Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Abominable Winter Ale - Hopworks Urban Brewery

Not Rated.
Abominable Winter AleAbominable Winter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

112 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 112
Hads: 307
Avg: 4.02
pDev: 17.91%
Wants: 43
Gots: 34 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Hopworks Urban Brewery visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  7.30% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ElGordo on 12-24-2008

Made with Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook hops and six organic malts.

70 IBU

This is a Winter IPA.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Abominable Winter Ale Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 112 | Hads: 307
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.56/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to VoodooImpStout for sharing this one at jmgrub's birthday tasting.

Pours a clear dark orange with a foamy beige head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, and herbal hop aromas. Taste is much the same with a herbal hop flavor on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop 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 that is drinkable but smells better than it tastes in my opinion.

 592 characters

Photo of biboergosum
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber. Cheers to the monstrous, Dr. Suess-esque beast of the woods adorning this rather kitschy label.

This beer pours a clear, medium bronzed amber hue, with two fingers of foamy, somewhat creamy beige head, which leaves some sparse rainforest tree-top lace around the glass as it gently seeps away.

It smells prominently of pine resins and pithy citrus rinds up front, with a solid bready caramel malt, followed up by a further tepid herbal hoppiness. The taste is fairly bitter right off the bat - pine, earth, and grassy herbs, whose initial edge softens greatly as the slightly late-arriving bready, somewhat sour caramel malt barges in anew. Right along with it, I also get a wee bit of metallic alcohol warming.

The carbonation is on the low side, yet a tad frothy at the same rate, the body medium weight, and generally smooth, but for a slight hop bitterness twinge. It finishes just on the perceptibly off-dry side - the moderately intrusive hops not giving up the game just yet, and the (apparently six kinds of!) malt doing a decent job of general clean-up.

A winter ale, sure, I suppose - though I would proffer that this is more of a hopped-up amber ale, the only spice being ground-up hops. So, given its origins, it could also be simply called a summer ale, or an autumn ale, for all the difference it would make. It still tastes pretty good, however, but don't expect anything that actually complements all that Christmas baking on which you've just gorged, eh?

 1,489 characters

Photo of oberon
4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an imperial nonic a dlear rich copper with a billowing white head that settles into a frothy,sticky mass,a great pour.A big kick of citric hops hits home in the aromas,the Simcoes really play a big role with the vitric cascades,a little sweet alcohol shows thru as well.A true Pacific northwest hop driven ale here,peppery and citric hops overtop of a nutty malt base with some light booze makes for a very well rounded hopped up beer.I thought this would be good but it's great,I wish I had more...alot more.

 521 characters

Photo of jlindros
3/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Split with rudzud but guess we forgot about it a while ago.

Very little head, little lacing, hazy amber reddish orange color.

Nose flat malts, reddish amber malts, very very light grassy lemon grass hop thing,

Taste is horrible, bad old malts, sweet mess, no real hops with flash of bitterness, sourness, cardboard, etc. Finish is mild earthy spicy hops bitterness but bleh mostly, sticky flat meh.

Mouth is med bod, little syrupy, decent carb.

 448 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.94/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Seriously sparkly in the mouth. Yipes! Try a big gulp of this. Attractive dark coppery amber color in the Ciney snifter. Lovely warm malty taste to start, with the carbonation giving it a sharp edge right off. Something like roasted parsnips and winter squash with that slightly sweet vegetable flavor.

The hops are fairly subdued. Just a touch of hop flavors, though this finishes with a fair amount of bitterness. More woody and yam tasting roasted malt flavors. This is definitely on the sharp side, but if you like a fizzier beer it's quite pleasing. Well balanced, and a different sort of winter seasonal. From the 16 oz can purchased at Bottleworks in Seattle.

 667 characters

Photo of Rifugium
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at HUB, Portland, OR

Poured a clear copper with a nice white head that receded to a patchy layer. I expected some sugar and spice in the aroma for a beer labeled as a winter ale, but instead got a blast of unexpected hops, more reminiscent of an APA or hoppy amber ale (which of course it is, I now know). Sweet pale malts were tasteable in the background, with citrus and pine hops taking the forefront, grassy with some light fruit tones. Medium mouthfeel, somewhat bitter in the aftertaste, a good-drinking beer overall, but I don't really get what exactly makes it a winter ale.

