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: 150 | Ratings: 386
Photo of prosper
3.05/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A lot of pubs around here have this stuff available.

Pours a dark red, with a thick, dense, frothy head of foam that sticks around forever.

There's not much of a smell to it. (very) Faint hints of nutty biscuit and faint hops, but not much else.

Flavour is much the same - there's just not much of anything going on. Flavour-wise, it's almost watery. there's a very slight bit of hops near the end, as well as some grassy/biscuit hints, but so faint as to be virtually non-existent. There are no 'off' flavours or anything bad tasting to it, just a whole lot of nothing. Fantastically boring.

The mouthfeel is rich, creamy and extra-full. There's very little carbonation present, which adds to the overall creaminess.

Drinkability is good as well. It feels so wonderfully velvety rich in the mouth, but it's not filling and it finishes to nothing very quickly. And there's so little carbonic acidity and flavour that I could chug these all evening.

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Photo of everetends
3.75/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

440ml can I got from a gas station down the road here in the mountains north of Montreal. Poured into a standard pint.

A: Poured a clear, dark copper with your typical nitro flare for amazing bubble cascades. Head becomes a perfect 1.5 inch head tat has some rich, creamy lacing. Not too bad to look at.

S: Smell is of cream big time. There is also heavy notes of toasted malt and something I can only describe as cookie dough. Pretty nice.

T: Taste is predominantly cream and toasted malt with a touch of biscuit on the back end. Sweet but still a bit dry. Pretty good balance here.

M: Extremely creamy. A medium bodied brew that has an edge on Guinness and Boddington's. It finishes very clean and not too heavy.

D: Very good. Wish I could get this at home. It truly is better than Guinness and Boddington's and I know buy into the hype. I could drink this all day if it wasn't $2.50 a can.

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Photo of BIGMURK
4.53/5  rDev +32.8%
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.

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Photo of maurrich
4.88/5  rDev +43.1%
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.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.91/5  rDev +14.7%
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 Mebuzzard
3.03/5  rDev -11.1%
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 rpardon7
4.97/5  rDev +45.7%
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.

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Photo of marcpal
3.65/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap over the course of a couple nights while in Milan, found it quite enjoyable and quaffable. Step up from Guinness.

A: Attractive drink on the pour, looks like a lighter, creamier Guinness pint from a good tap. Huge head and flowing bubbles.
Huge head for the whole beer, strongest aspect of this one. Nitro does this justice.

S: Light malts but smelled like a good cookie/biscuit. Creaminess with touch of hops. Plenty of caramel in the smell.

T: Sweet malts and whipped cream. Strong match to the smell, caramel was backing this one.
Toasted mild malts with some hops in the aftertaste but not much.

M: Chewy sums it up in one word. Leaves a milkshake, whipped cream residue on the lips.

D: Virtually no abv but goes down real smooth. A nice drink Id like to have access to once in a while. Id give it the nod over Guinness, better layers of flavor.

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Photo of cichief
3.41/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on nitro in a little Irish pub in Dachau, Germany.

A- Pours a deep brown with a thick tan head, helped by the nitro, of course.

S- Subtle malt/fuit aroma, no noticeable hops.

T- Malty, the sweetness was muted by the nitrogen, it was clean and balanced.

M- Smooth, due to the nitro, medium bodied.

D- A night in an Irish pub in Europe is a great time, this beer helped push the party on.

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Photo of Graham5161986
3.13/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a bubbly, beige colour until the tiny nitro bubbles have finished dancing, revealing its true, clear, dark brown colour. a 1 finger, just off-white head forms that has excellent retention and leaves a patchy lace.

S: The nose is quite sweet with noticable hints of caramel and brown sugar - possibly some raisins or plums in there too.

T: the sweet malts dominate throughout with just a slight twang of hop bitterness on the finish. Nice and buttery with a slight hints of citrus as well (I get lemons). However, a bit too weak and unpronounced for me.

M: surprisingly light and creamy with a slight kick of carbonation. Goes down silky smooth.

D: This is not my favourite style, but I must say that I have enjoyed this beer more than I thought I would. It is very easy to drink, so I could see myself downing a few of these at a time. It's also relatively low in alcohol so you could have a few before you really feel it. However, I still find the flavour quite muted so I don't know how much of this I plan to drink in the future.

