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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.
BA SCORE
73
okay

1,269 Ratings
THE BROS
50
awful

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,269
Reviews: 620
rAvg: 3.16
pDev: 20.89%
Wants: 9
Gots: 57 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Harpoon Winter Warmer Alström Bros
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Ratings: 1,269 | Reviews: 620 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.93/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A decent winter warmer. Its not top beer smell, but you can smell spices and yeast on top of it. You can see the hps, it preserved well over the winter. Decent spice, cinammon and nutmeg, citrus and not overpowering malt nor yeast taste. Medium mouthfeel.

Sammy, Mar 11, 2005
Photo of djrn2
2.75/5  rDev -13%

djrn2, May 23, 2012
Photo of zestar
3/5  rDev -5.1%

zestar, Aug 06, 2014
Photo of Thorpe429
3.38/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes.

Served in a tulip glass. Pours a moderate rusty-red color with a slight head and some pretty good lacing. The nose is overloaded with spices--cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and a hint of ginger. The taste is the same way with some very mild malt in the background. The feel and the drinkability both suffer from the fact that this is just a spice bomb and I can't handle too much of it.

Thorpe429, Nov 13, 2010
Photo of acurtis
2.5/5  rDev -20.9%

acurtis, Jan 15, 2012
Photo of nmann08
2/5  rDev -36.7%

nmann08, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of metter98
3.13/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: The beer is crystal clear amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high fluffy and dense off white head that slowly died down, leaving thick lacing down the sides of the glass and thin lacing covering the surface.
S: There are light to moderately strong aromas of nutmeg in the nose along with hints of cinnamon.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and also has some elements of malty sweetness.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. No warmth from the alcohol is perceptible.
O: The beer is easy to drink compared to others in the style but could use more complexity and fuller-bodied nature to make it more of a beer that can be enjoyed while sipped.

metter98, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of Texasfan549
3.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Texasfan549, Dec 01, 2013
Photo of brentk56
3.58/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: The crystal clear amber liquid is capped nicely, with a densely packed head that leaves a few dots behind

Smell: Cinnamon and nutmeg dominate with a caramel spice cake character underneath

Taste: Caramel spice cake, with the cinnamon and nutmeg flavors dominant; there is a bit of a metallic bitterness that arrives, after the swallow, but the beer is all about the spices

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: The spice cake character of this beer is very well done but that is just about all there is to this beer; I enjoyed the first few sips but after a while I became tired of the sweetness

brentk56, Dec 30, 2012
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.6/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finely dusted terra cotta that appears unblemished unless backlit. The softly creamy cap is sandlewood in color with a slight orangish tint picked up from the beer beneath. Although it isn't loaded with character, the foam hangs around a while and leaves a modest amount of unsticky, soon-to-be-washed-away lace.

I'd like to think that, even without being told by Harpoon, I could have identified the cinnamon and nutmeg used in this beer. I'm positive that I could have picked out the nutmeg since this is one of the nutmeggiest winter warmers I've ever run across. The nose isn't powerful enough, nor is does it have any real underlying complexity.

I feel the same way about the flavor: better than average, somewhat enjoyable, nowhere near great. I don't believe that simply adding spices to an amber ale is enough to turn it into a winter warmer. I think winter warmers should be a little bigger, a little bolder and a little more full-bodied than the beer that is sitting on my coaster at the moment.

On a positive note, the choice of spices is nice and the amount added is just about perfect. The warm 'cinnameg' flavor isn't too muted, nor is it so overwhelming that drinkability suffers. It shares the stage with a toasted maltiness and an adequate amount of hop bitterness. This is simple beer, but there's nothing wrong with that in most cases.

The mouthfeel doesn't fit my favored profile for the style, but it does fit the rest of this beer's attributes. It's somewhere between light and medium, with enough carbonation to keep things hopping. Drinkability is good for many of the reasons noted above. The spices may become a bit wearing over an entire sixer, but a few bottles would be no problem at all.

Winter Warmer grew on me from first sip to last. Once I got out of the mindset of 'hearty, sippable and warming' and accepted the possibility of a lighter, easy drinking, spice-added winter ale, I enjoyed it more and stopped thinking of ways in which it falls short.

BuckeyeNation, Mar 10, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
3.88/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A good try by Harpoon, but it just didn't have the oomph or the melding of a good winter warmer. Looks amber in color with a sparkle of spice floating in there. Good head retention and viscocity. Smells moderately malty with caramel and toffee notes. Spices of nutmeg and cinemon go along with a solid hop addition. Tastes much like an amber ale, with spices added. Moderately malty, with a light grain flavor. Easy on the palate with creamy carbonation. Finishes a little sweet and sticky and a little less than clean. A nutmeg aftertaste. Worth a try.

BEERchitect, Jan 31, 2006
Photo of kjkinsey
3/5  rDev -5.1%

kjkinsey, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of mikesgroove
2.8/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Ordered this one up at Barleys on my last trip through. I always love trying whatever is new on tap, and I figured I would give this one a chance, as I had not had it in the past. Served right from the tap and poured into a pint glass. This one was consumed on 11/19/2008.

