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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.

634 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 634
Reviews: 332
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 13.86%
Wants: 20
Gots: 16 | 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: 634 | Reviews: 332 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mnapier


4.35/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A wonderful trace of caramel malts, and spruce tips, with a nice hoppy edge. As the beer gets warmer from room temperature the evidence of the 3 malts come out of the beer with the aftertaste influence with hop goodness. Not a beer to drink all the time, but does go really well with the turkey sandwich I had.
Overall a beer that I definitely look forward to every year until they stop crafting it or the taste no longer impresses my taste buds.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2004 07:24:19 | More by mnapier
Photo of donnebaby

North Carolina

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

Slightly hazy and thick looking muted copper color body, with pretty decent haze accumulation overtop. Nose was pretty funky, unlike anything I've smelled recently...I can feel the "pine tips" in there, but it's not pine that comes across. Sweet, and mildly boozy, and something distinctly vegetable, like cooked green beans.

Tastes good, but not wildly interesting, and finishes with a somehow unpleasant dry, rough hop aftertaste. Like a mild Belgian spiced ale, sweet malts, fermenting apples...and very mild.
Carbonation is gentle, and weak.

Good, but forgettable.

A question: should an "Alaskan" winter ale really be considered a "seasonal". Isn't it always winter there???

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2004 04:50:07 | More by donnebaby
Photo of zacharius


3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer pours an orange color into my pint glass with a white head that lasts throughout the glass. Large carbonation bubbles noticed. Smell is of fruitty yeasty esters, carmally sweetness and then a citrusy piney aroma is either from the hops or spruce. Taste is malty sweet medium thick bodied balanced with hops. There is a citrusy taste here from the spruce boughs but it isn't overpowering. Beer is drinkable but I wouldn't have too many of these because that spruce might be a little to acidic over the course of a night.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2004 23:21:28 | More by zacharius
Photo of RootedFool


4.43/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a twelve ounce bottle straight down into a Duvel goblet. The head resembles thick cream of wheat, bright white, and is leaving some thick curtains of lace on the glass. The body is dark copper to light amber, depending on what light is behind it.

Smell: a golden raisin infused caramel grassiness, if you can get your head around that. Earthy, and sweet, but mostly sweet.

Taste: upfront sugar cane bite, followed by a puckering bitterness straight down the middle of my palate, closing on a dim earthy bitterness (the spruce tips?) that buzzes along the tip of my tongue.

The finish is also very dry, clean.

Mouthfeel isn't thick, isn't thin, and doesn't stick -- nice weight and balance. In the middle.

I love the unique malt flavor of this beer, kicked up the spruce tips or whatever -- spicy and full and bright. Festive.

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2004 03:58:58 | More by RootedFool
Photo of Gueuzedude


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

Brewed with Sitka spruce tips. The aroma is slightly citrusy, with a spicy component to it. I tasted this just after smelling some fresh Sitka spruce tips, the aromas of the fresh tips were incredibly citrusy with a sweet aroma that was incredibly fresh and interesting. Unfortunately the beer did not have this level of character to it, but at least it was noticeable in the nose.

The taste has a definite slight bitterness and astringency that does not seem to be derived from the use of hops (so it must be the spruce). The beer is sweet and malty up front with a light refreshing citrus character. This is quite light and refreshing to the palate, though there is some solid flavor here, including some spiciness.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2004 19:52:20 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of beertaster13


4.3/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a very good winter ale by alaskan brewing. Pours a dark copper/orange with a slight tan but more white froth head. Lacing is decent but not great. Smell is of cinnamon spice and nutmeg. Slight pine tone but very clean to the nose. The taste is very light for a winter beer, nutmeg sweetness and the hop bitterness is perfectly blended. Citrus and honey aftertones, very light in the mouth for a winter ale. Because of the lightness of this winter ale you can drink quite a few of these, dangerous because the alcohol is 6.4%. Excellent winter brew/ I'd even save some for summer as well.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2004 01:42:14 | More by beertaster13
Photo of ark57


3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It pours a clear amber with a thin, off-white head. The aroma is malty, piney, and slightly medicinal with some citrus. The medium body has some creamy malt that is sweet and coating. It is a little fruity with some pine/spruce notes. The carbonation is a little high as well.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2004 18:13:17 | More by ark57
Photo of mzwolinski


3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well, they can't all be Smoked Porters....

A clear, copper beer, with a weak off-white head. Light caramel malt in the aroma with a hint of spice. The spices come through a bit better in the flavor, though I'm not sure I detect "spruce tips." Sweet biscuity, caramel malt, a light fruitiness, and a moderately bitter finish. Though something in the finish just strikes me as a bit harsh and unpleasant. Fairly crisp feeling, helped by a decent carbonation. Better cold.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2004 02:05:30 | More by mzwolinski
Photo of canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

4.3/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A lot of Winter/Xmas beers rely on heavy spiced flavours to suggest a brew to savor in cold weather. Alaskan should be commended for successfully taking a different tact.

