Winter Ale | Adams Street Brewery

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Winter AleWinter Ale
BA SCORE
3.3/5
Okay
Winter AleWinter Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Adams Street Brewery
Illinois, United States
adamsstreetbrewery.com

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
This rich, smooth, copper-colored ale is brewed with six malts for a lot of aromatic complexity, with cookie, caramel, raisin and toasted marshmallow notes. New World versions of noble hop flavors bring a certain European elegance, but with a little more brash personality, topped off with the floral-and-citrus that the all-American hop—Cascade—delivers.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#44,014
Reviews:
36
Ratings:
59
pDev:
16.67%
 
 
Wants:
0
Gots:
3
Trade:
0
 
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User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 36 | Ratings: 59
Reviews by terrabyte:
Photo of terrabyte
3.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark, ruby-brown color with a medium sized, cream-colored head.

Aroma is a nice change. Quite heavy with berries. Dark, dried cherries.

Flavor is fun, too. Sweet with berries, maybe black cherries.

Mouthfeel is well carbonated. Not much else I can say.

Drinkability is ok. Less than I expected when I first started drinking it. The sweetness really caught to me. This would be a great beer to pair with meals. Lingonberry or crepes for breakfast, glazed pork for dinner, and any desserts that are based with berries. Would be fun to cook with too, in a similar vein. Definitely a great beer to order once in a while to break things up, but I really don't think I'd order more than 2 in a row.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BEERchitect
2.41/5  rDev -27%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Still looking for my first quality Berghoff beer. Let's see if this one does it....

Nope.

Begins with a very Bock-like image wiht a color that lands between a solid brown and amber. In initial fizzy head falls into nothing right in front of me. No lacing- a dull looking beer.

Aromas favor the wet cereal grain scent, but backed up with a modest malty undertone. Caramels, toasted grains, and light yeastiness persists far behind. Not smelling good either.

Flavors actually have a half-grain/half-malt taste which is better tilted toward malts than the aroma suggests. But the flavors are still light and falter quickly. No hop taste, no esters, no phenols. If it were not for the graininess, the beer would have nothing.

Thin on the malt textures, allowing the graininess to take hold. Unresolved barley sugars sit on the mouth much in the same way that a cola does. Grainy late and increased going into the aftertaste.

Under malted and over sparged. The beer might have decent brewing quality but the quest for the bottom line hurts significantly. The beer should not carry the Bock name, it's no more that the Michelob version that is also a bastardization of the style.

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Photo of scaliasux
1.75/5  rDev -47%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Appearance - Dark brown. Appears clear. Tall, tan foamy head. Looks good.

Smell - Pretty faint. Some caramelly malt. Might be just a hint of floral hops.

Taste - Not real pleasant. Starts with a chocolately malt, but overpowered by bitter finish. Alcohol flavor is noticable.

Mouthfeel - Creamy, but still pretty crisp. A little bit of carbonated bite.

Drinkability - Can't say I care much for this beer. Not really what I expect in a bock and not, for that matter, very good tasting. The beer, however, is made by a nice little historic brewer in a nice little historic town. (Although the brewery's recently been bought out by Canadian uber-swillery Minhas.)

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Photo of matjack85
3.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of PBRstreetgang
3.1/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very clear rusty amber hue. Rocky off-white head of two fingers holds very well and leaves stubborn streaks of lacing. Weak nose, hints at toasty malt and a faint apricot fruitiness. First sip is sweet with dark Munich malt and Crystal. Slight roasty tones come through is a semi-dry aftertaste that delivers a propely subtle, spicy german hop profile. The overall flavor is balanced and very much what you might expect from a bock- only more mild than you might prefer. The body is a bit too thin and the carbonation is too crisp. Nice residual caramel and buscuity malt finish with balancing noble flavor/bitterness. If not so restrained, this could be a great beer.

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Photo of shbobdb
3.93/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

My dad always insisted that the Berghoff brewery had one tap and many labels. I'm not sure I disagree, but that doesn't mean the beer they make isn't solid.

