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Winter Warmer - Upland Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Winter WarmerWinter Warmer

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

66 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 66
Hads: 127
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 8.75%
Wants: 17
Gots: 11 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Upland Brewing Company visit their website
Indiana, United States

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: zerk on 04-15-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 66 | Hads: 127
Photo of Arbitrator
2.03/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Chilled bomber into a glass. Courtesy of womencantsail. Thanks, Andrew.

A: Pours a clear copper body with a small light beige head.

S: Not very aromatic. Some yeast, nuts. It reminds me of a brown ale.

T: Light caramel, a touch of toffee, some varieties of citrus (pineapple, orange), nuts. There's also a slightly sour grain flavor that I don't understand. It reminds me a little of a milk stout. It doesn't taste much like a barleywine, either English or American.

M: Thin-bodied. Not much flavor or complexity, and it lacks any warming presence. The name is a misnomer. I don't mind smooth beers on the whole, and I certainly don't mind something that's well-attenuated, but when it lacks an associated flavor punch, I am underwhelmed.

D: This isn't an adventurous beer, and I respect that. Just the same, it's not fair to say this beer is excellent in its style. I couldn't very well give this an 'A' and suggest it's in the same range as Gratitude or J.W. Lees. This falls far short. (998 characters)

Photo of charlesw
2.39/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Brown/red/amber, on the clear side, nice head that lasts. Maybe give it a touch more opacity.
Smells oxidized - bitter grassy hops, wet cardboard.
Tastes like an extract homebrew imperial American amber ale - one that I wouldn't be very happy sharing. Lingering bitterness. Kinda sweet, funky, sour, wet cardboard, ditch mud. Not in the English style in the slightest. Not in the American style, either, frankly. The body is hugely lacking for either of those, to start with.

Edit: if they just called it a winter warmer and dropped barleywine from the name, why, it would probably just be average and not bad. (611 characters)

Photo of thebarnesbomb
2.7/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Was served from a growler into a goblet at my friends house. He got it direct from Upland, well obviously, since we live in Bloomington. I personally like Upland, and was excited for the winter warmer. Unfortunately I was dissapointed.

A- It looked decent enough, but with little/ no head. Had a brownish-amber-orange color to it, cloudy showing that it has some character and not watery at all.

Smell- Strong, seeing that it is a winter warmer. Some sweetness underneath this, with a little citrus element.

Taste- Damnit. What a tease. I was expecting something great, but I was really dissapointed. Honestly, it was due to the growler, and it lost a lot of carbonation to it, which might be unfair for this beer. But without any carbonation to it at all, the flavors were just too much. The alcohol was most present, with hardly any of the malt sweetness I had smelled in the malt, and the citrus that I smelled was tasted, but too harsh.

Mouthfeel- Gross. Too thick and too harsh, I just wanted to get it out of the way.

Drinkablility- I could hardly finish a small goblet, so this recieved a low drinkability. I think with the proper carbonation this could be a good beer though. (1,198 characters)

Photo of lico
2.98/5  rDev -21%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(2011 bottle)

A: Pours a copper brown; not really the "very dark color" described on the bottle, but a healthy color nonetheless. Very thin white head atop leaves minimal lacing.

S: It certainly smells like a Barleywine; malty, but hoppier than usual. Promising.

T: Malty at first with some fruity cherry notes, kind of watery in the middle, but finishes "boozy," which is strange for only being 8.5%. With this style the alcohol should be better hidden by maltiness. Finishes bitter. The taste really follows the smell here.

M: Very low body for a Barleywine, likely due to a lower-than-usual grain bill.

O: I just would not recommend this when there are better alternatives out there. The mouthfeel isn't right for a Barleywine, nor is the hoppy finish. That said, if you haven't had one before and are used to lower gravity beer and want to try a Barleywine, this might be a good pick simply because it's not as heavy as other Barleywines and has a lighter mouthfeel. But beware the aftertaste. (1,002 characters)

Photo of Onenote81
3.07/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Nice little extra received from akokandy in a recent trade. Thanks!

Pours a deep ruby red with very little head on top. No lacing. Weak. Smells of booze, cherries, yeast, and candy. Not too bad.

