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.

4,503 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)
View: Beers (129) |  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: 4,503 | Reviews: 1,850 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Tilley4


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

This is SO much better on tap... Beautiful dark amber color with a pillowy head...

Spicy wheaty aroma... Delicious...

Starts out wheaty and melds into a beautifully spiced brew... Love it..

Drinkability is scary on this...

I can't believe how much better this is on tap.. Its like a different brew...

Serving type: on-tap

01-14-2009 17:39:39 | More by Tilley4
Photo of fostwal


3.1/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A nice beer for a change of pace. But not one of Sam's best. It has a dark and clear amber color. The scent is ok, but with a slight banana like smell. Its fairly well carbonated and light on the dark roasted malt taste. Actually, its light on both hops and malt. Its easy to drink. Just not something that I would seek out.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2009 01:01:03 | More by fostwal
Photo of gciccarelli


3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into pint glass.

A - Dark amber/read with tan 1 finger head. Very clear. Good head retention.

S - Spice, citrus, but somewhat faint.

T - Malt upfront which leads to spice notes. Slight hop presence. Very nice balance and taste overall.

M - Medium body, medium carbonation. Leaves a nice coating. Good.

D - Nice balanced taste and good mouthfeel make this a very drinkable beer.

A pretty good beer from Sam Adams - not overpowering, but solid nonetheless.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2009 02:56:42 | More by gciccarelli
Photo of charliedango


2.45/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This was a bock?

Sorry, but it tasted pretty much like every other Sam Adams I've had up to this point (with the exception of Cream Stout, still good!). For a moment I'll expand on that because it needs to be said. The mouthfeel was a bit thicker than standard lagers, but overall I never got the feel that I was drinking a bock.

Goose Island has consistently put out bad tasting beer. Sam Adams has put out some decent beer, but it all starts tasting the same after a while.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2009 02:49:38 | More by charliedango
Photo of echdk3


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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a mug

A_Bright fiery red color, glowing, translucent, lively. Nice off white bubbly head. Nice

S_Lots of ripe fruits, citrus. Could be a little more complex

T_Taste doesn't match the smell surprisingly. There is a nice warming alcohol taste. Also some really nice cinnamon. Can't believe this is a lager

M_Medium-high carbonation. Fairly light body and not too much gum sticking. Not bad but nothing special

D_Lots of spices and light body, high repeatability. Not offensive

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2009 00:46:19 | More by echdk3
Photo of tigg924


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

Appearance: a dark clear amber pour small carbonation and small head

Smell: soft caramel, spice--maybe cinnamon, small hops

Taste: slightly hoppy with cinnamon

Mouthfeel: smooth with a slightly bitter finish

Drinkability: I like it. It is not offensive. It tastes like a very tame IPA with a touch of spices

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2009 06:50:18 | More by tigg924
Photo of jderflinger


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

Had this beer a few different times, Both on tap and in bottle. As with most beers I do prefer it on tap

A - Dark Amber color, about two finger head on it with bubbles rising seductively up the sides of the glass

S - smells good very slight notability of a spice in it

T - Very clean and crisp with hints of spice.

M - a good mouthfeel, slightly thick.

D - Very drinkable. Very clean taste that lingers on the palate.

A beer I am glad to see arrive on tap in winter. A its thicker then some of the other seasons by SA but then again its winter and that is the best time to drink all thicker darker beers in my opinion.

A very good beer. Worth the cost and enjoyed every time I have the opportunity to enjoy it.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2009 04:12:27 | More by jderflinger
Photo of baseballrock


4.08/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

appearance - dark clear orange with a small head and no lace.

smell - faint aroma of spice and cinnamon.

taste - sweet malts upfront with faint cinnamon in the back, then it finishes with some slight hop bitterness. nice flavors, with nothing really over powering

mouthfeel - clean and crisp

drinkability - great, really easy to go through a six pack each with some good company.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2009 06:31:52 | More by baseballrock
Photo of Phillyduke


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

A: 12 oz NR with a March 2009 "Best By" date notched on the label poured into a SA glass. Beer is crystal clear and a deep amber red with very active carbonation and a 1-2 finger head of dense off-white foam. Head shows decent retention and leaves some fine lacing as it recedes down the sides of the glass.

S: lager yeast, mellow holiday spices (cinnamon and ginger), rich caramel malts, and a touch of herbal graininess.

T/M: Medium-bodied with a smooth sweetness from the caramel malt balanced by the less-than-aggressive spicing and hop back bite. No one flavor is really taking the lead, rather they all blend together quite nicely and evenly. Malty sweetness builds at the front over time, but a slightly dry finish remains. Gentle carbonation tingles the palate.

D/O: Although this is classified as a bock, I'm reviewing it against a style I feel is more suited for comparison: Winter Warmers. To that end it's a tasty, accessible winter brew that should appeal to the masses, but compared against other better holiday spiced beers, it's rather unremarkable. These are great to keep on hand during the yuletide season for those that may be put off by more aggressive or powerful seasonal offerings, and the drinkability is high for those times you want to have a few throughout the course of a winter's evening without thinking too much about what you're drinking.

