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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.

4,503 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,503
Reviews: 1,850
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 13.65%
Wants: 34
Gots: 195 | 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)
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Ratings: 4,503 | Reviews: 1,850 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MrSkyGuy


3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

You know, I have to admit outright that this isn't my favorite SA, but that may very well be due to the fact that I don't prefer seasonal winter brews by taste.

I drank this in a clear freezer-frosted pint, and again in a room temperature pint. When I don't detect a difference between the two, it usually raises an eyebrow. SA's Winter Lager pours average with a relatively weak head that flattens quickly, but it does make up for this somewhat with a smooth hoppy aroma. I detect the light holiday'ish spicing, and I don't like it. Perhaps the dark caramel color is messing with what my taste buds are telling me, but I left this lager feeling a little underwhelmed.

No hard feelings to Sam Adams--they produce a solid line, but this one is lower on my list than the rest.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2010 05:52:13 | More by MrSkyGuy
Photo of crossovert


3.38/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle.

It pours a deep copper red with a foamy white head. It doesn't look much like a bock, but it does look very nice.

The smell is malty with a hint of caramel and alcohol. The hops come through a little bit and there is a hint of orange, but the spices don't really come through. It isn't super fragrant.

The spices and whatnot come through in the flavor. This one has a diacetyl problem like I have tasted in several recent SA beers. The cinnamon and ginger are pretty noticeable, along with the buttery bready malts. The 2 aforementioned spices have a little bit of spicy bite in the finish. The orange comes through with a bit of tanginess.

It is an interesting brew, not really a bock, but what else woudl you call it.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2010 02:21:44 | More by crossovert
Photo of 1759Girl


3.08/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance> Mahogany in color. Gorgeous french vanilla head that pours big, but settles to a nice 1/4 inch quickly.

Smell>pine, clove... oh wait, is there beer in this?

Taste>Not too fabulous. I mean, it's really just quite average to be honest. It's like a lager, but spiced, ... malts with a hint of pine tree airfreshener. Nothing really stand out, but really nothing bad.

Mouf>a little too carbonated for my taste. Not terrible though.

Drinkability> Easy

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2010 02:17:01 | More by 1759Girl
Photo of FanofHefe


3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wow, was not expecting much from this brew but it's not too bad. Pours a dark amber color with a nice two finger head. Dissipates into some nice lacing fairly quickly.

Light aroma of malt and a hint of spices. A little note of yeast.

Decent taste of malt, yeast and some light spices. Reminds me of some of the belgian spices on first taste.

Fairly heavy carbonation. Easy drinking brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2010 00:35:13 | More by FanofHefe
Photo of dbow56


4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had Samuel Adams Winter Lager in a bar in Lexington, KY and sadly it was the best thing they had. I'm not much on Bocks. Its a beer style that is kind of a palate cleanser, but the spices came through just enough for this winter lager hit the spot.

Serving type: on-tap

11-18-2010 04:13:29 | More by dbow56
Photo of StoutHunter


3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew came in the Samuel Adams winter 12 pack, lets see how it goes. Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A- This beer pours a dark copper color with 2 fingers of white head that died down to a small thin ring that stayed till the end.

S- Not a lot going on in the aroma. There is some roasted caramel malts and a slight toffee smell. There's also a bit of grassy hops at the end.

T- The taste starts out with a lot of slightly roasted malts mixed in with a some various spices that I can't individually point out. There's also some orange peel thrown into the mix and just like the aroma there's a slight presence of hops at the end.

M- Medium bodied and medium carbonation.

D- This beer is fairly drinkable, I wouldn't drink a lot of these but a 2 or 3 would hit the spot. Alcohol is barely drinkable. Kind of reminds me more of Vienna style lager then a bock.

Overall this was a good beer, but nothing I would rave about though. The flavors are very balanced and unoffensive. I don't think i would by a six pack of this but I don't mind the 2 that they throw into their winter variety pack. This beer is better then the white ale that's for sure.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2010 03:57:46 | More by StoutHunter
Photo of goalie33

New York

4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass.
A: Clear, dark amber color, head fizzles away very quickly. Nice carbonation-a steady stream of bubbles goes to the top.
S: Weak smell of spices on top of a typical lager smell.
T: Spicy. Flavors change over the course of the drink. Starts with hints of cinnamon which give way to ginger and malty taste. Very tasty.
D: This is a very drinkable beer. Definitely sessionable.

