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Harpoon Winter Warmer - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon Winter WarmerHarpoon Winter Warmer

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1,431 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,431
Reviews: 638
rAvg: 3.19
pDev: 20.38%
Wants: 10
Gots: 158 | 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: 1,431 | Reviews: 638
Photo of PlaywrightSam
3/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle into tulip glass. A: Amber/red, thick cream-colored head that reduces down to a caked on film. Decent lacing. S: Very strong cinnamon and nutmeg, sort of hard to get much beyond that. Roasted malts, some very distant grassy hops. T: Completely dominated by cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg. A bit of a bitter finish, but again, hard to get much beyond the spice. M: A bit thin, moderate carbonation. D: I'm a bit on the fence. On one hand, the cinnamon spice is kind of nice, especially on a cold winter night. But the beer snob in me has to admit that the thin body and shallow malt profile quickly buckle under the heavy weight of way, way too much spice. If you want christmas in a bottle, this may be for you. If you're feeling scrooge-ish want something a bit more complex, I would steer clear.

Photo of Biscuit033
2.66/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Dark honey with about one finger head that sisapates quickly with good lacing.

S: Candied cinnamon(like Red Hots) overpowers any other aroma.

T: Red Hots again but with clove, allspice and nutmeg. It is quite a strong spice explosion. You really can't taste any beer flavors or style.

M: Tingly on the tongue and light bodied.

D: It is hard to get one down but is intriguing enough to take sip after sip.

I think this would be a better beer with a different base. Maybe and English style brown?

Photo of GusESB
4.04/5  rDev +26.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ordered a pint of the Winter Warmer at a restaurant the other day. Putting the glass towards my mouth, I was able to smell the nutmeg. Cinnamon and spruce was also noticeable, but the nutmeg stood out. Excellent mouth feel and a pleasant after taste.
I very much enjoyed this beer and it was very easy to drink with my meal. Head retention was alright, about halfway down it lost it. I was surprised to find it on tap, and it did not disappoint. A great winter beer.

Photo of Gambrinus1184
2.32/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into Blair's novelty drinking game pint glass.

A: Poured a slightly sediment-filled copper with a very thin layer of creamy foam that dissipated like foam on a soda. Some lacing on glass.

S: Like ground nutmeg and powdered cinnamon. There's not much else to the nose besides these two ingredients.

T: I think the "spices added" were the only flavor noticeable, and I wish they weren't. I was hoping for more malt character and some hop spiciness to balance and compliment the added spices, but none were found. A pretty weak finish with a fake spice taste didn't help the cause.

M: Mouthfeel is thin and slightly stinging from the spices.

D: I'm sorry to say, it's not that enjoyable. I had three, just because I bought it and didn't want to see it go to waste. However, I won't be getting it again. Drinkable to those looking for the novelty of a winter warmer and don't know or care to expect more.

I do enjoy Harpoon, but I wasn't a fan of their winter warmer. I had it on tap last year, and thought it was pretty good; nice mellow spice flavor, some more sediment, still no head, but good balance and noticeable hop bite. This was like the Hyde to that Jekyl.

Photo of tfuchs
2.19/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12oz. bottle from a case that my girlfriend got at Total Wine in Landmark/Annandale VA. Not the first time I've had this. No date on the bottle. :(

The Look: was amber. 1" head that hung on for a couple minutes.

My Nose: was punched with nutmeg. Second time around brought some cinnamon and honey, too. Jesus, that's strong.

Dang, the taste is ridiculous. Water and nutmeg. Water and cinnamon. The aroma from this guy would be more acceptable if it sat over a crazy, complex, supremely nutmeg-y beer. But it doesn't. The taste falls flat on what's really just a mild ale, dominated by an amateur-ish (sorry, but seriously) dose of spices.

The Feel: was too thin for the taste. I really just want more depth to the beer. In taste and feel, it definitely needs to put on more weight before next season, if I'm ever going to invest in it again.

Drinknessableness: Umm, I could drink a lot of these since they're pretty thin and the ABV's reasonable. But I'm not sure that I want to. On the counter-point, my girlfriend loves these things. And since it's opened her up to trying other beers, I've gotta respect it on some level.

All-in-all, I was disappointed by the WW. I don't like talking trash, but I think Harpoon knows better than this. Winter beers are all about one million subtle, comfortable flavors keeping your taste buds guessing, but this one tells all it's secrets. More weight, more depth, and a little demure would take this beer a long way.

Photo of Traquairlover
3.08/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12-oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A = Rich amber color, no head but nice amount of continuous carbonation as it sat.

S = Nutmeg, hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, slight undertones of roasted barley and, oh yeah, nutmeg. Rating this was actually hard, if you dislike spiced beer and smelled this it would easily be a 1, while if you love such things it could catapult it all the way to 5. At the end of the day I had to go in the middle, I liked it but not sure it is exactly what a beer should small like, even one with holiday spices.

T = Let's see, nutmeg, hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, slight undertones of roasted barley and, oh yeah, nutmeg. This is truly a beer where the smell tells you all you need to know about the taste. I give it an average for the same reason I did for the smell. Depending upon your likes dislikes this could be a 1 or a 5. Personally, I think it is okay, but one note and the note tires somewhat quickly.

M = Not too thin, not too mealy, good carbonation tickle.

D = This score follows my observations for smell and taste. If you hate them, this would be a nonstarter for drinkability. On the other hand, it goes down pretty easily, I could see drinking this on a cold afternoon watching it snow outside. Given the plsit personality, I put this one down as firmly in the middle.

Photo of GobieESQ
1.54/5  rDev -51.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

With the holiday season upon us, sometimes the mood strikes us to make impulse decisions. Unfortunately for me, Harpoon Winter Warmer was one of these decisions.

In the pint glass the beer is a deep amber with no head. Upon first sniff I knew I was in way over my head. The bouquet is somewhere between your Uncle Al's eggnog and the gingerbread factory. The nutmeg scent is so overpowering that when I returned to my seat at the table a friend questioned, "What smells like Christmas?"

The nutmeg overpowers the beer and completely destroys any other tastes that might have been present. If there were hops in the beer they were negligible and added most likely as an afterthought.

Leave this one on the shelf this Christmas and go find out what Uncle Al spiked the eggnog with.

Photo of matty
1.54/5  rDev -51.7%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Gold colored beer with aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg.Taste was extreme cinnamon and very little else.This is the first beer in my 35 years that I couldn't finish and had to pour down the drain.I don't know what makes this brewery think that people want to drink something that tastes like cinnamon scope.Yuuuuck.

Photo of rohrbachsfan
2.06/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Amber witha good foamy head.

Smell: Powerful aroma of nutmeg and cinnamon, weak smell of malt and hops.

Taste: Very sweet malt crushed by the overwhelming taste of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Mouthfeel: Extremely creamy.

Drinkability: This beer had like 3x more spice than the typcial pumpkin ale which killed the flavor of the beer. Tried several gulps but ended up pouring the remainder of the glass down the drain.

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.


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Harpoon Winter Warmer from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
73 out of 100 based on 1,431 ratings.