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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

912 Ratings
very good

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Ratings: 912
Reviews: 510
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.37%
Wants: 32
Gots: 64 | 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: 912 | Reviews: 510
Photo of Big78CJ
3.54/5  rDev -6.8%
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

Photo of Backer2004
3.47/5  rDev -8.7%
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.

Photo of RedChrome
3.45/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

Photo of MmmIPA
3.06/5  rDev -19.5%
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.

Photo of beermanbrian
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
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.

Photo of FenwaySquid
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
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.

Photo of Jwaks
3.08/5  rDev -18.9%
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.

Photo of sacfly
3.97/5  rDev +4.5%
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!

Photo of Viggo
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Photo of jhammerly
3.61/5  rDev -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.

Photo of jackorain
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
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

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

Photo of biegaman
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
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...

Photo of Sammy
3.8/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of chilidog
4.58/5  rDev +20.5%
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!!

Photo of beerphan
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

Photo of scruffwhor
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Photo of flexabull
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

Photo of abcsofbeer
3.88/5  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.

Photo of wcudwight
3.88/5  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.

Photo of mntlover
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

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

Pours a reddish amber with a fairly thin head and spotty lacing.

Smells malty and a little sharp, with sweetness throughout.

Tastes malty and a little thin, but with a nice hop bitterness up front and a fruity pleasant sweetness on the finish.

Smooth, but a little thin.

Fairly drinkable, with a nice flavor, but nothing remarkable.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a big ESB; nearly approaching strong ale strength and flavors. Begins with a piney-sweet, malty-spice aroma that captured clean fermentations aromas, citrus, and pecans. Flavors begin and remain with a strong balance of barley malt and assertive hops (I think they may have sneaked in an American hop or two). Remains strong well into the finish. Body is heavy for the style which hurts the drinkability, but the access flavors I find pleasant and bold. Almost minty fresh in the finish with a mild drying, partly from alcohol, partly from hops. You'll likely find this brew in my fridge until they disappear from the shelves.

Photo of Enola
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a nice looking ESB. The color is a nice reddish orange. There is a small head and little lacing. The smell is very hoppy and bitter. Citrus fruit is also noted. The taste is very hoppy and bitter. There is just a bit of off-key flavors in the taste. The mouthfeel is very bitter and sticky. The bitterness lasts for a while. The drinkability is good. I could enjoy this brew on occasion.

Photo of BeerRun13
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a super clear and magnifying amber/reddish. An off white head falls to a filmy ring. Kick ass lacing is left in it's wake.
Expecting a winter warmer of some sort I was quite suprised by the very noticable (and likeable), hoppy aroma.
A touch of crystal malt along side some nice spicy earthy hops. Nice bitterness to this one.
Medium bodied. Nicely carbonated. An almost noticable warmin alcohol presence.
Good beer. I really tend to like this style even though it's one I often overlook.

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Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
86 out of 100 based on 912 ratings.