Winter Ale | Telegraph Brewing Company

very good
45 Reviews
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Winter AleWinter Ale

Brewed by:
Telegraph Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.10%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by JayTheFinn on 12-24-2006

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Reviews: 45 | Ratings: 81
Photo of gthornton
3.78/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Mainly dark brown with a slight reddish translucence. Fizzy head at first, fading to very little to no head with no lacing.

S: Lightly of mayan chocolate - bitter chocolate and mild chili. A hint of fig.

T: Mildly sweet on the front of the tongue, with a slight chili spice rounding out the finish. The chili flavor becomes stronger as the beer warms. And you burp mayan chocolate!

M: Fizzy when sitting on the tongue, but smooth in the finish. As the beer warms and you drink more, the added chili leaves a tannic feeling on the tongue.

D: Easy and fun to drink, probably at its best with a traditional mexican meal. Not exactly the showstopper or refreshing flavor to bring to a party. It's a winter ale - good for cuddling, too, on what happens to be the only thunderstormy day in San Diego..

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Photo of bulletrain76
3.4/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Growler from the brewery last December, and somehow forgot to enter my notes until now. Dark purple-brown. Richly spiced aroma that does indeed have some similarities to mexican chocolate. Caramel and sharply spicy flavor. Finished a bit astringent. Started quite good, but by the end the spices were a bit heavy handed, and there wasn't much chocolate flavor as advertised. Fun to split with a bunch of people, but I wouldn't want a whole bottle of this to myself.

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Photo of jminsc76
3.89/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a large foamy head, reddish in color, which explodes out of the bottle once I popped the damn cork. The body is an impenetrable brown/reddish body, virtually the color of coca-cola. Decent legs as I tilt the glass.

The overall smell is intense, with initial aromas that include prunes, figs, and spices. As it warms, additional aromas include coca-cola, apple cider/sour apple.

Flavors are peppery, with sour apples, spices, and a slight quantity of caramel. It's not highly enjoyable at first due to the overwhelming heat (and I am not talking about the alcohol heat, but the heat from the chilies); as it warms the spicy hot, peppery flavors become dominant.

Mouthfeel is slightly phenolic, but fairly light-bodied. Not bad.

Overall, a decent Winter Warmer. While I can't say I enjoyed it immensely, it does make me want to come back and try again due to the broad range of flavors from apple cider to chilies (chilies in a Winter Warmer: that's cute).

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Photo of meatyard
4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance is a clear, dark brown with a 3 finger, tan head that falls to a cover without lacing.
Smell is of spices, some smoke and a slight sweetness.
Taste follows the smell only more intensely. The smoke taste is particularly nice and lingers at the end.
Mouthfeel is thinnish but smooth.
Drinkability is very good. No noticeable alcohol and it feels likely to be low.
I was pleasantly impressed with this beer. It feels like a smoked spice beer, unusual and interesting.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.24/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at American Flatbread
Poured a deep brown with almost no head to it. Nose is sweet and spicy. Taste is spiciness and some zing to it, perhaps some cinnamon and chocolate. Not big on roasted malts either. Very light but really good. I picked up on perhaps a Belgian yeast. Nice hops, goreat malt profile, well balanced, tastes great and easily drinkable! Damn good brew.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

November 2008 Bottle Date; Sampled January 2009
A soft pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces a three-finger thick, lightly browned, full tan colored head. The beer is a very dark, burnt brown color that shows a brilliantly clear, deep ruby hue when held up to the light. The aroma smells quite sweet more from spice notes and a touch of cinnamon than from the actual malt. I do believe I detect a touch of spicy chile in the nose as well, it is just a touch in the finish, but seems to add an earthy chile note. Caramelized malt adds some brown sugar like notes and there is also a light toasted grain character. By far the sweet spice notes are the most noticeable part of the aroma, but as the beer warms a bit more of the chile starts to come out; this accentuates some berry notes and there is also a touch of cocoa now towards the finish.

