Samuel Smith’s Winter Welcome Ale

6.0% alc./vol., 550 ml bottle
Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) – http://www.samuelsmithsbrewery.co.uk/
Tadcaster, England

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It’s threatening to snow in Ottawa, so I’m drinking a special winter brew from Mr. Smith.  This brewer remains devoted to old-fashioned tools and techniques.  As part of their traditional method, they still employ “stone Yorkshire squares” as fermentation vessels.  These are, as the name implies, huge square vats made out of slate.  I guess the slate might impart some minerality to the water to enhance the hop flavours, and they certainly would be at a fairly constant temperature.  The resulting product is pretty malty as a brew.  Just consider that to fulfil the same purpose as a sweet cup of hot cocoa in wintertime, just that it’s not overly sweet and it has no cocoa flavours.  Welcome winter?  Winter is like that old friend that you haven’t seen for a while, and you think you should get together, but then in the first five minutes you remember why you don’t like this friend so much but he just won’t take a hint and leave.  Still, he’s your friend and don’t let anyone from further south tell you otherwise.

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