Winter Warmer - Garrison Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Winter WarmerWinter Warmer

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

60 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 60
Reviews: 42
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 8.64%
Wants: 0
Gots: 2 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Garrison Brewing Company visit their website
Nova Scotia, Canada

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  6.80% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: nighthawk on 11-09-2008

This strong dark amber beer is brewed with spices evocative of the holiday season. Its warming character makes it a great accompaniment on cold winter nights.

20 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 60 | Reviews: 42
Reviews by jbonapar:
Photo of jbonapar
3.96/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Like all Garrison Beer, this one pleases.

Pours a mahogany brown with a super thick tan head. Smell is spicey and fruity with some malt.

Taste is superb. not overspiced like so many winter beers. This is just warming. The hops, the bitterness, the malt....some peppery spice. all very warming.

A winner for sure.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Kremlock
3.97/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Mahogany in colour and pours a frothy with head that drops to nothing in a matter of seconds.

S: Booze, raisins, cinnamon, fruit cake, and a hint of bubble gum in the background.

T: rum raisins, hints of licorice, cinnamon, cloves, caramelized sugar. It has a rye bread flarour to it and hops bitterness.

M: Med-Full bodies, med carbonation that is great as it cleans up the palate. Bitterness is assertive but does not distract from the maltiness that is present.

O: This is a great winter warmer that is well balanced, yet presents a great bitterness backbone that lacks in many others.

Photo of Mora2000
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to my father for sharing this beer.

The beer pours a slightly hazy red color with a tan head. The aroma is cinnamon, brown sugar and some dark fruit. The aroma is a little bit faint.

The flavor is better and more pronounced. The first flavors I get are cinnamon, caramel malt and some alcohol - which is quite warming. As the beer warms up, the cloves, brown sugar and bready malt become more apparent.

Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Single bottle from the LCBO - the Garrison release was perfectly timed for my birthday weekend. See kids, this is what proper sacrifices to the beer goddess Ninkasi will get you!

Poured into a nonic. Murky chestnut-ruby, with a generous blanket of off-white foam that leaves lovely icicles on the sides of the glass. Considering its about five degrees above freezing and with no snow in sight, this is about as wintery as I'm gonna get. Warmed up slightly out of the fridge before serving.

Nose is slightly boozy, with good caramel malt, a bit of cinnamon, clove, orange peel and dark indeterminate fruit.

A fine winter warmer, one of the better Canadian versions I've come across. Nice malt body, good spicyness, and with a mild boozy kick that is not overpowering. Cinnamon, clove, grape, orange, mild drying finish. Complex, yet highly approachable. Slightly thicker body, lower carbonation, a bit of chew.

Fine winter warmer - this, along with the Baltic Porter - will certainly make this an enjoyable Smarch for drinking. Pick up one or two while you can!

Photo of BGDrock
3.26/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: like mahogany, or male syrup; clear; tan head leaves some thick lace

Aroma: some cinnamon, sweet malt; very light; hint of orange

Taste & Mouthfeel: of spice, predominantly cloves, and cinnamon not coming out as much; only a mild sweetness which is cut by the spices and a bitter, dry finish; herbal and woodsy - bitterness is of resin and long lasting; medium body

Overall: with minimal sweetness and moderate spice, doesn't really feel like it would warm me up in winter...not terribly interesting, but not unpleasant

Photo of mintjellie
3.94/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mahogany brown, ruby highlights, two-finger beige head. Fair retention, very little lacing. Inviting spicecake aroma with notes of allspice, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, and even a hint of banana. Malt-forward with sticky toffee pudding and spice notes. Mild sweetness and low carbonation help lend some richness to its medium body. Spiced enough for the flavourings to assert themselves without over-doing it, this is a tasty winter ale.

Photo of Sammy
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bang on the style, one of the better WW I have had.Pours dark brown with no noticeable head. A little spicy aroma. Like a cask beer, nicely understated spiced, a little cinammon and nutmeg, good mating. Very drinkable, almost sherryish. Perhaps cellaring it a few months helped.Private Bartowel order.Smoooth mouthfeel.

