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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 (29) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 67 | Hads: 124
Photo of ADR
3.04/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of hosehead83
3.88/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from"stubby" 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Clear copper in color, with a nice-looking cap of tan foam.
Aroma-toasted malt note
Taste-Toasted malt,caramel, subtle cinnamon. Smooth and nicely balanced. Quaffable and tasty. A pleasant, easy drinking offering from North Coast.

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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 schoolboy
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

This winter warmer has waited until now to grace myself with tis presence. I'm glad I waited. It seems just right. My guess is that most of this that got drank was a bit rough around the edges, but this one tastes just right. It's just like home brew - the last one tastes the best.

This one pours dark, like so many of these, but uninteresting. The aroma is nice - a precursor of the nice well balanced taste. It lingers as it should. This is a very well behaved brew

Good bye, winter!

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Photo of BKotch
3.06/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice dark amber color, good light tan head with lace. But I'm a bit disappointed with this offering from North Coast, also the brewer of one of my all-time favorites and a beer absolutely bursting with flavor, Old Rasputin. This one is just light on flavor and nose. Not my first choice for a strong ale/winter warmer.

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Photo of marc77
3.07/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark bronze / light ruby hue topped by a quickly receding ivory - white head that leaves a loose pattern. The aroma is an odd but enjoyable melange of tart fruity esters, buttersctoch, medium caramel malt and gints of raspberry. Subdued floral hop nose. The taste doesn't follow up on the aroma, unfortunately. A combination of hop bitterness and non - descript spice hits the palette upfront, and is followed by generic caramel malt sweetness and nutmeg spice. THe flavors fade abruptly & the finish is left a bit of the bland side. Perhaps I'm accustomed to more robust winter seasonals, but I found this this brew to be far too conservative and perhaps a bit weak in flavor. Decent, but lackluster.

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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 bnes09
3.87/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark bronze color. Ivory colored head with good retention and a few lace spots.

Spicy, malty, nutty aroma.

Mildly roasted malt character suggesting almonds and toast. Hint of caramel. Subtle nutmeg spice. Herbal hop. Well balanced.

Medium bodied. Sharp carbonation. Smooth feel and dry finish.

Good winter ale. I like how the spices are not overpowered.

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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.

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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 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 BeerManDan
4.67/5  rDev +31.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I really like this beer. It poured an amber color with very little foam and nice lace. The aroma was of roasted malts, big time. The taste was of sweet creamy roasted malts with a hint of spices. This is a smooth, creamy, sweet, pleasant beer that is very good, I think. It has a well balance, complex aroma and taste. If you don't like bitterness and like a smooth, mellow, creamy, off sweet, malty beer. This is the one for you!

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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.

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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 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 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.

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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 chilidog
4.18/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed this seasonal and I got more than I was expecting from it. I found it poured a nice clear red-amber with a slight off-white head that maintained ok. The aroma is of a spicey hop. The taste was well balanced I thought of malt, spice, grain & hop. Not overpowering in one area over another. While not to be overlooked is a slight alcohol warmth to the mouth/chest. A very nice Wintertime brew.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Been curious about this since I saw it for the first time a few months ago, pulled the trigger on a single. It was a big day for me.

A - Medium garnet body, quite clear, a big tan head with good staying power.

S - Heavy on caramel and dark fruits. This is English Barleywine territory. Malt forward, maybe fruitcake? A little one-dimensional, but nice job.

T - Surprisingly bitter, but its got a nice deeply roasted malt character as well. An interesting malt dimension and hop pairing. It's pretty complex. This is nice. A little weird, but nice.

M - drying, full-bodied.

O - this beer is kind of strange, it seems to span several styles (winter warmer, english barleywine, amber ale) and its flavor profile is not really traditional as far as I can tell, but i think it's interesting and good.

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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