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Wintertime Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Wintertime AleWintertime Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

67 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 67
Hads: 124
Avg: 3.54
pDev: 17.23%
Wants: 4
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  ABV ?

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 11-11-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (28) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 67 | Hads: 124
Photo of Pegasus
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Flawlessly clear dark copper color with a large off-white cloud top head and lots of sticky broken lace and good retention. Cloves are quite prominent in the aroma, as well as nutmeg, dark fruits, and toasted malt. Taste begins with strong toasted malt flavor, alcohol, and some spiciness, although less than the aroma would suggest. Late in the taste spicy, mildly bitter but quite lingering hops make their presence known. The finish is dry; mouthfeel seems a bit watery for this style.

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Photo of Morris729
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark orange amber color with a thick and creamy off-white colored head with nice retention that slowly dissipates into a heavy and bubbly lace. Nose is lightly toasted malt and grains, a bit of caramel, and some notes of cloves and nutmeg. Medium in body with a very smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Taste is sweet toasted malts up front followed by flavors of dark fruits, a bit of spice, and alcohol. There is a bite of citrusy hops in the finish. This is a decent brew but is not as good as several other North Coast beers I’ve had. Still, it does pair well with a cold and rainy evening like tonight.

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Photo of beer2day
3.62/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Do not see this listed on the North Coast web page anymore.

Pours a dark orange with a good bit of red there too. 1/2 finger of tan head. Very faint retention and thin lace strands.

Nose is spice and dark fruit. Fruitcake comes to mind, but without the sweetness. Nutmeg and allspice, with figs, prunes, and a touch of raisin. Understated, though.

Flavor is thinner than expected. The same fruit and spice is there as in the nose. Fig/raisin combo with more allspice than nutmeg. A hint of cinnamon. Very mild finish. Nice, but not memorable.

Feel is a bit on the thin side as well. Some thickness from the fruit, but not as much as expected.

Overall, nice enough for the style but not one I'd get again.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.6/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ale pours a rick mahogany reddish brown with light tan head and great lacing. Nose of bread, light sweet caramel notes, and an earthy woody like aroma. Taste is light bittering hop up front mingling with caramel malts on the back and sides. Decent carbonation gives a lively mouthfeel. As labeled a winter ale it is more of an ESB. That said, so many winter ales beat you to death with spices and vegetable matter like pumpkin or yam, that it can be nice to just have a good beer that does not crash ones senses, this is a good beer, not great, but very good.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.6/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of brewandbbq
3.57/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

1997 Vintage,similar label as displayed but biege in color.
Vigorous pour revealed minimal head, leaving behind scattered irregular bubbles. Dark amber in the body of the glass with ruby hips.
After a few good swirls, this baby woke up after a 8 year nap.
Complex nose filled with subdued malt,cherries,cocoa,almonds.
Belgian character shining through,hints of coriander,orange peel,cloves. Lingering wine-like aroma.
Flavors fell short of the promising aromatics.
Vineous,fruity and light spice.
Very Grand Cru-ish.
Dried up cherries and dusty malt blended with red wine.
Minimal oxidation, not a detraction.
Thin/medium bodied,barely carbonated at this point.
Too bad it wasn't in a 750 ml, it would have held up a little better, but overall not too bad for a vintage brew.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present. A new winter seasonal to me from North Coast Brewing Co., acquired as part of a mixed six pack at the local Binny's. Simple minimalist label art; no abv listed on the bottle anywhere.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - It pours a dark rubyish chestnut body with about a finger of creamy khaki head with good staying power. Leaves lots of good sticky lacing behind. Looks very nice.

S - The aroma is simple, but pleasant. Bready caramel / toffee malts, herbal tea leaves, subtle notes of vanilla, and a fruity hop presence reminiscent of berries and jelly. Not a terribly powerful aroma, but it's nice.

T - Taste follows the nose: light roast / nutty caramel malt presence steals the show, with some mild fruity / herbal hop content coming into play. Not a whole lot going on, but the quality of the ingredients shows, and it goes down nice and easy.

M - The feel is a bit on the thin / watery side, but it's smooth, crisp, and easy-drinking.

Overall, an average, but enjoyable winter warmer offering from North Coast. Probably not one I would return to again often, but it was a pleasant surprise.

