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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.

658 Ratings
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:
Photo of largadeer
3.18/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Clear golden-amber with two fingers of frothy head.

Smell: Dry biscuit-like malts, a touch of caramel and a hint of spruce that I'd probably not have picked up if not for the label saying that it's made with spruce tips.

Taste & mouthfeel: Sweet caramel malts with a faint herbal quality. Very clean and malty, only faintly bitter in the finish. I'm not getting much spruce in the flavor, or much complexity at all for that matter. I'm not really sure where the brewer was going with this. It's pleasantly malty but fairly flatline, lacking in any sort of variation from start to finish.

largadeer, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of hopdog
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this one from a 12oz bottle.

Poured an Iced Tea color (a description I got from my wife) with a small sized off white head. Spruce/pine in the aroma and tastes (no surprise there). Lightly sweet with light spices. Refreshing.

Notes from 11/30/04

hopdog, Nov 19, 2008
Photo of sevopie
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Amber in color with a tannish head.

Smell - Fairly malty, with some caramel overtones. Has a strange spice smell thats presumably from the spruce.

Taste - Again, very malty - heavy on the caramel malts. Has a sweet sugary finish that is only barely touched by a bit of hop bite. The sweetness slowly fades as you dive into it.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium in body with a moderate amount of carbonation.

Drinkability - I like this beer, I do. Unfortunately, it gives me a headache every time I have one (I'm guessing some kind of reaction to the spruce tips.) I'm not going to mark it lower for this fact, but give out the warning that it may cause a similar reaction in others.

sevopie, Nov 19, 2008
Photo of kosmoraios
2.98/5  rDev -19%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance is crystal-clear light copper with a half-finger of white head that leaves no lacing. Very fine carbonation is visible rising in the glass.

Aroma is very faint, with light hints of pine and malt. Taste is sweet, heavy on the caramel malts. Piney hops, a hint of light bread. Some vegetal/herbal tones, presumably from the spruce.

Mouthfeel is light and carbonated, too insubstantial for the style, but a drinkable ale nonetheless.

This ale is far too light, too sweet, and too tame to be a proper winter warmer. While still an ok, drinkable ale, the spruce is underutilized and the ale borders on macro in it's timidness.

kosmoraios, Nov 16, 2008
Photo of RunDWP
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I really enjoyed this. The spruce could have been easily overused to create a somewhat gimmicky brew, but it gives this one a clear, fresh taste. Liked the restraint here. It's a bit sweet and malty, and the spruce and the hops give it a piney finish. The alcohol is present both in the taste and aroma and warmed me up a bit. Really liked the balance and restraint with all the good flavors to put together an enjoyable brew.

RunDWP, Nov 12, 2008
Photo of djeucalyptus
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a light golden copper color, crystal clear with some ample carbonation that kept a thin head going for a good while. Initial pour yielded a fluffy and creamy eggshell head that faded fairly quickly leaving behind minimal lacing.

smells of malts, sugar, maple, pine, honey, and some more sweet pine - almost like sap. Toasty and spicy.

taste is sweet. Sweet caramel and toffee malt character with some sweet and piny spruce sap notes. Definitely on the sweet side of things. It's a relatively neutral and even sprucing and spicing, without an intense and overpowering flavor (I seem to recall past years having a bit more spruce kick). This one almost borders a mellow overall taste.

mouthfeel is thick and almost a touch syrupy. Ample carbonation keeps the syrupiness at bay. Full and smooth, with an almost sugary-creamy feel. Not bad at all.

Not your regular winter warmer. This one definitely has some spruce kick. And it's sweet and malty - no question. Not "hints of sweetness and spruce" but in your face sweet malt and spruce. If you're in the mood for a sweet, malty, and piney brew, this is perfect. Definitely worth a shot in the exploration of winter brews.

djeucalyptus, Oct 31, 2008
Photo of jujubeast6000
2.9/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed 12/31/2005 (12oz bottle):

Pours a very light brown tan color body, average head, and good sized bubbles. Aroma of spices, alcohol, sweetness. Taste of spruce, maybe sap? Bitter, acidic, sickly sweet taste. Slightly fizzy. A little too much sappy, sprucy taste for my palate.

jujubeast6000, Oct 29, 2008
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 Tolnik
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, this golden amber coloration beer gives a full foam and reduces to a lingering lacing . There is a good malt aroma that odorizes the air. Taste is a good balance of hops and malts with a distinct taste that warms your interior. Has a outdoors sort of taste.

