Nor' Easter Winter Warmer | Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

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Nor' Easter Winter WarmerNor' Easter Winter Warmer

Brewed by:
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
New York, United States

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
This is a truly unique brew, combining some unusual elements to create a powerful, yet flavorful brew. I brewed a similar beer to this one back in 1998, while I was home brewing out in California. Only this time around, I decided to age it in bourbon barrels to add a new element to the already rich sensory profile. The combination of dark malt, elderberries and bourbon barrels makes for an interesting tasting experience. This is a sippin’ beer, so sit back by the fire and enjoy.

Added by Billolick on 02-12-2007

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Ratings: 319 |  Reviews: 214
Photo of dogfishandi
5/5  rDev +22.2%

Photo of kirbsicles
5/5  rDev +22.2%

Photo of sideshowe
5/5  rDev +22.2%

Photo of stevefinny
5/5  rDev +22.2%

Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +22.2%

Photo of Phoenix2443
5/5  rDev +22.2%

Photo of Busker
5/5  rDev +22.2%

Photo of sitarist
4.92/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 5, bottled Jan 2011.

Pours a deep brown color, with hints of purple. 1/4" coral colored head falls quickly to a light top coating. Leaves rings, and webs of lacing that slide back in to the drink.

Wow, its aroma is not what I was expecting. An olfactory orgy is going on in my brain. I honestly do not know how to begin defining this beer. Im not saying its vinous, but Ive had $150 a bottle Cabernet Sauvignon, this is as balanced, and as complex. I smell some oak, but not much if any bourbon, cherries, light smoke, grapes, chocolate, white & green peppercorns, horehound, a little bit of earthy funk, etc... Artfully balanced.

Its flavors fall in line, and are even better. Just like its nose; I taste oak, but not much bourbon, cherries, vanilla, the peppercorns, grapes.... Amazing balance between tart, and sweet.

Mouthfeel suits itself well, it has a Medium body, with light fizzy carbonation. It has a pleasant medium, dry finish. Light body for a winter warmer, but perfect for its flavors.

What a pleasant surprise this beer was. I was expecting a heavy sipper, instead I found a perfectly balanced beer. Not sure how this brew was fresh, but with almost two years on it, its doing pretty dam good! Do beware, alcohol is hidden very well.

ISO more!

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Photo of gkatsoris
4.92/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Rich and dark. Very big head that stayed for almost five minutes (served in a tulip glass).

S: Cherries, raisins, chocolate, coffee, hops. Super uber balanced too!

T: I wish I could drink this all day everyday. All of the above, but just add some malts; which in turn added sweetness to it. And again super uber balanced.

M: Balanced. Great carbonation. Just a hint of alcohol, but in a good way to me.

D: Again, all day every day!

 438 characters

Photo of Blursimarsi
4.9/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

(Bottle thanks to Maxxdaddy and his mommy) Pours dark brown to black with a creamy, medium, light brown head. The aroma is vinous and fat yet soft and complex with tones of oak, malt, dark fruits and a light spicy yeastiness. Notes of creamy chocolate, salt and sweet liquorice, brown sugar, molasses, dark cherries, sweet dark grapes, blue berries, wild strawberries, prunes, figs, rum raisins, vanilla, bourbon, butter, cardamom, mild nutmeg, mild white pepper and of course a touch of elderberries. Bit fiery on the nose from both the alcohol and the bourbon barrel. The flavour is perfectly medium sweet, light bitter and with a light acidic finish that mixes well with the lingering buttery note from the oak. Tones of chocolaty/dark bready malt, elderberries, vanilla-ish bourbon oak, brown sugar/molasses, touch of hops and subtle spiciness of white pepper and nutmeg. Very vinous as well with tones of blue grapes, cherries, prunes, figs and blue and black berry jam. A touch of mango. The mouthfeel is full, velvety, soft, smooth and light oily with a fine medium carbonation. The aftertaste is of tart-ish elderberries, a peppery spiciness, faint hops and molasses. Medium to full bodied. This is near perfect beer that is some sort of crossover between strong porter and Belgian strong ale.

