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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BA SCORE
86
very good

877 Ratings
THE BROS
88
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 877
Reviews: 498
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.37%
Wants: 33
Gots: 45 | 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
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Ratings: 877 | Reviews: 498 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of daliandragon
4.05/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm starting to acquire a taste for Clipper City''s Heavy Seas line, as well as their silly pirate and parrot label motif. I'm betting this is another quality effort.

Beautiful ruby hue to this one, with little carbonation and a brief tan head. Nose is mellow, grassy hops predominantly. Appealing scent, with litttle alcohol to be found, even at 7.5 on the booze-o-meter.

Surprisingly nice balance here, with hops the main event but not the whole show. Pine flavors are strong and the overall flavor has some definite heft to it. Pleasant bitter aftertaste, with alcohol dancing ever so lightly in the backround. Mouthfeel is very nice, close to perfect in fact. Carbonation can make or break an ESB and this one has just enough to carry the "turns it up to eleven" taste and not a bubble more.

This one will catch up to you fast if you''re not careful because it's so well balanced although the aftertaste will start to carry alcohol by the end of the first one. Either way, I congratulate myself on a quality selection and the boys in B-more for another tasty, different, brew.

Photo of dickroop
4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours coppery dark, on the brown side of amber, clear, with brownish foam that didn't last. The smell was mostly citrus hops.

The taste was initially a rich, citrus and floral hop blast, oh so good. There is malt sweetness that develops in the mid-palate, the malt flavor is something more than grainy but doesn't seem to me to go as far as toasted. The finish is gently bitter, balanced, delicious. This is fine ale for the hophead, reminiscent of some of the best DIPAs but witih less alcohol and little or no alcohol evident in the taste.

Mouthfeel was medium- to full-bodied, almost creamy, excellent carbonation. Yummy, I want more. Drinkability was very good. This is hop-juice magnifique.

Bottle label is a little funky, but it included "Best bought by" dating. And fair warning that this is a strong brew.

To think this great stuff is brewed right in my back yard in Baltimore and I haven't tasted it until now. Well you can be sure I'll be going out of my way to find more of this stuff. Highly recommended.

Photo of JasonA
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from Corridor Wine and Spirits in Laurel MD

Pours a clear brown, maybe a little darker than a brown ale. Finer of head that disapaites into lacing and tiny head.

Smells spicey and malty. Lovely boquet, maybe more hops that expected. Smells a bit fresh.

Tastes spicey, with some alcohol. Is that raisin and currant? Nice winter taste here.

Lovely to drink. Would like to have a few of these. Medium bodied for a winter beer, alcohol is definately pleasent but seems to fit well with the spice.

Photo of Maestro
4.43/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am impressed by this winter offering from Clipper City. The beer is a hefty, ruby colored ESB that smells of thick, toasty and biscuity malts. You can also pick up a heavy dose of hops in this one. The taste is quite a big gulp of malts and hops. The maltiness seems to be very powerful, but not overly sweet. The hops make the sweetness subdued and you are left with a great winter ale. Mouthfeel is a bit dry and thick...which I consider a positive for a winter offering. Drinkability is great. Just watch as the alcohol creeps up on you.

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

A - Ruby with about one finger of head that lasts a mere minute leaving thin web like ring of lacing behind.

S - A very strong, crisp, very clean hop aroma of pine, roses and lillies. It is nice, enticing.

T - A strong pine and floral hop flavor with a mild caramel malty sweetness. The aftertaste is a moderate bitterness.

M - Smooth, thick and refreshing.

D - Easy to drink. A bit strong to session, but otherwise you really could. This is not an ESB. It is far too hoppy. It is more akin to an American IPA (possibly double) IMO. No matter what it is, it is damn good. This is the last of CC's Heavy Seas line I have needed to try. I love Heavy Seas, they really need to expand it.

Photo of drinknewbelgium
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours dark amber decent head that doesnt last smells of hops and caramelly malts with woody hints tastes of caramel and sweetness then accented with a great flow of hops nice mixed of flavors and interesting enough i think i could have one or two but the taste would bore me after a while

this one i would recommend to anybody nice seasonal beverage

Photo of riversider76
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice amber, tan head with excellent retention,and lacing. Smell is of sweet carmel malts, with a hint of hops. Body is medium with carbionation. Taste is sweet malt up front,with a earthy,hoppy finish. Alchol is evident in the finish, and after taste. Good stuff!!

