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!

Winter Cheer Ale - Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Winter Cheer AleWinter Cheer Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

43 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 43
Reviews: 38
rAvg: 3.4
pDev: 12.35%
Wants: 0
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Spanish Peaks Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  6.30% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: charlesw on 11-10-2007)
View: Beers (9) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Ratings: 43 | Reviews: 38 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of csmiley


2.17/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - Deep ruby / brown in color. Got about an inch of head with average retention. Somewhat impressed with the lacing on this one.

S - Biggest part of the aroma is caramel and molasses. In a very, very distant background there was a citrus fruit aroma.

T - Seems like the malt is dialed back in the flavor. There is still sweet malt that dominates though. A close second is a metallic flavor that just throws the taste off. There is also a nice mild hop bitterness that tries to balance the sweetness but the metallic flavor prevails.

M - Medium bodied and smooth. Carbonation was too much for me.

D - This one just is not for me. It started out with alot of promise but failed in a couple categories.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2008 18:00:48 | More by csmiley
Photo of rohrbachsfan

New York

2.35/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Very dark brown with a tall head.

Smell: Strong Hops and sweet malt.

Taste: Sweet malt with a very strong hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth.

Drinkability: Just didn't like this beer. Way too hoppy for a dark sweet malty brew in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2007 01:09:31 | More by rohrbachsfan
Photo of ChainGangGuy


2.93/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, brownish-red body with a flimsy, off-white head.

Smell: Mushy brown malt aroma with hints of berries and spice.

Taste: Ill-defined brown maltiness, though no real sweetness. Dash of sparkling water. Light fruitiness. Faint hint of spice. Mild, tea-like bitterness. Dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Watery.

Drinkability: I appreciate it trying to Winter Cheer me up, but it just didn't really come together for me.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2008 22:05:01 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of Brad007


2.98/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Color: Dark red color with a nice and frothy head. Lacing as well.

Aroma: Malty with a hint of spice. Strong. Somewhat hoppy.

Taste: Malty and spicy. Almost too sweet/spicy for my tastes. Mouthfeel is unpleasant. A hint of chocolate (probably the malt) and not much else to note. It's thick and malty.

Mouthfeel: Dry and too sweet. Somewhat overwhelming.

Verdict: An average beer that falls flat of the style. I can see that they tried to make it a winter warmer-type of beer but should have gone with a brown ale instead.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2008 00:24:24 | More by Brad007
Photo of RBorsato


3/5  rDev -11.8%

11-13-2012 20:31:35 | More by RBorsato
Photo of ejimhof


3/5  rDev -11.8%

09-20-2013 00:48:40 | More by ejimhof
Photo of sixerofelixir


3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled a 12 oz bottle in season, 2009. Review from notes.

Pours very dark brown/copper, cloudy. Dark malty aroma. Taste is old coffee, a little musty with a bitter hop twang at the end. A bit of spices detected. Finish and drinkability average. OK, worth this one try.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2010 01:32:11 | More by sixerofelixir
Photo of bcsbeer


3/5  rDev -11.8%

12-06-2012 05:38:26 | More by bcsbeer
Photo of charlesw

New York

3.03/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

You know... I just can't figure out where to put this beer... After drikning barleywine it tastes like a light amber ale. Drinking it, as tonight, side-by-side with an actual amber (Spanish Peaks, none the less), well... It's not amber.

It pours brown. Opaque brown. So... Maybe that's the part they're talking about - the hearty part. The head is tiny. Smells hoppy. Tastes hoppy, too. Like a mass-market IPA, I guess. My wife said, "This tastes like a watered down IPA." and, "Could you pour me a different beer?"

Anyway, this time I'm reviewing it as an IPA. I mean, that's what it tastes like. But it sure looks like a brown ale. And it has the characteristics of a brown or IPA. It's lost and confused. And not enough of anything to be a winter ale. Seriously... As I said in my other review, this tastes like a great lawnmower ale - nice and light and easy to get down if you're all hot and sweaty and thinking of drinking something light. And that is so not what I think of as a winter ale...

