Winter Ale | Berghoff Brewery

Winter AleWinter Ale
BA SCORE
18.6%
Liked This Beer
3.3 w/ 59 ratings
Winter AleWinter Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Berghoff Brewery
Illinois, United States
berghoffbeer.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.

Added by Redrover on 11-04-2006

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#40,859
Reviews:
36
Ratings:
59
Liked:
11
Avg:
3.3/5
pDev:
16.67%
Alströms:
0
 
 
Wants:
0
Gots:
3
Trade:
0
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Ratings: 59 |  Reviews: 36
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 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 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 NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A creamy tan cap tops a deep, crimson accented copper body in the Minhas brewery's Berghoff Red Bock Winter Ale. The head retention is fairly good, but it leaves only minor lacing behind. The nose is malty and toasty with a cusp of caramel, and some spicy and floral hops. It seems to utilize a fair amount of Vienna malt. It's medium headed towards medium-full in body, and the moderate carbonation lends a delicate caress to the tongue as it warms to become pillowy-smooth. The flavor nicely balances the spicy and herbal hops against the softly sweetish caramelized-sugar and toasted grain maltiness, and it's round from start to finish without any interuption or change in the flavor. Some more hops do appear in the finish as the maltiness slowly fades, but for the most part it's the same full flavor from end to end. It's very well done, drinkable, and satisfying. Well worth trying.

 890 characters

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

Appearance: Pours a clear, light brown body with a thin white head.

Smell: Weak aroma of dried cherries and caramel maltiness.

Taste: Light caramel malt flavor that isn't overly sweet. Plenty of fruitiness thoughout that makes me think "red" and "berries". Spicy hops hook up with that pervasive fruitiness to give a oddly twangy finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Only during the winter, a time well-known for miracles, could a bock and an ale rest side by side in one bottle. 'Tis the season!

 542 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.27/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Red Bock isn't red, but it is darker orange than most beer of this style. Maybe that's because it's a Winter Ale. The pale beige cap is of poor quality and is one of the worst looking lids of the past few months. The foam is mealy, soft and unsticky, with nothing more than a few spots of suds making it to the glass.

The nose is essentially average. It has the usual toasted-earthy maltiness and absence of hops, with a bit of a darker vibe, as if a little chocolate malt was used. That would explain the color too. Since Minhas doesn't publish information on their beer (not even ABV), the ingredients list will remain a mystery.

Although Red Bock Winter Ale won't be showing up on any 'best of' lists, it's decent beer for several reasons. It's both sweeter and more bitter than expected (love the contrast), tastes fruitier than most bocks, and actually tastes 'red' in some indefinable way. Good choice of malts... whatever they are.

This MCB offering is midway between a pale bock and a dark bock. It has a more distinctive flavor than the former and stops short of the dark fruit and cocoa of the latter. Come to think of it, this is one beer that tastes exactly like its name.

The same carbonation that made a mess of head and lace are at it again when it comes to the mouthfeel. The bubbles are too prominent and too harsh early, then fade into the woodwork in the bottom half of the bottle. The above score is on the generous side.

Minhas Craft Brewery doesn't have a great track record as far as I'm concerned. Which is why I'm a little surprised that Red Bock Winter Ale is as good as it is. It's worth a look if you're a fan of the style, just don't expect to be blown away.

 1,692 characters

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.

 1,117 characters

Photo of krome
3.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of tommy5
3.61/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Bighuge
3.26/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear mahogany. Thin beige head. Sporadic lace. Nice color. Sweet, syrupy smell. A litte corny. And a little malty. Wish it were MORE malty. Kind of a bready malt base on the palate. Not cloying, which I was somewhat expecting from the aroma. Some molasses and maple syrup. Pretty even keeled flavor profile. Lightly carbonated and medium bodied. Decent enough bock. But that's about it.

 387 characters

Photo of ZAP
3.38/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-Burgundy...impressive look to it...regal..

S-Sweet....caramel and dark fruits...a little bit of leather as well...

T-Definitely sweet but not overdone....dark fruits(including berries) lead the way...also the caramel is present...hops lend a mildly spicy leathery note....

M-Thinner than expected....relatively clean feel to it...

D-This is where it gets tricky...based on the comments I made above this should rate higher in this category but overall this has a run-of-the-mill feel to it....it's OK but everything doesn't add up to make this a special beer...decent..a little above average...still I won't buy it again...

