1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Samuel Adams Winter Lager - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Not Rated.
Samuel Adams Winter LagerSamuel Adams Winter Lager

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

5,118 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,118
Reviews: 1,881
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 13.93%
Wants: 63
Gots: 489 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Bock |  5.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Samuel Adams Winter Lager is a dark wheat bock. Bock beers are traditionally strong dark lagers.

This beer is a lager, and hence not a Weizenbock (an ale).

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-25-2001)
View: Beers (117) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samuel Adams Winter Lager Alström Bros
Ratings: 5,118 | Reviews: 1,881 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Ruger
3.48/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours a clear dark ruby color with a one finger off-white head.

S - Malts are whats most presence along with a slight caramel.

T - Caramel, some spice, very malt forward didn't get really any hops at all although there is a slight citrus taste in there somewhere but not much at all.

M - Light bodied with a decent amount of carbonation.

Photo of beergoot
3.48/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Body is rich, dark amber in color. Fine carbonation with a thick, white head.

Smell: Light spiciness and soft malt notes.

Taste: Hint of spice and citrus-like flavors initially. Mild hop bitterness and nice roasted, nut-like taste towards the end.

Mouthfeel: Soft, fizzy. Seemed a bit weak in body at first, but graduated to medium in body later.

Overall: Nothing exceptional, but a fine winter seasonal beer overall.

Photo of cavedave
3.48/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A two finger dark beige head tops this clear, amber/red beer. Nice sheets of lace on the glass.

Smell is full of bready sweet and spice with some tart yeast in there too.

Taste is the expected spicy, sweet, and bready. Not much going on here, but it ends pleasantly with a spice and herbal hop zing.

Mouthfeel is a bit too carb.'ed, but a nice finish. Easy drinking, but resins soon build on palate.

Drinkability is average for style. It's somewhat refreshing and tasty, but nothing to write home about.

Impression: Like most of SA beers it is not outstanding and has no major flaws. For the price it's okay. Recommended only if you're crazy for this style.

Photo of slyke
3.48/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: An appetizing rust-colored brew with an off-white 3/4 inch head. The head faded quickly. Slight lacing.

Smell: Sweet with notes of spice.

Taste: Some spice in the taste, some caramel as well.

Mouthfeel: Good, smooth - nothing special

Drinkability: I've had better winter beers, but this one is good. I'd definitely choose this over the mega-brews commonly found in the bars of my area. Would I buy the beer again? Sure. There is nothing objectionable here.

Photo of DaveBlack
3.48/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark Amber color with a finger's width worth of off-white head. Bubbles cling to the sides of the glass at first, but the head has little retention or lacing.

S: Lightly toasted malts bring a fair amount of sweetness. It's a fairly grainy smell.

T: Taste is exactly what you would expect from the aroma, only slightly stronger. Lots of toasted malts up front, which bring a fair amount of sweetness and finish with a cereal grain taste. Some hops balance out at the end and leave the beer tasting pretty dry.

M: Medium/light body with a hefty amount of carbonation.

O: Nothing special to this beer, but it is pleasant. It's a everyday beer, one I could happily drink but wouldn't seek out.

Photo of 9InchNails
3.48/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle Poured into a Pint Glass.

An off white color head that seems to evaporate quite quickly. A lot of bubbles rushing to the top of the glass. The beer is a light reddish brown color. A decent amount of lacing throughout the glass.

A slight spicy malt with a hop smell alongside a hint of metallic aroma.

A decent amount of carbonation. A nice body, not too thick or heavy.

Definitely a spice kick to it; its very well balanced, not annoying in any way. There is a hint of citrus fruit with maybe caramel. Very tasty and seems smooth enough to have more than just one.

I've had this about two years ago on tap; I remember enjoying it. I never was a big fan of Samuel Adams, this is one of their first brews I enjoyed. Since my visit to the Brewery I learned to appreciate and wanting try more of their beers; I'm glad I did.

