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

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Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale)
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very good

804 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 804
Reviews: 491
rAvg: 3.83
pDev: 11.49%
Wants: 31
Gots: 17 | FT: 0
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:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) Alström Bros
Ratings: 804 | Reviews: 491 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Shumista
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single of this to give it a try, I tend to like winter seasonals. Poured from a 12 oz bottle into my pint glass.

A- Clear copper amber, small off white head.
S- Toasted malt, spice, light hops. Has an earthiness to it.
T- More bitter than I expected from the aroma. Nice balance of toasted malts with earthy hops. Lingering dry, bitter aftertaste.
M- Medium bodied.
D- Pretty good. I might get a little bit bored with it after a few...or maybe just full.

Shumista, Jan 04, 2010
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

Hazed red/amber color with a thin beige head that stayed as a ring leaving thin trails of lacing.
Smell is earthy hops and pale malt.
Taste is a good balance of malty flavors and bitterness from the hops which lead to a dry, bitter finish.
Medium bodied with mild carbonation.
Easy drinking brew.

JoeyBeerBelly, Jan 02, 2010
Photo of Durge
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours a dark but clear mahogany color with a modest off-white head and good lacing. The aroma is a solidly bitter swampy malt and citrus hop. The flavor jumps out with lots of malty pumkin spice, a little bayberry fruitiness. It mellows nicely and provides a smooth mid-bodied feel with a very tiny bubbled but lively carbonation. It grows on you, full of dark coffee/kahlua and holiday accents that blend into a satisfying libation to usher in the holidays with aplumb. Drinkable enough too!

Durge, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of FatSean
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Imperial interpretations of (relatively) mild style appeal.

Appearance is a rich golden/ruby color with a thin but tenacious head. The neck label mentioned yeast sediment but it looks remarkably clear.

Smell gives hints towards the imperial nature of this brew.

Taste is impressive. Strong malts with hops not far behind. A rather syrupy finish seems somewhat out of place, but is not too troublesome. Tends to a bit of alcohol when warming...I prefer this beer a bit colder than cellar temperature.

Mild carbonation, if any, was noted. This is not a problem. Fizzy at first, then well rounded. Very pleasant.

Drinkability is good. Perhaps I'm not used to an Imperial ESB, but the finishing flavers tended to accumulate on the palate. Good enough to try a second bottle after the first, but nearing the end of the second bottle I decided I did not care for another.

I would buy this again and would recommend it to almost anyone. Very accessible.

FatSean, Dec 26, 2009
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle - $1.79 at Hop City in Atlanta, Georgia. Purchase Before: February 2010.

Appearance: Pours out a translucent, darkened amber body with a finger-high, off-white head. Very thin, very sheer lacing on the way down.

Smell: Well-toasted malts seasoned with sugar and spice and a small dash of dried citrus peels, with just hint of alcohol in the background.

Taste: Malt profile tasting of deeply toasted and subsequently crushed bread crusts sweetened with a generous mixture of both brown sugar and common, ordinary, everyday table sugar. Slight fruitiness. Earthy, zesty, citrusy hop profile with a medium-high bitterness. The initial sweet, sugary quality comes straight back into the taste alongside the persistent bitterness for a bittersweet, lightly crisp finish at the end.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: It's alright, I suppose. It's sweet, it's got ample bitterness, and alcohol (though thankfully not anymore than it does). Personally, I've never been overly enamored with the Heavy Seas line-up, but you could certainly do alot worse than this.

ChainGangGuy, Dec 25, 2009
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Comes out of the tap a warm translucent coppery amber with a fine, coppery-tan head Aroma is strong, spicy, malty and slightly hoppy. Flavor is rich, malty and spicy with an undertone of hops that is only slightly bitter. Texture is sharp, lively, sassy and tingly and leaves a hoppy-bitter and spicy finish.

Cyberkedi, Dec 23, 2009
Photo of DurtyUI
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Strikingly rich sunset burnt sienna in colour, she is absolutely stunning in a tall pilsner glass, only lacking in any resemblance of a frothy head or even tantalizing legs... Yet still, I couldn't wait to wrap my lips around this winter ale.

