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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
1,948 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: 1,948 | Ratings: 5,761
Photo of palma
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark amber body with a thick yellowish head that lasts and lasts. Head leaves rings down the whole glass that really sticks.

Smell: Extremely spicy. Very bready. A little caramel and butter. The spice overwhelmes though.

Taste: Not as spicy as the aroma would lead you to believe. Sweet malt comes out immediately. A little hint of bread/grain in the middle. I also tasted pepper, specifically. Burnt caramel flavor throughout with a surrounding mild bitterness. A burnt aftertaste along with some lingering spicyness. A full bodied beer.

Mouthfeel: One of the better aspects of the beer. Very smooth. Light carbonation. Good density. Not watered down like some winter lagers. Great mouthfeel overall.

Drinkability: I think the spice can get to you with this one if you drink too many in a row. If you like Christmas spice, then this is a beer for you that you can drink all night long. In my opinion, if your only having a couple of em, then this is an easy drinking brew with good taste, low carbonation and great mouthfeel.

 1,053 characters

Photo of Ellbert
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer poured a red/orangish color with a huge fluffy off white head that took forever to settle down. The head was so fluffy and creamy that I could draw in it.

The smell was mildly spicy with a beefy sweetness. Subtle hops were noticable.

The taste was very mild with spices very discrete. A tasty brew but very low key, it could be kicked up a notch. This left you very dry afterwards.

The mouthfeel was meaty and chewy with just enough carbonation. Very nice.

A very drinkable brew, very mild and low key but tasty.

 535 characters

Photo of littlebibs
4.2/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this one on tap at the grog(Newburyport,Ma) while out & about and this beer was a medium darker, smooth, slightly spiced but
very delicious winter beer that really warmed me up. Nice head
and lace lasted a while but I enjoyed these pints so much, the beer was what disapeared first. I would highly recommend this, especially on tap, the
bottle I would rate slighlty less.

 380 characters

Photo of WesWes
3.7/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours an amber color with a thick off-white head. The aroma is fruity and full of spices. The lager smell comes through revealing a bit of yeasty scent. The taste is decent. There is quite a lot of ginger used in this one. There are some crystal malts here giving it a malty taste. It's crisp and refreshing. The mouthfeel is good. It is a low/medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a good drinking seasonal beer. I always look forward each year to having one.

 480 characters

Photo of CRJMellor
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep copper, very clear attactive beer. Small white head produced that clings to the side of the glass.
Aroma is caramel, toffee, small resiny hop note, some other X-mas like spice in the background that I can't quite make out.
Taste is sweet malt with nice bitterings, ginger and peppery notes in the background. Very lively in the mouth with a slight alcohol kick on the back end.

(I've been on a personal boycott of S.A. products but this is the best S.A. I've had in years)

 491 characters

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

Appearance: Deep ruby-amber body. Generous, frothy, light-tan head fades to a creamy edge-ring with a smattering of lace.
Smell: Sweet malt, carmelized sugar, hint of butterscotch, mild spicecake spicing in the backgound.
Taste: Sweet sugary malt to start, thin and almost fizzy at the top, hop dryness leaves non-descript spicy aftertaste and gentle alcohol warmth.
Mouthfeel: Smooth, light-medium malt. Tingly carbonation.
Drinkability: Quite drinkable, not that memorable.

 479 characters

Photo of GuinnessSmurf
3.44/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I tried this beer at both fridge cold and room temperature. Of the two choices, I have found that it tastes better when cold. When it pours into the glass, the head climbs up high to the rim with small to medium bubbles. In fact, I'd say the head was uncharacteristic of a typical lager. I really enjoyed the rich, bold color of this lager and could hardly wait to dive into it after a long night at work. The taste is very clean. There isn't a lot of extra spices in there, which is something I've come to expect from winter brews. In fact, I was looking for more of a holiday beer. What I got was a very drinkable lager. After taste fades quickly even with massive swishing. This sealed the deal: if you buy a Samuel Adams holiday beer, buy the Uncle Fezziwig.

 762 characters

Photo of sulldaddy
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I had this brew poured in a pint glass very cold. The color was bright, clear amber, and there was a cm inch bright white head when the beer arrived at my table.

The aroma was dominated by floral hops and there were very faint traces of cinnamon. No caramel or other typical malt scents\

The first taste reveals a sharp fine carbonation and fairly thin mouthfeel. I notice a little malt sweetness but the brew is dominated by the hops.
Not a very heavy flavor or rich for that matter. I actually was hoping for a little more spiciness in the brew, but I did find it very drinkable and could have had more than my two very easily.

