Winter Warmer | SanTan Brewing Co.

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33 Ratings

Brewed by:
SanTan Brewing Co.
Arizona, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
SanTan’s annual Winter Warmer ale is based on a traditional English Old Ale recipe and then spiced with 10 lbs of fresh ginger from our local market. Generous amounts of caramel and roasted malts are added to give Winter Warmer a deep ruby brown hue. The malt is backed by 10 gallons of Arizona orange blossom honey that lends a slightly sweet taste to the big malt flavor with a sting of ginger. Winter Warmer weighs in at 9.5% ABV and will keep Jack Frost from nipping at your nose!

25 IBU

Added by tayner on 12-15-2007

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 33 |  Reviews: 12
Reviews by bambam2517:
Photo of bambam2517
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

More User Reviews:
Photo of t2grogan
4/5  rDev +6.4%

Photo of Beer__Girl
4.63/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

My farorite beer by San Tan. Love it with the ginger snaps. Great in the winter sitting on the patio.

103 characters

Photo of MrWilliams
3.46/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of GRG1313
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of GoffmanvsDuffman
3.45/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of uawildcat
4.25/5  rDev +13%

Photo of cmbeddoe7997
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of thebeeler
3.76/5  rDev 0%

Photo of Pablobomb
4.24/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of flexabull
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark brown color with a nice dark white head.

Aromas are of light chocolates, dark roasted malts, and light spices like nutmeg and ginger breads.

Lots of spice flavors. Dark roasted malts, toast, nutmeg, cinnamon, cocoa and a hint of rye on the finish. There is a slight sweet and creaminess underneath that helps balances the spices nicely.

Nice full, but not overly thick mouthfeel with good carbonation.

Drinkability is good. This reminds me of Anchor's winter ale. This is not overly spiced, but there is still a lot of complexity, and the alcohol is hidden nicely. Good stuff.

 598 characters

Photo of Aclucari
3/5  rDev -20.2%

Photo of tayner
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

i had this brew on tap while i was picking up a growler for Deuane. I think i sampled all of their current brews available before deciding to get this one.

This poured a cloudy amber color with a cream colored head that laced pretty nicely.

It smelled of pepper, ginger, slight hop.

Tasted spicy with ginger being the one thing i picked out most predominantly with some peppery spice and some floral/citrus hop finish.

It was creamy yet fairly light mouthfeel, but i would imagine it is to cater to the arizona climate (mid 60s and sunny even today)

It have a very good drinkability for a brew that is 8%. I could get in trouble with this one sitting in the pub too long, the abv is well disguised. I am happy now they have growlers here so that i can bring some of this home to drink responsibly!

 806 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.67/5  rDev -29%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

[Forced to write notes due to an outlier rating.]

This beer has an overly sweet taste - due to both overmalting and the ill-executed incorporation of honey. The ginger is nice albeit faint, as-is the pleasant orange peel, but the spice profile overall is disappointing for a winter warmer. Plain caramalts and dark malts beat the drinker about the palate with malty sweetness. Too bready and flat.

Lacks cohesion. Not a gestalt beer. There's no harmony of texture to taste.

C- (2.67)

 486 characters

Photo of Deuane
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Props to Tayner for a growler of this brew.

A-Cloudy dark amber color with a medium light tan head that laced well.

S-"Holiday" spices, ginger, and an odd earthiness that I could not identify. I liked it but I could not id it.

T-Nice malty spiciness with an underlying hop bite and also that unknown earthiness in the taste as well.

M-Thick and creamy. A very nice, round, full bodied brew.

D-Totally...a very solid holiday beer offering. WOuld love to know what that "odd" tatse is. It makes me want to drink more to try and figure it out. Nice to have a solid beer from a fairly new brewery.

 601 characters

Photo of Devman171
3.84/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Can pours dark Amber with tan head. Aroma is toasted sweet malt, ginger, and floral. Taste is toasted malt and sweet ginger spices, dry finish, well done.

 155 characters

Photo of Lucklys
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

My beer arrived with a nice finger-thick, khaki colored whipped cream layer of foam resting atop a clear concentrated cola brown brew with gorgeous garnet red highlights. The head didn't stick around long, though, and the little bit of retention it had quickly diminished to thin webby lacing along the glass while it was cold. As it warmed, all traces of foam vanished.

The nose was full of toasted sweet malts, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. While it was sweeter on the nose initially, it did hold quite a bit of a bittersweet note that was punctuated by hints of pine needles and a very faint bon fire off in the distance. Warming up, the spices were much more pronounced and a faint dry spicy yeast, toasted barely, and a caramelized citrus - most likely orange zest - became present. It was rather comforting to sit with this beer in the dark, warm bar with the sounds of lightly clinking glassware, garbled laughter, and that ever present hum of friendly conversation going on around me. It's a very calming experience enhanced by a nice warming beer.

the Winter Warmer, while being warming, comes across with a medium body thanks to adequate tingly carbonation even though it holds a thinner mouthfeel overall. Early on it was quickly hoppy and dry with a light piney resin, but was smoothed out nicely by lots of honey and a faint caramelized orange zest that became more prominent as it warmed. There were plenty of dark, sweet malts throughout, followed by toasted grains, nutmeg, allspice, and a hearty kick of ginger right at the end that left my mouth slightly dry and spicy. I really liked the complexity of this beer and found it difficult to pick out quite a few aromas and flavors as I came across them - which of course kept me going back for more. At one point, I even started dipping my fresh little gingersnap cookies in the beer to bring out the sweetness from under all the spice! Honestly, I should probably get a growler of the Winter Warmer so I can make my own gingersnap cookies for my family when they come visit in a month.

 2,054 characters

Photo of Phelps
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

SanTan's annual Winter Warmer starts with a traditional English old ale recipe and is then spiced with 10 pounds of fresh ginger and 10 gallons of Arizona orange blossom honey.

