1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) - Heavy Seas Beer

Not Rated.
Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale)
No picture uploaded.
Have one? Upload it now.
very good

813 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 813
Reviews: 491
rAvg: 3.82
pDev: 11.78%
Wants: 31
Gots: 18 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) Alström Bros
Ratings: 813 | Reviews: 491 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Ricochet
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I thought this would be a winter warmer, but it's a double IPA. I don't know that I've had any of the type, so I'm winging it.

Well, I'm enjoying this beer! Deep amber orange with little head, but a plus is those tiny beads that formed. Smells like a stong pale, grapefruit and orange smell more than anything else.

Mouth was very thick on the tounge,went down very smooth with some of the bitterness of the hops making itself known. The paleness of the alcohol content was welcome. Nice.

It was, well, a very decent IPA with a plus. The bitterness of the hops and the fruity flavors presented themselves well and like with the mouth feel, the alcohol was dumbed down in favor of the flavor. Amazing this is high ABV because I'm enjoying the taste without tasting the alcohol. Nice job.

Drinkability: High. I'm anxious to get a six of this. Very good.

Ricochet, Nov 10, 2005
Photo of rajendra82
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I live in the Atlanta, Georgia metropolitan area, a place where until recently domestic micro-brewed beer was slim pickings. Oh how the things have changed. This week two new DIPAs entered the market at the same time. And curiously they are from the same brewery. The Clipper City Loose Cannon is a year around offering, while the Winter Storm will come ashore once a year. I had to pick them both up, to see what all this was about. The Loose Cannon was reviewed first yesterday, and here comes the Winter Storm, a Category 5 Ale.

The blue label on a 12 oz. bottle was in the standard style of Clipper City. The beer poured out dark reddish amber, with total clarity, and a beige colored head. The carbonation appeared steady and natural. The aroma was not very hoppy at all. Smelled more like a toned down English Barleywine, with brown sugar like malt being predominant. The hops seemed to be those of spicy and earthy English variety. The taste proved hoppier than the smell, with s strong herbal hop bitterness, backed by thick dark malts with a nutty sweetness. The body felt thicker than it looked with an Old Ale like stickiness, and noticeable warmth. There was a citric sourness coming through at warmer temperature.

I found the contrast between this and the sister beer quite striking. Both clock in at identical 7.5 percent ABV, but the similarities end there. The Loose Cannon is more heavily carbonated, light, highly aromatic, rather citric tasting, and not too bitter. The Winter Storm is none of these things. Maybe if I was to make a 50/50 mixture, I’d get a classic DIPA.

rajendra82, Nov 10, 2005
Photo of ybnorml
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clean dark amber/brown beer. Has a nice creamy beige head and good lace. There is a sweet fruity character to the aroma with some hop note floating around in there and a hint of vanilla in the background. There is a small bit of sweetness ( with fruity and vannilla notes) at the front of your mouth. But all the action takes place at the back. With a combo of roasted malt and grapefruit hops making for a well balanced finish.

ybnorml, Nov 08, 2005
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Winter Storm delivers a dark orange body beneath a frothy head of ivory foam that holds very well and leaves short walls of lace on the side of the glass. The nose displays clear, grapefruity and piney hops, but it's not overtly bold, and the flavor is very much the same way. Its lightly caramelish malt works in unison with its firm bitterness and floral/citrus/pine hop flavors to deliver a solid, well-rounded and well-balanced beer... but it doesn't hit you on the head. It does leave it quite drinkable, however, and the only thing lacking is enough complexity to keep you coming back again and again. Still, this is a solid IPA that probably deserves more attention than it gets.

NeroFiddled, Jun 12, 2005
Photo of apintofknowledge
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep coppery-amber hue with a foamy off-white head that's thick, but disappates quickly, leaving behind a good amount of lace. The aroma is pure floral hops. I know I'm in for a hop-bomb here (or at least I thought so).

Now for the taste... a surprisingly full sweet maltiness initally, followed by an almost whiskey-like mix of alcohol and sweet grain. The hops are certainly there in the finish - long, lingering and bitter. An interesting mix of flavors, and somewhat more complexity than I was expecting. Certainly not the hop-bomb expected from a Double-IPA, with more malt character than others, which I happen to like. And while you can taste the alcohol, it's not exactly a "big beer" either. Not really a beer I would drink all night, but not a bad change of pace from my usual favorites. All said, a unique brew well worth trying.

apintofknowledge, Apr 18, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Transparent ochre with bright orange edges. The fantastic looking head is currently filling as much of the glass as the beer. It's orangish ecru in color, velvety firm and melts in intriguing fashion. Interlocking, abstract squiggles of lace adhere to the glass.

