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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

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Reviews: 160
Hads: 346
Avg: 3.78
pDev: 11.9%
Wants: 15
Gots: 55 | 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: 346
Photo of DrDemento456
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer has been on my personal tick list for a while. Cool to find it at my local shop!

A - Deep brow amber hue, clear in color with a half inch of creamy white head that slowly turns to a ring of lace.

S - Roasted malt, caramel sweetness, mild booze, slight hop presence yet smells really boozy.

T - Wow it taste heavy with the booze which caught me off guard. Not really balanced the sweetness and hops round the flavor out with a warming feeling. No spices were evident and after the ABV gets settled on the palate all flavors just mash with a caramel finish. Kind of blah like boring.

M - Very heavy, in fact if you were drinking beers 5-7 ABV then this you would almost gag since they don't cover the ABV very well.

D - Well it was cool to try and really wanted something like great divides Hibernation ale but got a heavy old ale. Will not buy again.

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Photo of JunkYardJake
3.67/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into tulip.
This is the only ''old ale'' I've had so I don't have reference point but I do really enjoy this brew. It isn't overly impressive to look at but it looks the part of a serious winter warmer. Dark, dark brown with a sliver of white head. The nose is quite unique. Licorice, fig, tree bark, and even a little cocoa. Palate lives up to it's name as the 9% is tasted and felt till the last drop. There is a rich earthy quality to the taste with all of the elements of the nose translating to the palate. Good but a little rough around the edges. Mouthfeel is full bodied and semi-dry. Drinkability is about what you would expect for a high test warmer, a slow sipper. Worth a try if you can get it.
12/18/11 Side note: Had a bottle that was down in the cellar for a year. Still pretty boozy but I think it improved. Maybe this brew would do well with extended aging.

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Photo of KYFriedChildren
2.95/5  rDev -22%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

-From 2009 Notes-

Bought a sixer of this at Capone's in Norriton, PA.

-Appearance- Poured a super dark brown color into a pint glass. Had kind of a thin dark creme head on top. The beer settles and soon the head disappears to only a ring.

Smell- Very boozy, kind of got the dark fruit thing going. Very figgy as well. Little overpowering on the boozy-ness even more so than is expected for it's ABV.

Taste- Boozy and figgy once again. Emphasis on the booze. It doesn't taste bad but it's not smooth and goes down a little too hot. Can't drink too many of them.

Mouthfeel- Thin, too thin for my liking. That's about all I can say about it.

Drinkability- I don't love the beer. I have to be honest. It's a bit too boozy for me and it burns a bit going down the pipes. Couldn't and probably wouldn't drink more than one or two.

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Photo of jlindros
4.07/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This bottle has been sitting in the back of my fridge for a while, taunting me for a long time, and finally I decided to pull it out. This one thanks to Noslenwerd.

It pours with a nice 1 finger thick and fluffy head that fades slowly over a very dark molasses brown color.

The nose comes with some nice subtlety. It has that definite aged aroma to it. Some nice dark malts, a little caramel, syrup, touch of roast, some creaminess, a little dark fruit, and even a slight chocolate aroma. All that comes with that aged feel that fits right in with a good old ale.

Taste starts very creamy and rich, almost nitro like on the feel and creaminess, but not quite there. It has some dark malts again, a little roast and more chocolate, then some sweetness with a little caramel and touch of brown sugar. Also comes a touch of booze taste as well as warmth. Again a slight aged taste, but not quite as much as the nose brought. No winter spices that most winter beers have either, which I think is great!

The mouth is creamy and lush, medium to slightly thicker body with lower but decent carbonation.

It finishes still slightly sweet with a touch of dryness, with more of the creamy feel and taste, bringing more malts with a touch of chocolate and aged malts. I also start to get a hint of a bitterness too.

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Photo of sbw138
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a bottle bought at The Foodery.

Appearance - Pours a nice dark red/amber with a small, but think, red/light brown head. Very appealing in appearance.

Sweet - Sweet molasses and dried fruits. Nice malty backbone.

Taste - Nicely warm and sweet, I guess that's why it is called a Winter Warmer. Not very strong on the fruity taste.

Mouthfeel - Pretty smooth drink. You can taste the alcohol, but it is not overpowering.

D - Could definitely drink a few of these, would like to try it fresh on tap. I think I would start to feel the alcohol after a few. Overall, a pretty good winter beer.

