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

151 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Kilkenny Irish Cream AleKilkenny Irish Cream Ale

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

Style: Irish Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Now brewed here:

Added by Todd on 05-08-2002

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 151 | Ratings: 387
Photo of BringusKilkenney
4.97/5  rDev +46.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap and loved it probably one of my favorite beers ever so easy to drink.

This cream ale pours a nice ruby red with a little yellow in the light. Nice white two finger head with a one finger that lingers.

The smell is nice of roasted malts and cream just smooth all around.

The taste is of malts and smoothness if that is a taste a bit watery if you concentrate to hard. A great offering for this style and good job for a guiness brew.

The mouthfeel is smooth and carbonated with just a little fizz nice and easy to take down a really nice session beer with the low abv what a great brew to just sit back and enjoy with friends.

 652 characters

Photo of rpardon7
4.97/5  rDev +46.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I am partial to this beer it was my favorite while i did study abroad in Venice, Italy.

A-Appearance is a creamy red ale, witha nice thick head that is a tannish white.

S- Malt with carmel undertones.

T- Taste the sweet carmel malt, taste like a true Irish cream ale should.

M- Very smooth and creamy full bodied feel.

D- Excellent drinkablity, I had plenty of these while in Europe.

 389 characters

Photo of maurrich
4.88/5  rDev +43.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I first discovered this beer through a friend at a gym I go to. He is British and was familiar with many beers from the UK. I was tired of the same old beers we have here in this little province of PEI Canada, so he suggested I try some English and Irish beers, Kilkenny was my first, I've tired a dozen or so others but keep coming back to Kilkenny, it's my favorite of all. Smoothest I've ever tastes, and really goes with almost anything, its texture is so creamy and the head is so dense and inviting. Recently it became available here, not sure if it's because of my pleading. Everyone who come over I give them a glass full and no one has ever not been impressed with it. I highly recommend people try it out.

 715 characters

Photo of delmarnate
4.85/5  rDev +42.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had this beer on tap in Ireland numerous times on a trip there. The taste and mouthfeel are outstanding. Very nice mix of hoppiness and malts with a stronger malt character.The head stayed with the beer the whole glass. Very smooth and drinkable beer. I wish it was available here.

 283 characters

Photo of MattBrooks
4.63/5  rDev +36.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I brought a bunch of the delicious brew back from a trip to Ireland several years ago and really had to savor each can; because when I asked Guinness USA why this beer isn't available in the US, they told me that it would be a direct competitior to the pub can stout that they produce. Fair, it would take away from sales of the original, I'm sure. But this is s completely different style of beer. This is a Red-Cream Ale, with an enormous and beautiful head, and a smell of a heather field from the Emerald Isle herself. It has a full, rich body with malt to spare; and the finish goes on forever. I highly recommend this brew, and would consider trading to get my hands on more.

 681 characters

Photo of the42ndtourist
4.58/5  rDev +34.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Readily available in Canada, I regularly partake of this classic beer. Few beers have a better appearance than Kilkenny. The deep red colour and cascading carbonation of a freshly poured pint are prime examples of the style. The taste is near heavenly; smooth and well heeled, without significant bitterness. Kilkenny is truly drinkable, I could drink this daily for the rest of my life and be a happy man. I feel sorry for Americans, since you apparently can't find Kilkenny in the States. My favourite beer, hands down.

 527 characters

Photo of BIGMURK
4.53/5  rDev +33.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: Copper
smell: malt/cookie/slight caremel
taste: creamy/Caramel/light malt
mouthfeel: creamy
drinkability: Excellent
Serving type: on-tap

I experienced this beer while in the Netherlands: Eindhoven, Breda, and again in Amsterdam and fell in love with this wonderful ale. I damn sure wish it were sold in the US.
I have found that many others I work with have also fell in love with this beer but bummed about its distribution.

 439 characters

Photo of GrimmReaper
4.34/5  rDev +27.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is a striking beautiful brew with it's deep mahogney color with a reddish-orangey tint,a beautiful full foamy tan head that stays with the brew all the way to the bottom of the glass,and leaves a full sticky lacing all the way through.
The nose is of malts,with a sniff of caramel butter,and toffee.
Taste is bitterness right from the start than the malts,caramel and toffee kicks in than more bitterness again and finish's off with a tinge of dryness,all going down like a creamsicle,creamy smooth,just slides right down very easy.
Excellant mouth to this one, medium body that goes down thin but creamy at the same time,very very smooth,and the head, that turns into a nice 1/4 inch collar,stays with you all along, and adds to the creaminess,wonderful to drink,could easily drink 3 or 4 of these at 500 ml. before moving on to some thing else.Very enjoyable and highly reccomended.