 601 characters

Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, no bottle dating. Pours crystal clear reddish copper color with a nice 1-2 finger dense cream colored head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big grapefruit, orange rind, orange zest, pineapple, pine, caramel, floral, grass, bread, honey, and hop earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of hop notes; with a great hop/malt balance. Taste of big grapefruit, orange zest, pineapple, pine, orange rind, caramel, floral, grass, honey, bread, and light earthy pine spiciness. Fair amount of pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of citrus, pineapple, pine, caramel, honey, bread, floral, grass, and light earthy pine spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice balance and complexity of hop flavor; with a great hop/malt balance; and zero cloying flavors present after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a moderately creamy and sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with hardly any warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice red ale. Very nice balance and complexity of hop flavor with great malt balance; and dangerously easy to sip on. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,266 characters

Photo of mdaschaf
4.06/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours a clear copper/brown color with a small tan head, about one finger in height. Not much retention that reduces to a very thin cap on top. Streaky lacing down the glass.

S: Nice aroma, a combination of light grapefruit and orange with some floral notes. Lots of sweet caramel and bready malt on the backend.

T: Nice amber ale, with a nice combination of light tropical fruits, grass, and floral hops. More caramel and light toffee.

M: Medium to full bodied for an amber/red. Moderate carbonation.

O: A solid beer, like that it comes out in the winter, sorta like Celebration, but just a shade below.

 613 characters

Photo of woodychandler
4.44/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Many thanks, big ups and major props to msubulldog25 for having sent this to me in furtherance of The CANQuest (TM)!

From the CAN: "Hopworks Urban Brewery [-] Abominable Winter Ale [-] Arr-R-Ganic"; "Illustration of Mr. Yeti by Martin Ontiveras (www.martinhead.com)"; "Certified Organic by Oregon TILTN"; "Certified Carbon Neutral"; "Drink Responsibly"; "Think-Drink-Smile-Recycle."; "World Class Beer, Sustainably"; "Aaarganic!".

Aaarrgh! The Crack! unleashed Mr. Yeti and I was not entirely ready for him to make his presence known. Drastic action was needed and so I employed an inverted Glug which resulted in a pseudo-cascade and him becoming even angrier. It was like the old adage of not being able to put the Genie back in the bottle, but here, I could not get Mr. Yeti back in the CAN! Ooh, I'm so frightened. The graphics on the CAN are MUCH better than what is pictured on the bottle and I am keeping this one for my own small CAN collection. Being a glutton for punishment, I CANtinued to empty the CAN, causing both a roaring noise and the formation of a finger of rocky, tawny head with undying retention. What have I done?!? Color was a slightly-hazy copper (SRM = > 17, < 22) and I could see Mr. Yeti peering out at me from within its depths. The nose was redolent with minty, evergreen hops, indicative of his living environment and I have to admit, my mouth began to water. Mouthfeel was medium, but cool and dry, endorsed by Marshall McLuhan, who believed that beer and television are a cool medium. Actually, my beer seemed colder than usual and my throat began to CANstrict from its icy temperatures. Mr. Yeti was doing me no favors. Seriously, though, it had a really cool, minty flavor and I was really digging this one. Finish was like good rye whiskey, smooth, cool and dry. Inhalation was like smoking a menthol cigarette. Phew. The extreme finish even produced a caramel sweetness and I was left with a lot of nice lacing in my glass.

 1,970 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.35/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

16 oz. can poured into a pint glass.

Appearance - Deep amber, almost brown. Medium white head and a thin collar.

Smell - Nutty malts. Lots of caramel. Toasty. Some hops and a fruitiness that seems to come from the malts more than the hops.

Taste - Much hoppier up front. Grassy and piney. Toasty malts. Bitterness sustained throughout the drink. Sweet, slightly buttery malt flavor in the finish.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Moderate bitterness and medium carbonation. Not something I drank very quickly.

Overall - Categorized as an IPA here? It's much more malt forward. I don't know what to call it. It's decent, but not quite my style.

