Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale - Highland Brewing
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Ratings: 552 | Reviews: 297 | Display Reviews Only:
3.38/5 rDev -15.9%
uh oh, folks. we might have a problem here.
i visited wine warehouse here in greensboro last night for a highland brewery tasking. every beer was present and accounted for, including this years cold mountain. sadly, it's not up to par with the last few years, and below my extremely high expectations for this wonderful brew.
looked great, dark amber to rich red/brown. decent off white head, some lace to speak of, so that was fine.
the aroma was lacking, there was a bit of spice, but nothing special.
the taste was the major issue for me. i actually enjoyed the vanilla and spice of the past. although there is a bit of vanilla in this one, it's just barely there, and mostly hides behind the earthy bread and dirt taste. definitely much more in the bitter/grain department this year. hints of cinnamon, vanilla and maybe a touch of fruit like orange or grapefruit are in the mix, but very minimal.
mouthfeel was fine, maybe even a bit more full, compared with previous years.
i would still drink many of these if on tap, but it seems like this is a different, possibly hoppier, version of cold mountain, and a departure from the typical makeup of the past few offerings.
my buddy dale, a complete hophead, and my girlfriend, who does not like sweeter beers, said they liked this years cold mountain much better than ever before, so take that for what it's worth.
12-20-2006 15:01:05 | More by NClifestyle
3.4/5 rDev -15.4%
Thanks to ipa2xs for sending this one my way - it's the last of the beers I received in the No Name BIF....
Appearance: Garnet, almost purple in color. Good head, retention and lacing. Very clear. A fine looking beer, if nothing else.
Smell: Cocoa, heavy on the Christmas spices, definitely sweet-smelling.
Taste: Spices, maple syrup. Some cocoa and vanilla. Not much bitterness. Heavy flavors conceal the alcohol.
Mouthfeel: Thicker body than I think I'd prefer, somewhat syrupy.
Drinkability: I split the 16 oz and that was plenty... Not a huge fan on the whole - not beery enough for me, I suppose.
03-29-2007 20:43:10 | More by hunteraw
3.4/5 rDev -15.4%
20oz brown bottle picked up at CBX in Charleston, SC. Pours out a beautiful dark amber color with ruby highlights and a nice fluffy beige head. A really beautiful looking brew.
Faint sweet aroma of vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Taste is where this beer fails me, my sample had a lingering metallic aftertaste that just would not go away. Last years version was what I expect from a winter warmer. This year Highland missed the mark with me.
12-30-2009 20:33:29 | More by clemtig76
3.4/5 rDev -15.4%
Appearance: Pours a rich garnet-hued body with wispy, seafoam beige head.
Smell: Spicy, fruity aroma of oranges, cranberries, cinnamon and maybe a bit of ginger.
Taste: Beyond the toasty malts, there is a real medley of flavors at work here. For me, I'm picking up orange peel, cranberries, mint, nutmeg, and cinnamon (which really comes through in the finish).
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Moderately carbonated.
Drinkability: Interesting and well-made, but not particularly to my liking.
01-21-2007 06:45:44 | More by ChainGangGuy
3.4/5 rDev -15.4%
Since I had my first Cold Mountain four years ago, I've looked forward to the release date. But every year, it seems like the quality slips a little, and this year (2013 - the beer was released just last Thursday) the slippage seems to have been a little more extreme.
Specifically, the intake of the beer was fine but the finish was abrupt and left a metallic after-taste. I thought maybe I was having an off day (happens) but a few other folks I've talked to since felt the same way. Like it could use some more time, or maybe something wasn't quite right with the recipe or batch. It was almost like the vanilla was short, or an inferior grade.
That said, it's still drinkable, but not quite as good as I remember it or hoped this year's would be. Maybe some time will help it out, or maybe not.
Your mileage may vary.
