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Harpoon Winter Warmer - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon Winter WarmerHarpoon Winter Warmer

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1,422 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,422
Reviews: 637
rAvg: 3.19
pDev: 20.38%
Wants: 10
Gots: 139 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-06-2000

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,422 | Reviews: 637 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of NCSUdo
2.53/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle

A: Clear light amber under a small unremarkable white head. No lacing, decent retention.

S: Big on spice, small on hops or malt. Seems like they may have accidentally dropped a pumpkin ale into the bottle. A lot of allspice.

T: Yep, Harpoon could bottle this next year and call it a pumpkin ale and no one would be any wiser. Again, big on spice, small on hops and malt. But the hop character is actually noticable in the taste, unfortunately it doesn't accent the spice very well. It's a slightly earthy hoppiness and there is even the slightest hint of alcohol somehow at 5.5%.

M/D: Carbonation is a little high but doesn't throw things off too much. Body is lighter then it should be and comes off watery. Drinkability isn't too bad but it ain't that great either, same goes with the beer overall. This might be passable as a pumpkin ale.

Photo of genog
3.02/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at mad mex.

Pours a pale yellow, and cloudy color with minimal white head that sits on top at first. Smell is cinnamon, spices, nutmeg, pumpkin and it all hits at once. Someone remarked like he smelled like cinnamon toast crunch. Taste is not that great when all the spices hit you at once. Very watery mouthfeelin on this warmer.

Photo of jneiswender
2.92/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer was poured out of the 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams Hour glass (irony).

copper color with a non-existent head.

Peppery, clove, cinnamon smell. Faint bubblegum scent as well.

The spice drives this beer more than anything else. No hops percieved. No distinguishalbe malts. Just liquid spice.

It doesn't taste bad. But just doesn't leave you thinking that you are tasting beer.

Photo of crayphish
1.88/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Surprised to see a Harpoon offering in my neck of the woods, and in the mood for a winter warmer I eagerly bought a sixer. The brew pours a clear rusty amber with a standard head. Decent lacing. Smell is a clove punch. Some sweet malt elements are noted. The taste is over whelmed by the clove and other spices. There is no balance and is very unpleasant and artificial. Mouthfeel is slightly sour and not enjoyable. I'm not sure what I am going to do with the remaining 4 beers in my six pack.

Photo of atsprings
4.06/5  rDev +27.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served a crisp dark orange with an instantly diminishing head. The aroma was quite fragrant with sweet malts, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla, The taste was cinnamon and vanilla against sweet malts. Decent, but not great, still better than I remember it from last year. The body was crisp and smooth with medium carbonation. This is an enjoyable beer, but I'd likely pass it over for something else.

Photo of OSURoss
2.78/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

As a long-time fan of Great Lakes Brewing Co.'s Christmas ale, I had high expectations for Harpoon. The initial flavor screams "CHRISTMAS", yet the lingering nature of the initial flavor, coupled with a mellow after-taste make for a poor ending. The flavor tends to overpower anything eaten with it, yet the beer certainly is far from undrinkable.

Photo of OWSLEY069
2.61/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a clean copper color with a small white head. Aromas of a faint cinnamon and nutmeg spice. In the taste, cinnamon, nutmeg and a hint of clove. A smooth mouthfeel and a dry small spicy aftertaste. Big spice flavor, but light for a warmer, nothing more than OK.

Photo of shabbtastic
2.89/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Aww yes, winter styles are now in season. I have to agree that the reviews of this beer have been harsh and kind of unfair. If you dig cinnamon and nutmeg and need an alternative to eggnog than this beer will tantalize your tastebuds for sure. Although if you're a starter to holiday styles you might want to skip it.
A - Nice color, looks rich and flavorful with a nice copper tint. Head is very bubbly not very thick and fades rather quickly.

S - Like a thick stack of french toast (cinnamon and nutmeg galore)

T - All kinds of spice, very little hop. Kinda made my teeth clinch a bit and made me feel glad I only bought a 6 pack. Kinda like "beer-nog"

M - A bit thin on the carbonation.

D - I was overall not impressed. Every year I try to like holiday beer but this year is no different. In Harpoons defense, this is about what I expected.

