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Winter Ale | Fremont Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
86
very good
38 Reviews
Winter AleWinter Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Fremont Brewing Company
Washington, United States | website

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly Abominable Ale

This is a tasty Winter Ale to snuggle up to, released for the winter months when snow blankets the terrain of the mind and the body craves warmth and, let’s be honest, it’s dark and wet most of the time so your beer better be damn good. Winter Ale is dark like the weather with roast chocolate and warm malt flavors balanced by Noble hop aroma and subtle hoppy spice. Warm up to it. Because Beer Matters!

47 IBU

Added by beertunes on 01-07-2010

BEER STATS
Reviews:
38
Ratings:
165
Avg:
3.86
pDev:
19.43%
 
 
Wants:
19
Gots:
14
For Trade:
1
User Reviews
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Reviews: 38 | Ratings: 165
Photo of dirtylou
3.41/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz BOMB, bottleworks

the cask version of this layed on a ton of raspberries was wonderful - this review is the bottled base beer

appearance: split/served in great divide shaker pint, near ebony body, splotchy tan head with a nice lace

smell: char, light dry roasty aroma, not much else

taste: Bitter roast, dry char, bakers chocolate, some nice dark fruits, smoke, toffee. Interesting, but benefits from the barrel and cask treatment at the brewery.

mouthfeel: dry, bitter roastiness

overall: ok, not my favorite fremont bottling

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Photo of ccrida
3.05/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On draught at Naked City, Abominable is dark, cola brown, pretty much still, with only a wisp of a khaki collar.

Smell is muted, even after letting it warm up and breath for a while, just a little caramel.

Taste is pretty mellow, just a generic malty beer, some caramel, a touch of char. Clean, but underwhelming, I kept waiting for it to open up, but to no avail.

Mouthfeel is slick, medium bodied, perhaps a touch more, but not painfully so. Smooth, drinks like a porter, but with less then average malt (but still dark).

Drinkability ok, it's smooth and inoffensive, and the 7.5% ABV is well hidden. OTOH, it lacks character, and is boring. Average, generic dark ale, although not your typical winter warmer - darker yet less flavor!

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Photo of Rutager
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to my in-laws for this bottle stuffed in my stocking for Christmas 2012! Had this once before (actually 3 times!) after the 2012 Resolution Run on new year's day in Magnuson Park, Seattle, but this is the full review 1/8/2013

Appearance. Pours a deep dark brown with only a little redish light coming through and capped with a half finger of khaki head.

Smell. Dark malts, caramel and some sweet chocolate. Yum.

Taste. Dark and maybe a bit smokey malts, some bitter dark chocolate and just a touch of dried dark fruits without the sweetness. Quite dry and the alcohol is VERY well hidden ...that much I remember from the last time I had this. I also remember feeling better after that race than any other I've ran.

Mouthfeel. Medium+ body, below medium smooth carbonation.

Overall. A very nice beer, especially for a winter warmer. I remember a little spice the last time I had it, but not getting much this time ...not that that's a bad thing.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.22/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle as a Christmas gift from a friend. Thanks! Pours nearly pitch black with a massing khaki brown head that sticks around a good while. Aroma of straight up malt extract--in a completely good way--some light hops, molasses, more sweet malts. Whoah. Flavor is sweet up front with big malt body to the Nth degree, some lightly earthy hops that balance things tremendously, finishing with some light roast and smoke, and long molasses notes. Big body, medium low carbonation. Right on. This is one of the better non-BAs in this style that I've had. Really delicious and relaxing. Have to try the bourbon version now.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a very dark brown color that could - under poorly lighted conditions - be mistaken for a stout. The head is a two finger mocha shade with excellent texturing. I'm also impressed with the head retention; it's still standing a finger high after a minute.

S: This has a very roasty quality to it, acting as a compliment to the dark fruit esters and earthy/piny hops that also pop up on the nose. Nothing really stands out about it, but it gets the job done sufficiently. If the aesthetics screamed "stout", the aroma screams "black ale".

