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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

(view ratings)
Ratings: 912
Reviews: 510
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 12.37%
Wants: 32
Gots: 59 | 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 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of JMD
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Rich copper color with big off white head that fades slowly. Leaves light lacing on the glass.

S: Toasted malt, some carmel and bitter hops.

T: Bready malt with sweet brown sugar and carmel. Finishes with a bitter hop bite.

M: Medium bodied and smooth. Nice texture.

D: Nice drinking winter ale. At 7.5% abv these will definitely keep you warm on those cold New England nights.

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

12 oz. bottle best before April 2009.

Clear orange copper body, topped by a small, gauzy, light khaki head. Good lacing. Nose shows off toffee malts, grassy-herbal hops, faint metal, toasted bread, and strawberry jam. Toasted grains and minty hop bitterness up front. Toffee and cookie dough malts add some sweetness, while maintaining a toasted edge. Herbal, grassy hop bitterness comes in near the finish as the malts turn a little butterscotchy. Slightly warming. Medium body with a creamy feel. A pretty good winter-y ESB.

Photo of ncfranklin
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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

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

Rich winter warmer with a tasty malty range on a cask serving.

Presentation: 12 oz cask offering. Short description noting main characteristic of the style and brew, menu also notes Alc. by Vol (7.3%) Served in a pint shaker glass.

A - Hazy brown pour with a rich creamy head, good retention and nice lacing.

S - There is a rich malty sweet range with a caramel hint, a bit too subtle.

T - Taste follows with a roasted malt sweetness and a nice hoppy balanced bite that picks up the malt at the end again

M - Medium body to full body with hints of the second cask carbonation, nice thick texture and finish.

D - Works rather nicely on cask, very drinkable.

Notes: Imperial ESB or not, this is a rather nice malty brew with a nice hop counterbalance. The cask profile gives it quite a nice character.

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

A: Clear amber with a quickly disappearing white head

S: A roasty malt with mainly caramel tones

T: A sweet malty flavor with lots of piney hops. The caramel flavor carries through as does a brown sugar and fruit taste.

M: Little spice or heat but moderate bitterness. Medium bodied with good carbonation.

D: A little too hoppy to be a everyday drinker. Not so much as to be strictly a sipper though.

Overall, I can't compare this to others of the style as it isn't a style I've tried. It is however a very nice beer and another good member of the Heavy Seas sampler.

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

Dark copper pour into a DFH shaped pint glass. Ample off white head which subsides fairly quickly but leaves nice lacing as it subsides.
Aroma is a nice balance of hops and malt.
Pretty good balance in the flavor as well. Hoppier than the aroma would lead you to believe. Hops are a little more prominent than the malt but there is an underpinning of sweet malt which makes for a nice balance.
Decent mouthfeel, a bit syrupy. Pretty drinkable but I notice the alcohol a bit more than I would expect to at this abv.
A decent stab at an ESB. I'm not sure that it is really so strong that it deserves the "Imperial" designation on the bottle, but I will look for it again next year.

Photo of jeff1973
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of BeerBuckeye
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

Photo of Stinkypuss
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle dated best by April 09'.

A. Poured into a clean pint glass. Stunning amber with a soapy off white head that sticks around for some lace.

S. A malty and floral nose with just a hint of citrus. Strong bready and earthy notes fill the room.

T. Honey like malt sweetness paired with some brutal earthy pine/grapefruit hop. The malt needs to be very sweet to combat the hop onslaught and does a good job at that but could have used more character. Actually as it warms some roasted malt pulls through and is nice, watch the serving temp. on this one. Probably the most kick ass tasty ESB I've had.

M. Pretty decent overall mouthfeel, creamy yet abrasive to the palate. Smooth yet harsh. Lingering sweet hop on the tongue.

D. This is an extreme ESB and I like it alot.

Photo of WOSean
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%

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

Pours brilliantly clear, with no sediment at all (despite claims to the contrary on the label). The beer is topped by a frothy, initially three-finger thick, creamy-tan colored head. The aroma is nice and hoppy with a berry like hop note as well as a herbaceaus, sometimes grassy note to it. Behind this is a dry, biscuit-like malt character that at times smells like fresh from the oven bread crust. The hop character is definitely the dominant note in the aroma though.

Quite sweet, this really amplifies that berry note from the aroma. Flavors of sweet citrus are also found here. The beer is not quite as thick as the sweetness might suggest; it is certainly chewy, with lots of caramelized malt sugars. It seems to lean towards simpler malt sugars that are more directly sweet, but alot of the percieved sweetness could be an amplification of the fruity hop notes. There are some nice sharp notes here as well and these provide some balance to the hop fruit notes and the sweet malt. Green, herbal hop notes and a solid bitterness add notes of astringecy to the flavor profile that is quite nice.

A touch of hot alcohol is noticeable at times, but it is fairly hidden and seems to be brought out a bit by the sharp, herbal hop notes. This is quite an impressive hop focussed beer. I am really quite pleased by the quality of the two hop monster's I have had from this brewery.

