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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Reviews: 213 | Ratings: 318
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Ginger Man in NYC.Black with little head, chocolate and bourbon in aroma. This is some crafting of fruitiness, bourbon, malt and hops. Not one overpowers the other. This is a slow sipper, as in hours, and in that regard I could not finish it. Low carbonation, woody, quite complex, with a bit of sourness in the finish. A bottle a year later with great head and bourbon and oak aroma.

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Photo of metter98
3.88/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and has a thin layer of bubbles floating around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light aromas of dark fruits in the nose.
T: The taste has flavors of dark fruits--elderberries stand out in particular--and has a slight amount of initial sweetness. Otherwise, the elderberries lend some tartness.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
D: The alcohol is relatively well masked so this beer isn't that difficult to drink.

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Photo of brentk56
3.82/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 4

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown color with ruby highlights; the head was rather modest but it did leave plenty of lace

Smell: Great complexity to the aroma, with the elderberries and Bourbon presenting themselves, up front, with dark fruit, licorice and leather underneath

Taste: Dark fruit, up front, with fig flavors that quickly move in the tart direction provided by the elderberries, with some licorice underneath; after the swallow, there is a hint of Bourbon that gets added to the mix, but the vinous tartness overwhelms the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: While I appreciate the complexity, the tartness was overwhelming and didn't enable the other elements of the the flavor profile to shine through

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of John_Adam2002: Poured a clear deep brown color ale with a medium off-white foamy head with good retention and lacing. Aroma is dominated by some bourbon notes with limited alcohol appearance and some sweet malt notes. Taste is also dominated by some malt with some light toffee notes with some bourbon and vanilla dominating but not going overboard. Body is full with some great carbonation and alcohol is mildly noticeable. I could not detect the elderberries but overall I thought this was complex without being too one-dimensional or too bourbon dominated.

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Photo of zeff80
4.07/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a cloudy, dark brown color with a tan, thin head of bubbly foam. It left some soapy lace residue.

S - It smelled of candy sugar, ripe fruits and malty sweetness. Bourbon and oak aromas were present, too.

T - It tasted of oak, bourbon and of fruits like plum and raisin. There was a strong sweet caramel maltiness, too.

M - It was soft and smooth. A full-bodied ale that packs a strong alcohol punch.

D - This is a great tasting beer. I would like to try more brews from Captain Lawrence.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a tulip. Appearance is dark brown with a tan head and some light lacing. Nose is tart cherries, berries, oak, light vanilla, and some roast. Fairly complex but I think what I had was too young and hadn't quite integrated yet. The taste is similar with roast and tart fruits. Really nice feel with a bit of tart character and a good body. Drinks well now and this should age supremely.

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Photo of mothman
3.62/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 4

Poured into Founders snifter

Pours a light layer of tan head. Some thin splattered lace. Color is a copper brown, but settles near black.

Aroma: Notes of cocoa powder and dark chocolate with waves of bourbon up front. It also has notes of the elderberries, vanilla, and some roasted malts. It is fairly sweet.

Taste: The elderberries stick out a lot and it tastes a bit sour, almost like sour cherries. I get a lot of roasted malts, light bourbon and some chocolate. The sourness takes away a lot from this beer. It is creamy and has some vanilla sweetness. It does show some bourbon notes.

Mouthfeel: Tart, creamy, smooth. Medium to full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends roasted, but clean.

Overall, it is an alright beer, but I was expecting more chocolate flavors and less elderberries. The elderberries really took this beer over it seems. Somewhat drinkable.

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Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into goblet, batch 5. Pours hazy extremely dark brown color with a dense 1 finger light tan head with good retention that reduces to a small ring of lacing. A bit of lacing clings to the glass as well. Aromas of big bourbon, caramel, dark fruits, and molasses; with a bit of booze as well. Some nice strong aromas here, decent balance as well. Taste of big dark fruits(elderberries?) with some caramel and light bourbon on the front; leading to some licorice, molasses, spice, and a bit of slight tartness in the back. Some lingering sweet notes on the finish for a short bit. No bitterness noticed, as expected. Nicely full and smooth body with medium carbonation. Alcohol is extremely well hidden, not noticing any at all in the taste, but there is a decent warming after the finish. Great drinkability for 12%, but still a sipper. Overall, quite a nice Belgian dark ale. Delicious and smooth drinking.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Although it was a bit of an expenditure for me at this point ($15 for the 750ml), the collector in me wouldn't let it go, and the beer lover in me wouldn't let one of Scott's brews slip past my palate. He's really found his legs, and he's really putting out some really great brews now. That said, the Nor'Easter was no let down.

