Michelob Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale | Anheuser-Busch

Michelob Winter's Bourbon Cask AleMichelob Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale
Liked This Beer
2.87 w/ 573 ratings
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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Ratings: 573 |  Reviews: 457
Photo of Byeast
3.2/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: poured a deep reddish brown , with a small head that dissipated to a ring of foam.

Smell: vanilla , a bit of an edge of candied sweetness , and just a touch of bourbon character.

Taste: A definate vanilla sweetness runs throughout , the malt is also a bit sweet , combined this reminds me of vanilla coke a bit , or cream soda. The bourbon flavor does show itself in a brief flash before the finish , which is mildly sweet with a hint of oak.

Mouthfeel: average , with a slightly dry finish.

Drinkability: Saw this brew and figured id give it a try. It was an ineresting beer and not too bad. My only complaints would be that some of the flavors seem just a bit artificial at times , and the vanilla is over the top.

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Photo of goochpunch
2.48/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a reddish amber with a huge hazelnut colored head that settles out to a thin layer and leaves some scattered lacing. The nose is lots of vanilla and oak with some toasted malt and vague hints of hop. Smells a bit thin overall. Tastes like cream soda. Way to much vanilla in this. Hard to pick out any nuances of malt, hop and oak at first, but as the vanilla fades, I can get a few woody notes, along with toasted malts and faint herbal hops. Too sweet and over the top with vanilla. Mouthfeel is way too thin. Not too crazy about drinking this.

This would've been way better off without the vanilla beans and letting the vanilla nuances of the bourbon soaked oak shine through.

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Photo of BEERchitect
2.82/5  rDev -1.7%
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 leedorham
3.36/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up in a sixer at Wal-Marche. Looked intriguing. Comparably priced to the other mainstream crafts like Red Hook and Deschutes.

Pours a dark reddish amber with a cream colored head. Not much aroma to speak of although does have a bit of Coca-Cola smell to it. Nothing unpleasant.

The taste is sweet and malty with a caramel dominance. Warm all the way to the belly with an acidic finish in the mouth. A bit watery for my liking and although it has a fair amount of bitter character there is little hop flavor. It tastes a bit like a weak whisky and Coke. I must say I enjoyed it though. I will probably buy another six of these before it goes away for the season.

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Photo of OStrungT
2.54/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a reddish brown color with a light tan head. The head fades slowly, leaving a slight lacing. Lots of tiny carbonation bubbles slowly rise from the bottom of the glass.

This beer has a slightly spicy aroma. It also, however, has that cabbage liek aroma that comes with just about anything I have had made by these guys. I guess they dont clean the fermenters very well or something. A slight vanilla aroma is also present

This beer tastes sweet. It tastes like a candy I have had before, but I cant put my finger on which one. It dosent taste much like a winter warmer. You know what, I kind of taste cream soda. My wife agrees, cream soda. Maybe a little vanilla flavor also.

This beer is a little over carbonated. It leaves a cream soda like aftertaste.

This beer is not session beer material. It is too sweet.

Overall: If I want cream soda, I will buy it. The bottle says it is a barrel aged beer with vanilla. I doubt any barrels were used in the making of this beer. Thanks KingG for giving me the chance to try this one. Keep trying Anheuser-Busch.

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Photo of Bitterbill
2.33/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from 12oz bottle a clear ruby red with a medium sized head of foam that shrunk fairly slowly leaving a solid layer.

The smell is on the light side but I can definitely sense some vanilla notes.

The taste up front is pretty huge on vanilla and after a few more sips, I don't notice any other flavours moving in. Pretty one dimensional judging from this one bottle I've consumed. Maybe another bottle closer to room temp will change my opinion. Also.. there is a bit of harshness on the tongue that I'm noticing at the finish which is knocking down the drinkability factor. Not good.

Bottom line: I was hoping for something reasonably respectable from this brew and I didn't get it. I'll not buy this again.

