Samuel Adams Winter Lager
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Samuel Adams Winter LagerSamuel Adams Winter Lager
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Bock - Traditional
Ranked #116
Ranked #45,084
3.6 | pDev: 13.61%
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States
Samuel Adams Winter LagerSamuel Adams Winter Lager
Notes: Festive Bock with Spices.

Winter Lager's rich malt notes and accents of cinnamon, ginger, and orange peel are just the right companion for decking the halls, your holiday table, your fridge, your hand... You get the picture, no matter what or how you celebrate, do it with a Winter Lager.
Reviews: 2,082 | Ratings: 6,305 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by JohnnyK:
Photo of JohnnyK
JohnnyK from North Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -2.8%

Nov 23, 2013
More User Reviews:
Photo of hoptheology
hoptheology from South Dakota

4.12/5  rDev +14.4%

This one has been sitting in my beer fridge staring at me for the longest time. I gotta drink this one or else it will start crying.

Appearance (4.25) : Pours an aggressive tan-beige head. I'm measuring about four fingers. Actually I have a tape measure sitting right here. 3 1/4". Impressive. Leaves lacing as it slowly recedes. The body is a dark honey color with about 30% opacity. Nice clarity on this one. Due to the massive head, the generous lacing, and the clarity of the dark body, I'm giving this one a solid 4.25.

Aroma (3.75) : Barley malt, oats, some faint wild berry, toasty grains; and finally darker earth notes upon very deep inhalation. Complex, characteristic. Bouquet is soft and weak, however.

Taste (4.25) : Well, this is quite interesting. The berry notes and the malt-heavy toasted grain play well with each other and are very loud. Hop bitterness is cheering from the sidelines, still present but kept on a margin by the barley and berry. The sour lambic-type taste gives it an interesting spin and the hops help balance out the malts nicely. It's very forward, very strong in the taste department, and for this reason it is a sipper and not a chugger. I will say, it is pretty impressive. I like the flavor, it's a true craft.

Mouthfeel (3.25) : Airy, light, estery...ends a tad papery and semi-dry. Medium bodied.

Overall (4.12) : If someone pushed this glass in front of me and told me it was from a top craft brewer, and they charged $15/4 pack, I would believe them. I would probably also try to find the beer to purchase it. This is actually a fine, fine beer and to think that Sam Adams made this is pretty incredible. It's got a great craft feel to it, a bit lambic and a bit festive, not too malty, not too hoppy, and that extra berry sourness just makes things interesting. The bottle talks about spice but I'm not intercepting any spice. Just good, berry, malty, hoppy goodness.

Edit : I see that this is a Bock. It is absolutely nothing like a Bock. I would knock the rating down but it's too good to do that. Approach it like a Bock and you'll probably be sorely disappointed. Approach it like a winter beer and you'll be jumping rope.

Oct 11, 2014
Photo of Strat58cat
Strat58cat from California

2.9/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is another beer that starts Samuel Adams fans down the path of only drinking Boston Lager. Sure, it looks so good that you can almost taste your hopes for what it is. Plus, you've heard about how they add spices in this lager, and brew it up with a heavy malt, so that it's a true winter beer from the winter environs of Boston. It may be the first seasonal you drink from Samuel Adams, because of all the promised goodness. Then you drink it and it's like . . . wtf? Damn! I shoud've just had a Boston Lager.

This is another old-school, "big" beer from Samuel Adams, but by "big" they mean a big beery malt. Beery Malt? Really? It is extremely lightly hopped (22 ibu) compared to today's beers, or even the original Boston Lager. The spice that they talk about adding during brewing is barely detectable. After trying this one, nobody could blame you if you decided to drink only Boston Lager. However, they do make White Christmas, which is pretty good.

The look, as with many of the beers from Samuel Adams, shows their attention to quality ingredients. It's a deep copper color. The head foams up very abundantly and laces very abundantly. Looks good!