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Photo of joshuacavett
4.85/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to lazerlobe for trading this to me in 2010. The elderberries came out initially as spoiled and almost infected; however, as this beer warmed up the berries were much more tame and delicious/intoxicating smelling. The carbonation was very good throughout the entire tasting of the beer. I was really expecting a much thicker caramel chocolatey of a beer for the winter warmer, but this consistency of this beer was great. Capt. Lawrence precision for making beer really showed through on this Nor' Easter. We split this bottle between four people into oversized wine glasses. Additionally we served it at a temperature of 55° and I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. Everyone at the table agreed with the wierd smell initially but all enjoyed it after about 10 minutes. I cannot wait to order another one and try the next years batch.

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Photo of jwc215
4.82/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a dense light brown head that stays. Great retention power for such a high abv.

The smell is of bourbon, vanilla, oak, dark malt and licorice (from the elderberries).

The elderberry (anise/licorice-like) tastes melds exceptionally well with the vanilla/oak. Chocolate pulls through. Vinuous with a wonderful yeast strain. Alcohol is present, but complements in a fruity way. Full-bodied and warming.

Absolutely smooth and drinkable for the high abv. This is a wonderful, unique winter brew that is very well constructed.

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Photo of Avryle
4.8/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

"Night in the Woods" tasting 3.29.08
The perfect excuse to open another bottle of this!

A- Pours super dark, almost black

S- Herb-y/juniper berries, malt, vanilla & bourbon

T- A lot going on here... black licorice, malt, sasafras & vanilla. Very strong bourbon flavor without the booziness in the finish. The fumes after you swallow linger on your tastebuds... damn this is delicious!

M- Wonderfully full-bodied. Minimal carbonation.

D- Only one bottle left in the cellar (as I wipe a tear from my eye) and no more until the next release. I could drink this every day its that good.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.8/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks goes out to jwc215 for this brew.

Batch 2

Poured into a tulip a very nice dark brown color, very nice carbonation, huge thick creamy tannish two-finger head, lots of nice thick creamy sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, nice touch of vanilla, bourbon, figs, raisins, plums, and some caramel notes. The taste is sweet, malty, very nice touch of vanilla/bourbon, dark fruits/caramel. Full body, the alcohol is hidden very well with this brew. Very drinkable, this is my first CL brew, and hopefully not my last. This BSDA is very different then any other I've had in the past, the Bourbon Barrel Aged and stout like taste is AWESOME! Thanks Joe!

 664 characters

Photo of brandoman63
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%

Photo of drseamus
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Not to copy LittleBreeze, but...

Tasting 3/29/08

Batch 2

Nice dark body with an off white head. There is a strong bourbon aroma with a good amount of sweetness. There is a good vanilla character. The flavor has a bunch of sweet bourbon, dark chocolate, and good caramel. Very delicious all around. Great medium/heavy body. Excellent drinkability.

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Photo of Arbitrator
4.72/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. Sampled over 2 hours or so. Thanks to Fletcher (boatshoes) for this!

A: Pours a pitch black body with reddish tint. No real light penetration. The beige cap vanishes in a minute or so, but it leaves a thick collar with broken film on top of the beer.

S: When cold, the beer is very bourbon-dominated, and has a tart/sour cherry aroma (I'm guessing this is the elderberries that the label mentions -- but I have no idea what elderberries smell and taste like, so I'm going with cherries). As it warms, the two aromas balance each other out, and the beer expresses notes of coconut, vanilla, oak, and brown sugar.

T: When cold, it's just bourbon- and tart cherry-dominated, just like the nose. As it warms, it really starts to get going. A subtle orange pith flavor comes out, as do brown sugar, coconut, vanilla. The interplay between the flavors is excellent; the cherries (really elderberries) develop into a vinous flavor that complements the vanilla well. The finish carries tannic cherry skins and oak, as well as an orange peel bitterness. Also a hint of spice and some roasty chocolate in the aftertaste. Surprisingly well-integrated.

M: Big, bold flavors in a delicate balance. I'm impressed. In fruit-aged beers I tend to be sensitive to the tartness and tannins of the skins. By the end of the beer I'm just sick of both. Here, both qualities are restrained in such a way that each sip is refreshing instead of compounding the residue of the previous one. The carbonation is low-medium, so I can't really call it scrubbing. The beer simply does it right. And I should mention: it has no heat. It's not syrupy. It has some heft without being heavy. Just right.

D: Drank the entire 750mL by myself. This is a top-notch beer. Sample it just below room temperature and let it work its magic on you. This is a beer that opens up in a very impressive way.

