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

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Samuel Adams Winter LagerSamuel Adams Winter Lager
6,061 Ratings
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:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-25-2001

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 6,061 |  Reviews: 2,013
Photo of Josiah2729
3/5  rDev -16.4%

Photo of Rantingfury
3.83/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I poured from the bottle into my usual truncated conical glass. The head was a finger width of tan foam that faded to light lacing. A ruby amber hue in color, much like American iced tea, was evident when the glass was held to the light. the aroma starts off with a sweet caramel malt note, and then fades to a faint of spice and hops. The taste hit in two waves... The first was the malty bready taste, and faded to a nice spice/hop note. The after taste the ginger made a subtle but clear presence that was nice as well. Mouth feel was light to medium with a good bit of carbonation tickling my tongue. Over all I like this seasonal. The spices were a little on the light side in aroma and taste, but this beats over doing it by a wide margin. It's a good seasonal lager overall, but it's not outstanding to where I would go out of my way to buy it again.... Fortunately for this beer my regular store stocks it, so a few more six packs will be consumed.

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Photo of jb413
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first taste of this style.

A - Poured an attractive dark mocha-ish/amber hue with a small light khaki head and little lacing.

S - Dark wheat with some spice notes. I remember some ginger in the nose. Good strength, smelled good.

T - Nice mix of roasty flavor with the spice profile. Neither one outweighs the other. The spices are not overdone.

MF - This is a medium-bodied beer, good amount of carbonation and and a nice finish.

O - Very nice on cold nights, I have nothing to compare it to yet in the style, but I liked this beer for sure. Looking forward to trying others.

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Photo of zaphodchak
3.12/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Two fingers smooth offwhite head. Body is a gradient of ruby-amber.

Nose is not great, some metallic cereal along with the usual lager character.

Hops come faintly at the beginning, full of malt and spice in the middle. At the end, there's some metallic character, but it definitely tastes better than it smells.

Mouthfeel is a bit scratchy, coarse.

Not bad, but the most 'winter'-y part of this is the spice, and even for the price point, most other winter seasonals are better. Might be worth a look if you want some of that seasonal spice but desire the lager flavor profile.

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Photo of AmericanGothic
4/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Sam Adams pint.

A: Pours a clear copper color with two fingers of pale cream/orange head. Good retention and lace.

S: A little caramel with some straw overtones.

T: Light caramel, some peppery spice, straw on the finish. Caramel lingers on the aftertaste. Towards the end of the glass, some leather joins the finish.

M: Medium light body, good creamy feel.

O: Nothing exceptional, but quite solid. Picked it up yesterday on a whim for an 11-11 party (eleven letters in Winter Lager). I can see this being a good change of pace from stronger beers during the cold months. Will likely buy it again.

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Photo of BilbosNuts
3.25/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear, dark copper or garnet color. There is no head and the thin film that was produced fades quickly. There appears to be a very small amount of carbonation.

S: Toasted malts are the backbone for the aroma. They are complemented by a sort of earthy/grassy smell along with a touch of sweet caramel and a light hop profile.

T: As in the aroma, the taste is mostly comprised of the toasted malts. The grassy aspect again makes its presence known, though only slightly.

M: Pretty much what you'd expect from a dark lager. It has a medium body along with a feel that isn't overly lively and is relatively smooth.

O: I wasn't overly impressed with this one. I'd rather have a good winter warmer on a cold day than revisit this one again.

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Photo of tito42
3.85/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to a Blvd. Smokestack tulip. Best by April 2012.

Appearance: Rich copper color to light with a tan head. Good retention and lacing, with lively, tight carbonation bubbles.

Smell: Slightly sweet and malty. Not a necessarily robust smell.

Taste: Malty with a nip of cinnamon and ginger at the back end. Plum and caramel fills the middle and blends well with the malt and spice.

Mouthfeel: Dexterous in a very Sam Adams kind of way. Well carbonated finish pairs with the spices to give a nice tang without lasting dryness.

Overall: A re-review of my first review on BA. This was one of the first seasonals that I was drawn to, and one of the first beers that pulled me away from the boredom of adjunct lagers.