The beer pours a ruby-red, almost garnet with a bubbly macro-lager head that fades into a faint ring quite quickly.

The smell is fairly mild. The distinctive, slightly sour, and musty "Grandmother's house" smell that all Berghoff beers have is present. There is also a little bit of malt going on in the background.

The beer tastes quite good. There is a slight sour twang with a light bready note that spikes in a sweet middle, and has a dry finish. It is nice.

The beer is pretty much a beer for everybody. It isn't amazing by any standard, but at the same time, it is accessible to everyone. A macro-lover would say that this a beer that tastes like beer, while a craft beer lover would be able to pick out hints of munich and vienna malts.

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Photo of zeff80
3.13/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out an orange/amber color with a tan, foamy, two-finger head. it left a small amount of lace.

S - It smelled of caramel and malt.

T - It tasted quite malty. There was also a vanilla flavor. Overall, it was fairly sweet.

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

D - This is an okay bock. It doesn't overwhelm you with flavors but is a nice session brew.

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Photo of pmcadamis
3.88/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - A khaki two finger head is suspended above a crystal clear red-amber brew. The head is really dense and creamy looking, and it leaves big sheets of lace on the glass that slide down and leave soft arcs behind. Retention is very good, and the shade of this brew seems to change depending on the angle.

S - Sweet maraschino cherry syrup and some milk chocolate. There are some vague hop notes, but they really just balance the sweet notes and nothing more. Caramel and hard strawberry candy (the kind that come in the strawberry skin wrapper. Some steely mineral notes are there too.

T - The flavors follow the nose to a T. Cherry syrup and hints of chocolate. It's pretty light though, no big malt bomb flavors or anything. It's like a Skullsplitter halved with water. Not bad! Something reminds me of Grand Marnier too, although there are no over orange flavors.

M - Medium bodied with a creamy carbonation and a dry finish. The mix of heavy syrup and chocolate flavors and a relatively thin body is sort of odd.

D - Give this a bigger body and get rid of the mineral hard water notes, and this would be much better. As is, this is a pretty damn good beer. This would go great with chocolate desserts, and it would be an especially nice desert brew for those who might be intimidated by big malt bombs with high ABVs.

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Photo of Contagion
3.53/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The coloring is a beautiful dark amber color with crimson shading. There is no sign of cloudiness to it, light passes through with some difficulty. When you look through you can make out objects on the other side. A thin tan head forms when poured into a glass. The head fades quickly to nothing and there is no lacing on the glass.

The smell is an exquisite caramel and chocolate malt combination with a fruit undertone. The fruit smelled like strawberry or raspberry, but that might the combination of the malts mixing with the fruit to alter the scent. There is a mild sweetness to the smell that is pleasing. The taste is much like the scent, a sweet, but not overly sweet, combination of caramel malts and berries. The flavor is a little weak.

It's a smooth, light bodied beer that is very easy to drink.

This is not like most of the winter ales I've drank. The flavor isn't in your face. It's mild and soothing. Something that you can drink just about any time you want. This is one of those beers that I could see myself picking up a six pack of on a whim.

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Photo of ibashmuck
3.68/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased as part of "build-your-own-six-pack" at local grocer. Poured dark amber with a medium foamy head. Smell and taste were dominated by caramel and sweetness. Smooth, perfect carbonation. A pretty good bock, a style I'm generally not in to.

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Photo of BradLikesBrew
3.1/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz brown bottle with no freshness info.

a: Pours a dark amber with white head and small patches of lacing.

s: A light aroma of caramel and cherries.

t: Mild caramel malt, slight cherry flavor towards the end with a touch of hops in the finish.

m: Thin, light body, medium carbonation.

d: Not too sweet or filling, pretty light overall. An average bock with some interesting cherry thrown in there. Nothing exciting, an ok winter seasonal.

