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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

679 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 679
Reviews: 307
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 13.18%
Wants: 84
Gots: 107 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 679 | Reviews: 307 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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

A - One finger of light brown foam on top of a slightly hazy, medium brown body with dark amber highlights. The foam settles quickly and leaves moderate lace.

S - Lots of sweet caramel and toffee with nutmeg, cinnamon, and a hint of licorice. There are some pine-scented hops in the background and maybe a bit of chocolate.

T - Some very strong toffee up front with notes of chocolate and nutmeg. A surprisingly assertive pine hop flavor appears in the middle with strong ginger, licorice and more toffee. The finish is a bit medicinal with a strange combination of tannic spices, sweet caramel, and bitter hops.

M - Medium-thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet, astringent finish.

D - Spiced beers require a delicate touch and often the spices don't really seem like they improve the beer. Unfortunately this one steps over the line between judicious use of spices and becomes a cloying mess. The aroma is nice, with distinct malt and a good balance of spices and hops. The flavor starts out promising, but falls apart by the finish as the malt becomes cloying and the spices turn astringent. I really tried to like this, but it is a very strange beer and I definitely won't be drinking it again.

Photo of chaz410
4.42/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got this seasonal fav at Brawley's!
Pours a deep red amber body with a thin white head that deminishes quickly.
Smell is sweet with caramel backbone and loaded with mild spice notes, ranging from corriander to vanilla. Unlike previous years I've had, this year had a fairly tart hop essence.
Taste is sweet and tart with a nice blend of earthy hops and caramel malts. Finishes nicely with spice blended into the grassy and earthy hop character. When it warms a little, the sweet malts come out A WHOLE LOT! Let this thing get to around 55 degrees and enjoy. Definitely my favorite seasonal this year...again!

Photo of bgarrity
3.52/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Interesting ale to drink. Aroma is not much to talk about, because you really have try to even smell it. Taste is chocolate and caramel mostly, with slight hoppiness afterwards with a bitter chocolate finish. Nice dark amber color. Interesting brew but not Highland's best. Word of warning: intense chocolate flavor for chocolate lovers mostly.

Photo of sholland119
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got this '07 vintage in a growler from Loki in GatM. Thanks, Kipp.

A-Pours a clear ruby amber with a thin tan head and no lacing.

S-Sweet caramel malt, a bit of toffee and a little alcohol warmth.

T-Sweet caramel, brown sugar and some raisin with a little bit of nutmeg. Very nice.

M-Medium bodied, almost a bit thin for the style.

D-Tasty, very nicely aged. I will enjoy the rest of this growler.

HV

Photo of CHADMC3
4.29/5  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 Gyle41386
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass.

Pours a dark brown and amber color with crimson highlights. A finger of tan head retains pretty well and leaves behind some nice lacing.

Malty nose with lots of spices and vanilla. Maybe some cocoa and orange peel, as well.

Pretty sweet flavor. Milk chocolate, toffee, caramel, vanilla. The spices aren't as pronounced as they are in the aroma, although they come out a bit with some warmth. Maybe a little bit of hop bitterness in the finish.

Lighter body than I expected, but it's still easily medium. Dry finish. Incredibly smooth and easy drinker. Plush feel. Absolutely no alcohol detected. I'm definitely going back to buy the 1 liter swingtop version.

Photo of Gish
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber poured into a pint glass.

A - Dark brown with a lingering head.

S - Molasses, toffee, sweet malt dominate the smell

T - Rich, earthy, and sweet. A little bit of spice comes through in the end though. Could use a bit more balancing in my opinion.

M - Very smooth, medium bodied.

D - A little bit too sweet, but still very drinkable.

An all-around greater winter beer from my favorite local brewery. I hate that it took me so long to get around to reviewing it, but it's still very enjoyable!

Photo of dancinwillie
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to turtlemoye for this one. I got it from a LIF he did, in which I didn't even win! I've been waiting to drink drink it, and I decided I'd better get around to doing just that. So here it goes.

Looks pretty thick coming out of that bottle. Head is fluffy, and cratered. Slow carbonation swells and releases sluggishly. As it drops and the bubbles become less dense, they spread out and look like under carbonated home brew heads. Color is dark red, and almost the shade of plum.

Aroma is nutty sweetness, almost peanut brittle. Unknown earthy spicing.

Sweet with a little bitterness, though not hoppy. Earthy and wholesome, like some really good multi-grain bread. Spicy, with a little oxidation that reminds me of an old, Old Ale. In the background: maple syrup and a little pumpkin pie flavor. As it warms, it gathers more of an Ale fruitiness, and again, I reminisce of pie fillings. This time more of a tart cherry, and maybe a little blackberry too. Toasted wheat berries.

Medium bodied, leaning more towards the fuller end of the spectrum. Sweet finish.

Overall, I'm really pretty impressed with this beer. I tend to rush a bit in my reviewing, and tried to slow it down here. I'm glad I did. Thanks again turtlemoye, I was thrilled to receive this and enjoyed drinking it. Now I just have to get going, and come up with an LIF of my own. Cheers!

