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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.

4,570 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,570
Reviews: 1,850
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 13.65%
Wants: 38
Gots: 235 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,570 | Reviews: 1,850 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of elgiacomo


2.9/5  rDev -19.2%

Nov 26, 2009

12oz. bottle. Pours reddish-amber with a small off-white head. Light aroma, some caramel, light spice. Flavor is caramel malts, spice, slightly sweet. Decent mouthfeel, not too carbonated. A fair winter brew, especially when considering the price.

01-11-2010 04:46:03 | More by elgiacomo
Photo of bbeerman


2.9/5  rDev -19.2%

A..Average pour. Not much head. Decent looking amber hue.

S..Smells a bit above average. Somewhat inviting.

T..Nothing special here. A good little bit of hops, but the spice notes are far too weak in my opinion.

M..In the last year or two, I have been severely disappointed with the feeling I have after drinking a Samuel Adams. It seems as though there is a syrup-like feel after only part of a bottle. This winter offering is no different. In addition, it is not all that smooth on the finish.

D..Refer to mouthfeel. Not something I'd go out of may way to drink.

03-02-2009 01:07:33 | More by bbeerman
Photo of rye726


2.9/5  rDev -19.2%

A dark amber beer with an average tan head. The nose and taste are a little light for my idea of a good bock. There are toasty grains, subtle hops and some caramel sweetness. Good start, but needs more. The body is clean and light with marginal carbonation. Another session brew from Sam Adams.

05-20-2008 17:55:09 | More by rye726
Photo of mklinger

North Carolina

2.88/5  rDev -19.8%

Served at a restaurant with dinner. Poured into an imperial pint glass. It poured a deep orange with a slight tinge of brown (like the burnt umber crayon). Minimal head, even with some sloshing around.

Aroma was strong on the spices. I get cinnamon, maybe a bit of cloves & nutmeg. Not much for hop or malt aroma.

Flavor was odd. More like spiced maerzan than the dark wheat bock it's been labeled as in the past. Just plain weird. Nothing like its taste in the past. I boggle at how the can call this the same beer as in past years.

Mouthfeel & drinkability are OK, though I certainly won't be buying any 6 or 12 packs of this this year. It's just amazing to me that they are calling this the same name as previous years' beer. In the past I've bought multiple 12 packs of the SA Winter Lager. Those were a rich malty, slightly spiced lagers -- great stuff. This was thin, pale, and overspiced, I thought. Quite disappointing, especially given my expectations from the past.

11-18-2009 04:38:35 | More by mklinger
Photo of AltBock


2.88/5  rDev -19.8%

12oz. bottle with almost the same label that every other Sam Adams bottle has. There are 2 two different things on the label. They are that the color of the label is light sky blue and the other is that there are snowflakes floating around the mighty Sam Adams. I was surprised to see that this bottle was actually notched on the side. It says it's best before March, but it doesn't give a year. I going to go out on a limb and say that it's 2008.

Appearance: When poured into a standard American pint glass, this Sam Adams is a cross between a dark amber and a dark mahagony brown color with a few traces of some yellow honey. The head of foam started off real nice, but that quickly changed by dissipating rapidly into a few foamy rings and a speck of lace here and there. I wish I could describe the color of the lace, but I can't. It wasn't tan, but it wasn't white either. It did however look more white than tan, but it wasn't white either. I'm lost for words on the color of the head of foam.

Smell: It had a decent but faint aroma of roasted wheat, pretzel dough, sugar coated chestnuts, and a pinch of nutmeg to round off on what I guess was suppose to remind me of winter or Christmas. I thought there were going to be more spices in this beer, but the only thing to emerge was the slightest hint of nutmeg at the end.

Taste: While drinking this beer, I read on the neck label that this beer is a "rich and hearty dark lager." I saw that it was a dark lager, but I failed to see the rich and hearty. It was rich, but rich in the taste of dark roasted wheat. I don't think that's what they meant in "rich." The taste started off with no other than the no so wonderful taste of dark roasted wheat. After the roasted wheat had past, some sweet caramel, a pinch of nutmeg, and a sugar plum took its place. Just when I thought the roasted wheat was gone from the taste, it came back at the end.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel was a bit on the thin side with a miniature aftertaste of roasted wheat (again), and a sugar plum or two. This beer just loved roasted wheat. It's too bad the roasted wheat wasn't top notch or this beer would have been perfect.

Drinkability: To me it's another one of those Sam Adams beers that I couldn't care less about. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't that good either. It's too bad that I don't adore the taste of dark roasted wheat or I would have enjoyed it more.