Photo of Blakaeris
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear, dark amber the color of caramel. Head is huge and hangs around awhile before dissipating. Very nice lacing.

Smell is sweet caramel malt. Nice floral hoppiness, and a bit of light fruit.

Taste is sweet malt up front. Then the spicy hop takes over, more herbal than floral. Hints of brown sugar, light fruit and warming alcohol. There is an interesting woody dryness in the clean finish.

Mouthfeel is solidly medium bodied.

Flavors are well balanced and big enough to keep things interesting. Alcohol is well hidden. A very solid offering from Clipper City.

Photo of far333
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ruddy copper color with a thick and foamy beige head that settles to a half inch of bubbly lumps with fingers of lace reaching up the sides of the glass.

Aroma of sweet malt and fresh citrus hops. Flavor is intially malty, biscuity with brown sugar and cinnamon, a little bit of smoke. This morphs quickly to a slightly sweet citrus hop with piney background notes. A grapefruit peel bite lingers, as does some alcohol warmth. Good balance of malt and hops. Full and rich mouthfeel, an enjoyable and drinkable beer.

Photo of mschenk
4.33/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Clipper City rep was at the liquor store today offering free samples of their various beers. I settled on the Winter Storm, part of their super charged Heavy Seas line.

I purchased a 6 pack and poured into a 16 oz mug. There was very little head which also did not last very long. The beer is a dark amber, boardering on brown.

The smell is very nice with a pretty strong juniper odor for a hoppy beer. The hops here are flavorful but for the amount of hops in the beer it is not overly bitter. Carbonation level is good leaving a good mouthfeel. The taste is just what you would expect from the smell.

I really liked this beer as I did most of the other samples. If you like a certain style and they make it, it is worth a try. I'll be buying this one again

Photo of SilentSabre
3.28/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. Bottle part of the "Clipper City Sunken Sampler 12pk" $16,99
This looked fantastic, but everything else was rather average. Poured a brown chestnut colour with a nice looking soapy head with lots of froth and plenty of nice sticky lacing. Nice. I felt the smell was rather average, quite honestly. Well balanced with a malty presence, but dominated by hops. I would assume this to be a Winter Warmer, but it is indicated here as an ESB. I feel if this *is* in fact an ESB, they did a decent job at keeping with the style. Plenty of malt in the taste, but a nice, bitter, hoppy finish. Not an amazing concoction, but it certainly wasn't a bad ale.

Photo of warmstorage
2.58/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I'm baffled: this isn't like any DIPA I've ever had.

EDIT: another BA who knows a lot about the brewery has clarified that it's supposed to be an ESB, and it seems that the BA listing for this beer has been modified to reflect this. As such, I've gone through my review and re-reviewed another bottle as an ESB.

12 ounce bottle.

Color is medium to deep red/copper. Maintains an average white head, minimal lacing, with average to slightly high carbonation.

Aroma is a malty grain sweetness, with limited or no hops present. EDIT: score from 2.0 to 2.5, but only just barely: I wish a 2.25 were available.

Some hop bitterness tasted, with caramel notes and a slightly harsh and slightly unpleasant metallic note. More of that sweet grain taste, and hints of toastiness. Where are the hops? EDIT: a less pronounced hop body is more appropriate for an ESB, but it remains lacking of any distinct hop body, which even an ESB should have. However, the sweet malt presence and more balanced hop bill are more acceptable. Edited score: from a 2.0 to a 2.5.

I dunno: maybe I got a bad bottle, but I can't find the "pure hop power" their website advertises, or that others seem to have tasted. Just a deeply mediocre American strong ale style. I'll try another bottle, and see if it confirms or denies.

EDIT: my second reviewed bottle, from the same six pack, remains pretty mediocre. It's not bad per se like I thought it was when it was supposed to be a DIPA, but the Clipper City website continues to claim "pure hop power" which simply isn't here, nor is the claimed "floral and aromatic... hop character"... Edited score for "drinkability": 2.0 to 2.5

I have now found a press release on their website that claims the Category 5 is meant to be an "Imperial ESB". Well, this isn't quite as bizarre as a DIPA/Imperial IPA, but I think it remains a serious overblowing of this beer. It's got a decent malt body and sweet malt character, but the hop bill continues to seem that of a basic bitter (i.e., drowned out by the malt bill.)

I will continue to give this brewery a chance, which won't be hard, as I travel to the DC area several times a year. But based on this single beer, I'll go in with a little bit of healthy doubt.

