Stormwatcher's Winterfest | Pelican Pub & Brewery

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BA SCORE
92
outstanding
83 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
83
Ratings:
173
Avg:
4.14
pDev:
10.87%
 
 
Wants:
128
Gots:
47
For Trade:
5
Stormwatcher's WinterfestStormwatcher's Winterfest
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Pelican Pub & Brewery
Oregon, United States | website

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
32.1 degrees Plato
Alcohol: 13.0% by volume
Bitterness: 31 IBU
Color: 54 SRM

Added by Shaw on 10-12-2003

User Reviews
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Reviews: 83 | Ratings: 173
Photo of gford217
4.37/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage.

Pours a deep reddish brown that shows through as a clear copper when held up to light. The head is small and leaves a small collar with little lacing.

The aroma is thick and sweet with caramelized malts, brown sugar and toffee. There are all kinds of dark fruits as well, figs and raisins

The taste is also chock full of caramel malts sweetness, brown sugar and some run-soaked fruits. But I also get a deep earthy hop bitterness up front and in the finish. The alcohol starts to show up after a few sips and starts to leave a pleasant burn.

The mouthfeel is full bodied and chewy with low, soft carbonation and a completely decadent, dessert-like mouthfeel. Super smooth.

I'm a sucker for a great English barleywine and that's exactly what this is. The sweetness is dominant but with a hop profile that makes things more complex and a completely massive mouthfeel. A fantastic dessert beer.

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.4/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark burgundy color, nearly black with a small bubbly white head and a perfectly thing ring of lacing.

Scent of caramel is prominent, molasses, bitter, earthy hops come in behind it with a hint of cinnamon and a bit of heat from the alcohol. Some bitter chocolate and oatmeal lie deeper in the scent. Nice complexity, but nothing amazing at this point.

Taste of bitter hops and caramel initially, leading to dry bitter chocolate, a hint of alcohol, sugars, and molasses. Doesn't match the complexity of the scent, but the bittersweet rush of flavor initially is very nice. I am really looking forward to how this will age.

Mouthfeel is heavy, dense and oily with a big bite adding to the bittersweet flavor, wonderful.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

06/07/09- Shared at a recent tasting.

Presentation- 22oz bottle, not sure of the release date. Poured into my Orval chalice.

Appearance- Cola-like deep brown colored pour. About a 3/4 inch head on the pour with a large bubbled head. Leaves some light chunks of lace and other markings behind.

Smell- A good amount of tart grapefruit pith and pine hop aromas. A bit of toffee caramel as well as a decent hit of alcohol.

Taste- Hopped up pretty well. Caramel malt is pretty deep and roasted with a toffee flavor. Alcohol can be detected, but works pretty good with the mix of flavors. Also a bit of dark fruit notes as well.

Mouthfeel- Pretty heavily carbonated with some burnt malt and hops in the aftertaste.

Drinkability- Not a bad barleywine, but not really English style IMO. Worth trying though...interesting mix of flavors.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Vintage. Thanks snojerk321.

Poured into a tulip. The beer is really dark brown, with a ruby hue near the bottom of the glass when held to the light. The light toffee head is creamy with nice retention.

The aroma is extremely rich toffee, a little nutty, with a slightly toasted character and a hint of caramel. A little alcohol is noticeable. Notes of sugary dried and dark fruits are present: plums and figs.

The flavor is sweet, sugary, and lightly toasted. Rich toffee is dominant and delicious. Other flavors are of candied sugar and dried dark fruits. A little alcohol is noticeable, but I wouldn't have estimated it as high as 13.3% because it's hidden well behind the richness of the beer. Bitterness is at a low level. The sweet and complex finish reveals warming alcohol.

The beer is full bodied with low-medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. This is a quality English Barleywine.

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Photo of PDXHops
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 and 2007 served side-by-side in small snifters at the brewery.

Dark brown opaque body with red highlights. A finger of off-white head. Head retention and lacing are surprisingly substantial considering the massive ABV.

Massive bready and sweet malt and boozy aromas up front. After my nose becomes acclimated, a host of other smells join the party: lots of dark and overripe fruits, bitter chocolate, cherry pie.

