St. Austell Brewery Smugglers Vintage Ale (6%)

Perhaps it’s psychosomatic, but to me the flavours here share lots in common with Old Crafty Hen and I find myself wondering if it’s the clear bottles that are the reason.
I swore never to buy beer in a clear bottle again but this one came as part of my mixed case so I wasn’t going to waste it.
The beer is a deep mahogany but has barely any aroma save for the merest hint of caramel and yeast.
I’m genuinely surprised as I usually enjoy St. Austell’s beers, but there’s a distinct lack of anything big and robust that you might expect from a beer calling itself Vintage and boasting 6%.
The malts are round gloopy toffee with a slight swipe of liquorice and some dandelion & burdock.
over this the hops are a little too light with just a light slap of green wood and nettles, and a sip of elderflower at the end.
And there, right at the back of my throat is something unpleasant.
An aftertaste I recognise as sadly familiar.
Or perhaps I’m just imagining it.

Having written this review I’ve just read the notes on the bottle and found that this is a blended beer using on of St. Austell’s dark ales (Tribute is my guess) and an, “Oak aged barley wine,” which could be another reason that this tastes remarkably similar to Greene King’s blended Crafty Hen with its mix of 5X barrel aged brew and a regularly brewed beer.

About Simon Williams

Founder of CAMRGB. Member of The British Guild Of Beer Writers. Leftist bigmouth. Old and grumpy.
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4 Responses to St. Austell Brewery Smugglers Vintage Ale (6%)

  1. Pingback: St. Austell Brewery: A Reminder To Myself | CAMRGB

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