1. American Craft Beer Fest is this weekend in Boston, Mass. Join us for 640+ beers from 140+ brewers! Tickets for Friday, May 29 are still available. Cheers!

Winter Ale - Telegraph Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Winter AleWinter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

75 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 75
Reviews: 46
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 11.47%
Wants: 2
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Telegraph Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  7.10% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: JayTheFinn on 12-24-2006

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view more.
Ratings: 75 | Reviews: 46
Photo of dalahodson
3.91/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a pint glass from a bottle picked up at the brewery. Copper red with a nice cream head. You can smell the cinnamon and spices with a hint of peppers. The mouth feel is sharp, spicy with a solid malt backing. The flavors are what you smell, cinnamon spice peppers. The chocolate coffee malts are in the background just a hint. This brew is a true winter warmer.

Photo of kojevergas
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

750ml brown glass bottle with hood and wire cap over a cork and a well-concocted straightforward label served into a Mitchells of Lancaster flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are high; I actually quite like Telegraph. 7.5% according to my bottle; Batch number 117.

Served cold, straight from the fridge, and allowed to warm over the course of consumption (the label advises to "enjoy it cool, rather than cold." Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Yields a satisfying pop upon removal of the cork. Adequate carbonation is anticipated.

A: Pours almost entirely foam - save for a finger's worth of actual body. The ambitious head is light khaki in colour, with good cream and thickness - and superb retention (7+ minutes). Overcarbonation is suspected. Body colour is a refined dark cherry-red; translucent and transparent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. I really like the vibrant body; it's quite appealing for a winter warmer. No lacing as the head recedes.

Sm: Not at all what I expected. Dark ripe fruit; plum, grapeskin, maybe juicy pear. Pleasant spice like cinnamon, allspice (when I look for it), and nutmeg. Majestic raisin - really evocative. A bit of fig roll. I look for chili notes and don't find any. Caramel. Chocolate malt. I'd venture to say the fruit notes are actually dominant; surprising given what the label suggests they're going for. I expected a chocolatey chili-heavy winter warmer; this is not that. Biscuit malt. Belgian candi sugar. Very interesting and appealing. I'm intrigued. A moderate strength aroma. A bit of biscuity yeast does come through. I don't detect any alcohol.

T: The candi sugar hits me first. I notice the fig and the fruit after that - they're right there on the climax, with prominent raisin character. Not as much grapeskin as the aroma suggested. Sure, there're sprinklings of spice - cinnamon, nutmeg, maybe allspice. I don't get any chili notes; maybe I just don't know what sweet anchos are. I guess I expected hot or spicy chili notes but this is cool and refreshing in a fruity way. Caramel comes through. Nowhere near as much chocolate as I expected; it's just there as a light cocoa powder. The biscuity malts and candi sugar take centre stage here. I don't know that this tastes anything remotely like Mexican hot chocolate, but I do know that I like it. Balanced and well built. It's a bit on the simple side, but there's some subtlety here that I really appreciate. A pleasant surprise, overall.

Mf: Smooth and wet. It's actually undercarbonated, contrary to its appearance. Carbonation may be the biggest issue with this beer; it even starts to come off just a touch thin and watery as it warms. Good body and presence on the palate. Complements the flavour profile quite well but I don't know that it feels custom-tailored specifically to its flavours. Well-executed any way you slice it.

Dr: You have to drink this one with an open mind; it's probably not what you'd expect. Hides its ABV well. A solid winter warmer from Telegraph - a brewery that is quickly rising in my mental ranking of Californian breweries. Still, its price point is its biggest failing. Very drinkable and approachable; this would make a great introductory beer for the style but I don't know that it's convential per se. None of the toasted malt emphasis you find in most winter warmers is present here. It's intriguing and probably best regarded as a Belgian dark with a twist. And a such, it's quite a success. Bravo, Telegraph. I'd get this again on-draught or aged.

B-

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.62/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Batch # 117.

Pours a hazy dark orange with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, chile, slight cocoa, and a variety of Winter spices. Taste is much the same with earthy spice and chile flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with some very earthy aromas and flavors.

