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Great Lakes Winter Ale - Great Lakes Brewery

Not Rated.
Great Lakes Winter AleGreat Lakes Winter Ale

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BA SCORE
81
good

99 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 99
Reviews: 61
rAvg: 3.54
pDev: 14.12%
Wants: 1
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewery visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  6.20% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: pootz on 12-10-2006

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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 99 | Reviews: 61 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tbeckett
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of Kremlock
4/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep copper and hues of amber in colour. Pours a nice thick (1/2 inch) head that is off white. sort of Irish cream diluted with some milk. There is a bit of a haze and the beer lacing continues through the end.

S: Spicy notes of cinnamon, cloves, ginger right off with loads of bread and caramel. Smells like creme brule and has a bit of alcohol in the background.

T: Ginger and cinnamon come threw very well with some ginger in the back. Hints of oranges mingle with the bready and toffee flavours.

M: Med-low body, has good carbonation, dry finish with a lasting bitterness.

O: I love this Winter Warmer. It has the spiciness you'd expect, the bread/caramel/toffee flavours to balance it and it has loads of hops for a nice bitter end. This is perfect for our weather.

Photo of Dalia
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of SebD
3.65/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Digimaika2
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

(4.0) A: Attractive clear burnt amber coloured with a puffy cappuccino foam head. Good retention and very good lacing down the glass.

(3.5) S: Tangerine, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon/pumpkin, burnt caramel, grassy, and generally quite floral. A bit of a soapy aroma but not a negative, rather more reminiscent of those floral qualities.

(3.5) T: Gingerbread, cinnamon, pumpkin, caramel, nutmeg, and some citrus qualities that are more subdued than aroma indicated. The gingerbread taste is quite dominant and appealing, yet a bit overpowering in my opinion. Detecting some hefeweizen-like qualities with cloves and fresh grasses coming through. Tasty.

(3.5) M: Medium bodied with medium-low carbonation. Slick and semi-oily with a fairly clean texture.

(3.5) D: A good offering from Great Lakes but not quite my cup of tea. The gingerbread/cinnamon taste was very good at first sip but became a bit too dominant for my liking. A bit one dimensional overall.

Photo of Vyronian
4.25/5  rDev +20.1%

Photo of cfalovo97
1/5  rDev -71.8%

Photo of oldp0rt
3/5  rDev -15.3%

Photo of Molson2000
4/5  rDev +13%

Photo of hopsolutely
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of batmanbach
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of robieobie1
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of nmann08
2/5  rDev -43.5%

Photo of oldsmuggler
3.5/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of jrenihan
3.53/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer has a dark toffee colour and a moderately sized off-white head.

Tonnes of spices in the nose. Clove foremost, followed by cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Bready malt is behind the spice.

Like the nose, the taste is full of spice. Cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg. Very pronounced. Orange peel is notable in the background, along with the bready malt flavours. It is a "warmer" all right, with all of the spices.

Moderate carbonation, medium bodied. The spice gives the beer a bit of a tingle. Pretty smooth.

Overall, not bad, but not totally my thing. The serving size is far too big. No reason to stick this in a 750ml bottle. Regular size would be more than fine. This beer is pretty good, but there is no way I will finish it.

Photo of TheHammer
3.17/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: A finger and a half of head that retained quite well, but lacked in lace. The body is a cloudy brown with a couple red notes and quite a lot of fine sediment.

Smell: Cinnamon and orange peel are the dominant scents with a touch of sweet malt in the background. Warming helped quite a bit, but there's just not enough bang.

Taste: Starts with a mixed cinnamon and sugary malt taste that reminds me of cinnamon snap cookies. Then it tends to lose some of the sweetness a has a little musty yeast note that is accented by some citrus and ginger and ending with a slight spice note.

Mouthfeel: It has some musty notes that don't quite sit right with me, but the cinnamon gingerbread after taste is quite nice. The carbonation also seems to handle the somewhat jumbled flavour shifting.

