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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

904 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 904
Reviews: 508
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.37%
Wants: 33
Gots: 53 | 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:
Beer added by: pezoids on 02-17-2004

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 904 | Reviews: 508 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of orcasteve
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a redish color with a large tan head that fades to a thin white lacing over the entire top, the smell is big red malt and not to be out done some hops hit my nose, the taste at first is carmel malt, dry bread and the start of the hops, the midle is the malt and hops ballincang equaly with each outher and the end flavor is a strong pine tar tipe taste, i dont know much about the stile but i like this one for sure

Photo of cjgator3
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle

A- Pours a copper color with an off-white head that leaves a good amount of lace.

S- There's a lot of malt in the aroma, along with some caramel and piney hops. I love hoppy Winter Ales, so this should be a treat.

T- The taste like the aroma benefits from a big malt backbone and a good amount of hop bitterness in the finish. Neither the hops nor the malt outshine each other in this one, it is very nicely balanced.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Pretty solid drinker, the alcohol is definitely present but it drinks pretty well. Overall, Winter Storm is a pretty solid Winter Seasonal that I wouldn't mind revisiting.

Photo of Onenote81
3.13/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep ruby with barely any amount of head. Little spotty lacing. Smells of citrus and malt. Some slight alcohol scent wafting out.

Taste of alcohol and some citrus notes. Deep bitter aftertaste. Some licorice and dark fruit flavors. Gets better as it warms. Not too bad. Moutfeel is nice and crisp due to a decent amount of carbonation. Not a bad ESB. But wouldn't drink a ton of these due to the ABV.

Photo of Dodo2step
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P- Market Cross Pub in Carlisle.

A- pours a nice clear ruby amber color with a nice head that leaves a spot lacing on my glass.

S- alcohol and strong floral hops come to the forefront. It is rounded out with a piney and citrus aroma as well.

T- A strong dry grapefruit and piney flavor. Quite hoppy and somewhat malty. they dont balance each other out very well. Very dry tangy flavor.

M- dry and bitter. not very smooth or creamy. A tart and bitter coating in the mouth.

D- I like ESB's but this one isnt as good as some of the others. It is decent but i have had better. It can be hard to put more than 2 of these down.


Photo of aubuc1
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle in to a tulip.

pours a clear brown with an offwhite two finger head.

Cascade smell of citrus and pine yet a nice malt match. Very nice.

First blush is hops, then the smooth malts take over. different than anticipated. Not like other ESB's, but better in my opinion.

Mouthfeel is a little thin, and the hoppiness and abv make it a little less drinkable than your typical esb, but the taste more than makes up for it. Another solid beer from the Heavy seas line.

Photo of kinger
3.86/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Yargh this here beauty is chock full of goodness. Friendly aroma not overpowering which looses a point or so with me, somewhat typical hop nose. Amazing pour, color is a very dark copper almost brown. Big fluffy tan head that has no intention of leaving. lots of stringy lacing cascading down as the beer is drunk. Mouthfeel is nice easy quenching and smooth nothing outstanding. Flavor is warming and refreshing at the same time. Hearty hop presence more bitter and citrus than evergreen. Thick malt content very surprising. A little bit of caramel is detected. Overall unexpected and absolutely enjoyable. Yargh!

Photo of RobH
3.26/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. brown bottle

I've taken to the ESB style lately so I went into this one with high anticipation.

It came up short for me compared with Anderson Valley ESB, Redhook ESB, and others.

In terms of delivering on aroma and taste this one seemed as though it is about 2/5 to 3/5 of the above mentioned beers.


Photo of Clydesdale
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a barely cloudy amber-copper with a smallish, off-white head. Lacing is solid.

S: Caramel malt, some floral/earthy hops. A bit of vague fruitiness, perhaps raisins.

T: Big roasted caramel malts, with a solid punch of floral and earthy hop bitterness. Some ephemeral spice flavors, probably cinnamon, and some dark fruit. Again, raisin seems closest. A vaguely woody alcohol flavor is noticeable as the beer warms.

M: Body is on the full side, with aggressive carbonation. Smooth and spicy, with a drying, alcoholic bite.

