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Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Cold Mountain Winter AleHighland Cold Mountain Winter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

688 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 688
Reviews: 310
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 13.15%
Wants: 86
Gots: 107 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Highland Brewing visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: RBorsato on 11-25-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 688 | Reviews: 310
Reviews by beerinator:
Photo of beerinator
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nice reddish brown color. Off white tan head with awesome head retention. Nice solid bubbles.

Aroma: Roasted nut and cherry present in the aroma. Ammaretto/almond noted in the nose. Solid sweetness, very little in the way of hop noted.

Taste: Initial taste is solid sweetness. Sweet cherry melds with a bit of nuttiness. Ammaretto present in the taste as well as aroma. Solid mouthfeel. Very little sourness or bitterness present here.

Notes: This beer is begging for North Carolina's abv laws to change. I think it's a good beer now, but the depth in both the aroma and taste is impressive for a beer under 6%. One of Highlands strongest offerings.

More User Reviews:
Photo of NCMonte
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

My favorite Asheville Brew, um... at the moment. Malt forward, nice spice, great drinkability... My go to until my stash is depleted... Sigh.

Photo of AthensBrewer
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Spice cake with cream cheese frosting.

Photo of oberon
4.12/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this one at Old Town Draught House here in Greensboro.Nice darker auburn color with nice creamy head.Real nice smell of nutmeg and other spices with fruity tones,smelled very appetizing.Something to warm up to for sure good and hearty,medium bodied not to heavy so pretty easy to drink.Good winter style ale from a good craft brewer down here.

Photo of RoyalT
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – This was brownish-orange in color with a full, beautiful head.

Smell – The deep malts and caramel came out huge at the nose along with some monster sugars. I could also pick up a tinge of alcohol as well. Everything came together nicely at the nose.

Taste – The big, chewy caramel malts dominated this Herbed/Spiced beer. It seemed more like a Brown Ale, but it was tasty nonetheless.

Mouthfeel – This was medium-bodied and well-rounded in the mouth. The balance was this ale’s strong point, IMHO.

Drinkability – This was very complex yet amazingly smooth. It was a pleasure to drink.

Photo of blitz134
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark copper color on the pour, crystal clear body. Single finger off white head which finished in a thin layer.

Spices really come through in the aroma. A nice spiced blend of nutmeg and ginger and a touch of cinnamon. Hops are prevalent with a little pine.

Taste is much more powerful that any other winter warmer I've had, although I still don't find it loaded with flavor. This type of beer is just a bit subtle, but delicious. Overall it has a bit of a caramel sweet body which comes through to start with, then the spices come on with a very nice crispness. Spices are much like the aroma, nutmeg and ginger. Then a bit of hop bitterness comes in and the spices come back in the finish.

Mouthfeel could be a touch thicker, but does a good job coating the mouth well to let the spices come though. Drinkablity is great. This is a very refreshing brew with a nice crispness.

Photo of Walker8810
3.55/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

pours a nice brownish hue with decent head. nice lacing.
aroma of cranberries of all things but it is a spiced winter brew.
mouthfeel is velvety smooth. goes down very easily.
tastes malty sweet w/ vanilla overtones and little hop flavor.
i normally don't like spiced beers but this one isn't overpoweringly spiced. still tastes like a good ale. i probably wouldn't drink it on a regular basis as it is not my favorite style but it is a really good example of a winter ale. definitely goes good w/ the season.
cheers.

Photo of babyhobbes
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks unclejedi for this beer and Beer Powerball!! Woo!

Pours a red color with a creamy off-white head. The creaminess of the head makes for a wonderful mouth-feel, too. Smells all malty and sugary. Tastes the sweet, with a weird chocolatey taste (seriously) aftertaste. It's good. Terribly drinkable as well.

