West of Ireland. Noted it tasted better in different pubs. When carbonation was lower, could taste the maltiness better.. & this was when I enjoyed it best. Great session beer...

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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 jancona
3.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap for a friend's wedding - Very bready malt flavor and a tad bit of caramel sweetness. A nice session pub brew, but not much more....

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Photo of Libeertarian
3.28/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Dull, clear copper or bronze with off-white medium-retention, somewhat rocky head. In the bottle, nose is pure bread. In the glass, more bread, some toast, but strong caramel predominates, accompanied by the faintest citrusy or herbal hops. Mostly toasty malts, a little crackery and a little tart, and caramel to the taste, much smaller black pepper, dark fruit, and licorice notes in the back, easily lost after your palate's been desensitized and giving way to a modicum of what can only be described as lemon, likely a combination of flavors. All this followed by just detectable — not even bitter, really — herbal hops in the finish. Gentle bitterness and caramel in the aftertaste. Medium, fine carbonation, bit of a creamy feel in this lighter end of medium-bodied brew. Only mild astringency, and no warming to speak of.

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Photo of DMACH
3.26/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A very nice red not fantastic but goes well with most meals. A great go to beer to avoid the Macro guys. Also a decent choice when you tire of the next super IBU IPA to hit the market

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Photo of BrewAskew
3.05/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out to a rich creamy buff head that lasts and a deep auburn color. Aroma is caramel, biscuit, bread, nuts and and cooked veggies. Flavor is nondescript amber ale with low hopping, a slight toastiness/nuttiness. Slightly sweet finish. Mouthfeel is light and slick. Overall, boring and mass produced but not particularly bad.

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Photo of Mike7141954
5/5  rDev +47.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I really like this ale, I will be the only one in this one horse town that will, I rated it all 5's.
I get a toffey taste from it or maybe it's caramel. To me it is a refreshing taste from all the floral taste out there! I would recommend it to my friends.

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Photo of BFCarr
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%

While it may lack the depth of taste of a truly good craft beer, it remains one of my gateway beers to the Craft scene. After not having one in a while, it's still a good beer, especially at an Irish theme bar!

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Photo of curasowa
2.82/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear, brownish-red color with two fingers of off-white head that fades with a decent curtain of lace.

Aroma: Grainy, grassy, a little nutty, cooked veggie.

Taste: Mild roasted malt flavor that is a bit nutty and astringent, some light bitterness towards the finish, then a pretty grainy finish with a little dish rag.

The Rest: Decent body and carbonation, but fairly unremarkable otherwise. It lacks a robust, appealing malt profile; this is much to grainy tasting.

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Photo of SerialTicker
3.12/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Had on-tap at Three Blind Mice in Mt. Clemens, Michigan. From what I can tell, this is a permatap over there and it comes at $4.50 a pint, or something like that.

Appearance: Nice red color with a small tannish head. Lacing is alright at the start, but spotty the rest of the way. Looks alright. (3.5/5)

Smell: Malty. "Red." Maybe a sort of hoppiness, but definitely malt-forward and grainy. Nothing special, average at best. (3.25/5)

Taste/feel: Blah. It has all the typical flavors you'd find in a red/amber, but this one has a significant artificial sweetener sort of aftertaste that I tend to get in cheaper beers and it turns me off to this a good amount. Grainy. Slightly below average. The mouthfeel on this one is a bit thin with a moderate/high carbonation. (3/5, 3.25/5)

This is just a pretty mediocre beer, and it's about what I had expected, maybe a bit less than. Wouldn't buy again, but I wouldn't turn it down.


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Photo of kcrosson492
3.04/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Smithwick's Ale (pronounced Smit-icks in Ireland) is a decent choice of ale while in Ireland. Personally, I will probably never have another one because it is just okay. The appearance is the best thing about this beer.

A-Nice reddish color with a decent off-white head.

S-The smell is plain and not very strong.

T-The taste is better than the smell (if that makes sense) and it goes down quite easy.

M-There is an emptiness of feel in the mouth but it is smooth.

O-The beer could be summed up with one word and that word is okay.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, no freshness date. I haven't had a smithwicks in probably ten years. Now I know why. Boring aroma and flavor, both were grainy and forgettable. Deep red color.I would likely never buy another one of these unless I was actually in Ireland.

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Photo of CalgaryFMC
2.88/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled on tap at a "Scottish ale house" serving mostly Irish and local brews. A red to dark chalky brown ale with some light butterscotch foam. Astonishingly little in the way of aroma, maybe a hint of dried dark fruit (raisin) and toffee but largely flat on the nose. Taste was mellow toast, dilute caramel sauce, slight hop bitterness, little of the tea-like smooth bitterness and body of other Irish reds. Watery and thin, lingering sweet finish with a little cardboard. Unobjectionable but insipid.

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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!

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Photo of stillrockin67
5/5  rDev +47.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

So many ales have a bitter aftertaste. Smithwick Irish Ale satisfies long after the swallow. The only problem I have with this ale is locating it. I try to buy as many six-packs as I can when I locate it on the shelves. Nevertheless, eventually the stores seem to just stop stocking this beer.

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Photo of Davidvols
5/5  rDev +47.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

One of my favorite beers. Looks and tastes like a excellent craft beer should - not too hoppy. No strong odor or bitter aftertaste. Drinkable and smooth. No comparison to Guiness, as this one is very drinkable and not "heavy" like Guiness Extra Stout. Great history of brewery as well.

 285 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.

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Photo of woodychandler
2.72/5  rDev -20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I received this as an extra in a recent trade with KevSal and I was rather surprised to realize that I have never reviewed it in any of its forms. No time like the present, I suppose.

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

My pour produced better than two fingers' worth of dense, light-tan head with great retention in today's heat and humidity. It looked like the top of a coffee ice cream cone. Color was a deep coppery-red with NE-quality clarity, the shade that makes me swoon when it is on a woman. Nose was malty, fairly sweet, nothing terribly remarkable. Mouthfeel was on the thin side and other than a mild sweetness, it really lacked Ooomph of any sort. It was not bad, just lacking. Finish was equally ho-hum. I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, but this was not doing anything for me.

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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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