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Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale - Highland Brewing

Highland Cold Mountain Winter AleHighland Cold Mountain Winter Ale

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

532 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 532
Reviews: 296
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 13.18%


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
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Ratings: 532 | Reviews: 296 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of inlimbo77
inlimbo77

Delaware

3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz, 2012
DFH signature

A: Deep amber color. It's filtered nicely, as you can still see through it pretty well. Thin layer off white head. Faded pretty quickly.

S: Holiday spices. Some hop notes. More on the earthy side than fruity. The holiday spices really dominate.

T: You get a little hop bitterness up front, then that holiday spice and malt pick up in the middle of the mouth.

M: Medium bodied.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2012 14:40:23 | More by inlimbo77
Photo of mechamifune
mechamifune

North Carolina

3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: nice copper color .... healthy white head.... nice lacing

S: smell is vanilla, cinnamon, honey... pleasant

T: taste follows the smell, ultimately a little sweet for my taste...some caramel flavors develop and linger

M: very smooth and easy to drink for the amount of and size of the flavors....nice sense of body

O: this is a nice example of the style, and if I was in the mood for a winter warmer i'd try to get this one...that being said, like GL Xmas Ale, I don't think this beer justifies the hype it has around here

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2012 19:15:50 | More by mechamifune
Photo of chinchill
chinchill

South Carolina

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}.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2012 00:00:03 | More by chinchill
Photo of dvmin98
dvmin98

North Carolina

4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opened a quart bottle w/ ceramic stopper

A: Deep copperish hue/ small, lacy head

S: Vanilla, maple, spices

T: As soon as I put my lips to the glass, all the vanilla hit me like a mac truck. Holy crud. To be honest, it was almost overwhelming at first, but I got used to it and enjoyed it.

M: Not very carbonated; very smooth

O: I liked this beer a lot, but after 1 1/2 pints, I was ready to move on

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2012 22:14:32 | More by dvmin98
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis

North Carolina

4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 Edition

A: Pours a crystal clear light to medium amber in color with very light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall creamy beige head that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of cocoa along with some vanilla and just a touch of spices (nutmeg stands out). Additionally there are some notes of brown sugar.

T: Moderate to strong flavors of vanilla and oak over some lighter notes of cocoa and spices (nutmeg). Some caramel malts flavors along with a little bit of brown sugar sweetness.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Creamy.

O: This is a very enjoyable beer and I could almost think it had been barrel aged - nice combination of the spices, cocoa, and vanilla... Pretty easy to drink and I had no problem putting down a couple of glasses. Very nice of a fairly cold November evening but would have been improved by sitting in front of the fireplace.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2012 01:16:30 | More by dbrauneis
Photo of brother_kenneth
brother_kenneth

Virginia

3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, poured into two snifter glasses.

A- Pours a nice deep amber / red. Not a lot of head, but honestly the best lacing I have ever seen. Seriously, this is a beautiful beer!

S- Could be that it needed to warm up a bit, but I didn't get a whole lot on the nose. This is a fairly mild beer though, so that probably explains it. Nonetheless, some vanilla and spices were noticeable.

T- The main thing here for me is the vanilla. Like other reviewers, the first time I had this one, I expected big spices like you usually find in a winter beer. Not the case here. It is mainly vanilla, with some spices in the background. It is somewhat malty, and there is definitely an nice carbonated mouthfeel.

O- This is an exceptional winter beer and I am surprised how much I like it. It is fairly light-weight, all things considered, but it is just the perfect taste! Really enjoy it and intend to drink many more this season!

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2012 13:57:48 | More by brother_kenneth
Photo of Axnjxn
Axnjxn

North Carolina

3.86/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

rereview 12oz bottle into a FW tulip. 10/30/13 bottling date consumed 3 weeks later.

Pours a dark amber color with a nice inch thick head. Aroma is almost nonexistent...maybe a tad of caramel? not much at all. The taste is quite different though...a bit sweet with a good amount of caramel and toffee flavors that linger on the palate for quite awhile. Biggest thing about this beer is its drinkability...you could drink it all day and in a hurry... almost light bodied with mild carbonation.

Overall this is an old favorite among North Carolinian's and honestly shouldnt get such high marks nowadays. Its still good, just not amazing.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2012 00:39:02 | More by Axnjxn
Photo of buschbeer
buschbeer

Ohio

4.4/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle
Served in a perfect pint

A - It is copper colored with amber highlights. I think it had an inch of tan head. It was gone so quick that I missed it.

