1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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.
BA SCORE
80
good

4,687 Ratings
THE BROS
83
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,687
Reviews: 1,851
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 13.65%
Wants: 44
Gots: 285 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samuel Adams Winter Lager Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,687 | Reviews: 1,851 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of acarroll413
4.18/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this at a pub in Northampton, MA. I immediately loved the color, beautifully dark and full. It smelled great, cinnamon, maybe a little bit of nutmeg. The head was a medium size and went down after a minute or so. It didn't taste too carbonated. It went down smooth and tasted quite good. I'd drink this again in a heartbeat.

acarroll413, Feb 13, 2006
Photo of Domingo
4.18/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A really drinkable brew for the winter.
Pours a copper color. Nothing special...but nothing wrong either. Looks like a slightly darker Boston Lager.
Smell definitely sets it apart. Husky smell, with a little bit of hops, but finishes with a little cinnamon, orange, and maybe even a little bit of nutmeg. This beer isn't "spiced" but it provides it's own natural spice via the combination of flavors. If you took a Boston Lager and gave it a sweeter flavor without as much hop punch, that's where this brew comes in.
Flavor comes through with the spice hitting the palate only slightly. I personally found this to be nice as it's just enough to set it apart.
Mouthfeel is a little foamy at first, but it settles quickly enough.
Drinkability is high. It's a great beer for a winter night at a bar. It's common for this variety to show up at normal macro-only bars, and I find that I could drink it until it's time to go home.
During the time that it's available, this is a great default beer to keep on hand.

Domingo, Feb 03, 2006
Photo of ghostmech007
4.18/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint.

Pours a beautiful deep, dark bronze. Nice off white head as well, with some staying power.

Smells faintly of citrus and cinnamon (?). But fairly good.

Taste buds rejoice. Slick and smooth, with a nice malt taste. Nice carbonation. Great holiday flavors to boot. Caramel, cinnamon, hell maybe some chocolates, and a great hop bitterness. A very balanced beer, with a nice kick in the pants from the -OH. Nice dry finish as per the hops.

Nicely balanced brew I just wish that they could come out with this all year round. Great taste and good warmth makes it good anyday of the year.

ghostmech007, Jan 07, 2008
Photo of BDIMike
4.18/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sam Adams Winter Lager is a nice American take on a German bock. The color is a perfect amber with just the right amount of head. The smell is much like a nice double bock from Germany. The taste is full taste with a lingering spiciness which is very nice. The mouthfeel is strong and thick. The drinkibility is great for the winter. Warms you up when you need it!

BDIMike, Nov 09, 2007
Photo of NatetheGreat
4.18/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was a great beer. Red-brown clear hue with good head. Smells like Christmas: cinnamon, nutmeg, mild citrus mingle with sweetness in the nose. Taste follows as expected. Not much hop presence; however, that may suit this beer well. The malts are carmelly and sweet (perhaps too sweet).

The feel is good, syrupy as it goes down. Drinkability is excellent because this was is tasty and not too strong. Highly recommended.

NatetheGreat, Dec 18, 2009
Photo of malty
4.18/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12 oz. bottle with a best before Apr. ('04) notched-out.

Pours a brilliantly clear burnt copper color with a modest light beige head that stuck around a while. A stellar appearance!

Earthy malt nose with caramel, vanilla, toast and an interesting vegetal aroma.

A complex array spices; cinnamon, very faint nutmeg & pine with a great balance of prickly hop biterness hemmed-up with luscious roasted caramel malt with a woody-dry ending. Medium bodied with alcohol warmth in the finish.

Mouthfeel is soft and fluffy; attributes of the wheat malt used. Finely carbonated with a lively activity right to the finish.

Drinkability is high due to it's balanced flavors and inherent lager quafities, I mean 'qualities'.