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Photo of phichifiji00
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into pint glass.

Appearance: clear, dark amber. Pours 1 inch of thick cream colored head that fades slowly. Lots of lacing.

Smell: cinnamon, ginger, citrus, orange peel, malty, subtle hops, toffee, caramel, nutty.

Taste: ginger, cinnamon, nutty, malty, caramel, toffee, hint of orange peel, hint of piney hops.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied, moderate carbonation, smooth/creamy.

Overall: A good holiday lager. The falvors are complex but subtle. Very drinkable.

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Photo of CheezyBlaster
2.48/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Lightly toasted skunk with a hint of generic hopping and a nip of spicing. Very weak nose though.

Super bready/toasty, adjuncty, skunky (it's fresh though). Just a hint of spiciness, at least partly from the hops. Watery. Very flimsy body, I wouldn't even call it "light". No kudos for this one, Samuel Adams. And yes, I like the bock style in general and I am very pro-lager, this just falls short.

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Photo of TippySelenoid
3.33/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass.

It's a clear amber color with a creamy, off white head that is very pretty.

It smells bready, with a bit of spice. Cinnamon?

This beer has a pretty big flavor. It's very biscuity. It's got a mild spiciness, but I can't figure out what it is. It also has an alcohol flavor, but it's ABV doesn't seem like it should.

It's medium bodied with a very creamy carbonation.

This beers ok. It's certainly not in the top twenty of winter seasonals I'd drink.

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Photo of bigdeuce
1.93/5  rDev -46.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

I don't know what Mr. Koch and the Boston Beer Co. did to this terrific brew from around circa 2003-2005 but this is horrific and I will never purchase this garbage again. Pours a decent head. Scents of some toasty winter spices, ie cinnamon and nutmeg. Smells decently. Very thin, has been totally dumbed from original recipe. The flavors are one of a true winter warmer but not accentuated properly.

This beer used to be a 7% ACTUAL wheat bock with a thick body, and a hearty, meaty flavor to it. I used to look forward to this one every year but will NOT purchase this ever again until I see the 7% abv slapped back on the bottle.

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Photo of Sorvahr
3.83/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased from a Wal-Mart in Memphis, TN for $8.50. I had had this beer last year and remembered it was pretty good, so I decided to get a six-pack of it for a review. I'm always annoyed by the whole seasonal brew concept--if a beer's worth selling, it's worth selling year round, not for only a few months out of the year. And this beer certainly is; I'd drink it any season. Poured into a New Belgium snifter glass.

A: Pours a deep, clear garnet, one of the reddest beers I've ever seen. The off-white head came up to one finger but has excellent retention. Lacing is exceptional though, going all the way down the glass and quite persistent. It's quite impressive to see a whole sheet of froth appear on the glass and break up into lines and segments that slowly slide down the side.

S: It has a real malty aroma to it, you can smell the cinnamon and spices a bit but the bock malts are the primary smell. Very appetizing.

T: Definitely one of the richest Samuel Adams beers available here (the really fancy ones like the Double Bock cannot be found in Memphis). Powerful, bready malts are the first thing that comes up on the palate, followed by the tingle of the various added spices. The beer is hoppy but not so much as to throw off the balance of the beer and overwhelm the malts that are the primary attraction here. It's sort of like the Boston Lager but bigger, bolder, and with a warming effect from the additional ingredients. The spices begin to come to the fore as the beer warms up, bringing an almost "liquid pastry" quality to the taste. The finish is a lot like chocolate but with yeast undertones. All the various flavors seem to have been balanced in just the right amounts.

M: Thick for an inexpensive beer but not too heavy as to be un-sessionable. The spices impart a warm, tingling quality and the beer lingers on the palate for some time.

O: For less than $10, it's hard to get better than this. This is a very good beer that is masterfully balanced and uses its additives well. Recommended.

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Photo of blackcompg
3.83/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from their winter sampler into my 12oz beer glass...

