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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

507 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 507
Hads: 941
Avg: 3.83
pDev: 16.45%
Wants: 34
Gots: 76 | FT: 1
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:
Beer added by: pezoids on 02-17-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) Alström Bros
Reviews: 507 | Hads: 941
Photo of HopHead84
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

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Photo of BeerMark
3.56/5  rDev -7%
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.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
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).

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Photo of jkrich
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

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Photo of RappAttack
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
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

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Photo of thagr81us
2.56/5  rDev -33.2%
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.

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Photo of dorianmarley
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
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.

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Photo of JednoPivoProsim
3.82/5  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?

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Photo of russwbeck
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

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Photo of bpw28
3.82/5  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.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

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Photo of silentjay
3.7/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a two-toned brown/tan color with amber highlights that produces a short-lived khaki colored head that settles at a thin film.

butterry, toasty, caramelly, butterscotch, with a laid-back hop presence that adds some citrus and a bit of a woody/earthy character.

butter, caramel, toast again out first with a significant bitterness behind that adding some citrus and lots of herbal notes. it stays pleasantly bitter after the swallow until some caramel sweetness kicks back in for the aftertaste.

medium bodied and sticky with just a bit of carbonation.

I was expecting a bit more in the hop department, but overall its a pretty tasty beer. kind of forgettable, however.

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Photo of rangerred
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on cask at Nicholson's in Cincinnati.

Arrived a clear ruby with a small head. Excellent lacing.

The smell was full of floral/citrus hops. Some caramel malt as well.

The flavor is very hop forward. Wonderful citrusy hops dominate throughout with a quite assertive bitterness. Malt notes come in at the end and linger.

This is a great beer and one that I am thrilled I got to try on cask. Will definitely seek out again.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

single finger frothy head without much retention. dark amber in color and clear. some lacing but not much.

lots of herbal and floral hop aroma with a malt backbone.

Very hoppy beer. spicey notes with a semi sweet finish. Nice complexity to the hop character.

Medium to high carbonation and medium body.

Overall a nice beer, a nice strong ESB. One of the better offerings from this brewery,

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Photo of JohnnyChicago
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Brooklyn tulip pint.

A: Pours honey-coloured with a fluffy, off-white head.

S: Rich caramel and brown sugar along with herbal hops and mild citrus.

T: Crisp, refreshing, British session ale flavours combine with sticky american hops and booze. Its a clash of worlds, but it works.

D: I can keep drinking these all night! Nice and tasty, but doesn't slow you down like the ABV would suggest.

Overall: This must've been a tough beer to capture, but Clipper City nailed it! Really tasty, refreshing stuff. One of their best seasonals.

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Photo of Brenden
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer is a thick dark orange-red color. Not too much head develops, a light tan-colored cap that's fairly thin but has some staying power. There may be some issue with how I stored this beer; the look, to me, is unimpressive but above average.
I get most of what I expect from an ESB in the aroma, though it's held down by a strong grains presence. Otherwise, I get the strongly herbal and earthy hops undertones with a strongly leafy element, as well as the dry, bready malts balance. A bit of dark fruits and caramel peek through as it warms. I think I stored this too colds (my fridge's fault, not mine), as plenty more comes out as it sits.
Toasty in the malts with some caramel and an undertone of grains, there's time to transition before a very nicely sturdy hops flavor comes out. This one is all kinds of herbal hops with a big pithy presence in the bitterness. Alcohol is very nicely masked, considering, allowing the beer to warm the face and innards before you realize it. There's a good complexity between the pith, herbal leafy bitterness, dark fruits, caramel, toast and bread (even separate, to a point), orange peel and light notes of citrus zest, and nipping spiciness. This is a finely crafted beer, with plenty of balance to boot.
The body is medium with a light carbonation. Crispness is light up front and a bit of a gentle smoothness picks up. FOr such a delicious beer, I do wish it flowed a little better. It's not flat by any means but does seem to lay down just a bit when it could be more interesting.

