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: 151 | Ratings: 387
Photo of BeckHardy
2/5  rDev -41.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I had this on tap from Moriarty's Irish Pub.
Amber/copper in appearance
Off white head that quickly faded
Aroma was muted. I'm chalking this up to my sinuses
Mouth feel was creamy
Over all a good beer and something different from the usual pints of Guinness

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Photo of beerhobo22
3.01/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Smooth low alcohol beer. Briliantly clear with persistent white head. Served on nitro has a smooth mouthfeel with low bitterness. Good irish red beer.

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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!

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Photo of leaddog
3.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours a medium reddish copper with two fingers of off white creamy head.

Smell - mild caramel malt aromas, buttery characteristics, and little to no hops.

Taste - Mild caramel malt aromas dominate the brew. The butteriness of the brew help to round out the brew.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with light carbonation. Finishes silky with a pleasant smoothness.

Overall - A simple cream ale with mild malt flavour and an appealing mouthfeel. A brew that can be seen as a sessionable one.

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Photo of Phil-Fresh
3.57/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Very faint aroma of lightly sweet malt with a slightly grainy character.

A: Light golden color, the beer is clear with an ample white head that lasts. Lots of lacing in the glass.

T: Lightly sweet malt, a bit of caramel presence with no noticeable hops - pretty straight forward flavors.

M: Light boded with moderate carbonation. The nitro gives this beer an exceptionally creamy mouth-feel.

O: I’ve seen this beer in stores a million times, but strangely don’t run across it all that often on draft (even in Irish bars, more often they have Harp). The beer is super sessionable – not a lot going on in the aroma or flavor, but surprisingly refreshing.

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Photo of CantankerousCaveBear
3.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Fond memories of this one. Was one of the first beers I purchased. Not much needs to be stated, creamy mouthfeel, quaffable. Quite watery, and lacks substantial flavours or aroma. Faint caramel and toffee sweetness. Even fainter traces of roasted graininess. Served me well at house parties and playing drinking games like flip cup and beer pong.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a nitro-can into a shaker pint, the beer has the cascade effect into a caramel coloring with a dense, smooth, cream colored head. Aromas of tangy cream, sugary and caramel sweet notes, and roasted notes. Flavors are roasted sweet forward, with caramel and nutty notes blending together, and some sugary highlights. Smooth and light in mouth, and the nitro really rounds out any edges. Tangy and sugary aftertaste, most noticeably caramel linger through the smooth, easy finish. Classic, and easy enough to drink, but there are better Cream Ales out there.

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Photo of Bunman3
3.41/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I have a soft spot in my heart for Kilkenny. I picked up my obligatory St. Patty's 4 pack of nitro cans today. This really is a lovely looking beer - I do love the cascading action as it assembles itself for consumption. The aroma is a faint bread and yeast, and the flavour is super soft on the palate. This is beer for people who don't really like beer, in many ways (my wife loves it). Overall, though, drinking a Kilkenny is a good thing.

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Photo of RoadLizard
3.26/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I tried this as part of a Guiness sampler pack. It wa actualy pretty good. Extremely smooth & creamy which I like for this style. Perfect head with a little lacing down the glass. It didn't have a prominent smell but the flavor is there if a little muted. It could be more bold but the flavor is there and works.

These draught can cream ales are not supposed to be "in your face". They are mellow, have low ABV, and are meant for easy drinking. This one fits the mold perfectly.

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Photo of illpass78
3.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

14.9 oz. nitro can poured into a nonic.

Appearance: Pours a clear red/brown with a big off-white head.

Aroma: Kind of muted, but there's some tea and toffee and malts.

Taste: Also kind of malty and toffee-like. Like a less-hopped Smithwicks.

Mouthfeel: Really nice creamy texture. The nitro widget clearly helps. Somewhat light but not in a bogus way.

Overall: Decent Irish red. Wouldn't not drink again.

