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.

4,612 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,612
Reviews: 1,850
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 13.65%
Wants: 40
Gots: 254 | 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: 4,612 | Reviews: 1,850 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bgraney
3.9/5  rDev +8.6%

Golden/amber with a fluffy tan/white head
Aroma is a balanced mix of malt/hops with a hint of something that smelled citrusy to me in the background.
Full flavored lager with a crisp, fresh malt taste that fades to hops.
A little thin, flavors don't linger or expand much.
Very drinkable. I found it smooth and relaxing.
When in the mood for a lager I would definitely go for this one when available.

bgraney, Oct 26, 2006
Photo of Dizzy
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%

Pours a darker shade of copper with a light tan head, leaving some lacing on the glass. Aroma is carmel like malts and spices. Nice malty flavor with evident spices. I wish the flavor was a little more assertive, but its good. Drinkability is high, this is one of my favorite Sam Adam's seasonals.

Dizzy, Oct 26, 2006
Photo of BurnsTau
4.13/5  rDev +15%

Pours a very nice deep copper/amber, small amount of head.

Smell is definitely sweet, hints of caramel, spices. Taste is malty sweetness, slight alchohol bite, a couple of other flavors in there like cinnamon, other spices. Finishes with very slight bitterness. As it warms up the aroma really picks up as well, making this beer a joy through and through. Carbonation is a bit on the medium-low, but it's still a pretty easy beer to drink.

I enjoyed it last year, enjoyed it in the sampler pack this year and am looking forward to buying a couple of six packs when I get the chance. Definitely one of the best winter beers I can buy around here, highly recommended.

BurnsTau, Oct 23, 2006
Photo of MrHolland
4.2/5  rDev +17%

Got this beer in a Samuel Adams winter classics 24-pack.
Poured into a pint glass, it is a nice dark burnt orange color with a nice frothy head.
Smell is malty with a spicy kick to it as well. Also has notes of orange peels and caramel.
Taste is very mild with notes of roasted malts and wheats, and has hops and the spices kick in at the end to make my mouth pucker and want some more.
Mouthfeel is very smooth and they keep the carbonation very suttle.
I am going to be consuming a lot of these during this winter, its only October.

MrHolland, Oct 22, 2006
Photo of yelterdow
3.55/5  rDev -1.1%

Fresh from this year's holiday 12-pack of goodies... March 2007 is notched on the label, I'm serving this is an imperial pint glass on a cool Fall evening in October.

Appearance- Pours a rich, amber chestnut that looks so smooth in the glass... a classic two-finger bone white head slowly subsides to a complete, unbroken cap atop the beer. Bubbles are tiny and very uniform, and there's very little lacing.

Smell- The first thing I noticed after immediately cracking this one open was the dark malty notes coming forth. The spices here are confusing and not easily identifiable... I'm getting a lot more bread and yeast with a little more citrus (orange peel) than holiday spices.

Taste- As with this year's Octoberfest release, I'm pleasantly surprised with the big biscuity character on the palate. For a winter warmer, this lacks the depth of flavor and intensity that I think belongs in a beer of this style... but the hint of ginger and orange peel makes this a delicious and unique beer regardless. The roasty malt backbone adds some welcome richness to the texture, and a wheaty huskiness rides nicely alongside.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- This beer's rolling and slick carbonation is certainly enjoyable, and it further punctuates the nice balance of all ingredients. This is an easy, drinkable, relatively light winter warmer... not the nightcap that finishes off a backbreaking day shoveling snow out of your driveway.

yelterdow, Oct 21, 2006
Photo of rustymoore
4.22/5  rDev +17.5%

Sam Adams consistently puts out good stuff and this seasonal is no exception. Pours an amber orange with a thick head and minimal lacing. Smells reminiscent of trappists brews. Dried fruits hops and spice. Minimal alcohol hint. Taste is smooth with a flavorful burst. Not watered down. This lager is highly drinkable as a sipper or as a weekend warriors' ale.

rustymoore, Oct 19, 2006
Photo of stephendr
3.48/5  rDev -3.1%

Amber color- tan head – malt, nutmeg, salt nose- malt, chocolate, prunes, orange taste- medium body- aftertaste malty Amber color- tan head – malt, nutmeg, salt nose- malt, chocolate, prunes, orange taste- medium body- aftertaste malty Amber color- tan head – malt, nutmeg, salt nose- malt, chocolate, prunes, orange taste- medium body- aftertaste malty

stephendr, Aug 06, 2006
Photo of planetscott
4.25/5  rDev +18.4%

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. Appearance is amber/red. A decent head that lingers for just a few minutes. The smell is spicy with a distinct toasty bread aroma. The taste is pleasant and never overpowering when you consider this beer does have spices in it. Mouthfeel is about average. Certainly does not detract from the overall experince of this beer. Drinkability is above average as this is one brew I could drink year round. When it re-appears this winter, I plan on stocking up!

planetscott, Aug 02, 2006
Photo of AaronHomoya
3.85/5  rDev +7.2%

12 oz brown bottle from sampler pack.