T: ...and the flavor screams "strong ale". The profile here has a far stronger dark fruit bend to it. Flavors of plums, raisins, figs, and cherries will then give way to a midtaste of licorice (not the nasty black stuff) and coffee. If there's one thing noticeable, it's that the further the flavors progress on the palate, the more 'roasty' they become. The hops - which I expected to dominate, or at least have the strongest pull in the flavor profile - remain subtle throughout; their presence offering a balancing edge of earth, black pepper, and pine to the fruity sweetness. Give it time to warm up, and it will reveal notes of vanilla, chocolate, and walnuts after repeated sipping; it's just complex enough to keep the palate guessing.

The best part about this one? The exhales - they have a wondrous dark chocolate/vanilla quality to them.

M: Typically smooth, syrupy, and vaguely sweet on its finish. The hop profile and roasted barley don't dry out the finishing texture like I expected...or even wanted. Luckily, it's light enough so that drinking it won't be a chore. Carbonation is middling but well focused and uniform on the palate.

O: This becomes pretty sweet after a while, so it might not be a bad idea to have someone on standby to share this with. Still, if we're talking about how this one lives up to the basic definition of the 'winter warmer' moniker (meaning does it lift the soul and warm the orifices), I'd say it's a success. I'd buy it again if Fremont ever decided to distribute to my state.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.76/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From BeerAdvocate magazine Issue #61 (Feb 2012):

LOOK: Dark leather brown

SMELL: Brown bread, molasses cookies, toasted biscuits, mild coffee, baked apples, woody hops, spicy esters

TASTE: Full body, smooth, faint roasted grain, raisins, ripe apple orchard, biscuity, yeasty, chicory, warming alcohol, herbal, spicy hops, and a toasty, roasty finish.

Wintertime was late! Such a perfect time to pop the cap on this bottle. Abominable is true to style, with an alluring dark color and a palate that makes you want to take another sip. A brawny ale, one that looks to warm the soul and ward off any winter chill, which it does not seem to have a problem doing.

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Photo of blackie
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bomber courtesy of dirtylou during a stay at his lovely home

a: served in a shaker pint, deep opaque brown in color, topped with a light mocha head that retains well

s: roasted barleys, chocolate, hops earthy, a simple but well-structured aroma

m: carbonation on the higher side of the light range, medium-full body

t: fairly simple, featuring smooth medium-dark roast barley, some semisweet chocolate sugars, earthy hops, hitting some porter notes

o: an easy drinking, roasty winter warmer, fairly standard but a good flavor set that hints at the porter style

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Photo of harrymel
3.62/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Hucks for aging this for me!
Bottled 18OCT11

Pours a dark brown with a sheet of tan foam and a spotty leftover of lace. Nose is lots of caramel, toffee, tawny character - surprised given the SRM here. I like the sweet nose on this one. Flavor is sharply dry with malts and hints of sweetness and a molasses character. The malts have oxidized slightly over the year and have developed a woody character. Medium bodied with moderate carb and a semi dry finish. Nice beer.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler, filled last night, poured into pint glasses

Pours dark brown-amber, dark but translucent (no cloudiness), medium beige head and surprising lacing, slow fizz. Smell is caramel and bitter chocolate with a little smoke.

Taste is bitter up front (coffee, smoke, chocolate) with a sweet finish (caramel, toffee).

Mouthfeel is thick, sticky, and chewy, nice drinkability. Malty beer that my wife and I can agree on.

---
2014-02-01

Having a bottle side by side with the bourbon barrel version.

This isn't translucent, it's opaque. Absolutely. Less head, aroma as described previously. Mouthfeel is very effervescent from the bottle.

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Photo of Chico1985
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber sent as an extra from ArchEnemyBrew, much thanks! Bottle date is 11-2-11 and it's listed as 8%.

Pours very dark brownish-red, beige head is huge at first eventually staying at about a finger, some lace.

Smell becomes fainter with time, but good, caramel and roast with some dark fruit and fruity hops.

Nice balance of caramel, cocoa, and roasted malt in the taste. Some molasses there too. Some light fruity hops and dark fruit, a bit of spice.

Very smooth, full mouthfeel. A little high on the carbonation for the style but the silkiness makes up for it.

Really solid winter ale, goes really easy on the spice and brings on some big malts. Easy drinking.

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Photo of draheim
3.86/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz can picked up during a recent tour of the brewery, poured into a tulip. An aggressive pour yields a pretty minimal head that dissipates quickly to a thin film and a ring of foam. Color is dark root beer brown, no light gets through the glass.

Aroma is sweet, malty, with notes of dried dark fruits. A nice spicy smokiness I can't quite identify.

