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 Sammy
3.36/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

amber colour with lace, only a bit of head. Light mouthfeel, creamy and on dry side. Not much taste, but quaffable, in fact quite smooth. Good amount of malt and some carmel. Decent aftertaste though drying. Session ale. Whiff of roast in aroma. 440 ml.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.49/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

440ml nitro-widget thingy can. Long ago, this was a go-to pint upon finding myself in any and all manner of Irish or English-themed pub, yet it has indeed been a while, so time to get reacquainted, me old son.

This beer pours (eventually) a clear, medium copper amber colour, after that overwhelming, cascading off-white foam settles to a few fingers of perfectly creamy ecru head, with a touch of spectral webbed lace left around the glass. It is indeed always a pleasure to watch that particular trope of physics in action.

It smells of lightly fruity drupe esters, grainy caramel malt, wet toasted bread, a bit of earthy yeast, and rather faint earthy, weedy hops. The taste is quite malty and fruity, both measures indistinct and pleasant at the same rate - the thinly bready graininess, and stale apple and banana chips having to suffice - as the mild floral, leafy hops really have little to offer here.

The carbonation is very low-key and beyond innocuous, the body medium-light in weight, and smooth, smooth is the operative word, unless you're into creaminess, and well, it's got that in spades too. It finishes barely off-dry, the malt kind of bleeding out, while the seemingly manufactured fruit and hop esters stick around as if by court order.

I've always been content with this as a perfunctory default at that sort of bar, both here and even in Eire herself; but now, upon closer circumspection, a few blemishes become increasingly evident - a certain plainness all around, be it malt, hop, or well, overall flavour. Which, I suppose is this one's appeal at the pub - toss in the lower than average ABV, and this beer is sessionability, incarnate.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nitro can: Poured a creamy light brown beer with a nice thick creamy head that has lasting retention (the head is similar to the Guinness). Aroma is very light with some small notes of malts. I founded the taste to be very creamy with some small notes of roastiness and sweetness. This beer was a bit dry at the end with a small watery aftertaste but again subtler then Guinness. Overall, this is a very enjoyable session beer from a ‘’decent’’ brewery.

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Photo of oberon
3.21/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First time I had ever saw this beer,never saw it in the U S.Poured from the a nitro tap a deep amber with a nice creamy head on top,pretty blah aromas though some highly kilned malt and caramel but pretty faint.Like alot of nitro ales flavors are pretty week,nice creamy mouthfeel helps but the faint caramel sweetness leafy finish is just to faint and subdues.Well Iam glad I had a chance to try this but its not something I would look for again.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.76/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

There are so many versions of Smithwick's/Kilkenny now that it's almost impossible to keep up with them! Still, I think I've got it under the right heading here. This is a nitro can exported to Canada with 4.3% abv. It pours a deep copper with an orange/reddish cast. The off-white nitro head is exceptionally creamy and maintains a solid 1/4" cap throughout the pint (well, 14+ ounces anyway). It leaves some nice lace and gives the impression of "a proper pint". Within the nose a softly sweet and gently buttery caramel malt darts in and out through mildly earthy/mineral Fuggles hops. The body is light but creamy; and accentuates the balanced toasty, caramelish, and lightly fruity malt. It finishes dry and biscuity with a lingering note of dull buttery caramel. It's very easy to drink with a decent amount of character. A nice session beer! Worth trying.

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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 GClarkage
3.08/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Mid September 2005.

Presentation- Had via the tap at a Irish-style pub in Banff, Alberta.

Appearance- Red-amber pour with lots of nitro bubbles. Forms into a small creamy head with slight lace.

Smell- A touch bitter with some very strong roasted malt scents.

Taste- Tastes like a malty iced tea. Somewhat hoppy as well. Good touch of woody flavored hops with medium dark malts and a tea like finish.

Mouthfeel- Not much carbonation to speak of.

Drinkability- Was rather a nice thirst quencher at the time, but other than that, nothing spectacular.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.03/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Found this at a pool side pub in Abu Dhabi. Pours a nice brown/golden body, semi hazy. Medium thickness on the head, white and had good retention even after (illegally) taking it out to the pool. Served nice a cold, nice since I was in a desert.
Good smell of hops, which I've missed. This blended well nicely with semi-smoked malt and something like a rye taste.
Crisp, yet coating at the finish. Smooth taste, refreshing. I pounded half a pint in 3 seconds. Partly because I miss beer, and partly because this is a nice brew.
Good abv for sitting in the sun.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.59/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Although it's widely available on Montréal's Crescent Street, Kilkenny is not available in the United States market. From the taps of one of those Crescent Street pubs (Hurley's), on to the beer:

Deep amber colored, almost orange, topped by a creamy white head that lasts all the way down (thanks nitro!). It has a toasted aroma with just a little creaminess. Similar flavor too, but a little sweeter. As it warms up, a little fruitiness creeps from underneath. Smooth and creamy on the palate, light, and dry. Like many nitro-infused beers, it's quaffable, making this a solid selection for a session beer. Certainly better than Smithwick's, and one beer I wish was sold in the states; I would interchange this with Murphy's and Beamish at the Irish pub I routinely go to.

