St. Peter's Winter Ale | St. Peter's Brewery Co Ltd

very good
261 Ratings
St. Peter's Winter AleSt. Peter's Winter Ale

Brewed by:
St. Peter's Brewery Co Ltd
England, United Kingdom

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-09-2002

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Ratings: 261 |  Reviews: 184
Photo of ritzkiss
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle from the LCBO, pours a pleasant dark brew, almost black with hints of mocha brown and a slight ruddy redishness. Thin head which dies to placid, a vigorous swirl can only generate a thin cover of bubbles.

Nose is some light roast, cocoa, caramel, a hint of earth. Taste follow suit with a noticable cherry flavor which borders on syrupy/medicinal, a hint of anise. Caramel, fruit bread, plums, cocoa, roast - not a stout but some of the characteristics of an English stout. It's quite quaffable, a little thin bodied, creamy but low carb. Decent but not as impressive as other offerings from this brewery.

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Photo of spinrsx
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml Bottle

Appearance - The beer pours a clear dark brown colour with a reddish hue. There is a small frothy beige coloured head and can't see much carbonation. There is some faint lacing and the head only lasted for a few minutes before it began to dissipate.

Smell - malts, port wine, toffee, chocolate, coffee

Taste & Mouth - The beer has a low to average amount of carbonation and the beer feels very creamy on the tongue. Most of the taste is made up of malts mixed with port wine and toffee. There is also a slightly metallic flavour and notes of chocolate and coffee. The beer finishes with a malt and coffee after taste with just a touch of sweetness.

Drink - The alcohol is extremely well hidden and this is a great winter warmer. It reminded me a little bit of a scaled down version Unibroue's Trois Pistols. Worth seeking out, especially during the colder months.

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Photo of ludachris
3.97/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep and opaque nut brown body that borders black is topped by about a finger's worth of big soapy bubbles that sit on a thin sheet of tan coloured head, quickly receding to a thin bubbly ring of lace.

Rich and roasty in the nose, with a dry coffee-like character being paired with fine and gooey dark chocolate and hints of cherry syrup and spice. A subtle mineral water quality reminds me that this beer is of English origin. I also pick up on a little bit of booziness which is surprising considering that it's only 6.5% ABV. Complex and hefty; more reminiscent of a stout in comparison to any other Winter Warmer I've had, but I'm not complaining.

Right off the bat I get a good amount of dry dark chocolate, but the beer quickly switches gears into a much more dry and roasty character that drags out just passed the finish. Towards the end is where I pick up on suggestions of chocolate covered cherries, various spices, and that English mineral quality that goes nicely with the dryness of the beer.

Medium bodied, crisp, and dry with a good balance and prickly carbonation. An easy quaffer with the added pleasure of a subtle warming feel in the stomach.

A good twist on the more spice-forward Winter Warmers I've had, possessing a lot more characteristics of an English Stout. If this was indeed a stout, I could think of several stouts that I'd purchase before this one, but I like it as a unique WW. This style has yet to really blow me away, but keep them coming for the season! This one's a great start.

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Photo of kwjd
3.74/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown colour with thin tan head that dissipates fairly quickly. Almost no lacing on the glass. Smells of mild roasted malt, earthy hops, caramel and and chocolate. Flavour has mild bitterness and bigger on sweetness. Smooth mouthfeel. This really reminds me of a porter.

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Photo of TheHoppiest
3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 1liter bottle into a pint glass. Pours very dark, an impenetrable black with a slow developing tan head that reduces as slow as it grows.

Has a bready malt aroma, almost biscuity, with toffee notes with coffee notes and chocolate.

Has a very traditional winter warmer taste; yeast and biscuity malt, buttery toffee and nutmeg, with a mildly bitter finish.

Medium bodied, the bitter profile begins to catch you and tighten the tongue.

A nice example of the winter warmer style. You can always rely upon the English to do a classes style correctly.

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Photo of corby112
3.63/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark ruby red/Chestnut brown color with amber edges when held to a light source and a two finger frothy beige head that quickly fades into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing left behind.