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Photo of Strelnikov
4.71/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of AltBock
4.68/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Green 750ml bottle that has a plain and simple blue/purple label with the name of the beer in big bold white letters in front of falling snowflakes. The left side of the label is where they keep all the usual label information (US Government warning, address of the brewery, etc..) and the web address of the label's designer. The entire right side of the label is covered with a big detailed paragraph that descibes the process this beer went through. Alot of work went into this beer. It under went 3 fermentations and one those fermentations was in a bourbon barrel. Below this paragraph is a reprint of the brewmaster's signature and a hand numbered batch number of #2.

Appearance: I decided this beer needed to be poured into a big Snifter. What came of of the green bottle was a beer that is just as black as complete darknes. I put this beer up to a light and just like complete darkness, no light was visiable. Not one speck of light could penatrate this beer's black body. Not only was the beer's color thick, but the head of foam as well. It had a 1 1/2 inch thick tan colored head of foam that never went away! The only time the head of foam actually receded was when I took a few sips of the beer. And when it receded, it left behind streak after streak of beautiful tan colored lace in its tracks. This beer's appearce was just amazing! It was eye candy to me.

Smell: It had a deep dark thick complex aroma of dark roasted malts, roasted coffee beans, a plum or two, elderberries, a few red raspberries, red grapes, a smidge of sweet caramel toward the back, a quick splash of bourbon, and then this deep dark aroma ended with a gentle touch of oak. Captain Lawrence did a nice job controllling the amount of bourbon and oak in the aroma. They let them have their equal time in the aroma without having them conquer all the other aromas that were in here.

Taste: It had a heavy, but not overwhelming taste of dark roasted malts, bitter dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans, ripe elderberries, chocolate that was infused with red raspberries, a small touch of bourbon, charred oak, and then this dark taste ended with a smidge of sweet alcohol. What was nice about the taste was that everything was controlled in the right amounts. Not one taste in here overshowded the taste that came before it, the taste after it, or even the taste that was 3 tastes down. Every one of them had it's moment to shine with no worries that the next taste, the oak, or the alcohol was going to cover them up at some point.

Mouthfeel: It was definitely a full bodied beer with no strong aftertaste of oak or alcohol. Instead it had a strong long lingering aftertaste of bitter dark chocolate, espresso beans, and a subtle hint of charred oak. I could only taste a little bit of the alcohol in the taste, but there was no way I could tell that this beer had an ABV% of 11%.

Drinkability: A pricy beer, but well worth the price. If I could, I would buy another bottle of this fine beer. Not bad for my first Captain Lawrence brew. If this is any indication on how their other beers might taste like, then I am certain to seek out their other fine brews. This is a must try from Captain Lawrence. You won't be disappointed! I know I wasn't!

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Photo of cavedave
4.67/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to the Capt Lawrence rep. who was generous with tastings, knowledgeable, and brought this cask to Half Time for 16 oz. growler pours

It looks almost like Palo Santo, same thin head of dark beige, same cordovan brown, cloudy, thick, opaque color, same tempting appearance. Nice.

An exceptional aroma grabs my nose and won't let it go. Wine, oak, raisins, yeast, alcohol, earth, toasty malt, and a ghost of bitter backing blend into an exceptional bouquet. Very balanced perfume, can't wait for a taste.

I haven't chilled this, it is about fifty now, I guess, and the first sip is an incredible rush. My taste buds literally charge and fire at first touch to tongue. It starts with a creamy cannonade of elderberry, chocolate, toasty notes, oaky undernotes, goes into a climax of mild alcohol warmth, and lingers upon the tongue in as clean and smooth a vibrant finish as its possible to imagine, balanced with delicious bitterness below the surface. The first sip ended earthy and bitter, the next had vanilla notes, wine, almost floral. Now my palate is into it, and it's warmed a bit more. Exceptional, remarkable, a charged flavor of incredible joy, more oak now, more undernotes beyond my ability to describe, but they have combined with the main flavors into a stupefyingly complex and marvelous whole. The finish is astonishingly clean for a big beer, smooth and flavorful, and lasting. I've gone too far with hyperbole, but this beer deserves it.

Mouthfeel is clean, creamy, carbonation is medium, but the beer benefits from it, less would not have worked as well. As good a mouthfeel as imaginable.

