1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) - Heavy Seas Beer

Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale)
No picture uploaded.
Have one? Upload it now.
very good

787 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 787
Reviews: 491
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 11.46%

Brewed by:
Heavy Seas Beer visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: pezoids on 02-17-2004)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) Alström Bros
Ratings: 787 | Reviews: 491 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Teleweizen2

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - pours a deep mix of ruby red and mahogany brown. Maybe two fingers worth of quickly dissolving tan foam leaves lots of spotty lacing behind.

S - nose is rather muted. I can tease out some grainy bread, sweet cherries and maybe a hint of spicy hop character but not much else.

T - dough and dark bread flavors up front with a molasses sweetness. Notes of ripe cherries with a just a tinge of citrus. Zesty peppery hops excite the back of the palate. Finish is dry with a lingering citrus flavor.

M - medium bodied nearing full with a creamy texture. Medium carbonation.

O - good beer. Having had this beer before I know it has shown better than this bottle.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2013 16:55:43 | More by Teleweizen2
Photo of jlindros


3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a decent fizzy 1/2 finger head that fades slowly, some lacing sticking to it, mostly clear ruby mahogany color.

Nose has some earthy slightly herbal hops, light fruitiness, sweet caramel reddish malts, little candy like malts, hint grassy hops.

Taste starts with sweetness, sweet malts, candy like slightly syrupy rich caramel reddish malts, little nutty even, although that quickly turns to bitterness, quite bitter with earth chewy hops, slightly herbal and very little grassy, hint of pine even, but mostly a chewy hop flavor with a light spiciness. Finish is a bit drier which helps since it was so sweet, long lingering earthy spicy chewy slightly herbal hop profile, hint of candied orange peel as well, and touch of candy malts.

Mouth is med to fuller bodied, decent carb.

Overall OK, but not great. Not my fav style, although this shies away from the over herbal vegetal grassy hops I really don't like in most ESBs. It's quite bitter and a nice malty balance though, although it does get a bit too sweet. But overall done pretty well.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2013 20:36:06 | More by jlindros
Photo of scootny

New York

4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lovely clear rusty color with a light khaki head. Nose is bready with a healthy dose of what smells like Maris Otter malt. A melange of spices to compliment the malt body. Alcohol esters and English fruitiness. Taste is caramel malt sweet with a toasted light and roasted dark grain compliment. Holiday spices abound and flow into the alcohol edge. Big hops show here and give an earthy dry finish that has a good amount of grapefruit. Feel is velvety and lightly chewy. Creamy carbonation makes this on highly drinkable. A superb winter ale!

Serving type: growler

12-31-2012 02:03:04 | More by scootny
Photo of micromaniac129


3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This ESB pours with a copper brown color a small white head and minimal carbs leaving no lacing or perhaps a lighly spotty lacing.
Smells of toffee and bready grains.
Taste is faily malty with some bready grains maybe a hint of spice, I don't know. I pick up some light hops towards the end having a floral aspect but very light.
Drinks smooth with a clean finish.
A good worthy brew.

Serving type: on-tap

12-23-2012 17:58:01 | More by micromaniac129
Photo of barczar


3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear brown amber with a solid half inch beige head that slowly dissipates, leaving lines of lacing.

Butter, toffee, and nutty toasted malt begin the aroma profile, with caramel sweetness and a hint of citrus finishing things off. Minerally, earthy hops emerge late.

Flavor is sweeter than expected. Dark fruits mingle with lightly roasted malt, finishing fairly charred, bitter, and dry. Caramel sweetness is dominated by bitter hops. Booze is fairly assertive. Notes of pine and citrus emerge as it warms.

Body is on the light side, with carbonation on the low side. There's significant alcohol warmth.

Overall, a pretty bitter brew. Sweet initially, then boozy and bitter. The hop character adds a little intrigue.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2012 21:13:22 | More by barczar
Photo of metter98

New York

3.8/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear dark reddish amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high beige head that hardly died down and left a coating of bubbles down the side of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of citrusy hops in the nose along with some hints of fruity yeast. Malts become apparent as the beer warms up.
T: The taste has some flavors of citrus hops like the smell but is maltier with flavors of nuts, toast and sulfur along with a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a bit dry on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This is a pretty good ESB on its own but the use of citrus hops makes it unique compared to other beers in the style.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2012 03:53:05 | More by metter98
Photo of mckenziac

3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams Boston Lager glass. Taken from a Heavy Seas variety pack.