D: I like this one. It's kind of quirky and interesting, and it's rather drinkable considering the ABV and the fairly bold hops. Not something you'd session, but I enjoyed it a lot.

Photo of avalon07
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had an amber color and a slightly cloudy consistency. Not a whole lot of head, but some OK lacing.

S: Very malty smell, along with some inderminate spices.

T: An interesting taste. Malt, cinnamon and other spices, as well as a nutty quality. Not what I expected, but welcome nonetheless.

M: A pretty vibrant amount of carbonation and a dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: This is one of the better American ESBs I've tried. It has lots of character and a well made taste.

Photo of adamette
3.66/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from cask at Buckeye Beer Engine in Lakewood, Ohio a few hours ago.

A Deep brown body below a milky, silky smooth cool whip smooth head which was very cool indeed.

S Hoppy but not to any extreme.

T Reminded me greatly of a Barleywine that I recently tasted (Sierra Nevada Big Foot) but not as bitter and unforgiving as the Big Foot.

M Full for sure but so smoooth (was that thanks to the casking?)

D Not good due to high ABV, bitterness.

Notes: This is my first reviewed cask beer and I loved the presentation and mouthfeel of this beer I believe due to the fact that it was from a cask. Very cool and I think that it really enhanced the beer.

Photo of beerthulhu
3.82/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Imperial ESB.

A: Poured a dark amber with a thin off white head that quickly faded.

S: dark caramelized malting with a moderate hop bitterness and dry earthy aroma.

T: The flavor was very malty and warm roasted with a big sweetness coming from the grain bill. The palate was hearty with some dry caramel, biscuit bread and spicy alcohol fusels (dry cinnamon, nutmeg). Overall was a tad sweet and lacked the big bitterness per style but it did leave a decent lingering hop bitterness but not enough to balance out the sweet malt or justify it as an imperial.

M: lively and highly carbonated with a slight stickiness and creamy, smooth texture.

D: Overall a tad sweet for mulitiples along with the high ABV but was generally a good experience by itself and six pack worthy for future drinkings.

Photo of Oxymoron
3.2/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Summer time winter storm? Pours a darker copper color with some minor haze but still clear. A good pour leaves ample head but does quickly dissipate over time. Limited lacing as well.

The nose is has more of a winter warmer aroma than an ESB. Some sweeter malty aromas up front with noticeable bready and caramel notes. There are some very noticeable spice notes as well, with a touch a cinnamon, pepper and figs. Some honey/molasses. Noticeable yeasty notes and some solvent character. Some herbal hop aroma with some minor oxidation.

The taste is similar. The malt comes out sweet with more caramel and spice notes. The some minor bready with a hint of metallic that is a bit off. Emphasis a more peppery taste. The hops are one dimensional with a strong bitterness with some bite. Leaves the beer too sweet. The alcohol is more noticeable as is the oxidation/card board notes. There is a light woody, vanilla in the end but hard to pick out from the sweetness.

The body is moderate full but hard to pick out from the sweet finish. Overall this is too much for an ESB and with the spice characteristics I can't see how this is an ESB.

Photo of RoBotGod
3.18/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I think I may have drank this beer a little late in the season. Everything looks good from the pour. Smells like a good ale and it looks a little cloudy. Up front the beer taste good with a notable amount of good malt and hop balance. The finish is a bit off though. I'm not sure if its the yeast giving off an odd tone at the end. I get a sweaty sock taste at the end, almost reminds me of bad tap water. It not so bad that the beer is undrinkable but doesn't make me want to drink 6 of them.

Photo of cfriend2
4.65/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This one pours a deep copper color under a beautifully thick and full head. Great lacing. Strong aroma of hops and alcohol, some citrus and caramel in the nose as well. Great taste: grassy hops balanced very well with a nice amount of bitterness, some malt sweetness, and a hint of alcohol, but not too much. A citrusy and lightly bitter aftertaste. Nice full mouthfeel. Would definitely have another.

Photo of cvstrickland
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle with a notched 'best before date' that was last month, poured into a tulip, yields a sparkling clear, sexy, glowing red-gold body crowned with two fingers of sticky white foam. Lacing commences immediately as the head draws to a finger that retains nicely, and continues all the way down the glass.

