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

1,981 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 1,981 | Ratings: 5,893
Photo of Billolick
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I sampled a 12 ouncer with "purchase before" dating notched onto the label. Pours a fairly dark shade of almond, clear, witha soft tan head, which is showing respectable retention. Alot of bubbles continue to rise to the top. Real nice long lasting and well developed lacing left behind after a swig or two. Nose is malty with some faint spicing noticable. This is a smooth drinking winter warmer.Its lighter in body then others of the style. They call it a "dark wheat lager". Mouthfeel is quite creamy. Notes of vanilla and nutmeg in a generally bready flavor profile. Nice, highly drinkable cold weather brew. Well worth a try, enjoyable sessioner, that packs a punch at 6.9%!

 679 characters

Photo of deejaydan
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Color on this is a nice deep amber color, smallish head that vanishes quickly. I get some sharp hops on the nose, flowery hops, probably european, but just a guess. Taste is pretty average, some rich malts then bounced down against the hops. I don't pick up any spices that are supposed to be here. This is a step above average beers, but not by much. Not great, but not bad..

 376 characters

Photo of bceaglejoe
3.61/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had tried this beer on-tap before, and I had it again from what appears to be a fresher keg at a restaurant. My review has changed accordingly.

This beer poured a dark copper hue with about an inch-thick tan head. It smelled somewhat similar to Sam Adams Boston Lager, which is to say decent - not earth shattering.

The taste was so much richer when I let it warm up for a few minutes before drinking it. There was the slighest hint of hop bitterness coupled with an almost sweet taste on the front of my tongue. The spices this beer is supposedly brewed with are not as detectable as you might expect, but it's still quite a good beer.

I could certainly drink more than one of these in a sitting, particularly if I'm just hanging out with friends or enjoying a nice big multi-course meal. Beware the slightly higher alcohol content if you choose to drink more than one. It was definitely a nice winter seasonal.

 925 characters

Photo of Citadel82
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation a deep copper brown with a thin layer of foam, no lacing due to non beer clean glass.

Very floral smell with some malt and spice.

Taste was very metallic and citrusy with some sweet malt appearing the being replaced by a dry finish with some alcohol.

Mouthfeel was medium bodied with some carbonation.

Quite drinkable if you like IPA's as this reminded me more of an IPA than anything else.

 415 characters

Photo of waughbrew
3.76/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A very beautiful beer. Big frothy creme-colored head stays around for a long time and laces too, looking almost like a nitrogen-pour. Body is a crystal clear auburn/chestnut with small bubbles slowly rising to the surface. Smells of caramel and gingerbread, spicy, tart, and alive. Metallic from some continental hops. A hint of butter and some eathiness makes it smell like an English ale. Flavor is nondescript smooth caramel that is quickly joined by the metallic bitterness. A cinnamon-sugar taste is present throughout, but in just the right amount. Finish has some chocolate-covered lemon. Feel is thick and very smooth and lightly sweet - like a great candy. This is another good one.

I think that it is rediculous when BBC gets any crap on BA - their beers are solid and we owe them a ton for the role they serve in the beer world.

 843 characters

Photo of KoG
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Has a nice brown hue with a decent head that leaves good lacing. Smell is inviting with a hint of caramel and spice, more subdued than other winter warmers I've sampled.

Taste is also lighter than expected but nice nonetheless. No real trace of alcohol but a good amount of hop is used to complement the spice and darker malt.

Mouth was smooth and retained good carbonation.

Not such a bad winter warmer but definately less complex than most. Doesn't have that "piney" or "sprucy" character that some may like, but i find this more drinkable than most as I'm not a big tree taste fan... unless its maple.

 613 characters

Photo of GClarkage
3.11/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12/29/04- Purchased at the local Safeway in San Mateo, CA

Presentation- 12 oz gray-blue bottle with a drink by April 2005 notch. Poured into my Englander pint glass.

Appearance- Nice foamy head, a reddish pour and above average lacing.

Smell- Slightly pungent. A bit of floral hops. A bit sweet also.

Taste- Very metallic tasting. Bitter hops abound, but they are subtle. Maybe some caramel in the background.

Mouthfeel- Medium carbonation. A bit of a dry finish.

Drinkability- Can't get over this metallic taste. It pretty much ruins the whole experience for me. Wonder if I just got a bad batch. Truthfully, I wasn't expecting much anyway. No big loss here.

