Wintertime Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 97 | Reviews: 62 | Display Reviews Only:
3.53/5 rDev -0.3%
Evading the notion that winter ales have got to be heavy, rich, malty; and then being beaten over the head with every spice in the cabinet- North Coast prefers a saner taste of softness and is smoothly palatable.
Copperish brown in color and with rosy purplish highlights, the beer reminds me of lavender as it pours from the tap. Nearly brilliantly clear, the beer streams those tiny creamy bubbles to the top where a magnificent whipped head forms. It's off white foam casts on the glass with light lacing and firm retention. It's a fine looking ale!
Fruity aromas pull from the rim with the distinct scent of grape candy. Softer notes of powdered sugar lean against mild cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg spices for a balanced scent of moderate intensity. It's inviting scent seems to carry low offense and makes diving right in very easy.
It's effortless taste carries over the grape hard candy character and borrows complementary notes of cherries, blackberries, and mild licorice. Although its culmination carries a taste of black jelly beans, the beer is much less polarizing than those often avoided morsels. Light cinnamon and fennel seem to be the balancing agents that seem to supplant hop bitterness for a smoother and spicier session.
Though medium bodied, the beer has a lighter attitude from the taste and texture of cotton candy- where the taste of sweetness exists but it evaporates well before the finish. Creamy carbonation seems to carry with it any malty weight and allows a mild peppery warmth to satisfy the palate, stomach, and mind.
The complexities of the beer may be few, but it's focus on sugarplum and grape gives it a standout quality that's both charming and welcomed, especially when pinned up against stronger and more hearty winter warmers this time of year.
12-13-2012 17:29:26 | More by BEERchitect
3.78/5 rDev +6.8%
Appearance: Pours a lighter shade of a typical ruby ale with some copper highlights in there and a creamy well-developed head sporting a creamy full head with nice patterns of lacing to boot. Aroma: I believe the Belgian malts and bready spiced yeast aroma are very satisfying, candied sugar thrown in there too. Taste: Is very mild but it ties together subtle flavors very well, with belgian slightly toasted malts and spices for the winter season this is from last winter so I am guessing it's not this tame fresh. Any way you slice it everything that comes from North Coast is solid, this has some subtle hops in the finish very nice beer that I am going to give another go in the colder months. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied fluffy nice texture and very smooth. Drinkability: Is decent have no idea what the alcohol content is but I'm guessing it's substantial as for pure craving this beer after having one it's pretty damn good and I wish I had another one.
09-17-2003 21:30:06 | More by WVbeergeek
4.33/5 rDev +22.3%
Pours out a lovely ruby red colr, with a thick, creamy white head. Bold, outstanding aromatics: fresh, sweet, creamy, with dark, rustic notes, as well, slightly spicy, with cinnamon, fruitiness, touches of cheries, grapes, bright and lively.
On the palate, warm and tasty, and surprisingly smooth. Full malt, and dazzling hop play. Medium body, and it feels light in ABV, but is aflood with flavor. Quite delicious, but lacking some depth that would push it further.
As far as winter ales go, at the top of the middle, or near the bottom of the top!
03-30-2003 03:18:48 | More by feloniousmonk
4/5 rDev +13%
Pours a cloudy brown ale.
Smell is spicy with a bit of chocolate malt smell. There is also a herbal and apples smell here.
Taste is fruity and strong, and a bit sweet. There is a slight lemon tea flavor to this.
Mouthfeel is good.
Drinkable, all most tastes like a Belgian ale.
03-01-2004 01:55:25 | More by Zorro
4.1/5 rDev +15.8%
I believe this sample is a year old. And I believe it is a Belgian Dubbel in style.
Clear copper color. Thin beige head that recedes to a thin film quickly. The collar is thick however. Aroma is very caramelly. A little bit of dry bitterness apparant on the nose as well. The taste is subdued, but somewhat complex. A dry aspect is apparant as well as cedar tones. Fruitiness is present in small quantities. Musty herbalness also come through on the palate. Caramel sweetness blends with a minute cider-like quality. Drinkability is great. Body is about medium.
Last winter I didn't care for this beer. Thought it tasted like a wheat style beer. This year I had a knowledgeable friend tip me off that this beer is best at a year old and that it was a Dubbel in style. He told me of a store where they were discounted and I cashed in.
03-24-2003 21:17:13 | More by Bighuge
3.48/5 rDev -1.7%
Undated 12 oz bottle served in a snifter.
Pour is medium red-brown, clear, with a tan head that soon settles to a partial coat but continues to leave a nice coat of lacing on the glass with each tilt.
Feel: near medium body seems too thin. Medium+ carbonation seems a bit too high.
Initially appealing aroma declined with warming. Surprisingly, some similarity to a Belgian dubbel but not the same. Rather nutty for one thing. More hops too.
O: a bit too weak and too thin for a Winter warmer.