S - I was surprised to get a noseful of chocolate and caramel. It smells like a candy bar.

T - The taste matches the smell with intensity and ingredients.

M - Medium

O - This beer tasted nothing like I expected. I expected the typical nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, etc. It is loaded with intense chocolate and caramel. I'm surprised how flavorful this beer is considering it's a winter warmer and this is June. I would drink the shit out of this each winter if I were in the distribution area.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2012 00:12:24 | More by buschbeer
Photo of ThePorterSorter
ThePorterSorter

Missouri

3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a clear rusty amber with almost no head. The nose is a tremendous caramel and a slight woodiness (maple). The taste is just as sweet with almost no spice and almost no carbonation after sitting a few minutes. There is almost no alcohol present either. Overall it's an interesting beer to have mid summer, but it's not too bad.

Serving type: bottle

05-26-2012 22:54:42 | More by ThePorterSorter
Photo of SLeffler27
SLeffler27

New York

4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear, dark copper with carbonation. A one-inch creamy manila head lasts a while leaving a fine coating of lace.

There is lots of caramel malt with sweet tea and brown sugar. Warming brings out cocoa. More warming intensifies cocoa.

This one is very similar to sweet tea on entry, powdered hot chocolate mix immediately follows. The finish is short and modest.

A medium body with soft, prickly carbonation and no alcohol. This one has light astringency and a smooth texture.

This is a good beer for a cool afternoon. Have a couple while relaxing.

This one is far better if allowed to warm!

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2012 21:38:33 | More by SLeffler27
Photo of BeerDawgs
BeerDawgs

Georgia

3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 22oz bottle, picked up after enjoying it on cask at a festival

A - A dark amber/copper color, with some clarity. 1 finger of head, nice sticky lacing on the glass

S - Spices, and malt character. A little light on the aroma front.

T - Caramel and vanilla spices. Low hop character. Very smooth though. Enjoyable.

M - Light bodied and fairly light carbonated.

O - An enjoyable winter warmer on a cold rainy day

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2012 00:41:22 | More by BeerDawgs
Photo of brewcore
brewcore

South Carolina

3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass

A - Dark copper. Yields a two finger creamy off-white head. Excellent lacing.

S - Roasted malts produce caramels and hints of vanilla. Even a slight dark fruit smell simmilar to raisins. Floral hops present.

T - Lightly roasted malt producing a predominately caramel flavor. Odd slightly sour note in the middle that throws off the taste. Hops there but mainly detected in the nose.

M - Medium bodied. Moderate carbonation. Easy drinking.

O - This is a highly drinkable winter warmer. I tend to like beers in this style to have a little more body, but this is a great beer nonetheless. Light caramel flavors and none too rich.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2012 13:57:24 | More by brewcore
Photo of tdm168
tdm168

North Carolina

3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2012 09:39:02 | More by tdm168
Photo of DaPan
DaPan

Ontario (Canada)

3.55/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer pours a clear amber color, no head to speak of, thin lacing and no retention.

Brown sugar, candy, and vanilla on the nose. Good start.

Taste is decent, same as above. Medium mouthfeel, low carbonation. Slides down really smooth.

Was anticipating more with this one with all the hype. All in all a solid brew, good quality.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2012 02:29:55 | More by DaPan
Photo of shand
shand

Florida

4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

This beer pours a beautiful deep red color with a tiny head that laces very well. Aroma is sweet and spicy, with a solid amount of vanilla, sweet malts, and holiday spices. The taste is absolutely delicious, with a large amount of hazelnut/cream soda flavor on the tongue that I really didn't expect among the sweet malts, vanilla and spices that I did expect. It's perfectly balanced with the spices coming in a bit stronger on the finish to stop the overall impression from being too sweet. The mouthfeel is slick and with a perfect level of carbonation, and the drinkability is very good. Overall, this is an absolutely fantastic winter warmer. I'm glad I know a store that still has some of these left, because I'm going back for more.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2012 04:35:43 | More by shand
Photo of thain709
thain709

Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Not sure the age of this one because it came from Deuane's basement.