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark brown color with reddish hues. Has a large, fizzy head that dissipates slowly and leaves some spotty lacing.

Smell: Smells strongly of caramel malt with a slight grassy hop aroma.

Taste: Starts off fairly hoppy with some grassy, earthy flavors. Finishes malty with caramel and a strong dose of chocolate malt. Really some interesting combinations with the ESB style.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with a nice carbonation.

Overall: A nice winter interpretation of the ESB style. Definitely well-balanced between earthy hops and caramel/chocolate malts. Certainly something I'd have again and recommend to others.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2012 21:44:15 | More by mckenziac
Photo of CFHMagnet


3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pouring aggressively I got a finger and a half of orangey head. This sat on top of a ruby-copper body and bubbled away over the course of a couple of minutes. Kept a good amount of froth up top and light lacing noted during consumption. Bubbles noted clinging to the side early on, eventually rises and join the atmosphere.

Smell is earthy and malty. Vaguely sweet, it doesn't make a big deal of itself.

Mild malt is the immediate taste, then split seconds later the hops come right in and say "hi." This is a good grapefruit flavor, and it is balanced out by the continued sweet presence of the malt, and some spice.

Beer is medium bodied. It doesn't coat the mouth or tongue. Has a dry finish.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2012 23:10:21 | More by CFHMagnet
Photo of Luigi

North Carolina

4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours out a healthy off whit two finger head, that settles to a blanket of foam still the last drop. There is plenty of lacing sticking to the glass. Has a clear rich amber color with copper highlights.

The aroma is roasted malt, soft bread, and ripe fruit.

Big sweet and toasted malt hits the palate at first. In between, there are toasted bread, plum, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a light ripe citrus from the hop.

Full bodied and slick on the tongue. Has a semi-dry finish with a very tasty medicinal hop lingering of the palate.

Over all I have to say this ESB is delicious . Big malty and spicy flavor with no spice added. I love ESB's and this brew is at the top of my list.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2012 20:07:43 | More by Luigi
Photo of claspada

New Jersey

3.5/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a translucent, dark golden color with a moderate, off-white head that recedes to leave some very thin, lacing.

Aromas begin with well-toasted bready malts with a dash of dried citrus peels, earthy/floral hops and a touch of evergreen. There is a slight alcohol in the background as it warms.

The tastes negom wotj deeply toasted bread crusts and almost a generic table sugary/candy presence. Slight yeasty fruitiness as well with an emerging earthy, zesty, citrusy hop profile with a medium-high bitterness.

The mouthfeel is medium-plus bodied with medium carbonation. Finish is fairly crisp and dry with some lsightly emerging alcohol and hop bitterness.

Overall I really enjoy a high quality ESB but unfortunately this just was not one of them. There is an overly assertive minerally, alcohol dryness that overwhelms the flavor profile. The hops are also too American for the style, comes across as a muddled IPA.

Serving type: on-tap

11-26-2012 21:22:45 | More by claspada
Photo of wvsabbath

West Virginia

3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Brownish tan, slight white head and minor lacing. Looks like a brown ale for sure.

Smell - Hops, caramel malts. Toffee, spices, brown sugar and mollasses. A little bready, grainy.

Taste - A nice bitter malt kick at first. Caramel, mixed with some spices. Then a decent hoppy note at the finish. Some pine and apple flavors, Herbel spices add a peppery flavor. Some booze shows up adding a little heat.

Motuhfeel - SOme bitterness, malts and hops coat tounge. Spices also add more bitter and peppery notes. Hops hit palate with some fruits and bitterness. The aftertaste is bitter, malty and dry.

Overall - Decent, a different kind of winter beer compaired to everything else that comes out. Its Flavorful, and a nice mix of bitter hoppy and sweet malty. Alcohol is minor in each drink. The spices really are strong and stand out. Nice change of pace, worth a drink.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2012 01:36:24 | More by wvsabbath
Photo of Thickfreakness

New York

3.4/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a rich cherry/copper into my DFH glass. A thick and fluffy, tinted head that leaves a ton of chewy lacing as it slowly fades away. Wonderful clarity!

