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: 318 |  Reviews: 213
Photo of doho95fu
4.17/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I tasted this at the brewery and immediately bought six 22's. The beer pours a purple black almost and has no real head. That is the greatest shortcoming of this beer - the carbonation is low. This is forgivable for this type of beer in my experience. There is a pretty strong alcohol burn which is not surprising for a beer aged in bourbon casks. Very solid beer. Hopefully with improvements, this beer returns this winter.

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Photo of Crosling
4.37/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 1. Deep mahogany color with a full foam. Beautiful aromatics of caramel, toffee, oak, vanilla and bourbon. In the mouth it's loaded with malty goodness, chocolate, coffee, fruit, caramel with an intriguing barrel character as well. Very complex and well crafted. This is easily my favorite beer from Captain Lawrence.

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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 Franchise
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this beer up at Halftime in NY. Pours a very dark brown almost black leaving a thin tan head behind. The aroma is blackberry, currants, chocolate, bourbon, raspberries, spicy tart powdery aroma with a faint citrus hop profile throughout.

The taste is bourbon upfront, malty, chocolate, bready, with a syrupy mouthfeel. The taste continues with bourbon soaked cherries, fruit is the prominate taste delicious, syrupy and finishes warming with a blast of bitter grapefruit. This is a good beer, hopefully I'll see this again.

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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 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 lightindarkness
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to TheRealBastard for trading this one.

750mL, batch no. 2, into a large Westmalle goblet at around 58 degrees.

Pours dark cola brown with some deep red highlights. Minimal head even with a hard pour that dissolved quickly, leaving a brown bubble ring around the glass and wisps of tan on the surface.

Nose is very vinous, with deep caramel and sweet maple, mellowed bourbon on earthy wood, aromatic tobacco, and mostly pleasant alcohol. This one smells like it'll be a bit chewy.

Taste is rich and roasty, with deep malt flavors up front of grains and dark fruits, prune and fig, and I'm assuming elderberry (not a fruit I'm overly familiar with). Flavors fill in with oaky vanilla, tobacco, and a soft but strongly noted bourbon flavor. Finishes with light sweetness that's cut by an astringent alcohol flavor. Very deeply and pleasantly flavored with great addition of dark fruit and bourbon oak flavors.

Feel is pretty good. Pretty light on the carbonation. A medium to fuller bodied beer with smooth feel and sticky finish. Not quite chewy, but certainly not lightweight either.

Overall drinkability is pretty good. % abv is an obvious factor, but it's remarkably sippable. Alcohol and bourbon flavor do not hinder overall enjoyment. In my opinion, not quite a Belgian Strong Dark, despite the yeast strain, this beer is deeply flavorful, and the belgian character has been buried beneath elderberry fermentation and bourbon barrel aging.

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Photo of Brianmerrilyn
3.9/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Goblet from 750 ml Batch 2 purchased at Skibbos in the Bronx over the weekend

A-Black with dark brown highlights, thick 3/4 inch creamy light tan head, average retention, minor lacing as well but head fell to almost nothing within a few moments.

S-Immediate alcohol (bourbon) some chocolate, plenty of oak, roasted malts, with candy and fruit accents.

T-Initially just strong ABV and similar to a dry stout. Sweetened as it warmed.

M-Medium, higher level of carbonation than I would have preferred, long lasting dry and bitter taste.

D-Difficult in many senses. Enjoy strong brews but this one tested my mettle.

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Photo of DrDogbeer
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Scootny for this baby! Pouirs a dark brown/ black color with a bit of red hues when held up to light. Nice tan head that holds firm and leaves a good amount of lacing. Huge aroma of coffee, alcohol and then BOOM- Bourbon! The bourbon is prevelent here, but it mellows nicely as the beer warms. Tastes of alcohol, bourbon and a good amount of smokey malts. Taste stays with you for a while. Very full bodied and filling beer. Great with some chocolate, too.

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Photo of brdc
3.77/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks scootny for this one. Batch #1.

Large capped bottle, poured into a goblet.
It is a very dark brew, with minimal reddish highlights, and a very thin tan head with little retention or lacing.
Aroma is mostly derived from the barrel aging; it is oaky, smoky and bourbon like, with a hint of maltiness underneath all that.
It is quite full on the palate, and again here the effects of barrel aging dominate, with just some understated malty sweetness and dark fruitiness hidden somewhere beneath all the bourbon and oak characteristics.
It is a good one for people that really enjoy the effects of barrel aging, but to me the aromas and tastes of the "main beer ingredients" are hidden under all the heat. Interesting, but not my kind of beer. It has become clear that, unfortunately, my taste and the Captain's do not match very well.

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Photo of Derek
3.7/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Deep purple? Tan head, very little retention, slight leg/lace.

S: Dark fruit (prune?), bread, spice, bourbon & wood.

T: Dark fruit, brown sugar, sherry, roasted grain, chocolate, slight floral hoppiness.

M: Moderate body is well-attenuated with a drying alcohol finish.

D: A little too boozy for my liking.

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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 LittleBreeze
4.44/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tasting 3/29/08

Batch 2

Really enjoyable beer.

Vanilla, bourbon, oak and malt aromas. Chocolate taste joins. The mouthfeel has a nice body but maybe a tad to much carbonation right now. There is a small alcohol burn that I suspect will mellow as this baby continues to age. This is an outstanding beer that will continue to enhance.

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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 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 ppoitras
4.55/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle from gpcollen1 via trade. Thanks for the opportunity. Batch No. 2.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 1/2" pinkish tan head above the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head bubbles quickly migrate to the rim, with plenty of lacing. Aroma is fruity sweetness with prevalent alcohol character. Taste starts with rich full maltiness, hits the tart berry notes in the middle, and then lets the vanilla and oak character mix with the alcohol and just melt away. Mouthfeel is creamy smooth, and drinkability is very nice as well. Maybe not as impressive as batch one for me, but still a brew worth searching out.

