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.

4,892 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 4,892
Reviews: 1,866
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 13.65%
Wants: 58
Gots: 383 | 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: 4,892 | Reviews: 1,866 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dmamiano
3.15/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this one tonight at my favorite local watering hole.
Beer was a deep amber almost red with a small head and minimal lacing.
The nose was a bit sweet with hints of malt and spice.
Taste was extremely average, no hops to speak of and a grainy flavor, with a touch of malt and spice.
Mouthfeel , well, rather ordinary.
A drinkable beer, but not outstanding by any standards.

dmamiano, Feb 10, 2007
Photo of mountdew1
3/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into pint glass. Had a nice red color, looked appealing. The head was thin and disappeared quickly. Aroma was bitter and hoppy. Tasted of dough with slighty spicy hints. Felt ok in the mouth, not to thick or thin. Fairly easy to drink, flavor and mouthfeel didn't do too much either way. I'm not a fan of hoppy beers, so I definately prefer the some of the other winter seasonals like the Fezziwigs.

mountdew1, Feb 09, 2007
Photo of GrillMeister
4.05/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this because of it's blue label went with the colors of the Indianapolis Colts for the Super Bowl party.
I like it. It is very drinkable, just a nice blend of flavors and a good mouthfeel. I think winter ales are becoming my favorite types of beers.

GrillMeister, Feb 05, 2007
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

sample: 12 oz bottle best before june '07.

two twelve oz bottles poured into a giant mug.

AP: A nice vibrant red-hued amber color, clear and very active looking. A moderate pour created a one finger thick, off-white, foamy and totally even head that displays good retention and leaves some nice sticky lacing oozing down slowly.

Nose: A whiff of nutmeg-like sweetness, cinnemon and brown sugar over a doughy and hearty smelling malt dominated nose. There's an herbalized hop current underneath.

Taste: A doughy, and mildly sweet malted flavor with hints of nutmeg and brown sugar sweetness, mild cinnemon and spices, not overly spiced but just enough to make it interesting. There's an undercurrent of tangy and herbalized hops that balnces this out pretty well.

MF: A pretty hefty feeling medium bodied brew. It has a smooth feel from the well retained head and a good crisp bite because of the lively nature.

DA: This Winter season Lager has a good amount of depth and charechter. I'm on my third one.

GratefulBeerGuy, Feb 04, 2007
Photo of PEBKAC
3/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I was thirsty, so my first beer of the night came in looking pretty fine. The server cropped the head, placed a coaster, smiled, & then asked for my money. That's when reality set in.

Brown & hollow, with just enough head to keep it from being monotone. No movement. A sharp, peculiar fruity funk mixed with a crusty butter pecan sampling.

Taste was much of the same, with alot of the funk still attached. Almost headache driven. I didn't quite get it then, but while snacking later that night I did. A can of tangerine slices in light syrup; Del Monte; exactly. Maybe the beer wasn't all that fresh. Barely any bubbles. We are into the white ale season after all. It had just enough bite to drive everything down & get me warmed up.

I did drink it, so it wasn't anything near bad. Pretty light, but a syrup texture that wasn't totally pleasant. Buy me another somewhere else & I'll try it, but maybe this one has just been sitting a bit too long.

Last year's recipe out of the bottle was enjoyed a lot more.

Edit: 2010, & the recipe is fruity & crisp. Easy drinking, but so different that it obviously should have a different listing. Old rating stands.

PEBKAC, Feb 03, 2007
Photo of RevDru
3.95/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours amber-brown with a very thin head and average carbonation.

S - Roasted malt, hints of chocolate and even cherry. A touch of licorice.

T - Slightly sweet, with fruit and mild spice. Licorice does sneak foreward a bit. Just a little touch of hops bitterness.

M - Warm and clean. Easy on the palate, and not too overpowering.

D - Very easy to drink. This would be so much better enjoyed in front of a warm fire, rather than here in the airport.

RevDru, Jan 31, 2007
Photo of BigRedN
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 - This beer seems to have changed since my original review. This review is for 2 bottles that were part of a mixed 12 pack I purchased in Jan '07.

Appearance: Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, The beer is a dark amber to near brown. A thin off white head forms tha slowly fades to a cover on the liquid with some patchy lacing.

