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

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Smithwick's AleSmithwick's Ale
726 Ratings
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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Ratings: 726 |  Reviews: 315
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.03/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I guess this is the new In beer for our area; it's popping up in all my usual hangouts. After tasting it, I'm not impressed. It"s a dark amber color with a thick white head and some nice lacing. It had a weak toasty odor, and tasted of grain with some slight hoppiness. I really didn't appreciate much flavor. An average beer.

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Photo of FranklinPCombs
2.82/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

As far as beers go, this one struck me as very unimpressive to look at. As soon as I poured, i was overcome by the head, which at one point was about half the glass. The color is a maple amber, crystal clear, and with tons of carbonation on the sides and bottom of the glass. It looked more like a root beer, or maybe a food-colored macro. The head only looked pleasant once it had died down to about half a centimeter, and actually left a good deal of lace. The smell was metallic off the bat, although I was able to uncover some hidden honey malts with a touch of hops, after some searching. The taste was a bit watery, although this would probably be the strongest point of the beer. It is unimpressive on the front of the pallate, but it divulges a few malty flavors on the back, released by the carbonation. Mouthfeel is high in carbonation, and watery. Drinkable, fine for a round or two, but you wont see me drinking the night away with this.

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Photo of Dewey0603
2.96/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This pours a dark ruby color with a smallish head. The smell has a slight malt aroma,but it is pretty weak. The taste is all malt sweetness with a slight hop presence. The m/f is light and pretty well balanced,but this is just an average beer at best.

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Photo of wcudwight
3.12/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark amber with a nice fluffy head that recedes to a spotty lace. Smells malty, grainy, and like buttered biscuits. Taste is very heavy on the malts with a toast-like finish. Feels thin in the mouth. Not a bad beer, but not one I would pay my hard earned money for. If it was free I would gladly accept though.

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Photo of longarm
3.63/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Fluffy head rests atop dark-reddish base. Great lacing.

Both aroma and flavor principally consist of light, earthy malts. Hops not noticeable. Somewhat sweet, but not overwhelmingly cloying. Fits the style well if maybe a little bland.

Very nice mouthfeel. Moderate sweetness coats the palate without any stickiness.

Fairly drinkable, brown/red ale. Maybe not the best example of the style, but still a good beer.

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Photo of elsinore
3.36/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this in a trade from a friend. I suspect he got the better of the deal, but that's neither here nor there.

Pours from the bottle an attractive brownish-amber. The head fades pretty quickly, but some nice lace remains behind on the glass.

Like others, I didn't detect much of a smell ... I'd say what I did notice was kind of mildly sweet.
The taste, meanwhile, is a whole bunch of malt with some caramel poking through at the end. I was kind of underwhelmed.
I didn't think the mouthfeel was quite as harsh as some other folks noticed. I do believe I could drink a lot of these, and I wouldn't be offended while I did. But I wouldn't be dazzled, either.

This is not a bad beer, just kind of average, in my opinion. If it's the best alternative to boring macros, I would have at it ... but I wouldn't go that far out of my way for it.

EDIT: I let the beer warm up some more after my initial comments, and found the caramel character to be more evident (and more enjoyable.) I bumped up my score to reflect this, but I still don't think this is a beer to scream from the rooftops about.

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Photo of russpowell
3.02/5  rDev -10.4%
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 Enola
2.78/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This beer really did not live up to my expectations. I thought it would be a lot better. It is the color of iced tea. There is a decent sized head. The smell is similar to a light beer. The taste could use some improvment. There is quite a bite to it. I will not buy this again. There are much better options for red beer than this.

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Photo of hopsaplenty
2.98/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The pint of amber ale is topped with a modest soft khaki colored head of medium sized, loosely packed bubbles that diminishes fairly quickly to a minimal collar that left no lacing. The smell is of soft malt sweetness with a mild hop note, not overly distinctive. The taste is much the same. Generally sweet with a bit of graininess finishing with subdued hops that have a modest spice to them. There was also a bit of a metallic note as well. Medium body with a light mouthfeel that has a bit too much carbonation. I’m not sure how many of these I’d want to drink, as it was not overly enjoyable.