It pours an opaque black/brown body beneath a finger thick head of dark tan foam that holds well and leaves some nice lacing about the glass.

The nose is bourbon-like, vanilla-noted, woody, and berryish over a fudge-like malt base.

In the mouth it's creamy smooth with a full body and moderate, very-fine bubbled natural carbonation from bottle conditioning.

The flavor expresses the elderberries upfront, but then they shrink back a bit as it warms to reveal the alcohol and bourbon character. The maltiness rises across the middle, but it's not as full, or sweetish and chocolatey, as the nose suggests. It's more just dark caramel malt with a low-level bittersweet chocolate side as the alcohol comes into play with some heat. At the swallow it turns to a hint of coconut and some woodiness; and it finishes with a spritz of alcohol, some coconut, a hint of fudge, and some drying woodiness along with a smattering of elderberry. The bitterness is a constant anchor, and this ship never slips into "sweeter" waters - but neither does it become drying, chalky, raspy, or abrasive. Nicely done. Interesting. Worth trying.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

medium brown color with a smallish tan head about a half inch high by using a very vigorous pour. The ale was not nearly opaque as you could definitely make out hints of light on the sides and bottom of the glas

full of spice and a touch of sour fruit as well.lots of dark fruits of varying degree going in here for sure, very interesting.
spiciness that was coming through from the very first taste. A big healthy dose of cinnamon, nutmeg, and earthy malts right on the front end, hints of apples and raisins and plums rippling through all at once, while at the same time really puckering the lips. As if that was not enough, on top of the oak flavors started to percolate through and really start to show them off. Really getting complex not with hints of vanilla and even caramel as it warmed starting to mingle, but the finish went right back to that deep sour note. Very nice indeed.

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Photo of billab914
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage poured from a 750ml bottle into my Lost Abbey stemware. It poured brown with a bit of a ruby tint to it. A thin but frothy head barely covers the top of the beer. Decent lacing as I drank it.

The fruity elderberries are very apparent in the aroma. There is a good amount of brown sugar, vanilla and bourbon to it as well. The fruitiness has a bit of a tart, slightly sharp presence to it. The elderberries work very well in it.

The taste also shows a lot of the tart, fruity elderberries. The bourbon is a little more reserved but it does give it some nice brown sugar and oak flavors. It's got a little bit of a red wine quality to it in the finish that I'm really liking. The tartness of the fruits give it some nice balance as well.

The mouthfeel is full bodied with carbonation being a little above average for the style. The carbonation fits pretty well with the tart fruits. Overall I thought it was a very nice beer to sip on this evening. It had a lot of flavors to it but managed to bring them together pretty well. The tart elderberries worked well with the sweeter malts and bourbon. Very nice beer overall.

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Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I think Deuane brought this one for us to try. Batch 5.

A - Pours dark brown with a small half finger tall off-white head leaving spotty lace down the glass.

S - Smells of elderberry's dominate the nose initially slowly giving way to hints of wet oak, dark fruits, toffee, and some light spice. Not much booze initially but it grows as it warms up.

T - Starts off with a bright berry twang slowly giving way to hints of raisins, toffee, oak, vanilla and warm bourbon. This one has a lot going on at once, leaving you guessing what is going to come through next. Finish is pretty dry, lingering for some time.

M - Medium body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Smooth feel initially getting a tad watery toward the end, finish is pretty dry.

O - This one was pretty good. It had plenty of flavor, which was both a good and bad thing. I liked some of the older vintages I have had more but this one was still pretty good.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Big thanks to cuzco for this bottle!

