Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day (Part 2)

(Smithwick’s From) Guinness Rocks (Or Does It?) !

Smithwick's Irish Ale

Beer Reviewed: Smithwicks
Style: Ale
Brewery: Guinness & Co.


So while this review is actually about Smithwick’s Ale, which is owned by Guinness & Co., I was thinking about when I first learned about Guinness and I chuckled at the realization that I first learned of Guinness through their book of world records.

Guinness Book of World Records

Yes, back in the 70’s I had a dog eared copy of the 1976 edition, and I read every page repeatedly. Keep in mind, this is well before the internet and there were only 3 TV networks to choose from.
I knew about the two fat twins on motorcycles, the tallest and shortest men, and all the rest of the freaks in that book. I say freaks lovingly because isn’t this basically a collection of the entertainment that previously was limited to the circus.

Guinness Book of World Records

Sure, there were other records, and they continue to be added on a daily basis. The Adam Carolla Show is the most downloaded podcast, according to Guinness. The Who was at one point the loudest rock band. These are surely interesting, but they pale in comparison to the world’s fattest man who was buried in a piano case after his death. Heady days, the 1970’s.

True, this doesn’t have much to do with St. Patrick’s Day, but it’s related to Guinness, and that’s good enough for me.

Now, about the beer...

Smithwick's Irish Ale

The Beer

Beer characteristics

Quantitative parameters of beer character

  1. The IBUs aren’t indicated on their website, but according to The Hitchens Taste Scale and my tastes, I would put this at about a -2.
  2. The alcohol content is similar to the Guinness I reviewed yesterday, at 4.5% alcohol by volume. Is this lighter alcohol content because it isn’t a craft beer or because it’s British? Please share your thoughts.
  3. The color is dark amber, which according to SRM would put this at an 18 on Lovibond. This is similar to other darker ales.

Qualitative parameters of beer character

  1. The aroma is a malty sweetness that doesn’t seem too bright. It doesn’t hint at blast of hops, just a mellow drink to sit back and enjoy.
  2. The flavor is subtle and a bit underwhelming. I guess it’s malty, but there really isn’t anything there.
  3. The aftertaste is not there. Without a more bold flavor, there is nothing to hang around and develop into an aftertaste.
  4. The mouthfeel only reflects the carbonation described below.
  5. The carbonation is fantastic. The head was tall and firm. Not quite at the level of a Guinness Draught, but impressive nonetheless.
  6. The temperature could be enjoyed in a range. I’ve been drinking it cold, but the softer flavors could be enjoyed at a slightly warmer temperature.


Hmm... I’ve had this beer before, and my memory is that I liked it. Unfortunately I felt this beer is lacking something. It isn’t sweet, it isn’t bitter and it isn’t fruity. What is it? My recommendation is to go back and enjoy another Guinness Draught.

- Enthusiast