1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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.

4,481 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,481
Reviews: 1,850
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 13.65%
Wants: 33
Gots: 185 | 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)
View: Beers (128) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samuel Adams Winter Lager Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,481 | Reviews: 1,850 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Gremner


2.53/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A- It had a nice burnt amber copper color. The head was small and weak, leaving rather quickly. Not appreciable lacing.

S- It had a spicy, hoppy aroma. Kind of weak, but present.

T- Mainly cinnamon. Decent hop appearance after the initial strong cinnamon. Left a bitter hang.

M- Light bodied with good carbonation.

D- Drinkable, but not for me.

Note: In all fairness this is not a type of beer I usually drink. My ratings are on the poor side, but they're definitely skewed due to my preference of stouts and porters. Maybe a great beer if you enjoy this style. Worth a try. Certainly not a favorite of mine.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2009 06:50:16 | More by Gremner
Photo of katan


3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz into a pint

A - Pours a brown color, extremely clear and filtered. Head formation is strong, well retained. Just a bit off white. Light bubbling.

S - Light caramel and roasted malts. A light spicing, perhaps cinnamon. No hops detected. A fairly straightforward simple nose.

T - Starts off with a light malt sweetness, some caramel, toffee notes. Light spicing. Mid-stream gets more bready, not bitter, without any hop bite. Finishes with a yeast note that would certainly remind me of a marzen. Aftertaste is the only bitterness I would say is present. Generally, the taste is very light - an indication that perhaps this micro-macro isn't trying to take risks.

M - Moderate body, a combination of some malty sugars and just a bit of carbonation bite. Leaves behind a chewy grainy sensation.

D - Very easy to drink. Manageable ABV. Certainly is a winter warmer to me, as the malty notes go well against a cold Iowa night.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2009 05:38:54 | More by katan
Photo of jlindros


3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Recently realized I hadn't reviewed this beer, one of the beers that helped me get into the craft beer scene.

A: Pours a large 2 finger head that is pretty rich and slowly bides back. A very clear amber orange reddish brown color like the glass is made of rust. The head leaves a lacing on the glass as it fades.

N: Lots of sweet malts start this beer. Almost a syrupy molasses like nose, but just slightly. A slight toasty malt aroma also makes its way in there with a touch of nutty aroma. Some crystal malt and other darker malts really hammer out the aroma and finishes with a touch of some spicy earthy malts.

T: Starts very lightly sweet with some dark malts, a little but of a syrupy like molasses or some other syrup taste. Then comes some nutty flavors, almost nutmeg but not really, as well as some interesting crystal and other dark malt flavors. It has a strange toasty syrupy flavor to it that is pretty reminiscent of winter beers. A light crisp lager taste hides in the background as well. A slight spicy and earthy hop flavor bitters the palate but ever so slightly, perhaps more hops would be nice.

M: Medium body, not too light or heavy, good carbonation.

F: Finishes a little sweet still, a little drier would make it even nicer. The dark malt and syrupy flavor sticks around (pun intended) as it clings to the sides of the mouth and the tongue for a short while leaving the sticky flavor. A slight bitterness and spicy earthy hop flavor remain at the finish, but don't get stronger at all.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2009 03:49:01 | More by jlindros
Photo of brownbeer


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

Pours amber with a tan head.

Smells a lot like they've spiced Boston Lager. Quite a malt character with ginger, orange, and peppery hops.

Taste has a caramel sweetness that lasts through the swallow. Fades into a gingery, hoppy spiciness.

Medium bodied and slightly syrupy leads to a quick and smooth drink, though, not the most exciting.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2009 03:03:29 | More by brownbeer
Photo of dfillius


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

Poured into a pint glass
A: Moderate pour yields 1/2 finger of cream colored head with okay retention. Hazy reddish brown auburn liquid. Why are there chunks within?
S: Caramel, coffee, not an obvious hop character. Good not terribly complex.
T: Sweet, crisp, malt dominant. Some cooked veggie. Solid bock.
M: Nice but the bit of cooked veggie weirdness is the worst part of the beer.
D: Good. I'd order another, and maybe 6 more.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2009 23:52:25 | More by dfillius
Photo of ewlarson

New Mexico

3.98/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a good head, darker brown that's on the clearer side

S: Smells great! Malty with the smell of cinnamon and ginger

T: Spiced well with malt and cinnamon

M: Is a full spiced and bitter winter lager. Thick and strong. Almost like a steak of a beer.

D: I would definitely drink this again. On tap it was especially great, well carbonated and sweet too.

I would definitely recommend this beer. Got this on tap, but I've had it on bottle before. It's still a great beer all around.

Serving type: on-tap

11-24-2009 18:34:48 | More by ewlarson
Photo of tjd112

New Jersey

3.9/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Picked it up from the A&P in West Patterson, and poured into a Flying Fish pint glass.

