1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale - Highland Brewing

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

562 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 562
Reviews: 297
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 13.18%
Wants: 69
Gots: 50 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Highland Brewing visit their website
North Carolina, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: RBorsato on 11-25-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 562 | Reviews: 297 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ADTaber
4/5  rDev -0.5%

ADTaber, Dec 22, 2012
Photo of eerbayman
4/5  rDev -0.5%

eerbayman, Jan 04, 2012
Photo of NCBeernut
4/5  rDev -0.5%

NCBeernut, Jun 06, 2012
Photo of Extol
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Extol, Jan 05, 2014
Photo of craytonic
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark crimson-bronze, not opaque. Beautiful creamy head with a nice tint, nice lacing.

Smell: Cocoa (not chocolate) powder, nutmeg, light brown sugar, karo syrup, nuts, and spices. Nice maltiness.

Taste: Once again, cocoa, toffee & caramel, vanilla and spices, the taste, not the alcohol, is warming and lingers in the back of the throat.

Mouthfeel: It really coats the mouth and all the way down. Definitely a little lighter on the winter warmer scale. Alcohol content is lower, which is nice for our mild central North Carolina winters.

Drinkability: Excellent bomber. Not really what I expect in a winter warmer, but still delicious. Very much like a cocoa chai latte. I would grade it higher if the cocoa didn't leave a weird lingering aftertaste.

craytonic, Jan 29, 2009
Photo of ThirstyHrothgar
4/5  rDev -0.5%

ThirstyHrothgar, Dec 01, 2013
Photo of Jeffreywhite22
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Jeffreywhite22, Dec 23, 2011
Photo of andersen8185
4/5  rDev -0.5%

andersen8185, Jan 20, 2012
Photo of CrellMoset
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale, out of a 22 oz. bomber, courtesy of dkachur - thanks!

Appearance: Pours a slightly dull brown amber body, slightly orange perhaps, capped by a two-finger, tan head. The retention is average, though it does leave huge, sticky clumps of bubbly lacing, almost Swiss cheese like. Lots of fine bubbled and fast effervescence, too.

Aroma: Incredibly sweet and caramelly, doughy - I'm going to go so far as to call it cookie-like. Or perhaps graham cracker-like. Yess, excellent. Hints of cinnamon and ginger round out the nose. Very pleasant and inviting, definitely reminiscent of winter.

Taste: More of the same, and that's a good thing. Lots of earthy, roasted malts, like graham crackers and gingersnaps covered in dirt, but, way more appetizing than that sounds, promise. Flourishes of maple syrup, brown sugar, and molasses round out the malt notes, and hints of ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon, similar to the nose, make an appearance too.

Mouthfeel: Thick, but with more than enough carbonation to even it out, making for a light though slightly uneven beer. Does even out a little as it warms.

Drinkability: Nothing wrong here. The abv% is low (I think the bottle said 5.6%?), flavors and aromas strong and pleasant, warming without the heat, and the mouthfeel light but not too light. Just a nice, easy-going brew.

CrellMoset, Mar 16, 2009
Photo of fastrodney
4/5  rDev -0.5%

fastrodney, Jan 13, 2013
Photo of bacasnax
4/5  rDev -0.5%

bacasnax, Apr 01, 2013
Photo of RyanPoff
4.01/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a 12 oz bottle into a 16 oz stein. Bottle date 11/14, consumed 12/20. Purchased at Libation Station in Johnson City, TN. This is the only retailer in the Tri-Cities I know that carries it.

A: Two fingers of light brown, creamy. foamy head retreating to one, with lacing remaining on the glass after consumption. Very visually appealing.

S: Aromas of bread, vanilla, strong malts. As the brew warms, a bit of chocolate. Smells like Christmas treats.

T: The vanilla, malts, and other spices lead up front, with a slight alcohol bite and bitterness after the swallow. Not really a fan of the bitterness on the back end, but still a very good brew.

M: Medium body, very creamy, medium carbonation, Very smooth, but not "oily," It fits the style, but not what I'll remember about the brew.

Probably Highland's best overall product - too bad it's not readily available and more expensive than the other products.

Have also had in a growler, but was a very sub-par draft. Would not recommend on draft.

RyanPoff, Dec 21, 2013
Photo of badbeer
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
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!

badbeer, Dec 28, 2008
Photo of chinchill
4.03/5  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}.

chinchill, Dec 01, 2012
Photo of rudylaw
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
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!

rudylaw, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of thagr81us
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage. Served from a 1-liter swing-top bottle into a Stone nonic. Poured a deep copper with a one finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained nice lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, cloves, coriander, and caramel. The flavor was of sweet malt, cloves, chocolate, and caramel. It had a light feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this one had some pretty nice spice mixtures going on here. It was very well balanced up-front and then came through with the typical warmer spices on the tailend. This one is a must try if you are a fan of winter warmers.

thagr81us, Nov 29, 2010
Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, yet clear, brown with ruby hues and an unwavering foamstand. Promises to be creamy and rich right out of the bottle. The first whiff reveals a solid barley malt base with notes of toffee, pecans, chocolate, and a spicy hop balance. Tastes full and rich with the nutty, chocolate, and toffee flavors with a light roasty and toasty hint in the finish. The finish also releases a light hop spiciness and dryness. The beer remeains creamy and full textured until the finish where it thins nicely for a clean and easy finish, but never became watery. The beer remids me of a lighter Sam Adams Chocolate Bock with added flavors and complexity. This beer improved greaty as it warmed to room temperature.