Photo of kingothewoods
3.48/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this one at TGI Fridays on tap. There was a nice creamy head that stayed with the beer as you drank it down. Dark copper color with tan head.
Sweet malts and hops smells which come through in the taste. I like the carbonation and smoothness of this brew. One thing about Sam Adams beers is that they are full bodied - you can tell they take time in the brewing.

Photo of phishgator
3.48/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is poured into a 22 oz Hefe weizen glass. Nice deep copper hue and a large foamy head. The head dissipates slowly, but never completely goes away. The aroma is only slight; there seems to be a hint of toasted malt, a touch of spices I can't place (nutmeg), and sugary molasses. The taste is malt dominated! There is the cinammon, the malt, and the malt. Very little hop presence. The body is a little thin. I would say that since I finished the 6 pack in two nights it's a very drinkable brew. A nice seasonal that I would say one should try.

Photo of APH
3.47/5  rDev -3.3%

Photo of jondeelee
3.46/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Winter Lager opens to a bready nose with decent touches of sweetness and spice, the initial aromas quickly fading to a plainer base of cereal grains, with light sweetness and spice. The grain notes are probably the most noticeable, with Grape Nuts cereal, biscuit, toast, and wet hay dominating. Sugars come in second place, but are rather faint after the first blush wears off, adding some berry and apricot notes, these mixing with a light grapefruit hit from the hops. The spices mainly come across as peppery and somewhat indistinguishable due to weakness, though bits of ginger and orange do come through. As a whole, the nose is decent, but weak, and dominated excessively by grain notes, the sugars and spice almost falling by the wayside. It’s a shame that the initial aromas couldn’t last a bit longer.

On the tongue, the beer opens with a decent grain and sugar hit, with toast, biscuit, and Grape Nuts cereal coming from the former, and the latter adding a nice caramel blast, as well as light berry, orange, and apricot fruit esters. The spices seem to come in around mid-mouthful, with ginger and white pepper making the biggest noise, and the cinnamon mainly adding a touch more spice, as well as pepper, but almost indistinguishably so. In subsequent mouthfuls the peppery spices take a larger role, giving an almost rye-like quality to the beer, and the sugars unfortunately move into the background, leaving peppery spice and toast as the main notes. The aftertaste is a continuation of the peppery toast, with some light fruit esters and a touch of grapefruit remaining, and lingers for a short while. Mouthfeel is medium-light to medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, the initial perceptions given by both the aroma and the taste were very nice. Unfortunately, subsequent examples of both couldn’t live up the promise, and the beer came across as more watery than expected. There are still good flavors in here, but they needed to be cranked up a notch to be noticed—especially the sugars, which are almost lost.

Photo of alcohline_trip
3.46/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of BuxMontBeerLover
3.46/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.45/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, brilliant red amber with an off-white, near 2 finger head. Great retention. The resulting lace is thick and sticky.

Smell: Faint aroma; hints at caramel and a touch of spice.

Taste: Thankfully, the flavors are more pronounced than the aroma. Predominant caramel flavor backed by notes of cinnamon and a hint of citrus. Finishes with a bit of spice that touches on ginger.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body, with fair carbonation. Drinkable.

Overall: Decent winter brew offering. Straight out of the bottle I thought it was one of the better brews in the bunch, but a day later and poured into a glass, I don't find it nearly as interesting. Nonetheless, it's nothing I'd go out of my way for, but it's not a deal breaker in the Sam Adams Winter pack.

Photo of HalfFull
3.45/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes from 10-13-2008

Pours a clear light amber with a thin and fleeting head. Minimal retention and extreme clarity. Almost zero lacing.

Smell reminds me a bit of an amber with slightly roasted malts dominating the nose, and a bit of spice in the background, cinnamon and allspice. Surprisingly decent hop presence when agitated mid-pint, earthy but fleeting.