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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 pirates
2.97/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Once poured, the beer looked promising. On first sip however, I was astounded at the lack of effervescence. Felt very flat and rather unpleasant on the palate. No complexity and lacking in flavor. Rather disappointing overall.

A - Deep brown/red
S - Great aromas of caramel malt
T - Very flat and non enticing
M - Very smooth but not pleasant
D - Couldn't go for another

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Photo of Antilochus
2.88/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 500mL nitro-can purchased in a four-pack in a London, Ontario LCBO. Poured in a nonic glass. Appearance is dark amber, with reddish notes and orangish red through light. Head is of course very apparent and creamy.

Astringent hop and grain notes in the aroma. Also apricot, roasted malt, refined sugar, lemon rind, a little yeast. Not especially complex. Poured cool, not cold as the bottle instructs.

Mouthfeel is watery, not very carbonated. Smooth but moderate to little finish.

Taste is metallic and astringent, not very balanced. Malty sweet notes in the mouth. Finish is wheaty but dry, appropriate to the style.

At 4.3% abv it is highly quaffable but I'm not really a fan. It lacks an essential character that others in the style have. I enjoy others in the style but the taste and weak mouthfeel throws me off. Might be better on tap.

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Photo of DoubleJ
3.59/5  rDev +5.3%
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 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 thierrynantes
3.95/5  rDev +15.8%
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.

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Photo of Amalak
4.1/5  rDev +20.2%
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.

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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 Shadman
3.74/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ah, the cascading display that is the niro-can. After the show, I was left with a rich copper brown brew, very clear, with a gorgeous off white to tan head, as thick as cream, that really never went away. Some rich roasted malt aroma is prevalent if you can get past that head that acts like a aroma seal. Some immediate tea-like bitterness followed by a sudden rush of roasted caramel malt which never overpowers the experience. The drying finish is there along with some hop bitterness. Altough somewhat creamy and very smooth, it was a tad on the watery side. Still very drinkable in large quantities by this reviewer.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
4.08/5  rDev +19.6%
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 LittleCreature
3.41/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - 4.0
Cascading effect is almost as pretty as that of Guinness. A thick finger of solid white head sits on top of a copper red-brown body that is clear at the bottom and a little murky at the top. Head stayed at a good level for the duration of the glass.

Smell - 3.0
Just a little sweet malt at first, a whisper of hop bitterness and a pleasant buttery shortbread-like aroma. Nice, but lacking strength.

Taste - 3.5
Not a whole lot of flavour, but what there is, is good. Moderately sweet, toasty, malty, grainy flavours dominate, some caramel, with an earthy hop bitterness in the finish. Aftertaste is smooth and mild.

Mouthfeel - 2.5
Apart from the creamy head, the mouthfeel is almost identical to cold water, with almost no carbonation whatsoever and a light to moderate weight in the mouth. It goes down smoothly, but more carbonation would be nice.

Drinkability - 4.0
This is relatively low in alcohol, with a 4.3% ABV, and makes an easy session beer. Personally, on any day other than St Patrick's, I'd want something with a bit more carbonation and kick after a couple.

OVERALL - 3.45
Possibly I'm being a little generous, but this is a real easy drinker with no clear flaws apart from the watery mouthfeel. I prefer Kilkenny over Guinness when given the choice on most occassions, but I have somewhat lost my fondness after an awful St Patrick's day hangover.

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Photo of GrimmReaper
4.34/5  rDev +27.3%
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.

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Photo of soupyman10
3.22/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Cute waitress wrote "Yay" in the foam on top. It stuck around for a while, in a thick foam about an inch, over a deep red colored beer. Looked amazing. Unfortunately, appearances can be deceiving. Nose was nearly non-existant, just some very light caramel malt (I think I got my nose wet trying to find any odor). Taste was likewise, extremely mild caramel malt. Body was excellent, thick and creamy. Overall, this one wasn't terrible, but I really could do with a little more kick in my beers.

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Photo of dirtyoldtown53
3.96/5  rDev +16.1%
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.

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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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Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale from Smithwick's Brewery / Irish Ale Breweries Ltd
3.41 out of 5 based on 386 ratings.
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