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Winter Warmer - Lancaster Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Winter WarmerWinter Warmer

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

284 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 284
Reviews: 152
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 12.33%
Wants: 12
Gots: 8 | 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:
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 added by: NeroFiddled on 11-10-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 284 | Reviews: 152 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of oelergud
4.47/5  rDev +19.8%

Dark brown body almost opaque with a delicious looking tan tiny to small bubbled head that starts out big but dissipates to a thin float fairly quickly. Some lace.
Thick scent of chocolate and spiced caramel. Faint almonds.
Very good taste of chocolate, toffee and coffee. Very well balanced against the sweet are spiced but still mild hops. Aftertaste is burnt malts and stronger spiked yet rounded hops.
Full and chewy body. Plenty of coating and very slick.
Drinkability is great. This beer disappeared faster than I had intended it to.


oelergud, Aug 26, 2006
Photo of garymuchow
3.65/5  rDev -2.1%

Bottle courtesy of SS '05. Many thanks fella's.

For the style the aroma is kinda' mild. Malt noted, that's slightly sweet and slightly fruity. Caramel at times and smoke-like at times.
Rather dark amber (brown) with a nice garnet highlights. Tannish head with decent staying power. Some viscosity on the glass. Good looking, epecially with leaving head bubbles on the glass.
Greater depth to the flavors than the aroma. Bold but not intense. Qutie drying. Fair amount of bitterness precedes drynes. Alcohol character is very low. A thin quality to the flavor.
I like the carbonation. It's fairly present, but unbelievably fine. Feel isn't as thick and chewy as I'd like, but okay. Moderately smooth and not that warm. Seems to thin up as sits.
Lacking robustness in all areas, except appearance. Not bad in anyway, just comes up short and incomplete.

garymuchow, Apr 30, 2006
3.6/5  rDev -3.5%

A - 2" thick, tan head. Dark brown ale with lots of red against the light. Retains well at 1/4". Little lace.

S - Rich and malty. Brown sugar. Roasted character. Alcohol.

T - Iron/metallic taste (like blood in the mouth) that fades. Earthy and super malty. Light fruitiness. Molasses cookie. Slight nuttiness.

M - Mouthfeel lies somewhere between medium and full. Low carbonation. Soft and round.

D - Drinkability is decent. Fairly mild for an 8.9% abv. A litlle one-dimensional. This beer is all about the malt -- I like it.

Photo of Maestro
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%

Appearance: Red/Brown with a very light tan head.

Smell: Dates, Raisins, Biscuit, Fresh-baked bread, lemon

Taste: Big-time malthead beer. Big time fruit flavors with only a bit of hops. Biscuity malt character stands out in this old ale.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and refreshing for a beer of this size.

Drinkability: Well done, Lancaster. This one goes down ever too smoothly.

Maestro, Mar 30, 2006
Photo of Jredner
3.58/5  rDev -4%

Caramel malt, spice and bread pudding make up the aroma of this beer. Dark amber in color with a thim white wisp of a head. Fore is toffee, caramel malt, something tart and slightly metallic in there as well..can’t pin it down, but it isn’s a positive. Definitely some sharp spices in there...ginger and clove, but maybe not nutmeg or if there is not very much. The alcohol is very well hidden for 9% tot he point that I am fairly amazed because I can’t taste it. Tasty, but it could benefit from some more concentrated spice int he finish that is basically just a sweet caramel malt affair right now.

Jredner, Mar 08, 2006
Photo of brentk56
3.98/5  rDev +6.7%

Appearance: Pours a hazy russet brown color with a rocky beige head that quickly drops to a ringlet and fails to leave much lacing

Smell: Dark cherry aromatics, with undertones of chocolate, leather and alcohol

Taste: Starts with a nice caramel malt flavor that comes with a bit of dark cherry and fruitcake tones; becomes quite fruity (in a sweet rather than bitter way) and somewhat chocolatey after the swallow

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Very complex, with nice fruity and chocolate tones that are quite different; enjoyable and unique

Thanks, tubdog13, for the chance to revisit

brentk56, Mar 05, 2006
Photo of weeare138
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%

Appears a dark mahogany brown with a clumpy beige head that slowly fades. Scattered lacing is left all around the glass.
Smell is of of delicious raisin bread doused with brown sugar, molasses, caramel, nuts, and some anise.
Taste is of the same delicious aromas.
Mouthfeel is smooth, rich, sugary, sweet, slightly tannic. Mild amounts of hops and spice stand out in this bready brew. Also, slightly warming and addictive.

weeare138, Feb 19, 2006
Photo of RonfromJersey
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%

A dark reddish-brown body which brightens considerably when held to the light. Three fingers of deeply dentable light tan foam for a head.