With regard to my initial review, I'm somewhat troubled by other reviewers of this beer who seem to have just accepted that it was a DIPA per BA's initial (and apparently incorrect) description of it as such, or accepted the "pure hop power" propaganda of the brewery, and reviewed it based on this. I'm not going to call anyone out by handle/name, but please: those of you who raved, or even approved, of this beer as a DIPA, try a few good examples of the style, and then re-review. (Suggestions: Pliny the Elder, Great Divide Hercules, Rogue I2PA, AleSmith YuleSmith, etc.)

Photo of peabody
2.93/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours out a nice clear dark reddish brown and the suds are white and one finger thick. No lacing to speak of.
I smell hops and sugar and berries. Caramel and malt.
Taste is hoppy to bland. Not much going on with the palate.
Mouthfeel is a bit dirty but so subtle on the hops that you wonder if this is an IPA.
drinkability would be higher if this were a better tasting brew.

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

Poured a nice hazy dark amber with a creamy head, good lacing and retention.

Smell was all juniper and hops.

Taste has a nice bready malt bill, but is overtaken by the piney hops leaving a bitter finish with a touch of mint.

Mouthfeel is thick and oily, leaving a long lasting hop feeling.

Drinkable and tasty, a nice offering from Clipper City.

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

appearance: Labeled as an Imperial ESB, the beer pours a stained brown color with a low, off white head that soon recedes to a ring around the glass.

smell: Smells great. Big sweet, green hops upfront give a hint of spice. Toasted malts give earthy notes and a touch of fruit. Great blend of aromas here.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is smooth, and on the higher side of the medium range. The body is a full medium.

taste: Toasted malt backbone with a hearty, earthy American hop flavor that increases after the swallow as a moderate bitterness comes into play.

drinkability: Quite easy for a bigger beer

single bottle from Whole Foods Raleigh

Photo of athensbeermaster
4.55/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

November is such a good time for hard to find seasonal brews.
This Winter Storm alway's makes the list. Nice amber/grey color with a good two finger tan dense head that leaves intense lacing down the whole glass. The nose battles it out between citrus and sweet carmel aromas that end with a floral earthy scent. The first sip slaps your taste buds with fuggles hops and gives way to the silky malts that mellow out this complex brew. I like the fact there
are no weird x-mas spices. Maybe a small hint of clove? Such an array of fruits like plum,raisins,orange rine. And the finish leaves a single malt scotch taste (Glen Morenge 12 year) mixed with a hint of earl grey tea!

Photo of octongue
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is my second venture with this beer.

best by March '07.

[appearance] Poured into a pint glass, gave vibrant reddish/amber color. Nice head, 1.5 fingers but gone quick. Head came back quickly and with much frothiness when agitated. Thick, sticky lacing.

[smell] smells like chocolate covered xmas trees. earthy, slightly sweet maltiness. mellow hoppy smell.

[taste] super malty, but ticked nicely with pungent hops to balance. very nice flavor. I agree with pine overtones. hops hit the back of the throat on swallow, but in a good way, with malty sweetness as an aftertouch.

[mouthfeel] in my opinion close to perfect. nice carbonation, airates well on the palate and rolls back smoothly. like i said, hops hit last.

[Drinkability] I wouldn't go too long with this one-the alchohol level might be disguised in it's smoothness and might leave one on the floor or in a back yard brawl. I am new and don't know where to draw the line for a 'session beer' but a six pack is hard to down.

Overall, this was a robust, flavorful winter-marketed beer that stands out because it doesn't contain the festive additives so alluring to brewers at this time of year. I tend to drink this style of beer 9-10 months out of the year so the winter classification doesn't matter. Just a good DIPA, if I've ever had one.

Photo of AndoBrew
3.05/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

*did not like will not buy again*

App: dark copper ruby clear with cream tan head, nice and thick looking head.

smell: smells like a dipa, hops sweet malts.. nothing special or different, nothing bad.

taste: very different for a dipa, it is like a dipa meets a brown ale.
more of a dry brown toasted malt flavor, a warming booze in the throat. it is also got some sweets and of course hops. really nice balance to it all! different but good flavors and a good balance?? this could be a really nice beer.

well actually its kinda boaring.

good dipa, sharp citrus hops, mild sweet malts.. same ole thing, its not bad sept for a really SHARP with a low flavor hop thing.

mf: bright, nice.

drinkable?: less than I was first thinking. it really gets hard to drink as you go.

this seemed neat but then got rough.. this is why you need more than a couple sips to review a beer. It just does not have the flavor to pull its own weight.

its an okie beer. there are much better examples.