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

Hefty winter ale, nice complex offering but a bit short of extraordinary.

Presentation: 12 oz bottle. Simple label design with a snow symbol tagging the warm lettering with the name of the brew over a Capitol (Lancaster?) background in blue. Short of any description other than saying that it is brewed naturally without preservatives. Lacks an actual date of bottling or freshness although it shows a batch-bottling code and encourages to enjoy the brew now or age it to develop flavors. Poured into a tall tulip glass.

A - Brown to ruby brown pour with a good ecru head, with little retention and a bit of lacing.

S - Roasted malt nose, a bit of a sense of dark fruits, and a boozy whiff.

T - Caramel and roasted malt, with a dark fruity sweetness that coats the boozy presence well and offers some interesting richness.

M - Medium to high body with fading carbonation.

D - Could be a sipper but complexity and range of flavors don't make it there.

Notes: Nice winter ale, not bad for a revisit but not something necessarily worth looking out for...

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.86/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Blue Point snifter.

A: Standard pour yields an upward cascading 1.5 finger fluffy light-brown cream colored head with moderate retention. Beer itself is a wonderful clear dark reddish amber. Lacing is thin but abundant.

S: Nose is a bit boozy, sweet, brown sugar. Dry with a purple grape smell that is quite prominent.

T: Starts deep, brown sugar, and grapes and other various fruits (unripened prunes maybe?). Incredibly malty and boozy in the middle to the finish. A bit of smokey character is apparent right before the final swallow.

M: Medium bodied and semi-smooth. Mouth is a bit oily and finish is sticky yet rather clean. This doesn't leave much.

D: Great complexity here with a body that is just a bit thin. A bit too malty at parts and the hopes are non-existent. A tad off balance. However, still a beer with great character. Seek it out if you can!!

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Photo of shotreverseshot
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap into a pint glass at the Lancaster Brewery.

A - Pours a reddish dark brown with a very nice light brown head.

S - Molasses and raisins. A tiny bit of alcohol hidden very well.

T - Warm and sweet, not spectacularly so, but a little bit of the same molasses and raisin taste. Not too strong, but also not enough to be particularly noteworthy.

M - Very smooth, especially for the high ABV. Surprisingly light and a good warming effect.

D - Could definitely drink a few of these, though I'm certain the high alcohol content could creep up slowly. Not too aggressive nor too weak.

Overall - What it has in drinkability in lacks in punch. For a beer with this much alcohol I expected a bit more to it, but it does deliver the sweet, malty taste of a good winter beer.

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Photo of FickleBeast
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. 8.9% ABV Old Ale? Would be nice if this was mentioned on the bottle.

Pours a ruddy dark reddish brown. A thin ring of foam forms and dissipates quickly. No lacing.

Aroma is candied fruits, sweet roast malts

Taste is of raisins, plum, no hop flavors detected. The body is watery thin. There are no off flavors or anything really negative detected, just an overall malaise on the palate when this beer hits.

carbonation is very low, but the mouthfeel is not smooth or creamy. It is rather thin-bodied for a beer of this potency - a major detriment.

The good news is that the alcohol is well hidden in this beer. The bad news is there just isn't enough flavor or mouthfeel to make this beer above-average.

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Photo of crhensel
4.42/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Bottle into a pint glass) Poured a beautiful dark brown with very thin light brown head that dissipated quickly. The first thing I noticed opening the bottle was the strong fruity aroma. As I let it air and took time to get a good whiff, there were strong molasses notes with a lot of banana and raisin. It smelled like a freshly baked bread, which was lovely. Very light in the mouth, with a hearty hop bite with cinnamony noted to compliment the fruity sweetness. This ia a very refreshing, enjoyable drink and definitely was a warmer!!

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Photo of KeefD
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to SpeedwayJim for this one! Dark amber almost brown color, no head or lacing. Aroma of dark bread and fruit, caramel, and light nuttiness. Flavor is very doppelbock-like. Dark sugary malts, brown sugar, caramel, bread and over-ripened apples. There's also a light metallic note in the back end on the finish. Medium bodied, average carbonation. Decent beer, and I'm having a hard time believing the ABV is really this high.

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Photo of BeerIsland
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been having a lot of fun with the Warmer this year, primarily as a base for mixing with other beers. This item goes well with the Hop Hog if you want to stay big or with the Amish if you need to tone it down a little. At home, I've used Celebration and Lake Placid IPA with decent effect. This could be the universal solvent!

