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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

504 Reviews
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 504
Hads: 921
Avg: 3.83
pDev: 16.45%
Wants: 32
Gots: 69 | 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: 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: 504 | Hads: 921
Photo of perrymarcus
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a pint glass.
best by: JAN (2012) notched

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.

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Photo of zaphodchak
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A high pour for 2 fingers of tan head, smooth and even except for some coarse bubbles on one side. Thick, sticky lacing. Golden-amber body.

Smell contains some dark caramel malt with maybe some toffee. Not overtly sweet though, some rye bread, too.

Taste has a bunch of malt upfront and becomes more bitter with hops as you taste it. The gradation is quite smooth, that is so say; the eventual bitterness is not a 'kick.' The taste itself is sort of a hopped-up ESB (too obvious?) but sort of crossed with an English barleywine. So, pretty much what you might expect.

Feel is unusually smooth, but thick. Carbonation isn't evident per se, but the body is quite thick without being syrupy.

This is pretty good. Not my favorite style, but still pretty good, and definitely does what it set out to do (whoever heard of an Imperial ESB?)

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Photo of CampusCrew
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Heavy Seas- imperial esb, well they accomplished that, whats the story on why they chose that though? toasty malts with good hop presence. interesting winter labeled ale.

We did a large christmas and winter beer tasting panel and this was one of the many that we tried. Most of the beers we tried we solid including this one that the panel liked.

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Photo of dball
4.27/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I state on my profile that my favorite beer is an American Strong Ale. This is it...

I haven't acutally had a real one in some time. This one is strong and sweet and full and mild. I like it a lot. Good strong ale. I would say get some and have a taste.

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Photo of Rickythejeweler
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Translucent light brown, half finger head, minimal lacing, alot of carbonation bubbbles.

S - Lager yeast, nutty, light hops, orange peel.

T - Pale malt, earthy bitter hops, mild fruits, caramel, nutty.

M - Medium body, good carbonation.

O - Pleasantly suprised at how much I like this!

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Photo of chinchill
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 bottle served in a pint glass.

Pours a crystal clear red-brown with a medium tan head. Head reduces quickly to a lasting top coat.

Attractive malty aroma with some light, unusual spicing. Likewise, the flavor has a solid malt backbone, with some pleasant, unobtrusive spicing. High ABV is a bit more obvious than ideal in mouth but not in the aroma.

M - good carbonation; medium body; less smooth than desired.

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Photo of BeerLover99
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: copper/brown, light white film, patchy lacing

S: pine, malt, caramel, nutty, date/fig

T: sweet malt, nutty, caramel, hint of boozy,
mild fruit (date/fig), pine, mild bitter finish

M: med body, smooth mouth

O: I really enjoyed this beer
and would love to try even more of
Heavy Seas. ESB is one of my fav;
nice to see American craft brewery
deliver it so well.


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

A: The beer looks like perfectly clear dark caramel, topped with a foamy tan head which provides generous lacing, and sticks around for a while after the pour.

S: First thing that hits me is the big caramel aroma. This beer just bleeds it into the room. It smells like homemade sticky sweet caramel.

T: Again, this beer is a caramel bomb because thats what I get on the taste. The alcohol comes through on the finish as well, which kind of helps round this beer out.

M: Sticky sweet, just as it smells. It's full bodied with moderate carbonation levels. A bit cloying, but very nice.

D: Defiantly a beer that you want to let warm as you drink it so the experience changes, a sipper for sure.

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Photo of seesnow3
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Oktoberfest mug, Feb. 2012 freshness, $1.99/bottle in RI

Pour-Pours a thick, fluffy two finger very light brown head that begins to recede, but holds at a thick film. Fairly translucent brownish copper, fairly heavy effervescence, lacing doesn’t really stick just kind of washes.

Nose-While pouring it smells like citrus (lemon) that honestly reminds me of floor cleaner. More nosing lead me to find a fairly prominent herbal quality that smells just like freshly chopped parsley with a hint of mint. Quite a weird nose, but not unpleasant nonetheless.

Palate-Kind of stings the tip of the tongue from the alcohol and carbonation. A little bit of sweet followed by a moderate amount of sour and also a moderate amount of bitter. The flavor is bitter lemon peel with a little bit of a fresh herbal quality to it, though not exactly what was on the nose. Some other fruits as well. Definitely a toasted malt flavor as well, like a light caramelized flavor. Very interesting, I like it so

Body-Medium to full bodied, moderately heavy, moderate effervescence

Final Thoughts-Overall I really like this. I think it’s something you’d again, only have a couple of but it really is worth trying, though if you drink lighter beers the taste of this may be overwhelming for you. It does have a decent amount of the mentioned flavors, but for the dark or stronger beer drinkers this is surely a good beer worth trying.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer on tap at a local beer bar in a snifter. Beer is dark amber and clear with a huge tan head of small bubbles, some lacing but low retention and low lacing.

Aroma is a little sulfury and a little malty, overall fine.

