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Winterfest | Sockeye Grill & Brewery

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Very Good
33 Ratings

Brewed by:
Sockeye Grill & Brewery
Idaho, United States

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-31-2004

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 33 |  Reviews: 19
Photo of BucannonXC5
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Type: 12-oz. can
Glass: Hardwood Artisans shaker pint
From: Whole Foods in Boise, Idaho
Price: $9.99 for a variety 6-pack
Purchased: April 21, 2017
Consumed: April 24, 2017
Reviewed as: American Strong Ale
Misc.: Canned on Oct. 13, 2016

Picked this up with five others at Whole Foods on a recent work rip to Boise and later grabbing five more at Bier:Thirty. Had reviewed two others from Sockeye back in 2013 and enjoyed them both, giving the original Dagger Falls a 4.04 and a special cranberry kolsch at 4.13. Also liked the Mango Dagger Falls (3.81).

Poured a reddish brown murky color with three fingers of rocky off-white head. Serene setting underneath. Excellent foamy spiderweb lacing. World-class foamy retention. (Sight - 4.50)

Smelled a pleasant mix of hops and malts from the jump. Got wet Cascade, dish soap, caramel, toffee, spicy rye, menthol, herbal and some toasted barley. (Smell - 4.00)

Taste was a bit maltier than the nose, but still followed it or the most part. In order got menthol, herbal, toffee, caramel, toasted barley, spicy rye, hints of black licorice and really a black IPA, Cascade, Citra, toasted barley, lemon zest, lime and dish soap. (Taste - 3.75)

Medium body. Sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long rather hoppy finish. (Feel - 4.00)

A pretty good American Strong Ale overall. Kind of Black IPA meets ASA, but still good. (Overall - 3.75)

3.88 | 87 | B+

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Photo of wisegreensoul
3.93/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of DerwinWentworth
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of guyg
3.17/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Schmittymack
4.6/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this one in a trade quite awhile back so this might be flawed somewhat. However, I must say that this one has everything I want in a brew: great malt backbone with the right amount of hop bitterness. This would be one I could do over and over on a cold winter night. Might have to seek this out for this next winter.

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Photo of stevoj
3.71/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is real nice winter warmer, mildly hoppy, modestly malty, and lots of gentle warmth. Darkish amber with adequate beige head. Lingering resinous hops on the finish.

 168 characters

Photo of LouZ
3.21/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of ucsbmullet
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of KlayWey
3.04/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Good roasted flavor and decent winter brew

42 characters

Photo of Kyrojack
2.5/5  rDev -34.2%

Photo of NWbyNW_Brew
3.69/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Shanecooke93
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%

Photo of MikeDAdams
4.75/5  rDev +25%

Photo of woemad
4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes
16oz can purchased at Huckleberry’s in Spokane for a little over $2, I believe. No freshness date on the can.

Poured a dark, russet-like color that took on a more burnt orange shade when held up to light. Big, beige head – creamy and slow to drop. Lots of lace.

The aroma was primarily malty, but with some piney hop notes.

The hops hit the tastebuds first, but almost immediately melded with the beer’s big, malty backbone. Dry at the swallow.

Medium bodied, with an oily yet “meaty” mouthfeel, if that makes any sense.

This was like an IPA with a big, thick “stick-to-yer-ribs” maltiness. A good combo for a cold winter’s day, which it was when I drank this.

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Photo of bennetj17
4.21/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours leaving a wonderfully thick head of tan foam. Excellent retention and massive lace. The beer itself is a dark copper color, lightly hazy. Brilliant, fine carbonation erupts from the bottom of the glass. Inviting nose of doughy, biscuity, toasted bread.

The taste has an awesome bready malt character that is fairly clean, balanced nicely with herbal hops that leave a long lasting bitterness. The mouthfeel is silky smooth, medium thick, with light to medium carbonation.

Well done, this beer drinks a lot easier than 7% ABV. With a good balance of semi-sweet malts and tongue biting bitterness, it doesn't lose your interest. One way I would describe this beer is like Fat Tire on steroids, and with much more bittering hops to pair. Recommended.

 756 characters

Photo of 1424IpA
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of KetchumSuds
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%

Photo of dfhhead25
2.5/5  rDev -34.2%

Photo of Scotchboy
4.04/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Finally putting a review of this beer in the system: one of my Winterfest pint cans, poured into my CBS snifter.

A: Dark brown pour yields a ruby body with a huge light khaki head and tons of lacing.

S: More sugary malt and caramel is here now than when this beer is fresh. Still dominated by a hoppy onslaught of citrus and some herbal/resiny notes, but the English-style ale peeks through underneath with that distinct sweeter malt edge.

T: Tastes 'big' but isn't boozy; caramel and earthy spice mix well with a good dash of citrus hops that lean toward resiny, even garlicy/oniony. Still the malt backbone is hefty and caramel is abundant.