12-04-2007 22:35:15 | More by AltBock
Photo of DrunkMcDermott


2.85/5  rDev -20.6%

Pours a good half-inch head over a coppery body. But not a lot of smell. Maltiness is pleasant without having too much actual taste, though, just a little bit crystal. I had not pegged this for a wheat. Couldn't peg any kind of hop profile. Leaves a decent enough malty aftertaste.

12-12-2003 14:22:56 | More by DrunkMcDermott
Photo of thekanna


2.85/5  rDev -20.6%

Had this on tap at Champps in Fairfax, VA.

Appearance: Pours a nice clear off-copper color with not much head.

Smell: Very artificial sweetness; almost like the smell of Nestea artificially flavored raspberry iced tea, but as a beer.

Taste: Like sugar-free candy; at least the taste of artificial sweeteners are pretty characteristic. Slight notes of citrus, apples, cloves, bread. Strange hop bitterness at the end to round it out.

Overall: Like most Sam Adam brews, I'm not quite a fan. Their attempt to make micro-brewed taste with macro-brew practices lands them somewhere in between. I wish they could focus more on improving their flavors and less on targeting the mass consumer with generic flavors that prove a "jack of all trades but master of none."

12-28-2008 07:05:23 | More by thekanna
Photo of DavoleBomb


2.85/5  rDev -20.6%

Poured into a weizen glass as this is apparently a weizenbock.

3.0 A: If this is a weizenbock, I don't know why it's filtered. Clear orange amber color. Half a finger of frothy beige head with poor retention and just a touch of lacing.

2.5 S: Not really too appetizing. A weird mixture of caramel, clove yeastiness, wintry spiciness, and a touch of garbage. Some toasted malts, grassy hops. Can't say I like this a whole lot.

3.0 T: Toasty malts, wheaty, some hints of spiciness. Again, grassy hops and maybe a bit earthy as well. Fairly boring and a bit lacking in flavor. Not the worst option in a pinch (from personal experience), but not something I'd like to drink often.

3.5 M: Lighter medium body. Aggressive weizenbock level carbonation. Could be creamier and a bit smoother, but okay.

2.5 D: Having had several of these in a night, I can say it's not the most drinkable. After a while, it gets a bit cloying without keeping my tastebuds too excited. Pretty mediocre overall.

01-10-2011 21:37:33 | More by DavoleBomb
Photo of matt062286


2.85/5  rDev -20.6%

12oz bottle from the Sam Adams Winter Classics Sampler, poured into a glass tankard that had been sitting in my freezer.


Appearance - pours a translucent reddish copper with a thick, foamy, off-white head that slowly dissipates. Retains a slight head, decent amount of lacing as well.

Smell - I can pick up on the smell of oranges, granny smith apples, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Also picked up on green grapes as I worked my way through this one. A pretty good aroma overall.

Taste - Tastes like stale apples, a little bit of orange peel, and malt. As hard as I try, I cannot pick up on the ginger that the bottle boasts as having in it. I can also taste a hint of cinnamon. Aftertaste of spices and green grapes. Overall, this beer tastes rather bland and almost stale to a degree.

Mouthfeel - Pretty light and watery. Not much of a heavy aftertaste which is nice.

Drinkability - This is a light enough beer to be able to down a couple at a time. However, due to the taste, I'm not sure that I would want to.


I've had this beer at least once that past few years, and keep Overall, I feel that this beer lacks a true sense of what it wants to be. The list of ingredients in this beer sounds convincing, however they are imbalanced and seem to clash with one another. I think with a proper cohesion in flavor (perhaps more malt would work?), this could be a winner.

11-30-2008 23:16:02 | More by matt062286
Photo of bisoubisou


2.85/5  rDev -20.6%

Thought this would be a good first Ba entry considering that Sam Adams was the beer to get me started down this dusty road about 15 years ago. It's also winter - kind of.

Anyhow - I thought this was going to be a spicy "lite" lager so I was surprised at the first sniff that revealed bockness (along with some sort of rubbery something or other)... Nice and malty-sweet but the spices are barely there for me - which is just fine cause I prefer pie or mulled cider when I want the latter. Very prickly on the tongue and sneaky at 5.8%.

Would -like- totally go for another if someone offered it for free and there was nothing else better.

N.B.: the "freshest by" month was not notched and this was neither fresh or foul.

02-18-2008 04:22:47 | More by bisoubisou
Photo of THECPJ


2.85/5  rDev -20.6%

Reviewed from notes

Appearance: reddish-orange with a 1½ finger off-white to tan head that dissipates quickly

Smell: nice bouquet of spices, muted hops, sweet maltiness

Taste: dark fruits, sweetness-maybe caramel, hint of spices

Mouthfeel: mild carbonation, heavy on the tongue

Drinkabilty: very similar to the regular Sam Amdams Boston Lager with a hint of more spices


03-04-2011 02:38:43 | More by THECPJ
Photo of illpass78


2.84/5  rDev -20.9%

12 oz. bottle poured into a nonic.