Roasted malt aroma with very subtle peppery spiciness. Hints of sweet alcohol, syrup, pepper, dark fruit and faint hops.

The ABV for this beer is pretty high for a British beer but I found it to be well balanced and very quaffable. Lots of roasted malt with peppery spice, candy sugar and dark fruit notes. Hints of plum, raisin, fig, grape and dark cherry. This beer is fuller bodied than expected and I was pleasantly surprised by it's complexity.

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Photo of AgentMunky
3.43/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 500mL bottle into a pint glass. Best before December 2010.

A: Very nice! Ruddy dark-brown, with a thick, sturdy head. What appears at first glance to be a black beer is betrayed by soft edges. Held up to the light, one can just barely see shadows on the other side of the glass. Lacing clings to the sides. I approve!

S: Sweet molasses-malt and equal amounts of springy hops.

T: Almost sour fruit spars with the expected molasses, caramelised taste. Carbonation and hops are not far behind. Mostly malty in character, but disturbingly tart. The aftertaste is light, reflecting a diminished version of all the aforementioned flavours.

M: Nothing notable -- some fizz, some spark. Meh.

D: Alcohol is definitely noticeable, surprising considering the relatively low ABV. Not sure from whence the odd sourness comes, perhaps it's because I'm flirting with the Best Before date, maybe it's just the style. At any rate, it detracts from an otherwise pleasant ale. It is true winter outdoors (0° C and five inches of snow on the ground) and that does make this beer feel more appropriate. Based on this tasting, I can't recommend it.

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Photo of bmwats
4.09/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 500 ml. bottle into standard pint.

A: Very dark brown. Pours a slight, bubbly, brownish head. Dissolves quickly and almost completely, but not much to begin with, anyway. Just a little beer ring lacing remains as you drink.

S: Coffee roasted malt, dark bittersweet chocolate, a little butterscotch, and just a little pungent peatiness.

T: Deep roasted malt with just a touch of sweetness. That pungency is much stronger on the palette than in the nose (but not in a bad way). Strong alcohol, maybe bourbon, note.

M: the pungency introduces itself in the front, and lingers throughout. Despite the rich and robust flavor, it doesn't feel heavy on the palette. Has a certain light, refreshing quality. Kinda' weird.... because it's a bit unexpected.

D: Good sipping brew to savor and enjoy.

Good atmosphere. Bold, intimidating appearance, although nothing too exciting, and not much in terms of a head or lacing. Nose is great though. Great combination of deep, rich roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate hints. Flavor follows suit. Deep, rich, and robust, and a clean palette with a good balance of tones. Overall, this is a really good quaff.

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Photo of MattyV
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque cola colour with 1 finger of creamy beige head that shrinks down a lasting ring.

Not picking up too much in the nose at first, the standard English malt aroma with very subtle hints of toffee, chocolate, and butter.

Toffee/caramel malt flavours that quickly segue into a substantial but not overpowering bitterness from the dark malts and hops. I was expecting this to be more on the sweet/malty side. Finish is on the dry side, no lingering flavours, but slightly chalky.

Substantial mouthfeel, as expected. Medium to full-bodied, with soft creamy carbonation. No big complaint here but I found it a tad undercarbed.

This was quite different from what I was expecting; my only other experience with winter warmers was Sam Smith's Winter Welcome Ale. While this is a whole different beast, it's a delightful porter'ish brew that I'd likely reach for again.

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Photo of Mit
3.1/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

a-dark beer. minimal head.

s-malty, dark fruit type smells, coffee, very nice. Nice bitterness in the aftertaste

t-coffee flavours, malts...seems somewhat muted compared to the smells that originally presented themselves.

m-kinda thin I found for a higher ABV.

d-pretty drinkable, prob wouldn't drink too much with tastier IMO winterwarmers out there though.

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Photo of case4816
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Poured into snifter glass a very dark brownish, red colour. like strong tea. Very bubbly head that thinned to an almost non-existent lacing.