Harpoon is a very good label and overall make excellent beer, but I just don't love this one.

Photo of jdhilt
3.59/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a five finger light brown head leaving some lace. Nice crystal clear amber color. The nose is something else - the brewer says "full-bodied rich ale that uses a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg" I'm glad there is "just a touch" of spices, anything more would be pure spice. Drink this now and don't wait for warm weather. Strong spicy flavor, malt and hops seem to be hidden. $1.50 for 12oz from Capitol Convenience, Concord, NH.

Photo of TheBierBand
2.1/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

OK.... so I picked up a six pack of this because the label sucked me in.... "Full-Bodied, Rich Ale".... that was enough for me... I went whole hog... and got a sixer for $8.99... PLUS.... I've had Harpoon beers before.... and they seem like a quality brewery...

However... now I'm left wondering how I'm going to get rid of the rest of this?! Do you know anybody who wants 5 Harpoon Winter Warmer's??

I poured it from the 12 oz brown bottle into a pint glass to produce about a 1" off white head over a coppery amber liquid. The head was loose bubbles and consequently diminished to nothing in less than 1 minute leaving a tiny ring and absolutely no lacing.

The smell was pretty much as I expected with some significant cinnamon and nutmeg.... rather spicey.

The taste: All you taste is cinnamon and nutmeg... it seems the two spices are fighting for control.... there is very little "beer taste" here at all.

Mouthfeel: This beer is NOT RICH or NOT FULL BODIED.... not in any way, shape or form... it's thin, watery and too fizzy (carbonated).

Drinkability: Well, I don't think it's very "BA" of me to try and pawn this off on my unsuspecting friends who come visit for the holidays.... I don't just want to pour it down the drain... It seems as though there are some people that LIKE this stuff.... maybe they'll be up for a TRADE.... BEER MAIL ME.... I don't recommend this to anyone....

Photo of afdempse
1.6/5  rDev -49.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Terrible... I am shocked that this beer was produced by Harpoon, a brewery I respect highly as most of their beers are extremely well-done.

The appearance was good, nice carbonation, but the smell threw me off immediately. It smelled like a truckload of spice extract got overturned on the highway, and the hazmat team was late to the clean-up.

The taste confirmed my initial suspicions. Who approved of this beer being produced and distributed? Does this appeal to someone? Was it an accident, and if so, will there be a recall? I can't imagine anyone enjoying this level of artificial spice flavoring in their beer. I immediately ate some bread and drank a stout afterward to try and get the flavor out of my mouth. I would not recommend this beer unless they change the recipe significantly. Avoid...

P.S. I did not see the very fine print on the label that reads "natural flavoring" until after purchasing it. Buyer beware.

Photo of CHADMC3
3.42/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a golden copper with a frothy vanilla head.
Subsides to leave light carbonated lacing around the glass.

Aroma: The nutmeg rises from the carbonation at the pour as well as a hint of bananas. This is a very aromatic beer. Some spice scent detectable as well.

Taste: A light spicy flavor, full of nutmeg with a nice balance of hop bitterness and sweet banana flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium on the palate. Substantial spice and carbonation.

Drinkability: Great winter beer as is predictable. Lasting aftertaste of nutmeg and again banana.

Photo of BeerSox
1.69/5  rDev -47%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

12oz bottle into nonic.

Clear amber hue with a one finger light tan head that slowly settles to a thin cap.

The first thing I noticed about this beer is the strong cinnimon aroma. It smells like Red Hots candy.

It tastes like Mike & Ike's old hot candies. It's a little watery too, so all you really taste is the spices, and a bit of malt at the end oncer the spices finally fade. I guess the finish is like gingerbread or something.

They way overdid the spices. It's almost undrinkable. From the malts that I could actually taste, I think this one would be decent if it didn't taste like Big Red gum. Not recommended. If you want a "wintery" beer from Harpoon, grab one of their stouts.