Appearance: Pours a clear reddish brown with a half-inch off-white head. Head retention is decent. Lacing is a little more than average. Looks like an attractive dark lager.

Aroma: I'm a little let down by this aspect of SAWL. The ad copy says it's made with cinnamon, orange peel and all these other good-smelling things. I expected it to smell like potpourri. It does not. It smells like malt and wheat. Citrus is very, very faint at best. Forgettable aromas.

Taste: Follows the nose, which means the flavors teased in the ad copy are nearly nonexistent. I didn't expect them to dominate, but orange is faint and cinnamon is very, very faint. Tastes like a decent wheaty dark bock. It's not bad but I expected more.

Mouthfeel: Kind of thin and watery. Not super impressed by the body of this beer; there are bocks out there that make a bolder statement on the palate.

Overall: This is a decent straight-up bock. There are better bocks, and better winter seasonals, on the market. I had this with a homemade pizza and some roasted vegetables, and it didn't fail to compliment the meal, but it didn't add much either. This is the kind of beer I would only get again if it was the only thing on draft that wasn't a BMC lager or a light beer.

02-10-2014 00:14:16 | More by illpass78
Photo of emerge077


2.83/5  rDev -21.2%

Deep saturated copper color, jewel tone clarity, lasting foam and fine lacing crowning the edges. Retention is good, the skim doesn't break after the first few sips.

Sweet and malty smell, nuts, brown sugar, grains of paradise. Later it smells a bit bland and lagery.

First sip is a little vegetal and gross. Later sips aren't as off putting, but there's something there that just doesn't work. Some astringency in the mouthfeel, though light bodied and fairly smooth otherwise. Earthy vegetal flavor that reminds me of pumpkin or squash oddly enough. Some nutty malt character in there too, maybe some nutmeg? Overall the flavors don't coalesce well. Not too sure what to make of this, not really looking forward to finishing the glass either. edit: drank a 2nd one straight from the fridge a few weeks later, didn't seem as bad. Still a bit astringent with discordant flavors though.

11-18-2011 00:44:24 | More by emerge077
Photo of TheEclecticGent


2.83/5  rDev -21.2%

This winter warmer brew was a tad bit disappointing. Not bad but to me it fell short in the flavor department. It poured a clear amber color that formed a light head that quickly disappeared. The smell was a very, very light hoppy and fruity smell. The taste is also very light with slight wheat and hop overtones. The carbonation gives a bit of a sharp bite to the tongue. The mouth feel is also light and even. Needs to be bumped up a notch in flavor.

01-04-2006 04:36:30 | More by TheEclecticGent
Photo of Brunite


2.83/5  rDev -21.2%

A: A clear amber with off white head.

S: Hmmmm...not as much as i expected. Some citrus notes. Some spice. Rather subdued.

T: Mehhhh. Rather a let down. Some orange peel and lots of spice. Ginger it seems. Very bitter...very drying...very spicy.

M: Leaves a very dry taste in the mouth. This is rather offputting to me.

O: My least favorite in the 2011 Winter pack. Will likely give away the second bottle. To label this as a bock leaves me scratching my head. Gimme a NG Uff-da any day over this.

10-29-2011 01:10:14 | More by Brunite
Photo of jujubeast6000


2.83/5  rDev -21.2%

Reviewed 1/7/2006 (On tap at Bucca di Peppo):

Pours a medium brown red color body, with a white head that is lasting. Has a slight aroma of hops, some spices, and maybe wheat? A nice taste of spices, some barley. Dry in the palate, a pale taste. Might be a little old.

11-30-2008 20:46:49 | More by jujubeast6000
Photo of DFN


2.83/5  rDev -21.2%

A dark orange/red color, with a light tan head that dissipates in a minute or two. Faint odor of spices; nothing really stands out. Taste is a bit on the hoppy side, with a slightly bitter/sour aftertaste. Pleasant but undistinguised, overall. Falls somewhere near the middle of the curve in the Great Beer Lineup.

10-31-2004 00:31:33 | More by DFN
Photo of AdamBear


2.83/5  rDev -21.2%

A-translucent brown, light tan head

S-very light hint of roasted barley

T-very light hint of roasted barley just like the smell. it is however crisp and refreshing. there lacks an after-taste. quite disappointing.