The finish was short and clean withonly a faint hop bitterness left in my mouth.

I would drink this again if out and about and best choice on tap but not sure if I would buy any bottles for home consumption.

 853 characters

Photo of RoyalT
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – The body of this lager is brown and very clear. The head frothed up quickly and laced the glass as it went down.

Smell – The grain here came out nicely, which is a welcome surprise from an American brewery. The cinnamon, allspice, and sharp clove where terrific, and the toasty malts created a solid backbone.

Taste – The grain reserved itself for the finish, giving me a joyful mouthful of heavily spiced beer. There were some good maple notes along with toffee and a hint of cocoa. The light herbal bitterness brought up the rear.

Mouthfeel – Thin but a little better than light-bodied with little carbonation. The body was a bit light in the ass for the big flavors in this beer.

Drinkability – This is a solid entry into the Winter Warmer style.

Comments: I didn’t care at all for the 2003 offering, but the 2004 sample that I had was so above and beyond the ’03 that I completely rewrote the review.

 939 characters

Photo of counselor
3.09/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a dark reddish brown and looked crisp with a 1" head of nice white foam. The beer's aroma differed little from the regular lager. Similarly, it tasted much the same as the standard Boston Lager, as I have found all Sam's to taste pretty much the same (almost as if the same yeast being used in all the lagers infuse the Boston Beer siwht the same over all fruity esters). There were no real winter flavors to speak of, no clove, spice, nuts, etc,. I always expect that a winter beer will provide some different flavors, though unfortunately, this Sam's did not.

It was very crisp and refreshing, however, and was easy to drink - wouln't be a bad intro beer for a winter style, shich, I think Sams has really become just that .. a micro-craft intro beer.

This beer was served ice cold and improved a little as it warmed, although because it went down so easily, maybe it didn't last long enough to show its true character.

 945 characters

Photo of yankeeheel
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a copper wwith a little white head. Smeels of some hop and spice.

The tatse is quite nice. I'm not a huge lager fan, but this was something I could drink all evening long. Nice caramel malt with a spicey middle. Scant hop burn at the end. Moderate body makes it highly quaffable.

 288 characters

Photo of DrunkMcDermott
2.82/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a good half-inch head over a coppery body. But not a lot of smell. Maltiness is pleasant without having too much actual taste, though, just a little bit crystal. I had not pegged this for a wheat. Couldn't peg any kind of hop profile. Leaves a decent enough malty aftertaste.

 281 characters

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

Release 2003

The color as it comes fresh from the bottle a pellucid burnished copper with a mastodonic head that is frothy in texture and the color light tan with a thick sealing sheet of lace. Nose is sweet malt, fresh and pleasing to the senses with the start lightly sweet and decently malted, top is fair to middling in feel. Finish is modestly carbonated, the hops relatively unobtrusive in their spiciness, quite dry aftertaste, another of those benign beers that are just plain good to drink when you’re not in the mood for a “Bad Boy” beer. I’ve always found Samuel Adams beers to be quite drinkable and always a good session beer.

 646 characters

Photo of JAL67
4.3/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Excellent beer for the winter...warms you right up. I needed to get use to the winter lager after having the "light" beers of the summer ale and the octoberfest, but after awhile the winter lager goes down smooth. I really enjoy the color of this beer and the taste. not too spiced like some of the other winter brews out there. Does have a stong kick(6.94%) and that is a good thing so as to warm you up on a cold winter's night. I can easily put these down...just a damn good beer! I don't find this beer too filling at all. I do find a difference when you drink this from draft and from bottle. I like the draft better...but hey as loong as I have SA Winter Lager at this time of the year I'm a happy man.


 718 characters

Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
3.57/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Color is bronze-to-copper with a distinct redness in the main body. Translucent bronze when held to light with decent carbonation. White head of about one finger of foam fades shortly to a spotty ring of foam around edge of glass. Aroma is very sweet and malty; a vaguely citric hop presence makes itself known in the middle of the nose as the beer warms. Spices, which are also vague in the aroma, are much more prominent in the flavor: slightly nutmeggy and clovey, with cinnamon gradually coming to the fore. This balances nicely with a sweet maltiness, and more citric hop that begins early in the palate and lasts. Mouthfeel is refreshing and sort of wet (because this is a "wheat lager," according to the label?) with a slight tingle of carbonation. I'm not sure what food I'd match this with, but this ought to be a very solid session beer. Comfortable and easy-drinking.

 878 characters

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?

 604 characters

Photo of xgrigorix
3.26/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On tap, presented in a mug.