Photo of TheMarkE
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

One of my favorite winter brews. Chocolate malt, allspice, and ancho pepper combine to create a complex and unique flavor.

Photo of Uncle_Jimmy
2.9/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle to a Thistle
Labeled Batch 117

Appearance- pours a reddish brown with 3 fingers of light tan foam. coarse bubbles that linger a bit. No lacing and for a beer with a cork, I expected it to be a little more chapagne-y. Not that this is bad !

Aroma- cinnamon, clove, chili, all spice, a little carmel butterscotch in there.

Taste- clove, cinnamon, allspice a hint of butterscotch. Virtually no heat or presence from the chilies. maybe it is being eclipsed by the hops? Hops Chilis vegetal all smears. No distinct hop character.

Mouthfeel- medium bodied, the label says it was based on mexican hot chocolate, which I understood to be almost like a hot chocolate pudding, than a beverage. Maybe it needs some cacao nibs, chocolate malt, lactose, oats even? I do appreciate the carbonation level in this though, and the alcohol warmth is hidden well.

Overall- This one is spicey, I could see it pairing well with game meats, pumpkin pie or other desserts.
It is a valiant effort for a holiday ale and it is festive as a re-gifted fruitcake! But If I wanted chilies, i would go to a Stone Smoked Chipotle Porter. If I wanted Cocoa, I would go to a Young's Chocolate Stout, If I wanted Spice I would go to your favorite Pumpkin ale (Pumking/punkin?). This one maybe tries to do too much... I know It's hard to please everyone in SB. The Townies, the college kids, girls in Ugg Boots, surfers, Hippies, Oprah and her cronies, but Just be true to telegraph it'l come ! Dig the wit beer

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.32/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at The Jug Shop. 2011 Vintage.

Pours a deep plum, inch of head, nice lacing.

The smell has gingerbread, plum, spices galore and a nice caramel background.

The taste starts with dark fruit and nutmeg. This is closely followed by a heap of Christmas spices, cinnamon and clove being the most pronounced. Caramel and pine make an appearance as well. A little heavily carbonated for my taste.

Ages very very well. Not as much of a fan fresh though.

Photo of jmarsh123
1.95/5  rDev -48%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Pours deep brown with a big creamy tan head. Good retention. Poor lacing.

Cinnamon bomb on the nose along with a heavy dose of nutmeg. I can tell this may be challenging.

Absolute spice bomb. Tons of nutmeg reminding me of my least favorite pumpkin ales along with a heavy dose of cinnamon. Chocolate attempts to come through, but really it's hard to pick anything out over the abundance of spices.

Medium to light bodied a bit high on carbonation.

Blech. This beer is horrible. Nutmeg and cinnamon dominate everything and it's nearly undrinkable. My drain is going to be drunk tonight.

Photo of Dope
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 95.

A: A nice deep brown pour with a very effervescent light brown head atop it. Retention is quite good, never fully fades away. Lacing is pretty decent too.

S: Tons of cinnamon and some pepper. Maybe even nutmeg? Toasted caramel. Maybe some chocolate? Hard to tell under all the stinging spices.

T: As in the nose, tons of cinnamon with a mild but noticeable chile pepper hit after that. Some nice caramel throughout, maybe a hint of cocoa in the aftertaste. Spices carry through and linger around for a while.

M: Quite effervescent, perhaps a bit too much. Tingly cinnamon and pepper spice.