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Photo of botham
4/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pilsner glass. pours a chocolate color with a few fingers of tan head. wonderful settling on this one.

aroma is strong on malts, namely caramel, and a bit of chocolate, with a base of grapes, giving the brew a bit of a sour character.

taste is of caramel malts, with the same ascerbic character as the aroma. a bit more restrained here, but still present. the same subtle chocolate malts are also here, providing balance to the grapes.

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Photo of scootercrabb
4/5  rDev +21.2%

Photo of KI9A
3.7/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle, medium amber color, off white head.

S: Cherry, chocolate malt.

T: Again, cherry, chocolate malt. Sweet up front, and sweet finish.

M: Light, crisp.

D: Had this in a tulip glass, to open it up, and try to give a good review. A bit too sweet for me, but is light, and finished fairly clean. Decent beer for after dinner.

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Photo of biboergosum
2.37/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

355ml bottle, 6% ABV, at Pizza Brew in Calgary.

This beer pours a clear, medium bronzed amber hue, with two fingers of puffy, tightly foamy, and eventually loosely bubbly ecru head, which leaves some minor sea plume lace around the glass as it quickly abates. Pretty darned pale for a winter ale, I have to say.

It smells weakly of musty, somewhat bready caramel malt, sour, yeasty, and muddled dark fruit, and a wet mineral flintiness. The taste is more of same, but thankfully (?) amped up - grainy caramel malt, stale white bread, a kind of acrid apple and cherry pit 'fruitiness', a weirdly isolated and muted roastiness, and dead floral, musty hops.

The carbonation is moderate in intensity and yet quite frothy, the body medium-light in weight, and rather tacky in its wan attempt at smoothness. It finishes just off-dry, the toast finally connecting with the still understated bready caramel malt, the so-called fruitiness having slunk off somewhere.

It's like the brewer read about all these fancy winter ales that proliferate this time of year, and took a bland amber ale and gave it a slight uptick in underwhelming fruitiness, nothing more. Sigh - this hardly inspires thoughts of warming hearths, knit sweaters, hot tubs, or especially, hope.

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Photo of Gehrig
3.68/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thin tan head tops a brown body with reddish highlights--pretty nice. The smell consists primarily of caramel and yeast, with hints of fruit--a little too subtle on the nose for my liking. The taste is smooth, with caramel and ginger carrying the day, but not the most complex bock. The smooth texture makes this beer good, as well as very drinkable, atoning for a lack of taste variety with a solid, smooth, straight-ahead bock that's really pretty good. I'd recommend it.

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Photo of larsee01
3.94/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into nondescript pint glass.

A--Well, looks like a decent bock. Moderately creamy head (1 and a half fingers), light reddish chestnut color and clear.

S--Very faint, but a pleasant burnt character. Folgers coffee, but slight malty sweetness. Ghost of black licorice. A dark, dried fruit (dates?) Again, very faint and mild.

T--Ooh...nice! Pleasant flavors are bolder than smell gives away. Exquisitely balanced. Complex flavor spectrum of about 1/2 dozen things. Let me (the amateur) try to find/describe them. Mild burnt character there. Nutty. Mild iron-like metallic well-water. If anything comes close to prominent, it is the dark malt sweetness. But that is immediately complimented/neutralized by mild hop bitter. Something grassy but trending toward modestly floral...black tea? I don't know what the ABV is, but I'm not picking up any booze challenge here.

M--Enough to chew on, but unencumbering, crisp and clean. Good balance here. Good job overall, Berghoff!

D--Yes. Should I find out the ABV is on the high end for your typical bock, I'd come back and move this to at least 4.5.

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Photo of biggred1
3.67/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear,Chestnut amber with a fizzy ecru head. Smells of bubblegum and faintly of roasted coffee and toffee, definately malt forward. Tastes nutty and malty and fairly well balanced by roasted malt with a slight hop bitterness in the finish. Medium bodied and more flavorful than most of this style. A good inexpensive quaffer.

