Samuel Adams Winter Lager | Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

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Samuel Adams Winter LagerSamuel Adams Winter Lager

Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Bock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Samuel Adams Winter Lager is a dark wheat bock. Bock beers are traditionally strong dark lagers.

This beer is a lager, and hence not a Weizenbock (an ale).

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-25-2001

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Reviews: 1,979 | Ratings: 5,892
Photo of Gremner
2.54/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A- It had a nice burnt amber copper color. The head was small and weak, leaving rather quickly. Not appreciable lacing.

S- It had a spicy, hoppy aroma. Kind of weak, but present.

T- Mainly cinnamon. Decent hop appearance after the initial strong cinnamon. Left a bitter hang.

M- Light bodied with good carbonation.

D- Drinkable, but not for me.

Note: In all fairness this is not a type of beer I usually drink. My ratings are on the poor side, but they're definitely skewed due to my preference of stouts and porters. Maybe a great beer if you enjoy this style. Worth a try. Certainly not a favorite of mine.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.54/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours a decent one finger head that dissipates in about two minutes leaving a delicate ring of lacing behind. Color is a clear ruby amber.

S - Rice lager odor and then a caramel sweetness with a bit of dates in the mix. It is faint and not that good.

T - Strong grain presence, seems part rice, part barley, it is a little unpleasant, others might not mind it, but it isn't quite the flavor I hope for in a beer like this. There isn't any real spices decernable, maybe a touch of fruit cake syrup . . . is that a spice? There is a lingering sweetness in the aftertaste with just a touch of bitterness underneath it.

M - Froths in you mouth to a nice level. Without the frothing, the viscosity is a little thin. A fairly refreshing brew though.

D - This is drinkable, although I would certainly prefer other beers to it. Would work well with some foods (Christmas goose perhaps?). I don't want another really, I don't know what it is, but I don't like this beer much at all.

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Photo of SteveB24
2.55/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Appearance clear. Reddish brown, slightly evident carbonation, thin off white lacing.

Smell: not much there, slight yeast, some watered down maltiness, and the faintest bit of cinnamon.

Taste: tastes like a pretty basic, unrefined american lager with a bit of extra malt and some lingering Christmas flavors.slightly metalic

Mouthful: thin body Medium carbonation. Slightly watery.

Overall. Even with low expectations, this Beer dissapointed.

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Photo of Overlord
2.56/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber. Good amount of carbonation ... in fact, it's a bit on the seltzer-y side.

Smell is pretty much nonexistent. Maybe some faint malt? This is classified as a "bock?" Where's the rich malty aroma?

Taste is light malts, some spices (cinnamon? nutmeg?). There's some sweetness beyond the malt ... maybe honey or molasses. Tough to tell since this isn't an overly flavorful beer. Pretty much lightly flavored carbonated water.

Decent, quaffable, but nothing to write home about. For the price, I can find dozens of better brews available a few feet away.

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Photo of ChadQuest
2.56/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pour gives a fading head to a collar over a amber/ruby hued body.
Aroma is weak, not very lofty, just has some meak malts.
The flavors are all spiced up, all of the spices noted on the bottle are detectable. Orange zest, cinnamon, the ginger adds a bit of zing to it. The Malts balance out the spices. not a big fan of how these spices come together though, mostly the ginger i think.

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Photo of TheLiterati
2.58/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Color is much like their Boston Lager, amber leaning to brown, with maybe a little more red than orange, topped by a nice creamy head.

Smells of “winter spice,” some wheat, and heavy on molasses, making me think I was in for a bigger mouthfeel and taste than what I got, which, frankly is not nearly as good as the Boston.

Though pleasantly carbonated, all in all I found this variety to be a little thin. The flavor is lacking – it gets real close to being average, but somehow misses the mark for me.

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Photo of Rudgers73
2.59/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz bottle

A- As I pour the deep amber beer the fizzy head fills 1/2 of the glass. The beer is crystal clear with an average amount of bubbles rising throughout.

S- Wheat, slight hops, toasty.

T- Strong wheat taste. It has that macro thinness. A hint of spices and peppery notes.

M- Very plain and flat.

D- It was okay but probably not again for me.

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Photo of VoodooBrew
2.62/5  rDev -28%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I had tried this beer once previously, about 2-3 years ago, but unfortunately I don't really remember my impression of it then. But I'm sure it wasn't as bad as this time around. Read on...

The beer poured a very hazy orange, making look almost like apple cider. There was a decent head but not much in the way of head retention.

Things improved in the aroma department, where I detected some spice, and fruits that reminded me of apple and banana. A nice aroma profile for a winter beer.

I found the flavor to be much more disappointing, however. First of all there really didn't seem to be sufficient flavor for a winter beer. It seemed thin, without any "warming" properties, and the flavor seemed to further thin out mid-pint. Furthermore, there was a tartness in the aftertaste that I found to be unpleasant. This tartness served to negatively impact the mouthfeel.