Appearance is a red-amber color with a nice head. Has an interesting spicy and almost yeasty aroma. Taste is malty with some wheat flavor and some nutmeg, I believe. Mouthfeel is average and clean feeling. A nice, drinkable beer that is a bit light feeling for winter, I think, but nicely spiced for the time.

AaronHomoya, Jun 28, 2006
Photo of kirok1999
4.03/5  rDev +12.3%

12oz bottle.

Appearance- Dark amber with slight head that clings a little.

Smell- Sweet malt with some spice, orange, cinnamon, very little hop presence.

Taste- Sweet and spicy, cinnamon and alcohol warm at first, then orange and other spices take over.

Mouthfeel- Crisp and clean.

Drinkability- Nice but not my favorite seasonal; that would be Great Lakes Christmas Ale.

kirok1999, Jun 24, 2006
Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pt glass. The head comes up very thick, rich & creamy like the fluffy foam on a Starbucks Cap. A light tan color maybe off white. The liquid is a nice amber color muck like a good Marzen. Quite impressive looks all around

Smell is of faint Spice with a soft fruity yeast.

Taste is of pure creamy malt lightly spiced with a smooth & mild hop finish.

Mouthfeel is pretty nice good body smooth and creamy with a faint bite.

Drinkability is good. This is quite an enjoyable beer. I knew I liked it right from the first gulp.

Prost! MK

MuenchenerKindl, Jun 05, 2006
Photo of monkeytoe
3.43/5  rDev -4.5%

12-oz brown bottle with freshness date on the bottle.

Pours a reddish-amber with a finger and a half whipped-honey colored head.

Sweet caramel, and light spice and tangerine in the nose.

Plenty of caramel sweetness with spice and bit of mustiness. Each sip brings more complexity: orange, spice, burnt sugar, very mild hop bitterness, some roasted barley flavor.

Mouthfeel is full and slick, but finishes clean, not cloying.

Darn tasty, but I only want a glass or two. Really delicious with a couple of squares of a Cadbury Fruit and Nut bar.

monkeytoe, May 29, 2006
Photo of bodybyadam
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%

This seasonal is a dark wheat lager is always a favorite of mine, like many winter lagers.
-The bottle is an ordinary Sam Adams style kept original. Poured a translucent red amber color with a ½ inch head into my chalice. The nose is a malty hop. At first taste I notice the malt with an excellent hop blend and spices, enough to have a ginger-like taste. After savoring the glass for a bit you notice the definite raisin characteristic.
I really enjoy this lager because you can enjoy it as a sipper or another “regular”. Very smooth character and highly drinkable. This lager makes you rethink your stereotyping of BIG beer companies. Sam Adams sticks to its roots.

Elbows Up,

bodybyadam, May 09, 2006
Photo of Cwrw
3.9/5  rDev +8.6%

This one has been available in Alberta for a while, but I have always forgot to review it on here. Blue labelled 300ml bottle, with a bit on the back telling about the "Saigon Cinnamon" used in brewing this winter beer. The beer's colour is a lovely ruby/off purple colour that shimmers a hazy nectarine hue. The head is solid and billowy, slightly dimpled with good staying power. It stayed at perfect level, just topping the glass. The foam is a dirty dull white, hints of light red and brown throughout. Thick islands of lace. A great looking spiced beer, perfect for the dinner table in winter. The aroma is subtle and warming, with the promised cinnamon aroma and a light but grainy malt that is sweet but balanced with a little citrus hopping. There is some tangy lime or apricot in the smell, adding a little salinity. The tangy fruits actually become more pronounced the farther you go with this beer's aroma, and I found it a little odd. It just feels as though it should not be there next to the cinnamon and dark malts. However, besides that the aroma is very nice, with the likes of maple syrup, brown sugar, buttered bread, a little black licorice, and other anonymous spices. Inhaling in close with the nose very near there are some very sugary candy notes as well. All of this with no off-putting strongness or alcohol astringency; this is a very subtle but appetising aroma. Warm, soft, almost relaxing. The taste is medicinal and full of cinnamon and brown bread malts. There is some clove and and other spices that seem to remind me of my grandmother's kitchen. Cumin, caraway. Definite licorice and horehound here. The malts are nicely combined with the volume to give a light barleywine flavour as well. The taste is woody and vinous, with a full body and low, creamy carbonation. Drinkability is high, and this goes down easily in both winter and summer. A nice little dark lager. Fulfilling and easy to drink.

