Alaskan Winter Ale - Alaskan Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Alaskan Winter AleAlaskan Winter Ale

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727 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 727
Reviews: 341
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 13.59%
Wants: 30
Gots: 43 | 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: 727 | Reviews: 341 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of gatornation
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle BB 020512

A-pours a clear garnet color with an off-white 1 finger head that fades to a nice ring and cap

S- was malt and spice,pine

T- was sweet caramel malts fruits and spice,a wisp of spruce

M- was sweet,and crisp with a smooth butter malt feeling

T- its tasty and smooth and malty..a good WW, easy to drink i sixer for the whole season will be enough for me

Photo of pdoran10
3.1/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Alaskan Winter pours out a dark golden color into a snifter. I get one finger of white head that sticks around and leaves nice lacing.

The smell is biscuit and a faint caramel sweetness.

The flavor is pretty complex, but does not work for me. I get white bread, caramel, dark fruit, and sharp spruce all in small doses. A bit muddled and the spruce doesn't fit with the rich malt for me.

The mouthfeel is average and creamy with moderate carbonation. Very well dialed in here.

Overall a solid and very well made offering, but I'm not digging the flavor combinations here.

Photo of codfeast
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

bottle to pint.

A: clear amber, thin head fades to a ring, no lacing.

S: Sweet malt, hints of spruce and cotton candy.

T: Much like the nose starts sweet, quite sweet fades to hints of hops or spruce, sweet comes back into play with a semi-bitter finish.

M: Good carbination, smooth and creamy.

O: tough to review not really a "winter warmer" Have not had it for the last two years but seem to remember a much more pronounced spruce flavor. remember a friend who could not stand the beer said it was like "gnawing on a tree branch". That was the appeal to myself guess I was in the minority. still its a very easy drinking tasty beer.

Photo of beerandcycling88
3.45/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a mug from a 12oz bottle.

A Pours a fairly clear amber with a nice white head that has pretty good retention.

S Some light fruitiness with what seems to be a hint of a pine/spruce like note.

T A prominent bready malt note with just a hint of a pine like bitterness. Pretty sweet.

M Smooth and fairly easy to drink.

Overall I guess this one is pretty good, just not great. This used to be one of my favorite winter seasonals, however the spruce seems less strong then it was in the past, which kills it for me.

Photo of kgotcher
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a copper color with a 1 finger head that fizzes off quickly into a thin white layer

Aroma is earthy and fruity, some apple, some lemon and piney notes.

Taste is pretty simple, sweet and malty, with a pine hop note. Clean flavors but nothing complicated.

Mouthfeel is pretty mild but a little sticky with low carbonation and a sweet profile. Hides any alchohol very well but at 6.4 it is not a"warmer".

Overall this is very drinkable but not necessarily what you get from other brewers "winter" styles. I would say it is more of a variation on their Amber than anything. But nothing wrong with that. If you like Alaskan Amber and are not crazy about heavy winter ales, this is your beer.

As for the spruce tips, I get it but it is not so obvious as they could have made it. This definately has a woody note to it which I take as the Spruce tips but it is not like taking a sniff of a spruce tree.

Still I keep buying cases of this stuff so I must like it.

Photo of blakelive784
3.2/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass:

A - Light, transparent amber with a creamy 2 finger head and good retention. Inviting.

S - Mild herbal notes and strong fruit esters. Sweet caramel malt is present as well.

T - Quite sweet, with some herbal/woodsy tones. Nice, sweet fruit. Hop presence is very low. A little mild.

M - Smooth and wet. Works well with the flavors.

D - A highly drinkable beer, but I wish the flavors were more pronounced. Definitely worth a try, though.

Photo of notsoprobeer
4.33/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Amber in color with a white head that dissipated fairly quickly with no lacing. Aroma is mainly caramel malts and evergreen. I didn't expect the spruce to come through in aroma, but it does. Flavor is mainly caramel malts, very subtle spruce, and a nice sweetness. Virtually no bitterness. The light to medium body, nice effervescence, and a buttery sensation combine to produce a nice overall mouth feel. The taste of alcohol is slight and the drink provides a very nice warming feeling. A bit of sweetness lingers in the finish and leaves a nice aftertase.

Photo of nickd717
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle as part of a random mixed sixer my sister gave me as a gift. Well, it’s a tick. I’d expect a good winter ale from Alaska given that they have one hell of a winter up there.

Nice appearance, surprisingly light and clear medium amber color with a small off-white head and good lacing.

The aroma is very fruity, sort of what I’d imagine Arctic cloudberries to smell like if that makes sense. Some caramel and spruce as well with considerable hop bitterness.

The flavor has caramel malt, fruit/berry notes, earthy hops, and spruce. Decently tasty.

