Winter Cheer Ale - Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Winter Cheer AleWinter Cheer Ale

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38 Reviews
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Reviews: 38
Hads: 44
Avg: 3.4
pDev: 12.65%
Wants: 1
Gots: 1 | 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:
Beer added by: charlesw on 11-10-2007

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 38 | Hads: 44
Photo of Knapp85
3.18/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.78/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Roasted pecan brown (that becomes dusky cranberry when backlit) with orange peel trim. This has to be one of the darkest red ales in existence. The outstanding looking crown is golden beige in color, is softly rocky and is laying down a huge amount of sticky lace in gauzy sheets interspersed with thicker chunks. Talk about a great looking beer coming from out of the blue.

The nose is pleasantly aromatic. It features buttery caramel and butterscotch, with a big assist from citric fruity, slightly spicy hops (Mt. Hood, Perle and Cascade). This is shaping up to be mighty fine beer.

Still going strong, though the flavor isn't holding up quite as well as the ounces pass. The few negatives are relatively minor: a lack of depth due to a mouthfeel that could be more full, an underlying sourness that is easily managed and a faint metallic tang that fades by the third mouthful.

Spanish Peaks did good by slanting Winter Chill more toward the darker malts (roasted and chocolate) than one usually finds in a beer of this style. It gives this offering a heartiness that is lacking in the mouthfeel. Flavors include dark caramel, sweet dark fruit, generous shavings of orange and grapefruit zest... and a maraschino cherry on top.

With a more full, more chewy, more creamilicious mouthfeel, the flavor score would almost certainly get a nudge upwards. It isn't bad, but it shouldn't be too hard to bulk up and fill out. The carbonation is fine right where it is.

Initially, I thought that Winter Chill would supplant American Pale Ale as my favorite beer from this brewery. It comes tantalizingly close, but falls just short in the end. Bottom line: APA and WCA are are the cream of the Spanish Peaks crop.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.91/5  rDev -14.4%
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.

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Photo of jlindros
3.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

DOn't remember where or when I got this, and it must be somewhat old, but here goes.

The head rises up to about a finger and fades at a decent pace with lots of big bubbles mixed in a thick creamy head. The beer is very dark, mostly brown with lots of dark red mixed in, like a maroon chocolate color.

THe nose brings on lots of dark syrups, a little brown sugar, molasses, and maybe corn syrup like, with some dark malts, and there's some interesting fruit aromas. Interestingly it has a light aged bourbon oak chip aroma too, which is surprising.

The taste is not like that, but it does start with more syrups. Some molasses, brown sugar, and sweet syrups add to the rich maltiness of it. A little caramel malt as well. Lots of malts, darker, also bring some minerality to one of the roasted malts. There is a very light hoppy bitterness, which is probably stronger when fresh. SLightly chewy malts, and very light fruits finish it off.

The mouth is medium bodied with decent carbonation.

It finishes slightly sweet but dries a bit, with some bitterness coming on strong on the finish. It has a nice earthy and very slightly spicy bitterness, reminds me of an ESB. Some lingering toasty and dark malts, with more syrupy flavors and stickiness. A slight mineral bitter off flavor also finishes through.

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Photo of WesWes
3.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a smooth and creamy scent that boasts of crystal and roasted malts. It's got a fruitiness to it as well as a dry roasted element. The taste is decent. It has a dry and bitter flavor that boasts of crystal and roasted malts. It's sweet with a mild hop presence and a dry roasted malt finish. There is some yeast fruitiness as well that seems to mesh well with the hops. This is a decent brew, but definately an uninspired winter seasonal. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. I wasn't expecting much from this beer and I wasn't disappointed. These guys brew middle of the road beers and this is no different.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.16/5  rDev -7.1%
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.


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Photo of cjgator3
3.81/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle

A- Pours very dark brownish amber color with a tan head that leaves a great amount of lacing and retention.

S- The aroma is very malty with dark fruit, caramel, butterscotch and hops. Very nice aroma, this one's shaping up nicely.

T- The taste like the aroma features a nice malty base with quite a bit of hop flavor as well. There is a much bigger hop presence in the taste than the aroma suggests, very pleasant surprise.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Spanish Peaks Winter Cheer is a pretty solid brew that I wouldn't mind having again. Recommended.

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Photo of Brad007
2.97/5  rDev -12.6%
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.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.9/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear, deep ruby color. This lazy, fat and pillowy cream colored head puts a smile on my face.

Smells of pine trees, nutmeg, brown sugar, sweet malts and a decent amount of hops.

Wow. I am pleasently surprised, was not expecting too much from this one after several other SP offerings. Malty, hoppy and oh so smooth. Not exactly a prime example of a winter warmer, but it is a tasty brew.

Had as a single in a mixer sixer, but I do believe I would buy more of this if I saw it. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of ZAP
3.6/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I think this is correctly listed as a red ale...the description on the bottle makes one think this will be a heavy duty high gravity beer but in reality it is a nice drinking, relatively hopped up Amber Ale.

