Winter Warlock | Flat Earth Brewing Company

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Winter WarlockWinter Warlock
Very Good
64 Ratings
Winter WarlockWinter Warlock

Brewed by:
Flat Earth Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by brewdlyhooked13 on 03-09-2008

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Ratings: 64 |  Reviews: 33
Photo of mothman
3.54/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of dbrauneis
3.96/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Kegatron
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Polished apricot with 24-karat gold edges. The overly fizzy cap is yellowed ivory in color and lacks any sort of creaminess or stickiness. As a result, there's no more than a few stray scraps of lace. Not bad, but WW isn't the looker it might have been.

The underpowered aroma is golden fruity, with no hint of caramel and very little evidence of alcohol. The fact that there aren't enough Fuggles hops to act as an olfactory hook is unfortunate since Golden Promise malt and Irish ale yeast aren't too thrilling on their own. Maybe the flavor profile will get things back on track.

Winter Warlock isn't a bad English barleywine, but it is a supremely simple one. Although it isn't a style, this Flat Earth offering tastes like a strong golden ale. The malt doesn't deliver distinctive flavor, nor do the hops or the yeast. Saint Paul water? Not hardly.

There may be hint of toasted maltiness after all. The added sugar provides the sweetness that all good English-style barleywines seem to have, although 46 IBUs ensure that it isn't cloying in the least. The dominant flavors are apricots and peaches in sugar syrup and a splash of brandy, with a side order of white toast. Warming helps, just not enough.

Mouthfeel is the highlight of this experience for two reasons. First, the added sugar bulks things up and gives the finish a pleasantly slick stickiness. Second, the fizziness of the head is nowhere to be found in the beer itself. The bubbles are appropriatly laid back.

Winter Warlock Golden Barley-Wine Ale is not one of Flat Earth's better beers as far as I'm concerned. If the suggestion box is open, a more complex malt bill might be just the thing to bring complexity to a barleywine that is way too simple for its own good. Hopefully, the brewers are amenable to some tinkering.

 1,798 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Into my Flat Earth snifter you go, Winter Warlock....the name and occasion is apt, as I thought last week, when we spent time in summery sun and basked in 60-degree weather, and the melting snow slipped out the sins of winter, that spring was finally here, at last. I was the fool, and the magician who rules the weather made a mockery of my delight...we're back at winter again, for awhile, and it's warlock now rules us. Aw, well... on to investigate this ale.You are golden, sorcerer, with a quickly gone head... your aroma is mostly rich, sweet, boozy malt...I'm not feeling much more from it. Taste: more slick, more sweet, more malt, more booze...not exactly what I expect from the barleywines I enjoy most, and have historically found to my favor, but it is quite nice in it's own regard. Lacks the hops of many of those, and leans heavily on the malt...something about that dynamic takes it somewhere else, indeed. Golden, bright, crisp, and, yes, boozy...the 9 % isn't shy at all. Not that I'm complaining.I think Jeff Williamson has a thing for Fantasy/Sci-Fi/sword & sorcery,Tolkien, mythology, etc...not that I've played Dungeons & Dragons with him, but I bet if you played craps at his house, the dice would be twelve-sided. Sweetness is just right for a dessert or a nightcap, and the alcoholic warmth is well-needed in chilly evening (okay, mornings) as this... 'tis a fine nice, tonight ...another winner from Flat Earth.

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Photo of tempest
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Split a bomber I picked up at Princeton Liquors.

This is a pretty cool beer for a couple reasons. First off, you just don't see many golden barleywines, so this beer is fairly unique. Second, it's damn drinkable. 9% what?

That said, it pours a yellow gold with a short white head. The aroma is big on biscuit malt with a bit of the Fuggles (this beer is all Fuggles) hops and their grassy, herbal citrus punch coming through. The flavor has those same biscuity malts but with a mellow esters that come off a bit like peach jam. That flavor combination makes me wonder about the breakfast-beer potential. The hops come in at the end to provide an earthy citrus kick that is enough to leave a nice lasting bitterness and balance out the malts. The mouthfeel is on the thin side of medium, which matched with the medium carbonation, makes this drink like a much milder beer.

