1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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.

4,666 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,666
Reviews: 1,851
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 13.65%
Wants: 43
Gots: 282 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Samuel Adams Winter Lager Alström Bros
Ratings: 4,666 | Reviews: 1,851 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of donteatpoop
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

All these years and I've never had the Winter Lager. And having tried it now I am kicking myself for not having grabbed this before.

This beer pours a clear brown color with a vague rose hue to it, a nice cap of beige head sits atop early on but soon fades to a ring of foam around the outside perimiter of the brew.

The smell is primarily sweet and spice, no real hops to notice. Some lingering scent of ginger. Overall not as present as I would like.

The taste is really rich, the carmel and other spiced malts hit the palate first, notes of ginger playing at the tongue throughout. An excellent offering from SA

donteatpoop, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of Kromes
3.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: The beer is very clear and a brownish amber color. There is a decent off white head at first that quickly fades to a thin line of bubbles.

S: A bit of toasted malt and a little earthy hop with honey and ginger notes. At first it wasn't very aromatic, I think I had it too cold. Once the beer warms up a little, the nice aromas start emerging.

T: The ginger flavor starts right up front and continues all the way into the finish. There is a nice sweet toasted malt flavor in the background and there is also a citrus peel bitterness to the flavor.

M: The carbonation level is good and the mouthfeel is somewhat dry in the finish. It is pretty nice.

D: This is a one off beer. I don't think I would want to have more than one due to the strong ginger flavor, but it is tasty when you are in the mood for a winter spice beer.

Kromes, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of drabmuh
3.7/5  rDev +3.1%
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.

drabmuh, Dec 01, 2009
Photo of SkunkWorks
3.38/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this in a 2009 Winter Variety pack. Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours out a reddish brown color with plentiful carbonation. Small head with almost no retention and doesn't really leave much lacing behind it. The aroma is almost non-existent. A little malt but that's all.

The flavor is mostly malt with some spice flavors in there. The malt comes first and some spice towards the tail end. Overall, its a little thin on flavor on mouthfeel. Its pretty drinkable though due to the thinness.

Overall, this beer is kind of unremarkable. I expected something better than this but it kinda let me down. Boston Lager is a good deal better.

SkunkWorks, Dec 01, 2009
Photo of cottonkoozie
3.6/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Nice slightly tan head that could have better retention, but leaves excellent lacing. Beer is a deep reddish brown color. Looks great.

S - Spiced malts, smells good, but not much more than that.

T - Malty to start, moving toward spices, and then finishing a nicely spiced hops flavor. Some underlying metallic taste however, which was enough to drop the score for me.

M - It is average, nothing more to say really. Does not impress me in either a positive or negative way.

D - Good drinkability.

Overall a good beer out of those that are readily available. Like others from Sam Adams though, better beers out there for the money, but they are harder to find.

cottonkoozie, Nov 30, 2009
Photo of sixerofelixir
3.1/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Drinking a few 12 ounce bottles from a Samuel Adams Winter Classics 12 pack:

Looks nice. Clear and coppery, with a frothy, tan head. Not too much going on with the smell. First taste is all smoky malt, going into some bitter and spice. What really is distracting from this bottle is a metallic bent in the aftertaste. The body is thin, and I'm left remembering how this beer was a bit bolder in years past. I may have sampled from an "off" batch, though.

sixerofelixir, Nov 29, 2009
Photo of ujsplace
3.35/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an oversized pint glass.

A: Pours an amber color with a thick chunky tannish-white head.

S: Burnt malt and herbal hops.

T: Nicely balanced malts and hops. Burnt caramel, herbal hop bitters.

M: Medium with fair carbonation, smooth and well balanced.

D: A good winter lager. Very good in terms of balance. Good stuff for the price/style...

ujsplace, Nov 29, 2009
Photo of magine
3.85/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass.

Pours an amber color brew, off white head, minimal lace. Head settles to a small island f lace.

Has a sweet malt smell - caramel, spices.

The brew has a sweet spice malt flavor, smooth with a subtle spice mouthfeel. Can taste the nutty flavors as well. Very well balanced - solid.

This brew is very good - a yearly tradition for me and my fellow beer drinkers, and rightfully so.

magine, Nov 29, 2009
Photo of OnThenIn
3.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A finger of light tan head on top of a gorgeous amber colored beer.

Smell: Hops add a nice peppery aroma with a good amount of sweet malt balancing it out.

Taste: I wasn't expecting much, but in comparison to SABL this is a step up. I could taste some nice nutty flavors and has sweet caramel flavor. You can tell the earthy and somewhat spicy hop presence that was seen in the nose. Nice and bready with some spices like ginger present.

Mouthfeel: A little overly carbonated and medium bodied.

Drinkability: This has a bit more flavor than Samuel Adams Boston Lager and was definitely enjoyable. The finish was really great and a little less carbonation would have helped with drinkability, but this beer would go incredible well with Thanksgiving dinner.

OnThenIn, Nov 28, 2009
Photo of Spineypanda
3.63/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Has a copper color, with a small but lasting head.
Smells of hops and some floral notes with a bit of esters.
Tastes like cinnamon and cloves with the hints of hops that you could smell before.
Has good carbonation and is a good beer.

I would buy this again.

Spineypanda, Nov 27, 2009
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.

Gremner, Nov 26, 2009
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.

katan, Nov 26, 2009
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.

jlindros, Nov 26, 2009
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.

brownbeer, Nov 26, 2009
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.

dfillius, Nov 24, 2009
Photo of ewlarson
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.

ewlarson, Nov 24, 2009
Photo of tjd112
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

tjd112, Nov 24, 2009
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.

CharlatanSin, Nov 24, 2009
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.

BierFan, Nov 23, 2009
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.

Nichts, Nov 22, 2009
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.

mjurney, Nov 22, 2009
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.

ImusBeer, Nov 19, 2009
Photo of jamiesessions
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

jamiesessions, Nov 19, 2009
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.

ommegoose, Nov 19, 2009
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.

bnes09, Nov 19, 2009
Samuel Adams Winter Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
81 out of 100 based on 4,666 ratings.