Warmer Winter Winter Warmer - Laird's Apple Brandy Barrel Aged
Cigar City Brewing

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Old Ale
Ranked #19
Ranked #2,734
4.29 | pDev: 8.62%
Cigar City Brewing
Florida, United States
Reviews: 22 | Ratings: 66 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium from Florida

3.58/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Cajun Cafe. Served in a taster.

Appearance - Dark amber. Murky. Small khaki head.

Smell - Brandy aroma. Wouldn't have guessed apple brandy without being told. It is pretty sweet smelling though. Lots of caramel.

Taste - A ton of brandy. More appley here. Fruity flavors. Sweet caramel malt. Very sweet.

Mouthfeel - Very heavy. Sweet and syrupy. Medium carbonation.

Overall - The base beer is still prevalent, as this thing is still very sweet. The barrel adds a nice dimension though.

Nov 03, 2013
Photo of AltBock
AltBock from Ohio

4.39/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Cigar City on 29 November 2012. I know I'm a little late on my review. I'm not basing my review off memory. I wrote my thoughts down when I was drinking it. Served in a CC snifter.

It appears to be an opaque color, but it's more of a dark chocolate black color with some crimson red highlights along the sides. On top was a thin tan head of foam. It quickly receded into some rings around the glass. It also managed to leave behind a few spots as well.

The aroma was thick and sweet with Apple Brandy! The brandy did decide to let through some roasted malt, dark chocolate, a plum or two, and two scoops of raisins. Sweet but not boozy. Boozy but not sweet.

The taste was very interesting and complex. I thought the taste was more Old Ale than Apple Brandy...in the beginning. Unlike the aroma which was Apple Brandy than Old Ale. The taste came on strong with roasted malt, dark chocolate, roasted coffee, a touch of vanilla, plums, raisins, and oak. After all that, in comes the Apple Brady. The Apple Brandy completely takes over the taste after it shows up. I'm glad that the Apple Brandy let some Old Ale qualities come through. Great Taste!!

The mouthfeel was full bodied with a non stop aftertaste of roasted malt, dark chocolate, raisins, oak, alcohol, and of course, the Apple Brandy. You will feel this beer go to work on you. Take it easy with this beer.

It's a sweet and certainly not overly boozy beer. It's a good beer before the barrel aging. The barrel aging only enhanced it. Would I drink it again? I'm going to get another glass right now. 

Jan 09, 2013
Photo of macrosmatic
macrosmatic from Florida

4.12/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes. Had on-tap at CCB tasting room. Served in a snifter glass.

A: This is an opaque, nearly black beer with a thin tan head that fairly quickly settles to a foam ring. No visible carbonation at all.

S: Brandy (although less overpowering than some other Apple Brandy CCB varietals), chocolate, coffee, some dark fruitiness. Overall impression is a fairly sweet aroma.

T: There is some burn from the brandy flavors, sweet chocolate, bordering on chocolate-syrupy, cinnamon, dark spices.

M: This is thick and syrupy, with a slightly cloying sweet finish that is mostly chocolate. Minimal carbonation on the tongue. Alcohol is definitely noticeable, but I don't think it detracts.

O: Good, and a large improvement from my experience with the base beer. To be fair, the base beer I had was aged (2010 had in late 2011) so I don't know how much that changed it. The Apple Brandy character seems muted compared to AB Hunahpu, but still certainly present.

Aug 05, 2012
Photo of Huhzubendah
Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.17/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Churchkey in D.C.

The beer is russet brown with some crimson / auburn tones. Virtually no head. What is there fades quickly, leaving just a few traces of lacing. The aroma brings raisins, booze, apples, brandy, malt. Very sweet and complex. Apple brandy barrels shine through in both the flavor and aroma. Moderately low carbonation. Lingering booze and sweetness. This would be a fine choice for splitting with a few friends by the fireplace on a cold winter night.

Jul 02, 2012
Photo of Rhettroactive
Rhettroactive from Pennsylvania

3.97/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From tap to taster glass at ChurchKey DC on 6/7/12
*From notes

A: Clean rich ruby in hue. No real head, lacing or collar top the beer.

S: I'm getting a lot of two to three year cellared and raisinated english barleywine. There's a touch of apple, and a good amount of dessert liqueur.

T: Man, this is like diabetes in a glass. Extremely sweet. Gallons of syrupy sugar cling to the walls of my mouth. As it moves back, I get a sizable amount of lightly toasted grain. It's not hard to pick up on the apple brandy either, as it smothers the beer. The finish is boozy and kinda hot.

M: Thick and rich yet it's slightly undercarbonated. I'm not gonna knock it too much, as this most likely is a by-product of the barrel aging.

