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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

906 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 906
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: 906 | Reviews: 508 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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

12oz. bottle.

Clear, amber/red color sporting a rocky, medium sized, light tan head. On the bottle, I discover that I am about to enjoy an Imperial ESB.

Smell generates caramel and fruit, followed by some herbal notes, and finished off with a bit of alcohol. Actually, quite inviting.

First impression of taste is sweet and fruity. Next, the hops come into play to provide a nice balance, grassy in character. Alcohol is at the party as well, just a bit rougher than you might like. Final impression is that a fruitcake might be hiding in the bottle somewhere....Merry Christmas!

Medium + in body, with medium carbonation. Very refreshing, not drying at all. ABV comes on pretty strong.

IMHO, one of the better offerings from Clipper City, and a heck of a winter beer. A little age might improve it if it takes the edge off the ABV, but, then again, it could screw up the balance the hops provide. Overall, I like it, even if I am a little unclear on the imperial ESB thing.

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

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass. The liquid is a nice dark amber with good carbonation. The head is 2 fingers off white, and leaves some lace.

The Smell had a nice familiar APA thing going on. piny, woodsy hops, with a malty back ground.

The taste is real nice. Not a big beer but it's not supposed to be. The malt in this extra bitter beer ties it up real tight. what a find.

The mouthfeel is right on brother, great body nice carbonation, really ww
ell done.

the drinkability is straight up great. This is a fine brew all around Prosit und Zum Wohl. MK

Photo of JohnnyM2002
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled from the tap, poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a clear reddish/brown (like a copper more on the red side) with a small, sticky head.

S - Malty/caramel aroma blended with hops.

T - Bartender 'warned' of a hoppy taste, but not really as bitter as expected. Biscuity malt coupled with a rich bitterness, but not overly hoppy. The caramel and alcohol flavors battle the hoppiness, so bitterness pokes through, but it's not too strong.

M - Medium body with good carbonation...creamy finish helps the flavors blend together very well. Really enjoyable for a winter selection - I'm used to the spicy flavors with a lighter body, but the heavier selection goes well for the season.

D - As I previously mentioned, the bartender 'warned' me of the hoppiness of this selection, but I feel I must explain on her behalf. We were discussing how we expect most Christmas/holiday selections to be more on the spiced-ale end of the spectrum, and this really doesn't fit those (i.e. Harpoon Winter Warmer). This really is a very pleasant winter brew as it does differ from the rest of the spicy alternatives. Very good selection.

Photo of bobljr
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep ruby color with a nice creamy head. Leavs a good amount of lace.

Aromas of citrus, pine, and fresh hops.

There is a strong hop presence with a mild sweet malt quality. Not the most balence as the hops are a bit overpowering.

Low carbonation which is pretty nice, and mid to full bodied.

The dominant hop presense and high alcohol content can make this a little tougher to drink. Was drinking this from a SN Celebration glass and I gotta admit I was a little confused.

Photo of Grundle20
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a smoky ruby color into a pilsner glass. There is just a bubbly film for a head that leaves remnants of lacing.

The scent is of rich caramel, chocolate, and coffee malts. There is a less notabale hop presence of citrus rind.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
The beer is viciously bitter. What malt character that is here is completely overpowered by the, again, citrus rind bitterness. It goes down rather smooth and dry. The finish is a little polluted with some more intense bitterness that carries far in to the aftertaste.

I think it's rather tasty but it's simply not very refreshing and it's a little high in ABV for extended drinking.

Bottom Line:
I don't know that I've had many other imperial ESBs but even without the semantics I don't feel that this beer if very true to its English roots. I really believe that the ESB is going the way of the IPA and becoming Americanized and this beer is an example of why I would think that.

Photo of ccrida
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aggressively poured into an Ename chalice, the Winter Storm Category 5 is a deep orangish mahogany with a thick, creamy tan head, that subsided fairly quickly but remained across the the top of the beer til the end. It left a very nice, sticky lace. The aroma is fairly one dimensional, bright and floral cascade hops, that leads me to assume this is dry-hopped. The taste is much more balanced, with a wider range of hops then is evident from the aroma, some pine and grass. Still, it has the rich malt taste one would expect from an ESB, with some caramel and bread notes. There is little indication of the ABV, and the finish is pleasantly bitter, especially if your a hop-head, although you needn't be to appreciate this brew. The mouthfeel on this one is nice, rich and creamy but at the same time an undeniable sharpness from the hops, resulting in a well balanced feel that can easily lead one to drink more of these then they realize. Overall I think this an excellent interpretation of an ESB/winter warmer, in the more extreme manner that has become standard for many American microbrews.

Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
86 out of 100 based on 906 ratings.