I hope I like this Nor'Easter more than the one that resulted in my car getting buried in snow this past winter. It pours an opaque black-brown (it may just be the label influencing my thoughts, but it almost seems like a really deep royal purple...) topped by nearly a finger of tan foam. The nose comprises black cherries, bourbon, oak, raspberries (elderberries? I have no idea what they smell like...or look like...frankly, if it weren't for Monty Python and the Holy Grail I would never have even heard o' those damn things...), maple syrup, vanilla, butterscotch, plums, blueberries, molasses, and brown sugar. Whew. What a nose, baby! I'm glad I listened to Arbi (below) and let this guy warm up before I approached it. The taste is also heavy on the dark fruits and berries, with some figs and raisins added for good measure; the spices are also back, with some added cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves; and a hint of tartness (it fluctuates between cherry, raspberry, and vinegar) makes a short cameo as well. It's all good, baby! The body is a rich medium, with a light carbonation and a thick, smooth feel. Overall, a rather tasty brew, one I wish i had access to more often. Get some!

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Photo of mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought this about 3 years ago and have been holding onto it since. Have had this once or twice at NOTB/EBF up in Boston over the years, but now reviewing it for the first time. This is batch 3, which was released December 2008, so it is a month shy of four years old. Poured from a 750ml bottle into my Bruery tulip.

a - Pours a very dark brown color with a slight reddish tint, light carbonation evident, and two inches of light tan head that leaves quickly.

s - Smells of bourbon, apple, dark fruits, light spice, roasted malts, sweet dark fruits, light tart dark fruits, oak, and light vanilla. A nice mix of dark fruits and bourbon, and the bourbon is definitely not overpowering.

t - Tastes of bourbon, sweet dark fruits, molasses, licorice, oak, roasted malts, toasted malts, slight twinge of sour fruits, figs, and raisins. Very nice again.

m - Light to medium body and low to moderate carbonation. Body is a little bit lighter than I
was expecting, and not hot at all.

o - Overall a really nice beer that seems to have held up pretty well. Not hot at all, but there is nice bourbon and sweet dark fruits throughout it. Worth checking out, and ages well.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.76/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle poured into a CCB snifter. Batch 3. Reviewed from notes.

Appearance - No real head. Some bubbles on the surface. Ring around the edge and some lace.

Smell - Wow, it smells tart, which I didn't see coming. Vinous, almost infected. Vanilla and red wine notes.

Taste - Hardly tart at all here. Vinous, at most. More bourbon. Dry with red wine and some astringency. Interesting. Vanilla comes through with a distinct Belgian yeast and candi sugar flavor. A little bit, at least.

Mouthfeel - Dry, vinous, and just a touch tart. Medium carbonation. Medium body, despite being quite dry.

Overall - Very interesting. I'm surprised by the vinous aspects, despite what the label told me. More bourbon would be nice, but it's a fascinating beer.

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Photo of stakem
4.27/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from notes taken 12/11/10. Thanks to Jason (ClockworkOrange) for opening and sharing this.

Batch #1 poured into a snifter appears dark brown in color with a thin tan head. Some spotty lace clings to the glass. Lighter brown coloration shines through the edges of the glass revealing a bit of clarity to this brew.

The aroma is dark malt with subtle vanilla smoothness and alcohol warmth fills the nose. There is some brown sugar suggestions along with a bit of cocoa. This is not an overly complex aroma just well rounded and very enjoyable.

The taste of this brew includes a tangy amount of alcohol leaning towards whiskey notes and a warming sense. Vanilla smoothness is again present accenting the dark malt flavor. This brew finishes lightly spicy and a bit fruity. A residual flavor of chocolate hangs in the mouth with minorly bitter hops and bold alcohol flavoring.

Medium to light feel with a light level of carbonation. Very drinkable with light spiciness and a warming alcohol touch. This is the exact kind of brew I need to put me in the mood for the holidays. Thanks again Jason!

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Photo of vfgccp
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

- Special thanks to Mark for sharing a perfectly cellared May '06 bottle -

A - Cola with a toasted khaki head.

S - Bourbon booze, vanilla, toasted coconut.