O: If you like beer with your dessert or a robusto cigar, this one's for you. A little went a long, long way. A pleasant sipper on cooler nights for sure. And if CCB ever bottles this, be sure to split it with friends, as a full 750mL would likely put you into a sugar coma.

Jun 23, 2012
Photo of oline73
oline73 from Maryland

3.94/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on-tap at Churchkey in DC. Served in a snifter.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy reddish brown color with hardly any head at all.

Smell: Sweet and full of brandy. I'm getting lots of dark fruit and some alcohol as well.

Taste: This is a very sweet beer, which tends to be true of brandy beers. Caramel and some mild apple flavor. I'm getting dark fruit and warm alcohol.

Mouthfeel: The body is syrupy with tingly carbonation and a finish that is more dry than I expected.

Overall: The apple brandy was a nice addition to this beer. It was very sweet, but I enjoyed it. I would have another given a chance.

Jun 13, 2012
Photo of Rifugium
Rifugium from North Dakota

4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First had: on tap at Prohibition Taproom, Philly, PA

Dark plum-brown pour into a tulip glass, with a small cap of beige head that receded to a few mere bubbles. Aroma thick with caramel and malty sweetness, brandy, dark fruits. Taste was big on dark sugars--malts, caramel, brown sugar--plums, raisins, red wine, brandy, vanilla, apple with touches of sweet and tart, slightly earthy in the finish. Pretty boozy, but still nice and smooth. Heavy-medium body, very good, very drinkable, just mind your ABV.

Jun 07, 2012
Photo of rfgetz
rfgetz from New Jersey

4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark but clear copper, light bubbles with faint spots of head. Scent brings strong notes of apple brandy combining with full seasonal spices from the base beer, notes of oak, vanilla and some dark fruit round out the nose. Taste brings full apple brandy flavor and warmth, base beer brings sweet caramel and toasted malts and strong seasonal spice like cinammon, good oak notes such as vanilla, dark raisin and prune. Medium bodied, tad thinner than expected even with light carbonation. Another solid apple brandy aged brew from these guys, a style that works absolutely fantastic with this treatment.

Jun 07, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429 from Illinois

4.74/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

On tap at the Hunahpu's release in 2010. Reviewed from notes. Served in a snifter.

Pours a moderate brown-bronze color with a pretty good thin head and a few legs. The nose is absolutely incredible right off the bat. I really enjoy the regular version of this beer, but the apple brandy has taken it to entirely different level. The nose brings forward a good balance between the booze and character of the barrel against the backdrop of malt sweetness, dark fruits, and brown sugar. The taste doesn't integrate everything quite as well as the nose, but I was still ridiculously-impressed with it. Great melding of the barrel-aging and the base beer. The mouthfeel is chewy and exquisite. Damn, this was one of the best beers I had that day, and that is really, really saying something.

Mar 03, 2011
Photo of PDXHops
PDXHops from South Carolina

4.19/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Another entry from the forgotten review note archives. Got this "grenade" growler from bobby8405 back in March 2010. An aggressive pour into a Duvel tulip coaxes just a skim of head atop the murky molasses colored body. Only a steady stream of visual carbonation keeps it from disappearing altogether. Minimal lacing.

Huge nose on this one. The apple brandy is strongly in play, outshining but not completely overpowering plentiful toffee, caramel and stonefruits. Hints of cream and vanilla.

I'm guessing there must have been fairly extended aging of this brew; the brandy and barrel flavors are very nicely integrated with everything else going on here. A whirlwind of brown sugar, dark fruits, tangy molasses, vanilla and cocoa churns through the brandy. Smooth and viscous body with plenty of warming alcohol and a previously undetected bite of citrusy bitterness at the finish.

Overall impression: A very enjoyable sipper. Based on the tiny # of reviews, it appears I was in select (and fortunate) company in getting to try this.

Dec 12, 2010
Photo of cpetrone84
cpetrone84 from Pennsylvania

3.53/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to Jim for sharing this half of growler type bottle he won at the Sexual Chocolate release.

A-pours a dirty copper brown color with a little murky yellow head.

S-lots of chocolate and toffee up front, brandy behind, caramel and slightly burnt brown sugar, hints of sour green apples with notes of booze.

T-sour green apples up front, loads of chocolate, brown sugar and caramel, notes of brandy with some heat in the finish.

M-seems to have lost some carbonation, syrupy texture up front that thins out in back but soft and smooth on the palate.

D-a little boozy in the back, nice flavors and the apple brandy barrel imparts a nice balance to it, no wood though. lots of malty sweetness in it.

Jul 01, 2010
Photo of Gavage
Gavage from Nevada

4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: brown in color with a few bubbles floating on the beer surface.