A - A dark copper color with a thick white head that dissipates quickly
S - Molasses with a bit of nutmeg
T - Taste follows the smell, but I detect more wheat with a hint of cinnamon.
M - Moderate to heavy mouthfeel
D - A very drinkable beer

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2009 18:31:27 | More by tjd112
Photo of CharlatanSin


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

Poured from the bottle into my lovely Hold Steady pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a black cherry soda color, with a small but sturdy-looking head. Not much lacing once we get started, though.

Smell: I'm hardly picking anything up on the smell. A bit of caramel, but not much more.

Taste: Some caramel sweetness, with a hint of nutmeg, which is countered by some orange bitterness. Decent earthy wheat taste. It's fairly balanced and pleasant, but all pretty muted.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and sturdy, with just the right amount of carbonation. Easy drinking.

Drinkability/Overall: It's certainly drinkable, and I wouldn't turn it down if offered to me, but it's just not that interesting. Does not compare favorably to Southern Tier's Old Man Winter, which I'd had the day before. There's nothing at all unpleasant about it, it's just tame.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2009 00:05:06 | More by CharlatanSin
Photo of BierFan


3.4/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Light tan head. Clear coppery dark orange/brown body. Head drops a little too fast.

Smell: Not much of the spice stands out in the smell. Faint wheat and molasses.

Taste: Definitely some cinnamon. Little bit of ginger as well? Pretty tasty but it's nothing to go too crazy over.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2009 01:45:55 | More by BierFan
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2009 04:05:44 | More by Nichts
Photo of mjurney


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

[Appearance]: Dark ruby red color, clear, lots of nice bubbles, foamy head, lacing looks pretty good on the glass. I really love the color of this beer, looks beautiful!!
[Smell]: Sweet robust malts, spice (cinnamon, with touch of ginger), mild grassy hops.
[Taste]: Bready up front, mild robust, spice (cinnamon and some little ginger), very mild grassy hop at the end.
[Mouthfeel/Finish]: Light bodied almost towards medium, but still kinda thin, carbonation is pretty good, finish off clean, slightly sweet aftertaste.
[Drinkability]: Pretty good beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2009 00:49:12 | More by mjurney
Photo of ImusBeer


3.58/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is a dark copper, lots of head white died in less than a minute, lots of lacing on side of the glass.

Has a clean malty aroma. Dominated by a malt bitter combo with sourness at the finish.

Mouth is light on tongue with some bitterness carbonation average. A good equal malt and bitterness drink, I've had this for an Evening and it's a good session beer.

Serving type: on-tap

11-19-2009 19:31:33 | More by ImusBeer
Photo of jamiesessions

South Carolina

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

Pours a clear, deep copper/amber hue with a tan head that leaves a very nice lacing. Smells slightly of hops, and a nice bouquet of other spices, but nothing really jumps out at me. Taste is very good. Malty, but with many spices, cinnamon, ginger, seem to be prominent, as well as fruits such as berries and even some caramel. Feels slightly more bodied than i was expecting, and quite a pleasant surprise. Goes down smooth and is a reasonably priced holiday favourite

Serving type: on-tap

11-19-2009 18:40:31 | More by jamiesessions
Photo of ommegoose


3.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a tulip glass. Deep copper color with some clarity. Head retention is not great, leaving only a half-ring after I took a few sips.

Bready with thick caramel malt. Some orange. Spices were a little lighter than expected, but seemed holiday-ish.

The spicy hop profile is the best part, setting it apart from most bocks. I probably wouldn't have identified it as such if that aspect was milder. Claims to be brewed with spices and wheat. Probably cinnamon. I don't taste anything that the noble hops couldn't accomplish. Citrus notes as well. I notice a lot more malt as I go on. Mildly sweet caramel flavor. It's really fairly similar to Boston Lager, and undoubtedly shares a lot of the same ingredients. The finish was a little on the heavy side though.

Very nice feel. While I couldn't say much about the wheat in the flavor profile, it likely is a contributor to the rich and smooth body.

This is a well-made brew and a good seasonal choice. One or two is all I would want. I don't find bocks to be imminently quaffable. I got bored with it by halfway through the second one. A cleaner finish would have made this a bit easier to drink. 5.8% is a little sneaky too.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2009 03:30:56 | More by ommegoose
Photo of bnes09


3.8/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Semi-transparent amber color. Thin white head that dissipates quickly.

Smell is interesting. Cinnamon and nutmeg come to mind, definetly a spice to it.

Taste of caramel with a cinnamon spice. Hops are a little faint. Nice malt backbone which provides a smoothness to balance. Overall, a crisp flavor that finishes on the dry side.

Light bodied with moderate carbonation. The spicy aftertaste clings to the palate for a while.

