Spiced Mid-Winter Ale | Tree Brewing

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Very Good
19 Ratings

Brewed by:
Tree Brewing
British Columbia, Canada

Style: Herbed / Spiced Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by canucklehead on 11-19-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 19 |  Reviews: 18
Reviews by Cwrw:
Photo of Cwrw
4.44/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally Tree's spiced mid-winter ale is here, and just at the right time. 650ml brown bottle, with a nice-looking seasonal label. Actually a fairly simple but eye-catching label. My dad brought these home one night, telling me the aroma was incredible.

The beer is almost a ruby colour...nice dark brown, almost similar to dark Scotch colouration. A nice solid off-white head. Nice looking ale, to be sure.

First things first: the aroma, to me, IS stunning. Absolutely ambrosial hits of cinnamon, pumpkin pie, the faintest hint of coffee, eggnog with nutmeg, brownies, cinnamon buns, and even mead. For me it really walks the line between a good spiced ale and mead. Which is fantastic. Yet the spice is not overpowering or at odds with the malt.

Good hints of plenty of cinnamon and pumpkin, cloves and fulfils the aroma to a pretty good degree. The smell is really the defining character of the beer, but the taste is very fulfilling--my only complaint is the carbonation, which seemed a little high for the style...it should be a bit smoother, a bit thicker. But hey, I'm splitting hairs on a very good beer. It's the best spiced beer I've had.

Very drinkable beer, especially on a cold winter/spring night. Nice and warming. This would be perfect with pumpkin pie. Works good as a dessert beer. Please send us more.

A classic. I don't know why it isn't rated higher.

 1,385 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of biboergosum
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a reddish copper hue, with off white soapy head, that disappears quite quickly. The aroma is gingerbread all the way - ginger, cloves, sweet caramel malt. The taste doesn't waver too much from that, it's all about the gingerbread spices - ginger and cloves again, nutmeg, cinnamon, with a noticeable warming that seems to come from the ginger flavour - it doesn't feel like alcohol warming. There is moderate carbonation, which accelerates this sensation. The malt body is a little thin, and it finishes dry, with a twinge of that spiciness. A decent seasonal ale, satisfying and fortifying for that -30 degree walk home.

 637 characters

Photo of Orrshow
3.32/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance – Pours a clear reddish brown color with an inch of light tan bubbly head. The head falls to a cap shortly and there is lacing left on my glass.

Smell – This beer smells nice. I detect a little caramel with some cinnamon, ginger, and cider. There is some fruit as well with hints of sugar.

Taste – This beer tastes very sweet and malty with a lot of spice. There are some fruity flavors and some raisins as well. It’s not so bad but there is an unpleasant puckering flavor at the end.

Mouthfeel – Mouthfeel is fairly average. Nothing overly substantial and the carbonation is just as I’d expect. My mouth is slightly dry afterwards.

Drinkability – Not that good. I wasn’t overly entice to sip again.

 733 characters

Photo of vanrassel
3.49/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer poured a clear amber with a one-finger head that dwindled to a ring rather quickly. The aroma was a mixture of caramel, bready malt and cinnamon. The same elements surfaced in the taste, but were comingled to the point where I couldn't really tell the disparate elements apart. The carbonation was a little abrasive for my liking and the mouthfeel a bit sticky. I may give this one another chance soon, but my feeling right now is this is one of those beers I just don't "get."

 487 characters

Photo of elricorico
3.74/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A very deep amber colour, with a thin beige cap. Pretty clear, and the head doesn't stick around.

The smell brings to mind a few different things. First I was thinking apple and cinammon, then on to a plum cake type smell. Gingerbread faintly as well. A pleasure to smell.

The taste is a little hard for me to pin down. Sweet and fruity up front, raisins and plums, nice, not overdone. After passing half of the tongue, however, I find it goes downhill. The spice becomes somewhat cloying, and just a little unpleasant, lingering in the very back. Would be great if it wasn't for that very last flavour.

Mouthfeel is decent, reasonable carbonation and a little bit of body. Could be fuller, but it isn't watery.

This has great potential, just that one finishing touch that is unpleasant, makes this one less desirable to me.

 836 characters

Photo of sitbooboosit
3.18/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pours a dark amber red, but had almost ruby tones when view by the light. an aggressive pour developed very little head that didn't linger long.
smells of sweet malts and spices, mainly cinnamon. almost like a christmas cake or figgy pudding.
tastes of christmas spices; cinnamon is dominate. lots of residual sweetness, carmel flavours. finishes with a slight bite of hops and definitely some herbal bitterness.
too much carbonation; everything is tingling, I can't get a clean taste from it.
mouthfeel is very smooth.
not so sure this would make it on the desert island list. i think with a bit of work though it could turn out nicely.
would like to try it again after reading the first two reviews from early in the christmas season, but hardly think that the bottle i had fit the first two descriptions. maybe next year.