BIG flavor. Just like the nose, this one starts out in the mouth with huge sweet and bready malt up front. Lots going on here. Fresh baked dark bread, hints of bitter chocolate, wood and cherry. The 2007 in particular has bold molasses and toffee flavors. Really nice.

Mouthfeel is quite thick, and the abundant carbonation really brings out the chewiness and spiciness in the beer.

Drinkability is dangerously good at this ABV. Put down these 2 snifters slowly, but with ease.

Overall impression: BIG English barleywine that seems like it could hold up for a long time in the cellar. Could be great in a few years.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.73/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Courtesy of end 0))).

Chilled bottle into a glass. 2007 vintage.

A: Dark, opaque brown with slight purple and reddish highlights. Small head that dissipates quickly, but remains a ring around the glass. Lacing is nonexistent. Decent carbonation up the center of the glass.

S: Raisins, plums, cherries, figs. Wood, vanilla, and a little tobacco.

T: Very sweet. When first tasted, slightly on the colder side, the dark fruits dominated the initial flavor, with the wood, vanilla, and tobacco following after. The finish had a strong alcohol hotness to it. Later, as it warmed, the alcohol moved to the first taste, blending well with the sweetness in such a way that it was cleverly masked. The wood, vanilla, and tobacco remained second. However, the initial sips were of strong cherry cough syrup, and so were the last few.

M: Very viscous and full-bodied, but not sticky. Medium carbonation.

D: Honestly, if they all tasted like this, I wouldn't have another one. I couldn't. They're just too sweet. But the other reviews here seem to center on the 2006 vintage, which tells me something: I had this too young. I regret that.

As it stands, this tastes like a clone of the Old Stock '08 that I had on tap at Toronado. In fact, the tastes are so similar that I'm wondering if I somehow received the wrong thing (at the Toronado) by mistake. This Stormwatcher tastes much more like an old ale than a barleywine, anyway.

I'd have this again, if I aged it a few years. And I'd split it with a friend.

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Photo of canucklehead
4.32/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a 2006 bottle from my cellar. Pours a cloudy reddish brown with a medium head. The beer smells like Thomas Hardy with all the old fruit and burnt sugar. This is a splendid barley wine with all the big evolved mouthfeel ( 2-3 years in the cellar seem to transform the beer from young hoppy and sweetish to dry and rounded.) As with all Pelican beers this is very drinkable and balanced to a T.

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Photo of hoppymeal
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 Vintage. Pours a slightly ruddy brown, some haziness and a decent sized butterscotch yellow head that slowly recedes. Aroma is a nice sweet caramel maltiness, some fruit sweetness, strawberry, malted milk, bread and raisins. Taste follows with more sweet maltiness and dark and ripe fruit, raisins, prunes, dates, dried strawberries like a fruit roll-up, a hint of citrus hoppiness blends with the malty sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, creamy and chewy maltiness, hint of pepperiness, some warmth and a small bite from the alcohol which is otherwise very well hidden. Delicious barleywine, drinking good at this age, would love to try a fresh version sometime, but this beer seems though it could easily go longer. Thank you Paul for the opportunity.

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Photo of Derek
3.65/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 vintage.

A: Dark caramel, tan head, very little retention, slight lacing.

S: Huge alcohol aroma & plenty of floral from the hallertau mittelfruh hops; cotton candy, dark caramel, brown sugar & a little spice.

T: Even after 2 years, the alcohol is very forward. Sherry, brown sugar, toffee and floral hops. I usually love these hops, but in my opinion, they're not quite right for a barley wine.

M: Well-attenuated, moderate body has a drying alcohol finish. Carbonation is on the low side of moderate.

D: I still find the alcohol quite harsh.

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Photo of Sammy
3.53/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thank you for bringing to our barleywine night, Derek. 2006 is entered on the label. Big off-white head with a cheese appearance and bubbles. Some lace seen. The smell is sour and barleywine. The taste is considerably on the sour side, it is intentional. Primarily it tastes like an average barleywine.Somewhat disapointing for a barleywine with some ageing. Mt. Hood hops. 31 IBU.