S- Very heavy smell with lots of chocolate on the front. Caramel and some coffee also comes through, as well as a little of the alcohol. Also a light hint of some cinnamon.

T- Fairly strong coffee essence, lots of chocolate flavour with the caramel complimenting that profile. Cinnamon comes through, as well the alcohol comes through quite strong, with some light coffee on the finish that is noticeably bitter.

D- I'm going to get a few more of these for sure. Very enjoyable to drink; a very delicious winter beer.

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Photo of bark
3.06/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The rather strong smell is roasted with hints of soap. Some bitterness and hints of toffee, grass, coffee and spices (cloves, allspice, nutmeg, vanilla). A gentle sweetness in the background, as well as a hint of sourness.

The colour is dark copper (40 EBC); the liquid is clear. The two finger head is pale brown and compact. No lacing occurs.

The taste is dry with some unclear spices. Dry, somewhat malt-sour flavours with some bitter hops. Hints of dough, vegetables and apricots. The bitterness is almost chemical and a bit sharp. Hints of grilled meat, banana peels and lemon peels. Some noticeable alcohol in the finish as well as some

The carbonation is medium strong; the small bubbles a bit sharp. The liquid is dry, yet a bit thick.

A winter warmer that is too dry, the bitterness is too raw and the flavours are all over the place. Will probably gain of a years cellaring.

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Photo of BBP
4.23/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours black with little to no head that disappears in no time. Only slight carbonation. Not a good first impression. Looks like a thick soda. Perhaps the bottle shouldn't be held vertically when pouring, as many others here stated that they got some head.

S- Dark malts. Noticable roasted malts as well. Chocolate, and perhaps hints of coffee. Pretty nice. Needs more strength to it though.

T- Dark/roasted malts followed by notes of cocoa. Has a lot of bitterness, which isn't too normal for a winter warmer, but I'm enjoying it considerably. I'd imagine it's a mix of the cocoa, and some hops that aren't all too detectable, but you know they're there. This strikes me as a porter, and I can't say that bothers me.

M- Medium body, and pretty smooth. Leaves a dryer finish, and is a little sticky. Carbonation is sleek, and very background. It works in a way that supports the drink, but doesn't draw attention to itself, which I think more beers should aim to do.

D- This is considerably drinkable, and the ABV is hidden tremendously. The only way I'd think it was 6.5% was that it's pretty flavorful.

This doesn't strike me as a winter warmer, but I don't care, it tastes great. I'd recommend trying it. It's a great balance of flavor and drinkability, and it should definitely be picked up at least once.

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Photo of mrnobody
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into an oversized tulip.

A: Pours black with a thin tan head quickly reduced to a ring of foam. A little lacing.

S: Roasted malt, coffee.

T: Bittersweet chocolate, a bit of coffee.

M: Seems to have a lot of the characteristics of a stout but the mouthfeel is a little thin if that's the aim here. Low but pleasant carbonation level.

D: Pretty easy drinking.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.28/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A relatively mild WW for the middle of summer. Why not give it a go with the humidity so high and all.
Incredibly dark, although not necessarily black. Heavy dense dark tan head provides heavy lacing.
Full malt aroma with hint of sweetness and alcohol. Molasses. Brown sugar.
Full malt flavor. Really nice sweetness up front. Some nearly burnt roast that leads to a long dry finish. The heavy malt flavors contrast atypically with a light, nearly watery body. Soft alcohol. Hop flavors do show with some grass and earthy qualities. Smooth although not rich or light. This, of course, leads to easy drinking. Probably dangerously so. For such a soft drinker it is very complex.

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Photo of thierrynantes
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer bottle (50 cl.), tasted in 2010.

Appearance : black color, with tan foamy head.
Smell : roasted barley, chocolate and coffee aromas.
Taste and mouthfeel : rich roasted barley, malt and caramel notes in the background.
Drinkability : a very good beer in the style Winter Warmer.

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Photo of biegaman
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The distinctive green flask reveals sooty, coffee bean brown contents that don't seem to be very friendly with the light. Discovering its clarity comes as a slight surprise. This thing is flat as the prairies; I'm beginning to understand that St. Peter's Brewery does head retention about as well as the oil companies do environmentalism.

