Winter Warlock - Flat Earth Brewing Company
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Ratings: 55 | Reviews: 32 | Display Reviews Only:
3.38/5 rDev -11.1%
Had this on cask, server told me it was very foamy and took 5 minutes to settle down. Wow, big pour into an imperial pint.
A: Hazy golden straw, a bit light looking for a BW. Minimal head, but what is there is very thick and creamy. Leaves lots of lacing on the glass.
S: Some esters and mild malt sweetness, alcohol.
T: Tons of alcohol masks the malts and what might be some floral hops. This has hints of barleywine in it, but the malts are too subdued (or overpowered) to really hit on target.
M: Tons of alcohol burn and creamy smooth malts. Not much carbonation left in this cask, but not detracting.
O: Alcohol heat was too overwhelming. As other reviews have pointed out, this is not that complex of a barleywine, and the body is a bit thin. Slightly above average beer, but for the style it is slightly below average.
02-09-2012 02:25:48 | More by doucmehu
3.55/5 rDev -6.6%
Appearance - Light rusty amber with little head
Aroma - Apple/pear/citrus. Slight alcohol scent. A little cinnamon. doughy yeast. Toffee.
Taste - Very complex, layers of flavors. Peppery. Bready and biscuity. Caramel and orange. Brown sugar and cinnamon. Lightly bitter. A fine alcohol and hop finish.
Mouthfeel - medium carbonation, medium bodied. Light syrup. Very smooth.
Overall - Very good taste, not elite, but good. I only purchased one bomber of Winter Warlock but I am thinking that I would like this more with a second and third tasting.
01-27-2012 03:37:53 | More by Hopstout
3.9/5 rDev +2.6%
On my first visit to Flat Earth recently, I picked up a growler of 2010 Winter Warlock. While a sample of WW at Winterfest in 2008 didn't impress, I found it hard to resist an aged barleywine.
Stark white head bubbles up nicely with a hard pour down the center and lingers for a fair bit until it falls to a light film. Old gold beer sets one off immediately from the name barleywine. I remember my first sample of WW and being surprised at how light it was in the glass. Holding up the beer, the effervescent bubbles flow long after the beer is poured, and very captivating to watch. The nose departs from expectations as well. No dark fruits, not heavy alcohol, no barleywine. I initially, especially when cold, smell creamed corn. I suspect that this smell, associated with American lagers turns off some beer geeks. With a bit of warmth and focus, it more of an heavy caramel and underdone biscuit with a floral and earthy hop. Description on Flat Earth says a two hour boil to caramelize the sugars, which is apparent in the taste with an earthy yet spicey bite from yeast and/or hops. Sweet lingering finish. 9% ABV is present but not pushy in nose or taste, but hits rather quickly in spite of the small glass I'm using tonight. Watch out--this one is sneaky!
In short, I like the beer. But I can see some of the mixed reviews on BeerAdvocate. First, issues with the expectation as a barleywine. Compared to an Old Crustacean, Old Guardian, Old Foghorn, Horn Dog, Blithering Idiot or even a J.W. Lees, it is an incredibility light beer and defies the category while being fun to drink. Warming more now, and cream corn (not a pleasant memory from my childhood) changes to a heavy earthiness. Again, if reviewers are drinking too fast or too warm, I think the review of this beer will be hurt. Next glass of this beer I'm going to let the beer sit out for a bit and warm up significantly before drinking it. Good beer, but not an all time favorite; however, it's also very fun to drink.
01-04-2012 03:13:09 | More by FightingEntropy
4.28/5 rDev +12.6%
This is an excellent example of an Barlweywine. Clear body with a medium head. A nose of full-bodied, spicy malts - almost English malt smell.
The taste is a dusty malt flavor, with an excellent balance of hop bitterness.
This is a very lively beer - with a tangy feel on the cheeks without being overly carbonated. A slight alcohol burn balances the bubbly. A light body with a big flavor profile makes this highly drinkable. One moment you are puzzling over the earthy/sweet yet bitter malt flavors, and the next you are puckering after a blast of hop flavor on the back end with a warming alcohol feel.