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Photo of DIM
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: This was a very pretty, deep ruby red color with coppery edges. It poured with a thin but long lived light tan colored head.

s: This had a complex and ever changing aroma. Soon after the pour I smelled lots of sweet chocolate and some cherries. As it warmed and breathed smoky, charred caramel and toffee took over. There was also a fairly strong plum aroma. As expected, there was decent amount of heat here as well.

t: The first sip did not make a good impression. I thought I was in for 22 ounces of cherry cough syrup. Thankfully, as it breathed, the change was quick and dramatic. Some faint floral cherries did stick around along with some sweet chocolate. The dominant flavors, however, became vanilla, toffee, and butterscotch. At times, these tasted slightly charred. There were plenty of dark fruit flavors as well. This was plenty warm, but it was well masked given the high abv.

m: This had a thick, silky body and the carbonation was creamy and long lasting. I lowered the score a bit because of the lingering charred toffee after taste.

d: This was very close to being an outstanding barleywine. Without that lingering charred flavor, this would have been world class. As it was though, I did enjoy it quite a bit.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.16/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 vintage bought from John' Grocery in Portland a while ago. Doesn't look like much- pours`a hazy dark brown with little head. . From there it gets much better. Lovely aromas of caramel toffee, spice, sassafras, some roastiness and sweet. Nice. The taste has similar components, but there is also quite a bit of herbal tang, more spice, and a good deal of sweet malt, but all with a very bitter citrus and pine hop finish. All big flavors, but they balance each other rather than conflict. The mouthfeel is a bit sharp and full. Huge and spicy and very high alcohol make this one a sipper.

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Photo of John_M
4.36/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Was fortunate enough to stop by the brewpub this weekend, when they happened to have 5 different vintages of this excellent beer. The 2004 and 2003 (the latter in pinot barrels) were long gone, but they still had on the 2003, 2005 and 2007. The 2005 had just kicked, but I was able to get a sample glass. All three beers were oustanding, but the 2005 was incredible.

These beers showed the outstanding aging potential of this beer. The color lessened over time, but it became increasingly smooth and refined as well. So based on the 2005, which was the best of the lot.

The beer pours a darkish brown color with outstanding head retention and lacing. The beer looks very rich and, not surprising, smells incredibly rich, sweet and malty. The alcohol is also prety noticeable on the nose, but the beer is not inordinately boozy or heavy.

On the palate this beer is just wonderful. I get a soft, silky smooth flavor of milk chocolate, with some underlying honey and brown sugar. This beer is altogether delicious, and is very light, soft and creamy on the palate. The beer is mouthcoating and rich, with a long soft, lingering finish. This beer is so polished and refined, with an abv. that is very well disguised. I gueess I've had better barleywines, but I'd be hard pressed to name them. Just an outstanding BW from this top flight brewpub. Well done.

12/28/09 edit. Stopped by again today, and was able to taste the 2004 through 2009 side by side, along with the 2009 perfect storm. While all were excellent (and once again, the 2005 was the standout), all of these beers were quite different as well. So I think it's kind of sad that this beer is not entered into the data base by vintage, as each vintage was noticeably different. In any event, regardless of the vintage, winterstorm is an excellent beer, one worth sampling and enjoying. The winter storm flight, at $10 for 5 beers, was an especially good value IMHO (not exactly something Pelican Brewing is known for). Definitely try the flight if you happen to have the chance.

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Photo of flexabull
4.22/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2006 Vintage

Bottle courtesy of msubulldog25, thanks again!

I've been sitting on this for a while, decided to crack this open to celebrate the New Year.

Beer pours a dark copper color with a slight white head on top.

Aromas are very potent. Dark stewed fruits, booze, and dust.

Taste is subtle, smooth, and very easy to sip. Beer has a sweet stewed fruit flavor, with some chocolate and cocoa notes, and a slight boozy character. Finish has a nice alcohol warmth, that balances the beer out nicely.

Mouthfeel is nice. Low carbonation, but with a nice full feel.

Drinkability is very good. It's not an overwhelming powerhouse of flavor. But the subtle warm flavors make this a very nice Barleywine to sip. This tastes more like a English Barleywine to me.

