Harpoon Winter Warmer - Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Not Rated.
Harpoon Winter WarmerHarpoon Winter Warmer

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627 Reviews

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Reviews: 627
Hads: 1,440
Avg: 3.17
pDev: 20.5%
Wants: 10
Gots: 183 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 627 | Hads: 1,440
Photo of Omnium
2.73/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Bottle > Pint Glass
A - Pours a copper color, thin half finger head, no lacing.
S - Overly abundant spices, particularly cinnamon and nutmeg, sweet cherries, and a mild malt.
T - Sharp spice bite, and it takes over your palate in a bad way, no hop flavor or real malt to help balance the excess of cinnamon.
M - Spices in your mouth and that is all.
O - Flat out bad, there's no excuse to spice a beer to this effect, no matter what season it is.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.61/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a crystal-clear tawny copper color that is honestly quite beautiful. The head is a one finger offwhite shade with great texturing and lacing. It doesn't retain itself the best, though.

S: The most shamelessly cinnamon forward beer I've ever encountered. It's almost as if Harpoon took a page from Southern Tier's book on "how to make something smell exactly like what you're advertising". Okay, so Harpoon didn't advertise this as "Cinnamon Bomb", but you get the picture. I don't care for super-spiced brews - still, I wish most scented candles smelled like this.

T: Flavor-wise, there was no chance in hell of living up to the aroma. Still, spicing comes through quite strongly on the midtaste and finish. Ultimately, the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and coriander overpower the timid malt base quite thoroughly. As a result, the balance is sorely lacking. But you know what? It's not bad - as a showcase for the heavy spicing, I'd even call it good.

M: Very creamy and almost lush. It slides down a bit sluggishly due to the thick texture, but becomes quite clean (not to be mistaken for dry) past the aftertaste. Carbonation is unintrusive.

O: Fairly underrated in my book. It's not great per se (nose notwithstanding), but I wouldn't be averse to having this again. In a way, I'm glad Harpoon went for the 'unsubtle, hop-devoid spice bomb route' with this instead of the 'wassail meets Arrogant Bastard' route. This is NOT for everyone, though.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.33/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear copper color with a thin tan head.

S: Tons of winter spice going on here. A lot of cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, green peppercorn and some dark fruit. I can see how it could be seen as wildly overspiced, but I think it's alright.

T: The taste definitely doesn't live up to the promise of the smell. A kind of weak and watery spiced flavor that brings a touch of sourness. Some bread and a touch of pecan pie. An interesting warmer, but probably not one to revisit.

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Photo of Boozefox
3.81/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

2012/2013 batch.

On tap at Ted's at UConn, Storrs, CT, alongside a basket of fried ravioli, fries, and mozzarella sticks. Pretty damn fair fluffy head, dissipates to barely any lacing. Medium copper color.

Lots of real nutmeg, cinnamon, and some Jamaican peppercorn on the nose, no hop, very little malt, some alcohol. Sip it: Somehow thin, fizzy, and viscous all at the same time. Not... bad, per se, but not good, either. It'll do in a pinch. Good "winter warmer"-style flavor, though; like the Southern Tier 2XMAS but a bit less. Malty, cinnamon, nutmeg, fusel alcohol; surprising for the ABV. Kind of sticky afterward, and leaves lingering spicy malt notes. The Harpoon description says there are hops involved. Okay, I don't ~disbelieve~ it, but they're pretty well hidden by the spices and the hint of citrus, though, depending on the hops, that may be their doing.

All in all, not bad, especially in the winter in CT (it's 15°F for a high today, before the 20 MPH wind chill).

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Photo of beergoot
3.32/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

The pour produced revealed a crystal-clear dark amber body with a decent head. The aroma is very spicy: cinnamon, coriander, allspice (it reminds me of glüwein). The taste comes across as a weaker version of the aroma with some additional muted bitterness on the palate. The feel seemed watery yet crisp and dry.

Looked and smelled great, tasted and felt so-so. If the taste (especially) fell more in line with the promise of the aroma, this would have been a decent enough beer overall. Unfortunately, the relatively high quality appearance and scents can't make up for a rather dismal and disappointing taste (and, to me, that's the key component of any beer's appeal). Fair at best, and rather forgettable overall.