M-medium carbonation, fairly creamy

D-well...considering there are no negative tastes in it and the taste doesn't diminish...its fairly drinkable. not sure i feel the need to buy more tho

11-07-2010 22:34:40 | More by AdamBear
Photo of Amish_Ambush


2.83/5  rDev -21.2%

Copper in color, translucent and absent of any haze. Small head with broken bits of lacing. Malty aroma with a hint of caramel. Flavor notes are slight. Caramel, hops and spices. Nothing too interesting going on here. The body/mouthfeel is above average but wishing for some stronger flavors. Overall a decent beer that under-delivers.

01-01-2013 00:03:58 | More by Amish_Ambush
Photo of Richardbeerlover


2.81/5  rDev -21.7%

Very minimal head upon pouring. Nice dark slightly reddish appearance. Like most SA brews, this one is easy to drink. Not too heavy and actually very light for a bock. Can't really get any kind of specific aroma so I guess they were able to achieve a nice balance of all the spices. Nothing to special for me but easy to drink.

12-15-2013 04:54:42 | More by Richardbeerlover
Photo of Legionofmary

2.8/5  rDev -22%

I'm giving this a 2 because it made me sick for some reason, twice. The 1st time I had it I was drinking on an empty stomach and I got incredibly drunk after only 2 beers. I wound up drinking about 5 or 6 and even though I ate, the sick feeling never went away and I felt sick the next day too. Tried again the other night after I had dinner and got sick again after only drinking 4. It's not normal for me to get sick on 4, 5 or even 10 beers but my stomach felt like it was a washing machine. There is probably something in the brew that doesn't agree with me this year. I've been able to drink this in years past and has been my favorite winter brew until this year.

11-15-2012 16:48:15 | More by Legionofmary
Photo of santoslhalper


2.8/5  rDev -22%

Appearence: Pours a clear, dull amber with no carbonation at all. Looks dead, yet it's from the new Winter 12-pack. Nice head though.

Smell: A nice mix of cinnamon, cloves, cherries and nutmeg greet your nose. Balanced, at seems appropriate for the cold months.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The taste is very similar to the smell, but bland and watered down. Sure, the cinnamon tastes nice and all, but I want more of it. This is leaving me wanting. The mouthfeel is thin, but smooth.

Drinkability and Overall: Weak. That's pretty much all I have to say about this. It tastes good, smells even better, but it's just a pansy version of what a winter warmer can be. This one doesn't warm you at all. Isn't that the point of the style anyways?

11-15-2005 06:53:15 | More by santoslhalper
Photo of scot_chale


2.8/5  rDev -22%

A- It's a little reddish for a bock. It's copper, but it's got an almost neon red hue to it. Carbonation is flying around. 1 inch of creamy white head that don't hang around too long.

S- not a strong aroma, you have to get right in and dig it out. It's a caramelly, nutty, sweet malt smell. It's pleasant, but faint.

T- It's hard to define. It's very balanced, but almost to the point where there isn't any flavor at all. I get the malt aroma in the flavor profile, but it's as faint as the aroma is. The spices it advertised (cinnamon, ginger, orange peel) are present if you have them in mind, but aren't obvious to an unobservant tongue.

M- Spritzy. The carbonation overwhelms everything about how the beer sits in your mouth. It's crisp and dry, so there for very lagery.

O- This is another example of a great beer for those who have never gone beyond the light lager. It has some malt flavor, without being overwhelming. There's nothing here to scare anyone away. For myself, I will never buy this, but for the style and for what it is, it serves a purpose.

02-02-2013 05:31:25 | More by scot_chale
Photo of thecheapies


2.8/5  rDev -22%

Garnet body. Little head. Not much lacing.

Stale hop and doughy malt in the nose. Mild sweet spice, hard to pinpoint. Smells of dark wheat. Candy-like sweetness. I get some cinnamon and maybe roast apples. Not appalling, but not my cup of tea.

Whew! There's the cinnamon, almost powdery in feel. Touch of allspice and a little caraway seed. Flatline flavors. The cinnamon is burping back up.

Medium body with pretty weak carbonation. I hope it's the tap system's fault.

Not a recommended Sam Adams seasonal in my book. It's cloying, one-sided, and difficult to keep drinking. Got this one by mistake after ordering a Boston Lager. Not a fan.

01-06-2012 04:27:50 | More by thecheapies
Photo of Innocentexile


2.8/5  rDev -22%

12 oz poured into pint glass

A-pours a red/brown color with some 1.5 fingers of head and laces a little

S-spices all the way. cant smell much anything else

T/M-tastes like a winter beer should. not much else to say. pretty average

O-pretty ok beer from SA

12-14-2011 08:07:48 | More by Innocentexile
Samuel Adams Winter Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
81 out of 100 based on 4,570 ratings.