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Lions Winter Ale - Granville Island Brewery

Lions Winter AleLions Winter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

148 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 148
Reviews: 54
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 16.03%


Brewed by:
Granville Island Brewery visit their website
British Columbia, Canada

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  5.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: IronDjinn on 10-11-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 148 | Reviews: 54 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of leaddog
leaddog

Alberta (Canada)

4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Clear, copper hue with thin white head. Lots of bubbles are present.

Smell - Vanilla, caramel and hazelnut aromas are the most predominant. Very sweet smelling like candy.

Taste - Very nice vanilla flavour. Light caramel flavour. Not overly sweet despite the sweet aromas that are first encountered. Slightly bitter aftertaste at the end.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with nice tingly bubbles. Goes down smooth.

Overall - A pleasant winter warmer from GIB. The vanilla flavour was very nicely showcased and was well-balanced. This ale would be even better if some spices were thrown in - perhaps clove or nutmeg. Would definitely buy again.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2011 02:33:35 | More by leaddog
Photo of timtwoface
timtwoface

British Columbia (Canada)

4.38/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ahh, a Christmas classic in the Vancouver area. This was my first winter warmer and still among my favourites. When I was first of age, as far as beer is concerned, this beer defined what Christmas was supposed to taste like. The really striking aspect of this beer is the vanilla flavours that go all the way through, from the initial smell to the lingering aftertaste. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that appreciates beer with that sweet vanilla taste; it's so very drinkable.

Another similar one to this in BC is Tree Brewing's Vertical Winter Ale; I think it's even better, though GI's Lions Winter Ale is still excellent. Try 'em both and support your BC breweries this Christmas!

Cheers!

Serving type: on-tap

11-26-2011 17:27:46 | More by timtwoface
Photo of beerayrton
beerayrton

British Columbia (Canada)

3.05/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I`ve had this beer multiple times, and thought it would be a good beer for my first review.

Appearance - Pleasant, not much head at all, less than a finger. Minimal to no lacing.

Smell - Vanilla with a hint of nuttiness. Not too bad, but for some reason I`ve had better pours.

Taste - Maple notes up front, desolving into vanilla notes the deeper you get into it. There`s a bitter note there as well.

Mouthfeel - Medium amounts of carbonation, and a crisp and clear, slightly bitter feel.

Overall - Very drinkable. The vanilla is really the key here, it is what makes it as palatable as it is. I most likely will order again next time I am at the pub that offers this beer, seeing as it`s the best one on tap. I will order it soon, especially if I am having a dessert.

Serving type: on-tap

11-18-2011 06:43:52 | More by beerayrton
Photo of dougfredell
dougfredell

British Columbia (Canada)

4.33/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I love this beer. As far as I'm concerned it is the best tasting local beer in Vancouver. It reminds me of Unibroue beers from Quebec, which is high praise. Awesome beer!

I guess it was slightly foggy - but I don't care about that at all - so long as there's no actual chunks in it.

Presumably it tastes better because it's more fresh. It's only available in the fall, so theoretically it's been brewed more recently.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2011 18:37:50 | More by dougfredell
Photo of ChrisCage
ChrisCage

Alberta (Canada)

4.18/5  rDev +13.6%
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!

Serving type: bottle

07-26-2011 02:28:01 | More by ChrisCage
Photo of JayAre46
JayAre46

Texas

3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - poured firmly into a tulip produced 1 1/2 fingers of white head that reduce to a sheet that covers the top, auburn mahogany pretty deep and close to opaque. minimal lacing

A - get some pale malts and vanilla extract that smells absolutely great while not over powering maybe some earthy tones along with slight nutty aroma

T - Holy shit, up front the pale roasted malts, then the vanilla extract dominance this beer tastes very similar to the soda A&W makes, cream soda? very different beer, absolute vanilla bomb, the nose definitely suggests this flavor but not this much. Im not sure what to think exactly whether im enjoying it or not, perhaps on the slopes this might hit the spot...no hop presence or alcohol the cream soda is absolutely dominant.

M - light to medium bodied, medium carbonation, lost all focus from this cream soda....jesus christ maybe this is what a cream ale should be. slightly soothing on the palate, im going to say that this does not have a high drinkability when temps are over 50F and i live in texas....and its may

O - Thank you rutager for this brew,quite the experience. i have put this brew off for sometime now because i always looked at it and thought to myself, i already know what that tastes like...never have i ever been so wrong, the aroma got me thinking real quick im in for it. The character of this beer stands out a lot to me and while im not loving it, i am liking it and also can see how could this may be on the side of a mountain.

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2011 06:39:11 | More by JayAre46
Photo of Rutager
Rutager

British Columbia (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-13-2011 20:13:33 | More by Rutager
Photo of wreckless
wreckless

British Columbia (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-10-2011 03:10:16 | More by wreckless
Photo of CrazyMike
CrazyMike

Alberta (Canada)

3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2011 02:53:39 | More by CrazyMike
Photo of andrenaline
andrenaline

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2010 22:16:29 | More by andrenaline
Photo of joemcgrath27
joemcgrath27

Alberta (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
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

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2010 05:20:07 | More by joemcgrath27
Photo of EskimoDave
EskimoDave

British Columbia (Canada)

2.88/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lions Winter Ale is a blood red beer. Vanilla dominates the nose with a milk chocolateliness to it. This carries over to the taste of the beer. Toffee is subtly present in the background through out. The low carbonation leads to an incredible smooth beer with a solid medium body. There is a residual cloying sweetness in the finish.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2010 22:53:21 | More by EskimoDave
Photo of OskarL
OskarL

Sweden

3.43/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear dark amber color with a two finger head that settles fast and leaves little lacing.

