Winter Warmer
Upland Brewing Company

Winter WarmerWinter Warmer
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British Barleywine
Ranked #201
Ranked #21,001
3.84 | pDev: 11.2%
Upland Brewing Company
Indiana, United States
Very Good
Winter WarmerWinter Warmer
Reviews: 67 | Ratings: 129 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of barczar
3.79/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled December 09, so rating set to current average.

Aroma is rich with toffee sweetness initially, becoming fairly sherry dominant and almost vinous late.

Flavor reveals a combination of both vinous sherry and slightly sweet, deeply caramelized malts. The finish is nutty. The vinous notes add nuances of dark cherry, which are pleasant, but definitely overpower. Not meant to age 6 years.

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Photo of GPHarris
3.67/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

bottled 12/2012

a - poured a two-fingers thick creamy tan head into a snifter that left great lacing and a thick sheet throughout. the body was a bright mahogany color.
s - caramel and toffee with some piney hops underneath.
t - big malty flavors with a hint of hops. a little heat in the finish.
m - bubbly and dry.
o - had some high points but overall it seemed a little conflicted.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.51/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Type: ~14 oz on tap
Glass: Snifter
From: Upland in Bloomington IN
Price: $5.25

Appearance: reddish brown and almost clear. small off white head that left a lacing.

Smell:sweet sweet malts. and hops

Taste: sweet malts and somewhat piney hops. I don't like the balance or the hops in this one

Mouthfeel: thicker and good but leaves that bad hop taste lingering.

Overall: not a big fan of this one. the hop and malt flavors don't do very well together

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Photo of jlindros
4.02/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I've had 2 really bad infected drain pour beers today, and one that was OK but really hard to drink. So hopefully this one is great and can make up for it. This is last year's batch, 2011, thanks to erric (reddit).

Pours a nice fluffy looking 1 finger head that has plenty of retention, and eventually fades with a nice thick lacing as well, it's a semi clear mahogany slight maroon reddish colored beer.

Nose has nice old ale aged subtle malts, those caramel brown malts that have an aged aroma to them, plenty of caramel and toffee, little nutty as well, nice candy like aroma but not really syrupy, light booze and soft malt, and maybe just a hint of oxidation.

Taste starts with nice aged malts again, old ale soft subtle almost chewy and creamy like malts. Then sweetness, not super sweet but the candy flavors, plenty of caramel and toffee, little nutty again, maybe a hint of a syrup flavor, a toffee nutty candy bar like flavor. Light bitterness with a hint of earthy hops but not much. Finish gets a bit more bitter with more earthy slightly spicy hops that I bet were a lot stronger when fresh. Lingering slight sweetness and sticky feel, and plenty more toffee, caramel, nutty flavors, and soft aged malts.

Mouth is fuller bodied, nice fluffy carb, just a hint of booze, and soft creamy feel as well.

Overall a nice beer, good aged soft malts, chewy and creamy without the syrupy flavors, great malt flavors nutty caramel and toffee, etc, and bitterness that sneaks up and I'm sure was a lot stronger when fresh, but a nice balance now with a year on it. I wonder how it will continue to age, wish I had another bottle.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle bottled in November 2011. Served in a snifter, the beer pours a ruby red/copper color with about an inch light tan head that sticks around for a while. There's also a good amount of lacing. It smells like dark fruit, caramel malt, toffee, and some oranges. It tastes like caramel malt, dark fruit (raisins, cherries), oranges, berries, and toffee, along with some pine and herbal hops. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and slick with moderate carbonation. I thought it was a decent enough brew. And for just $5.49 a bomber, I'd buy this again in the future. It's certainly worth trying, especially at that price.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
3.16/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes.

Pours out a standard amber color with a short-lived two finger head, mediocre lacing on the sides of the glass. Lighter side of medium body heft and carbonation levels.

Smells only vaguely of a light brown sugar and toffee sweetness. Extremely muted and blunt nose. Tastes of a semi-roasted malt / molasses / brown sugar and biscuit malt blend with a combination of herbal and pine hopping on the back end and a light dark fruit nuance in the middle.

Although the flavor is fairly good (even if the dark fruits were too thin), there is some serious work that needs to be done on the nose before this one can truly shine IMHO.

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Photo of lico
2.98/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

(2011 bottle)

A: Pours a copper brown; not really the "very dark color" described on the bottle, but a healthy color nonetheless. Very thin white head atop leaves minimal lacing.