When you snuff in the aroma, however, you realize that something may be amiss. There's just not much to it. Forget about a powerful aroma of grapefruit, pine or any of the other hallmarks of a modern IPA - of course. Also forget about the ineffable scent of paradise that you get in a Boston Lager. It's basically just a meh smell of beery malt. There's a barely detectable hint of cinnamon spice in the mix, but it's about a 1 on a scale to 10. Uh, oh.

The taste confirms that damn! I should have just ordered a Boston Lager. It's malt. That's the flavor - beery malt. Now I'm not talking about a Lagunitas Sucks multi-layered, syrup-thick complex of flavor combining sweetness and spice. I'm talking about a powerfully beery malt. "Beeaahh" as a Beantown resident might say. Time has sort of passed by that so-so flavor. The spice is really not contributing much. It may smell great when they brew it, but it doesn't do much for me.

The feel is fine. It's not super-thick feeling, but far from watery. With the powerfully beery malt flavor, the consistency is pretty substantial. The carbonation seems medium.

Overall, time has passed by this approach to craft beer. Perhaps as a reaction to the watery beers of the giant brewers, Samuel Adams brewed a hugely beery-malt of a beery malt beery malt. Did I mention it tastes like beery malt? Pass.

Nov 02, 2015
Photo of hopphead31415
hopphead31415 from Virginia

4/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I grabbed a twelver of this brew and it even came with a tulip lip can which is nice. Of course, I poured it into a worthy glass and admired what it has to offer. This one is 5.7% ABV.

Look-It pours a mildly clear walnut copper color with a nice whitish head. The lacing is persistent and fluffy.

Smell-It smells of dark fruits like plums and raisins as well as hearty rich sweet breads like pound cake, bread pudding, and cinnamon cakes. There is plenty of malts and abundant spices to be smelled and tasted.

Taste-It tastes like it smells, but with mild caramel flavors and some mild orange peel citrus.

Mouthfeel-It is medium bodied, smooth, rich, and creamy.

Overall-I love this beer, but it isn’t like earth shattering or anything. Definitely try it though.

Jan 14, 2016
Photo of WriterSean33
WriterSean33 from Georgia

4.1/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This was a wonderful seasonal beer from Samuel Adams. I will gladly drink this beer every winter, so long as it is available. It works very well for cold weather situations.

Mar 24, 2016
Photo of ChicagoPartisan
ChicagoPartisan from Illinois

4.46/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

It is that time of the year again. Had this one many times but never reviewed.

Fresh off the batch. Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

A: Pours a deep amber. Little head on this one. What head there is is a foamy white. Medium carbonation.

S: Malts initially. Some caramel. Fairly mute, I would say.

T: As remembered, the orange peel is prominent. Some hops as well. Caramel later on. A little cinnamon somewhere in there.

M: Medium-bodied. Slight dryness.

O: My favorite winter beer, hands down. Takes some of the best traits from each of the various winter seasonals that I have tried over the years for an excellent product. Warm flavors without losing the hop bite. Will be picking up some more (and more and more).

Sam should consider keeping this on the shelves through February. Last year, this was gone by January in place of Cold Snap (which is not nearly as enjoyable).

Nov 23, 2016
Photo of Caveworm
Caveworm from Ohio

3.98/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Samuel Adams Winter Lager | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams). Poured from the the bottle into a pint glass, this has a three finger thick light tan head, webbed lacing. and a deep reddish amber body.

Smells like masterfully roasted, full bodied malts. Also picking up the cinnamon and ginger mentioned on the labeling.

I taste hearty grains with not very much of a spice flavor, just a mild sweetness from the malts.

Medium mouthfeel with mild carbonation.

I'll rate Samuel Adams Winter Lager | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) with a 4.

Jan 06, 2019
Photo of Antg8989
Antg8989 from New Jersey

4.03/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Sam Adams makes surprisingly decent beers. Although I have to admit, this is much better than their summer offering. Give it a try during the holiday season.