Photo of merlin48
4.41/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 edition, just extracted from a fresh case. One liter swingtop bottle crowned with clear plastic shrinkwrap. Served slightly chilled into a St Bernardus goblet.
Pours a clear, dark mahogany body that exhibits a radiant ruby clarity when held to light. Small khaki head quickly falls into a lasting collar and cap. Sporadic sheet lacing is satiny in appearance. The radiant ruby body boasts an exceptional and regal appearance.

Aroma is more subdued than the 2004 version, but is quite intriguing. Toffee, red McIntosh apples, vanilla, and a mysterious floral note comprise the bouquet. My ladyfriend has an excellent sense of smell, and says the floral note is roses. It seems like heather to me. Very lightly spiced compared to last year's version, and there are some vague spicy notes that I can't yet identify.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied. Carbonation is moderated, but still manages to produce a nice tingly sensation.

Taste is exceptional, yet enigmatic and challenging in its superb complexity. Caramel, buttery toffee, fruity red apple, and a floral note that adds a mystery hop bitterness that provides an ideal balance. Spiciness is nicely restrained, with hints of vanilla and allspice. No hint of alcohol, but I suspect that they've cranked this one up a notch, to 6.5 to 7% abv. Lots of flavors and ingredients at work here, mingling together in an exquisite balance. Spices are a minor player compared to the 2004 version. Very tasty, very unique, and stunning in its wonderful drinkability.

The 2005 Cold Mountain is complex and enigmatic. lots of things going on here that are beyond my limited comprehension, but this is an exceptional experience. Very unique, very tasty, and an absolute pleasue to drink. I spent an hour with this liter, and enjoyed every sip. Very smooth and goes down way too easy. So tasty, I was tempted to crack open another liter. Would love to have a keg of this for a Christmas party somewhere.

Photo of badbeer
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark red color with an off-white head that retains well and gives good lacing. Wonderful smells of cinnamon, clove, allspice, nutmeg, and caramel. I'm digging the taste. It's got a little bit of hoppyness for balance, but this mostly tastes like cinnamon-sugar bread with a little bit of allspice and a caramel finish. Carbonation is on the higher side and body is bordering light. I'm very happy with this beer and will need to get more of it next winter. Great job, Highland!

Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

1 Liter wax-sealed bottle courtesy of the great NC BA Loki.

Appearance: Popping the top resulted in a satisfying "Pfft" of gas out of the bottle and this lovely poured a beautiful DEEP and clear ruby red with a massive, billowing tan-colored head that just refuses to yield, die down, or otherwise behave itself. Big splotches of lace line my oversized glass.

Smell: Dominating the aromas are the great combination of wintry spice and caramel sweetness. There's a "toasted cinnamon" kick to this that was awesome. Some other dark fruit aromas as well. "Busy"? Hell yeah.

Taste: Nothing disappoints here. Very well-balanced with an initial sweetness tossed with spice that quickly becomes tempered by a hoppy bitterness. At the end, a toasty malt shows up to please the palate. Only a very slight alcohol flavor noted right at the very end. Superbly balanced.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: Definitely a big, creamy, coat-your-palate beer we have here! Thick, chewy in character. Drinkability is definitely a 5.0. So very well-balanced, flavorful, and easy to drink. I'm very, VERY glad to have finally been able to try this gem from North Carolina. If, in a few years, the ABV limit is raised, this would be a candidate for pumping up the ABV and see what happens. Seek this one out, gang. You'll be glad you did.

Photo of yankeeheel
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a medium ruddy brown with a nicley proportioned, inch high, cream coloreed head. Smells weakly citrus and raisin like.Starts off slightly caustic when cold but changes over to a more well rounded fruity malt profile. Brown sugar, cinnamon, raisin, and cough syrup come to mind. Finishes sweetly with an underlying astringency that gives it some backbone. Moderate mouthfeel. A very nice winter brew. Hope I can get an 05 version to sample.

Thanks to GCBrewingCo for the sample.