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

nothing like a winter warmer on a summer day, big ups to andrenaline for the east coast hookup
A - swampy brown, thumb of tan head dissipated slowly leaving a fairly consistent lace ring
S - super spiced, dried fruit, smell like christmas cake to a tee
T - marachino cherries and other dark fruit, apples, fresh bread/cake, cinnamon, nutmeg, and other holiday spice, just like the nose its a christmas cake
M - surprisingly light and even a little on the thin side, finishes spicy
O - captures the essence of the kind of drink you want to warm your soul on a cold evening, and it works almost as well in summer, a fine seasonal

Photo of Stocean1
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a one finger beige head upon a deep ruby body, good retention and semi opaque, patchy lacing.

Cinnamon and cloves, sweet brown sugar, nutty malt, earthy hops.

Cinnamon and cloves dominate up front, ginger also comes through, earthy hops, malt takes a back seat to the spices.

Refreshingly bitter up front with a lingering tingle at the back of the tongue, dry, medium bodied with plenty of carbonation.

One of my favorite winter warmers, definitely will pick it up again although it is not cheap by any means.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a lightly hazy color ale with a large foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma of sweet rich malt with nice notes of cinnamon. Taste is also a nice mix between some sweet rich caramel malt with notes of cinnamon and light cloves. Body is above average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Not the most complex but well brewed and quite enjoyable.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle to Duvel tulip. Bottled on date of 12/02/11.

A - Dark mahogany with some ruby glow around the edges and one finger of bubbly cream coloured head.

S - Big clove aroma up front that overpowers the lighter cinnamon and caramel aromas in the background.

T - Clove dominates the palate as the nose indicated and gives way to cinnamon, sweet caramel and brown sugar. The alcohol is slightly warming but well hidden overall. The sweetness from the malt base and the brown sugar cuts through the big spice flavour well, providing a good balance.

M - Medium body and slightly creamy. Carbonation is moderate.

Photo of ZorPrime
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received this bottle in a trade with Long813 (Spring 2010).

This one as a brown color and is very opaque. A muddy look. Nice beige head which is soapy looking. The aroma presents notes of cinnamon with some Christmas candy (the cinnamon+spices I would say). In the mouth, it is less intense. Still the Christmas candy (cinnamon). This is a very nice one and feels great in the mouth. The taste is better than the smell, it is more balanced in the mouth than the smell if you ask me. Medium body. The taste lingers in the mouth. A very good winter warmer for the cold days. Drinkability is high.

Photo of Lukecook
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from from 500ml bottle into a tulip glass

A- murky red color, small tan head,settles to a thin soapy rim of foam.

S- faint smell of sweetness and cinnamon.

T- much better then the smell, dark fruit, cinnamon and cloves, finishes slightly bitter.

M- low carbonation, slightly chewy.

D- nice beer with a little kick, think I will have another!

Photo of spinrsx
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml Bottle - from the LCBO

Appearance - Clear reddish/brown colour with an average size fizzy dark beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some fairly good lacing. The head lasted for only 2-3 minutes.

Smell - Malts, caramel, cherries, chocolate, raisins

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, caramel and some herbal notes. There is also a cherry/strawberry sweetness mixed chocolate and clove. It ends with a malty/fruity lightly spiced aftertaste.

Overall - An above average beer but not something that will leave you hankering for more. For the price I had some higher expectations, I would pick up something else next time.

Photo of liamt07
3.41/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Bottle from the LCBO, bottled December 2, 2011. 500ml into a tulip.

