Winter Harvest
Stone Brewing

Winter HarvestWinter Harvest
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Style:
Strong Ale - Belgian Pale
Ranked #44
ABV:
11.3%
Score:
88
Ranked #8,545
Avg:
4.03 | pDev: 9.68%
Reviews:
24
Ratings:
99
From:
Stone Brewing
 
California, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  8
Gots
  33
SCORE
88
Very Good
Winter HarvestWinter Harvest
Notes: Belgian-style golden ale aged in white wine barrels with Stone Farms Merlot grapes

First Release: December 2014

Stone Brewer Matt Courtright came up with the recipe for this Belgian-style ale, designing it specifically to be aged in wine barrels. We did just that for over two years, during which native wild yeasts continued fermenting the beer. The result is an off-dry ale with pleasing levels of malt and tart fruit, especially tropical fruit flavors: guava from the Merlot grapes and pineapple from the Sauvignon Blanc barrels. Oak tannins contribute mellow non-hop bitterness while the Belgian yeast lends muted notes of clove and banana. Cellared properly, the dryness and complexity will increase over time.
Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 99 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by travolta:
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travolta from California

4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Apr 19, 2020
More User Reviews:
Photo of GRG1313
GRG1313 from California

3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

May 29, 2019
Photo of arizcards
arizcards from Arizona

4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a 500 ml bottle from the Craft Beer Hop Stop in late October for $17.99. Brewed on 4-28-12 and bottled in December 2014.

Beer poured a cloudy orange with a nice white head that has some hang time.

Nose is white grapes dominated.

Taste is white wine and red wine forward with a hint of pucker factor. Belgian angle is playing second fiddle but the light fruits are present.

Mouthfeel is heavier than expected for the style.

Overall this is a pretty good beer but the price point is a bit high for what one gets.

Jan 23, 2016
Photo of Georgiabeer
Georgiabeer from Georgia

4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Mar 03, 2017
Photo of BeerForMuscle
BeerForMuscle from New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aug 11, 2016
Photo of clayrock81
clayrock81 from Florida

4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured an amber hued, slightly cloudy body with one finger offwhite head that left a lace ring. First thing I notice when sniffing brew is a strong, vinous aroma of oak and grape (I'll assume white grape) that is strong than notes of Belgian yeast and candi sugar. Belgian yeast and candi sugar are noticeable in this beer as they lend a fullness to the body that gives it oomph while sweetening it up. Some minor grape sweetness is noticeable in beer as well, and the sweet aspects of this beer, both sugar and minor caramel malt (the malts seemed to be tamed down) are balanced with minor sour/tart vinous feel and beer is easy drinking thanks to oak aspects. Minor bitterness and wine-like crispness/snap in finish and a dangerously delicious sipper that hits style points all over place and hides ABV real well.

Jan 09, 2016
Photo of avalon07
avalon07 from South Carolina

4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had a brownish color and a thick, cloudy consistency. There was an inch and a half of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Not much lacing to speak of.

S: A very prominent and alluring aroma. Lots of grapes (noticeable the moment the bottle is opened), along with citrus, yeast, and malt.

T: The flavor on this one had a pronounced vinous quality, but also some other interesting elements: Pineapple, Belgian-style yeast, malt, some notes of oak, banana, and light spices. A complex and oddly satisfying flavor that's not the usual for a BSPA.

F: A good amount of carbonation with a slightly slick finish. Medium-bodied.

O: Winter Harvest is definitely not for purists of the style, but it is an enjoyable, easy to drink beer.

Apr 14, 2016
Photo of CPAles
CPAles from Illinois

2.94/5  rDev -27%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Oct 06, 2016
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bonkers from New Jersey

4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jan 18, 2015
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Smakawhat from Maryland

4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass. Batch 07 vintage 2014. Minor pop off the cork.

Muddy peach brown body, with a slow growing light tan head off the pour. Head manages to dissolve pretty quickly and stays to a simple fine collar, a little bubbled but also broken in places. Opacity doesn't really show off any carbonation. Really neat color but looks a bit muddy.

