Snow Melt Winter Ale - East End Brewing Company

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Snow Melt Winter Ale
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BA SCORE
89
very good

56 Reviews
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Reviews: 56
Hads: 129
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 4.71%
Wants: 8
Gots: 16 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
East End Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: WVbeergeek on 11-03-2006

SNOW MELT WINTER WARMER DEBUT:
The first day of Winter is December 21st, but we can start melting the frost sooner than that - time for the first East End Winter Warmer - or should I say AMERICAN Winter Warmer. SNOW MELT is a Mahogany-red ale with a unique malt character, and a bright pine-ey hop flavor, unusual for a beer of this style, but seasonally appropriate none the less.Clocking in at 7% and guaranteed to clear the fog from your glasses, this one's debuting at Growler Hours next week (Dec 14th), and you can keep an eye out for it around town shortly after that.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 56 | Hads: 129
Photo of brentk56
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Arrives with a fudge brown color with ruby highlights; the inch of foam on top of the liquid leaves a nice smattering of lace

Smell: Spice cake and toffee, with piney undertones; hops dominant

Taste: Spice cake and toffee, up front, with nutmeg and clove elements building; by mid-palate, the piney hops dominate and provide a nice balance to the resurgent spices in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: A very nice take on the Winter Warmer style; like the way there are a load of hops in the recipe to provide balance (575 characters)

Photo of ef88
3.96/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a growler from the brewery in Homewood.

A: Pours black with a nice foamy 2 1/2-finger head. Consistent lacing that hangs out for a while. Pretty.

S: Lots of coffee and dark chocolate.

T: Dark chocolate, coffee, and a nice malty backbone.

M: Kind of chewy and it leaves a nice coating.

O: I've had one winter warmer (Harpoon's Winter Warmer) before this one and hated it, so if I'm going by the rules of reviewing, it's by far the best of the style I've had. Looking forward to trying another example of the style sometime. (537 characters)

Photo of soulfly1492
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Very hoppy upfront, but also a lot of darker malts. Grapefruit, caramel, worty and roasty malts. Expecting the taste of resinous hops to stick around for a while on this one.

Appearance: Deep amber, very little head. Minimal retention.

Taste: Bold hops and malt. Crisp grapefruit, then some English malt, and lots of caramel. Smooth throughout, surprisingly. Mild aftertaste. Mild phenols.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, just slightly drying. Mild carbonation, a bit chalky. Warming.

Overall: Pretty impressive for an strong ale from the Burgh. A nice change of pace to Stone and some of the other major craft brewers. (622 characters)

Photo of nukem5
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of my favs at the East End Brewery!

A: An awesome brown/ruby colored beverage which clings to side of glass for dear life.Tan cap which dissapates quick but with a swirl of the glass its back just as quick as it left.

S: Malty nose with a nice hoppy backside, smells a bit of chocolates and carmel sweet but not cloying with gentle coffee wiff in there as well.

T: Sweet dark malts with a rich mixture of Coffee chocolate and carmel buzz around the tongue with splashes of spruce and floral of hops.

M: Full bodied and rich almost chewy, could make this a dessert for any meal or just sitting around the fireside.

D: Very drinkable and so good to the last drop from the growler, can't wait for a refill on this hopefully soon! (735 characters)

Photo of thain709
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Served with a darker shade of brown body that showed some nice ruby highlights...a one finger creamy and off white head stood...nice retention...lacing down the glass

S - Sweet, roasted malts gave off that roasted characteristics along with some caramel...a hint of bright, piney hops in the background

T - The beer starts off sweet with caramel and toffee flavors...chocolate and the roasted part of the beer come in towards the middle...there is a nice malt presence in this beer...the finish is bright and surprisingly bitter from the piney hops

M - Medium bodied...adequet carbonation with a proper bitterness

D - This was a very pleasant winter warmer...it was surly not true to stlye but who cares...a solid malt bill with a surprsing hop finish...you can't go wrong with hops in the winter (804 characters)

Photo of akorsak
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 1 L swingtop growler from Al's. It is snowing outside, so a winter warmer seems appropriate.

A: The ale is a dark mahogany brown, full enough to be opaque. A voluminous head, over two fingers on first pour left thick splotches of lace behind. The reddish brown nature of the mahogany lends to the cloudiness.

S: Chocolate, toffee and spices are strong, standing out immediately. Ample hoppiness, citrusy, pairs nicely, creating a Black IPA-like effect.

T: Dark malts, toffee and chocolate along with burnt toast start things off. The rich flavor is met by an equally strong. The pine flavor is rich and bitter, moving the ale towards Black IPA territory. The combination of dark malts and bold hops works, even my wife likes the ale (and ksak is no hophead). The bitterness lasts, as does the well-roasted breadiness. A winter warmer that gets the job done without a heavy spice profile.