A prickly carbonation greets my tongue up front and adds a tartness from the carbonic acid. Some aggressive swirling releases some of the excessive carbonation, but there is still a tartness to this brew. This has a spiciness reminiscent of sweet baking spices (a mix of cinnamon, clove and perhaps a hint of nutmeg), that also add a touch of bitterness to the finish. The chile adds some spice and chile flavor to the finish without really being hot at all. There is a bitterness here in the finish from the roasted malt, which also adds some roasted, toasted character to the front end of the beer as well. This is pretty light bodied, though it does have some heft to it that becomes a bit more balanced as the beer warms up. This is quite fruity tasting at times and reminds me of tart currants, some berry notes, as well as some tannic red grape flavors. The malt also seems to contribute a touch of dark cocoa flavors in addition to the toasted notes.

This is an interesting beer. The ancho is not quite prominent enough and the beer itself doesn't quite seem like it is rich enough to support the additional ingredients. This definitely has a certain tartness to it as well, though I think this is due to the dark grain and mash schedule than from any infection.

Purchased: South Bay Drugs, Imperial Beach CA

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Photo of BrewerB
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured into a New Belgium globe. Formed a 2.5 finger thick off-white head that collapsed down with little lacing but remained atop the dark brown beer. Good clarity.

S - Initial aroma is heavily slanted towards the spices. Cinnamon, allspice, vanilla are all present. There's a sweetness playing a role here as well. And a tinge of pepper-like spice. I'm also picking up on what smells like banana though. Interesting complexity in the aroma.

T - Roasted malts, hints of peppery-spice, vanilla, and cinnamon all mix together in a curious first sip. Finishing moderately with a lingering touch of sweetness. Bitterness is moderate and I'm having difficulty picking up specific hop character. Semi-sweet chocolate.

M - Medium-light bodied with a moderate to moderate-low level of carbonation. Expecting a little more body here to complement the complexity of flavors.

D - I'm glad to get my hands on this beer as it's the first I've sampled from the Telegraph lineup. While not my favorite Winter Warmer, it's a worthy attempt at the style. The variety of spices and dark malts mix well together but a little more body could help spark more of my tastebuds' interest.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.12/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle at 50 degrees, courtesy of SouthBay Drugs.

Pours dark mahogany with a ruby translucency when held to the light. A solid two inch head of beige in the shoulders of the tulip faded slowly to reveal a full skim coat on the surface and a few errant dots of lacework.

Aromatics lead off with spicy phenols, cocoa, pepper-dusted raisins, and roasted toffee. Hints of cardamon, cloves, caramel, nougat, and smoke follow through. A hint of Spruce resin and dried pineapple linger. Warming on the nose and complex. A bit of Brett?

Medium bodied with a crisp and slightly creamy mouthfeel. A bit prickly with a bit of tackiness.

Roasted malt, pepper-rubbed cocoa nubs, and spicy raisins start the palate. Hints of char, menthol, and cardamon step forward.

Finishes with a building, spicy warmth, lingering dark-roasted cocoa, and pepper-dusted raisins. Fairly dry with a nicely balancing bitterness.

Nice beer, and I think some more time in the cellar would really pull this one together and mellow out some of the spicing.
I like it as is though.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.45/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

First off I just have to say I really friggin enjoyed this beer. I got this one along with a few of the other telegraph bottles earlier in the week and brought this one over to the parents house louse night. Served chilled and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 12/24/2008.

The pour was very nice. A rich dark brown with a slight purple hue to it on the outsides of the glass. Rich looking to say the least and nearly opaque. There was a touch of tan head at first, but it just kept building and eventually a full one inch of chocolate colored foam came forward and stayed until the very end.

Super rich aroma that just transformed the warmer it got. Rich notes of chocolate, chilli, slight raisin and prune notes and touches of light grain. The flavor was more of the same, incredibly complex and really impossible to describe. Lots of cocoa here as well as light touches of chili and prunes, raisins, hints of everything. Rich and velvet like texture was the highlight here. I am not sure what the ABV was but this thing was damn nice to sip on for a while.