Dec 20, 2017
Photo of Brutaltruth
Brutaltruth from Ohio

3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the 12 oz bottle in a snifter. This nice standard available in most restaurants
that serve Sam pours a nice red tinged amber with a nice off white head of foam that
subsides to a thick ring, thin light pool, and sports nice light lacing. Nose of caramel
malts tossed into light notes of light toffee and light breaded malts with a hint of
spice and orange zest. Flavors Follow the nose with a light breaded malt mingling with
caramel and toffee notes that have been dashed with subtle cinnamon and subtle ornage
zest flavors. Nice mouth feel; medium body, medium carbonation, and a lightly sweet
caramel toffee finish.

A macro micro---perhaps, but the beer connoisseurs owe a lot to this company
and this lager is a perfectly respectable example of the style done in America.
Nothing to hate and a lot to like. Overall an underappreciated brew that is
flavorful and respectable.

A solid brew from a solid company.


Feb 08, 2018
Photo of bwood06
bwood06 from Wisconsin

3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

While watching a game at a local pub in Grand Rapids recently I ordered this one up since I like a good bock every once in a while, and this one was the most enticing beer on the menu at the moment. Plus, it was a good lighter abv option to go with watching the game.

This beer pours a reddish brown hue and is clear with light carbonation visible. The head is off white and creamy, dissipating very slowly to a rocky layer with a neck. 4.25/5 The aroma is very sweet and fruity with notes of plums, ages, red wine grapes, and dark cherries. It comes across a bit syrupy and almost like cough medicine. 3.5/5 The flavor has that same sweetness and fruitiness, but luckily does not come off as cough syrup. Notes of plums, red wine grapes, dark cherries, and dates kick things off before transitioning to wheat bread and then finally to floral hops that feature very little in the way of bitterness. The bitterness is light enough that it does not linger after swallowing. 3.75/5 This beer is quite wet but not coating and it is medium bodied. There is very little carbonation and no dryness or lingering dryness. It is smooth and syrupy, but also thirst quenching at the same time (generally not two terms that go together). 4/5 This is a very good beer, although it is quite unbalanced in favor of fruity sweetness. I did not expect such a wealth of sweetness and fruity notes out of a bock, but oh well. If everything lived up to expectations I would get bored very quickly. 3.75/5

Jan 25, 2017
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin from Colorado

3.55/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

not crisp and cold and refreshing like most lagers, and not even fully seasonally applicable due to its average abv and dumbed down flavor profile. sam makes some epic beers, but this one is just average for me. it pours a light indian brown color into that funny sam adams glassware the use, good head. smells like a malt bomb, but tastes like a bit of cinnamon and clove spice, brown sugar, baked dessert, and even a light spruce element from the hops. its thick mouthfeel drags it down and sits in the gut a little bit, filling but without the needed winter buzz, carbonation is fine. not a good session lager for me. of the winter brews the cream stout and the scotch murder this one for my money. id say pass it by but its so damn common in the northeast, it probably cant be avoided. not a bad beer, but safe and boring by current holiday beer standards, although i get that its a mass appeal brew, real affordable, and marketed well. i do enjoy most of the sam seasonal beers, but this one is the weakest link...

edit: oddly enough for a large brewery like this, i feel like this one has gotten better over the years. i have enjoyed a few of them this season, eight years after my initial review, and i feel compelled to raise a few scores. seems drier and i can taste a bit of the lager yeast, a more balanced and complete beer, still safe, but better than i remember it being.

edit: perhaps newly reformulated in 2020, the box says it is, but maybe they started last year with this, this seems lighter, less malty, drier, maybe with some citrus on the back end. continual improvement somehow still in this seasonal classic. improved crispness and drinkability for me.