I'd love to share this difficult to get (only in growlers this year) beer from my neighborhood brewery, so BM me if you are a Barleywine fan and would like to set something up.
03-04-2011 21:27:05 | More by tmcelvain
3.95/5 rDev +3.9%
Thanks to Santa for this
A 09 bottle poured into a tulip glass it produced a finger worth of white head that went to a good lace. The body of the brew was a clear copper color.
It had some nice hop aroma with some good sweet fruits as well. Not a hint of the alcohol was in the nose at all. The flavor was what I expect from a barley wine lightly sweet caramel with some nice fruits thrown in for good measure. It had a medium feel in the mouth with light carbonation making for a great sipper.
I would grab this again if it was available. Thanks Justin for the chance to try this one
01-31-2010 23:18:03 | More by joepais
2.9/5 rDev -23.7%
Very clear golden yellow with a ring of creamy head and light lacing.
Very sweet grain (corn) and a hint of alcohol. No hops to be noted.
Again, very one dimensionally sweet and a light aftertaste of alcohol. Would expect another note of bitterness or citrus or roasting and more alcohol (based on ABV) but it's not there.
Light to medium carbonation and slightly syrupy. Medium body and coats the mouth slightly.
Pretty dense and kinda boring so I am going to have a heck of a time polishing off the whole growler before it goes stale. One glass is good, but I'd not seek anything past that.
Flat Earth is decent though not one of my favorites. The price is good and they let you sample all of the brews before you buy. One other warning is their tendency to "infuse" their brews, particularly the porter - some are good, some... not so much. Creative group, though, so I keep going back to see what they come up with.
01-17-2010 23:54:46 | More by CRichardsMN
3.3/5 rDev -13.2%
750mL bottle courtesy of Maximum12 poured into a tulip. The ABV is listed as 10.1% on this bottle FWIW.
The pour is much lighter than I was expecting, a clear golden amber with an enormous fluffy white head that recedes very slowly, leaving very good lacing. It's a great looking beer, but certainly not what I was expecting.
The aroma continues with the theme of unexpected and has a very light fruity aroma with only a little bit of caramel malts. Some sweet sugars, toasted grains and hops round things out. Not too impressed with the aroma.
The flavor is light with lots of sugar and toasted grains. Again, not much in the way of caramel malts or dark fruits. I get a little bit of light fruits, maybe peaches. It's a weird flavor to get from a "barleywine."
The mouthfeel is medium bodied and almost syrupy with the massive sugar presence. Sticky.
This is one of the weirdest barleywines I've ever tasted. In fairness, it would make for a decent golden Belgian ale. Even then, it's a fairly unimpressive beer with very little complexity underneath the heavy sugar presence.
10-07-2009 01:19:52 | More by gford217
3.3/5 rDev -13.2%
Picked up a bottle of this big beer from Flat Earth late this winter. All of their beers I've tried to date have been good but not great, so I'm hoping Winter Warlock will break that trend.
Big honkin' 25 oz. bomber poured into two pints glasses. Golden retriever color, with evident carbonation doing a NASCAR upwards. Smell is unimpressive, like a grassy wheat beer? What the hell? A hefebarleywine?
A very sweet barleywine is the overarching theme. Sugary, with that hint of grassy wheatness, I swear, coming from someplace. That's about it. Very simple brew with no apparent alcohol. This could be a gateway brew for the craft-challenged with it's simple profile & gentle sweetness.
Pretty good brew, but not much going on here. I'd love to see some more complexity coming out of this to offset the sweetness - malts, hops, something to give it a bit of depth.
06-03-2009 01:32:30 | More by maximum12
3.55/5 rDev -6.6%
Polished apricot with 24-karat gold edges. The overly fizzy cap is yellowed ivory in color and lacks any sort of creaminess or stickiness. As a result, there's no more than a few stray scraps of lace. Not bad, but WW isn't the looker it might have been.