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Photo of bigfnjoe
4.58/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Color is a very dark amber. Not much of a smell, but the hops are strong. First taste, you get some smokiness and nuttiness. The more you drink, the caramel comes through more and more. Just a fantastic heavy winter beer. It packs a punch at close to 9%, so don't drink too fast.

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Photo of Minotaur
3.39/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This ale pours a syrupy, deep milk chocolate color with dark copper highlights. Very little head which quickly fades to wood-colored wisps.

The aroma was not particularly impressive out of the gate: mostly the scent of alcohol and a little malt.

The taste was unexpected and rich. It is earthy, with cocoa, vanilla, and vaguely nutty toasted notes. It is deep and has a hint of alcohol. It is malty and has overtones of molasses (treacle?) and is reminiscient of holiday vanilla spice holiday cookies. There may be just a tiny bit of cherry deep in there too.

The mouthfeel and body is surprisingly thin despite the rich tastes.

It is not quite smooth with the high alcohol; there is a bit of roughness on the swallow. Like the mouthfeel, this seems in contrast to the sweet and earthy flavor.

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Photo of CHADMC3
3.88/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky chestnut brown with reddish hues and a thin, light tan head that quickly dissipates leaving almost no lacing behind.

Rich, warming, sweet malt such as caramel and molasses are apparent to the nose. Yeast and sweet nuts follow, and hints of something creamy or vanilla.

The flavor is not what I was expecting, featuring dark, sweet fruit, seasonal spices, and more sweet malt. There are also hints of caramel, and possibly the same vanilla-like flavor I found in the nose. As the beer warms, a sweet nuttiness becomes more apparent as well as some linger earthy hops.

Medium to thick in body, perhaps slightly chewy with carbonation on the lighter side.

This is a great winter warmer/old ale. Tons of flavors to offer, very warming, easy to sip on, and appropriate for the season.

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Photo of bamadog
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I find it interesting how the name of this beer is Winter Warmer, yet its style is Old Ale. Either way, it's a great offering and I was glad to review it. Poured from the bottle to a pint glass.

Appearance: Deep dark coffee-like brown and starts with a light tan head that fades to a thin and uneven skim; body is nearly opaque and fairly cloudy; can't really see carbonation through the murkiness; no lacing to speak of, just a slightly oily residue.

Smell: Rich and deep caramel and bready malts really dominate the nose; lightly spiced and slight vapors of alcohol.

Taste: Much more going on here than I thought would be; definite sweet caramel and actually a chocolatey presence; also a definite presence of a deep dark fruity aspect (fig or date) that slips in the back; slight presence of alcohol; overall I'm very impressed and it starts to gain a bit of a cola-like aspect and sweetness as it continues to warm.

Mouthfeel: Fairly thick and chewy; very sweet and a little slick; even, but thin, coatingallows the flavors to stick around for quite a while; I do wish the carbonation was just a little bit stronger, but still very nice overall and fitting of the style.

Drinkability: Moderately high for a beer of 8.9%; digging the scent and flavors; couldn't have more than one or two but it so damn solid with those flavors, I would have no problem picking more of this up on my next trip to PA.

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Photo of goblue3509
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown with hints of reddish undertones with decent retention of a slight head. The aroma is of caramel malt and dark fruits maybe raisins. The taste is of a caramel malt backbone with hints of dark fruits, the is also a slight alcohol taste as well. The mouthfeel is good, it has a slight carbonation and a slight slick alcohol feel to it. The drinkability is good, you could sit and nurse a couple of these no problem. A very solid beer, nice alcohol content, good flavor and good aroma.

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Photo of noslenwerd
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark Brown with slight cherry tint

S: Smells sweet and caramely

T: Tastes a bit like caramel, my brain tells me the mouthfeel should be a bit heavier, but its

Summary: Very drinkable winter warmer. Very mild sweet taste, just wish it was a bit thicker.

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Photo of tone77
3.2/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a dark brown color with a small head. Smell is of malts and caramel, slightly sweet. Taste is also of malts and caramel along with alcohol. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has average drinkability. Overall this is a decent beer but nothing great.