 653 characters

Photo of HopHead84
3.2/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3


On tap at the brewery apposed next to Kentucky Christmas. Appears much lighter than its barrel brother, more on the golden side. Small head is quick to recede. Hops are redolent of pine and somewhat floral, reminds me a bit of a noble hop bouquet. A touch of mineral is evident. Malt provides bread and caramel and does well in providing balance. Flavor is bitter pine with a little caramel and an unexpected bready malt influence. Finish is bitter and dry with some alcohol and astringency. An earthy quality is detectable, as well as grassy and mineral notes. Not like any other winter beer I've tried. Medium body. Upper moderate carbonation. Dry, sticky mouthfeel with some astringency and warming. Overall, an odd array of flavors and I wouldn't jump to drink this again.

 786 characters

Photo of John_M
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Claudia's today.

The beer pours a lovely copper color with good head retention and lots of sticky lacing. The beer looks impressive, but even so, I was surprised by what I smelled and tasted.

This beer just reeks of hop perfume, with an impressive skunky hop aroma blast and a boatload of pine. The beer smells great, but I took one sip and immediately screamed "mama I'm coming home." No where but in the NW do you encounter winter hop bombs like this bad boy. There's just enough sweet malt to balance the tsunami of hoppy bitterness, but in the end, the tidal wave of hoppy bitterness wins out. This winter IPA is all NW/West coast, with a rich, dry, hoppy bitter finish. The finish is very long and persistent, and the bitterness just lasts and lasts. Mouthfeel is almost mouthpuckeringly bitter, but in an oh so good way. Drinkability is very good, but the hoppy bitteress wears on you after a while.

An absolute kick in the teeth hop bomb, this is why I love that NW IPA style. Just delicious.

 1,012 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 shared with the brother... mine into the SN XXX goblet. Descent off-white head... good drapes of lacing atop a nice hop hazed orange brew.

Nose is juicy citrus with hints of caramel to provide just enough malty interest.

This is my type of winter ale... tons of hops with not that much bitterness... the bitterness actually shows late toward the finish as a pithy citrus bite... the lite caramel malt is a good counterpoint to the resinous hops... finish is measured in minutes.

Pretty solid medium body accentuated by the oily hoppiness... smooth lite/medium carbonation... very very yummy... I wish I hadn't shared.

This kind of "winter" brew can only happen in the NW.... and pretty much perfected.


 723 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
3.18/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured a copper color with good carbonation and a dirty white head

S: Caramel, nice and sweet with some spice

T: Not what I was expecting. Is this a winter beer an amber or an amber serving as a winter beer? As a winter ale I was disappointed. Some spice at times, hops..what else ya got? Fruits and green leafs. Grains.

M: Well carbonated and sticky at times

D: Easily enough to drink but not a Winter Ale I would find myself going back to. When I think of Winter Ale

 475 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Seattle Beer Week pint glass. Pours a medium copper amber with a healthy two finger light tan head with good retention and lots of lacing. Aroma of citrus and pine hops, caramel malt and light stone fruit juice. Flavor a nice blend of caramel malt and aromatic citrus and pine hops, finishing with pine hops, malt and a hint of cinnamon. Medium bodied with light creaminess. A very nicely made hops forward amber ale approaching an IPA, with good flavorful malt support and a light touch of seasonal spice. Well done.

 531 characters

Photo of flagmantho
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 16oz tall can into a pint glass.

Appearance: medium red-orange hue with a haze-free body and a moderate effervescence. Head is a finger of pillowy light-tan/ivory foam with a hint of a reddish cast. Quite good.

Smell: clean citrusy hop nose with a base of lightly caramelly malt. I like the composition here; hops are fresh and malt is free of biscuity aroma.

Taste: hoppy flavor with citrusy and lightly piney/resiny character. Malt is somewhat caramelly and somewhat bready with that definite crystal malt flavor. A good execution of a hoppy red!

Mouthfeel: medium body with a very good carbonation and a concomitant creaminess. I like it.

Overall: a very good amber ale indeed. I'm usually not too keen on the style, but this beer is tasty and executed well, and I'd have it again in a pinch.

 812 characters

Photo of Axnjxn
4.11/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pint can received as an extra in a trade from bfg75, thanks!

Pours a dark red color with a nice inch thick white head. The smell is mildly hoppy...but also a tad malty. not too big though. Taste is a good balance between hops and malts of a typical amber, but way more hoppy than normal. Its very good and i definitely get cascade hops mainly. Good drinkability...medium bodied with medium carbonation.

Overall just a real enjoyable hoppy red ale right here. Recommended!