Bits of bread and cocoa sprinkled through a very low key nose.

Taste opens with a bit of roasted malt - a burnt sweetness akin to the crust of creme brulee (though it's no substitute for a good one). A sheet of earthy hoppiness arrives to sand the edge of the roasty sweetness and bring about some well adjusted balance. Slides gently away like a good winter fire.

Pleasant mouthfeel, and downright dangerous drinkability.

Another good beer from the resurgent Lancaster. If the draft products are indeed that much better than the bottled, a road trip is seriously in order.

RonfromJersey, Jan 24, 2006
Photo of MaltyGoodness
4.13/5  rDev +10.7%

12oz. bottle

Pours a deep chestnut brown with some reddisg highlights. A creamy tan head thins, but doesn't fade away. Spotty lacing on the glass.

A very light malty aroma. I get some nutty and smoky aromas as well.

Nice caramel and nutty malt flavor followed by a distinct smokiness. Finishes with a fairly clean malty taste. Not even a hint of the alcohol.

Nice full body with a very creamy texture. Slides down with pleasure.

This is extremely drinkable. Lancaster's bottles are usually a poor representation of the draft versions. But, this is the best bottled brew I've had yet from Lancaster.

MaltyGoodness, Jan 24, 2006
Photo of sulldaddy
3.6/5  rDev -3.5%

I sampled this brew with lunch while visiting with waldo567.
THe beer arrives in an english pint glass exhibiting a mahogany color with ruby highlights. There is a beige surface layer of head that fades quicklyto an edge layer. Aroma is malty caramel and toffee with some brown sugar too, fairly sweet overall and none of the expected spiciness.
The first sip reveals an average body with average carbonation. Flavor is sweet up front with toffee and caramel a hint of mild spice, maybe nutmeg, or maybe my imagination it is very mild in background.
A bit of grassy/herbal hops roll in towards the finish, but dont linger. Overall the beer is decent, but I would hope for some spice in a winter warmer. Would be a solid cask offering I think.

sulldaddy, Jan 03, 2006
Photo of Phatz
4/5  rDev +7.2%

This is rating was not an intentional 4.0 across the board but it happened to end up that way. It is a solid, good winter warmer, but with nothing really special. An easy drinking beer that is not very distracting. BTW it is much better on-tap than in the bottle. I had it in the bottle a few weeks ago and it was ok but not terribly impressive. I had it on-tap tonight and I was happier with it, on location. Still, though it met all the criteria for a Winter Warmer it was a tad bit boring. Anyway, a solid 4.0 beer!

The appearance was a dark amber/brown almost mahogany in color. The smell was very malty and sweet. I got a bit of sugar and caramel and ever so slightly, a hint of spices but pretty subtle for a WW. The taste had hints of molasses and dark fruits buried in a toasty malty base. The mouthfeel is a medium weight that is mildly syrupy yet crisp as you swallow. Yes, it is a drinkable beer. Not interesting enough to stand on its own but not boring enough to burry under a meal. Perfect for after the appetizers and before the (with dinner) next beer.

Hope this is helpful.

Phatz, Jan 01, 2006
Photo of IceAce
3.45/5  rDev -7.5%

Twelve ounce bottle with no visible dating system

Pours a deep brown with a light tan collar of foam. Aroma is English style...deeply malty with earthy tones and hints of charred barley, coffee, and chocolate.

Entry is quiet with minimal carbonation and a slick mouthfeel. Midtaste features roasted malty goodness sticking to the back of the tongue with true English earthy undertones. The finish features a nice balance of hoppiness followed by coffee, chocolate, and a nice alcohol warming at the back of the throat.

