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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.

1,362 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,362
Reviews: 624
rAvg: 3.18
pDev: 21.07%
Wants: 9
Gots: 100 | 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: 1,362 | Reviews: 624 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of phisig137
3.6/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Amber color with a 1/2 finger head. Little retention falls into a small ring around the glass and no lace.

Aroma is filled with cinnamon and cloves. Slight solvent type of aroma mixed in as well. Nice, but not great.

Flavor is also quite spicy. Mostly dominated by cinnamon and cloves again, and it is an nice spice mix. Only problem is that it tastes like the perfected the spice mix, but forgot the beer. No malt character, and certainly no hops. But it is still pleasant. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, and drinkability is good.

A decent winter warmer, although it doesn't warm that much. Spice character is nice, but I'd like it to be a little stronger to back it up. I'd consider this a "session" winter warmer, if that makes any sense.

Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz. bottle

Pours a clear, light amber with a small white head that thins. mild lacing on the glass.

Smells like cinnamon and nutmeg. No other noticeable smells.

Tastes like it smells, all nutmeg and cinnamon.

Light body, decent carbonation.

While it's not very difficult to drink, it's just too spiced for my taste.

Photo of Atlas1
2.6/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I'm not a huge winter/christmas spice beer guy, but every year when they start rolling out of the breweries I grab a few and give them a try. I'm a sucker for seasonals. So this year I tried the Harpoon Winter Warmer, and once again I realized exactly why I'm not a huge fan of the genre.

Poured a thin copper color with a light head. No lace to speak of. Aroma was a hodgepodge of spices. I couldn't really pinpoint one but you could tell it had nutmeg, some cinammon, and some other stuff hard to figure out. Taste was a bit overpowering for me in the spice department too, hitting hard up front, at the roof of the mouth, and again in the aftertaste. Some noticeable malt, but even that was overtaken by the spices. The mouthfeel was actually a pleasant surprise: I figured the thin pour might be reflected in the mouthfeel, but it was solid and respectable. I probably won't try this beer again, but if you like spice-filled beers, you should give it a shot.

Photo of tempest
2.38/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Well this was a let down. This beer was all spice, no substance. Smelled of nutmeg and tasted of nutmeg with cinnamon with a little bitterness. So it basically tasted like alcoholic spice-water. I can't believe I have a whole 6-pack of this, what the heck was Harpoon thinking?

Photo of jdoherty
3.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Makes me feel a lot like Christmas

A: Pure amber color with a small head that dissapates very quickly

S: Smells of cinnamon and nutmeg, exactly the spices which they said were in there. They must have pumped this beer full of them because its pungent.

T: Very standard ale taste which is overwhelmed by the cinnamon and nutmeg notes.

M: Smooth, smooth, smooth, medium bodied and it seems to get heavier and heavier as it falls down your throat

D: If it was Christmas Eve, this is the beer I'm drinking. Unfortunately, otherwise its really not the one for me.

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.65/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Clear amber/red body with little head to speak of... Smells like cinnamon and nutmeg... Tastes very cinnamon-y, but not to the point of being overwealming I think... Fairly enjoyable, despite the light body and fairly one-dimensional flavor. Fairly drinkable anyway...

Photo of sinstaineddemon
4.15/5  rDev +30.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - this winter beer pours a dark orange-y pumkpinish color, with a thin tan head that dissipates quickly, there are slight streams of carbonation

S - this spices definitely come through in the nose, i cant pick them out individually, they amalgamate into an ambient sweetness that lingers over a decent hop profile

T - here the spices come alive, the nutmeg and cinnamon that are mentioned on the label are noticeable and discernable, along side the hop profile, a warming beer to keep with its namesake.

M&D - very smooth and crisp, a great aroma without being to bitter, even the girlfirned like it, and she thinks most craft beer tastes the same, she enjoyed the mellow, sweet spiciness of this beer, as did i, Harpoon does it again

Photo of scarletfire79
3.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

i'm not too familiar with this style. so i guess i really didn't know what to expect. the spices are slightly overwhelming but for some reason it doesn't take away from the beer that much for me. i kept finding myself wanting another drink. not something i could see drinking in july, but for the cold new england months that lie ahead and with the harpoon brewery being about 10 min. away, this beer might pop up frequently this winter.

