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Michelob Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale - Anheuser-Busch

Not Rated.
Michelob Winter's Bourbon Cask AleMichelob Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

566 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 566
Reviews: 457
rAvg: 2.85
pDev: 25.96%
Wants: 9
Gots: 1 | FT: 0
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 566 | Reviews: 457 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Phatz
3.8/5  rDev +33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Given the reputation of the brewer this beer is EXCEPCIONAL. In the grand sceme of craft beer, it is a solid drinkable not bad beer. I was expecting much less.

Appearance: it starts out with a very beautiful pours. The color is a clear crimson caramel and the head is tan.

Smell: Cherry syrup and vanilla extract flavor a light malt base. Bourbon... weellll... I don't know about all that - vanilla for sure with a hint of alcohol. yes.

Taste: I have had worse spiced beer this winter. It tastes like vanilla cream soda with a hint of birch (wood) and a splash of clean vodka. Vanilla tends to associate with oak but it is not dominantly woody justly lightly dry with a touch of oak, IMO. It is more caramel flavored and vanilla favored and though a bit artificially spiced in nature it is pleasant until the aftertaste. I was not a big fan of the aftertaste but it didn't last long any way and a simple cure was keep drinking.

Mouthful: It feels like a medium body red ale in the mouth. a little light and bubbly for a craft winter warmer but acceptable.

Drinkability: I found this beer to be easy to drink though it is soda like. After a couple of soda's if you keep drinking them they are likely to give you a belly ache. I am not going to test this theory but I'd say one is very worth tasting. At least to see what A-B is capable of brewing.

Hope this is helpful.

Phatz, Jan 03, 2007
Photo of jasonjlewis
3.1/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer isn't all that great. It has almost no head, and it sticks around only for a short while. The smell is decent and smells of some chocolate malts and a little vanilla smell as well as some alcohol. Taste is decent, but this beer seems pasteurized and the flavors aren't that great. Malts have good flavors and there is some stuff going on, but this beer is way too watery and the malts are way too thin. It's not bad, but not good. Mouthfeel is below average as this beer doesn't cling too well. I could drink a few of these, but would really prefer something else.

jasonjlewis, Jan 02, 2007
Photo of BigRedN
2.7/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. The beer is a dark reddish amber. A nice whitish head about 1/2 inch forms on the pour, which quickly fades to a ring around the glass. No lacing. In typical AB style this one is absolutely clear.

Smell: Some sweet malts (caramel), but this is overpowered by the scent of vanilla. I get no bourbon scent from this at all.

Taste: Some decent malt backing a bit sweet. Absolutely no bitterness, as I expected there is a definite vanilla flavor here, although thankfully it is not overwhelming like the Michelob Celebrate. Touch dissappointed there is nothing bourbon like here.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, good carbonation. The 6% alcohol is not noticeable.

Drinkability: The offensiveness of this is kept down. For me the vanilla, while present, is kept muted. That is a good thing for me. I purchased one bottle out of curiosity as part of a mixed 6 pack. I see no need to go get another.

BigRedN, Jan 02, 2007
Photo of TheManiacalOne
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.

TheManiacalOne, Jan 01, 2007
Photo of wcudwight
3.05/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Cherry wood color with an off-white head that recedes to a nice lace on top of the glass. Looks promising.
Lot's of vanilla in the aroma. Also a hint of charcoaled wood chips. This particular aroma kind of turns me off.
Taste is mild and dominated by the vanilla. Not the Madagascar Vanilla Beans the bottle boast of, but of artificial vanilla flavoring. I just don't taste the bourbon that is the beers namesake.
Mouthfeel is thin and watery.
Overall it's not a bad beer, but with so much better beers out there, why try this.

wcudwight, Dec 31, 2006
Photo of MDekker
2.48/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A special brew from A-B? Well, here we go...

It looks OK, at least - translucent, with little head, the color of cherry wood furniture. In the nose, not much - it smelled sort of crisp and dry, with malty notes, but bourbon? Not really. It tasted thin and pathetic, too, with what I would call "basic beer flavors" that fade quickly. Not very interesting at all. It feels watery, with an easy amount of carbonation. It goes down easily, too, but I don't want any more of it. At least it'll help me get down my leftover pizza.

MDekker, Dec 30, 2006
Photo of BeerBelcher
2.45/5  rDev -14%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

I had this on-tap while waiting for a flight at the Cincinatti airport.

Appearance is a light coffee color, with a head that could have come off a can of Sprite. It was very fizzy, but with virtually no head.