A-Brown with amber highlights.

S-Very nice....spicy and fruity hop notes...malt gives off a toffee aroma.

T-Not as good as the smell but decent....relatively hoppy but backed with the toffee like malt backbone...hops are earthy and spicy mainly with some mild fruitiness (pears).

M-Medium bodied at best...seems thin and watery at times...finishes dry.

D-Once I got past the expectation that this was going to be a big ass winter beer and started enjoying it for what I was actually experiencing I actually liked it...solid red ale...I wouldn't turn one of these down...biggest knock is a watery feel to the body...

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Photo of Brenden
3.86/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color is a deep coppery brownish amber. An aggressive pours makes for a thick, dense and rocky head that leaves fat patches of lacing in the glass.
The aroma is strongly off malts right up front, with natural toffee, dark chocolate and coffee notes. A gentle nutmeg-like spice in the back reminds that it is a winter seasonal.
There's surprisingly good balance and more hops than I'd expect. Hops and malts compliment each other well and the gentle spice is underlying rather than overwhelming, adding a nice effect and aftertaste.
The body is medium and there's moderate carbonation. It's more crisp than smooth.
This is a good winter offering and I'm sure it's fairly old; this makes me wonder if it just ages well. The spice is at an optimal level; evident, though not especially strong, and lingering through every sip.

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Photo of Vancer
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Don’t know why this is list as an amber/red, cripe, the label plainly says winter cheer/winter ale…

This one starts out with promise – an oaken brown with a hearty topping of tan marshmallow. It’s sticking to the sides like monkey glue.

Good pop of spicy hops in the aroma, but the quaff turns a bit on the harsh side. Woody and resinous, it needs a bit more malt to balance it out better. Smooths a bit by mid-bottle, but a little weak in the body and alcohol to be a top notch winter warmer. Still, good price and enjoyable

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Photo of tgbljb
4.35/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very deep brown color with perfectly sized off-white creamy head. Lots of sticky lacing.
Smell is loaded with dark fruit with a faint promise of citrusy hops in the background.
Taste is great. There are strong notes of dark fruit, roasted malt, caramel, toffee, and molasses. There hoppiness is slow in developing, but eventually rises to the point to compliment the malt perfectly.
The sweetness and bitterness combine perfectly at the finish.
One of the best winter beers I had. Great job.

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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.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
3.57/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours a deep, dark brown with a frothy cap that lingers and lingers. Darkest amber ale I've ever seen, very wintry. Almost no lacing but great retention. Aromas not very pronounced (butterscotch?) but good flavors. Roasted malt, sweet dark fruit like figs, slightly spicy but an underlying sourness. Mouthfeel is a little thin for a beer this dark. A little unusual in general.

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Photo of Drew966
3.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Winter Cheer Ale pours a dark brown color with an off white head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. The aroma is kind of hoppy, although malt is clearly present as well. The flavor is malty up front but finishes fairly hoppy and with some caramel. A decent ale, worth a try.

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Photo of adamette
4.03/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle exactly like the one pictured above. Poured into my clean, clear Samuel Smith pint glass. Got this from my friend Floyd around Christmas time. Thanks Floyd!

A Nice frothy head over a ruby red dark brown translucent head. Nice lacing left on glass after repeated drinking.

S Nice winter warmer smell with some strength, some body to it.

T Malt, hops, spice, maybe nutmeg, cinnamon, a nice bigness to it. A nice beer that should be categorized a winter warmer and not an amber/red ale.

M Full with malt, hops, spices. A big beer.

D Good. I would look for this again.

Notes: A very solid holiday beer. I am glad that I tried this one.

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Photo of rowew
3.68/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz longneck, label has the usual black lab playing in the snow. Date code is not obviously decipherable.

Appearance: Pours a dark reddish brown, nice offwhite head with good retention.

Smell: Sweet caramel malt aroma, just a bit of hop spiciness in there.

Taste: Mouhtfeel is thinner than I expected. Quite a bit of hop flavors here that come across as peppery.

Overall impression: Not bad, but not what I expected from a winter warmer. If the body was a bit thicker it might fit the bill. That being said, its a nice red.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of GPHarris
3.61/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

a - poured a three-fingers thick light tan head into a snifter. the head was thick and creamy and left sticky lace throughout. the body was dark brown.
s - malty with some spice.
t - spicey hops with a little malt sweetness. caramel?
m - crisp and clean but way too thin for me and this style(?).
d - goes down smoothly and even though it doesn't seem like the style listed i kinda liked it. if you just want to drink some beers and not think about it, this isn't a bad choice.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of biggmike
3.6/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a nice frothy off-white head. Aroma is quite spicy and hoppy. Taste is hoppy and malty; a bit like a watered-down English IPA. Mouthfeel is a bit thin. Nice lacing on glass. Overall, not a bad beer, very drinkable, but it just seems like the characteristics are lacking some cohesiveness.

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Photo of mwa423
3.18/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

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Winter Cheer Ale from Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.
79 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.