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
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 198
Reviews: 65
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 15.41%
Wants: 11
Gots: 35 | 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
Reviews by yancot:
More User Reviews:
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 Doppelmax
4.57/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I liked this beer so much I just had 3 pints. Usually Canadian micros leave me a bit wanting. Not so for this brew. It was served at Snowshoe Sam's at Big White ski area and drawn from a tap that was labeled "Granville Island Winter Ale"
A wonderful reddish copper color but the head faded quickly. The malt aroma was predominant really no hops were noticed. I found the flavour very surprising, the malt just jumped out and grabbed my palate. The hops were so far in the background I didn't detect them at first. All in all a very caramel taste that just seemed right for my liking. After the first pint I had a few plates of various flavoured chicken wings but the malt just kept right up with the various types of wings. A dense body best describes the mouthfeel. I could have certainly had a few more if my much better half said it was time to head back to our condo. I'll certainly try this beer again and again

Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Can from the LCBO. I remember having this beer about four years ago, and thinking that it was an extremely vanilla-tasting brew. Looking forward to revisiting this. Can label is pretty uninspired, I have to say, compared to the nice bottle, but what can you do.

Poured into a nonic glass. Dark amber-brown, bit of ruby around the edges. Nice creamy head of foam, good retention. Lots of icicle lacing as well. Kept up well in the can.

Nose is certainly vanilla-heavy, so that much has remained the same. Caramel, bit of chocolate, a few odd christmas seasonings, but vanilla sweetness rules the day.

Again, vanilla is this brew's strong suit, but it has a few other cards in hand to play. There is some hop bitterness in there, as well as a decent malt backing with some cracker and biscuit. Actually, quite surprised with this. A bit watery in flavour, but quite easy to drink. Nice break from all the clove/coriander/molasses heavy winter brews I've had recently.

Watery feel, slightly creamy, moderate carbonation.

I have to say I did like this brew, which is a surprise for me with Granville. I happen to like vanilla a great deal, so that helped, but in general it was more balanced than I thought it would be.

Photo of biboergosum
3.46/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle, procured in Vancouver a few weeks ago.

This beer pours a perfectly clear medium cola-tinted amber hue, with a satisfying amount of thinly puffy off-white head, which melts away at due pace, leaving some random specks of lace around the glass.

It smells of spiced, slightly sweet bread – ginger and nutmeg – quite light, all, with a further caramel/toffee maltiness, and a touch of smoky vanilla. The taste is replete with the aforementioned warming spices, a bit of yeastiness, a strong caramel malt backbone, some softly acidic hoppiness, and some earthy, sweetly boozy vanilla.

The carbonation is just about average, the body sporting an adequate medium weight, some sugary creaminess informing its overall smoothness. It finishes on the sweet side, as the spices drop away totally, leaving the caramel malt and vanilla all on their own.

With no appreciable warming from the tweak of extra alcohol, this is a nice, mild winter sipper, less spiced than many of its seasonal brethren, and another agreeable choice for those occasions when a six-pack is the order of the day.

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 joemcgrath27
4.04/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - clear amber, one thumb of bubbly off white head that fizzled away to a light covering
S - roasty malt and semi sweet chocolate, light ginger and nutmeg, and a resiny hop note, very complex
T - sweet caramel and light chocolate up front, very subtle nutmeg and allspice, and just slight herbal hop hint
M - nicely carbonated, light feel with the spice filling the mouth just enough, but a little thin on the finish
D - an interesting mix of aroma and flavour, the winter warmer spice is there but not over the top as so many seem to be, one could likely enough several of these in a sitting

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 elricorico
2.1/5  rDev -43.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Pours a reddish brown with almost nothing for head despite an aggressive pour. Something about it is not very appetizing.

Smells a bit like vanilla, with a cut grass, peed on clothing smell mixed in. Again, not entirely appetizing... Things aren't looking too good for this one.

Taste is right up front vanilla. Tastes like the filling of an oreo cookie. Finishes up bitter and leaves a cloying flavour in the mouth.

I have nothing good to say about this beer. I've had a couple of bottles before, and tend to like it less each time.