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Photo of biegaman
2.49/5  rDev -26.8%
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 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.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.44/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is still a very good beer from a can too. I love the widget in these things, and the sound as the can open makes up a little for where this beer falls down on its on-tap version.

The appearance is still wonderful, rich, creamy and delightful, although you get less of the wonderful spectacle of the bubbles gently settling on the surface.

Overall, in the taste department it has a little less character. Much less of the roasted characters than the on-tap version, although it does still have the creamy mouthfeel and refreshing finish that I so enjoy.

Better on tap, but very nearly on par in the widget-cans.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.45/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark amber color with a creamy, white head. Thick, reddish hue to the color. Sweet smell, with a smooth, dry finish. I enjoyed this beer nevertheless. Not heavy and goes down smooth. Would drink again given the chance. Its better than Caffreys to me. Cheers.

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Photo of DrJay
3.46/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Deep coppery brown with a dense, cream coloured head. Plenty of lace down the glass. The aroma was very mild, with some floral hops and light toasted malts. It had a light biscuit or toasted malt flavour with a mild bitterness that lingers through the finish. Fairly smooth, partially due to the light carbonation, and it had a light body. Dry finish, partially due to a light grain astringency.

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Photo of Suds
3.61/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this brew on tap at a cafe during a late afternoon walk around Milan. It's a light yellow colored liquid with a very slim head. The aroma is faint, with a slight whiff of hops and a bit of grass. Not much else to speak of in the smell. The taste is similar, a hint of grain and a touch of hops. There's also a slight sweetness. The consistency of the brew is watery, with modest carbonation. Frankly, it reminds me of an American lawnmower beer. It served to quench my thirst, but didn't excite the beer lover inside.

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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

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Photo of KTCamm
3.49/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at an Irish pub in NYC. Standard Irish pint glass.

Pours a reddish brown color, with a perpetual creamy head that really survives the entire meal.

Smell is nonexistent - very mild "beer smell" if anything.

Incredibly creamy taste and smooth creamy mouthfeel. There's a light caramel red taste, and little bitter if any. Smooth throughout.

A very enjoyable afternoon beer.

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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!

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Photo of laituegonflable
3.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark ginger sort of brown with a mother-of-pearl head of very dense bubbles that sits like a gelatinous mass on top, not going anywhence. Has a huge reverse cascade when first poured and leaves some leopard-skin lacing down the glass. Very nice.

Smells sweet and pleasant, with Irish cream, a hint of nutmeg and a slight tartness, kind of a white wine vinegar character. Not the most complex nose, but very nice all the same.

Taste is similarly sweet with a creamy, velvety mouthfeel. Has a slightly bitter pang to the mid-palate but finish and linger are creamy and soft. Main palate tastes of that Irish cream with a slight herb flavour and a distinct vinegar acidity on the back. Mouthfeel is so smooth, one might expect it to be sweeter. It is interesting and rewarding though, but not as quaffable as it may have been. Still very pleasant drinking, and a great after-dinner drop.

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

A pretty decent little brew if I remember correctly. I had this when I was in Montreal and it was pretty damn good! This beer poured a nice cascading reddish colour from the nitro tap. This smelled very creamy and malty...the hop aromas were pretty hard to distingiush on this one. anyway, this tasted pretty good...I mean it was nothing spectacular but it was pretty tasty. The mouthfeel, however, was very exceptional on this was very creamy and quite nice. The drinkability for this beer is good and I would definately have it again on tap up north in Candada, but definately not out of a can as I have heard that it is quite bad out of a can!!!

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Photo of canucklehead
3.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this one on St. Patty's day and found it a nice companion
to the pint of Guinness that followed. A huge white head that would
not die, even at the end of the pint. The mid gold colour was
pretty to look at but the dry malty taste is what makes this beer
easy to drink throughout the evening. Not a huge beer in flavour
but that is also true of Guinness and Murphys. I would drink this
beer again in the right Irish surroundings but would probably not
pick up a six pack at the liquor store.

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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 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 thehyperduck
3.74/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

440 mL nitro-can. A deep amber colour with a creamy head about an inch thick, which lasts right until the finish. Not much of a smell to this one - maybe a bit of malt, but nothing particularly noticeable, good or bad.

The taste is very...subdued. I don't want to say bland, as it was still enjoyable, but there is not a lot that jumps out. Has a (very) slight bitter edge to it, and a toasted bread-ish quality, which were the most noticeable traits to me. Also had a very creamy mouthfeel - which I am admittedly a sucker for - and very little carbonation. This, combined with the lack of any strong flavours means it definitely goes down smoothly.

It's far from bad, but it's not really outstanding either. An optimist might call it balanced; a pessimist might call it dull. I'd just call it a pretty good beer. I would have no qualms with buying this again, but it probably won't be a priority.

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Photo of BigBry
3.54/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap, served in the proper labelled glass. A nice looking inch of off white head of creamy thick bubbles. Bright , clear pale amber body. The head lasts the whole way down, with full coating of lace on the glass. Nitro kills alot of the aroma, buyt there is some caramel comining through. Full flavored with toasted caramel malt balanced by some hop bite in the end. Nice creamy thick mouthfeel and it goes down smooth. Better on tap than from the nitro-can.

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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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