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Photo of andythejerk
3.59/5  rDev +25.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Okay, let's giver 'er a go. No expectations, no bias (hopefully).
Pours a nice head! Wowoweewa, we're off to a good start! Dense and foamy head, two fingers thick. But it is starting to recede quickly. Pretty color--I can't think of another beer that had quite this same orangey reddish amber color. Pretty, but also looks quite thin. Damned stouts, they've ruined me forever! The smell is really pretty impressive. It's not strong or overbearing, but it smells distinctly and unmistakably of vanilla and molasses. Pretty sweet and malty on the nose. Candied almonds? Yup, that's the memory that comes to mind.
Hey, it's not half bad! It's pretty good actually. I could drink these and enjoy these quite a bit. It finishes somewhat dry, but has a good, malty flavor to it. Not what I was expecting, but pretty good. Not mind-blowing, but good. Mouthfeel is still pretty thin and light--not the sludge that I love to trickle down my throat, but probably good for the general population. Definitely worth trying--this isn't a bad beer at all.

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Photo of billybob
2.03/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

pours dark amber red with minimal head and no lacing. smell is vanilla with maybe a hint of bourbon there. the sweet sugar vanilla taste over powers anything else this beer may have. mouthfeel reminded me of a cherry vanilla coke. is there a category for dessert beers because this would fit.

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Photo of ADR
3.51/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear reddish dark bronze appearance, attractive. Flat head of 1/4 of an inch and with decent duration. Simple horizontal ring laces. Not a lot of nose to this one, slight vanilla and a kid's wood blocks. Mouthfeel and carbonation are both about medium, good match for the beer. Flavor has some interesting characteristics, begins with a sweetned cherry impression, though a bit artificial. The vanilla begins to become obvious mid mouth to close, its not too cloying as the beer is not overly sweet, and it combines well with a late bitterness to give a decent ending. Unfortunately, the end is also a bit too watery, taking away from a satisfying finish.

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Photo of LarryV
3.95/5  rDev +37.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2006 Bottling.

Pours a lovely garnet color with a minimal head. Subtle hints of vanilla bean and bourbon waft from the glass. Taste is a mix of vanilla, toffee and then the bourbon peeks through in the finish. I think AB did a great job balancing the flavors in this beer. The mouthfeel is a bit thin, I'd like to see a bit more body, but I'm nitpicking. One thing I really like is that they didn't use synthetic vanilla flavoring, they used real Madagascar vanilla beans, and it tastes it. Pretty good beer and deserving of a better overall rating than the reviews reflect imho.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.7/5  rDev +28.9%
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 claytri
2.26/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The beer poured a nice copper with an off white head. The aroma was of vanilla and malt. The taste predominated with vanilla but did have abit of malt in the finish. The feel was slightly oily. This beer was ok, but more like a cream soda than a winter warmer or barley wine.

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Photo of BryanCarey
3.39/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Winter Bourbon Cask Ale pours to a copper color with a crystal clear body that releases aromas like oak, brown sugar, vanilla, and caramel. The head of foam on this beer looks promising at first but diminishes rapidly, just like it does with most Anheuser- Busch products.

Tasting this beer reveals some flavors that are evident in the aroma along with a few that are not. More than anything, the taste of vanilla dominates followed by the flavor of brown sugar, caramelized malt, toffee, and a woody taste. There is little in the way of hop taste, but it is there, lingering in the middle of the tongue following each sip. There is even a dash of chocolate hiding in there someplace, behind the taste of vanilla beans

Anheuser- Busch brews this beer using dark roasted caramel malts and Madagascar vanilla beans. The beer is aged in bourbon oak casks to produce its unique taste. It is more complex than most other A-B beers and it ranks among the better ones I have tried.

My chief complaint with this beer is the lack of much body. It is a little too light to be as delicious as it could otherwise be. But this is still a good, respectable effort from A-B and I hope the brewing giant continues to produce other beer products like it in the future.

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Photo of neonbrown82
3.35/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer came in a 12 oz. bottle with a generic white label reading "Sample Ale, Not for Sale." It is a promo bottle from a distributor that somebody brought to last night's tasting. I believe this is the '05 release.

The beer pours to a very clear light coppery amber color with a thin white sheet of head.