North Coast Wintertime Ale -----3.5/5

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of barczar
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy amber with a solid one inch light tan head that lingers.

Citrus, toasted breadcrust, and molasses sweetness form the aroma.

The flavor follows suit, adding a bit of a perception of cranberry at the finish. Malt sweetness and toasted bread form the backbone, with lemon underlying the profile. The finish is slightly dry. There seems to be some spice in the aftertaste, along with a touch of chocolate.

Body is moderate, with moderate carbonation and a bit of astringency.

Overall, not your typical winter warmer. Very drinkable beer. The citrus seems a little overpowering, though.

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Photo of rkhaze
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 version. I had this beer 3 years ago and it was wonderful. Rich, malty and flavorful. It slipped some last year and since they don't list it on their website, I called the brewery. Was told it was indeed a different recipe 3 years ago but was reformulated last year at a lower alcohol level to enter the North Carolina market. It was described to me as more of a Belgian Brown than a Strong Old Ale. That all being said...
It poured a light amber with a miniscule head that disappeared immediatly. Left ok lace. Aroma of sweet malt, raisins, prunes and a slight smokiness.
Tangy, sweet, smoky, almost peaty malt flavor. Very earthy. Not much of a hop presence and a bit of fruitiness and cocoa in the finish. Medium body, carbonation and a slight tartness make for a very drinkable beer.
I think a "session" winter beer would border on an oxymoron but nonetheless, if there is one this would be it. I was a little disappointed but still love NCB's beers.

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Photo of rapayn01
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%

I think the abv is 5.3%. I don't usually drink this style, but I gave it a chance because of its low abv and seasonal novelty. It tilts to the malty side, though not over-the-top with spices.

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Photo of ZAP
3.49/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Re-rate 7/15/03

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.

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Photo of chinchill
3.48/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of BeerBuckeye
3.48/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a dark reddish amber with 1 finger off white head.

S- Roasty malt, toffee, nuts, and almost a hint of mint

T- Cinnamon up front, metallicy in a way. Toffee and dark malt.

M- A little dry, full, high carb.

Overall- Decent beer. Not outstanding, not offensive

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Photo of Hoptometrist
3.48/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap into a nonic glass. The twelfth beer of my 2014 twelve beers of Christmas.

A- Poured a reddish brown color with off-white soapy head that left some light lace.

S- Lots of cereal, grainy, and bready malt notes.

T- Very malt forward with notes of grains, bread, and cereal. Some light ginger and nutmeg notes and orange peel.

M- Lighter bodied, dry, very high carbonation and prickly. Pretty over carbonated for the style.

O- Nice malt character with some nice hints of holiday spices for the season. The body is lighter than I prefer for a winter warmer.

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Photo of yeagerbm
3.48/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Nice looking beer, thousands of tiny sediment particles suspended in the deep amber liquid. I read a few other reviews and was surprised that none of them even mentioned what I thought was the predominant character of this beer- smoked malt. Also has a bready-slightly sweet caramel touch to it. Mouthfeel is nice, very smooth feel, but not as smooth taste. It comes off a little rich to be considered a very drinkable ale, however I think it would go nice with some nice meats and cheeses.

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Photo of Gusler
3.45/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of Mark
3.41/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I love North Coast beer and I was excited to try this on a dark winter night watching T.V. with Suzanne. I was a bit let down when I discoverd this was a spiced beer. I was expecting a malty strong ale or even a barley wine style. Appearance was a attractive deep clear amber, a nice head lasted and left intricate lacing. Aroma was of spice which as I mentioned above was a letdown. Taste was spice accented, clove mainly I would think. Solid mouthfeel. Drinkability only so so for me, but spice lovers should take to this beer.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.38/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pretty generic-looking bottle for a vague style – really, what is a winter ale? Maybe I’m just not up on the style.

A: Creamy, microbubbled head of beige over a burnt orange body; looks very fizzy, with bubbles constantly rising to support the thin retention. Small webs of lacing.

S: Aromas of malts dominate: moderately thick notes of toffee, almond, fruitcake, and wheat bread crust. Smells a bit metallic, too, like well water or English porter; it’s Old-Worldly, you might say, especially as it rounds out with an earthy peat aroma. No hops to be found.

