heemer77 (5358) - Urbandale, Iowa, USA - JAN 2, 2004
UPDATED: JAN 12, 2004 2003-2004 vintage. Small white head. Little carbonation. Nice spicy aroma with a little malt and slight skunk. The flavor is subtle and has a little caramel and some bitterness. Nice smooth finish. Enniskillen (2058) - Bakersfield, California, USA - JAN 2, 2004
I thought it was a good ale, very smooth. A good finish to the beer. I'm new to this since I just turned 21, but this is one of the better beers I have had thus far. RichardGretton (4770) - Leicestershire, ENGLAND - JAN 1, 2004
Relatively flat looking ale with a strong and caramel aroma, and a fairly basic hopped flavour. Overall a very basic strong ale. Jedsbrew (465) - Rhineland, Missouri, USA - DEC 31, 2003
Medium copper color with a moderate head that left a long lasting layer of foam on the surface. Mildly skunky malty aroma and taste. The mouthfeel seemed thin with a citrusy nutty flavor and a short bitter finish. I tried this one last year and it was so off that I didn't rate it, so this was a rematch. 2003/2004 so I dunno... davesarman (159) - Waconia, Minnesota, USA - DEC 27, 2003
Appealing aroma of stone fruits and slight caramel malt. To others that have indicated their beer is "skunked", THIS beer is perfect. I guess that's the risk of clear glass bottles and inferior beer retailers. (I do wish Sam Smith would go away from the clear bottles, however.)Color is a gorgeous copper-orange. Virtually glows when held up to the light. Carbonation is light, as it should be. Head forms, but dissipates quickly, but sticks to the sides of the glass. Sublime taste of stone fruits, slight caramel malt. Hops and fruitiness combine for a delectable finish that is long, but not overpowering. The hop flavors and bitterness are a bit more aggressive in this new beer than in cellared beers of previous vintages. Year after year, this is my favorite winter release. Compared to many big, overpowering, highly spiced beer (many of which I like), this is a subtle, complex brew that challenges the drinker to search for everything going on. I cellar a few bottles every year and do a vertical comparison each year of earlier vintages. This year I compared the 2001-02 with the 2002-03. If well cared for (dark and cool), this beer ages gracefully. Very drinkable with the hops mellowing out beautifully. But keep in mind, since the bottle is clear and the beer somewhat delicate, care must be taken in storage. A winter classic!
beastdog75 (364) - Brick, New Jersey, USA - DEC 25, 2003
Kind of dissapointing for a Sam Smith's beer. Smell reminded me of a Scotch ale a little bit. Light malt sweetness in beer with some "dark fruit" flavors, but too much of an alcohol taste was present. Decent spicy/citric hop presence. Nice and warming going down. Nothing really memorable and the alcohol taste was a little overdone in my opinion. harlequinn (2744) - Tacoma, Washington, USA - DEC 25, 2003
This was really not what I expected. The aroma is awful and musty and filled the room with a smell of green bottles. The taste is very doughy and buttery, like eating a biscuit. I could not finish it. JorisPPattyn (10024) - Ursel, BELGIUM - DEC 24, 2003
Orange-amber beer; small yellowish, irregular head. Nose yields chalk, very flowery, restrained hops & caramel, cypress. Taste bitterish at first, full malt underbuild. Rather sweet, biscuity, but not cloying. Hayish flavour. Reasonnably full-bodied, but nowhere syrupy as most winter ales. Still quite refreshing, in fact. Winter? Somehow I can't see this as a winter beer. And being Flemish - this would make a good Belgian... summer beer. Weird. JFGrind (2054) - Glenside, Pennsylvania, USA - DEC 24, 2003
Execellent winter beer and above average English Strong Ale. Very smooth drinking ale, that's flavor was more on the malt side. I see by other reviewers there have been some skunked bottles. My Winter Welcome was not skunked. haddon90 (1634) - Newport Beach, California, USA - DEC 22, 2003
Good pour, Caramel color with a nice off-white head. Aroma full of some yeast and hops. Smooth taste, nice balance of malt and hops. Some caramel as well. Very decent brew!