Beer is a little rough to drink though. Harsh sulfur midpalate flavor. The finish is a little dry but overall it is a decent little beer. Not my favorite but I might have it again.

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Photo of plaid75
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Canterbury Ales, Huntington, NY.

Poured a deep amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good lacing and retention.

The smell featured an earthy grainy caramel malt with a touch of grassiness.

The taste featured a multiple tiered malt that started with an earhy sweetness and finished with a toasty buttery bread.

The mouthfeel was clean with a dry finish.

Overall a tasty and hearty winter delight.

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Photo of Wildman
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a clear dark amber color and formed a light tan foamy head that coated the glass with lace as it subsided. A medium amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of malt, molasses, hops and bitter coffee with some smoky aspects. The flavor was of malt, hops, caramel and candy sugar like molasses. The body was medium light and the finish slightly sweet with a slight burnt aspect.

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

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Good till February 2012 we are off and running.

A real nice dark amber red and clear body, with a nice simple off tan caramel three finger head. Pin head sized bubbles, some fairly large in the head, with a small cap and some good retention. There might be some small haze in this, kind of dark to see.

Nice very mild chocolate sense from the malt, but fairly small nose. Not too much going on, but it's nice when taking a big whiff.

A very noticeable hop bitter, with a good mix in milk chocolatey malt sensations. Palate feels fairly hoppy but not so rich. Aftertaste brings some pine sense, and there's some definite prickly feelings. Not big on alcohol taste, but very stomach winter warmer boozy feeling.

Overall described as earthy, but doesn't feel like that so much to me. It is a real nice drink but definitely hop forward for this style. I think if you are a bit of a hop head and want to try and ESB this might be your perfect beer.

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ba Review #81
Served On: 11/09/2011
Glassware: Shaker Pint
Labeled ABV: 7.5%
Date/ Code: Feb

Had to buy a whole case of this one because of PA’s antiquated liquor laws. I’m kind of glad I did though – it turned out to be a phenomenal winter seasonal.

Look: Poured a clear tarnished copper color with red tinges towards the middle. A two finger rocky tan head dissolved to a thin film of random sized bubbles. The carbonation was low. Supposedly this is a bottle condition beer. Not really seeing it so far.

Smell: The aroma was great on this one. I got strong notes of toffee and spices. I could also detect a faint hop citrus. There was a heavy Barley Wine quality in the nose – similar to the Anchor Old Foghorn.

Taste: First was a bitter sweet caramel and toffee followed by roasted malt. The finish proved to be very bitter with some alcohol heat that stuck around into the aftertaste. It was mainly a salt-water bitterness that seemed to work extremely well with the overall complexity and initial sweetness.

At first, the extremely bitter finish hit me unexpectedly – but my palate adjusted nicely after a few more sips. It’s not quite the best ESB I’ve ever had, but certainly an interesting one – definitely ‘imperial’ like the label says.

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

Notes from Oct 25

A: Deep amber and copper, slight translucence. Laces well from a finger tall cream head.

S: Big malty biscuit, earthy pine and some floral hops in the nose. It is however, quite feint.

T: Right after the nose. Big malt with a slight sweetness. Then, good bitter hops with flavors of pine, grass, earthiness. Finish has some light alcohol in it.

M: Definitely a bigger body here. Creamy, not too dry. Some bitter tingle afterward.

D: Admittedly i have a soft spot for the ESB style, so this imperial version hits alot of the right notes for me. Balanced, unique, a brew worth having.

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Photo of FunkyFibes
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A pale brownish/copper color. A Fair tan head on a mildly aggressive pour, that whittles down at a controlled rate. Decent lacing clings on it's travel down the glass.

S- Carmel maltiness with very prevalent fruity alcohol esters. A light citrus lingers in the back so you don't forget hops are sailing the seas as well.

T- A real prominent toasted grain flavor is melded with an equally strong hop bite, adding some lemon/citrus into the middle. An exceptionally balanced body that finishes with a slight twinge of alcohol warming and raisin.

M- This brew has a nice full body that that exits strongly, yet very clean and refreshing.

O- This beer has flavors that call to mind the season, yet would be enjoyable all year round. This will probably be near the top of my list for this season...guess it's kind of a shame that we don't really have seasons in Florida to truly appreciate it.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a transparent copper color is ruby highlights. Plenty of bubbles rise to a thick one finger creamy head. Head leaves rings of lacing.

S-A nice mix between caramel maltiness and some earthy and floral hops. Mixed, maybe even leaning towards the malty side of the spectrum. Pleasant but nothing wild.

T-Quite sweet with an earthy/herbal hop presence. Light grapefruit and bitterness. Pretty sweet but there is some good balance. Alcohol is a bit noticeable as well.

M-Medium bodied. Very soft carbonation. Slightly slick and bitter. A bit dry.

O/D-Pretty good. I enjoyed it. Definitely one of the more solid winter 6 packs. I will enjoy all six of these I believe. Nothing amazing but solid.

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Photo of BeerBuckeye
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours a very deep amber with nice 2 finger off-white head that dissipates very slowly. Good amount of lacing on the side of the glass.

