Great Lakes Winter Ale - Great Lakes Brewery
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 85 | Reviews: 59 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by crwills:
3.18/5 rDev -10.4%
I usually like Great Lakes' specialty beers, but this one just didn't do it for me. Poured a nice reddish brown with a big bubbly head into (haha) a Labatt Blue glass. You takes what you gets.
Spicy, fruitcake-like aroma with lots of bready notes. Not bad -- I started thinking maybe this wouldn't be excessively spiced, but I was wrong. Way too much artificial-seeming nutmeg, cinnamon, and (maybe) ginger for me. The spices overwhelmed the beer, which otherwise might have been a nice brown ale. Too much carbonation as well. Aftertaste is bitter and lemony or orangey.
I'll stick with the 666.
01-12-2008 19:55:06 | More by crwills
More User Reviews:
3.4/5 rDev -4.2%
Re-review for the 2010 edition.
Poured into a nonic glass. Dark amber-ruby, a thick white head, with a bit of lacing. The head sticks around for most of the sample, leaving behind a thin, but sturdy ring,.
Smell is quite strong: malt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, orange peel and caramel. Not bad, certainly more noticable than some of the winter brews I've had thus far.
With other Great Lakes brews, the flavors have been to thin, too boring, too washed out. In this case, I felt that, if anything, there was too much flavor. Man, was this spicy. Huge flavor punches of cinnamon, ginger, clove, pepper, orange peel, with bready malts only reaching the surface every so often. Flavorful, but difficult to finish. Reminds me of making mulled wine, and drinking a cup near the end of the pot, which has spent more time with the cloves and spice bag and is thus just too strong. Still good, but too strong...
Mouthfeel is decent, reasonably carbonated, slightly creamy.
This year's edition feels like an improvement upon the former, with bolder flavors and a better mouthfeel. However, I think the spices have been jacked up to a more-than-reasonable level, making this bit difficult to drink. Still, I have to give credit where it's due. This is by far Great Lakes' best wide-release brew, and worthy of a pickup on a cold winter day. Just be sure to share it; a tall bottle is a bit much.
01-09-2011 05:44:19 | More by JohnnyBarman
3.3/5 rDev -7%
Served in a chilled glass
Appearance - beer pours a dark brown/amber in colour. The head is fairly thick in appearance, off white. It's about one finger in height and has some good staying power. It was hard to tell the carbonation levels.
Smell - I can pick up some orange, orange zest, very good balance of spice and hops.
Taste - I found the primary taste was orange followed by spices and then a slight bitter hop finish. I would not say this was as balanced as i hope, but a very nice tasting beer.
Mouthfeel - The added level of carbonation brings more bitterness to the end. The beer has a full mouthfeel.
Drinkability - I found this to have too much contrast between the orange and spice mixture. Not a bad beer, just not something i will miss in the summer!
01-03-2011 22:11:23 | More by Swedes21
3.8/5 rDev +7%
On-tap at C'est What.
This beer appears a slightly cloudy medium reddish brown hue, with one finger of off-white soapy head, which leaves no lace. It smells of caramel malt, nutmeg, and light cloves. The taste is spicy nutmeg, ginger, and sweet bready malt. The carbonation is moderate, the body medium weight, fruity, and smooth, and it finishes soft, with some extra caramel and Christmas spice.
A decent holiday spiced ale, just as the cold air has returned.
01-30-2010 08:11:35 | More by biboergosum
3.55/5 rDev 0%
Reddish amber colour with nice head and lace. A full mouthfeel bready malty concoction, spices and citrus are quite the secondary. Fresh, I was the first on Ralph's tap and nice fruity drinking, fruity aftertaste refreshing.
Bottle at RPM Club seasonal party, near the brewery. Decent spiciness, mouthfeel bulked by caramel. A hlf pint is about right.
12-12-2006 01:34:19 | More by Sammy
4.75/5 rDev +33.8%
Bought a bottle at the LCBO in Ancaster , Ont. Love trying these winter ales available at the Liquor store eh! Found it to be spicy and a great winter ale eh! It's the first time I've tried the Winter Ale from Great Lakes Brewery and I can honestly tell you it won't be my last. Great taste and package , and and real crowd pleaser eh!
12-02-2009 01:29:20 | More by Pisstank52
3.93/5 rDev +10.7%
Finally got around to popping this baby open. Attractive Christmas tree etching. Pours a dark orange red, clear. Not surprisingly, not much head, lacings are spotty.
Sweet, malty nose. Caramel, maple and a hint of cinnamon. Nice, but not that strong really.