 830 characters

Photo of IronDjinn
3.23/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up in the Tree holiday 4-pack of 650 ml bottles, which also came with 2 bottles of their Spy Porter. And chocolates...

Pours out a deep rustic copper, aw heck, that's chestnut already, a well carbonated transparent chestnut. Thick spongy head that retains well.

The aroma is, well, basically a lot of cinnamon with a bit of nutmeg. Some neutral malt comes through in the background, but it's pretty much the spice most of the way.

The flavour is also predominantly cinnamon, with a touch of nutmeg. Some chewy malt in there as well, in fact the mouthfeel is great, nice and full, just the flavour seems pretty one-dimensional.

There's nothing much really exciting here folks, yet for what it is its still a pretty enjoyable quaff. Not challenging but not bad either. A good stepping stone to get folks to try spiced ales

 845 characters

Photo of Voonder
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep brown reddish colour with a small head. Smell - cinnamon, nuts, ginger bread and malts. Taste is pretty much the same - sinnamon, pretty bready, malts show up even more. Pretty smooth, very balanced, goes down well. Good brew, spiced just right, perfect for the winter. I think I'll be getting more of this.

 318 characters

Photo of Derek
3.44/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My expectation was that this would be more of a winter-warmer... but it should really be approached like a mulled apple cider!

A: Redish-orange/copper, a little murky, hardly any head.

S: Tartness dominates, spicey, slightly fruity, with a little alcohol in the nose.

T: Fruity, spicy, a little bready malt, tangy aftertaste.

M: Light body, moderate to hight carbonation. Feels a little prickly.

D: Better than average.

 434 characters

Photo of bludtek
3.81/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The appearance of this beer was a slightly hazy light brown with copper and reddish hues. A few large flecks of yeast were present. A weak film of offwhite head hugged the surface until I took my first sip.

The smell was entirely of spice like pumpkin pie, most notable was nutmeg and clove. Malt was quite faint, almost no hops, and just a wee bit of ethanol.

Tasty spice, (nutmeg, pepper, allspice, cloves and cardamom) was the initial flavour. Nice dark malt followed that tasted like raw gingerbread dough. A slight bitterness of aromatic hops, pepper, and yeast finished things off.

I like the spicy yet smooth mouthfeel. Little carbonation provided just enough pizzazz to balance the sweetness, spice and alcohol.

This is a pleasant and drinkable spiced ale. This reminds me of a pumpkin ale, which in general I find to be a bit much, however this is a great alternative.

 881 characters

Photo of harpus
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%

Photo of pootz
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber from Mark via CanBIF- 2006 release

A brisk pour puts a deep red-cola hued ale in the glass with a massive creamy off white cap that lasts and laces well...thick stick malts in this one.

Aroma is the point of a winter ale and this one delivers: Cinnamon, grassy hops, nutmeg, pumpkin pie, sweet malts, a bit of fresh chopped walnut.

Full bodied, malty-spicey characterm rich creamy mouth feel.

Profile: Up front rich pudding dough malt mixture so thick you chew trough it... mingles with the ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg..reminds me of liquid pumpkin pie filling....mid palate mild complexity as the malts spices and hops create some interesting undercurrents like spiced walnuts, sweet cedar, ginger snaps, spiced orange peel....pleasing to allow a gulp some time on the palate....finish is long, wet and spicey, big cookie dough decernment then a spice-medicinal hop rush just at the end that really sets this rich beer off.

I love it!...it tastes like a malt-rich spiced bock....probably the best Xmas offering in Canada this year.

 1,051 characters

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

Thanks to my lovely wife for bringing this back from her trip to Vancouver. Auburn / chestnut colour, clear, mildy carbonated small bubbles. Tan head rose and shrunk to a flimsy, wispy surface cover with minor lacing and ring. Smell was spicy: vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon ... very pumpkin ale-ish. The taste was similarly spiced but understated; alcohol was well hidden. Smooth texture and mouthfeel, nice balance, refreshing but with the warmth associated with a winter beer. The carbonation, although slow, was persistent and lasted a long time. Overall I found this beer enticing without being intimidating, spices distinct but never overpowering, just enough bitterness to make it all work very well ... nicely done.

 718 characters

Photo of Shadman
3.43/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Seeing as all the reviews for said brew are fro winter 2006 and this is fall 2007, this may not be the freshest of samples. But then again this is Medicine Hat, Home of the Coors Light Clameye revolution, so we'll take what we can get.

Decent opening appearance, a rich mahogany, clear, with a sticky looking tan head that faded after a bit. Gobs of sticky lacing.

Aroma is very sweet, raisin/cinnamon.