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Photo of superspak
3.28/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 3/15/2013. Pours slightly hazy reddish copper color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big caramel, raisin, prune, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, toast, biscuit, clove, and light herbal hops. Nice aromas with good strength and solid balance; very fruity and malty, with a fair amount of spices. Taste of caramel, raisin, prune, brown sugar, cinnamon, toast, nutmeg, ginger, bread, light banana, light clove, and light herbal. No bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, dark fruits, brown sugar, cinnamon, toast, nutmeg, ginger, bread, light banana, light clove, and herbal on the finish for a bit. Solid flavor balance and complexity; a big malt backbone and light complimenting spices; with minimal cloying flavors present on the finish. A little bland on flavor as well. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied; with a very creamy and slick mouthfeel that is ok. Alcohol is fairly well hidden with a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is a decent winter warmer. Moderate spicing and big maltiness with minimal cloying; and quite smooth to drink. A fairly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of SerialHiker
2.38/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Pours a transparent, orangish red...there is some bubble action going on in the middle...thin, off khaki colored head does form...(3/5)

Smell: Warms my nose...sweet candied cinnamon, clove and nutmeg right off the bat...definitely a winter warmer...smooth bready malts, slight hint of alcohol...it's got a nice aroma, but it's not overly diverse...sweet candied spices, that's about it...(2.5/5)

Taste: Sweet berry/cherry candy flavor with tons of winter spices right off the back...sweet malt carries through ending with a bit of nutmeg and allspice...i'm getting some light caramel and cream flavors, very faint...fairly basic brew, tons of warming spices, little else...(2.5/5)

Mouthfeel: Light body, mild carbonation...it's a bit watery, would be a lot better if it were a little heavier...residual warming spice in the after taste...(2/5)

Overall: While the scores don't look particularly good individually, this beer isn't all that bad...it's drinkable and it does have a good flavor, it just lacks in many areas...the smell and taste are pretty one dimensional and the body is too watery, leaving what taste there is gone before i can really get into it...it has potential for more if harpoon wanted that, but as it is, one is nice, but there certainly won't be another...(2/5)

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Photo of VALIS666
3.45/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

Very nice scent. It smells like a busy holiday party kitchen full of gingerbread cookies and spice cake. Everything else about it is mediocre, though. A thin, watery mouth feel and a fleeting, vaguely spicy-sweet taste. I would like this beer if the taste were stronger, but it simply isn't. Oh well.

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Photo of JohnFatAss
3.64/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a nice dark copper color. Not much of a head but still a good looking beer.
Smells like a Christmas beer. Cinnamon and nut meg.

Malty and flavorful. It is heavily spiced but pleasant.

I liked it, but it is not beer I would want to have more than one at a time.

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Photo of abeerwiseguy
2.13/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Got this 12 oz bottle of a Winter Warmer by Harpoon Brewery in a mixed six pack. ABV of 5.9% on the bottle.

Poured a dark amber to copper into a bar glass with a thin, off white head that dissipated rapidly with little or no lacing.

Had weak aromas of malty sweetness and cinnamon spiciness.

The beer provided thin flavors of malty sweetness with some cinnamon and clove but did not provide a strong flavor profile in any dimension.

Very little body or mouth feel was evident, with a thin watery finish and low to medium carbonation.

Overall this was a disappointing beer. While I understand that “winter warmer” is not really a style descriptor that everyone agrees upon, the winter warmers I have had can best be compared to English Old Ale, which calls for a medium to full bodied beer with a malty sweet flavor profile, little hop bitterness, and ABV of 6 to 9%. (source: Brewers Association 2012 Beer Style Guidelines)

This beer did not deliver on the basics.

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Photo of silverking
3.12/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It pours a clear copper/crimson color. The head is gone in a flash leaving no lacing and no residual bubbles. It smells of holidy spices(cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove.), and some fruity esters, Banana? Smells like banana bread with extra spice. The taste is more or less the same, with a slight acidic tinge that fades away to a sweet malty finish. There is a Very mild/dry bitterness also present. It features a medium bodied mouth-feel with way too much carbonation. Not my favorite.