Smell: Some good malty aromas. Roasted malts, with an aroma of chocolate with a hint of coffee and caramel. I don;t really notice any spice or hops in the smell.

Taste: As I right this review I notice that this is classed as a bock. I think that is falls into that category. A nice soft roasted malts (bitter chocolate mostly). A touch of bitterness on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium in body with good carbonation.

Drinkability: Much better than the last time I had this (or at least remember. Either this has evolved since last I had this, or my memory has faded (which is not impossible). If next years version is similar I look forward to having it as part of the mix 12 again.

BigRedN, Jan 31, 2007
Photo of Beeryce
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A dark wheat lager as described on the label this beer is unique and very good. I will look forward to this beer next year.

Volumous tan head is excellent produceing alot of good laceing. The still clear amber-orange hued beer has lower caronation.

The nose is also very good. Floral hops mixed with spice dominate but a sharp alcohol accents and a faint maltiness mellows the overall aroma. The spices B.B.C. uses in this beer are very good and balanced perfectly with the flavours of the traditional ingredients. The hoppy nose is nice on this beer as is expected from B.B.C. with their love of hops. The taste is more on the malty side being true to style, which I feel B.B.C. usually does. There is a nice hop spice and bitterness at the begining and end respectivly. The malt is strangly not very wheaty but slightly toasty.

The mouthfeel is not impressive but fits well with the taste. The drinability is good but could be too hoppy after a couple for me. I think it goes well with food though and could drink several over the course of a good winter dinner.

Beeryce, Jan 31, 2007
Photo of JasonCoop
4.4/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a reddish copper. nice and clear, good off-white head.

smells very spicy. i can smell the cinnamon for sure, some gingery smells also. very malty aroma.

taste is malty and full. nice creaminess to it. the spices mellow out the finish. it's pretty good. better than i expected as i'm not big on the spiced beers, but this isn't overdone.

mouthfeel is almost creamy with a crisp finish to it. overall i'm impressed.

JasonCoop, Jan 30, 2007
Photo of beerphan
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap -> pint

Arrived a clear deep rusted amber with a nice one inch head that left some droopy spiderweb lace. Carbonation appeared minimal

Nose: Mostly sweet caramel malts with a litte hint of spice.

Taste: Sweet caramel malts with a little spice. More sweet than i expected with less spice. The cinnamon is present but overwhelmed. Bitterness is minimal.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and smoothish, similiar to sam adams lager.

This beer is sessionable if you like them sweet.

beerphan, Jan 30, 2007
Photo of bluegrassbrew
3.5/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into my slender cylinder glass, this bock is a brownish amber color with a slight white head that leaves a nice little lacing. It is tough to discern much from the nose. Slight hop presence. Taste is warm and malty with a bit of spice at the finish. A bit light in the mouth and not too complex, but easy drinking. Not bad when you need to pound a few in the winter.

bluegrassbrew, Jan 22, 2007
Photo of jwc215
3.9/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark amber with a nice head that slowly descends to a thin cover. Some lacing sticks to glass.

The smell is of sweet grainy malt with a touch of caramel and mild winter spices.

The taste is of sweet malt. Caramel, a hint of winter spices, and mild earthy hops to balance out sweetness while keeping sweet character. Subtle peppery alcohol comes through. A slight metallic tinge is present, but doesn't interfere much.

Medium to full - Smooth with slight warming alcohol kick. Coating.

This is one, IMO - that tastes better on a nice tap than on a bottle. It's not a great winter, but good one and a good selection for a wintery brew on tap that is easy to drink, esp. for style.

jwc215, Jan 19, 2007
Photo of Phocion
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a transparent light amber color into a Sam Adams tulip. About a finger of frothy white head that had surprisingly good retention and left thick lacing all around the walls of the glass.

Nose was rich and malty. Roasted malts with a hint of delicate spices and wheat, with somewhat of a chocolatey undertone. Very little hops aroma.

Burnt malts predominate, with chocolate and caramel backing it up. Slightly spicier than the smell, with mostly cinnamon and clove coming out. Dry earthy wheat finish and just a subtle hint of herbal hops.

Moderately carbonated, and very smooth. Warm enough for sitting out on the patio on a 30 degree January night in California, but light enough to make a fairly decent session brew. As with most Sam Adams seasonals, I'd have to say it's nothing spectacular, but probably one of the better draft beers at most bars.