S: It certainly smells like a Barleywine; malty, but hoppier than usual. Promising.

T: Malty at first with some fruity cherry notes, kind of watery in the middle, but finishes "boozy," which is strange for only being 8.5%. With this style the alcohol should be better hidden by maltiness. Finishes bitter. The taste really follows the smell here.

M: Very low body for a Barleywine, likely due to a lower-than-usual grain bill.

O: I just would not recommend this when there are better alternatives out there. The mouthfeel isn't right for a Barleywine, nor is the hoppy finish. That said, if you haven't had one before and are used to lower gravity beer and want to try a Barleywine, this might be a good pick simply because it's not as heavy as other Barleywines and has a lighter mouthfeel. But beware the aftertaste.

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Photo of RickS95
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby brown, relatively clear but dark enough that you can't see through it. A bit thinner than I expected. The head is a finger thick and a brilliant white on top of the much darker liquid. As the head dies, a creamy layer of white remains perched on top.

There's a really nice balance in the nose between the malty backbone and the floral and citric hops.

Normally I find complexity in the feel, but this beer has it in the taste. It starts off like a nut brown ale, very malty, with some caramel. That maltiness is balanced by the piney, citrusy hops before giving way to the alcohol deep in the swallow.

Very complex. It's sweet initially, but then the barleywine-ness kicks in and you're hit with a bitterness and alcohol pop. However, it's as smooth a barleywine as I've ever had and the bittering hops and high alcohol are slightly muted.

Upland beers are hit or miss for me, but this was a solid hit. I enjoy all types of beer but barleywines aren't my first choice because I can't always feel my tongue the next morning. However, this was unusually tame and very drinkable.

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Photo of neckbracesub
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Here is a barleywine that provides a significant difference in taste and finish between bottle and tap. I have had it each way, and have enjoyed it each way, but on tap it is superior in overall taste.

The aroma is very sweet and fruity, the color of the body a syrupy amber, and a nice palate that you would expect from a good barleywine. That’s exactly what Upland has created with Winter Warmer - a solid barleywine that is unbelievably good on value price. I bought a 22 oz. bottle of this at a local liquor store for only $5.49. The pint on tap I had was much higher in price, but the quality was significantly raised as well.

It is not among the high-tiered barleywines (like Hebrew Jewbelation) but they are a nice and commendable option in the genre.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a deep copper brown with about a 2-finger head. Mostly frothy with good retention and lacing. Only somewhat translucent.

S- Lots going on here. Sweet hints intermingle with a medium hops profile. Less citrusy and more dull hops scents. Malt backbone is apparent with caramel hints most prominent.

T- Way more malty than anticipated from the smell. Dulled hops kick in about midway through to supply a little bit of a bitter bite. Definite caramel and sweeter malts up front followed by bready flavors towards the middle and end of the drink. Finishes clean with only slight bitter hops aftertaste.

M- Slightly chewy and thicker. Supports the flavor profile very well. Little carbonation. Could be a little smoother and abrupt on delivering the flavor profile.

Overall, a great way to break into the barleywine genre. Enjoyable and easy to drink.

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Photo of Chaney
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up back in the Midwest ("The Winetree" in Evansville, IN, to be exact) during the holidays for about $5-6!

Poured into a tulip.

A: Poured a dark, murky reddish brown (more towards the brown side though), with a skimpy mildly off-white head that retained itself.

S: It had very much a "mallow-creme" brand of candy sweetness.... and lots of it! It had sort of a strange caramel-butterscotch combo thing going on as well.

T: Not as strange or complex as the nose, but still a bit odd. The caramel was definitely running a pretty tight ship. This a bit bland, especially considering all the greats out there in this style. The marketing speak on the label mentioned something about hops, but I'm still searching. Tons of malt though. Additionally, I started to get sort of a soggy wood quality the more I sipped.

M: Uber sweet, but the sweetness didn't distract for long. The carbonation bill just right and the lacing was present but not overwhelming.

O: This is a "Winter Warmer," categorized as a "Barleywine," which won Silver Award in 2008 in the "Old Ale" category. Say what? This is worth a try, especially considering the low price.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for the tick Paul.

Beer is brown and hazy with a thin tan head that halos and pulls to the wall of the glass. The retention is low so even in this excited state sticking to the edge, it still doesn't leave any lacing, low carbonation.

