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 DoctorDog
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 1 pint 0.9 oz. bottle into a nonic.

A- Dark mahogany brown with ruby highlights. Pours with ~2 fingers of tan head. Fades slowly into a thin cap. Fair amount of lacing.

S- Roasty, malty, toffee, bready sweetness dominates.

T- Nice roasty, malty sweetness, with hints of dark fruit and even licorice. Slightly smoky cocoa-esque biterness.

M- Moderate carbonation with a medium-full feel. Fairly creamy.

D- Quite good. Easy drinking and flavorful.

Future outlook: 4's all around. Rock solid, and worthy of a repeat.

 533 characters

Photo of CRObighit2
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of fostachild
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of curewhatalesu
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of Pillowburn
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of gabeerfan
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown, almost black, with some medium brown highlights near the bottom of the glass. About a finger's width head that never disappeared completely. Left spiderwebs all the way down the glass.
Smells of dark roasted malt, caramel, dark fruits, and alcohol.
Tastes like it smells, but more so. Dark raisins for a split second, then some caramel/toffee, then the dark malts and finally some hops going down.
Very smooth mouthfeel almost nitro because of the small bubbles.
Very drinkable and at 6.3% a couple bottles won't end the evening early.

Perfect for a cold winter's evening.

 598 characters

Photo of OKCNittany
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of kelvarnsen
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of HamJam
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Photo of GoHabsGo
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.01/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Roasted chestnut brown with sepia highlights... that becomes black cherry when backlit with bright sunshine. The golden ecru cap is immensely attractive. It has the texture of clotted cream and is beginning to deposit thick sheets of lace on the upper third of the glass. What a great way to start.

The nose is less impressive. For starters, it's weak. Winter Ale smells like an English porter with an extra shot of earthiness and no added spices. Not that all winter warmers need spices, but this one needs something to pull it above the ranks of the merely average. Note: it opens up just enough with warming to earn a score increase.

Rarely have I experienced such a disconnect between a beer's aroma and its flavor. This ale is very, very tasty right out of the chute and should be even better once it loses the slight chill that it started out with.

There are cream stouts, so why aren't there cream porters? SPWA tastes like a cream porter. It has a moderately roasted malt base (with a minimal char) that allows the top notes of vanilla and fruity English hops to stand out in beautiful fashion. Maybe it's the power of suggestion, but the beer does taste winterish.

It also tastes English in a 'chocolate and dark caramel sauced figgy pudding' kind of way. The balance between malt and hops, sweet and bitter, is impeccable. As always, sweet rules early and bitter rules late. Fewer hops would have resulted in a lesser ale. Though it's no great feat at such a relatively low ABV, alcohol plays no role on the taste buds.

The mouthfeel is a little lighter than it should be, but it deserves some slack since it's perfectly (read: subtly) bubbled. Too much carbonation has ruined more than one potentially great beer.

Where the hell did the 'flask' bottles go? This rounded bottle is still nice and hefty and still features some embossing, but it's a step down from what was a distinctive part of drinking St. Peter's beer.

Winter Ale doesn't supplant Cream Stout as my favorite offering from these guys. That said, it's pretty close to being that beer's equal. Good thing there's a ready supply on local shelves, because there's no doubt that a few more bottles of this beauty will be consumed before winter is done.

 2,232 characters

Photo of jwc215
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with ruby highlights and a creamy rich tan head that slowly descends to a thin lasting cover. Web-like lacing sticks.

The smell is of earthy, leafy/herbal, earthy- tradional "English" spiciness with prunes and a hint of anise.

The taste is of toffee and dark fruitiness - towards port-like with a hint of anise - towards chocolate. An earthy, leafy, herbal hop bitterness stays in the back, but gives balance to the rich maltiness. As it progresses, prunes come out even more. There is a hint of warmth in the semi-dry finish.

It is full-bodied, but not thick or syrupy.