S- Whole grain nut bread, pine needles, cashews, caramel, hay, orange/tangerine peel. Nothing really dominate or over the top, in fact... I'd say lackluster. Even as it warms, nothing really pops out at you. I'm a little dissapointed.

T- Bitter orange peel/pine sap mixed with raw sugar and caramel. Some toasted whole grain bread, wet grass, and lemon-pepper. Dry and citrusy... just a hint of alcohol. Nice, but I was hoping for more than nice. Very drinkable tho!

M- Dry... piney, some bitter citrus and hints of sweetness. Feels a bit flat.

O- A decent sit around the fire fall brew. Flat on the tongue, and nothing very special about this brew. Bitter as it should be, but the nose, taste and mouthfeel are all very underwhelming!

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2012 18:55:20 | More by Thickfreakness
Photo of homebrew311


3.08/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into DFH pint glass. Appearance is a deep reddish amber with desne micro bubbles up top and a coating left behind on the sides of the glass. The aroma skews in the direction of herbal with notes of spruce, pine, and molasses. Taste is pretty sweet with more molasses and spruce. The sweetness doesn't give way to any bitterness and is very sweet all the way to the finish. Not really getting the ESB quality here, this tastes much more like a winter warmer (Which is what the name implies as well). The mouthfeel is smooth and somewhat heavy. Overall, I don't feel that this qualifies as an ESB, and it definitely leans towards the sweet side. I would pass on this.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2012 06:44:53 | More by homebrew311
Photo of BostonHops


3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a pint glass.

pours a deep amber / borderline chestnut tone while yielding a solid 2" creamy tan head. very solid retention and some nice lacing as well. simply a great looking beer. nose is nice if not especially potent. caramel malt leads the way with some hop characters trailing in the background.

taste trends a bit more toward the so-so range IMO. big malt-forward beer with secondary notes of piney hops. not overly complex. reasonably tasty, just nothing fantastic. medium-full bodied mouthfeel with average carbonation.

overall a nice beer; not one i would kill myself trying to get a hold of, but does not disappoint either. moderately enjoyable.

(originally reviewed: 11-30-2011)

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2012 21:52:48 | More by BostonHops
Photo of HopHead84


3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5


A: Amber with good clarity. The head is a finger of slow moving beige foam. Thick sheets of lacing linger on the sides of the glass.

S: Rich malt character, redolent of bread and caramel, with pronounced dark fruit aromatics. Raisin blends with plum, prune, and date. There's a firm sugary sweetness and a touch of alcohol with earthy undertones.

T: Caramel and sweet bready malt with brown sugar and earthy notes. Light toastiness with pervasive prune, plum, and raisin. There's a low bitterness with a light alcohol presence. I get some lightly astringent dark fruit skin in the finish.

M: Upper medium body with lower medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is smooth and sticky with a little alcohol warming.

Overall: I guess it's not really an ESB but it's still a pretty good beer and better than expected.

Serving type: bottle

05-16-2012 03:55:01 | More by HopHead84
Photo of BeerMark


3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Heavy Seas Winter Storm from Heavy Seas Beer is brown in color and has the smell of malt. This one came in a Heavy Seas sampler pack I picked up sometime in March. The taste is sweet with a hop overtone. There is also raisins and molasses in the mix. A good tasting beer to be sure. May be a tad sweet for me.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2012 04:14:43 | More by BeerMark
Photo of Arithmeticus


4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured slightly chilled in ale glass.

A: creamy, thin head; no carbonation; dark caramel color
S: caramel, malty aroma, a bit boozy (but only a bit)
T: very rich, complex, and flavorful; concentrated in the bitter and savory areas of the palate; cinnamon; the flavor lasts long, and it opens up nicely as the temp rises

Very nice, approachable interpretation of the ESB, which I normally can't stand (at least in its macro version found in Europe).

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2012 22:32:18 | More by Arithmeticus
Photo of jkrich


3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a freshness dated 12 oz. bottle: clear, deep red with orange highlights. The foamy off-white head receded slowly leaving small lacing on the glass.

Soft malty sweet and caramel aromas wafted from the bottle along with a slightly pungent, fruity wine-like aroma.

The ale begins with a noticeable sweetness that almost becomes cloying until a dash of hop bitterness gives some balance. Some mild fruity apple-like flavors linger in the mouth. This is not quite as smooth as I like in an ESB, but it is an "imperial" ESB afterall.

