Winter Ale
Wachusett Brewing Company

Winter AleWinter Ale
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Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
3.67 | pDev: 13.08%
Wachusett Brewing Company
Massachusetts, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Winter AleWinter Ale
Notes: This savory Scotch Ale has smoked and special malts. Our oldest, strongest, & most complex seasonal ale.

Availability: Nov – Jan
Reviews: 91 | Ratings: 162 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Holderness
Holderness from Massachusetts

3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice clear brown, with a two finger off white head and moderate lacing. Classic amber ale smell: mostly malts and caramel. Tastes fairly similar to the smell, but with less caramel notes.
Hints of scotch, salt, and nutmeg forms a nice backbone to this brew that is very light on the mouthfeel given the style.

Jan 20, 2017
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mromagna from Massachusetts

2.97/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

It's got a nice copper color. I mistakenly thought Winter Ale would have lots of spices which was my fault. This set me up for an expectation that wouldn't be met. Smoked malt is very subtle like many others have mentioned.
I thought is very drinkable, but it didn't leave a strong impression to have another. Although I generally like some Wachusett offerings I had to rate this as average.

Dec 31, 2016
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far333 from Connecticut

2.52/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pale, honey colored with a low head of off-white foam that settles out quickly. Nearly no aroma, indiscernible. Very average flavor of butter scotch malt,faint toffee, some subtle notes of smoked malt. Slick mouthfeel leads to a tingly finish. Very average beer.

Jan 11, 2015
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porterman66 from Massachusetts

4.23/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

It's just a Scottish ale with no spices as is often the case in Winter Ales and that is not a bad thing at all. A good balance of hop flavor with maltiness as well (I think). I'm not going to try to sound like I know what I am talking about but this just tastes good.

Dec 25, 2014
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ryan1788a5 from Massachusetts

3.2/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Amber-red in color with great clarity. Head retention is decent. Lacing comes in the form of a thin sheet that blankets much of the glass.

S: Sweet on the nose with scents of treacle and thin runny caramel. Bready. Pervasive raspberry fruitiness. Pinch of brown cocoa.

T: Grain and husk lead off. Bready and crusty. Thin runny caramel, though the beer is not as sweet as expected. Pinch of brown cocoa. Raspberry and cherry fruitiness is subtle, but comes out a bit more as the beer warms. Balancing hop bitterness adds little to no flavor. Very slight spike of alcohol is almost missed. Grain and husk again on the finish.

M: Medium bodied. Somewhat chewy and a little viscous. Blast of aggressive force carbonation cuts through like a knife.

O: On the smallest end of the spectrum for the style. Its smaller size makes it a little more drinkable I suppose, but the beer is very bland and uninspiring as a whole. The packaging is festive and wintery and the style should lend itself well enough to the season, but alas, in this case the liquid inside the bottle is not very evocative of the winter months. Not worth much attention.

Nov 09, 2013
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SouljaSaia17 from Massachusetts

4.22/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Beer pours a golden-amber color with an off white, 1/4 inch head that has a varient of small and big bubbles on top.

S: I get some earthy aromas of fresh cut grass, sweet caramel malt, clove and a bit of smoked peat that is typical from a scotch ale.

T: Flavor is similar to the smell, I get more of the caramel malts and smoke. There is less of an earthy presence in the flavor than in the smell, but I do get some spices through the body of the beer. Finishes with a bready, nutty type of flavor, but not dry like what a yeast component would give.

M: Very sweet and bold in the mouth, lots of flavor and very drinkable.

O: Was pleasantly surprised by the flavor and texture of this beer, not that I would expect anything less from Wachusett. Very good Winter Ale!

Feb 06, 2013
Photo of metter98
metter98 from New York

3.25/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Pony Bar Hell's Kitchen, New York, NY

A: The beer is crystal clear amber in color and has no visible carbonation. It poured with a quarter finger high white head that died down and left a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: There are very light aromas of caramel in the nose along with some hints of spices.
T: The taste has flavors of toasted malts and Christmas spices along with some hints of sweetness and tea. No bitterness is detectable.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little thin on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer tastes like it could use a little more flavors in the taste and a fuller mouthfeel.

Nov 04, 2012
Photo of BOSMECH
BOSMECH from Washington

4.35/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I used to give a full reviews of all my beers but know I am just going to tell you that Wachusett brewing CO. has got it down. So far all of there beers I have had have been outstanding, I just had the Winter ALE (early delivery) and I will be buying next weekend for my crew who just loved it.