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

Poured amber with gold shimmers, not much of a head and there was some spotty lacings left on the glass. Oaky smell mixed with honey, somewhat sweet. Citrus and honey mixed with malt taste, nice hop bitterness, seems a little bitey for an ESB, but still very tasty. Slick, oily mouthfeel, slides down nice and easy. Overall, nice beer, worth a try, different from other ESBs that I have tried.

Photo of Yetiman420
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Unibroue tulip glass. Wonderful copper color and thin head.

Amazing floral, hoppy aroma.

First time for everything including an imperial ESB. I'm not sure how far from a strong ale this really is.

Halfway through carbonation seems to fade and the drinkability subsides a bit for my liking.

Photo of warriorsoul
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another one picked up in RI...so close yet so far.
Big thanks to Beerguy for this brew.
Pours a dark rust color with a full finger of creamy off-white head...has excellent cling, producing some fabulous lacing and half of the head sticks around for quite a while.
More malt in the nose at first, but a decent amount of hops show up with a lingering nose...a bubble gum aroma with some earthy yeast.
The taste is nice...more of an English style IPA with a handful more hops IMO. The malt backbone is solid and much more of a presence helping itself distinguish itself from the Loose Cannon.
The alcohol is very well hidden yet it is felt quite nicely after most of the pint.
Finish is quite bitter, the mouthfeel is medium bodied and the carbonation is just a touch high for me. Could enjoy a few of these and be quite happy.
Either way, another solid offering from CC and one I will look for on tap soon enough.

Photo of IntriqKen
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oh man, this is a beautiful beer. But my first thought was "Double IPA", not ESB...whatever it is, it's got a fluffy, creamy head, sitting on top of an insanely well-filtered amber that glistens and glows. Cloud formations of lace form quickly and cling tightly.

Aroma is citrus hops, a candy-like malt center, and a slight dab of sweet dark fruit (plum, grape, fig).

Flavor features hops, puckery and rind-like, with helpful backup from very sweet caramel malts. Cinnamon and ginger seep through in the background. Nice buttery mouthfeel is offset by healthy carbonation. A little stickiness coats the mouth too, which keeps the hops flavor zipping around.

The firm malty character of an ESB is here, but it's slapped upside the head by the hops. The brewery dubs it an "Imperial ESB". Whatever, this is one beer where style categorization isn't necessary...it needs to be enjoyed for what it is.

Photo of Jayli
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This beer pours a gorgeous crystal clear amber color with a 1/4 inch of off white head. Head recedes immediately leaving spotty lacing.

S: Nose is of rich, deep caramel malts, toffee, grains and some sugar.

T: Taste is more reminiscent of a red to me. Rich malts fill this beer out - caramel and toffee, touch of fruitiness and honey, and a solid bready quility to it.

M: Lighter side of medium body, moderate carbonation, crisp and clean feel.

D: Decently blended and tasty. It didn't seem to fit the style though.

Photo of saintwarrick
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I wasn't expecting an ESB for a winter seasonal, but I'll take it. This brew pours a cloudy copper with a foamy, long-lasting white head that sticks to the glass. I get mostly malt in the aroma, semi-sweet caramel, with a bit of piney hops mixed in, but nothing overpowering. Malt takes over in the taste, with some bitter citrus tacked on to make this a true bitter. Alcohol is noticeable but not overwhelming. A solid brew to come in from the cold for.

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 embass
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured a copper/amber-ish color with a one finger head which disapated to a thin layer pretty quickly. Nice look and carbonation.

Had a nice toasty caramel smell along with some fruits; a little citrus note as well. I really liked the initial smell of hops there…

Definitely malt forward with with some bitterness up front; (a faint) citrus flavor along with something that is a bit herbal tasting to me.

Mouthfeel was pretty smooth; medium bodied and moderate carbonation.

Overall pretty good beer; not overly bitter and very bright. I have not had a lot of ESB style beers so this review may need to be tweaked a bit over time as I taste more.

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

Winter Storm "Category 5" Ale

This would be beer #2 from my Thanksgiving brew pack. The label calls this beer an Imperial ESB or "Extra Special Bitter". I've had ESB's before in the past but never an Imperial ESB, so my interests are already peaked. I poured the beer into my crystal snifter with very little head. The color is a deep ruby, yielding to light when held up to the light. The aroma is rich with the fresh citrus and bitterness of hops, along with the roasted, mellow notes of malt. The taste is equally impressive. A good amount of bitterness provided by the hops, and keeps the aftertaste nice and clean. The malts provide a good balance of sweetness that round out the beer. The label proclaims a 7.5% ABV, which is well hidden. I would highly recommend checking this wonderful winter brew.

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

A: The beer pours a deep amber into my Russian River -tion snifter. It's surprisingly clear for how deep the color is, I was expecting some haziness, really impressive. A couple of fingers of white head rise up and leave some pretty nice lacing.

S: Lot of caramel and brown sugar on the smell, maybe even some hops. Sweet and malt forward.

T: Following the smell, the taste is all about caramel and malts, with a very nice hop finish. Some citrus seems to be mixed in as well, all with a really dry finish. Very sweet up front, the hops create a nice balance at the end.

MF: Medium body with a low carbonation. Very dry finish.

O: Easy drinking, good beer. Nothing wrong with it, but I don't think I'd get it again. Not a huge ESB fan.

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 VelvetExtract
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
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.

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