I know this goes by the 'winter ale' moniker but I'm going to go ahead and call it a porter so as to have more of a stick to beat it with. In truth, that's how I perceive it and besides, it makes a fine porter; it has a definitive coffee-like character, in regards to both its roastiness and its flavour, and it is layered with hints of bittersweet chocolate too.

And in tasting the beer you really hit the motherload of those coffee and chocolate flavours. As appreciated as they are, however, there are plenty others that vie for the taste buds' attention: stale mint, cinnamon cane, dark toffee, chewing tobacco, pine bark and an ample amount of leafy, pungent, typically English hops. Mmm mmm.

And all the aforementioned play a part in the mouthfeel, too. The hops lend a very herbal bitterness. The malts add elements of smoke and heavy roast. The hints of pine and cinnamon procure a wintry spiciness. The lack of carbonation was terribly distracting at first but in the end doesn't seem to detract anything from the beer's enjoyment.

St. Peter's Winter Ale certainly has an oddness against its counterparts, I will say that much, but strangely it works - and I'm happy to have a full pint of it. I can't offer any food pairings but might I suggest an armchair by a fireplace, frosty windows and the company of fragrant evergreen? This is definitely a guest you want in your house for the holidays.

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Photo of nokes
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured this into a wine glass; deep dark brown with ruby/garnet flashes that come through when held to the light. Nice head on it, and no visible carbonation in my glass. This is a very good looking beer; really really nice.

Smells like roasted grains, molasses, heavy syrupy dark fruit. Deep, earthy. Quite a nice aroma.

Taste-wise, this is quite sweet up front, but the bitter came forward rather quickly and then dominated some with coffee, roasted grains, dark chocolate. A bit medicinal...honestly...I'm positive it's not just because of the bottle.

Medium mouthfeel that's quite good except that it could use more carbonation.

A bit sticky and heavy, and not quite blended well enough. It's like there's sweet and there's bitter and ne'er the twain shall meet. Like a duel. Or is that dual? Heh.

Anyway, it's good, but I can't help thinking there's got to be better, though I'd be hard-pressed to find another that looks this good.

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Photo of bloberglawp
3.86/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a BNA4 glass.

Pours dark amber/red almost porter territory. Aroma of english malt, reminds me of a strong scotish style ale. Some charred malt, alot of heavily caramelised wort aromas.

Taste : very barleywine like, huge malt, quite bitter. A little astringent but acceptable. Delicious.

I like this one alot. I'd have this one with aged cheddar and dried figs.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a chalice)
A- This beer has a dark dense body with a light tan lumpy head that sticks to the glass with each sip. There are a few tiny bubbles stuck to the glass but the beer is to dense to see much else.
S- The dark toffee aroma and some roasted chocolate malt notes and a slight earthy note to follow. It finishes with a nice hint of rye bread.
T- The chocolaty roasted malt has no bitterness and a nice creamy richness to the flavor with a nice roasted char note in the finish that combines with a pleasant sweetness. There is a slight tootsie roll candy flavor that comes through as the beer warms but it only supports the malt flavors.
M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with no alcohol heat and a creamy texture.
D- This beer is very quaftable with a mellow rich dark flavor that helps melt away the winter. A surprising treat in a green bottle.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.46/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 500mL bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass (every time I drink an English ale I realize I need a nonic).

Liquid is somewhat lighter shade of bistre. A large rocky khaki head crumbles to a slin foundation of cream. Average lacing, fairly viscous legs.

Hints of peat and caramel in the nose - with a savory herbal note. Root beer, Cadbury egg filling, and a touch of butter cream. Odd.

Very sweet malt, with a secondary layer of roasted malt. Stale coffee, and peppery bitterness mid-palate. There is something slightly vegetal - almost like carmelized carrots - though I don't think this is DMS. The finish is nutty and suggestive of cheap melted chocolate.

Medium bodied, moderate filling carbonation, and a slight hint of iron. Not especially warming...