Photo of Brad007
4/5  rDev +25.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby red color. Aroma is nice and spicy with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove in the nose. Nice! Taste starts out with a nice hint of nutmeg and fades into a bready aftertaste, somewhat like gingerbread. A second sip confirms the same. The nutmeg shows through more than the cinnamon though. Very nice and drinkable. The spice confirms that it's a winter-type beer, which is just in time for the chilly weather we are having. Very nice and perfect for a cold day.

Photo of trkerrigan
3.31/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

The Harpoon Winter Warmer is the perfect holiday beer. I am using the word “holiday” because I am unsure if this beer is great for the entire winter season or if it is best only a few times around the holidays.

The Winter Warmer was one of first local Boston beers that I enjoyed when I first moved to Boston a year ago. I remember this as my new favorite and I was really excited for the first Winter Warmer of 07 to arrive. I don’t know if my taste buds have changed or if the beer has changed but its not the most amazing beer that I remember. I now feel this beer nothing more than spice. The cinnamon and nutmeg completely dominate the flavor (as well as the great aroma). It is very difficult to recognize any other flavors. I think it is safe to say that the main two main things this beer is lacking is balance and complexity. I may agree with others the Winter warmer could use something sweet, or a little more alcohol flavor to “warm” the beer. But basically something is needed to round out the flavor. The spice flavor is just too much, and contributes to a poor finish.

With that being said… the aroma and flavor of the Winter Warmer immediately put me in the mood of the holidays, and I don’t know of many things (besides my moms homemade Christmas cookies) that can accomplish that. So, I can bet sometime around November 2008 I will be looking forward again to the first Winter Warmer to arrive. This is a great beer for the holiday season.

Photo of shertz
3.9/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle into a flute glass. No date is available on the bottle but probably from 2006. The temperature in the glass was 45 degrees. The day was a typical October day.

A- Nice 2 finger head goes down to a thin layer. A cloudy orange/amber color abounds.

S- Spices are prominent. Citrus hops also available. Actually it smells like dishwashing detergent. Pretty refreshing.

T-Apples are very strong. Almost like an apple dumpling. Some cinnamon and nutmeg. Lacks a little body, kind of watered down.

M- Medium carbonation but pretty watered down. Could use some maltiness.

D- Like I said earlier, this beer taste kind of watered down. Has a nice taste to it and the low APV makes it a nice session beer. However, on a cold night I want something a little thicker.


Photo of Risser09
1.98/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

12 oz bottle poured into a large snifter - Probably from 2006

Appearance: Pours a semi transparent bright red and muddled brown color. I would say that it is close to crimson. The head rises to almost an inch, comprised of the color tan. Bubbles var yin size and moderate lace clings to the glass.

Smell: Definitively cinnamon. This is the main aroma here. Others include potpourri, cherry and the cereal CINNAMON LIFE. Malt is slightly detectable.

Taste: Simplistic in nature. This beer is totally cinnamoned out. Every bit of it screams cinnamon. I guess there are other flavors like nutmeg and candle wax. I'm not a big fan of this. As I drink it it becomes more and more of a chore because there really is no other flavor. Quite one dimensional and too cloying.

Mouthfeel: This beer is lacking here too. Kind of flat in nature with a thin body. This beer might actually be better mulled than served cold. Alcohol is not present. Kind of creamy.

Drinkability: Ug. This has been one of the worst beers I've had in awhile. I understand what is being attempted and I just think it might as well have been a cider. Too one dimensional and hard to enjoy. This beer lacks complexity, body, and overall enjoyability.

Photo of harpus
4.12/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have had this beer one two different occasions, about 3 years apart. The first time I received it in a beer of the month club and loved the beer. The beer poured a beautiful brown with about finger width head. The smell was great, filled with cinnamon and gingerbread. It had good mouth feel and great drink ability. The flavor was like drinking a liquid gingerbread man. This was one of my favorite US beers. The second time I tried it I was a little disappointed. I don’t know if it was the bottle or not. The color, head and mouth feel are the same as above. The taste on the second time around was not as strong and gingerbread man like as the first. The drink ability was not as high as the first time because, the flavor just was not the same. Don’t get me wrong, it is still a good beer and well worth trying.

