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Winter Warmer - Lancaster Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Winter WarmerWinter Warmer

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

320 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 320
Reviews: 158
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 12.33%
Wants: 14
Gots: 34 | 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: 320 | Reviews: 158 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SixpointJMH
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a porter-like deep brown colour that has hints of lighter brown throughout and a big at first but quick to fade head that leaves marginal spottiness on the glass.

Aroma is a blend of a slight earthiness, some sweet caramel, a bit of chocolate, molasses, and some alcohol.

The flavour is similar, with molasses and perhaps a bit of brown sugar taking the lead here, sweet caramel still present and earthiness falling to the back. There are some bread flavours here as well, along with the alcohol that is still present throughout the course of each sip. It is warming and inviting, and certainly not distracting or overpowering in any way. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a definite oily slickness to it.

A nice, somewhat different Winter Warmer from Lancaster. This makes for a nice dessert beer or would work well as a sipper by the fire. Good stuff.

Photo of Slatetank
3.73/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap a couple days ago at the brewery. Served cool in an imperial pint.
A - A deep walnut brown w/ a small light tan head that contains a super-fine bead. The lace the head leaves collects in a film on the glass.

S - Malty, boozy aroma w/ light nuttiness in the nose along w/ gentle hints of smoke. There is a kind of peaty, slightly scottish yeast note in the smell.

M - A full, chewy malty feel w/ a slightly boozy texture and full carbonation.

T - Dry nutty full dark malt w/ scotch ale type fullness. Nutty w/ a hint of peaty smoked flavor. Slightly sugary and brown malt taste w/ a gentle pine hop note.

D - Very good, full flavor and above average w/ plenty of malt to keep your sweet tooth satisfied. A nice winter ale from Lancaster.

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.8/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lancaster- Winter Warmer

A- Deep amber with a quick fizzing head.
S- Caramel and molasses. Brown sugar, honey and hazelnuts.
T- Sweet toffee/ caramel/ molasses malt. A touch of honey and brown sugar and a bit of bread crust.
M- Sweet and chewy. The flavor intensifies near the end. Lower carbonation with a touch of cloying.

Overall- Let this warm up a bit and the flavor comes out. Very nice. An easy session beer for the winter!

Photo of PBRstreetgang
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to FroggyFrog for the trade. Pours a dark ruby-mahogany hue with tawny brown highlights and good clarity. Beige head is dense and creamy, billowing up to a full fist in hieght, then gracefully sinking to a thick cap. Holds well and leaves patchy lacing. Caramel, mollasses and vanilla are the big elements of the nose, some piney hop aromas lurk in the background. Crystal and dextrin sweetness upfront, followed by vanilla bean and faint peppery yeast notes. Semi-drying aftertaste, mild grassy pine resin hop flavor and mellow bitterness that is decently balanced. The mouthfeel is super creamy- a light carbonation combined with a body full of dextrinous texture allows a vevlvet smoothness. Finishes with a touch of cardamon/cola taste, some light blackstrap flavor and lingering vanilla. Alcohol is masked and allows an ease of drinkability that could easily lead to hangovers.

Photo of jmc44
3.98/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep copper color. Light, off white head quickly recedes and leaves virtually no lacing.

Aroma primarily of roasted malts, with hints of caramel and a touch of alcohol spice. Pleasant, but somewhat light.

Flavor is packed with roasted malts, much more complex than the aroma. Hints of caramel, raisin, and a slight nutty character. Hops have little presence in the malt-heavy beer.

The flavor is strong while not overpowering, a truly full-flavored beer. I found it to be quite easy drinking. It's medium-bodied and smooth, with a roasted finish. Quite a warmer.

Photo of granite
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into pint glass.

A---It poured mahogany with red hues and a large rocky off white head.

S---Burnt sugar and molasses.

T---Bread like base malt, brown sugar and late roast.

M---Medium bodied and over carbonated.

D---Malty yet well attenuated making it very digestible.

Photo of lackenhauser
3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep coppery color. Nice off white head. Malty aroma though somewhat subdued. Nice, big malty flavor. Good bitterness to balance the malt. Some lingering malt sweetness. Good body-very smooth. A very drinkable and enjoyable beer. The complete package is very well done. I need to get a six pack instead of a single bottle.

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

It pours a rather hazy,, earthy brown, with red highlights along the edges. A very thin layer of light tan head disappears promptly, leaving virtually no lacing to speak of.

The aroma is thin, but it does deliver smidgeons of roasted malt, brown sugar, caramel, and raisins. Alcohol is the most notable component in the nose.

Upon tasting, there's a pleasantly surprising increase in delivery, with dark malt sweetness carrying toffee, coffee, raisins, and dried sloe fruit. A muted but credible spcy floral hop presence leads into a much less restrained alcohol-ality. The malt bitters with a bit of char, and then dries considerably, delving into a fairly lingering, decently crisp finish. The flavor was a nice upgrade from the aroma.

Medium bodied, the malt came off almost chewy, and the hops lent a measure of tingle to the palate's experience.

After smelling it, I wasn't expecting a lot, and as I'm not the biggest "winter warmer" fan, my expectations were standard issue, but the flavor was fuller and more sensibly diverse than I was hoping. The ABV does it's job in helping it to live up to it's name, warming all the way down. Still, the palate's pleasure makes this something worthwhile. Goes to show, you can't always judge a book by its cover, or its aroma.

Photo of kmpitz2
3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. A treat left over from the Dark Lord party we had in Illinois. This one pours a very deep and murky brown color with a light coating of head that falls to an almost full coat over top. There is a light bubble working up from the bottom of hte beer, and a moderate haze sits in the brew. Taking a smell, I find a big maltyness. Lots of raisiney and fig notes, with a caramel sweetness and a light puff of alcohol. I think it smells nice. Taking a sip, I find strong flavors of raisin and chocolate, with a hint of roast and caramel. There is a moderate puff of alcohol in there as well. Its not bad at all. Feel is a solid moderate, with a mild slickness to it. There is very little, if any, carbonation in there. Overall, I find this to be a pretty nice brew. There is a little more alcohol in both the nose and flavor than I like. I like the flavors, with a nice vinous fruit and chocolate. I would have it again.

Photo of oelergud
4.47/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.


Photo of garymuchow
3.65/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

3.6/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of Jredner
3.58/5  rDev -4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of brentk56
3.98/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of weeare138
3.95/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of RonfromJersey
4.1/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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.

Photo of MaltyGoodness
4.13/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

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

Photo of Phatz
4/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of IceAce
3.45/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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!

Photo of yelterdow
2.88/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

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.

Photo of Gavage
4.05/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of mmmbeer
3.55/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of RedwoodGeorge
3.83/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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]

Winter Warmer from Lancaster Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 320 ratings.