A - Poured a clear copper...not much else to the color...a big, creamy, two finger head formed and slowly fell to a full cap...it was light brown in color...sheets of lacing were left behind

S - I would have liked more out of the aroma...what was there was some strong caramel and light vanilla...when it was cold there was a soapy aroma coming out

T - The caramel flavoring in this beer was a great touch...it was soft, dark, and tasted like candy...paired with the caramel was a sweet vanilla...the two of them together created just a hint of cream soda...wow, really...the finish provides sweet caramel with just a touch roast

M - Medium bodied...the soft carbonation makes this one smooth and just a touch creamy...sweet

O - This was a nice surprise...I wasn't sure how this one was going to hold up, but I'd have another from the basement...the cream soda aspect was a nice touch...great caramel and vanilla flavors

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2012 20:30:02 | More by thain709
Photo of cps98
cps98

Pennsylvania

3.3/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this as an extra from a trade. Never had anything from Highland so I was excited to try it.

A – Dark brown in color with a nice 2 finger off white head.

S – Mild cinnamon and spice notes, some caramel in there too.

T – Heavy cinnamon and spice up front. Caramel and malty sweetness after that.

M – Light to medium bodied a little bite. Carbonation seemed to be a little on the low side.

O – Nothing overly exciting to report about this beer. Drinkable but not really my cup-o-tea.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2012 18:46:30 | More by cps98
Photo of GallowsThief
GallowsThief

Florida

4.18/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 1 pint 6 oz bottle into my tulip.

A – Poured out a dark ruby brown with an inch of white head that receded quickly.

S – Nice soft vanilla aroma. Cinnamon and some nutmeg. Caramel malt. Bit of spiciness

T – Very nice sweet caramel malt. Light vanilla. Has almost a vanilla bean ice cream taste. Cinnamon and nutmeg like the smell. Rich tasting that has a lot of pumpkin pie flavoring. Berries. Some bitterness at the end.

M – Medium bodied with a lively mouthfeel. Good carbonation. Creamy and smooth.

O – This is a wonderful brew. Great complex flavors and tastes. Easy to drink. Winner.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2012 00:56:48 | More by GallowsThief
Photo of RedneckBeerz
RedneckBeerz

Massachusetts

4.38/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a Shiner Bohemian Black Lager pint and the brew is a nice clear amber/red color with a 1/2" lightish tan head. As this beer is consumed it produces ringed lacing on the pint.

The smell is heavy sweet malts and cinnamon.

The taste is sweetness from the malts and cinnamon with no bitterness or alcohol to speak of.

Medium mouth feel and lowish carbination help to produce some stickyness on the corners of the lips.

This is probably one of the sweeter beers that I have tryed to this point in my world beer tour, but it is my opinion that it is pretty spot on as far as style description goes.

I would highly recommend this beer to anyone wanting to find a great English Winter Warmer, but for me this style is a little to sweet to seek out. Perhaps with dessert this would be great, but as a cold weather sipper I'd look for another style.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2011 18:54:07 | More by RedneckBeerz
Photo of mustang70
mustang70

Tennessee

5/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

poured into a Guinness pint.

A . a nice red color that reminds me of a Scottish ale. a nice 2 finger tan head that dissipates quickly leaving good lacing on the glass.

S. I am getting raspberry and cranberry, some malt sweetness. it smells amazing. not what I expected.

T. the raspberry and cranberry hit me right away. I am also tasting bubble gum. some sweetness with the malts and fruit. a little bitterness hits me in the back of the throat. very warming.

M. it has a medium body with little carbonation. feels good on the palate.

O. I really enjoyed this beer. it was not what I was expecting from an american version. most others are more bitter. this one I would buy multiple times well worth it.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2011 03:27:46 | More by mustang70
Photo of CooperEllis
CooperEllis

New York

3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From brentk56 in the SS'11 BIF box. This was probably my favorite of the offerings from Highland that included the E.S.B. and Christmas Ale.

This review borrows heavily from the style guide for Winter Warmer because this is one of the better I've had of the style and drinks less like an "American" and more like an "English".

"These malty sweet offerings tend to be a favorite winter seasonal. Big malt presence, both in flavor and body." This is absolutely the case here with the deep amber topped with a generous fluffy cap that leaves pleasant lacing.

This has little aroma, which is clearly going to knock the overall score, but the lack of a prominent aroma results in faint sweet malts, brown sugar and cinnamon.

