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Lions Winter Ale - Granville Island Brewery

Not Rated.
Lions Winter AleLions Winter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

198 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 198
Reviews: 65
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 15.41%
Wants: 11
Gots: 34 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Granville Island Brewery visit their website
British Columbia, Canada

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: IronDjinn on 10-11-2004

Our Lions Winter Ale combines premium malt with aromatic specialty hops. The vanilla-like finish of this robust ale is a great excuse to get out of the cold and enjoy BC’s favourite winter beer made from the finest natural ingredients.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 198 | Reviews: 65
Photo of BeerWatcher
4.04/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark cherry wood pour with an ever so slightly off white head.
Aromas are all vanilla and chocolate bars.
Tastes are totally the same with the addition, of a sneaky hop bitterness on the finish.
Overall, if you like a sweet beer, it's hard to go wrong with this offering.

Photo of DaveBar
3.79/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at the LCBO for just under $3.00 for a 473ml can. Served at 4deg C in a draught glass

A- Opens well and pours a good dark head that is gone within 1min. Dark brown and filtered.

S- Lots of malt here. Tons of chocolate. Almost inordinate amount of chocolate.

T- Chocolate and spices. Hint of cinnamon. Bit of hops

M- Nice and creamy but a touch bitter

O- Nice beer. Will buy again if I see it. Nice break'er up'er.

Food Pairing

This wonderful little brew went well with...... Chicken wings boiled to perfection in oil than topped with some hot sauce.

Enjoy

Photo of lordjakir
3.08/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Overly chocolates. Unexpected. Chocolate overwhelms other flavors. Looks very nice. Can't see it pairing will with food. Won't likely but again

Photo of LampertLand
3.83/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Granville Is. 'Lions Winter Ale' @ 5.5% , served from a 6pack of 355 ml cans purchased for $12

A-pour is brown from the can to a dark amber in the glass with a smallish beige head

S-chocolate malts

T-caramel & coffee

MF-low/mild carbonation , feels full bodied , very filling

Ov-ok beer , good local version of a winter ale , decent price

prost LampertLand

Photo of Daefido
4.5/5  rDev +21.6%

very sweet chocolate smell. That lasts to the end of drinking. fairly smooth comparing to other ales, I think. nice ruby or copper colour. pleasant feeling until the last drop.

Photo of Powdergiant
4/5  rDev +8.1%

Beautiful chocolate flavor. Perfect for mid-day skiing o.O

Photo of Mlkluther
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Love this beer. Chocolate notes come through.

Photo of findango
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Very vanilla. Nice, nothing special.

Photo of Archy
3.25/5  rDev -12.2%

Enjoying this one during the first snow of the year. A bit on the sweet side with heavy caramel notes. I think it could handle a bit more of a hoppy kick to balance the sweetness. Nonetheless, it was enjoyable and lived up to being a winter warmer.

Photo of wolf6656
4.5/5  rDev +21.6%

I eagerly await the arrival of this ale in Ontario every year. This is exactly what it says. A Winter Ale. This is not a patio beer.
They make some other very good beers, but none excites me quite like this one.
This is easily in the top 5, probably top 3, beers I have ever had.
Every beer has it's proper place. This one is in my mouth.

Photo of iGi
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%

Surprisingly delicious.

Photo of souvenirs
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: auburn and clear, two fingers or so of tan head that dissipated fairly quickly, leaving lacing across the top
S: caramel, vanilla, cocoa
T: not overly sweet, but sweet flavours - milk chocolate, caramel
F: smooth, creamy
O: I'm not sure I like this quite as much as I did last year when I was first drinking it, but I suppose the good beer becomes separated from the truly great beer the more beer you try!

Photo of DenisKolkin
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Purchased a 473 ml can from the LCBO for $2.90 CDN. While I've enjoyed the winter warmers thus far I haven't been truly impressed by anyone. Hoping that this beer changes that. Served fairly cold into a pint glass.

Appearance - Dark red color, 2 fingers of frothy off-white head. tons of effervescent bubbles. Overall great color with good head retention and even some lacing. So far so good.

Smell - Big molasses nose, some fruitcake and other Christmas baked goods. Milk chcoloate is also rather prominent.

Taste- Heavy on the malts and the spices, caramel, molasses and mixed chocolates (milk and white) as well as a nice blend of spices. Probably the tastiest of the style I've had yet.

Mouthfeel - A bit strange in that one sip feels very smooth and rich and yet another will be on thin side. Medium carbonation and a nice warming effect with a moderately dry finish.

Overall - Very good winter warmer, probably my favorite I've had this season. Can realistically see my self picking up another can or two of this during the holiday season.

Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.42/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at a Calgary pub in the NE, same place I have sampled a few other Granville Island offerings. This rather sweet brew looks the part of a winter beer, a pleasing dark red amber to brown with around an inch of tan head. Looks like a classic English porter. Does not taste like a classic English porter. Smells like milk chocolate and vanilla, a candy bar in a pint glass. Tastes much the same, milk chocolate, vanilla, carob, caramel, and a nutty flavor a bit like pecans. I get some red fruit and raisin or plum notes as well. I often enjoy this sort of "dessert beer" but unfortunately this one became cloying and unpleasant about halfway through a pint. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy but the body is a little too light and crisp for what should be a sipper. Has the body of a session ale but tastes a lot darker and sweeter than any such beer. There are some flaws, including an unpleasant saccharine sweetness that does not taste natural (despite the fact that all-natural ingredients are used), what seems like oxidation manifesting as wet cardboard, and an odd melding of leafy aromatic flavors with the dark malts to produce a mint chocolate chip vibe that became way too dominant on the palate; it was all I could taste after a while. Not sure what the fix would be ... Perhaps less emphasis on the spice/flavoring component so that the malts can do the work of making things rich and chocolatey without the need for so many sweet tooth histrionics.

Photo of TerryW
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Actually a fairly interesting brew built around a very nice malt backbone. Very sweet, but not overpowering, nicely balanced off by hop bitterness. Interesting flavours of vanilla, caramel, cocoa, dark fruit work together well.

Clear coppery-amber brew under a short head that settles to a steady cap and gives up lots of lace. A pretty beer.

Nose is full of vanilla, caramel, very pleasant malt character.

I like this simply because it comes off as fun to drink. Lots of simple, interesting things happening in the glass. On one hand almost comes off as caramel sundae topping, but is quickly brought around by malt and spice.

Reminds me off a lighter, poor man's Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock. Nicely done.

Photo of Digimaika2
3.7/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

(4.0) A: Beautiful clear mahogany-amber with a sizeable and creamy head. Recedes to a blanket fairly quick while clinging to the glass well.

(4.0) S: Dry cocoa, vanilla, marshmallows, figs and dates, some dark fruits (mostly cherries), and spice. Overall leans towards a generally sweet (marshmallow & cocoa) aroma but it’s very enticing and wonderful stuff.

(3.5) T: Cocoa, dark fruits, nutmeg, and caramel. The taste comes across as a subdued and scaled back version of the aroma. Slight mineral quality. Restrained hop and malt presence.

(3.5) M: Lighter bodied with a lighter carbonation. Fairly thin, a bit powdery, and rather flat.

(3.75) D: Flavours could be more prominent and mouthfeel is lacking a bit, but overall still a decent winter ale. This would actually be a good gateway winter ale to introduce to those just getting into spiced/hoppy ales.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a clear deep amber color ale with a medium size foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of caramelized sugar and light toffee notes with subtle fruity ester are quite interesting. Taste is also a great mix between some caramelized sugar and toffee while retaining a good balance of sweetness with some light subtle fruity ester. Body is about average with good carbonation. Easily drinkable winter warmer style beer with just enough complexity.

Photo of TheHammer
3.54/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A respectable amount of lace with two fingers of head that retained respectably as well compliments a deep ruby red body with low carbonation.

Smell: Vanilla, caramel, and candy cane mint with huge brown sugar smells. It's strong and didn't need a lot of warming to come out, but it smells like it's going to be sickeningly sweet.

Taste: As I predicted, this beer is REALLY sweet. It starts with caramel malt mixed with molasses and brown sugar that turns more herbal as candy cane mint, cinnamon and vanilla notes come out and then fade away. It's just so overwhelmingly sweet...I'm almost inclined to think of it more like a liquor then a beer.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is very low, and I think it's absence is what is letting some of the sweeter elements run wild here. The sweetness thankfully doesn't linger as a nice cinnamon/nutmeg note provides nice closure.

Drinkability: I don't know if I could stomach more then two or three of these. It's surprisingly heavy bodied, which you wouldn't think at first, but then makes sense as they must had added a lot of spice and malt to this to make it so sweet. Still it goes down well enough.

Final Thoughts: Well, this beer tastes like Christmas, simply put, and like Christmas, it is good it only comes around once a year. The good outweighs the bad here, but I wouldn't want to drink this on a regular basis.

Photo of slitherySOB
4.46/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is one pleasant ale that reminds me of Christmas. Deep brownish red with a thick, creamy, two finger head, this beer is a beauty to behold. Smells of banana bread, malts, caramel, vanilla and winter fruits. Tastes delicious. Big bold malts, bready character, strong hint of vanilla, some banana and plums... Mouthfeel is velvety and smooth. Too bad I'm having this during the spring.

Photo of biegaman
3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chestnut is always a handsome colour for a winter seasonal and, indeed, Lions Winter Ale has a look that exudes both class and personality. It demonstrates flawless clarity, decent froth and is rich with gleaming highlights. You'd sell a lot of magazines with this on the cover!