Offers a slightly dry and bitter amber-bock flavor on the palate. Lager notes are subtle given the bready texture on the tongue. This is both a blessing and a curse as the malt flavors hide behind it as well, with caramel revealing itself only after notable exposure and warming. Tastes like a supercharged Boston Lager with a sprinkle of hops and a more balanced malt presence, not all Vienna but it's surely there.

Pretty firmly carbonated yet the reduced bitterness makes this beer a bit more drinkable. Nonetheless the comparisons to Boston Lager are undeniable. And this is slightly better, and in fact a bit reminiscent of the BL of yore, but not quite....

Photo of fattyre
3.45/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a clear brown-red color with a moderate tan clingy head. The mouthfeel is on the thin side of moderate. The smell is of malt with just a touch of allspice. The taste is mild spritzy malt with a slight clove and a slightly unpleasant sharp bitterness. This is a fairly drinkable winter lager but not by any stretch great. The odd bitterness seems to ruin it for me.

Photo of paxkey
3.45/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

wintery blue color scheme on label.

pours ruby red with a one finger white head that is gone quickly.

bready sweet malt is prominent in the nose. i also pick up grape juice. boiled macaroni. gym socks. sourness. berries.

lots of tea like flavors throughout. finishes like a raspberry tea.

a little thin in the mouthfeel but silky and nice low carbonation.

very unusual beer flavors. a definite change of taste. quite decent.

Photo of mfnmbvp
3.45/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, with label notched at best before March 2014. A new winter seasonal to me from Samuel Adams, acquired as part of the winter variety twelve pack. Expectations are about average given the brewery and the style, but I don't really know what to expect.

Poured into a Firestone Walker pint glass.

A - Pours just over a finger of soft fluffy tan head on top of a dark copper colored body. Looks alright, but fairly unimpressive.

S - Smell is pretty light and subdued. Dark grains, some cola / cherry sweetness, a hint of the cinnamon & spicy ginger, and some citrus zest, probably from the orange peel. Not terribly powerful smelling, but you can pull distinct aromas from it if you try.

T - Taste follows the nose: dark toasted wheat, chocolate maltiness, some medicinal cherry which could possibly be the cinnamon, a hint of the ginger, and a light citrus tartness on the finish from the orange peel.

M - Feel is smooth and clean. Light bodied with crisp carbonation.

Overall, a fairly tame and uninteresting, yet safe and approachable take on the style from Samuel Adams. A nice winter offering for the mixed twelve pack, that's for sure, because I couldn't see myself wanting too much of this one. Worth a try.

Samuel Adams Winter Lager ---3.5/5

Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.45/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Time for a seasonal I’ve always had the urge to try: Sam Adams Winter Lager. Here’s hoping it’s better than the last beer “brewed with spices” I had from these guys: their pumpkin ale.

Enjoy by April, five months after the date of this tasting.

A: Shining red color with an absolute torrent of bubbles in the body – the space above the nucleation site looks like a jet in a Jacuzzi. Despite that foray of fizz, there’s only a short, creamy white head and minimal lacing. A bump of retention appears in the direct middle of the glass, churning with the rising bubbles.

S: Very Sam Adams-like; that is, very average for this brewer and in general. Grainy, red malts appear with a touch of vegetable to it before cascading its mild caramel and cinnamon-sugar tones. Some roasted barley, orange zest, coriander, and ginger peek through to give this an edge of shandy, nearly, and a profile quite reminiscent of their Harvest Pumpkin.

T: Instantly recognizable as something that was mass-produced, as light, grainy wheat overpowers all that more complex malt presence; indeed, some chocolate, cinnamon bread, and raisin are evident underneath, but nowhere near the fullness of the duller grains. Spice notes of lemon, ginger, and white pepper dot the edges of the palate, picked up by a little herbal hop kick; biscuity and thick on the ends. Finishes with a fortunate taste of earthen bread, leaving the BMC malts as a mere memory, though with a hop dryness that seems a little artificial – like an extract was used.