Cwrw, Apr 29, 2006
Photo of soultrain
3.73/5  rDev +3.9%

Poured into a Hennipen glass.

A-Amber clear, 2" beige head settles to 1/2" in about a minute.
S-Faint aroma of toasted caramel, vague "winter spices" cinnamon, etc.
T-Sweet start, dryish finish, "toast", spices (mostly cinnamon) are there, but pretty subtle.
M-light/light medium mouthfeel. Pretty light for a winter beer.
D-Very drinkable. A quaffer, and quite refreshing.

CRUX: PERFECT WINTER SNOW SHOVELING REFRESHER. Paired quite nicely with chicken and zucchini in a spicy (cinnimon, clove,) tagine sauce. Winter beer/ hot morrocan? My, my, How sophisticated!

soultrain, Apr 25, 2006
Photo of IronDjinn
4.15/5  rDev +15.6%

Managed to snag the last 6 of this at the Highlander liquor store, didn't even know it was available in the city. 2005 batch.

Tall sandy coloured tight spongy head on the pour that settles to a thin cap. Clear deep dark amber/chestnut tone, a more vibrant old copper/garnet when held to direct light. Sweet caramel malt and cinnamon aroma up front, with some nutmeg and light hops in the background. Sweet, sweet caramel malt flavour--almost to the point of be cloyingly sweet, but not quite--blends well with that Saigon cinnamon they mention on the back label, it's what also jumps to the forefront at first. Then comes some banana flavour, nutmeg, clove and some ginger, rounded out nicely with some light spicy hops. And the mouthfeel is gorgeous: full, rich and velvety smooth for any style of lager, it hugs you from the inside. It's a month before it's best before date still, and I'm fully enjoying this winter warmer on a hot sunny day in April. Good stuff, glad I happened across it at the last minute. Hope we get some more of this in next year.

IronDjinn, Apr 24, 2006
Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.6/5  rDev +0.3%

Appearance: Pours a crystal clear burnt orange color with a half-inch of tannish foam maintained by numerous bubbles rising. The head maintained for well over a minute though the number of rising bubbles tapered off a bit. There is some "splotchy" lacing left on the glass after drinking.

Aroma: The malt is in charge of the aroma with some noticeable Munich malt toastiness and a slight roasty contribution. Deeper in the aroma there is a dark caramel aroma to go along with a subtle spiciness. As the beer warms up a bit, the caramel plays a lot bigger role.

Taste: The flavor follows the aroma pretty well. There is a dominating caramel component that pretty much runs the show. There is quite a bit more hops noticeable in the flavor as in the aroma in that they contribute a soft floral balance to the sweetness of the malt. The malts stay in charge of the flavor profile, and the roast that I got in the nose is a big player in the finish of this beer. There is some bittering from the hops, but the roast give it a bitter acidic edge in the finish. Even though the content of this beer is pretty low, I get a bit of warming on the back of the throat late in the finish.

Opinion: Well, this isn't too bad of a beer. It is quite sweet and a bit one sided for my opinion. I would prefer a bit more of a dry contribution form the grain bill to balance the caramel. As it is, the sweet caramel and roast run the show, and there is a bit of floral hops thrown in to obscure the mix. It is an all right beer, but I will be looking to see what is next to it in the cooler next time.

SkeeterHawk, Apr 15, 2006
Photo of Drew966
4/5  rDev +11.4%

Samuel Adams Winter Lager pours a very nice copper color with a fluffy off white head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. I like the aroma, it has a bit of citrus in it. Taste is nicely balanced, hoppy and a little citrusy. Pretty darn good for a lager, nice and flavorful. Well worth a try.

Drew966, Apr 09, 2006
3.73/5  rDev +3.9%

A - 1" beige head. Retains well at 1/4". Good lacing. Clear amber, orange liquid.

S - Malty. Spice - clove. Rich aroma. Spicecake.

T - Bread. Malt. Spice. Some sweetness. Fruitcake - ginger, cinnamon. Hint of sour wheat.

M - A little on the thin side. Mild carbonation.

D - OK drinkability. Becomes a little overly sweet towards the end. A decent Sam Adams beer.

Photo of BlueHammer
3.63/5  rDev +1.1%

This beer is poured from the bottle... the pour is nice, with a decent amount of head that is a light creamy color. The beer pours something of a reddish-amber color. That decent head disappears fast, no lacing.