Aroma was real present even while pouring. Large musty grape white notes, and bigger exploration is hints of oaky buttery tones. Pleasant hints of plum, white juiced grape, a slight candi sweetness just a little bit. Wine barrel character is all over this real nicely. Very impressive.

Palate really brings the goods. A tight almost champagne but slightly flattened fizz quality, but with thick malt rich sweetness and depth. Flavors pop in the mid palate of plum and dark raisins. Slight fig with wine grape aromatics in the finish large and bursting juicy stoned fruits of peaches and nectarines, but almost darker and with touches of brown maple sugar and syrup. Juiced stone fruits feel like drizzled caramel on top, and a bit of spicy cinnamon to finish things off.

Real impressive character going on here, excellent job on this one.

Jul 31, 2015
Photo of oriolesfan4
oriolesfan4 from Maryland

3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Feb 11, 2016
Photo of jaydoc
jaydoc from Kansas

4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Aug 30, 2015
Photo of corby112
corby112 from Pennsylvania

3.62/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a hazy dark golden straw color that appears tawny brown in the glass with golden apricot edges and visible fizzy carbonation bubbling to the top. Much darker than expected with a two finger frothy beige head that very slowly settles into a thick, lasting ring. Excellent retention, lingering through the duration of the pour and coating the glass with steaks of soapy lace. A bit too murky but otherwise looks pretty good.

Sweet, slightly musty aroma with a prominent barrel presence that's well integrated into the funk, bready yeast notes and light fruit esters of the base beer. Prominent oak character with a decent amount of char. Not burnt or acrid however. Strong vinous and buttery Chardonnay notes with some lavender and vanilla bean. Light grape, golden raisin and butterscotch along with some tropical sweetness. Under the barrel there is subtke sweaty funk, sourdough bread, clove, banana and apple. Pretty complex with nice barrel/white wine character but the Belgian style golden ale gets overshadowed. This is expected with such and extended barrel aging process but the nose could use some balance.

Fuller body than expected with slightly oily, viscous mouthfeel and sharp carbonation tickling the tongue. Again, the barrel is heavily prominent and it's a bit boozier than expected with lingering heat. Lots of oak flavor yet it's not overly charred/toothy. Dry wood flavor along with juicy vinous sweetness and buttery Chardonnay flavor. Tart grape and golden raisin sweetness with even stronger buttery wine as it warms. Butterscotch, vanilla and floral heather presence. The barrel flavors are more pleasant and not quite as overwhelming as the nose hinted at. The subtke sweaty funk found in the aroma is undetectable but the yeast, spice and light fruit sweetness of the base stand out a little more. Some tropical fruit along with delicate bitterness, sourdough bread, apple, pear and faint zesty pepper. The heat subsides after the palate adjusts but there's still plenty of warmth in the finish. Not one of the better entries in this series but still a solid, enjoyable sipper.

Nov 12, 2015
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ackeeper from Illinois

4.44/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Jan 20, 2017
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atlbravsrno1 from New Hampshire

3.5/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sep 30, 2015
Photo of MickeyHops
MickeyHops from California

3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Jan 11, 2015
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2dogbrew from Virginia

4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Took the plunge on this expensive bottle. Pours a medium yellow color, minimal head. Aroma is sweet, mix of Belgian yeast and wine notes. First sip was decent but underwhelming, really enjoyed this one as it warmed up.

Mar 07, 2016
Photo of mactrail
mactrail from Washington

2.82/5  rDev -30%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

This is Batch #7 2014 Series. Very funky smell. Looks nice enough, with a thin veil of foam lingering on the brew, an unusual shade of amber, in the Delirium Noël glass.

This starts out with some sweetness but distinctly tart. Very hot with alcohol, and then drying out with the Belgian yeast to bitter, fruity, austerity. It tastes distinctly of wine barrels, but I don't mean that in a nice way. It seems like the oak and vanilla have fled, leaving
a woody astringency.

Overall, this seems like a big production to end up with this hot oddity. It's marginally sippable as the sweet fruit that greets the lips renews hope with each sip. It's more bitter than sour. This bottle looks like a 750, complete with silly cork, but the bottom dimple is so deep it only holds 500 ml. Even at half the original $20 price it's hardly a bargain.