The underpowered aroma is golden fruity, with no hint of caramel and very little evidence of alcohol. The fact that there aren't enough Fuggles hops to act as an olfactory hook is unfortunate since Golden Promise malt and Irish ale yeast aren't too thrilling on their own. Maybe the flavor profile will get things back on track.
Winter Warlock isn't a bad English barleywine, but it is a supremely simple one. Although it isn't a style, this Flat Earth offering tastes like a strong golden ale. The malt doesn't deliver distinctive flavor, nor do the hops or the yeast. Saint Paul water? Not hardly.
There may be hint of toasted maltiness after all. The added sugar provides the sweetness that all good English-style barleywines seem to have, although 46 IBUs ensure that it isn't cloying in the least. The dominant flavors are apricots and peaches in sugar syrup and a splash of brandy, with a side order of white toast. Warming helps, just not enough.
Mouthfeel is the highlight of this experience for two reasons. First, the added sugar bulks things up and gives the finish a pleasantly slick stickiness. Second, the fizziness of the head is nowhere to be found in the beer itself. The bubbles are appropriatly laid back.
Winter Warlock Golden Barley-Wine Ale is not one of Flat Earth's better beers as far as I'm concerned. If the suggestion box is open, a more complex malt bill might be just the thing to bring complexity to a barleywine that is way too simple for its own good. Hopefully, the brewers are amenable to some tinkering.
04-23-2009 20:58:49 | More by BuckeyeNation
4/5 rDev +5.3%
This beer pours a hazy amber-orange color. The head is a quarter inch in height, and recedes quickly into sparse lacing which is alright for a barleywine. The aroma is of big and malty with lots of toffee, caramel, ans sugar. The taste is just as malty as the aroma with just enough hops to balance things out. The mouthfeel is full bodied with lively carbonation, especially for a barleywine, and a velvety texture. Overall, I really like this beer, and I applaud Flat Earth for brewing an English version of a barleywine. It is very refreshing to drink a barleywine that doesn't taste exactly like a DIPA.
04-21-2009 00:53:52 | More by KarlHungus
4.45/5 rDev +17.1%
A bottle I've been sitting on for close to a year, so I assume it was bottled in '07, as noted on the label.
A really good looking beer tempered only by the somewhat cloudy look. Nice full richly dense slightly darkened head that takes it's time settling. Golden color with hints of amber. Heavy thick lacing. Nice.
Soft and somewhat tight aroma with sweetness that borders both barleywine fruitiness and tripel sweetness with a honey quality. Hints of alcohol and hops to speak of. Boy is this nice.
Interesting sweetness, with again it holding some belgian beer qualities, yet being firmly in a barleywine category. Sourness, sweetness and an extended drying, mildly bitter finish. Alcohol warms the stomach more than is noted in the flavor. Tasty yeast (and in the aroma too).
Moderate body that doesn't grab any attention. Similar is the carbonation.
This drinks very nicely. the sweetness and richness are relatively tames and there is just enough balance from hops and dryness. This is really quite good and not traditional.
03-21-2009 01:37:25 | More by garymuchow
4.22/5 rDev +11.1%
Drank a 22oz bomber, 2007 batch.
A: A nice lipid golden (in it's description) orange. Not a whole lot of head, but it sure looks warm and calm. Minimal lacing.
S: Sweet sugars, apple and pear dominant. Not over hopped like it's American barleywine equivalent. Alcohol noticable, but not nostril burning.
T: The most enjoyable part of this beer comes from the lingering and warm, not smoldering or fiery, candy pear flavors. Alcohol is clean, certainly warming. Upfront is the a nice mellow biscuity flavor that certainly turns to the sweet side.
I just wish Flatearth would follow it's MN breweries with a nice American IPA.
M: Not overly carbonated (2007?), Light-medium, but certainly smooth all across the tongue.
D: It's 31 degrees Fahrenheit outside right now and I certainly feel warm. This beer is better than I thought, pleasantly mellow, and a very good candy pear sweetness.
02-25-2009 02:02:53 | More by MPLS
4.05/5 rDev +6.6%
A quite transparent coppery color that leans more towards orange than copper itself, with a small white head.