Due to the extreme deliciousness, and addictive qualities of the flavor, this beer is dangerously drinkable. I only wish the rep. would have let me fill my 64 oz.'er.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.65/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Growler filled at DeCiccos on 12-12-09 consumed today. Cellared since then lovingly.

A: Poured black with only the slightest hints of brown when held up to sunlight. Two fingers of brown head with decent lacing. Tons of head and lacing for a 6 month old growler.

S: Wonderful nose. Oak right up front. A little bit musty. Ther elderberries are elusive since who knows what one smells like but whenever I have this beer I always pick up on something weird so I will assume that this is that. Little chocolate. Vanilla.

T: I love this beer. So complex. The oak is part of everything. Little touch of roast. Coffee. Nice yeasty esters. Just amazing.

M: Nice and dry. Well attenuated.

D: I could drink this beer everyday. No real hint of the ABV other than a nice warming feeling. I cannot recommend this beer enough.

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Photo of WesWes
4.64/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

The beer pours a dark black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is perfect. It has an excellent mix of malts, vanilla, berries, and yeast. It's a thing of beauty. The taste is great. It has a kick ass bourban flavor that compliments everything. The vanilla character playing off the berries is awesome. The Belgian yeast adds a great fruitiness in the finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a goddamn great beer. It's complex and easy drinking.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.64/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly murky very dark brown with little head. The smell, however, is something different- rich Bourbon notes along with some fruity elderberry as the beer warms. There are definite barrel notes as well, but as an undercurrent, not in-your-face wood. Very nice marriage between the coconut, brown sugar and sultana notes of the Bourbon, the fruitier berries, and a vanilla and lightly roasty finish. If anything, the taste is even better with the flavors even more vibrant than then the aromas. The Bourbon is fairly heavy handed- but I love that. The elderberries add a complex vinous note, and the oak lends a spicy finish, while the malt and roastiness provides an even keel for the other flavors to layer themselves on. Magnificent! Rich and Bourbony in the mouth, but oh, so smooth! What a lovely beer!

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Photo of Deuane
4.63/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Thanks to Clockworkorange for this one!

A-Dark brown cola with a thick, creamy tan head. LEft copious amounts of caked lace behind.

S-Big roasty malt, with a lovely wisp of bourbon, dark fruit and a bit of sourness.

T-Malty sweetness with touches of bourbon, dark fruits, caramel and the lingering sourness from the fruit addition. This is one of the best tasting dark, fruited brews I have had.

M-Full body with an amazing smoothness. This is simply a treat to drink.

D-With well hidden alcohol, all that smoothness, tartness and flavour this is one seriously great beer. Sierrags and I had to fight over the remainder in the bottle!

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Photo of marcpal
4.62/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to TheRealBastard for trading this one.

Batch #2, 750ml bottle poured into a Urthel tulip glass.

I let it warm some from the fridge and split it with a friend- have been sitting on this one for several months.

A: Much darker than I would have guessed. Tan head on top of dark porter looking body.

S: Something of a balsamic glaze smell, super sweet. Malts and bourbon on the nose are some of the strongest I have ever experienced- freaking great smell. Oaky, wood and some sneakiness finally coming out from the dried fruits.

T: Absolute full development of the dried fruits right smack up front: dried figs, dates, raisins, the whole gamut. Like a fruitcake I made last year with bourbon soaked dried cranberries and raisins- beautiful flavor. I dont know what elderberry tastes like but Im guessing thats in there as well with the mix of fruits. The wood and the bourbon contribute to the finish. A tight brew.

M: Very full body, some chewiness. Nil heat from the alchohol, and smooth as silk.

D: For such a flavor bomb, it is a sipper to a 'T' but a pleasure to do so. Seriously enjoyable and a fun one to split. It is a broad classification in terms of style and not sure this is the run of the mill for a Belgian strong but dont know what else I would consider it. A great, truly great winter warmer.

These guys at Capt Lawrence are on the right track in so many ways- hardly anything less than top notch coming out of Pleasantville.

As much as I complain to not having access to FFF, HOTD here in NJ, this is something I take for granted- the simple trip up to NY to visit these great folks.

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Nor' Easter Winter Warmer from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
4.09 out of 5 based on 319 ratings.
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