M: This isn’t a beer that seems like sub-6% ABV, with smooth chewiness and a medium body. No noticeable carbonation disturbing the body on this one.

O: This was a better-than-average Sam Adams beer, but not by much. A respectable, cheap dark lager if that’s your thing (and you can’t find any Boston Lager).

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.45/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a deep copper color with a short and foamy off-white head and leaves a thick, even lace.

S: Fruitiness & malt with some hops and a slight bit of cinnamon.

T: I’m tasting berry and citrus malt sweetness and the distinct Sam Adams hops flavor, but not much else. It’s not a bad taste, just not anything special.

M: Very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, not as thick as other winter seasonals that I’ve had and it’s a little sweeter and yet more crisp than the Sam Adams Old Fezziwig Ale.

D: It’s not over-powering and goes down easy, not very filling.

I’ve liked all of the beers that I’ve had from Boston Beer Co. so far. However I’m not quite as impressed with this beer as I have been with their others. It seems more like a hybrid of their Boston Lager and their Old Fezziwig Ale with a bit more sweetness.

Photo of BostonHops
3.45/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a mug.

pour reveals an clear amber body; light beige head builds to about a finger and a half but dissipates fairly quickly. patchy lacing evident.

nose is fairly tame but there are noticeable tones of caramel malt with some citrusy hops in the background; some spices are perceivable. for the most part the aroma is substantiated by the flavor profile. no big surprises: caramel malts, subdued hops, and spices. all and all a decent, quaffable beer. nothing more, nothing less.

low to medium bodied moutfeel with average carbonation. the first one drinks well, then boredom starts to set in.

originally reviewed: 12-04-2010

Photo of zeff80
3.45/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours out an amber/burgandy color. A small head that left a little lacing.

S - It smelled of grain and spices.

T - Tasted of grain and malt. The spices tasted like cinnamon.

M - It was crisp and dry. Light to medium-bodied.

D - It was pretty good. I liked the hint of cinnamon. It was understated.

Photo of Uniobrew31
3.45/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Good beer for the season. Very heavy with a bitter/hoppy aftertaste, more than i was expecting in a lager. Not overly impressed but i could see myself drinking this from time to time. Like most of Sams offerings it was much better from the tap. well crafted and fairly inexpensive for a fancy man beer. I think next time though I will stick to the boston lager

Photo of GuinnessSmurf
3.45/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I tried this beer at both fridge cold and room temperature. Of the two choices, I have found that it tastes better when cold. When it pours into the glass, the head climbs up high to the rim with small to medium bubbles. In fact, I'd say the head was uncharacteristic of a typical lager. I really enjoyed the rich, bold color of this lager and could hardly wait to dive into it after a long night at work. The taste is very clean. There isn't a lot of extra spices in there, which is something I've come to expect from winter brews. In fact, I was looking for more of a holiday beer. What I got was a very drinkable lager. After taste fades quickly even with massive swishing. This sealed the deal: if you buy a Samuel Adams holiday beer, buy the Uncle Fezziwig.

Photo of changeup45
3.45/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark amber in color with the spices that make it a good seasonal beer. I still prefer the Sam Adams Lager or the Boston Ale over this one, even in the winter. Spicy, malty aroma, medium tan head and a pretty good amount of lacing. This is a little more hearty than their standard lager. Malty and spicy with some sugar notes in the taste. A sour finish and aftertaste. A decent seasonal selection from Sam Adams.

Photo of Sark
3.45/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance- two finger creamy head with good retention and an dark copper-orange hue

Smell- light spice with bready overtones, noble hop notes too

Taste- light sweet barely malt with a hint of spice at the end, could ask for just a touch of hop power

Mouthfeel- light-medium bodied

Overall- good for sessions and campfires with roasted hotdogs

Samuel Adams Winter Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
82 out of 100 based on 5,118 ratings.