Oct 30, 2012
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oriolesfan4 from Maryland

3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Father saved this one for me on my return trip to CT. To be honest, didn't even get that this was a scotch ale until I looked it up on here. Pours a nice reddish-brown color, looks great in the glass. Taste is a bit boring, some caramel malts, faint hops.. reminded me of a brown ale, maybe a touch of smokiness. Well balanced and smooth, but doesn't push any boundaries for me. If it's hard to tell that it's even a scotch ale... it probably isn't a great scotch ale. So while it's drinkable and a solid beer, not something I'd seek out again.

Mar 15, 2012
Photo of chefhatt
chefhatt from Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this beer into a pint glass, it has a nice amber color body with a nice 2"foamy white head that last for a while. The smell is sweet malt and some carmel. The taste is about the same as the smell, the hops come through on the finish. Great mouth feel, well carbonated and overall a nice drinking winter beer.

Mar 01, 2012
Photo of RyanLigeia
RyanLigeia from North Carolina

3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark, clear, amber/copper color with a decent white foamish head that does not fizzle away too quickly.

Smells pretty average (at best) for a scotch ale but it does have this smoky/sweet scent from way underneath.

Taste is same as smell. Little hints of caramel, smoke and malts. The hops come through to clean it up a little as well. Good real beer taste.

High levels of carbonation with a slick mouthfeel. Fits the flavor profile perfectly.

Overall I wish this was how every "normal commercial beer" tasted, ie budweiser, coors, miller, etc. Its got these nice undertones of good flavors, some body to it, a little foam on the top and an abv percentage that'll make you proud to say "No I don't want a Mikes Hard Lemonade or a Twisted Tea, I'm a beer drinker", yet its still clean and crisp enough to be refreshing.

Jan 26, 2012
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CHADMC3 from Connecticut

3.95/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep caramel to copper body with an off white head that patiently dissolves to leave a consistent yet thin lacing.

Aromas of sweet caramel malt, toffee and bread float from the glass.

The flavor is very similar featuring caramel malt, bread, and faint nutty sweetness.

Medium to thick in body with medium carbonation and a malty sweet finish.

A very nice wee heavy perfect for a winter seasonal.

Dec 24, 2011
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mikesgroove from South Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

sweet, with a big malt nose. Lots of earthy smells, grain, some raisin maybe and a touch of spice. Nice bit of caramel as well, with a woody sort of alcohol mixed in. This all translated over to the flavor, which also was very full and really just a very nice example of the style. Loads of sweetness in it, with candied sugar and caramel laced earthy malts making the big splash here. Very big body on this one as well, with really a tremendously smooth feeling to it. Nice carbonation that never really quit, and a long lasting sweet finish that was not overly dry but really left you looking for another sip.

Dec 11, 2011
Photo of SunDevilBeer
SunDevilBeer from Massachusetts

3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Took a break from my late-year SN Celebration drinking to grab this local seasonal brew.

Pours a dark copper with a reasonable head. Smells like a Scotch Ale should...bit of faint smoke and peat in the nose.

Drinks nicely, the same subtle smoke/peat which is cleaned up in the end by a nice hop presence. Pretty drinkable and doesn't seem boozy tho 6+ % abv.

A nice alternative winter ale to the ones that are ultra-spicy.

Dec 03, 2011
Photo of Kendo
Kendo from New York

3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass. Body is coppery-amber with a half-finger khaki-colored head. Leaves behind some lace.

S: Not particularly strong in the nose - toffee and caramel malt is noted. As it warms I get some fruit.

T: Caramel malt, toffee sweetness. Brown bread. Becomes fruit as it warms up a bit. Some peaty smoke at the end of the sip. Finishes fairly dry, with lingering smoke flavor. Some heat felt in belly.

M: Medium in weight. Carbonation is fairly active.

O: Not bad. A solid Scotch Ale that doesn't overwhelm with any one characteristic - I've had a few that were too peaty. A relatively easy drinker.

Nov 24, 2011
Photo of danmcg62
danmcg62 from Massachusetts

3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Poured into a pint glass. Pours a nice amber color with a finger width head that slowly hades away. Nice looking winter brew.

S-Very bready, biscuity smell. Malty and a tad spicy.

T-Thick and bready, big malt back bone. Mild hop bitterness.

M-thick and chewy.

O-Overall this is a very good winter seasonal. Flavorful and full bodied. Definitely a nice winter brew to keep you warm..

