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Winter Warmer - Lancaster Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Winter WarmerWinter Warmer

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

160 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 160
Hads: 347
Avg: 3.78
pDev: 17.72%
Wants: 16
Gots: 58 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Lancaster Brewing Company visit their website
Pennsylvania, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  8.90% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: NeroFiddled on 11-10-2003

Our classic Olde Ale delivers a complex malt flavor and blend of British and American hops. True to its name, this beer finishes with a nice warming alcohol flavor.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 160 | Hads: 347
Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The taste is raisin, rum, slight oak, pumpernickel bread, and dark cherry. This definitely tastes a bit like a dubbel, yet I still get old ale. Complex and dangerously drinkable. This may be my favorite from the brewery.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
3.3/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, deep, dark, mahogany color with a quarter of a finger of white head that quickly dissolved into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Malty and bready up front, with notes of freshly baked dark bread. Some spice notes as well, specifically clove, black pepper and brown sugar.

Taste: Roasted malt and notes of freshly baked dark bread, followed by some brown sugar-like sweetness and some surprising licorice flavors (surprising in that I didn’t get any hints of that in the aroma). No hops to speak of.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with no carbonation to speak of. With an ABV of 8.9%, I’m surprised that there is no presence of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a pretty decent beer, but not great. Some good malt flavors, but a little too much licorice for my liking. However, because a portion of the proceeds of this beer goes to charity, specifically, the Wolf Sanctuary of Pennsylvania, I’ll get a few more bottles of it to support that charity.

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Photo of KWrightVT
3.66/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter glass. Color is very dark brown/almost black, but when held up to bright light, it shows a deep ruby, cloudy red color. Deep tan head, with little lacing. Aroma is a blend of caramel, chocolate, and some spices like cloves I believe. Taste hits with a good balance of hops and malt. The malt comes through slightly over the hops, with good heavy caramel and a slight chocolate flavor. Slight spice flavor in the background without overpowering. Crisp mouthfeel. Well balanced and pretty smooth for a warmer with a decent kick.

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Photo of JPowell712
4.9/5  rDev +29.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

For me this was the perfect example of a winter warmer ale. The taste is bold and warming. The subtle booziness doesn't overpower the flavor but you can feel it's there! The dark color gives way to a perfect blend of spices and smoky flavors. This may be one of my all time favorites!

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Photo of microbrewlover
3.29/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This brew pours a dark brown with some red highlights when held up to the light. It has a fluffy, off white, two finger mocha head with heavy lacing on the glass; some of the head remains on the top and as a collar.

The smell is thick malts and bitter hops. Some nuts and dried fruit.

The taste is malty and hoppy, everything blends together well but I had to knock off a few points for the heavy alcohol, (boozy) taste that leaks through; it is too much for me. If that is your thing though, then give this a try.

The feel is actually a little creamy; the beer goes down smoothly.

Overall, this is a nice brew where the malts and hops are well blended but there is too much alcohol taste leaking through for my liking but if you like that sort of thing then give this a try.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.49/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12/14...very dark brown, red tints, light sneaks through. No foam. Malty cola nose, breads, caramel, light fruit. Tasteis a chewy fruit, quite boozy, light bitter. Astringent mouthfeel.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%

Dark roasted malts offer up a nearly opaque mahogany brown ruby highlighted body beige khaki head forms smooth carbonation fine bubbles are evident.

Aroma has plum and raisins off the bat I'm met with dark fruit and smooth mellow warming alcohol with some perceived sweetness from the caramelized sugars.

Flavor nutty earthy roasted malts English in nature they say this is done in an old ale style, well guess what? It's working dark fruit plum vinous fruit and raisins, really stick to the palate slightly salty umami sense in the finish I'm pleasured to be drinking this fine beer from Lancaster Brewing.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied smooth finish no alcohol burn whatsoever this is poetry in motion big malts and balanced hop character a bit of earthiness maybe that's it even though there's English and American hops.

Overall, supreme drink for the winter go search it out if it's available in your area...most definitely the best offering I've ever had from Lancaster this is world class for me!

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Photo of Doctor_Bogenbroom
3.16/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

I got this on tap, poured into a standard pint glass:

Appearance: A dark, almost violet color (although the light in the establishment may have had something to do with this), with a weak off-white head and minimal lacing.

Aroma: Sultry citrus notes mixed with a kind of woody overall cast to it.

Taste: Berry flavors dominate with some malty background tones, plus some sweetness on the finish. Aftertaste is a bit on the pungent side, not the best.

Mouthfeel: Kind of watery, thin, with minimal carbonation and not much kick.

