Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale 2010

4 out of 5 Hops

So continues my reviews of Winter Beers. Samuel Smith is an English brewery dating back to 1758 and uses a rare and unique fermentation process in stone square vessels. The bottle also features a unique label design for each year; this one quotes the bard, Bill Shakespeare. This is my first tasting of this beer, but I have enjoyed their Oatmeal Stout previously. This winter warmer alcohol level is at a manageable 6.0% ABV, which is on the lower side for a winter beer(works for me). This is also a non-spiced winter beer. Barley, water, hops and yeast only. The aroma is malty and hoppy. First taste has a bit of fruit flavor in it and a clean crisp finish. Hop bitterness is similar to an English IPA/American Pale; not overly hoppy. The hop test for me is letting my wife taste and then look for the "too bitter" and "sour face" head shake. This one passed the test and she likes it too. As I have said before, I am an English Beer fan with malt flavor dominating and lower alcohol levels. I am slowly learning more about the English traditional hops as well. This beer features East Kent Goldings and Fuggles; both common British hops. Carbonation level is also enjoyable. I had the impression British Ales were made with less carbonation than American beers and expected "flat" beer; not the case. So while I truly enjoy this beer, I wonder if it should be labeled a Winter beer. That being said I could drink it all year. Served in singles, my wife got this for me at Central Market in Poulsbo. Cheers, mates!

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