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Photo of Bookseeb
4.67/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

WOW!, caught me a little offguard there on my first sip thinking it was just another winter type ale that turned into a barleywine ale. This 2006 bottle pours a cloudy dark brown that you can tell has some viscosity to it that carries a thin head. Smell is rich in malt, honey liqueur, dark fruits and alchohol. Taste is what is expected from a barleywine big and bold with a good alchohol bite, with a thick and rich mouthfeel. Now that my palate is in tune to what I am really tasting and letting it warm a bit, I can get the true style of this beer and really appreciate it's warming effect.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy (stormy?) dark brown with an amber/ruby hue, lots of bubbles swirling up to the light tan head that retains incredibly well, considering the high ABV.

The aroma, or, should I say THE AROMA, is exactly what I want in a barleywine. Big bold maltiness, hyper-graham cracker, ultra-juicy plum, lots of caramel/toffee, big vanilla, and curiously, a kind of peaty edge that I'd expect in a hi-test Scotch Ale.

Flavor offers as much depth as the aroma, with a chocolatey sweetness peeking through. Dark fruit notes are smacked around by a soothing alcohol warmth, tons of toffee and vanilla extract. The alcohol is felt but doesn't overstay its welcome...an achievement at 13+ %. If I have only one criticism, it's a tiny one: flavor tilts slightly toward some badass Scotch Ale as much as it does a barleywine. Maybe that's because this isn't an overhopped/ultra-hopped barleywine. Big as it is, the hops are kept in the background. Very interesting.

The mouth is big, thick and chewy...slightly sticky too. This was already a sipper, but the bigness and thickness of the body make it even more so. Never thought I'd say it, but this could've probably been an even better beer if the mouth were a little less like pure melted chocolate.

On par with most of the Pelican beers I've tried (most of them on tap at the brewpub), and that means it's a superb bit of craftsmanship. It's survived a year in the bottle quite well. Could use even more aging, no doubt. So I'm sipping this on a brisk, sunny, beautiful autumn afternoon, with nothing but fall's colors around...and I'm wishing I were standing on the beach in a mighty wind watching a storm off the pacific coast in Pacific City. It happens. Wish I could find this beer without travelling cross-country to get it.

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Photo of grumpy
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2006, poured from the bomber into two pint glasses. Dark, ruby red in color with muted carbonation and lace. The aroma is a pleasant blend of caramel, malt, molasses, cherry, and hops. The taste…. is huge. This stuff could probably sit another six months, or a year, or more. Flavors follow the aroma perfectly, except for a substantial, but reasonable, alcohol bite on the end. Very, very tasty. Mouthfeel is fairly full, and would likely soften and get even fuller with time. One of the best American barley wines I’ve had.

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Photo of jakon
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz. bottle purchased for $12.99 on 7-15-7 at Tanasbourne Haggen.
(2006)

I thought about saving this one for awhile but decided to try it and see how many I might want now that I know there's plenty on the shelf.

Pours a very dark burgundy/mahogany color with an adequate roasted marshmallow head that recedes steadily while leaving zero lacing. And yes, this glass is beer clean. The yulesmith I just drank out of one of it's kin left a nice thick layer. Anyway, the aroma is malty. Kinda bready and nutty at the same time. The taste reveals more depth. I get hints of caramel, alcohol, butterscotch, various nuts, fig and other flavors I'm unable to identify. Upon warming, the alcohol really comes out. First sip was at proper serving temp, but the alcohol was almost non-existent. I wondered if this was really as big as advertised. But now I know. It definitely is. I initially criticized the mouthfeel for a lack of carbonation, but soon became aware of the thick syrupy body that I love so much with these huge barley wines. This is well-crafted and all the components seem to be enjoying a nice harmony. I can't knock it. It got better with each sip until I realized I now need to go purchase a few more before the shelf is empty. Considering its strength, this brew is off the charts as far as drinkability is concerned. This beer should be spectacular for years.

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Photo of ccrida
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle, 2006. Poured into a snifter, Stormwatcher's Winterfest is a beautiful, seriously dark garnet with slight chill haze. There is a tight khaki collar with light surface skim. While it leaves barely any lace, a gentle swirl coats the sides of the snifter with foam, sliding down the sides with cognac-like viscosity.