That being said, there are better holiday spiced beers out there, which is a shame, as I understand this isn't nearly as "big" a beer as it used to be. I wish I had been able to sample earlier releases so I would have a basis for comparison.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2009 21:50:23 | More by Phillyduke
Photo of StarlightSeraph

North Carolina

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

Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Poured a crystal-clear dark reddish-amber with a three-finger frothy white head. Very small bubbles in the head. Left a good bit of lacing.

Smell: Sweet spices. Apple and clove predominate. Almost no detectable hops.

Taste: Sweet. Apple and clove are the dominant flavors, with hints of nutmeg. A mild hoppy bitterness kicks in in the aftertaste to remind you that yes, this is beer.

Mouthfeel: Thin and highly carbonated. Good for this kind of beer.

Drinkability: A solid winter beer, and very sessionable. It was one of the beers I drank before I really got into craft beers, and I still enjoy it.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2009 02:45:20 | More by StarlightSeraph
Photo of adamette


3.93/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Best by date of May (presumably 2009). Opened and consumed 1 6 09.

Poured into my clean, clear DFH pint glass.

A Pours a translucent medium brown with a 2 inch white tan head that sticks around for a minute or two. Kind of basic but nothing bad.

S Pleasant enough and smells like a basic ale actually. I smell distant spices only, maybe some cinnamon.

T Nice Brown ale taste with some cinnamon but nothing really strong. It was really a pleasant surprise.

M Thin to moderate. Nice.

D Really good.

Notes: A nice lager that tastes a lot like a nice brown ale with minimal spicing.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2009 00:19:03 | More by adamette
Photo of Onenote81

North Carolina

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

Had this on tap at the First Street Draught House here in town. Came out a tawny amber-ish color with a nice inch and a half head that retained well. Great lacing rings along the glass edge. Smells of roasted caramel, and some spices.

Nice and crisp beer, but smooth also. Easy drinker. Tastes of aforementioned roasted caramel, and high malt. Light bitterness on this one. Very good winter brew. Recommend.

Serving type: on-tap

01-08-2009 18:51:25 | More by Onenote81
Photo of DmanGTR


4.4/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - poured an orange amber with a 1" head that disappeared quickly with decent lace

S - wow, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, caramel malts, and holiday desserts!

T - Malty sweet with hints of spices in the aftertaste

M - light/medium bodied, decent carbonation, very smooth, slightly chewy

D - extremely easy to drink

Overall - This is one of the best winter beers around. A must try for all, a refill for me!

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2009 06:24:36 | More by DmanGTR
Photo of ShaneBertou

New York

4.03/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was a bit disappointed to see little to no head as I poured it into my pint glass. What little head there was did leave behind a little bit of lacing, so I have hope for it on draught.

The color was perfect. A deep caramel with a hint of amber. Exactly the way I like my beer to look in a glass. The initial smell didn't impress me much, and lowered my expectations for the taste.

I really like the taste of this beer as well. There's a hint of their traditional Boston Lager to it, but with a touch of citrus and ginger. Very tasty.

Drinkability is pretty good. Light enough that I could have a couple before feeling too full.

All in all, a pretty darn good beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2009 03:06:14 | More by ShaneBertou
Photo of nickynick


3.93/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Samuel Adams Winter Lager poured a nice dark amber color with a nice tan head. The smell was light, with caramel and a hint of hops. The taste was a light sweetness, faintest hint of hops. After it warmed more caramel was present . The mouthfeel was ok. Drinkability was nice. Overall this is a decent bock, a good beer with some nice flavor.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2009 20:55:17 | More by nickynick
Photo of phantomwyse


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

A: Soft mahogany body with a well formed two finger head of off white.

S: Lots of malts, caramel with a wheat aroma. Slightly sweet and a bit of discrete hoppiness.

T: Warmed caramel, just a bit of dry chocolate, light spice profile, bit of orange floor cleaner, balancing hops.

M: Crisp and well carbonated, slightly dry.

D: Typical Sam Adams -- competently brewed, but certainly not offensive for the public en-masse.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2009 15:15:42 | More by phantomwyse
Photo of DannyS

New York

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

Served in a glass beer mug, poured from a bottle.

A - mahogany, dark amber with a short but very long-lasting head.

S - Something slightly sour noticed in the aroma, but still nice and hoppy.

T - The hoppy taste hits when sipped but quickly dissapates with little bitter aftertaste. The spices add longevity to the otherwise pleasant yet fleeting taste on the palate.

M - Thin, but the fizz is smooth like champagne.

D - Definitely not a good idea to down a six pack of this one in one sitting, but two or three could be knocked back easily.

