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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.

5,110 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5,110
Reviews: 1,880
rAvg: 3.59
pDev: 13.93%
Wants: 63
Gots: 483 | 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)
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Ratings: 5,110 | Reviews: 1,880 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of AltBock
2.88/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz. bottle with almost the same label that every other Sam Adams bottle has. There are 2 two different things on the label. They are that the color of the label is light sky blue and the other is that there are snowflakes floating around the mighty Sam Adams. I was surprised to see that this bottle was actually notched on the side. It says it's best before March, but it doesn't give a year. I going to go out on a limb and say that it's 2008.

Appearance: When poured into a standard American pint glass, this Sam Adams is a cross between a dark amber and a dark mahagony brown color with a few traces of some yellow honey. The head of foam started off real nice, but that quickly changed by dissipating rapidly into a few foamy rings and a speck of lace here and there. I wish I could describe the color of the lace, but I can't. It wasn't tan, but it wasn't white either. It did however look more white than tan, but it wasn't white either. I'm lost for words on the color of the head of foam.

Smell: It had a decent but faint aroma of roasted wheat, pretzel dough, sugar coated chestnuts, and a pinch of nutmeg to round off on what I guess was suppose to remind me of winter or Christmas. I thought there were going to be more spices in this beer, but the only thing to emerge was the slightest hint of nutmeg at the end.

Taste: While drinking this beer, I read on the neck label that this beer is a "rich and hearty dark lager." I saw that it was a dark lager, but I failed to see the rich and hearty. It was rich, but rich in the taste of dark roasted wheat. I don't think that's what they meant in "rich." The taste started off with no other than the no so wonderful taste of dark roasted wheat. After the roasted wheat had past, some sweet caramel, a pinch of nutmeg, and a sugar plum took its place. Just when I thought the roasted wheat was gone from the taste, it came back at the end.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel was a bit on the thin side with a miniature aftertaste of roasted wheat (again), and a sugar plum or two. This beer just loved roasted wheat. It's too bad the roasted wheat wasn't top notch or this beer would have been perfect.

Drinkability: To me it's another one of those Sam Adams beers that I couldn't care less about. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't that good either. It's too bad that I don't adore the taste of dark roasted wheat or I would have enjoyed it more.

Photo of MillRat
3.43/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this at a friend's party. It was on ice, so I gave it a chance to warm up. Poured a yellow-orange with minimal head, despite a fairly active carbonation. The aroma is unremarkable, a little spice note, but hops are definitely out to lunch. There's a little bit of malt sweetness that's balance by a light spice presence. the spicing is done well, it doesn't hit you over the head with any particular clove, ginger, or other spices. I had a few bottles of Lakeshore Brewery's winter beer a few years back that got relegated to beer bread duty because the spices were so overwhelming. Not a problem here. Rather light-bodied, but not out of style for this lager. The light body and carbonation make this quite drinkable, and the spicing is subtle enough to be interesting as you try to tease out the various flavors. For winter brews I tend to prefer larger ales, but this is a nice effort

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

12 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - Nice copper color. A little head that disappates quickly.

S - Very light amount of spices. Not much there.

T - It makes me think of ginger snaps. The ones that come in the orange box and have a lot of spice. Some cinnamon and nutmeg.

M - Great. This beer just attacks your senses with a ton of spices.

D - Really good, I can sit back and drink a couple of these.

Photo of atrus138
3.9/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured this from a 12 oz brown bottle with freshness date clearly marked. Poured a deep copper color with a thin white head that left a bit of lacing here and there. Smell was of faint spices and the taste delivered what was promised. Lots of holiday spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg. Also, wheat is very present. Very malty, though the hops make themselves known. Energizing carbonation helps against the dreary winter days. Another fine offering from Sam Adams.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.15/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Picked up in my blitz through available winter brews at the Boise Coop for about $1.40.... Poured into my standard red wine glass. Chilling listening to Brenda's jazz albums... right now, Diana Krall, Live in Paris.