 677 characters

Photo of maltedmilk
3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark brown with an off white head that leaves plenty of lacing. It smells sweet. However , it’s sweetness is pleasantly in the background. There is a mixture of tastes in there…a bit of spice ..some citrus. The carbonation is on the high side.

Not bad at all in my opinion, a nice beer for the night.

I noticed the sam adams website says 5.8 % abv while BA says 6.94%. Judging by the way it tastes and the way I feel after drinking a couple, I would go with the 5.8%.

 493 characters

Photo of anders36
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an amber colour into the glass, the head disappears quickly. Malty aroma and some hints of caramel. Has a warming roasted malty taste, also a bit spicy taste. Spicy from orange peel i think. It has a bready aftertaste. A nice beer for the winter sessions.

 261 characters

Photo of beertaster13
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A great winter time beverage. Pours a nice oaked cherry with mohagany notes, the head is creamy/off white with good head retention. The smell is of dark roasted malts and nice syrup tones, hints of caramel tickle the nose. The taste has oaked rasins dipped in caramel, very nice but light enough to have more than enough. Light bodied and very nice, drink these and you won't want winter to end.

 395 characters

Photo of Bones54
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearence: copper, however rather transparent. Pours a thick head, but does not last to long, eventually becoming a lasting thin cover over the brew. Lacing is minimal.
Smell: As far as winter/christmas brews go, none whats so ever. Faint smell of ginger and spice.
Taste: pepper and spice is definately present, however not as powerful as I was expecting.
Mouthfeel: Definately leaves a sticky taste.
Drinkability: much like many winter/christmas brews, the spice only allows me to have a few. I can stomach quite a few more of these than I can of GLB Chirstmas Ale, yet I don't think that's a good thing. There's something to be said for the overwhelming spice that accompanies this style of beer, and I believe Sam Adams is slightly off the mark.

 754 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.65/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a two-finger cream head that fades slowly leaving some lace. Clear, deep amber color. Medium bodied. Floral nose. Light-medium carbonation. Starts prickly and malty with a little hops, mellow finish. More flavor as it warms. Much better than their regular lager. 83¢ for a 12oz bottle from Market Basket Concord, NH.

 328 characters

Photo of Truh
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Met all three ghosts with this one on 12/11/2004. 16-oz. pint pour at Toad in Porter Square, Cambridge, MA.

Stuck, pea coat covering of seemingly creamy head. Deep, ruby red hue to an almost luminescent mahogany hue that is frozen like an icy pond cracking with temperature drops on a still night. Kind of a dewy, pre-pubescent malt character on nose with some nutmeg and just a touch of allspice thrown in for talking points. Washed up on the beach, driftwood malt fire-in-the-hole splash to start, with a me-love-you-long-time promise of some holiday spices, but there simply is no delivery. Malt is weak; simply unimpressed overall.

 638 characters

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.63/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice deep amber red pour with a tan head on top. Leaves some lacing in its wake as well. Caramel, cinammon, hints of citrus peel and spice. An odd grainy smell finds its way in there too...

A nice sweet caramel nut malt swirls with a nice blend of spiciness, cinammon and hints of cherries. Hints of wheat grains pop out as the brew goes down.

Mouthfeel is a bit on the thin side but it smooth and easy to drink. I could have a few of these and it's nice on a cold night. Almost reminds me of a spiced up oktoberfest brew. Worth a try.

 542 characters

Photo of freed
3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

New label this year, but I love this beer.

Pours a mahogany brown with a nice topping of brownish foam. Body has nice clarity and medium carbonation.

The aroma is of wheat and nutty malt with a sweet tarnish to it.

The taste is bready and sweet and has nice malt highlights. The starchiness is a bit much after a while as it makes it necessary to brush one's teeth after a beer or two. Still, the rich, warm, and almost fruity flavor is quite nice, and a winter treat.

 478 characters

Photo of surfmeister
3.06/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I just don't like spiced beer...
great copper tone, full, sturdy head with great staying power, the spices in the smell and flavor were not overpowering by any means, I just didn't like em, I guess I just like hops and malt, I don't want my beer tasting at all like a pumpkin pie, also there was a sour note in the aftertaste that really bugged me

 348 characters

Photo of brewQ
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A respectable look, bronze color and fine bubbles forming a biscuit atop the brew.

