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Abominable Winter Ale | Hopworks Urban Brewery

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123 Reviews
Abominable Winter AleAbominable Winter Ale

Brewed by:
Hopworks Urban Brewery
Oregon, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.30%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Made with Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook hops and six organic malts.

70 IBU

This is a Winter IPA.

Added by ElGordo on 12-24-2008

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 123 | Ratings: 340
Photo of dirtylou
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber, split while drunk-decorating the tree

appearance: served in a stone shaker pint, bright clear orange-amber body, filmy beige head.

smell: "winter ale" is a tricky vague category as every once in a while, someone sneaks in a bright hoppy concoction. grapefruit, tons of pine, bright orange citrus

taste: an amber perhaps, but very hop forward - clean, moderately bitter, and full of flavor - tangerine, grapefruit zest, pine. A really nice brew - and its no wonder, with the combination of cascades, centennials and simcoes

mouthfeel: clean oily body, moderate bitterness

overall: had no idea this was going to be a hopbomb, nice surprise

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Photo of snaotheus
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle split into two pint glasses

Pours cloudy light brown with a medium head. Smell is surprisingly hoppy, some spice.

Taste is nice and hoppy, surprisingly so. Nice thick malty beer, too. This is actually pretty darn good. Now I'm glad I accidentally doubled up on the bottle.

Mouthfeel is chewy but not heavy. Overall, I'm very pleased with this beer.

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Photo of harrymel
3.3/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled: unk

A: Amber with under a finger of off-white foam which is centralized with a cap. Excellent clarity. Spotty lace.
S: Semi-sweet caramel and toffee malts with an English tone and some citric and herbal hops. Nice nose
T: Sweet, malty, hoppy and woody. The oxidation on the beer is a bit off putting, but oddly seems to match the beer. A little too bitter.
m: Medium bodied with moderate mouthfeel. Semi slick finish.
O: Not bad for a winter beer. Appreciate the reservation to use a bunch of herbs or spices. Nice beer.

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Photo of boralyl
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a clear, rich amber color which sits under an inch of soapy off-white head. The head has nice retention leaving behind plenty of lacing.

S - The aroma has a nice balance between malts and hops (with the hops edging out the malts slightly). The boutique of hop flavors match the description perfectly. There is some floral, spicy, and citrusy components. There is also a sweet caramel malt presence throughout.

M - Medium in body with moderate carbonation and a creamy feel.

T - A mix of spicy and citrus hops meet your taste buds upon the first sip. It's got a sweet malt backbone throughout with some possible chocolate malt showing up near the finish along with some flowery bitterness.

This is an excellent winter ale, that I don't know fits into any one category. Imperial red, strong ale, whatever you call it, it's delicious. I love the art work too, courtesy of Martin Ontiveros.

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Photo of Scotchboy
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap, listed as an IPA and poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a pretty hazy dark orange/golden copper color, with a little lace left on the glass.

S: A decent amount of piney hops, herbal and sweetly bitter, with a hefty caramel malt bill & sweetness. Maybe grapefruit as well? Nice hop profile but not too overwhelming - good malt balance.

T: Balanced but still hoppy...pine needles, bitter grapefruit, starfruit and blood orange. Lightly toasted malt and bready sweetness.

MF: Thicker, almost medium bodied feel, not overly dry but it is a touch warm. Makes sense at about 7-8% alcohol.

O: A really enjoyable hop-forward offering...more like an IPA than an Amber.

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a clear, almost amber colored orange with a nice light tan head that fades very slowly.

S - Hoppy pine, sweet malts, almost toffee like.

T - Sweet carmel and toffee, with a nice pine finish.

D - Perfect balance with a nice sweet finish.

O - I don't normally like the sweeter ipas, this one worked for me.

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Photo of scootpolute
2.9/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

1 Pint, 6 FL OZ. bottle into tulip glass.
A - Deep, dark-amber-red color, very light haze with a thin bubbly lace.
S - Spicy herbal and lightly pungent hop aroma, fruity and oily.
T - Medium crispness, hoppy palate with a big handful of malt. Big punch of oily hop pungent flavor, mild fruitiness and a malt sweetness that sneaks in towards the finish.
M - A bit of warmth in the end from the alcohol.

