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: 5,727
Photo of NateDyk47
3.77/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L- light brown, slight orange tint
S- orange & cinnamon
T- a little bitter citrus flavor
F- medium body & carbonation

Not bad overall. Better than most Sam Adams beers.

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Photo of sgt_187em
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Copper in color with a 1/2" thick head. Tasted a hint of citrus and wheat, but no cinnamon or ginger as advertised on the bottle. Medium body, pretty avebrage brew.

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Photo of Bluerabbitbell
3.41/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had from a bottle from aa mixed pack we bought in Lafayette IN at a meijers. Average taste. I wouldn't say that there is anything special about this offering. Didn't even notice much spice notes.

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Photo of BrotherDave
2.34/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

12 pack cans.

Nice head, color similar to a Märzen beer, but not very much nose and not very much flavor. Certainly lacking in hops - both bittering and aromatic.

I hate to say it, but I give it a "meh." ... now I have 11 more to get through. Maybe I'll save them for company, after all it is the season for giving :-).

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Photo of PatrickCT
3.71/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle poured into a tulip

a: Beautiful rusty orange body. Clear. 1 1/2 finger off white head. Some lacing.

s: Bready malts hold up a spicy, herby aroma.

t: Toasty, crisp malts. Some cinnamon, ginger and hop bitterness.

mf: Medium body with medium high carbonation. Creamy up front with a sweet finish.

o: Boston Lager with some stuff.(Yes, I know it is a different beer) Very drinkable and festive.

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Photo of Dragginballs76
3.69/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark amber with off white small head that dissipates quickly. You can smell notes of ginger and malt a little cinnamon maybe some nutmeg and spices. Taste is not spectacular malty you can taste the spices a little no big flavor. Pretty light taste feels goes down easy not much aftertaste. Overall an ok beer nothing great or terrible.

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Photo of WayneEsten
4.19/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The bottle had an "enjoy before date" of April 2016 and came from a 12 pack.

Into a Riedel Ouverture beer glass it poured dark amber with a hint of ruby. The head was light tan and about an inch and a half high. It's a very attractive winter lager.

I could smell the malt and caramel as others have noted, but I also detected a very faint trace of the orange peel.

The taste was malty and a bit sweet, but not overly so. I've had four of these over the last couple of days and on a couple of occasions the orange came through clearly. It was probably because I let those bottles warm up a bit longer when I set them out of the refrigerator before pouring. This beer fills the mouth, not like a stout, of course, but more than most lagers I've had. The carbonation is mild and the finish is very, very smooth. Earlier today I had a bottle with fresh ground peanut butter spread on a hot thick piece of wheat toast. Wow, what a combination. My new winter treat.

Overall, I really like this beer. I've always thought Sam Adams Boston Lager was well made, just not for me. I like my beers a bit darker. This one is just right for me. Given that it's a seasonal beer and only shipped in November and December, I'm stocking up on 12 packs to hold me until early spring.

UPDATE/EDIT 1/4/16: This was my "go to" beer this past December so I've had over 24 bottles of it. I reduced my rating for LOOK, TASTE and OVERALL from 4.5 to 4.25. This beer is so much better when it is removed from the refrigerator 15 to 20 minutes before it is popped and poured. I still really like it.

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Photo of beerboy21
3.77/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Yet another spiced number from SA. Enjoyable. Original recipe was much better, being a spiced weizenbock hybrid clocking in at 6.9% abv. Bring it back, SA!

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Photo of mothmanscott
3.87/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark amber brown producing 1.5 fingers of beige, moderately lasting, frothy head that leaves a wash & motes of lace. Aroma is caramel and dark bready malt, roasted nuts, notes of cinnamon, ginger & nutmeg. Taste is sweet caramel & toasted malt, dark bread, roasted nuts, notes of orange, cinnamon & ginger with roasted malt & light herbal hops in the finish. A lightly roasted & bitter aftertaste. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, spicy with average carbonation.

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Photo of Catracho5
3.3/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a dark red, mahogany color with an off white creamy head, clear, very little carbonation, has a beautiful color to it, looks very nice.

A: Malt, caramel, not getting any of the ginger, cinnamon or orange peel, smells pretty plain, was hoping for more.

T: Malt, caramel, hint of vanilla in there, some ginger in the aftertaste, but no cinnamon or orange peel, it's just no there, the ginger does become more noticeable as the bee warms.

M: Light bodied, dry finish, easy on the palate.

O: This is not all it's advertised to be, it sounds like a big beer, a lager with some spice in it for cold weather, but it lacks body, cinnamon and orange peel, it tastes like a regular bock with a hint of ginger that seems out of place in the flavor.

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Photo of Pantalones
3.47/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Written from notes taken last night, as I don't currently have a working computer. 5th bottle from the six-pack; best-by date is April 2016.

Looks very nice -- dark red-brown color, very clear with lots of bubbles rising from the bottom (they're easy to see with the help of a flashlight, but still barely visible without.) Nice layer of light tan foam on top, leaving a good amount of traces behind on the glass as it starts to shrink down. Never fully vanished in the time it took me to drink the whole glass, though it did get down to a thin coating on top after a while.