Deep violet with some mahogany around the edges, beige head with modest density and good lacing. Nose is nicely spiced, cinnamon and cloves among other winter spicing. Brown sugar and some dark fruits; soft and inviting but I get a slight sense that something is off with how these sugary notes are being presented. Taste has quite a bit more of the spice and sugars, but there's some disconnect between the spicing and the way the malts work on the palate. Maybe a hint of metal or plastic, a little 'dirty' in flavour but I'm struggling to put my finger on what's off here. Medium full feel and appropriate carbonation. Drinkable, but again, I'm deterred by the lack of fluidity of the flavours and their integration. Maybe something's off tonight, but I certainly wasn't into this.

Photo of ludachris
3.92/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a really nice shade of hazy red amber with a 1 finger quickly dissipating cream coloured head that leaves minimal lace. The colour of this beer really saves it from a lower mark.

Big semi-sweet bready malts, cinnamon, hints of brown sugar and caramel, and a candied malt background.

Cinnamon and spices are a bit more pronounced in the taste and meld nicely into the big bready presence, which is what this beer centers itself on. Candied malt, caramel, and brown sugar make their appearance towards the end, balancing everything out nicely.

Decently balanced but a bit watery and lacking body. Still, at 6.7 ABV, this is a very easy quaffer.

Overall, a decent winter warmer but I was expecting a bit more from Garrison on this one. Still a nice beer to have by the fire. I hope their other seasonal, their Baltic Porter, fairs better than this.

Photo of SebD
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It has a nice dark brown/amber color to it with some ruby hues coming through. It has a nice tan head that dies down moderately and leaves minimal lacing.

Smell: The aromas definitly give out hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, brown sugar and a roasty malt character.

Taste: Like the aromas, it has that spice aspect to it, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, brown sugar and a nice dark fruit character at the end.

Mouthfeel: It has a medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.

Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with good sweet flavors and aromas.

Photo of nighthawk
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500mL bottle from the brewery. "Festive" red foil covers the cap.

Pours a dark brown, translucent, with an off-white, rocky, foamy head that slowly settles to to thin ring on the surface of the beer.
Dark fruit on the nose; mild clove, pepper, and molasses.
Sweet dark fruit and toffee tastes dominate, milk sweetness near the end. Very mild spices of clove and cinnamon are muted under brown sugar and molasses. Dark roasted grains and a slightly bitter fruit finish.
Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, slightly chewy and sticky texture on the tongue, coating the mouth slickly. Viscous. Low carbonation and nice warmth.
Very creamy and velvety smooth, a good sipper. Nice sweet flavours and mild spice make this one an easy drinker.

My first try with this style, and I'd call it a success. I hope Garrison will keep this one as a seasonal.

Photo of Long813
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

G: Innis & Gunn Flute

A: Dark cloudy chestnut brown body. Two fingers of off white head with good retention. Fine lacing.

S: Chocolate, cinnamon, brown sugar, toffee.

T: Chocolate, toffee, nutmeg, subtle hints of cloves and other spices.

M: Medium body, with medium carbonation. Dry sticky toffee finish.

D: Really interesting beer. My first of this style and I do enjoy it quite well.

Photo of bryehn
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

With spring fast approaching, I figured it was time to start clearing my winter beer backlog. Served at about 50 in an oversized wine glass.

Pours a deep ruby colour with a medium-sized tan head that burns off after a few minutes, leaving a frothy collar and minimal lacing.

Spices dominate the aroma of this winter warmer, namely cloves. There is a dark toffee backing sweetened by brown sugar, along with a plum or raisin-like note.

The taste is rather sweet and also dominated by the spice blend. The cloves and cinnamon do work well together, but tend to overshadow the rest of the taste. Chocolate and toffee, as well as a bright berry flavour can all be detected in the background. The finish is dry and peppery.

Thin-bodied with just enough carbonation to provide a pop on the front of the tongue. Syrupy on the tongue. The aftertaste has a nice dryness and bitterness to it, which helps balance out the sweetness a bit. A chocolate toffee taste lingers on the back of the tongue and throat.

Not a bad beer or example of the style per se, but I wish the spices were toned down a bit to let the nice flavours shine. Bit of a letdown for me, I won't seek this out again.

