Lions Winter Ale - Granville Island Brewery

Not Rated.
Lions Winter AleLions Winter Ale

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

199 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 199
Reviews: 65
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 15.41%
Wants: 11
Gots: 36 | 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: 199 | Reviews: 65
Photo of wordemupg
3.79/5  rDev +2.4%
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

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 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 Hornet2003
3.82/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

Photo of Frozensoul327
3/5  rDev -18.9%
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.

Photo of BDTyre
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

Photo of Derek
3.2/5  rDev -13.5%
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!

Photo of indysamra
4.72/5  rDev +27.6%
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)

Photo of canucklehead
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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 Viggo
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

Photo of MAB
4.22/5  rDev +14.1%
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.

Photo of Cwrw
3.37/5  rDev -8.9%
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.

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 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.

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Lions Winter Ale from Granville Island Brewery
84 out of 100 based on 199 ratings.