Taste is roasty w/ chocolate & caramel malts and a nice crisp hoppy bite on the finish. Some spices linger on the palate. Maybe a little smokiness here too.

Mouthfeel is coating, medium bodied, finishes bitter. Lingering aftertaste.

Overall, a solid winter warmer that I could see enjoying w/ a big cheeseburger or maybe a pot roast.

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.43/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from a beer competition.

Pours a murky brown with tons of head. Too much if you ask me. No real lacing to speak of with massive bubbles on the head. Smells Pretty non-descript. Some sweetness on the nose and a bit of spice. Tastes dry and sweet. A bit of yeastiness as well. Fairly light on flavour but well balanced.High carbonation and fairly drinkable. Overall, not stellar but definitely not bad

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Photo of RJLarse
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I bought a bomber of Abominable Ale at Total Wine and More. Poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a black walnut color, opaque with a frothy tan head.

Smell is a dark roasted coffee and chocolate aroma.

Mouthfeel is full-bodied and cloying.

Overall - A very drinkable ale. I make it as much a traditional coffee stout as a winter ale, but very good indeed.

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Photo of sukwonee
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I am not quite sure what "winter warmer" is supposed to taste like since beers labeled as winter warmers all tasted very different to me, but this one certainly tastes like a chocolate stout with a bit of a hop bite towards the end. ANYWAY

A: Black with 2 finger head. Lots of lacing.

S: Smells like an oatmeal stout. roasty, coffee, chocolate, malt.

T: Tastes definitely like a stout. It's not one of those hoppy stouts. Roasty malt, chocolate notes, brown sugar, and in the middle, there is some strong sweetness accompanied by hops. Slightly bitter finish, but again, not a hoppy stout (like Victory storm king).

M: Smooth. Like an oatmeal stout. Not much alcohol heat detected.

O: It's quite good. Its big brother Bourbon Abominable is in a different class on its own, but I can see why this beer would make a great base beer for bourbon aging.

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Photo of Scotchboy
3.99/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into my new favorite glass, a Rock Island snifter.

A: Pours very dark and almost pitch black. Dark tawny brown with transparent edges in the glass; light wisps of creamy off-white head.

S: Malty profile with slight hints of citrus and maybe a resiny hop presence. Brown sugar, toasted malt qualities, and hints of chocolate and coffee are at the forefront.

T: Follows the nose, not overwhelming in malt but not quite balanced with hops either; slight hint of coffee and a hint of spices as well. There is a suggestion of alcohol warmth and citrus which blends wonderfully with the toasted, malty, molasses bread backbone.

MF: Really not getting a full bodied beer here, though the mouthfeel is elegantly smooth. Thinner medium bod with a bit of an espresso-like dryness on the finish.

O: Really pleasant winter warmer, and a malt-forward yet drinkable dark beer that could turn into something brilliant with the addition of barrel aging. I'll have to try and track one of the BA versions down.

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Photo of Bfarr
3.18/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Black and small red highlights with thin brown head with mediocre retention. Light chocolate, roasted and herbal aroma. Charcoal and chocolate balanced with light herbal and spice. Very dry finish with moderate but smooth feel and carbonation.

Good subtle flavor up front but drowned completely by roasted malt and dryness. Taking long breaks allows you to enjoy that flavor once again but still it ends in an overly dry feel.

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Photo of Bookseeb
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very heave amber holding up a soft brown head and leaving nice ringed lace. Smell of dark rich roasted malt, coffee, dried plums. Taste is rich with the roasted malt, coffee and dark fruits having a nice balance with the mild hops. Mouthfeel is full with mild carbonation making it go down smooth. A tasty rich dark winter ale with subtle alchohol on the senses that goes down well on a cold night.

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Photo of brew3crew
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to urbancaver on this wonderful spring afternoon.

A-clear amber with nice carbonation and tan head retention
S-malty and sweet
T-very sweet, mellow carmel taste. Very smooth malt character.
M-mediun bodied and so smooth
D-very drinkable if the head wasn't so prevelant!

 279 characters

Photo of Taybeh
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Into a Weyerbacher tulip from a bomber (muled to MN from Seattle by my sister, thanks Hot Shot Boss!)