Mouthfeel was decent. Fair amount of carbonation in there. Flavor was very yeasty and Belgian. Different. Tons of pineapple, strawberry, and shall I say it again, yeast. This was interesting. Very cloying with tons of sweetness on the finish. Not my cup of tea necessarily, but ok. Glad I got to try it. Thanks, Adam, for the opportunity. (535 characters)

Photo of WastingFreetime
3.16/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes.

Pours out a standard amber color with a short-lived two finger head, mediocre lacing on the sides of the glass. Lighter side of medium body heft and carbonation levels.

Smells only vaguely of a light brown sugar and toffee sweetness. Extremely muted and blunt nose. Tastes of a semi-roasted malt / molasses / brown sugar and biscuit malt blend with a combination of herbal and pine hopping on the back end and a light dark fruit nuance in the middle.

Although the flavor is fairly good (even if the dark fruits were too thin), there is some serious work that needs to be done on the nose before this one can truly shine IMHO. (649 characters)

Photo of JoePat
3.23/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

bottled december 09
Poured from a bottle in to my new trusty FFF tulip style pint glass
This beer pours a dark copper color with an off white to tan head that dissipated within minute leaving almost no lacing.
The smell is grapy with a little toffy from the malt very similar to an english strong ale
The beer taste just like it smells with a little spice that I can't quite put my finger on possible from the hops but that would be the only thing you get from the hops. This beer is sweet and fruity tasting.
It has an average mouth feel and a smooth drinkability especially considering it 9% abv.
I think this beer was a little weak in the hop and carmel flavor even for an english barleywine. Bottle condition it and sell it as an english strong ale and I think it could get a little more respect. (800 characters)

Photo of GreenWBush
3.24/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Amazingly slow head cascade action. Strange patches of bubbles throughout body of beer.

Deep dark rich amber coloration. Clear from yeast or other floaties. Fat 2 inch head that's dark brown and leaves a nice happy trail.

From cold the beer smells much like a low alcohol brown ale. How they pulled that off, I do not know. When it gets warmer notes of almond, plunm, raisin, and a leather malt sweetness appear. You have to keep your nose well-tuned to smell the alcohol, but you'll surely taste it on the palate.

There's a little too much of liquid raisin / heavy caramel thing going on here. They decieve well with the high ABV but the sweetness borders on the cloying: i'd want no more than one. The mouthfeel is also a bit lacking for the style. (760 characters)

Photo of SirSketch
3.41/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Large head that sticks well to the glass. Varies in color from amber to deep mahogany.

S - Very malty nose. Vinous characteristics, dark esters, and spices, particularly nutmeg, present as well.

T - First thing I noticed was the alcohol... not sure if that's a good or bad thing. Nutty flavors and heavy spices throughout. Not very bitter at all. Definitely an English style barleywine. Very similar to milds and old ales.

M/D - Lays heavy on the tongue. Medium bodied, and very drinkable.

Upland is normally a hit or miss for me with their beers, but I believe this one is worth a try (593 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.42/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a mahogany body with a fizzy, though lasting off-white head.

Smell: Mild malty aroma of toasted caramel with a dash or two of cinnamon spice.

Taste: Bittersweet taste throughout with more toasted caramel flavors along with crumpled, dry biscuits, light spices, and notes of tea. Light sprucey hops on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Soft carbonation.

Drinkability: Though certainly fine as a winter warming offering, I must admit that my thoughts did not immediately turn to "barleywine" when I sampled this. (544 characters)

Photo of robwestcott
3.46/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 vintage first tapped at the brewpub today.

poured cold from the tap a deep ruby brown to a 12oz snifter with a full finger foamy tan head with nice retention.

fairly subtle sweet aroma of dark fruits and syrupy sugars.

much sweeter with less of an initial bite than expected. tastes of dark fruits, plums and dates with a sweet after leading to a fairly mild bitter bite to the sides of the tongue. an interesting balance for a newly tapped barleywine.

thick, creamy, sweet, mild bitter, low carbonation.

drinkable - two max. (535 characters)

Photo of Brent
3.48/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I little lightweight for a barleywine, even for the English style and weighing in at 9% abv. Caramel color, some nutty malt in the aroma. Up front a bit sweet, then mellowing to a caramel malt with moderately sharp hops afterbite, some pepper from the abv. Nothing wrong with this beer, but if you are going to denote something as a winter warmer, it should be a bit more distinctive. (384 characters)

Photo of SportsandJorts
3.51/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Type: ~14 oz on tap
Glass: Snifter
From: Upland in Bloomington IN
Price: $5.25

Appearance: reddish brown and almost clear. small off white head that left a lacing.