Once again, another perfectly good offering from Sam Adams. Not my first pick for winter beers, but definitely acceptable.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2009 04:06:23 | More by DannyS
Photo of kbeals

North Carolina

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2009 02:29:20 | More by kbeals
Photo of Silenus89


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

Poured from 12oz to pint glass

A. Deep amber color, head quickly dissipates

S. Sweet malts..

T. Mix of malts and a metallic after taste

M. Mouth feel is watery, crisp carbonation

D. Pretty drinkable but not the best winter beer to have. Ill pass

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2009 06:58:11 | More by Silenus89
Photo of mjw06


2.98/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Transparent cherry red appearance, small beige color head that dissipates quickly and leaves little lacing if any at all.

S - Sweet cherry scent, with hint of spices, yeast, and whiskey

T- Initial malt flavors with bitter hoppy and liqour-like alcohol finish and unpleasant aftertaste

M - Watery and smooth, little carbonation that carries a strong presence however

D - Drinkable, however im not so sure i would go out of my way to have another. Doesnt pack the presence and flavor that id expect from a winter beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2009 06:30:00 | More by mjw06
Photo of SickBrew


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

This brew poured into a pilz glass with two full fingers of persistence off white head that left some nice lacing behind.

Nose is good balanced combo of rich malts, spices and hops. Taste is good and is a nice change from some of the over produced holiday beers. It is smooth and balanced on the palate with a combination of moderately rich malts, sweet caramel, holiday spices and a nice hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium and the carbonation level leaves an extra smooth almost creamy finish. Two thumbs up on this one.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2009 23:42:49 | More by SickBrew
Photo of CHSLBrew


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

Poured into an imperial pint glass.

A-Clear dark-amber beer, topped with a minimal off-white head off a vigorous pour, reduced quickly to nothing.

S-Spicy, with a prominent cinnamon aroma. Some slight maltiness, toasty and almost fruity at times, moves in to support the spices.

T-Cinnamon and spices with toasty, almost sweet maltiness. Minimal bitterness near the end helps this beer finish clean.

M-Medium-high carbonation, with a medium body bordering on the light side. Leaves my mouth feeling crisp.

D-This is a good beer, very drinkable and a classic winter seasonal. This beer probably has a lot of nostalgic appeal, as it's one of the earlier craft beers that I encountered. Beyond the nostalgia, though, this one is a good one.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2009 02:16:30 | More by CHSLBrew
Photo of GWaters

New Hampshire

3.28/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

As far as Winter/Holiday beers go, the Sam Winter Lager is a hesitant winter beer. I do find some spiciness, and fruit, but not enough to categorize this as a winter beer - in my humble opinion.

That stated, I do think this beer is very drinkable, and enjoyable. For the money, I would still go with the Sam Adams Winter Porter, or Old Fezziwig.

Pour: Dark amber with a slight eggshell colored head that leaves some lacing.

Smell: Light spiciness, maybe some orange peel, floral hops like regular Boston Lager. Not an obvious winter/holiday ale.

Taste: Smooth but basically tastes like a toned down Sam Adams Boston Lager. Just a touch of spiciness, not really detecting the cinnamon, but there is something in there. If you serve at room temp, you may get a bit more malt out of it.

Drinkability: Pretty drinkable because its smooth and light but nothing interesting.

This beer is average in my opinion. It doesn't take any risks, and just gets by as usual.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2009 22:09:04 | More by GWaters
Photo of diabecktic


3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer is quite aesthetically pleasing, to say the least. The beer itself is a transulcent dark shade of red - almost like a ripening black cherry. The tan head (~1.5 fingers thick) has great formation, retention, and lacing.

The label describes it best. It's a very hoppy smell that's accented with mild citrus, cinnamon, and spice tones. As expected, the spice most closely resembles ginger. Overall, it's fairly strong.

The taste matches the nose well, but the balance seems to be skewed a bit. Hoppiness dominates (like many of the Sam Adams lagers) and then fades into the malt. The cinnamon flavor is stronger than the smell would indicate.

Someone below said the brew is "chunky" or "chewy." I'd say that it's quite thick, but not THAT thick. A tad creamy - apparently characteristic of the boch.

This is definately a sipper. The flavor is excellent, so you don't want to drink it too quickly. I don't know if I'd call it a "dessert beer," but drinkability isn't that bad for a thicker beer.

Just what I'd expect from the Boston Beer Company. I don't know how unique this brew is in terms of a winter seasonal, but it's put together very well. It's said that you must look at the whole picture to appreciate it; you would be wise to do the same with this one. It's quite hearty and will definately keep you warm during the cold months - a must-try.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2009 03:09:56 | More by diabecktic
Photo of Cyberkedi


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

Color is a nice clear coppery amber with a decent head. Aroma is fairly strong, malty with a firm undertone of spice and a hint of caramel. Flavor matches the aroma, malty and spicy with caramel and nutty hints. Texture is lively and jazzy, leaving a pleasing finish.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2009 20:13:24 | More by Cyberkedi
Samuel Adams Winter Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
81 out of 100 based on 4,503 ratings.