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 Sammy
3.4/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A lot of carbonation, a bit of malty taste. Did not go flat after an hour - robust. Some hops and a bitter bite aftertaste. Quench your thirst..then after that..You could do worse, its an easy summer drink. Carmel and mid-sip fruity taste, and carmel colour. Session beer.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.38/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A much better Irish Red than the Killian's that I drank the night before. Looks like Coca Cola with nice ruby and orange highlights. Has great head retention. Smells malty sweet and herbal. No reall hop detection. Tastes toasty sweet, slightly biscuity, caramelly, and malty. Round mouthfeel, but not heavy. Finish is malty and tacky to the palate. Never detected much hop character, just enough to offset the sweetness.

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Photo of brentk56
3.71/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear medium amber body with an incredibly fluffy head that lasts forever and laces the glass with perfection

Smell: Not much aroma but what there is, is of caramel and biscuit

Taste: There's that biscuity caramel flavor you would expect from the aroma, but it is joined by some mild bitterness

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and surprisingly creamy; lively carbonation

Drinkability: Flavorful but not demanding; well-balanced and easy-to-drink; I liked it more than I expected - Happy St. Patrick's Day

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.38/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a brownish looking beer with a nice bubbly head with standard retention. some notes of creamy and caramely taste. Overall, this is a very decent session irish ale but nothing out of the ordinary or too complex.Aroma is a mix of hops and sweetness. Taste is quite bitter with a dry finish and also has

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Photo of zeff80
3.6/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap it had a good head and a dark brown color. It smelled malty and slightly sweet. It tasted a little bitter with a blend of caramel and malt. Mouthfeel was quite soft and creamy. It wasn't too heavy to drink. I really enjoyed my first ever Smithwick's.

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Photo of oberon
3.95/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice to find Smithy's here in Greensboro at Mc'Couls Public House,pours a deep copper with some amber highlights with a pretty thin head.Aroma is roasted and very fruity with some big caramel notes,I also got a some doughy flavors in the background.Much more fruity than expected,I really liked this beer will become my staple when I go to that bar.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.21/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From Ireland's oldest brewery (1710, but now owned by Guinness) comes an impressive, well-made brew. There are several versions; this one is at 5.0% and exported to Canada. The bottle is embossed with the Arthur Guinness name and the metallic green label is in both English and French. It's a Deep brass/copper in color with excellent clarity and a surprising rocky off-white head that holds exceptionally well and leaves some nice lace. The nose expresses an earthy character with just a light touch of diacetyl - very English in nature! The body is medium, and quite smooth & creamy in the mouth (although the carbonation seems quite standard). The flavor starts gently fruity, then quickly displays some sweetish caramel malt as it warms along with some leafy hop character, and finishes dry with a long lingering soft and nutty caramel note and some residual earthiness. Really nicely balanced with a firm bitterness that supports the malt but never really comes forward. Full flavored, but also very drinkable.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.28/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark orange with amber highlights. I fail to identify even a hint of red in this red ale. The buff colored cap has a bumpy, bubbly, sticky look that resembles sheep's wool. Therefore, it isn't surprising that a generous scattering of thick shornlets of lace are arrayed haphazardly on the glass. It's a baa-utiful look, I just wish the color was more inviting.

There isn't much of note going on in the nose. It's lightly sweet and lightly toasted malty. Perhaps a whiff of herbal, minutely musky hops.

Smithwick's is a 'by the numbers' Irish red ale that is unlikely to either offend or impress. It's adequately malted without any breakout flavors, just a soft, mellow sweetness that gives a cheery wave and is then gone. Malt and hops cancel one another out rather than build on one another, which contributes to the relatively simple flavor profile.

If anything, I'm less and less impressed as the beer warms. What flavor is present seems to be leaking away with each mouthful, and the light, almost watery, nature of the mouthfeel isn't helping matters. The finish feels and tastes just a bit flat.

Smithwick's Ale is what the horticulturally-inclined might call a garden variety Irish red ale. It looks pretty good (even though a little red would provide some needed visual interest), but it can't back it up with regard to the other senses. My sense is that there are much better examples of the style and that this one is skippable.

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Photo of russpowell
3.02/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

pours brown/copper with a fluffy sand-colored head 2 fingers deep. Good head retention and excellent lacing on the bottom of the glass

Smell: A little fruitty and not much else

Taste: Fruitiness, caramel, and ever so slight hop bitterness. Some hints of alcohol and dryness on the finish

MF: A little thin & prickly (over carbonated)

Decent drinkability, but overall not too impressed. A beer that pours way better than it drinks

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Photo of smcolw
3.88/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this with some barbecue at Firefly's in Framingham. It was an excellent counterpoint to my meal of ribs and cornbread. If I were blindfolded, I would guess that this was a solid entry in the world of American Amber Ales.

The color was a light amber and clear enough to read the menu through the glass.

Smithwick's has good balance with a bitter hop finish. The full body complimented the tight-bubbled head that left a great deal of lace on the glass. Frankly, I expected far less. The only distraction might be the lack of aroma, but I find this to be commonplace amongst those poured in a bar--by the time the beer arrives the smell is nearly gone.

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Photo of Jason
2.99/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown bottle with no freshness date. Big foamy off white head, good retention. Bright reddish copper in color.

Clean caramel malt aroma, hint of hop and buttery diacetyl.

Water caramel malt palate in a moderate body and medium carbonation. Mild on the hops with not much of a finish other than a lingering toasted grain husk flavor.

Decent at best, taste mass-produced and to light on the palate. Many American brewers make a better Irish style red ale.