This beer overtook Boston Lager as my favorite Sam Adams brew. Delicious. Add this to the reasons why I love winter.
12/14/12: The 2012 version of this beer is not nearly as good as the '10 or even the '11 and I feel the difference is significant enough to warrant a note on this review. The delicious spicy finish is MIA in this version, much more subtle. Hops are more prevalent as well. I would lower my previous flavor grade from 4 on the '10 to a 3 on this version.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2010 19:23:13 | More by goalie33
Photo of cheesepuffs


3.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was my first bock, and I guess I just don't like the style in general after reading more about them, but this seems like it fit the style well. It's not my kind of beer but it's not bad by any stretch of the imagination. Much hoppier than I expected.

The main thing that stuck out for me was that the head and lacing were phenomenal. I poured the perfect pint into a Sam Adams glass myself and the head stayed for minutes and the lacing was impressive. It did everything it was supposed to pretty well, but unfortunately, personally I'm just not into the taste. Seemed almost skunky to me so maybe mine was just old but it didn't go down easy for me.

Serving type: on-tap

11-17-2010 04:52:24 | More by cheesepuffs
Photo of sommersb


3.3/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle with a best before date of March 2011. Served in a Sam Adams perfect pint. Came in the SA winter pack.

Very attractive, clear copper beer with a good amount of bubbles from carbonation streaming from the bottom. Nice amounts of lacing and a hearty 3 finger head of creamy off-white.

Smell was very crisp, but seemed weak to me. I got a little malt aroma and some hop aroma, but not the spices that the label listed. The taste also disappointed me. I got some malts but as in the smell, they seemed weak for the style. Still not much on the spice front. No real malt sweetness in the taste - it seemed like it had a burnt character instead and a bitterness I didn't expect for a bock.

Mouthfeel seemed a little heavy on the carbonation, but the aftertaste was clean and malt forward. This is an OK beer, but overall nothing special.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2010 04:13:49 | More by sommersb
Photo of ixodus

New Jersey

3/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured into a Guinness Pint Glass. Dark brown/red with a finger sized white head that bubbles down slowly to a white foam covering the top.

S: Not smelling to much here. Some roasted malts and a light hop smell with some spices I can't put my finger on.

T: A nice malty taste with some spices in there still can't pick them out.. maybe cinnamon? Also a slight orange peel taste at the end. Much better then the White Ale.

M: Rich and smooth with nice carbonation.

D. I can see me drinking a few of these. Not the best beer I've had but if I was in a restaurant with a limited selection I wouldn't mind getting a tallboy of this.

Notes: Out of the Sam Adams Winter Sampler

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2010 04:06:55 | More by ixodus
Photo of ccbrewer138


4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Usually stay away from commercial lagers, even if coming from a craft brewery, but Sam Adams typically has some exceptional versions of all styles of lagers and ales also.

A-deep amber in color, with a huge, fluffy, off white head that very slowly disappears. Nice lacing on an imperial pint glass, the closest thing that I had to a Sam Adams glass. Good head retention, also brilliant in color and clarity.

S-picking up mostly toasty malt and spices, little hop aroma, not a very strong smelling beer. Good job with the spice blend though, very balanced and nothing sticks out as overpowering.

T-with little description on the bottle, it is hard to pinpoint what style this would be. Tastes like some wheat might be used, also Munich or Vienna. Very smooth lager character which blends well with the spice blend. Again, nothing about the spice is overpowering, hard to pinpoint whether you are tasting hops, spices, or both. Strange thing is, it's refreshing, yet warming.

M-medium carbonation, and medium body, fine by my book.

D-for a winter beer, very drinkable. More of session beer for the colder time of year I guess.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2010 23:36:43 | More by ccbrewer138
Photo of polio


3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

i love trying seasonal beers. i had this one at a bar on tap. the color is good, looks very rich. the taste is equally rich. very creamy taste. it is a beer that you can tell is one brewed for christmas time. i wouldnt want to drink more than one of these in a night as it is very very sweet.