Overall: This is an acceptable beer. When I first tasted it, I had to pause, because I couldn't quite put my finger on whether I liked it or not. By the end, I decided it was pretty much a miss. It's not totally a lost cause, but I wouldn't race back for another one. I will say, however, that I stepped outside about half-way through the drink to have a quick smoke, and it was freezing out there. I came in a couple minutes later, and I don't know--maybe it was the cold--but the beer tasted better to me, at least for the first couple minutes after I sat down.

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Photo of ChuckMartel37
2.36/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle, into a glass.

I'm afraid to say that the appearance of this beer is the best thing about it. And the soundtrack of Chicago blues that I'm playing in the background, but admittedly, that has nothing to do with this beer.

It smells a bit boozy with dried fruit and plum. I get the "boozy" part now because I just realized it's nearly 9%. It has the ubiquitous caramel/molasses/sugary smell of heavy winter beers.

No. I might be the only person on here that dislikes this beer, but it was a miss for me. It was too metallic for my liking, and the dried fruit smell was more sour than I expected. It did improve as it got warmer, but still, there are so many other winter beers to choose from.

The moutfeel was metalicious, which is a word I just made up. And if you read the preceding paragraph, you'd know that it was a bit sour - and therefore a bit tart in the talkhole.

Again, this didn't hit the mark for me. In a world with so many holiday or winter beers to be had, this one would get a lump of coal from me. Go have the Lancaster Milk Stout instead. You'll be glad you did.


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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.35/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

The beer off the pour looks great. But the flavor profile is way, way too malty sweet. No balance whatsoever. Some people might dig this interpretation of the style, but I can't say that I really do. It just doesn't work for me. And I personally don't think it fits to style. Too sweet with not enough accent to keep it interesting. I suppose you could age it to see what happens.

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Photo of rawfish
3.53/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cola brown with ruby highlights. Large three finger head with good retention and bits of lacing around the rim of the cup.

Sweet caramel malts, raw grain, syrup and molasses. Fruity notes of fig, raisins, red berries and slight gingerbread spice notes. Large alcohol note and notes of licorice.

Doughy malt, caramel sweetness tied in with holiday spice, licorice, anise and rhubarb. Very earthy spice character paired with light date, fig and red berry fruit. Slightly vegetative and herbal hops provide balance and drying. Alcohol is persistent on the finish.

Thin with low carbonation. High alcohol but a mellow winter warmer.

A slow sipping winter warmer, high alcohol and lower carbonation make the drink sit well and allow it to warm. The beer flavor is very simple and spread very thin but I appreciate the balance of spice, sweetness and fruit notes.

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Photo of DocBrewroo
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Medium head, fairly dark color and a medium to full body. On the nose, I get sticky, caramelized fruit a rich underlying maltiness – not much of that 9% alcohol on the nose.

Full fruit forward flavors and a warming alcohol are immediately evident and perfect for a cold winter’s night. The finish is rich with a lingering roasted and almost smoky nut flavor.

I can’t stand winter beers with spices and crap in them. This is just a big, bold winter brew and I love it

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Photo of WissBrauSean
3.43/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured a beautifully clear red mohagany with a fine tan head that is slightly clingy and has some attractive lacing for how thin it is. It dissipates and stays a nice thin ring around the glass with a small Friar Tuck cap in the center.

I opened this bottle at 45 degrees. I instantly from the bottle smelled alcohol. It is to be expected. The most noticeable aroma was of the malts and slight yeast. As the beer warms up some others join the party like figs and maybe banana. The alcohol is mildly noticeable in the aroma and if there are any hops they are barely noticeable.

Sweet malts carry you throughout the sip and along the way you will get some roasted malt flavours, a bit of figs, maybe some cherry, you will definitely taste caramel nearing the end as well as a nice hazelnut type flavour. At the very end of the drink there is only the mildest of hop character, just enough to make you thirsty for another sip! I do taste alcohol on my breath after the sip is over. It's not unappealing, just noticeable.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly medium. It's sweet and smooth, but not as heavy as I would think. The carbonation is light, thankfully. And the beer eventually finishes a little dry and peppery with faint hops. It's pretty much overly sweet and not balanced well, but that is a description of the style now isn't it?

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Photo of jzeilinger
2.91/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

A - Pours a dark chestnut burgundy color with a thin, but consistent creamy layer of caramel colored siky foam.

S - Figs, prunes, raisons, mild roasted caramel and chocolate. Decent but a little weak for a beer of this magnitude.

T - A little nutty but mostly dark fruit - figs, prunes, raisons, sweet roasted caramel finish is unobtrusive and leaves a moderate coating of dark fruit on the palate with a light pine bittering. However, kudos to the brewer for doing a nice job of hiding the alcohol which also makes this a little dangerous since it can't be detected and it will creep up on you pretty fast if you're not careful.