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Photo of atlason
3.11/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Growler from Whole Foods poured into tulip.

A: Ample head and great lacing. Dark amber colour.

S: Sweet malts dominate the nose of this dark bitter. Warm nuttiness.

T: Aromatic herbal hops on top of toasted malts. Fairly heavy, light toasted caramel notes. Alcohol is very obvious and a bit of a negative. Slight butter, which is fine in the style.

M: Relatively light mouthfeel due to dryness and strong alcohol. Carbonation is low, which is OK for the dry beer.

Overall it is a bit too bold for a bitter in my book. Still a fairly pleasant winter drink.

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Photo of HoppySeconds27
4.63/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a frosted glass, as one does. Drinking this beer makes me feel like a pirate.

Appearance: Beautiful stuff, dark amber, decent head when poured vigorously with some lacing as I drank. Love the appearance of this one.

Smell: Hoppy, caramel, spice. Wintery aromas. Very appealing.

Taste: I'll be honest, Heavy Seas never blows me away but this one did it in terms of taste and appearance. Taste is its strength, it's got bite, hoppy aftertaste, a bit of spice, caramel tones when you first sip it... Honestly, for the heft of the beer and the complexity, I find myself going back for more. Easy drinking for something this caliber.

Mouthfeel: Smooth at first, lots of residual carbonation and tang.

Overall: Taste says it all, I love this beer. Any shortcoming are made up by the taste and I can't rate this any lower overall without kidding myself.

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Photo of yesyouam
4.31/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Heavy Seas Winter Storm Category 5 Ale is a crystal clear and very sparkling copper ale with a huge, foamy, off white head that has outstanding retention. A sweet grainy bready raisin aroma is kind if muffled by the head. The soft, smooth, full body has a bone dry finish. It's creamy. A spicy bitterness is at the front, first like juniper and then like wood resin. There's a slight baklava sweetness lingering, but the bitterness keeps it opressed. This is a big burly beer. Good stuff.

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Photo of CTraft
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A bold, translucent, dark red color. Hardly any head, but I could see bubbles throughout.

Aroma: A subtle, hoppy aroma.

Taste: Very bitter, very hoppy. The kind of taste I like for a cold winter day.

Mouthfeel: Rather heavy, but refreshing. Just the right amount of carbonation to feel good on the mouth.

Overall: Well crafted. Just what I would expect for an extra special bitter to sip on during a cold winter day locked inside the house. Try it with some dark, smoked meats.

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Photo of GrizzlyBrew
3.21/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - rich amber, brilliantly clear, a whitish head that disappeared almost immediately

S - metallic/minerally character (reminds me of Bombardier, but a little too prominent), some British yeast characters

T - low bitterness with a semi-sweet malt character coating the palate and then a sharp turn towards toffee at the end of the sip; an unexpected twist. That dark, dry caramelized finish is nice, but comes a little too late and fades too quickly. There is also a alcohol sweetness coming through (not heat, but sweet).

M - fine carbonation at a moderate level, but still extremely smooth overall

O - A little too disjointed for me. Some nice characteristics, but they fail to play nicely together and leave me searching too hard for the highlights.

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Photo of SolipsismalCat
3.81/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Reviewed alongside Gritty McDuff's Christmas Ale.

A: Clear red-brown with two-finger, off-white, creamy head that lasted a more than a few minutes. Great lacing.

S: Caramel malt with dark fruit, molasses, and hops.

T: Light sweetness and moderate hop bitterness. Malty, a little bit of fruit, and alcohol.

M: Medium to full bodied with fizzy carbonation. Thick but not so smooth. Alcohol and slight dryness.

O: This beer looked fantastic and had a great nose. Taste was a bit more bitter than I was expecting, and the alcohol is noticeable. Close to a tie between this and Gritty McDuff's.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer appeared a nice reddish brown color, kind of typical of an ESB that produced an oatmeal color head that dissipated into a small thin cap that lasted throughout the beer.

