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Great Lakes Winter Ale - Great Lakes Brewery

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Winter AleGreat Lakes Winter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
81
good

85 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 85
Reviews: 59
rAvg: 3.55
pDev: 14.08%
Wants: 0
Gots: 4 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewery visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
Inspired by the long, cold and seemingly endless Canadian winter, our 6.2% alcohol Winter Ale is a true winter warmer. Handcrafted with specialty hops and malts, combined with generous amounts of cinnamon, honey, ginger and orange peel, this unique beer is brimming with flavour.

(Beer added by: pootz on 12-10-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 85 | Reviews: 59 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by nokes:
Photo of nokes
nokes

Ontario (Canada)

3.75/5  rDev +5.6%

Drank this out of wine glasses, as a few of us were sharing this one. Interesting colour...almost a red-orange when held up to the light. Very clear, and with a head that stuck around a while before eventually dying down to a swirly bubble film that never really went away.

The smell was actually a fair bit more delicate than I had anticipated. Expected heavier cidery/cinnamon after reading the bottle, but it was lighter than all that; almost floral in a way. Nice smell, but for some reason, not better than nice to my nose.

Taste was good, better than the smell for me. Slight sweetness up front, but then the other tastes came on to balance it out. The cinnamon and orange peel were quite helpful there; this brew is pretty smooth and reasonablly balanced all in all. The 6.2% ABV isn't apparent in the least. You'd never know it. No rough edges. Finish was just faintly bitter. Nice.

Mouthfeel was good; I would prefer just a touch more carbonation, but certainly can't complain. This is a nice beer, and easy to drink. I'm not sure I'll be seeking it out, but I wouldn't turn away a pint of this brew on a winter evening. Especially with some pumpkin pie or something to eat alongside...

---

Second review, a year or so after the first one

(4) Poured a deep amber, even a bit orangey towards pumpkin. Foamy head reducing to a thin film and leaving nice lacing on the glass. This is a very nice looking brew.

(3.5) On the nose, there's a fair bit of spice...cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg maybe? and some floweriness

(3) Taste is pretty much what you'd expect from the smell...a bit too sweet, I think, and not as well balanced as I remember this one being. Maybe the batch was a touch off this year? Cinnamon and honey, some spicy gingery tang...but not as nicely put together as I thought it would be.

(2.5) Mouthfeel is thin and watery, again, not like I remember. Could definitely use more carbonation. Not altogether pleasant.

(2.5) Drinkability...well, I guess you could go on drinking it, but I don't find myself wanting to.

...just looked back at my previous review of this, and no, it didn't fare nearly as well this time around. I guess there's maybe some variability that comes of having that many ingredients, but I don't think Great Lakes pulled it off this year like they did last year.

03-21-2010 18:17:35 | More by nokes
More User Reviews:
Photo of Dalia
Dalia

Michigan

3.5/5  rDev -1.4%

12-22-2012 08:48:43 | More by Dalia
Photo of JohnnyBarman
JohnnyBarman

Ontario (Canada)

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
Photo of Swedes21
Swedes21

Ontario (Canada)

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
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

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
Photo of Sammy
Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

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
Photo of Pisstank52
Pisstank52

Ontario (Canada)

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
Photo of CanuckRover
CanuckRover

Ontario (Canada)

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
Photo of randallpink
randallpink

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev +12.7%

12-02-2013 04:58:21 | More by randallpink
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

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
Photo of TheSevenDuffs
TheSevenDuffs

Ontario (Canada)

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
Photo of irishkyle21
irishkyle21

Ontario (Canada)

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
Photo of mrnobody
mrnobody

Ontario (Canada)

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
Photo of ritzkiss
ritzkiss

Ontario (Canada)

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
Photo of spinrsx
spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.45/5  rDev -2.8%

650ml Bottle

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
Photo of RedAleMan
RedAleMan

Ontario (Canada)

3.75/5  rDev +5.6%

12-05-2011 00:53:37 | More by RedAleMan
Photo of liamt07
liamt07

Ontario (Canada)

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
Photo of batmanbach
batmanbach

Ontario (Canada)

3.5/5  rDev -1.4%

05-07-2012 17:19:30 | More by batmanbach
Photo of ludachris
ludachris

Ontario (Canada)

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
Photo of SebD
SebD

Ontario (Canada)

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
Photo of thehyperduck
thehyperduck

Ontario (Canada)

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
Photo of Voonder
Voonder

Alberta (Canada)

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
Photo of CrazyMike
CrazyMike

Alberta (Canada)

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
Photo of grub
grub

Ontario (Canada)

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
Photo of cfalovo97
cfalovo97

Ontario (Canada)

1/5  rDev -71.8%

11-06-2012 18:12:31 | More by cfalovo97
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Great Lakes Winter Ale from Great Lakes Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 85 ratings.