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Michelob Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale - Anheuser-Busch

Michelob Winter's Bourbon Cask AleMichelob Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

552 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 552
Reviews: 457
rAvg: 2.85
pDev: 25.96%

Brewed by:
Anheuser-Busch visit their website
Missouri, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  6.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

During even the coldest of weather, warm up to the smooth, robust taste of our Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale. Full of rich aromas that you find in the winter months, hints of vanilla and flavorful hops, this is a beer that is great for pouring into a large tulip glass and enjoying with friends around a fireplace.

17 IBU

(Beer added by: JISurfer on 12-15-2005)
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Ratings: 552 | Reviews: 457 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.18/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Once I know its a soda pop replacement, I can evaluate what I am drinking which is cream soda and root beer blend. To that end, this sweet and slightly off beverage makes sense. Corn and sugar sweetness. Way too vanilly syrup. Other than that, you can drink it. Medium mouthfeel.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2007 04:32:31 | More by Sammy
Photo of BuckeyeNation


2.15/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Burnt orange with a meager infusion of brick red. The two finger cap is the color of orange caramel mousse and is just about as whipped creamy. It lasts a while, but doesn't look great as it deflates. A thin, soapy collar is the extent of the glass coverage.

Given the ingredients, I expected more from the nose in terms of power and character. All I get are faint impressions of sweet vanilla and caramel. I thought I smelled bourbon with my first sniff, but now I'm not so sure. This may be the least bourbon-like bourbon barrel beer in history. Maybe it'll make a comback on the palate.

Because of the way the first beer in this series tastes (Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale), I thought Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale would be decent. I was mistaken. This is a pathetic attempt at a bourbon beer and is a lousy winter warmer to boot. I don't care what fancy schmancy stuff is added, no beer has a chance if it's as undermalted as this one is.

Dark roasted caramel malts sure sounds good. It's too bad that only half as much was used as is needed. The body is barely sufficient for a helles lager, much less a winter warmer. Aiming for the Bud Light crowd in that regard probably wasn't such a wonderful idea. The brewery actually uses 'full-bodied' in the promotional literature. Uh... no.

For more fancy marketing speak, how does whole Madagascar vanilla beans grab you? I wouldn't care so much what words they use if it didn't taste like vanilla extract was added. Synthetic vanillin, not the real thing. I can't even bring myself to compare WBCA to bourbon whiskey in any way, shape or form. I love and respect bourbon too much.

Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale sounds good on paper, but something went horribly awry in the execution. Speaking of execution, I hope they put this one out of its misery. I have a hard time believing those who say that A-B has some of the most talented brewers on Earth. Brewers who could create absolutely killer beer if they wanted to. This was a perfect opportunity to prove it and they didn't even come close.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2007 14:34:56 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

2.13/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I figured what the hell right? Well it looked promising enough. Pored a very nice deep reddish brown, with no head and nice lacing. Smell was sickingly sweet..Like a candy apple dipped in sugar wrapped in cotton candy. No other real taste to it either. It was just too sweet. If they had toned down the sugar and hopped it a little, or hell just turned down the sugar. Will not go back to this one.

Serving type: on-tap

12-15-2006 02:01:24 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of womencantsail


1.73/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A: The pour is a clear copper color with almost no head--just a bit of off-white foam popping up as I pour the beer into the glass.

S: Quite the aroma we have here. Lots of metal/iron is noticeable immediately. I also get cough syrup and maraschino cherries along with some fake vanilla flavor. Seems to be some bug spray and tomato vines, too.

T: Just as delicious as it smells. Plenty of metallic tinge, fake vanilla, cough syrup, vegetables, and a strong bitterness. There is a slight bread flavor, which was sort of surprising, I must say.

M: The body is thin and slightly watery with a low to moderate carbonation.