 889 characters

Photo of WillPaulFPE
4.31/5  rDev +26.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

If you are seeking a temporary respite from hoppy beers, Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale certainly will fit the bill. It is an extremely smooth nitrogen based cream ale with no bitterness, and is quite drinkable. Some American beer aficionados might consider it too neutral and perhaps watery in nature, but that is exactly what makes this cream ale unique. It is presently not marketed in mass in the United States, however a number of Irish Pubs across the country will often have it on draft. Again, it is a departure from trending hoppy beers, but I hope it gains increased popularity in the United States as more people try it and become attracted to it's unique taste. My high scoring for this brew is based on its attributes as an Irish Cream Ale, and not necessarily as a direct comparison to other American Cream Ales or Irish Red Ales. Kilkenny is in a unique class shared by only a few other cream ales such as Wexford Irish Cream Ale. Cheers!

 954 characters

Photo of SixpointJMH
4.3/5  rDev +26.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

i've heard kilkenny is just smithwick's renamed in order to appeal to a younger crowd, but i can assure you it's a completely different beer. a very good irish red ale that's an excellent session beer. pours a reddish amber with a fairly thick, creamy head. i had this on tap while in ireland, but i believe it's still unavailable in any form in the US, which is a shame because i certainly miss it.

 399 characters

Photo of Tang07
4.27/5  rDev +25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed this brew.

Very creamy, great head. great flavor. I like guinness, but sometimes I like something a bit lighter if I have to, well, be active. This is a great alternative.

The ale pours like a Guinness, but it is of a more translucent brown color.

It is flavorfull, but not as strong as Guinness.

The mouthfeel, is well, creamy.

I could certainly let afternoon turn to evening drinking these. A fine brew.

It is right in between Caffry's and Guinness on the flavor scale.

 500 characters

Photo of DoctorStrangiato
4.25/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 440-ml can into a pub ale glass.

Appearance - shimmering, cascading flow as the beer settled to an amberish- white cream head.

Smell - hops and malted barley, with a hint of both caramel and coffee.

Taste - wow! I'm impressed with the harmonious combination of nuttiness and caramel-vanilla. Pretty complex taste - enjoyable.

Mouthfeel - pretty decent, although just a touch more sparkle or bite would be good.

Drinkability - the low-alcohol, high-taste is a winner. Many of these could be put down in a night.

 524 characters

Photo of TubaManJack
4.13/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

In NZ, the beer has an ABV of 5%, to help weather the journey halfway round the world.

A- Always helped by a proper pint glass, has a moderate brown color with reddish undertones. (Like most bars there wasn't an abundance of light) Its thick creamy nitrogen head did not diminish throughout my consumption. It was weird to have that much "cream" left at the tail end of the beer.

S- Moderate and almost muted. However the nitrous sensation was there along with the notes of malt.

T - A slight note of bitters(hops) but overwhelming malt taste. The nitrogen body was smooth and creamy. So I propose this beer be renamed a thick Irish Cream. Its is so thick that it seems to have a delay between when you tip the glass back to when it begins to pour, just kidding its a thicker beer than most of what I have encountered in the past.

M- A lingering bitterness that is floating on the nitro-body. Towards the end of the sitting, the head began to be repetitive and almost airy in relation to its initial character.

D- A refreshing change from Guinness and when the bar runs out of it then you shouldn't be disappointed. The body gets in the way of its endless drinkablity, however I enjoy the style and its certainly more friendly per pint then Guinness. If you like Guinness than revel in a new found beer.

 1,310 characters

Photo of Derek
4.11/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Coppery-red, with a creamy, off-white head. Nice lace. I really enjoy it on tap (with the dispersion pour).

S: Light aroma, but pleasant. A little bread, nut & caramel malt.

T: Very well balanced. Nice malt flavour (bread, nut & caramel), with a very smooth bitterness. Not much hop flavour.

M: Moderate body is VERY creamy. Astonishing for its weight! Carbonation is mild to moderate.

D: It's a little filling, but it's still a great session beer. It use to be my winter staple... very hearty.

 509 characters

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

My good friend brought me back a four back of Kilkenny from Canada (because those bastards at Smithwick's won't allow it to be distributed in the US). This is such a brilliant beer.

It's basically a Red Guinness. It has the incredible dancing cascade. Thick, foamy head. It is the most beautiful beer there is.

The scent is mild, but present. It is a smooth almost caramel kind of smell.