The pour was decent enough, a rich light brown color coming through thee glass. Nice clarity here as the light bounced off giving hints of a subtle reddish tint to it. A smallish head of about a half an inch sitting on top faded rather quickly, leaving nothing really appreciable in its wake.

Rich malt aroma. Some nice touches of light caramel and nuts in here, with a touch of some light spices, maybe nutmeg and some cinnamon, but nothing really bowling me over here. The flavor was more f the same, maybe just a touch above average and a stress the word here. It was a bit thin on the profile, though some nice earthy hop notes stated to come through rather nicely as it cleaned up. Decent medium body with a carbonation profile that was far from overwhelming me in any way. Easy enough to drink though.

Overall it was decent, nothing spectacular but I guess I really was not expecting that too much. Overall not bad, probably would not order it again, but would not hate it if it was offered.

mikesgroove, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of kylehay2004
4.22/5  rDev +33.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Half finger head with nice amount of lacing on a clear amber body.

S: peppery and cinnamon in the aroma.

T: tons of cinnamon flavor and gingerbread. Caramel malt background.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: this beer is appropriately flavored for the winter season. For what it is trying to be it is actually very good.

kylehay2004, Jan 28, 2012
Photo of Knapp85
3.03/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured out as a dark amber color with a white head on top. the lacing was minimal along with the retention. the smell of the beer had some spicy notes on the nose along with some sweet malts. The taste of the beer reminded me too much a pumpkin ale, I felt that their spice choice might have been a little off here. The mouthfeel wasn't too bad but still pretty average. Overall this isn't something I'd go oout of my way to have again. There are some better choices out there in my opinion.

Knapp85, Dec 29, 2011
Photo of oberon
3.73/5  rDev +18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap while living in Vermont,liked it alot.Then bought in bottle form,not quite as good.On tap tasted fresh and like eating a nice spice cake.

oberon, Mar 01, 2002
Photo of TMoney2591
3.2/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

Is a "winter warmer" under 6% ABV actually gonna warm you in any appreciable sense? In any case, this stuff pours a clear sunset copper topped by a finger of sandy cream foam. The nose comprises ginger, clove, brown sugar, light toffee, banana, and candied orange peel. The taste brings in more of the same, with the focus heavily now on the spices, particularly the clove and brown sugar, which end up o'erwhelming all else. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation, a slick feel, and a sorta/kinda drying finish. Overall, not a bad winter warmer, but a decidedly one-dimensional one.

TMoney2591, Nov 21, 2012
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.15/5  rDev +31.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The cinnamon is immediately noticeable in the nose of this reddish-amber ale. It's bright and fresh and welcoming! It's creamy ivory-colored head holds well, and it leaves some small areas of craggy lace at the outset of the glass. In the mouth it's medium-light bodied but still somewhat creamy and surprisingly smooth. The softness is a nice change of pace; and it's restrained carbonation helps balance it by letting the malt come through rather than accentuating its spiciness. Nutmeg and some mild cloves appear in the flavor along with the cinnamon and some yeasty fruitiness. Initially some malt gets through (although the spices do start to becoming cloying halfway through), and it's just-delicately caramelish and mildly biscuity. It's flavors are subtle except for the spice, but it's well-balanced. The malt is mild; the bitterness is sublime; and it's spices are clear but kept in check. It's a really nice holiday beer that would be perfect before, during, or after a holiday meal; but I'm not sure how drinkable it would remain outside of a special event. I'd enjoy one at the pub, but I don't think I'd go beyond that - personal preference.

NeroFiddled, Jan 24, 2005
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

surprised to see this rated so low. the pour is clear dark copper in color, with a really disappointing white head. the nose is more fall spice than winter, with cinnamon and clove, similar to a pumpkin beer, but the flavor reveals a nice sweet caramely malt profile, which holds up the spice well. its wintery with the spices loaded on the back end, and the sweetness of the malt all the way through. finish is really clean for the style. mouthfeel is okay, a little thin in body, i would like this even more with a bigger dose of malts. the carbonation is fine though, and this one is pretty easy drinking. my problem with it is the abv, i like to see a bit stiffer of a winter warmer, something to really warm me, and this takes too many to do that job. thats my most severe critique of an otherwise quite palatable brew.

StonedTrippin, Nov 25, 2012
Photo of Jason
2.1/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Notes from 2001: Way too much spice this year, takes away from the malt and subtle hops. I wish they would bring this beer back to what it used to be.

2000:

Presentation: 12 oz brown long neck with an ink jet printed bottled on date above the label.

Appearance: Slighty chill hazed copper coloured brew with thin yet creamy lace which leaves a few rings around the glass.

Smell: More cinnamon than nutmeg, fresh pie apples and a faint aroma of esters in the sweet nose also.

Taste: Medium bodied with a sweet chewy malt and spice mix up front, cinnamon and nutmeg are about even. Some fruitiness in the middle with a sharp tingling hop bitterness that is just enough to balance all of the sweetness. Mild alcoholic esters are more evident towards the end ... drying grain in the finish.

