Michelob Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale | Anheuser-Busch

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Michelob Winter's Bourbon Cask AleMichelob Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale

Brewed by:
Missouri, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
During even the coldest of weather, warm up to the smooth, robust taste of our Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale. Full of rich aromas that you find in the winter months, hints of vanilla and flavorful hops, this is a beer that is great for pouring into a large tulip glass and enjoying with friends around a fireplace.

17 IBU

Added by JISurfer on 12-15-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 457 | Ratings: 573
Photo of Sammy
3.2/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Once I know its a soda pop replacement, I can evaluate what I am drinking which is cream soda and root beer blend. To that end, this sweet and slightly off beverage makes sense. Corn and sugar sweetness. Way too vanilly syrup. Other than that, you can drink it. Medium mouthfeel.

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Photo of GRG1313
2.15/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

2009 release; Pours a dark copper red with a nice tan head that quickly fades.

Nose is of vanilla orange candy with undertones of sweet whiskey-not unpleasant but subtle.

Mouthfeel is thin, watery and without much character.

Flavors are very thin and weak. Hints of malt, hints of oranges, hints of roasted grain and a slight bit of whiskey - all very mild and watered. Flavors go to a "bad meat taste" as it stays in the glass.

Finish is a light yeast. No real reason to drink this; a bit like flavored water.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.53/5  rDev +23.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours out as a really nice brownish red color. The head is thin, and cream color. The aromas have a very faint aroma of bourbon, vanilla and winter spices. The flavors are fairly rich in the beer. I'm pretty surprised with this release, This beer is probably one of Anheuser-Busch's best. The mouthfeel on this beer is smooth too. I wouldn't drink this a whole lot, but if nothing else was around at the time I'd ask for one or two.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.2/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Another discreet AB 'microbrew'... not too bad though.

I see a lot of people say the vanilla is overkill.. I'm not sure if it's the cold I'm getting over or a bad beer but I don't taste much vanilla at all. It is a very nice looking beer that is smooth and goes down easy. Pretty standard for a winter type beer although it could be a bit bolder flavor and ABV wise. While nothing is spectacular about, it was a nice beer to have after a long day of work.

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Photo of BEERchitect
2.82/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Fresh off the tap, the beer looks as I remembered it last year. Shows initial promise with an off-white head that retained for a short while. Lowly carbonated and slight lacing. Smells very vanilla / caramel-like. A mild Brown Ale aroma and lactose souring follows up. I taste the same Brown Ale with the emphasis on the vanilla and caramel, but the beer quickly fades into something much weaker and astringent. Feels full up front but quickly waters, revealing a grainy, artificial sweetner flavor. Nice stuff up front, but really wears on you as you finish the glass.

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Photo of largadeer
2.03/5  rDev -29%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Clear reddish amber with a thin wispy head, not much retention of said head either.

Smell: Some caramel and vanilla, maybe something that vaguely resembles bourbon? Surprisingly simple.

Taste & mouthfeel: Sweet but thin; caramel and vanilla are prevalent, but there's an odd cola-like flavor that puts me off. Mouthfeel is watery, quite a feat for a supposed bourbon barrel aged beer of 6% ABV; pretty sure I've had English milds with heftier bodies. The finish is clean but sweet, leaving a lingering caramel flavor on the tongue. I don't get a lot of bourbon from this one, and besides that the base beer seems entirely too thin.

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Photo of zeff80
2.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottled on 10/31/07
A - Poured out a reddish orange color with a tan, foamy, two-finger head. It left small traces of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of vanilla. There was also an oaky aroma.

T - It tasted of some vanilla and malt. It was a bitter taste that didn't quite work.

M - It was crisp and smooth. A light to medium-bodied beer.

D - This is an okay winter warmer. Not a bad attempt by A-B.

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a moderate chestnut brown with an off white head. Smells of excess spice and the tiniest bit of bourbon. Taste brings forward a lot of spice with some backing sweetness and hints of caramel and sugar. Mouthfeel is medium and overly spiced. Drinks not nearly as poorly as I thought it would, but is still undesirable.

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Photo of mothman
2.7/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Had this on tap at the Old Chicago

Served in a 25 oz mug.

Serves with 1/2 finger of light tan head. Fades to a thin layer. No lace noted. Color was a clear copper bronze.

Aroma: Sweet notes of caramel and vanilla. Not getting the bourbon here that I expected. Not to much going on here.

Taste: I get way to much alcohol here. This beer is extremely hot for an abv of 6%. Not what I was expecting. Has some caramel malts and vanilla notes.