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Photo of Redrover
3.45/5  rDev +1.5%

16 oz can poured into my Samuel Smith Pint glass. The beer is a nice amber with a thick and creamy tan head. It is a looker.

it has a nose of light malts, a hint of toffee and a bit red apple.

Lightly roasted malts and a bit of caramel in the taste. It is slightly sweet and not overly complex.

The mouth is creamy but thin.

I don't mind having one once in awhile, but it is not a beer I actively seek out.

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Photo of Cayce
3.25/5  rDev -4.4%

Tried it with the Guinness Variety pack a few days ago. 440ml Served in a glass.
Note: I have never had an irish cream draught before, so I may be shooting in the dark with this one.

I actually enjoyed this beer quite a bit. It is very, very smooth and goes down easy. A pleasing caramel color with about 2 fingers of foam.

Definately has the draught characteristics and same smell as well. Smells alot like Guinness, maybe not as potent.

The taste is very smooth and the best way to describe it is 'creamy'. Has a nice body and well-balanced. Nothing really sticks out to me.

The mouth is also a smooth a full flavor. Not carbonated at all, almost like flat beer but sweet instead of bitter. Not gassy at all either.


I think this is a enjoyable choice. I could see myself grabbing some of these for the holidays as it kind of reminds me of the consistency of light eggnog (not the taste). Definately better than the Winter Spirit I reviewed and has a lot more going for it as far as appearance, body, and complex flavors. Not everyone may like it, but definately is a nice change if you want to try something different. Cheers.

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Photo of humuloner22
3.75/5  rDev +10.3%

I had this beer the first time when I was in Spain. I think that was the case anyway. I remember it was nectar of the gods in those days. But then again I was just a student and had not had all that much exposure to fantastic beers at that point in my life. Since then I had been searching for this beer with no luck. Then the other day I totally stumbled upon this Irish Discovery Pack and could not believe my eyes when I saw that this was included in it. I did a double take. Really!

Appearance: Red clear beer with a nice creamy off white head that stays until the last drop is consumed. The color is a bit unusual, it definitely has red hues to it but, it almost has a copper brown shade going on. It changes a bit in the light. And it changes depending on the type of light.

Aroma: Not a lot going on. Hardly anything. Very mild ale aroma, if that is even a good description.

Taste: Creamy, love the texture, I guess that is what turned me on to this beer to begin with. Its a lot like Smithwicks, but think of that in a nitro form. Its not an overwhelmingly flavorful beer, but I am giving it points for its enjoyability and nostalgia.

Overall: This is not really a spectacular beer. I have had a lot of better beers, A LOT, but this one allows me to wax nostalgic. Its better than a lot of beers out there but if I had just had this one for the first time it would honestly get probably a 3.5 or 3.75, but I am biased based upon a youthful tromp through Europe when I drank this beer many years ago. It still good. If you can find it try it for yourself. I wish they would make it more readily available in this part of the USA, I would buy it more often for sure.

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Photo of RandomExile
3.85/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: translucent dark caramel, rich creamy beige head, spike-topped, sheeted lacing
S: nutty, malty, mild
T: malt and caramel, toasted, woody
M: med-full bodied, smooth with light carbonation, dry
O: delicious toasted red

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Photo of kevofficiel
2.96/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Irish Red Ale. One of my first Irish beer.

The smell of it I find it really smooth. A little of bit of that caramel touch.
The carbonation is also great. You have almost 2 finger of head that stays until you drink the beer.

The taste is really different than any other that I try for a red ale, its really creamy and the taste powerful but not too strong. I don t find anything spectacular about that beer, if you are in Quebec the Boreale or the Belle Gueulle Red ale will do a much better job

Would I recommend it ? Its a small Yes. Just give it a try if you are at the bar but don't buy a whole pack

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Photo of bluedognever
3.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I had this at Ri Ra at Mandalay Bay in Vegas. A very drinkable Irish ale - soft creamy mouthfeel. Nothing extraordinary but rather tasty. Lightly carbonated and malty - not extremely hoppy. A few hints of citrus bot nothing overt. It has a nice finish. Went perfectly with fish & chips.