Not at all what I was expecting. With all the ingredients listed I was expecting something much more flavourful with a bit of an edge. Instead i get a pretty quaffable, malty, smooth ale with a hint of spice. Nice ginger on first contact. Orange peel gives a sort of juiciness to the beer. Cinnimon is quite subdued. Star of the show is some really tasty, chewy malt, yummmm. What little bitterness there is has a fight on its hands with the mix of spices, hard to tell what comes out.
Very drinkable for the alcohol, no harshness at all. I really enjoy the malt character of these Great Lakes brews. I really enjoyed this one.
03-29-2008 03:11:27 | More by CanuckRover
3.5/5 rDev -1.4%
Bottle: Poured a deep orangey color ale with a nice foamy head with OK retention but no lacing. Aroma of caramel malt with light spice mix is weaker then anticipated. Taste is a mix between some nice caramel malt with some notes of cloves and ginger. Body is thinner then expected with some medium carbonation. I was expecting a bit more character from this one but enjoyable nonetheless.
01-03-2008 15:33:50 | More by Phyl21ca
2.75/5 rDev -22.5%
A - Dark brown with one finger of cream coloured head.
S - Heavily spiced. A lot of cinnamon and nutmeg. Not much else comes through as the spices really overpower the nose.
T - Follows the nose. Lots of cinnamon and nutmeg - they completely dominate the palate. Nothing else comes thorough at all. Very one dimensional.
M - Medium body, lightly carbonated.
D - Way too spiced. Difficult to drink.
12-11-2010 03:50:52 | More by TheSevenDuffs
3.63/5 rDev +2.3%
Starts with a thick head, good retention and lacing. Has a clear dark red color. The eyes are happy.
The first thing I smell are spices, then fruits, doughy malt and a good dosage of hops.
Tastes of dried fruits, spices, good malt and hop balance. All in all I enjoyed this offering from Great Lakes and will wait to see how my other two bottles do. Now I just have to figure out what the hell am I going to do with six of these crappy glasses.
12-05-2007 05:33:37 | More by irishkyle21
4/5 rDev +12.7%
750 ml bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.
A: Pours a clear reddish-brown with 3 fingers of off-white head which leaves ample sticky lacing.
S: Smells of orange, cinnamon, like a fruitcake!
T: As per the aroma, tastes of malt, fruit and spice. A late contribution from hops also but definitely not the focus here.
M: The mouthfeel is medium and a little sticky with good carbonation.
D: Very drinkable.
This is exactly what I expect from a winter warmer in the aroma and flavour departments: fruit and spice. Not the English approach of just making a malty ale with slightly higher ABV.
12-08-2010 03:13:10 | More by mrnobody
3.43/5 rDev -3.4%
2010 750ml bottle, pours a dark brown with hints of reddish, a couple fingers of airy foam on top. Nose reveals some orange zest and a hint of ginger, some earthy peppercorn as well.
Odd take, seems quite a bit different than the cask I had last year, thus the new review. Orange zest, loads of peppercorn both black and white, hint of fresh grated ginger, hint of cinnamon, caramel, earth, touch of cocoa. Far too thin body, carbonation is a little too zippy, needs some bulk and richness. Not a traditional take but more a mulled wine with beer - very unique and tasty.
12-26-2010 17:47:09 | More by ritzkiss
3.45/5 rDev -2.8%
Appearance - The beer pours a amber colour with an average size fizzy off-white coloured head. There is an average amount of carbonation and there is some fair lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for 5 minutes before it was gone.
Smell - Caramel, oranges, all spice, hops
Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, hops, and all spice. There is also fair amount of citrus juice and zest flavour. It ends with a malty slightly sweet aftertaste with a touch of spiciness.
Overall – Another decent beer from great lakes but I'm afraid this one wasn't quite worth the 7$ price tag. It's just a little to thin and weak tasting, I was expecting something bolder.
11-17-2011 19:51:14 | More by spinrsx
3.53/5 rDev -0.6%
Bottle from the LCBO, 650ml bomber into a couple pint glasses. Split with the girlfriend.
Appears a golden brown in the glass, some hints to darker reds and oranges throughout. Chunky and creamy head, a few fingers worth were yielded. Good retention, moderate lace. Loads of honey, cinnamon, nutmeg and big malt sweetness in the nose. Appetizing and warming in a sense, 'Christmas-y.' Spicy bouquet. Taste is comparably tame, still lots of sweet malt, with the spices, cinnamon among others. Body is disappointing, would've liked a thicker, fuller mouth and a longer finish. Easily drinkable however.