I actually was pleasantly surprised with this beer. My expectations were exceeded by this sturdy and eventful lager. The spices were apparent, but never in your face. Hats-off to the brewers for crafting a beer with great balance and originality!

malty, Feb 14, 2004
Photo of Nichts
4.18/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer was especially impressive, possibly due to my previous encounters with Samuel Adams (personal preferences). The beer is a rich, dark amber color, emitting scents of various spices from the very first pour. I enjoyed its crisp notes and spiced finish. While I tend to enjoy most dark wheat beers, I did particularly enjoy this seasonal brew.

Nichts, Nov 22, 2009
Photo of Huffs
4.18/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had a glass with dinner at Applebee's. Served in a Weiss beer glass, beer was rich amber in color with a nice head with good lacing and retention. Aroma was sweet and malty with spicy notes. Taste was a nice malt hop balance with a definite spice and caramel background, Mouthfeel was full and clean with a nice clean aftertaste. Great seasonal, as always, from Sam Adams

Huffs, Jan 05, 2013
Photo of rebel1771
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber color with a pretty decent head.

Sweet smelling caramel malts dominate the aroma along with a touch of cinnamon and maybe a little vanilla.

The flavor was way better than what I expected. The sweet caramel malts show back up, but not in an overpowering way some winter brews. The cinnamon is slight but notable and the vanilla really smooths this brew out.

This is one fine brew, I could down a few of these in one sitting easy.

rebel1771, Nov 10, 2006
Photo of SpdKilz
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow, saw these in stock at my local Bev Mo today and despite it being mid October and almost 90 today I couldn't resist picking up a sixer of these.

Appearance - Pours a dark red/amber color with over a finger of fluffy white head that dissipates relatively fast but is leaving some decent lacing on the sides.

Smell - Spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and perhaps some clove. There is a definite sweet/malty scent to this also, after the initial spices wane away. Overall smells extremely inviting and I can't wait to dive into one of my favorite beers (one of my first craft brews that led me into the great land of good craft beer).

Taste - Yes! I missed this so much. I was hoping it would taste just like it did last year (for some reason SA's Octoberfest this year did NOT remind me of what I had last year so I was worried my tastes had changed so much my old favorites would never taste good to me again). This is for sure how I remember the brew from last year and it definitely has more of a cinnamon note to it as others have said. After the initial spice kick you get a toffee/malty taste at the end. Extremely well balanced for the amount of spices in it.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel with decent carbonation that ever so slightly prickles the tongue at the end of the sip.

Drinkability - Very much so. I can't wait for it to get a bit cooler outside so I can sit out in the cool autumn air with a jacket and enjoy a few of these on the porch. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this today and couldn't help myself to having one tonight. I can't wait for the other SA Winter Seasonals to come out! My god I'm going to stock up on those!

SpdKilz, Oct 19, 2009
Photo of B967ierhunter177
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a clear, deep, amber color with finger thick head and lasting lace. The aroma has hints of vanilla, spices, and caramel. The flavor begins with ginger followed by malt sweetness and cinnamon notes. It's got a medium full mouthfeel whan combined with the flavor gives it a high drinkability. Samuel Adams Winter Lager is a very good beer and is a good compliment for steak. Highly recommended!

B967ierhunter177, Dec 24, 2010
Photo of Zorro
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear dark brown ale with a red cast when held up to the light.

Smells malty and slightly sweet, mild fruit smells and caramel too.

Taste is mildly sweet and fruity, with a subtle bitter finish. There is a distinct apricot flavor to this. A complex brew with good manners.

Mouthfeel is exceptionally full, the equal of a Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout.

Very drinkable, strong yet civilized brew. Not quite a top 50 brew, but probably the best thing you can get at your local supermarket tonight! ;)

Zorro, Feb 25, 2004
Photo of DoctorStrangiato
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured a 355-ml bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance - dark amber colour with an off-white head. Head thins rapidly to a 1/8-inch with a little extra foam here and there. Slight lace around the edge.

Smell - bright caramel-toffee aromas over a nice roasted barley base, with a little cream and butterscotch to boot. Very good.

Taste - outstanding balance and smooth, even flavour throughout. Very good barley flavour with just a touch of hop bitterness at the end although slight.