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

22 oz bomber I picked up at Arbor Place Beverage in Douglassville, GA for around 5 bucks or so. Been meaning to get around to some Highland brews. Served up in an imperial pint glass.

A: Pours a pretty nice dark brown color. Held to the light you get a really nice amber with those rich red hues. This beer is nice and clear with a really nice and lazy carbonation activity. The initial pour yielded a perfect finger of head, that is slightly off white in color. head has some decent retention, falling eventually to a white top cap. Got some lace sticking on the glass but not a whole lot. Still a really good looking brew.

S: Malt bomb, yo. Tons of caramel sweetness coming out here. Got some nutty toffee and plenty of sweet ass molassess. There seems to be a touch of spiciness in here with a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg. That spice is minimal though. There is also a slight smell of a good cigar in the background. This is all malty goodness.

T: Malt, yet again. Tons of malt that doesn't quit. Caramel malt is sweet and rich. Really nice molassess sweetness as well along with some brown sugar. The toffee is also present. Slight pine hops peaking through adding a light resin touch along with some of the spicy qualities. Touch of clove, nutmeg and cinnamon can be found, really bringing out those winter flavors. There is just a slight hint at some booze in here, maybe a touch on the bourbon side. This beer wants to showcase the malt and succeeds.

M: Ah its a bit thin for my liking. Its a bit of a thin medium. Doesn't seem to have that malty wieght that the flavor indicates. Carbonation is a bit on the heavy side, but keeps this smooth and a bit crisp. No hint at ABV that I can tell, so I couldn't even guess where this sucker falls. Aftertaste is all malt. *Edit* As I laid in bed shortly after killing this bomber, I experienced the most pleasant warming feeling in my belly. On a cold night, it was very comforting and soothing. Sneaky ass alcohol.

D: Pretty drinkable for a malt bomb. The slightly thinner feel really keeps this one easier on the drinking. With this having such a sugary malt presence, it doesn't attack your palate with syrupy coating at all. With that said, I do kinda wish this had a bit more weight and was crafted into a bit of stout. Still, its a great beer and has some great tastes and smells. Overall, a good experience but I could absolutely see this getting better.

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Deuane for sharing a bottle of this at his recent tasting. Poured from a 22 ounce bomber into my glass and appears a clear deep cooper, almost brown color with about a finger of light tan head. The aroma and taste remind me of an orange tootsie pop. Notes of caramel and cocoa are also evident. The taste is much more complex than the nose would lead you to believe. Medium bodied and satisfying with medium carbonation. I'm looking forward to tracking a few bottles of this down next season.

Photo of ffejherb
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz. bomber. Thanks to Deuane for sharing.

A - Clear copper body with dark amber tones and one-finger creamy beige head that settled to a wispy film and produced modest lacing. Virtually no carbonation was present.

S - Maple syrup and molasses sweetness up front with some earthy herbs and spices. Spicy character is subtle, however, with scant traces of cinnamon and clove. Some licorice also finds its way into the mix. Overall, nose is quite sweet and malty.

T - Malty and spicy up front with mild earthy and herbal notes. The maple syrup presence is quite apparent. Hints of molasses, caramel candy and toffee also come out in the flavor. Hop bitterness is virtually non-existent, though, with perhaps just a smidgen of earthy bitterness in the finish.

M - Medium body with a somewhat thick, syrupy texture and soft carbonation. Very sweet on the tongue. Finishes with very mild bitterness on the palate.

D - Cold Mountain isn't overly spiced like many other winter ales, which I enjoyed. It also has quite a lot of malt character. Another solid brew from Highland.

Brewslut's Quote of the Day:
"It smells like reception sticks."

Photo of beer2day
3.65/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours reddish brown with little to no head. Big sweet nose with hints of caramel and candy sugar.

Hit is very sweet, with a strong caramel brown ale flavor. Vanilla bean takes over in the finish and in a very strong fashion. If you don't like vanilla, stay away. The vanilla really overpowers everything else for me and takes away from the overall flavor.

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.

Photo of nick76
4.04/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The aroma is very sweet and syrupy with both chocolate and maple. There is also spices, caramel, and vanilla. The appearance is deep amber with a three finger head. The flavor is like the aroma. There are a lot of good tastes going on but I must admit they come in stages and not always complimentary. The palate is smooth and the finish bitter. Overall a very unique winter beer.

Photo of joepais
4.53/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to brentk56 for sending this want along in his black booty package 22oz bomber poured in to my DFH snifter produced a two finger tan head that trailed of to a thick lace the body of the brew was a nice burgandy color when held to the light

The aromas coming of it are quite pleasing Coco not roasted in any ways, some sweet caramel malt, vanilla and other spices I associate with winter.

The flavor is quite a surprise, I really like it. The ale was like a malted milk chocolate, but the wrong color if you know what I mean. Just a creamy and full in the mouth as I would expect. The sweetness was there along with the vanilla.