A nice winter warmer for those looking to avoid the overdone hop-bombs and too-spicy wassales.

Many thanks to froggyfrog for hooking me up with this bottle!

IceAce, Dec 30, 2005
Photo of yelterdow
2.88/5  rDev -22.8%

A friend of mine brought this over tonight as a birthday surprise... part of a mixed sixer of holiday brews. Thanks, breeze... this one comes straight from the brewery itself.

Served in a Duvel tulip at just over fridge temperature, over the course of about 45 minutes.

Appearance- Deep caramel brown with slight reddish highlights, the head rising far above most "old ales" I have sampled. Even when still for several minutes, the thin but firm mat does not break or separate. There is a wonderful presence to this beer, and I can't wait to dig in.

Smell- Divine. Old, sweet, candied dark fruit, vanilla, and sugar blend seamlessly with leather and old books... I am amazed that Lancaster has created such an awesome nose for a Winter seasonal. This is what I love about tasting and rating new, unfamiliar beers... you never know when a blockbuster will surprise the shit out of you. As the beer approaches cellar temperature, a dark, sweet, malty character comes forth.

Taste- Spicy, vanilla laced malt notes take center stage, with a strange, cloying oversteeped tea backdrop. This started off so good, I hate to see it crumble before my taste buds. There is definitely a problem with the structure here, because the aroma would have you believe that a sweetness would follow up with big, candied malts and a mild bittering finish. Instead, the beer turns completely tannic and unpleasant in the mouth... to the point where I cannot go on.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Blah, nothing to enhance the flavors or overall experience of the beer. Almost completely nondescript, and fleeting.

This is the second time that a Lancaster brew has completely bombed in a tasting... the first being their Four-Grain Pale Ale. Maybe it's because of the all-natural ingredients... they might spoil rapidly. I remember really enjoying this beer last month, in a snifter, reading Garrett Oliver's book "The Brewmaster's Table". But tonight it flopped, a victim of who knows what.

Never have I rated a beer so highly on sight and smell, to have it dive below average on the Big Three categories. I am disappointed and sad for this unfortunate reality.

yelterdow, Dec 30, 2005
Photo of Gavage
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%

Appearance: pours a clear reddish brown color. Super thick 3" fluffy tan head that lasts a long time. Nice lacing develops through the drink.

Smell: basic caramel and some floral hop bitterness.

Taste: this brew has a nice malty tone, with caramel, toffee, a hint of sweet chocolate, and just the right amount of bitterness to balance it out.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start. Finish is more smooth, and the aftertaste is relatively short on malt and caramel tones. Between medium and heavy in body.

Drinkability: I found this beer to be very fresh, tasty, and easy drinking. Worth seeking out.

Gavage, Dec 29, 2005
Photo of mmmbeer
3.55/5  rDev -4.8%

12 oz. with no freshness date - lightly chilled in a snifter. It pours a dark brown with red tinges and a half-inch khaki head that leaves little lace. It smells earthy with smoky/nutty malts and maybe coffee and caramel. The taste follows suit with a mild bitterness, some sweetness, hints of alcohol, and a medium body. Not bad, but not terribly impressed, and not sure if I'd call it an old ale - all the earthy/smoked malts remind me of a Scottish. Hides the 8.9% very well though.

mmmbeer, Dec 28, 2005
Photo of RedwoodGeorge
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%

The beer pours a medium brown with a reasonable sized clumpy head of tan foam. The head dies back in a bit but leaves some very thick chunks of foam on the collar and good lacing on the inside of the glass.

The nose is a bit on the light side - a few notes of caramel and spice in there but it's surprisingly soft. No real roasted notes or hops to be found. Taste on the other hand was quite good; there was a pleasant mix of fruit, grain and spice to keep me engaged but thankfully it's not overpowering. The first hits are caramel, raisin and biscuit with compliments of vanilla, apple and cinnamon. There was a small hint of smoke and coffee in the background which was far from distracting - it actually helped ground the flavors. Moderately sweet but not cloying.