Photo of chinchill
4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2012 12 oz bottle served in a snifter. Pours a beautiful, clear mahogany color, with a short-lived beige head. Very sweet aroma is followed by a rather sweet upfront taste but eventually turns mildly bitter. The beer is a mildly spicy and a bit fruity, including raspberry and a surprising apricot note in the nose that's present but subdued in tasting. Cinnamon and plenty of vanilla in both; perhaps too much vanilla in the flavor.

Overall an enjoyable, complex and distinctive seasonal brew.

{9 months later (Sept. 2013) a bottle kept in a cooler is every bit as tasty}.

Photo of rudylaw
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My main man TimmyP sent me this gift out of the blue! You are the man!!

Dark brown/copper pour with a nice off white head.

Getting cinnamon, brown sugar, caramel and toffee in the nose.

Tastes very sweet! Milk chocolate, brown sugar, nougat and holiday spices dominate. Taste like a Milky Way candy bar.

Nice mouthfeel and medium-bodied. A very nice take on a winter warmer and I'm feelin' fine!

Photo of Tilly
3.64/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice transparent brown with a huge thick frothy head. Aromas of carmalized sugar, vanilla and light fruits. Tastes complexed. Carmalized sugar, vanilla and light fruit taste! Go figure! Light mouth feel, light with not much bitterness. Nice winter ale.

Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased from Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours a clear "old-penny" copper color with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of light caramel malts with hints of toffee and good amounts of vanilla. As the beer warms the vanilla aromas intensify.

Tastes good. Mild caramel malt flavors up front are quickly joined by hints of toffee and large amounts of vanilla flavors. Midway through the sip a touch of leafy hop flavors enter into things before fading into the background to make way for a mildly sweet finish.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a smooth thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall this is lighter on spices than many winter warmers however I have to say that I enjoy it more than many winter warmers. Well worth a shot.

Photo of jbphoto88
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A pretty brew the color of stained cherry. A clear garnet red with a lovely tan cap that fades slowly. In the glass this winter ale looks pretty enough to hang on the tree.

The nose is plain but satisfying. Mostly malts with hints of spice and lightly hopped. Pleasant and not overpowering this is a beer that can't wait to get into.

Taste is fantastic for a winter ale. Big emphasis on the malts but with a balanced hop and subtle spice to "class" things up a little. The finish even goes towards a cream soda vibe. Interesting and satisfying.

A light carbonation goes a long way with this brew. It really let's the sweet malt flavors shine and doesn't distract with too much bite. A smooth medium bodied brew that is delicious and fun to drink even in the middle of summer like I'm doing. A great brew and worth discovering for yourself.

Photo of lnashsig
3.66/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to JackTheBear for the chance to try this. Poured into my Dfh snifter, pours an amber brown, with little head and little lacing. Smell- nothing much here. Some applejuice flavors. Taste- this one is very unique- not like any winter warmer I have ever had. I get some butter flavors, with something reminiscent of a fig or date flavor, with some apple and spices on the end. This is extremely drinkable, yet I have no idea what the abv is ( it isn't on the bottle). The alcohol seems to be well hidden regardless. I could easily mistake this for a session beer if I didn't know any better, it is something I could really pound.

Photo of nickthegun12
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

the appearance is a light brown, reddish color....with little to no head....

smells bready....like beer...lol....i get the slightest bit of spice in the nose...

taste great...the best part of this beer...some of the bittering hops taste great in this beer....some sort of spice shines through well....

feels great on the mouth...not too dry but on the dry side....

very nice drinkability....not sure of the abv...but doesn't seem too high

Photo of IntriqKen
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The clear mahogany liquid in the glass is topped with a half finger of off white to tan, tightly formed bubbles that lace the glass nicely as you slowly drain the glass.

Aromas are sweet malts and spices...lots of spices...plus sweet caramels and a hint of milk chocolate.

Flavor is probably the most complex of any winter warmer I've ever tried due to the mixture of spices in this brew. I honestly can't identify them except to say I sense cinnamon, clove, orange, maybe even pumpkin, as well as caramel and bitter milk chocolate. Hops at the end really change the impression of a sweet winter warmer into something else.

