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

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Samuel Adams Winter LagerSamuel Adams Winter Lager

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States | website

Style: Bock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

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).

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-25-2001

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Reviews: 1,945 | Ratings: 5,728
Photo of womencantsail
3.56/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This one pours a clear, rich amber color with two fingers of off-white head and very nice lacing.

S: I'm not all that big of a fan of the nose on this. It's very malty, with a lot of caramel, and it seems to be incredibly spicy. I'm okay with some mild spice in a beer, but this one is a bit too much.

T: The taste is better than the nose, that's for certain. The caramel and malt is quite up front, with the spices much more subdued.

M: The fizziness is rather light for a lager and it's rather full bodied as well. I haven't had this beer in quite some time and I found this to be quite impressive.

D: This is a pretty easy drinking beer and one that you could easily have several of in a session. I'm not the biggest fan of bocks, but I found this one to be fairly enjoyable and wouldn't turn it down if offered one.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.48/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Sam Adams sensory pint glass.

Workin' my way through the Winter Styles pack. This one pours a nice clear dark ruby brown topped by nearly a finger of ecru foam. The nose comprises caramel, light roasted malts, light milk chocolate, rye bread, and orange zest. The taste is very similar, but a bit spicier: Newcomers nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander, and cola add some complexity to the flavor, but seem to somewhat overshadow the other parts. Or, rather, it comes in phases. However you prefer to hear it, everything doesn't mesh perfectly. Yeah. The body is a nice medium, with a moderate carbonation and a semi-grainy feel. Overall, a very nice brew, one that could use some tweaking, but is still an easy and enjoyable drinker.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.64/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap at Market Cross Pub and Brewery in Carlisle, Pa.
Served cool in an Imperial pint glass.

A - A deep copper/caramel brown w/ a sliver of a light tan head. Sporadic lace is strewn as the lager is sipped.

S - A nutty woody malt aroma is dominant. A light caramel note is found in the bready aroma and a faint smell of spiced hops.

M - Medium, slick and fully carbonated w/ sweet malt and a clean finish. The effervescence is a bit aggressive for my taste. At least for the style, anyway.

T - There is a gentle caramel note w/ sweet and lactic malt flavors that are rather mild. The carbonation kind of overwhelms the chance to taste the malt and a light hop spice is barely detected. Pretty average flavors nowhere near the complexity of some other notables. Not as interesting as the Longshot or other seasonal products that SA has produced recently.

D - Barely passable, but may go well with greasy onion rings or cheddar skins to cut through. Just ok for me. It seems like it may be more drinkable when compared to the lineup at TGI Fridays.

had recently so decided to re review
A-dark brown with haze and thick cream, smell is slight toasted grain with mild yeast ester and light spice/nuts. The feel is pretty light somewhat dry with moderately high carbonation
Taste is good with moderately high malt impact with mellow toasted grain and mostly clean yeast flavor. Overall a pretty average beer, but is pretty drinkable

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Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into pilsener glass, best before May 2013. Pours crystal clear reddish copper color with a nice 1-2 finger fairly dense off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a nice amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of apple, pear, caramel, ginger, toast, grass, cracker, light pepper, and herbal. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and solid complexity. Taste of apple, pear, caramel, toast, cracker, grass, ginger, light cinnamon, light citrus, and light herbal spiciness. Lingering notes of light fruits, caramel, toast, bread, grass, ginger, light cinnamon, and light herbal on the finish for a short bit. Nice flavor balance with a fair amount of robustness; with a nice subtle balance of the added spices; with zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a lightly creamy and very smooth mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a good bock style. Good flavor balance with a fair amount of robustness; and extremely smooth to drink. This was a nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Jason
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark orangey color, good clarity with a quick to froth carbonation and a decent head retention that leaves some lace behind. Wet spicy aroma, a tad malty with some herbal hop in the nose. Creamy medium body with an ample sweetness from the toasted and caramel malt flavors. Spicing and hops keep it balanced with some cininimon and ginger undetones and a spicy herbal hop bitterness. Finishes a bit sweet with warming spices.

I remember when this beer used to be a little bit bigger, badder and ... well better. It used to be closer to 7% abv and with a lot more brawn you would expect from a bock. Todays version is decent, a good pick if you are going to a house or dinner party and don't want to rock the boat.

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Photo of chinchill
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010/11 release served in a pint glass. Small amount of sediment added (recommended) mid-tasting.

Pours a lovely clear reddish mahogany with a 1 finger tan head that has moderate retention.

Pleasing but mild (weak) malty and spicy aroma.

