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

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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

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Reviews: 149 | Ratings: 380
Photo of WHROO
1.66/5  rDev -51.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Can with widget poured into 500ml mug.
As expected after a slow pour, very soft & creamy 1 finger head...creamy lacing down the glass & as typical with red ales, a deep reddish burgundy - strong tea colour. No carbonation.
aroma had a little yeast, but definately had to search for anything really.
The taste was my turn off...it just had the whole watered down Guiness thing big time. Flat with no carbonation in the mouth at all. I love my stouts, darker ales etc, but this was a let down...it really tasted as dead as the carbonation. nothing bad about it, its just that theres nothing memorable either. a fraction bitter at back, but it really seemed dead weight.
Mouthfeel was flat, although creamy, also a little heavy.
Drinkabilty:: my goodness, I really did struggle to get it all down, but in the end I did due to passing it around for others to try (some liked, others didn't). Just too watery, & absolutelty nothing to invite me back for another one...a shame really!

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Photo of Noxious26
1.81/5  rDev -46.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

440ml nitro can poured in a pint glass.

Clear, red-amber colour. Dense nitro head 1/2 inch thick stays that way. After the nitro settles down after the pour, not much in the way of carbonation bubbles.

Despite the big head, the aroma is quite weak. I'm having difficulties determining what exactly this is. Sweet? Malt? Caramel? Tea? A little of each I guess but nothing dominant, just very mild.

Tastes like pine needles. Like sucking on some bark and leaves for awhile. Somewhat malty at the start, but it's muted. At the swallow there is the smallest hint of caramel sweetness, but don't worry, it's not sticking around long. Bitter pine needle aftertaste. Horrible.

Very thin and watery mouthfeel. Not at all what an ale should be like. Somewhat fizzy.

Bleech. I've never been a big fan of Kilkenny, but I hadn't tried one in several years and thought it was worth another shot. Especially since it's my brother-in-law's favourite beer. Bought a 4 pack and split it with him. Both of these wound up going down the drain. I can't get this pine taste out of my mouth. I feel like I've been sucking on a branch of a Christmas tree. I don't know if it's psychological, but I don't think I've had a nitro can yet that I enjoyed. Shouldn't be the nitro that puts me off, but whatever, yuck. It'll be several years before I have one of these again... unless it's on tap, that might make a difference, but I doubt it.

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Photo of Genry
2/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a 440 can into a glass snifter.

Pour was terrible, even when I took my time there was too much foam. Appearance is a cloudy grey fading to deep red.

Smells of carbonation from the widget, and not much else. Very muted.

The taste was very, very disappointing. I had thought Guinness went down hill, but Kilkenny has taken a nosedive. Taste was bitter, heavy - borderline rank. Nothing but bitter hops and cream. It made me feel like I was drinking stale water that had been mixed with real Kilkenny, poured on the ground, soaked up with a towel, and strained into my glass.

Mouthfeel was not much better, oily and heavy. What a waste.

Drinkability? I will not be drinking Kilkenny from a can for a long time, though I'm tempted to give it a second chance on tap.

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Photo of BeerManDan
2/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Do not waste your time and money on this beer if you buy the can. If you want a great beer, drink this beer from a tap. But, they do not sell this beer in the U.S., yet. What a waste of brewing this beer and putting it in a can!

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Photo of cyrenaica
2/5  rDev -41.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Another British ale that just didn't please my palate (yet my friends tell me that someday, my ale will come!). This beer has a darker colour than I normally like (I prefer golden nectars) and a weak aroma. It went down very smooth however. It felt thick in the mouth, very little carbonation. The flavour was alright, very malty.

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Photo of Naerhu
2.08/5  rDev -39%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Permanent finger of pure white creamy head on a hazy golden body.

Butterscotch and hop aroma.

This is just thin reedy nitro garbage.

Light non-carbonated nitro-garbage mouth-feel.

Do not bother with this, yet another inspid "creation" from a once great brewery.

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Photo of JamesHenjum
2.21/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Light see through brown. Nice creamy head that becomes thin quick, but looks very tasty.

S: Slight creamy malty smell but not much at all.

T: Slightly bitter creamy coffee. But very watery. Not much to it. Very disappointing here.

M: Creamy head with a watery fizzy body.