 474 characters

Photo of tone77
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A thanks to the creator of the canquest, woodychandler, for this beer. Poured from a 16 oz. can. Has a cloudy, medium brown color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of malts, spices, some sweetness. Taste is good, malty, spicey, a touch of hops, balanced and flavorful. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a high quality beer.

 334 characters

Photo of beertunes
3.35/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into straight pint glass. Poured a clean,clear golden red color with about1/4 inch of just off-white head that had low retention and moderate lacing.

The aroma was predominately piney hops with some malt sweetness in the background.On the tongue the also are the most noticeable aspect of this brew, with some malt foundation in the background.

The body was decent, perhaps a bit thinner than I would have liked. Drinkability was good, if this were on tap locally to me I'd have several while watching a game.

Overall, a good, solid brew that's worth a shot if you see it.

 582 characters

Photo of Derek
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Amber with an off-white head, some retention & lace.

S: Huge american hop aroma, very leafy/grassy, pine and citrus rind, hints of toffee & fruit.

T: Hops are upfront and all the way through. The Simcoe really shines (very grassy & leafy), some citrus rind, nectarine and pine, hints of toffee, solid bitterness, alcohol is subtle.

M: Well-attenuated, moderate body... actually seems a little thin for the style & season.

D: Like hops?

 442 characters

Photo of wordemupg
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle poured into tulip 2/2/12

A clear dark amber with a thumbs width of beige foam that hangs around long enough to leave a few partial rings of lace

S big citrus hops with some pine and caramel, a little rind and tropical notes, this is not at all what I was expecting but I'll take it

T spicy and citric hops play a big part but there's some malt keeping it from being a hop runaway, just a little earthy on the finish. I was expecting a spiced ale and got just what I was craving... a hop bomb

M medium bodied and bitter, a nice bite to it and it leaves just a little grit on the gums

O no mention of booze anywhere above should say something, I enjoyed this beer immensely what a pleasant surprise

not the spiced ale I was expecting but I'll take the spicy hops instead. I could drink another bomber of this stuff no problem, nice work Hopworks keep em coming

 881 characters

Photo of rudzud
3.17/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Split with JLindros. Forgotten about in the cellar

A - Poured into a Kate the Great tulip a nice crystal clear amber hue with a thin one finger head that faded to leave light wisps.

S - Aromas of next to nothing, caramel, old hops, ugh.

T - Taste is well, awful. So so sad...hops are gone, light bitterness, caramel. Just old hops...A shame that this was forgotten about.

M - Mouthfeel is alright, lightly carbonated.

O - Overall this beer is a shame, had this for probably eight months...should never have waited this long for the beer. A shame.

 552 characters

Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a clear, almost amber colored orange with a nice light tan head that fades very slowly.

S - Hoppy pine, sweet malts, almost toffee like.

T - Sweet carmel and toffee, with a nice pine finish.

D - Perfect balance with a nice sweet finish.

O - I don't normally like the sweeter ipas, this one worked for me.

 357 characters

Photo of dirtylou
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, split while drunk-decorating the tree

appearance: served in a stone shaker pint, bright clear orange-amber body, filmy beige head.

smell: "winter ale" is a tricky vague category as every once in a while, someone sneaks in a bright hoppy concoction. grapefruit, tons of pine, bright orange citrus

taste: an amber perhaps, but very hop forward - clean, moderately bitter, and full of flavor - tangerine, grapefruit zest, pine. A really nice brew - and its no wonder, with the combination of cascades, centennials and simcoes

mouthfeel: clean oily body, moderate bitterness

overall: had no idea this was going to be a hopbomb, nice surprise

 656 characters

Photo of ccrida
4.52/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On draught at Bailey's, Abominable is clear dark bronze with an of-white head that leaves foamy lace.

Smell is a blast of hop resins, some cat piss and soapy notes, with toffee coming out as it warms.

Taste is great, a hop explosion for sure. The centennial notes from the nose, with some spiciness, somewhat balanced by the caramel sweetness and amber malt backbone, a very yummy, NW style winter warmer.

Mouthfeel is dry and spicy, resinous, with a medium body.

Drinkability is very good, a great winter IPA. Beers like this is why Portland is Beervana!

 563 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Abominable Winter Ale from Hopworks Urban Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 112 ratings.