D: Overall quite bad. Not the worst beer I've ever had, but certainly near the bottom rung.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2011 00:19:58 | More by womencantsail
Photo of BEERchitect


2.78/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Fresh off the tap, the beer looks as I remembered it last year. Shows initial promise with an off-white head that retained for a short while. Lowly carbonated and slight lacing. Smells very vanilla / caramel-like. A mild Brown Ale aroma and lactose souring follows up. I taste the same Brown Ale with the emphasis on the vanilla and caramel, but the beer quickly fades into something much weaker and astringent. Feels full up front but quickly waters, revealing a grainy, artificial sweetner flavor. Nice stuff up front, but really wears on you as you finish the glass.

Serving type: on-tap

11-12-2006 18:34:13 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of Thorpe429


2.58/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a moderate chestnut brown with an off white head. Smells of excess spice and the tiniest bit of bourbon. Taste brings forward a lot of spice with some backing sweetness and hints of caramel and sugar. Mouthfeel is medium and overly spiced. Drinks not nearly as poorly as I thought it would, but is still undesirable.

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2010 00:42:57 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle - $1.79 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a spotlessly clear, dark mahogany-hued body with a medium-small, bone white head.

Smell: Sweet-scented aroma smelling of toasty, toffeeish malts, heavy-handed vanilla extract, and a few discard sweet cherries dunked in garden variety bourbon.

Taste: The malts, while not particularly bold or complex, do yield touches of toasted nuts and toffee with a vanilla taste which reminds me of freeze-dried ice cream. A fairly sweet beer throughout. Underlying cherry-like fruitiness. No discernible hop character and bitterness. Slight woody, earthy tones accompanied by a faint astringency. Lingering taste of vanilla extract beyond the sweetish finish that hangs on the tongue like a bad piece of vanilla-flavored candy.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: While easy to drink, it's not particularly enjoyable to. While a bourbon barrel-aged, vanilla-infused brown ale sounds like a great winner of an idea, the execution was, well, less than even hoped for.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2010 20:19:18 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon

North Carolina

3.08/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

My wife grabbed this out of my father in laws beer fridge thinking this was some new cutting edge brew...man i love my wife.Poured into standard pint glass a clear bronze color with a thin wispy quick to go head,faint aromas of vanilla extract and orange very faint.Honestly the flavors are not all that bad but the very thin body takes away from the flavors,mildly sweet with some vanilla tones and a hint of wood the vanilla is nice and not as clying as expected slightly grainy as well.I wouldnt get again but not as bad I guess as I thought it might be,still bad.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2007 21:26:25 | More by oberon
Photo of NeroFiddled


3.68/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The first time I had this beer I felt it was lacking in flavor and body. I thought that the vanilla overwhelmed whatever malt was there, and that the oak was just a sidekick to the vanilla. And to be honest, I think I would still like to see it a bit fuller. However, simply based on the beer before me - for what it is - I've come to enjoy it quite a bit.

It has a beautiful appearance... a crystal clear copper-nut brown body teems with life as tiny bubbles rise to the surface, adding to the creamy, just slightly off-white head.

The nose is rich and inviting, and once you get past the vanilla, there is some bourbon that's quite nice. There are, however, no fruity esters that would commonly be associated with an "ale". It's very clean in that respect.

The vanilla initially overpowers in the flavor as well as the nose, but quickly steps aside to make way for a thin, cereal-like and toffe-ish maltiness that's just as quickly passed by with oak and subtle bourbon. The bitterness is limited, and the dryness of the oak balances it really well. It's light in flavor, just mildly malty (and not hoppy) but the gentle, slightly caramelish flavor is just enough to act as a springboard for the vanilla, oak, and bourbon flavors.

As a "winter" beer I'm not sure it really fits the season, but I will certainly enjoy a few of these during Thanksgiving festivities! Nice, easy to drink, interesting, enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2006 00:40:14 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of feloniousmonk


3.55/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The tap handle reads "Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale", though I don't know who "Winter" is...

