Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting 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
Reviews: 112 | Hads: 307
Photo of maximum12
3.28/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to bfg75 for this bottle as an extra, which has since been resting in the fridge to slow it down. 22 oz. bottle split with my wife while watching my first Twins spring training game of the year. Yippee!

Pour is clear copperish red, & clean & clear as a whistle. Nose is nice floral, grapefruit, dash of sweetness, but one has to get out the shovel to dig much up.

Abominable Winter Ale could be renamed Abominable Biscuit Beer. Huge malty biscuitness jumps out of the woods & ambushes the palate; there's certainly plenty of hops, but the breadiness is ascendant. Hops kick in underneath the falling biscuit as bitter, mild grapefruit, but much more in the mouthfeel, which is very slick & neat. High point of the beer, though it's certainly easy to drink.

Eh. Just to the right of the middle of the road, this is a nice, inoffensive beer that's easy on the palate but without much in the way of character. Pretty good beer.

 936 characters

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 GilGarp
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tall boy can served cold into an imperial pint glass. 70 IBU, 17 Plato.

Abominable Winter Ale is a slightly hazy amber red color with thick off-white head. It has good retention and leaves some nice lacing behind.

Aroma is nice and hoppy with a sweet fruity character. Fresh citrus and candied ginger come through.

Flavor is plenty hoppy but, at the same time, more malty than expected. It has a fair dose of bitterness from the hops but the big malt bill goes a long way towards balancing it. Bready with a hint of rye malt and a big citrusy, resiney hop profile.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and nicely carbonated.

Overall a very good hoppy amber rye winter (and whatever else you want it to be) ale.

 705 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 hreb
3.87/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle served cold in pint glass. Beer pours a deep orange amber with nearly no head. Bonus points for the painted label on the bottle with Mr. Yeti. Slight citrus hop aroma.

Flavor is big on C-hops. This is the amber of IPAs. A little darker and there would be nothing between this and a CDA. At 7.3% it rationalizes the "winter ale" monicker, but the folks at Hopworks seem to be saying "It's Winter, you should be drinking hoppy beer. Just like every other time of the year."

 484 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 sam_bliss
3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

16oz tall boy can into New Belgium .47 L globe (both measures are one pint!)

A- Clear mahogany amber with some rust orange where the light shines through. Three finger creamy orange head with staying power. 4.25

S- Fresh hops and ethanol enter the nose first. Orange and grassiness make up the hop profile, which is highlighted over a toasty malt backbone. Not a super strong-smelling winter beer. 3.25

T- Delightful. Some understated spices bring the sweet toffee and strong dark malts to life while tropical fruits lighten the saccharine taste. The fresh-cut grass and grain alcohol from the aroma is almost completely covered by robust flavors. 4.5

M- Very syrupy from start to finish. Thick in the mouth with pretty light carbonation and some hop bite. A veneer is left on the inside of the mouth, especially on the roof, creating thirst for another drink or preferably an intermittent slurp of water. 3

O- Yummy winter ale. The smell is not great, but do we sit around sniffing our beers? No, we drink them (unless of course we are writing a review), and this one tastes like a campfire on a cold night. 4.25

 1,118 characters

Photo of CookstLiquor
4.29/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 650ml bottle. It's still winter last time we checked, so this arrived right on time. The nose is an amazingly enticing combination of citrus and sweet malt. Great hops/malt balance. The taste definitely delivers a similar experience, but with so much more complexity. There's plenty of sweet fruit, marmalade zing, ripe melons and a nice roundness to the malt. But a since so much of the fruit blast comes as a result of the hops, there's also a good clean, drying finish that saves this from being overly sweet. Hard to categorize this beer, except to say that it's delicious and is one of the better winter brews we've tried this year.

 651 characters

Photo of jmarsh123
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours hazy rusty brown with a small white head with just a touch of retention and lacing.

Smells like candied citrus with a good dose of pine as well.

