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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

671 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 671
Reviews: 307
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 13.15%
Wants: 84
Gots: 103 | FT: 6
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: 671 | Reviews: 307 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Can_has_beer
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of marine1975
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of SilentSabre
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was a little darker, and much sweeter than I expected. Poured a crystal clear dark orange bronze colour. Big soapy frothy khaki coloured head hung around for a while. It looked pretty nice. Smell was fairly hoppy, and a little sweet. Sweet grain, actually. Taste was completely different than I had expected based on smell. Bitter citrus hops up front, quickly quelled by sweet, toasted malty flavours. Delicious, actually. I was quite surprised. I liked this more than I thought I would. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, and very smooth and easy drinking. I must say, I'm quite surprised.

Photo of Cloaked_Phantom
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of carrollmel7
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance: Brown mocha. Robust tan head.
smell: Malt, subdued hops. Pleasant.
taste: Very mellow and subdued Winter Warmer.
drinkability. This growler did disappear quickly. Not sure of the ABV....maybe 6%, 7%? Not a beer I'll be hunting in the future to be honest. Avery's Old Jubilation much preferred, but a nice brew on a fairly cold Ga. winter night.

Photo of ninaturner
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of swgwilt
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of kkipple
2.48/5  rDev -38.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I was excited to see this locally in Columbia, as I'd wanted to try it for some time and had not been able to get my mitts on it. On draft, too! I eagerly ordered a pint...

...and was bitterly disappointed! I post this review bewildered as to what I actually drank, because apparently most everyone else loves this beer.

It arrived a rich, clear mahogany, no visible bubbles and a small white head which booked it within minutes.

I smelled this beer and immediately thought "Vanilla and cereal" ?? Several sniffs later I'd picked up marshmallows, cocoa, and again a weird cinnamon grain flavor. I said as much to my tablemates and one replied "Yeah, it smells like Life cereal!" Which is absolutely correct. I can't say I enjoyed the smell, but it's certainly different.

The taste was overwhelmingly cinnamon Life cereal! Loads of vanilla and sweet malt, no hop presence whatsoever. Very timid mouthfeel, and altogether too much vanilla and sweetness to be drinkable. I had trouble finishing my glass. No roasted grain flavors or subtlety.

The mouthfeel was moderately carbonated and bizarrely thin for a winter warmer, I like mine much fuller.

My bar summary notes end: "Vanilla and spice overpower -- too sweet to drink much of. Odd." And that about sums it up. Being the number one rated winter warmer on the site, I'm baffled as to why this was so bad. Perhaps a bad batch or one that was damaged during transit? I didn't note any unwelcome flavors or smells, but the sum of the mix was practically undrinkable. I'll try Cold Mountain again, hopefully from a bottle, and re-review it.
For now, it's a sad letdown from a brewery I really respect.

EDIT: I've had this several times from bottle since, and really, I still dislike it. Ah well.

Photo of zac16125
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle into a Stella goblet
2014 vintage

A: Dark mahogany, 2.5 fingers width of tan head has good retention before dissipating down and leaves lots of lacing. 4.25

S: Chocolate, vanilla, caramel/toffee, hazelnut, cinnamon. The hazelnut/chocolate combo reminds me of nutella (I love nutella, btw). Nice aromas, but as a whole they are quite mild. 4

T: Really good. Lots of hazelnut and chocolate, again the taste reminds me of nutella, I also get some roasted malt, vanilla. Tasty 4.25

M/D: Smooth, medium body, carbonation on the lower end which is appropriate, has a feel of a “bigger” beer, in a good way. Drinkability is above average. 4.25

O: I very much enjoyed this, more so than I thought I would. I’ll probably add this to my “once a year each winter” lineup. 4.25

Photo of Reaper16
3.15/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

served on-tap @ Downtown Pub, Tuscaloosa, AL, into a pint glass

Pours an amber, nearly copper color. Decent clarity to the body. Nice, frothy buttermilk colored head of nearly 1.5 fingers.

The aroma is very sweet, like you stuck your head in a bag full of pastries. Lots of vanilla and cinnamon, but also a lot of buttered bread.

That carries through to the palate as well. Its like eating a pastry. Or, rather, drinking one. Its too buttery for my tastes, but there's nothing bad here.

Overall, this is a strange beer. It's heavy in terms of sweetness, but the excellent-carbonated body is light. The flavor says "sip me" but the mouthfeel says "gulp me." This is a nice beer, but you have to be in the mood for a cinnamon and butter and vanilla bomb.

Photo of VncentLIFE
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I used a pilsner flute for this one. Pours a deep caramel with an eggshell head. decent carbonation.