Smells of a lot of toffee, cloves, caramel, vanilla and spiced christmas bread.

Tastes quite like the nose but it finishes a bit sweet with some dark fruits.

Has a light/medium body and good carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2010 00:33:22 | More by OskarL
Photo of Grunewald
Grunewald

British Columbia (Canada)

3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - poured from a 341ml bottle can into a tulip glass. It pours red with a quickly vanishing white head.

S - vanilla, toffee/tootsie roll,root beer, nuts and breakfast cereal

T - spicy malt with pop (vanilla cola and root beer) undertones and a strange tangy/vanilla finish

M - medium carbonation, medium body and a sticky finish

D - the flavors seem very artificial and remind me of name brand snacks/pop. The finish has a chemical taste and mouthfeel like cola.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2010 11:18:22 | More by Grunewald
Photo of wordemupg
wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2009 05:50:43 | More by wordemupg
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2009 07:50:47 | More by biboergosum
Photo of Doppelmax
Doppelmax

New Hampshire

4.63/5  rDev +25.8%
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

Serving type: on-tap

01-25-2007 02:55:48 | More by Doppelmax
Photo of Hornet2003
Hornet2003

British Columbia (Canada)

3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This beer confuses me a little bit. In previous years, before I was really into craft beer, this would be my pride and joy during the winter season. The heavy spice flavors combined with the vanilla finish were unique to me at that point and seemed unfathomable in other beers.

Well my perceptions have changed slightly.

Appearance: The beer pours a beautiful colour. Dark amber with a finger's head.

Smell: Delicious. The aroma on this beer never ceases to impress me. Lots of clove and vanilla. Overall, a "sweet" aroma.

Taste: This is where the beer falls short of my memories. It seems somewhat cloying. The flavours are unrefined. They are all there but not as blended as I would prefer. Bold vanilla dominates the taste. The first bottle of the sixer tasted rather metallic and artificially chemically. I figured it was still young(The beer was just released 2 days earlier) so I left it in the fridge for a couple weeks. The next ones I tried seemed to be better so maybe I had a bad bottle.

Mouthfeel: This is a lighter beer overall, especially for a supposed winter warmer. Good carbonation level...Not too much, not too little. A little watery.

Drinkability: I can drink this like water. Alcohol is relatively low so it's not overly aggressive in aroma or taste and the vanilla flavour is different enough to make you want to keep drinking it. It's a good conversation beer as everyone around you can smell the vanilla and spice notes in the aroma. I got my cousin's boyfriend hooked on this stuff last year so it's obviously drinkable to craft beer geek and everyone else in between.

Overall: I give it a high rating because I have enjoyed it previosuly for the past 2 years before I was into craft beer. Now that I have some more experience, I'll say that it is a very average beer that serves it's purpose during the holiday season. I'll still buy it because it's so drinkable but for a treat I'll take a Granville Island Merry Monks or a Tree Spiced Mid-Winter Ale.

This beer is definately NOT retired. Seasonal for sure, but it's back in full force for 2006/07.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2006 07:01:15 | More by Hornet2003
Photo of Frozensoul327
Frozensoul327

Michigan

2.98/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours out to a flat brown auburn color with a small head of foam that quickly dissipates. No lace. Low carbonation. Aromas of raisins, grainy caramel and roasted malts. Taste was a bit bland, but notes of grains, malt, and mild dark fruits were noted. Mouthfeel was far too flat and boring. Drinkability is not up to par. Thanks to Derek for the 12 oz. sample.

Serving type: bottle

08-11-2006 01:02:47 | More by Frozensoul327
Photo of BDTyre
BDTyre

British Columbia (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another good SEASONAL (not one-off) from Granville Island. The colour is a bit light for a dark mild; it looks more like a dark bitter or pale ale.

The smell is malty, and there are strong chocolate hints with definite vanilla scents.

Tastes strongly of vanilla and chocolate, with a bit of deeper malt and coffee traces. The hops are not quite noticeable, but do lend some bitterness to it.

I'd love to try this on tap if I could ever find it.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2006 08:12:25 | More by BDTyre
Photo of Derek
Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

3.2/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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!

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2005 01:26:04 | More by Derek
Photo of indysamra
indysamra

Alabama

4.75/5  rDev +29.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A smooth dark Ale, its name serves it well. On a cold evening, theres nothing quite like a Granville Island Lions Winter Ale. It warms you nicely, and your first taste leaves your mind wandering as to what ingredients make up this aromatic ale. Although, it's flavored with vanilla, I'm led to believe that its actually made up of something a little more nutty.

Nutmeg like. This is the one thing I miss most about winters in Vancouver.

To experience this ale to its full capacity, i really would suggest visiting the Granville Island Brewery, on a winters day, taking up a window seat, and admiring the snow fall as you kick your feet back, and just enjoy that holiday aroma as the smooth ale does exactly what its supposed to.

If you prefer darker ales: Guiness, Newcastle Brown, and most winter ales, you'll love this one.

Indy :o)

Serving type: on-tap

12-05-2005 05:34:46 | More by indysamra
Photo of canucklehead
canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2005 00:59:35 | More by canucklehead
Photo of BigBry
BigBry

Alberta (Canada)

2.9/5  rDev -21.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2005 14:44:21 | More by BigBry
Photo of Viggo
Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2004 09:01:38 | More by Viggo
Lions Winter Ale from Granville Island Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 148 ratings.