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Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale - Highland Brewing

Not Rated.
Highland Cold Mountain Winter AleHighland Cold Mountain Winter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

563 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 563
Reviews: 297
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 13.18%
Wants: 71
Gots: 50 | FT: 3
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: 563 | Reviews: 297 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of benloho
4/5  rDev -0.5%

benloho, Jan 27, 2014
Photo of scottyshades
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a barely transparent mahogany color with a small off-white head

S: Awesome caramel malts, nuts, toffee, light spices (no clove), a little bread, lactose, and powdered milk chocolate

T: Finally a winter warmer with a great flavor profile that's not overdone. The spices blend very well with the malts. Also lactose, toffee, and a really delicious chocolate/cocoa note that compliments the nuttiness

MF/D: Smooth velvety feel, lower carbonation, lighter in body than the others, and a finish of lactose, cocoa, and hazelnut

Notes: not the biggest or boldest, but perfectly balanced and not too spiced up

scottyshades, Dec 10, 2010
Photo of BlackBelt5112203
4.55/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into a mug at cellar temperature.

L – Amber-brown color with a big 4-finger bubbly, foamy, cream-colored head. Really nice retention and some awesome patchy lacing. Clear with a very nice amount of bubbles.

S – A great malt profile with caramel, bready, nutty, and toasted aromas with some brown sugar and hazelnut notes in particular. As for spices, I’m getting some cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg aromas. Not as spice-heavy as some winter warmers, but that’s just fine with me. The malt aromas are too good to mask. As for the added fruit extracts, there may be just a hint of them. I probably wouldn’t have picked them out without reading the label.

T – The taste starts off sweet with caramel and bready malt, brown sugar, and hazelnut flavors. Again, the added fruit extracts are maybe ever so slightly present. Dry toasted malt and spice flavors come in next. The spices are much stronger in the taste (but still not as strong and overpowering as some winter warmers) with cinnamon and ginger being the frontrunners. Earthy and herbal smoothly bitter hops appear toward the finish along with a dry cranberry taste. There are those fruits!

F – Medium-to-full-bodied with nice carbonation, a smooth and creamy mouthfeel, and a bittersweet, slightly spicy, and dry finish. A wonderful mix of flavors including sweet malts, zesty spices, and bitter hops and fruits linger. Alcohol is nowhere to be found, and, as a result, this beer is amazingly drinkable.

O – This is a terrific winter warmer. It has a rich and hearty malt profile with just the right amount of seasonal spices mixed in. In addition, it is insanely drinkable. I finished the bomber before I knew it. Even better, it’s only 5.8% ABV! Who ever heard of a sessionable winter warmer? I personally love the idea. Awesome beer from Highland.

BlackBelt5112203, Feb 06, 2013
Photo of mecmd
4/5  rDev -0.5%

mecmd, Dec 04, 2013
Photo of ThreeFishes
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

ThreeFishes, Jan 28, 2014
Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.26/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz. bottle poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass. Liquid comes out a nice hearty amber/red/deep brown color. There's really good clarity and it glows when held up in the light. There's a nice white cap, mostly small bubbles, a little bit of lacing, but not a ton.

Smell is really good, malty with a lot going on. Sweet toffee and hints of vanilla, cinnamon, and hazelnut. There are also tones of raspberries and cranberries that provide a very subtle sweetness immediately followed by some tart, very natural. Interesting blend, with everything there's almost a coco aroma too.

Taste is exactly on par with the smell, except we have some nice regular beer flavors as well. There's definitely a prominent coco flavor, but it doesn't seem like it should fit in... except it totally does! There's a fruitiness again with some almost, not quite completely, ripe raspberries and then some cranberries. There's also the same hints of vanilla and hazelnut in there and that freaking coco. NONE of these flavors seem to stand out more than the other, everything is balanced and gentle/subtle. Very well done.

Mouthfeel is great. In addition to all of the great (very well blended) flavors, the beer is the heavier end of light bodied with a great carbonation level. Great sweetness with some natural bitterness at the end, but still clean. It's complex but soft and overall really well balanced. Great drink ability. It's easily the best "winter warmer" I've had all year and I could drink it all winter, but this brew could go deeper into the spring if it wanted to, as well as start in the fall. Nice job Highland, totally digging this beer, but I'm not surprised. Thanks Paschal for the awesome hookup!

AndyAvalanche, Jan 27, 2013
Photo of barefootbrewer
3.33/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer poured a clear brown color with a thick head – tight bubbles. The aroma is malty. The taste is malty and has a pumpkin spice taste. It also is very reminiscent of syrup – this tastes like something one should have for breakfast (waffles?). The mouthfeel is full. This is an interesting beer that I’d recommend tasting, but wouldn’t call highly drinkable.

barefootbrewer, Jun 16, 2007
Photo of Backer2004
4.22/5  rDev +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.

Backer2004, May 30, 2006
Photo of aubuc1
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber poured in to a goblet

Pours a deep brown with ruby glimmering and a thinning tan head.

Smells like a malty, bready, plummy, spicey brown ale.

Bright taste of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg), fruit, malt, and a chalky yeast. Surprising taste of chocolate in there.

Good mouthfeel, and easier to drink than I expected.