Smells very strongly of hops with malt, small grassy smell and a bit of fruit (maybe grapefruit).
Tastes pretty hoppy upfront but has a decent malty backbone with a sweet caramel taste with a hint of fruit and maybe a small trace of pine. Not as bitter as the scent made it seem.
Moderately thick and fairly strongly carbonated.
Overall a tasty beer that leans more on the hop side than I expected and has a decent amount of complexity in flavor.
01-07-2009 07:18:46 | More by AdmiralDiaz
4.05/5 rDev +6.6%
Pale, cloudy, orangy amber thing. But it has head. Yeah! Head! And the lacing is still in my glass 10 minutes later. That's serious. Smells lightly of an English b'wine (sweet, raisins, prunes, brown sugar) but with a huge sour overcast. Yuck. Ah. Ooh. Thankfully it doesn't taste like that. Yeah, there is a little apricot in there, but sugar and malt and plenty of bitter. And it's not syrupy (double yeah!). Why, heck, I'd say that it's not an English barleywine at all. I mean, hey, I'm sorry that's what they were shooting for, and all, but if they were serious about that they should have toned down the hops in both aroma and bitterness and upped the mouthfeel. But I'm not reviewing it as an English - otherwise it would not score well. I'm calling it 'merican, darn it. Very easy to drink - very pleasant. Why, the wife was fighting me over who got to finish the bottle. I say cut back on the sour hops and this would be an excellent beer (of course, you'd need to put something else in in their place, but I leave that exercise to the brewer).
12-17-2008 00:20:49 | More by charlesw
4.05/5 rDev +6.6%
I got this one in a great trade with Faro awhile back, thanks again Jeff! There's nothing like a big old barleywine on a frigid evening like tonight. Winter Warlock fills this snifter with a hazed over glowing orange viscous liquid. A couple small streams of carbonation crawl up the sides of the glass but that's all I can find. The head was a little tough to conjure up but a higher pour brought about a finger of clean white foam. The head recedes rather quickly to a thin skimming with a nice collar. The orange body on this brew is pretty unique. A quick swirl brings back the head and leaves behind some patchy lacing.
The nose is loaded with interesting and lightly spiced fruits. Orange peel jumps straight out of the glass and into my nose. Toffee, freshly husked grains and caramel make up the canvas of this BW while allowing the orange peel, slightly under ripe plum, pear, cinnamon, and clean booze to shine in that order. I don't know where the cinnamon is coming from but it adds something much needed to the nose of this beer. The graininess is something I don't come across often in a beer of this style but I must say I really enjoy it.
The flavor comes together nicely with the toffee, orange and plum meshing perfectly. The malty backbone fits what the nose hinted at with caramel and a clean graininess but they stay in the background. Orange and plum peak mid-palate before slowly fading into the finish with a quick flash of sweetness. There's a unique spicing in this BW. Cinnamon and light brown sugar joins forces to add another layer of depth while the finish brings a quick flash of gritty pear and clean alcohol. This is a very enjoyable English barleywine.
The body is a bit of a surprise to me. It's lighter than I would have imagined for the abv but it manages to fit this beer perfectly well. The body is on the lighter side of full and the carbonation, that was barely visible, is active enough to add a touch of frothiness on the swallow. A little residual sugar is left behind after each sip.
I'm sitting here drinking a 9% barleywine and I can't believe how easy it's going down. This snifter is disappearing in a hurry. The alcohol is only noticeable with a tickling of the nose and a little warmth in the cheeks. This one is very easy to put away.
It's a perfect wintery evening for a BW and this one seemed to fit the bill perfectly. There is a great depth and a myriad of unique flavors. I'd love to get some bottles of the '08 Winter Warlock. Thanks for the treat Jeff!
12-08-2008 03:51:37 | More by joe1510
2.9/5 rDev -23.7%
Poured a thin, golden yellow color with a small white head at first and then it disappeared. Nose was with faint hops, malts, Taste is rather thin bodied rather than a heavy English barleywine induced lots of and lots of malt. 9%ABV is very well hidden which also increases its drinkability. Had a good number of English bwines and I found this one not to my liking. Different style than I prefer.