Overall I thought this one was outstanding and one of the best beers I have had all year. I would love to have a couple of these laying around for sure.

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Photo of SShelly
3.33/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark Red/ruby color with a low offwhite head that doesnt stick around too long.

Aroma is light and malty, hints of sweetness, with a very small amount of spice behind it.

Flavor is immediately sweet and malty, quite a bit of spice upfront as well, though not from the peppers, all I taste is all-spice. actually its kinda scary how much this tastes like all-spice. Behind that is a light pepper flavor.

Leaves quite a bit of sweetness in the mouth, not my favorite winter/spiced beer ive had, not horrible but damn that all-spice flavor sticks around.

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Photo of MiScusi
3.59/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Toronado SD. Pours a very dull looking dark brownish to almost black. No head to speak of. Looks kinda oily in the glass. Smell is quite sweet, as is the taste. This beer is on the sweeter side, no real roasted notes or anything picked up, but it has a definite spiciness to it, being brewed with cinnamon and allspice. I didn't pick up any of the ancho chillis it was brewed with, not sure how they influenced the taste. Not bad, would maybe have again.

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Photo of vurt
3.33/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Corked 750 ml bottle purchased from Red Carpet Liquors in Glendale. Label indicates that this beer was "Bottled on Dec. 20, 2007." Served in a nonic pint glass.

Beautiful deep reddish brown with burnt orange highlights. A finger of dense foam the color of white pepper reduces to a thin cap that lasts to the bottom of the glass.

Sweet and very spicy-- nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. Seriously phenolic. A slight cayenne pepper note tickles the nose. Underneath it all there's some roasty, chocolatey character.

Very sweet at the start, followed by a gust of spices and enough phenolic character to make me think this is really a dubbel instead of a spiced brown ale. Some tart plum flavors on the heels of the spices. Finishes somewhat drier than it starts, with an odd pumpkin note. Cayenne and alcohol set up a warming glow at the back of the throat.

Full-bodied, smooth and round, with just enough texture from the carbonation. Nice.

Too sweet and too spicy for me (and I *like* spiced beers). Every element is shouting for attention. I don't know if this is strong enough to age, but I think it would be worth trying, just to ramp down the level of sweetness and spicing.

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Photo of McGowan
2.84/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

750ml corked bottle. Poured 1/22/08 into a tulip.

Aroma: Black cherries stuck in pinecones. Peppery spice overwhelms. Just a tad medicinal.

App: Inky black. Held up to the light a gorgeous ruby edge appears. Quarter-inch cream-colored head dissipating quickly into a persistent rim.

Flavor: Piney, resiny, anise, peppery, zesty; cardamom and cinnamon. Finish evokes watermelon, of all things.

Mouth: Thin and veering toward over-carbonation. Almost like cola. I like some viscosity in my winter warmers. Easy to drink, though. Quite dry.

Overall: A decent offering from Telegraph. Not stellar, but by no means objectionable. Worth a try.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.91/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, CA,

A: Pours a dark jet black, with a small tan head, no real lacing to be had.

S: An interesting an striking scent leaps out of the glass on the first sniff, fir trees, nutmeg, cinnamon and other spices abound, with a bit of malt.

T: This is one of the more heavily spiced Winter Warmers that I have had, heavy bitter nutmeg on the first taste, which I was enjoying, but delving deeper into the brew reveals even more flavour. Spruce and fir resin, sweet cherries, bitter orange peel and cinnamon are also there. A fan of nutmeg or other spiced beers will love this stuff.

M: A little too much on the weak side, watery and thin, but has an interesting texture from all the spices used to keep it interesting.

D: A nice Winter Warmer to try in January, it brings back the Christmas feeling with its unique taste, definitely worth a shot.

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Photo of Viggo
4.12/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Christmas tasting with biegaman and grub, 750 ml bottle.