Caramel brown body, with a thickish, though short-lived head.

Nose is sweet, caramel, mixed with vanilla, a bit of bourbon, but vanilla is king, here.

Taste is short and sweet, slick wih the caramel and toffee, a hint of the vanilla and honey, but then it's off the palate until next sip... Very light in the finish, medium at best in the body....

Had at the Nomad World Pub, tonight...the manager, and the bartender, were both apologetic about this selection. Not a beer I would order with any confidence, or enjoy with any thoroughness...not bad, mind you, but...eh...at least they're trying...

It was what it was, and ...sigh, ...that's all what it was...

Serving type: on-tap

12-29-2005 08:53:49 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

3.18/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap 12/31/06 at The Celtic Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright orangey-red color, with a medium-sized off-white head that fades at a decent rate and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is strong and malty with caramel & vanilla.

T: The taste is loaded with a strong vanilla flavor and caramelized malt. After-taste is very sweet. The beer tastes exactly like cream soda to me. I guess AB thinks that making a beer not taste like beer is the only way the masses will drink something other than the swill that they normally produce.

M: Smooth with a little crispness, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish from the sweetness.

D: Unexpectedly tasty, goes down easy, just a little bit filling. I can see how a regular macro drinker might like this as a change of pace, but I found it to be too sweet and I not a big fan of cream soda.

Serving type: on-tap

01-01-2007 15:37:43 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of russpowell


3.38/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours amber/caramel with 1 finger of offwhite head that drops off quickly. Zero lacing or head retention

S: Vanilla & caramel in copious quantities

T: Starts out with a lot of vanilla, then caramel up front. Dryness, toffee & a bit of biscuitty malt. Finishes very dry with a bit of brown sugar, & vanilla

Slight body & a bit too much carbonation, really detracts from the taste/experience

Drinks okay, this offering is better than last year's, but AB needs to quit screwing around & bulk up the malt bill. This beer screams more malts & hops, please! There are worse winter warmers out there. I could choke a few down if I was stuck in a BMC environment

Went well with my Italian sandwich at old Chicago

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2007 20:12:12 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes

New York

3.45/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a ruby red color with a thin offwhite head that fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a sweet and fruity pale and crystal malt scent with a slight bourban aroma, but nothing to bold. It has burnt toffee notes as well as a thin yeast fruitiness. The taste is decent too. It's not what I'd expect from the name. It tastes like any other amber/red ale with a bit of a kicked up abv. . There is a little bourban flavor, but not what you would expect. Most bourban aged brews I've had before imbue a large bourban flavor, but not here. There is a taste of vanilla in the finish. The mouthfeel is average. It is a medium bodied beer with a little less than adequate carbonation. This is a nice try from the big boys at AB, but I'd much rather have the bourban vanilla lager than this. Still, you can't help wonder what is next. I sincerely hope they invest more in good beers. They have some of the best brew equipment in the world. They need to start using it.

Serving type: on-tap

01-17-2006 12:30:41 | More by WesWes
Photo of zeff80


2.73/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottled on 10/31/07
A - Poured out a reddish orange color with a tan, foamy, two-finger head. It left small traces of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of vanilla. There was also an oaky aroma.

T - It tasted of some vanilla and malt. It was a bitter taste that didn't quite work.

M - It was crisp and smooth. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This is an okay winter warmer. Not a bad attempt by A-B.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2007 02:20:56 | More by zeff80
Photo of Gueuzedude


3.13/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Sampled February 2007
Pours with a frothy, initially two-finger thick, creamed amber colored head that fairly quickly disappears. The beer is a brilliantly clear, deep ruby color. The aroma is a mix of cherries, vanilla, touches of boozy bourbon. Really it is predominantly a mix of fruit notes and vanilla and I don't detect much, if any wood character in the nose.