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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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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.33/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Light caramel amber tone with an almost white cream head forms nicely leaves fine lacing behind, not bad. Aroma: Pale malt sweetness with some residual caramel notes as well tame floral hops seems light and airy overall. Taste: Flowery hops light caramel malt sweetness blend nicely very balanced and unoffensive as a whole finishes slightly earthy for me. Mouthfeel: Medium to light in body evenly carbonated can't complain too much. Drinkability: Very sessionable not too watery but not flavorful enough for me, I enjoyed it in Canada when throwing darts and drinking in bars with little or no beer selections glad to see it made it's way back to the States.

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Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap. I was pleased to see this at a Macro "pub" close to my work. Something worth trying. Poured dark amber with a creamy white head. Nice Malty,earthy nose. Creamy mouthfeel. Malt, nutty and a bit of peat in flavor profile. This was a pleasant suprise, a dencent Irish ale, good session brew.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.48/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Two pints on draft at Molly Quinn's...
In a genuine Smithwick's glass, too...
pours out a dark copper color, browner at top, clear at the bottom, with a bone white layer of foam that slips away in an instant.
Aroma is muted, mostly, sweet and pleasant enough.
Taste: very smooth, with a small drizzle of hops, and larger helping of malt. Feels slick, caramelly, easy to toss back, just enough flavor, but not really enough to make it more than a session ale..something to pass the time, without worrying the mind...who's up for darts?

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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 Gavage
2.95/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Copper in color, with a short 1/4" large bubble laced head. Head disappeared immediately to a lone bubble or two along the glass edge. Barely any aroma detectable. The flavor was a simple caramel with minimal bitterness, leaning towards sweet side. Not overly exciting, just a bit more flavorful than a Killian's.

Mouthfeel was thin and smooth. Very slight dry aftertaste. Drinkability is slightly better than average, mostly because it is unoffensive and sports a simple taste.

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Photo of tempest
3.41/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Blarney's in Dinkytown

looks a nice red with a creamy head and lacing. Smells watery, however, like an inoffensive macro. Taste is a little weak, but still nice. A touch creamy in flavor with burnt caramel. Watery mouthfeel, but easy to drink. A tasty drink, but you might as well just order yourself a pitcher as it goes down fast.

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Photo of WesWes
3.68/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a reddish/amber color with a creamy white head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a dry slightly malty scent that boasts of pale and bit of crystal malts along with some hops to boot. The taste is decent also. Again, it is slightly malty with a dry finish, but the hops stand out a bit more as it's quite bitter. It goes down easy, but seems a tad watery fro my tastes. I guess that's the Irish style. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a low/medium bodied brew with good carbonation. This is a fine Irish ale. I wish it had a little more malt character, but it fits the style just fine; a good drinker.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured on tap at Patrick's Irish Pub and Eatery in Gilford, New Hampshire (USA). This tastes a whole lot better on tap than when I buy it in a bottle. At least it did when I sampled it on Jan. 19, 2009.

Appearance - Handsome ruby-brown pour with about a half-inch of frothy off-white head and decent lacing.
Smell - An aroma of sweet malts and almost caramel-like
Mouthfeel - Average to above average body. Holds its body well while thrashing it around on my tongue
Taste - Malted and mild. Not bitter at all. A distant hint of hops.

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Photo of Zorro
4/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear red amber colored brew.

The smell is very malty to the nose. Faint floral scents and a mild roasted grain scent.

Taste is mildly sweet and quite malty with the hops making them selves evident in the aftertaste. Fair amount of fruity flavors in there and assertive hop finish.

Mouthfeel is very good.

Very pleasant to drink brew. Complex enough to keep your attention, but never harsh. An excellent choice for a session beer.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.1/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

After buying this in Ireland and carrying it 3000+ miles I noticed the best-by date was June 1999 so I had grave misgivings about even drinking but even with an ABV of only 4.0% it still had the sweet malty taste. Poured with a good head, some lace, malty nose, ruby amber color too bad it is only a 250ml bottle.

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Photo of Bitterbill
2.94/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from bottle a deep amber with a good head of foam that dissipated slowly

The smell is a light note of malt and pretty much nothing else.

The taste is a mix of malt and faint hops....not at all exciting nor complex but certainly not offensive. I'll let my next bottle get closer to room temp and if there are any noteworthy changes in my opinion of this brew, I'll edit my review. As it stands now, this just lacks the flavour that I was hoping for in a UK session ale. Too bad.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.83/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pours an autumn/amber color with a huge 2 finger rocky off white head that was slowly diminished.

S: There was some earthiness on the nose with the faint scent of fall leaves.

T: The beer starts off with a sweet but grainy texture and is very dry with some mineral notes. There is a rich caramel bite providing a light to moderate mouthful with some cranberry notes coming through upon warming. The carbonation is light to moderate but still manages to bring out the leafy and earthiness of the palate. The finish is quick and sweet from the sweet caramel backing.

M: medium body fullness, creamy from the rich caramel backing

D: Drinkability is surprising easy and quite good. I really enjoy the minerality in the water and the sweet toasted malt lacing in the finish of this beer. decent per style.

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Photo of Haybeerman
3.14/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Clear reddish/brown color. Poured a 2 finger off-white creamy head with decent retention. Heavy, coating lacing all the way to the bottom.

S: Malts and light hop bitterness.

T: Earthy malts and bitter hops. Finished clean with a light, but sdiscernable, hop bitter.

M: Medium body. Little carbonation. Smooth and creamy.

D: Malts and flattish feel could get tiresome, but certainly nothing offensive. Better than many of its style.

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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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