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Photo of MarkoNm
3.18/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark ruby color and is covered with a nice and slightly cream colored head that stays around for a while.
Pleasant malty aroma, aroasted, and some nice caramel too.
The creamy beer has a nice bittery taste, some caramel here too and some coffee as well. Bitter aftertaste.
I used to not care about red beers, but now I have to say I really enjoy Kilkenny. Very drinkable.

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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 .

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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.

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Photo of CampusCrew
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

This is a beer that is totally different on nitro draft and scores can vary a lot. Very smooth eay to drink red ale import. Has much better flavor ok n nitro draft vs can. Sooth light caramel malt. Very low hop presence. Creamy fluffy white head and a sliky smooth body

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Photo of machalel
2.98/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Pours a lovely ruby red with that wonderful cascading action thanks to the nitrogen bubbles. Creamy thick head that lasts for quite a long time, and a reasonable amount of lacing down the glass.

Aroma: A collection of sweet malt, caramel, and some faint hops. Nothing to get excited about, but nothing 'wrong'.

Taste: Some light toast, pale malt, and a bit of nuttiness. There is some bitterness, but it is kept in check. Quite simple and clean, and a little sweet.

Mouthfeel: A smooth, velvety, creamy body with that stereotypical nitrogen carbonation. Trying to read through the layers of cream, it does have a reasonably dry finish, and I think the body has been left thin so that it isn't overly heavy when combined with the nitrogen.

Overall: A nice beer, one that highlights subtle malt and nut flavours, and could be likened to a lighter, less roasty Guinness (in a good way). It is not as complex as I would have hoped, but is ahead of a lot of other 'macro' beers out there. Definitely relies on the nitrogen carbonation to stand out, but worth trying anyway.

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Photo of JamesHenjum
2.21/5  rDev -35%
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 PorterLambic
3.45/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Arrives a clear, bright reddish brown with an uber-tight finger high head of cream colored foam insulating the liquid from the world at large. Great retention but oddly little lace.
Smell is malt, caramel and hops blended like so many English & Irish ales. Smooth in the nose and well balanced.
Taste is malt, hops, wheat, caramel, with light citrus and floral notes. Well balanced.
Medium bodied with a watery, drying finish. Very light effervescence. A smooth brew, easily quaffed in quantity and agreeable to the palate. Not a standout but a solid performer.

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Photo of Mellonius
3.8/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Pub Italia, Ottawa.

Pours dark caramel, opaque, with a dense, creamy beige head that forms from the bottom to top just like a Guinness would. Looks pretty decent and desirable.

Aroma is malty, sweet caramel with a hint of hops. Typical british ale smell.

Mouthfeel is pleasant, not dense. Light on the palate.

Caramel and malt tastes, some biscuity undertones. Bitterness is not excessive and the aftertaste gives it a fairly good balance.

I do not have much experience with british beers and am right now trying to learn more. Personally, I found it a very decent beer, which I plan to try again and see how my tastebuds will judge it.

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Photo of davey101
3.09/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

12 oz pour from a nitro tap at an Irish restaurant in Mohegan Sun.

A - Well its a dark room but it looks like a golden amber/light red body. It took a while to reach my table so I assume I missed the nitro cascading action. About a two finger high bone white head that lasts the entire beer. Tons of lacing and retention. Looks damn near perfect.

S - Boring. Some toasty malt and a touch of nutty sweetness. Struggling to find much of anything happening here.

T - Lightly roasted malts with some caramel sweetness and nuttiness coming through. Touch of bittering hops on the finish. Simple, clean and plain. Mouth feel is creamy and velvety smooth.

O - The entire time I was drinking this I kept thinking that it was just a nuttier version of Guinness draught with a copper body. I don't think that's such a bad thing though. Its an easy drinking beer with a bit of flavor to it. I could easily drink this all night, especially at 4.3% abv. Nitrogen or bust though.

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Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale from Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd
3.4 out of 5 based on 387 ratings.
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