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Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
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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
89
very good

308 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 308
Hads: 700
rAvg: 4
pDev: 12.25%
Wants: 85
Gots: 112 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 308 | Hads: 700
Photo of aerozeppl
4.23/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to scifan for the bottle.

A: Nice looking browning copper color. Quite a bit of clarity for this beer. A quarter finger of white head with minimal lacing. Really nice looking when held up to the light.

S: Really great malt nose. Smells like an oatmeal cookie. Dmeadows shared a fliptop at a Captain Lawrence release and that bottle had much more cookie in the taste and nose but it is still there. Quite a bit of sweetness as well.

T: Oatmeal cookie. Just a great taste. No spice which is great because often this style is too spiced. Tons of malt finishes very clean.

M: Little syrupy. Full bodied.

D: Really great beer and one of the better examples of the style I have ever had. Thanks again to scifan for the bottle. (732 characters)

Photo of blitz134
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
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. (887 characters)

Photo of babyhobbes
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
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. (311 characters)

Photo of Backer2004
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Too bad it was 92 degrees outside in the sun at a BBQ when I had this. Absolutely delectable, my favorite Highland brew so far. Not just a nice smell of chocolate and vanilla, but the same taste as well. Even on the colder side, the flavors really come out. Would love to get a whole bunch of this six months from now. (318 characters)

Photo of scifan
4.22/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'ved been dying to try this beer ever since i read about, so excited that I found it today. Poured a deep amber into my favorite chalise. Had a nice head but dissapated quickly, left some nice lacing.
Lots of spices, mostly vanilla, also clove, cinnamon, and candi sugar. The vanilla comes through the most but it all blends togethere very nicely. This is a great beer for a cold winter night. Definitly all I expected can't wait have some more at lovely Christmas dinner with family and friends. (498 characters)

Photo of DCon
4.21/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on-tap @ Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria in Asheville, NC for $4.50. Tapped from an unknown tap handle (since sitting @ a table) into a 16oz Barley's Taproom & Pizzeria Pint Glass.

Aroma- Has a ton of caramel aroma and nice malt behind it. Not too strong but sometimes it doesn't hit until the taste in this style.

Appearance- Received with a 2 finger, frothy head that lasts for an unreal time.

Flavor- This brew starts with light spices and a dominant caramel flavor! VERY smooth and has a sweet finish. Can't get much better than this.

Mouthfeel- Medium Bodied, Light Carbonation, Lacy on the palate, and great smoothness!

Overall Impression- Fantastic! Not as strong as most Winter Warmers, but ALL of the attributes of this one made up for it. If given two words to describe this one, it would be Creamy Caramel. Get your hands on this one! (859 characters)

Photo of PretzelCity
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Bhalter8 for sending this along. Poured a nice amber color into my glass with a thin white head. The nose smells like candy, more specifically candy canes. It's very subtle but noticeable. The taste does not disappoint. Lots of candied sugar, sweet malts, with hints of nutmeg and ginger bread? It's not overdone or trying to do too many things. It's complex but blends well. The spices are right on, not too overpowering. Medium body, excellent mouthfeel and very very drinkable. This is by far the best winter/seasonal/spiced beer I've had to date. (560 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear dark amber with +1 fingers of light tan creamy head. Good retention that leaves a thick smattering of lace behind. The aroma is HOLY SWEETNESS! Rich accents of caramel and toffee with some light citic notes and hop bitterness behind it.

The taste is more of the same. Huge caramel and toffee sweetness with just enough hop bitterness backing it up to reign things in and keep the flavor from getting overly cloying. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a smooth feel yet keeps a fairly prickly carbonation.

Wow, this is just one tasty Winter Warmer. The sweetness works just right, never gets to be over the top, and keeps the drikibility right on target. Nice stuff! (718 characters)

Photo of Bung
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the better winter seasonals I've had. Red/brown pour, nice whiteish head. Reminded me a little like drinking a windmill cookie, with some caramel toping poured over it. Had this on draft and bottle, definetely better on draft. Also I liked the 2007 version a little bit better, was just a little heavier. Had more characteristics of a Christmas porter to go along with the christmas cookie. I look forward to next year's batch. (434 characters)

Photo of rallison
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to limesmut for this one!

This pours a very nice caramel color with a 1/2 finger off-white head that does indeed leave some respectable lacing. The smell is mostly of caramel and molasses. A light hop presence becomes noticeable here too. Not all that strong in the smell, but an inviting smell nonetheless.

First taste finds me disappointed. But, I had just had a few ounces of Yulesmith. A few more sips and letting it warm up a bit more and I was much more intrigued by this brew. Malts remind me of a toned down scotch ale, with mellow caramel and molasses as a malt base. Some spicing (and hops as well I suppose), provide a welcome balance here. There is a touch of dates in the flavor as well. Altogether, decent complexity with a nice balance.

Mouthfeel is not all that heavy, but leaves with just enough coating to satisfy. Carbonation is medium low. Drinkability on this one is nice.