10-17-2008 14:47:22 | More by barleywinefiend
4.38/5 rDev +15.3%
Big thanks to oakbluff for sending this my way! 2007 bottle.
Pours a hazy amber, very nice colour, thin off white head forms and quickly settles to a lacy ring around my tulip, nice looking spots on the glass. Smell is very nice, super malty, lots of sweet caramel, toast and biscuits, a lot of fruit, apricots, pineapple, strawberries, a lot of sugary malt sweetness balances it perfectly, almost a spicy alcohol character comes through. Taste is great, very malty again, caramel and some almost candi sugar sweetness, biscuity middle, peaches and apricot fruitiness, strawberries, some alcohol spice and a honey on toast finish, perfect amount of residual sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low but tight carbonation, alcohol is well hidden, a bit of warmth but very smooth. Great example of style, reminds me a bit of the Fullers Vintage ales, superbly drinkable stuff. Thanks Scott!
10-09-2008 02:22:27 | More by Viggo
4.05/5 rDev +6.6%
Obtained through WankerWeasel at DLD08.
Appearance - pours a pale sunset orange, a little haze to the hue. A conservative head, an eighth-inch at best. Soapy, watery, but somehow with impressive lacing power.
Aroma - a brief whiff of skunkiness upon opening, the pour is a straight-forward graininess with some very mild toastiness upon setting up.
Taste - a crackery, biscuity malt side to start. Noticeable toastiness among the grains, the hops move in smoothly after that. Low-level bitterness, some spicy flavors, maybe even a light touch of soy or smoke or something like that. A fine alcohol warming on the swallow, at this level it enhances the flavors quite well. The blend of Irish yeast and English malts creates some very unique flavors. Grassy herbs at times, soup spices at times, and a nice finishing hop dryness at the end. Very crafty.
Mouthfeel - smoothness, the abv, the moderate carbonation, all work well together.
Drinkability - on the one hand, the abv makes no doubt of its presence. But still, this beer is disappearing fast; the flavor is a nice enough blend to where I don't notice the heat so much. So while the label admonishes me to enjoy at fireside on a cold winter's night, I'm having no trouble dispatching with this as summer is getting into full swing. Appreciate this one, Ben, thanks.
07-18-2008 01:53:03 | More by brewdlyhooked13
4.55/5 rDev +19.7%
Appearance is slightly hazy but fiercely golden with a rocky white head that lingers for a moment then settles into a thin ring around the edge of the glass. Aroma is amazingly complex with perfumey hops dancing around strong malts and some fruits that remind me of white grapes. Aroma reminds me a bit like a chardonnay without the oak. Tasting this beer was a surprise. Malt and more malt. There's gotta be a whole lotta Golden Promise because of the boldness of the malt yet the golden hue that it's known for. Again I taste a perfumey and grassy mix of hop flavor but only enough to balance the malt nicely. Hop bitterness is moderate and balances the sweetness juuust right. Nice full and chewy mouthfeel with restrained carbonation (perfect for an English beer) goes great with the smooth and slightly sweet finish. Alcoholic warmth goes down happily not harshly. It's hard to believe this is 9% ABV because it is oh-so-smooth. Looking forward to next year's effort!
06-16-2008 02:22:09 | More by beerkittycat
4.1/5 rDev +7.9%
From my notes:
Into a chalice, pours a surprisingly light golden color, vivid, with nice white head and lacing. The aroma is warm and inviting, the malts sweet, fruity (think plum), toasted grains, some faint hopping. It has good body, feels nice on the tongue and going down. There are more fruits in the taste, beyond plum I get grapes, some citrus, some more toasty and biscuit malt. Quite a nice beer from a great upstart brewery.