Lots of that candied grapefruit up front in the flavor. A little bit of a bready sweetness in the middle. Finishes balanced with some pine resin to go along with the continued citrus presence.

Medium bodied and a bit sticky. Solid carbonation levels.

I would call this more of a DIPA or hoppy amber rather than a winter as I don't pick up many spices, but it's still a solid beer.

 535 characters

Photo of EspressoGuy
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A; transparent, amber with orange hints
S: nice citrus rind, fresh, not over-powering; can't detect any maltiness
T: very well balanced, rich full fresh maltiness; hint of bitterness in the finish; no big flavours but a very pleasant richness. Not overly complex or developing.
M: full-bodied
O: a solid cohesive likeable flavour that makes me want another sip ... but wishes it developed into something more.

 409 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 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 Braz
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish color with really bubbly white head that sustains for at least a minute or so. Smells of caramel and burnt sugar, also citrus notes and pine resin. Great balance of bitter and sweet. Good dose of hops for an amber. Definate citrus flavors going on here too. Body is very good and is lightly carbonated. I'm not sure what is wintery about this, and think it could be offered year 'round.

 407 characters

Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.09/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A hazy rudy brown with a finger of creamy head, just a raft of mirco-bubble retention.

S: Sweet candy grapefruit and malts mingled with citrus and a pine resin. No hint of yeast or breadiness, alcohol absent. Smell reminds me of a caramelized grapefruit candied peels.

T: Up front with grapefruit and pine resins hop profile, but closely followed by well balanced sweet malts. I'm not getting the traditional spices that are present in other winter beers, however the skilled balance of malts and hops is the defining taste profile.

M: Carbonation presents some pin pricks but the creamy mouth feel is noticeable smooth and thick. I wasn't expecting this level of creaminess considering the hop notes on the scent, a nice surprise.

O: This is enjoyable and very drinkable, it could be labeled as a Imperial IPA or an ESB on account of the hops and malt mix. I don't necessarily think of a winter ale given that I'm not picking up an winter spices on the nose or palate. The skilled mix of malts and hops that produce a creamy taste and feel with tangy grapefruit and pine notes are especially enjoyable.

 1,113 characters

Photo of demuzik
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An enjoyable winter ale on the hoppy, fruity side - just what you need if you've OD'd on too many spiced/flavored warmers.

The mouthfeel is almost surprisingly thick for an under 8% beer... but the flavor is very well done. Balance of a hoppy fruit basket with plenty of malt undertones; totally piny yet fruity, spicy, and bready.

The color is brown and clarity is a little below average.

Worth at least a try during the colder months.

 439 characters

Photo of Holy_Hop_Head
4.57/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

What can I say which hasn't already been said?

Appearance is a nice clear amber with about a finger's head and low head-retention.

The nose hits you with a slight floral and heavy citrus, particularly a fresh, aromatic grapefruit.

If you swish a little around in your mouth, you become overwhelmed by the hops - clean, bright, bitter, citrus...heavy grapefruit. Then the winter spice hits you, subtly...a peppery clove is what I taste. The hops stay with you through the whole ride. Then it finishes with a caramel malt, not too sweet, and it seems to blend well with the other flavors. I agree that the yeast doesn't seem to add a lot to the flavor as far as I can tell. As the beer warms up a little, the malt comes out more which lends to slightly more balance. Very good!

Medium body. Definitely a hop-centric beer for a winter ale...so much you can feel the oily resin on your tongue. But it's nice...

I often don't like winter beers that much because they seem unbalanced - too sweet. This one is different - it's balanced to the side of hops, which is something that I can get behind. I would be curious what would happen if there was just a bit more spice to add to the complexity and bring out the "winter beer" more. Overall, very good...to be expected from such a great brewery!

 1,295 characters

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

16oz can into a tulip. Pours a clear amber w/ a frothy off-white head, good sticky clumps of lace.

Aroma is a great blend of bright citrusy hops and caramel malt. Smells delicious.

Taste is a perfect balance between dark, fruity caramel malt and clean, resinous hops.