11-20-2013 19:54:33 | More by ChuckWagon
3.43/5 rDev -14.7%
Highland's version of the Winter Warmer seems to have peaked two years ago. Since then, the last two batches have fallen a little short. Granted, the recipe and style seems to vary, so it can't be expected to be the same, but the comparisons are ever-present to the serious taster. Having said that, it seems that everyone in North Carolina eagerly anticipates the arrival of Cold Mountain, and I'm no exception. I picked up the first bottle I laid eyes on this season, and tonight it has been opened and consumed.
It certainly looks like a winter warmer, with its dark amber hue and yellow, shining highlights. A one-finger head formed on the surface, but soon gave way to a thin lacing of eggshell-white lacing. Aromas of winter spices dominate the nose; I don't really get a large malt or hop presence here. The flavor has a sweet, floral front, quickly followed by a malty, spiced middle, and ends with a mildly hoppy finish, accented by a nutty, brown ale-like character. There's something quite appealing about this version. The carbonation is a little much for my taste, but that's very personal.
I have a growler of last year's Cold Mountain waiting to be sampled. Look for a review of that precious volume to note how well that vintage aged!
11-29-2007 03:21:18 | More by CWiggins
3.46/5 rDev -13.9%
This one has gotten a lot of attention, especially around the holidays, I have tried it for several years and I do feel that it has lost something this year (2013). It has a nice dark color, the smell is very festive for which it represents. It has an almost egg nogg smell and to a certain degree taste as well. I like eggnogg and I like beer and I do believe that this one balances that pretty well. Most holiday/winter beers have too much of one spice or another but this one balances it pretty well. But, this year did fall a little flat to me. I enjoyed it, its a great beer and much better than most, but there was a bit less of the things I used to like about it and more of the just average ale taste coming through. I like a good ale and this would be a good one by itself, but for a quarter of the price. Overall, I will continue to have a pour of this around the holidays, when I run across it. One thing I would like to try is it on draft, but that is nearly impossible to do, it goes extremely quickly and you have to be at the right place at the right time. I am like Dr. John unfortunately.
02-07-2014 01:10:41 | More by humuloner22
3.48/5 rDev -13.4%
In my experience, this beer is only available in 32oz (1L?) swing top bottles during the winter months. Fairly well spiced, this beer is reminiscent of pumpkin pie both in smell and taste. Definately an enjoyable beer, but I feel it could be made more so by increasing the quantity of malts and holding the spice level the same. However, this wouldn't work in NC because this beer is already close to the 6% alcohol level the state has set as a limit for all BEER. Which is ridiculous.
08-21-2003 00:52:32 | More by cerevisiaephilus
3.5/5 rDev -12.9%
pours a bright amber-ruby hue with a frothy two-finger head that holds for a while and leaves pretty decent gobs of lacing down the glass.
aroma of brown sugar, caramel malt, hints of vanilla and some spices. a touch of earthy hops.
taste is interestingly deep although somewhat confusing. decent malt backbone accentuated by both a decent green herbal hopping and some funky vanilla and spice. it reminds me of cream soda mixed with a hoppy amber. and I haven't decided if that's a good thing.
the body is fairly light and the carbonation ample, which is good, because there's a definite lingering hop bitterness in the finish that is a step away from cloying. as is the odd sweetness. it's an odd dichotomy.
all in all, I can't say I'm completely impressed by this one. I love a good vanilla and spice winter brew, but this one may have just missed the mark a tad. not my favorite offering from Highland, but I could see warming up to another glass if I was in the right mood.
02-23-2011 03:39:55 | More by djeucalyptus
3.5/5 rDev -12.9%
Thanks to Paul for sharing this at a recent tasting. Currently the #1 Winter Warmer. Served in a snifter.
Pours a nice caramel color with a really light head. Doesn't really stick around too long and only leaves a spot or two of lacing. The nose is loaded with vanilla, though it smells somewhat like extract. There's also a bit of caramel and malty sweetness. The taste is more vanilla plus some caramel. Not much else, though it's fairly nice. Beer has a medium body and finishes quite dry. Not terribly complex and not all the winter warmery, but pretty good.
01-28-2011 15:55:12 | More by Thorpe429
Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale from Highland Brewing
90 out of 100 based on 552 ratings.