M - Very light medium body and way too thin for a winter warmer.

O - The ABV is there for a Winter Warmer but too wimpy on the flavor and mouthfeel for my liking.

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Photo of Ryanm1
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle to a 12oz globe. Shows a dark brown to black hue depending on the light. Large amount of brown lacing when pour vigorously. Dissipates quickly. Sweet nectar smelling. Molasses. The dark pour emanates the dark fruit odor, such as candied raisins. Chocolate and Car Bitter on the tounge intially finishes smooth with very little aftetaste. Slightly malty. Packs a punch at 8.9% abv.

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Photo of ColdWaffles
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Samuel Smith Tulip-Pint. Been bummed by most of the Lancaster brews I've had in bottles, but figured I'd give this a chance. I tend to like the style and the bottle said proceeds went toward the PA Wolf Sanctuary. Cool. Still, seems a little ridiculous that they're still having Lion Brewery contract all their bottles, especially for the prices they want.

Appearance: Deep, dark red/brown with slight clarity. Poured a nice tan head, but it dissipated quite quickly. Leaves a pretty regular lacing.

Smell: Alcohol, dark dried fruits, and this weird artificial seeming sweetness I've picked up from all of their bottles except maybe the Milk Stout.

Taste: Surprisingly pretty good. Roasty malt flavor follows a sweet dried fruit flavor into a little bit of spice. Light amount of hops evidence toward the end. Nothing amazing, but not bad. The same sweet/copper flavor I've picked up on the end of most of their bottles is still there, but it works well to kill the alcohol here. Little alcohol evident for the ABV.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium body ale with lighter carbonation. The most enjoyable part of the beer.

This is probably the best bottled beer I've had from Lancaster, and only one of two I'd recommend at all. (The other is their Milk Stout, which is passable.)

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Photo of BeerCon5
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber color with one finger of off-white foamy head with ok retention.

The scent is of dark fruits, plums, raisins, and dates. There is also a bready and caramel malt presence, notes of spices as well.

The taste is also of plum, raisin, and dates, caramel malt, some spicy alcohol is present.

Full body, smooth and chewy feel, moderate carbonation.

This was a really nice complex beer, I would drink this again.

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Photo of GiantMidget
3.23/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought at a Wegmans in King of Prussia PA.
I live near Lancaster brewery and intend to get out there sometime soon.

Poured into a 12 oz tulip glass.
Little to no head.
Looks like a Dr. Pepper, even has the slight scent of it as well.
Although one that is heavily spiked with alcohol.
I notice scents of licorice, fruitiness (raisins/plums) and maybe clove.

These flavors also fill the mouth upon the first few sips. The alcohol taste is very present, I wish they had masked it better. But the combination of all of the other flavors do an OK job of making it worthwhile to drink.
Definitely a sipper, not a session beer IMO.

It has a good full bodied but not overly carbonated mouthfeel, and holding it in does allow a full chance to feel the flavors.
A good 'cold night by the fireplace' beer.

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Photo of jifigz
3.77/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a pint glass

The appearance of this beer is a rich dark and malty looking brown color with slight reddish hues coming through as well when held up to the light. The head was very effervescent and disappeared almost instantly. The aroma is of alcohol, dark dried fruit like raisins and plums, a slightly spicy candy like sweetness. There is also something that seems a touch watery in the aroma. The flavor is nice. It is richer and creamier than the aroma led me to believe. The flavor begins with a deep and roasted sugar candy type flavor. Not deep and roasted like stouts/porters, but in rich and tantalizing raisin flavor. The taste is pretty much one dimensional the whole way through, but it is rather delicious. There is just a touch of bitterness riding the tail of this one. The MF is thick and viscous, bold and creamy with a good texture in the mouth. It feels great for a winter warmer and I think that this is the beer's greatest strength.

This is a pretty decent ale, but it isn't all that complex. It is straightforward and very easy to enjoy.

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Photo of Teleweizen2
3.52/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - pours a deep mahogany brown color with a thick 3 fingers worth of tan foam on top. the foam slowly dissipates to a ring around the edge.

S - the nose is rich and deep. Strong notes of dark and dried fruit such as plums, figs, dates and raisins. The dark bready backdrop adds to the fruit character becoming reminiscent to a fruit cake. Sweet syrupy notes meld with winter-y spices add just a touch more depth to the nose.

T - Dark cake like dough flavors up front with some nutty character and just a hint of sweetness. tremendously juicy dark fruit mostly figs and raisins character in the middle of the pallet. the flavors blend nicely while a hint of alcohol hints at a rum raisin cake/bread. finish is long with a lingering fruit character.