The taste doesn't contain any overt spices more similar to "many English versions" which "contain no spices".

"American varieties...have a larger presences of hops both in bitterness and flavor." That isn't the case here. While there is a smooth, integrated hops presence it is not a larger presence than the malty sweetness.

Mouthfeel is even, medium bodied with a surprisingly crisp finish that owes a good deal to the trace hop bitterness that cuts any cloying sweetness or potential for lingeingr bitter/burnt spice flavors.

(146th)

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2011 23:56:20 | More by CooperEllis
Photo of jsanford
jsanford

Georgia

3.98/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Swing-top bottle/growler poured into a Tulip Glass.

A - Pours a beautiful dark burgundy with a dense, creamy off-white head that settles to a thin cap, leaving soapy lacing clinging to the glass.
S - Sweet malt, vanilla, and a touch of spices. Fairly diminutive nose, not much going on here, even after it's warmed a bit.
T - Cream soda in beer form. Seriously, lots of authentic vanilla cream flavor with a touch of bitter roasted malt, spices, and a slight hop finish. A very unique tasting Winter Warmer, really stands out from the crowd.
M - A bit thinner then most Winter Warmers, maybe a touch watery. Probably a bit under medium-bodied overall, with a silky-smooth mouthfeel and good carbonation.
O - A very drinkable Winter Warmer, unique with it's heavy Cream Soda character. So delicious!

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2011 04:07:48 | More by jsanford
Photo of jmarsh123
jmarsh123

Indiana

3.6/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a somewhat clear red-tinged brown with almost no head.

A cream soda aroma. Lots of vanilla with some caramel sweetness as well.

Tastes follows the nose. Lots of up front sweetness with a good amount of vanilla. Towards the end of the palate the cream soda aspect really comes to the forefront. There's a little bit of a metallic flavor in the aftertaste though.

This beer is a bit thin for a winter warmer and carbonation levels are good.

This is almost a great beer. I love the vanilla aspect and it smells sublime, but there are just a few minor things preventing this from being what it could. Still pretty enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2011 23:37:23 | More by jmarsh123
Photo of Bryson
Bryson

North Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Here we go again! Another year with the ever changing Cold Mountain Winter Ale =)

A: Rusty red tint with a thin cream colored head.

S: Malty vanilla with other various spices. The vanilla definitely stands out on the nose to me.

T: This is where this beer shines! After sipping, there is a rush of Vanilla, Cream, Soda, and Malt. These flavors then give way to a nice, slightly hoppy, and bitter finish. I do recommend serving this beer at room temp or maybe a little cooler to get the full flavor experience!

M: Medium-Low carbonation...perfect! I can't imagine drinking this beer if it were more carbonated than it is.

O: What a treat this beer is every year! It has become a tradition for me to crack a 12oz bottle of this every day after work for the couple of months that it's around..I find myself craving it while I'm at work. What more can you say? This is one of the best Winter beers out there!

I will say that this year has a bit more of a hop profile than I remember in the previous years. Not a terrible thing but I definitely do think I prefer last years vintage.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2011 18:24:21 | More by Bryson
Photo of kell50
kell50

North Carolina

4.66/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Oh Cold Mountain how I love thee. This is the pride of North Carolina Brewing and is something that us North Carolinians thirst for as the temperature drops. This review is from the 2011 version.

A: Reddish-copper color. Relatively clear with a nice looking white head and moderate lacing all the way down. A perky brew that just begs to be drunk.

S: Not a ton of aroma off the nose. Perhaps a few mild spices, i.e. vanilla, nutmeg, malts and a small undertone of hops.

T: Amazing. There's a great vanilla/cream soda thing going on here. Add in some great malts and a dash of hops and this is one fine beer! This particular version (2011) is a bit sweeter and less hoppier than the previous year. The balance of flavor is what makes this winter warmer an absolute winner.

M: Great taste. Very full-bodied with a nicely balanced malt/hop taste. As this beer slighty warms the vanilla and spice flavor becomes even more prominent. I've never had a beer quite like it.

O: This is an Outstanding beer. Highly drinkable and it's a must to split with friends. Do yourself a favor and seek it out.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2011 00:49:14 | More by kell50
Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale from Highland Brewing
90 out of 100 based on 532 ratings.