12-10-2010 01:49:54 | More by liamt07
3.7/5 rDev +4.2%
Pours a deep orangey brown with a cream coloured head that has minimal retention. Smell of spices and a little bit of cinnamon. Nice malty taste with hints of cinnamon and ginger. I think the orange peel adds a little bit of fruitiness to it. I was expecting a beer a little more complex in flavour after reading the label on the back, but I still really enjoyed this. Very smooth and easy to drink.
11-27-2008 03:56:34 | More by ludachris
3.63/5 rDev +2.3%
Appearance: It has a nice merky amber color to it. It has a nice thick light beige head that dies down slowly and leaves nice lacing.
Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of bready malts, honey, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and oranges.
Taste: Like the aromas, it has some sweet honey, some caramel, bready malts, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and some light oranges.
Mouthfeel: It has a low/medium carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel.
Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied with decent flavors and aromas.
12-13-2012 22:39:17 | More by SebD
3.65/5 rDev +2.8%
This year's edition, from a 750 mL quart-sized bottle.
Pours a translucent deep-toned amber-bronze colour, topped with a little more than two fingers' worth of rich, silky light beige-coloured head. Good retention; it sticks around for a good while and leaves behind lots of sticky lacing streaks on the glass. Honestly, the first thing I thought of when I sniffed this stuff was potpourri; it's a very floral, fruity, spicy aroma. Gingerbread is very prominent, with hints of clove and cinnamon as well. The fruity notes lean toward mild orange citrus, with some underlying caramel or butterscotch malty sweetness. Enjoyable aroma for sure.
Mostly bready malts - gingerbready, to be specific - and more spice on the palate; lots of ginger and cinnamon but also notes of allspice and nutmeg. Floral, herbal hops interact nicely with the orange peel, and provide enough bitterness to balance the caramel malt sweetness. Fairly robust aftertaste that includes light malt sweetness, allspice and some dryness; the dryness lasts longest. Not obnoxiously spicy, but more than enough to remind you that this is an American-style warmer rather than a UK one. Medium-bodied but still pretty satisfying, with moderate carbonation levels. Very smooth, and easy to drink at a touch over 6%.
This can be summed up with four words: reasonably enjoyable, but overpriced. Not overspiced, which is a plus in my books, but pretty straightforward and uninteresting, which is definitely not a plus for the style in my eyes. Put it in a regular-sized bomber and charge a few bucks less and I might get this again, but otherwise this is a one and done for me. A good effort like most beers from this brewery, but kind of forgettable.
12-06-2011 06:26:06 | More by thehyperduck
4.2/5 rDev +18.3%
Pours nut-brown colour with white foamy head which dissapeared pretty quickly. Smell - spices hit nose right away, ginger, citrus, coriander, then malts become noticeable. Very comlex smell. Nice! Taste - spices again - cinnamon, ginger bread, some toffe perhaps. It is the winter warmer as it should be - complex, spicy, boozy. Carbonation is just right. Drinkability - good.
Very nice brew. Thanks to both bobsy and Viggo for this, one wouldn't be enough anyway;)
12-26-2008 05:06:18 | More by Voonder
3.93/5 rDev +10.7%
Amber brown appearance with decent head. Smells heavily of malt, picked up some orange and spices.
Taste is very malty and lots of cinnamon. Slight orange taste to it. Bitter and spicy. Dark bodied with moderate carbonation. Aftertaste is malty and sweet.
Overall, very unique dark beer. Definatly something you would drink in the winter. Curious to try other beers from Great Lakes now.
01-09-2011 04:08:15 | More by CrazyMike
3.13/5 rDev -11.8%
750ml bottle, corked and caged with a white champagne wrapper on top. purchased in november 2007 as part of a gift pack with two glasses.
pours a nice red colour with just a wisp of dense white head. no lace.
aroma is nice. lots of christmas spice - cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, maybe a hint of clove. slightly floral and a bit perfume-like - one of the traits that i'm not especially fond of in pumpkin/christmas brews. hint of alcohol. multi-grain bread.
taste is ok. medium-low bitterness. lots of spice. floral. slightly soapy and perfumey. bit of alcohol. bit of multi-grain bread hidden behind the wash of spices. not quite my thing.
mouthfeel is ok. medium carbonation level. medium body. lingering and slightly clingy mouthfeel from the spice that isn't entirely pleasant.
drinkability is ok. this one has far to much spice for me, but seems ok otherwise. if you like these sorts of strongly spicy christmas and/or pumpkin type brews, feel free to ignore my rating.
11-29-2007 02:30:05 | More by grub
Great Lakes Winter Ale from Great Lakes Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 85 ratings.