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Winter Ale | Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House

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Winter AleWinter Ale
BA SCORE
3.62/5
Good
140 Ratings
Winter AleWinter Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House
Ohio, United States
rivertownbrewery.com

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Snow days. Comfy sweaters. Family and Friends. In search for the perfect balance of spice, warmth and body, we chose to brew this beer with Saigon Cinnamon, due to its unique balance of spicy and sweet, and Blackstrap Molasses known for its robust, rich, slightly bitter notes. Picture enjoying the comfort of freshly baked gingerbread in liquid form on a blustery winter afternoon curled up in front of the fire. With its thick, creamy tan head stacked atop a dark, rich, umber hued body laced with hints of caramel, toffee and cinnamon, Winter Ale is brewed to warm the soul and tame any snow beast on even the coldest of nights.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#35,364
Reviews:
43
Ratings:
140
pDev:
16.02%
 
 
Wants:
2
Gots:
26
Trade:
0
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 140 |  Reviews: 43
Reviews by Brent:
Photo of Brent
4.33/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

In what has been a pretty lackluster season for winter seasonals, this beer shines above the rest. Bright, almost luminous, copper. Aroma was warmly spicy. Moderate, clean bodied mouthfeel. Spicing is prominent but not overpowering. Natural cinnamon, a touch woody, with some other cookie-like background spice. ETOH is well integrated - a little warming and perhaps lending some pepper to the cinnamon. Overall very well done.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of UrbanCaveman
1.55/5  rDev -57.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

12 oz bottle, poured into a shaker pint at room temperature.

A: Pours into the glass a sort of ruby-brown, not unlike a watered-down Mr. Pibb. The head is thin and a pale yellowish tan, and dissipates quickly, leaving only a ring. Bubbles rise steadily from the bottom of the glass in the clear brown fluid.

S: This may be one of the least appetizing aromas I've ever gotten from a beer. While there is sweet caramel malt involved, there's something that resembles laundry - the sort of laundry that's been sitting in the hamper damp for a while, but damp with sweat instead of water.

T: And once again, a Cincinnati brewery, proud of its traditional German heritage, chucks that right out the window and hops the ever-living heck out of their beer. Some sort of leafy, nigh tobacco bitterness charges the tongue right out of the gate, biting and clawing and snarling. Somewhere in the midst of that fury, for a brief, shining moment, a burst of sweet caramel malt gets through - and then gets piledriven into hard concrete covered in shards of broken glass by MOAR LEEF HAWP. Throughout the tasting, there's a decided tone of cinnamon to the whole thing, though it seems less involved in the drive-by bludgeoning of malt by hop and more casual bystander who wants nothing to do with the rest of the scene and is just keeping its head down while walking briskly away. The finish is, of course, leafy hops with cinnamon, because why change anything about the flavor at the very end?

M: Sparkly carbonation lends a touch of sharpness to the beer, so the hops aren't just beating the malt senseless, but shivving it in a dark alley for its wallet as well. The finish is watery.

O: Let's just say I am happy that this was one beer of a mix your own six, and move on with our lives. We'll all be happier that way.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.76/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - iced-tea color with a thin, soapy layer of manila. Good staying power for less than a finger of thickness. Nice lace stickiness too, and there was a layer of foam from start to finish.

Aroma - has a caramelly, Coke-like aroma. Light spicing that is hard to identify. It smells like licorice and cinnamon because that's what it says on the label, but without knowing, I might guess clove, cardamom, or anise.

Taste - malty with a touch of roast. The molasses and cinnamon dominate the palate at first, followed by a stiff bite of hops. Quite the heavy hand on hop additions, I'd say. It's a decent counter to the sweeter ingredients. I generally like a little less bitterness in a winter warmer, but this has good balance. Ends bitter but on the wet side.

Mouthfeel - smooth and lightly crisp. Medium body, pretty ideal for the style.

Drinkability - a tasty winter brew from the good guys at RTB. Happy holidays, guys, and thanks for this seasonal easy drinker.

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Photo of smcolw
3.44/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Light brown and cloudy. Small head which a couple of minute spots on the glass for lace.

Sweet caramel along with stale yeast to the nose. Some brown sugar and cinnamon as well.

The taste is far better than the smell with the traditional winter warmer flavors of pumpkin spices and cream. Far less sweetness on the tongue. This could be a bit from the high carbonation level. Decent body. The aftertaste has some alcohol warmth to it.

 438 characters

Photo of movingtrain
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle sampled from a small snifter. Rivertown is a relatively new brewery in Cincinnati, and they are making some decent stuff. Not much information out there about them, though--no ABV listed on the bottle or on their website.

Pours an amber/brown color. The head is about one and a half fingers with an aggressive pour, but quickly dwindles to almost nothing. Carbonation looks steady.

The aroma is quite sweet. Actually smells lager-like. Strong malt presence backed by some mild hop bittering, cinnamon, hard candy, vanilla, light chocolate tones, clove, a bit of banana, and brown sugar.