This seems to be slightly different, less flavorful and more carbonated, than I remember having it while on an Ireland trip a few years ago.

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Photo of Bitterbill
2.94/5  rDev -12.8%
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 daliandragon
2.66/5  rDev -21.1%
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 arguemaniac
3.53/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep, almost opaque copper color. In fact, the beer looks almost entirely black unless you hold it up to a light. Definite caramel aroma in the nose. The beer features a very clean caramel flavor with a slightly buttery quality. A fairly slight hop crispness comes through midway through. Caramel and grainy malt in the finish.

Not bad, makes a decent session beer, but not the tastiest one. Good caramel flavor with decent drinkability. Recommended.

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Photo of Mandrake
3.25/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber-red with a reddish tinged head that builds to about one finger before dissipating fairly quickly and leaving little lacing. Smells of caramel and coffee, with malts and sweetness apparent. Taste is a bit medicinal, with the caramel muted by a phenolic overtone that puts a damper on the taste. Mouthfeel is a bit flat, with slight carbonation. Drinkability is solid, but not that impressive.

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Photo of Mindsquall
3.88/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a nice red/brown to some tan head that keeps itself on top nicely.

Smell is rather nondescript. Some carbon dioxide, not too much of anything else.

Taste is good, bitter roasted malts make their way to a pretty smooth finish. Bitter aftertaste lingers around, but it adds to the character of the flavor.

This is pretty good, seems to go well with pub grub and other heavy British Isles food.

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Photo of jettjon
3.82/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Highs: Interesting flavor for an ale
Lows: None

I must admit I was confused by the bottle and the fact that this is a Guinness offering. Smithwick's is an ale, not a stout.

Pours a dark amber/cranberry with a 1-finger head of small brown-tan bubbles that fades pretty quickly. Nose is pleasant, with notes of toasted coffee and hints of chocolate and hops. First sampled cold, taste was unimpressive. I allowed it to warm and flavor complexity increased considerably. When warmed, the coffee flavor is complemented by a nutty presence. The intensity of the nose increases as well. Mouth is bubbly, watery, and refreshing. The finish is bitter with some alcohol which detracts. Drinkability is a bit above average.

Overall: A pretty typical ale; not bad, but nothing to write home about.

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Photo of Calico
3.71/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lovely amber color. Good clarity. Fruity, slightly hoppy nose. Initial mouthfeel was very full, malty, lots of nonfermentable sugar feel... but then finished as a clear amber lager. A good session beer, one I'd like to stock up on if the price is right.

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Photo of PBRstreetgang
3.41/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bronzish copper with good clarity. Two light tan fingers of dense bubbles retain well and leaves some stubborn patches of lacing. Lightly toasted pilsener and caramel in the nose. There's also a whiff of hops that seem both noble and citrusy. Nice blend of crystal malt sweetness and pilsener spice, but the malt profile is still lacking for the style. The citrus and faint noble hop aftertaste dominates the flavor with no herbal taste detectable. Airy body is light but not thin; and a high level carbonation keep a crisp mouthfeel, but it retains some texture without becomeing diacetyl. Finishes mostly clean, but more like an APA.

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Photo of Golden2wenty1
3/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at Brocach Irish Pub on the Square here in Madison. Happy Birthday Nick. Washed down some delicious bangers and mash, mussels, and split pea soup.

Deep garnet/mahogany in color, no real head to speak of. Nose is a little too subtle, metallic peat with a hint of smoke. Flavor is even more subtle - metallic bitterness, and a hint of smoked bread. Mouthfeel is thin and highly carbonated. Another underwhelming brew from the British Isles. Sadly, in my experience they tend to be watered down and lacking in character. Nothing that I'd particularly seek out again, though it made an adequate substitute for water with my meal.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.81/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer came amber brown with slight reddish hue. Smelled of sweet and dry sour malts, a bit like bleached flour. Tasted of a good smokey sour malt, a bit of molasses and a nice sour coffee finish. There was a nice combo of sharp contrasts in the flavor between the smooth brown ale-like malt and a sharp hops. Mouth feel was medium bodied, slick and creamy. Nice flavor in this beer. Very smooth with a nice assertive flavor. I’ll look for this one again.

