Carton Brewing Company

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Winter Warmer
Ranked #8
Ranked #6,622
4.05 | pDev: 9.14%
Carton Brewing Company
New Jersey, United States
Very Good
Notes: "Winter Warmer: 12% | IBU: 26 | SRM: 19

At his restaurant, Eleven Madison Park, Chef Daniel Humm makes an extraordinary five spice roast duck. The genesis of Decoy is our notion that those spices would affectionate the fig notes of a Belgian Strong malt bill in the direction of a winter warmer. Cumin, coriander, lavender flowers, Sichuan red peppercorns and honey are added to Special B malts and Belgian candi sugars, with American ale yeast chosen because its esters enhance rather than dominate as would a Belgian. A strong, gently-spiced ale, Decoy is intended to sit next to or in place of a fire during the bracing cold of winter. Drink Decoy because life and spice…
Reviews: 17 | Ratings: 121 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of larryi86
4.21/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thank you y2kawakami for this
12 oz can poured into a teku

A- Brown with a small tan head.

S- Dark fruits, figs, lavender, some honey, a little herbal, nice mild pepper spice.

T- Figs, dark fruits, cherries, lavender, touch of honey, nice mix of cumin and peppercorn spice.

M- Smooth, medium to full body.

O- An interesting beer, does a nice job of fitting the description even though it seems to break from a traditional Winter Warmer as far as style description goes.

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larryi86 from Delaware, Apr 20, 2020
Photo of FriedSlug
4.21/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Sweet, Belgian style beer with unusual spices. Coriander, cumin, lavender and a little Sichuan red peppercorns make for a damn tasty beer. Tastes like a quad but with a little flowery notes and a touch of heat. Quite a good beer.

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FriedSlug from North Carolina, Mar 18, 2020
Photo of Antg8989
4.46/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Honestly, one of the only examples I've had at this style that isn't completely over the top. Tastes like a Belgian, but goes down much easier. The spice level is appropriate and makes sense the the 12% ABV.

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Antg8989 from New Jersey, Dec 31, 2018
Photo of MacMalt
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Canned 12/12/2017 and poured into Carton teku glass. It pours an apricot color with ruby hues, resembling a barleywine, with a half finger of light khaki head and lacing. It has quite an aroma: sweet malt, cherry, tobacco smoke, coriander, and pepper. This has to be one of the most unusual tasting beers I've had. Its dark cherry and fig, coriander, and clove remind me of a Belgian Strong Ale but there is also an smoky-earthiness and a strong pepper that give it a unique flavor. While it appears a first sip to be almost cloyingly sweet, the sweetness is quickly eclipsed by the spice and pepper. The flavors blend nicely and the beer "works." It has a fairly creamy, viscous mouth feel with moderate carbonation. It's not overtly boozy but you can feel the 12% ABV; it's definitely a sipper. Overall, this is an adventuresome and satisfying beer that's vintage Carton. I'm not a big fan of the Winter Warmer style but Decoy is very good!

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MacMalt from New Jersey, Dec 31, 2017
Photo of Claude-Irishman
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Well this is interesting. Pours an apricot orange with a slight off white head. Smells like a roasted duck with so much going on it is spicy,sweet, juicy. Tastes smooth and well balanced. Feels smooth and finishes semi dry. Overall I am really impressed. Without some serious brewing skill this could have been bad. Carton is in my opinion is one of the best brewers.Revision: 2 years later and still delicious, Oddly now it is a reddish/cola color vs 2 years ago I wrote apricot/orange. Big color difference. Still delicious.

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Claude-Irishman from New Jersey, Dec 26, 2017
Photo of SammyJaxxxx
4.31/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz can

A: Deep rich brown with orange hues. A fingers worth of beige head that leaves plenty of lacing
S: Sweet malts peppercorn some corriander
T: Sweet malts with a little bit of
Heat from peppercorns a hint of smoke.
MF: Sweet smooth and boozy.
O: there is a lot going on with this beer and in the hands of a lesser brewer, this beer could be a mess. Somehow Augie carton makes this into a tremendous beer.

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SammyJaxxxx from New Jersey, Jan 24, 2016
Photo of orcrist_cleaver
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Russet in color with some shades of chestnut. Very fine head and just a trace of lacing. Nose is a potpourri that reminds me of Asian bbq, but one brought by Santa. Spicy peppercorn, hoisin type of sweetness mixed with orange. Lavender and coriander plus some belgian sweetness makes this an international beer. Taste is grounded around plum, fig and raisin. Then you get hit by some cumin and intense lavender perfume along with fresh pepper. Not much warmth from the pepper. Slight warmth from alcohol that leaves mouth a little dry.

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Photo of Jason
4.09/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz can, sample from the brewery.

Dark reddish brown hue shows some clarity, tiny bubbled lacing stays around for a while. Spicy peppery nose, lavender and the Sichuan peppercorns are most noticeable though the cumin and coriander do make appearances. Very aromatic. Lots of malt with dark sugar overtones, all comes into balance which can't be an easy task. Carton does not cease to amaze.

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Jason from Massachusetts, Jan 18, 2016
Photo of FickleBeast
3.79/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12 oz can poured into a Savor snifter. Purchased at brewery yesterday.

Pours a murky brown color with a finger of effervescent foam that dissipates pretty quickly. Aroma is heavy on the holiday spices, coriander, and some fruity esters.