Aroma is sweet, malty, mildly sweet apples and pear with hints of raisins and a little sherry.

Beer is medium to big in body and very sweet, the finish saves it because it does not thin out in the back, overall this turns out to be a decent beer even if I don't usually like this style. It may say winter warmer but don't be fooled, this is a straight up barleywine.

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Photo of kzoobrew
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Eric for the bottle. Cheers!

Pours a clean and clear glowing ruby color. Two finger eggshell colored head is set atop. The head diminishes ever so slowly. Solid sheet of lacing left clinging to the walls of the glass.

Bright and warm bready malt greets the nose. The warmth of the malt combine with sweet raisin and brown sugar aroma makes for an appropriate winter beer. Caramel and soft molasses provide pleasant secondary scents. Subtle hop presence in the nose. Hints of citrus and earthy characteristics.

Sweet caramel flavor lays heavy on the tongue out of the glass. Bits of citrus and floral hops flavor lies just behind. Warm breadiness develops on the midpalate, providing a pleasant contrast to the flavors appearing on the front of the palate. Bits of brown sugar and raisin are left lingering on the back of the tongue.

Full bodied beer, carbonation is on the low end of moderate. Slightly slick feel on the tongue, a bit of a chewy texture. The finish is long, as any good barleywine should be.

Is Upland Winter Warmer one of the best Barleywines you can find? No, definitely not. It is very enjoyable however. Excellent "everyday" Barleywine if there is such a thing. Great flavor, very drinkable, with an ABV that will keep you up right a bit longer. Worth checking out.

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Photo of jmarsh123
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Finch's

Pours a reddish brown with a small tan head that fades away immediately. Decent sticky lacing down the glass.

Smells of caramel and dark fruits. Earthy hop and brown sugar presence as well.

Just a small hop presence with some subtly sweet brown sugar presence hitting the front of the tongue. Lots of caramel throughout with some dark fruits mixed in as well.

Medium-thick mouthfeel without being cloying and medium-low carbonation.

One of my favorite barleywines and I look forward to it every year. Good and warming without being cloying sweet like many of the style. Very pleasant to sip during dinner.

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Photo of alpinebryant
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage shared with a trader, will need to look up name
A: Pour is a medium dark amber with a strong head and very heavy lacing.

S: Aroma of fruity brown sugar, caramalized malts, 120L malt mostly with just a hint of hop presence at this point.

T: Taste is leathery, with cherry hints , brown sugar and caramelized sugars. There seems to be a slight oxidation that makes it slightly metallic in taste although it is still pretty good. Very well balanced with some bitterness still hanging on. The oxidation brings the flavor down a little bit and makes the finish slightly watery but pretty good otherwise.

M: Medium mouthfeel. I think this one may have started going downhill as it is beginning to become slightly light in body but at 8.5% this is still doing very well for that low abv of a BW.

O: Pretty Good, I wish I had a 2009 to compare to.

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Photo of 1Adam12
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle
Pours a mahogony color with a decent head and very nice sticky lacing. Smells of dark fruit, figs, currants, raisins, and cherry's. No trace of alcohol on the nose. Lots of raisin and fig on the front end of the flavor. This is followed up by cherry's. The finish is odd. I can't place it, but it tastes like a rice cake. Very odd, but pretty good none the less. Mouthfeel is a bit too light for me. I'd like more body to it as well as a bit more heat from the alcohol. If I let it sit on my tongue for a bit I can catch mild carbonation and just a bit of alcohol. The alcohol is still barely noticeable. Overall, this is quite tasty. I'd really like to try the barrel aged version of it.

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Photo of secondtooth
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This bottle I'd aged almost 3 years...2008 vintage! Pours with a nice thick head, and some heavy-duty spoke lacing.

Aroma is almost fruity, strong, like dried dark fruit.

Flavor is dried cherry, tobacco, leather, pear, dates...strong and complex. Very little hint as to the rather high alcohol content.

A well tasty barleywine, certainly made more palatable with some age. Enjoyable!

And had a final bottle, tasted again in late 2013 -- so a 5 year-old bottle this time:

Echoes similar flavors as above (candied fruits, berries, and a bit of earthiness), but with an even more sour-sweet character. Not bad at all, and still pretty heavy-duty.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very hazy and cloudy ruby tinted light brown liquid emerged from the bottle. Some light carbonation could be seen streaming up from the bottom of the glass and a touch of yeast was seen floating as well. A light head, maybe a quarter inch rose up at first pour, though the second and third pour produced much more. Decent side glass lacing.