Smell: malt sweetness, brandy, and a hint of alcohol is noticable and very pleasant on the nose.

Taste: big malt profile here. Caramel, prunes, brandy, a hint of vanilla, and a moderate bitterness. Alcohol is very noticeable too.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Smooth from start to finish with some mild dryness late. Aftertaste is long as the flavors last and alcohol warms the mouth.

Drinkability: this is a nice slow sipping beer great for an after dinner drink. Tough to have more than one in a session.

Jun 11, 2010
Photo of ShadesOfGray
ShadesOfGray from Pennsylvania

4.58/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, wow...and wow again! This beer is incredible! Took me completely by surprise! Filled a growler at the Cigar City event at Issac Newtons in Newtown, PA this past Sunday. Pours a creamy looking pale brown, but fills the glass absolutely black as night! A very nice looking finger size head rises late and dissipates just quick, but resides as a slight creamy rim...and leaves very nice patchy finger lacing!

Aroma is very good, very sweet, but not super strong. Caramel notes, vanilla, apple, brandy, malty, chocolate, and...that's about it.

Flavor is incredibly good! Tons of sweetness, roasted malts, big time apple brandy booze, caramel, warm heat in the mouth and sliding down the throat. Full body complexity...low carbonation, big time chewy mouthfeel! Raisins and chocolate. This beer needs to be bottled!

Jun 10, 2010
Photo of nickd717
nickd717 from California

4.37/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at DLD.

Pours a cloudy chestnut brown color with a lasting one-finger cream-colored head.

Sweet and malty on the aroma. Smells excellent. Caramel, toffee, spice, cocoa, oak, vanilla, and brandy.

Damn the flavor on this one is incredible. The base beer really comes through, with some of the sweetness restrained. Caramel, toffee, winter spice, and vanilla. On top of that you get amazing barrel notes of oak and brandy, along with some candied fruits and earthiness. Just awesome.

Very full-bodied, smooth, and creamy on the palate. Some considerable alcohol warmth.

Just an amazing beer overall. One of the highlights of DLD, and that's really saying something.

May 03, 2010
Photo of heliosphann
heliosphann from Indiana

4.97/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

16oz swingtop filled by an amazing BA. You know who you be bro! Served in a tulip and shared with fellow BA infestaxion.

A: Two fingers of creamy white, frothy foam. Fades a little slow, but leaves a nice layer floating on-top. Pours a very attractive looking murky mahogany. Lacing is top tier.

S: Plenty of sweet, sweet candied caramel apple notes. The apple brandy definitely shines through here. Dark fruits like raisins, plums and figs are also present. Some biscuit maltiness is there as well, but is mostly overwhelmed by the overall sweetness.

T: Much of what I detailed above translates into the taste. The apple brandy barrel aging adds quite a bit of sweet, apple caramel flourishes. Some toffee, vanilla and some dark fruits are also present. Every sip seems to bring out some other subdued complexity. For the most part the alcohol is non- existent, but occasionally you get a small tinge of heat. Fantastic.

M: Big bodied. Carbonation is medium/low, but perfect for this barrel aged style. Insanely smooth, creamy and a little chewy. Absolutely top notch.

D: 9%-10%??? Whichever it is, it's pretty much null and void. This beer is one of the easiest drinking big beers I've ever had. In fact I'd call it very dangerous. I had to savor mine to make it last.

Just Wow. I heard this one was a stunner, and it certainly turned out to be one. Another amazing brew from Cigar City. This one deserves to get bottled and enjoyed by the masses. Seek this out, you won't regret it!

Apr 17, 2010
Photo of KickbacksSteve
KickbacksSteve from Florida

4.89/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

O.k. I've been cherishing my snifter of this beer for 15 minutes now but I have yet to taste it. What is wrong with the people at Cigar City? Why are they so diabolical? This beer is the end result of Joey's insistance that beer can be better if you try harder and Wayne's mad scientist talents. Amazing caramel apple-y aroma, unique and unbelievable. The taste is effing stunning.

Apr 16, 2010
Photo of Gtreid
Gtreid from Florida

4.13/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Hunahpu's release. Poured into a CCB tulip.

A: This is one awful looking beer. Runny mud puddle brown color. The pour produced about a finger of cream colored head that left some nice lace.

A: Full of caramel, yeast, and of course the apple brandy. Very earthy, very sweet, very nice.

T: Man this is one tasty brew. I love what the brandy barrel has done to this one. You get the massive amount of caramel and earthy hops, but the brandy, MMM the brandy. Finishes clean and sweet.

M: Full body and full flavored. Decent carbonation and smooth.