This beer smelled like a Boston Creme doughnut to me...sweet with a creamy odor. Mild, but actually kind of pleasant.

The taste was of very strong vanilla notes, but they didn't feel like they belonged. The taste was very chemical in nature, as if this beer was brewed to be bland, and then caramel color and vanilla flavoring were added.

Mouthfeel was very thin, a bit like a diet pop. This beer was drinkable because it was so thin, but I didn't really have much desire to have another one.

BeerBelcher, Dec 30, 2006
Photo of Imstillthegman
2.1/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Ok...being totally open minded about this one (even though it's an A-B product) here goes the review.

Looks aren't very impressive. Pours a clear, dark orange-amber color with only a very quick glimpse at what appeared to be a head. No lacing at all.

The aroma is almost there. It's just so light that it is barely noticeable. I do detect some bourbon and vanilla, with the vanilla being more prominant. Not looking so good at this point.

The taste is...missing. Someone put out an Amber alert! The flavor can't be found. Ok, so I kid. But it is even harder to find than the scent. Again, the vanilla is stronger than the bourbon. They obviously just wanted to try to cash in on the barrel-aged phenomenom. Unfortunately, they didn't work very hard to make a good brew, even though they have an enormous amount of resources to do so. Shame on you A-B.

Thin, watery mouthfeel. It seems like everything was an afterthought on this except for the label. They must have came up with the label then said "quick, make some crap to fill these bottles before winter is over". I'm sure there are people out there that enjoy this one, but to them I would like to offer an Oaked Arrogant Bastard...a damn good wood beer.

Imstillthegman, Dec 29, 2006
Photo of Freshie
2.58/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Root beer like colour, with no head.

Brown sugary smell permeates most of the aroma.

the taste has too much artificial vanilla, almost like a candy. It sticks to the back of your throat and is very acrid. Not enough hop balance to balance out that malty sweetness.


Freshie, Dec 28, 2006
Photo of auxiliary
3.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

It was ok. Has a brownish color to it, kinda watery. I had one the other day and was surprised that it was from the King of Beers (lol). I might buy another one to try it again. I wasn't thinking much of it when i was drinking it. Was an average beer. taste like vanilla a little mixed with white chocolate.

auxiliary, Dec 25, 2006
Photo of FightingEntropy
2.73/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Overall this beer isn't too bad. I've said to friends several times that A-B doing special releases to match the craft brew industry is a good sign, so I'll drink them. Their research and sales information, and business prowess is great; if A-B feels a need to compete with a winter release, they know what many of us have known for a while: craft beer is a threat.

But this beer has some of the expected problems. While the smell and taste aren't too bad, the overall impression is weak and watery for a bourbon winter ale. It has a thin tannish head the fell quickly around the edges over a mostly golden but slightly amber colored beer that was watery clear. In the nose, there are some spices, cloves, too much vanilla, and some of the woody smell is there, but all very low and imperceptible hop. A bit of caramel in the taste, but understated all the way through to the dry, light spicy finish.

The main problem I have with this beer is the fact that it tastes more like an overcarbonated lager rather than a cask ale. The misinformation for a neophyte is annoying, especially when this is being served at Old Chicago in Roseville for the Christmas tour and probably an A-B marketing push along with Stella Artois. While many of us cut our beer teeth at OC, I find it frustrating that the beer is serving as misinformation rather than education into good beer.

FightingEntropy, Dec 24, 2006
Photo of kelticblood
1.58/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

This has to be the worst beer I've ever drank! The description seemed appealing until I noticed it was brewed by Anheuser-Busch and was immediately turned off, but I still bought it to give them a chance. The first sip that touched my tongue I noticed this was no cask ale, and was immediately like ughhh. It took along time to get the first one down, and why did I continue drinking it you might ask? It was because I just spent almost $8.00 on a six-pack of it. The appearnce is mediocre with no lacing and no head. It does have legs that crawl down the glass like whiskey. The color is a cherry-red. It is clear with no bubbling carbonation. The first sip is of overpowering vanilla flavoring that gagging. I've never had a vanilla flavored beer and this will be my last. It does have a slight hop spice and bitterness. Poorly carbonated and has a watery texture to the body. For an Ale aged on Bourbon Barrel Oak it should be more than a weak 6.0 ABV. They obviously don't know anything about a good cask ale or winter warmer. They should stick to producing macro-crap beer and leave the real beer to the pros. It is an interesting idea for a beer, but being poorly and cheaply brewed I will give it no justice, especially to any self-respecting beer advocate. Don't waste your money!