M - Full bodied with a fairly viscous texture. medium carbonation.

O - nice winter warmer. I really like the fruit character but it didn't quite come all together for me.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.12/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – Served a deep ruby color with a one finger off white head. The head faded over a moderate amount of time to leave a decent lacing.

Smell – The aroma is heaviest of a mix of dark fruit aromas and some caramel with the dark fruit being mainly of a raisin and prune in nature. A light nutty, Christmas spice and boozy aroma round out the sweet aroma and create e nice smell overall.

Taste – The taste begins with a malty and doughy flavor mixed with a strong raisin and prune flavor. Spice flavors come to the tongue quickly with some of the sweet transitioning from the dark fruit to a more caramel nature. Flavors of spice and some alcohol then start coming to the tongue more toward the middle and the end. A light bitter hoppy flavor also comes to the end and leave a nice warming flavor to be left on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the medium to full side with a carbonation level that is average . This feel is very nice for the lightly boozy, malty, spicy and bitter flavors of the brew, letting all to be detected, but yet keeping any from overwhelming the flavors of the brew.

Overall – A quite delicious and nice warming winter ale. Quite nice.

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Photo of BWED
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- dark, deep, burnt red, also probably unfiltered. 1 1/2" tan head, fizzy, almost resembles the head of a cola. Retains at an 1/8." Slight splatters of lacing around the glass.

S- sweet bread, light caramel, raisin, with a dash of a hoppy sting, just to balance it out.

T- Roasty, a little nutty, with a slightly bitter finish hanging on the tongue. Very very subtle warmth of alcohol. Not as apparent as I expect for a near 9% beer. Dark fruit, raisin acidity comes out after it warms up.

M- medium light body, much lighter than I was expecting. Very fine carbonation, making it a smooth drinker.

O- Be patient. The warmer it is, the more flavorful it is. I learned this on my last three gulps. This is a really good beer, sweet, but it has some balance. High in alcohol, but relatively unnoticeable. On a cold winter night, start a fire, pour this beer, relax and take your time with it. And think about the wolves, too.

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Photo of JWU
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

growler pour into my curved pint glass.

A- a beautifully clear dark ruby/brown, with a solid three fingers of dense tan head. Great lacing down the glass.

S- Quite sweet with molasses, dark fruits, and hints of coffe and chocolate.

T- Flavor is much more subdued than the smell would suggest. Alcohol is quite forward and not well hidden. Molasses and dark fruits are there, with a pronounced earthy bitterness on the backend to balance.

M- Heavy, and thick on the palette, with a light carbonation. Almost syrup-like.

O- A very nice brew, I wish they could hide the alcohol a bit better, as it would greatly improve the brew.

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
3.72/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ba Review #239
Served On: 11/23/2012
Glassware: Duvel Glass
Labeled ABV: 8.9%
Date/ Code: 2012 Release

This was from a 6-pack I snagged at A.K.A. Frisco's in Frederick Maryland - just down the road from Flying Dog.

Look: A gorgeous deep ruby red color with a 1-finger fluffy light-tan head. Carbonation level was solid. A very clear brew. Alcohol legs were very apparent. Lacing was minimal.

Smell: First on the nose was a rather strong alcohol sweetness - similar to nail polish remover or lacquer thinner. Then some dark fruits were behind a sharp fusel alcohol. Some faint biscuit came through in the background.

Taste: Mouth-feel was rather heavy for as clear as the beer was. The dark winter fruits hit first with a nutty spice in the middle. Then an alcohol warming sensation coated the back of the mouth and throat. The finish was of dark plum and some ginger mixed with biscuit.

This was a very complex and robust Old Ale. The nose seemed to have a little more burn to it than the palate did. All I can say is – don’t let the harsh aroma scare you off with this one, because everything else about the brew is absolutely wonderful.

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Photo of bigdeuce
4.38/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A handsome pour. Nice well rounded tight head with great retention. You can smell Cherry, sherry, and toasty prune malts from across the table. More flavors going on the nose like a sweet belgian candi. Full tasting, blasting through my taste buds with a thick, rich, complexity. Very smooth yet very full mouth feel. Creamy, not much bitterness at all. Not much of a fan of these so called "winter" beers, but damn this one is good! High abv is hard to detect as it is 9% alcohol. The toasty, cherry(not cloying) sweetness remains well after the beer is down. I don't know what style this should be(it's no old ale) classified as except the winter is a great time for it, but damn it belongs by your fireplace when it gets cold and it is a very, rich, flavorful surprise I will continue to buy! Best so called winter warmer I've had since Sam Adam's "screwed up" it's 2003 circa recipe!

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Winter Warmer from Lancaster Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 160 ratings.