Smells sweet, very sweet and full of buiscut malt. a touch of bittering hops. touches of cinnamon and vanilla.

Tastes like a cookie. Buiscut malt is really the main flavor here. And it dominates. Light body. As for spices, I get cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and somehow ginger. there is a bit of a dry bitterness that I associate with cranberries. All that sweetness is kept in check by the cranberries and a touch of bittering hops.

The buiscut malt leaves a powdery feeling while all the spices tingle the tongue. Well put together, and worth the search.

Photo of emottram
3.54/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of CHADMC3
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a walnut brown body with a semi-foamy, semi-creamy, deep tan head packed with dense bubbles of carbonation giving way to a pleasant sticky lacing to match.

This is a very unique balance of hop bitterness and sweet caramel malt in the aroma. Almost a candy like quality to the aroma as well as dark fruits, perhaps raisins, and even a little cream or vanilla. As the beer warms the spice becomes more apparent to the nose.

The palate is equally interesting, but very different than what the aroma suggested. Much more sweet malt, caramel, molasses, vanilla, possibly cocoa and sweet nuts, and a hint of spices, all which hide the faint hop bitterness.

Medium to full in body, creamy, just a bit of spice, and medium carbonation. This is a hearty winter brew.

Thanks to my sister for getting this to me as a present from NC, this was a great beer. I'm enjoying it a little late in the season, but I will be requesting this again in the future. One of the better examples of the style I have had in a while.

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 Jredner
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma is complex and hard to crack. There is some marzipan (with light almonds), cocoa, white cake, lots of subtle fruit notes and a very bready maltiness. Color is amber with a rich, creamy tan head. Fore is full of sweet candied fruits (raspberry, cherry dominate) and that is followed by more sweet malts. Chocolate and cherry linger in the aftertaste. It’s simply tasty and approachable. Would be a great holiday beer to give to frieds.

Photo of OldhouseRecs
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%

Photo of inspektor
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of HopDerek
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear ruby copper color with 1/2 inch of thick cream/tan colored head with good retention and lacing. Smells of brown sugar, caramel, cinnamon, dough, and a slight hop presence, much like a liquid churro. Big toffee taste mixes with cinnamon, clove, caramel, sugar, and spicy hops for an incredible flavor. Medium in body with good carbonation, smooth and spicy with lots of toffee and holiday spices. Quite a nice winter warmer, very easy to drink and flavorful, but not too sickening, a perfect blend of flavors.

Photo of benloho
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of Furley80
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%

Photo of shivtim
4.53/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Highland is an under-appreciated brewery. This is easily one of my favorite Christmas/seasonal ales. Poured out of the big flip-top bottle into a pint glass. It's translucent dark amber/copper, with a slight head. Nose is delicious biscuity malts and caramel with gingerbread and vanilla icing. Very good combination of aromas! Taste is nutty, with cinnamon, like those windmill cookies. Malts linger for a while. Mouthfeel is quite good, and drinkability is high, especially when compared to many winter warmers that have cloying alcohol or overwhelming cloves and nutmeg. Another great brew from Highland!

Photo of hwwty4
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jtrockchalk's aversion to winter warmers for this one, and to his Secret Santa.

Poured a double deuce into my Tripel Karmeliet tulip. This beer pours a light tan-ish brown with a 2 inch head that leaves a pretty decent lacing down the sides of my tulip. The aroma is really not like many winter warmers that I have had the opportunity to try. It's more on the camel, toffee, vanilla side then on any of the spicy, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove spices. The flavor follows suit with big vanilla and toffee notes, with just a hint of watered down coffee. The mouthfeel is just about perfect for where I think a winter warmer should be. Nice and full, and leaves a nice oily texture on the palate. This is a good beer but not one that I would really consider a winter warmer.

Photo of fehrminator
4/5  rDev -0.7%

Photo of davey101
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber into a DFH signature glass. Thanks to sommersb.

A - Pours a clear dark red body. Very attractive off white head with large bubbles. Nice lacing and retention.

S - Light toffee and bready malts, nutty with a touch of fruit and spice. A bit muddled but quite nice for a winter warmer.

T - Clean caramel and bready malts with some faint spices and berries. Nice combination of flavors.

M - Medium bodied with nice carbonation. Highly drinkable.

O - Not generally a style I go after, but this was a very well made beer. I noticed it has hazelnut, raspberry, and cranberry extracts as well as cinnamon and vanilla listed on the ingredient list. Its a bit hard to discern each ingredient but they do work together to produce a nice taste of winter.

Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale from Highland Brewing
90 out of 100 based on 671 ratings.