A deep sensual and earthy smell indicative of the bitter hops that linger on the edges of my tongue as I inhale her indecent proposal.

Small bubbles rise slowly to the top and barely break the surface, she pours almost flat... and yet still gently teases the tongue.

Deep hearty flavours mingle nicely to keep this beer worthy of it's Winter qualities and title.

I wouldn't buy a 6-pack but it's nice to have a chance encounter.

DurtyUI, Dec 16, 2009
Photo of kimcgolf
3.28/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Poured to a brownish orange with medium off-white head and some lacing. Nose was very hard to detect and the mouthfeel was slightly on the thin side. Taste tried to bring out some caramel hints, as well as a touch of hoppy fruit, but didn't exceed well. At 7.3% abv, I would have expected either a whiff or taste of alcohol, but got neither. Not surprisingly, finish was somewhat on the short and watery side. Have realoly enjoyed the others I've had from Clipper City...this one just missed the mark slightly.

kimcgolf, Dec 13, 2009
Photo of justincolts
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Very good amber looking ale, thin head, doesn't stay around very long. Action for long after it is poured. Nothing to fault in terms of appearance.

Smell- Nothing offensive to be sure. Just mostly a bitty of a hop filled smell, nothing else really jumps out at me.

Taste- Certainly a good taste. A bit of a hoppy taste, with good flavoring. Certainly an appealing taste going on here. Maybe a bit of caramel, seasonal flavoring going on.

Mouthfeel- Certainly a nice mouthfeel, good consistency, good stature

Drinkability- Actually pretty good drinkability, smooth, and at 7.5 abv is certainly impressive.

justincolts, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of Morey
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a somewhat hazy copper-orange color (when held up to the light). Lots of bubbles following a medium pour...some big..some small..leaving a nice lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell is a good mix of hops and malts. Nothing crazy, but a nice aroma never the less.

Taste: This beer has a very pleasent bitterness, but it rounds out nicely into some earthy flavors on the back end for a somewhat smooth finish with some lingering hop flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium with a good amount of stickiness from the hops. I like where the carbonation is on this beer...just enough.

I could definitely drink a few of these, but the alcohol would start to catch up to me after that.

Morey's Bottom Line: I like this beer a whole lot. Not necessarily ground breaking, but it's darn good. This and Loose Cannon are my favorites from Clipper City although I've yet to try the Barleywine.

If you like Southern Tier Old Man Winter, then I highly reccomend this beer. Very similar in style and taste.

Morey, Dec 10, 2009
Photo of rapidsequence
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, last of my six pack. Bought at a Total Wine in NoVA.

Appearance: Despite all 6 attempts, I can't even rough pour a decent head into this beer. I get a thin rim that rapidly dissappears. The beer is not flat, but there's no head (this is not my glass, its happened six times to this beer, and none to any other beers). Interestingly, it laces pretty nicely. The color is a nice, clear, dark amber.

Smell: Mmmm. Pretty hoppy. Dry grassy hops and some citrusy notes too. There's a little sweetish caramelly toastiness too. Thats a good smelling ESB.

Taste: Hoppy upfront with grassy, earthiness and a little grapefruity bite for just second in the middle. The finish is sweet and toasty with a little hint of fruit. After you swallow, there's another touch of bitterness in the finish. This is tasty and nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel: Its about right. Carbonation is lowish, but not low. Good.

Drinkability: I'm glad I bought this beer. Its a tasty, well balanced, easy drinking beer with a sneaky 7.5% abv. Good stuff.

rapidsequence, Dec 09, 2009
Photo of tanousa
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Beautiful amber color with small head. medium body. Hints of citrus and honey.

S: Smell of caramel, citrus , pine and honey .

T: Taste is wonderful , paired with pork and worked great.
M: Medium body, well carbonated

D: A nice mouthfeel and taste combination. Enjoyed this beer , drinkability is good , could have a couple more tonight.7.5 % alcohol very nicely masked here.

tanousa, Nov 25, 2009
Photo of Daniellobo
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rich winter warmer with a tasty malty range on a cask serving.