Crystal clear and beautiful medium amber... short lasting head leaving an eggshell collar and only a little but sticky lacing that lasts through the glass.

Aroma is clean roasted malts with restrained christmas spices... lite orange, ginger and nutmeg+cinnamon.... Absolutely no yeast fruitiness.. I can't pick out any hops over the malts.

This is a very very clean lager.... extremely clean. The flavor lends itself completely to the lite roasted/chocolate malty side of things .... not overly sweet.. just malty. The spices are still there midpalate but really reveal on the finish. Certainly thin and overcarbonated for a bock ... but it still really hits the spot.

If I rated this one strictly on the "bock" guidelines, I would have drug it through the mud on body alone.... but the spices and the holiday season makes it more reasonable and acceptable. This is the first Sam Adams beer I reviewed on BA, and I'm sure it obviously won't be the last; but this one needs more body.... but tonight, it sure goes nicely with the jazz.

Photo of SargeC
4.22/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Golden-tan with ruby accents. Thick, off-white head.

Smell: Hops, caramel, spice. Touch of alcohol.

Taste: Smoky malt. Spiced, but not heavily. Caramel. Nice lingering flavor.

Mouthfeel: Solid, medium body brew.

Drinkability: Good winter brew. Hearty enough and adventurously flavored to satisfy the winter brew style, without going overboard.

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

Nice pint served at brazenhead.

Pours a rich copper color with a foamy white head that settles and leaves a thin layer covering the top, and sticks to the side of the glass. Smell is of sweet caramel malt, and slim hops. Crisp taste, very little bittering with a smooth mouthfeeling. Nice decent caramel malt aftertaste.

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

very clear deep copper with an off white head that doesn't hold too well and leaves a minimal amount of lace. smells pretty good. a nice malty character with spices (nutmeg, clove and cinnamon stand out) and a faint hop character as well. taste is the same. malt and spice play the main role. hops in the finish. light side of medium body. the spices don't suit my palate so well, but this is an average, not bad, winter lager. another run of the mill brew from sam adams that is far from bad, but i don't think i'll pick this one up on my own accord.

Photo of BigJTrucker
4.13/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up this beer as part of the Winter MixPack.

Poured a very clear deep amber color. Very little head retention.

Smell is somewhat fruity, maybe a bit like apples, with a hint of cinnamon even? Dutch apple pie is what comes to mind.

Taste is very malty sweet. Some spices in the flavor. Is this a bock, or another winter warmer? Hmm...

Mouthfeel is very full bodied and smooth, finishes a bit sticky sweet, but very smooth indeed.

Drinkability is quite good, it has lots of malty goodness, not much hop presence to speak of, goes down smooth and is fairly sessionable.

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

...did anyone else notice that this was a flavoured malt liquor? Not at all what i was expecting from Sam Adams. Certainly explains the lightness of this Winter Brew. The spices were nice, but t still feels like a K-Mart version of a Winter Brew to me.

Photo of jmalex
4.05/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I think this is the beer that got me drinking beer. I'll always have a special appreciation for it.

APPEARANCE: Pours a copper colored amber into a Sam Adams glass. It's crystal clear, and on top is a one-finger slightly darker than white head. It drops fairly quickly to a hearty collar and nearly a full covering of the surface.

SMELL: It's very rich and malty with some significant spiced accents. Nutmeg, allspice, and all the rest of the traditional winter spicings are there, but are definitely not overwhelming. A light roasty character comes out serving to balance the smell, as hop aroma is negligible. If anything, any hop aroma blends seamlessly with the spice, avoiding detection.

TASTE: The taste is fairly sweet with a mild toastiness and a more significant caramel quality. It definitely has that undeniable lager quality that I can't seem to place, and thankfully the flavors are pretty clean because of it. The spicing is less apparent in the flavor, perhaps owing to their melding with the rest of the flavors in this beer. Hop bitterness and flavor is very small and would only serve to balance the beer.

MOUTHFEEL: Slightly slick from a very caramelliness to it. The body is fairly full and carbonation is on the low end.