kelticblood, Dec 24, 2006
Photo of macster
2.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours a watery looking translucent burgundy-brown color. Produces an inital loose, fluffy tan head which quickly dissapates to a spotty, wispy film. Aroma is definitely dominated by the vanilla bean which seems authentic (as opposed to an artificially infused aroma). If you like tha aroma of vanilla bean in an ale this will seem somewhat pleasing and authentic. Some aromas of spices and toasted malts also appear faintly in the background. Mouthfeel is very disappointing for a beer of this style. Very thin and watery; no heft or body whatsoever. Weak and wimpy. Flavor starts out with some nice notes of vanilla bean, allspice, nutmeg, and roasted malts but unfortunately quickly trancends into a somewhat medicinal finish. I ended up blending one of these with an Anchor 2006 OSA and one with one of my homebrewed 9.2% abv English Strong Ales which rescued it to some extent. Try one if you so desire, but pass on a whole sixer like I did.

macster, Dec 24, 2006
Photo of pgenius
2.03/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I wasn't too thrilled about this beer. Poured a light amber color with a foamy white head that vanished quite quickly. Couldn't tell you much about the smell because there really wasn't any substance, just some weak malt and a hint of vanilla. The taste was awkward, the characteristic Anheuser Busch watery taste, quickly followed by strong sweet vanilla, but not in a god way, with weak malt and hops. Not impressed, won't get again... ever.

pgenius, Dec 23, 2006
Photo of iowaero
1.35/5  rDev -52.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

A - Golden Copper with a head that does not last long. The look is about the only thing that was some what promising

S - Couldn't tell much in a bar that what somewhat smokey - maybe a hint of vanilla

T - Like I had ordered a rum and coke with a splash of beer. Yuk. Man, I was not expecting this. Very bad

M - Little carbonation and not much in the way of hops to start or end to help this horrible experiance any.

D - No thanks. If this is an attempt to draw the mass population to craft beer than bad job. If this was an attempt to draw some craft beer fans over to try some AB product than bad job.

iowaero, Dec 23, 2006
Photo of Frozensoul327
2.03/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A: Deep burnt orange auburn color with a pissy foam head that bubbles down quite fast. No lacing in the glass, and it appears to be near crystal clear.

S: Notes of wet malt and roasted grains. Hints of dry hops and wood notes. A touch of bourbon.

T: Blah. Boring. Watery and bland malts mix over imposter notes of wood and a fake vanilla note. This beer was totally contrived and it shows.

M: Wet. That's about it. No carbonation, no density, and no enjoyment.

D: No thanks, I won't be back. Glad I got a single, as the other five would likely be drain fodder.

Notes: AB can do better. Far better. The Michelob Celebration and Brewmaster's Reserve were excellent examples. If AB wants to crack the craft and micro market, they need to work more along the lines of previous said successes, and lose the over-thought planned out feeling their brews seem to exude.

Frozensoul327, Dec 23, 2006
Photo of GCBrewingCo
2.83/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The beer poured into the glass clear golden amber with a frothy off-white head which rose tall and fell slowly to lace the glass.

The aroma was light bourbon and oak presence with vanilla beans. The aroma was not very fruit despite being an ale and mostly contained oak char as a characteristic.

The flavor was mostly vanilla, far too strong in fact. With a vegetal flavor of some varietal of hops. Bourbon, if present, was barely there and oak was not a strong factor either.

The finish was even with lasting vanilla all over the place. The body was medium light with a moderate level of carbonation. The flavor on this one was just bordering on overdone. Vanilla flavor was forced and masked all the character in the flavor that had been established in the aroma. Skip it!

12 ounce bottle.

GCBrewingCo, Dec 22, 2006
Photo of assurbanipaul
1.95/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Pours a tawny brown with a rosy hue with a medium off-white head. Aroma is light malt and a trace of vanilla, rather unmemorable.

Taste is malty sweet with an oily vanilla flavor. Light spices, a bit of a bitter burnt flavor. Mouthfeel is light, clean, a little watery. Overall, unbalanced and almost cloying.

From the label: "Aged on bourbon oak casks"? "All-imported hops"? None found here. "Madagascar vanilla beans"? Blech. Anything having to do with a cask serving? Dream on. A disapointment all around.

