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Friday, February 12, 2010

Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale

Samuel Smith Winter WelcomeSamuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale:

Okay, so now I am on the hunt for the perfect "winter warmer." Samuel Smith's almost always presents a near-perfect product; Just as nearly perfect is their representation of the style at hand. My personal opinion of Winter Welcome is that it falls just a smidge short. Oh, it's a fantastic brew that bears the Samuel Smith's signature sublimity and flawless craftsmanship, but I think it's a simple matter of my taste in hops. I think that Fuggle hops just don't do it for me. I remember being a bit disappointed in Long Hammer IPA awhile back, and I seem to remember that Fuggle hops were featured prominently in that particular beverage.

Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome starts out fairly malty in flavor but it seems to fade as the dry, hoppy finish takes over after the swallow. The aftertaste of the Fuggle and Golding hops is jus a little too funky for my taste. I prefer a bigger, bolder dose of malt and a different breed of hop. The Winter Welcome is finely crafted and well-balanced, just not to my ideal of the perfect winter warmer. It is sufficiently warming at 6% abv, but I think I want to be put to sleep by an ultra-smooth, malt-heavy, snowed-in-at-a-ski lodge, served-in-a-tankard doppelbock with a touch of cocoa and figs.

Like other winter beers: Medium body, smooth and malty, warming 6%.
Unlike other winter beers: Signature English mellowness that is funkified by Fuggle hops.

Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale:

Representation: .95
Accessibility: .925
Style: .95
Personal Preference: .85

Total Score: 3.675 Flags

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