Presentation: 12 oz cask offering. Short description noting main characteristic of the style and brew, menu also notes Alc. by Vol (7.3%) Served in a pint shaker glass.

A - Hazy brown pour with a rich creamy head, good retention and nice lacing.

S - There is a rich malty sweet range with a caramel hint, a bit too subtle.

T - Taste follows with a roasted malt sweetness and a nice hoppy balanced bite that picks up the malt at the end again

M - Medium body to full body with hints of the second cask carbonation, nice thick texture and finish.

D - Works rather nicely on cask, very drinkable.

Notes: Imperial ESB or not, this is a rather nice malty brew with a nice hop counterbalance. The cask profile gives it quite a nice character.

Daniellobo, Nov 24, 2009
Photo of CupcakeNY
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a bright copper color with a thin spattering of off white bubbles on top. Some frothy lacing clings to the side of the glass.

S: Very light fruity esters, lots of lightly toasted bread, and a very light hint of alcohol.

T: Lots of toasted bread up front mingling with a lot of flowery hop flavor, the middle has a more aggressive toasty caramel flavor, and the finish has a pretty grassy and herbal hop flavor. Starts out like imperial ESB, finishes like a west coast IPA.

M: Dry, crisp, bitter, medium bodied, astringent.

D: I actually like this beer a lot, nice Americanization of a classic British style.

CupcakeNY, Nov 21, 2009
Photo of GoalieRon33
3.15/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

a- pretty beer...dark orangish brown with some red mixed in. decently clear, fun to look at.

s- not much here. Some hops, some malt, but overall, nothing great with the smell

t- decent maltiness with a some hop finish. Heavier alcohol is definately noticeable with a slight metallic flavor

m- not bad, but not great either. A little thin for me, considering it's a winter beer

d- Easy to drink, with mellow flavors. This beer goes down easy, even though it may be lacking in some other catagories

GoalieRon33, Nov 21, 2009
Photo of Gmann
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a blood orange color, hazy, with a rather small tight cream colored head. The aroma is bready, some pepper, and a muted citrus hop. Fairly large honey malt presence in the taste, bready, very light pepper and a grassy slightly piney hop. Has a bit of a funk taste from the yeast. Funk as in off, not farmhouse. Kind of like a buttery apricot flavor. Moderate feel, bordering on full, soft carbonation; sweet overall but finishes with a slight bitter twang. A so so brew, decent flavors but some odd flavors as well. They seem to go with a imperial ESB which seems counter to the style. Why take a lighter style brew and imperialize it. I don't get this. Imperial pils, ESB, Helles??? Why? Imperial Bud Light here we come.

Gmann, Nov 21, 2009
Photo of glid02
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cask at Aroma's in Athens.

Pours a hazy light brown color with a 1.5-finger, large-bubbled light tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of lightly toasted caramel malts with large amounts of citrus and lighter amounts of pine. The nose in this is very good though purists will likely disagree.

Tastes good. Light caramel malt flavors have a tinge of nuttiness and hold more sway than they did in the aroma. The malt flavors are soon joined by pine and citrus hop flavors that carry through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a solid thickness with soft carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall I very much enjoyed this beer. While much hoppier than classic ESB's I think the hops worked in this beer's favor and the malt profile itself is nothing to sneeze at. Well worth a shot.

glid02, Nov 20, 2009
Photo of manahansf
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear ruby red color with a creamy off white head. The head dissipates fast but gives off a light hoppy aroma with hints of alcohol. The flavor begins with sweet, semi-tart, maltyness and transitions smoothly into a tart hoppy flavor. Well balanced. This brew has a light body with moderate carbonation and the finish fades into a slight alcohol taste. As the flavor fades away, a tart after taste remains.

manahansf, Nov 19, 2009
Photo of scottyshades
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a transparent amber color that gives way to a tiny, white cap of foam that retains for a minute, then recedes away into a minuscule ring. Lacing is decent.

S: Soft fruit, earthy hops, and a bready malty backbone make this one of the most balanced noses I've come across. Pretty good. Its like a subtle version of Sweetwater IPA. The tropical fruits (pineapple, mango) along with apricot makes for an interesting aroma.