It is incredibly smooth and creamy, even more so than a Guinness. Out of the can, it doesn't have quite the crisp bite that it has off the tap. That is really the only bad thing I can say. But there is not a beer that I have had that has near the kind of smoothness and drinkability as Kilkenny.

Overall, this is definitely my favorite brand of beer. It simply has everything you can ask for out of a beer.

 798 characters

Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.08/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer is an example of what every Irish Red would hope to be. From the first pour, it resembles a Guinness, with the dark red color and thick white head. Its as smooth as beer gets. The flavor resembles a somewhat fruity amber with a surprisingly short aftertaste. This is the type of beer you have to unwind and relax, since it is a heavy brew. The only con I can think of it getting a hold of it. I have only had it in Montreal...well worth the trip!

 456 characters

Photo of oldirtycaffrey
4.05/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Like Caffrey's Irish Ale, Kilkenny is very impressive. Pours a dark amber color with a creamy, white head. Thick, reddish hue to the color. Sweet smell, with a smooth, dry finish. I really enjoyed this beer. Great beer to just sit back and drink all night.

 256 characters

Photo of jaz58
4/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice ale. One of my favorites.

Nice orange brown clear appreance in the glass with a rich caramel white head which dissolves slowly.

Hints of caramel, malt and hops in the taste.

Fresh bread dough in the nose.

Smooth with a slighty dry finish.

A good ale to drink anytime of the year.

 296 characters

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

I love the nitro widget on offer in the canned variety. What a novelty. The creamy texture really does it for me with this ale. It has a deep reddish hue, topped off with a thick layer of cream. I feel really indulgent when I drink this beer and I would recommend it to anyone who has not yet experienced it.

 308 characters

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

Arrived as a cloudy reddish brown. Creamy white bubbles filter to the top as it settles, making for a bit of a show. The taste was a delicious creamy, slightly sweet flavor, with some mild bitterness. Really smooth and tasty, though a bit dry in the end. It reminds me of a really good Guinness, but not as heavy.

 313 characters

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

A- Deep ruby color not brilliant.Has a nice beige foam that lingers quite enough leaving some laces.Perfect carbonation.

S- Malty sweet aroma, complex yeast odors are present too.No hops aroma.

T- Malty, some roast caramel with a nutty touch(subtle), coming to a balanced bitterness in the aftertaste.Very complex flavor, tasty,very tasty.

M- Medium bodied,very smooth velvet mouthfeel.

O- Great beer, it belongs to one of my favorite beer style .

 451 characters

Photo of joecast
3.98/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

330ml can. hmm dropped the can from 440ml. best before 07/07

i'll keep this short. i keep forgetting if i have reviewed this or not. not a memorable beer by any means, but for whatever reason, it sure seems to hit the spot tonight.

the nitro head must add another dimension. the aroma and mouthfeel benefit greatly from it.
taste is smoooth (not a typo, it is that smooth) malt with a balance between the sweetness and a touch of hops
much better than i remember (or not remember), and great drinkability which is good cause its better on the cold side than room temp.

----previous review 2004----
clear deep amber color with a head that settles to a 1cm. thick off white layer of foam.
very sweet, almost candy-like malty aroma.
taste starts malty sweet in the mouth but is followed by a balancing earthy-hop bitterness. a bit let down by the almost sour finish.
not bad but the finish hurts the overall beer experience.

 936 characters

Photo of dirtyoldtown53
3.96/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thick creamy Guinness like head, slightly lighter in colour. Slightly bolder taste than Smithwick's, a little more full bodied I felt, I did have in on non-nitro and it seemed even more full bodied, nitro had slightly drier finish. Good beer anyhow.

 249 characters

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

Beer bottle and can (50cl.), tasted in 1999.

Appearance: red copper color, with white creamy foam head.
Smell : caramel aroma
Taste & Mouthfeel : very soft, thin it slips in the mouth, caramel flavour. Creamy with a hint of toast finish.
Drinkability: a good refreshing beer, in the style Irish red ale

Review translated from french 6-11-2008.

 345 characters

Photo of dirtylou
3.91/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

draught, at the hilton Sandton (South Africa) bar

appearance: boddingtons like presentation, a little more copper with a nice full active body - gotta appreciate the nitro draft

smell: light malt notes, nothing standout, smooth

taste: very creamy and a nice simple beer for sure, copper apple, light toasted malt, good during a futbol match

mouthfeel: as the nitro goes, very smooth and creamy

drinkability: high

 417 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale from Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd
3.4 out of 5 based on 387 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.