M: The mouthfeel is a rousing combination of malts and hops, a warming pair that builds to a crescendo. A great flavor lingers long after each sip is gone.

D: The ale packs more of a punch than beers much stronger than it. A strong flavor, great finish and sharp hoppiness are all I need tonight. (1,192 characters)

Photo of letsgopens
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled from the cask at Fatheads in the South Side of Pgh. It shows a dark, woody brown with a thick, frothy layer of dense foam. A thick spattering of lace sticks around. An expected appearance from a cask ale.

Of course a bit subdued compared to the normal tap version as far as the nose is concerned. Mild floral hops, toasty malt and toffee. Caramel and vanilla beans steeped in milk.

Caramel and light toffee melds seamlessly with bright, floral/earthy hops. Lingering bitterness throughout does a good job of balancing the otherwise sweet malty flavors accentuated by the cask conditioning.

Mellow and creamy cask character with some welcomed lingering bitterness on the palate. Semidry and lush with a soft pillowy swallow. Takes really well to the cask but if given the choice I'd probably prefer it on regular tap. Still very enjoyable. (851 characters)

Photo of Axic10
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked up a growler of this while I was in Pittsburgh for work and enjoyed it in my hotel room.

Appearance: Amber with a finger of khaki head.

Smell: Malty aroma, roasted toffee and sweet caramel.

Taste: Sweet spices and some nice roasted and bready malt flavors

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with nice carbonation.

Drinkability: I really enjoyed this beer. East End is really an underrated brewery and with beers like this, I'm glad I can get their beers on a semi-regular basis. (490 characters)

Photo of coachdonovan
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a growler filled at the shop in the strip district on 12/22. As I sit on the North Side, poured into a Burgh-appropriate Jerome Bettis Grille shaker glass. Sandy head, about 3/4 inch, settles with good lacing. This beer is dark, but not so dark that you can't tell it's cloudy. Let's call it cinnamon brown with maybe a hint of orange; no red color to speak of.

Aroma is hop-forward, but not in a way that I'd mistake for an IPA. Piney, but there is a little sweetness in there. I don't pick up any winter warmer spices (which I'm not complaining about). The bitterness is carried through in the taste from hops as well as burnt coffee, but here I get some subtle caramel notes too.

Carbonation is high, even from the growler, and while there isn't a lot of spice, there's plenty of zing. It doesn't warm me up, but that doesn't mean I can't drink it all night long. This is a delightfully different take on the style. (925 characters)

Photo of Hojaminbag
4.42/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

East End Snow Melt has a dark brown body that is black and opaque at its center. At least two fingers of light brown head are present, and the retention and lacing are both good.

Rich, dark malts are the first thing I notice, with notes of coffee and roast, followed by a good pine aroma from the hops. Well-balanced and nice-smelling.

Snow Melt manages to be fantastically hoppy and malty at the same time. The malt is first up, with loads of roasted and toasted malt, a lot of coffee flavor, some toffee and a hint chocolate. The malts are smooth and rich, and only supply a little bit of sweetness. At the tail end of the malt flavors there is even a hint of tobacco. This malt profile alone, without any hop flavor, would make a great beer. After the malt flavors, however, Snow Melt, also packs a pretty solid hop profile. Flavors of resinous pine along with bitterness hide in the back end of this beer, and there is perhaps a hint of citrus too. The finish and aftertaste are a mix of both malt and hops, with the finish being pretty dry.

Pretty big body with a carbonation that gives it a creamy feel.

I don't know if this year's batch of snow melt is better than usual, or if it's me, but I've had it a few times and I love it. Great drinkability and pleasing whether you're in the mood for hops or malt. (1,317 characters)

Photo of DrDemento456
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Deep Mahogany in color indeed! Very little light escaping from the glass. A inch of head due from growler pour.

S - Smells kind of like a porter with roasted coffee and a bit of hops but a nice sweet malt smell. No real spices on the nose.

T - Comes off very creamy. Tastes of bitter chocolate and hops with a nice balances of some winter all spice and a sprinkle of cinnamon. The hop presence is very mild delivering a sweet malt which I love in my winter warmer. Very complex.

M - Light to medium. Hard to believe this is over 6 percent ABV.

D - Well funny story actually my local place is the only location I know that carries this and I wanted a growler fill for 9 bucks. After about 1 1/2 beers the line kicks and he charges me 1.50 for the pour and sends me on my way. I ended up getting two pours out of that for buck fifty. If I did see it again on tap and the price was right I would get a fill but as of now I guess I have to wait till next year. Overall a damn fine winter warmer! (999 characters)

Photo of IronCitySteve
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep dark brown with some slight red hues. Provides a big thick ligh brown foam head with some spotty lacing.