The aroma was nice, albeit a touch light. Very sweet smelling with the candy sort of aroma that you tend to find with an aged barley wine. Some light hints at the hops, but mostly faded into the sugary malt profile that dominated this one. The flavor was just great though, a very solid malt base had mellowed everything very nicely. Not a touch of alcohol in this one at all, in fact I found myself drinking this one wayyy too fast for my own good as time went on. Rich and again very sweet, it was like a kid in the candy store. So smooth with a nice medium, well carbonated body that only lended itself to being even more sippable.

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Photo of biggred1
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Deep russet brown with plenty of suspended chunks of yeast visable and a creamy mocha head. Caramel, fig, raisin and toasted grain with a touch of rum in the aroma. Rich and malty with butterscotch and black strap molasses up front with a mineraly water and herbal hop in the warm alcoholic finish. Medium bodied and a little over-carbonated for my liking. A solid beer but I like the Bourbon barrel version a lot better.

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Photo of ColdPoncho
4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

thanks urbancaver

from notes

A - lovely cloudy red body, a small ring and film of white head.

S - good malty sweetness with some hops bringing a nice balance.

T - tastes distinctly of strawberries, some general malt character, bitter hops.

M - medium-full body, bit dry

O (D) - dryness slows you down, but it's decent tasting.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful reddish amber. Vry pretty. A bit of light yellow head that hangs around. Smells malty with a touch of hops. Very smooth and crisp. Lots of light fruity flavours on the tongue. Very nice mouthfeel. Overall a tasty english barleywine.

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Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours copper with thin white head. The aroma is sort of prunes, plums, cherries and malts mixing with some booziness. The taste is peach, pears, apricots and some sourness. It stays that way into the finish. Interesting brew and more sour than I was expecting.

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Photo of alleykatking
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at the Brewpub.

A- Pours a ruby brown color. One finger tan head shows medium retention. This has nice lacing in long weblike streaks on the sides of the snifter.

S- Lots of caramel malts bring up the base beer and light sweetness throughout the entire aroma. Darker fruits are also in the aroma but only play a lighter backbone to this aroma. Light brown sugar notes as well.

T- Light almost bitter hop bite to this beer. Caramel malts come through next with darker fruits (plum and fig) coming into the middle with a sugary sweetness. Toward the backend of the beer there is a light bitter bite from what I would say are hops with a alcohol warmth in the very tailend.

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation is a little light for the style. Darker fruits and light sweetness left on the palate and long into the aftertaste with kisses of warming alcohol. Medium drying on the palate from the alcohol. Flavors are very malt driven and follow that course. No off flavors in the beer at all which is nice.

D- This beer was good but there was something missing that made it not great. The ABV was pretty apparent the entire beer making it only a drinker for a snifter or two. Nice try Upland but there is something missing with this one.

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Photo of mpcrump
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

A: Moderate to dark amber color. Very thin off white head that disapated quickly.

S: Malts, caramel, biscuits, and dark fruits.

T: Malts up front. Starts sweet and ends up slightly bitter at the end.

M: Mouthfeel is in the middle. Not too heavy but definitely not light. Very little carbonation.

D: Not bad. Sneaky alcohol. Doesn't taste as heavy as it looks.

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Photo of mrandypandy
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle purchased from the brewery in April and cellared since then.

A - Pours a clear ruby red with slightly off-white head. Head stays and leaves great lacing.
S - Subdued malty caramel sweetness
T - Mmm. Just like the aroma, thick malty flavors with a caramel sweetness to it. Some dark fruits (figs, prunes) as well.
M - Medium to full body. Slightly sweet. Mild carbonation.
D - Really good. Maybe I dig English Barleywines more than American Barleywines, but the subdued hop profile and well integrated malt body make this both tasty and drinkable.

Overall- Well done. I forgot I had three bottles stashed away from our trek up from Atlanta to Munster for DLD, and I'm glad I decided to pull one out for the holidays. I'm not sure about all the other bad reviews out there, but I found Winter Warmer to be a well-made, harmonious Barleywine.

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Winter Warmer from Upland Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 129 ratings