The smell is of vanilla extract with crappy vegetal lager aromas emmanating from beneath. It sure doesn't smell like an ale, but I suppose I'll have to take their word for it. It smells and tastes like Vanilla Bud (see: Vanilla Coke, etc). Maybe next year they'll come out with Cherry Vanilla Cream Bud. I can't wait to not try it.

Needless to say I am not impressed by this beer. I remember trying it last year before I knew that it was an A-B product, and I didn't like it any better. The vanilla is so overpowering that it seems like I could subsitute this beer for vanilla extract in a recipe. None too drinkable. Oh yeah... and no bourbon flavor. WTF?

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Photo of weeare138
3.53/5  rDev +23%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Ortino's Pizzeria...
Appears a transparent dark amber with a small off white head that fades into a mild cap. Solid streams of carbonation pump up to the top.
Smell is of light oak, toffee, caramel, nuts, and brown sugar.
Taste is of oak, very mild bourbon-esque vanilla, and a light smokey flavor.
Mouthfeel is chewy, sugary, toffee sweet up front with gently hopping that lingers on the middle of the tongue.

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Photo of rabsten
3.71/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Tidewater Grill in Charleston, WV.

Drawn into a 14oz food-service quality glass tumbler. The same style glass my father's iced tea came in. For an upscale restaurant, they don't know how to take care ot the beer. No head to speak of, red-amber color with mild carbonation. Virtually no aroma. The points on the appearance are for the color.

The taste was sweet, with vanilla and caramel flavors. You can tell the brew has had some contact with bourbon, because there's a mild, boilermaker quality to it. Very pleasant taste. It went well with my appetizer of jerked shrimp, so it can stand up, somewhat, to spicy foods.

Mouthfeel was a bit watery. The low carbonation means you can drink several before feeling its effects.

Bottom line: I didn't know this was an A-B product when I ordered it, and nothing about it would make you think "Factory beer." It seems like a craft brewer's first couple of efforts, before the brewmaster develops a personal style. Better than most macro products, but I enjoyed the Sam Adams I got next much more.

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Photo of nmyers
3.62/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I still can't believe this beer is an Anheuser-Busch product. The king of beers trip into hand-crafted beers is off to a fair start. Bourbon Cask Winter Ale is a good beer not a great one. This beer starts off with a little bit of a bitter taste, but with hints of vinalla this beer has a sweet side to it.

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Photo of harpo111
3.08/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

this one poured amber with a moderate head..not a lot of carbonation...but nice.
not too much aroma..a little vanilla..
taste was interesting. This one is supposed to be a bourbon cast ale....there is a definate bourbon like aftertaste...with a strong hint of vanilla and caramel....
drinkablity..depends on what you want this one for.
this beer is more of a relaxing desert beer...vanilla flavor is definately present...so it has some problems when it goes to mixing with food. but by itself it is not bad...
not a spectacular beer, but for an AB product, not that bad....just not the most food friendly brew on the market. would not mind it again...just not with food...it went OK with the wings i was eating...but there are better food beers.

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Photo of pweis909
2.53/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

There were only A-B products on tap at the bar and I was suspicous about Winter Bourbon Cask Ale. I asked the bartendeder who made it, and sure enough, it turned out to be another A-B product. But one that I never heard of. One that sounds like it dared to be different. How different?

Dark reddish brown. That's different for AB.
Smell and taste -- initially, there was something reminiscent of a bourbon barrel. Unsual taste is different for A-B. I appreciate the attempt, but the taste just isn't one that I think I would like with beer. I say "think" because nothing about this tasted like beer.

Had nice mouthfeel, esp. for A-B.

Three sips into it, I decided I would never order this again.

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Photo of Vancer
1.86/5  rDev -35.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

1/3/07 Cripe! AB just had to go and dumb this down. NOW, just loaded up with vanilla and sugar - a real vanilla cream soda.

AB could fuck up an iron ball, given the chance.

Welp, not gonna run this one down just because it’s an AB brew. Actually quite a refreshing change to drink a brew with some nice flavor. Nice oak/brown color, clear – with a smallish tan head. Hints of malt and spice in the aroma.