Taste is good but similar to a lot of other beers. I often have this beer on tap, because it is the best choice out of a lot of not-so-spectacular choices (i.e., Bud, Coors) at a restaurant I frequent.

The taste starts out on the sweeter side but finishes more on the bitter side. It's a pleasant, familiar taste.

Sam Winter is a decently-priced seasonal choice. It's enjoyable but not particularly memorable.

BlueHammer, Mar 13, 2006
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.45/5  rDev -3.9%

12oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a deep copper color with a short and foamy off-white head and leaves a thick, even lace.

S: Fruitiness & malt with some hops and a slight bit of cinnamon.

T: I’m tasting berry and citrus malt sweetness and the distinct Sam Adams hops flavor, but not much else. It’s not a bad taste, just not anything special.

M: Very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, not as thick as other winter seasonals that I’ve had and it’s a little sweeter and yet more crisp than the Sam Adams Old Fezziwig Ale.

D: It’s not over-powering and goes down easy, not very filling.

I’ve liked all of the beers that I’ve had from Boston Beer Co. so far. However I’m not quite as impressed with this beer as I have been with their others. It seems more like a hybrid of their Boston Lager and their Old Fezziwig Ale with a bit more sweetness.

TheManiacalOne, Mar 09, 2006
Photo of nitemarebrewer
3.58/5  rDev -0.3%

Good head, fades to a scum on top. Healthy carbonation.
Amber hue. Smells malty and slightly hoppy.
Mouthfeel is unremarkable.
Tastes like it smells, clean. Almost no aftertaste.Very drinkable. Tastes like a lager.
I could put away a few of these and not get bored with the taste or bloated.

nitemarebrewer, Mar 07, 2006
Photo of dauss
3.7/5  rDev +3.1%

Presentation: 12oz brown bottle with Sam Adams raise in lettering below the neck. The bottle I have in front of me says it is a Winter Brew. A dark wheat malt liquor brewed with winter spices(Thank you Texas Alcoholic Beverage Comission nazis). A notch by April is on this bottle.

Appearance: slightly hazy deep amber color. A decent tan head forms on top with good retention.

Smell: Definite malt sweetness, some caramel, toffee, light citrus, cinnamon, ginger, and a touch of alcohol. Sorta does smell like the holidays, has a gingersnap aroma that is mediocre when compared to Anchor's OSA.

Taste: Medium bodied sweet malt starts it off. Slight cinnamon flavor with some spicyness. Finishes with toffee, caramel, and a touch of astringency.

Notes: not bad. Its a little on the bland side. The aroma is good and the flavor upfront is good also, but it just fades too fast in the finish.

dauss, Mar 04, 2006
Photo of normZurawski
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%

Not a bad tasting beer. Sometimes I have to remind myself that SA isn't a macro brew, and they do produce a decent beer. This Winter Lager is an example of that, having a smooth spicy body with only a slightly rough finish. That finish, plus the aroma which I find generally unpleasant, is what keeps this from being a solid 4.0/good beer for me. All in all, the taste is good, as is the drinkability. Plus it looks good. So it's got that going for it, which is nice.

Second bottle of this reinforces what I thought on the first. It's not exceptionally smooth. It's not entirely rough, but it doesn't have smooth edges, as they say. A slight hoppy bitterness on the mid-late body gives it an interesting delivery on the spices. I'm not refined enough to say what those spices are - suffice it to say that they're patently winter-esque without being overly so, like this year's Anchor winter offering was. Some taste maltiness in this, which I get mostly in the finish. Again, a decent beer. Worth a try.

normZurawski, Mar 04, 2006
Photo of elricorico
3.58/5  rDev -0.3%

Pours almost cherry red with a foamy head that has a bit of pink in it. The head is slowly backing off as I type, however it seems to have some staying power.

I'm not finding much in the smell, maybe a faint grassiness and a hint of berry juice, but it is faint enough that it may just be my imagination. As it warmed I did note some cinammon starting to become apparent in the aroma.

Taste is much more interesting than the smell was. Starting off with a semi sweet, light berry flavour, the rest of the mouth receives a spice mix that is at once a bit peppery and a bit tart. The finish is grainy, but light, and a touch of cinammon can be found there if you look for it. Not much hops in the end.

Mouthfeel is fairly good for a lager, it is full with a lively carbonation that enhances the beer and is not coarse. Drinkability is very good, especially on a chilly winter night.

Worth having, this is a beer I wouldn't mind revisiting whenever it becomes available.

elricorico, Feb 22, 2006
Samuel Adams Winter Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
81 out of 100 based on 4,612 ratings.