Dec 02, 2011
Photo of nicholas2121
nicholas2121 from Ohio

4.25/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Samuel Adams Winter Lager brewed by Boston Beer Company, with an ABV of 5.60% This German Bock pours out of a 12oz glass bottle into a a pint beer glass. A super nice mid brownish almost copper color with a nice small off white head. Decent amount of lacing to this brew, it sticks to the side of the glass well. Really digging the copper color of this brew. The smell is rich with roasted grains and malts. Then a nice mix of citrus with spices. You mostly pick up on cinnamon an ginger. The smells of the holidays. So far Samuel Adams Winter Lager is a nice inviting brew. Now for the taste, it is Bold with flavors. You first pick up the light roasted grains and malts, then a mild amount of spices. The spices are a nice touch to this brew. This brew has a super nice balance to it, there is nothing overpowering about this brew. This brew would go nice with dinner or on a cold winter day. The body of this German Bock is a solid medium. The mouth feel is Bold, Spices, Rich , Clean Smooth and Refreshing. Overall I am going to give Samuel Adams Winter Lager a 4.25 out of 5. I would definitely look this brew up again giving the opportunity to. Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams), did a super nice job with German Bock.

Dec 28, 2018
Photo of Brolo75
Brolo75 from California

3.3/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 ounce bottle poured into a pint glass

A: Pours a dark red, mahogany color with an off white creamy head, clear, very little carbonation, has a beautiful color to it, looks very nice.

A: Malt, caramel, not getting any of the ginger, cinnamon or orange peel, smells pretty plain, was hoping for more.

T: Malt, caramel, hint of vanilla in there, some ginger in the aftertaste, but no cinnamon or orange peel, it's just no there, the ginger does become more noticeable as the bee warms.

M: Light bodied, dry finish, easy on the palate.

O: This is not all it's advertised to be, it sounds like a big beer, a lager with some spice in it for cold weather, but it lacks body, cinnamon and orange peel, it tastes like a regular bock with a hint of ginger that seems out of place in the flavor.

Dec 05, 2015
Photo of 413
413 from Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The Sam Winter Lager is pretty close to my idea of a classic winter seasonal. It seems to be an agreeable dark variation on the classic Boston Lager theme, swapping out hoppy tones with welcoming spices. Better out of the bottle than on tap in my experience, it's nothing to write home about necessarily, but a solid brew to keep around for cold-weather sessions. It is a shame that this one isn't around a little later before it gets replaced by Cold Snap, the taste of which does not seem quite as appropriate for the depths of winter.

Jan 10, 2017
Photo of ajm5108
ajm5108 from Pennsylvania

3.46/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Fine for what it is - good use of caramel malt, not a tremendous amount of lager yeast or anything like that but it is categorized as a bock, mild on flavor but perfect in an anonymous, forgetable way.

Nov 26, 2017
Photo of tekstr1der
tekstr1der from New Hampshire

4.03/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark amber pour with thin lasting cap of beige. Aromas are pleasantly malty bread, caramel, and very light winter spices. All of the smells are amplified in the taste - very full-bodied for such low abv. Tasty, malty, but never overly sweet, if finishes clean and neat. One of Sam's best recipes.

Jan 04, 2017
Photo of wexmary
wexmary from New York

2.27/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Having two beers tonight so I started with this, quite disappointing. Weak, watery, no strong flavor points, albeit no piney aftertaste. The 1.5 is also in comparison to other beers that Sam makes. Still, a mediocre beer.

Jan 28, 2018
Photo of oriolesfan4
oriolesfan4 from Maryland

3.26/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I must say, this seasonal offering from Sam Adams sort of let me down. I like almost all of their beers but this one just wasn't doing it for me. I tried it plenty of times but found it to be lacking too much in overall flavor. The appearance is beautiful and it is a good beer body wise, but the flavor department is just lacking way too much for me.

Sep 30, 2008
Photo of DarthTexan
DarthTexan from Texas

3.17/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I really enjoy Bock beers. This one is just ok. Color is good. Distinct lack of smell. The spices weren’t anything special in this one either. Definitely ether than the name brand light beers, but not my favorite Bock.