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Photo of brentk56
3.58/5  rDev +12.9%
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

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Photo of KickbacksSteve
3.7/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Kickbacks in Jax. Poured into a snifter. Off-white head, moderate to low retention, on a deep copper body. Mainly clear lacing. Aroma includes cinnamon, caramel malts, nougat and nutmeg. Taste is pumkiny, caramel, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Actually pretty tasty combination of flavors and very easy to drink.

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Photo of JK4Stout
3.27/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: Honestly feel a winter warmer should be a bit darker to tickle my fancy. I had this on tap as well once and recall thinking the same thing then. Had a decent head but nothing to write home about with little to no retention. It has a mild coppery look to it that would be fitting a different style of beer.

S: Has very little aroma to begin with. There is a certain hint of clove in there, but this could also be enhanced by the sip I took immediatly after smelling...my bad. Little to no hop scent (not a bad thing) but also no real sensation of malt roasted or otherwise. A very average scent for a seasonal brew.

T: OK, now they have me. I am a Harpoon fan, so I am trying to be very nice. (If you ever get a chance visit the brewery) Even with the weak smell this little beer packs more flavor than previously expected. Rich notes of cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon. I love winter beer, and this is an extremely sessionable one. (Sessionable is a the positive word for "weak" in many cases, and I suppose that claim is made here.) We have the Light Beer of Winter Warmers.

M: I'm going a little higher here. I was expected something smooth and fleeting, and while I did get the smooth part it was not fleeting. Once drunk, you will be able to remember you had a beer.

O: I, again, have had this beer a time or two. (Sorry, if my review makes it seem like the first time, but I wanted that insinuation) So having bought it on numerous occasions, I think my tohughts speak for themselves. This is the beer you don't have to hoard or gloat about. This is not your beer to sit and ponder and worship. This is your beer to enjoy slowly and socially. An average beer with just enough going on for it to raise it above the competition.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a crystal clear amber in color with light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall dark beige head that slowly reduces to thick film covering the entire surface of the beer with a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glasses. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of toffee malt sweetness with some slightly lighter notes of cinnamon and nutmeg.

T: Upfront there is a moderate to strong flavor of toffee and caramel malt sweetness with lighter notes of cinnamon and nutmeg following. Very little bitterness is present.

M: Medium to heavy bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Smooth

O: Pretty well balanced between the malts and the hops but there is just a little too much cinnamon/nutmeg spiciness to this brew to be easy to drink. Enjoyable but this is not a beer that I want to drink a couple of...this is a one and done beer for me.

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Photo of jlindros
3.23/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

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Photo of axeman9182
3.47/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, poured into my Duel tulip.

Harpoon's Winter Warmer pours a fairly clear amber, with some orange highlights showing through. Maybe two fingers of cream colored foam crown the beer, with just a bit each of head retention and lacing. The nose has a potent burst of cinnamon and nutmeg, very pumpkin pie like. There's also a biscuity malt aroma present as well. The flavor profile isn't as robust, especially when it comes to the spicing, There's a bit of toasty bread and caramel up front, followed by a light, balancing bitterness. The spices come in for the finish, and they're just not nearly as lively as I would have anticipated given the nose. The body is just a touch on the thin side, but the carbonation has a good bit of pep to it. Despite a nice aroma, Harpoon's Winter Warmer is just a passable offering.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.68/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in a 10 oz chalice glass

Appearance – The beer was served a a reddish-amber copper color with a one finger white head. The head fades relatively quickly to leave a light level of lacing.

Smell – The aroma is bready with some notes of caramel and Christmas spice. The spice aromas are on the lighter side and consist of a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove.

Taste – The taste starts out with a more bready and sweet flavor of a caramel nature. Quickly the spice comes to the tongue with cinnamon and cardamom being the strongest. Other spice flavors later enter the taste, with the tastes of nutmeg and allspice joining later on. Overall the brew is on the sweeter and decently spiced side leaving those tastes to linger on the tongue at the end of the taste.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer was on the average side in terms of both creaminess as well as carbonation level. While quite easy to drink, with this considered to be a winter warmer (which I may contend) a little thicker of a body may have been better for the style..

Overall – It’s not a bad brew, but not really a “warmer”. It lacks the body and feel as well as abv to be considered a winter warmer in my book. I would consider it more a spiced ale. Not the best, but easy drinking and worth a try.