09-03-2013 02:07:19 | More by chinchill
3.45/5 rDev -2.5%
The pour is a nice dark ruby red, the head quite small, the lace adequate. Nose is citrus, malts, sweet, nutmeg maybe. Start is slightly sweet, the top is light, the finish has a penetrating acidity, with a pleasing hop bite and a long lasting dry aftertaste A decent beer, drinkable, and a pleasant enough distraction from the "Strong Belgian Ales", that I love.
11-23-2002 07:03:28 | More by Gusler
3.58/5 rDev +1.1%
I guess this is being brewed again. New bottle with no sediment.
A - A nice clear dark ruby brown. Head is just a 1/4 inch but pulls back to an attractive lace ring with great lacing. Tons of bubbles throughout this brew.
S - Candied sugars and fruity yeasts with some caramel malt. I guess I get some sweet vanilla and oak if I concentrate.
T - Getting some smoky peat and chocolate which is nice. Hops are kind of acidic giving a drying character next to the peat. Almost taste like an oak barrel with caramel malts. Not bad.
M - Pretty on par for a winter warmer. Medium and chewy.
Overall it kind of reminds me of "New Holland Charkoota Rye" but with not so much drying peat and rye. Not really sessionable and too drying for my taste. Not worth a revisit.
11-22-2012 20:13:56 | More by DrDemento456
3.38/5 rDev -4.5%
Pours a clean orange-ish to amber color with a light tan head. In the aroma, spices, a mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, and all spice. In the taste, big spices, but primarily nutmeg. A spice like bite and a medium bodied mouthfeel, with a dry nutmeg, clove, and ginger in the aftertaste. Quite nice, but a bit too much spice for me.
12-31-2012 18:15:25 | More by OWSLEY069
3.65/5 rDev +3.1%
Picked up on sale for 5 bucks for a six, hell of a summer deal. To bad its not a hell of a good beer. Color is a nice dark glowing amber, one finger high head of creamy tight evennesswhich is dark ivory in hue. Settles slowly leaving a good skim and ring with stringy lace that drips morphing into spots. Smell is of musty fruits, orangish, grassy, earthy in tone, but is quite soft. Taste starts quickly with a sharp feel of very dulled sweet malts and stingey hops, then grabs into a dark orangy twang, somewhat earthy and musty. The flavors meld together well but aren't very strong, its pretty light and uneventful. Feel is a solid medium body, starts strong with a good thickness, thats a little tough to swallow and fades into a creamy smoothness with a very light lingering tang. Could make for a good session beer, but beyond that it may be a passable offering for the style.
06-18-2003 17:45:33 | More by tavernjef
3.48/5 rDev -1.7%
Still think it hasa wheatbock flavor...this is better than I remember though....spicy nose....very inviting....malty flavor with good spiciness....pretty tasty...just not real thick..not bad at all bt many better...bumped up drinkability, mouthfeel and taste .5 and nose 1.0...
I agree with the first two opinions..I expect more out of a old ale...I might be nuts but this tastes like a wheat beer to me. Not a full-fledged dark wheat, but more of an amber wheat...I tried to find some info on this but came up empty. I'd be curious to know if this is a wheat beer. It's not bad, but not my idea of a winter ale. I was very excited to try this, and my grand expectations were not met...still not a bad beer, but I certainly would never buy it in the future.
07-16-2003 05:41:19 | More by ZAP
4.53/5 rDev +28%
Copper color with nice tan head that had some staying power. Sediment evident. Raisiney and light Belgian yeasty aroma. Light raisiney Belgian double malt character. Medium bodied, smooth, creamy (like velvet)...
Going out on a limb here but I think this beer was a really light Belgian double meaning you can drink more than one since the strength is not noticable.... very nice!
10-11-2002 09:00:52 | More by RBorsato
2.33/5 rDev -34.2%
Presentation: A rather timid home-made looking blue label smattered with an icicle font Wintertime Ale. No strength or freshness listed.
Appearance: A nice brazen copper-orange body that is lucid and well presented with a smooth looking off-white creamy head resting atop. Occasionally swirled, the head is retained as a thick smooth collar. The best part of this beer, until you smell it at least.
Nose: Malts and Walnuts mixed with a strange disinfectant hospital odor.
Taste: Has a sort of Medicinal Feel on the tongue, and long after the swallow. If I was feeling rude, I would say that this tastes infected! Otherwise, it certainly cleanses the palate of all know germs. Buy a 6-Pack now and get a special Bobble Head Oxy Clean Billy Mays!!! Do it in the next 5 minutes and well super size your order.
Mouthfeel: Leaves a clean Petri-Dish feel. No cultured germs here.
Drinkability: Tough one this took a while for me to finish the 12 ouncer, I have to say.
Overall: A bit of a let-down for a North Coast beer, pretty average really. Thats kind; in fact Im not impressed. A short Review for a beer I would rather forget. So glad I only got single rather than a 6-Pack!!.
03-04-2004 08:16:41 | More by TheLongBeachBum
2.75/5 rDev -22.3%
12oz. bottle poured into a tulip.