The nose is pungently hoppy, but isn't quite explosive enough to compete with the big boys. Caramel-covered grapefruit rind and evergreen boughs emanate from the glass. The hop bill includes some of my favorites: Magnum, Fuggles, Cascade, Centennial and Chinook. None of them really outshines the others.

There's a little less flavor than I would like. CCB Winter Storm is firmly malted, with an upfront sweetness and a slick mouthfeel. It fits the DIPA style like hand in glove (note: so why was it recently changed to an ESB?). Given the five incredible hop varieties in this bottle, the overall amount of hoppiness leaves a little something to be desired. It's definitely good, but I've had IPAs that were hoppier. White grapefruit is still the standout, followed by pine sap and bitter orange.

Although the flavor is increasing a tad with warming, this still isn't a bud buster. The mellowly hoppy finish is prolonged thanks to a mouthfeel that fits squarely between medium and full. A laid back amount of carbonation is perfect for the task at hand.

Winter Storm is sub-titled "Category 5" Ale. I'm going to have to downgrade it to a much less dangerous "Category 4". There's a lot to like, but when judged against its peers, it doesn't have enough of what makes the DIPA style hum. Namely hops. It's still mighty tasty beer. Thanks to meathookjones for the bottle.

BuckeyeNation, Apr 10, 2005
Photo of maybrick
3.1/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured the bottle right after removing it from the 'fridge. I let it settle a bit and noted a nice head retention. Holding it up to the light I observed a copper to orange color tinge to another wise dark brown brew. The taste is pretty good with notes of pine, citrus fruit.

The finish is crisp and has good bittering. Overall, not too bad.

maybrick, Apr 07, 2005
Photo of MuddyFeet
3.35/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The freshness date was not notched. Poured amber in color with a filmy head. Fairly high carbonation. The aroma is hops. The taste is strong in the hops, but brings to mind cleaning supplies. The mouthfeel is overly carbonated and the alcoho burn is almost uncomfortably high. I think after a couple of these beers my taste buds will be shot.

MuddyFeet, Mar 27, 2005
Photo of tgbljb
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received as a selection of the beer of the month club Poured a deep amber color. Head was a nice white fluffy color with good retention. Smell gave a hint of the hopr to follow. Taste was superb with enough hops to make it interesting without being overpowering. Alcohol content was well hidden, This is a very enjoyable beer

tgbljb, Mar 27, 2005
Photo of cubedbee
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle with Jul 05 freshness date. Pours a clear bright orange with a nice thick whitish heads, with very nice lacing. Nose is all hops, primarily citrusy. Medium bodied syrupy mouthfeel. Very nice amount of bitterness both upfront and in the aftertaste for fans of hops, although it is balanced out with an almost caramel malt flavor. As others have noted, this isn't a very good IIPA, but is a great tasting for a strong IPA.

cubedbee, Mar 12, 2005
Photo of Billolick
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ouncer sampled, label has area for freshness dating, but no matter how close I look, nothing has been notched/marked, oh well. This one pours a nice glowing orangy amber, white tiny bubble head/film and respectable lacing. Nose is a citrusy/resiny blend. Barely respectable DIPA. Ratings seem high to me, as this one is sort of mushy body wise. This is a decent IPA ,but Double? C'mon get real. Could be more firm and crisp to get a higher rating from me. Does have a nice hoppy finish (not the crunch to be expected from a top DIPA however) and lots of caramel malts. This is the best offering I can recall trying from Clipper City

Billolick, Mar 04, 2005
Photo of karst
4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

April '05 date "Category 5" Ale. I love the sea and I love a strom. With the woods filled with a late winter snow. This almost nitro-fine foamy 2 1/2 finger head forms over a whisky copper ale.
Aroma and flavor are building to Category 5 in my nose and mouth. I love beer and probably overrate most brews at this point. I spite a a warning about a fine layer of yeast " at her bottom" on smelling and tasting this very nice brew - risk being sent to "Davy Jones' locker. This bottle was definately protected from the rigor of life at sea! (or Corral's shelves at Granite City, Illinois)
If you have to go down, why not on a double IPA!
This ship rides the winter storms well with is strong body and complex nose and taste of caramel malts and a hop sail trimed to perfection. I'll ride this clipper to the ends of the earth!

karst, Feb 24, 2005
Photo of Dogbrick
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Dithyramb for the trade. This is either an awesome IPA or an average Double IPA. Either way it is a very good beer. Pours dark amber with a medium thin beige head. Thin speckles of lacing through the whole glass. Aroma of hops and oranges, as well as malt. Medium-bodied and hoppy, with pine and citrus flavors at the forefront. Nice malt balance too. The finish is tart and fruity with a lingering citrusy hops aftertaste. I like this beer.

