1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Harpoon Winter Warmer - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon Winter WarmerHarpoon Winter Warmer

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
73
okay

1,417 Ratings
THE BROS
50
awful

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,417
Reviews: 635
rAvg: 3.19
pDev: 20.38%
Wants: 10
Gots: 134 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Harpoon Winter Warmer Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,417 | Reviews: 635 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Manosbeeroffate
1.58/5  rDev -50.5%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Leftover christmas beer, do people actually like this? Pours a nice dark tan color but that's about the only good of this. Smells? Like cloves, weird plastic scent. Tastes not much better, as described in the smell with a odd banana aftertaste. Overall....don't buy don't drink, and for me this is the first of a six pack. I spent good money on this so I'm gonna set aside or chill very cold then chug it. Not worth your time or money, shame on you Harpoon!!

Photo of jpagewatts
2.07/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

this beer is straight up brown. no frills. it's got a fluffy head that has nice body. it kind of smells like a dog, though. and the taste is not much better. cinnamon, just like the rest of the reviews. it's intriguing at first, but then not really.

Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.28/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

had this on tap in Boston. Interesting brew. Seems my notes are a bit different than others. I think some of it comes to how quickly spices change over a month or two. Reminds me in some ways of a homebrew I made a few years ago.

A - Nice auburn color. Small white head. Hard to say if it was the time from bar to table or if normal. Either way it looks right for the style.
S - Nutmeg. A touch of mild malt undertones but overwhelmingly nutmeg.
T - Allspice / nutmeg and a light bread malt.
M - light / medium bodied.
D - only had one. More that the night was getting late than the beer. That said, with this strong a spice flavor two would be my max in a session.

Photo of PhillyMonk
3.14/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

If you're not a fan of spiced ales, definitely stay away from this one. This is not an every-day beer, but something for variety to try once in a while around the holidays.

This beer pours a copper-gold color with not too much head. The smell is 90% cinnamon and a little nutmeg with a mild malt background. There is a little carbonation bite and then the spices take over for a malty smorgasbord of cinnamon and nutmeg. The taste lingers for a while with very little hops at all.

I don't think this would make a very good session beer but is a nice change once in a while when you're in the mood.

Photo of akorsak
2.68/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A 12 oz bottle left behind by my brother, intentionally, on Christmas day.

A: The ale is a copper red color with a small ring of head that was not very thick on pour.

S: Aroma is cinnamon and nutmeg spiciness, intense cinnamon and nutmeg spiciness.

T: The flavor is pretty much the same as the nose, all nutmeg and cinnamon. The malt base serves as a conduit for the spices, resulting in an overload that is tough to finish. The spices don't finish long, leaving a bland malt body as the aftermath of a sip.

M: The mouthfeel is too spiced. There is no way to appreciate a malt or hop character as the nutmeg is too intense.

D: A bottle is enough unless you really, really, REALLY love winter warmers. I don't, so the remaining four bottles will most likely be poured down the drain.

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

My daughter loves this beer. I think that's because she lives in Florida and rarely gets to drink it. It's a clear orange color with a small head. A sweet, spicy aroma. All I could taste was cinnamon, not exactly what I was looking for. I think this is an OK winter warmer, but too aggressive with the spice.

Photo of lehows
2.96/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Some of my friends are always raving about this beer and it seemed I was the only one who hadn't tried it yet. I guess I had high expectations because Harpoon certainly does makes some awesome brews. This however, isnt one of them. Poured a semi-hazy light amber color with a small white head. Aromas of spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove. Not much else, maybe some faint hops somewhere in the tail. Tastes just like it smells, a lot of spice and...not much else. This isnt your usual winter warmer. If you're looking for an easy drinking brew around the holidays, I would go for this. Otherwise I would pass for something more substantial if you want a real winter warmer.

Photo of Damian
4.02/5  rDev +26%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Drank on-tap at City Sports Cafe, Bristol, CT

Poured a clear, glowing, amber-orange with a one-finger, off white, frothy head that slowly faded. Lots of drippy lacing initially.

The aroma was quite strong and reminded me of Christmas time. Warm ginger bread cookies, nutmeg and all spice were all apparent.

The taste was even more intense (a bit overwhelming in my opinion). Very spicy on the front end, with cinnamon and allspice coming through strongest. Malty rich with hints of brown sugar. Later, the taste turned a bit piney (I am thinking Christmas tree-like - call me crazy). Finish was clean and a touch hoppy.

Medium bodied with a rather creamy mouthfeel.

Overall, I found this beer to be very enjoyable and perfect around the holiday season. The spices may be too much for some to handle, but I would much rather have this over a typical winter warmer.