D and overall impression: Drinkability is good not great. Overall, I dig this version of WW. I think it is better then the original, but man it was one ugly looking beer. Skal.

Mar 13, 2010
Photo of corby112
corby112 from Pennsylvania

3.73/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark mahogany/chestnut brown color with slight dark ruby edges and a one finger yellowish beige head that slowly fades into a thin lasting ring. Minimal spots of lacing.

Lots of sweet vinous dark fruit notes supplimenting a medium body tightly carbonated with hints of prune, raisin, dark fruit and fig. Slight toffee, biscuit and caramel malt notes. Slightly hoppy with a faint dry earthy pine flavor. Long dry finish.

Mar 13, 2010
Photo of Sammy
Sammy from Canada (ON)

3.55/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Cigar City takes NYC event at Rattle 'N' Hum. Apple brandy there, its fine as an old ale, some apple brandy, but not all that bold taste, its subdued. No head, bit above average mouthfeel, smooth. Appropriate carbonation.Neutral aromas. This would have been good only by itself on a night in front of the fireplace.

Feb 21, 2010
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove from South Carolina

4.62/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wow, Greg, just wow. Unreal that I got a chance to get a growler of this one. To say I was the happiest man alive when I cracked it this afternoon would be a gross injustice. Served chilled and poured into a my nice ten ounce foothills glass, this one was consumed on 02/07/2010.

Pours the darkest of garnet color with hardly a head at all. Some minor lacing clings to the top of the glass and leaves the tiniest bit of fine lacing around the sides. But looks can be terribly, terribly deceiving.

Here is where it gets hard, as this is nearly beyond description. Aroma starts out soft, subtle, delicate, vanilla and caramel being big players here as well as subtle dark fruit notes that just build and build. Before you can even breath there is a tremendous apple aroma coming at you, fresh, ripe fruit is now taking over. Incredible. Each sip seems to bring a new complexity to it that is simply awe inspiring and surreal. Rich fresh fruit, ripe apple, star fruit, vanilla and oak notes. Brandy now running wild in the background, what the hell is this. I cant put it down, there are touches of grape skin now, subtle molasses and brown sugar notes, but it all comes back to rich, oak soaked apple flavor. Just the ripest of fruit, liken to a walk through an orchard. Not sure where the alcohol is, but surely not in here.

Overall I am simply amazed at what is going on here. There is more working on levels I did not know existed. Again, just insanely lucky to have been able to try this. More people should have.

Feb 08, 2010
Photo of tpd975
tpd975 from Florida

4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery.

A: Pours a nice dark brown with deep amber tones showing through. Nice tall brown head with nice retention and excellent lace.

S: Lots of brandy, fresh oak, and brown sugar sweetness. The barrel dominates, but is complimented by the sweetness.

T: Very nice use of the barrel. Like Brandy Barrel beers and this is a tasty one. Lots of malt sweetness up front. Brown sugar and caramel stand out. Deeper sugary tones of molasses can be picked up as well. Sweet dark fruits with light hints of apple. The barrel comes in somewhere in the middle. It plays well against the sweetness. Lots of oak with hints of nice brandy booziness.

M: On the fullers side of medium. Rich, smooth, sweet.

D: Enjoyed sipping on several glasses of this one. Glad I took one for the road.

Feb 04, 2010
Photo of ktrillionaire
ktrillionaire from Florida

4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I am a huge fan of the standard Warmer Winter Winter Warmer, henceforth referred to as 'Wx4', so I was quite excited to see this offered at the Cigar City's tasting room.


Cigar City is adept at getting the strangest flavors out of their beers, and this one is a shining example.

A - Fairly similar to flat cola, no real carbonation. It is also darker in hue than the regular Wx4.

S - This has a crazy nose; despite the association with apple brandy, I detect none of that. I do get strong booze, wood and a strange pickled aroma that is seriously intriguing.

T - This tastes quite similar to the smell. I would not even know that this brew was based on the Wx4, the flavor is such a radical shift from the standard. At any rate, it packs a sophisticated wallop. The flavors are so hard to verbalize, for if I was to describe some of the impressions as being of ripe fruit, then one would associate that with banana ester or mango funk or apple sour, of which it is none of those. But it does have impressions of smoke, ripe fruit as well as big tones of hard liquor, just not how you'd think.

M - The cognac feel in the mouth is a big part of this beer. Rich and boozy; it goes down easy, as long as you're sippin'.

D - This gets a high score in drinkability for me; I relish the finer things as often as possible. The average Joe would probably hate this beer. But then again, would the average Joe be in a position to sample this in the first place?

Jan 30, 2010
Warmer Winter Winter Warmer - Laird's Apple Brandy Barrel Aged from Cigar City Brewing
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 66 ratings