The mouthfeel is rather thick and chewy with a slightly resinous feel on the palate. Carbonation is rather subdued.

This is my second product from this Heavy Seas line. Both are good, but a little rough around the edges.

Serving type: bottle

02-04-2012 23:50:36 | More by jkrich
Photo of RappAttack


3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poors an orange color with thin white head
S: malty and earthy
T: sweet malty-ness at the beginning with a nice citrus hop bite at the end, a tiny boozy aftertaste
M: fair amont of carbonation and very refreshing

O: once again clipper city delivers a quality ale at reasonable price

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2012 06:00:05 | More by RappAttack
Photo of thagr81us

South Carolina

2.5/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served from tap into a sampler tumbler. Poured a dark red-orange with a half finger off-white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, caramel, wood, and wheat. The flavor was of sweet malt, nutty, wheat, alcohol, perfume, and bitter hops. It had a light feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall I really wasn't too impressed with this one. There was something about the combination of the flavors going on in this one that really turned it off to my palate. I even let others try it and they agreed that something was off on the flavor of this one that wasn't very palate pleasing. Glad I finally got to tick it, but doubt I will be having it again.

Serving type: on-tap

01-22-2012 23:40:26 | More by thagr81us
Photo of dorianmarley


4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a nice, ruby red with a decent head and OK lacing.

Nose is excellent: a burst of passion fruit with sweet malt. The hops are mild and dense. It is also mildly medicinal.

Taste is very well-balanced between sweet and bitter. The malts are caramelized, and the hops are bold, but not pungent. There is some oak, and medicinal flavors.

Mouthfeel is very drinkable, with low carbonation and a slightly slick finish that is otherwise clean.

Overall, this is a very creative, and effective, approach to a winter beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2012 01:57:05 | More by dorianmarley
Photo of JednoPivoProsim


3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 fl oz bottle into a rounded old fashioned. For brewery-fresh taste, purchase before Mar 12.

Appearance: Pours a dark amber with a decent white head.

Smell: Rich malts - caramel, molasses, and a slight sherry aroma.

Taste: Molasses in a glass. A malt-bomb for sure. Sherry/port wine flavors. Slight hop spiciness tries to sneak through in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Heavy and rich. Mild carbonation.

Overall: Absolutely appropriate as a winter offering. Nothing too inspiring, but a good beer nonetheless. What is an Imperial ESB? A barleywine junior?

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2012 21:23:29 | More by JednoPivoProsim
Photo of russwbeck


3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer pours a deep amber into my Russian River -tion snifter. It's surprisingly clear for how deep the color is, I was expecting some haziness, really impressive. A couple of fingers of white head rise up and leave some pretty nice lacing.

S: Lot of caramel and brown sugar on the smell, maybe even some hops. Sweet and malt forward.

T: Following the smell, the taste is all about caramel and malts, with a very nice hop finish. Some citrus seems to be mixed in as well, all with a really dry finish. Very sweet up front, the hops create a nice balance at the end.

MF: Medium body with a low carbonation. Very dry finish.

O: Easy drinking, good beer. Nothing wrong with it, but I don't think I'd get it again. Not a huge ESB fan.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2012 05:19:29 | More by russwbeck
Photo of bpw28

New Jersey

3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Four finger shaving cream egg shell white head, amazing retention, deep dark amber color, lots of carb, really great lacing.

Smell: Sweet malt, floral hop, light brown sugar, light bread, light whiff of dark fruits.

Taste: Nice full malts, floral, piney hop, fresh dark fruits, light yeast. Nice full and slightly chewy mouthfeel.

Final Thoughts: Very simple but pretty nice. The nose was a little light and the beer itself is more hop forward then what I would consider perfect for a ESB, but on the whole a very simple but good brew. What a great appearance. Worth a buy.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2012 03:49:21 | More by bpw28
Photo of Knapp85


3.7/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured out with a nice looking amber color with a light cream colored head on top. The smell of the beer was malty, it didn't have much of a bitter aroma at all. The taste of the beer was interesting, I felt like I was getting hints of Pine in there. The mouthfeel of the beer was basically normal, not anything that really impressed me on that level. Overall this beer wasn't bad, I think it's one that I'd try again just to give it another go.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2012 02:26:48 | More by Knapp85
Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
86 out of 100 based on 787 ratings.