Overall, a decent brew yet pretty standard. Has some interesting flavors and is actually quite refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2009 01:26:18 | More by bnes09
Photo of mklinger

North Carolina

2.88/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

Serving type: bottle

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


3.35/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at a bar on Boylston Street. Served in a pint glass. Dark reddish brown color. Faint head and lacing. Smells a bit like cinnamon and pine. Taste was good but not great. Bit of caramel and toasted nuts noticed. Pretty malty beer. The body was a bit on the light side for a winter beer. Fairly simple to drink, not a beer to ponder. Easy beer to have with food or by itself. Another crowd pleaser from SA.

Serving type: on-tap

11-17-2009 00:41:29 | More by morebeergood
Photo of sweemzander


3.3/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle poured into an imperial pint. Best by April 2010.

(A)- Pours a clear brown amber color with a rapid dissipating gray head.

(S)- A sweet/dry maltiness & spices

(T)- Malty, with an orange peel & gingerbread cookie thing.

(M)- Good balance & carbonation level. Festive.

(D)- This is a good beer, but it just reminds me of a toned-down version of their Old Fezziwig Ale, which is much better than this.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2009 00:34:36 | More by sweemzander
Photo of MbpBugeye


3.13/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Poured into a pint, an average cream head forms and fades quickly. No lacing is left behind. The beer is a rich copper red.

S- Pretty nice smell. Malty and bready with spices and a sweetness. In all pretty tame.

T- Well balanced and mild. Not hugely malty, not much hop presence either. Starts smooth and sweet and finishes slightly bitter and spicy.

M- Smooth and clean. Nothing wrong here.

D- Goes down easy, but for me there is something in the spices that doesnt do it for me.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2009 05:21:12 | More by MbpBugeye
Photo of JohnL9013

New Jersey

3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sam Adams Winter Lager has always been something I've looked forward to, but the magic has kind of run out this year.

A: Typical dark lager, looks exactly like the Boston Lager. Unimpressive head with reasonable lacing.

S: The smell is a little subdued. There's a hint of malt and spices and nothing offensive, but nothing crazy.

T: I was surprised by how similar this is to the Boston Lager this year. It really just tastes like the Boston Lager but with some winter spices added. Is it good? Certainly... Boston Beer Co. could throw out their Boston Lager and replace it with this as far as I'm concerned, but I am disappointed with this lager this year... it's just far too light for a true winter lager... I am really surprised BA could possibly classify this as a bock with its balanced presentation and relatively low malt content for a bock.

M: Easy-going, there's a tad too much carbonation, though, but very clean.

D: One area where this beer excels is that it goes down so, so easily. I could drink this all night and be quite pleased.

Where did the winter lager that I had from Sam Adams two years ago go? I didn't get to try it last year, but I remember trying it a couple years ago and it being a little heartier and more "winter-like" than it currently is. Sam's needs to rework this beer. It's very good, but simply too light and boring.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2009 04:50:06 | More by JohnL9013
Photo of gatornation


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

had on tap at chilis it came in chilled mug a red/brown color with a very small head and thin lacing had a malty smell with some citrus..the taste was sweet malts and biscuits with some caramel and toffee taste it had some nice hops in the finish,,overall a typically good sam adams brew..not great but drinkable/enjoyable as most boston beers co. are

Serving type: on-tap

11-15-2009 02:11:05 | More by gatornation
Photo of abecall98


3.58/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Copper colored with a thin white lacing head

S - Grainy, like a powdery biscuit. Then hits the sweet notes of sugar and citrus. Not that pleasant.

T - starts off with a light hint of what tastes like orange, then gets sugary, and finishes with a light malt flavoring. Doesn't work all that well together, but still not bad.

M - Thin, and creamy. Very smooth and pleasant as it goes down

D - The beer is light enough to have all night, but the flavor is too light and offputting to make you want to do that.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2009 01:59:14 | More by abecall98
Photo of degerbah


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

Pours a red brown without much head. The head that is there is sticking around for a while. The smell is primarily of sweet malt with a slightly acidic smell. Possibly citrus. Tasty malt forward taste, slightly sweet. It's nothing special but I kind of like it. A good easy drinker with some flavor but I won't break the bank on it.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2009 23:20:28 | More by degerbah
Photo of njthebestofme

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- nice dark copper color white fluffy head.. giving away..

S- sweet to the nose with nice undertones of cinonmon.. malty and earthy wheaty

T- wow.. nice malty taste.. you can feel out the ginger and cinmon but not over powering.. wheaty to the nose and mouth

M- smooth and wheat..

D- i love it .. cheers and enjoy

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2009 05:40:47 | More by njthebestofme
Photo of taigor

New York

3.4/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap poured into pint glass.

A - Dark copper color with medium head that dissipates very quickly with no lacing.

S - Sweet malts with orange citrus and some other fruits.

T - Slightly sweet with hops and spices coming through at the end.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

D - Good winter bock with low abv.

Serving type: on-tap

11-13-2009 18:26:46 | More by taigor
Samuel Adams Winter Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
81 out of 100 based on 4,481 ratings.