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Photo of Hopfenpeter
3/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer poured a dark old penny copper, a half a finger high, hire head building, but dissipating fast into very little lacing.
The smell is of spice, nutmeg, cinnamon and caramel, very strong!
Tasting the beer, those strong spices are dominent and take the pleasure out of the beer. Too overpowering the beer character .
Medium bodied, this beer is one I will not revisit.

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Photo of andrewjraab
2.92/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A nice looking brew - copper brown, good clarity. 2 fingers of brownish head.

A- spices - nutmeg overpowers cinnamon and all together smells a bit like egg nog. The taste from the smell and overall it is just not that balanced and has too much spice. I would like more of the bitter to shine and balance this better

O. I bought this as a one off and I will prob never try it again.

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Photo of socon67
3.46/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A - Dark copper colored beer with no lacing of any kind. Thin white foam shrinks fast. Almost looked flat, but wasn't. Opaque.

S - Strong notes of cinnamon, nutmeg, corriander, and ginger. Smells alot like my Christmas tree.

T - Very spicy feel that takes over the beer. The subtle hop bitterness is nearly washed out, but over time is more noticeable. Has a fresh grain taste as well. But the cinnamon & nutmeg make this a near spice bomb. Acutally paried well with peppery Tex-Mex.

M - No way would I have more than one of these. Too spicy to make enjoyable. One is nice, a second would be a bit painful.

O - Interesting and fun, but this is over the top on the spices. For people that really love cinnamon flavors this is going to be a very good beer. I think they could have toned this down.

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Photo of ColdWaffles
3.99/5  rDev +25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Samuel Smith Pint Glass.

Appearance: Kind of a boring looking beer. Doesn't really keep its head or anything. Color isn't anything to speak of. Light cream colored head and copper color.

Smell: Cinnamon and nutmeg! Gingersnaps! Spiced ale.

Taste: Kinda tastes like a gingersnap flavored beer. Really enjoy it, though I tend to like any spice "winter warmer" ale. I've had a couple of these now, and this has grown on me a lot.

Mouthfeel: Pretty light ale overall, with moderate carbonation. Might like this a little heavier.

Overall: Pretty enjoyable beer. Not sure this is for everyone, but if you like cinnamon or gingersnaps, chances are you will dig this.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.42/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Best By 02/15/13

A: Pours an amber color with a fingers worth of light tan head

S: Mostly a bit of maltiness with a big helping of cinnamon and nutmeg. The spices really dominate

T: Follows the nose. Dominated by cinnamon and nutmeg, along with a solid malt backbone. Slightly sweet throughout. Again, not much else but the spices

M: Medium bodied with moderate-high carbonation

O: If you like spiced beers, then this one will fit your niche nicely. Otherwise, I'd stay clear of this one. I enjoy the spices this time of the year, so I am enjoying this one. Wouldn't really care for it any other time of the year though. Again though, use discretion with purchasing if you don't like spiced brews

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.5/5  rDev +10.4%
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.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.47/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2012 Harpoon Winter Warmer. First beer during our Thanksgiving Beer Celebration! Poured into a clean Great Lakes-labeled pint glass.

Dark burnt amber color. Cappuccino-like head full of wet density. Quite clear. Noticeable carbonation rising in the liquid. No lacing, however.

Fig, date, cinnamon and other mulling spices, toasted grain, light booze, and hard caramel candy. Roasted notes give it a toffee aroma. Quite aromatic.

Semi-sweet dark fruits, some candied and some just dried. Pronounced spicing with flavors of nutmeg, allspice, mace, and cinnamon. Dates and fig generalize the noted fruit essences. Herbal notes seem purposeful and from hopping. Generously toasted with a malt-heavy forcefulness. Accompanied by edgy and sugar-cutting bitterness. Still winds up a little sweet.

Very quaffable noting the lacking strength. Oily body fills out at a medium level of body with a lighter carbonation that feels a little sandy. Doesn't exactly work as a warmer, Harpoon's Winter Warmer needs gulped a bit to establish the better feel. I'm in-between about how this is working.

A most appropriate beer to kick off this holiday season. Would enjoy this more if the temperature outside was about fifteen degrees colder. One of my girlfriend's favorite winter seasonals, and one of my favorite Harpoon ales.

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Harpoon Winter Warmer from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
73 out of 100 based on 627 ratings.