T: Now this is a bready beer: primary tastes develop into yam, doughy roll, salted pretzel, and smooth, nutty oatmeal. It’s all a little sweet, too – I feel like I’m eating pumpkin bread, or a big slice of marble rye with butter, at least. It’s all pretty thick, but without any powerful flavors – where’s the warming of the winter warmer? Still, some hop flavors do persist in the form of some acidic herbal flavors mixed throughout, though just barely noticeable under the blanket effect of the malts. Finishes clean and a little tannic.

M: With a frothy, semi-thin texture, this one goes down pretty unenthusiastically. Feels less like a session ale and more like it’s missing something.

O: A little better than middle-of-the-road, but not by much. It does make me want to explore the winter warmer style a little more, though; it seems like it could pretty satisfying when done well.

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Photo of ManekiNeko
3.35/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2003 version served lightly chilled in a pint glass.

Appearance: Clear brown colored liquid with a frothy cream colored head. The head dissipates to a small layer of foam after awhile and leaves some impressive lacing for the style.

Smell: Raisin, prune, and maple aromas dominate the nose. Medicinal and piney hop smells are present. A decent sniffer, but I've seen much better.

Taste: A sharp, sweet, and smoky malt flavor that quickly gives way to... um... a nice gap of not much. Then the hops and spices (nutmeg, mostly) realize they're supposed to be on the job (must be a union shop :P ) and do a half-assed job. Faint coffee notes on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium heavy in body with nice aftertastes. Mildly puckering and astringent.

Drinkability: An entry level strong/old ale. I'll let the rest of the 6-er age a bit before I crack 'em open. Still, not a bad beer at all. Would go great with turkey, I'll wager

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Photo of StevieW
3.33/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I'm way behind the curve on this one, I was worried about it's freshness, but it seems to have kept ok. It just isn't that flavorful of a beer. Medium clear brown color, with a nice fluffy tan head that leaves like it's 10 minutes late to work. Maybe be some floral, and cinnamon spiceyness to the nose, or I could have just wished it there. Not alot of smells, flavors, and richness I expected. Some decent carmel malt flavors, some faintly expressive hops, but the flavors never really got it together. I can see where others thought it was a wheat beer, with the grainy finish, but it's much to thin for that. I had several Samuel Smith Winter's Welcome's last winter, they were much better. A dissapointment from North Coast, I expected so much more, the other beers I have had from them were great.

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Photo of sponberg
3.28/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Deep auburn with little head and a nose like a glass of Scotch.

Rather thin, a tea-like flavor with hints of cloves in the background. A buttery, yeasty flavor is present in the middle, but in the end the tea-like character wins out. OK, but there are more characterful winter ales out there that I would drink first.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.27/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Found in the "close-out" section of a local wine-n-beer store for $0.99. Why not? (Note: This beer wasn't listed on their website)

Presentation: 12oz amber bottle with quite the "Christmasy" label...snowflakes and all. No info as to sell by/consume by.

Appearance: A lovely hazy amber color with a tight tannish-colored head. Lace at first seems hardy and persistant, but ran out of gas towards the end.

Smell: It certainly smelled like what I thought a barley wine should be. Lots of complex aromas floating around: Dark fruits, caramel, spices. Perhaps a hint of things to come for the palate?

Taste: This beer took a nose-dive for me here. It really didn't do anything for me. Flavor was rather flat and unappealing. As if there wasn't enough "oomph" to make it stand out. It's complex, with a rather dry and almost bittering effect at the end. No alcohol-induced "warming effect" at all.

Mouthfeel: Not nearly as creamy and full-bodied as I'd expected. Thin.

Drinkability: Nothing I would save for a cold winter's night. Pretty light in terms of drinkabilty. Nothing too heavy on the stomach or palate with this one. I'll buy some more Ol' Rasputin from NCBC and enjoy it.

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Photo of gnaussea
3.25/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours amber with orage highlight. Medium head, mine had no lace. The nose is quite strong of peanut caramel malt. Taste is quite different. The malt predominates, but there is a definite bitter character with a hop that sneaks in on the pallete. The flavor is ended abruptly, and a mild bitter aftertaste remainas, Seems like there is just something missing here. Nice bubbly texture. I appreciate the carbonation, but it seems watered down. Overall, not something I will really look forward to in the future.

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Wintertime Ale from North Coast Brewing Co.
81 out of 100 based on 67 ratings.