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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

811 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 811
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: 811 | Reviews: 491 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of kinger
3.88/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Yargh this here beauty is chock full of goodness. Friendly aroma not overpowering which looses a point or so with me, somewhat typical hop nose. Amazing pour, color is a very dark copper almost brown. Big fluffy tan head that has no intention of leaving. lots of stringy lacing cascading down as the beer is drunk. Mouthfeel is nice easy quenching and smooth nothing outstanding. Flavor is warming and refreshing at the same time. Hearty hop presence more bitter and citrus than evergreen. Thick malt content very surprising. A little bit of caramel is detected. Overall unexpected and absolutely enjoyable. Yargh!

kinger, Nov 11, 2008
Photo of beerman207
4.1/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've become a fan of Heavy Seas ever since visiting Baltimore. They will never have a beer that blows you away but each offering is solid based on the pricepoint.

A: Caramel color with a decent head that leaves a skim lacing on the glass

S: Smells of sweet malt, dark fruit, and some hops.

T: Hops are in there in the front as well as some sweet malt.

M: Medium Body

D: Very high. The alcohol is well masked. I could go for another.

beerman207, Nov 15, 2009
Photo of cdizinno
4.13/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: dark amber red. off-white head that fades slowly with heavy lacing.

S: malty aromas that give a slightly sweet scent. Slight undertones of hops and citrus.

T: nice strong hops and slightly complex background flavors of glazed caramel and light citrus.

M: very smooth, full body, medium carbonation, dry finish.

D: Tasty beer. I've had it on tap and it's even better.

cdizinno, Mar 04, 2009
Photo of Xandrose
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Xandrose, Dec 29, 2013
Photo of Blueribbon666
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I chased a Celebration Ale w/this fine ESB. Drank this straight from the bottle as it was from the fridge @ a holiday party w/a very interesting mix of craft beers. I had my doubts about following the Celebration Ale w/this ESB but it actually was a nice brew that was actually a perfect step back if only slightly from the Celebration Ale which is hop cone right off the branch. Would definitely have again and recommend to all those looking for a winter/holiday beer that's just that BEER, w/o the trimmings. Clove, nutmeg and the like. Good drinkability for a stronger beer w/a hop kick

Blueribbon666, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of cichief
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on draft at Frisco Grille, Columbia, MD.

A- Poured a deep red-brown, almost opaque, with a thin off-white head.

S- Little scent of pine and spice.

T- Spicy and sweet, hints of grapefruit and pine, malty, but not too cloying.

M- Not overly carbonated, medium on the tongue, decent dry aftertaste.

D- I wouldn't drink too many of these, sweeter than
I would prefer.

cichief, Jul 18, 2007
Photo of HeyItsChili
3.68/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a reddish copper with a thin, slowly dissipating khaki head.

S - Smells sweet, bit o dark toffee.

T - Nice warm, roasty malt. A bit of bite from the hops takes over in the finish. This is a winter beer not dominated by spice like some are. A nice alcohol punch is evident here.

M - Medium creamy with very little noticeable carbonation.

D - I'd drink another. Not my favorite, but I'd recommend it.

HeyItsChili, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of JohnnyM2002
4.05/5  rDev +6%
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.

JohnnyM2002, Dec 20, 2006
Photo of DLS168
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

DLS168, Nov 18, 2013
Photo of Jackal
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

Jackal, Jul 26, 2013
Photo of JDeming
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

JDeming, Jun 30, 2014
Photo of NCbeerpirate
4/5  rDev +4.7%

NCbeerpirate, Dec 03, 2011
Photo of charlesw
4.33/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed as a barleywine 'cause there ain't no way this is an ESB. Seriously... The brewers call it an "Imperial ESB". Well, golly, we don't review the IIPA as an IPA do we? Indeed, we don't see the IESB as an ESB either.

Anyway... Beautiful clearish brown amber with a medium cream head that lasts well with lacing that goes on and on...

Smells... Like a nice barleywine. Malty and grassy and malty and did I mention the grass?

Tastes... Well... Almost like a Smuttynose Barleywine. Maybe a light version of that, but you get the idea. It's more about your English (noble) hops than about Cascades - sure, it's bitter and all, but it doesn't have the big citrus head of so many (thankfully). Smooth and easy going down. A little bitter hit right in the middle of the tongue right at the end. But very nice. Not too sweet. A great summer barley wine!