Thanks Merlin48

BEERchitect, Jan 21, 2006
Photo of dirtbag43
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very enjoyable seasonal brew. Warm and festive with several different characteristics noticeable with each sip making you want one drink after another. Thick and malty with a smooth, vanilla-like candy finish. I had mine at Barley's Taproom in Knoxville, just over the mountains from where they brew the beer in Asheville. Freshness was great and I made several more trips back to taste this beer.

dirtbag43, Jan 06, 2009
Photo of farrago
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good density to the one finger head, mixture of all bubble sizes, dissolves down into a steady half finger, dark cream brown in hue, above average stickiness to the lacing. Mostly copper orange colored liquid, reddish brick tint, very clear and holds the light inside well. Light cinnamon, ginger to anise spice swiftly pretties up the nose, the caramel notes show restraint, good fullness in the peach, apricot fruit scents, overall just unfolds at a slow, relaxed pace, nothing flashy. Full-bodied, the carbonation is rich and broad adding to its creamy mouthfeel. Milk chocolate powder, hard toffee, brown sugar and sweet baking spices dominate flavorwise, however, it's really just not that sweet. Wheat germ, granola notes as well as a faint stoniness. The apricot, cherry fruit lower here but more floral. It's almost a "cerebral" sort of beer, a contemplator, which one assumes is the intent.

farrago, Nov 13, 2009
Photo of Chaney
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Ranked #7 in the Winter Warmer category. What the hell is Winter Warmer anyway? I'm thinking it's an alcohol infused cola.

Served in an Olde Hickory glass.

A: Poured a crap-brown color, infinitely cloudy, and without much of a head at all.

S: "Kinda cool" - Bill Cosby. Coca-Cola with added malt. Digging it.

T: Infinitely drinkable, not ale-like in any way, and malty.

M: Carbonationally excellent, no lacing left on the glass. Hell, it still reminded me of Cola.

O: The fact that this one is at the top of its style class in the Winter Warmer category doesn't surprise me.

Chaney, Aug 28, 2013
Photo of bboven
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear, dark brown with very little head and nearly no lacing.

Heavy aroma of fig and raisin and a little sharp alcohol.

This is one of those beers that tastes much different than it smells. There's a roast, crisp chocolate taste to this beer that's unlike anything I've ever tasted. There's a bit of dark fruit and bitter, but it hits you at the end and plays only a small role.

Pretty high carbonation which lends to the crisp flavor. A refreshing winter warmer?

At first I though this would be a pretty low to average beer judging by the look and smell of it. The flavor is out of this world, though. I recommend it.

bboven, Dec 01, 2007
Photo of nickss
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful deep amber hue with a monstrous cap of rocky cream colored foam.

Smells faintly of hops and malt... however I can't pick up on much else.

Unlike the smell, the taste is an explosion of different flavours... The first I picked up on was gingerbread, followed by subdued brown sugar... cinnamon follows closely behind. None of these are overwhelming, but rather are beautifully balanced against each other.

Medium bodied, and fairly active on the tongue.

Extremely drinkable... I wish this brew was a bit cheaper so I could grab a few more, although at $11 for a Litre, I suppose its not a bad deal.

nickss, Dec 13, 2005
Photo of jpro
4.04/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 22oz bomber at Peabody's. Poured into a Highland shaker pint glass...

A: Pours a tea-like amber; maybe some reddish hues in there; one-finger, light tan head manages a thin layer of creamy retention, but doesn't leave much lace.

S: First thing that hits is vanilla; has a bit of a cream soda character to it; a little nutty; cinnamon. Interesting... very different than most winter beers!

T: Wow - that cream soda esque flavor is pretty big; a touch of hazelnut - a bit of rind toward the finish; minimal bitterness afforded by some leafy hop flavor.

M: Medium mouthfeel; moderate carbonation.

O: Very different than most winter ales or winter warmers; sweet spices and not much alcohol (relatively speaking) make it really stand out. Would pair nicely with some pumpkin or pecan pie. Next year...

jpro, Jan 25, 2013
Photo of jbphoto88
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

jbphoto88, Jul 02, 2011
Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bomber to to a snifter. The liquid is a dark rust with good carbonation. The head is nice a thick and fat 2 fingers of dark tan fluff that leaves some nice lace.

The smell is dark thick tosted caramel with hints of spices.

The taste follows. pretty nice. The spices are lightly done and only and accent. The dark caramel is great yet slightly sweeter that I like. Quite a nice brew and worth a try to be sure. I would be glad to have a couple of these each year.

The mouthfeel is about medium, with good carbonation.

The drink ability is very good. I real nice top notch example of this diverse style. Prosit MK

MuenchenerKindl, Feb 11, 2008
Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale from Highland Brewing
90 out of 100 based on 562 ratings.