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Wintertime Ale - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Wintertime AleWintertime Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

67 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 67
Hads: 123
rAvg: 3.54
pDev: 10.17%
Wants: 5
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.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 67 | Hads: 123
Photo of Chaz
3.84/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Is everybody clued in to North Coast yet? You all should know 'em by now, as the brewers of Old Rasputin and Old Stock Ale (a fine interpretation of a Russian Imperial Stout and an excellent 11% sipper respectively) I'd gather we all know what they're capable of and respect their approach to bigger styles. Locally, the first time Wintertime hit the shelves it was apparent that beer geeks were expecting a massive holiday offering from North Coast - perhaps a barleywine ala Old Stock or even a beefed-up version of Pranquster. But no, North Coast threw
a curve ball and everyone seemed to miss the pitch: this beer
was fresh and showed plenty of legs for aging. Stylistically it's only a nose away from a wee heavy, but as a winter warmer / old ale it works, too. Yet it sat at a relatively high price-point and didn't catch on at all, sales wise, so we had a beer that didn't seem "ready" to drink a year ago, with plenty of stashes around town, but after a year it tasted fantastic! Closer to a Belgian Dubbel style after a year, and a better buy for the money than most of the imports. Definitely worth picking up a sixer when you have a chance. (1,153 characters)

Photo of BAbaracus
2.8/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours cloudy reddish brown with minimal head but decent amount of carbonation. Buttermilk, brown sugar, malt on the nose. Slightly viscous mouth feel, little carbonation, fairly watery. Malt up front, very little on back end aside from more malt, a very little hop presence once several drinks have left a little residue on the tongue. Nothing offensive but hardly worth seeking out. NC seems to do best when they’re dealing with high ABV brews. (446 characters)

Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.05/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a bit hazy reddish chestnut color with an inch head of off white bubbles at first pour. The head was made up of relatively large bubbles, and looked like it wasn’t going to hang around too long. There are a few floaties in here too.

Aroma: Malt and spicy notes are the first things you notice. There is a bit of a plum aroma here also, as well as what I believe to be a hint of oxidation. As the head falls, and the beer warms a bit, there are some more fruity notes coming out to take over the spiciness that I got earlier.

Flavor: The flavor is dry and nutty. I still get a bit of spiciness, but the oxidative flavors are definitely present in the flavor profile also. I don’t really get any hops in here anywhere...but maybe a tad in the bittering, and maybe a bit of British varieties for flavoring that is taking a beating by the oxidation.

Opinion: I am pretty bummed out. I had high hopes for this beer, but it appears to be stale. There was carbonation, but the malts don’t taste fresh. I am a big fan of North Coast beers...especially their Old Stock, and Old Rasputin. If either of those beers had Oxygen intorduced, it would be obvious right away. This one suffers from it unfortunately. (1,228 characters)

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. (787 characters)

Photo of kbub6f
4.27/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A small, light beige head; a cloudy, amber-brown beer. Lightly spotty lacing. Sweet milk with slight chocolate/hazelnut and alcohol in the nose. Milk chocolate in front; tingly toffee malt in the fruity, buttery middle; nice, dry, hoppy, nutty, milk chocolate finish. This is a really good, light, chocolatey, fruity, malty beer. Very milky. I like it a lot. (358 characters)

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. (490 characters)

Photo of PhantomVodoo
3.68/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tan head. Copper colored beer.
Aroma of floral hops and toasty caramel malt. Bit earthy.

Toasty caramel malt backbone. Floral hops provide the balance. Bit earthy yet fruity.

Good body to the mouthfeel.
Good drinkability.
Overall, a solid winter seasonal. Thanks to OldFrothingSlosh for the bottle! (309 characters)

Photo of CRJMellor
3.2/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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. (424 characters)

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
2.33/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

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 we’ll 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. That’s kind; in fact I’m not impressed. A short Review for a beer I would rather forget. So glad I only got single rather than a 6-Pack!!. (1,223 characters)

Photo of Zorro
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (289 characters)

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

This beer poured to a crisp warm-brown color with lots of carbonation. Its smell is very mild but nice. The head is thin but has good retention. Its flavor is a little bit plain, but still nice. The hops are very subtle and linger ever so lightly in the aftertaste.

This stuff is pretty drinkable for what it is. (315 characters)

Photo of Boilermaker88
3.03/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a stubby 12oz bottle, this brew had a hazy apricot color and a short-lived foamy light tan head. A lightly spicy, musty aroma hovered over the glass, along with a faintly phenolic note. A fruity-sweet taste, of pear and apple, was present initially before a mild coriander note came out with some other spices. The beer finished with a modest hops bitterness and a slight medicinal alcohol bite. The feel was light, thin, and watery.
A rather bland and boring seasonal from North Coast Brewing. I’m somewhat disappointed as I was expected more from the brewery that spawned Old Rasputin. (601 characters)

Photo of freed
3.23/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is the second bottle, the first was usurpted by my brother-in-law. Lovely label on a 12oz bottle. Pours a muted but ruddy straw color with almost no head. Aroma is of british style malt. Rusty and fruity. The yeast breadifies the flavor, and its nice. There's not much hop derived flavors though.

Its an average winter ale, though I expected something more from North Coast. (383 characters)

Photo of nomad
2.82/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a hazy burnt ruby with little head or lace. Smelled of vanilla, belgian candi sugar, and a caramel scent bordering on rum, as wiffs of alcohol were present. Taste was very thin and never comes together: caramel, figs, rummy notes, and a mild butter with a lactic-sour turn. Hops are tartly acidic, blending with a roastiness to create a coffee-noted finish, but not a tasty one. Had an unctious alcohol flavor at the end. A very thin beer that has these flavors but not greatly so.

The sour-ish hops, the day-old coffee finish, and alcohol drive me away, and the very thin mouthfeel doesn't help either. (614 characters)

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. (963 characters)

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 (936 characters)

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. (509 characters)

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.82/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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. (958 characters)

Photo of beerguy101
3.94/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (460 characters)

Photo of hotstuff
3.8/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The head was medium sized and ivory with fine-medium bubbles.The body was carbonated and slightly cloudy.The hue was amber and the lacing had a nice appearance on the sides of my glass.The nose was that of hops, clove and spice.The flavor was somewhat bitter and the mouthfeel was tingly, medium bodied and smooth. (314 characters)

Photo of RenoZymurgist
2.22/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured a white frothy head that dissipated very quickly atop an orange-red brew, Aroma was a little dissapointing as there were very few fruity esters to detect, but a hint of coriander was very easy to identify. The taste is not like any strong ale i have ever had before as it is rather weak. Hop bitterness is present up front which segues into a maltiness that is both dry and a little sweet. Definite coriander flavor is a little strange and it kind of reminds me of aventinus doppelbock-weizen. Body is very light and this beer seems to have a low alcohol level for the style. Overall this beer is drinkable as long as it is on the discount rack and you have never tried it before. Once you have tasted this brew you might agree with me, or you might find this a refreshing take on the strong ale style. (809 characters)

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. (781 characters)

Photo of tavernjef
3.66/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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. (883 characters)

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. (1,194 characters)

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.74/5  rDev +33.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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. (793 characters)

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