A: deep dark brown with a thin khaki crown
S: chocolate malts, roasted barley, faint hoppiness but not pronounced enough for me to specify
T: starts with some nice malty layers, a little chocolate, some caramel and a little pale malt breadiness, some toasty notes, and the back half has some orangey/melony and earthy/spicy hops, some kind of fruitiness (maybe starfruit) and some more sweetness (caramel? chocolate? licorice?). All in all, good body, some bitterness and also fairly sweet in a way that lingers.
M: wet, low to med carbonation, hides the alcohol pretty well, moderately chewy and creamy but not too heavy.

Overall: Good...I can't quite get to loving the way all the different parts hang together and it is a little too sweet for me, but I can respect and enjoy it, and it is well made.

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Photo of hreb
2.96/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle dated 10.18.11. Beer pours a thick dark brown with a chestnut head. Little aroma. Flavor is immediately spicy. Ingredients ("Down & Dirty") claim no additives, so the spice must be all in the hops. Otherwise I might have guessed cloves, based on the "heat" of the flavor. 8.0% ABV (based on this year's label) doesn't hurt, either. There's a malt backbone to thing thing as well, but flavor-wise, it's lost here. Mouthfeel is pretty good thanks to well-moderated carbonation, but drinkability suffers due to the one dimensional bitterness. Verdict: not my favorite.

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Photo of bifrost17
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. can poured into a tulip glass

A: Very dark, not black, but a very dark brown mahogany. I definitely can't see through the beer. Tinges of ruby red around the edges of the glass.

S: I get lots of chocolate malt and orated barley on the nose. Maybe a tiny bit of black licorice, kind of reminiscent to the smell of a porter. Smells really nice to me.

T: The taste isn't similar to any "winter warmer" I've had (what really classifies this style anyways...?) I get lots of chocolate, just like the nose, and also lots of bitterness. I like how the bitterness of the hops plays off the chocolate malt to create a kind of coffee flavor.

M: Nothing but good to say about the mouthfeel. Super silky/creamy, moderate carbonation. Nice balance.

O: Overall I think this is a really nice take on what I feel like can be a very broad style. While this isn't my favorite winter beer it's certainly one that I look forward to every year. The profile for this beer says it's 7.5%, but the can that I'm looking at (2012 batch) says this winter monster clocks in at 8%, the alcohol is masked well. Abominable definitely gets more complex and enjoyable as it warms, don't pass this beer up if you see it.

 1,198 characters

Photo of olympuszymurgus
4.4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

We strolled into this little warehouse late in the day, the boss man ready to run out the door. He stopped and happily poured some tasters. 3rd in the lineup was this splendid winter ale colored mahogany, smelling of roast, hints of smoke and chocolate and coffee. The hops are pronounced but soft, friendly hops.

He followed that with a limited tasting of a bourbon barre aged version which was, perhaps, the best beer I have tasted in the City of Seattle. Stop in, say hello. You will not regret the decision.

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Photo of jpbebeau
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle dated 121311 poured to tulip.

A: A very dark cola with a finger of cocoa-colored head, which dissipates quickly leaving—temporarily—large, sparse, soapy bubbles. Red tinged edges when tilted.

S: Roasty. Chocolate. Sweet dark fruits: prunes, raisins. Really nice, particularly as it warmed up.

T: More hop presence here, particularly at the front and end of the taste. Woody, slightly fruity, the hops follow the fruit and chocolate roast.

M: Full-bodied, mild carbonation. Really smooth. Silky.

Really liked this, and it got better throughout the time I spent with it.

 590 characters

Photo of jellikit
4.25/5  rDev +10.1%

Tap.
Appearance: deep, deep brown. Medium, foamy, light tan head.
Smell: Light roasted barley.
Taste: balanced between chocolate, coffee, roasted barley and hops.
Mouthfeel: low carbonation. Big body. Sweet. Creamy.
Overall: I love this beer. Tasty. Balanced. Good.

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Photo of Ratman197
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber from Malt and Vine poured a clear dark reddish brown with a small lasting brown head. Aromas of dark chocolate, roasted malt, carmel, light vanilla, light earthiness and a hint of spice. Mouthfeel was mediuum bodied and smooth with a dry finish. Flavors of dark chocolate, roasted malt, light carmel, light coffee and a hint of spice with a smooth dry lingeing chocolate finish.

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Winter Ale from Fremont Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 38 ratings.
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