Unique taste; earthy, woody with undertones of chocolate. A strong backbone of vanilla and maple, not really any bourbon kick. On the sweet side, but enough hops to balance it out and make for a tangy and crisp mouthfeel. Hints of a cherry cough syrup is the only real drawback. But still very refreshing and drinkable. Pretty solid brew that would pair well with some BBQ’d chicken.

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Photo of Luigi
2.31/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Has a very clear deep amber color. The head starts of fairly large, then settles down to a small lace. The aroma is sweet. Vanilla and faint bourbon can be detected. As for the flavor it is about the same. I can taste no hops all all. The thin body of this beer taste just like smells. The word "ale" did not come to mind when I drank this beer. Next!!

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Photo of nickss
3.22/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appears highly carbonated... deep amber hue... smallish head, but thick and pretty looking... nice lacing.... certainly gives me hope for this one.

Absolutely no bourbon aroma sadly... my suspicions have been confirmed. Smells very Bud-ish, although a touch sweeter than their normal offerings.... disappointing.

Not a bad flavour... much more appealing than the smell. More spicey and wintery than bourbony, but the bourbon does show through a very miniscule amount as the brew warms with a rich sweetness... lots of malt in this one.

Moderately thick mouthfeel with solid, yet not overwhelming level of carbonation... nice.

Drinkable? Yes.... kinda boring though. Certainly better than any other Bud product I've ever come across.

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Photo of Kendo
2.13/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Got it on tap at BEFF's, a local watering hole, last night. At first I thought "Winter's" meant it was a 'Winter Warmer' - style of beer, then I thought it was the name of the brewery. Had no idea it was an A-B product, though in hindsight I should've realized. . . .

Color was fine -- coppery amber with a white head that disappeared before I even got to the glass. The smell was curious -- based on the description on the tap handle, I was expecting something different -- i.e., bourbony or oaky -- but what I got was just too sweet in scent and I couldn't place my finger on it. "OK," I thought, "oak barrels can impart all sorts of scents and flavors, let's see how it tastes." I still had an open mind. . . .

First sip and the surprise continued: caramel and vanilla flavors dominate, and there's no real balance between those flavors and the hops. The body is actually very light despite the cloyingly sweet vanilla that coats your mouth. After about half a pint, I considered leaving the rest but instead forced myself to finish it. It was not an easy exercise, as that sweet, artificial vanilla flavor was just overwhelming. I did finish it, however, and as that was the last beer of the night, I had that taste in my mouth until I got home and chugged a Gatorade and brushed my teeth to get rid of it.

The theory behind it is interesting -- i.e., aging a beer in bourbon oak barrels. But the execution is pretty poor. In fact, I'd venture a guess that no oak barrels are used (probably some oak chips at most) and the "bourbon" flavoring is just that: flavoring.

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Photo of RBorsato
2.61/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Tasted on-tap on 01/18/06 at Bricks (Beer Bar) in Cedar Rapids, IA.

Bronze-ish amber in color with a low to medium creamy off-white head at first. Low carbonation puts an end to that and it appears flat thereafter. A bit over the top with lots of Vanilla candy sweetness in both aroma and flavor. Ceratinly no bourbon or oak character. Medium-light bodied with a finish that's a bit too sweet.

I had no idea who brewed this until now, weeks later but I'm glad to see that A-B is trying new things...

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Photo of sacfly
2.29/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

I saw this on tap recently and had no idea what it was other than I saw “Oak Aged” on the tap handle. I asked the bartender about it and with out saying much, he poured me a 4 oz sample.

The beer was a clear amber/gold color with a modest white head. Looked solid. Smell was very light. Much lighter than expected. Faint hints of oak wood, somewhat musty. The first sip… Hum… Tasted like seltzer water aged with a few oak chips. Very light body. Same bland taste, very un-beer like texture throughout.

Not too shocked to find out it is an AB product. The flavor and texture do not work at all here. The truly scary thing here is I am sure AB did research and field tested multiple recipes and this is what they stuck with. To think that would be craft converts would try this as a stepping stone and think this is representative of oak aged beer and craft beer in general.

But keep trying AB!

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Michelob Winter's Bourbon Cask Ale from Anheuser-Busch
Beer rating: 11.3% out of 100 with 573 ratings
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