T - Toasted coconut straight from the nose (a really nice flavor), soft booze, vanilla. Some earthy notes. Hints of dried fruits. Some clove / cinnamon and spice. Touch of coffee.

M - Soft and smooth.

D - Booze is a bit harsh.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.19/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Obtained in trade with JoeyBeerBelly, thanks for the opportunity.

Pours a solid dark brown/black color with a skimpy tanish head that dissipates quickly. Nose hits you right up front with bourbon, a vinous bourbon. Some figs, prunes, raisins, caramel, and maple in there as well. Taste is wine like. some figs and prunes up front. Followed by the bourbon which brings its vanilla oakey flavors with it. Finish is a bit acidic, almost sour with some yeast trying to poke through at the end. Mouthfeel is robust, but a very dry finish. Carbonation is low. Very complex brew. I enjoyed it very much. I'm not sure I tasted any elderberries, but then again I have no idea what they would taste like if I did.

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Photo of AlexFields
2.23/5  rDev -45.5%
look: 2.25 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Poured July 2011.

Very dark reddish brown, almost black, without much of a head.

Smells of bitter dark fruits (I don't really know what elderberries smell like but I'm assuming they smell like this), bourbon, maybe some bitter dry cocoa. Also smells sour which I didn't think it was supposed to be. The various parts of the nose aren't necessarily bad on their own but they aren't playing well together.

Taste follows pretty closely. It's very dry/bitter with plenty of tart dark fruit, whiskey, dry red wine. It's sour too, which isn't bad in and of itself but the sourness is not going well at all with the berries and bourbon. These flavors just aren't working well together, I'm struggling to enjoy this beer.

Mouthfeel is kindof thin and flat in a way that accents the things I'm not liking about the beer.

I'm really disappointed in this. I expected to really love this beer based on everything I'd heard but it's just not working for me. It's sour in a weird rather than a pleasant way and the flavors are clashing something fierce to the point where I'm puzzled over the A- average and wondering if I just got a bad bottle.


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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.32/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks go to scootny on this one.

Pours a dark brown with a slight tan head that falls to nothing. Nose is nice and spicy. Definite barrel aging character here. Can seriously grab it on the flavor as well. I have no idea, but it's bourbon barrels? Nice smooth flavor from it, but robust enough to keep it at a very interesting level. Nice level of spice. Am I getting some coffee on there? Yes, I think I am. Feel has a good carbonation and the liquid is nice too. This is good. Yet another excellent Belgian style out of the U.S. Really an amazing piece of work.

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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 Billolick
4.33/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The latest creation by Scott V @ Capt. L's (released on Feb. 9th, 2007), this one was available last Friday at the brewery on tap and in large bottles ($11) Strong dark ale, re-fermented with elderberries, Belgian yeast and then aged in bourbon barrels, bottled Jan 23, 2007, only 183 cases were produced.
Pours pretty much black, murky with just a slight bit of light shining through the edges. Dark tan head, with moderate retention. Settles to a thick long lasting tiny bubble film and leaves generous amounts of sticky, sheeting and scattered lacing, nice looking brew. Nose of dark fruits, fusel alcohol and dark toast. This is a manly brew, not for the faint of heart. Big dark fruity and burnt flavors, plenty of woody, smoky, and rum notes. Strong and brash, alcohol present but seems to fit in nicely into the scheme of things in this bold, heady and complex sipper. Will likely only improve with age. Another clear winner for the Good Captain.

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Photo of Gavage
4.2/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a thick dark black color with a tan 1" head that slowly falls to some thick surface bubbles. Mild lacing develops during the session.

Smell: malt sweetness, vanilla, and oak. There is a hint of earthiness too.

Taste: big and hearty malt profile with vanilla, oak, alcohol, soft ripe berry tones, plums, pepper, and a nice bitterness. There is a yeast tone that is light. This is a warming and filling beer.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start, smooth at the finish. Heavy bodied. Bold and lasting aftertaste.

Drinkability: this is one flavorful and enjoyable ale. Alcohol knocks it down a notch, as more than one bomber bottle may blow the barn doors off. Great beer.

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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!

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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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Nor' Easter Winter Warmer from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
4.09 out of 5 based on 318 ratings.
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