Overall, this beer is expertly balanced and dangerously drinkable. This is a beer to seek out if you're in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

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Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Brilliant gold, with 1” creamy foam collar that dissipates down to nothing
S: spicy aroma with wine, apricot, malt, fruit.
T: Starts with malt, caramel, sherry, spice, fruit, a hint of clove to anise, cardamom, and a moderate bitter hop accent on the finish.
F: Big body, creamy smooth, medium low carbonation
O: It suggests wine but still has a beer essence.

 368 characters

Photo of KAF
3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

Photo of barleywinefiend
2.88/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a thin, golden yellow color with a small white head at first and then it disappeared. Nose was with faint hops, malts, Taste is rather thin bodied rather than a heavy English barleywine induced lots of and lots of malt. 9%ABV is very well hidden which also increases its drinkability. Had a good number of English bwines and I found this one not to my liking. Different style than I prefer.

 397 characters

Photo of maximum12
3.26/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle of this big beer from Flat Earth late this winter. All of their beers I've tried to date have been good but not great, so I'm hoping Winter Warlock will break that trend.

Big honkin' 25 oz. bomber poured into two pints glasses. Golden retriever color, with evident carbonation doing a NASCAR upwards. Smell is unimpressive, like a grassy wheat beer? What the hell? A hefebarleywine?

A very sweet barleywine is the overarching theme. Sugary, with that hint of grassy wheatness, I swear, coming from someplace. That's about it. Very simple brew with no apparent alcohol. This could be a gateway brew for the craft-challenged with it's simple profile & gentle sweetness.

Pretty good brew, but not much going on here. I'd love to see some more complexity coming out of this to offset the sweetness - malts, hops, something to give it a bit of depth.

 869 characters

Photo of kmanjohnson
3.7/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Bighuge
4.53/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Slightly hazed rich looking golden body. Thin white head. Lace comes in sporadic patches. Very nice mellow maltiness on the nose. Similar in a way to a Blonde Dopplebock aroma. Nice mellow malt profile on the palate as well. Fairly rich with only trace amounts of alcohol noted. (An accomplishment since this is a very fresh sample of their 9% ale.) I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess quite a bit of Golden Promise was used here. There's such a unique and smooth mellow maltiness. Very enjoyable. There's also a nice little spiciness. Body's close to medium-full. Carbonation is appropriately restrained. This will be a welcome addition to my Winter "go-to" beers in the years to come.

 687 characters

Photo of ZAP
4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An underrated gem from an underrated brewery.

Great looking beer....deep golden with amber highlights...perfect egg white head sits on top...

A lot of"woodsy" fuggles hop notes on the nose, along with a biscuity maltiness...seems in the "english' style which is what they were shooting for.

Hard to believe this is 9%....VERY smooth and HIGHLY drinkable. Really a sweeter style Barley Wine and I love BW's that lean sweet. The fuggles definitely are present on the finish but the first impression is the sweet biscuity never even borders on cloying though....clean mouthfeel...

Body is medium to medium full. Smooth.

A very enjoyable BW...I imagine if you put this in a Surly can people would go absolutely nuts about it. No knock on Surly as I love their beers but Flat Earth clearly has not established the "wow" factor among the masses.

This is a quality brew that might be priced a little high for some at 6.29 for a 22 ounce bomber but who gives a fuck...this is a relatively new brewer trying to make a go of it, and if I gotta pay an extra buck to keep them in business so they continue to make great beers like this I will gladly do so.

 1,162 characters

Photo of Viggo
4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to oakbluff for sending this my way! 2007 bottle.