Mouthfeel - smooth as silk and one would not expect the extra 5.5% alcohol. A great malty finish to follow up the smoothness.

Drinkability - not hard to put more than a few of these away, a very high quality brew for a reasonable price.

DoctorStrangiato, Jan 17, 2011
Photo of MrHolland
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this beer in a Samuel Adams winter classics 24-pack.
Poured into a pint glass, it is a nice dark burnt orange color with a nice frothy head.
Smell is malty with a spicy kick to it as well. Also has notes of orange peels and caramel.
Taste is very mild with notes of roasted malts and wheats, and has hops and the spices kick in at the end to make my mouth pucker and want some more.
Mouthfeel is very smooth and they keep the carbonation very suttle.
I am going to be consuming a lot of these during this winter, its only October.

MrHolland, Oct 23, 2006
Photo of Nesued
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For the 2006 version, a new label picture is present as opposed to what is shown here. Freshness date present via a vertical month indicator with a notch on the "for brewery-fresh taste, enjoy before month notched" month. I purchased this in mid-November and the "notch" is on April 2007.

Appearance - Clear dark amber color, nice carbonation. Nothing really noteworthy. The carbonation is a healthy amount and providing a nice head. Not much of a lacing.

Smell - Nice roasted malt aroma. A faint spice, but nothing overly "spicy".

Taste - Nicely balanced. Lightly-flavored with a hint of something more. That "something more" would be a bit of cinnamon but nothing over-bearing. A nice "warm" feel to the beer that grows as the beer warms. Nice finish that isn't tainted with a hop bite.

Mouthfeel - Suprisingly this beer has a body to it. Nice feel with a slick finish that makes you remember that you just had a sip. I would see this as a good point, given the style.

Drinkability - This beer I would rank much higher than the Harpoon Winter Warmer. This is how a balanced warmer should be. They very much got this recipe correctly balanced. I would recommend this brew over any other Winter Warmer-class beer that is commonly available.

Nesued, Nov 25, 2006
Photo of kbeals
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A clear amber color, a bit of white fizzy head, very minimal lacing.

S- Very hoppy, some spice present, overall pretty pleasing.

T- Very tasty, hops and spice, a bit of a dry finish.

M- Light to medium bodied, well-carbonated and very smooth.

D- Easily drinkable, especially on a cold winter night while watching a hockey game. That's how I drank it anyways.

Overall, a good brew and a definite recommendation.

kbeals, Jan 06, 2009
Photo of ColoradoBobs
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In the winter sampler pack.

A: Dark clear amber-brown topped by an off-white, mostly fading small head that leaves only a small ring, but a surprising amount of lacing.

S: Malty-biscuity with a bit of coffee in the background, toasted white bread with apple-butter(?) on it.

T: More malt depth and sweetness, but not cloying. Nice dry hoppiness without too much bitterness. A bit of sourness is there too -- nice surprise: reminds me a little of a Belgian Dubbel. There's a spiciness that is quite notable -- pepper, cloves stuck into whole oranges. Really nice.

M: Nice round thickness. Much fuller feel than you might think from the small head.

D: Goes down nice and smooth. May I have another, please?

Overall, surprisingly delightful and rich beer. A macro with a craft touch. Gotta go get some more. Sad there are only two in the twelve-pack.

ColoradoBobs, Dec 04, 2005
Photo of FuzzyGuy84
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm a big fan of this seasonal beer - more complex and interesting than the standard Boston Lager. Lots of typical winter spice (nutmeg and allspice are definetely present), with some underlying tones of wood and banana. A most enjoyable beer and highly reccomended for this time of the year.

FuzzyGuy84, Dec 06, 2005
Photo of futaboots
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm surprised by this beer. This is definitely my favorite Sam Adam's Seasonal. In fact, this is an excellent beer, period.

Lowest marks for appearance. Nothing really bad to say, the head is lumpy and adequate at first, then dies down to nothing, and the color is copper brown.