This has a malty richness with just enough hop bitterness to keep it balanced enough, and spicy enough, for a nice winter brew. This is a fun one, IMO. A solid choice for a winter beer that is more drinkable than many slow-sipper winter offerings, but is warming. Complex, but approachable. A nice take on a traditional English Winter Warmer!

 934 characters

Photo of hegelec
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 500 mL bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Lovely dark, nearly opaque brew with ruby highlights. A single finger of tan head, decent retention. Very good lacing.

Aroma is primarily of roasted malts -- rich chocolate and coffee. The profile seems similar to a nice porter. A little agitation yields juicy, dark fruit smells -- especially cherry. Very enticing.

Taste follows aroma, very deep, malty and a little smokey. Modestly sweet, but very well balanced with hop bitterness. Very tight! A touch more floral hops flavour is now obvious. The finish is bitter and somewhat dry and metallic. A hint of butterscotch in the aftertaste. This is a tasty beer.

Mouthfeel is luxurious. Fairly low carbonation, so smooth and creamy. Moderate fullness, but not nearly overwhelming. Slight warming sensation from the higher alcohol. I could indulge in a pint or two of this without being too weighed down. A good sign.

 923 characters

Photo of Evil_Pidde
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This beer pours dark brown, almost black with a red tone. The long-lasting head is large, creamy offwhite and leaves lots of lacings.

S: Rich chocolate toghether with sweet roasted malt. Bitter hops and dark dried fruits.

T: Rich chocolate, roasted malt and coffee (black and strong). Bitter hops are also present in this well balanced brew.

M: The aftertaste is long-lasting and hold a dry bitterness. The body is full and the carbonation is mild.

D: A nice beer that I've desceibed like I would describe a stout - but it's nothing lika a stout - strange...
A really nice winter warmer with a little extra.

 614 characters

Photo of baiser
4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is an ale packed with flavour, and alcohol. A great winter ale. Only downside was the appearance. Not much of a head. Soapy appearance much like alot of other st peter offerings, no lacing. Colour was a dark ruby red, almost opaque.

Aroma of roasted malts, raisins, coffee. Taste was superb. A rich, complex beer. Full of burnt coffee, smoke, caramel, licorice and molasses. Alcohol is warming. Mouthfeel is slick, moderately carbonated. Drinkability is alright, the smokiness is a bit much after a while.

 513 characters

Photo of bryehn
4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque dark brown with a cola-like nut brown colour visible around the edges. The small tan coloured head burns off quickly, leaving behind a thin, but long-lasting collar and little to no lacing.

Deep, multi-layered aroma. Smells of roasted malts, coffee, dark fruits and berries, chocolate, grasses, anise, a hint of smoke and wet wood.

Tastes of bitter coffee, roasted malts and chocolate, with a sweet fruit and berry undertone. The finish has a solid bitterness to it.

Full-bodied with a moderate carbonation level. Very creamy on the tongue. Coffee and chocolate permeate the aftertaste, along with a very subtle fruitiness.

Smells and drinks more like a stout than anything. Very drinkable, yet satisfying winter warmer. The aroma, taste and aftertaste are all very similar, but every sip seems to be a different mix of chocolate, coffee and fruit.

 868 characters

Photo of Jaisell
4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Jason
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The head retention on this beer is pretty amazing, some of the thickest lacing I have seen in a while. There must be a small percent of torrified wheat in this brew. Dark coffee brown color with some ruby highlights. Toffee, some salt water taffy and a ghost like anise in the nose. Very smooth and creamy in a medium body. Sweet caramel and toffee flavors, burnt raisins in the back with a mild char note. Little bit of toasted malt and fruitiness middle to end. Big woody hop flavor has a modest bitterness. Mineral and a tad salty in the drying finish.

Yeah, this is one kick ass winter warmer. Comes in silent and then drops this complex malt bomb on the palate. This one is for the traditionalist.

 703 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Poured dark brown with some streaks of ruby and settled almost black with half a finger of light brown head that quickly disappeared.

