Lions Winter Ale - Granville Island Brewery
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Ratings: 165 | Reviews: 54 | Display Reviews Only:
3.5/5 rDev -4.6%
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.
04-04-2013 19:50:41 | More by Phyl21ca
3.48/5 rDev -5.2%
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.
01-12-2009 07:50:47 | More by biboergosum
3.74/5 rDev +1.9%
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.
03-08-2013 02:24:19 | More by biegaman
4.1/5 rDev +11.7%
Picked up a sixer of this. Medium brown/red colour with good head and good lacing. Smells like light malts and vanilla, smells really good. Its subtle but still strong, just have to try it to understand. The taste is vanilla as well, with some bitterness. Kind of tastes like beer cream soda, i really really like it. Very smooth, could see anyone slamming these back, very tasting and refreshing and not really like any other beer I've tasted. Very recommended.
12-22-2004 09:01:38 | More by Viggo
British Columbia (Canada)
3.2/5 rDev -12.8%
This one's not retired. It's a seasonal, that's available again!
A: Copper-orange/amber, very clear. Nice off-white head, zero retention, no lace.
S: Caramel, grainy and a little astringent.
T: Bready malt, caramel, a litte nutty, good bittersweet balance.
M: Moderate body and carbonation.
D: Good. Should appeal to the general public, if they're feeling a little aventurous!
12-26-2005 01:26:04 | More by Derek
3.63/5 rDev -1.1%
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.
03-17-2012 15:44:04 | More by liamt07
3.8/5 rDev +3.5%
341ml bottle poured into 400ml dab glass nov4 2009
A clear amber leaning towards red, very fast falling two finger head that leaves no lace
S a fair bit of milk chocolate with some spices and vanilla
T tastes as it smells and that's not a bad thing the spice is mild not over the top, pretty mellow
M thin but has good carbonation helping its cause
D pretty easy drinking but not worth looking for, not quite enough booze for a winter warmer in my eyes
good but not great, worth drinking good flavor going on but I think you can get better winter ales with little effort
11-05-2009 05:50:43 | More by wordemupg
3.5/5 rDev -4.6%
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.
01-02-2013 00:57:57 | More by spinrsx
3.98/5 rDev +8.4%
Pint at Cat's Social House on Granville Island. From notes.
A - Amber pour with a one finger white head. Bright. Light carbonation, spotty lace and a film of retention.
S - Sweet spice, lot's of caramel and toffee.
T - Nice toffee and caramel, hops, sweet spice.
M - Nice carbonation, medium body, some hops and spice in the finish.
O/D - Very nice spice which was subtle but mixed well with other elements. Rich malt and nice hops in a winter beer. Good stuff.
02-14-2012 23:09:30 | More by tbeckett
British Columbia (Canada)
3.5/5 rDev -4.6%
This is the 2005 version and I must say that the often overpowering vanilla notes are moved to the back. The beer is creamier and more assertive in its flavour of hops. I will start buying this as thankfully the sickly vanilla esters are only a small part of the makeup.
11-03-2005 00:59:35 | More by canucklehead
3.85/5 rDev +4.9%
Another in-person trade acquisition.
A - Pours a crystal clear copper brown, thin layer of head with no real retention, no lacing, and decent visible carbonation on the body.
S - This one is super bready with some rye malt characteristics, buttered bread, caramel, cinnamon and vanilla.
T - Holy vanilla! Though rather discreet on the nose, the vanilla comes through quite strong on the flavour followed by sweet caramel and buttered bread. Bit of a pepsi-cola flavour to it as well, very unique and tasty.
M - This stuff goes down smooth, but it is a tad watery.
D - I like this winter warmer because the flavours are mild enough that you could enjoy several in one sitting. Definitely a tasty offering from Ganville and I will be buying more of this.
11-06-2010 22:16:29 | More by andrenaline
3.88/5 rDev +5.7%
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.
10-11-2004 17:57:29 | More by IronDjinn
British Columbia (Canada)
3.88/5 rDev +5.7%
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.
02-13-2011 20:13:33 | More by Rutager
3.58/5 rDev -2.5%
Dark amber in colour, a bit of a caramel hue. A very small off-white head disappears almost instantly.
The nose is filled with vanilla, almost overwhelming. Behaind that, caramel malt, cocoa, hazelnut. Smells very sweet, candy like. The vanilla smells like it is probably extract or artificial- does not seem like actual vanilla bean.
The vanilla is also prominent in the taste, which is no surprise. Coupled with caramel and hazelnut, as well as some spices. Quite sweet. Finish is a bit metallic, artificial.
Beer is quite thin, strongly carbonated. Rather insubstantial, particularly for the flavours.
Overall, decent, but not something I would want often. I am a big vanilla fan, which probably helped, but I don't think it is done particularly well in this beer.
04-20-2012 00:40:06 | More by jrenihan
3.63/5 rDev -1.1%
Amber/copper colour, one finger of dense white head, good amount of lace here as well too. Smell is a nice mix of vanilla and spices, caramel, toffee, a subtle roast malt profile as well as some chocolate present. Taste is spicy and lightly sweet, vanilla with bits of toffee, chocolate and roast were more pleasant on the nose than on the palate, bit of bready flavours with a light bitterness. Medium carbonation, light to medium body. Not a bad beer and something I apreciate compared to some other spice bomb winter ales, a bit lackluster however but still a good drink.
12-17-2012 16:06:00 | More by peensteen
2.9/5 rDev -21%
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.
01-17-2005 14:44:21 | More by BigBry
4.03/5 rDev +9.8%
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
10-21-2010 05:20:07 | More by joemcgrath27
Lions Winter Ale from Granville Island Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 165 ratings.