Smell:sweet sweet malts. and hops

Taste: sweet malts and somewhat piney hops. I don't like the balance or the hops in this one

Mouthfeel: thicker and good but leaves that bad hop taste lingering.

Overall: not a big fan of this one. the hop and malt flavors don't do very well together (453 characters)

Photo of alleykatking
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at the Brewpub.

A- Pours a ruby brown color. One finger tan head shows medium retention. This has nice lacing in long weblike streaks on the sides of the snifter.

S- Lots of caramel malts bring up the base beer and light sweetness throughout the entire aroma. Darker fruits are also in the aroma but only play a lighter backbone to this aroma. Light brown sugar notes as well.

T- Light almost bitter hop bite to this beer. Caramel malts come through next with darker fruits (plum and fig) coming into the middle with a sugary sweetness. Toward the backend of the beer there is a light bitter bite from what I would say are hops with a alcohol warmth in the very tailend.

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is a little light for the style. Darker fruits and light sweetness left on the palate and long into the aftertaste with kisses of warming alcohol. Medium drying on the palate from the alcohol. Flavors are very malt driven and follow that course. No off flavors in the beer at all which is nice.

D- This beer was good but there was something missing that made it not great. The ABV was pretty apparent the entire beer making it only a drinker for a snifter or two. Nice try Upland but there is something missing with this one. (1,252 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle bottled in November 2011. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a ruby red/copper color with about an inch light tan head that sticks around for a while. There's also a good amount of lacing. It smells like dark fruit, caramel malt, toffee, and some oranges. It tastes like caramel malt, dark fruit (raisins, cherries), oranges, berries, and toffee, along with some pine and herbal hops. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and slick with moderate carbonation. I thought it was a decent enough brew. And for just $5.49 a bomber, I'd buy this again in the future. It's certainly worth trying, especially at that price. (639 characters)

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours copper with thin white head. The aroma is sort of prunes, plums, cherries and malts mixing with some booziness. The taste is peach, pears, apricots and some sourness. It stays that way into the finish. Interesting brew and more sour than I was expecting. (260 characters)

Photo of Chaney
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up back in the Midwest ("The Winetree" in Evansville, IN, to be exact) during the holidays for about $5-6!

Poured into a tulip.

A: Poured a dark, murky reddish brown (more towards the brown side though), with a skimpy mildly off-white head that retained itself.

S: It had very much a "mallow-creme" brand of candy sweetness.... and lots of it! It had sort of a strange caramel-butterscotch combo thing going on as well.

T: Not as strange or complex as the nose, but still a bit odd. The caramel was definitely running a pretty tight ship. This a bit bland, especially considering all the greats out there in this style. The marketing speak on the label mentioned something about hops, but I'm still searching. Tons of malt though. Additionally, I started to get sort of a soggy wood quality the more I sipped.

M: Uber sweet, but the sweetness didn't distract for long. The carbonation bill just right and the lacing was present but not overwhelming.

O: This is a "Winter Warmer," categorized as a "Barleywine," which won Silver Award in 2008 in the "Old Ale" category. Say what? This is worth a try, especially considering the low price. (1,159 characters)

Photo of ottovon
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

i got to try this thanks to SirSketch.

A: Pours a reddish-brown, with a 2 finger white head.

S: Malty and a little sweet. You can smell some spices.

T: It is a little sweet and you can taste some alcohol. There is some maltiness, but there is a good balance of hops. I can taste some spiceness, i get a clove flavor.

M: It is has a smooth mouth feel, with medium body, and light carbonation.

D: It is an ok barleywine. I don't know if i would ever buy a 6 pack, but if out at the bar I might order one.

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a goblet. (553 characters)

Photo of womencantsail
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Mark for sending me this one.