T - Nice medium roasted malt flavor with detectable but rather subtle added flavor from spices, especially orange peel. ["Subtly spiced with cinnamon, orange peel and ginger"] ... Better too little than too much, IMO. Tastes more like Sam Adams Lager than expected. Good finish with spices coming more to the fore at the end.

M - cinnamon and ginger combine to produce a mild spice 'bite' on the tongue.

O - a nice variation for fans of Sam Adams Lager.

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Photo of russpowell
4.17/5  rDev +14.6%
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

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Photo of mothman
3.72/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the bar, now trying it from a bottle at home.

Categorized as a bock and on clearance made me pick this up, knowing I could still enjoy a few of these during the season.

Poured into Sam Adams Sensory Glass.

Color is a dark amber/copper. Clear. Pours about a 1/2 finger slightly off-white head. Fizzles down to a thin layer, more foam built up on the edge of the glass. Leaves some thick splattered lacing.

Aroma is sweet and malty. Definitely has the winter spices in it, but also has the 'bock-ness" to it. A tad of licorice comes of the end and also some brown sugar. It has a very inviting smell. Really tempts you to drink it.

Taste: right of the bat spices hit me. Enough ginger to remind me of a ginger-bread cookie. Very malty with spices. Leaves a lager-like aftertaste (yes bock is a lager).

Mouthfeel comes off a tad crisp, but then gets very smooth, almost creamy. The alcohol makes its appearance here. Leaves a bitterly dry aftertaste.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. My grades for this beer on tap and bottle seem fairly accurate which is a good thing. This one will definitely be in my fridge next winter.

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Photo of smcolw
4.15/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reddish, dark amber. One finger head that dies quickly to a dusting of minute bubbles on the surface

Butterscotch malt aroma; very sweet like a caramel candy.

Rich and very malty with a cognac sweetness; dark crystal malts and a touch of chocolate malt? As with other dark, rich, malty beers, the taste has nuttiness to it that reminds me of macadamias. The hop is pleasantly subtle but present, particularly in the aftertaste where the malt sugars could (but didn't) overwhelm.

A brandy beer to be used with good friends in deep conversation.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap at Sam Adams Brew Club at Newark International Airport (EWR)

A: Pours a crystal clear dark amber in color with some reddish highlights and moderate to significant amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall off-white head that reduces to a patchy thin film that covers about half the surface of the beer and a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Note of spices - cinnamon, ginger, and orange rind - over the top of caramel malts and some light wheat notes.

T: Moderate to strong amounts of malty sweetness upfront with caramel and wheat both present. Then there are the notes of the spices - cinnamon, ginger, and orange rind really stand out. Light bitterness in the finish but it fades quickly.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth with light amounts of dryness and just a hint of alcohol warming.

O: Enjoyable and relatively easy to drink though the spice flavors are a little too intense for me to have more than one in a session.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a ruby copper tone with a massive fluffy tan head leaving healthy amounts of dispersed lacing. Aroma: Nice shot of pine cone scented hops initially much better improved from last year's Winter lager, this is a rich malty lager nice caramel sweetness mixed with some bready dough like yeast notes and an undertow of spices. Taste: Full flavor syrupy rich nutty edge with hop bitterness not as dominant in flavor as the aromatic qualities with the bready finish characteristic of most Sam Adams products the spiciness bites at the palate nice winter lager, the BBC can still get it done when it wants to. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied slightly syrupy texture and a strong carbonation, does the palate good. Drinkability: Glad to see a lager around 7%abv this one can definitely be sipped on it's on tap at a local restaurant in Morgantown right now very tasty.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pilsener glass.

a - Pours a somewhat transparent reddish amber color with two inches of white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of cinnamon, bready malts, spices, sweet fruity malts, and hops. A little sweet but pretty good.

t - Tastes of hops, cinnamon, and bready malts. Hints of spices, but a bit of a drop off from the smell; not really getting the fruit in the taste.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty smooth and creamy body.

d - A decent bock that is widely available and easy to drink. Can definitely drink a few of these and while not my favorite, something I can drink at Thanksgiving with non BA's and we can all enjoy. I enjoyed the smell and would have it again.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.16/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Part of the 2010 Winter Pack. Review from notes (11/27)

A: Pours a dark copper color, with a one finger off white head with good retention. Nice lacing down the sides.

S: Pick up some of the spices, mostly nutmeg and some cinnamon. Get some malt and caramel on the end.

T: The spices from the aroma come through, as well as a little bit of hops. There is also a ginger flavor as well.

M/D: Light to medium bodied, but has a thick mouthfeel. Overall, its fine. Nothing too special imo.

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Photo of jwc215
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber with a nice head that slowly descends to a thin cover. Some lacing sticks to glass.