Mouthfeel was good - a medium bodied brew with some carbonation. No oily residue on the palate and while there wasn't much bittering from either hops or roasted malt the finish was still very clean. No alcohol burn at all - as a matter of fact I'm shocked to read this was an 8.9% brew.

Very drinkable winter beer with all the right notes that you'd hope to find in the style. Unlike many this beer doesn't go too far - it's intersting and complex without being overpowering or cloying.

[Thanks to IrishRedRock for sending this Lancaster brew out my way]

RedwoodGeorge, Dec 15, 2005
Photo of JerzDevl2000
3.78/5  rDev +1.3%

Bought this recently as my "tour de winter" '05-'06, or in other words, as part of my winter beer selection for this year. Didn't know what quite to expect, as I'm not much of a winter beer drinker and have never tried an old ale before.

This beer poured a deep caramel brown, with the consistency of fairly flat soda. About a finger's worth of head formed and the lacing was wonderous to look at, even though it didn't stay on the side of the glass for very long. The taste was that of a very strong coffee and toffee flavor, with hints of malt, bitterness, and espresso mixed in for good measure. The package was true to form - no spices or preservatives, and it gives this brew a smooth and warming sensation without any gimmicks or cheap attempts to create it.

The aftertaste was alright - contrary to what some reviewers wrote on here, the 8.9% ABV is a bit discernable, but nothing overpowering or ruinous. A nice warmer, but nothing earth-shattering, and certainly able to take the chill off of a cold winter's day such as this one!

JerzDevl2000, Dec 09, 2005
Photo of blitheringidiot
3.73/5  rDev 0%

12 oz'er reminding me NOT PASTUERIZED pours a mahogany brown burnished garnet hue topped with a quickly settled tan dense headcap, leaving a few spots of lace.

Aromas of doughy brown cake. Some ginger snap scents followed with a plentiful nutmeg and pine suggestion. Smells like Christmas!

First swigs: Caramely toasted malts. Spices of some cinnamon and carrot cake. Doughy and fresh. Plenty of spicy notes to kick around. A bit fluffy dry in the finish.

Feel is medium body with some tongue coating sugar linger.

Last swigs: Just a step away from a Pumpkin Ale. Not mind blowing but overall drinkable. Last years Lancaster WW was hot. This was not. Would give Anchor OSA a run for its money anyday.

blitheringidiot, Nov 29, 2005
Photo of warriorsoul
4.3/5  rDev +15.3%

Picked up a sixer while in the area this past weekend...so bummed I could not find time to chill at the source...would have loved this one on tap. Thanks to LBC for packaging this seasonal...allowing me to enjoy one at home.
Pours like a coca-cola...less than 1/4 finger of off-white head with very little lacing and the head disappears very rapidly.
Very inviting in the nose...sweet malt, raisins, a touch of smoke, and some vanilla extract to boot.
The taste is great...all of the above with just a warming hint of the alcohol up front. A hefty dose of malt to sweeten this one up and a gentle hop bitterness to dry it in the finish.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and the carbonation is perfect...I had this on tap a year or so ago and it is everything I remember and more.
Solid offering and a nice representation for the style...will enjoy this one again soon.

warriorsoul, Nov 29, 2005
Photo of asabreed
4.47/5  rDev +19.8%

Just bought a 6-pack for around $9 at my local market around the corner. I saw the 8.9%, the fact that it's a winter warmer, and considering the heat and my want for maybe something a bit sweet, I thought I'd snag it. Turns out it was a fantastic idea.

12 oz bottled poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: I do have to say, Lancaster is adamant about posting that they don't use preservatives or spices, and I really like that on the side of the 6-pack. That also made my decision a bit easier. In the glass it looks opaque at first, but then in the light shows a gorgeous dark amber, with some tiny bubbles floating to the top in the middle. Decent-sized head at about 1", though that fades, with some clumpy lacing toward the head near the top of the glass.

Smell: A lot going on here, with nothing too dominant and a pretty balanced aroma. Nuts, figs, dark malts, caramel, slight vanilla, slight toffee, vinous characteristics, and almost a brandy-like bit of alcohol floating up. Very very nice.