O: Honestly not a bad concept but poorly balanced. The cinnamon is super overpowering, followed by the chile spice. There's almost nothing else to the beer. A strong chocolate character would achieve the desired effect I think. Lower carbonation would help too.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

No intro here, just review: It pours a deep brown-ruby topped by about two fingers or so of cream froth. The nose comprises light cocoa, anise, cinnamon, clove, Belgian candi sugar, brown sugar, light plum, dark fruits, and a touch of black pepper way in the background. There's a decided BSDA feel about this smell, if you ask me. The taste holds notes of dark fruits, anise, light smoked pepper, clove, allspice, light cocoa, vanilla bean, light molasses, and a touch of roasted malts for good measure. It's all a bit much when it strikes the tongue, but somehow it misses being too much. Suffice it to say, a whole helluva lot is goin' on with this stuff... The body is a straight medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta dry finish. Overall, the parts are generally positive, but the sum is a mish-mash of overly-complex flavors that never really coalesces into anything truly good. Not sure if that makes sense or not... I will say that the pepper in the background does some nice things with the finish, keeping my tastebuds on their toes. Beyond that, though, I think the flavor din is just too loud for its own good.

Photo of RoamingGnome
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of 750 ml bottle into CBS snifter.

A) Deep brown, with a full finger of tan colored coffee house froth. The head settles to a dusting. Decent lacing. Quite inviting.

S) Yeast and chocolate malt. There is lots of spice. I pick up clove an some ginger. The aroma is more intense as this warms to room temperature.

T) Follows the nose pretty well... A nice combination of flavors, yeast, malt, a bit of chocolate, clove, ginger, and cinnamon. The finish is earthy and smoky. The aftertaste is really where you pick up the chili pepper, but it works really well.

M) Close to full bodied, with a moderate amount of carbonation. This is silky smooth, which I found surprising, based upon the spice in the aroma and taste. This has a really nice balance.

O) I don't drink a ton of winter warmers, but I've had my share. This offering is top notch, and I would gladly recommend.

Photo of Brez07
3.41/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed as part of the Blind Beer BIF #6. 750ml C&C bottle served in a snifter

A: Dark brown pour, looks like cola. Impressive 2 finger off white head that sticks around for what seems like forever (4)

S: Boom, clove explosion! All I get at first, but as it opens up, some banana mixes in. Loads of dark fruit and other spices, including ginger. Faint hint of booze (3)

T: Dark caramel malt, providing a small amont of roast. Some grapeskin. There is also a tiny amount of smokiness too. Clove has a large presence. A bit leathery (3.5)

M: Medium bodied. Good amount of carbonation at first, then becomes lighter over time (3.5)

D: This beer is... good. Not great, not bad. A little higher than normal. Hits where it should but doesn't shine (3.5)

Photo of Hex92
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had high hopes for this one, it came close, but it didn't quite hit the mark. Looks good, nice head, good color.
S- all spice
t- clean, little spicy, maybe a bit like pumpkin pie
M- lots of carbonation, otherwise good.

Interesting beer, but unfortunately it doesn't deliver on the initial impression.

Photo of BucannonXC5
4.07/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 1 pint, 9.4 oz. bottle into a pilsner glass. Color was dark mahogany, closer to black than anything else. Just over an inch of head. Nice amount of frothy lacing on the top, that stayed throughout the beer. The film was sporadic, but stayed. The film always looks better in a pint glass than a pilsner glass, so I’ll take that into consideration.

Initially smelled deep spices with cinnamon and gingerbread the only two I mentioned. Gingerbread is a spice you say? Well it is for this beer. Also smelled cloves, caramel, chocolate and toffee. Good smelling beer.

The taste wasn’t as much like the smell as I would have thought. I got gingerbread first, followed by cinnamon and a deep dark chocolate aftertaste. Spices rule the day here.

Full body. Slick texture. Average carbonation. Long spicy finish.

I liked this beer. It was definitely what I could call a winter beer. Too bad I live in California and can’t really appreciate the winter nature of it. Good beer.

Photo of womencantsail
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Bruery Provisions

Pours a dark amber color with a finger of off-white head. Strong spice aromas of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. There’s a nice little bit of banana aroma and dark fruit, too. Maybe a little bit of coffee. The flavor is nicely sweet with quite a bit of caramel, toffee, and spices. Nutmeg and cinnamon seem to be the most prominent. Some hints of banana as well as cherries. Medium bodied and medium carbonation.