(A)- Pours a deep and dark mahogany brown color. Produced a lovely cap of off-white froth. Great retention and lacing.
(S)- A rich spicy body. Quite woody / bark-like with a hefty bitterness aroma-wise. Subtle sweetness.
(T)- Very very nutty with an almond/walnuts. Relatively dry with a subtle spice and minimally sweet.
(M)- A good carbonation level. It is just kind of mild-medium across the board. The nutty flavors are nice, but just not alot going on. Neither bitter or sweet; neutral?
(O)- With all of the winter seasonals that are out with bold and dynamic flavors, this one is easily forgettable for me.
07-17-2014 13:59:51 | More by sweemzander
3.2/5 rDev -9.6%
ZAP has this one pegged. Seems like a wheat to be too. A pretty thin one at that.
Pours a bronze body with a solid looking head that runs away quickly, screaming something about being promised an Strong Ale.
Smells of clove and some whispers of smokiness. Not a good combination.
Taste consists of wheat-like clove and fruit esters, which is actually somewhat decent. Hops make a appearance, but nothing to brag about. Very little body. Thin and uninspired. Nothing about this says "winter" to me.
It is a brew that could be conceivably quaffed down, due to it's thinness, and not-horrible taste....but there are plenty of more appealing beers that can serve that role.
A let down from North Coast.
03-18-2002 22:07:59 | More by cokes
3.78/5 rDev +6.8%
The bottle gives no clue as to the style of the beer, and I spent most of my time trying to tag the character. Yeasty, spicy aroma wafts from the beer - Belgian? Dark Hefe? Very malty, at the start with the beer still quite chilly, caramel jumps up and takes charge of the flavor, but the finish lets in a bit of cereal for an end that that hints of Cracker Jacks popcorn and nuts. Once the beer warmed, a more phenolic aspect asserted itself and it seemed to switch nationality from Belgian to German with clove flavors from the yeast bubbling up. Not a great beer, but a good beer and a nice winter diversion.
12-21-2002 14:49:24 | More by Brent
4.72/5 rDev +33.3%
Well, it's spring, no time to be reviewing winter beers and yet this one remains to be tried. It has a honey amber color and pours to a light head. The tiny bubbles cannot sustain any of the head whatsoever and it is quickly lost.
The aroma is spicy, cinnamon and cloves or allspice.
I am a big fan of spiced beers and really enjoyed this one. It has a great flavor - moderate malty feel mixed with the aforementioned spices. A touch of a hop bite there, just a brief bit of bitterness mixed, I think, with allspice or clove, I can't nail it down. It's a clean beer, just slightly heavy feeling going down, and would have been great by the fire or the Christmas tree while wrapping presents. Oh well, there's always next year, next time I'll buy a few 6-packs instead of just one bottle.
04-25-2003 07:00:13 | More by brewdlyhooked13
4.15/5 rDev +17.2%
This really grew on me as I drank it and as it warmed.
Malty, slightly sweet aroma with a slight roast quality. Little caramel and some phenol. Nice complexity. Pretty amber color (like an Marzen), clear large full head with good lacing.
Flavor not over powering with a slight hard water quality. Mostly malt, with good balancing with hops. Taste become richer and more satisfying as drink warmed. Pretty good ale smoothness with richness noted.
As this sat it became more flavorful, almost like it needed to breath (like a red wine). Seems like an ale version of a Marzen with similar malt make-up, but with nice ale smoothness.
02-02-2003 16:58:55 | More by garymuchow
3.95/5 rDev +11.6%
2002 version Medium brown color, small head. Aroma is malty, sweet and spicy (nutmeg?). A lighter bodied winter beer. Mild malts are spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon and coriander and ??. Starts out sweet and mellows to a spicy, slightly hoppy bitterness. Flavor is a little light for a winter beer, and its a little thin tasting, but there is something I like about this beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly sweet.
09-06-2003 02:40:20 | More by beerguy101
2.98/5 rDev -15.8%
Clear umber brown color with a really fugitive head in the pint glass. Some spiciness to the aroma, a sense of nutmeg and estery clove. So far, so good...Flavor was woefully subdued and somewhat off for style. Watery malts, vague approach to a spicy cinnamon/caramel impression and some strange esters as well. Hops are apparent and peppery, more than I would expect. This does not qualify as an excellent Strong Ale to me.
12-18-2002 10:43:10 | More by ADR
3.18/5 rDev -10.2%
Pours a thick copper color with some orange tint. Very small white head with very little lace.
Aroma is sweet malt, light hex nut and some peat.
Flavor is sweet malt, some citrus and a mild roasted taste
Mouthfeel has no real distinguishing characteristic except for a strange sort sort of sour and diacetyl aftertaste.
Drinkability is moderate at best. Compared to some of the other North Coast beer this one is a pass.
03-25-2004 03:30:58 | More by CRJMellor
Wintertime Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 97 ratings.