DRINKABILITY: Quite high, especially on a cold day. This is a well thought out seasonal, and is only held back by a slightly high sweetness.

I can see why I started drinking beer. I never really looked forward to winter except for when I'd start to see Winter Lager show up on tap handles at the bars. I'll continue to come back to this one for as long as they make it.

Photo of Risser09
2.42/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into a large snifter

Appearance: This beer pours a transparent brown and red color. The head rises to an inch in height and is an ivory color. The bubbles are all tiny and quickly fade away into the beer below.A tiny bit of lace holds on to the glass.

Smell: Malt aroma balanced by a hop bouquet. Rum and raisin are aromatic components. I don't get much wheat from this wheat beer. Spices include a bit of anise and licorice perhaps.

Taste: Pinchyness up front with a hop bite. Malt flavors are intertwined with a wheat flavor and body. Flavors are hops, wheat, nut bread, almond extract and vanilla. Most of these are weak though.

Mouthfeel: Ripe carbonation that hits early and faces into a medium bodied creaminess that most lagers possess. Alcohol isn't very noticable and neither is a sugary presence. Kind of lame in this category.

Drinkability: Decent, although I probably wouldn't refer to this beer in the winter. I wouldn't even consider it a good beer, with so many others out there that surpass it. Don't bother revisiting.

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

A - Poured a dark amber color with an off white head that leaves some lacing

S - Was mostly spices and malt

T - Is pretty good spices caramel and malt

M - It has light carbonation very smooth

D - For a winter warmer its ok it has a good taste it worth a try

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

A- Dark honey brown color. Little to no head but off white in color of film (not thick) on top. Totally transparent.

S- I pick up first the smell of sour fruit. Also, I pick up winter spices, caramel, and apples. The smell of hops is also around.

T- Honey, cinnamon, caramel, and brown sugar.

M- Thin and watery. Carb is mid to high.

D- Very high. This easy-to-drink beer is a great session brew!

Overall, I enjoyed this beer decently. It is not a stand out, nor is it something that I will try to seek out (not that it is hard) but if I went to a friends house and this was all he/she had, it would still be a good day!

Photo of tpd975
3.63/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The body of this lager is brown and very clear. The head built quickly before dying down. Some lacing but nothing out of this world.

S: The malt here came out nicely, which is a welcome surprise from a macro/micro like Sam's. The spices cinnamon, allspice, and sharp clove where all noted and appreciated in a holiday brew.

T: Nice malty gem with hops in the finish. Subtle notes of maple, chocolate and cinnamon are in the middle. Nice tasting malty xmas brew.

M: Medium to thin with little carbonation. The body was a bit light in the ass for the big flavors in this beer.

D: Typical of a Sam's seasonal very drinkable but not the best of show.

Overall: Nice easy drinking brew that is pretty balance and tasty for a xmas offering. I will pick up a six pack to enjoy throughout the season.

Photo of tommy78
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Winter Lager's appearance was a deep, reddish colour with some head on top. The smell had a combination of spices and caramel in the beer. As for the taste, slight hoppiness with the spices converting over successful from the aroma. Light carbination best describes the mouthfeel of this beer. As for the drinkability, a couple of beers in one sitting would be the best approach. I did try this beer with pumpkin bread, and it surprised me how well these two complimented each other.

Photo of Rainintheface
3.43/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into the SA glass

A: Dark reddish with orange highlights two+ finger off-white foamy head

S: can't quite distinguish the spice aroma. i'd go with cinnamon. sweet caramel

T: toasted malt, caramel. again some spices

M: fully body with creamy texture. light carbonation

D: O.K. to have a couple. not in my tops for winter offerings or SA offerings

Personal taste would probably rate beer a bit lower.

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

Had this on tap. A darkish amber color with a nice creamy light tan head which stayed for quite a while and left good lacing.

At first I had a hard time picking out the aromas. As the beer warmed however I did detect it's malty character with some wheat bread and light spices.

Like the scent, it took a bit of time for the taste to show it's presence. Malty, a bit of caramel, spices.