Medium-bodied and fairly crisp with average carbonation level.

A good winter beer, but nothing I’d ever go crazy over.

Photo of BeazyB
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance was clear, with a gold-orange hue. Had nice white head that lasted for some time.

I was expecting powerful herbal smell because of the spruce tips, but very little in the aroma department.

This beer had just enough herbal, pine, and spice flavors to set it apart from other ales. It finished crisp and refreshing, with a very subtle fruit undertone.

Smooth with a light-medium body, crisp finish.

Overall: Although it is not your typical winter variety, this beer was crisp, refreshing, and very drinkable. I was initially worried the spruce may be overpowering, but was pleasantly surprised when there was just enough to let me know it was in there.

Photo of a2marzman83
2.58/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Clear dark orange with big off white head.

Smell seems a bit understated light malts minor spicing. I'm trying really hard to smell any spruce tips not much coming to the surface.

The flavor has some spruce hoppiness as well as some alcohol. Spices and bland maltyness.

Smooth mouthfeel, medium body

My overall feeling is meh from Alaskan Winter. I like that they put a spin on the classic winter seasonal but I think it is another reason why so few people live in Alaska through all four seasons.

Photo of chugalug06
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Clear copper color with a nice balanced head a top the brew.

S - Unusual, very little smell at all... it could be the IPA I just drank that wrecked house on my senses

T - AMAZING! One of my favorite brews! Great diversity of flavors. Very spicy and flavorful! A+

M - Very good. Not overly carbonated and evenly coats

D - Great, hard to let this one sit for long... Very enjoyable

One of my favorite Winter Brews, year after year. It's very consistent and offers many unique flavors not found in another brew I've had

Photo of smakawhat
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Nonic pint glass. Thanks to colts9016 for the trade!

Big fisty full head off the pour, four fingers, with off white soapy bubbles. Body is a nice copper simple deep amber, very clear. Some very slow rising carbonation from the bottom but not much. Very little lacing is apparent.

Small breaded malts and faint yeast is about all I get. Some hint of dry arid sensations too. Doesn't seem like much going on.

Sweet and bready malts at first taste with a strange finish. This is somewhat wet, but it has that good dense bread chew on the finish that I like. There's a weird aftertaste that I can't quite pinpoint on this beer as well, perhaps it's the spruce pine tips.

This does not feel like a winter warmer at all, more like a sessionable amber ale, but no complaints there. Tolerable and easily drinkable, so I say good on that!

Photo of joshuasamantha
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had the Alaskan s Winter beer at Carlies Jewels in redlands california- on tap - strong reddish brown in color medium head with little lacing strong malt and spruce flavors mellow hop undertones definitely an evening session beer, good with barbeque or around a fire -a true winter warmer- ill be getting a few cases next winter for sure!

Photo of Scotchboy
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a golden orange color with very little head despite an aggressive pour. This beer is clear and effervescent.

On the nose: spices, earthiness, and a little honey-like sweetness. There is also some orange/orange peel and lemon/lemon peel presence without being citrus-forward.

Taste: Light sweet caramel malts, orange peel, and spruce/evergreen/pine; a unique and pleasant take on a winter ale. The spruce gives the beer a slight minty aftertaste which isn't out of place and actually work with the beer.

MF is smooth and lighter bodied. Very drinkable.

Photo of renolayton
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer claims to have spruce tips in it, which may have accounted for its "piney" taste. It was a very smooth and drinkable brew. It had an average smell, and because I drank it straight out of the bottle, I couldn't really grade it too much on its appearance, so I gave it the benefit of the doubt.

All in all, it's a very "cozy" winter ale, worthy of its price, and should be simple enough for simple tastes, and complex enough for beer snobs.

Photo of JamisonM
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: honey orange color or perhaps light amber small white head

S: sweet pine with a berry note coming through very malty smelling beer

T: a very malty beer with a lot of honey sweetness with the berry kind of flavor coming though alcohol seems to be well masked

M: med mouth with med carbonation

D: pretty drinkable but the sweetness kind of sets the drinkablity lower

Overall: a pretty good beer I would buy it again but it could be great if they balanced this more with a piny hop, but its cool to be able to try a spruce tip beer.

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a New Belgium globe.

Appearance: Bright and crystal clear, orange-amber body - nice start. A swirling column of carbonation feeds a fine, patchy, white head. Head retains pretty well as a medium-sized crown. Not much in terms of lacing; white spots here and there. Upon closer examination, I noticed a lot of suspended sediment. Not too thrilled by that. All in all, meh.

Smell: Caramel and spruce own it. Mint, wheat bread, and moist vegetation try to compete, but find themselves heavily outpaced. Could be more complex, but I enjoy what the spruce brings to the table.