Mouthfeel: Hot and a little smooth, but crisp. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends with dry/hot aftertaste. Not enjoying this.

Overall, I made it through the mug, but I really didn't enjoy it at all. This beer is full of false hope. I really doubt that they aged this in bourbon barrels, because it doesn't taste anything like others I have had. I won't be having this again.

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Photo of oberon
3.03/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

My wife grabbed this out of my father in laws beer fridge thinking this was some new cutting edge brew...man i love my wife.Poured into standard pint glass a clear bronze color with a thin wispy quick to go head,faint aromas of vanilla extract and orange very faint.Honestly the flavors are not all that bad but the very thin body takes away from the flavors,mildly sweet with some vanilla tones and a hint of wood the vanilla is nice and not as clying as expected slightly grainy as well.I wouldnt get again but not as bad I guess as I thought it might be,still bad.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.7/5  rDev +29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The first time I had this beer I felt it was lacking in flavor and body. I thought that the vanilla overwhelmed whatever malt was there, and that the oak was just a sidekick to the vanilla. And to be honest, I think I would still like to see it a bit fuller. However, simply based on the beer before me - for what it is - I've come to enjoy it quite a bit.

It has a beautiful appearance... a crystal clear copper-nut brown body teems with life as tiny bubbles rise to the surface, adding to the creamy, just slightly off-white head.

The nose is rich and inviting, and once you get past the vanilla, there is some bourbon that's quite nice. There are, however, no fruity esters that would commonly be associated with an "ale". It's very clean in that respect.

The vanilla initially overpowers in the flavor as well as the nose, but quickly steps aside to make way for a thin, cereal-like and toffe-ish maltiness that's just as quickly passed by with oak and subtle bourbon. The bitterness is limited, and the dryness of the oak balances it really well. It's light in flavor, just mildly malty (and not hoppy) but the gentle, slightly caramelish flavor is just enough to act as a springboard for the vanilla, oak, and bourbon flavors.

As a "winter" beer I'm not sure it really fits the season, but I will certainly enjoy a few of these during Thanksgiving festivities! Nice, easy to drink, interesting, enjoyable.

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Photo of chinchill
2.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

served in pint glass

Pours a clear light mahogany color with almost no head despite an easily visible moderate carbonation.

A Pyramid Snow Cap winter ale I rated yesterday serves as a good point of comparison for this beer. The Pyramid was superior in virtually every respect. The Michelob product here has a qualitatively inferior spice mixture added to it, and the level of spicing is too high, serving to mask whatever malt and hops (and rice?) are in the brew. There's a strong vanilla component that tastes a bit artificial despite listing Madagascar vanilla beans on the label -- perhaps it the intrusion of some off-flavor. I should admit I'm not a fan of bourbon nor, usually, of the effect of cask conditioning ales using bourbon barrels. In any case, there is a bit of metallic off-taste in the finish. Mouthfeel is OK, but a bit watery for the style.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.2/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap 12/31/06 at The Celtic Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a bright orangey-red color, with a medium-sized off-white head that fades at a decent rate and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is strong and malty with caramel & vanilla.

T: The taste is loaded with a strong vanilla flavor and caramelized malt. After-taste is very sweet. The beer tastes exactly like cream soda to me. I guess AB thinks that making a beer not taste like beer is the only way the masses will drink something other than the swill that they normally produce.

M: Smooth with a little crispness, medium body, medium carbonation, slightly sticky finish from the sweetness.

D: Unexpectedly tasty, goes down easy, just a little bit filling. I can see how a regular macro drinker might like this as a change of pace, but I found it to be too sweet and I not a big fan of cream soda.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.12/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 ounce bottle - $1.79 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a spotlessly clear, dark mahogany-hued body with a medium-small, bone white head.

Smell: Sweet-scented aroma smelling of toasty, toffeeish malts, heavy-handed vanilla extract, and a few discard sweet cherries dunked in garden variety bourbon.

Taste: The malts, while not particularly bold or complex, do yield touches of toasted nuts and toffee with a vanilla taste which reminds me of freeze-dried ice cream. A fairly sweet beer throughout. Underlying cherry-like fruitiness. No discernible hop character and bitterness. Slight woody, earthy tones accompanied by a faint astringency. Lingering taste of vanilla extract beyond the sweetish finish that hangs on the tongue like a bad piece of vanilla-flavored candy.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: While easy to drink, it's not particularly enjoyable to. While a bourbon barrel-aged, vanilla-infused brown ale sounds like a great winner of an idea, the execution was, well, less than even hoped for.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.18/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Burnt orange with a meager infusion of brick red. The two finger cap is the color of orange caramel mousse and is just about as whipped creamy. It lasts a while, but doesn't look great as it deflates. A thin, soapy collar is the extent of the glass coverage.