S - Roasted malts, chocolate, caramel, a touch of spice.

T - Roasted malts, chocolate, dark caramel, nuttiness and a good bitterness that is especially evident in the finish.

M - Medium body, silky. Light carbonation.

 402 characters

Photo of Traquairlover
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1 pint, 0.9 fl oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A = Deep ruby (almost garnet) red, small tan head, light lacing.

S = Sweet fresh uncooked bread dough, light scents of spices as if some winter treat were cooking in the other room, very light but warming smells.

T = Sweet flavors of soft doughy not quite fully cooked biscuits sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar but also with a slight perfectly balancing bitters that shows up at mid-palate and lasts well into the long finish.

M = Smooth foamy feel of medium body with very good mouthcoating.

D = An easy drinking Winter warmer that I look forward to in the cold months.

 627 characters

Photo of smcolw
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours like a dark brown ale, where the faintest of light will shine through. Solid head with great retention. Spider web lace on the glass.

Warm molasses-like malt aroma. A strong whiff of alcohol as well. No discernible hop, though.

This taste has elements of three different beers to me. It starts off as a un-hoppy brown ale. Soon, the alcohol makes its presence known and the beer becomes closer to an Old Ale (not quite enough to make it a barley wine). The swallow features a strong black patent malt bite that is reminiscent of a Stout. This finish provides good balance. The body is also quite rich with a minimal amount of carbonation (makes the head even more impressive).

If memory serves me correctly, I imagine I'm rating this the best of the St. Peter's offerings. It is a deceptive beer. I would also describe it as being "very English" in style and flavor. Think Samuel Smith.

 895 characters

Photo of srandycarter
4.06/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Near black. Gigantic, thick creamy head that stays for some time. Lots of cling lace that would need a chisel to remove.

S - Earthy malt. Cocoa. Some bitter hops note in there.

T - Taste matches smell pretty well. Very earthly, with a base like cocoa feel. Sweetness is slapped down with just enough malt. Nice clean finish.

M - Creamy, good balance, good carb. Nice.

D - I could have a few of these. Reminds me of the British family of beers for sure. It's a good one.

 477 characters

Photo of DenisKolkin
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

500 ml medicine bottle served just above fridge temperature into a pint glass. One of those beers I've seen many times before (especially at this time of the year) but never bothered to pick up. Let's give it a try.

Appearance - St. Peter's winter ale pours the darkest of ruby coloured beers, so dark that it may appear dark brown or even near black. A small half finger of off white head has modest retention and leaves a small swath of lacing down the sides of the glass.

Smell - pretty good aroma, some thick grainy aromas and hints of orchard fruits such as pear and plum. Overall smells like and amped up dark mild ale. Christmas spice aromas are sort of there, but toned down and definitely not distracting for what promises to be a very good beer.

Taste - some graininess, some fruitiness and a mild bitterness. Orchard fruits throughout and the Christmas spices are present but only in a supporting role. Complex. Some liquorice and butterscotch start up after a few sips and enhance this beer. After a few sips, substitute orchard fruits with raisins. Yum!

Mouthfeel - smooth with some creaminess, moderate body and definitely not a dry finish.

Overall - a well crafted holiday beer, with a festive presence but never overdoing things and ensuring that you enjoy the base beer with its holiday accents.

 1,317 characters

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.

 1,751 characters

Photo of whynot44
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark cola brown with ruby highlights and a modest tan head that retains fairly well and manages some nice lacing.

The aroma is dark caramel malt, dark fruit, molasses, a hint of nuts and chocolate. The taste is dark bread, plums, toffee, carmel, dark chocolate, coffee and spices. The finish is fairly dry, spicy, with a bit of hops bite and a definite alcohol note.

Medium bodied, smooth, drinkable, but really more of an after dinner sipper. Altogether a very nice cold weather brew. Could be good following winter activities.

 532 characters

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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