Spicy taste is upfront, but then afterall this is a spiced/herb beer. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and a touch of walnut compimnet the sweet, cookie dough-like malt. There's some hop hidden in there as well, but it's muted. The aftertaste is very much like an over-spiced pumpkin pie.

Very full, almost chewy mouthfeel. Almost too sweet and sticky for my tastes.

Interesting brew, full of interesting flavours. A bit too sweet, sticky for me, but I might be tempted to try another one (keyword one) now and again.

 912 characters

Photo of Hornet2003
4.34/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearance: Hazelnut brown colour with a little bit of head off the pour. The head settles right down after about a minute leaving about an 1/8 inch at the top.

Smell: I LOVE the smell of this beer. It has aromas of christmas cake. Spicy and sweet notes that mix and intermingle perfectly. There is a bit of clove, nutmeg, allspice and chocolate.

Taste: Medium-dry. Not sweet, but not overly bitter, either. Good malty character and a slight hint of hops. The taste is also dominated by spice and warming winter flavours.

Mouthfeel: A little less carbonation than I would have liked. The beer is not flat by any means, but it doesn't really prick your tongue like most beers.

Drinkability: Surprisingly, I could see myself drinking a couple bombers(that's all you can buy it in here) in a night. The strength is moderate at 6.5% so you won't get annihilated as you enjoy it.

Overall: Delicious winter beer that I would go out of my way to seek out. Tree scores another winner with this one.

 1,005 characters

Photo of canucklehead
3.73/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was an old seasonal that hasn't seen light of day for many years. The beer is a pretty tawny brown shade with slightly spiced nose. The taste is plummy with good malt backbone. The spices are well used and not too overbearing. A very nice winter warmer.

 258 characters

Photo of biegaman
4.3/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vibrant and juicy blood orange colouring, complete with pigments of red, amber, and a touch of crimson. The mix of colour is brazen, vivid, and dynamic. The beer stands, even away from the light, with a very flashy complexion. The head provoked from the pour was stout and sturdy, but it has all but vanished now. Riddance, the beer is still quite ornate even without it.

There's three words we'll have to get use to saying because they will come up again and again throughout the review: nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. Whether it's pumpkin pie or Christmas pudding or mulled mead this is ambrosial and packed (almost overwhelmingly) full of spicy, savory notes. If scent is any indication, this should pair great with traditional holiday dishes.

I think the fact that this shares flavours with some of the most distinct tastes of the holidays makes this a great Yuletide drink even on its own. As remarked, there is an abundance of ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon spices. This conjures to mind trays and trays of cookies, breads, and baked sweets. The spices were used liberally, but not carelessly.

This taste actually shares a strong resemblance to another Yuletide favourite drink: eggnog. Apart from sharing the spicing, this also has a slightly sweet, milky taste with flavours of whipped cream and vanilla. At the same time we can detect hints of lush berries and a very savory note that resembles a long steeped cranberry tea.

'Mid-Winter' is a term typically associated with the Winter Solstice, which is the event marking the longest night of the year. Quite appropriately, Tree Brewing's offering of that same name is not only something to look forward to for the darkest time of the year, it's definitely something you could enjoy for the entirety of it. Very well done!

 1,786 characters

Photo of BDTyre
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A yummy mid-winter ale sampled in late fall!

A nice smoky caramel colour with a decent, very slightly off-white head. Smells of raisins, plums...spicy, with a faint hint of mulled wine.

The taste is warm, spiced, almost liked a warm, mulled winter cider. Malty, plummy and tasty. Sweet and warming, but I could only have on or two of these.

Another great beer by Tree. The label is so similar to their porter, it really threw me at first.

 447 characters

Photo of bobsy
4.27/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle courtesy of BigBry, a great trader.

This Christmasy looking bottle releases a pleasant aroma as soon as its opened. The pour reveals a slightly hazy copper-brown body, with a small off-white head that leaves sparse lacing, but diminishes to an attractive Antartica shaped film.

The aroma is dominated by cinnamon and ginger. The first taste that hits the tongue is ginger, providing a warm tingle. It is rapidly followed by a sweet dose of cinnamon and nutmeg, providing a heavenly spice cookie feel. Some toffee also. The malts become more apparent in the complex warming finish where a drunk gingerbreadman has fallen into a blender. Pleasant, slightly chewy texture, with a refreshing carbonation that accents the heat of the ginger.

To me, this is a first-rate winter warmer, and somewhat of a template for the style. The spices are perfectly balanced, and wedded to a good base beer with strong malt character. The heat of the ginger combines with the slightly higher than normal ABV to give a nice warming feel. You can't ask for much more.

 1,062 characters

Spiced Mid-Winter Ale from Tree Brewing
Beer rating: 3.76 out of 5 with 19 ratings