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 ChrisCage
4.17/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 2 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

A- I poured this fairly aggressively and was greeted with a modest looking white head that settled very quickly into nothingness. The color of the brew is a clear looking, maybe slightly chill hazed brown flat out, not super dark, not real light....just brown. There appears to be an average amount of carbonation, and there isn't really any lacing to speak of....kind of disappointing to look at to be honest!

S- Lots going on here, and most of it is sweet aromas! I'm picking up vanilla, macintosh toffee, milk chocolate and pancake syrup all rolled into one. It really smells like dessert or fresh baking....delicious aromas for sure!

T- Whoa, the flavors are just as variant as the smells! Overall, it mimics the aromas closely, just with more earthiness and some nut qualities mixed in as well. The finsih is dry and slightly spiced. Overall, it's really tasty, just not as prominent as the previous category!

M- I was kind of disappointed again in this category....I find the body to be thin like a cream soda pop, which is what I really can liken this to! The carbonation is actually quite smooth allowing this to not make me feel bloated on the other hand, so I'm torn but wanted this to be a full bodied brew....oh well!

O- A very tasty beer, that while considered a winter warmer, I'm finding quite enjoyable on a summer evening! The alcohol isn't super strong to begin with, but it is very well hidden behind all the sweetness. I'd have no problem having several of these in an evening/afternoon! I do recommend this one and will pick this up again when in season! I'm in the same boat as the previous review....had this one maturing for some time...my wife picked it up for me....I thought I knew what I'd be getting but I'm quite happy with the surprise I ended up with!

Photo of Rutager
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours a nice amber-brown. Half a finger of off-white head.

Smell. Vanilla, roasty malts. Pretty nice.

Taste. Artificial vanilla and light, roasty malt. Just a hint of sweetness with a beter vanilla aftertaste than the initial hit.

Mouthfeel. Medium carbonation. Quite thin.

Drinkability. A pretty good drinker. Goes down easy due to it being a bit watery and not too sweet.

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 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 wreckless
4.09/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vanilla, Vanilla, and more Vanilla.

Appearance: a clear, dark amber, light off white head, slight lace and retention.

Smell: roasty malt and caramel, nutty yeast, dense chocolate and vanilla bean.

Taste: thin bready malt initially, followed nutty chocolate and strong hints vanilla.

Mouthfeel: light carbonation with a smooth, creamy, fluid body followed by an amazing dense vanilla finish.

Drinkability: a great winter ale with an extreme vanilla personality makes this the perfect beer up on the mountain or by the fire on a cold winter night. the elegant mixture of chocolate, yeasty malt, and vanilla give a great balanced feel.

i first tasted this ale after a day of riding at Mt. Seymour. It was on tap, and was an exceptional winter ale. as i've said, this ale is all about vanilla, and although some may frown at that, i embrace it as it is a perfect compliment to the winter months. i have since drank this winter ale in bottle form and can't get enough of it.

Photo of Mlkluther
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Love this beer. Chocolate notes come through.

Photo of IronDjinn
3.87/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

How did I beat the B.C. boys to reviewing this first? Did they not get the memo? Found a couple of 6's of this left at the Chateau Louis while in Edmonton for Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving that is).

Pours out of its 341 ml brown bottle a clear burnished copper hue, but seems a bit watery right from the start, which is typical for Granville Island from my exerience. Thin fizzle of beige head with little retention. Things pick up on the aroma, dense caramel malt, chocolate wafers rounded out with vanilla bean, very appealing. The flavour starts out a little thin, light grainy malt, but starts picking up momentum in the middle. That malty wafer flavour appears, along with the dry cocao, which carries to the finish where there is some slight vanilla waiting to join the party. The mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side, but I've taken this to be the standard that Granville Island aims for. The texture of the finish is rather quite dry and wafery, which I find unique for a winter ale, but I like it. It's pretty much an easy drinking flavourful ale to offer guests at seasonal shin-digs who are less prone to drinking heavier porters or stouts or dark belgians.

Photo of findango
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

Very vanilla. Nice, nothing special.