Photo of mwilbur
4.4/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 750 mL bottle into tulip. Batch #95.
A: Pours a very dark brown with nice 2 inch light tan bubbly head. Very good retention. Only a modicum of light comes through with backlighting.
S: Chocolate malt, toasted grains, cinnamon, clove, allspice, melon, hint of pine, and a dash of spicy pepper. Great complexity for style.
T: Clove, chocolate, cinnamon, ancho chile pepper, wood smoke, cedar, and a strong malt backbone. Wonderful complexity here too! Perfect balance. Increase of spicy pepper with warming.
M: Creamy up front, mildly dry and bitter middle and finish (porter-like), subdued spicy acidity.
D: Excellent complexity and drinkability. ABV is spot on perfect for this brew. Seek it out and enjoy! Best winter warmer I've had to date.

11/28/13:
Poured from 750 mL bottle into tulip. Batch #95. Bottle still opens with a loud pop.
A: Pours a very dark brown with luxurious 2-3 inch light tan head with excellent retention. (4.5)
S: Toasted malt, cinnamon, clove, dark dried fruit, mild chocolate, and a hint of spicy pepper. (4.25)
T: Cinnamon, dark dried fruit, clove, sweet caramel malt, wood smoke, and mild chili pepper. Has held up very well over time. (4.5)
M: Light-medium body. Sweet, mildly dry, hint of hot spice. Nice lingering and maturing on the palate. (3.75)
D: Still holds strong (has only lost a half-step) as an excellent brew...especially for style. (4.25)

Photo of phichifiji00
4.45/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into tulip glass.

Appearance: Almost black with a subtle red hue. Thick tan head that fades slowly. Moderate lacing.

Smell: chiles, orange peel, caramel, chocolate.

Taste: Cinnamon, ancho chiles, caramel, orange peel, chocolate, spices.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, moderate carbonation, creamy, smooth.

Overall: A very tasty beer. Again a wonderful beer from Telegraph and very surprising. The spices and chiles are wonderful, the citrus notes balance perfectly and the chocolate and caramel background is well done. Very drinkable. The best winter beer I've had so far this year. Telegraph has been a great surprise for me this year.

Photo of Murrhey
3.64/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Had in a taster at Bruery Provisions in Orange. Poured in 2 oz tulip glass.

A- Off white head. Thick lacing. Deep red-brown color.

S- Spicy. Brewing spices. Molasses.

T- Sour, spicy, bitter. Bit of a booze kick at the end.

M- Medium bodied, lingering grainy finish.

O- I've had better winter warmers. Not bad though.

Photo of rfgetz
3.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with some muted red highlights, full cap of tan head, moderate lacing. Scent was quite bold and hinted at cocoa powder, chili powder, light caramel, cinnamon and nutmeg, light herbal notes at the end. Taste brings components of scent together with the spices being fairly bold, sometimes overpowering. Surprisingly medium bodied, some heft needed to back up the bold flavors. Nice mix of flavors, a bit harsh when nearing the end of the bottle. A sipper to be shared for sure.

Photo of metter98
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear yet very dark reddish amber in color and has a moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense tan head that quickly died down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface..
S: There are moderately strong aromas of spices in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste is a complex mixture of various spices but is much stronger. Allspice and cinnamon seem to stand out in particular; there are some initial flavors of chocolate malts while peppery spices are present in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is a good representation of the style and goes down easily because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.03/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of the Rare Beer Club. Served in a mug.

Pours a deep brown color with a thin light tan head and a bit of lacing as it goes down. The nose carries a bit of chile and spices plus a slight metallic note. A bit of roast as well. Flavor has spice and a dosing of chile heat. Light chocolate and roast. Medium body with good carbonation. A little bit to it with a semi-sweet finish. Nothing too off, but not particularly enjoyable.

Photo of elNopalero
4.09/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was from Batch 65, picked up last spring and been sitting on it all year waiting for longer days and cooler weather to crack it open.