The beer has a medium to light heft to it, with just a touch of palate coating character. It is quite smooth tasting with the notes of vanilla really coming through, though not in an overwhelming way. It has a light sweetness to it, and a finish that is a mix of caramelized malt and toasty grain notes. A light fruitiness (the cherry is most noticeable again) is here as well, though it seems to be at a lower level than in the aroma. This is interesting, not nearly as bad as I was expecting, though it is not exactly something I would ever try again. In the end it is just a bit too lackluster in character for me to get excited about. It is a solid beer though, and I can see this appealing to the macro-beer drinker who is looking for something interesting.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2007 21:19:53 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Knapp85


3.53/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours out as a really nice brownish red color. The head is thin, and cream color. The aromas have a very faint aroma of bourbon, vanilla and winter spices. The flavors are fairly rich in the beer. I'm pretty surprised with this release, This beer is probably one of Anheuser-Busch's best. The mouthfeel on this beer is smooth too. I wouldn't drink this a whole lot, but if nothing else was around at the time I'd ask for one or two.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2011 08:18:28 | More by Knapp85
Photo of jwc215


3.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. twist-off capped bottle, "born on" 19 Oct. 07:

Pours a bright, clear copperish orange with a thin head that settles to a lasting patch. Minimal lacing sticks to glass.

The smell is very mild - vanilla bean with caramel graininess.

The taste is candyish sweetness with vanilla bean. Malty. Very slight hint of alcohol in finish.

Light in character for a winter warmer, though does (barely) hit medium-bodied.

It's a stab at something different from A-B. Vanilla dominates, sweet. Not much depth or complexity to it.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2007 15:49:34 | More by jwc215
Photo of WVbeergeek


2.75/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Amber body caramel off white head leaves decent lacing down my glass. Aroma: Light bourbon character touch of hops and caramel malt with a lingering vanilla oak tone. Taste: Clean vanilla oak low caramel malt sweetness touch of whiskey barrel aging present mild hop character a bit of an herbal tone going on. Mouthfeel: Lighter to medium body mild carbonation nothing extraordinary. Drinkability: SMooth pretty effortless and unchallenging to the senses for AB not bad shows an inkling of promise and I did dig the Snowman tap handle.

Serving type: on-tap

01-30-2006 16:55:31 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

3.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

While at my local bar I noticed they replaced the Jack's Pumpkin Ale taphandle with some snowman holding a beer taphandle. I asked the bartender what that was and he stated it was Winter Bourbon Cask Ale and he didn't knew who brewed it.

Appearance: the pint glass was room temperature, and it looked dark copper in color with a thin 1/2" slightly off-white head. The head disappated quickly to a spotty surface foam. No lacing.

Smell: the aroma came off as sweet, as caramel and vanilla dominated.

Taste: the flavor followed the nose, as the caramel and vanilla tones are way up front, with some soft bitterness and hints of bourbon in the background. Overall the flavor is slightly sweeter than expected.

Mouthfeel: This is a light-medium bodied brew, with a somewhat thinner mouthfeel. Mildly crisp at the start. The finish lingers with the vanilla tones.

Drinkability: In the category of a winter warmer, I found this to be average but slightly unique. Personnaly I like my winter warmers to have a little more maltiness in mouthfeel.

As a side note, the bartender gave of a few of the Miller Lite and Stella drinkers a sample of this brew since it was just tapped, and overall it created some interesting debate on flavor components, but it also didn't make anyone cringe or rave about it either.

Serving type: on-tap

12-15-2005 13:04:15 | More by Gavage
Photo of Halcyondays


3.35/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle,

A: Pours a dark amber, lighter than I thought it would be, with a medium white head, which leaves no real lacing, nice clarity though.

S:Very light at first, but as the beer warms to room temperature, a nice amount of vanilla starts to come out, which made me bump it up.