Ah, right. Well, so... If it's a barleywine or imperial or whatever, well... Then it's probably thin on the mouth, eh? It's about right for an ESB (on cask? Get out of here! This would be awesome!) but not for anything claiming to be bigger, you know?

Still... Drinkable? Oh yeah! I wish I had more than the 3 that came in my mixed case! Hell yeah! Love it!

charlesw, Jul 11, 2007
Photo of Redwood21
4.03/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: love it love it. a head thats not large but lasts, maybe #2 pencil thick. it sticks like its its job too! insanity! the color is almost rust brown

S: there is some woodland earthy grainy bread hard to distinguish, not bad at all

T: I love it, its good! its creamy and bitter, and full of flavor. there is some malt with a hoppy back ground that is assertive.

A must try, i really like it i wish i could get more in depth about it, when i drink this beer i def don't feel the 7.5% its just that good.

Redwood21, Mar 05, 2008
Photo of MmmIPA
3.05/5  rDev -20.2%
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.

MmmIPA, Jan 29, 2007
Photo of Jesse13713
2.85/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Best by date in February

Appearance - Pours a clear caramel with a red hue. Slight transparent with no head and poor lacing.

Smell - Slight chocolate notes covered by barley malts. Not very bitter or hoppy smelling. Slight grassy hints.

Taste - Tastes like ice was melted to make the water used in this beer. It tastes crisp and purified. Slightly bitter with spice notes. The flavor is slightly hard to describe here. Quite a bitter alcoholic swallow.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability - A slight crisp hot that still tastes like the water was melted from ice. I liked this beer a little more than I anticipated.

Jesse13713, Feb 19, 2011
Photo of iceball585
3.35/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Reddish copper color, semi-clear, half finger thick fluffy head that lowered to a thin cover

S- Citrus (mostly lemons), pale malts, flowery hops, slightly sweet

T- Bitter hops, grapefruit, light malts, floral, honey, grass, earthy

M- Medium body, medium carbonation, bitter, oily finish

D- Worth trying

This is definatly not an instant classic in my eyes but still good none the less. The hops flavor is too overpowering, in fact thats about all you taste.

iceball585, Jan 28, 2008
Photo of SIRIUS2
3.4/5  rDev -11%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a chalice style glass.

Pours reddish-brown or amber color, clear, with a relatively small head - relatively low retention produces light lacing.

Aroma was pleasant, a maltiness mixed with something yeasty, a sort of biscuit smell that worked well. If you are looking for it, you can pick up some signs of citrus or grapefruit hops on the nose as well.

The balance of the brew is pretty good for this ABV but it is a touch sweet to bring down the alcohol presence. A good job of hopping this brew as there is still a good solid mouthfeel without splitting the flavors. There is a bit of warming as it slides down the throat.

The mouthfeel is a touch heavy but understandably so. A very enjoyable offering and perfect for cold weather. I dig it.

SIRIUS2, Jun 09, 2011
Photo of sacfly
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
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!

sacfly, Jan 20, 2007
Photo of Baab200
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Baab200, Nov 27, 2013
Photo of jaluria
3.7/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a copper color with a white head that left behind intense lacing. Aromas of malt, honey, and hops; not as diverse as might be expected. The taste was flavorful with a mild sweetness upfront followed by a stronger hop flavor that grows into the finish. Much sweeter than might be expected for this style, almost liek a barley wine. The hops just were not as dominant and everpresent as I would have liked, especially for this style. Quite tame and mild, but still enjoyable.

jaluria, Mar 14, 2006
Photo of Bloodbuzz99
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Bloodbuzz99, Jan 05, 2013
Photo of Remdog
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Remdog, Dec 22, 2013
Photo of mater
4/5  rDev +4.7%

mater, May 14, 2012
Photo of abrand
3.6/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into tumbler, notched on bottle at april 2009.

A- pours a deep amber color that is translucent. Very small head that dissolves rapidly and no retention is seen.

S- smells of malted nuts and lots of hops. Somewhat of a sweety smell with hints of citrus and earthy aromas.

T- much like the smell, very complex. Hoppiness dominates the palate but also nuts and citrus linger.

M- light bodied

D- Pretty solid beer, not overly powerful or the best tasting ESB ever but pretty good.

abrand, Apr 01, 2009
Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
86 out of 100 based on 811 ratings.