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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

816 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 816
Reviews: 491
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 31
Gots: 18 | 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: 816 | Reviews: 491 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Westsidethreat
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A dull copper colored brew with ruby highlights and a hazy hue to it. Head is nice with a medium consistency leaving a slick of pinkish tinted bubbles across the top of the body.

S: Pine cones, red cherries, some caramel and toasted grains. Overall not a lot of aroma.

T: Begins with melon across the front of the tongue leading to simple caramel coming next. Carrots and under ripe tomatoes welcome in the dry biscuity maltiness. Spicy hops reminiscent of cinnamon, nutmeg and perhaps coriander add depth. Finishes with over ripe apple and waffle in the center of the tongue with one dimensional bitterness across the sides.

M: Medium body, smooth.

D: This one isn’t bad for an ESB. Good balance which showcases the flavors well.

Westsidethreat, Mar 09, 2007
Photo of kmo1030
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this beer is a nice dark ruby copper, but i can't really get more than a film of a head out of it.
the aroma's got a nice mostly piney somewhat citrusy hop character, with nice round spicy caramel. a little biscuity.
the flavor is real nice, with the same spicy biscuity caramel from the aroma coming through with some good complexity. the hops are oily and piney, prevalent but fairly well balanced. the flavor of this beer is at a great level for a beer to be at, it's got some balls, but there's nothing overdone about it. the alcohol is masked well.
medium bodied with lower carbonation.
good drinkability, nothing overpowers or wears you out. not strictly an ESB by definition, but really quite a well crafted tasty beer.

kmo1030, Feb 28, 2007
Photo of RedHaze
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jhammerly for the bottle.

Pours a dark brown with amber highlight. The head is about a 1/4 inch in height, an fades quickly to a thin cap and ring, leaving behind a nice webbing of lace.

Smell; very nice spicy and citric hops are very dominant, but this also has a nice biscuity malt aroma in the background.

Taste; citric and floral hops are upfront, but do not come off as overpowering. The toasted/biscuity malts do a very good job of balancing out the hop bitterness. Very nice, this is a beer that is good to savor, but would also be good to have a few of in a night.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability; mouthfeel is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation, and a great drinkability. If this were available near me, I would make it a regular in the beer fridge for the winter months.

RedHaze, Feb 20, 2007
Photo of nriech
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nice deep amber color, light head but not completely white. Medium/Light on the lacing.

Smell: Lots of hops. Very fresh too. Very good malt smell also. Tiny bit of alcohol.

Taste: Huge amount of hops at first. A little more than a 60 min IPA but not quite 90. After you get accustomed to that, the malts come out. A little sweet but a good blend of hops and malts. The alcohol isnt very evident. Overall taste is very enjoyable. Mouthfeel was enjoyable, just right.

Overall a very good ESB, one of the best I've tasted. I prefer the extra hops which tasted very fresh.

nriech, Feb 16, 2007
Photo of Big78CJ
3.55/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: This beer poured a nice 1.5' thick creamy looking head atop a dark mahogany beer. The head did not last long though and quickly dissipated to a thin bubbly top.

Smell: Hops are surprisingly prevalent in the odor of this ale. The carbonation carries a malty taste as well. Perhaps because I was recently digging in the garden or maybe because the bottle suggested as much, but I smell Earth.

Taste: The smell did not belie the hoppy presence within but a smooth maltiness keeps this beer from becoming an ESP instead of an ESB. The carbonation does well to bring the flavor on strong and keep it lingering. I don’t notice much of the sweet alcohol I expect from Imperial ales.

Mouthfeel: Perhaps I don’t know much about ESBs (Fuller’s is what I have most experience with) but this does not taste a lot like apale ale or an IPA. However, the malt adds more chewiness to this beer than is present in most pales.

Drinkability: I like the malt in this beer and could easily see it making my winter rounds with Highland’s Cold Mountain. I wonder if they change this recipe annually (anyone know?).

Serving Type: 12oz bottle poured into Koenigs Hoeven goblet

Big78CJ, Feb 02, 2007
Photo of Backer2004
3.4/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Just like the style guidelines, the "imperial?' ESB pours nice dark copper color with very little head and just a tad bit of carbonation. Smells of fresh hops immediately, followed by esters. The malts do not seem to balance the hoppiness to this one. A bit hot, especially since more ESB are much lower in alochol. Warms the belly, but nothing too great.