S - Very nice smell. A good amount of sweet malt, cinnamon, vanilla, and caramel, a touch of dark fruit.

T - A full amount of flavor present here. It provides a good amount of sweetness up front, again, touches of vanilla, cinnamon, and caramel, a touch of dark fruit, before fading into a bit of piney hop. Actually very impressed with this one.

M - A bit sticky, sort of clings to the back of the throat here, but not unpleasant. Alcohol bite comes in ever so slightly on the end.

Overall - I actually enjoyed this one quite a bit. Great flavor present, it's a bit spice-heavy, but I think it ends up balancing pretty well. A very good beer for a chilly evening.

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Photo of Crossmd
4.09/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured 50 degrees Fahrenheit into a Dogfish Head Collins glass.
Dated purchase before 01.12

Pours a richly dark red-burgundy. Massive, pillowy 4 finger head. Gorgeous.

Smells of a whole wheat yeast dry oats or horse feed, caramel, with some metal? Lightly projected.

Tastes of a smooth heavy malt with a hint of spice, pepper maybe?
Excellent finish of caramel and the slightest hops. Maybe a minute in length. Excellent after dinner beer.

Overall, a relatively inexpensive, richly malty ride that is surprisingly approachable and complex.


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

Beautiful purplish dark hue but very little to no head at all.

Smell - malty and some spice

Taste - some spice notes and an interesting balance of maltiness and hop bitterness.

Moutfeel - full bodied and warming

Overall - a good beer from Heavy Seas. Not quite as flavorful as some of their others but its a good strong beer that is just right on the ABV

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

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: A beautiful rich and deep colored copper brown. Nice head that lasted for a quite a while and left solid lacing. I wasn't expecting this beer to be bottle conditioned and carbonated and I poured pretty vigorously. The yeast sediment is completely held in a stasis; neither moving up nor down.

S: The smell is grain rich with fruity esters all over the nose.

T: The taste is very flavorful and well balanced. The bitterness is perfectly balanced with the malt backbone, and the malt backbone has a beautiful layer of complexity and caramel like tones.

M: A little thick and syrupy, but perfect or a winter warmer style of beer.

O: Good stuff and the first time I have really had this brewery, will try more.

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a cloudy amber body with a decent size head that leaves a light lacing on the glass.

S: Nose is slightly faint, but it does have notes of light herbal hops, sweet caramel, dark fruits, and toasted bread crust.

T: The flavor is slighty bready, dry, and sweet. Getting notes of caramel and bready malts, bitter herbal hops, spices, and dark fruits. Warm finish from the ABV.

M: Medium body; high carbonation; heavy mouthfeel.

O: Nice beer. A little off on some characteristics, but overall I would get this again. Not something I would search for, but if there was nothing else...

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Photo of SIRIUS2
3.39/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a chalice style glass.

Pours reddish-brown or amber color, clear, with a relatively small head - relatively low retention produces light lacing.

Aroma was pleasant, a maltiness mixed with something yeasty, a sort of biscuit smell that worked well. If you are looking for it, you can pick up some signs of citrus or grapefruit hops on the nose as well.

The balance of the brew is pretty good for this ABV but it is a touch sweet to bring down the alcohol presence. A good job of hopping this brew as there is still a good solid mouthfeel without splitting the flavors. There is a bit of warming as it slides down the throat.

The mouthfeel is a touch heavy but understandably so. A very enjoyable offering and perfect for cold weather. I dig it.

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Photo of bishopdc0
3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Allagash chalice.
Its color is a golden amber with a thick white head. The head dissipates but does leave an nice lace on the glass as the glass empties.

The aroma is hard to place it is a mix of crystal malt and perhaps biscuit. The aroma together seems almost off for an ESB, not to say that it isn't pleasant a slight almost alcohol comes in the end.

The mouth begins with a large amount of carbonation on the tongue, and top of the mouth. Flavors of a caramel brown and a roasted porter come together to make this ESB. The end is dry and a slight alcohol finish mixed with a slight out of place hop bitter probably to make it more "American".

Overall not a bad ESB but definitely not the best. I bet most would like it but i like a little more of an English style

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

Pours hazy amber red in color with a massive 2 finger creamy tan head that faded very slowly, leaving good lacing clinging to the glass.

Malts dominate the nose, with rich roasted malts, toasted grains, caramel, dark fruit like cherry or plum, grapefruit, wet bread and very light citrus hops; this is basically a malt bomb.

Tastes like it smells with rich toasted malts, sweet caramel, wet wheat bread, raisin, plum and other dark fruits, light funky yeast, grapefruit, light citrus hops, mild spices like pepper, and a slight alcohol warmth in the finish. There is some heat to this brew, but it's very subtle and goes well with the strong malt profile.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy, with a medium body, very little carbonation and slight bitter finish. Good drinkability, this is a nice winter beer that went down smooth and hid the alcohol well; a nice beer for a cold winter day and a solid ESB.

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Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
86 out of 100 based on 504 ratings.