Posts Tagged ‘Sam Smith’

Sam Smithathon

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Samuel Smith’s is a large independent brewery in Tadcaster, England. They are probably the most well known (in the U.S. at least), despite not being as old as Shepherd Neame nor as large as Charles Wells. Well I’ve got a couple interesting bottles to try.

Sam Smith Old Brewery Pale AleThe first bottle I have is the Old Brewery Pale Ale, Sam Smith’s classic pale ale. It pours with a light, somewhat unearthly haze. The beer is a beautiful caramel and the tan head, though thin, is creamy and lasts. The nose indicates this bottle hasn’t lasted the journey particularly well. I can detect an herbal character from noble hops, but the strongest aromas are the cider and cardboard that indicate the progression of oxidation.

The flavor is much of what I expect from the aroma: a flat, cardboardy flavor with hints of cider. I also notice a bit of the buttery flavor characteristic of many English beers. There is an unpleasant astringent bitterness and a hint of corny caramel sweetness that is not nearly enough to balance it. The palate is just a bit sticky but for the most part is reasonably creamy and full.

-Sam Smith Old Brewery Pale Ale

2.4 (3-5-4-3-9)

Sam Smith Organic LagerNext up is the Organically Produced Lager. This is a brilliantly clear very pale corn yellow with just a bit of bone white head. Like the beers it is emulating this lager has almost no aroma, just a hint of cooked corn. A bit of malt comes through as well, proving this one has quality production.

The flavor is light and refreshing. Though there is a strong character of corn, there is also plenty of malt flavor and even a hint of hop bitterness. The palate is smooth and lively, but almost approaches cloying. Overall a well executed lager from somewhere already trusted to produce quality ales.

+Sam Smith’s Organically Produced Lager Beer

3.1 (3-5-6-4-13)

Stout Week: A Couple Oatmeal Stouts

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

Nothing could have rounded out stout week like the wet snowfall that has blanketed Iowa today. To wrap up the beer ratings I am trying two oatmeal stouts. Rolled oats are used to add body to beer, giving oatmeal stout a viscous palate often described as chewy. They also add proteins that are helpful to head retention, so these beers tend to have a thick moussey head.

The first example I have is a local one, Hub City Oatmeal Stout. Hub City’s beers tend towards the lower end of the carbonation spectrum, falling closer to real ale than many microbrews. Despite the lack of effervescence this beer pours a creamy fallow-colored head. The beer itself is a hazy auburn. I smell some roast malt but it is overpowered by brown malt aromas: mainly biscuits and caramel. There is a pronounced yeast fruitiness as well.

The flavor is quite similar to Guinness Draught: relatively mild, with some roast character and a strong astringent bitterness. The fruity notes (berries and mangoes) promised by the aroma come through as well, rounding out the flavor. The palate is much too thin for an oatmeal stout, and is bordering on cloying.

The second oatmeal stout I’m trying is The Celebrated Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout. The brewery this beer is produced in draws water from a 1758 well. The beer is fermented in what are called “Yorkshire Squares”, square-shaped fermentation vessels built from large slabs of local slate. Oatmeal stout had fallen extinct when Michael Jackson wrote about it in 1977, inspiring the founder of Merchant du Vin importers, Charles Finkel, to commission Sam Smith to resurrect the style. So (if you want to provoke a fight) you could say this is the original oatmeal stout.

This beer pours a near-black with notes of sienna and a fair tan head. The nose is strongly fruity with faint hints of roast and black malt. A cidery, almost vinous flavor greets you at first, with the roast malt and coffee flavor not far behind. The whole tastes almost of cotton candy. Some lingering sweetness helps that impression. While somewhat chewy, I would prefer if it were marginally thicker. Then again, if I had my way you’d have to floss after having an oatmeal stout.

Next time I do a stout week I’m getting a bottle of Lion.

+Hub City Oatmeal Stout

RateBeer: 3.2 (3-8-6-2-13)

+Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout

RateBeer: 3.5 (3-7-7-4-14)