Inside a snifter, it's a pretty beer: Caramel malt and other roasted grains lend a deep maroon hue, and there's great clarity despite the darkness. On top is an inch of foam the consistency of fresh, tan-colored snowfall that deposits winding slaloms of lace on the sides of the glass.

Aromas of cinnamon-spiced raisins, caramel, and perhaps some plum arrange themselves in a blend that reminds of bread pudding, accented with notes of gingerbread and earthy English hops. It's like Christmas breakfast at Bob Cratchit's house.

Touch of brandy emerge in the flavor, brought out by sugary alcohol. The front of the flavor is loaded with cinnamon and honey mingled with raisins soaked in the aforementioned brandy. Mid palate, ginger steps up to dance with dark fruits and English hops. Very subtle toasty bread notes settle in after the swallow, while hints of buttery toffee emerge as the brew warms. Altogether, Winter Warmer leans slightly toward the sweet side, but it finishes just dry enough to keep things from becoming cloying. The medium body is like warm blanket on a cold night, enveloping the tongue in supple smoothness while the alcohol heat chases away any chill.

There's a reason SanTan Winter Warmer won a New Times Best Of award in 2010 -- it's a fantastic example of the style that provides delightful warmth when the weather outside gets frightful. Order a glass at the brewpub in Chandler and you'll get it served with a trifecta of tiny gingerbread cookies, which are the perfect pairing. The ginger included in both beer and cookie resonate, while the brew's raisin-soaked honey sweetness and big alcohol hit dull the cookie's spicier edges.

 1,844 characters

Photo of sprucetip
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%

Photo of TempeBeerMan
3.84/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a can into a nonic pint.

A - Pours a dark ruby/brown with a creamy, two-finger, off-white head. Patches of lacing just short of rings.

S - Ginger, nutmeg, clove, caramel malts, cinnamon, fruit cake, and honey.

T - Taste matches the nose, with the toasted caramel malt, ginger, and honey leading the way. Nice orange peel note in the mid-palate. Hint of earthy hop in the finish. Ginger almost too intense; the other flavors help for a while but what goes down delicious at first gets a little tiresome in the last third of the can.

M - Rich, full body with a delightful creaminess. Low carbonation. Fantastic feel for the flavor profile. Drying finish. Slight warming effect in the finish from the ABV.

O - A good effort, and one of the best Arizona beers I have ever had. (I live in Arizona and most beers brewed in this state are sub-par) If they reduced the ginger a bit, this would probably be the perfect winter warmer. As is, still good even if slightly flawed.

 987 characters

Photo of BretSikkink
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Caramel brown color, thin white topping when it's served. Not much by way of lasting lace, but the head retains very well. A little cloudy with some yeasties, but mostly clear and shining.

The ginger is quite prominent in the nose, along with some whole clove (not quite releasing its full power), white pepper, and nutmeg. Definitely got some things going on, but it's not amazing in terms of power or complexity.

The flavor, unsurprisingly, is made up in a major way by the ginger - which is fine. You just need to be very careful with ginger, and that goes for brewing and cooking.

The spice component is the leading edge to the flavor profile, similar to the nose, while the hops come next lending a little pine, pretty good citrics, and a hint of flowers to the proceedings. The malt stays mostly out of the way, and is lightly sweet.

I found the mouthfeel a little bit thin both for style and for my taste. I tend to think that a winter warmer should "bring it" more. The spices are there, but the size isn't. I suppose there's just not the demand here in the desert...

The finish is a little antiseptic, with a certain tangy yeast component being all that's left behind. This could be improved.

SanTan's winter warmer isn't a bad effort by any means. I wouldn't mind a little more heft in general to back up a solid blend of spices and citric flavors, but the brewers have gone for a "lighter" style here, which makes sense given that it's mid-December, and out "winter" is still giving us 60 degree weather.

 1,526 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.64/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear super dark orange-brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of gingerbread, toffee, earth, and slight ginger aromas. Taste is much the same with toast, honey, earth, spicy ginger, and slight metallic flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of earth bitterness and ginger heat on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with solid flavors, but the mix of ingredients is much better in the smell to me.

Serving type: can.

 654 characters

Photo of kp29
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.34/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Sampled 1702; March 2010
This arrives with a frothy, almost half-finger thick, dark tan colored head. The beer is a dark, concentrated, burnt amber color that shows some rich red hues when held up to the dim light. The aroma is hard to smell after the HopShock, but has a sweet, sort of cinnamon-like, no maybe mint-toothpaste like not to it if I really dig around for it. Some hints of toasted, caramelized notes seem to bee just noticeable in the aroma as well. The aroma is disappointingly faint, but after warming up for a long time the spice character becomes much more noticeable and even objectionable.

The beer is somewhat light bodied (at least for something labeled as a Winter Warmer), but still has a certain fullness to it. I was definitely right about the toothpaste note in the aroma as this is quite noticeable in the flavor; though it is not up front as it only comes through in the middle through to the lingering finish of each sip. This almost has a rosemary edge to it up front, but really, what is that flavor; it is not really mint, nor toothpaste, it is resinous, perhaps it is cardamom and / or ginger. There is enough sweet malt to support the spice I suppose, but really the spices are just way too aggressive; they really need to dial these way back to make this drinkable. Whatever the spices are, the mix of flavors has notes of nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, definite turpene notes and maybe even some flavors of myrrh.

This is a really interesting beer, too bad it doesn't really work for me; a subtle use of the spices that allows the malt to come out would have been really nice. Hopefully this will get fixed for next years batch, as this does have potential.

 1,693 characters

Photo of Texasfan549
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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Winter Warmer from SanTan Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.76 out of 5 with 33 ratings