Pours a hazy amber, very nice colour, thin off white head forms and quickly settles to a lacy ring around my tulip, nice looking spots on the glass. Smell is very nice, super malty, lots of sweet caramel, toast and biscuits, a lot of fruit, apricots, pineapple, strawberries, a lot of sugary malt sweetness balances it perfectly, almost a spicy alcohol character comes through. Taste is great, very malty again, caramel and some almost candi sugar sweetness, biscuity middle, peaches and apricot fruitiness, strawberries, some alcohol spice and a honey on toast finish, perfect amount of residual sweetness. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with low but tight carbonation, alcohol is well hidden, a bit of warmth but very smooth. Great example of style, reminds me a bit of the Fullers Vintage ales, superbly drinkable stuff. Thanks Scott!

 903 characters

Photo of MattyG85
3.76/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness Chalice glass. 2011 Bottle.

Appearance: Pours a deep and clear golden copper with a moderate amount of bubbles. About two fingers of white head that quickly fade into a a few thin patches. Lacing is moderate.

Smell: Aroma of caramel malts, toffee, light citrus hops, and a very noticeable presence of sugar. Fairly bready and the hop presence is very light. A hint of alcohol. What stands out the most here is caramelized sugars.

Taste: A sweet mix of caramel malts and wheat grains with a hint of toffee and citrus. Lots of caramelized sugar. A little bit of earthy hop bitterness towards the finish. Fairly bready throughout. Sweet but not cloying.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate level of carbonation. Somewhat syrupy and sticky. Very smooth as the alcohol isn't really felt.

Overall: A good beer overall. Not really what I would expect from a barleywine but a interesting version.

 950 characters

Photo of morimech
3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear golden color with a massive head that had excellant retention. The head eventually settles to a thick cap. Moderate amount of sticky lacing is left down the glass.

Fuggle hop aroma. A little spicy with what seems like yeast phenols. Hints of brown sugar and caramelized malt.

Alcohol plays a big part in the flavor with plenty of heat. Relatively weak malt flavor for a barleywine. Some flavor of sugar. Moderately bitter with some grassy flavor. Tastes more Belgian than English.

Weak body but the carbonation does its best with what it is given.

I was expecting a much better, and bigger beer. Body is labeled at 10.1% ABV which is very surprising.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a hazy amber-orange color. The head is a quarter inch in height, and recedes quickly into sparse lacing which is alright for a barleywine. The aroma is of big and malty with lots of toffee, caramel, ans sugar. The taste is just as malty as the aroma with just enough hops to balance things out. The mouthfeel is full bodied with lively carbonation, especially for a barleywine, and a velvety texture. Overall, I really like this beer, and I applaud Flat Earth for brewing an English version of a barleywine. It is very refreshing to drink a barleywine that doesn't taste exactly like a DIPA.

 607 characters

Photo of tavernjef
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Semi hazey peachy golden hue with a firm, slimming foam that doesn't last long. Keeps a thin ring of foam at the base and has a few spots of lacing tossed about and sticking to the glass.

Aroma is lofty yet soft and toned in a welcoming mild and clean scent of some golden promise-like malt sweetness, breadish and doughy with touches of white raisin, dried orange, toffee, and banana; which especially seep as it warms.

Taste encompasses the idea of the aroma with a fairly mellow but broadly placed heft of soothing soft and mildly tamed sweetness of malts. Semi bready, mostly sweet with a alluring little softness to toffee and a dullishly orange grated background. Hints at some white raisin and dried tropical fruity stuff as it sticks a firm glue of malty goo and chew. It grows on you as it goes, as at first I was unimpressed, but as I got half way through the bomber it got more likeable with a nice deft in character and tonality.

Feel is clean and soft with a hefty yet yielding balance of malty cloying goodness. Keeps a upfornt rib sticking, palate covering mildness of malty fun yummyness as its overall nature. Creamy, slippery, slick with a bit of stick.

A good malt profile and an easy going mildness in flavor, tone, and body make this a decent and overall yummy little drinkin Barleywine. Perhaps not as dark and deceptive as some other English styled BW's I like, but this fits the bill well enough. For a change of pace this stuff is suited well and made well. Thanks Flat Earth!