Born-on date of 13 Oct 06, but why bother.

assurbanipaul, Dec 21, 2006
Photo of DogFood11
1.25/5  rDev -56.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

I just sampled two very good winter warmers and this sadly can't even touch their quality. This is a sad extract laden attempt at making a winter warmer. No need to read further but I must continue.

Poured into a tulip it formed an off white head that falls to a small island and little lace. Shiney copper body with varied sized carbonation.

It is heavily leaning ...aww hell it doesn't lean anywhere IT IS extremely sweet. Cream soda with a shot of vanilla extract comes to mind. Syrupy mouthfeel and creamy on the palate. This has a hard time cleaning up but there is a peppered aspect late in the finish that was the highlight for me.

Notes: I don't care who its brewed by this is simply bad. Where does the bourbon cask come into play??? I suppose if I really wanted to dig I can get a touch of bourbon but mostly it tastes like vanilla extract and cream soda. Pass.

DogFood11, Dec 19, 2006
Photo of rrg1gb
3/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - It poured out a dark amber, but was overly carbonated and had no head at all. It looked exciting, but appearances can be deceiving.

S - It had a hint of vanilla, but I had to sit there and almost stick my nose in the beer to smell anything. I couldn't find any bourbon aroma either.

T - It was smooth upfront and then it's all vanilla sweetness. Nothing overly exciting or complex about it.

M - Thin, not at all complex in its flavors. It was also over carbonated.

D - This stuff seems to be a big hit, but I still think that it's aimed at the masses instead of any particular niche.

rrg1gb, Dec 18, 2006
Photo of blackie
3.08/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

appearance: Reddish brown in color with a low, white head that soon disappears.

smell: Aromas of vanilla and sweet toasted malts.

mouthfeel: The carbonation and body are both around medium.

taste: Similarly to the aroma, vanilla dominates in a cream soda kind of way. The bourbon was hard to find, but I may have picked up on some hints of it. Moderately sweet malts. Low hopping.

drinkability: definately not a session beer

on-tap at EV

blackie, Dec 18, 2006
Photo of Procrastinator
2.98/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bought a 12 oz. bottle with born on date: 10Nov06. Poured into pint glass.

Appearance: ruby red with brown tinges. Head quickly dissipates
with aggressive carbonation. Very clean and refreshing looking.

Smell: definite bourbon scented, slightly sweet malts and vanilla,
definitely a nice vanilla scent of creme soda.

Taste: soft, up front flavor of vanilla followed by mild, almost too mild, flavors associated with bourbons.

Mouthfeel: thin, slightly oily. A bit overcarbonated for my taste.

Drinkability: fairly easy to drink, even with excessive carbonation.
I could drink one or two at any one time. I believe the vanilla flavor
would become too much of a good thing after two.

Procrastinator, Dec 18, 2006
Photo of rohrbachsfan
2.3/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Being a bourbon fan, I was curious about bourbon cask ales. I went to Beers of the World in search of this style and Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale is what I found. I saw that AB brewed this, but despite that I kept an open mind and bought two bottles anyway. It poured dark amber and smelled like a bourbon barrel. I don’t know if AB has been tweaking the recipe based on previous reviews because I smell and taste absolutely no vanilla in it (which other reviewers found over whelming). However, I do taste bourbon and the wood barrel. I don’t like the taste but I do believe it came from a bourbon barrel. It’s not drain pour but when I’m in the mood for bourbon I’ll stick to Jim Beam or Jack Daniels. I’ll give the second bottle to my dad and see what he has to say about it. I’m not going to say "pass this one by" though because it’s unique enough to at least give it a try once. I think somewhere out there there's a person with a palette for this.

After trying Allagash Curieux and Weyerbacher Heresy, Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale is definately one to pass on.

rohrbachsfan, Dec 17, 2006
Photo of Billolick
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

Billolick, Dec 17, 2006
Photo of arguemaniac
3.05/5  rDev +7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I don’t really have too many great things to say about this one, nor do I have too many serious complaints, though: it pours an orange brown color with a fairly weak head. The mouthfeel is pretty thin and the sweet aroma is less than impressive. The overall flavor is probably the best part of this brew and even that isn’t so fantastic: the bourbon vanilla flavors are pretty refreshing and interesting, but are a little astringent in the finish. The are some nice caramel malt flavors in there as well but they somewhat masked by a corny, sugary sweetness. A slight smokiness and hints of tasty oak make the palate fairly drinkable. Recommended (but only buy a single, if you can).

arguemaniac, Dec 16, 2006
Michelob Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale from Anheuser-Busch
67 out of 100 based on 566 ratings.