The smell is rich but not overwhelming caramel malt, lots of dark fruit, cognac, semi-sweet and a little nutty. Maybe more plum brandy then cognac actually, but I haven't had that as recently...

The taste is rich yet restrained. Not as sweet as the nose, but not an uber-bitter barleywine that takes years to calm down either. Complex without smacking you over the head, the taste follows the nose, and also has a touch of smoke, leather. The finish is boozy but surprisingly clean. This is one masterfully made barleywine, so well balanced. You know it's big, but +13% ABV? I've tasted 8 percenters with more heat!

This mouthfeel is very thick and syrupy, yet equally luscious and creamy.

Well this was one excellent Barleywine, so it's very drinkable, relatively to being a big rich +13% beer. The smoothest big beer I've every head. After the first half of the bottle, I had smell and taste as 4s, but bumped them both up a 1/2 a point as it warmed. I'm sure they'll both be 5's after some quality cellar time. I really like the fact that I just saw this at my local beer spot and it's the 2006 vintage - I'm assuming Pelican aged this for a while themselves before releasing it, probably 8+ months old. Makes the $12.99 price tag a little easier to swallow!

A fine choice for my 200th review, I'm really glad I have another one of these in the stash, I bet it'll keep maturing for years. We'll see just how patient I can actually be!

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Photo of czechsaaz
4.66/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2006 Vintage, nice silk-screened 22oz bottle.

Lots of molasses malt aroma and floral hops. A little bit of spicy hop aroma and lots of fruity esters and a hint of bread yeast. Toffee notes and some chocolate. Very complex and pleasing.

Deep red colored but with very little head. A little bit on first pour but that's gone almost immediately leaving just the smallest rim around the rim of the glass. Nice clarity for something this dark.

First sip is big and powerful. Lots of butterscotch/toffee flavor (but not diacetyl, more of a treacle malt effect.) Some fruity wine esters. Initial hop bitterness is pretty high but it balances out with big doses of malt in the finish and aftertaste. I get honey characters and prunes and raisins in the ester profile. Again very complex and big. There is a little bit of alcohol flavor that is kind of overbearing which is the only thing keeping me from a 5.

Big bodied with smooth but on the light end of carbonation level. But the carb level is perfectly appropriate for the style. A little more alcohol warming than I would like but it is a barley wine so some alcohol is expected.

Really nice complex and huge barley wine. Drinkable but in the long savoring way that a great barley wine should be. Very highly recommended, need to get more!

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Photo of joedon
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What a huge, bad-ass, winter beer!

On-tap with a smallish tan head that fell quickly. Perfect, dark-brown, crystal clear pour with nice lacing.

Aroma of malt, sugar, burnt caramel.

Powerful, complex taste: lots of malt, toffee, raisins, sherry, burnt sugar. Nice hop balance. Flavors linger on the palate to a blend of cream sherry and chocolate.

Rich mouthfeel, very thick body but just right for this strong winter beer.
Very drinkable; in sips on a cold winter day.

What a pleasant surprize to try this on a winter day in Alaska!

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Photo of Thrasher
3.35/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled at the 2003 Holiday Ale Festival, Portland, OR. A dark reddish cider color, hardly-there head. Lots of malts but hops are there from the beginning. Supposedly this beer employed 2 kinds of unusual hopping techniques: mash hopping and first wort hopping. This creates a subtle yet indelible hop flavor that is there from the very beginning. Some smokiness, and a smooth non-carbonated mouthfeel. This beer is pretty good but in the end it's a bit flat and cloying.

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Photo of Shaw
4.23/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled at the Pelican Pub & Brewery in Pacific City, Oregon.

Stormwatcher's is an unfiltered deep, deep ruby colored strong ale with an off-white head and a big malty aroma.

Its taste explodes with a huge bananna and nut flavor with a big alcohol bite. This is a great example of a strong ale -- American style.

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Stormwatcher's Winterfest from Pelican Pub & Brewery
92 out of 100 based on 83 ratings.