TASTE. Malt, hints of cinnamon and spiciness burning at the edges. Balance is on the sweet side, with just enough hops to make their presence known. Dark caramel, toffee, nutty toasty/roasty like flavors. Small hint of cinnamon graham cracker aftertaste in my mouth after I put the glass down.

Smells like malt mostly, with a little cinnamon. Mouthfeel is slick. Carbonation might be a bit on the high side, but not really a detriment to enjoyment.

Notes: I love love freakin love this beer. My favorite Sam Adam's beer so far (although, to admit I haven't tried very many). At first I was a little surprised, and dissapointed, to learn that the abv on this was less than 6%. I figured a winter warmer ought to be a bit stronger. The beer tastes great the way it is though, and might actually be better for it. I like the quaffability of this beer. The spicing is subtle, and I could drink more than a few bottles over the course of a night without getting sick of it.

futaboots, Nov 02, 2005
Photo of smibroncos
4.2/5  rDev +17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A. Poured a rich caramel, with a one finger diminishing light brown head. Light lacing clung to the glass.

S. Carmel, malt, allspice, nutmeg, leaves.

T. Sweet malt, fall and winter spices. Nice bitter finish.

M. Great balance, great carbonation. Rich flavor.

D. I will buy a few more of these this season. A good session beer with, alot of flavor.

smibroncos, Oct 14, 2009
Photo of russpowell
4.22/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 version

Pours copper with 3 fingers of sand colored head. Some lacing & head retention

S: Sweet malt & brown sugar

T: Sweet malt with hints of caramel &brown sugar up front. Cinamon follows as it warms up, plus some warming sensation from the alcohol, along with biscuitty notes. Finishes dry & biscuitty

MF: Rich, medium bodied & moderate carbonation, plus superb balance

Drank very easy, much tastier than last year

russpowell, Nov 15, 2006
Photo of cbleary
4.22/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

This is a delicious and complex brew. It had a great amber color and a study, white, 2-finger head. The smell was a bit muted but was pleasing with a fresh wheat smell. It tastes very good with a lot of intermingling, but balanced flavors. There is strong wheat, a bit of noble hops and a few spices I can't quite identify. Ginger? The beer featured a very pleasing and creamy mouthfeel. I could drink it again and again.

cbleary, Jan 09, 2008
Photo of BrewMan13
4.22/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I know Sam Adams is somewhat of a love/hate brewery on this site and I fall more into the 'love' camp. I think they make some damn fine beers, for the most part, especially considering how big they are. I'm a big fan of winter beers, especially spiced ones. Thank goodness for the wide availability of this one, so when I go to places that have mediocre at best selections, this can still usually be found; in the winter that is, of course.
Appearance is a clear dark orange, with a small head and a little lacing. Smell is almost non-existant to me. Taste is something else: quite tasty, obviously on the malty side, with some cinnamon coming through. Seems better then I recall it being in the past. Very smooth on the palate; seems to be going down faster then most beers I drink. Like most good beers, it tastes best as it warms a little. Could stand to be heartier in body and alcohol for a WW, but the way it stands, its quite tasty and drinkable. I'd never refuse one...unless there was something better of course ;)

BrewMan13, Jan 13, 2006
Photo of erosier
4.22/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a really good winter beer. It pours a beautiful amber color with a nice thick copper head that sticks to the sides of the glass really well. It has a rich malty aroma with hints of spices that I couldn't really make out in the aroma. The taste brought them out though. It has a really nice rich roasted malty taste with hints of hops and some cinnamon. It has a sweet aftertaste and really good mouthfeel. This is one excellent winter beer. I definately recommend it.

erosier, Nov 13, 2007
Photo of smithza9
4.22/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is one of the best beers I have had. It looks dark in the glass and smells wonderful. The spices brewed into it really add a lot to the flavor and smell. This is like Guinness in the way that you can't drink a lot at one time. Enjoy the winter months with a Winter Lager.

smithza9, Feb 26, 2010
Samuel Adams Winter Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
80 out of 100 based on 4,687 ratings.