Photo of geexploitation
2.95/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark, slightly dull amber with little to no head. Big time spice aroma, but I'm not good enough at identifying individual spices to run them through. It's quite a bit, though -- complex but somehow too overt, a bit unappealing. On the palate, there's an initial carbonation bite, followed by slightly sweet malts, with those spices always in the back of the palate. The finish is thick and cloying with the spice. Overall, this is mediocre. Way too much spice, and what's in here is not handled with enough subtlety. Instead of creating a cunningly spiced beer, Harpoon has made a pure spice-delivery system masquerading as a beer.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.5/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

AP: Clear and Deep amber color, lively with many bubbles and a short all white head that thinned out pretty quickly.

Nose: Spicey and herbal, not unlike the spices of a Pumpkin ale. Nutmeg like malty sweetness with some minor vanilla hints.

Taste: Sweet malt with a spicey bite that evens out with an herbal and brown sugar ending.

MF: Medium look, crisp light feel with a really good bite on the tongue.

DA: Tried it, now it's time to move on.

Photo of Estarrio
2.03/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This poured a light amber color with a small off-white head. Not much retention, lacings very heavy.

Smell of malt, hops with a big spice smell. Lots of cinnamon and some other strong spice smells.

I can't stress enough how repulsive the flavor was. Repugnant cough syrup and Benadryl come to mind. I think someone got a little carried away with the spices. I like a winter warmer, pumpkin spice ale, or otherwise spiced seasonal treat but this was absolutely ridiculous. Any non-spice characteristic was completely negated by the overpowering barrage of Yule tidings.

I'm normally a big proponent of Harpoon beers but I'd be very hesitant to try another winter warmer!

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.88/5  rDev +22%
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.

Photo of chakadrum
4.2/5  rDev +32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I can't believe I didn't find this beer sooner. I don't think I've ever had a better seasonal-type beer. This was is solid. I can picture myself sitting by the fire with some cookies and a nice tall glass of this stuff after a long day of skiing on the Alps.

There was a wet head on the top for a little bit and the first few sips gave some nice lacing. The color is a dull amber with a hint of orange. The nose is pure banana bread with some clove and nutmeg coming through. It just reminds me of my mom baking bread during the holidays. Taste is about the same with those particular spices. Carbonation level fits the beer very well. Pleasent mouthfeel and a wonderful lingering taste of spices. Based on the style this beer does it extremely well.

Photo of bigdeuce
4.15/5  rDev +30.5%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I found this Harpoon style to be very interesting. The smell is outstanding, a little light in body with a nice, crispy, carbonated, cinnamon backlash on the tongue on the follow through. Many other spices as well, perhaps vanilla and definitely, nutmeg. I recommend giving this brew a shot, as I feel it is Harpoon's best.

Photo of plaid75
4.1/5  rDev +28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just finished off the last of my winter stash.

The beer poured a beautiful ruby hue with an off white head, roughly two fingers. Decent residual lacing and head retention.

The aroma of this beer is simply beautiful. It is spicier than most winters I have had. Cinnammon, nutmeg and allspice is dominant with a hint of juniper or pine in the background.

The taste mirrors the aroma in complexity. It is a nice spicy flavor that fills the mouth and tingles on the way down. There is a good amount of hops to balance out the malt and spices.

Good mouthfeel for a spicy beer. Tingling throughout lends to the experience.

Overall, a very dirnkable beer considering its spicy makeup. Just ask anyone who saw me on Christmas Eve.

Photo of KroMagnon
3.78/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Head was lacking; nice lightly amber color, like honey. The aroma was wonderful - estery, spicy, a lot of cinnamon, very unique. The flavor was good too, with a crisp start that fades into a slightly sweet without being cloying finish. Spices, esters (a tad bubblegum?) blend together nicely. The beer doesn't seem overly strong but I think it could use more body - seems a bit thin. Oddly I rarely pick on that but this beer could use it and it hurts the drinkability some. Otherwise its delicious.