I was really blow away by this one and will defiantly look for it again next year. A great winter warmer one of the best I have tried

Photo of drlumps62
4.65/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I bought a 20 ounce bottle at Luekens liquor in Oldsmar Florida. Which in itself was a surprise. I did not think that Highland had that sort of distribution. I poured the beer into a 20 ounce glass.

A: Deep reddish brown in color. A tad bit cloudy.
Very rich looking. 1/2" white frothy head that kept a loose meringue type retention.

S: Dark malty nose. Again there is a richness there. It doesn't really jump out at you, but it is very pleasant.

T: The payoff. At first I tasted a bold chocolate malted flavor that gives way to a spiciness that blended together to remind me of Easter Chocolate covered marshmellows, with a slight nutty graham cracker type flavor.

M: Mildly heavy. Light stickiness.

D: Dessert beer. Something you spring on a beer drinker who hasn't had one and is tired of the same old thing.

This is good stuff. From a brewery that became one of my two favorite beers inthat area.

Photo of cjgator3
3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz bottle

A- Pours a dark brown color with a light tan colored head that leaves sporadic lacing around the glass.

S- The aroma is nice and malty with a good dose of cocoa and spices. I'm surprised at the amount of cocoa in the aroma, it really adds a nice dimension. The aroma is fantastic and immediately reminds me of the holidays.

T- The taste is a little on the sweet side with a lot of malt and cocoa flavors but there are just enough spices in the taste to help balance the sweetness out.

M- The mouthfeel is a little lighter than I would expect from a winter warmer.

D- This one's pretty drinkable, I'd be interested to find out what the ABV of this beer is. It doesn't seem to be all that high so it is a pretty solid drinker.

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.

Photo of lightindarkness
3.91/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to ahatcher78 for thinking to throw this bottle in the Black Booty BIF.

22 oz capped bottle, consumed at around 58 degrees from a very large, fat-bowled Tripel Karmeliet tulip glass on a heavily snowed wintry day.

A - Pours a very attractive deep dark mahogany color with gleaming sharp ruby highlights. A nice fluffy bubbly khaki head ascends to the surface and melts like snow, leaving a spotting of finely bubbled lace.

N - Smells primarily of malt, with a faint aged tobacco roastiness and sweet caramel. Light candy sugar hangs over brown fruity bread aromas. Maybe a hint of alcohol and some thinly notable stale hay. Fairly nice balance, not too sweet, rather appealing, but slightly underwhelming and modest.

T - A very nicely crafted winter ale, hitting some of the highlights for the style. Heavily malted on the caramelly dark roasted side, with an excellent balance of sweetness to drier roasted nut and more bitter dark bread. Some deep fruit notes of date and fig are present but not nearly as dominant as some similarly styled beers. Flavor thins out momentarily before the finish, becoming somewhat more watery, then rounding mildly back in with a bitter tail end and fading grainy warmth mixed with mild fruity sweetness. Spice is mild and blends into the grainy bread flavors without distinguishable identity, adding a layer of complexity subtly hidden in the overall taste. Deceiving, it has a rather simple overall flavor profile, but with some nicely understated dimension.

F/D - Just enough on the fuller medium bodied side to satisfy amidst the snowy winter chill, yet light enough to remain drinkable around the fire, with dinner, or just a long winter day trapped indoors. Light, soft carbonation adds some dimension to the feel, filling it out some, but lost early in each sip to the fading drier bitter finish. Drinks easily, sip after sip, with a nice malty mouth coating that isn't too heavy but leaves a lingering want for more. After a while though, the flavor becomes somewhat nondescript, the aftertaste resonating with pickled beets and other less desirable flavors, leaving it wanting for more impressive stand out character. A seemingly sessionable winter brew, though the unknown abv leaves me wondering how long of a 'session' I would endure.

Photo of Tilley4
3.63/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a beautiful dark amber color with a beige head... Really beautiful looking brew... Looks like a Winter Warmer should..

Lovely aroma of Christmas cookies, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg... Smells very sweet..

Not quite as sweet as I was expecting... I'm actually getting quite a bit of hops out of this along with that sweet sugar cookie flavor and the vanilla.. Finishes fairly and dry and surprisingly boozy... Weird...

Looks and smells the part of a tremendous Winter Warmer but the taste doesn't quite do the aroma justice. Its still a good brew but I have had better WW's.

Photo of BeerTruth
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
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!

Photo of twiggamortis420
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Unibroue tulip glass ruby red in color. Has great clarity, decent retention and good lacing.

Sweet caramel malty scent balanced by a delicate floral hop bouquet. Smells pretty simplistic, but nice, clean and fresh.

Wow, this goes down easy. Smoooth. Creamy malt bill followed closely by a nice hint 'o hops for a nice clean finish. Hints of cola, sorghum and coconut. Very fresh and balanced taste. I have been impressed with the few Highland offerings I have had so far. Would have no problem buying some more of these.

Photo of Bung
4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

Photo of dirtbag43
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale from Highland Brewing
90 out of 100 based on 679 ratings.