Backer2004, Feb 02, 2007
Photo of RedChrome
3.45/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear and very light red in color. Frothy half inch head off white head shrunk slowly. A handful of carbonation bubbles rising moderately. Stick lace clung to the sides of the glass.

The aroma has an overall citrus quality with clear hops roots. Very light bread scent from the malt is quickly run over by the hops strength. More bitter then balance.

Same sense of overall bitterness caries from the aroma to the taste. Flavor is less then balanced against an almost non existant malt base. Not exactly a typical beer in the style.

An average thickness sits on the tongue. Low amount of carbonation effect lets this one linger without notice.

Just above average. I would like to pair this one with a pulled pork sandwich. Nothing great to look for in the style, but worth it as part of the mixed pack.

RedChrome, Jan 30, 2007
Photo of MmmIPA
3.05/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear reddish body with a off white head that fell fast.Hops in the nose.Hops are the first taste but the malt keeps them from jumping out at ya.Its a pleasent taste.This stuff is a bit thin but good, im not complaing.I have never had a bad Clipper Seas offering.Its great to taste that the East Coast still has it as far as brewing.Kudos to Clipper Seas.

MmmIPA, Jan 29, 2007
Photo of beermanbrian
3.48/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Brown, bronze color. Nice head that leaves sticky lacing. Minimal carb bubbles but that fits the style. Smell is very pronounced hop bitterness, much more than expected in an ESB. Also some diactyl that creeps in under the ESB. Taste follows suit, the hops dominate and there just isn't enough malt balance. A little thin on the mouthfeel which may explain the lack of balance. Not a terrible beer but it really dosn't fit the style. Almost more of a barleywine than an ESB.

beermanbrian, Jan 29, 2007
Photo of FenwaySquid
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz bottle, BBD of July 2007 notched into the label, poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep brown color, little or no carbonation visible. The had formed a decent2 fingers thick and retained nicely throughout.

Aroma: Bitter hops along with some caramel and coffee.

Taste: Toasted malts overpowered by the hoppy bitterness throughout. The finish is bitter and all hops.

Mouthfeel: A little thin, almost watery if that's possible for a beer this bitter.

Overall: Decent, but needs more balance between the malts and hops.

FenwaySquid, Jan 27, 2007
Photo of Jwaks
3.1/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Two fingers worth of bone white brown head sits atop a translucent dark, cherry-finish colored beer. Moderate lacing clings to the glass above a thnning ring of retained head.

The muted and reticent nose reveals only a hint of malt, some autumnal, nutty scents and floral bitterness.

Pleasant roasted malt flavors are masked by bitterness upon entry eventually becoming dominated by dry floral hop bitters from mid palate to finish.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin and below average and drinkability is just a hair below average due to a high-toned bitter mid-palate.

A commendable attempt at an ESB, but it begs for a bit more balance, body and malts to balance the hop bitters.

Jwaks, Jan 25, 2007
Photo of sacfly
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz, notched APR and 07 at the bottom of the front label “For Brewery Fresh Taste, Purchase Before Month Notched”. Thanks Clipper City.

Thick head of medium to small off white bubbles. Amber/brown color, with particles in suspension. Aroma is of burnt brown sugar and a hint of spice cake. Some piney hops as well. Taste is mostly earthy hops with just enough caramel malt to let you know its there. Aftertaste is a pleasant lingering pine bitterness. Nice beer. Would not guess this is 7.5%. Thanks Hugh!

sacfly, Jan 20, 2007
Photo of Viggo
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on a cold evening after a spirited game of hockey.

Porus a clear copper, some reddish hues, thick off white head forms, sticks nicely, very persistent, looks really good. Smell is sweet, some toffee, nice citrus/floral hops, bit of vanilla and chocolate, some yeast, very nice. Taste is odd, malty caramel, citrus, floral, mint? WTF! Weird astringent minty flavour. Spicy, very interesting, almost tingly mouthfeel. Medium body, low carbonation, alcohol warming, not sure what to think. I like the concept.

Viggo, Jan 20, 2007
Photo of jhammerly
3.65/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice deep amber with a thick off-white head. Retains its head quite nicely leaving lacing along the sides with each sip.