Positive side (constructive criticism. Really.): with a little less color and a bit more flavor this could be a decent IPA, I suppose. With a bit less hops and a bit more body and flavor this could be a decent brown, I suppose. With a lot more body and flavor (and maybe fewer hops) this could probably be a decent winter warmer.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2007 00:39:12 | More by charlesw
Photo of cdkrenz


3.1/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Brown body that looks allot like a soda but doesn't have the fizz. The medium brown head is decent standing at about a quarter inch.

Smell - The scent of malt and black licorice.

Taste - At first take the flavor is filled with black licorice. Then it migrates and offers a bitter coffee flavor before finishing with the black candy again.

Mouthfeel - The feel is fluid and smooth. It does have the nice subtle coarseness often found in a good ale.

~ I can't say I'm really impressed with the beer but I must admit it is unique. I think this to be an average cross between an English style ale and a mild porter.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2008 22:54:41 | More by cdkrenz
Photo of JohnGalt1


3.15/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz picked up yesterday at the Coop for I believe about $1.25.... poured into my shaped SA glass.

Honestly... an impressive head and tons of lace... brew is more brown than amber...

nose is spicy hops and caramel... a little metallic..

Flavor mirrors the nose with a significant nuttiness to it.. again the finish has a sorta metallic/coppery element.... fair amount of citric hops as it warms. Not alot going on though.. the body is a little lite.

Will I buy again? Probably not.


Serving type: bottle

11-09-2008 02:25:26 | More by JohnGalt1
Photo of Knapp85


3.15/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured out as a nice looking deep red color. The head was an off white and left a decent lacing. The smell of the beer was a little spicy but not anything like what a typical Winter Ale is usually like. The taste of a beer had some deep roasted malts in there with some caramel ones to balance out the beer. The other flavors don't really give off a lot of Christmasy flavors to me. It's more like a typical red ale really. The mouthfeel is decent. Overall I wouldn't go out of my way to try this one again.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2011 19:46:16 | More by Knapp85
Photo of TheBear11D


3.15/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown chocolate color with a quickly disappearing tan color head.

Mostly smells of malty sweetness but there was a good smell of hops lingering in the back.

Again, the malt comes through early on, but the hops are strong in the middle and the aftertaste is a weird spice.

The mouthfeel is medium to think which tastes thicker than the beer actually is.

I can't put my finger on the aftertaste, but I don't enjoy it. The beer is alright overall.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2008 03:56:24 | More by TheBear11D
Photo of mwa423


3.15/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Single finger of head that dies down to a steady lacing. The color is exceptionally dark, but when held up to the light it is a very very dark red.

S - Lots of yeast and spice. Very pleasing to the nose.

T - I had hoped for more from the smell, but the flavor is relatively weak, some malt and a slight hop bit, but not much above average.

M - Much thinner then most of the style, the aftertaste is pleasant coffee, but again nothing to write home about.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2009 22:52:58 | More by mwa423
Photo of djrn2

New Jersey

3.25/5  rDev -4.4%

11-15-2013 15:43:10 | More by djrn2
Photo of captenaj


3.3/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was pleasantly surprised at how dark this beer poured. There was only a minimal head (am I pouring incorrectly?) that quickly dissipated. The smell was primarily of malt, but hops could be detected. Slight spiciness was present but not too prevalent. The taste was pleasing but a little too hoppy for my liking. I think this would be better with a burger or other hunk of red meat rather than a sit-back-and-relax drink. Mouthfeel was good: not too thin. Overall, I would say this beer is slightly above average. I'm not a fan of hops but if you are, this would be very nice.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2008 01:33:09 | More by captenaj
Photo of Reanimator


3.3/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep, bottle brown color. Almost like a lighter porter. Thin head, little retention.

S: Piney hops

T: Taste could be compared to a toned down, and certainly not as powerful, Celebration Ale. Piney hops. I'm a bit disappointed by the malt character, it's fairly weak despite the bottle's claim that "5 different malts" went into it. Also some sour notes. Pretty tasty though.

M: The thin mouthfeel and flat carbonation are immediately noticeable and is the weakest point of the beer.