Photo of grover37
3.55/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Half liter bottle from the brewery. This is an '09 vintage bottle that we picked up on sale in July for about $3 Canadian iirc. Poured into two large snifters.

Appearance (2): Dark brown with reddish orange around the edges. Half a finger of head which dies down to just a light cream around the edges and a sparse covering of small bubbles. Not much lacing.

Aroma (4.5): Dark fruits, slightly sweet, cinnamon and maybe some anise. Strong orange peel too. Reminds me a lot of '09 Anchor Our Special Ale. Top notch aromas that you would expect from a nicely balanced warmer.

Taste (3.5): Pretty subtle flavors up front; a bit watery but some strong orange fruitiness. A bit of sweet caramel malt in the middle. The orange returns in the finish and there is a lingering spiciness and the dark fruit flavor from the nose.

Mouthfeel (2.5): Medium carbonation. A bit thin for the touch of sweetness in the nose and taste.

Drinkability (3.5): Definitely drinkable in that it's not overly spiced and the ABV is not apparent. Not one that I'd want to drink more than one of though.

Photo of Viggo
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml foiled bottle at the CBA's.

Pours a pretty chunky and hazy dark brown/orange, not a lot of clarity, thin light brown head forms, quickly settles down to a thin ring around the glass, no real lacing. Smell is nice, very sweet and malty, brown sugar, caramel, bread, some light spicing, raisins, very fruity, touch of alcohol, not too bad. Taste is nice too, big and malty, oranges, nice sweetness, caramel and brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, spices are very restrained, honey, not too bad. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation. A nice winter warmer, doesn't get too cloying sweet, and spicing is light.

Photo of andrenaline
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes... Cheers to peensteen for shipping up some of the Garrison beers that were part of the LCBO brewery feature.

A - Pours a golden copper colour with a dark red hue, finger of head with solid retention and some sporadic lacing.

S - Sweet cinnamon, cloves, hints of pepper and toffee malt on the finish.

T - Solid bready caramel backbone, the cinnamon and cloves are present, but not overwhelming, hints of licorice and coffee linger alongside the sweet toffee finish.

M - Medium bodied, smooth and finishes wet.

O - A tasty winter ale that boasts loads of flavour, but whose spice is nicely balanced. Definitely a worthy brew and glad I was able to procure a sample.

Photo of PorterPro125
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Serving Type: 500 mL Bottle

A- Dark Amber/ Brown with a foamy 2 1/2 finger head

S- Spicy raisins, cinnamon, cloves, and sweet sugar

T- Rum, raisins, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. Lots of sweetness although balanced with a slight hop bitterness.

M- Medium body and medium-high carbonation

O- A solid winter warmer from a great Maritime brewery. A little bit more carbonation than the average winter warmer but still excellent.

Photo of PEIBeerGuy
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Looks pretty good... a little paler than I thought it may be, but still a little darker than the average amber. Nice reddish hue. Lots of foamy, pretty creamy head. Sticks around for a while and leaves some thick laces down the glass.

Smell is pretty good... smells sweet and creamy... mild, & not very strong.

At first taste, I was a bit disappointed, but it grew on me as I got through the bottle. The taste/flavour seems to build as you go. It's got a nice scent through the nose when it's in the mouth. Although the bottle says cinnamon, clove, & brown sugar... I get something almost fruity out of it that I don't care for. I do like the aftertaste, though. A nice, full, mellow, sweet taste. The spice/breadiness is there, too, though. By the time the bottle was done, I was pretty happy (with it).

Feels pretty good in the mouth... a little lacklustre, though. It's kind of halfway between something either creamier/smoother, or something that needs more carbonation. It's kind of on the way to being both, and feeling like it needs to be more of one or the other.

It is pretty drinkable. When I started the review/bottle, I was thinking this'd be my last one ever (just because I really like to try new varieties), but by the end, I thought I may reconsider that. I think it's a one-at-a-time beer, though.

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Winter Warmer from Garrison Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 60 ratings.