Nice alcohol warmth as you finish your swallows.
Very interesting and very nice.

Photo of tastybeer
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, warm, redish brown color under a creamy khaki colored head. Head is nicely sized and leaves an 1/8" layer once it fades. Lace is spotty and shifty. Smell is loaded with sweet aromas fitting of the holiday season. Sugary plum, maple, ginger, sugar cookies, and vanilla frosting mixed into grain and caramel malts. There's even some brighter aromas like cranberry and orange coming through. Generally well blended and pleasantly sweet. Taste has good depth and thick maltiness. Spiced and sweet flavors softly bittered with hops. Nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon... A nice festive wintery beer that is not excessively spiced like some winter warmers tend to be. Mouthfeel is smooth and coating. Very drinkable.

This would be great for or with dessert.

Photo of Sammy
3.77/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another very pleasant brew from Highland. Pours mocha-looking body with some off-white head. This was aged somewhat. Malty, with some roasted malt, and sweetish spices. The hops are understated, but present in the finish.Tad above average mouthfeel. Drinkable. Not a high rating of outstanding, but enjoyable nevertheless.

Photo of dancinwillie
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to turtlemoye for this one. I got it from a LIF he did, in which I didn't even win! I've been waiting to drink drink it, and I decided I'd better get around to doing just that. So here it goes.

Looks pretty thick coming out of that bottle. Head is fluffy, and cratered. Slow carbonation swells and releases sluggishly. As it drops and the bubbles become less dense, they spread out and look like under carbonated home brew heads. Color is dark red, and almost the shade of plum.

Aroma is nutty sweetness, almost peanut brittle. Unknown earthy spicing.

Sweet with a little bitterness, though not hoppy. Earthy and wholesome, like some really good multi-grain bread. Spicy, with a little oxidation that reminds me of an old, Old Ale. In the background: maple syrup and a little pumpkin pie flavor. As it warms, it gathers more of an Ale fruitiness, and again, I reminisce of pie fillings. This time more of a tart cherry, and maybe a little blackberry too. Toasted wheat berries.

Medium bodied, leaning more towards the fuller end of the spectrum. Sweet finish.

Overall, I'm really pretty impressed with this beer. I tend to rush a bit in my reviewing, and tried to slow it down here. I'm glad I did. Thanks again turtlemoye, I was thrilled to receive this and enjoyed drinking it. Now I just have to get going, and come up with an LIF of my own. Cheers!

Photo of tdm168
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber with a soft layer of white head that has little retention. The nose offers some mild spice and some intense vanilla extract notes. The flavor is much the same; the vanilla dominates with some subtle spices and a little fruitiness throughout. The fruitiness is cherry-like, both tart and sweet. The finish is a little medicinal to me. I think it's the combination of vanilla and fruit. The mouthfeel is medium bodied and lightly carbonated, but it's viscous and syrupy at times.

I'm glad that this isn't just another winter warmer with ginger and cinnamon. I like the fruitiness here, but I find the medicinal off notes in the finish a little unpleasant. I probably wouldn't have this again, but I do like what they were going for with this one.

Photo of ElGordo
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Winter 04/05 Vintage, 22oz bottle

Pours a deep, brilliant ruby red with some brown highlights. Small, off-white head lingers around the rim. Rich, sweet malty aroma with accents of raisins and brown sugar. The first sip made me smile. A lot. Sweet, subtle malt character up front mellows into deeper, roasted malt towards the back of the mouth. Lingering notes of raisin, brown sugar, and a faint bit of toffee. Body is substantial but not too thick or syrupy, yielding to a pleasant, smooth foam. Very drinkable for a winter warmer, also. Damn, this may be the best beer I've had that was brewed in NC. As an aside, this was an almost perfect complement to the slice of apple-pecan-walnut pie I had for dessert.

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Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale from Highland Brewing
90 out of 100 based on 688 ratings.