Good mouthfeel. Smooth and creamy with just about the right amount of carbonation for a beer of this type.

Overall a good winter offering from Sam Adams. I enjoyed a few of these at a bar while watching a football game with friends and between the 6 of us this is all we drank the whole time, everybody was happy with it.

Photo of ccrida
3.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic, the Winter Lager is a clear bronze with a medium sized, off-white head that quickly fades to a long lasting skim, leaving moderate lace.

Smell is sweet caramel and spicy, very bock.

Taste is rich sweetness, nice noel spices, with a lingering, sour tang from the wheat on the finish. Not to bad, although I recalled enjoying this more in years past.

Mouthfeel is carbonated and crisp, and the body's on the heavier side.

Drinkablity is average. Pretty satisfying full taste, but rather rich and heavy for the realtivly low ABV.

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

Orangeish-Amberish...Not sure if that is how I should spell out the color...oddly enough it reminded one of a Pumpkin Ale...the color did...that is no longer available this year...sniff...

Smelled like a wheat beer...Tastes...


Aftertaste is elegant...stout...feels good going down...Was hard to pour in glass to see color as I kept dive bombing the bottle....I hope I got the mouthfeel down...it is excellent better than taste...can this be true?

It's 4 A.M. but I could go for another!...I am surprised to say...I liked it and would buy it again...I usually don't go for Sam Adams beer but so far this one has impressed...

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

Got this beer on tap at The Bulldog on Canal St. The appearance was a nice dark color with a thick off white head. The aroma was of toasted malts with hint of hops. The taste was the same as the smell. Great balance of malt and hops. The mouthfeel was medium body with medium carbonation. Overall drinkability was good. I enjoyed it.

Photo of BiereBlanche
3.7/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle from the Samuel Adam's Winter Pack. Also available in 6 packs.

Appearance - A nice redish-amber capped off with an off-white top, which settles disappointingly quickly, though it did leave a bit of lace clinging to the sides. Quite clear with signs of light carbonation

Smell - Slightly weak nose (I am sick, this might change on my next drink), I could pick out the toasty malt as it warmed. Hops are quite hard to detect, as fits for a bock. The nose is pleasant and clean, it could just be a bit more powerful...or I a bit less sick.

Taste - Smooth and clean taste. The toasted malt character comes through more in the taste than the smell, and is balanced out by a bittering that was all but absent in smell. Slight sweet aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel, light on the carbonation. Quite smooth, as seems to fit Sam Adams offerings.

Drinkability - Very drinkable and a nice winter session beer. Very smooth and good flavor. The smell is weak, but it could be my fault for being sick.

Photo of jhu1995
3.55/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear reddish color with a thick head and not much lacing. Smell is somewhat mild with some cinnamon and other spice aroma. Has a strong malt flavor that is balanced by the spices. Medium-bodied and smooth. An easy to drink beer. Overall a pretty decent brew.

Photo of largadeer
3.93/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark amber with great clarity. Pours with a 2-inch head that slowly settles to a crown. I really like the color of this beer.

Smell: The nose is disappointingly mild - it's bready and toasty with a hint of caramel, but it's very faint. Where's the hop aroma?

Taste: Tastes like Boston Lager's big brother. A hearty caramel malt backbone is nicely balanced with noble hops and spices (ginger and orange peel perhaps, maybe even a bit of cinnamon). The finish is clean and dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, smooth and warming. Slightly sticky on the palate.

Drinkability: An excellent winter session beer - it's hearty and warming but easy on the palate and remarkably smooth. Recommended and underrated.

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

Pours clear copper with a medium sized head. Aroma is sweet and spicy with some herbal hops. Taste is sweet with a lot of caramel at first. Then some bread and spiciness. Finishes with a touch of herbal hops and a lingering spiciness. Nice medium to full bodied mouthfeel. This is quite drinkable and a really solid and good winter seasonal.

Samuel Adams Winter Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
82 out of 100 based on 5,110 ratings.