Smell initially comes across as mostly a darkish "beery" smell, just a bit of a caramel-y sweetness in there too. Taking further sniffs as the foam shrinks down, more sweetness and maybe some cinnamon(?) start to pop in. There's a bit of something else in there I can't quite identify, too.

Taste is pretty mild at first, but I found myself liking it enough on the first sip this time that the "sip" ended up being more like a gulp. Malt still seems to be the primary flavor -- the wheat is more noticeable taste-wise vs. smell, and there's a bit of a toasty thing on the end, too. Cinnamon (as in the smell) stands out more, but still very much secondary to the malt. There is an odd "something" in there that's not entirely pleasant, but I can't quite place what it is -- wasn't noticing it in the first half of the glass at all, oddly, but toward the end it's more noticeable. Would have rated a bit higher in this category had this "something" not started to come out so much toward the end.

Feel is fairly light for such a dark-colored beer, but not watery or overly fizzy at all -- substantial enough to feel "beery" but light enough to be quickly and easily drinkable. Does get a little pricklier later on, it seems, which is unfortunate considering how nice the initial mouthfeel was.

Overall, my opinion on this one has gotten a bit more positive toward the end of this six-pack. I may have gone in expecting more of a bock (heavier, stronger flavors, etc.) and also more on the "winter spices" end, but looking at it as more of a... well, "winter lager," as the name suggests -- a slightly darker/heavier and slightly more Christmas-spiced version of a standard year-round sort of lager... it's not nearly as disappointing as I first thought. I doubt I'll buy a full six-pack of this one again, but when I get one of the winter variety packs I won't mind having a couple more of these.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.69/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle BB Apr 2016 at 42 degrees into SA “Perfect Pint”
Aroma, weak, of malt and ginger
Head large (Six cm, aggressive pour), light tan, frothy, diminishing to four mm frothy ring and layer
Lacing – poor. Few tiny islands of tiny bubbles
Body – orange amber, clear, effervescent
Flavor of malt and cinnamon; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate – medium, slightly sticky, soft carbonation

Appearance 3.75, Aroma 3.5, Flavor 3.75, Palate 3.75, Overall 3.75

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Photo of jmasher85
3.72/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice dark color with a surprising amount of head. As other reviews have stated, I don't really notice any of the flavors advertised on the bottle, except perhaps just the slightest hint of orange zest. That said, there's plenty of flavor in this bock. A lot of malt but never overdone or too sweet, and as with many Sam Adams beers, balance is quite the main feat here. A bit of clove and banana bread, and a nice mix of textures which combines the clarity and light body of a lager with the slightly creamy head and gritty texture of a wheat. Overall, this is a really nice, spiced, medium-flavored malty beer that works well as winter beer, though perhaps not quite up to snuff as a "snow day" beer.

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Photo of teromous
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown body with hints of red. Brilliantly clear body. Eggshell white head that is creamy and leaves good lacing on the glass. Good head retention.

Aroma: I smell lemons and there is a touch of a roasted flavor that I really have to bury my nose into the glass to pick out. Pretty faint aromas. Nothing really stands out here.

Taste: There is a really nice caramel sweetness with a hint of walnut flavor and toasted bread crust. The label says "brewed with orange peel, cinnamon, and ginger" and I don't pick up any of these flavors. It's a pretty decent bock but the sweetness is on the lower side. There is a slight tang on the aftertaste but it's indiscriminate flavor-wise.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is nice and smooth but it's a bit thinner that what I would expect out of a bock.

Overall: I'm picking up some lemon aroma on the nose...I don't know if this is from the orange peel or possibly the ginger but I don't think it adds much to this beer. I don't get any spices in the flavor of the beer but the overall flavor of the beer is really nice. It is like a bock that has a little less caramel flavor and a little more nuttiness. It is a bock that I would recommend but I would say not to expect the advertised spice. There is a very nice walnut flavor to the beer that makes it a good holiday drink but again I'm not sure that the advertised flavors actually add anything to the overall profile.

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Photo of TLWalsh
3.59/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of the SA 2015 seasonal package. Pours a nice dark amber color with moderate vanilla head. Has a malty sweet aroma with a caramel and cinnamon/clove spice taste and a semi slick syrupy mouthfeel. Finishes with an orange and spice lingering aftertaste. Really not my favorite SA offering.

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Photo of lic217
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.25

Look: copper color, little lacing
Smell: malt and spice
Taste: sweet and finishes with the spices, I taste mostly cinnamon
Feel: moderate carbonation and thickness
Overall: not a big fan, but not terrible either.

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Photo of puck1225
3.82/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

First beer I had from the 2015 variety pack. Poured into a pint jar, dark orange-brown with a nick creamy head. Pleasant lacing and nice malty smell. Taste is crisp and mildly spiced. I like this beer!

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

I was pleasantly surprised. Mr. Adams has been letting me down as of late, but not this time.