First sip is a cacophony of different flavors... spicy pepper, sweet plum, honey, maraschino cherry, with a fair amount of alcohol burn on the finish. Solid malt backbone and thick bodied, but the heat from the 12% ABV lingers with you. Spice profile is interesting, but not something I feel myself craving.

Still a little raw for my tastes - I'm going to let my other 3 cans age for a few months to see if they mellow out a bit.

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FickleBeast from New Jersey, Jan 17, 2016
Photo of Act25
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

As always, we believe our own (Carton in my home town), our water, our terroire is best. You gotta love where you live. And I do love Carton beer.

A – Blackish brown color, head retention was not so much, a khaki tan. Spotty, sticky lacing.

S - Sweet, honey, mead, dark cherry, a bit of coffee and orange. Liqueur like.

T – Wow! Lots of flavour pours forth and yes it will accompany winter roasts and succulent food well. Aromas of sweet raisin, wood, resin, dark fruit, orange, dense. A tapestry. Not much hop, or alcohol in the taste. Very meditative.

M – Rich, full body with light carbonation. Nicely drying at the finish.

D - Sweet last beer of the night, or with rich foods, and very drinkable. Needs a tulip or a snifter. Bold and great. Memorable. Save for an occasion.

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Act25 from New Jersey, Jan 03, 2016
Photo of dank203
3.8/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

pours dark into large wine glass. khaki head, about a finger. some large bubbles from pour. aromas are sweet dark cherry, alcohol, liqueur, hint of coacoa. flavor sends some hops out, with huge but balanced malt body. a little hint of medicinal alcohol but not enough to be noticeable

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dank203 from New Jersey, Dec 31, 2015
Photo of IvoryFoxhole
4.02/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz can purchased at brewery 12/26, poured into Belgian ale glass

L: Pour is pretty uneventful; 1-finger head with no retention, leaves a tiny ring. Beer is a medium to dark brown, very cloudy.

S: Malt, a bit of honey and coriander predominate. Not picking up alcohol, which is impressive.

T: I let it warm up in hope the flavors would develop and differentiate, but they don't much. Mostly the malt and honey, a tiny bit of spice in cumin and coriander. Little to no sweet/hot by the honey and peppers, which I was hoping for. Heat provided by alcohol instead.

F: Light to medium bodied. Maybe a bit more watery than I would have expected. Moderate carbonation. A small amount of alcohol burn.

O: I want to love it. I also want a solid gold toilet but that's not in the cards. I think a fuller body and more distinct flavors would help.

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IvoryFoxhole from Virginia, Dec 30, 2015
Photo of HopBomb515
4.11/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep ruby tinged brown with a small light tan head that fades leaving spotty lace. Notes of fig, burnt sugar, cumin, floral, and holiday spice. Medium feel, alcohol well hidden, moderate carbonation and a clean finish that dries out slightly. Nice winter beer, good drinkability but flavors that beg to be sipped.

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HopBomb515 from New Jersey, Dec 27, 2015
Photo of leantom
3.92/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the brewery. Here goes:

A: Dark but clear brown. Pours a good head but only leaves mediocre lacing. Good overall, though.

S: Lots of caramel and brown sugar. Very sweet-smelling. Pretty one-dimensional, but I'm not complaining.

T: Alright. Follows the nose pretty consistently. Very sweet brown sugar and some cinnamon. No hops. Some honey and spice as well.

F: Very thick for the style. Good, though.

O: A good beer. Wouldn't go out of my way for it, but it's alright.

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leantom from Indiana, Dec 26, 2015
Photo of q33jeff
3.73/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.75

JAN 11, 2014
Aroma Is Carrot, cinnamon,pepper, spice, . Dark brown pour. Taste is bittersweet....caramel, raisin, Apple. Spicy and warm. ..on tap at Blend.

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q33jeff from New Jersey, Nov 28, 2015
Photo of Tony210
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark reddish amber, minimal head. Strong alcohol aroma, lots of clove, anise, allspice, similar to a pumpkin beer minus the pumpkin. Total Christmas beer. Flavor is heavy pie spice, like the aroma. Maltese with loads of brown sugar and molasses. Medium bodied, pretty syrupy, quite sweet. Overall a great Christmas inspired beer that I enjoy buying annually.

12 oz can dated 12/2017
4.25 rating

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Tony210 from New Jersey, Mar 26, 2013
Photo of KenC
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Hand pump to a snifter @ High Street Grill (Mt. Holly, NJ)

A – Dark brown, almost black in color, a tint of red when held to the light. Head retention was nonexistent, but I suspect this brew has a high ABV. The wee head poured a deep tan. The lacing was spotty and remained long after the liquid was gone.

S - Sweet, dark cherry hit first, than coffee and some citrus (grapefruit?). A slight alcohol aroma that was not overpowering.

T – More of sweet raisin, grapefruit. Never a hop, and the alcohol smell never came through in the taste. Very pleasant.

M – A full body with light carbonation. Mildly dry at the finish.

D - Very drinkable. I was glad it was served in a snifter or I would have never seen dinner! Try some if opportunity presents. Good job Carton.

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KenC from New Jersey, Jan 22, 2013
Decoy from Carton Brewing Company
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 121 ratings