 1,507 characters

Photo of gford217
3.31/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750mL bottle courtesy of Maximum12 poured into a tulip. The ABV is listed as 10.1% on this bottle FWIW.

The pour is much lighter than I was expecting, a clear golden amber with an enormous fluffy white head that recedes very slowly, leaving very good lacing. It's a great looking beer, but certainly not what I was expecting.

The aroma continues with the theme of unexpected and has a very light fruity aroma with only a little bit of caramel malts. Some sweet sugars, toasted grains and hops round things out. Not too impressed with the aroma.

The flavor is light with lots of sugar and toasted grains. Again, not much in the way of caramel malts or dark fruits. I get a little bit of light fruits, maybe peaches. It's a weird flavor to get from a "barleywine."

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and almost syrupy with the massive sugar presence. Sticky.

This is one of the weirdest barleywines I've ever tasted. In fairness, it would make for a decent golden Belgian ale. Even then, it's a fairly unimpressive beer with very little complexity underneath the heavy sugar presence.

 1,083 characters

Photo of garymuchow
4.45/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A bottle I've been sitting on for close to a year, so I assume it was bottled in '07, as noted on the label.
A really good looking beer tempered only by the somewhat cloudy look. Nice full richly dense slightly darkened head that takes it's time settling. Golden color with hints of amber. Heavy thick lacing. Nice.
Soft and somewhat tight aroma with sweetness that borders both barleywine fruitiness and tripel sweetness with a honey quality. Hints of alcohol and hops to speak of. Boy is this nice.
Interesting sweetness, with again it holding some belgian beer qualities, yet being firmly in a barleywine category. Sourness, sweetness and an extended drying, mildly bitter finish. Alcohol warms the stomach more than is noted in the flavor. Tasty yeast (and in the aroma too).
Moderate body that doesn't grab any attention. Similar is the carbonation.
This drinks very nicely. the sweetness and richness are relatively tames and there is just enough balance from hops and dryness. This is really quite good and not traditional.

 1,030 characters

Photo of Hopstout
3.55/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Light rusty amber with little head

Aroma - Apple/pear/citrus. Slight alcohol scent. A little cinnamon. doughy yeast. Toffee.

Taste - Very complex, layers of flavors. Peppery. Bready and biscuity. Caramel and orange. Brown sugar and cinnamon. Lightly bitter. A fine alcohol and hop finish.

Mouthfeel - medium carbonation, medium bodied. Light syrup. Very smooth.

Overall - Very good taste, not elite, but good. I only purchased one bomber of Winter Warlock but I am thinking that I would like this more with a second and third tasting.

 552 characters

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.96/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Obtained through WankerWeasel at DLD08.

Appearance - pours a pale sunset orange, a little haze to the hue. A conservative head, an eighth-inch at best. Soapy, watery, but somehow with impressive lacing power.

Aroma - a brief whiff of skunkiness upon opening, the pour is a straight-forward graininess with some very mild toastiness upon setting up.

Taste - a crackery, biscuity malt side to start. Noticeable toastiness among the grains, the hops move in smoothly after that. Low-level bitterness, some spicy flavors, maybe even a light touch of soy or smoke or something like that. A fine alcohol warming on the swallow, at this level it enhances the flavors quite well. The blend of Irish yeast and English malts creates some very unique flavors. Grassy herbs at times, soup spices at times, and a nice finishing hop dryness at the end. Very crafty.

Mouthfeel - smoothness, the abv, the moderate carbonation, all work well together.

Drinkability - on the one hand, the abv makes no doubt of its presence. But still, this beer is disappearing fast; the flavor is a nice enough blend to where I don't notice the heat so much. So while the label admonishes me to enjoy at fireside on a cold winter's night, I'm having no trouble dispatching with this as summer is getting into full swing. Appreciate this one, Ben, thanks.

 1,326 characters

Photo of jsprain1
3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

Photo of HoistinBrews
4/5  rDev +5.5%

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Winter Warlock from Flat Earth Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.79 out of 5 with 64 ratings
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