06-12-2008 02:40:34 | More by objectivemonkey
4.1/5 rDev +7.9%
Kind of a glowing yellow orangish hue, thin head that mainly forms a ring. The aroma is of biscuity malt, sweet toasted grains, fruity notes of plums, grapes, pears, and spiciness I think from the yeast, maybe a bit from the malt, peppery with some cloves. The taste has a lot of the same going on. Toasted, biscuity malt, substancial body to it, but I wouldn't call it "heavy" if you will. Some stickiness to it to let you know its barleywine-esque. Plenty of fruity notes, but lighter white and green fruit, white grape skins and apples. Hops are there but far from over powering, mainly perfumy and floral. Quite spicy and peppery with some lemon zest.
Overall: I reviewed this on-tap at Stub and Erbs, and judging from others reviews, it seems that on tap it was a bit spicier, because the peppery spicy notes were one of the biggest take aways from this beer for me. Where as from the bombers, people have tended to lean toward the fruity side. I wouldn't call this a typical barleywine, but it seems that might be the best catagory if it had to fit in somewhere, I am thinking imperial amber though with the toasty malt. I love beers that have lighter fruity flavors light white grapes and pears so this one was right up my ally. I felt the alcohol was hidden well, I thought it was more around 7 or 8%.
04-15-2008 17:04:06 | More by dfried
4.1/5 rDev +7.9%
Semi hazey peachy golden hue with a firm, slimming foam that doesn't last long. Keeps a thin ring of foam at the base and has a few spots of lacing tossed about and sticking to the glass.
Aroma is lofty yet soft and toned in a welcoming mild and clean scent of some golden promise-like malt sweetness, breadish and doughy with touches of white raisin, dried orange, toffee, and banana; which especially seep as it warms.
Taste encompasses the idea of the aroma with a fairly mellow but broadly placed heft of soothing soft and mildly tamed sweetness of malts. Semi bready, mostly sweet with a alluring little softness to toffee and a dullishly orange grated background. Hints at some white raisin and dried tropical fruity stuff as it sticks a firm glue of malty goo and chew. It grows on you as it goes, as at first I was unimpressed, but as I got half way through the bomber it got more likeable with a nice deft in character and tonality.
Feel is clean and soft with a hefty yet yielding balance of malty cloying goodness. Keeps a upfornt rib sticking, palate covering mildness of malty fun yummyness as its overall nature. Creamy, slippery, slick with a bit of stick.
A good malt profile and an easy going mildness in flavor, tone, and body make this a decent and overall yummy little drinkin Barleywine. Perhaps not as dark and deceptive as some other English styled BW's I like, but this fits the bill well enough. For a change of pace this stuff is suited well and made well. Thanks Flat Earth!
04-14-2008 00:31:39 | More by tavernjef
4.28/5 rDev +12.6%
Into my Flat Earth snifter you go, Winter Warlock....the name and occasion is apt, as I thought last week, when we spent time in summery sun and basked in 60-degree weather, and the melting snow slipped out the sins of winter, that spring was finally here, at last. I was the fool, and the magician who rules the weather made a mockery of my delight...we're back at winter again, for awhile, and it's warlock now rules us. Aw, well... on to investigate this ale.You are golden, sorcerer, with a quickly gone head... your aroma is mostly rich, sweet, boozy malt...I'm not feeling much more from it. Taste: more slick, more sweet, more malt, more booze...not exactly what I expect from the barleywines I enjoy most, and have historically found to my favor, but it is quite nice in it's own regard. Lacks the hops of many of those, and leans heavily on the malt...something about that dynamic takes it somewhere else, indeed. Golden, bright, crisp, and, yes, boozy...the 9 % isn't shy at all. Not that I'm complaining.I think Jeff Williamson has a thing for Fantasy/Sci-Fi/sword & sorcery,Tolkien, mythology, etc...not that I've played Dungeons & Dragons with him, but I bet if you played craps at his house, the dice would be twelve-sided. Sweetness is just right for a dessert or a nightcap, and the alcoholic warmth is well-needed in chilly evening (okay, mornings) as this... 'tis a fine ale...works nice, tonight ...another winner from Flat Earth.
04-12-2008 10:28:27 | More by feloniousmonk
Winter Warlock from Flat Earth Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 55 ratings.