Taste: Almost right on toward the taste are all the aromas. Some plum and fig sweetness at first, then followed by some vanilla and maple, some of the brandy-like alcohol flavor, then onto some dark and toasted malts. Finishes with a chocolate malt sweetness, onto a chocolate malt bitterness and slight hops to close it out. Very complex and very much lacking the high alcohol taste I thought I'd be getting. This is quality stuff.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and silky to the max, with a pretty big body and fantastic finish. The carbonation levels stay the same the whole time, moderate but contributing completely to the silky feel of the brew. Pretty stellar.

Drinkability: I'm damn surprised that this beer's this good. I guess I just wasn't expecting it. For an Old Ale at nearly 9% ABV the alcohol's hidden (I actually would've guessed maybe 6% at the highest if I wouldn't have known) extremely well, and the brew is complex on all sides. I'm glad I took a chance, and if you see this around, I'd definitely say do the same.

asabreed, Nov 17, 2005
Photo of waughbrew
4.2/5  rDev +12.6%

A deep honeyish brown with a medium off-white creamy head that laces and lingers as a foamy ring. Smell is..oh hell yeah...malt. And more malt. Beautious huge gobs of toffee. Thick, lowly carbonated, and sweet. Balanced by plums and dark wood, this is just sweet enough. Alcohol is not tasted, but is noticed in the feel and finish. Nutty and very smooth. I would choose this over 80% of old ales and barleywines. This is real nice.

waughbrew, Oct 31, 2005
Photo of assurbanipaul
3.23/5  rDev -13.4%

Pours a dark oaky brown with a thin tan head. Aroma is rich, spicy malts with some raisins, dark fruit and a hint of cocoa. No date or year; I assume this is from the past winter season.

Taste is dark, roasty malts and spice. Nice bready flavors of spice cake, pumpernickel, some chocolate, more raisins and burgundy. Fair amount of cola and chocolate malt elements, good in a stout, probably more than I'd like in a seasonal.

Mouthfeel is light for a winter warmer, which would be medium for most other beer. Easy to drink, a mere hint of the alcohol in the aftertaste. A good beer, a beer I'd drink again, but not a great beer.

assurbanipaul, Jun 30, 2005
Photo of Suds
3.6/5  rDev -3.5%

Pours a murky brown color, with a thin, wispy tan head. Alcohol and roasted malt aroma, with a background of wood, ripe fruit, and spice. The flavor is of molasses, brown sugar, and scorched malt. Alcohol warming kicks in pretty early. There’s not a lot of hops in this brew. Instead, it relies on the alcohol and roasted flavors for balance. A little sweet in the front, but not overly so. It’s fairly full in body, with moderately-low carbonation. This would warm me on a winter night.

Suds, Jun 20, 2005
Photo of watermelonman
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%

This poured to a very dark purple and red color. The head was medium but faded pretty quickly, and there's no lace.

The smell lets through a slight hint of fruit under a good deal of alcohol. The taste is similar, bringing dark fruits up front and adding a good festive hop kick. The mouthfeel is pretty sharp. Still, it's not too hard to drink.

watermelonman, Mar 12, 2005
Photo of Dithyramb
3.88/5  rDev +4%

Purchased at Wells just the other day to help keep me warm during our late winter storms. Quiet winter scene--with an applicable snowflake--on the label with no expiration or born on dating
Pours a deep wood brown with not too much head or carbonation
Sweet and fruity malt aromas
Molasses and caramel malts are the main flavors. Has very faint bitterness and alcohol profile. Unlike a lot of the warmers out there, this one is subtle and nice, without the knock-you-down spice flavors that destroy your tongue for the evening. Therefore, this is not your standard Xmas beer, but one that will adequately keep you warm at night.
Has a medium mouthfeel with lingering sweet malt tastes. Overall, I had this brew a few months back on tap at Thirsty’s in York and liked it better that way. However, the low spice profile and nice candy sweetness would have me finishing the sixer.

Dithyramb, Feb 28, 2005
Winter Warmer from Lancaster Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 284 ratings.