Given the ingredients, I expected more from the nose in terms of power and character. All I get are faint impressions of sweet vanilla and caramel. I thought I smelled bourbon with my first sniff, but now I'm not so sure. This may be the least bourbon-like bourbon barrel beer in history. Maybe it'll make a comback on the palate.

Because of the way the first beer in this series tastes (Jack's Pumpkin Spice Ale), I thought Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale would be decent. I was mistaken. This is a pathetic attempt at a bourbon beer and is a lousy winter warmer to boot. I don't care what fancy schmancy stuff is added, no beer has a chance if it's as undermalted as this one is.

Dark roasted caramel malts sure sounds good. It's too bad that only half as much was used as is needed. The body is barely sufficient for a helles lager, much less a winter warmer. Aiming for the Bud Light crowd in that regard probably wasn't such a wonderful idea. The brewery actually uses 'full-bodied' in the promotional literature. Uh... no.

For more fancy marketing speak, how does whole Madagascar vanilla beans grab you? I wouldn't care so much what words they use if it didn't taste like vanilla extract was added. Synthetic vanillin, not the real thing. I can't even bring myself to compare WBCA to bourbon whiskey in any way, shape or form. I love and respect bourbon too much.

Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale sounds good on paper, but something went horribly awry in the execution. Speaking of execution, I hope they put this one out of its misery. I have a hard time believing those who say that A-B has some of the most talented brewers on Earth. Brewers who could create absolutely killer beer if they wanted to. This was a perfect opportunity to prove it and they didn't even come close.

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Photo of russpowell
3.38/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours amber/caramel with 1 finger of offwhite head that drops off quickly. Zero lacing or head retention

S: Vanilla & caramel in copious quantities

T: Starts out with a lot of vanilla, then caramel up front. Dryness, toffee & a bit of biscuitty malt. Finishes very dry with a bit of brown sugar, & vanilla

Slight body & a bit too much carbonation, really detracts from the taste/experience

Drinks okay, this offering is better than last year's, but AB needs to quit screwing around & bulk up the malt bill. This beer screams more malts & hops, please! There are worse winter warmers out there. I could choke a few down if I was stuck in a BMC environment

Went well with my Italian sandwich at old Chicago

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Photo of mikesgroove
2.14/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

I figured what the hell right? Well it looked promising enough. Pored a very nice deep reddish brown, with no head and nice lacing. Smell was sickingly sweet..Like a candy apple dipped in sugar wrapped in cotton candy. No other real taste to it either. It was just too sweet. If they had toned down the sugar and hopped it a little, or hell just turned down the sugar. Will not go back to this one.

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Photo of Slatetank
2.73/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I picked this up at Quick Six West in York. Poured into a snifter and Nonic from the brown 12oz dated 3odeCo7 of 59.

A - The shade of bourbon, how apropos-sort of like a light maple syrup w/ a full two fingers of light cream head and an ultra fine bead. The lace is minimal and clings weakly.

M- Sweet on the tongue w/ medium light highly carbonated and nutty oak textures. Finishes crisp and on the clean side.

S - Light fruitiness w/ subtle vanilla, generally malty aroma.

T - Starts sweet w/ a whisper of nuttiness and a vanilla caramel like essence, subtle cherry-like sweetness w/ a dry caramel pilsner malt taste. There is a hint of adjunct (corn,rice?) in the flavor, the taste finishes w/ a bubblegum note w/ tinges of taffy.

D - A faint bourbon cask vanilla added to a light tasting ale - it is not really bad or good, more in the middle where it is hard to care one way or another-it is mediocre. Kind of like if jolly rancher made a bourbon beer candy.

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Photo of womencantsail
1.74/5  rDev -39.2%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

A: The pour is a clear copper color with almost no head--just a bit of off-white foam popping up as I pour the beer into the glass.

S: Quite the aroma we have here. Lots of metal/iron is noticeable immediately. I also get cough syrup and maraschino cherries along with some fake vanilla flavor. Seems to be some bug spray and tomato vines, too.

T: Just as delicious as it smells. Plenty of metallic tinge, fake vanilla, cough syrup, vegetables, and a strong bitterness. There is a slight bread flavor, which was sort of surprising, I must say.