Photo of brentk56
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2006 version

Appearance: Pours a hazy dark caramel color with a frothy head that leaves many shards of lacing

Smell: Malty aroma with a considerable earthy, piney element

Taste: Starts with an piney malty balanced flavor that becomes considerably bitter right before the swallow; the finish is a long, balanced melding of the two flavors that is earthy and complex; slightly metallic finish which is a demerit

Mouthfeel: Medium body (a touch too thin for an Imperial) with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: I like this version much better than last year's; the style has departed from the norm and this Imperial ESB concept is intriguing and enjoyable

Photo of rodrot
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a pretty chestnut red color with a small quarter inch head that lingers in the glass. Aroma: piney, resiny hops along with some citrus and sweet malts in the nose. Taste: spicy hops, grapefruit, peach and apricot flavors balanced with a good bit of caramel malts. Mouthfeel is medium bodied on the palate. Drinkability is good and makes for a well balanced brew. I don't know why this beer was entered as a DIPA. This is an ESB in my opinion.

Photo of silver0rlead
4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best by date of march 07, this beer pours a deep amber with a thin tan head that retains ok and leaves nice lacing. The aroma is intensely hoppy, with big citrus, pine and floral character upfront, along with caramel and toasted bread, and a touch of alcohol. The flavor again packs a serious hop character, with big grapefruit and pine taste, as well as some floral hop notes, intense caramel flavor and slight sweetness, toasted bread, some fruity esters and some alcohol. The mouthfeel is smooth with light carbonation and drinkability is good despite the ABV. The description on the bottle calls this beer an "imperial ESB" and that seems more apropriate than a DIPA, with the big malty backbone...whatever it is, it's kickass.

Photo of Osiris9588
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz botter, best if bought before March date on it. Pours a ruddy amber color, suprisingly clear. The two-finger white head is frothy, it recedes a bit but little buttes of foam remain, and fluffy lace clings to the edges of the pint glass.

The smell is very toasty and hoppy, accented by pine and lemon zest. The flavor does feature a pine-inspired beginning, a pretty good belt of hops in the middle (not as much as expected, however), but it finsihes on a sweet, mellow wave of caramel malt, with maybe even a hint of berry, and a little nutty, spice action as well. The alcohol all but gets lost in the flavorfull mix.

The mouth is medium-bodied, well-carbonated, warm, and complex, yet still lively with fruit and citrus lightening it up a bit. Despite it's prodigious complexity and substantial ABV, it is still very drinkable. Very solid overall, even if it lacks in hop characters compared to most beers in this category.

Photo of mcallister
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Good looking brew. Amber garnet with an awesome yellowish head that is thick and frothy as hell. Nice thick lace.

Great balanced aroma. Sweet malty aromas with a big whiff of flowery hyped hops. Hints of citrusy smells as well.

Nicely balanced in the mouth as well. This isn't a huge beer complexity wise but very good nonetheless. A solid core of toffee type malt with a nicely bittered floral hop. Again a bit of citrus on the finish which had a moderate length.

Mouthfeel is full and rich but somewhat unpleasant hop feel. A easily drinkable beer for a winter seasonal.

Photo of dedrinker
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I went camping last night and kept company around the fire with my Winter Storm as the wind howled through the trees on the mountaintop. This reminds me of an ESB but more hops and alcohol. Everything is in good balance - malt-hops-alcohol. It is a little chewy but gently robust in its easy drinkin (for a hop head) mouthfeel and finish. I would do it again fer sure. Not a session beer ok?

Photo of IntriqKen
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's a beautiful dark golden amber in the glass with a two finger tan or off white craggy, dense head of very sticky lacing.
Aromas are green, leafy fresh hops.
Mouthfeel is really nice and creamy and full...nothing thin or weak about this beer.
Taste is a nice balance between sweet amber malts and green, citrus hops with the citrus peel bitterness winning at the end. A little earthy notes come in the middle of the taste before yielding completely to citrus.
Slight aftertaste of grapefruit peel and light, pleasant alcohol warming as it goes down.
Very nice DIPA.
Maybe not a Catagory 5, but a solid 4
Thanks Aprilluvsbeer for this sample in our trade.

Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
86 out of 100 based on 877 ratings.