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Photo of Hoves
3.91/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the brewers of Guinness, there can't be much wrong with this drink.

Dark amber color with a formidable, creamy head. The only surprise with this Irish ale is that the odor of the drink is almost non-existant.

The flavor can best be described as delicious, lighter in flavor than most beers of this color and at only 4.5% alcohol you can go ahead and put a couple of these back.

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.1/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Kennedy's Public House in Manhattan.

Appearance; Served in a traditional english pint glass, clear brown color, red when backlit, fizzy tan head with little structure. Decent head retention.

Smell: Malty with a a sweet, faint floral hop scent. Slightly fruity.

Taste: Malty and then, water with some toasty notes. Soft fruits and a mild sour and metallic ending.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied but sticky. Definately watery. Not so great on the palate.

Drinkability: Easy to drink but nothing special. I can't say I'll ever have another.

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Photo of 10bear
4.05/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I drank this one straight from the bottle, so I can't really comment on appearance or smell. I will say, however, that I was very pleasantly surprised by the full-flavor and creamy qualities of the ale, which reminded me more of a smoother lager than an Irish Red.

In fact, the bottle I enjoyed was absent the sharp during and after taste that I've come to associate with Irish red ales. Instead, there was a fine balance of maltyness with caramel sweeteness in the initial mouthful followed by a very mild hoppy finish. The hops were dry and barely noticable, but present. Moderate carbonation with a medium body. Again, I drank this from the bottle so I can't comment on the color, consistency or endurance of the head.

That I was surprised by the smoothness of the Smithwick's probably means that I've been drinking a lot of poor red ales lately, but I found this ale highly enjoyable. I am a fan of German-style lagers and thought the Smithwick's exhibited many of the likable qualities found in my lagered Oktoberfests and dunkels.

Very clean, but I didn't detect any of the butter or toffee flavors some find in Irish Red Ales.

Take your time and enjoy this one! I bet it goes really well with a porterhouse with carmalized onions and some buttery greens.

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Photo of ColoradoBobs
3.52/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at The Marina, Carlingford, County Louth, Ireland, June 13, 2005.

A: Small off-white, long-lasting head, with good lacing over a clear red-amber body.

S: Malt is a moderate white-bread and sweet nutty-cookie presence. Light hopping. Decent balance.

T: I thought Irish red ales were supposed to be a bit maltier than this. Hops were a bit more to the front in the taste than in the smell.

M: Another surpise: rounder and creamier than I anticipated, with a soft carbonation. Nice.

D: This would be an excellent session beer -- nothing to slow you down, no overt complexity, just nice taste and relatively low ABV. For what it is, it's pretty decent. If it's available, have a couple, but don't go out of your way to find and get some.

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Photo of ThreePistols
3.9/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer poured a rich dark amber color with a creamy smooth off-white head that endured till the end. I was amazed at how thick, sticky and long lasting the lace was and how it coated the entire glass.

The aroma is nicely balanced, malty, biscuit like, caramel sweetness.

Medium body that is smooth and creamy with a respectable mouthfeel.

Sweet caramel malt flavor with a splash of hops on the finish.

I enjoyed this beer very much though I've had better. Nevertheless, I found this beer to be delicious and satisfying.

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Photo of clippersfanbob
3.05/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This Irish Ale is dark red/brown in color and pours with a rich, thick head. A high level of carbonation creates a sparkle of effervescence on the tongue. A crisp, somewhat astringent, hoppiness characterizes this beer, along with a rich, mid-palate malty sweetness. Notes of harvest apples, spice, and molasses make way for a lingering, sweet aftertaste.

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Smithwick's Ale from Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd
Beer rating: 3.37 out of 5 with 726 ratings