M: The body is thin and slightly watery with a low to moderate carbonation.

D: Overall quite bad. Not the worst beer I've ever had, but certainly near the bottom rung.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
2.73/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Amber body caramel off white head leaves decent lacing down my glass. Aroma: Light bourbon character touch of hops and caramel malt with a lingering vanilla oak tone. Taste: Clean vanilla oak low caramel malt sweetness touch of whiskey barrel aging present mild hop character a bit of an herbal tone going on. Mouthfeel: Lighter to medium body mild carbonation nothing extraordinary. Drinkability: SMooth pretty effortless and unchallenging to the senses for AB not bad shows an inkling of promise and I did dig the Snowman tap handle.

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Photo of Billolick
2.4/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Embarrassed to admit that I didn’t realize what I actually was buying as I filled a growler of this stuff. The tap label said “Ft. Collins brewery” anyway I was later informed that I was the proud owner of A.B. fake good beer…….oh well ….caveat emptor…..pours clear medium amber, typical off white head, and light lacing. Vanilla carries the freight on this one, all over the nose and on the flavor palate. Sweet, thin and not all that pleasant. Tastes like watered down, semi flat, cherry, vanilla soda pop……pass it by, don’t be fooled like I was. Phony, craft beer is bogus

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Photo of jwc215
3.03/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. twist-off capped bottle, "born on" 19 Oct. 07:

Pours a bright, clear copperish orange with a thin head that settles to a lasting patch. Minimal lacing sticks to glass.

The smell is very mild - vanilla bean with caramel graininess.

The taste is candyish sweetness with vanilla bean. Malty. Very slight hint of alcohol in finish.

Light in character for a winter warmer, though does (barely) hit medium-bodied.

It's a stab at something different from A-B. Vanilla dominates, sweet. Not much depth or complexity to it.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.57/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The tap handle reads "Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale", though I don't know who "Winter" is...

Caramel brown body, with a thickish, though short-lived head.

Nose is sweet, caramel, mixed with vanilla, a bit of bourbon, but vanilla is king, here.

Taste is short and sweet, slick wih the caramel and toffee, a hint of the vanilla and honey, but then it's off the palate until next sip... Very light in the finish, medium at best in the body....

Had at the Nomad World Pub, tonight...the manager, and the bartender, were both apologetic about this selection. Not a beer I would order with any confidence, or enjoy with any thoroughness...not bad, mind you, but...eh...at least they're trying...

It was what it was, and ...sigh, ...that's all what it was...

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Photo of GClarkage
3.55/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

11/22/08- Received as a gift from visiting friends.

Presentation- 12oz bottle, 2008 release. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Mid range brown colored pour. Medium 1/2 inch head. Leaves light lace markings.

Smell- Very deep malt notes. Light oaky scent with a touch of vanilla.

Taste- Just a very small dose of macro grain-corn-whatever in the aftertaste. Farily sweet from the malt with a nice added touch of some oaky wood notes and a dash of vanilla...maybe even a soft note of butterscotch.

Mouthfeel- Smooth with a medium to lower carbonation level. Seems fairly full for a mouthfeel despite it's lower abv.

Drinkability- Not bad at all. I've had plenty of winter brews that have been worse than this. Good job AB!

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Photo of Gavage
3.03/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

While at my local bar I noticed they replaced the Jack's Pumpkin Ale taphandle with some snowman holding a beer taphandle. I asked the bartender what that was and he stated it was Winter Bourbon Cask Ale and he didn't knew who brewed it.

Appearance: the pint glass was room temperature, and it looked dark copper in color with a thin 1/2" slightly off-white head. The head disappated quickly to a spotty surface foam. No lacing.

Smell: the aroma came off as sweet, as caramel and vanilla dominated.

Taste: the flavor followed the nose, as the caramel and vanilla tones are way up front, with some soft bitterness and hints of bourbon in the background. Overall the flavor is slightly sweeter than expected.

Mouthfeel: This is a light-medium bodied brew, with a somewhat thinner mouthfeel. Mildly crisp at the start. The finish lingers with the vanilla tones.

Drinkability: In the category of a winter warmer, I found this to be average but slightly unique. Personnaly I like my winter warmers to have a little more maltiness in mouthfeel.

As a side note, the bartender gave of a few of the Miller Lite and Stella drinkers a sample of this brew since it was just tapped, and overall it created some interesting debate on flavor components, but it also didn't make anyone cringe or rave about it either.

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Michelob Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale from Anheuser-Busch
2.86 out of 5 based on 573 ratings.
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