A: The pour is a darkish amber color with a thin, off-white layer of foam.

S: Pretty basic in terms of the aromas. Brown sugar, caramel, bread, and perhaps some dark fruit notes. There's also some noticeable alcohol to the beer. A bit of a yeasty thing going on as well.

T: Caramel, toffee, and perhaps some brown sugar provide the usual sweet flavors. Some dark fruits like raisins and plums, bread, and a bit of citrus. Not really very focused or what you expect from a barleywine.

M: The body is probably a bit on the thin side, like the -bal aged version, with a moderate carbonation.

D: A pretty pedestrian beer. No real big or bold flavors, which you normally expect from a barleywine. (736 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

As with the few other Upland beers that I've had recently, this beer comes across with a lot of mineral content and a sharp, acidic note that becomes a bit astringent in the mouthfeel. Otherwise this beer is quite solid.

The malt profile is solid with varying tastes of toffee, molassas, and a hint of savory, toasty melanoidins. The attenuation is nicely done, leaving a malty taste and feel but not a lot of unresolved sugars. Quite creamy, full, and rich to the feel.

The hops are soft in flavor but the beer takes a bitterness that is a bit odd for English style Barleywines. No real hop aroma. The hop variety also takes a citrusy twist that is more suited for American Barleywines.

Esters of cherries, plumbs, grapes, dates, and other dark, dehydrated fruits make their way into the beer. Throw in an orange rind taste and feel and you have it. Think fruitcake. No real phenolic character to mention- ok, maybe a light plastic note as the beer warms.

The acidic / astringent note helps to clean the beer up and give a crisp snappy finish, but maybe too low of pH. Aside from that, the maltiness is quite smooth and rich with a sweetness that is pleasant and not offensive. A nice little beer but it doesn't compete favoravly against classic English varieties. (1,269 characters)

Photo of tykees88
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Upland

A: Came out with a copper color but it also had nice clarity.

S: It smelled like Malts, and caramel.

T: More of a malty taste, some floral notes and of course the caramel.

M: As it warms up I like it more. A bigger beer but not a bad feel

D: Alright not going to drink more than a couple if offered again, but still a beer worth trying for sure (366 characters)

Photo of mynie
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Odd beer, this. It's only pretty good, and the reason it's only pretty good is different than you might think. It's not too tame and it's not unbalanced. It's nicely adventurous, and really well balanced. It's just that the adventure, while a little scary, really isn't fulfilling, and those pieces, while balanced, aren't really interesting.

But, still, it's pretty good. It's not what I'd call a warmer, and it much more resembles an American Barley Wine than an English BW. It's almost like they tried to force an ABW into tasting like an EBW by subjecting it to the mellowing effects of delicious, boozy wood. (614 characters)

Photo of GPHarris
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

bottled 12/2012

a - poured a two-fingers thick creamy tan head into a snifter that left great lacing and a thick sheet throughout. the body was a bright mahogany color.
s - caramel and toffee with some piney hops underneath.
t - big malty flavors with a hint of hops. a little heat in the finish.
m - bubbly and dry.
o - had some high points but overall it seemed a little conflicted. (385 characters)

Photo of brentk56
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy amber color with a creamy off-white head that leaves some shards of lace

Smell: Caramel coated apples, maple syrup and cotton candy

Taste: Opens with a candied apple flavor that adds other over-ripe fruit by mid-palate; after the swallow, the sweetness is tempered by earthy bitterness as one would expect from an English barleywine

Mouthfeel: Medium to full-bodied with moderate to high carbonation; warmth in the gullet after the swallow

Drinkability: I tasted a 2006 with a year and a half of age just before the 2007. The '06 was a disaster but the '07 was drinking quite nicely. Even though this is a high ABV beer, it didn't age very well in my experience

Thanks, jhammerly, for the opportunity (732 characters)

Photo of Sephiroth
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with little head, but the carbonation lingers. Body is a deep ruby amber. Smells malty, maybe slightly sprucey and raisiny.

Tastes sweet, with plums and dates. Earthy, grassy hops are slight. Mouthfeel is thick and chewy, slightly syrupy. Extremely drinkable. (269 characters)

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Winter Warmer from Upland Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 66 ratings.