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Photo of MNJR
1.83/5  rDev -44.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Berghoff used to be a respected name in beer. But, sadly things seem to have gone wildly off track. This beer is the closest thing to really horrible that I've had since Lazy Mutt, which is another Minhas offering. This is one of the worst beers I've ever had. Smells sickly sweet, sour and pungent. Color is brown. Head is respectable, and about the best thing you can say about this beer. The taste is really awful: SOUR, very metallic, grapefruit rind, lemon candy, motor oil, with some malt begging to cut through the disastrous bitterness. Grainy, gritty mouthfeel with a watery finish. I have never sampled the urine of an animal, but I would bet there is at least one animal whose whizz tastes exactly like this beer. I have no idea what to do with this except pour it down the drain. I could use it to boil some beans, or bratwursts, but it might ruin the food. If I was anywhere near Monroe, WI right now I would take this to the main office and demand an explanation for why this is being brewed, and a refund of my $6 I paid for a six pack of this heinous swill.

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Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of BeerFMAndy
2.59/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Pilsner glass. No date or info but it's probably old due to the old label design.

Thanks to my girlfriend for this bottle in a trade.

A - A tall pour to the center of the pilsner glass brought this clear amber-brown beer's light caramel head to three fingers quickly. Good retention and lots of lacing on the way down!

S - The nose has a strong apple cider aroma right off the bat with persistent toasted malts trying to push through. No hop aroma here. Unfortunately I think this beer fell victim to old age.

T - A toasted malt flavor looms in the background of a thin taste profile that's unfortunately lead by a crisp apple cider flavor. Again, most likely, it has succumb to old age.

M - The feel is thin and watery with a light body and a dry finish. Leaves much to be desired.

D - Not bad but thin and cidery. The flavor and feel I can't see disintegrating that much with age so it's unfortunate it's thin. The cidery thing definitely seem to have crept up though. A drinkable beer as it is but if I was stuck with a six-er I'd try and pawn it off.

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Photo of CHL
2.55/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Labeled a simply "Winter Ale," and in line with their other new labels. Just as well because it's not very red. Just a dark amber.

The head goes down quickly, and the ringing is persistent. No problems there.

The smell is sweet with toasted malts and no hops noticeable. I had high hopes, but the taste is not good. I enjoy the sweetness, but the dominant taste seems to be metallic, and the malt flavors don't stand up as well as they ought to.

It's not a thin beer (to its credit), but the taste seriously damages drinkability to me.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.79/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Dogfish Head shaped pint glass.

The final piece of my six-part Berghoff puzzle. Desperado is now raging on the tube, and my girlfriend is wondering why I continue to shovel crappy beers into my gullet. I've had the same thought a few times tonight as well. Oh well, it's almost over. The capstone here pours a clear dark ruby topped by a half-finger of dirty white foam. Gotta say, this thing actually looked lovely. After my friend and I marveled at that statement, I took a whiff: caramel, toasted toffee, brown sugar, and dirt. Dammit, here we go again. At least it's not as bad as it could potentially be. The taste is also dominated by a toasted toffee character, along with some flowers, light butter, and some sort of off-fruit flavor, mostly akin to bad apples or old grapes. This could have been good...maybe. Too bad. The body is a slightly light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a dry finish. If it wasn't also on the thinner side, I couldn't knock it too much, but oh well. Overall, looks can truly be deceiving, and this is proof positive. I'm glad this painful journey is over.

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Photo of bbeane
2.73/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A- Poured into an oversized snifter... starts with a weak off white head that disappears almost as quickly as it appeared. Beer is black in color, with a hint of ruby when held up to the light

S- Hardly any nose... faint notes of some sweet, dark fruity smelling malts

T- Pretty weak. It seems like there is hardly any flavor. Very faint notes of malts and some dark fruits, and maybe some coffee

M- Medium body with light/medium carbonation

O- Not really bad, just very bland and boring. There wasn't a single intense flavor to it... just blah

Cheers!!

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Photo of krome
3.5/5  rDev +6.1%

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Winter Ale from Adams Street Brewery
Beer rating: 3.3 out of 5 with 59 ratings