Dec 02, 2017
Photo of BrotherDave
BrotherDave from Wyoming

2.34/5  rDev -35%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

12 pack cans.

Nice head, color similar to a Märzen beer, but not very much nose and not very much flavor. Certainly lacking in hops - both bittering and aromatic.

I hate to say it, but I give it a "meh." ... now I have 11 more to get through. Maybe I'll save them for company, after all it is the season for giving :-).

Dec 11, 2015
Photo of DoctorRobert1969
DoctorRobert1969 from California

3.5/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks great. Brilliant reddish brown. Smells and tastes fairly caramel with that spice taste in there, which I don't love. Goes down pretty easy like a lager should. The wheat is in there too. Solid but unspectacular but I respect Sam Adams as the legend they are.

Nov 26, 2017
Photo of KLHBB
KLHBB from Colorado

3.67/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Perfectly fine "go to" beer if there is nothing more exciting on the menu. Part of a winter seasonal pack. Pours a jewel-tone dark amber, minimal lacing. Smells of malt, tastes of malt, spice, a tiny bit of citrus and sugar. Medium carbonation. I buy this in six-packs for family Christmas. Readily available and far superior to the 3.2 grocery store they usually buy.

Dec 31, 2015
Photo of ThisWangsChung
ThisWangsChung from Maryland

3.53/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Pours a beautiful copper color. The head is two fingers high and off-white in shade. This beer's head really leaves behind a ton of lacing on the glass, though its retention isn't amazing.

Almost immediately, cinnamon and ginger invade my nostrils. You know, as much as people say Hardywood GBS invokes gingerbread - this does that very same thing nearly as well. Also adding to the experience are touches of wheat and apricot (though I don't get much orange peel here). This offers a very intriguing aroma, spiced in all the right ways.

As it washes over the palate, I initially pick up flavors of ginger, molasses, and wheat. Orange peel rounds out the mid-taste, with a nice kick of cinnamon finishing things off. It's not a particularly deep beer, but it balances all its elements extremely well.

Creamy and soft textured, this just feels rich - not just for a 5.6% lager, but in general. The finish is dry, keeping it an easy drinker. Carbonation is gentle, and this seemingly aids this beer's substantial body.

I've always felt Sam Adams do lagers better than ales. The standard Boston Lager is still quite tasty, Double Agent is probably their best hoppy offering, and Noble Pils is tragically missed (or is it - hi Spring pack!) This reaffirms that belief. It's not comically cinnamon-heavy like so many Winter warmer-cum-pumpkin ale offerings, nor is it some dinky, watery weakling in terms of mouthfeel. This is a perfect "please the masses" kind of beer that works great for parties or guzzling by the pitcher.

3.53/5: A worthy offering that I overlook too often in the winter

Jan 08, 2016
Photo of wmscottsimpsonjr
wmscottsimpsonjr from Missouri

3.6/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear, medium chestnut brown with two finger off white head. Leaves lots of lacing. Smells of sweet malt with chocolatey roasted malt and a hint of cinnamon. The flavor is similar, with the cinnamon and ginger subtly rounding out the lightly roasted flavor. It works pretty well. Medium light body. Faint lingering bitterness.

Jan 31, 2019
Photo of PMakowski
PMakowski from New Hampshire

3.72/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12 Oz bottle poured into glass
Look - Copper Brown color, small medium foam head, minimal glass lacing.
Smell - Malt, nuts, little bit of toffee and chocolate. Nothing in the way of hops. Fairly sweet. Maybe a touch of spices.
Taste - Very sweet and sugary. Not really much in the way of flavor. Caramel lager basically. Malty but not roasted. I can pick up a bit of ginger and orange peel but it's not pronounced. Medium bodied but has a filling taste. Medium carbonation.

Overall, not really sure what they were going for here. It's not a bad beer but not light enough to drink more than one or two and not enough flavor to make me want to buy more...Grade is a B

Nov 05, 2018
Samuel Adams Winter Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 6305 ratings