This beer relies on the subtle interplay with the spruce esters coupled with a medium body. It took a few sips to see how nice this beer works as a winter beer. It was fresh tasting yet suggested complexity and body. Like most of their beers a sense of brewing skill is demonstrated with the execution and the originality of the style.

Serving type: bottle

03-19-2004 04:21:12 | More by canucklehead
Photo of tfinn


4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

color is an attractive copper / deep amber hue. pours with a light head which dissipates a little prematurely.

scent is akin to a damp clean mountain clearing; there are hints of things woody or piney, but otherwise it just smells "fresh" for lack of a better term.

taste and mouthfeel are what make this an interesting beer for me. it's very much a thick syrupy chewy beer, but it doesn't have that extended drawn-out sickly trail that I would expect with something with this flavor profile. yet neither does it have a pronounced hop finish either. must be the spruce tips. flavor is cream / caramel / toffee / almost citrus rind-ish, and the mouthfeel is nice and meaty.

I have to admit that from the bottle it isn't as good as what I had on tap at the 2003 winter ale festival, but it's definitely a close relative. it's an intriguing flavor, easy to drink yet not boring, and I look forward to its return next year.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2004 17:13:36 | More by tfinn
Photo of marc77


3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Lightly hazed copper hue. Thin, uniform, ivory white head yields sparse lace. The aroma is comprised of mellow, mildly buttery toffee offset by a curiously fruity, underripe fig twang. Slight sweet wood and lemon rind like hop nose. Fruity tartness continues seamlessly in flavor, and is of an odd, but agreeable tamarind like nature. Simple and stately buttery biscuit and medium caramel malt backbone. Understated hop bitterness leaves ample residual sweetness that precludes easy quaffing. Orange flesh hop flavor with a floral, non descript continental twang. Thins considerably in flavor and body mid palate, leaving a vacuous, airy, diluted molasses presence. Comes full circle late, with a resurgence of figgish tartness offset by a golden raisin like sweetness. Aftertaste of buttered, warm white cracker and marmalade. An eccentric and enjoyable brew. Malt and ester character seemed to compete with each other, but I liked that. With a fuller body this could be outstanding. Maybe.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2004 01:31:50 | More by marc77
Photo of BeerResearcher


4.43/5  rDev +20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

While some of us East-Coasters were working the EBF in Boston, good buddy Genaro was out on the west coast of Oregon gathering a nice selection of brews to send back east.
This one poured a deep amber with a thin white head and lots of lacing.
A sweet malt aroma dominates at first sniff; citrusy hops follow, as does a light piney smell (real or imagined?) Tastes of caramel apples, doughy malt and a hint of pears are upfront. A mild citrusy hop and just a touch of piney esters are noticed. Smooth...real smooth...almost buttery! The 6.4%abv is well hidden, until, of course, it is gone.

Edit 2004 _ It seems to have a bit more of a piney taste this year.(for the better) This is an impressive Winter-style brew!

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2004 02:50:48 | More by BeerResearcher
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Crystal clear copper amber tone with a whimpy somewhat thin head leaves nice speckled lacing spread evenly. Aroma: Spruce tips and hop dosage are evident with a sweet caramel malt backbone this is one nice seasonal scent. Taste: Surpasses the aroma ties it altogether candi-like sweetness with the blend of finishing hops and spruce tips harmonizing together excellent beer for the holiday season. Mouthfeel: Medium body slightly sticky texture to it nice full carbonation excellent. Drinkability: Excellent I am craving more and more of this flavor it just works so well I can't help myself this is an excellent winter seasonal bravo to the ol' Alaskan Brewing Co.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2004 01:10:21 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of PhantomVodoo


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

Neat burnt orange color with an off white head.
Unique aroma has a main component I don't know how to describe. Sweet biscuity malt with maybe a hint of pine.

Taste also has a quite unique flavor. Sort of a syrupy butterscotch flavor that borders on cloying. Sweet biscuity flavor. Hint of pine. Too sweet overall.

Mouthfeel is a little thin.
Too sweet and odd to drink more than one, IMO.

Overall, a decent beer, but not one I'd look to have again anytime soon.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2003 17:55:09 | More by PhantomVodoo
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2003 03:45:14 | More by RoyalT
Photo of ADR


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

Clear dark amber appearance, extremely pale thinish head. Good interlocking lace. Buttery toffee aroma. Sweet and honey-like malts dominate the flavor profile, slight diacetyl, thick texture, and low carbonation make this a heavier beer. The spruce tips may be substituting a little too much for hops in a counteracting bitter, because this the beer is a little skewed toward over-sweetness except for a mid mouth sense of medicinal qualities. Slighlty rubbery close to the mouthfeel. Pleasant beer, but not remarkable, kind of a sleepy Old Ale.