The beer gave off a nice caramel malt aroma with some hints of hops in the background.

The taste of the beer was mostly malty, upfront, with some bitterness at the end. Kind of what I expected from a higher ABV ESB.

The beer had a medium feel, it was smooth and the beer seemed a bit under carbonated, but I suppose that is more typical of the style. Overall, a pretty good beer.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I picked up a bottle of Heavy Seas Winter Storm a couple weeks ago for $1.69 at The Lager Mill. I haven't had any Winter Warmers this season so I thought I would give this one a try and see how it goes, after looking it up I see it's an ESB and not a Winter Warmer, I like ESB's so it's all good but the name led me to think that this was a Winter Warmer. The bottle was notched February 2012. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A- The label on this beer looks ok and it's a little plain, similar to all the smaller format beers from Clipper City. It poured a very dark amber color that is bordering on being brown and it had a half a fingers worth of white head that quickly died down to a very thin ring. The color is nice, but the head is disappointing.

S- The aroma is pretty simple and straight forward. It starts off with loads of sweet caramel malts that are pretty sweet and impart a brown bread aroma along with some caramel and molasses. There is also a light amount of grassy hops. The aroma is all about the malts which have a sweet candy like aroma.

T- Just like the aroma this beer is all about the malts, but it's not nearly as sweet as the aroma lead me to believe. It starts out with loads of caramel malts that had a low amount of sweetness and imparted a very grainy and brown bread like flavor. After that comes the hops which show up more then they did in the aroma but are still pretty light and they impart of mixture of earthy an piney flavors. The finish had a light amount of bitterness to it with a grainy and earthy aftertaste. I would have liked a little less malts and more hops.

M- Smooth, slightly dry, on the light side of being medium bodied and it had a light amount of medium carbonation. A good mouthfeel for an ESB.

Overall I thought this was a pretty average ESB that really didn't interest me that much. The flavor was heavy on the malts, the malt profile wasn't bad, it just needed more hops to balance it out and it needed more bitterness. I could probably drink a couple of these, but the flavor is a little dull and doesn't hold my attention so I doubt I would want to drink more then one. What I liked most about this beer was the mouthfeel, it was pretty spot on for an ESB. What I liked least about this beer was the lack of hops in this beer, the aroma and taste could have benefited from more hops, the malts are just too dominating for an ESB. I don't think I would buy this beer again, I would much rather have Saugatuck's or Short's ESB. If your a big fan of ESB's you may find this beer disappointing, but if you like malty beers this may be worth a try. I haven't had a whole lot of experience with ESB"s but the ones I have had had a much better hop presence and that's where this beer was lacking. This isn't a bad beer but i just didn't do anything for me, it seems like I have much better luck with the mutiny fleet instead of the smaller format bottles. A pretty meh beer and so far my least favorite ESB, I am starting to think that the better beers from Clipper City come in the Mutiny fleet since I have yet to be impressed by their 12oz bottles.

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Photo of troysoy2
3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another style-bending brew for the winter months.
Poured into a pint glass, it's a nice brownish red with gold on the edges. A thin head, but it sticks around for a long time. Lots of tiny bubbles in the body.

The body of the smell is sweet malt. Not light and biscuity, yet nor is it heavy and thick smelling. Very moderate. There's also a hint of hops, and somehow I am reminded of another Clipper City beer, Loose Cannon.

Interesting taste. The bitterness is indeed surprising. Citrus attacks the tongue at first, but over time the malt really comes through to wash away the prickly hoppiness. The malt is kind've tangy in its own way, though, and the finish is a bit drier than you may expect. Mouthfeel is ok. Not watery. Not overly or under-carbonated.

Not your average winter seasonal. I'm not so sure it really gets me in the mood for a winter storm, but in and of itself, it is not a bad beer. Not really as balanced as an ESB typically might be, but it's got an interesting interplay between flavors. Recommended to try at least once!

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Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
86 out of 100 based on 507 ratings.