A bit quiet initially, the aromas of vanilla and creamy caramel build effortlessly once they've had a chance to properly breathe. A dash of carob and pecan-like nuttiness also grows on you, as does the faintest whiffs of waffle and bittersweet Belgian chocolate. These sweet, universally appealing scents make a very friendly introduction.

The vanilla flavouring is hardly creamy or candy-sweet - it tastes like vanilla pod not vanilla cupcake. Still, the beer feels a bit artificial. The toffee and creamy caramel notes aren't the subtler, nuanced type typically suggested by specialty malts - they are the kind you get in a store-bought cake. The flavours are rather buoyant and very toothsome, which isn't bad...

though it must be said that there is hardly a palpable taste of winter in this 'winter ale'. Christmas, maybe, because of a carob/nutmeg-like spice. But winter? This doesn't quite have the body, strength or makeup to match the harsh realities of a (non-Pacific) Canadian winter.

British Columbia's Lions Winter Ale is kind of a reflection of where it's brewed. It would be a great pint to share with friends after a mild day on the slopes, but it doesn't have the depth and complexity to support a long night of solitary inner-reflection in the midst of a dark, dead, frost-bound environment. Very tasty stuff, but buy accordingly.

Photo of JFL
3.51/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Very dark red hue with a head ranging from half a finger to two fingers, within the same six pack. Head starts vanishing immediately, and within 45 seconds retreats to nothing. Very little lacing around the glass

Smell is overwhelmingly sweet, lots of vanilla, bit of caramel

Bit of the roasted malt, lots of vanilla, bit of nuttiness almost, but again, lots of vanilla. Maybe a little too much

Fairly smooth, not enough of the carbonation released during the pour

Good beer that is easily found at government stores, and many privates. Not worth writing home about, but definitely worth having a few of.

Photo of patre_tim
3.96/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep brown with a reddish hue, clear filtered, little carbonation, 2 finger beige head fades fairly fast.

S: Malty, deep goodness. Some fruitiness and candy like quality. Banana. Caramel.

T: Follows nose: Malty, deep goodness. Some fruitiness and candy like quality. Banana. Caramel. Some kind of fruity kids candy.

M: Medium body, medium low carbonation. Slight bitter cling, typical to winter warmers.

O: Good, malty, delicious, balanced good beer. My first by Granville Island and was glad to find it at an LCBO in Ontario. Would like to try more by them, but they're hard to find out here.

Photo of mick303
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured a pretty nice white foamy head, pretty decent retention. Leaves a good lacing and film. Colour is a dull ruby chestnut brown, very little visible carbonation.

Smell has really powerful sweet caramel and vanilla notes. Brown sugar and treacle, there might be some malt there but its sugar-coated. Some mild roastiness. A bit leather and oaky notes. Smells like caramel candy, no bitterness.

Taste has a initially dark caramel and brown sugar, some slightly roasty maltiness comes through. Some cinnamon spice and slight bitterness, sort of fireplace-like. Then more thin caramel, and lots of vanilla and really sweet coffee, which persists through the finish. Still very sweet throughout, but there are some moderately interesting balancing flavours and some complexity comes through eventually.

Mouthfeel has a moderate light body, little carbonation, and a thin caramel feel. A bit watery and noticeably sweet. Not much crispness, and finish is pretty wet, some late dryness.

Still maintain that this can at times be offensively sweet, once it develops it does show some other interesting elements. It cries out for balance though, and while a decent winter beer, I wouldn't say you're missing much if you give it a pass. Unless caramel beers are your thing.

Photo of hopsolutely
3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

My expectations of any Molson-Coors product are pretty low, but purchased based on a local recommendation and this can offered a very pleasant surprise!

Pours a dark amber colour with a minimal off-white head that has good staying power. Sweet aroma of chocolate "nestle quik" and vanilla is pretty powerful. That sweetness is tempered in the taste, which has a decent malt presence and underlying hop bitterness to the finish. Still reminds me a bit of chocolate-covered candied pineapple, but that's only one side of the flavour and it's better balanced than that sounds. The vanilla is not as subtle as I'd personally choose.

All in all, a winter warmer I'd recommend and a vanilla-lover’s dream. My compliments to Granville Island and I hope Molson continues to allow them brewing autonomy...

Photo of Long813
3.54/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear red body with minimal head and lacing. Nothing to amazing about the looks.

S: Very pleasing mixture of caramel and vanilla with hints of roasted malt. The vanilla is a nice touch. Overall the aroma could be a touch stronger.

T: Following the aroma, there is a nice mix of roasted malts, caramel and vanilla. The taste is somewhat light though.

M: Water like texture with medium-low carbonation. There is a nice after taste of vanilla that lingers for a short amount of time.

O: A nice winter ale. It's a little weak overall, but as an easy to drink beer with flavour it's there.

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Lions Winter Ale from Granville Island Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 198 ratings.