Pours an opaque black/dark brown, thick tan head, lace rings, thick layer, great retention, looks pretty sweet. Smell is funky, lots of fruit, sour cherries, spice, caramel, light chocolate, quite nice. Taste is sour and funky at first, very fruits, strawberries and cherry, chocolate, touch of roast, very spicy, a bit lemony in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, silky smooth. Good funky stout, Telegraph is definitely doing some fine beers. Thanks a ton Jan!

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Photo of grub
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

christmas tasting hosted by biegaman on dec 15/07. he contributed this one. thanks jan!

750ml bottle, corked and caged.

pours deep brown, not quite black, with a small dense brown head. the head drops slowly and leaves spotty lace.

aroma is nice. dark chocolate. bit of funky sourness. hint of alcohol. light roast. grain and crackers.

taste is good. lemony sourness. light funk. bit of dark chocolate. bread and crackers. grain. hint of roast. just a hint of cinnamon. bit of dark fruit.

mouthfeel is good. low carbonation level. nice and smooth. medium body.

drinkability is good. neat funk. nice balance. good depth to this one that keeps it interesting.

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Photo of mcallister
3.13/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is a damn fine looking winter warmer. Dark russet colored, completely opaque. Almost black. A tall tan head shows that this beer has great carbonation. Fades quickly into a topper and leaves some lacing thin and sticky.

Dark fruits with a bit of berry and nut on the aroma. Full of nutmeg and cinnamon with a pinch of clove. Blue and black berries with a trace of anise almost black licorice. This beer is a year old and there is a slight souring lingering in the background is that the culprit.

This is one odd duck. Somewhat peaty with a very in your face floral herbalness surrounded with spices. Big on spice. Dark fruit takes a back door to the spice as a matter of fact but this is one of those brews. Things seem to be all over the place. Not a bad WW but something is just missing. Very perfumey with a mouth that is thin in the mid palate and long with perfume in the finish.

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Photo of bjohnson
3.05/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

thanks to solomon420 for sending this offering as part of my ba anniv. gift. 750mL bottle. corked and caged.

Pours an uncharacteristic and surprising thick black color with a frothy and foamy one finger caramel colored head. Big bubbles lazily breaking on top of the head. Nice retention holds with stick thick lacing down the glass. Smells a bit more like a dubbel than a winter warmer. Belgian phenols. Sour notes on top of a sweet chocolate undercurrent. Soft on the nose. Spicy chili's are noticeable. An interesting smelling brew.

Strict sour notes take over the entire senses and scorch the palate. Nestle chocolate powder and coffee notes follow in right before the finish. Sweet fruit concentrate flavors are very noticeable and thin the brew out. To thin in my opinion. Not a very great brew---half drain pour for me--i hope my drain was thirsty.

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Photo of rallison
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served at cellar temperature from a 750 corked bottle into a Duvel glass.

A: Wonderful dark, black body. 3 finger tan/light brown head that leaves a nice lacing.

S: Belgian yeast notes. Reminds me of some of the Unibroue beers.

T: Definitely has Belgian yeast characteristics. Taste is of Coca Cola, chocolate, and spices. Just a bit of alcohol in the back, but it's pretty well hidden.

M: High amount of carbonation, very similar to Unibroue beers. I am personally not a fan of this much carbonation, as it gives it a soda-ish feel. However, letting it sit does improve this and lends itself to a smoother mouth. Body is medium for this style of beer. Also feels a bit on the sharp side (partly due to the carbonation).

D: It's tasty and interesting, and not very heavy, so it does well here.

Another good, solid beer from Telegraph. Recommended.

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Photo of JayTheFinn
4.03/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another tasty brew from Telegraph of Santa Barbara, California. This is new ale has a great deal of spiced flavors, creating a good scent, a wonderful taste and a marvelous aftertaste that makes you long for more. Here's a snippet from the description on the bottle, "...Inspired by Mexican hot chocolate, Telegraph Winter Ale warms even teh coldest of nights with hints of cinnamon, allspice, and sweet ancho chilies...using generous amounts of chocolate and caramel malts". It's a sweet, spicey delight perfect for the holidays!

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Winter Ale from Telegraph Brewing Company
3.76 out of 5 based on 81 ratings.
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