 637 characters

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 mfnmbvp
3.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, with some kind of a bottling code on the side. Acquired this six pack from the local beer store for just $4.99. It seems to be a newer entry in Berghoff's catalog.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a dark ruby cola colored body with one finger of creamy tan head that falls to a ring quickly. Looks pretty good for what it is.

S - I get a bit of toasted malt roast, a bit of cream, some caramel, faint indistinct spice rack notes, some earthiness, green apple, and some spritzy yeast funk.

T - Taste is of smooth caramel & toffee, but both are short lived. Earthiness, green apple, musty yeast, mild hint of vanilla, a hint of vinous grape, and some coiny metallics on the finish.

M - Feel is smooth and creamy, with good spritzy carbonation. Medium-thin bodied, with some sticky green apple on the finish.

Overall, it wasn't bad, if maybe just a little bland, and a little thin-bodied. This should also probably be classified as a Winter Warmer instead of an American Strong Ale. I think it would be interesting to see what a year would do to one of these bottles. Definitely one of the better Berghoff offerings that I've tried. Recommended.

Berghoff Winter Ale ---3.5/5

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Photo of Molson2000
4/5  rDev +21.2%

Photo of CraigTravor
3.28/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Redrover
3.18/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Update 12/30/10 - Was it change in receipe or a reduction in quality control has really hit this beer hard! Almost all aspects of this beer have been degraded. To bad!

Origanl Revuew on 11-04-06 rated A-

The new Berghoff Red Bock Winter Ale in a 12 oz brown longneck with an attractive label (notice the subtle snowflake motif). I'm not sure how it can be both bock & an ale...

The beer pours a clear red with some brown highlights. The head is a creamy off-white. Decent clingy lacing.

The nose is decent. I get malts, some floral spice notes and a bit of caramel and coco.

The beer tastes of sweet malts (Caramel), some plums, and a hint of peat. There seems to be some subtle spicing, but perhaps that is from the hops. A bit of chocolate emerges late. The beer has a fair bit of complexity. The distinctive Berghoff yeast strain hovers in the background.

The beer is smooth with a decent firm mouth. This could be a decent session beer. While I will miss the old winter hazelnut beer, this is not bad at all. I would love to try this on tap.

 1,054 characters

Photo of matjack85
3.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of ralerwen
3.5/5  rDev +6.1%

Photo of The_Kriek_Freak
2.82/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Photo of WastingFreetime
2.46/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Reviewed from Minhas session notes.

Poured out a dark amber color with deep brown highlights and a one finger fizzy soda styled head that falls apart into a scummy layer in about a minute without any lacing left behind. Smells like a mild melange of lightly toasted malts and a strange sort of wispy 'sweet-tart' aroma garnish that belongs on the nose of a watered-down Flanders, not a Bock! Flavor is likewise comprised of lightly toasted malt and the strange sourness in the aroma is revealed as coming from a sort of overripe mushy plum flavor component, no detectable hopping in aroma or flavor. Texture is kind of thin and somewhat overcarbonated for a bock as well. It almost gets a stinging sensation on the tongue from how soda-like it is...but at least the finish isn't as sweet as most of the other Minhas products I've sampled.

 839 characters

Photo of orbitalr0x
2.96/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Red Bock Winter Ale picked this up as a single 12oz bottle. Pours into my glass a dark reddish brown with good clarity and a half inch of bubbly off white head on top of the brew. Aromas start with cereal grains that are lightly toasted along with some caramel and nutty tones. Light grassy hops. Nothing really going on here.

First sip brings a crisp toasted cereal grain malt that flows down with some caramel accents and light nutty flavors. A bit of a metallic taste as it moves along. This one finishes with some herbal hops on the way down and a light bitterness. Nothing really stands out here.

Mouthfeel is on the light side with a light creaminess and good carbonation. Goes down easy enough. A decent enough brew but comes across too light bodied for a bock. More like a bigger red ale. Either way it doesn't leave me wanting to come back for more.

 864 characters

Photo of Kunstman
3.25/5  rDev -1.5%

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 DbbC
3.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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Winter Ale from Berghoff Brewery
Beer rating: 18.6% out of 100 with 59 ratings
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