O - An OK 'beer,' but not the 'winter-type' beer I had in mind. I was hoping for a darker 'ale' with more interesting seasonal 'spice!' BAH-HUMBUG!!

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Photo of beerandcycling88
3.16/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Collins Pub

A pours a copper color with a white head.

S some nice grapefruit notes.

T more bitter grapefruit and a bit of malt.

M mouthfeel was nothing special. I didn't notice anything particularly notable either way

Overall this isn't a bad beer. I think it might be mislabled was a red/amber as the bitterness and hop presence was more like an opaque. All and all I would drink this again.

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Photo of corylew
4.32/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours copper red with white foam that slowly disappears into a nice little ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell is mainly of hops. Nice piney citrus hops with a kick of roasted malt backbone.

Taste mainly is of the hop character with a small amount of malt and alcohol. This stuff packs a punch of flavor.

Mouthfeel leaves a lasting hoppy twinge. It's on the fence between a sipping and a gulping beer, which is great because sometimes it's nice to do both. Slow down, take in all the flavor, or drink a lot and not feel like there's a rock in my stomach.

Overall, I'm a big fan of this beer. I ordered it a few times, and will continue to order it. It's solid: from the big grain bill to the big hop schedule.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.57/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle from Roth’s Vista Market, Salem. $3.50 Clear amber coloured ale with a nice frothy,thick,cream coloured head. Very nice hoppy aromas..slightly resinous and spruce like. The 6 malts certainlly appear in the taste..chocolaty,roasty and are matched by the resinous hopping..giving a very nice balanced yet complex flavour. Under carbonated and actually quite thin for such a subtantial ale..but OK An OK beer but i get the feeling it lacks something.

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Photo of doughanson78
3.79/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Deep amber in color. Half finger off white head that immediately disappears and doesn't leave much for lacing.

S: Big citrus and floral hop mix. Lots of grapefruit, orange and tangerine. Big spiciness mixed in with the hops. Maybe the faintest touch of caramel malts. A faint dank weed aroma in the background.

T: Quick caramel sweetness upfront, immediately taken over by citrus and floral bitterness along with a big spiciness. Finishes very spicy.

M: Medium light bodied. Medium carbonation. Spicy.

O: I'd guess this is supposed to be a winter warmer also. Again not digging the style. The spiciness just isn't really for me. I can see it warming you up during a snow storm.

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Photo of vader
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this for a cabin outing in the middle of winter, snow up to the windows called for a winter beer and HUB obliged. poured out a light amber color with a thick white head that had great retention throughout. The smell was amazing, very malty, with some pine from the hops and a little bit of spiciness lingering at the end. The first sip gave way to a malty caramel beginning that soon gave way to a bit of hop bitterness. I was expecting more spice from a winter ale but was pleasantly surprised by its citrus flavors. I was out of town when I bought this and I had to get it even though it was at Whole "pay-check" foods. But I would gladly get it again if the chance arose.

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Photo of robbrandes
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

taster poured from a bottle @ Elegance - thanks Carl! reviewed from notes.

pours a nice light brown, impressive head. really big citrus nose on this one - gotta love those centennials!

taste follows smell with a big citrus punch, but the malt and alcohol balance is very good and make for a clean finish.

definitely enjoyed this beer. forget winter, this was just fine in the first week of june!

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Photo of woemad
4.35/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz silkscreened bomber given to me for Xmas by my brother, and pretty much forgotten about until now. Hope I haven't waited too long, but then again the weather hasn't changed much since it became spring, so lets just call it a really long winter and this beer is still in season. No freshness date on the bottle, but it does state it is made with "Cascade, Centennial and Simcoe hops and six organic malts." I like it when brewers tell you more or less what they use, instead of being all top secret about it.

Pours a dark color not unlike the color of an unpeeled potato, and about as clear. Things get a bit more rubyish when held up to light. Big off-white head that takes its time dropping, leaving lots of lace.

Spicy and floral in the nose. Lots of hops were used in this beer, I'm thinking. The aroma kinda reminds me of rye malt, but I'm not a supersniffer by any means, so take that with a grain of salt. In any event, lots of hops and malts were used here, and it smells like it was all to the good.