Serving type: on-tap

11-16-2010 21:28:33 | More by polio
Photo of TheKingofWichita

North Carolina

3.73/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep ruby burgundy color with an off white head and a generous amount of lacing. Smells of cinnamon and a little hops. Tastes very sweet with some evening out by the mild hops, hints of cinnamon and nutmeg and good malt character. Mouthfeel is very nice. And drinkability is high. A good offering from Sam Adams.

Serving type: on-tap

11-16-2010 13:48:45 | More by TheKingofWichita
Photo of Beertinez


3.43/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into pint glass. Pours a beautiful reddish-amber with a disappointing, thin head.

Faint smell of cinnamon and light hops.

The taste starts a little sweet, then you're hit with a nice cinnamon and ginger spiciness. Lightly hopped so it finishes a little awkward. I also pick up a little orange peel/zest in the finish.

Light and drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2010 07:23:32 | More by Beertinez
Photo of epicness

New York

3.95/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark amber, almost brown color. Off-White creamy head that dissipates rather quickly leaving watery lacing on the glass.

S - A faint sweet caramel malt with a little bit of cinnamon. Not much of a true scent really present with this one.

T - Caramel and spicy up front which gives way to a dominate earthy hop taste. There's also cinnamon and ginger present towards the finish of the beer, but the true finish has a citrus flavor which becomes more noticeable as the beer begins to warm up.

M - Light to medium bodied with slight carbonation.

D - Pretty drinkable beer with only a 5.6% ABV. Although it does have a nice flavor, and the ABV isn't high. Due to the complexity of the flavor, I couldn't see myself drinking more than 2-3 of these in a sitting before I became sick of it.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2010 04:01:33 | More by epicness
Photo of NODAK


3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nose has some sweet malt present, with a hint of wheat and spiciness showing.

Taste is comprised of sweetness upfront with hints of orange and caramel apparent, along with a hint of spiciness that I think comes from the cinnamon. A small bitterness is on the backend, with some wheat lingering afterwards that make it clear that this is a wheat lager.

It isn't as forward on the flavors as I recalled. This makes it not quite as good as Old Fezziwig in my opinion as a winter warmer.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2010 01:40:26 | More by NODAK
Photo of greengorilla


3.9/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this from a 12 ounce bottle into a mug. It is a dark coppery color with a nice head and some lacing.

It has a hint of spice in the aroma.

The taste is pretty good. It has a spiced malty taste. I wish it had a little higher alcohol content with more of a warming effect.

The mouthfeel was good, and it was very drinkable.

Overall this is a a solid beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2010 23:11:50 | More by greengorilla
Photo of jettjon


3.5/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 12 oz bottle notched "enjoy before April" into a pint glass. Puffy white head fades quickly leaving lots of clingy lace and a thin cap. Dark, transparent reddish brown color with little visible carbonation. On the nose, it's mostly bready malt with a hint of spices. In the mouth, it's malty, bready, with hints of diacetyl and peppery spice; I'm not really getting the "nutmeg" flavor, but it's not bad... slight citrusy hops balance. Mouth is crisp and clean and slightly dry. Drinkability is good: It's unassuming and flavorful, yet not terribly complex.

Overall: A decent brew, not terribly complex or interesting. Worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2010 19:36:21 | More by jettjon
Photo of mcnabb0001

New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap last night for the first time since joining this website.

A - Dark Chocalate brown appearance with ruby highlights when the light passes through it. Moderate head that dissipates quickly leaving little lacing around the glass.

S- smells of sweet dark malt not much else

T - Nice flavor better than Boston Lager more malty a little chocalately.

M - nice mouthful not heavy not light medium body with decent flavor and carbonation.

D - Very drinkable and widely available on tap as a seasonal just about anywhere.

Serving type: on-tap

11-14-2010 16:53:08 | More by mcnabb0001
Photo of DelMontiac


3.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle dated best by April (2011, I assume) into a pint glass.

A: Great dark amber color with an off-white very short-lived weak half inch head.

S: Not particularly exiting in this category. Weakly sweet and malty is about all I can say.