T: Dominated by malt at first, nice biscuit and toast, wondering where the vanilla is going to come in, about 2 or 3 seconds after putting the brew in my mouth, the nice French vanilla flavour comes out. It tastes just like the herbal taste you get in French vanilla ice cream, though I thought they should have made it more robust and more of a focal point of the brew, instead of just being in the supporting cast; it's a really tasty flavour. The bourbon barrel aging is evident only slightly, with a subtle hint of whiskey, it's definitely not overt like I've had in other bourbon barrel aged beers such as Allagash Curieux.

M: Light and smooth, a little too thin for a Winter Warmer, but I think the carbonation carries the flavour well.

D: A surprising little beer from AB, probably the best beer I have had from them, but it could have been so much more.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2007 07:09:39 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of tempest


3.5/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I said it once and I'll say it again, nothing makes me want to drink like a snowman with sunglasses.

Now that that's is out of the way, the beer is a dark orange amber with a tan head that fades fast and leaves little to no lacing. Smells of caramel malts with a hint of choclate (maybe), there really isn't much aroma here, but what there is isn't bad. Tastes is surprisingly decent, although very sweet, easily the best AB beer I've had. Tastes a bit like a brown without the chocolate. There are fruity caramel malts with bit of bourbon/whisky (I can't really tell) at the end. There's almost no aftertaste in AB fashion, but it drinks very smooth and easily.

Overall, not a bad beer for AB, could easily pass as an underachieveing micro or craft brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2006 05:36:32 | More by tempest
Photo of Billolick

New York

2.35/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Embarrassed to admit that I didn’t realize what I actually was buying as I filled a growler of this stuff. The tap label said “Ft. Collins brewery” anyway I was later informed that I was the proud owner of A.B. fake good beer…….oh well ….caveat emptor…..pours clear medium amber, typical off white head, and light lacing. Vanilla carries the freight on this one, all over the nose and on the flavor palate. Sweet, thin and not all that pleasant. Tastes like watered down, semi flat, cherry, vanilla soda pop……pass it by, don’t be fooled like I was. Phony, craft beer is bogus

Serving type: growler

12-17-2006 02:16:07 | More by Billolick
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

2.73/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a five finger cream head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Clear amber color. Slight vanilla nose. Light-medium carbonation and light-medium bodied. Flavor is sweet, smooth vanilla and some hops, kind of like a vanilla coke without the fizz but with hops. Not like any cask ale I have tasted, no hints of bourbon. $1.75 for a 12oz from Barb's Beer Emporium Concord, NH.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2009 23:31:20 | More by jdhilt
Photo of Zorro


2.33/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bought some of this from the Beverage Warehouse.

This is an ultra clear red colored beer with a momentary tan head. The color looks artificial to me.

Smell is sweet and malty with a decent herbal hop aroma. Caramel and a bit woody smelling there is something of a Bourbon scent here but it is really just vanilla.

Taste begins sweet with a fairly strong vanilla ice cream flavor. This tastes basically the same as Michelob Celebrate Vanilla Oak in a lower alcohol beer. Bitterness level is rather low and this is extremely one-dimensional.

Mouthfeel is good is suspect heavy use of maltodextrin.

I think I am being generous here with the drinkability score. What the hell is wrong with Anheuser-Busch and over use of vanilla in everything? Bourbon flavor is about a hell of a lot more than just too damn much vanilla.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2007 06:46:24 | More by Zorro
Photo of weeare138


3.53/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Ortino's Pizzeria...
Appears a transparent dark amber with a small off white head that fades into a mild cap. Solid streams of carbonation pump up to the top.
Smell is of light oak, toffee, caramel, nuts, and brown sugar.
Taste is of oak, very mild bourbon-esque vanilla, and a light smokey flavor.
Mouthfeel is chewy, sugary, toffee sweet up front with gently hopping that lingers on the middle of the tongue.

Serving type: on-tap

07-17-2006 14:09:40 | More by weeare138
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Michelob Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale from Anheuser-Busch
67 out of 100 based on 552 ratings.