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Alaskan Winter Ale - Alaskan Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Alaskan Winter AleAlaskan Winter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

658 Ratings
THE BROS
85
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 658
Reviews: 333
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 13.86%
Wants: 23
Gots: 22 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co. visit their website
Alaska, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  6.40% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Brewed in the style of an English Olde Ale, this ale balances the sweet heady aroma of spruce tips with the clean crisp finish of noble hops. Its malty richness is complemented by the warming sensation of alcohol.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-03-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 658 | Reviews: 333 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Bighuge:
Photo of Bighuge
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a bit syrupy. Has very thin white head that goes away within seconds. Don't get a lot on the aroma. Maybe a small hint of spruce. Appearance is slightly hazy and amber. Taste is unique. Spruce tips are used in this recipe and are evident on the tongue. Pretty sweet (but not malty sweet) taste. Alcoholic warmth is evident to a minor degree. A good holiday brew, but not one to have many in one sitting.

Bighuge, Mar 20, 2002
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poures a burnt orange color with a slightly off white head that is gone pretty quickly leaving no lace behind as it settles,very muted aromas I picked up some toasted cracker malt but no hopping or spruce tip aromas wich I expected maybe a touch of caramel as well but very light.Flavors are not as muted but dont really stand out much either a dry malt base with some buttery notes wich become stronger as I drink more only a touch of the pine flavors hit in the finish.I realley prefer Siletz spruce ale compared to this,Its not horrible but somewhat run of the mill.

oberon, Dec 16, 2005
Photo of RoyalT
2.6/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance – This one has a very light and clear orange body, which is not what I’d expect from a Winter Warmer. The head came up big but went down rather quickly.

Smell – The nose here has a light, malty sweetness that’s almost more like an Abbey Tripel. I don’t know where this one is coming from.

Taste – The malt flavors come out first and foremost at the taste. There’s a big, almost yeasty orange flavor in there. The floral hops provide a bit of a compliment, but mostly this one is sweet and malty.

Mouthfeel – Actually kind of smooth but way too thin for the style. I’d guess this one to be medium-bodied at best, and probably not that.

Drinkability – This went down OK, but it sure as hell wasn’t a Winter Warmer.

Comments – I hate to be the low-ball here, but I thought this was an inferior effort at the style. If you want to make a malty pale ale, just call it a malty pale ale.

RoyalT, Dec 20, 2003
Photo of Turbo
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Turbo, Oct 06, 2013
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Vol. II Issue XI:

Bright copper color sports a fine clarity; a perfect crowning from a two-fingered head drops a curtain of lace on the glass. Slight fruitiness in the nose of fresh peaches and pear. Maltiness ranges from cracker to cake batter with a subtle balance of hops and spruce, making for a lovely aroma. It's big on smoothness and has a nearly full body. Fruity, with a ghost-like bubblegum tone. There's a dry malt character for the most part with a hint of light caramel and toasted bread within. Light prickle of hop bitterness lets a quick flash of pungent spruce come through. Alcohol has just a touch of warmth accompanied by a peach orchard flavor. The spruce comes across with a hint of earthiness as well. Finishes dry with a thick, dry, cracker maltiness and a faint linger of spruce.

A different spin on the Winter Warmer, and it's refreshing to see that the spruce is not overdone. Very tasty and very drinkable, which makes this an excellent Sunday dinner beer.

BeerAdvocate, Sep 20, 2010
Photo of Dmann
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a nice copper color but had no head to speak of really, just kind of flat. The smell was very sweet with spices and an overriding maltiness that was a bit overpowering. Flavor-wise, the beer was pretty thick and malty sweet with just a hint of the mentioned spruce tips and just a bit of hops at the very end to add a touch of bitterness. I guess I like my winter beers a bit more hoppy and not so sweet as this one. Recommended if you are a malthead.

Dmann, Oct 22, 2007
Photo of Kappakoosh
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Kappakoosh, Dec 26, 2013
Photo of Beaver13
3.13/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Pours a golden copper with a creamy white head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet toasted malts and spices.

The flavor is sweet sugary malts with some piney spices and some vegetal notes. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with creamy carbonation.

Overall, it's too sweet for me, with some off-notes. I'd prefer more spicing.

Beaver13, Oct 29, 2008
Photo of SmellsofMahagony
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%

SmellsofMahagony, May 09, 2013
Photo of 77apm
2.75/5  rDev -25.3%

77apm, May 19, 2014
Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz short brown twist off bottle, a drink before date is on the label.

Appearance: Bright orangey amber (tawny) with a off white lacing that does just fine sticking to the glass.

Smell: Clean maltiness with a hint of citric hop and piney note as well.

Taste: Smooth and a touch chewy, moderate carbonation and full bodied. Solid maltiness, faint buttery diacetyl. Ample hop bitterness, citric twang is underneath the malt. Mild pine or spruce flavour throws a complexity middle to end. Malt sweetness is around for a long time, residuals show off a semi-sweet brew.

Notes: A solid yet serene winter seasonal, the spicing of the hops and spruce are balanced at most … this holds the beer character to a sturdy strong or old ale fashion.

