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Lions Winter Ale - Granville Island Brewery

Not Rated.
Lions Winter AleLions Winter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

61 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 61
Hads: 204
Avg: 3.67
pDev: 28.34%
Wants: 12
Gots: 40 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 61 | Hads: 204
Photo of Frozensoul327
3/5  rDev -18.3%
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.

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Photo of BDTyre
3.92/5  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.

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Photo of Derek
3.2/5  rDev -12.8%
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!

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Photo of indysamra
4.72/5  rDev +28.6%
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)

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Photo of canucklehead
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

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Photo of BigBry
2.9/5  rDev -21%
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.

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Photo of Viggo
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
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.

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Photo of MAB
4.22/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Despite rating it good on three of five points, I actually think it is better than good. Just not outstanding.

The main thing you notice, both in aroma and in taste is vanilla. This isn't like a vanilla soft drink since, although there is an underlying sweetness, it isn't overly sweet. There's some nice balance going on here. The color is a nice light amber and the head is not too thin. The first few sips are a taste experience and then you get used to it and appreciate the subtle hoppiness and flavor. Well worth a look for, but I'm not sure if you can get it in a six pack on its own. I got mine in a Xmas sampler pack with three bottles each of the Winter Ale, Lager, Pale Ale, and Amber Ale.
Nothing wrong with any of the other brews either. A worthy purchase.

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Photo of Cwrw
3.37/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A winter seasonal by Granville Island, BC. The appearance is average. A pop-fizz head, which is light brown and did not last long. The beer is reddish-amber, with some orange. Thin lace. Clear, but not transparent liquid. The aroma immediately reminded me of coke and vanilla. Buttery, definite maple syrup, dark candied malt, some grainy tree-bark, even pine aromas. Nuts, and root beer. A definite pop smell to it. Cinammon and tree resin. The bottle itself states there is vanilla in the taste and aroma, and it is true: vanilla is extremely evident in the taste. Almost precisely this beer resembles the aroma. There is a decent hop dryness, but a finish of cardboard or wood, which leaves a dry feeling. I dislike the finish. It is a little cloyingly syrupy on the tongue; a little lacking in balance somehow. Predominantly malty brew. This beer starts off nicely with a fruity-sweet smell, and a vanilla taste up front, but there is an undesirable feeling left in the mouth, almost as if this beer has been stored improperly.

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Photo of elricorico
2.1/5  rDev -42.8%
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.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.87/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

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Lions Winter Ale from Granville Island Brewery
83 out of 100 based on 61 ratings.