4/24/07 - 5/4.5/4.5/5/4.5
22oz bottle from gpcollen1 via trade. Thanks for the opportunity. Batch No. 1.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 1" purply-tinged tan head above the opaque dark brown/black brew. Dense, frothy head is more or less a constant, little change over time, with lots of heavy coating lace. Aroma is creamy malts with berry notes and ample alcohol. Taste is a mirror of the nose, with the close of oaky alcohol melded in nicely with the fruit touches and malt depth. Mouthfeel is oh-so smooth, and drinkability is dangerously easy for the style. How can something comes forth somewhat thin and easy to drink, yet display such malt and wood depths? I don't know, but I like it...

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Photo of sleazo
4.27/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A_pours a very dark brown with the faintest cream coloured head

S_slight cinamon and mostly roasted malts

T_sweet alcohol laced plums and raspberries, roasted malt, cinammon, a little cola, grassy hop backbone. The oak comes through fairly strong in the aftertaste but is not overpowering. Very tasty

M_thick but not syrupy. Low carbonation

D_Highly good, this is one tasty and unique ale.

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Photo of Floydster
3.68/5  rDev -10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

750 ml green bottle courtesy of radiorandy, thanks for the opportunity to try this rare east coast brew, batch one, split with my dad two nights ago, poured into my Hemp Ale pint glass

A-Almost black color with several dark brown highlights, thick 3/4 inch creamy light tan head, some nice retention, surprisingly a little lacing as well

S-Bourbon, chocolate, vanilla, oak, roasted malt, black licorice, brown sugar, raisins, prunes, sweet spices, and booze

T-Started off with nothing but bourbon and tasted more like a thin stout at the beginning, could not taste any of these so-called berries, did not identify them in the aroma either, as it warmed got sweeter and I could taste some dark chocolate and some vanilla, finish became oaky and full of bourbon, some nice malty flavors towards the end, a little hard to drink because it lacks smoothness and can really taste the booze

M-Medium to full bodied, good level of carbonation, taste might have lingered too long, spicy and dry mouthfeel from the whiskey

D-Could definitely not have finished a whole bottle myself, heavy on the stomach, high in alcohol which is not hidden, not a session beer in any sense

Not the best beer from Captain Lawrence but still quite good, this one was a lot darker and stronger than I thought it would be, still lively after a year in the bottle, would like to drink again in the future, recommended

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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 Gmann
4.14/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Out of a 750ml capped bottle, batch #2. Pours a near black color with little to no head; very slight ring around the glass. The smell right off the bat is the bourbon, add in some vanilla and oak. Flavors of bourbon and port come first, followed by a mellow chocolate and a sweet-tart fruitiness. A very light Belgian yeast is detected. The feel is soft and initially slick which is countered by a drying tartness. Definitely a big and complex brew, something to make the ears warm from the alcohol presence. A nice mix of the bourbon and wine characteristics.

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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 dsa7783
3.92/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

750 ML green, Belgian-style bottle purchased for $14.99 from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in South Plainfield...
"Ale brewed with elderberries and aged in bourbon barrels" on the front logo... Batch # 2..
Smell is very full and complex with a noticeable strong alcohol presence along with bourbon-barreled-aged cocoa and vanilla flavors - a very intricate and filling taste with a wonderful conglomeration of various eclectic nuances, including roasted malts, caramel, toffee, and cappuccino...
Appearance is engine-oil black, with a minimal frothy, tan, reddish head that soon receded leaving a copious amount of lacing...
Taste strongly resembled the aroma and was likewise very intricate, detailed, and complex, with a strong vanilla-bourbon-cask flavor and a powerful suggestion of roasted malts...
Very thick, creamy, rich mouthfeel, bombarding all the taste-buds...
Drinkability took a slight hit due to the ultra-rich and complex flavor along with the hefty 12% ABV which gradually makes itself known with a warming glow...
Excellent, full-bodied stuff - Definitely recommended, but this one is a real sipper...

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Photo of beerthulhu
4.42/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured a dark cherry-black color with virtually no head, only a slight film of dark khaki lacing with some bubbles. The pour was vinous while visibile carbonation was very soft almost non-detect.

S: The aroma was vinous, with sweet grapes, raisins, with some spicy alcohol fusels lingering about.

T: very sharp and pronounced , with boozy grapes, dark raisins, cherries and burbon. There was a acrid nature lending to a light burnt woodiness, and dark licorice notes as well. There was a very rich, dark roasted coffee malt lacing and lingering hop bitterness with a dry spiciness as well. A slight alcohol warming, and spicy boozy burbon malt lacing finishes things out with an acidic bite and a light film coat lacing on the tongue.

M: oily, and extremely light and aerated on the tongue.

D: very smooth with a boozy rich vinous nature that suits this beer as a table wine subsitute and as a sipper. A dark vinous winter treat that I truly didn't want to end.

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

My wife and I opened one of these babies at halftime during the Superbowl. Poured rich and dark into the glass with ample carbonation. The nose was slighty fruity from the elderberries used. The alcohol was also readily apparent. Took a sip. Wow, the taste was delicious with excellent mouthfeel. There was a portlike flavor apparent on the tongue. The alcohol was strong and upfront and a bit much for this fellow.
An excellent beer that should be sipped and consumed reflectively.
The only negative that I would say would be the need for some additional ageing to allow the flavors to mellow and the alcohol "bite" to subside somewhat.
Since I have several bottles, that will not be a problem!
A fine brew for cellaring IMO.

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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!

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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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