A very good beer from a good brewer.

aubuc1, Dec 26, 2008
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.

everetends, Mar 31, 2009
Photo of BeerDawgs
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

BeerDawgs, Feb 19, 2012
Photo of GregSVT
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a tulip

A: Pours a clear dark amber with a nice off-white head that fades to a ring and leaves some lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is pretty faint but there are minimal amounts of sweet malt, vanilla, and a hint of cinnamon.

T: The taste is much better with nice flavors of vanilla, sweet malt, and a slight cinnamon flavor. Pretty flavorful on the palate for such a low ABV beer.

M: The feel is slightly creamy and on the lower side of medium bodied. Not typical for the style and a bit more body could make this one better.

O: The vanilla and spices really save this one from mediocrity but it could use more body. I'd probably have this one again if it was offered in TX.

GregSVT, Nov 26, 2011
Photo of hunteraw
3.4/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

hunteraw, Mar 29, 2007
Photo of jbphoto88
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A pretty brew the color of stained cherry. A clear garnet red with a lovely tan cap that fades slowly. In the glass this winter ale looks pretty enough to hang on the tree.

The nose is plain but satisfying. Mostly malts with hints of spice and lightly hopped. Pleasant and not overpowering this is a beer that can't wait to get into.

Taste is fantastic for a winter ale. Big emphasis on the malts but with a balanced hop and subtle spice to "class" things up a little. The finish even goes towards a cream soda vibe. Interesting and satisfying.

A light carbonation goes a long way with this brew. It really let's the sweet malt flavors shine and doesn't distract with too much bite. A smooth medium bodied brew that is delicious and fun to drink even in the middle of summer like I'm doing. A great brew and worth discovering for yourself.

jbphoto88, Jul 02, 2011
Photo of cavedave
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks again, mrandypandy, another sparkler courtesy of you!

Pours a clear dark amber topped by a finger of near white foam. Excellent lace, and a bubbly skim remains through the glass.

What a nose, full aroma of caramel, spice, tart yeast, and hints of raisin bread.

Taste is unlike the nose. The first two sips tasted very full of spice, as it warmed the caramel and tart estery notes, and toasty raisin bread hints balanced extremely well. It finishes juicy with a nice hint of citrusy bitter to stay on the palate. This is the finest winter warmer I've tasted, the first I've really enjoyed.

Mouthfeel is light, despite the medium body of this, and the carbonation is medium, and perfect. Very clean finish, no spicy resins on the palate at all.

Drinkability is marvelous, a refreshing, delicious, easy to quaff brew.

Impression: I would get this every year, but Highland comes here not.

cavedave, Mar 14, 2010
Photo of silver0rlead
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an beautiful mahogany brown with some ruby tints around the edges and a thick, creamy tan head that retains well. The aroma is just as impressive, with big chocolate notes, some incredible spice character (cinammon, nutmeg, clove, allspice), along with some gingerbread, pumpkin, sweet potato, brown sugar and some light, floral hops. The flavor is slightly more subdued than the aroma but is still impressive: some gingerbread, sweet potato, brown sugar, chocolate, pumpkernickel bread, spices (cinammon, nutmeg, clove, allspice) and some light floral hops. The mouthfeel is creamy with a medium body, and drinkability is good. An excellent beer from Highland, definately lives up to the hype...im glad i could pick some up before its gone this year.

silver0rlead, Dec 02, 2005
Photo of Furley80
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Furley80, Feb 06, 2014
Photo of mwbrady12
2.5/5  rDev -37.8%

mwbrady12, Jul 21, 2013
Photo of Enola
4.88/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is Highland's best effort. I wish this was a year-round offering. The appearance is a nice mahogony color. It had a decent head. The smell is a sweet, fruity smell. The taste is of caramel. It has a sweet taste to it as well. The mouthfeel is second to none. There is no negative aftertaste. No bite, nothing but smoothness. This is one of the best beers I have ever had. You can bet your ass I will be finding some more before the supply runs out.

Enola, Dec 25, 2005
Photo of nick76
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

nick76, Mar 02, 2009
Photo of EasyReader
5/5  rDev +24.4%

EasyReader, Dec 31, 2011
Photo of NCSUdo
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 1 L, flip top bottle

A: Pours a pretty dark clear amber under 2 fingers of slightly off white head. Some lace, OK retention.

S: Slight hint of vanilla and maybe the even smallest bit of anise. Tad bit of sweetness and some toasted maltiness up front as well. Upon first pour, there was a more hoppy character which has subsided. I seem to remember a slightly more in the aroma of last years version.

T: Spices up front, with vanilla being the most noticable. A little hard to discern between the rest, but there is some clove and even a slight pumpkin taste as well. Hints of alcohol in the finish that is ultimately on the sweet side. Some hoppy hints there as well.

M/D: Medium bodied, mostly creamy but also a little slick, carbonation is spot on and alcohol is apparent on a good way. Drinkability is fine on this one as it is smooth and relatively easy drinking. Excellent winter warmer.

NCSUdo, Dec 31, 2007
Photo of PretzelCity
4.22/5  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.

PretzelCity, Dec 09, 2009
Photo of twowheelssoar
4/5  rDev -0.5%

twowheelssoar, Feb 21, 2012
Photo of ohtheguilt
4/5  rDev -0.5%

ohtheguilt, Jan 07, 2012
Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale from Highland Brewing
88 out of 100 based on 563 ratings.