I don't know if this was a bad keg or what the story was. I was quite surprised by the flaws in this beers. Normally Boston Beer makes products that, at the very least, don't offend.

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Photo of HugoGrim
2.63/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Served in a standard pint. Deep brown body with a slim creamy head, moderate laceing.

Scent is malty and a tad spicy, with possibly some caramel hints.

Flavor is not all there in my opinion. Some malts, and a touch of something sweet like gingerbread, but it just seems lacking. No hop character. A very thin flavor.

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Photo of devilben02
2.64/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a rich, deep reddish-amber color, with a thick, creamy sand-colored head that clings to the side of the glass. The aroma is largely just a thin graininess, but there are subtle notes of sweet malts and a dull earthy hop presence underneath. The flavor is more defined, with a sweet caramel malt base contrasted by a bit of earthy, peppery hops, but it all just seems a bit stale. The added spices are not distinct themselves, but they instead build on the dull earthiness of the hops. The mouthfeel is fine, but it doesn't do anything to prop up the dull, dreary flavor profile. Overall, I finished every bottle of this beer from the winter sampler pack, but I didn't particularly enjoy them.

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Photo of Raime
2.64/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours a deep ruby with two fingers of off white head. Leaves decent lacing.

S - Corn adjunct ( weird ), slight cinnamon, and even slighter ginger. The nose is definitely lacking for a Bock.

T - Some weird adjunct up front for a split second, followed by a good amount of orange and wheat. Extremely slight malt and no hops present. A very solight ginger makes it's way in to the finish. Pretty one dimensional to be honest.

M - Extremely heavy body, with heavy carbonation. So heavy on both parts that it almost makes you choke.

O - Overall, I expected this beer to at least be " good ", but it disappointed me, as it was pretty much a slighty up-flavored cheap lager. I would not buy it again. Hell, I've had adjunct's with a better mouthfeel than this.

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Photo of Wegomlegging
2.65/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clear brown pour with nice head. Scents of very light spice and cherry. Aside from the light sweetness and hint of spice, this was watery in flavor in that there was not much. Mouthfeel was pretty standard, as was drinkability. Overall this particular beer was not all that great, but I'd drink it if someone bought me one.

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Photo of hbis2gut
2.65/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I am consistently surprised at a brewery that can simultaneously make beers like the flagship lager and ale, and then make "beers" like the cherry wheat. This one finally falls in between. I neither like it nor hate it. The aroma is immediately sweet and somewhat attractive. You can definitely smell the spice. It pours nicely with a off-white head to reveal a medium2dark amber color. The flavor is, in my humble opinion always a bit off and unbalanced(I've had several six-packs to make sure I wasn't just tasting the occasional off-batch). Did anyone say that a spiced beer shouldn't be hop balanced?

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Photo of pweis909
2.65/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

UPDATE: A=3.5, S=3.5, T=2 M=4, D=2
I reviewed an older version of this in 2006 which I rather liked, and I know I liked a version in 2008 that I had on draft. However, the current version is maybe my least favorite Sam Adams beer. The problem is the spices. The ginger ruins it for me. I love ginger, but have yet to have a beer with ginger in it that I liked (except for maybe some Belgians in which the spices are not at this level of perception. Good to remind myself I don't like highly spiced beers, as I was thinking about brewing one.

OLD REVIEW: A= 3.5, S = 4. T=4.5, M=4, D= 4.5
Hard to assess this one within a particular style. They call it a dark wheat bock lager on the label.

A- The color is dark amber, garnet. , the head dissappeared almost instantly.

S- Cloves.

Taste-not as clean as a bock or lager might be. Some spiciness of uncertain origins. Delicious malt. No wheat taste.

I like this one. I feel that SA so far has hit the mark on the two seasonals I've sampled in their winter mix pack.

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Photo of masterbruewer
2.66/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Poured a nice amber color with a decent white head that faded fast and nice lacing. Faint carbonation.

The only smell was a faint scent of berries or fruit.

Muted coffee and burnt oak flavors, faint hops kick and a slight bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel was bland and a little syrupy.

This is a decent beer and highly drinkable but not what I expected in a winter lager. I expected much bolder flavors than this.

I'd be interested to re-review this when next year's comes out and try it earlier in the season.

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Photo of DaneBramage
2.71/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle bought at a dive bar, closest thing to craft beer that they had.

L: dark amber with medium head
S: malt, cinnamon, ginger
T: malty, bready, wheat, cinnamon and other spices
F: bitter, peppery aftertaste
O: I realize winter lagers and ales typically have spices added, but this beer just doesn't do it for me. The cinnamon and pepper aftertaste is not my idea of a tasty holiday brew.

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Photo of ptykozoon
2.71/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Burnt amber, thin cap, good lacing.

Fruity - peach? Hops.