The flavor here is interesting...the molasses hits you right off the bat, lending a syrupy sweet flavor across the tongue. Not sure what the ABV is here, but the beer is rather warming. Warm bread, cinnamon hard candy, plum, raisin, and brown sugar all come to mind. I think the addition of molasses here gives the flavor just enough complexity to make this an oddly balanced, but drinkable beer.

Overall, Rivertown's Winter Ale is, well, good for Winter. It works for the style, and even has a few surprises in the flavor. It is drinkable the night through.

 1,165 characters

Photo of morebeergood
2.52/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Photo of jp32
4.09/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks a dark, transparent amber in the glass. Looks a little thin, a little fizzy. Smells very sweet, very cinnamon-sugary. Tastes sweet, and again very cinnamon-sugary. Tastes like a Christmas Ale. I'm enjoying this one, would try it again.

 246 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.92/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cinnamon Toast Crunch dry cereal- There! Review over. But to add, it's remarkable in how the malty flavors of light toast, pale caramel, and hearty barley malt frame the backdrop for added spice of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice in such a way to evoke an uncanny resemblance to the cereal that I loved as a kid. Where the medium bodied beer carries a caramel-heavy start, the copper colored ale develops into a semi-dry mid palate before utimately falling a bit weak. But the cinnamon and caramel flavor are inviting, if not one-dimensional.

 541 characters

Photo of patpbr
3.62/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The first Winter Warmer I have ever Tried.
A brownish color without lacing. Lots of Cinnamon, it really takes over. The taste is Cinnamon, spice, apple, gingerbread. Lots of flavor, just a hint of malt, some syrup . Its more of a flavored beer then I care for. High ABV, Not one I would buy a six of.

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Photo of ltjska04
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tonight we have Rivertown's aptly-named Winter Ale, a winter warmer-style ale brewed with molasses and cinnamon. As suggested by the bottle, I poured this into a snifter at roughly 45F. This beer is a hazy deep red/mahogany color with a tiny head that disappears as quickly as it appeared, leaving barely a ring of slow-rising bubbles around the outskirts of the glass. The appearance is not very impressive. My first whiff of the beer reveals cinnamon as expected. Unexpectedly, the smell follows up with tart cherries; very nice. As it warms this smells like cherry pie in a glass. The flavor reveals more of the cinnamon and cherry; sweet and tart flavors bounce off each other in a playful snowball fight. Oh yeah, we're getting metaphorical. The flavors come out more as the beer warms. The bottle claims a "big, bold, thick-bodied ale" that I won't necessarily disagree with, but while bigger-bodied than other Rivertown brews I've had I'd like to see this one really being fuller and more robust. The carbonation is low and it works for me. There is no indication of ABV but I'd guess it's around the 7-8% range... smooth going down with no burn but it starts to give you that warm holiday feeling towards the end. I could definitely associate this beer with the holidays and drink many of them. It hints at greatness and reminds me slightly of Troegs Mad Elf but unfortunately it doesn't quite measure up to it. Overall a good beer from Rivertown that has room for improvement.

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Photo of wingman14
4.71/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a nice dark orange with an off white head that didn't stick around too long. Smell is dominated by the cinnamon, with some sweet and malty notes as well. A very inviting smell, was hoping the flavor wouldn't overpower and it didn't. The malt and cinnamon work well together for a great taste. A medium mouthfeel, a nice smooth beer, an easy drinker, could easily have a few and the flavor is not going to overwhelm. Overall a good winter warmer, definitely a beer I would get again.

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Photo of schoolboy
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Alright Rivertown! This one works. I know I haven't liked all of their stuff, but this one is very OK. I would definitely buy it again.

As you want in a winter warmer, this has a nice bunch of spice taste. A nice mix of spices, actually, and somewhat unique. The malt and hops characteristics do not seem as complex or interesting, but the are inoffcensive and it is very drinkable. It doesn't taste boozy in the least.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of gmfessen
2.55/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, Winter Ale is an amber sweet-tea color with a soapy tan head. The nose is all malt and spice; thick, bready with molasses and cinnamon - there is also a faint whiff of alcohol at the end. Gingerbread followed by hot damn! The taste starts out as malty sweet but transitions to overly bitter and dry. The cinnamon does not seem to be overdone but doesn't help the cause on the finish either. Mouthfeel is medium and slick yet drying on the finish. Overall, not a beer I will be going back for.

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Photo of 1mrbeer
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This beer has a, dare I say, unique taste.It must be the combination of the molasses and cinnamon,not that that's a bad thing,just different.I noticed the abv is listed on BA as 7.5% but the Rivertown site says it is 8.2%.Even with the higher abv it is well hidden amongst the flavors.I like the fact that it is a local(to me,at least) offering and would recommend it.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of freewill35
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of secondtooth
3.82/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clean amber in appearance with moderate carbonation and only light lacing.