O: Lacked a lot in the taste and mouthfeel. Needs a lot more flavor to give me any reason to come back for more. Hopefully this was just a bad experience since I did not have it on tap.

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Photo of daliandragon
2.34/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This was sampled from a 500 ml can bought in a supermarket and drank in a small glass I borowed from the owner of the B and B we recently stayed in on vacation in County Meath, Ireland. I'm still looking for my definitive Irish red ale after trying a few contenders but I don't think this will be it either.
Appearance is unconventional, with a dark reddish color and is completely headless and in general looks flat and boring. Smell is faint with hints of malt and nuttiness.
Tastes malty and bitter but not really in a good way. Something of an involuntary faceclench in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is slightly better, with some smoothness and a clean if flat finish.
Kilkenny is not run of the mill macro swill but still not very good at all. Somehow I just feel the recipe probably is decent but the brewer tried to use cheaper ingredients and faster methods and this is the result.

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Photo of granger10
2.42/5  rDev -29%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Comes out with a nice auburn copper color and a thicker egg white head. Looks like a lighter Guinness from the pour. Good sheets of lacing around the glass. Aroma is weak. Maybe some toffee and pear but that's about all I get. Taste is also too weak for my liking. Some caramel is in there along with hints of fruity hops. Creamy in mouthfeel but this is still a bit too watery for me. Just kind of bland all around. I could session this, but why would I want to. Reminds me of Wexford's offering but not as good. Not impressive.

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Photo of JohnfromDublin
2.43/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I tasted this 500ml can on 16/02/07, best by 16/06/07. Brewed in Kilkenny and Dublin, it says; make your mind up lads!

Poured into a regular pint glass with a nitrogen-induced Guinness-type surge, and settled to give a pale red brown body (clear), with a creamy head.
Smelled pleasent enough, hard to say of exactly what; maybe a mild hops aroma.
Tasted very bland, almost of nothing - watery. I have had this on nitro tap years ago, and it wasn't this bland.
Mouthfeel okay, but I didn't make it past the halfway mark. Overall a very disappointing beer.

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Photo of JBogan
2.44/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

On tap at an Irish pub in Germany.

Pretty good looking beer. Pale copper color with a solid, creamy one finger head which stuck around for the duration and left a nice amount of lacing.

Smelled of tabacco and light coffee.

Tasted quite weak, with a coffee backbone and some wet cardboard overtones.

Very flat mouthfeel with no carbonation present. Thin feeling in the mouth.

Nothing I'd order again, and really wouldn't recommend trying.

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Photo of biegaman
2.49/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

I used to be entertained by what ensues from the pouring of a nitro-can. The dizzying dance of bubbles, the grading scheme of colours and shifting balance of lofty foam; it really is a spectacle, albeit an unauthentic one. Nevertheless, this seesawed carbonation reveals a lovely rusty caramel tone and a head unsurpassed in terms of creaminess.

It's too bad the aroma doesn't offer as much to the senses. Actually, it offers virtually nothing to the senses. The beer's appearance suggests something sweet, malty and lightly toasted with a gooey abundance of caramel. Alas, its aroma - or lack there of - implies none of the above and offers little except a stale, easily overlooked hint of corn adjunct.

The body doesn't seem to correspond to its appearance either; it is anemically thin. There is virtually no maltiness and thus little to provide texture or taste. The aftertaste is essentially non-existent and even sitting on the palate there is nothing to distinguish the beer apart from water; it isn't sweet nor bitter. It is entirely featureless.

And apart from that mass of artificial cream, your palate would sense little of anything drinking this beer. The only thing I can make out, apart from that cream precluding each sip, is a slight mineral tinge. Otherwise, I wrestle to find any likeness to flavour. Given it bears almost no resemblance to beer why does anyone bother drinking it?

The brewery tacks the slogan "smooth and distinguished" onto each can. Smooth? By default, yes. Distinguished? Someone please get these people a dictionary. Is that meant to be tongue-in-cheek? Let me be plain and simple: this doesn't smell, taste or feel like beer (and you could make the case about this artificial carbonation) so in my mind, it simply isn't.

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Photo of TheHammer
2.49/5  rDev -27%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance - Came in a Kilkenny glass, has a nice deep brown color with reddish undertones. A good solid finger of nitrogen head which retains and laces extremely well throughout the whole beer.