Tolnik, Oct 26, 2008
Photo of treyrab
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hats off to Kyle for bringing some back from a trip to Alaska...Poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a nice amber color with a nice white 2 finger head that leaves to a disk and does not lace

S: The smell is very malty, with mucho caramel malts that I like!

T: The caramel hits you, but not as much as I would have thought. There is a nice spice of nutmeg and clove in there that are blended well with the hop finish.

Overall, this is a great brew by Alaskan Brewing. I would definitely get this again!

treyrab, Aug 19, 2008
Photo of JDV
2.9/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of bitterbill. Thanks!
Pours a clear orange to copper color with a thin white head. Smell is mostly malty with some spiced character in the way of the spruce tips, I'm guessing. Taste is malty and refreshingly minty almost and cool feeling in the mouth. Unique mouthfeel and flavor but not particularly fantastic either. Medium to thin bodied and somewhat easy drinking.

JDV, Apr 06, 2008
Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.43/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Acquired for about $3.10 total cost via Liquid Solutions (part of a case purchase).

Appearance - pours a deep coppery orange. A thin cap of bubbles, slight cream color to them, not much lacing.

Aroma - a touch of sweetness, but this beer isn't giving anything away here.

Taste - good grain start with a light toast and limited sweetness. Spruce makes for a slightly medicinal effect. In conjunction with the hops they come across spicy and a bit herbal. The swallow dries out a bit with more bitterness creeping in. Turns out to be much like a pale ale.

Mouthfeel - fairly even bodied, slightly slickness, carbonation is above average.

Drinkability - decent session potential. Glad to have the chance but I'll save the other bottle for someone else who'd like to try it...

brewdlyhooked13, Mar 09, 2008
Photo of xymyl
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly off-white head falls quickly to a thin film on this beer. And the color is a murky amber.

Nose is slightly sweet spruce sap and needles, malt, grapefruit and orange. It probably will display more as it opens up, as it has in times past, but I don't have time to do that right now.

Has a very unique taste, along the lines of what I've already mentioned but with an added dimension of young saplings with soft green bark.

The medium to medium/light bodied beer is enjoyable and interesting, although it would not be unpleasant to drink more than one at a session, it wouldn't be something I would do.

xymyl, Mar 04, 2008
Photo of geexploitation
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear and very bright, a highlight-flecked medium amber with a small head that leaves only a collar. The nose displays some buttery diacetyl and a vague hint of... something... that reminds of refreshment but is too vague and subdued to present itself as an identifiable aroma. On the palate, rich buttery malts and a twang of slight fruitiness toward the end, with some metallic notes cropping up as well. Whatever spruce characteristic there is is very subtle; too subtle, in fact, for me to detect. Mouthfeel is fairly nondescript, but by no means bad: malty but not slick, little acidity, medium carbonation that is unassuming. Overall, this is a perfectly drinkable beer but nothing to write home about.

geexploitation, Feb 24, 2008
Photo of mattcrill
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Honey sweetness up front. A bit of earthy spiciness in the background. The balance between honey and carmel persists. No hot alcohols or hop aroma noted.

Appearance: Cloudy orange pour with a thin white cap. Head retention is poor and it collars the glass nicely.

Flavor: Honey and carmel notes up front. A malty sweetness that fills the mouth but is quickly dried out by spicing and what I'm assuming is the spruce tips (per website). Finish is lingering but dry.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light bodied with medium-high carbonation. Definite carbonic bite at the end.

Overall impression: A malty, lightly spiced winter ale. Nothing over the top in terms of spices. A very clean, good winter ale. Recommended.

mattcrill, Feb 10, 2008
Photo of bobsy
4.75/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a bottle from Whole Foods in San Fransisco.

Poured a shiny copper, with a decent-sized frothy white head, which does diminish a fair bit, settling to maybe 4 or 5 millimetres, while providing some nice lacing. The aroma is sweet and piney, with the spruce tips used in the brew evident, but not overpowering. The first taste I get is full of caramel, but the spruce comes through pleasingly in the middle, and the hops provide a nice bitterness at the sides of the tongue. There is also a strong berry flavour to this brew, as well as a sweet spicy warmth. I'm actually finding it hard to fault the flavour because I like the spruce addition and the freshness it brings to the sweet backbone. The mouthfeel is smooth, helping to make this an easy drinker.