Mouthfeel is smooth, crisp, and utterly drinkable. Medium body.

Overall a really great, understated beer. Reminiscent of Nugget Nectar or Red Chair.

 420 characters

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

A - Pours a transparent copper hue, with a nice 2-finger off-white head. Retention and lacing are quite good.

S - Smell is of caramel malts, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg), pine, and candied citrus fruits. Some really fantastic aromas coming from this beer!

T - Taste if of candied grapefruit, backed by biscuit-y caramel malts, various spices, and finishes with moderate pine bitterness (though not quite to an IPA level).

M - Body here is medium, which was slightly lighter than expected for it's ABV and the style, but pleasant nonetheless. Carbonation is light. Slight hop oiliness is present.

O - Overall, a tasty and winter ale with a slight emphasis on hops, and yet another good offering from Hopworks. Be sure to give this one a try if you spot it.

 756 characters

Photo of ngeunit1
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy amber-orange with a finger of frothy off-white head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of grapefruit, pine, and citrus hops with with some sweet caramel malts.

T - Starts off with a mix of grapefruit, tropical, and citrus hops with some bitterness and some sweet caramel malts. Through the middle, some pine hops and a touch of spicy hops with more bitterness come through alongside some more caramel and lightly bready malts. The finish is a mix of grapefruit and pine hops, bitterness, and sweet caramel malts.

M - Medium-plus bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a dry and bitter finish.

D - Very drinkable. Really nice hoppy strong ale. Great malt and hop balance with a good hop profile.

 783 characters

Photo of joemcgrath27
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

from notes
A - Very light hazy brown, tall head retained at a solid finger, random lacing

S - Big juicy and piney presence with some pepper

T - Sweet toffee malt with pine resin hops, toasty and peppery notes

M - Big body with lowish carbonation, mild bitter finish 4

O - Reminds of a solid esb, full flavour and easy drinker, this is a must try

 353 characters

Photo of NWer
4.7/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a nice semi-dark amber, one finger head, clear into a tulip glass.
Presents a nice malty aroma. Caramel notes.
Smooth taste. Yummy. Totally enjoyable. No cloy at all. Caramel follows through.
Another great offering from Hopworks Urban Brewery.
A winner.

 260 characters

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle courtesy of Libby pours a supa-clear copper color with a tight, frothy tan head. Nice retention and lacing...looks tasty!

Nose is resinously citric and floral hops with a toasty and slightly sweet caramel malt background. It actually smells a little like SN Celebration.

Taste throws down more sweetness than I was expecting, but that is preceded and followed by a rich hop flavor and pretty substantial bitterness. Pretty clean, the yeast does not contribute much in the flavor. The malt is rich and gives the body a nice, silky feel with plenty of heft. Hops are well done both on the flavoring and bittering side. This is a mighty tasty ale here, and my first Hopworks beer!

 692 characters

Photo of spicelab
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber purchased from Fred Meyer@Redmond, OR. Reviewed from notes.

Ruby amber with a thick-set cream head, about 1.5 fingers. Falls quietly, leaving respectable lacing and a raised ring.

Refined tea-like and piney hop aromas contrast with fruity aromas of mango tango, passionfruit, lemon and strawberry. Pleasant baked caramel and doughy malt character works in nicely with the hops.

Candied tangerine, bitter herbs, hints of dark fruit and an earthy pine bitterness. Plenty of intrigue.

Medium, sticky but lively mouthfeel thanks to zesty carbonation. Mild lingering bitterness. Pretty spot on.

Finely crafted. Draws together both subtle and blunt characteristics very adeptly.

 684 characters

Photo of ericj551
4.6/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Abominable winter pours a deep red amber with a nice, slightly off white head. The aroma is piney, citrusy and grapefruity, with a nice deep caramel maltiness. More awesome grapefruity hops in the flavor with a really nice rich maltiness. The alcohol flavor is mild, and the sweetness lingers in the finish.

 307 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

Abominable Winter Ale from Hopworks Urban Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 112 ratings.