The flavor profile is a bit strange, but this is a solidly middle of the road example of the style. Some similarity to the '09 Anchor Christmas Ale when fresh.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Flipping through one of Toronto's ubiquitous dailies last week, I noticed a 'Beer of the Week' column, and they proudly displayed this as the newest thing available in the good ship Ontario. Me, I quite like the vaguely medicine-y shape of St. Peter's bottles, blurring the line between professional and self-proscribed alcoholic 'medicinal' treatments, just like in the bygone days of temperance v. wets...

This beer pours a solid black (at least by the low light of my hotel room), with slight beige edges, and one finger of soapy tan head, which leaves some columnar lace around the glass as it recedes. It smells herbal, and of crusty, dusty, cracker grain, like those Scandinavian cracker-cookies that look like they might be chocolate, but turn out to be dry, dusty, and well, you get the idea. The taste is much better, the herbal notes joined by some dry chocolate, trail mix, and some bitter coffee grounds. The carbonation is soft, the body full and smooth, and it finishes a tad off-dry, chalky, and clean. The elevated alcohol is not noticeable in the least.

A decently drinkable ale, the warming side of things hidden, at best, and the herbal, drying nature of this brew sure suits its packaging.

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Photo of Reinheitsgebot71
3.76/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one is courtesy of the LCBO winter release this year. Huzza yet another St. Peters product to try.

Out of the gimmicky yet cool bottle pours the dark ruby brew. Hues of burgundy and rosewood shimmer in the light betwixt the dark brown gloom of the beer. A two finger off white head crowns this one, much more airy in bubble circumference than I'd have expected.

I'm not sure if it was just my nostrils but I had to strain to get a lot out of the bouquet. Coffee and dark chocolate dominated backed by strong roasted malt aromas. Hints of vanilla and some subdued fruity esters notably cherries in syrup rounded out what my nose could conceive.

The first thing to hit me was a sharp bitterness from the darker malts. This slowly phased out to a well balanced symphony of bitter chocolate and cocoa flavours mixed with mellow spicy note of cinnamon and allspice. Chocolate covered raisins and roasted hazelnuts add nice complexity and texture. The finish brings boozy warmth, reminiscent of fruit brandy and maraschino cherries. The aforementioned spices add a nice depth as well. Hop and dark malt bitterness adds a nice counterpoint to the warming alcohol.
These rich malt and spice flavours create a wonderful tongue coating mouth feel with a slight syrup texture.

A nice beer, it certainly warmed me up. The only thing that let me down was the nose, which I felt was a bit weak.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
3.74/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Stupid groundhogs said there'd be 6 more weeks of winter. Might as well make the best of it with some more winter ales!

Poured into a nonic glass. A rich, dark brown brew, almost pushing into porter colour, but with some ruby highlights. Initially leaves a thin, off-white head, which has receded into a ring. A few flecks of lacing.

The nose is quite nice: toffee, malts, dark fruits, spices, and caramel.

The taste is pretty terrific. Similar tasting notes to the nose, but with a clean, almost dry finish. There's a bit of woodyness to the brew that makes me think of a fireplace. Good stuff, rich and hearty.

Mouthfeel is thick, almost syrupy, with very low carbonation. Could have used a bit more, actually, but still good.

All in all, a very satisfying winter warmer. There's a number of characteristics of the brew that lead me to place it more in the brown ale, or porter category, which for me is a huge plus! I've got another one in the fridge, which suits me just fine!

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Photo of OskarL
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - When you hold it to a light you can glimpse some redness in this otherwise black beer. A light brown head that stays for a while an leaves a lot of thick lacing that covers the whole glass.

Smell - Dark roasted malts, coffee, chocolate and toffee with a faint banana smell.

Taste - Pretty much as the smell. Roasted malts, chocolate in the start, then ripe banana and some hop bitterness. Well balanced.

Mouthfeel - Very smooth and creamy with a medium body and medium cabonation.

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St. Peter's Winter Ale from St. Peter's Brewery Co Ltd
3.9 out of 5 based on 261 ratings.
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