This is a brown ale I really enjoy. It’s a typically brown ale in that it’s malty, not hoppy or bitter, but it’s also not sweet. It has a very nice dry malty character that I particularly enjoy. It’s a nice rich brown in color, and has a sticky meringue like head that doesn’t dissipate. The nose has some caramel, licorice, and raisins. The middle is grainy and nutty, and has a bit more licorice, but isn’t sweet. The finish really dries out, and has heavy walnut flavor. This is a really nice example of a malty ale that isn’t sweet.
I give it a 4.5 out of 5.
With Daylight Savings Time in effect, and spring officially only a few days away now, it’s time to review the last of the winter seasonals. The year, honor of the final winter seasonal review goes to Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale. This winter warmer is a malty brown ale with a nose containing toasted grain, a bit of toffee, and some slight orange, and floral notes. The middle has some apple and grape, lemon zest, and well roasted grain. The finish is the same, with a good bit of toffee coming back as it warms. Nothing spectacular here, but a fine beer with which to wish winter a fond farewell for another year.
I give it a 4.1 out of 5.
Oatmeal Stout is one my favorite beer styles for its silky smoothness and heavy body, and Samuel Smith’s is one of my favorites in the style. One of my favorite English breweries in general, in fact, Samuel Smith is a traditional English brewery from Tadcaster, North Yorkshire. The Oatmeal Stout pours a beautiful dark brown, but not so dark as to be opaque. The head is tan and settles into a heavy creamy texture. The nose is soft, with oatmeal and a hint of chocolate. The middle is sweet, and almost reminds me of a milk stout, but it has a slightly lighter texture. The sweetness of the malt is accentuated in this beer with the addition of cane sugar. The flavors are oatmeal, figs, and another hint of chocolate. The finish isn’t wildly different, it just fades into the background with a bit of heat from the alcohol coming forward. I’d take issue with their description of the beer as “medium-dry” as I find it quite sweet, but not overly so by any means. It’s a very nice stout.
I give it a 4.5 out of 5.
Many years ago, when I first started to branch out from the macrobrews and into the exciting world of craft beer, I had a particular interest in British beer. Samuel Smith in particular, as the establishment from which I purchased most of my beer at that time had an excellent selection of the Tadcaster brewery’s various offerings. However, at some point between those early years and when I started blogging here, I’d tried virtually all of the variations I could find at the time and moved on, so I’ve unfortunately neglected the fine English Ales which are such an integral part of beer history. Tonight I begin to rectify that oversight with a review of Samuel Smith’s Yorkshire Stingo, an oak-aged, bottle conditioned English Strong Ale, and strong it is, at 9% ABV. Because it’s bottle conditioned, it recommends a gentle pour which lends to a head that dissipates quickly. The nose is rich with scents of raisins and figs and plums. The only ingredient other than the big four (water, barley, hops and yeast) is cane sugar which is what explains the high alcohol levels and the fact that this beer tastes like a fine dessert. The middle has flavors of plums, toffee, and molasses. In the finish, there is vanilla pudding and oak. I’d call the body medium. It’s not quite as heavy as I’d expected, but it’s perfectly pleasant. The only bitterness at all is in the oak right at the finish, otherwise, this is definitely a sweet beer, perfect for after dinner and an excellent example of the style.
I give it a 4.6 out of 5.