Phocion, Jan 16, 2007
Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
4.05/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice beer from the Boston Brewing Company. If you're looking for a nice winter brew, sans the cloves and spices this is it. Nice sharp finished, preceded by a tangy fruit body and a well-balanced dose of malts.

Suffers a little due to the in my estimation, Sam Adams' undoing, of a slightly stale aura. Sometimes quality control can't control production. Not much in its sprit, a bit dull at times.

FLAbeergutinMASS, Jan 14, 2007
Photo of NEhophead
3.65/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 fl oz brown bottle, served in a pilsener glass.
Purchase before 02.2007.

Thin amber with flaxen highlights. Half-inch of foamy, white head that settles to an intact sheet. Spotted lacing that has trouble holding.

Sweet molasses and rich, toffee aromas. Toasted malt character, filled with mustiness and stiff, malted wheat. Hints of creamy, milk chocolate.

Toasted malt character; airy, biscuit flavor with hints of buttery diacetyl. Sweet caramel and molasses initially, that blend into the breadiness and leaves the sweetness behind. A burst of carbonation is followed by a mild bitterness and an aftertaste of wheat and grain.

Medium bodied; smooth, almost creamy. Slightly thin in some spots for the style, but still smooth.

Not a bad Bock, but Boston Beer Co. didn't take a lot of chances in terms of flavor in this rendition. This offering seems rather static and subtle compared to its German counterparts.

NEhophead, Jan 14, 2007
Photo of Liquids
3.85/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pale amber with a cream colored head that holds like cappucino foam in this pint glass...a surprise. Aroma is very Sam, hops are sweet with the aroma of unconverted caramel malt sugars, and that familiar aroma of a wheat-tinged doppelbock, but cleaner, less earthy and less intense than a doppel all around. This is my first plain old "bock" so doppels are what I'm comparing it to. Taste is again very Sam, but with a sweeter husky backbone than the standard Boston lager. Im drinking this too cold (my buddy had this in the fridge unlike the cellar temps I ususally drink at) for a fair comparisons, and it needs to warm up. Once it does, the wheat is more detectable, and it makes this a bit more rounded ain unique, though its not light years away in taste from other sam beers. Mouthfeel is medium, nothing startling here. On part and satisfactory. Overall its better than most beers I take a chance on, but not one I'll be crazy about buying, though one I'd pick over others in a generic tap list. Of note, there was a twelver of this at a small mixed gathering I went to, and I found many of the bottles left on the table half empty or nearly full, meaning many of the non-craft drinkers tried it and left it on the table, sadly. This makes my heart both sad and glad, as to a craft drinker some Sam brew can seem almost macro, until you put it next to the thirty pack of coors light at a celebration and realize, it really isn't even close to being tasteless, non-threatening swill.

Liquids, Jan 13, 2007
Photo of sockeye101
3.58/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a nice deep amber color with a decent beige head that left good lacing. Aromas were very thin and a hint of skunkiness, but not bad. Taste was pretty good, a little hops up front and a nice malty finish. Not much in the spice department as the label suggests, but whatever. Not sure this is a bock, but again, whatever. A decent lager worth trying, but not a standout by any means.

sockeye101, Jan 12, 2007
Photo of dstc
3.38/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark reddish-brown with a nice head that left a faint lacing behind.

S: Malty and a bit metallically.

T: Nice. Decent lager that taste like a Sam Adams. Not much spice that I usually associate with a seasonal winter brew, just tastes like a nice stronger lager.

M: Medium bodied with medium to high carbonation.

D: I find this lager to be more drinkable than the plain Sam Adams Boston Lager. Has more body and taste to it and I really like it although for a winter brew I guess I was expecting more of a seasonal taste; spices etc.

dstc, Jan 11, 2007
Photo of cooncat
3.43/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sample was a 12 oz. bottle, well within date.