Recommended. A very enjoyable winter warmer - one of the better ones I've had I must say. (998 characters)

Photo of Durge
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clear but dark mahogany color with a fair off-white head that settles quickly to a whispy ring with decent lacing. The aroma is a solid chocolatey malt with herbal hops. Not huge but very pleasant with a kiss of ginger nutmeg. The flavor brings lots of tasty sweet vanilla and an herbal bite. There's a nice toffee malt blended in for what I find to be a really nicely balanced brew. It's medium bodied with a smooth somewhat viscous feel and a decent fizz to liven things up. This vanilla theme offers some spice notes that are subtle and fulfilling final touches on this very enjoyable seasonal ale. Very drinkable too! (623 characters)

Photo of sommersb
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. brown bottle with no date code evident
Poured into a nonic pint

Bright, bronze-colored beer with a slight haziness to it. The head was frothy and about 4 fingers worth. The head stuck around for quite a while, and lacing was good.

At first I smell caramel malts, then some vanilla spices, then some faint hop aromas. The more the beer warms to room temperature I also get a spiciness that makes me think of whiskey.

Very nice and complex taste. At the beginning it had some biting tartness to it. Lightly sweet with the vanilla and peppery spices coming through more and more as I drank. A light bitterness is present from the hops. As the beer warmed up, I tasted an alcohol warmth and, as in the smell, what seemed like a whiskey flavor.

The mouthfeel was moderately-high carbonated, with a medium body. The finish was dry. Aftertaste had warming alcohol and spices on it.

This is an excellent beer and I would love to have this again next year. (958 characters)

Photo of msubulldog25
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 22 oz. bottle sent by brentk56 some months ago, January 2007? Poured to a standard pint and enjoyed on June 16, 2007 - not exactly the middle of winter.

A: Pours auburn-orange and quite clear with bits of sediment suspended throughout the glass like a fine powder. offwhite 1/2-finger dwindles down quickly to a soap-bubble ring of foam. Smoke-thin film on top and minimal lacing.

S: Very sweet - vanilla, butterscotch, holiday spices, caramel. Has a baked goods-type enticing aroma and a very sweet one at that. Yummy.

T: Many of the smells come out in the flavor: cinnamon bread, nutmeg, vanilla, allspice and bitter cloves. A bit of maple syrup and some fresh, minty hops. Besides those flavors, I get caramel, toasted nuts and a slightly cocoa finish. Sounds sweet? Well, it is, but somehow enough hops entered the mix and balanced out those sweet malty flavors to succinctly delicious whole. Good job, Highland!

M: Crisp at first, then mellowing to an enveloping warmth. Carbonation is subdued and (unknown) alcohol level is nicely concealed. Some sticky cocoa malt in the medium body, but bitter in the end.

D: Quite an enjoyable winter brew. Even just days before summer, this one was still satisfying and delicious. I've read that the brew recipe changes each year, but I'll attest to the the fact that the 2006 batch was good and was still drinkable as of June 2007. Thanks for sending this one, Brent. (1,428 characters)

Photo of hellcatsjg
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark brown beer with a finger of head. Head disappears leaving only a thin layer which sticks around for a food bit of the glass.

Smell: Sweet caramel, malt, and a spiciness that is led by cinammon.

Taste: Just like the nose. You get the big sweet malt and caramel flavors up front. The spiciness slowly moves in and provides a very nice balance of sweet and spicy. Very good beer.

Mouthfeel: Medium thickness with a nice amount of carbonation. The spices linger very strongly in the mouth. Very nice.

Drinkability: Big sweetness and nice spiciness. This is what I want a winter warmer to taste like. Though the style is very diverse and this is a very good example of the spiced variety. Highly recommended. (725 characters)

Photo of BeerTruth
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another one from tpd975, you 'da man!

22 oz. bomber poured into a standard pint glass. Another frigid night in Syrause, this brew seems fitting.

Pours a clear amber hue with a one finger light tan colored head. A fair amount of sticky lacing holds on to the sides of the glass. Aroma is rich with caramel and spicy malts, a touch of nutmeg, and fresh floral hops. Toasted nuts and molasses fill the nose as well. Very easy Winter Warmer to whiff, not overly spiced at all. Taste starts off sweet with sugar cookies, Terry's Chocolate Orange, and a dash of cinnamon. Midway some grassy hops, coconut, and vanilla extract emerge on the tongue. Aftertaste has a carmelized almond flavor with some ginger as well. Medium bodied with a crisp feel and a lively carbonation. I was really expecting much going into this beer but in the end I was very pleased. Come to find out this beer is the #1 Winter Warmer on BA, and for good reason. Great brew, thanks for the extra Greg! (971 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hmmm, it's hot-as-heck in July, 90+ all week long..great time to break open a winter warmer, right? Right!

22-ounce bomber poured into 16-ounce goblet, a deep brown hue, nearly plum in places, with slim cocoa/cola-toned head.

Aroma: dark fruits, and nuts, sweetness, molasse and maple syrup, sugar beets, ripe and spicy...very interesting, and quite unique.