S: A nice amount of dark chocolate, light roasted coffee, some spices and a hint of Levi Garrett chewing tobacco. Ok, maybe just tobacco, but reminds me sniffing the pouch of a freshly opened bag of chew.

T: Slightly sweet at first with some nice chocolate and coffee followed up with some nice bitter pine.

M: Leaves a nice sweet and slightly bitter taste on the palate. Nicely carbonated.

D: These is easily becoming one of my favorite winter warmers. Not overly sweet and just enough bitterness. Another great offering from East End! (662 characters)

Photo of wvsabbath
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - Growler

Appearance - Dark tan, black with insane 4 inch thick creamy head

Smell - Hops, malts, barley, brown sugar, some spices.

Taste - A nice mix of sugar with the bitter hops and spices. I really enjoy the hop kick it has. Also love the plum and malt taste. The malts make it not that far off from a smoked porter. Very smooth and tasty.

Mouthfeel - It has a load of flavor. Theres sweetness, theres bitterness, mouth gets a decent workout. I would stick with dark beers after this.

Drinkabilty - This is my favorite east end beer. I really wish it was year round. Can drink this with a steak, or a piece of chocolate cake. Fantastic, cant wait for more (677 characters)

Photo of Deuane
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Deep dark reddish brown with a creamy dark tan head. Head reduces to a thin cap and leaves decent lace.

S-Spicy pine and citrus hops up front with a nice caramel sweetness supporting. Light coffee, cocoa and tobacco in the background.

T-Rich dark roast with bitter dark chocolate, pine and light citrus hops. A myriad of other flavours swirl in background with coffee, cocoa, tobacco, brown sugar and gingerbread.

M-Medium bodied with full flavoured lingering notes.

D-A strong and full flavored holiday brew that has a lot going on in well done harmony. Nothing seems to fight and the flavours meld very nicely. A quality winter warmer. (645 characters)

Photo of OneDropSoup
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a growler at the brewery during their "2-for-1 clearance." Granted, this means that the beer is not at its freshest, but still had every bit of character.

Poured a dark brown, nearly black, almost no light coming through but some dark amber highlights near the bottom. Two fingers of tan head, big bubbles, solid lacing with each sip.

Smell is rich, malty, with some roast notes in it. Coffee, chocolate, some subtle piney hop smells. The taste delivers on all counts, with a stronger hop bite at the end, rounding out into that crayon-like flavor I get from coffee-tasting dark beers. Though this is not categorized as a stout, the closest comparison I can think of is Wake 'n' Bake from Terrapin, the first time I noticed the crayon. I'll repeat, not unpleasant, but unexpected.

Mouthfeel is good, not as thick as a stout, but not watery. The bubbles dance around on the tongue a little. A drinkable winter ale, could easily spend an evening with this one. One of the best offerings from East End, in my opinion. (1,028 characters)

Photo of CrossansWright
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is the first offering that I have had from East End and I must say I was quite pleased. A mere $3 on draft at The Library in Pittsburgh during happy hour. The beer itself was almost black and let very little light through. Minimal head with little lacing. I picked up primarily dark, roasty notes in the nose. Flavor was similar. The dark malt really stood out, but it was followed by a subdued bitterness. Some of this was hops for sure, but there was a sort of coffee bitterness as well. Mouthfeel was outstanding. It coated the tongue and lingered awhile before going down smooth, a great full-bodied feeling. A lot of firsts on this one, its peaked my interest in the style as well as the brewery. (706 characters)

Photo of glid02
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Growler from the brewery via pghlee, thanks for picking this one up!

Pours a slightly hazy brown color with a one-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malt with hints of hops and earthy spices.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet malts up front, but now hints of roasted malts enter into the equation. Hardly any hop flavors, instead the malts give way to mild amounts of earthy spices.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a very nice thickness with solid carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I had no problem downing the growler with a few friends around.

Overall this winter warmer is light on the spices, but it still manages to distinguish itself as a winter warmer. A tasty beer. (758 characters)

Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.42/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks glid02 and pghlee for sharing this growler.

Pours black with a ton of red highlights. Smells of coffee and lightly roasted malts. First sip is sweet then bitter with coffee and a musty attic flavor in the forefront. That mustiness is not welcomed and makes the beer seem "Off". Lightly bodied with average carbonation. (326 characters)

Photo of gford217
3.77/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Growler provided by pghlee and glid02 shared at the Brick Store.

