Friday, December 26, 2014

Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale (7/10)

Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale is a limited edition brew released during the winter.  It’s brewed from only water, malted barley, yeast, and hops.
The beer pours a cloudy reddish medium-brown with finger-thick tab head that fades to a fine layer fairly quickly and hangs around a while, like an unwanted relative.  It leaves behind a thick ring of lacing that starts out sheet-like and gradually turns into rings.

The aroma is malty but not sweet.  There’s a mild hint of possible spices, but nothing strong or clear in it.

The flavor matches up to the aroma.  It’s not sweet.  It’s a decent balance of malt and hops.  There is a mineral element here, perhaps coming from the “stone Yorkshire squares” that it’s brewed in.  There’s not much else to it.  It’s got the malt and hops elements of a traditional winter warmer without the spices tossed in.

Rate Beer gives Winter Welcome Ale a 72 overall.  Beer Advocate gives it an 83-84 or “good” rating.  I’m right in there with them on this.  Like most Samuel Smith products, I like Winter Welcome.  On the other hand, I’m not exactly loving it, either.  It’s better by far than a macro brew, so it earns at least a 6.  It’s not as good as some of the other winter and Christmas ales I’ve reviewed, so it’s not quite an 8 or a 9.  I’m going with a 7 out of 10 on this.  It’s a good, solid beer, and one I’d be happy to drink.  It’s just not one I’m in any particular hurry to have again.  It would probably be an easy “gateway beer” to get a macro brew drinker to try at a party.  There’s nothing here to scare them away, like exotic spice flavors or overpowering hops.   It’s a decent, basic beer with a fairly “normal beer flavor” to it.

You can pick up an individual bottle of this for around $2.69, and for perhaps a bit less in multi-packs and cases.

This beer can be found at Kenny Road Market.  I’ve not seen it at other local retailers, but I’ve not made an exhaustive search for it, either.

Flavor Profile:
Sweet, Malty, Dry, Bitter, or Sour:  Malty
Spice Level:  Non-existent
Hops Level:  Low to Moderate
Dominant Flavors:  Malt and hops in a good balance
ABV: 6%
My Rating:  7/10

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