A vigorous pour into a pint glass produced a medium creamy off white head, which was short lived. However, lacing (on a swirl of the glass) was evident to the bottom of the glass. The nose was very light ... not what I expected for a Winter Wheat Lager (Bock?). The bottle says "brewed with Winter spices", but that was not evident to me in the nose, nor in the taste. I got an impression of a light maltiness, but the Noble hops were what I picked up on the most, both in the nose and taste. Body is medium with a level of carbination which makes it refreshing and crisp. I can't honestly say that I tasted any "Winter Spices". The taste that I got was similar to a light Pale ale, if anything. So, I was left, very confused. Here is a beer touted as being a Winter Wheat Spiced Lager, and, to me, it didn't taste like a Wheat, nor did I detect spices. Its listed as a Bock, but lacks the usual sweetness of a Bock. Maybe they put the wrong label on this bottle?

Nevertheless, I enjoyed it as it was. I can't say it's true to its style or to what is on the label, but I can say that its a clean, refreshing beer that would likely make a good session beer.


cooncat, Jan 11, 2007
Photo of tempest
3.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I dont know about "bock," but this is still a nice beer. It's smooth and creamy from the wheat, with sweet, almost spicey, barley malt flavors. I was a little surprised when I found out this was a wheat beer, as there isn't much wheat flavor apparent. A little bland in the flavor department, but its a solid offering and worth a try.

tempest, Jan 10, 2007
Photo of foureyedgeek
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured in to a pilsner glass.

Appearance is quite nice, a crystal clear amber, tight foamy off-white head. Good lacing.

Smells of sweet malts and not a lot else. The aroma is not very strong at all.

Taste is also that sweet malty flavor, along with some subtle spice and fruitiness and a very slight hop bittering in the finish.

Mouthfeel is crisp and dry, medium-bodied.

Drinkability is pretty good, the beer isn't really tasty enough to have a lot of, this is a safe beer for someone wanting to try craft beer without diving headfirst into the style. A decent offering from Sam Adams, but nowhere near my favorite bock.

foureyedgeek, Jan 07, 2007
Photo of allergictomacros
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Clear ruby red, head is decent, and sticky.

S - Malty sweet, with metallic notes. Notes of raisins/prune.

T - Somewhat sweet and malty, with nice alcholic complexity. Roasted grain and hop bitterness arrive early. A bit hoppier than I expect from a bock, but fits in nicely.

M - Solid body, but nothing spectacular.

D - Not bad. Wouldn't mind having more but not particularly exciting.

allergictomacros, Jan 07, 2007
Photo of dwarvenspirits
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My wife ordered this beer while I was en-route to the restaurant. I wasn't sure what she ordered me and I started to drink it. It has a wonderful deep copper/amber hue to it. The head was small but it did retain a nice lacing.
It smells more malty with a hint (maybe) of some kind of spice but I'm not sure. When I took a sip I knew it was a Sam Adams because it had the traditional Sam Adams Boston Lager taste to it (not sure if that makes sense). I was looking for more spiciness from this beer since it was a winter brew but I was surprised to find that it didn't have a huge spice profile. It was more on the malty side and I thought the body was a touch heavy. For a winter lager I found it to be a tasty beer. Nothing outstanding but tasty.

dwarvenspirits, Jan 03, 2007
Photo of casualbeerman
4.7/5  rDev +30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is pretty hard to distinguish from the flagship Boston Lager. The only difference I can see is that the head tends to be smaller and dissipate faster. That means the color is a nice healthy shade of copper. The smell is and dominated by the malts with the hops relatively subdued in the background. As is usually the case, the smell was indicative of the taste which was dominated by the malts with the hops more in the background. The malt character is similar to the regular Boston Lager. The taste is strong, fairly sweet, complex, but still very clean. The main difference I noticed is that the hops are more sublte. They are there and provide a nice balance, but there's less of that dry intrusive hoppy bitterness as compared to the non-seasonal Boston Lager. All in all this was an excellent beer and the subtler hops make this an easy choice for a session beer. Watch out for that increased alcohol content though.

casualbeerman, Jan 03, 2007
Photo of barefootbrewer
3.78/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a pretty clear copper color. It doesn’t have much head or lacing. The smell is sweet and caramel tones are noticeable. The taste is sweet with the malt and cereal tastes pronounced. The mouthfeel is full bodied, but not heavy. This beer is very smooth and I’d consider it one that is highly drinkable – knocking back a few of these wouldn’t be a problem at all.

barefootbrewer, Dec 31, 2006
Samuel Adams Winter Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
82 out of 100 based on 4,892 ratings.