The smell is of sweet grainy malt with a touch of caramel and mild winter spices.

The taste is of sweet malt. Caramel, a hint of winter spices, and mild earthy hops to balance out sweetness while keeping sweet character. Subtle peppery alcohol comes through. A slight metallic tinge is present, but doesn't interfere much.

Medium to full - Smooth with slight warming alcohol kick. Coating.

This is one, IMO - that tastes better on a nice tap than on a bottle. It's not a great winter, but good one and a good selection for a wintery brew on tap that is easy to drink, esp. for style.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a lovely ruby red color, with a nice, lasting tannish head. Aroma is delightful, with loads of spices, very sweet, and dark, lush with dark fruits, plums, grapes. A rich cornucopia of fruits and spice.
On the palate, we feel a warm rush of hops, and the thick, luscious malt shows up immediately. Very pleasant recurring finish, notes of fruit, spice, and nuts return again and again. A little thin in body, but then, it's plenty full for a lager.
I first tried this on tap, earlier this winter, and was disappointed. Right now, drinking from a bottle, in a Minnesota late March that still won't give up to a proper springtime, I can't find a fault with this tasty, delicious brew.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
3.61/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer is crystal clear and copper / amber hued. The light beige head is an inch thick and leaves ample lacing on the pint glass. The primary scents are malt, holiday spices. Yams and/or pumpkin flavors along with some cinnamon and nutmeg. Slightly sweet with minimal bitterness. Light bodied, but not thin. Overall, a decent seasonal brew.

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Photo of stakem
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Eric for gifting me with one of these to try. Poured into a matching SA sensory glass, this brew appears a clear amber color with a finger of off-white froth across the top. A constant stream of carbonation rises to the surface and supports the creamy topping that resides. As it slowly recedes, it leaves patches of lacework sticking to the glass.

The smell of this brew initially has some malty sweetness faintly of caramel with some fresh noble hop character that comes across a bit herbal with a slight metallic touch. More sniffs reveal a spiced inclusion of cinnamon and something along the lines of orange peel with the faintest accent of something along the lines of coriander.

The taste of this brew immediately gives a nod in the direction of the cinnamon and orange peel that was noted in the aroma. However, it is a bit more earthy almost like nutmeg is also included and the orange peel has a brightness about it more so than the typical orange rind character, not quite coriander but sort of. The toasty malt inclusion tastes more like toffee than the caramel that was indicated in the aroma. The hops are present with a mild herbal quality that provide enough contrasting bitterness to keep the sweetness of the malt in check.

This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. The sensory glass really gives the visual perception of this looking over-carbonated from the constant stream of bubbles but it is pleasantly modest and not overdone in the feel. The finish is quite crisp and while the spices are very upfront and noticeable, they are not overdone. This was a refreshing spiced brew that is a well done example of a spiced winter offering, I wouldn't mind having this again.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.43/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was out to Subs & Six Packs on Columbia Avenue on Tuesday and saw this available as a single bottle and decided to give it another whirl. Today is 16 Dec 2015, the boss is LT Dan, my partner is a redhead and my name is Woody. This is a true account of the events that follow. Only the names have been changed to protect the less-guilty. And now, for the facts. Just the facts.

From the bottle: "German brewers may have been onto something centuries ago when they created rich bock beers for the winter. Our brew is a dark wheat bock subtly spiced with fresh ground cinnamon, ginger, & orange peel for a deep smooth flavor that's perfect on a cold winter's night. Cheers! [undersigned] Jim Koch"

The Pop! of the cap is never as satisfying as the Crack! of a CAN, but I am making do as best as I CAN't with these CANfounded bottles. An aggro pour to vent my frustration released two fingers of foamy, tawny head with decent retention. Color was a beautiful Copper-Brown (SRM = > 17, < 22) with NE-quality clarity. Nose smelled of cinnamon andorange peel and I was put in mind of a Wassail Bowl. Mouthfeel was thin-to-medium. The taste was spicy, but it lack Ooomph. Yes, I got the cinnamon and ginger, but they seemed somehow muted, like I was not getting the full effect. Finish was dry, thanks to the spices, but I just wasn't feelin' it. A GLBC Christmas Ale would do the trick! Clearly, I liked this a LOT more on draft.

My original, on-tap/draft review dtd 24 Dec 2010 follows:

I had some on-tap last night, which I thoroughly enjoyed, BTW, and my usually non-drinking fellow USN-retiree buddy offhandedly mentioned that he scored some at a local PX for his son and he is actually having some and really enjoying it. TheCANQuest (TM), like heaven, will have to wait while I indulge in some bottles.