MF: Fairly full bodied, and very smooth.

O: Very unique and tasty Winter drinker. Still, couldn't drink a lot of this, but Sockeye is doing a good job.

 799 characters

Photo of fivetime
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

Photo of Dope
4.03/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can from Scotchboy, thanks Daniel! This must be a new incarnation of the brew because the last reviews seem to be very old. This was also a can and not a bomber. And it doesn't taste anything like the reviews. Can says Sockeye Winterfest so I'm pretty sure I have the right entry.

A: Pours a very dark amber/brown. Big dense light brown head. Fades very slowly, leaving a nice island of foam behind. Heavy, impressive lacing covers the glass. Great head retention too.

S: Whoa, hoppy. Citrus, tropical fruits and garlic/onion mainly. Resin and maybe some caramel?

T: Again, a little citrus, very resinous and piney that I missed in the aroma. Garlic and onion tops it off. A little bit of herbal hops too maybe? Mild caramel malt and toast. Lingering drying bitterness with toasted garlic, resin and herbal hops in the aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied, very drying.

O: English strong ale eh? Tastes pretty damn close to an IPA or a hoppy red or something. Either way, it's very tasty. Nice hop strength and variety. Flavorful and drinkable. Awesome.

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Photo of claspada
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No bottle date so I have to guess 2010.

Pours a really dark maroon with an eggshell colored fluffy head that leaves nice spider web lacing on the glass.

Aromas begin with light herbal and grassy hops coupled with a nice sweet malt backbone. Further sniffs allow me to decipher toffee, dark caramel and light roasted malts. There is an underlying spice notes that could be yeast or from an actual spice addition, but it's not dominant enough to be pin-pointed.

The tastes follow the nose with grassy and earthy hops and equal amount of brown toffee and caramel malts. I want to say more here but that's really it. There is that same light spice note in the finish but I still can't say exactly what it is. Flavor profile is missing something here, like a missing ingredient; would probably have benefited from some wheat malt or more carapils to add more body. Borderline watery quality to it.

Mouthfeel is medium to light in body with medium carbonation. The finish is neither thick/sweet or dry, pretty right in the middle. Could use a little more heft and body for my liking, especially because the flavor profile has as borderline watery quality about it.

Overall this is a good but not great beer. It lacks a punch or a standout feature. You keep sipping looking for more but there just isn't anything else to make this memorable in any way. A very drinkable English Strong Ale as I would have no idea this is 7%ABV. This is one of those beers that would be better served in a 4 or 6 pack at a lower price point and would be much more popular

 1,551 characters

Photo of stakem
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter, this brew appears brown in color but when held to the light displays ruby coloration and quite a bit of clarity. Some orange is seen around the edges and 3 fingers worth of creamy yellowish stained head appears across the top. The cap is frothy and leaves an entire curtain of lacework all over the glassware.

The smell of this brew is sweet and fruity but mixed with a grain incorporation that is quite toasted. There is a light spicy aspect along with yeast. Some hints of orange rinds and fruity citrus indications. As the brew warms up, the sweetness of the nose seems to be a bit like vanilla. Herbal hops are present once warm which rounds things out nicely.

The taste is sweet with toasty malt, vanilla and fruity alcohol notes. Herbal hops are present balancing out the sweetness of the malt. The aftertaste is bitter and lightly rindy with lots of fruity alcohol notes. The aftertaste is a pleasant mixture of herbal hops and vanilla, sweet maltiness.

This is a medium bodied brew to full with a modest amount of carbonation. Seemingly creamy in the feel. This is farily easy drinking with a low alcohol impact for 7%. Much more toasty than any brew I have had recently, that was a welcomed surprise. Perhaps a bit more depth to the malt would be encouraged but overall not bad.

 1,313 characters

Photo of Glibber
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I was really impressed with this beer. Medium dark looking beer with an off white 1/2 head that fizzled down and left nice lacing on the glass. The aroma was very pronounced and hinted of sweetness and malts. The taste did not disappoint. I did not detect the spices associated with many winter style beers, but a great blend of hops and malt with a nice sweetness- caramel perhaps. I will be returning for more.

 412 characters

Photo of Devehf
3.4/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

$5 22 oz bottles for this 2010 edition. Bought a case of 12 bottles for about $50. I also sampled a pint on tap which was not as solid as the bottled selections. What is that watered down effect from the fresh kegs? The bottles must have matured a bit more?

The hop spike is adequate but not as pronounced as I prefer. I'm a Dagger Falls IPA fan from this brewery.

The malt backdraft is not too sweet as you might find in some Belgian inspired Ambers.

This warm glow is a welcome accompaniment to a hearty stew on a frosty Northwestern Intermountain night.

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Winterfest from Sockeye Grill & Brewery
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 33 ratings
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