Dogbrick, Feb 16, 2005
Photo of maxpower
4.43/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle pours hazy glowing amber-orange color with a thick creamy off-white head that leaves a nice lace in my glass. Sharp hoppy aroma of grapefruit and pine, resinous sticky pine and grapefruit flavors , has a full thick, sticky and slightly syrupy mouthfeel that finishes with a lingering bitterness, has a good malt balance, I need to get more.

maxpower, Jan 31, 2005
Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.78/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Extremely bright, see-through amber, a hops-dominated nose, with a massive blast of caramel, almost a burnt caramel smell, if there is such a thing! Very rich, oh so smooth and creamy; a blast of hops that will slap the palate into shape; fresh grapefruit and orange peel notes in the body, a decent warming affect as she warms, throw in some fresh baked bread tastings that slide down the hatch. Juicy and sweet hops, incredibly smooth and refreshing, a Double IPA Winter Seasonal? WOOO said the nature boy!

GeoffRizzo, Jan 22, 2005
Photo of cracker
3.43/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Frankly I was sort of let down by this beer. After hearing about it and having been impressed with small craft warning (also from this heavy seas line), I was expecting hoppy ipa with a strong hop aroma presence. It certainly is hoppy but sorely lacks floral hop aroma. Also, it doesn't seem to have a fruity malty backbone as most ipa's do (albeit they are more hoppy than anything else). It almost seemed like a overly hopped pilsner rather than an ale. Overall, I'd say it's just an average ipa. It's drinkable but not nearly as good as others out there.

cracker, Jan 18, 2005
Photo of beerluvr
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an incredibly rich a thick deep cream colored head rising 2 fingers high above the rim of the glass. Deep golden amber color with a yeast induced haziness. The nose is fresh intense flowery hoppiness with a nice sweet biscuity malty base to it. Kick ass hop bitterness fills the mouth along with thick slightly sweet maltiness. The hops just go on and on, ending in a long drawn out finish...bittersweet, but way more bitter/dry than sweet. Not too much alcohol sensed here, this one's a winner.

beerluvr, Jan 14, 2005
Photo of oelergud
4.18/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Copper hued body with a slightly off-white rocky head with good retention and lace. Rich carbonation.
Floral up front with strong undertones of dry hops, very inviting.
Very pleasant floral and hop flavors washing over the tongue leaving a slick hop oil coating. Sweet and subdued malts punches through shortly before the aftertaste kicks in with almost puckering hops and delicious bitterness.
Full and solid mouthfeel. slick coating, enduring aftertaste and an alcohol induced warmth makes this a great winter brew.


oelergud, Jan 09, 2005
Photo of Stimack
4.2/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Gave this brew a try last evening while at Mahars. Had not heard about it before so was just hoping that I picked something good to try. Well I got damn lucky, this was a nice brew. Poured to a somewhat cloudy copper color with a nice sized off white head that had pretty good retention and nice lacing. The aroma has a very pronounced citrus like hop to it, was able to get a good whiff of it just from the pour. Also can notice a caramel malt aroma that is in the background but definitely goes very well with the other scents. The taste was not dominated by the hoppy characteristics as I thought it would be. It seems to be very well balanced, definitely hoppy, no doubt about it, but the maltyness has a very strong showing. Over all this is a excellent brew, one that I will be looking for. This is my first time having a brew from Clipper City, but will have to give some of the others a try!

Stimack, Jan 08, 2005
Photo of shapudding
4.47/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tab dated April 2005. Poured out a clear an amber goldne with a thick and frothy head of orangey eggshell color. The head reduced down to a thin layer with a thick ring at the edge. Very nice scents of fruits- apples, oranges, plump raisins, maybe a bit of banana even...? Yeastiness floating up in the warm spiciness. The first sip really just filled my mouth. The body/carbination actually surprised me, but is very nice. Medium bodied I guess. The carb feels bood, almost creamy, alot going on. I'm surprised by the white grapefruit hoppy biteyness here. Very good flavors. Kinda like I am drinking white grapefruit juice in a beer form though? I find this to be a good drinker and can see myself having this one in the summer too. There is a good amount of flavor left over in your mouth after each sip.
-Thanks to the blitheringidiot for giving me a bunch of these!

shapudding, Jan 03, 2005
Photo of SixpointJMH
4.08/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had never seen this one in my area before so I picked up a six pack, and I'm glad I did.

It pours a very nice slightly cloudy amber colour with a huge chunky tan head that fluffs up and damn near out of the glass. This is a very, very nice looking brew.

The smell is mainly of hops and has a bread like quality to it. Earth tones are a bit noticeable as well. It seems as if it's going to be a relatively big IPA.