Drinkability: It's designed to be a single one of winter drinker, and that's exactly what it does. Medium bodied and a little dry, but could serve as a desert beer.

Final Thoughts: I've yet to encounter a Winter Warmer that has really wowed me. Certainly this is a nice seasonal one off, but there's nothing here that would make me seek it out again. Worth one shot if anything.

Photo of MerkurKing16
4/5  rDev +13%

Photo of Foddz
2.76/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a slightly earthier tone than reddish-copper, with two fingers worth of mixed-size beige bubbles capping it nicely. Head persists for a little while before forming a soapy film on top, leaving some lacing around the glass. More carbonation can be seen rising to the top from within.

S: Sweet ginger, honey, caramel. Maybe a bit of cinnamon or nutmeg as well. There's some bready malt present as well. I want to say there's a faint hint of orange peel in the mix as well. It comes across as a bit of a jumble.

T: The taste is a bit more on target. Biscuity malts are a little more forward, with the ginger and cinnamon spice taking a back seat as compared to the nose. Caramel rounds out the middle. A little more balanced with the citrus/orange zest a bit more at play towards the back end. Overall quite sweet and not much hops to balance things out. Aftertaste is a lingering ginger/nutmeg/orange peel combination. Still a bit of a jumble but better than the nose.

M: A little thin with a sharp prickling of carbonation. A little bit of stickiness from the sweetness. Not terrible but doesn't seem well suited to the rest of the beer.

O: I want to like this beer. It has a lot of interesting elements that just don't come together in a really cohesive fashion. Some entropy is at play as the whole doesn't quite add up to the sum of its parts, at least in my mind.

Photo of fizzyted
4/5  rDev +13%

Photo of korguy123
3.85/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 Release in a 750ml bottle.

A- Muddy brown with deep ruby highlights. Three finger soapy off white head. Thin cap is all that's left after several minutes. Lacing is excellent webbing all over the glass.

S- Huge ginger, honey and very dry cinnamon. Slight orange, very subdued under the ginger.

T- Like drinking ginger snaps covered in cinnamon. Definitely getting the sweetness from the honey but not getting the orange peel. This is an excellent winter beer (if you don't have a problem with ginger and cinnamon)

M- Medium bodied, dry lingering aftertaste.

O- I can really see where they were heading with this one. The spices don't offend me, they are a tad over powering but you quickly get used to it.

Photo of thehyperduck
3.67/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of RedAleMan
3.75/5  rDev +5.9%

Photo of kelvarnsen
4/5  rDev +13%

Photo of bigox420
3/5  rDev -15.3%

Photo of Kartoffeln
3.45/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 edition.

A: Pours a clear, dark mahogany with a big, pillowy head of dense, creamy, light tan foam. Fair retention, sinking to a thick foamy ring and leaving frothy lacing.

S: Caramel malts with a whiff of biscuitiness and butterscotch are almost overwhelmed by huge amounts of fruit and spice aromas. Cinnamon and ginger dominate amidst weaker notes of clementines, black cherries, candied and dark fruits, and orange zest. Undertones of honey and yeast throughout, and no discernible hops.

T: Cinnamon and ginger mingle with bready caramel malts, honey, nutmeg, and orange zest. Faint candied pear, cloves, yeast, and dry floral hops in the finish. Potently spicy in itself, but actually subdued and lacking complexity compared to the nose.

M: Medium mouthfeel with mild, creamy-smooth carbonation and just a touch of stickiness. The finish is actually rather dry as the floral hop bitterness easily outlasts the mild spice aftertaste, but the ale is still far from balanced on the whole.

D: It's hard not to be disappointed by the mild palate with such a robust nose, and it's hard to drink the whole bottle in one go, but it's not all that bad. Think of it a mulled ale counterpart to mulled wine; it's spicy, satisfying, and warming, but lacks any nuance or complexity.

Great Lakes Winter Ale from Great Lakes Brewery
81 out of 100 based on 99 ratings.