Spices, orange peel, bread, a few off putting flavors that don't mix well.

Light, watery.

Pretty bland, a very average beer. It also has some earthy notes that don't mix in well with the rest of it.

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Photo of hoplover82
2.71/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I really didn't like this one. It's just weired .

There is no direction it seems. I don't know what they were going for with this beer.

It's so confusing. I know it's supposed to be a winter style beer, but it's not a good one.

This beer is a mess. They say it's a bock but it's not like any other bock I've had.

Not going to have this one again.

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Photo of cooter
2.73/5  rDev -25%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Says it's a seasonal, "dark wheat lager brewed with winter spices." What precisely qualifies as a winter spice, I dunno. Dark amber with a splotchy, varied-bubble-size head. Smells like poor malts, adjuncts maybe (I didn't think they did that), a hint of cinnamon, something very sweet, reminds me of maple syrup.

Tastes flat and like rice. Again, I thought they didn't DO that... Thin-bodied but a good texture. Budweiser-esque palate gives way to a cloying, sticky zing. Not impressed.

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Photo of shererjt
2.73/5  rDev -25%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a dark red-copper clear. Light carbonation and a small head. Full aroma; raisins and cherries(?) but not much in the way of hops or malt.

Medium-to-full body and very fruity for a lager. Lots of cherry flavor. Some malt, but the fruit/spice dominates. I wouldn't describe the flavor as bad, though I wouldn't say it's particularly good either. Has a little sourness that's balanced by a malty finish. Definitely intended for sipping.

This is a hard beer for me to describe. The spice/flavoring is too overpowering to get a feel for the underlying beer. While I generally enjoy winter beers tremendously, this one just didn't do it for me. I think toning down the other stuff and ramping up the beer itself would improve it, but then again there's no accounting for taste.

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Photo of rand
2.74/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

From 12 oz bottle to pilsner glass

Pours an amber-brown, clear in complexion, forming a small, 1/2 inch head. Looks to be quite moderate in carbonation. On first whiff, notes of lightly roasted malts and sweetbread can be detected. Some holiday spice lingers in the background, suggesting orange zest and maybe a splash of nutmeg. The nose is fairly subdued - had to take several deep inhales to describe the aroma.

I suppose the taste follows the smell, but man, with all the ads claiming travel to other countries, 'looking out for exotic ingredients', there's not much going on here. Some sweetbread malts along with a note of slightly astringent bread crust. Just a faint touch of candied ginger, some orange, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Spices are very faint and barely detectable, I'm more than halfway done before I've described the palate. Nothing offensive by any means, ingredients are balanced and smooth, but unremarkable.

Hmmm...was underwhelmed here, but I should know better than to let my expectations rise due to a national advertising campaign. I just don't put the Boston Beer Co in the same camp as other macros (I suppose they really are at this point) and was expecting a bit more. Flavor? Yes, more please.

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Photo of tony12hd
2.75/5  rDev -24.5%

Found at every b
ar around greater boston area. They are definitely an illegal pay for play participant. They are the big players In MA. Budlight is not considered a beer here. So much is expected of Sam adams, but they are always the sucky beer, avoid them and always go for real local beer, that i am not going to mention here, you have to try to taste yourselves.

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Photo of BeerLovinWoman87
2.75/5  rDev -24.5%

I poured this beer from a bottle into a pint glass. It has a nice foamy head that dissipates into a good lacing. The color is dark and reminds me of cola a bit. As for taste, very strong hops, with a bit of spice. The mouthfeel is smooth. Overall, I find this beer drinkable, but I much prefer the regular Boston Lager. I don't generally like bock beers. I don't think I'll buy it again.

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Photo of andythejerk
2.75/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I don't care much for this beer. It's just not for me. It looks alright--starts out with a nice head and a good caramel color. Smells--well, I can't really put my finger on it. Same thing for the taste. I've had a couple of these now over a couple of different nights to get a feel for it and I still don't like it. "Dark wheat lager brewed with winter spices." Okay. It just seems muddled and I can't get anything out of it and I don't think it's very tasty. Makes me not want to finish the glass. Oh well. I still love Sammy Adams, and we'll try again next year. (I liked Anheuser-Busch's Winter Warmer better. Yikes!)

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Photo of Nerudamann
2.76/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle and into a Pilsener glass.

Look - reddish/deep copper color. About a finger's worth of off-white foam that dissipates quickly. Decent carbonation.

Smell - Very little smell at all. Not even enough to get a bearing on its hop vs. malt levels.

Taste and Mouthfeel - bitter taste but doesn't seem to come from hops. It lingers more toward the back upper part of the palate than on the tongue. Maybe some of the ginger is noticeable. Texture is pretty well-balanced.

Drinkability - Somewhat bland and tasteless. I like many of BB's brews, but this one seems to have stretched them a bit thin.

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Samuel Adams Winter Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.64 out of 5 based on 5,892 ratings.
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