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 spinrsx
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

473ml Can from the Ottawa LCBO for 2.50$

Appearance - Clear reddish brown colour with an above average size fizzy beige head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some faint lacing. The head lasted for 3-4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, dark fruits, caramel/chocolate/vanilla

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, dark fruits, and some chocolate/caramel/vanilla. There is also a bit of a herbal flavour and it ends with malty slightly sweet aftertaste.

Overall - Not too shabby. It has a little something taste wise for everyone. I can see this working well as a good gateway beer to get into craft. Not something I'd buy another can of, but I'd probably get a pint on tap if I saw it at a bar.

Photo of liamt07
3.66/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Steve, 341ml into a tulip.

Golden brown in colour, offwhite head - only a ring of retention persists, no lacing. Nose is full of vanilla, perhaps slightly artificial in tone. Some cocoa, brown sugar and nuts as well. Taste is lightly nutty, more breadiness, caramel, cocoa and vanilla. Carbonation is a bit higher than I'd like, but a few swirls of the glass took it down to a manageable level. Fairly thin however, and perhaps a little too sweet in the finish. Nose is quite nice, but palate doesn't live up to it. I thought this could've been a lot better with some more body and mouthfeel.

Photo of BigBry
2.9/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

One of four selections in the Graville Island Winter Mingler 12 pack.
Orange amber color, with an off white-orangish head. Foam quickly disappeared leaving a thin ring around the glass. By the end, there was no carbonation left. First smell is sharp with some kind of spice, later on the aroma is quite strong vanilla. At first taste it is smooth, with some light vanilla, a little bitter finish leaving a tingle on the tongue. However, the more you drink of this the sweeter it becomes. Half way through I thought I was drinking a cherry cream soda. Very sweet and heavy feeling, could only drink 1 at a time.

Nov. 2014 - Tried the draft version with dinner.
Good looking clarity, small floating cap of foam, thin lace.
Great smell of vanilla bean, slightly sugary, and cream soda again.
Similar flavor profile, but not as sticky sweet as I remember the bottled version.

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 thehyperduck
3.67/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

473 mL can from the LCBO; packaged in October (apparently their codes only provide the month). I've tried this brew before, and although that particular occurrence was now many years ago, I do remember enjoying it. Served only slightly chilled.

Pours a clear ruby-copper colour, topped with one finger of off-white head that wastes no time fizzling away into a creamy collar and thin film on the surface. Almost no lacing, but other than that it looks fine. Sniffing this stuff definitely brought back some good memories - the pronounced vanilla and milk chocolate sweetness gives it a relatively unique and recognizable profile, with underlying notes of butterscotch and hazelnuts. Enjoyable, but it really reminds me of Vanilla Coke which makes me think something artificial was used. Maybe I'm paranoid.

Nice, light, drinkable flavour with a good mix of malty flavours, spice and hops. Vanilla is still a major contributor, with more hazelnut and toasted malt backing than the aroma lets on. Small hints of maple and chocolate, with some modest spice and vaguely herbal hop notes. Surprisingly dry finish, with the vanilla and spice lingering into the aftertaste. Fairly light-bodied, bordering on watery, with moderate carbonation levels. Very drinkable for the style, due to its lightness and restrained abv/spice.

Final Grade: 3.67, a serviceable B grade. Granville Island's Lions Winter Ale is a highly quaffable, enjoyable little warmer in its own right, but what it comes down to is this - if someone gave this to me blindfolded, I seriously might mistake it for Vanilla Coke or cream soda, and for that reason I really can't take it seriously. This isn't the greatest winter beer in the world, but it's still a charming brew with far more drinkability than the average warmer. Of the Granville brews I've tried, this is easily the best and probably the only one I would seriously consider recommending to others, or re-purchasing.

Photo of CrazyMike
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Amber brown appearance with bubbly head that disappears quickly. Has a sweet smell similar to maple syrup with a hint of caramel and vanilla.

Has a strong vanilla taste with malt and nuts as well. Has a nice blend of spices, has a hint of caramel and bread. Taste overall is almost similar to the smell. Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Aftertaste is bitter and leaves a lingering vanilla taste in your mouth.

Overall this is a pretty decent winter beer, the overtly vanilla and caramel taste helps it stand out over other beers. Should give it a try when it's available.

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