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Winter Ale | Telegraph Brewing Company

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Winter AleWinter Ale
BA SCORE
3.77/5
Very Good
81 Ratings
Winter AleWinter Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Telegraph Brewing Company
California, United States
telegraphbrewing.com

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#21,374
Reviews:
45
Ratings:
81
pDev:
11.14%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
2
Gots:
9
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 81 |  Reviews: 45
Photo of rfgetz
3.82/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with some muted red highlights, full cap of tan head, moderate lacing. Scent was quite bold and hinted at cocoa powder, chili powder, light caramel, cinnamon and nutmeg, light herbal notes at the end. Taste brings components of scent together with the spices being fairly bold, sometimes overpowering. Surprisingly medium bodied, some heft needed to back up the bold flavors. Nice mix of flavors, a bit harsh when nearing the end of the bottle. A sipper to be shared for sure.

 495 characters

Photo of metter98
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear yet very dark reddish amber in color and has a moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense tan head that quickly died down but consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface..
S: There are moderately strong aromas of spices in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste is a complex mixture of various spices but is much stronger. Allspice and cinnamon seem to stand out in particular; there are some initial flavors of chocolate malts while peppery spices are present in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is a good representation of the style and goes down easily because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

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Photo of earitt
4/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of Thorpe429
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of the Rare Beer Club. Served in a mug.

Pours a deep brown color with a thin light tan head and a bit of lacing as it goes down. The nose carries a bit of chile and spices plus a slight metallic note. A bit of roast as well. Flavor has spice and a dosing of chile heat. Light chocolate and roast. Medium body with good carbonation. A little bit to it with a semi-sweet finish. Nothing too off, but not particularly enjoyable.

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Photo of caseyoharaa
4/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of elNopalero
4.09/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was from Batch 65, picked up last spring and been sitting on it all year waiting for longer days and cooler weather to crack it open.

Poured it and saw a bit of a thin lacing on a ruddy amber brew. Not a lot of carbonation. But what an aroma! A hearty bouquet of cloves, cinnamon, allspice greets my olfactory nerves. It tastes sweet and Belgian-y, as if a rogue prankster Trappist monk snuck some yeast into a tasty holiday ale. I enjoyed the distinct flavor of the ancho chiles. More of a nuanced hint than anything upfront or overpowering but I thought it made for an interesting, layered brew. My favorite of a recent night’s tasting. Glad I picked up two of these so I have one more to enjoy.

UPDATE:
Enjoyed (revisited) this in December, 2012.

It’s still pouring with some vigor. Appears a toasty malty brown mahogany color with billowy foam that dies down into a tight ring. I get an aroma of clove, nutmeg, cocoa nibs, a light chile ancho hint on the nose. This brew is remarkable with some age—the flavor hits all the right notes and still holds up. Cinnamon and some spice give a light kick. Still has a great body & smooth finish.

 1,157 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown colored beer with a tall tan colored head.

Smells spicy with molasses and cinnamon being the strongest scents. Black Licorice is fairly strong here and there is a little allspice.

Starts out sweet with a sweet licorice aftertaste. Drier than the smell indicated this is only very slightly sweet. Good spice flavor something like a sugar free spice drop candy. Not much more than to it, a mild spice flavored dark Belgian style ale.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall this is worth a try. Still if I want a spicy beer I know some better.

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Photo of Beerenauslese
4.12/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Body is a pretty dark translucent brown. Poured to a half inch head in a snifter, the head quickly dissipates to a thin veil and a thicker ring, leaving motile clouds of lacing.

Aroma of chocolate, prune, cinnamon, clove, and juniper berries. Pretty intense and interesting.

Tastes quite spicy, in a holiday way, with some tree botanicals like juniper berries, or even spruce tips (like Alaskan winter ale). There is a little ancho chile pepper bite on the top of the tongue. Maybe it is just the chiles, but if that is all that is in here, then chiles are a good choice for a holiday ale, adding a nice peppery spice. There is also some dark chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove in the mid-palate. This finishes cleanly with a lingering chile and chocolate bitterness, but wet on the tongue.

Body is light as is the carbonation, giving this a slightly fizzy mouthfeel, like a mineral water.

As a winter ale, it packs alot of taste in a light package, which makes it pretty drinkable, if you can handle all the spiciness, that is. I think it is best consumed with holiday foods. I am saving my other bottle for next year--should be good as the spicy elements mellow out into a smoother whole. We'll see.

 1,213 characters

Photo of seand
4.02/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark clear brown, with a fair amount of bubbly tan head. A layer retains pretty well, but doesn't leave much lacing.

S: Sweet winter spices, cinnamon, chocolate, brown sugar.

T: Much like the smell, sweet and full of spices. Cinnamon is again apparent, along with a chocolate note through the middle. The balance is nice overall, though pretty far on the sweet side of things.

M: Medium to light body, medium carbonation, dry finish. Quite smooth.

D: Very drinkable, a nice seasonal choice.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750mL caged-and-corked bottle into a snifter. Batch number 65. Cork bursts out violently, but this wasn't a gusher. Served lightly chilled.

Burgandy body shot through with crimson highlights. A tall creamy wheat head persists, leaving wide creamy swaths of lacing, which dissipate in a slow sandy trail amidst shimmering tears.

Caramel corn, challa, and plenty of spice in the nose.

Low bitter chocolate with a hint of ancho flavor (though without any real heat) on the palate. No perceptible hops. Any bitterness comes from the chocolate flavors. The allspice sort of ties together the different malt flavors leading into a dry leafy finish. No diacetyl, despite the partially buttery aromatics.

Creamy, effervescent (one could argue over-carbonated I suppose), and pillowy mouthfeel. Neither the chili or the ABV adds any real heat - the "warmer" part of this beer is a touch lacking except for the combination of spices.

A novel subtle take on the style - distinguished by the effects of bottle conditioning (lots of yeast at work) compared to other examples.

 1,083 characters

Photo of dwilson01
3.94/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a growler into my new belgium tulip glass, minimal head tops the brew and little carbonation rises through it. The body is composed of a mahogany brown color.

The scents emanating from this one are pretty dense, I get winter spices along with a slight pine wood. Rosemary, thyme, and nutmeg with sprinklings of cinnamon come through, also a small amount of cranberry-raisin too which I think interesting.

The flavors follow from the nose pretty well but seem a little more bland than I would like, I think my growler had a weak seal and it's pretty flat so that could be why. Some maple sugar, pine, light spicing, and fresh cranberry come through well though, I think with more carbonation these flavors would be much more pronounced though.

The mouthfeel is a little weak, again I think this a product of the carbonation lack but it does go down pretty smooth!

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Photo of gthornton
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
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..

 803 characters

Photo of bulletrain76
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
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.

 465 characters

Photo of jminsc76
3.89/5  rDev +3.2%
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).

 968 characters

Photo of meatyard
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

 475 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.24/5  rDev +12.5%
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 -5%
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

 2,163 characters

Photo of BrewerB
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
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 +9.3%
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.

 1,057 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.45/5  rDev +18%
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.

 1,231 characters

Photo of SShelly
3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
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.

 562 characters

Photo of MiScusi
3.59/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

 464 characters

Photo of vurt
3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
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.

Appearance:
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.

Smell:
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.

Taste:
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.

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

Drinkability:
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.

 1,230 characters

Photo of McGowan
2.84/5  rDev -24.7%
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.

 642 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

 881 characters

Winter Ale from Telegraph Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.77 out of 5 with 81 ratings
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