T: Similar to the nose, except a lot less balanced somehow...Slightly bitter, the hops are much more dominant than the nose predicted. Resiny, earthy, and pungent hops are only partially balanced by the weaker malt backbone. The fruit character also seems to have been a nose-only character.

MF/D: Good carbonation, a little rough and unrefined going down, bitter hop finish.

scottyshades, Nov 19, 2009
Photo of beerman207
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've become a fan of Heavy Seas ever since visiting Baltimore. They will never have a beer that blows you away but each offering is solid based on the pricepoint.

A: Caramel color with a decent head that leaves a skim lacing on the glass

S: Smells of sweet malt, dark fruit, and some hops.

T: Hops are in there in the front as well as some sweet malt.

M: Medium Body

D: Very high. The alcohol is well masked. I could go for another.

beerman207, Nov 15, 2009
Photo of ToasterChef
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served from a cellar temperature bottle into a pint glass. The beer has a dark copper color, almost brown. There was about a finger of tan bubbles when first poured that quickly dissipated. There is a strong hop presence in the aroma; it evokes grass and caramel. It's quite pleasant. When you first taste the beer you're greeted by a smooth maltiness. This quickly gives way to bitter hops. The bitterness lingers on after you swallow and evolves to a slightly burnt flavor. It's complex and interesting. The beer has a fuller body than I expected; it really coats your mouth. There's also more carbonation than I thought there would be. I find the Winter Storm to be very drinkable. It isn't a beer I'd want to drink quickly, but it has some great characteristics that make me think I could slowly enjoy a number of bottles over the course of an evening.

ToasterChef, Nov 14, 2009
Photo of endincolorado
4.22/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Clear, deep copper with light, foamy, off-white head and lots of nice lacing.

Smell- Fragrant, piney/floral hop character. Toasty caramel-malt to balance.

Taste- Lots of citrusy hops in foreground, with notes of pine and orange peel. Caramel and toasted malt to balance. Refreshing.

Mouthfeel- Medium body-- not too heavy or too light. Good amount of carbonation.

Drinkability- Greatly refreshing, but also a good brew for cold weather (thanks to some nice malt flavors).

endincolorado, Nov 10, 2009
Photo of thespaceman
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass:

Appearance: Pours a beautiful amber in color, nice size head slowly builds and stays firm. Soapy lacing sticks inside the glass. Very good head retention.

Smell: I get a strong aroma of some spice up front, a complex hop profile is evident, very earth like with a hint of citrus. Hints of caramel malt pop up in the backround and really balances out the aromas nicely.

Taste: A good balance of hops and malt up front, lots of bread-like malt up front, this leads into some bitter hoppiness and some spices. Caramel malt backbone is reserved yet very smooth. Finishes off with some more malt spice and a touch of alcohol

Mouthfeel: Bitterness is the key here, good carbonation, nice smooth, velvety feeling on the tongue.

Drinkability: A very good ESB to have on a cold winter night. Very drinkable besides the 7.5% ABV, but the hints of spiciness paired with the good balance of hoppiness and malt is a key factor in this beer's complexity. Definetley a beer I'll be having more of this winter.

thespaceman, Nov 06, 2009
Photo of kshankar
3.6/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an amber color. Lacing is decent

aroma is caramel, malts and some hops

Taste is the malts at first..then a nice bitter finish from the hops

Mouthfeel is light to medium with good carbonation

Tastes fine, mouthfeel is all good. Drinkable. Give it a try

kshankar, Nov 06, 2009
Photo of BeerisfoodLLC
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass from my keggerator:

A - Dark amber color, decent rich head that laces nicely.

S - Malt and hop smells are evident here. Balanced smells.

T - Bitter hops blend nicely with the strong malt backbone. Some type of spice is evident as well. Well balanced and the ABV is hardly noticable.

M - Medium to heavy bodied, well carbonated.

D - If you like bitter ales, then you will find this very drinkable for this style.

BeerisfoodLLC, Nov 05, 2009
Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
86 out of 100 based on 804 ratings.