Medium amber hue, clear, with thin lines of carbonation racing to the top. A thin off white head leaves rings of lace behind.

A deep malt aroma, mixes well with a host of baking spices - nutmeg, cinnamon, & ginger.

A well balanced bit of malt goes nicely with the spices from the nose. Crisp & smooth like a lager should be. Just a tingle of hops at the back end remind you that its beer.

 425 characters

Photo of Foxman
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It pours a deep amber hue, with a pretty light tan head that lifts, then recedes slowly to a crepe of foam with the occasional denser islet within. The lace thins to spots on the side of the glass.

The first stage of the aroma is malt, followed by mild hops, with hints of sour cherry and maybe even berry of one sort or another.

The malt comes first as you taste, a slightly roasty sweetness followed by some hop bitterness on the tongue. There's a fleeting metallic tang that takes away slightly from the overall crisp flavor. However, while not deep in dimensions, it's pleasant.

It's lighter bodied than the color might lead you to believe at first blush. It doesn't coat the mouth so much as pass by, leaving a bitter tingle on the sides of the tongue.

Very good, and while not great, a fun stronger lager for the colder months. I sip it by the fire with She Who Much Be Obeyed when I'm of the mind to drink what she drinks. They flow easily and tastily. She looks forward to the fall release each year, and while I'm not quite as atwitter as she, I certainly don't dread it.

 1,095 characters

Photo of putnam
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Auspicious beginnings with a effluence of viscous, beige foam over reddish brown liquid. The aromas are deliciously malty. Nutty, baked plum fruit and cedar notes are most evident.
In the mouth it is fluffy. Elements of lean, woody, hop tannins coexist with raw sugars, balancing out more-or-less dry. Some maraschino cherry and cranberry fruit prevails on the mid-palate together with sweet spice flavors.

 407 characters

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

Not bad by any means, but not a holy grail or anything either...Color when served was clear Irish Setter red, no head to speak of. Aroma was malty. Taste to me was of a sweet biscuit mix, hops were nowhere to be found. Not sure where the spices went. I would have again if at a bar where this was about it...pleasant and easy to drink, but no big deal. pat

 356 characters

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

Pours a very dark red-amber with nice head that disappears rather quickly. I don't perceive too much aroma however which is strange, the bottle says "brewed with winter spices", (whatever they are) but I can't detect them. Perhaps my nose is stuffed up.

The tatse is quite similar to Sam's regular lager in my opinion. Perhaps a bit fuller.

Nothing over the top with this brew, but if you enjoy Sam Adams usually, you will enjoy this one.


 452 characters

Photo of BigPapaLager
3.43/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is a brew I usually look forward too every year, as it was one of my first winter beers. Pours a crystal copper color with a medium head. Lacing was not significant. A sweet one with some hop bitterness as well. Drinkabilility is good but not one of Sammy's best IMO. Though it did get easier to drink as the night progressed.

 331 characters

Photo of SilentSabre
4.3/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I could tell right away upon pouring this one that it was going to be good. Had a nice, dark, bronze colour with a quite thick tan coloured head. One can tell from the smell that this is a sweet, spicey one. The taste, however, is even sweeter and spicier than the smell seems to indicate. Not a lot of carbonation in this one, which makes it easy to drink. I feel confident that I could knock out quite a few of these lovelies with little trouble. I'll certainly be buying more of this.

 487 characters

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

Pours copper with a strong 3 finger tan head, slowly dissipates to lace.
Biscuit aroma, a bit like the Old Fezziwig but turned down a notch.
Slight hop bitterness, and an orange flavor amoungst other fruit, carmelized sugar, maple syrup and some spices.
Medium feel and very easy drinking - very smooth, no overpowering alcohol sense. Might be the best easily available winter beer out there. Drink it in the same session as Old Fezziwig and you won't like it as much, seems like a weaker version. It's preferable on it's own.

 529 characters

Photo of dpend
4.23/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had this beer in my fridge every winter for the last three years and I still get excited about it when I see it in the stores.It is my favorite of the Sam Adams seasonals.

Color is deep copper with an sticky off white head that trails down the glass.Aroma is definitely of a spiced lager.Picking up citrus,nutmeg,cinnamon, a bit of wheat and a slight alcohol scent on the end.Milky feel and mellow balance of malt and hops.Nice warming effect with even taste of spices and citrus.Finish is slight spice with dryness.A very interesting take on a winter beer.I like this a lot and will continue to look forward to it in winters to come.

 642 characters

Samuel Adams Winter Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.64 out of 5 based on 5,761 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.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!