Jason, Nov 11, 2002
Photo of Billolick
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 ouncer, w/o freshness/vintage/bottling date info. Pours typical amber, clear under a large, retentive and loose, initially fluffy dark tan head and leaving all kinds of thick lacing. Mild sweet maple infused nose. I'm not getting much spice or the advertized spruce here. Just a malty ale, lacking in much complexity or intrigue. I'm getting more maple, toastyness and thats about it. One and done for me of this one.

Billolick, Feb 16, 2009
Photo of warriorsoul
4.55/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A huge thanks to beernut7 for this bottle...
Pours a clear bronze color w/ a full finger and a half or tan head w/ a gentle pour...lacing is tight and goes nowhere.
Aroma packed w/ vanilla, caramel, sweet malt and a definite spice to it...says its brewed w/ spruce tips...smells simply fantastic.
The taste is one juicy-fruit of a brew...served damn near room temperature and this one has such an incredible flavor. A nice addition of hops, but by no means bitter.
Mouthfeel is a bit thicker than average...drinkability is quite high, in fact...it doesn't really quench the thirst, it pulls you in to drink more and more. Alcohol is real well hidden to the very last sip.
By far, the best winter I have experienced and I would really enjoy this one during the winter months...trade anyone?

warriorsoul, Jun 29, 2005
Photo of Mora2000
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours an amber color with a white head. The aroma is full of honey, dark fruit, toffee, caramel and a hint of alcohol. The flavor is similar. The spruce comes through in the flavor, adding a bit of a herbal, minty quality. I also get some honey and the associated sweetness, as well as some grape and cherry notes. The alcohol is not present in the flavor, which makes the beer quite easy to drink. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A nice winter beer.

Mora2000, Oct 08, 2012
Photo of adgrant
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

adgrant, Jan 23, 2012
Photo of ryancl
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

ryancl, Aug 03, 2012
Photo of bsp77
3.08/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Clear burnished gold (much lighter than expected) with little head and next to no lacing.

Smell: Very fruity, with caramel and cherry. Don't detect any hops or spruce tips, for that matter.

Taste: Aahh, very sweet! Cherry, caramel and dark fruits run amok. There is some very light English-style hops and pine (or make that spruce) on the finish.

Feel: Medium bodied with a strange spritzy carbonation. No dryness on the finish whatsoever.

Overall: I really don't understand why they made this so damn sweet. Should have finished drier or added noticeable hops or maybe actually made something noteworthy with those spruce tips. I am starting to feel that the 12 ounce offerings from Alaskan are just not worth my time or money anymore.

bsp77, Oct 30, 2011
Photo of magictrokini
2.88/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Nice deep gold pour and aroma of malts and trees. The flavor is good, but the spruce tips are kind of strange. Deep and malty, with some caramel, but then a blast of turpentine. I wish they would have just thrown in more hops instead, the spruce was not a good substitute.

magictrokini, Dec 04, 2008
Photo of NilocRellim
4/5  rDev +8.7%

NilocRellim, Nov 10, 2012
Photo of rhinonau
5/5  rDev +35.9%

rhinonau, Oct 28, 2013
Photo of mkrass
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

mkrass, Dec 24, 2012
Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +15.5%

Had this in the bottle and on tap at the Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis.
A big, refreshing spruce nose from the bottle - less spruce in the draft version. There may be a little resiny hop in there too.
This pours brilliant amber under a fairly quickly dissipating 1" foam cap.
In the bottled version the spruce works well with the sweet malt flavors. In the draft version there is a little bubble gum and a thin sweetness that does not work as well with the spruce.
The body is medium with medium carbonation.
This is an interesting beer and well worth trying. My score is for the bottled version which I thought was very good. the draft version was just OK.

pat61, Sep 12, 2014
Photo of MattyG85
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a bright and clear amber orange with lots of rising bubbles. Solid four finger off white head with good retention. A good amount of lacing around the glass.

Smell: Sweet and malty. Lots of bready caramel and toffee malts. Has some noticeable hints of a fruity, spicy raspberry like scent which is probably the spruce tips. Pretty sweet smelling overall.

Taste: Sweet like the smell leads. Lots of sweet and bready caramel and toffee malts. The spruce tips are pretty noticeable with some piney spice and hints of berries. Finishes with some spicy hops. This brew is pretty sweet but well balanced by the spices.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Crisp and very smooth. Finishes a bit dry. Berries linger around in the mouth aftertaste.

Overall: A pretty solid winter warmer. The spruce tips add a interesting twist.

MattyG85, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of Thrasher
4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

An amber ale with small head and some lacing. Aroma of caramel malts, apple pie, and minty evergreen (from spruce tips). The malts are big, rich, satisfying and incredibly sweet without being too cloying. I am wary of spiced winter brews and unusual ingredients such as spruce tips but the evergreen quality actually works with the beer quite well. The hops create a surprisingly dry finish. The mouth puckers at the end of each sip, but the beer is not excessively bitter like many highly hopped beers. It's more like a tartness similar to apple juice or white grape juice. A very satisfying finish to a very satisfying beer.

Thrasher, Dec 08, 2003
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Alaskan Winter Ale from Alaskan Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 658 ratings.