Nose was faint. I couldn't detect much, but some sweetness from the malt peeked through with some citrus from the hops.

A full-bodied beer, but not too heavy. Hops are more dominant than the malt, yet it is a nice ratio. A bit of grapefruit bitterness lingers around a bit. A slight medicinal taste unfortunately lingers as well. This is a very minor flaw. Almost has a barley wine quality to it.

A drinkable beer when consuming a couple in a sitting. Any more would be too much for me.

jhammerly, Jan 20, 2007
Photo of jackorain
4.28/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-Clear dark brown, ruby higlighted when heald up to the light. 3/4 inch thick off white-to tan head with very good retention. As this head settled alittle the stick on the glass s very attactive.

S-Big leafy green hops jump out of the glass, there is a mild almost lemon peel citric not in the hops as well. The malts come in with biscuit and toast as well as some carmel.

T-In the flovor profile, the malts jump right out with noce carmel and toast. Green hops abound with the lemon peel quality as well. The long lingering finish is of malt moving to hop bitterness. Really good.

M-Creamy, oily, perfect carbonation medium body

D-very drinkable for such high alcohol content.

Overall-this is a exceelnet beer. Although it may be hopper than the definition of balanced, for me it strikes a great "balance" of malt to hop. Fine selection, whihc I am sure I will buy myself again

jackorain, Jan 19, 2007
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a dark aged copper body that is crystal clear with a thick creamy head that is light tan but last and last , sticking to the sides when it settles. This beer has a gentle carbonation with no sign of yeast.

S- This beer has a deep green dark hops note with a fresh malt note with some light toasted qualities. The aroma is big with the hop blending nicely with the malt complexity.

T- This beer has a big hops flavor on the first few sips that dominate the flavor. Then the softer sweet pale malt and caramel malt flavors come through with a hint of dry toasted malt in the background. The hops flavors continues dominates the finish nicely.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a creamy texture and a faint alcohol presents that is not really a head but smoothes out the sweetness very nicely.

D- This beer has a big hops that overpower the malts a bit but both are big fresh flavors. This is a strong ESB and the best, and only, Imperial ESB, I have had.

rhoadsrage, Jan 17, 2007
Photo of biegaman
3.93/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Saved for the first snow storm of the year and while today's flurries didn't exactly constitute a 'Category 5' storm, they were enough to make for trecherous driving. I'm very happy to be home tonight after the snow and cold rain made my crossing the city a bit of a nightmare and my trip on the highway more of a skate than a drive.
Some head would persist, even off a very slow pour, although it fades quickly. A nice tawny sienna coloured body. Thin lacing.
Pleasant aroma, brimming with lightly fruity and bitter hops blended with a buttery, bready toffee undercoating. Mouthfeel comes across a little thin as the alcohol isn't outwright detectable, but certainly detracts from the casual quaffability of average bitters. Very little hop bitterness in the mouth, especially surprising considering the bitterness level led on in the aroma. Taste offers a piney, buttery malt, with some definte hop resin. Flavours stay fairly unassertive to the palatte - well blended and tasteful - just a tad unassertive. Too tasteful to be bland, but not quite enough of what I'd ask from anything bearing the moniker 'Imperial' in its name...
I should admit though, I do like the concept of an "Imperial ESB" for these cold, Canadian months and while it failed to really captivate me, it seemed to do the trick all the same...

biegaman, Jan 16, 2007
Photo of Sammy
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Extra malted and hopped ESB that has aroma of alcohol along with a bit of hop and malt aroma, is a bit on thin of mouthfeel and has cloudy orangey colour, but taste pretty good. Very dry finish and aftertaste. Could pass as a bit of a strong ale,more so than an IPA. thanks Dr.Jay.

Sammy, Jan 12, 2007
Photo of chilidog
4.63/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As I read some other reviews as to if this beer hits its proper style, perhaps not so much a bitter, but man does it hit the spot.

For me it poured a full bodied rusty/copper with an impressive tan head that maintained and laced real well.

The aroma of roasted malts, slight hop and alcohol.

The taste had alittle of everything I like in a craft beer. It start off alittle malty sweet from toasted malts that pick up a creamy caramel. Hops come next to balance well and crisp up the beer. At the finish a smooth alcohol makes itself known by a slight warming of the chest and mouthfeel.