Photo of Umbra
3.17/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I don't know what compels me, but this is one of those brews I ALWAYS buy around XMas in a mad rush before the local joints sell out. I don't love it, but drink it all the darn time. Just found last year's vintage when out of beer and thought that I'd leave a review.

It has a dark amber color with a light caramel head. Taste, mouth feel and drinkability are completely overwhelmed with the spice bomb.T he beer is essentially all the nice Christmas flavors--cinnamon, nutmeg, apple--all rolled up into one beer. I don't like to overdo it and have too many, it actually dulls the senses a bit, so I lowered the drinkability. Mouthfeel will be coated with cinnamon. Would do nicely as an alcoholic flavoring for pumpkin pie.

Even the macro drinkers will have this over a subtle, tasty Oktoberfest, go figure.

Photo of sacfly
2.65/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz, no date.
Pours a hazy golden orange color with a creamy looking off white head. Aroma of nutmeg, cinnamon, and more nutmeg. Taste follows suit, but much more subdued than the aroma would lead you to believe. This is a good thing, but the spice still overpowers any malt or hops that allegedly were used to make this beer. Rather light bodied for a winter warmer as well. Aftertaste is… you guessed it… dry cinnamon. Overall a one dimensional beer. It is a bad sign when half way through a beer you are thinking about what you want to drink next. Does not hold your interest.

Photo of billybob
3.83/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

pours a orange copper color with a large three finger tan head that holds to about a half inch to the finish with a minimal lacing. smell and taste of cinnamon and nutmeg is there but not over powering. light to medium mouthfeel and good carbonation good holiday or winter beer but not something i would drink year round.

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.95/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-brown with a tan head

S- cinnamon and nutmeg. Its hard to pick up malt or hop scent.

T- very strong cinnamon and nutmeg with hints of sweet malt. floral hop finish.

M- full bodied with high carbonation

D- good winter beer that goes well with the cold weather. The spices are a little too intense to give this a higher drinkability

Photo of jmc44
2.71/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a nutty brown color, with decent tan head, which quickly dissipates to just a thin cover.

Aroma is loaded with spicyness, nutmeg and cinnamon are most obvious. A light floral hop note, and some sense of a roasted malty backbone.

Taste is dominated by the spices, backed up with a decent roasted malt, and finishes slightly crisp with a hint of floral hops. No complexity; the spices are in-your-face.

Its medium bodied, nothing special.

Not easy to drink, what with all the spices.

I don't know about this beer. It's sort of like drinking Christmas, if that were possible. I prefer the winter warmers with a more subtle spice tone; there's nothing subtle about this guy.

Photo of garymuchow
3.6/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aroma is loaded with holiday spices (strong nutmeg and catches of cinnamon). They are pretty strong and are often covering the sweet malty character that exists somewhere underneath (I caught a brief whiff of it initially).
Initially pours with a big full fluffy head (couldn't finish the bottle in a pint glass). Head receded rather quickly to a flat cap. Clear and amber of dark orange.
Malt flavors strong in drink but still background to the spices. Touch of sweetness up front. Moderately and growing dryness with bitterness reserved.
Not quite moderate feel, but not thin. Some fullness from the carbonation, but it's soft and not overly filling.
This is more for those who like a little malt with their spices. I don't mind the boldness of those flavors, but I can see how many might. I like the cinnamon flavor. Good enough holiday drink
Thanks JB.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.62/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a small head that doesn't remain long, and the color is a glowing copper-ruby.

Aroma brings up dominant nutmeg, with some cinnamon, butter, toasted bread. Smells a whole lot like French Toast sprinkled with cinnamon and slathered in butter.

Flavor delivers on what the label promises: beer with spices added. The nutmeg and cinnamon mentioned are at the forefront of the flavor, the malts are here doing their job, and hops give a nice crisp, flowery edge, especially in the finish. First bottle, I thought this was great. Second bottle a few days later, it seemed a little strong on the spices. A few days later, halfway into the 6-pack, and the spices are way too cloying. It becomes akin to drinking potpourri juice.

Tasty stuff, but they need to work on the spice balance. And I think this resembles a pumpkin ale more than a winter warmer.

Harpoon Winter Warmer from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
73 out of 100 based on 1,422 ratings.