Nov 20, 2011
Photo of Jason
Jason from Massachusetts

3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown long neck bottle with a freshness date notched on the side of the label.

LOOK: Good head retention, tawny clarity is fine as well.

SMELL: Malty, caramel, fresh bread, faint smoke, mild fruitiness, ripe apples.

TASTE: Smooth, medium body, mild hopping, granola, hint of hop spice, faded smoke, faintly warming alcohol, herbal & grainy finish.

A solid brew all the way, these are the winter seasonals I look for ... no one wants to drink a beer that tastes like organic toothpaste. I will be keeping this one in stock until the snow melts.

Nov 08, 2011
Photo of bruachan
bruachan from Massachusetts

3.72/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

light copper color (too pale for a winter, in my opinion)

concentrated nutty and dark fruity aromas. some hoppy

rich malty flavors. more on the bready, grainy end of the spectrum than the fruity/date end. despite the tasty, simply not robust enough for a wee heavy. good sweetness. hops to balance: a little juicy

Jan 20, 2011
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bum732 from Lesotho

3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

S: Malty sweet, raisins and red grapes, some toffee and subtle smoke.

L: Clear orangish amber, light tan head with 1/4 retention, nice lacing.

T: Malty caramel sweetness with some hoppy fruitiness, or perhaps munich malt. Medium-low earthy bitterness leads to some soft grain notes and a very clean finish. Touch of bisquit.

M: Smooth malty body, medium low carbonation. Alcohol slightly present.

An ok scotch ale, pretty one-noted. Sweet and buttery.

Dec 21, 2010
Photo of BennyL1
BennyL1 from Massachusetts

3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into SA Perfect Pint Glass

A - Pours a nice amber color with a good fingers worth of white foamy head. A little bit of lacing along the glass as well.

S - Caramel, roasted nuts, and malts is pretty much sums it up. Not a whole lot going on here but its decent.

T - Mostly the malts up front with a bit of caramel. I really like the slightly bitter finish, balanced out pretty well.

M - Lighter body with a decent amount of carbonation.

D - Pretty high drinkability. I'll probably be keeping a few of these on hand throughout the winter. Another solid brew from Wachusett.

Dec 05, 2010
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Duhast500 from Rhode Island

3.27/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

The color is clear amber/gold with two to three fingers of foamy white head and some nice lacing left on the glass.

The smell is fresh hops at first with a bit of some malty flavors in the background.There is a deep, full body that is present even in the nose.

The taste is malty with a deep creamy flavor that carrys into a sweetness that is lifting up some of the bitterness till it slices through in the back-end and lets the flavor take hold. A mix of creamy malt flavor with a slight hop presence.

The feel of this beer is medium and is not dismissed too quickly. It has a hold on you for a while before letting go.

Nov 29, 2010
Photo of MoreThanWine
MoreThanWine from Massachusetts

3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

What I appreciate about this beer is it shoots for a quality classic product and delivers it quite affordably. Poured a big 2" head which took a while to dissipate. Lovely auburn in color. Both smell and taste have roasted nuts, caramel, and sweet malt. This could and should be a regular in my home all winter.

Nov 11, 2010
Photo of DrJay
DrJay from Texas

3.16/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear, medium amber with a coppery hue. A half inch beige cap formed after the pour, a little rocky but mostly small bubbles. A bit of clumpy lace. Malty aroma, caramel, light apple fruitiness with a hint of butterscotch. Low bitterness, grainy caramel sweetness, a bit of fruit and leafy hops, hint of toffee. Bitterness was more prominent towards the end, where faint spiciness rounded out the finish. Medium bodied, carbonation was a little on the high side. Odd texture - it felt a bit slick while at the same time was quite palate drying. Overall, not a bad beer, but it really missed the mark for a scotch ale.

Nov 06, 2010
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aepb1 from Maine

3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Light brown with a white head

S- Nice full malty scent

T- Same nice malty taste, a bit smokey roasted flavor in there too

M- Medium bodied, good carbonation, nice warming feeling too

D- That great warming and a full malty flavor make it a great winter ale!!

Aug 29, 2010
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lordofthewiens from New Mexico

3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

In a standard pint glass the beer was an amber color with a thick off-white head. Some lacing. Faint aroma of caramel. The caramel came through more in the taste. Moderate malt. Tiny amount of bitterness late. The beer was very sweet, probably too much so. I don't think I would want to drink a lot of these.

Feb 14, 2010
Winter Ale from Wachusett Brewing Company
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 162 ratings