Copper color with creamy head.

Smell and taste fit the description on the carton: citrus, cinnamon, and some ginger. Has a bit of hop bite, which was nice.

Feel is fitting of a bock.

Overall, I good winter beer.

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Photo of Parmesan
3.67/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look: Golden Amber color that pours with a large creamy brownish head.

Smell: Lemon peel, some orange and cinnamon, don't get a lot of ginger, little bit of hop and malt.

Taste: Very similar to the smell. Lots of orange and cinnamon.

Feel: Light body with. Medium carbonation.

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Photo of Samlover55
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

best by April 16
12 ounce bottle poured into Boston Lager glass
L- pours a nice amber red, has a decent head that dissipates leaving a ring of foam
S- sweet caramel, cinnamon, slight hint of orange peel
T-caramel malts, notes of spices cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, a little hoppiness on the finish leaves a slight aftertaste of the hops
F- light bodied and carbonation causes tingling on tongue and lip
O- just not a good beer from Samuel Adams this is my 4th of a 6 pack just dont see it despite my love for everything Sam

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Photo of BigDaddyWarbuxx
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I was really concerned when I saw that orange peel and ginger were major ingredients in this brew, since I've had bad experiences with both of those in other beers. Fortunately, they're both mild enough and well complemented by cinnamon to make a nice filling beer with a syrupy texture. Full bodied, with a noticeable level of malts.

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Photo of Willvoll
3.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

I drank this beer a lone in my room. As I sipped it I was overtaken by this warmth. It comforted me. I turned around and realized it was shrek. What came after was numbed by the warm alcohol in this beer, and it went well with Shreks pungent onion love. Decent winter lager

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Photo of mlockman
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looked and smelled so much like a Yuengling lager that the waiter actually inadvertently confused/switched the orders at our table. The palate and mouthfeel follows the look and aroma: no more exciting than a standard macro lager.

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Photo of MACrist
3.71/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

LOOKS: Very clear, red-amber, small bubbles streaming up. Nice creamy tan head that lingers.
AROMA: Smells a lot like the Boston Ale, was surprised that this uses German hops, from the aroma, I thought it was English varieties. LOTS of that SA malt in the aroma, not picking up any added spices.
TASTE: Very malty, caramel, toasted bread. On the very back end, some very slight cinnamon. I really have to use my imagination to detect the ginger or nutmeg they use.
MOUTHFEEL: Light to medium, not creamy, but not dry either. Carbonation is fairly light.
OVERALL: It's a decent overall lager, an above average beer.
Update: 12/23/15... had on draught today. Very fresh tasting. A noticeable difference from the bottle I had, it popped! Still not much in the way of added spices, but very fresh and tasty...worth a bump.

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Photo of Strat58cat
2.9/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is another beer that starts Samuel Adams fans down the path of only drinking Boston Lager. Sure, it looks so good that you can almost taste your hopes for what it is. Plus, you've heard about how they add spices in this lager, and brew it up with a heavy malt, so that it's a true winter beer from the winter environs of Boston. It may be the first seasonal you drink from Samuel Adams, because of all the promised goodness. Then you drink it and it's like . . . wtf? Damn! I shoud've just had a Boston Lager.

This is another old-school, "big" beer from Samuel Adams, but by "big" they mean a big beery malt. Beery Malt? Really? It is extremely lightly hopped (22 ibu) compared to today's beers, or even the original Boston Lager. The spice that they talk about adding during brewing is barely detectable. After trying this one, nobody could blame you if you decided to drink only Boston Lager. However, they do make White Christmas, which is pretty good.

The look, as with many of the beers from Samuel Adams, shows their attention to quality ingredients. It's a deep copper color. The head foams up very abundantly and laces very abundantly. Looks good!

When you snuff in the aroma, however, you realize that something may be amiss. There's just not much to it. Forget about a powerful aroma of grapefruit, pine or any of the other hallmarks of a modern IPA - of course. Also forget about the ineffable scent of paradise that you get in a Boston Lager. It's basically just a meh smell of beery malt. There's a barely detectable hint of cinnamon spice in the mix, but it's about a 1 on a scale to 10. Uh, oh.

The taste confirms that damn! I should have just ordered a Boston Lager. It's malt. That's the flavor - beery malt. Now I'm not talking about a Lagunitas Sucks multi-layered, syrup-thick complex of flavor combining sweetness and spice. I'm talking about a powerfully beery malt. "Beeaahh" as a Beantown resident might say. Time has sort of passed by that so-so flavor. The spice is really not contributing much. It may smell great when they brew it, but it doesn't do much for me.

The feel is fine. It's not super-thick feeling, but far from watery. With the powerfully beery malt flavor, the consistency is pretty substantial. The carbonation seems medium.

Overall, time has passed by this approach to craft beer. Perhaps as a reaction to the watery beers of the giant brewers, Samuel Adams brewed a hugely beery-malt of a beery malt beery malt. Did I mention it tastes like beery malt? Pass.

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