I should remember that "Bock" is a style of lager, but when the label(s) scream(s) "Lager", I default to the Greg Koch "fizzy yellow sissy beer" expectation, sometimes to be pleasantly surprised, as in this case. I got a finger of deep-tan head with good retention off of my pour. Color was a deep-copper with NE-quality clarity. I have seen pennies that were less copper-colored than this beer. I was reminded (again) of the beauteous Linda Lou, a striking redhead whose hair was not only this color, but hers was also as coarse as wire. Sigh. She left me while I was on a seven-month deployment to marry somebody other than me. My beer may taste faintly of salty tears. Boo hoo. Nose smelled of ginger (OK, now a reference might be getting old), cinnamon and nutmeg. I was reminded of baking cookies with my maternal grandmother as a kid. The other kids used to make fun of me for my culinary endeavors until they tried what I had made. I still like to cook, just not for by myself. If only I had Linda Lou for whom to make meals ... Mouthfeel was big, thick, creamy. You should really brace yourself for this one. The spices were simply alive on the tongue, each getting a turn on the ol' palate. It was like eating one of those cookies. The finish left me in a melancholy, nostalgic mood but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Good news, also, for my followers - it CAN be purchased outside of the Winter Sampler, unlike Old Fezziwg. Try some for yourself.

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Photo of tdm168
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, ruby amber with a thin lacing of loose head. The nose is caramel malts and lager yeast. The taste is caramel, apples, sweet, and there's a hint of lager yeast in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, heavily carbonated, and very crisp.

Some sips come across like soda, but overall this is an enjoyable bock. I look forward to it every year.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.66/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer served on draft at some sports bar. Beer is dark amber with a tight off white head. Beer is totally clear and there is moderate carbonation made up of moderate bubbles. Lacing high.

Aroma is low, a light unoffensive smelling lager. Some malt in there not much of anything though.

Beer is full bodied with an interesting sweetness. There is a cereal like aftertaste that gets stronger the more you drink. Low bitterness although there is some hop bitterness present. There is also a hint of spice in the midpalate. Drinkability high, mouthfeel is ok.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Nonic pint glass.

Gives off a dark amber and clear body, with a large three finger head with good retention. However, the nice foamy retention head falls like an elevator all at once, really odd.. never seen a beer do that.

Aroma is a spicey malt sensation, almost like a sweet cinnamon and sugary. Clean. I can't get past a very strange soapy sweet smell. At least it's not overpowering.

Very thick malt of taste with a good sugary bread finish. Mildly hoppy but still has that really strange soap character. Luckily this odd soapyness is kind of sweet and seems to hide things and make the beer pleasant. There's still some very good things in here.

Drinkability is about good, easy going. Are there better things out there I would say yes.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Bottle from the 12 pack Pours a slightly hazy brown amber color with a decent off white head that persists for a while leaving spotty lace on the sides. Aromas of cinnamon and citrus with a caramel brown sugary malt to back it up. The flavor is rich and dark sugary malts with a spicy citrusy bite to counter. Medium body with a moderate to high level of carbonation and a sweet bubbly mouthfeel. I’ve had this many times in the past and its never been my favorite, but today with a grilled cheese and some cracked pepper chips it just worked.

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Photo of Billolick
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I sampled a 12 ouncer with "purchase before" dating notched onto the label. Pours a fairly dark shade of almond, clear, witha soft tan head, which is showing respectable retention. Alot of bubbles continue to rise to the top. Real nice long lasting and well developed lacing left behind after a swig or two. Nose is malty with some faint spicing noticable. This is a smooth drinking winter warmer.Its lighter in body then others of the style. They call it a "dark wheat lager". Mouthfeel is quite creamy. Notes of vanilla and nutmeg in a generally bready flavor profile. Nice, highly drinkable cold weather brew. Well worth a try, enjoyable sessioner, that packs a punch at 6.9%!

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Photo of GClarkage
3.11/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12/29/04- Purchased at the local Safeway in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 12 oz gray-blue bottle with a drink by April 2005 notch. Poured into my Englander pint glass.

Appearance- Nice foamy head, a reddish pour and above average lacing.

Smell- Slightly pungent. A bit of floral hops. A bit sweet also.

Taste- Very metallic tasting. Bitter hops abound, but they are subtle. Maybe some caramel in the background.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation. A bit of a dry finish.

Drinkability- Can't get over this metallic taste. It pretty much ruins the whole experience for me. Wonder if I just got a bad batch. Truthfully, I wasn't expecting much anyway. No big loss here.

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Samuel Adams Winter Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
82 out of 100 based on 1,945 ratings.