Nose is curious -- caramel, molasses, cinnamon, candy sugar. Unusual and unique, and certainly not bad!

Taste is another revelation. I get molasses again, taking me back to my youth, enjoying molasses cookies from the local bake shop. Body is heavy here, with a heavy malt presence and an almost coffee cake vibe.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable experience, like no other beer I've ever had.

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Photo of Brenden
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This beer is a red-shaded brown that's almost, but not quite, opaque due to its darkness. Held to the light, it's actually fairly clear. The head is a tan one that reaches about half a finger with moderate retention, holding up a foamy layer that drops some spotting.
Sweetness comes out front in the aromas with immediate spicing as well, strong cinnamon that isn't so strong as to string the nostrils, and a little nutmeg and allspice beneath that off of some nicely toasty malts. Caramel comes out with the malts and molasses is more at the end as far as the smell but adds to the sweetness as a dryness comes in to balance.
As with the nose, spices and sweetness come out evenly up front with a bit of bite and a nice, clean cinnamon finish. There's a nice moderate hoppiness in the middle, not enough to take anything away from the main aspects of it but just a little leaf for added depth.
A little sweetness comes up and somehow stays on the tongue even as it dries. The body is fairly crisp and flows smoothly, losing just a touch of its medium body at the very end of each sip, which lingers with a little leafy dryness even as cinnamon gently nips.

 1,163 characters

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.49/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter.

2.5 A: Clear deep amber color. I could only muster 1/4 of a finger of beige head that fell almost instantly.

3.5 S: Lots of cinnamon (but not too much) that meshes well with the caramel maltiness. Molasses adds another well integrated layer of depth. Simple, but certainly pleasant.

3.5 T: Like the nose. Cinnamon, caramel, molasses. Malts are slightly grainy and this is very clean overall.

4.0 M: Light to lighter medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Good creaminess for how light the body is. Smooth.

3.5 D: Not a bad winter brew. Very simple, but tasty.

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Photo of BigDRS
3.64/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle (with no freshness date) into a mug. The bottle reads "What ales you? Winter ale: Ale brewed with molasses and cinnamon"

Appearance - Poured with very little head and produced no lace. The beer is dark copper/brown in color and looks fairly dull.

Smell - The nose has a very strong cinnamon smell with hints of molasses and cherry.

Taste - WOW CINNAMON - lots of it. The sweetness of the molasses definitely comes through, but plays a secondary role. Fits the bill of a winter warmer as it goes down the throat.

Mouthfeel - Has a slightly mid to light body. Carbonation level is good.

Drinkability - Don't think that I could have more than one in a sitting. This is a beer best paired with a large holiday meal.

 737 characters

Photo of Ohiovania
4.04/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of nicholas2121
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Winter Ale brewed by Rivertown Brewing Co., with an ABV of 7.50% This brew pours out brown color with a nice off white color head. The smell is rich with flavor and spices. The smell also has a nutty smell to it. Now for the taste, it is rich with flavor. You get spices and a hit of nuts in the aftertaste. There is nothing overpowering in this brew. Winter Ale has a nice balance to it For being a brew with 7.50% , this brew goes down smooth. The mouthfeel is nice. and clean and smooth. Overall I giving this brew a 4 out 5. This is a clean drinking brew. Rivertown Brewing Co. did a nice job with this one. I would buy this brew again. Rivertown Brewing Co.in.

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Photo of Klif
3/5  rDev -17.1%

Photo of bamadog
3.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well, I guess I'll give Rivertown another shot. Review is from notes taken on 12/30/2010 and poured from the bottle to a pint glass.

Appearance: Pour is a dark coppery color with some burnt orange aspects to it; starts with a scant 1/4 finger off-white head that fades immediately to nothing other than a thin pond of skim and a thin ring around the surface; body is very clear and shows some faint carbonation;

Smell: OK, we've got quite a bit of warm and spicy cinnamon in there, and perhaps even a hint of some cocoa; a bit of toasty and grainy barley as well.

Taste: Yep, lots of cinnamon -- I like cinnamon and all, but this may be a little bit overdone -- still though, not too bad; beyond the cinnamon, I do believe there is just a touch of cocoa (probably from some chocolate malt?); bit of a slight, toasty graininess underneath it. Overall, it's one of the more drinkable RTB beers, but not something to go out of your way to get.

Mouthfeel: Body is just lighter than medium in weight, and the carbonation is much better in the mouth than one would think based upon looking at it; a moderately thick, semi-dry and very sticky coating is left all over the roof of the mouth; the gums are left a little tingly from the carbonation, and the belly is left warm from the slightly overdone cinnamon.

Drinkability: I can handle one or two of these, but the spiciness does become more overbearing as I continue to drink it, and it tastes kind of like freshly ground cinnamon has been poured into it... for RTB, it's good, for other and better established breweries, it would be subpar.

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Winter Ale from Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House
Beer rating: 3.62 out of 5 with 140 ratings