This one pours a hazy caramel brown that looks a good bit like iced tea when held up to light. The head is small, very short-lived and leaves no lacing.

The aroma is mostly caramel malts but with some coffee and a hint of hops. There is also an understated tobacco and smoke presence as it warms.

The taste has the sweet malts with some chocolate and coffee bitterness which last through the finish along with a distinct woody character. The tobacco comes through in the finish as well.

The mouthfeel is actually a bit heavier than I was expecting and is very smooth with less than moderate carbonation.

This is an interesting winter warmer with more bitterness than I was expecting. It also drinks a bit heavier than the ABV. (796 characters)

Photo of ffejherb
3.45/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Via growler pour on 2/18/09.

A - Poured a deep muddy brown body with burgundy highlights and a milky, bubbly light tan head that receded to leave only modest lacing behind.

S - Extremely earthy nose with a pronounced coffee character, as well as traces of wood, tree bark, tobacco and smoke.

T - Like the aroma, the flavor is quite earthy and surprisingly bitter for a Winter Warmer (even more so that I remember from my cask review). Grainy and gritty earthy bitterness segues into a smokey character mid-way through, followed by slight chocolate notes and more aggressive bitterness in the finish.

M - Medium bodied with a pretty watery texture overall, although carbonation is quite bristly. Finish is pretty dry, extremely bitter and somewhat astringent, especially for this style.

D - Not much has changed in my opinion, really. This is very unusual for a Winter Warmer. If you like earthy, woody, bitter brews, then this one should be right up your alley. (970 characters)

Photo of sulldaddy
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled this beer courtesy of my brother. Pouring the growler into a pint glass the beer pours a dark mahogany with light ruby highlights on the edges, not much light passing through.
Aroma is malty with caramel and brown sugar and a little booze. no hops on the nose.
First sip reveals an average body and fine tingly carbonation. Flavor is as the nose advertises with big malt caramel and brown sugar hits with just a touch of molassess for good measure. Again no hop presence that I can detect. I do get a little peppery booze warmth. Overall the beer is a bit of a sipper, which is surprising for the 7% abv. A nice drinking brew but not a session beer IMO. (661 characters)

Photo of sonicdescent
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

On cask at the sharp edge brassiere in canonsburg pa.

Pours a murky brown with small tan head and a nice lacing. Looks thick.

Smells of earth malt and a tiny bit of hop.

Tastes malty, warm, with a tiny bite of hops.

Mouth is velvety greatness, minimum carbonation and whiskey thick. A high point.

Drinkability is mixed but above average, I would absolutely order again but couldn't do more than one in a session. (422 characters)

Photo of mikereaser
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - pours a murky brown with a slight off white foam that disappeared quickly

S - earthy roasted maltiness

T - maltiness dominates with a nice hop bite that was way unexpected

M/D - Totally not what i was expecting. I was waiting for spiciness and alcohol, but was surprised with a nice malt and hoppy flavor. Definitely a nice surprise and the growler went by way too fast. (377 characters)

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.51/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A-Body is a nice dark brown hue. When held up to the night one can see mahogany hues shining through. Translucent/nearly opaque body. Served with a nice 2 finger or so light tan foamy head that has great retention. Lacing all the way down the glass.

S- Big malty nose. Lots of big roasted toasted malt comes through and a hint of dark chocolate.

T-The flavor is consistent all the way through. Upfront is some chocolate and malty flavors. Very similar to a heavy Scottish ale. The background is all roasted malt. A good bit of roasted malt bitterness comes through for the finish.

M- Nice low to medium carbonation and a fairly thick, nice, smooth body.

D- This is a big winter beer. Great accompaniment to the darkness of winter here in Pittsburgh. It could be a bit more complex and the roasted flavors are the highlight of the beer-which get to be just a bit cloying for me after awhile. Still definitely worth a try especially if you are a fan of big, dark, seasonals. Reminds me of a roasted Scottish Ale. (1,014 characters)

Photo of SwiftyMcBeer
3.33/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a growler picked up at the brewery. Dark brown color with a spotty light tan head. Smells dark and wet, like a malt swamp if that makes any sense. The taste is rich with a hint of coffee at the end, at first the taste is a little bitter, but the smooth as silk finish makes up for that. It did have a thicker mouthfeel to it then what I am used to, maybe that is just part of the style, for me it didn't work. This is a sipper for sure. Overall, it left me a little underwhelmed. Maybe it's because we had the IPA growler first, which was a superior effort. Regardless, this wasn't bad, I would just seek something else out if/when I visit East End again. (667 characters)

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Snow Melt Winter Ale from East End Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 56 ratings.