Big flavor to this! Spicy hops riding a big malt carpet kick in at first. Then there's some tropicla fruit, a little bit of pine, some tea and even some pipe tobacco in the background. Moderate dry note at the swallow. Tasty and complex, with a noticeable booze bite that seems stronger than it's advertised abv.

Medium bodied, with a fairly creamy mouthfeel.

Finally, a HUB beer I can get behind. I've heard others rave about their beers but I just didn't get it. This one I get, big time, but I'm glad I've onl got one for now, as it drinks like a fairly big beer. Tommorow will be another story, however, so I guess I'll have to keep my eyes open for this one in the future. The bro did good.

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Photo of Kakaraht
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a light amber color with a thumb of thick white head with good retention.

S: Very malty, a little bitterness from the hops, and a slight spice note.

T: Sweet caramel malt and a nice bitterness from the hops, this is more a red ale than a winter, it has no spice notes at all. The hops do give a nice range of citrus flavors.

M: Medium body low carbonation and a very sharp warm feel.

D: Good drink, will buy again.

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Photo of gford217
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle thanks to Mike.

Pours a hazy amber with a huge frothy white head that shows excellent retention and sticks begrudgingly to the sides on the way down.

Aroma is hoppy up front with the C hops leading the way with some pithy citrus and spicy herbal notes. The malta are sweet with caramel and balance the hops well.

The taste is a bit sweeter and maltier than the aroma with the caramel malts and juicy citrus more prevalent than the bitter hops. The finish is lightly bitter and definitely more earthy.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth and creamy with strong carbonation.

A top notch hopped-up amber from the Pac NW. Liked this one quite a bit.

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Photo of burnheartsMKE
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This amber poured a great burnt orangish color. Poured into a tulip it gave me a stunted white head that became more pronounced as it warmed and as I refilled. The nose was beautiful like a hophead's foyer dish of potpourri; Centennial, Cascade & Simcoe the label read. It tasted fantastic with a burst of sun-kissed citrus fruits from an exceptional trio of hops. It was wildly vibrant but I never once found it overbearing. The 6 organic malts rounded out the body of this very well, but it finished too quick leaving me longing for a little more of a linger... I wish I had another (and I wish that we could get this here in WI)

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Photo of MadeInOregon
4.34/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hopworks' Abominable Winter Ale is delicious, but as is so often my experience with "winter ales" I'm really not sure what this style is supposed to taste like because the variation from brewer to brewer seems to be all over the place. That aside, this is a surprisingly great beer.

Poured out of the 22oz'er the body is a light caramely red color (like sherry) and has frothy lacing like mad. Looks nice.

Smells of hops and malt, not much else. This is a big and aromatic beer. Excellent.

The taste is excellent as well. First taste makes me think I'm drinking an imperial IPA but then the sweetness from the malt kicks in. Think of a strong, extra malty IPA and there ya go, that is the Abominable Winter Ale. The flavor goes from sweet malt --> hops. It's very big and strong in both aspects, but still well-balanced (not too dry or too sweet).

The body is pretty light, but still very creamy due to all the head that sticks around after pouring.

This is a good one, it's just missing the seemingly requisite chocolatey aspect of every winter ales, winter warmers, winter seasonals, and anniversary ales I've ever come across. As a result, I just can't give it the 5.0 for taste that I want to, even though it is truly excellent tasting.

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Photo of Derek
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Amber with an off-white head, some retention & lace.

S: Huge american hop aroma, very leafy/grassy, pine and citrus rind, hints of toffee & fruit.

T: Hops are upfront and all the way through. The Simcoe really shines (very grassy & leafy), some citrus rind, nectarine and pine, hints of toffee, solid bitterness, alcohol is subtle.

M: Well-attenuated, moderate body... actually seems a little thin for the style & season.

D: Like hops?

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.03/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a transparent copper amber color with a relaxed 2 cm white head that retains for a while before yielding to a ring of foam and some light lace. A relaxed look gives me an idea of what I am in for.

Smell: Amber malt, caramel, spices, some citrus and a ton of pine hops.

