John Smith’s Extra Smooth

Company info:
John Smith’s Ltd
North Yorkshire, ENGLAND


[No website listed on can]

Can size sampled: 500 mL

Alcohol: 3.8%
Standard drinks: 1.5

Cap type: Can ring-pull

Cost: I picked this up for AU$4.50

Label info: N/A

What the label really means: N/A

The Hell-Cat review starts here

Label: There’s not much to report here unfortunately. The label is a product of mass-production. It’s mostly green, with the words ‘John Smith’ standing proudly at the top, but the words ‘Extra Smooth’ is what really stands out. Why is this such a selling point? Had it been ‘Moderately Smooth’ would the company still be existing today? What about ‘Kind of Smooth’? I’m not sure… What I do like about this label is that it is kept fairly simple and uncomplicated. I’m assuming that is an upside down magnet in the middle of the design, telling us ‘Estb 1758’. Why a magnet I’m not sure but no one can deny the might of the magnet. It’s a label that looks like it was designed in or around 1938 and nothing has changed since. And that, has its own charm.

I give it a label rating of 6 out of 10.

AROMA: It’s a very subtle aroma with hints of roasted caramel and toffee.

Taste: GLASS – When I poured this beer I was surprised to find a very Kilkenny-in-appearance beer. There, before my eyes, were fascinating rolls of froth pushing through the beer. I guess I was expecting a golden, clear lager. Instead it was amber in colour and a very tempting creamy frothy head. This beer is called ‘Extra Smooth’ and I expected to get something smooth but woah. This is smoothness personified. It’s like drinking the froth from a cappuccino but not. It’s cooler and more beer tasting for one.
‘Smith’s’ is subtle in flavour with a slight tinge of bitterness but certainly not over-powering and very unlike Kilkenny. There is a delicious undercurrent of caramel and toffee. It slides back with the sweetest of ease, it’s incredibly drinkable and you’ll hardly notice you’re even drinking. The creamy head is the icing on the cake for this bad boy…it follows the beer the whole way down and acts like a little filter that each sip passes through.

I give it a beer from glass rating of 8 out of 10.

Taste: BOTTLE – Very similar to the glass and by all means just as delicious. It’s a bit more bitter, but it loses the creamy collar that I feel should really accompany this beer. I say stick to the glass where possible.

I give it a taste from bottle rating of 7.5 out of 10.

Accompanying food: This would sit well beside a light meat such as turkey, roasted with a side of cranberry sauce and baked apple.

Best season to appreciate: One for the cooler months.

All-nighter beer? If I was to judge this on appearance, I would have said no from the outset as it looks like the kind of beer that leaves me very sore in the morning. But, I’m not sure. The smoothness that John Smith creates has me all but convinced that this is definitely an all-nighter.

NEXT WEEK: Kosciusko Pale Ale

  1. BargeDave says:

    Just finished one. Not bad at all. Subtle hops and malt flavours which taste good for the whole pint. I hadn’t realised from reading Mase’s comments that this beer has a ‘widget’ in the can, although the comparison to Kilkenny in terms of pouring should have been a giveaway. Once I’d picked one up I could feel the widget floating inside the can, just as is also found in Kilkenny and Guiness cans.

    For the uninitiated, this is essentially a small ping-pong ball containing pressurized nitrogen. When the can is opened, the release of pressure in the can causes the widget to burst and release nitrogen bubbles into the beer. The relationship between nitrogen and beer is different to the relationship between carbon dioxide (normal beer gas) and beer in one key way – the surface tension between the gas and liquid is different and thus the bubbles are much smaller. This creates a very creamy texture in the mouth, and less of the sense of carbonation. It also makes for a spectacular pour.

    I once gave a Guiness can to a rather ocker mate at the end of a long night of home-brewing (and drinking) and he could not understand any of what I’ve tried to explain above. Rather than savour one of the great stouts, he gave me a spray for giving him a flat beer. You just can’t win sometimes.


  2. Ben0 says:

    Big can o’ beer

    I love big can o’ beer it gets me drunk
    I love big can o’ beer while listening to 70’s funk
    I love big can o’ beer it sorts the mice from the men
    I love big can o’ beer cause i’m well out by 10

    Big can o’ beer when will I see you again?
    You never around when I need you the most
    Please come back i’m bored with your cousins
    I will never forget our time at Circus circus


    • Mason Hell-Cat says:

      haha what in hell’s name is that BenO?


    • BargeDave says:

      That’s a very enthusiastic Wednesday you’re having Beno.

      Isn’t Circus Circus a Las Vegas casino? I seem to recall a reference by Hunter S Thompson to such a venue.

      I’m off to pick up one of these bevvies after work. I’m expecting it to be not-too-hoppy given it’s from the north of England, not the hop-rich south.


    • That was beautiful Ben0. So expressive and moving. The imagery of mice and men… so evocative. It calls to mind little field mice scurrying in and out of massive piles of hops while farmers chase them around with pitchforks (careful there Farmer Giles, those pitchforks are mighty sharp!). The 70s funk reference suggests that maybe the farmers have afros, while their less interesting cousins have sensible short, back and sides cuts. And that final, mysterious repetition of ‘circus circus’… Is this something to do with Vegas? Is it just a distant echo in your mind? Or is it a reference to the circus-like mayhem being created by the mice in the farmyard? Like all the best poetry BenO, you leave the reader with as many questions as answers.

      By the way, I like John Smith’s. It’s nice.


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