Smells richly grassy and grainy; earthy, with sweet floral honey and a citrus character and a rich, tangy, smoky caramelized fruity sweetness, like char-grilled pineapple, lurking.

Taste is kickass and complex; the "aging" did this beer well; buttered caramel flavor/feel with candied lemon rind, the sniffed grilled pineapple, and molasses, rich and mature, dried by an earthy, gritty finish.

Lucky to find this on a local grocer's shelf. 5.99 for the six. "Out of date", my ass! Awesome!

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.37/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an orangey (black and orangey?) copper with a thin but persistent ivory head. Some light lacing.

Lots of big citrusy hops in the nose buoyed by bready malt aromas.

The first sips reveal big hops but this beer is not just a hops delivery vehicle. Although it does that quite well. It's strangely balanced with the sweet and considerable bready malt profile. Bitter herbal and citrusy hops dominate the finish and aftertaste. Their website says they use American and English hops and I believe it. Not sure I've ever tasted this combination of hops working in such balance before.

Photo of CrellMoset
4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: A deep, coppery beer, the body is fairly hazy. A mildly aggressive pour only yields a three-quarters-of-a-finger head, somewhat of a disappointment. The lacing is gorgeous through - rings race around the glass laterally, and stalactite-esque formations drop sporadically from each. Carbonation is mild and lazy. Looks thick.

Aroma: A sweet, bready caramel note hits in the first wave and mingles well with some lighter earthy hops. There's also a light alcohol smell in the background. Most of the aromas, however, are of bitter, herbal, woody hops - maybe Centennial or Magnum? It's a pleasant, if heavy, mixture, very forest-like. Sort of smells like a big, sweet, bitter Christmas tree.

Taste: A strong but balanced beer. A great deal of spicy bitterness, minty, woody, and piney esters, and a few light citrus notes are balanced by a very sweet but lightly toasted malt palette. It's what you'd expect from the nose, if you think about it, but it's not a carbon copy of all the sensations. Alcohol isn't very noticeable.

Mouthfeel: Rough up front, but it smooths out as you go into the sip, so it's well carbonated in the body, which I guess is what's important. Pretty creamy overall, dry, a little tingly, and medium-bodied. Despite being fairly sweet, it's not cloying, nor does it leave a film or an aftertaste.

Drinkability: Great. I always feel like the "drinkability" category shouldn't be higher than any of the other individual categories, but this beer is a good example of the whole being better than the sum of its parts. Nothing is out of place here, and although it's a little alcoholic (7.25% abv), the whole package just works so well together. Good job Clipper City.

A good, standard ESB. There is a strong, sweet, pronounced, and toasty malt presence in this beer, and it's aggressively balanced by a lot of juniper and woody hop notes. There's not much of anything going on in terms of spices or darker fruits, and the alcohol isn't ... well, it isn't "warming," so it's not terribly festive, but it's still good for what it is.

Photo of MrMonkey
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber with a small amount of carbonation and a half inch creamy, light tan head. Leaves thick sticky lacing as it slowly recedes to a frothy cap.

Smells of sweet caramel malts and some red fruits (plums and cherries, maybe) with some earthy, floral hops.

Taste is sweet bready (almost sourdough) caramel malts with fruity undertones, that lead into some earthy citrus hop flavors that end with a slightly bitter, dry finish. Very well balanced.

Medium-bodied, fairly creamy mouthfeel.

Easily drinkable. The alcohol is well hidden and it goes down smoothly.

Photo of ffejherb
3.67/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle into DFH specialty pint glass on 3/31/08

A - Deep amber body with rich ruby tones and slim but bubbly off-white head that quickly receded into a patchy film that left some decent lacing around the glass. Sparse amount of active carbonation present.

S - Spicy nose with rich caramel malts and plenty of earthy, flowery hops. Just a touch of alcohol as well.

T - This one drinks like a hopped up ESB with a blend of spices and sweet malts paired with a complex hop flavor that evokes citrus fruits, flowers and perfume. Finish is rather dark and earthy with a sturdy malt backbone that keeps the moderate bitterness in check.

M - Medium body with oily texture and fairly soft carbonation. Slight burnt finish with a moderate hop bite on the tongue that lingers for a while. Alcohol is somewhat noticeable.