The bottle says dark wheat with spice. I liked the malty caramel but my overworked taste buds can't pick out a particular spice.

A very balanced, drinkable beer. Makes me think well of the brewer in spite of their dorky commercials and tendency avoid distinctive brews.

 358 characters

Photo of misterscooter
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a very tall, very narrow pilsner glass at California Pizza Kitchen. The beer came out with a great looking head that gave off a great aroma and first taste. The beer was red with a hint of amber and smelled of raspberry and maybe cherry as well as some mild spices like nutmeg. That first taste with some head and beer gave me much of the same. Once I was strictly into the beer, it was smooth, although maybe a little too much carbonation for this type of beer. It did well with my pizza and it is definitely an annual beer that I would have again, although probably only one of these per sitting because of the sweetness.

 633 characters

Photo of Higravity
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a slightly better than most middle of the road WW. It has complexity is the smell and the taste of roasted malt and perhaps a prolonged boil. There is some light spicing that must be going on perhaps some oragne zest and nutmeg, but very light touch as the malt prevails and the hops are present only as an after thought. It is a very nice beer that I would drink over SS WW any day.

 391 characters

Photo of dgfair
3.83/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was my first beer from my 2004 Sam Adams Wimter Classics 12 pack. As a fan of the Boston Lager, I was looking forward to sampling the winter brews from BBC. The Winter Lager is a great start and did not disappoint. It pours a beautiful bright amber color with a slight off-white head about 1/4 inch thick. Not a great deal of aroma here, but I pick up small scents of nutmeg or cinammon that you may expect from a winter selection, plus some light hops and malt. The taste is nice with a good balance of hops and malt, and I also pick up a slight bitter fruity taste, almost reminding of the after-taste of a fresh sour apple. Carbonation is excellent and the lager fills your mouth and body with a jolt of wamth that you would hope for in a winter warmer. Drinkability is above average, as I could see myself drinking a number of these at a holiday gathering. Overall, a great start to my Winter Classics pack...although I am not looking forward to the Cranberry "lambic" based on the reviews I have read so far.

 1,018 characters

Photo of beveragecaptain
3.4/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear reddish brown with a small off-white head. Sweet, malty aroma. The flavor is malty with a decent amount of hops. I find this beer to be overly sweet. There is a nice spiciness, but not too spicy like so many winter beers. Medium mouthfeel. Like most beers from Sam Adams, this beer is very drinkable.

 314 characters

Photo of Backer2004
4.2/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent choice to start the holidays, I could not get enough of this at a Christmas party last night. The hints of cinnamon made my mouth sparkle, along with its refreshing taste. Sam Adams continues to impress me. Everyone else around me, even those stubborn to drink anything besides BMC agreed this time. Aroma and appearance were not the highlights for this winter warmer.

 378 characters

Photo of babydoc
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured form a 12 ounce bottle notched "May". Pours clear, dark amber, with 1finger light caramel head that persisted until about half the pour was gone. Gorgeous curtains of fine bubbles- Perhaps this looked so good because I had just driven 240 miles...Nose is malt and gingerbread.

It tastes of sweet malts and spices, crackers and fruits, just enough hops to offset the sweetness. Some spiciness in the mix. Mouthfeel is moderate carbonation up front, then creamy, with nice finish. Very drinkable

 504 characters

Photo of Gagnonsux
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Elements of the flavor of this beer remind of of Dixie Blackened Voodoo, I think that is because this beer has a molasses-like flavor. Appearance is amber-brown with average-sized, creamy head. Smell is treachy, nice and full. Taste is totally malty, with some taste of spices in the finish. Mouthfeel is a little creamy, which fits this beer nicely. This is an enjoyable beer, I like this more than the similar Blackened Voodoo, because this doesn't cloy.

 456 characters

Photo of Stingray5
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 release. Been a while since I've had this. Label has changed, but the beer is as I remember it. Pours reddish brown with an impressive off white head that falls to a sustantial ring, large bubbles. Sweet fruit aroma with some spices, a little peppery. Creamy mouthful. Sweet malt in the taste with that slight metallic twang I notice in a lot of Sammys. Finishes with a nice hop kick. Warming alcohol notes, a very nice winter lager. Solid all around.

 456 characters

Samuel Adams Winter Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.64 out of 5 based on 5,893 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.