Source: Liquid Solutions

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2003 17:11:24 | More by ADR
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2003 03:44:49 | More by Thrasher
Photo of WetCoaster


3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Thin tan/white head fades quickly, leaving a thin ring around the glass. Some lacing. Beer a clear, rich honey/amber color, very pretty.

Smell: Rich, with heavy malt sweetness, a bit of hops and a pear scent; yeast perhaps? However, no pine scent that I can detect.

Taste/Mouthfeel: A bit of a letdown. Medium carbonation and a nice body create a mouthfeel appropriate for the style. The taste, while good, is fairly run-of-the-mill. It starts with a dense, sweet malt flavor, which is soon balanced nicely by a moderate hoppy bite. However, the spruce tips seem to impart no flavor whatsoever, nor are there any other spices or flavors that I can detect. Rats.

(Note: A third tasting revealed a mild, pleasant pine punch on top of the hops--the two before and three after did not.)

Drinkability: It's a tasty, hearty brew to be sure; it actually tastes like a nice marzen. I'd drink another.

Again, a solid beer to be sure, but a special beer? Not really. It's good, but I was expecting more.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2003 08:27:08 | More by WetCoaster
Photo of BeerManDan


4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think this is a above average winter ale. The color was a dark tan with very little head and no lace. The smell of spices, with a hint of a certain tree smell filled the nose. The taste of spices, malts and a hint of a spruce/pine graced my palate. What a pleasant taste, not over powering with a well balance of sweetness and bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2003 21:39:59 | More by BeerManDan
Photo of NVbeer


3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

After pouring this ale into my glass, I noted that the color was a tad on the light side for a winter style ale. The color was light amber, very similar to a marzen. Tasting provided a mild fullness in the mouth, not overly bitter, just enough to balence the malt flavoring. I believe the spruce tips add a bit of flavor to this ale, making it standout in the crowd of other seasonal winter ales. This would be a good session winter ale, not too high in alcohol, and very smooth and drinkable.
I genuinely enjoy this beer, and would recommend it to others.

(This is my first beer review, any suggestions please drop me a line)

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2003 02:08:09 | More by NVbeer
Photo of francisweizen


4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a nice find at the White Horse on Parsons Green in London. This was presented to me with a nice dark peach colour and a nice white head. The aromas were of different kinds of spices, yeast, and alcohol. The taste is very spicy, fruity, and a bit alcoholic. The mouthfeel is a bit thick, but not syrupy and the drinkability is pretty nice.

Serving type: on-tap

11-04-2003 05:42:59 | More by francisweizen
Photo of Reidrover


3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ok another winter brew hits the Reidrover pint glass..
Nice cool blue label on the 12 oz brown stubbie brewed with Spruce tips..
Nice looking beer in the glass..clear amber with a nice sized off white foamy head..that goes but leaves nice lacing.
Thearoma though is rather subdued..I do detect some malts and what maybe spruce..but at least its fresh.
MM nice creamy malty taste dominated the taste at first..then a short hop bitter kick followed on the back of the tongue and the throat with some pine flavour ( the spruce no doubt) lingers nice.
Very smooth on the palte then a great after taste.
Good and different winter ale,quite drinkable..good Spruce ale..not quite as good as Siletz Spruce Ale..but good none the less

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2003 04:43:30 | More by Reidrover
Photo of freed


4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ahhh, winter time is here again, and one of my favorite seasonals is back on the shelves.... Alaskan's Winter Ale comes in 12 oz bottles with delightful labels and nearly impossible to dislodge caps.

Pours a rich golden hue with reds and bronzes dancing in solution as the light changes. The head starts off fairly well but quickly evaporates to a slight rim of tight white bubbles. A slight haze plays across the top.

Aroma tickles with its sweetness. There's a certain fruity and earthy aroma that I can't quite pick up on, but its almost an orchard, cider press smell.

Taste is sweet; mild malt profile, but enough of the stuff to give it a fairly round body. Delicate tastes from the tips come through and give it an almost wit like taste. Mild apple tart and pucker which compliments the maltiness well.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2003 02:33:43 | More by freed
Photo of Elemental


3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was expecting a little more from the Alaskan brewery when I picked this up but...

It poured a decent copper/orange color but had almost no head at all. Plus whatever head it did have, by the time I got halfway done with the beer it was completely flat. The smell was pretty good with a light hoppiness and some spicy aromas. But when I got to the taste there was very little spicinees at all. Slightly bitter with a good malty base. Everall I thought it was an Ok beer but was definately missing a couple things.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2003 16:37:19 | More by Elemental
Photo of jreitman


4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2002 version. Pours a very nice copper color with a thick, creamy white head. Very visibly carbonated which kind of surprised me. Nose is greeted by a very pleasant sweet fruit and pine in the aroma. Flavor was of a very sweet overripe pear with a nice hop bitterness that was quite piney in nature. Nice Medium-full body. Overall a definite possibility for purchase again this year.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2003 23:12:39 | More by jreitman
Alaskan Winter Ale from Alaskan Brewing Co.
83 out of 100 based on 634 ratings.