Poured it and saw a bit of a thin lacing on a ruddy amber brew. Not a lot of carbonation. But what an aroma! A hearty bouquet of cloves, cinnamon, allspice greets my olfactory nerves. It tastes sweet and Belgian-y, as if a rogue prankster Trappist monk snuck some yeast into a tasty holiday ale. I enjoyed the distinct flavor of the ancho chiles. More of a nuanced hint than anything upfront or overpowering but I thought it made for an interesting, layered brew. My favorite of a recent night’s tasting. Glad I picked up two of these so I have one more to enjoy.

UPDATE:
Enjoyed (revisited) this in December, 2012.

It’s still pouring with some vigor. Appears a toasty malty brown mahogany color with billowy foam that dies down into a tight ring. I get an aroma of clove, nutmeg, cocoa nibs, a light chile ancho hint on the nose. This brew is remarkable with some age—the flavor hits all the right notes and still holds up. Cinnamon and some spice give a light kick. Still has a great body & smooth finish.

Photo of Zorro
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown colored beer with a tall tan colored head.

Smells spicy with molasses and cinnamon being the strongest scents. Black Licorice is fairly strong here and there is a little allspice.

Starts out sweet with a sweet licorice aftertaste. Drier than the smell indicated this is only very slightly sweet. Good spice flavor something like a sugar free spice drop candy. Not much more than to it, a mild spice flavored dark Belgian style ale.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall this is worth a try. Still if I want a spicy beer I know some better.

Photo of Beerenauslese
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Body is a pretty dark translucent brown. Poured to a half inch head in a snifter, the head quickly dissipates to a thin veil and a thicker ring, leaving motile clouds of lacing.

Aroma of chocolate, prune, cinnamon, clove, and juniper berries. Pretty intense and interesting.

Tastes quite spicy, in a holiday way, with some tree botanicals like juniper berries, or even spruce tips (like Alaskan winter ale). There is a little ancho chile pepper bite on the top of the tongue. Maybe it is just the chiles, but if that is all that is in here, then chiles are a good choice for a holiday ale, adding a nice peppery spice. There is also some dark chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove in the mid-palate. This finishes cleanly with a lingering chile and chocolate bitterness, but wet on the tongue.

Body is light as is the carbonation, giving this a slightly fizzy mouthfeel, like a mineral water.

As a winter ale, it packs alot of taste in a light package, which makes it pretty drinkable, if you can handle all the spiciness, that is. I think it is best consumed with holiday foods. I am saving my other bottle for next year--should be good as the spicy elements mellow out into a smoother whole. We'll see.

Photo of seand
4.02/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark clear brown, with a fair amount of bubbly tan head. A layer retains pretty well, but doesn't leave much lacing.

S: Sweet winter spices, cinnamon, chocolate, brown sugar.

T: Much like the smell, sweet and full of spices. Cinnamon is again apparent, along with a chocolate note through the middle. The balance is nice overall, though pretty far on the sweet side of things.

M: Medium to light body, medium carbonation, dry finish. Quite smooth.

D: Very drinkable, a nice seasonal choice.

Photo of augustgarage
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750mL caged-and-corked bottle into a snifter. Batch number 65. Cork bursts out violently, but this wasn't a gusher. Served lightly chilled.

Burgandy body shot through with crimson highlights. A tall creamy wheat head persists, leaving wide creamy swaths of lacing, which dissipate in a slow sandy trail amidst shimmering tears.

Caramel corn, challa, and plenty of spice in the nose.

Low bitter chocolate with a hint of ancho flavor (though without any real heat) on the palate. No perceptible hops. Any bitterness comes from the chocolate flavors. The allspice sort of ties together the different malt flavors leading into a dry leafy finish. No diacetyl, despite the partially buttery aromatics.

Creamy, effervescent (one could argue over-carbonated I suppose), and pillowy mouthfeel. Neither the chili or the ABV adds any real heat - the "warmer" part of this beer is a touch lacking except for the combination of spices.

A novel subtle take on the style - distinguished by the effects of bottle conditioning (lots of yeast at work) compared to other examples.

to view more.
Winter Ale from Telegraph Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 75 ratings.