Smell - Smells quite generic to be honest, and not quite that strong. Smells of various malts, caramel, with an almost tea like undertone and a hint of yeast. A little light as far as scent goes as you do have to look for it.

Taste - The head is nice, as expected from a nitrogen tap, but it just doesn't flow right. Starts with a sweet malt flavor with a touch of tea and caramel, but from that point apart from a quick kick of bitter hops in the middle, the beer just present more of the same flavor, albeit more and more subdued.

Mouthfeel - Very smooth going down, but the bitterness lingers a bit too long. The beer is deceptive, if it was Guinness you'd expect it to be that strong, but because it seems smoother and lighter you don't expect it to stay. Also, doesn't leave the creamy sensation you'd expect from a nitro-tap.

Drinkability - Well, on the plus side this beer is a much more subdued Guinness and goes down a lot smoother. That being said, it does leave a bit of a bitter aftertaste. The biggest problem though is once this beer hits your stomach it feels like lead. This beer is far too heavy for me to have more then one or two. It honestly feels someone lined my stomach with caulking it's so heavy.

Final Thoughts - When I think this beer, I think of Guinness. This is probably because of the nitrogen tap. That being said, this beer seems to suffer from all the flaws of Guinness (heavy, bitter aftertaste) with few of the advantages (rich and strong flavor, creamy feel). Frankly that would be fine if the beer was lighter to the stomach. I would probably never buy this beer again, it's far too heavy for far too little flavor.

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Photo of JustinBathurst
2.54/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours out of the can a frothy glass of caramel, something like translucent toffee. The head is nice and creamy, about 1.5 cm.

Smells of grain, something like apricot. I think the aroma is the best thing about this ale.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, but a bit too much on the watery side of things for my tastes.

Immediate tastes put forward are a roasted malt and a bitter metallic finish. The whole things seems too watered down, as thought unsure of itself.

Not bad at first, but I find the whole ale gets downright disappointing by the time I've finished half a glass. Not my ale of choice, that's for sure.

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Photo of Andreji
2.55/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I do not really know cream ales enough to judge this one on another basis, but it was certainly not my favourite. The pour, brown with a head and sinking bubble appearance like a stout, immediately releases a considerable malt aroma that describes most of what the beer is- extremely sweet on a full body with no carbonation, and just a slight bitterness at the end, which doesn't match with the rest properly.

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Photo of Ruds
2.71/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from tap into a Kilkenny glass at the Kings Head pub in Galway, Eire

Coppery-light brown in colour with a small white head

Sweet aroma on the nose but not a great deal going on other than a little malt and sugar

Tastewise verges on a sweet but a (and certainly not rich in this respect) caramel flavour is present and a very faint bubblegum taste. Not a lot of bitterness if any? - an easy drinking beer if you wish!

A creamy mouthfeel and drinking experience to boot with little carbonation

Overall - I had not tried this beer for perhaps 15 to 20 years and did so largely because I was getting bored of Guinness! I would only drink this again in similar circumstances and will not be seeking it out!

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Photo of drinkininthewood
2.76/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a 440ml nitro can into a pint glass.

A- nice creamy froth head that sticks and lace that coats your entire glass all the way till the end. Amber/brown in color.

S- is of grain and mostly roasted malts.

T- Smooth and clean with flavors of roasted malt, hints of caramel and nuts, finishes with a mild hop finish.

M- Slightly watery yet fairly smooth and creamy. Medium bodied.

D- easily drinkable but much more sessionable on tap.

Overall a decent brew that goes well with most food especially basic pub fare. worth a try.

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Photo of SaunaKing
2.76/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Wow! A great looking beer - pours a crazy creamy head that engulfs the whole glass then quickly settles to a nice level. The bubbles float downward like with Guiness as the head recedes. The foam below the level of the beer comes up in a groovy, acid-trip sort of way as the beer settles in your glass.
The smell is kind of sweet, strange for a beer, to me smells like tea.

The colour is a dark amber-brown and the taste is creamy and also like tea.

The can has a widget (ping pong ball) inside I guess to make sure there is a nice head poured with your beer and it does the trick.

My little bro introduced me to this beer a few years ago and alas, its not bad but not as good as the memories of it.

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Photo of spdyfire83
2.77/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

188th Review
Served in a glass
On-tap at The Brazen Head

A: Medium copper. 1.5 (creamy, off-white) fingernail head.