Taste: It starts out with a nice caramel amber malt backbone, getting spicier as the sip continues. It warms the stomach with a bit of alcohol as some cloves and general spiciness step in. A bit of citrus and a blast of sticky, spicy pine finishes up. Some bitterness lingers along with some malt sweetness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Fairly smooth, starting dry and becoming juicier as the hops smack the tongue, with a bitterness that puckers a little bit. Lightly sticky, with a little more than medium carbonation and a medium body. My tongue tingles from a the pine hops.

Drinkability: A nice balance between the spice, grains, and hops. Somewhere in the range of beers that are nice to sip and savor without worrying about the alcohol. This was the first I had from Hopworks, and I would be happy to have this again.

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Photo of Spikester
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear dark amber with two fingers of plush off white head. Moderate streamers of lacing. Aroma is piney hop oils with a touch of citrus. Taste is resinous earthy hops with a mild but supportive malt backing. Three kinds of hops give a rich spicy bitterness. Almost like a bold IPA that was poured through a strainer of fresh citrus fruit. Good mouthfeel with just enough carbonation. Medium dry bitter finish. Very nice Winter beer.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a cloudy orange gold hue with a thick creamy finger-thick head that slowly recedes to snowflake lacing dancing across the surface that leaves fair amounts of lace down the glass.

aroma is pungently fruity, citrusy, and herbal hops. Pine comes through strong with a bit of caramel malt sweetness.

Hops!!! bitter, bitter, and more bitter. a bit of citrus, a bit of pine, and some herbal notes, but they somehow all cancel eachother out into an almost clarified bitterness. caramel malt yields enough sweet malt to balance (relatively) and there are hints of spices, vanilla, and maple sugar.

mouth is clean and crisp. a touch on the thin side but the ample carbonation makes up for it. solid mouthfeel.

All in all, this is one hoppy beast. The hop profile isn't quite my favorite, as it's so close to pure bitterness that my palate almost gets blown into oblivion. not that it's a bad thing. I could only drink one of these, but it's certainly a solid brew that's definitely enjoyable.

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Photo of HopHead84
3.2/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3


On tap at the brewery apposed next to Kentucky Christmas. Appears much lighter than its barrel brother, more on the golden side. Small head is quick to recede. Hops are redolent of pine and somewhat floral, reminds me a bit of a noble hop bouquet. A touch of mineral is evident. Malt provides bread and caramel and does well in providing balance. Flavor is bitter pine with a little caramel and an unexpected bready malt influence. Finish is bitter and dry with some alcohol and astringency. An earthy quality is detectable, as well as grassy and mineral notes. Not like any other winter beer I've tried. Medium body. Upper moderate carbonation. Dry, sticky mouthfeel with some astringency and warming. Overall, an odd array of flavors and I wouldn't jump to drink this again.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 shared with the brother... mine into the SN XXX goblet. Descent off-white head... good drapes of lacing atop a nice hop hazed orange brew.

Nose is juicy citrus with hints of caramel to provide just enough malty interest.

This is my type of winter ale... tons of hops with not that much bitterness... the bitterness actually shows late toward the finish as a pithy citrus bite... the lite caramel malt is a good counterpoint to the resinous hops... finish is measured in minutes.

Pretty solid medium body accentuated by the oily hoppiness... smooth lite/medium carbonation... very very yummy... I wish I hadn't shared.

This kind of "winter" brew can only happen in the NW.... and pretty much perfected.


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Photo of Jeriba
4.37/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I picked this up at a grocery store on a recent beer-tasting tour of Portland, OR (also known as Thanksgiving vacation). I bought it because it was local, I loved the artwork, and it was priced suspiciously cheap for an organic beer: something like $4.50 for a bomber.

A - Copper and red-orange in color with medium cream foam.

S - The pine needle hop aromas pretty much dominate the nose on this beer.

T - Brown sugar and spice, cloves and orange peel, some cider-like flavors, light malt flavors, and vanilla creaminess.

M - Crisp and cider-like.

D - Excellent balance of heaviness and bitter hop flavors. This was a very pleasant surprise for me. I couldn't resist picking up a second bomber before my trip was over. This is the first organic brew I have REALLY enjoyed, and if I lived in the area it would probably be my go-to beer during the winter months.

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Abominable Winter Ale from Hopworks Urban Brewery
4.02 out of 5 based on 340 ratings.
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