Photo of lackenhauser
2.16/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I havnt had this beer in years. It was one of the first "winter" beers I ever got into. I remember it as liquid pumpkin pie actually. Ok color-somewhat of an amber,golden hue to it. Way overspiced aroma. Plenty of nutmeg and cloves here. Flavor is the same way. Someone in the brew house has quite the heavy hand with the spices. No other real flavors the spices are way over done. Ok body. Not what I remember at all. I might have appreciated it 15 or more years ago as it was a great "niche" beer then. No longer my cup of tea. Boost the malt and lower the spices you might have something.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.12/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a dark copper color with about an inch off-white head. It smells very spicy, like cinnamon and nutmeg. I can't smell anything else in this beer as the spices are so strong. The taste is pretty much the same way it smells, spicy. The mouthfeel is medium with a good amount of carbonation. Drinkability is OK, it does go down easy. The beer looks and smells nice, but in my opinion there's too much spice in it. With that being said, I'd drink it again sometime.

Photo of jhollick
2.47/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

For the second year in a row, I found the Harpoon Winter Warmer to be absolute shit. I'm not here to slam beers blindly, but the spicing is so strong that I couldn't taste anything else. The nutmeg and cinnamon are so over the top and overbearing that I had difficulty finishing. It is difficult to concentrate on the subtleties of the beer when, as one reviewer so eloquently put it, a stick of cinnamon is up your nose.

This amount of spicing is not for me. I have never come across a beer that was even close to being as spiced as this. Those of you that like it can have it; I want nothing to do with it. I'll leave on a positive note. The beer smells nice.

Photo of JohnnyM2002
3.67/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Sampled from a 12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a reddish-brown with good carbonation and a small head.

S - Powerful aroma of spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, and mint.

T - This is what I expect from a holiday beer...the kind you expect to find at a Christmas party, if that makes sense to anyone. The cinnamon is much more pronounced than the other spices, but the ale taste comes through in the end. The only downside is the light body...tasted almost watered down, which is too bad because the flavors work very well together.

M - Lighter body than expected, but good bubbly feel.

D - Again, wonderful holiday spice. Almost there, if a heavier mouthfeel.

Photo of HopDerek
3.08/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass.

Appears dark orangish red in color with a fizzy little white head, slight lacing. Smells of nothing but cinnamon. Taste of nothing but cinnamon with a little touch of nutmeg. Nothing else. A zesty tingle on the tongue at first, nice medium body, but the cinnamon is too much. Getting a case of this would be a bad idea unless you really like the taste of cinnamon and don't really care for typical winter beer tastes.

Photo of arnulfooxblood
2.72/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Served on tap in a pint glass.

Appearance--Looked all right, it was a dark bar, so I couldn't get a real good look at it. Adequate head, seemed a deep amber color.

Smell--Very pronounced spices--nutmeg and cinnamon, I believe. Can't really get too many real beer smells, but it sure seems festive.

Taste--Too many spices kill this one. Some floral hops are barely discernible under the spices.

Drinkability--I wouldn't turn a free one down, but I'm not planning on picking this one up at the store.

Photo of psinderson
1.97/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

12 oz bottle poured into pint glass.

Appearance: Dark amber with a good size, strong head. This was the best part about this brew.

Smell: If you shoved a cinnamon stick up your nose, it would only be slightly more offensive than this. Seriously, way too much spice.

Taste: Now, if you took that stick that in your nose and bit a chunk off of it, you'd be in this beers' taste neighborhood. A little bit of nutmeg, too. The only thing that saves this is that there is some caramel malt backbone.

Mouthfeel: Not bad...a good solid medium body. I was so turned off by the taste that affected everything.

Drinkability: Refer to "taste" section.

I like mildly spiced holiday beers, no overwhelming ones. I realize that there are some out there who like this, I just don't. There is only one other beer that I disliked more than this one.

Photo of Grundle20
2.12/5  rDev -33.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance:
Pours a nice deep copper in to a pilsner glass. There is a sizable cream colored head with some decent retention but little lacing.

Smell:
It smells strongly of cinnamon candies to me like red hots or hot tamales. That's about it though, I can slightly pick up a malt character but the cinnamon is overwhelming.

Taste and Mouthfeel:
Completely over spiced, that's all I can taste is spices and minor medium bodied malt character. It tastes like liquid red hots without the heat and general satisfaction. There's cinnamon, nutmeg, and a touch of cloves but they out class every other flavor this beer has to offer. The beer drinks smooth and finishes pretty clean aside from a minor aspirin like aftertaste.

Drinkability:
The beer goes down easy enough but I would rather drink a less spiced beer and eat a spiced cake or candy. The flavor really kills this beer here.

Bottom Line:
God bless Harpoon for being one of the first micros to come out big and hard but they just aren't doing much of anything impressive these days. I would pass on this one.

Photo of arguemaniac
3.87/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I passed this one over quite a few years now and having finally tried it, I’m sorry I did. The truly appetizing aroma features fruit and spice (particularly sweet ginger). The flavor is more of the same, but even better: sweet fruit (mainly berry) blends deliciously with fairly intense spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little ginger too) and all of it is rounded out nicely by a firm, malty backbone. Tangy, lengthy finish. This brew does a nice job of pulling of those “holiday flavors.” The mouthfeel is a bit thin, but really, it’s not so bad and it makes for a more drinkable beer anyway. Recommended.