D: I don't think that the comparison to SN's Celebration Ale is unfair, in fact, the toned down hop character makes Winter Cheer far more drinkable than it's bolder brethren, however, the watery flatness keeps it from being a future purchase. A more lively Winter Cheer would be a great substitute for other more popular winter warmers.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2007 14:52:20 | More by Reanimator
Photo of iceball585

New York

3.33/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Very dark reddish brown color, non-transparent, thin tan lacy cover of a head

S- Caramel malts, toasted nuts, citrus hops, brown sugar, spices

T- Dark malts, dried fruits, molasses, flowery hops, caramel, hint of pine

M- Medium body, medium carbonation, a bit watery to an oily finish

D- Not too bad

When I saw the label of winter cheer I was expecting a winter beer, not an amber/red ale. Still decent flavors thoughout.

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2008 22:46:11 | More by iceball585
Photo of enfield249


3.33/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark burgundy, with copper highlights. Has a 1mm layer of white foam that lasts for a few minutes, and fades to a ring.

S - Floral, spicy, sweet. Maybe a hint of sweet plums.

T - Sweet, and then some bitterness which strikes me as a mix of roast and hops. Then there is some lingering bitterness that hangs out on my tongue in the back.

M - Medium body, lots of sharp carbonation.

D - Overall a really nice winter ale. The smell is really the best part of this beer, and that makes it hard for the taste to live up too. I would almost prefer a touch more sweet and a touch less bitter in this particular beer, but again, very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2007 22:59:31 | More by enfield249
Photo of Monkeyknife


3.45/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle a dark ruby red with a healthy beige head and lots of sticky lacing.

Aroma is flowery hops and malt.

Tastes of malts, dark fruits and a hoppy bitterness upfront.

Lighter mouthfeel, smooth, and moderately carbonated.

A very drinkable ale but on the light side for a Winter ale.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2007 20:59:16 | More by Monkeyknife
Photo of ViveLaChouffe


3.45/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It's a deep chestnut in the glass with a thinnish but dense and creamy khaki head. Leaves sheeting lace. There's a nutty, malty aroma intertwined with a biting herbal hop smell.

The first sip delivers lots more hops than I expected. Spicy, herbal hops balanced by a nutty sweet malt. Sticky finish but a relatively light mouthfeel.

Be forewarned...if you're looking for a big, bold winter warmer, you won't find it here. But it is well-balanced and an easy drinker. As long as you're not expecting it to hit you over the head, it's well worth checking out.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2008 20:36:13 | More by ViveLaChouffe
Photo of dstc


3.48/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a very deep dark ruby with a big foamy tan head that falls to a minimal head. Nice lace.

Malt nose with hints of hops.

Sweet malt in taste with considerable hop spice. Not a very pleasant metallic finish.

Medium bodied in the mouth.

Very average beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2008 19:45:35 | More by dstc
Photo of dpend


3.48/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in Sam Adams pint glass @ 55 degrees

Pours a deep copper/black with a rich, but quickly fading head.Lacing is a bit oily without much retention.

Carbonation seems to be bit high, but isn't harsh to the throat.Very thin for a winter seasonal, hence very drinkable.

More hops than most winter brews, but that's fine in my opinion.Aroma is of faint caramel and pine.Tastes of pine,roasted malts in the front leading to a bit of bland middle and finishing with a dry burnt hop linger.Flavors are more or less balanced, but the beer is too young.With some cellaring or slower brewing, the layers would pull through.

Overall a decent winter beer that strays from the norm with a bit more time needed to age and pull out those complexities.Think of a rauchous little brother of Anchor's OSA.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2007 23:40:10 | More by dpend
Photo of BillRoth


3.5/5  rDev +2.9%

12-29-2013 01:08:59 | More by BillRoth
Photo of PaleAlien2


3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Bottle says it's copper in color, but it's a lot darker than that. Looks like a Porter.
S: Smell is quite weak. No malt or spices, maybe a little hops.
T: Taste is pretty good. Typical of a winter brew, maybe a little hoppier than most. Pretty damn good though if you like the style. Spices emerge as it warms.
Overall: Pretty good, but there are better winters out there.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2008 19:24:09 | More by PaleAlien2
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | next › last »
Winter Cheer Ale from Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.
79 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.