Taste: The caramel and spruce are certainly palpable, but not as dominant in the taste as they were in the aroma. Here a thick, bready backbone steals the show. Caramel and cane sugar peek though early on, while spruce tips, spearmint, and a twinge of alcohol come through in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with active carbonation, and leaning toward the malty end in terms of feel. Finishes pretty clean and crisp.

Drinkability: Good enough to warrant a second (tonight anyway). The spruce tips keep things interesting, and the body and finish make for a pretty smooth ride. Not great, but worth a try.

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

Deep amber/honey coloring, frothy thick head nearly two fingers thick. Very lively carbonation, tons of visible bubbles in the slightly hazy liquid. Slightly bigger bodied. Really great foam crown, thick and foamy and rich. Smells lightly toasty from the malts, but too clean and thin. Some delicate hops detectable in the background. Taste is a pilsner-like cleanliness and light character. A much smaller brew than I like my Winter Warmers, but pretty tasty and almost refreshing. Some toasty, nut-like malts, some grassy hops flavors and a mellow, balanced finish. Drinking down, I notice a slight alcohol numb in my mouth. Not too bitter, but with a distinct edge for great balance. Lighter body, but not thin. Spritzy carbonation makes the lighter character more enjoyable in it's refreshing sort-of way.

For the style, it's too thin and clean in character. Not a big enough for a Winter Warmer. But it's enjoyable beer in looks, flavor and on the palette, so credit there. Quite drinkable.

Photo of jmbranum
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle bought at a liquor store in the Old Colorado City section of Colorado Springs. Very excited to find it here in Colorado.

Subtle malty aroma. Orangish-gold clear liquid with a huge fluffy white head.

Flavor is not what I expected for the style. I like this but it is not a winter warmer. More of a cream ale with a bit of hops in the background. Spruce is there but just barely. Sweeter than expected. Maybe a little bit of pear in the finish, but winds up being dry at the end.

Wonderful mouthfeel. Very nice and smooth.

Great session beer. It is not in my opinion a winter warmer but I do like it.

Photo of MaltsOfGlory
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a great winter beer, very drinkable and tasty. The appearance is dark, not pitch black but dark. Smells very matly, tiny bit spicy or tangy. The taste is very smooth, very matly as well, you can taste an interesting flavor which Im assuming is the spruce tips. I went through a six pack of these no problem. It is a very well balanced beer, nothing wrong with it at all. I will get this one again.

Photo of ebrauser
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle to a Mac 'n Jack's pint glass

Appearance: Light yellow with some noticeable particulate suspension and a very thin head.

Aroma: Spruce tips, earthy hops, and a biscuity malt, all with the kick of alcohol from the 6.4%

Flavor: The blatant spruce tips steal the beginning and middle of this beer, creating a sweetness that is similar to that of dry mangoes and apricots. As the fruit and pine subsides, a hop bitterness arrives but exits early to leave a warming crisp finish.

MF: Medium bodied without huge hop or alcohol character. A little sweet for warmer temps but I know for a fact that this is a perfectly sessionable beer when it is -40º outside and it's dark 18 hours per day.

Photo of Beerenauslese
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Body is clear coppery gold with a thick white head that dissipates to a fine ring, leaving curtains of lacing on the glass.

Aromas of malt, wet hay, spruce pine. Generally, a little sweet and spicy.

Tastes of sweet malt, ginger, hops. I wouldn't pick out any spruce flavor if I didn't know from the bottle that it was brewed with spruce tips. Their effect seems subtle. There seems to be a bit of citrus in the finish.

Body is light and carbonation is sufficient to give it a slightly creamy mouthfeel.

Overall, a malty sweet wintery ale that is pleasant and a little spiced, but not very exciting.

Photo of beergod1
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This brew pours a hazy, amber color with a medium thin light beige head that diminishes steadily, but leaves rows of lacing. Aroma of pine, hops and sweet malt. Medium-bodied with a piney/spruce character, along with fresh fruit, hops and malt flavors. Touches of spice are present too. The finish is hoppy and malty with a fruit and spice aftertaste. Decent overall. They were looking for something different, I think they found it.

Photo of deadbody
2.83/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Hmm. A friend brought this back from Alaska while he surfed on my couch for a week or so.

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass, good caramel color, nice head. Odd smell, almost a pine sol type scent on first sniff. The pine scent dissapates some, but is there for the whole glass. Taste was just not my style. Was interesting, and spicy, with some sort of almost a pine flavor. Mouthfeel was fine, exactly what I expect from an ale, pretty heavy carbonation which was good.

Drinkability is kinda low because I just really didn't like the flavor, however, if you like the flavor I could see this being super drinkable.

Alaskan Winter Ale from Alaskan Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 727 ratings.