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Harpoon Winter Warmer - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon Winter WarmerHarpoon Winter Warmer

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,255 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,255
Reviews: 619
rAvg: 3.16
pDev: 20.89%
Wants: 9
Gots: 53 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  5.90% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
When you bring a glass of this dark copper ale to your lips to take your first sip you will notice the aroma of cinnamon. There is no aromatic hop added that might overpower the distinct spice scent. The medium body of this beer is formed from caramel and pale malts. These create enough body to support the spices without making the beer excessively rich. Bittering hops are added to counter the sweetness of the malt and spice. The finish of the beer is a blend of cinnamon and nutmeg. The combination of these two spices results in a balanced, pumpkin-pie flavor.

22 IBU

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-06-2000)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,255 | Reviews: 619 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Gavini
5/5  rDev +58.2%

Gavini, Oct 19, 2012
Photo of Chipster1337
5/5  rDev +58.2%

Chipster1337, Jan 12, 2014
Photo of Harryryeguy
5/5  rDev +58.2%

Harryryeguy, Jul 11, 2014
Photo of manofmanners
4.78/5  rDev +51.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If you want a taste of Christmas, this is your beer. Good to have at the Christmas get together and most people haven't had it so it would be like your gift to them. The cinnamon scent and taste makes this truely a holiday beer. It is a true New England beer.

manofmanners, Nov 30, 2002
Photo of wrightst
4.75/5  rDev +50.3%

wrightst, Aug 07, 2014
Photo of ejane
4.75/5  rDev +50.3%

ejane, Jan 28, 2013
Photo of JMScowcroft
4.63/5  rDev +46.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Let me be the one to piss others off by saying this is one of the best and most unique beers I've ever had. Yes it's more of a treat than a beer, but to me, that still counts.

Look - Crisp looking container. Has a Christmas feel to it. Pours copper and settles dark amber in the glass. Highly fizzy with a great, full head.

Smell - I could smell the cinnamon and nutmeg as I was pouring it, so I knew what to expect next. The scent is extremely sweet and pleasing and builds you up for the taste.

Taste - Gave me a head rush just taking a sip. Bite hits mild to moderate, then the cinnamon and nutmeg flow over your taste buds in harmony with one another.

Mouthfeel - Almost perfect. The spices linger in almost the perfect proportion for just the right amount of time.

Drinkability - Smooth and drinkable, surprisingly drinkable. You can have as many as you want with no problems.

I'll admit, this is more of a family drink than anything else. Your wife would love it, your grandmother would love it. But that's what makes it a really, really good beer in my opinion. I wouldn't give it the time of day on a table with Guinness or Allagash, but nonetheless, a fine creation by Harpoon.

JMScowcroft, Apr 06, 2008
Photo of burnerfinger
4.6/5  rDev +45.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured from the 12 oz bottle into my new belgium goblet:

A: deep honey colored brew, medium clarity. lite amber head that tastes like, cinamon? really Christmas - y. settles leaving a wonderful full lace

S: cloves maybe?

T: unlike any beer I've tasted but I like it a lot. Like a spciy cookie but not too sweet.

M: medium- full body. no ABV bite.

D: this is RICH = flavored. no to be guzzled.

LOVE the FLAVOR! but very unusual

burnerfinger, Jan 31, 2012
Photo of Weissenheimer
4.58/5  rDev +44.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

I spend a few moments marveling at this pure, crystalline copper pint. Its smallish, foamy head has some of the biggest bubbles I've seen on a beer, and it dissipates very quickly into a thin nebula. Smelling cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, I wonder if I've finally found a winter ale that tastes how I expect a winter ale to taste. I'm fairly certain that no pumpkins were harmed in the making of this beer, but I associate this mix of spices so strongly with pumpkin pie that they spring to mind anyway.

I smile as I take my first swallow. Yes, I have found a winter ale that tastes how I expect a winter ale to taste. Finally. This is absolutely delicious. There's a tingle on the tip of my tongue amid the pleasant wash of spices, and that's as close as I can come to finding any complexity in it. Try as I might, I just can't get multiple taste stages out of this one. I don't care, though. Not one bit. It's cheery, beautifully balanced, and outlandishly drinkable. Gotta get me some more o' this.

Weissenheimer, Dec 04, 2003
Photo of skiatd1
4.55/5  rDev +44%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoy this beer. There is nothing that reminds me of christmas like this brew.

It should be pointed out that this beer is mediocre in a bottle. The highlights are the seasonal spices of cinnamon and nutmeg. This is noted both in smell and taste. It is dark red in color, more carbonated than many other winter beers but that helps to pump out the aroma. It normally has very little head when poured.

If you want a beer to drink by a wood stove when you are wearing flannel and down this is the beer.

skiatd1, Oct 12, 2010
Photo of dmbdusty41
4.53/5  rDev +43.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'm a little surprised at the overall average of reviews. My wife and I had this for the first time on tap in NYC a few years back it we were blown away. It's litterally Christmas in a glass. We look forward to every Winter to get this. It's surprisingly dark, great spice, good mouth-feel. I have a sweet tooth and am partial to sweeter beers, so maybe that why I enjoy this more than some. I can usually handle up to 3 before needing something less sweet. Either way, a delicious beer I will enjoy each winter.

dmbdusty41, Feb 25, 2011
Photo of juicebox
4.5/5  rDev +42.4%

juicebox, Dec 13, 2012
Photo of Dirksen
4.5/5  rDev +42.4%

Dirksen, May 24, 2013
Photo of Larrydoherty
4.5/5  rDev +42.4%

Larrydoherty, Nov 19, 2012
Photo of Mudawg
4.5/5  rDev +42.4%

Mudawg, Jan 07, 2012
Photo of jt2488
4.5/5  rDev +42.4%

jt2488, Jul 16, 2014
Photo of cjtwigger
4.5/5  rDev +42.4%

cjtwigger, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of RBorsato
4.45/5  rDev +40.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2001 Version:

Hazy bronze color with a light brown head. A powerful spice aroma and taste (cinnamon and nutmeg). Hard to smell or taste much else but spices but I liked it a lot. Full bodied (leans medium). Great for winter time!