S: Not too much happening in the nose here, but after much searching I found some vanilla, caramel, and hint of malt. Kind of boring.

T: Very sweet caramel and sticky toffee up-front followed by smooth, balanced bitterness. Not too much else going on here though. Again, quite boring. Sweetness is a bit too much for my liking though.

M: Light/medium bodied with so smooth carbonation. Creamy, oh so creamy. Definitely the highlight of the beer!

O: The lack of aroma and taste of this beer is a bummer because it looks proper and drinks amazingly smooth. It drinks very, very smooth and is quite refreshing; however, not overly enjoyable. Reminds me of drinking cream soda as a kid growing up (good memories), but I'll pass on this going forward as it is too sweet for me.

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Photo of JOaikido
2.78/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

440 ml nitro-can.

A- Full orange amber with red highlights. Gives the impression of bright copper againsta a light. Perfect creamy nitro head that clings to my mug, leaving a nice lace.

S- Slight fruity/beryy notes. Sourness. malt.

T- Watery up front. Pleasant bitter finish. Faint berry and burnt toast in middle. Sour notes as in the odour. The different aspects of the beer don't blend well. This is especially true of the sour notes. No balance to this beer.

MF- Quite watery. Helped a bit by foamy nitro head. Slightly astringent, leaving a pasty feel on tongue and palate.

D- I've only had this beer a couple of times. Once a while back and now. I didn't enjoy it either time. Because it is watery with low ABV, it goes down easily enough, but it is not really a pleasant experience.

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Photo of ThatWineGuy
2.79/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

One benefit of starting to actually critique the beer you drink is a growing awareness of the nitro-can, I find it hard to look at this beer the same way I did a year ago. The layered head is two-plus fingers with amazing retention and foamy presence yet there appears to be no carbonation. Feint odour of grain, yeast. There's just a hint of hops in the mouth, mildly bitter, rye bread with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. The aftertaste is a bit sweet. Actually, it isn't anywhere rich as it looks and I think it drinks quite well for a cream ale. I wouldn't hesitate to try this on tap sometime.

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Photo of Damian
2.8/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served on nitro-tap at Vaughan's Public House, Hartford, CT
Served in a Kilkenny pint glass

A one-finger head of super tight and creamy, off-white foam topped the turbulent liquid. The head was reverse cascading and eventually settled to a thick, lasting film. The liquid beneath the head revealed a crystal clear, copper colored body. Thin rings of lacing stuck along the sides of the glass. Quite impressive.

The nose was rather muted. With a thick cap of froth, the only nuances I picked up initially were dry, powdery, yeasty ones. As the head receded, a touch of biscuity malts appeared.

Toasted malts dominated the rather simplistic flavor profile. Touch of caramel. Dry, powdery and minerally notes were also apparent. The finish was surprisingly crisp and hoppy. Earthy and moderately bitter. The hops were typical European bittering hops (most likely Fuggles), but they were used in greater quantity than I anticipated.

The mouthfeel was quite disappointing, especially for a beer poured from a nitro-tap. It was thin and watery with a very subtle carbonation. Far less smooth and creamy than than most nitro beers.

I decided to try Kilkenny ale tonight because it was the only offering at the bar that I had yet to sample, and apparently I discovered why this beer not more popular.

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Photo of jarmby1711
2.81/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Never been to the pub in Richmond before so i dont know how much of this they pull ,I suspect not a lot.
It is re copper with the smoothest of heads.Smell :not much at all.
Taste /Mouthfel watery but with a sweet maltiness that lingered and failed to develop or have any kick.
It disappointed as I think it was a better drink from the can

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Photo of CreamAle128
2.83/5  rDev -17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Back in the days when i was totally into cream ales, i gave this one a try. Upon pouring the appearance looked very nice, nice creamy head, darker looking red ale. Smelled of hops, and malt. When tasting, all i can remember is tasting what i thought was tin, not very impressed. For the available cream ales we have here, i reccomend Tetley's anyday. Although i don't care much for cream ales anymore, even though my nickname implys i love it. Back to the Belgians for me!

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Photo of ipogios
2.85/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

An Irish Red Ale. Average taste with quite impressive body. An impressive Ale but certainly not one of the top. Search BeerAdvocate and you'll see what i'm talking about...


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Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale from Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd
3.41 out of 5 based on 380 ratings.
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