Taste: yum, ...same flavors noted in the nose reappear on the tongue. Full-bodied, and incredibly smooth, while delivering copious amounts of sweet, delicioius flavors. A rich and relaxing brew, sweet candyish flavors, a hint of toffee, a wiggle of caramel. Ends a bit dryly, much appreciated.
Yum, I say again, tas-tee!
What could be better for a mid-summer morning? (736 characters)

Photo of zac16125
4.19/5  rDev +4.8%
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 (800 characters)

Photo of John1985
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Deep brown color with a small quarter-inch head;
S- Light spicy, molasses aroma;
T- Sweet malt burst reminiscent of spice cake with a mild hop tingle that provides just enough balance to offset the malt sweetness.
M & D-This was a very smooth and enjoyable ale. I'm not much for spices but this was very good. (312 characters)

Photo of scbeerman
4.17/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Found on tap at Backstreets in Clemson, SC and took a case home as a Christmas present.
Poured a medium-dark brown; clear with plenty of red hints noticeable. Thin off-white head that left nice lacing.
Nose of vanilla, some roasted malts, raspberries, spices. Not a strong smelling beer but pleasant.
Tastes similar to the smell, but with great complexity and depth of flavor. Vanilla most prominently with hints of cocoa, hazelnut, raspberries over a solid malt backbone with some light hop bitterness and pine present towards the finish. Not overly spiced like some winter ales.
Mouthfeel is light and slightly oily with medium low carbonation. Definitely very drinkable; it would be easy to have a few of these.
Overall, this was definitely much better than I expected and it's become my favorite seasonal beer. Extremely drinkable with a much more subtle flavor than most over-spiced winter beers. Definitely try it at least once if it's available in your area. (968 characters)

Photo of samtallica
4.16/5  rDev +4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 Bomber into Sam Adam's Perfect Pint.

A: Brilliantly clear, dark amber with a small off white head.

S: Caramel malts and vanilla, some vague hops and spices in the background.

T: Cocoa Pebbles. Seriously, this beer tastes exactly like cocoa pebbles. That is not a bad thing at all, but it is slightly one dimensional. Not sure if previous years were different. Surprisingly this is the first time I've had this beer.

M: Medium-low carbonation with a medium body.

O: I just can't help but think Cocoa Pebbles. I liked Cocoa Pebbles as a kid though, so it takes me back a bit. I'm definitely a fan just because I've never experienced this flavor in a beer before. It's interesting and new to me. (707 characters)

Photo of RoyalT
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
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. (615 characters)

Photo of IntriqKen
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
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. (707 characters)

Photo of mntlover
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark mahogany color with a nice tan head that dissapears and leaves spotty lace. The aroma is big on malt caramel sugary coated fruits plums, raisins and figs with a touch of spice. Taste is big on flavor, molasses like, nice and sweet big on malt with fruit entering in the middle and finishing with light spice and candy also some vanilla flavors lingering. Mouthfeel while not full feels big lots of sugary malt flowing over the taste buds imparting sweetness. Drinkability is good glad it comes in liter bottles gives you plenty to enjoy, hopefully next year it will be stronger with the 6% cap gone. A nice little winter warmer can see why they sell so fast, glad I was able to find me a couple. (708 characters)

Photo of daliandragon
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have a healthy respect for this brewer, although most of their beers tend to be good rather than great. I was therefore surprised to see that this is the top ranked winter warmer on the site. It starts impressive, with a maroon color, near perfect clarity, and a wet tan head that shows very nice retention. The nose is sweet and spicy, with vanilla, caramel, and nutmeg wrapped around a base of dark malts.

The taste is more balanced than I expected, with some late hop bitterness that keeps the malts in check. The texture is a bit oily, particularly in the finish. Vanilla and toasted flavors lead the way here but if anything the sweet malt is understated, at least against my expectations. The texture is smooth with a warming finish. Alcohol is almost invisible. I wonder what the abv is. It matters not, you'll be hard pressed to find too many winter warmers that can top this one. (892 characters)

Photo of bjohnson
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A gift from warriorsoul...I think by way of aksmokedporter. Two pillars of trading.

A: Pours a dark rust color with a slight bit of purple hues. Nice frothy one finger head dissipates rather quickly unfortunately. Slight skim of retention.
S: An interesting caramel fruit essence. Big dark fruit presence, figs, nuts, and a bit of butterscotch. Surprisingly sweet smelling--figs are definitely big time here. A slight bit of cocoa.
T/M: Holy Fig! Figs and nuts galore with a sweet underbelly of butterscotch, maple syrup, and plums. Figs again, with a nice nestle cocoa powder flavor. Body starts out thick but then thins out pretty fast. Slightly bitter in the finish with that fig aftertaste. The fig tastes aren't bad or overwhelming, but just have a nice firm hold on this brew. Theres also a floral presence and I'm thinking of petunias, but that could be way off.
D: An interesting offering and one that I'm glad I tried--a bit off the course for me, though I really enjoyed it. This is one of the most unique and interesting beers I've ever had. Wonderful flavors and a bit complex. (1,095 characters)

Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale from Highland Brewing
89 out of 100 based on 308 ratings.