Label states: "Beer with spices added"

[2001 version Tasted 11/23/02]

2003 Version:

Consistent notes but adding: Little to no carbonation and lots of suspended sediment.

Lowered Appearance from a 4 to a 3.5.

Bottled: 10/17/03 (lasered on neck)
Tasted: 03/29/04

RBorsato, Nov 25, 2002
Photo of glassjaw25
4.43/5  rDev +40.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I think this beer is great. I happen to love Pumpkin beer and I have a feeling that is why I enjoyed this beer so much. This beer has a strong aroma of Cinnamon and Nutmeg. I believe this winter warmer to be very drinkable.

I can see why this beer was rated the way it was on here, you either love it or hate it. There is no middle of the road and I believe many people did not get what they were expecting out of this beer.

My expectations first drinking this beer were non existent, I knew nothing about it and a friend offered it. I poured a pint of it and thought it was fantastic, I have and will once again purchase this beer.

glassjaw25, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of taez555
4.43/5  rDev +40.2%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 vintage (this is key considering they seem to change the recipe slightly every year)

This beer poured a small white head that died almost immediately with a rather clear amber body.

The nose was beautiful. A big nutmeg smell with touches of cinnamon. A sweet candy like sweet malt smell, with doughy bread like quality.

The taste is light and smooth. A firm malt and surprisingly attentive bitterness. Basically though it’s dominated by a big nutmeg and cinnamon spice taste. A sort of grainy quality is present throughout each taste. There’s even a slight slight hint of grapefruit bitterness.

Simply this is THE holiday beer. Unlike most seasonal offerings that are a Belgian with a touch of spice, or just a big-bodied beer, this one, tastes like Christmas. I know it sounds weird, but… this beer just screams the holiday season. You smell and taste the cinnamon.

I will say that this beer has really gone down hill over the years. It’s gotten a lot grainer and it seems like every year they use cheaper and cheaper ingredients in the way of spicing it. Not that it’s bad, just disappointing if you’re used to last years effort. Also… this is a beer that is MUCH better on tap than in bottle.

taez555, Nov 19, 2003
Photo of NJpadreFan
4.4/5  rDev +39.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Harpoon Winter Warmer

Appearance- perfect copper orange with a nice white billowy head.
Smell- nutmeg and spice. Cinnamon, pumpkin, and clove. a warm winter popouri smell.
Taste- cinnamon and spice. Nutmeg and clove. Light malt but more like a pumpkin ale.
Mouthfeel- smooth and warm. goes down smooth. No bitterness. Leaves a spicy aftertaste.

Overall- a definite winter beer! Tastes soooo good. Should be called a pumpkin ale though!

NJpadreFan, Nov 22, 2004
Photo of kelticblood
4.4/5  rDev +39.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a tap.

No head really present but did not lack in carbonation.The color presented a dark cherry red.The taste is simply outstanding and festive.Tastes of cinnamon,nutmeg,and ginger are abundant.A medium body with a spicy finish.The taste is of ginger bread cookies and pumpkin pie.What a great brew!

kelticblood, Jan 02, 2003
Photo of CardinalBrewing
4.38/5  rDev +38.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Update: Several years after the review below, I gave this beer a second try (thinking that if it was really as bad as my first try, it would not still be on the market). I am now attributing the first experience to a bad keg (or they really improved the recipe). I will be deleting my review, but wanted to post this retraction first.

I enjoy a spiced winter warmer as much as anyone, but I want to be able to taste the beer, not just the spice. I actually tried this because a friend noted how "cinnamony" it tasted. This observation proved to be all too true. It has such an overpowering flavor of cinnamon and nutmeg that I seriously considered giving up on it and ordering something else. It just seemed that these spices were poured into this beer with reckless disregard for the malt and hops (far beyond the spiciness of a pumkin ale). The best winter warmers are characterized by a subtly of spicing, but this concept was lost on the brewers at Harpoon (for whom I do have an overall very high regard). It was a very interesting beer to try once, but once was definitely enough.

CardinalBrewing, Dec 10, 2006
Photo of stockingcpl
4.38/5  rDev +38.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: This brew pours a wonderful red amber. The head is thin, but there is plentiful spiderwebbing.

Smell: Upon opening, a wonderful sweet spice aroma that assails the nose. There are pine overtones that pervade the background. Very well done!

Taste: Indeed the spices shine through. Malt taste is slight, but accompanied by a pine presence. The flavor is very good.

Mouthfeel: This brew sits well on the tongue, but the spicy character tends to burn into the palate. This would not make a good selection for accompaning food, however on it's own this brew stands out.

Drinkability: The very heavy spice presence, while wonderful, does tend to crowd the stomach and palate. Thi is a good selection, but one or two would be enough for any drinker.


stockingcpl, Dec 30, 2008
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Harpoon Winter Warmer from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
73 out of 100 based on 1,255 ratings.