Photo of BBM
2.67/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Saw this beer on tap not knowing much about it, and figured, tis the season. Too bad it was $5. The beer pours a nice dark amber color, clear, with a light white head. Smell is of pure cinnamon. Smells good, but at the same time had me worried about the taste.

My suspicions were confirmed, as this thing has so much cinnamon spice, my girlfriend likended it to "a liquid red-hot". Except without the hot. That is a pretty fair assessment, and to make matters worse, it also tastes watered down. There is certainly notes of gingerbread present, as well as a malt backbone. But this thing is too overwhelmingly spices, and not in a good way.

Mouthfeel is watery and thin, and not especially pleasant. You could drink a few of these, if you had to, but why? I wouldn't even reccomend it with dessert, just because there are so many better brews in this style. Skip it.

Photo of Coasters
2.46/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle served in a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours an orange haze with a decent one inch head, retention average. Has that clean, filtered look. A bit too clear for a good winter warmer.

Smell: Smell of cinnamon with a slight hint of nutmeg. Not much else.

Taste: Pretty well correlated to the beer's scent. Overbearing cinnamon, a bit of nutmeg, and again, not much else. It is extremely light tasting, not at all warm, as one would expect from this style of beer. Perhaps early autumn would be a better season for this beer, certainly not the winter.

Mouthfeel: Very light. Possibly a bit heavier than water, a bit lighter than a fresh lemonade.

Drinkability: The weight of this beer makes it very drinkable. However, the taste can get to be nauseating by the end of the glass. However, that being said, a novice to the style will likely find this to be a good beginner winter warmer, similar to the way most people begin to experiment with craft beer by drinking a Yuengling or Killian's.

This beer disappoints. However, I'm willing to concede that it would likely be a nice complement to a seasonal desert, pumpkin pie, etc. Anything that incorporates the same types of spice.

Photo of daliandragon
3.31/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear, orange brown body with a finger of loose white head that isn't staying around. Nose is a blast of cinammon and caramel and other sugary smells. Crystal malts are barely detectable in the backround.

Heavy cinammon helping also at the front of the sip, overpowering what seems to be a decent malt backbone. Mouthfeel is decent buut slightly dry and chalky in the finish.

I like this kind of beer on occassion but really couldn't see more than one, wishing for something cleaner tasting and less doctored for session drinking.

Photo of CardinalBrewing
4.36/5  rDev +36.7%
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.

Photo of gixxerman
4.16/5  rDev +30.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A business trip to Derry, NH led me to this brew. I enjoyed 3 of them with an awesome Lobster Pie at C&K's on E Broadway.

I would put this one in the love it or hate it category. It is very spicy, major hints of cinnamon. Not much of a head, but that could have been a combination of my bad pour, and the odd shaped glass they gave me. Personally I found it easy to drink. It had a rich, spicy taste, with a slight aftertaste. If you don't like spicy beer steer clear of this one, but if are into them, I would definitely give it a try.

Photo of yelterdow
2.32/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On tap at Andy's in Bogota on 12/3/06. Growler fill for this review.

Served in a tasting tulip at cellar temperature.

Appearance- Pours a clear, rich orange color with a three finger ivory head. Not much sustenance... it falls within a few moments and barely leaves a thin rim behind. There is some small, uniform lacing left behind along the walls of the glass.

Smell- One-sided and certainly unappealing, the nose is a combination of Aqua-Fresh toothpaste, medicine, sterile bandages, and freshly juiced celery. My wife mentioned something about old Listerine.

Taste- Not sure where they were going with this one... there is some reference to wintergreen, or possibly spearmint in the flavor, but it lacks any balance or resulting interest whatsoever.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- At the very beginning, the beer has a nice, medium consistency that feels good. As the tasting goes on, it flattens and becomes more of an average texture. Unfortunately, there is no redeeming quality that would warrant another sampling of this offering from Harpoon.

Photo of weeare138
3.15/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to Matt Capone(capones) for this one...
Appears a transparent, crimson toned amber with a small, creamy, off-white head that quickly fades out. Tiny streams of carbonation quickly rise to the top. Spotty speckles of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, light caramel malts.
Taste is of the same but toned down with water and not enough backbone to substantiate the beverage.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, spiced, with a thin finish. Ok for a beginner trying to figure out what a spiced ale/winter warmer brew is about.

Photo of plaztikjezuz
3.65/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours a deep copper with of orangish red with a white head that dropped down to a thin haze.
the aroma is spicy; nutmeg is prodonimnent with a undertone of cinnamen, hint of malt. there is a bit of clove.
the flavor is spicy, malty, bit of hopsack, body is a little watery.

Harpoon Winter Warmer from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
73 out of 100 based on 1,417 ratings.