The flavour echoes the smell nicely, and while it is not as big as the smell would indicate, it does present a nice balance that's quite welcome here. While it doesn't compete with the super hopped duoble IPA's, it is certainly bigger than your standard IPA. The flavour also has a bit more of a fruit quality to it than the smell did. The sweetness is a nice touch.

Overall, my only (slight) complaint would be that this one seems a touch thin and maybe even watery at times. Other than that, this is a flavourful IPA that I'd be more than happy to pick up again.

SixpointJMH, Dec 29, 2004
Photo of RonfromJersey
4.22/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Best before Arp 05 clearly notched in the label.

Beer style, other than "Category 5 Ale", not a word.

Clear, shiny copper body, fine carbonation streams, and a big frothy french vanilla shaving cream head which rocked above the rim.

Nice nose of pine, grapefruit, and a big burst of orange. Hey, this might be an IPA.

Nice smooth malt foundation, with enough caramel to think Oktoberfest. Hops roll in after, exciting but not searing. Nice earthy notes to the hop finish. While the nose scented American, there is a nice British twist in the taste, along with enough malt to carry it all toward the land of Double.

Despite all that good malt, there is something about the body that comes off just a tad weaker than it should be. But while it might be a slight disappointment, it is by no means a fatal flaw. Just not what it could be.

Drinkability is top notch, flowing down quite easily.

A good IPA, however you want to categorize it. A pleasure to see Clipper City back in Northern NJ. Nice to see other breweries besides Sierra Nevada creating IPA-types for a winter seasonal.

Sail on, and follow that star!

RonfromJersey, Dec 24, 2004
Photo of blitheringidiot
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Label Lingo and bottle babble: April 05 freshness notch. Whimsical cartoon pirate character on the blue label.

Deep amber sunset hues with carbonation sporadically rising hither and yon. Huge mountainous head cap that has the pour dimple and leaves a Blue Ribbon sticky lace.

Bubble gum hops and some rock candy malts. Citrous orange peel.

First Swigs: Blended citrous fruit of mostly oranges and Bubble Yum bubble gum hops. Cotton candy notes. Detectable malts but can’t detail the malt profile. Juicy orange hop middle and lingering zesty polished clean aftertaste.

Medium body, easy sudsy carbonation, and extremely clean.

Last Swigs: Juicy orange smooth easy Ale. My hops guess is Centennial? Enjoyable sweet drinkable ale and 7.5% ABV gives it some hidden kick. This is supposed to be a 2IPA? Ya gotta be kiddin! This is like a Pale at best. Seasonal offering in Mid October. Reminds me of local Barley Creek Super Hop. Paid $29 for a mixed case of Stout, RedSaison and 2IPA. 17/4.08

Beer is good. Happy sorta 2IPA beering.

blitheringidiot, Dec 20, 2004
Photo of RBorsato
4.95/5  rDev +29.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark gold/bronze with a full pillowy beige head, very active carbonation and lots of lace. Big beautiful citrusy grapefruit hop aroma and flavor. Medium bodied (may have felt a touch lighter due to carbonation) and creamy with an awesome fresh hoppy finish.... nice hop burps !!!

Must be the CC Reserve Winter Ale redux... very similar from memory as I remember that one being excellent as well.

Per CC website: Winter Storm "Category 5" Ale.
Available - Mid October
ABV: approx. 7.5%
IBU'S: 50+
Malts: Pal, Crystal and Carapils
Hops: Magnum, Fuggles, Cascade and Centennial
Style: Imperial IPA - a hearty, winter warmer, it is brewed with huge amounts of malts and hops, producing a rich flavor and powerful hop aroma.

Purchase Before: Mar '05
Tasted: 12/11/04

($27.99 / case)

RBorsato, Dec 15, 2004
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured crystal clear medium amber with an off-white frothy and tall head that fell very slowly to end up coating the glass with Belgian lace.

The aroma was hoppy and grassy through the head with a prominent dry hopped aroma. The hops were citrusy with grapefruit most notable. Behind the generous hop nose was a nice malt complement which contained caramel.

The flavor was more restrained that the aroma was a malty flavor with caramel and a bitterness that was a bit less than anticipated. The bittering was certainly present, but was balanced with the maltiness and the caramel and only started to shine as the beer warmed substantially.

The finish was just dry with lasting hoppiness and maltiness. The body was medium full and well done.

12 ounce bottle. The aroma was very nice and the flavor was well balanced. No particular complexity about this beer, but pure drinkability does exist. As a fan of the Heavy Seas line, I would recommend this brew, but only as a nicely drinkable Double IPA, not as an outstanding example of the style.

GCBrewingCo, Dec 14, 2004
Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
86 out of 100 based on 813 ratings.