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Photo of drtth
4.01/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Samuel Smith pub style pint glass. A glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: As the beer is served it is dark mahogany color with reddish undertones and a 1" thick light tan head that leaves sheets of foam that turn into patterns for fine grained lacing. Sipping leaves behind some nice rings and sheets of lacing that cling to the glass and turn into smaller sheets, patches and leggy lacing before sliding back into the liquid. Even to the end of the beer a thin head remains that leaves a nice sheet of foam to turn into a pattern of sparse lacing that all slides smoothly back into the liquid

Smell: The aroma is malty with a nice caramel character and some earthy hops, dark fruits a touch of alcohol

Taste: The clean rich flavor has dark fruits supported by a nice caramel malt backbone and flavor. There are some notes of earthy hops, brown sugar, a hint of chocolate and a trace of some alcohol.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied with a soft creamy feel and moderate but definite carbonation that lasts pretty well through most of the beer. The finish is long and starts from an almost chocolate/fruity malt flavor changing slowly into light, dry bitterness at the end.

Drinkability: This is reasonably complex, well-balanced beer that is clean, tasty and goes down quite smoothly. At 9% ABV it should be drunk with a meal or enjoyed as the last or only beer of the night while warming by the fire with a good book and/or some nice music. This would also be a good choice as a winter brew to serve to friends. I'm pretty sure I'll be having this one again.

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Photo of bbeane
3.85/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured into a tumbler... very little head with very little retention. Beer appears black, but lights up a nice ruby color when held up to light... very little activity

S- Not overpowering, but definately malty sweet... some dark fruit aroma, plum, raisin; hint of coffee

T- Sweet taste... malt, molasses, dark fruit. No alcohol taste. Finishes with a hint of coffee/burnt flavor

M- Full bodied and very smooth... little carbonation

D- IMO, one of the better Lancaster brews that I've had. Very good flavor that masks the high abv very well


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Photo of yourefragile
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a marked down bottle from last year. We won't question why last year's winter seasonals are just being marked down now at this unnamed store.

Dark, but clear mahogany cola color with light cherry tones. Quickly receding tan head with dots of lacing. Aroma is rich with sweet dark fruits, caramel, alcohol, and light floral notes. Body is thick and smooth with minimal carbonation (which is a nice complement to this style and the flavors of this beer). Flavor is very malty and fruity. Caramel, brown sugar sweetness with dark fruits like plum, raisin and figs plus some mild chocolate notes. This beer has aged well and is a very nice winter seasonal, I'll be picking up more these this winter.

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Photo of njmoons
4.39/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had an opportuntiy to try this on tap at the Lancater Brewing Co in Harrishurg.

I tried many beers there over the weekend I was in town. This was by far my favorite.

Appearance was a see through black/brown, wasn't too sure at first look. Only a little foam which quickly dissipated.

Smell was a malty, toasty with maybe a hint of smoke.

Taste started a nice toasty malt with some caramel, and a hint of fruit. The alcohol takes over in the middle providing some warmth which is quickly taken over by a relatively (for an ale) crisp finish.

I really enjoyed this beer, and found it highly drinkable for a higher alcohol beer.

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

Got this bottle at the Cloverleaf Tavern.

A: Pours a dark brown body with a small, tan head, with pretty nice retention and lacing.

S: A roasted, malty smell that was quite nice in my nostrils.

T: A roasted, malt taste with a sweet, toffee aftertaste. The alcohol is not really evident in the taste but is pleasantly warming in the aftertaste and did well to compliment the sweeter malt taste.

M: A smooth, medium-bodied body that was nice on the palette and made the beer easier to drink.

D: As noted above, the mouthfeel contributed to the overall drinkability of the beer. The complimenting taste partnered with the mouthfeel made this beer nice to drink. While the alcohol is fairly strong, it is not too evident in the taste of the beer, making it quite and enjoyable experience. Nice drinking beer overall.

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Photo of ujsplace
3.84/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured hard and straight into a pint glass, very dark with just the slightest hint of amber. Tan, thick, firm head that stuck around almost until the end, with some residual lacing. Midway through, there was a nice clump of chunky, island of a head sitting in the middle as the glass was tipped. Glass was consumed within about 1/2 hour.

S: Roasted malt, some chocolate and caramel overtones, but surprisingly not nearly as intense as I would have guessed.

T: In order of dominance, roasted malt, caramel and chocolate.

M: Thick, smooth and creamy. Slight alcohol presence at the finish.

D: As advertised, this brew would be nice on a cold day, maybe after coming back into the house after shoveling snow, or sledding with the kids. After all, once you are inside and have had a couple of these, the "Winter Warmer" label is very aptly named...

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