Jan 20, 2018
Photo of sweemzander
sweemzander from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nov 11, 2015
Photo of krome
krome from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Jan 21, 2017
Photo of HattedClassic
HattedClassic from Virginia

4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice slightly off-white head that dissipates quickly but still leaves a little something on the surface. The beer itself is a nice medium amber with gold towards the bottom and a deeper light brown towards the top. The Merlot grapes give it a nice red color too. Overall, it has a nice look and it is definitely very appealing.

The beer has a good and interesting smell to it. Far from a traditional Belgian Pale Ale, this beer has a smell that is closer to a wine than anything else. The Merlot and wine barrel notes seem to be the strongest notes in the aroma while the beer notes add to them. The Merlot grapes add a sweet berry note while the barrels provide some acidic notes from the Chardonnay barrel. There seems to be alight tropical note from the Sauvignon Blanc barrel but it's fairly faint. The French oak barrel also adds a light vanilla note to it in addition to a wooden note. The earthy and flowery hop notes from the Hallertau are also there and mix pretty well with the Merlot notes. There also seems to be a light candi sweetness running through all of it.

The taste is just as good as the smell. The taste has the same notes as the smell with a few differences. The wooden barrel notes and Merlot grape notes are a bit weaker while the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc notes are a bit stronger. The hops still give off a flowery and earthy note, which are a lot more noticeable than in the smell.

The feel is interesting and good. The body is actually bit heavy from what you would expect from the style but is still pretty nice. The carbonation is very little to where it seems to be there to give it some texture and to keep the beer from resembling a wine. The beer is smooth but it also has a bit of light dryness to it. Otherwise, it's a good drinking experience.

Overall,a very interesting beer from Stone. It still has that familiar beer feeling you come to expect from Stone but the wine notes definitely add a little more complexity in the smell and taste. If the beer was a bit more inexpensive, I would recommend it but given the price range, I'd say if you're a major fan of these experimental beers or hardcore Stone then go for it if you find it in the bottle. Otherwise, some people might be turned off by how different it is compared to Stone's other offerings.

Jan 25, 2016
Photo of duceswild
duceswild from Heard & McDonald Islands

3.34/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Feb 13, 2016
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84 from California

4.02/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 Series. Batch No. 07. Bottled December 2014. 11.3% ABV per the label.

Pours a murky light brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, toffee, wine grape, white wine, wood, and alcohol aromas. Taste is much the same with caramel, toffee, brown sugar, vanilla, wine grape, white wine, and astringent wood flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of wood bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with crisp and dry mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with solid white wine barrel aged characteristics, but the wood gives this one a bit too much astringency in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle.

Jan 19, 2015
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Howlader from Canada (AB)

4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jul 04, 2016
Photo of superspak
superspak from Ohio

4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

4100th review! 500 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled in 12/2014. Pours slightly hazy orange/copper color with a 2 finger fairly dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big pear, pineapple, apricot, golden raisin, white grape, plum, white wine, vanilla, peppercorn, candi sugar, honey, bread, toasted oak, light banana/clove, and yeast/oak earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, wine barrel, grape, and moderate pale malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big pear, pineapple, apricot, golden raisin, white grape, plum, white wine, vanilla, peppercorn, candi sugar, honey, bread, toasted oak, light banana/clove, and yeast/oak earthiness. Moderate yeast/tannic oak spiciness and light fruit tartness on the finish; with lingering notes of pear, pineapple, apricot, golden raisin, white grape, plum, white wine, vanilla, peppercorn, candi sugar, honey, bread, toasted oak, light banana/clove, and yeast/oak earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, wine barrel, grape, and moderate pale malt flavors; with a great malt/tart/spiciness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-moderate dryness for yeast/tannic oak spiciness as well. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, fairly tannic, and lightly acidic/sticky/slick balanced mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warmth lingering after the finish. Overall this is an outstanding barrel aged Belgian strong pale ale. All around awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, wine barrel, grape, and moderate pale malt flavors; and very smooth and easy to sip on for the big ABV. This was a bit sweeter than I expected for the style, but the tannic wine barrel character still dried it out nicely. A highly enjoyable offering.

Mar 20, 2016
Winter Harvest from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 88 out of 100 with 99 ratings