D - Another tasty big beer from Clipper City. Pretty bold with a complex hop profile. Finish is just a tad astringent, but nothing that really affects the overall enjoyment of the brew.

Photo of Pencible
4.14/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This poured a clear reddish brown with off-white head. Its smell was a good malt and hops blend, and it had the solid taste of a quality IPA that I haven't had in a while. Its flavor was dominated by bitter hops but somewhat balanced by malt. I didn't sense any winter spices, however. It was thick and smooth with a nice aftertaste that was noticeable but not too strong. Overall this was a really tasty IPA, but too "standard" to call it a winter brew.

Photo of baos
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From scribbled notes. Just what do you say scribbled notes?

A: Not bad. Decent lacing. Quite a bit of sediment in there. On a good pour none reaches me glass laddy. Nice copper color.

S: Nice floral hops. Orange liqueur.

T: Orange zest-beeswax. Spicy and very nice.

M: Light to medium bodied.

D: I wrote 3.5. I remember buying this beer from a place I'd gotten several bad beers that had orange stickers on them. This one had an orange sticker, so I let it linger in the fridge for several weeks maybe several months. Well I was out of beer one night and I gently poured it and go get em dudes it was A mo fuckin ok!

Photo of errantnight
4.35/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An excellent, excellent beer.

But first, Imperial ESB... wtf? Because it's .5% over the generally listed style guidlines for an ESB? It's not the only place where this beer deviates from what I'd expect from an ESB... but I'm not going to deduct points for that... beers this good shouldn't be docked for daring to go beyond the pre-existing style guidelines, even if they give themselves silly style classifications that don't fit.

Pours a rich, radiant pale ruby/copper with reasonable head, good lacing all the way down.

Smells strongly of American hops, sweet and citrus, floral (roses). Malty, and perhaps just a bit of English yeast ester around the edges, which blends seemlessly into the hop profile.

Tastes... well, it tastes like an American IPA with the bitterness tamed down to virtually nothing, and the hops reigned in to a perfect balance with the malt. Not a strong, bready, biscuit-y, earthy malt profile like you might expect from a strong ESB, rather, a subtle, smooth malty sweetness redolent of caramel, juicy fruit, oranges. Finishes clean without being dry. Not too rich.

Body is excellent, carbonation helps lift the flavors, but is relatively low, creamy, and smooth.

Pour me another! Now!

Photo of wagenvolks
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first "Imperial ESB" -- 12 oz. bottle (purchase by Feb'08) into a pint glass.

An aggressive pour produces a thin khaki head that recedes slowly to a rocky patch of foam. Listless bubbles rise up through a syrupy-looking, copper body. A ring of head around the edges leaves behind legged lacing. Smell is pleasing, as resinous hops dominate (reminds me of CC's Loose Cannon) while sweet butterscotch and a slight malty biscuit note round out the aroma.

First taste: this is a very good ESB. English-hop bitterness prevails up front and a malty, syrupy, sweetness works its way around the outskirts of the palate. A medicinal, alcohol-rich finish pairs up with bitter, piney hops to coat the back of the throat and leave a lasting aftertaste. Mouthfeel is thick and viscous with a low carbonation level that I'd expect with the high ABV. This is not exactly the most drinkable beer, as it sits heavy in the stomach and gives the palate a hefty workout. However, I could see this staving off the cold with the best of winter warmers and imperial stouts. Good complexity, great flavor, and one I'll definately be having again.

Photo of ericj551
4.2/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Winter Storm pours a clear amber with a nice thick head. The aroma is sweet with caramel and citrus. The flavor is crisp with tastes of dark crystal and plenty of citrusy, spicy and earthy hops. Some light alcohol comes through in the end along with some dark fruitiness.

Photo of Redwood21
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: love it love it. a head thats not large but lasts, maybe #2 pencil thick. it sticks like its its job too! insanity! the color is almost rust brown

S: there is some woodland earthy grainy bread hard to distinguish, not bad at all

T: I love it, its good! its creamy and bitter, and full of flavor. there is some malt with a hoppy back ground that is assertive.

A must try, i really like it i wish i could get more in depth about it, when i drink this beer i def don't feel the 7.5% its just that good.

Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
86 out of 100 based on 904 ratings.