For me, one of the best winter beers i've had this year. It has alittle of everything I like in a quality, full bodied beer. Great job!!

chilidog, Jan 09, 2007
Photo of beerphan
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle -> imperial pint
notched best by March O7

Pours a clear rusted amber with a large full head that recedes first to marshmellow mountains than to a blanket of film. Sheets of lace a left with each sip. Carbonation appears slow and steady.

Nose: Great nose. A little piney along with some sweet citrus. fruits and sweet malts dancing in the background. A little alcohol also is present.

Taste: Piney hop goodness with a tinge of alcohol. Some sweet caramel malt before a dry bitter finish. This is a well balanced brew that almost reminds of a DIPA, heck not almost it does.

Mouthfeel is full with just the right amount of carbonation. Drying effect if evident.

I guess i could session this during a long winter storm, although here in PA we're getting pounded by 60 degree weather and rain (ah its early january), well at least this winter storm is still kicking.

beerphan, Jan 06, 2007
Photo of scruffwhor
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich Frangelico amber with some light suspension throughout the whole brew. There is a good one and a half finger head at the start that semi0gradually recedes to and asymetrical film of foam. The arom is of carmalized hops. Not a whole lots of malt for an English style beer. The taste is just as hoppy. I was expecting some more mlaty sweetness and some X-mas flavors as well But alas. This was an ok beer. Glad I tried it. But the palate was a bitter dry.

scruffwhor, Jan 04, 2007
Photo of flexabull
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark clear amber color, good lacing, and a nice looking head on this one as well.

Beer smells like candied fruit, sweet, and of alcohol. Not the aromas I was expecting, but they are nice.

First thing I notice when I sip this one is the nice round and full mouthfeel. Flavor starts quite dry on the front end. Then finishes with a creamy oak quality and bitter hop bite.

This is definitely an American version of the ESB. But it is quite tasty, and drinkable. A bit too sturdy and high in the ABV to be a session brew, but this is a pretty nice one to sip. I certainly enjoyed it.

Bottle courtesy of Aprilluvsbeer.

flexabull, Jan 04, 2007
Photo of abcsofbeer
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am a fan of the ESB and this one does not disappoint. Pours from a bottle with a Apr '07 drink by date. The color is a nice ruby red color that is clear with ample carbonation. It is topped by an off-white frothy head that leaves very nice, thick rings of lace from its excellent retention.

The aroma is a hoppy, pine scented smell with ample citrus oil notes.

The taste is pretty hoppy for the style. The leafy taste is at times a little metallic, but, not in a bad way.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and flavorful.

abcsofbeer, Jan 01, 2007
Photo of wcudwight
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm drinking this hoping for a decent Winter Storm here in NC this winter.
Pours a nice ruby/amber in color with a 1/4" sticky white head that recedes to a film around the top. Lot's of sticky lacing.
Not much going on in the nose. Earthy, pine and citrus, but all aromas are mild.
As I sip this I'm trying to figure out if this is a humble DIPA, or an egotistical IPA. According to the label it's a really obnoxious ESB. Either way it is a good beer. Nice balance between the malts and hops. Full of caramel sweetness. Hoppy in the finish. Pine, citrus hops. Nothing real exciting but good never the less.
Mouthfeel is medium to full. Sticky and the hops have more zing in the mouthfeel than they do in the flavor.
Good beer that I could drink a few of.
Thanks to Enola for the bottle.

wcudwight, Dec 29, 2006
Photo of mntlover
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice copper color with small bubbles rising to a small tan head that falls leaving some sparse lace.

Aroma is nice malty caramel, fruity like apple cider mixed with hints of spice and earthy hops.

Taste is malty, light fruitiness with carbonation bringing out some earthy hops and light spice. Finish is more lingering hops citrusy in nature that seems to stick around a while. Vanilla hints mixed in with light spices.

Mouthfeel is a good medium nice level of carbonation middle of the road here.

Drinkability is ok not a bad ale decent flavors but not something I would purchase for myself but again not bad. One beer that my score doesn't seem to make sense. Thanks go to Enola for this sample.

mntlover, Dec 29, 2006
Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
86 out of 100 based on 816 ratings.