Notes: Very drinkable, sweetness is not cloying and spices are not over done. A well crafted and balanced beer. A good pick if you can't handle the "big" winter brews.

Jason, Dec 15, 2001
Photo of WVbeergeek
2.75/5  rDev -13%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance Thin bubbles in a decent sized head dwindle very quickly leaving behind the copper amber body behind with very thin specks of lacing. Aroma: Primarily nutmeg and cinnamon this one takes a hint from Great Lakes but goes off down the wrong path making the spices the primary focal point. Taste: Barrages of nutmeg and cinnamon not a beer it's candy like but not in a good way. There's some alcohol in each sip followed by Christmas spices but guess what that's all that's here so one sided give me a complex Christmas ale. Mouthfeel: Thin body I don't know what Harpoon was thinking with this one, starts to just become watery with a thin amount of sryup texture from all the cinnamon and nutmeg extracts used. Drinkability: Wow, not a beer I would choose if I knew it was this damn over spiced it's just one glass of nutmeg and cinnamon once again folks not a beer.

WVbeergeek, Dec 09, 2003
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.88/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is reddish amber with a short off-white head that fades quickly and doesn’t leave much lace on the glass.

S: The smell is very sweet and is heavy with cinnamon, ginger, spice and malt.

T: The flavor is very bready with the same cinnamon, ginger, spice and malt that you get in the smell. Someone, who didn’t like this beer, once told me that this particular beer tasted like you were drinking a gingerbread cookie. While that may be an accurate assessment, I think that’s a good thing in this style. It’s the type of taste that I drink this style for.

M: Smooth with a heavy body, medium carbonation and a finish that’s a touch dry for the style.

D: Tasty, mild kick, good representation of style, I once sat down and killed a sixer of this beer very quickly, so I’ll say that it goes down quite easy; however it is a bit filling.

TheManiacalOne, Jul 01, 2006
Photo of Slatetank
3.95/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up as part of a mix-a six at Giant Beer Garden & Eatery enjoyed chilled in a tulip

The color is deep amber bordering on bronze with brown accents and thick creamy ecru cap with fine bead and lace waves cling. The smell is very nice with a light fruity yeast ester and mild caramel malt with a kind of gentle almond nuttiness with a mild hop aroma which is more in the herbal fruity range.There is a slight spice aroma with the cinnamon/nutmeg combo obvious in the smell. The feel is moderately carbonated with a slight spice tinge and texture is more on the sweet side with mild alcohol in the feel with medium body and semi-dry finish.

The taste has a nice presence of spice with a slight caramel and fruity yeast flavor. The taste is very festive with a warming (go figure) amount of alcohol yet pretty smooth in the middle with the spice lasting after the swallow with some woody aspects of cinnamon with a nice spice-cake like malty dark sugar element. Overall this is pretty great it seems appropriate as the weather cools off I could see myself enjoying this with a hearty stew since the spice is not too much that it overwhelms the malt foundation.

Slatetank, Nov 06, 2013
Photo of jlindros
3.2/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Tap at jj sport bar.

Light but decent creamy head hits 1/2 finger and fades at med pace, clear darker tan almost copper color.

Nose has spices, allspice, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc, fairly strong but not overly, sweet molasses and caramel malts, definite holiday smelling.

Taste similar, stating with light spices again, alittle ginger in there, allspice, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, etc, followed by a light bitter herbal hop and earthy spice taste, which is a bit of a put off. Then malts, syrupy caramel malt, toasty copper malts, biscuit and little bready, and some nutty flavors like candied cashews and chestnuts. The holiday spice character really dominates but doesn't destroy the palate. Finish is sticky and syrupy, a long herbal earthy bitter spice flavor, icky bitterness, and syrupy malts.

Mouth is med to fuller bodied, little sticky and syrupy, decent carb, despite abv below 6% still feels syrupy and boozy, although it could be heat from the spices.

Overall meh, syrupy and sticky, icky bitterness, dominating spices, all wouldn't be great on their own but together even worse.

jlindros, Dec 20, 2012
Photo of feloniousmonk
3.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Clear, bright crimson color, adorned with a head fresh and full, cream-toned but swiftly settling.
Aroma: cinnamon, nutmeg, and more, a cornucopia of spices unfold in the nose, but nothing else. Yeah, it's a pumpkin pie, quite nice, warm, lively, but there are no further flavors discerned beyond the spice.
Taste: again, the spices grab on board the palate, but little, nay, nothing else is detected. Body is actually rather light, and the finish is neglibible, for the flavor leaves the mouth, and the memory, and soon as the swallow is finished.
This is unfortunately a one-dimensional brew, for the malt & hop content is so subdued that there is nothing (that word, again?) more to it than the spices, than perhaps a mild red ale or amber in the background.
Not much of a winter warmer, it actually reminds me of many versions of the increasingly numerous pumpkin spice ales coming out in recent autumns, specifically Shipyard's. Needs a lot more body, flavor and character, beyond the spices, to be truly a winter warmer.
Thanks, though, to ManekiNeko for introducing me to this ale.

feloniousmonk, Dec 29, 2003
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Harpoon Winter Warmer from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
73 out of 100 based on 1,269 ratings.