Photo of ViveLaChouffe
3.65/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a crystal clear deep copper. Rocky ivory head. Dense thin lace, though sparse. Smells spicy. Clove and coriander. Sweet malt.

Taste is biscuity malt. Sweet spice, clove and cinnamon. A bit haphazard. Lightly sweet and sticky. Not bad, better than expected.

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.6/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

Photo of Illinick
2.95/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Copper with amber hues. Small off white head that dissipates fairly quickly to ring and island formation. Subpar lacing, but some lacing nonetheless.
S: Spice rack! Ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, some slight anise, and some slight white pepper. Cinnamon seems to be the driving force here, but the smell is really spicy and a hodgepodge of spices.
T: Parallels smell-SPICY. Cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg again. Definate "spice bite." White pepper poking its head in subtly. Again, a very spicy hodgepodge of flavors. The spice seems to be too overbearing at times.
MF: Light and slightly watery.
Overall: If you like 'em spicy you'll definately like this. The spice seemed to be a bit much at times for me, but a solid effort nonetheless. A decent brew, but probably something I won't drink again.

Photo of tgbljb
3.98/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a medium-amber color with slightly off-white creamy head. Smell is significant for cinnamon, and while not really over-powering, it does relegate any thing else to the background. Taste also presents a nice cinnamon taste, and some nice maltiness in the background is akso to be found. Finish is a nice spicy maltiness, but a slight bitterness at the very end. The cinnamon flavors are strong enough to be enjoyed, without being so strong as to block any other flavor elements. That being said, one of these at a sitting is enough. Anymore would decrease the enojoyment.

Photo of PeatReek
3.45/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Presentation: pint glass. The CO2 was turned up a bit high tonight, but I don't think that's a sufficient flaw to affect the rating. So here goes.

Appearance: off-amber body, slightly hazy. White head dies pretty quickly.

Aroma: Just spices! Cinnamon most prominent, but also some nutmeg and ... allspice? I think.

Taste & Mouthfeel: All of the aroma spices come through immediately, and also some fruity-sweet ones, probably a hint of ginger. No hop taste at all, but the crystal malt is not overwhelming. Nice balance, actually. The carbonation keeps this from being overly syrupy.

Drinkability: OK, towards the end of the pint as the carb died and it warmed up slightly, the syrup really came out. This is a yummy beer for a pint, but I can't imagine having 2.

Photo of acarroll413
4.08/5  rDev +28.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was one of the first beers I ever had. I poured it into a glass. The head was not as big as I would have liked. The color was lighter than I was expecting, but a dark amber nevertheless. The smell was strong with cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg, and so was the taste. It was almost a dessert beer, in my eyes. I absolutely loved it when I first had it and it's still my favorite winter warmer.

Photo of GeoffFromSJ
3.63/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks nice with a good brown color, thick head, and ultimately a nice lacing. Typical winter spices on the nose. Taste isn't really that exceptional. Spices and then some alcohol bite. Mouthfeel was pretty smooth. As I alluded to when I first reviewed this on-tap, the closer you can have this to the Christmas season the more you will like this beer.

Photo of BEERchitect
3.88/5  rDev +22%
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.

Photo of ski271
3.13/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear brownish-copper with a medium-sized, light tan, pillowy, slowly diminishing head. Smells of cinnamon, yeast, some mild malts, and a little nutmeg. More of the same in the taste except with a honey-like sweetness up front and more of a nutmeg presence. Then I got sidetracked and left the beer sit for a good half-hour. What I tasted then was a beer MUCH heavier on the nutmeg, totally overpowering everything. It has a medium body, slightly chalky dry texture, and moderate carbonation. I never was much of a fan of the spiced beers, but I’ve learned to appreciate ones that are done tastefully. This beer was ok as long as it was mostly cold. Not bad but nothing I’ll be having again any time soon.

Harpoon Winter Warmer from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
74 out of 100 based on 1,362 ratings.