T: This is why I look forward to SAWL each year. While not abound with some complex assortment of distinguishable flavors, SAWL fits the BA definition of a bock to a T - plenty of caramel malt sweetness and lightly hopped. I can't deny a nutmeg presence and at times I think I detect cinnamon or maybe ginger or both.

M: Great drinkability. No problem with SAWL being the only brew at a football watch party.

Overall: I never miss SAWL when it hits the shelves - a great goto winter brew. It's always a hit with BCMers when I take some to a MMA/football watch party. Two bummers though - SA, why did you change the label guys? The new label looks like spring! The old label, while a bit boring, represented the cold snowy blustery nights of winter with it's color alone. The other bummer is that one pump and done head. Even with a hardcore pour, that's all you get. Still, I dig this brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2010 21:45:39 | More by DelMontiac
Photo of augustgarage


3.15/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock glass. Best before April, 2011.

Mahogany/burnt orange body, brilliantly clear with a faint glimmer of lighter orange highlights. A small thin beige cap of dense cream rests atop the glass. Decent retention.

Aroma is rather lackluster, with not hint of melanoidins or other deep malty notes. There is a low roasted wheat element which forms a backdrop to the spices and citrus, but everything remains rather vaguely presented.

Low caramel notes and a moderate bitterness on the palate, but no toasted malt notes are present. The cinnamon adds some complexity and the ginger lends liveliness and warmth to the palate. The orange peel comes through in the finish along with a dry crackery note. No diacetyl.

Medium-light bodied, moderate carbonation, slightly warming but more from spice than alcohol.

Well balanced but rather bland.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2010 04:30:56 | More by augustgarage
Photo of jsanford


3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass

A - Dark amber with red highlights. Creamy, off-white head dissipates quickly, leaving a slight haze.
S - Sweet caramel malt, muted earthy hops, cinnamon and nutmeg.
T - More caramel malt and spicy, earthy hops dominate with some toasted nuts and crackers around the edges. Ginger and cinnamon are noticeable, but not a prevalent as the nose would suggest. Orange peel flavor gets strong as the beer warms up, providing a nice bittersweet balance.
M - Medium-thin body with medium carbonation. Nice and smooth.
D - Moderately drinkable, I could probably have two.

A nice winter beer, but it pretty much tastes like Boston Lager with spices added to it.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2010 02:25:58 | More by jsanford
Photo of SovereignBCS

North Carolina

3.18/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A - I absolutely LOVE the color of this beer. It looks like it ought to be drank under a hand-knit afghan while sitting by a crackling fire on Christmas eve. The appearance is rich amber, and it just looks warm and inviting.

S - Smell is good, but nothing exceptional. Warm cinnamon and orange peel, some other spice, maybe coriander?

T - Extremely malty, but a good flavor overall. The cinnamon and spices come through in the flavor, but the orange zest is conspicuously absent, even in the aftertaste. A great winter beer, wouldn't want this in the summer months.

M - Very little carbonation, almost flat.

D - Heavy but drinkable, I don't think I would want more than two of these in a session, however.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2010 02:16:15 | More by SovereignBCS
Photo of bigrzman


3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Reddish brown color, almost flat very little carbonation. Head disappeared on contact. Very sweet and malty to the nose with hints of orange zest and cinnamon. This beer is spiced with cinamon and ginger, orange peels come up. Besides that it is very malty and it is heavy. Mouthfeel is medium to thick zero bubble feel. Minimal hop drying and presence. Surpisingly drinkable though. Solid seasonal beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2010 01:03:11 | More by bigrzman
Photo of flagmantho


3.85/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at my local Red Robin last night.

Appearance: rich amber hue with a thin, creamy ivory head. I won't fault the beer for the pour I got, and I love the color. Good stuff.

Smell: aroma has a light, nutty maltiness. Aroma is a bit light but I like the composition.

Taste: lightly nutty malt with just a hint of fruity yeast character and a solid balancing bitterness. Slight caramel around the edges as well. I quite like it.

Mouthfeel: light body with a moderate level of carbonation. Tingly, but not much creaminess; still, it's OK.

Drinkability: quite quaffable. Flavor is not overpowering and the overall experience is quite refreshing.

Serving type: on-tap

11-11-2010 16:21:42 | More by flagmantho
Samuel Adams Winter Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
81 out of 100 based on 4,503 ratings.