I really dig the spruce flavours and they combine well with the sweet malts to provide a nicely balanced winter warmer that reminds me of a nice Christmas treat. I could definitely take down another of these!

bobsy, Jan 28, 2008
Photo of russpowell
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours an effervescent amber with 4+ fingers of rocky cream colored head. Good lacing, & above average head retention

S: Bready with some lemon hops, caramel & cakeyness

T: Citric hops, floral hops & some honey sweetness up front. Some cherry cough syrup (the spruce tips, I guess) notes along with lemmony hops, dryness & some caramel as this warms. Finishes dry & citrussy (lemons & orange, with a little mintyness nice breadyness, & just a nice touch of warmth

MF: Medium bodied with low carbonation, love the balance

Drinks too easy, hard to put my finger on some of the flavor here, but I think I could happily session on this! The spruce tips are a nice addition

russpowell, Jan 28, 2008
Photo of henrysunset
3.55/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

reddish orange without a lot of depth of color. Nice white/tan head

smell is nice. malty with a hint of the pine (spruce, i believe) a little too sweet for my preference but good.

taste is nice. sweet with a gingerbreaddy, nutty flavor and malty too. a bit thick but not cloyingly so. smooth and drinkable.

henrysunset, Jan 18, 2008
Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

barleywinefiend, Jan 17, 2008
Photo of Deuane
4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Clear copper with a thin tan head that laced nicely down the glass.

S-Very nice with a sweet maltiness, pleasant spicy hops and the backround scent of spruce.

T-Very crisp and pleasant. Nothing is upfront or overpowering. A wonderful blend of the sweet malts, citrusy hops, some "fruity" flavors and the backround twang of the spruce. A beer that melds oh so well!

M-Not syrupy thick, but not watery thin...a wonderful balance of a "just right" brew.

D-A great, unique, winter offering. Easy to consume even for the person who may think they do not like conifers in their beer...of which I am not one!

Deuane, Jan 05, 2008
Photo of jdhilt
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a four finger cream head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Nice crystal clear amber color. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Slight hoppy nose, no spruce. Flavor is sweet caramel that balances the slight bitterness at the finish. $1.35 for a 12oz bottle from Liquid Solutions Oregon City, Or.

jdhilt, Jan 02, 2008
Photo of NDPDuke
3.3/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an amber-golden hue with a solid head. Head is completely white. Beautiful looking beer as it sits in my pint glass.

Interesting smell. The bottle says "brewed with spruce tips", but I can't tell if I smell spruce or hops. Interesting smell. It seemed a little pungent too me though.

The taste was interesting. Wasn't as spicy as I would expect for a winter ale. Tasted a bit of hops, but couldn't quite put a taste on anything else. The taste was average overall, nothing special.

Mouthfeel was alright. Went down smooth and felt good against my palate.

Drinkability is average. It is a smooth beer, easy to go down, but the overall taste was not that appealing to me. I'm glad I got to try the beer (THANK YOU NITROGEN) as it was an interesting brew, but I do not know if I would go back to it.

NDPDuke, Dec 27, 2007
Photo of TheodorHerzl
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A big thanks goes out to Younger35 for the trade on this one. Thank you.

Pours a bright amber hue with minimal head and slightly above average lacing on my glass. Tons of tiny bubbles heading to the surface in this brew. I am not really sure if I am smelling hops or the spruce needles. It's isn't quite strong enough for hops, but it's a pleasant citrus scent with some biscuty malt coming to my nose. This beer is actually quite sweet. The malty sweetness overpowers the bitterness coming from the finishing hops. Flavors of citrus and sweet caramel meld fairly well in this beer just leaning towards sweeter than balanced. The mouthfeel is medium carbination, slightly watery, and medium bodied. The alcohol is also fairly well masked in the beer and doesn't really make an appearance. This is a nice winter warmer. Easy to drink and I would purchase this again if I had the chance.

TheodorHerzl, Dec 25, 2007
Photo of MiScusi
3.35/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A- Amber-orange. Slightly hazy, no head apparent. No head able to be regenerated by swirling.

S- Couldn't really pick up a whole lot here. Obviously more malty but other than that wasn't able to get a whole lot of detail.

T- Started off similar to a more maltier pale ale and then finished with a weird taste that was kinda berry-ish but also kind of herbal which I'm thinking came from the spruce tips.

M/D- Somewhat oily in the mouth. Not a bad tasting brew, but different, and I personally wouldn't go for more than a bottle of this.

MiScusi, Dec 23, 2007
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a clear, orange-copper body with a wispy white head.

Smell: Fairly mild aroma, a light maltiness, a subtle hop character, but nothing I'd point my finger at and shout "spruce".

Taste: Bready maltiness with a candylike sweetness. Hint of tangy lemon-like citrus. Beyond a vague flavor reminiscent of mint, it's still pretty light in terms of spruce character. Drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Spruce or no spruce, it's still a decent beer.

ChainGangGuy, Dec 17, 2007
Alaskan Winter Ale from Alaskan Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 658 ratings.