Appearance - Poured a finger of tight, lite orange eggshell head, color of the beer is a beautiful translucent red-amber.

Smell - Smell is coriander, touch of orange citrus, toasty bread, touch of vanilla and carmel.

Taste - Starts with a nice vanilla carmel, then fresh wheat bread. At the center there is a burst of semi-sweet orange and coriander spice, and minerals at the sides of the tongue. As the sip finishes I get a touch of grassy hops, drying orange peel and some pumpernickel breadcrust. There are tiny pockets of spiced carmel in the corners of the mouth.

Mouthfeel - Lite to medium mouthfeel, medium carb really gives a nice crispness, and has a slightly dry finish, really nice actually.

Overall - I was really impressed with this beer, pleasantly surprised. Very flavorful, complex and very well balanced, and at 5.5% ABV this is extremely sessionable. Taste of this brew reminded me of Fat Tire. This is the first flavor I tried in this sampler, can't wait to see what else is in store.

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Photo of divineaudio
3.32/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

pint glass.

a - pours a transparent amber color with a few streams of bubbles. formed a thin cap of tan head that quickly calmed to a thin film. a few legs of lacing sticking up.

s - toffee with a peppery hop character.

t - toasty malt character with peppery spice notes. a touch of brown sugar sweetness and notes of lemon pop up before a fairly pronounced, pungent bitterness. finishes a little on the dry side. not getting the orange zest or ginger.

m - lighter side of medium with a little more co2 than i like. feels kinda coarse in the mouth.

o - decent, but nothing memorable. fits the style i suppose. probably the least enjoyable out of the winter sampler pack for me so far.

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Photo of stakem
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Eric for gifting me with one of these to try. Poured into a matching SA sensory glass, this brew appears a clear amber color with a finger of off-white froth across the top. A constant stream of carbonation rises to the surface and supports the creamy topping that resides. As it slowly recedes, it leaves patches of lacework sticking to the glass.

The smell of this brew initially has some malty sweetness faintly of caramel with some fresh noble hop character that comes across a bit herbal with a slight metallic touch. More sniffs reveal a spiced inclusion of cinnamon and something along the lines of orange peel with the faintest accent of something along the lines of coriander.

The taste of this brew immediately gives a nod in the direction of the cinnamon and orange peel that was noted in the aroma. However, it is a bit more earthy almost like nutmeg is also included and the orange peel has a brightness about it more so than the typical orange rind character, not quite coriander but sort of. The toasty malt inclusion tastes more like toffee than the caramel that was indicated in the aroma. The hops are present with a mild herbal quality that provide enough contrasting bitterness to keep the sweetness of the malt in check.

This is a medium bodied brew with a moderate amount of carbonation. The sensory glass really gives the visual perception of this looking over-carbonated from the constant stream of bubbles but it is pleasantly modest and not overdone in the feel. The finish is quite crisp and while the spices are very upfront and noticeable, they are not overdone. This was a refreshing spiced brew that is a well done example of a spiced winter offering, I wouldn't mind having this again.

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Photo of fatmcb1
3.53/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Amber, reddish color with a nice off-white head that leaves nice retention.

Sweet malt, paired with some spices, mainly cinnamon.

Theres more a malt/hop balance in the taste. It still leans towards malt, but there is a nice hop backbone. I don't get much spice in the taste. There is a bit of citrus, from the orange.

Mouthfeel is medium and it is well carbonated.

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Photo of Keithstone44
3.26/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a Perfect Pint:

A: Dark-amber with a beautiful 2-finger cream-colored head; little to no lacing.

S: Citrusy and astringent, with notes of cinnamon

T: Orange gets through the most, whilst the cinnamon and ginger are barely discernible.

M: A little watered-down for my liking, but the carbonation holds the beer up well.

O: Average beer, and probably my least favorite from the winter pack. The combination of flavors just didn't appeal to me.

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Photo of UDbeernut
3.72/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the dutch, deep amber small off white head with moderate retention. Nose of cereal and light grass. Malty cerealness caresses the palate balanced with lightly cutting bitterness. Flowery and grass. Medium bodied and quiet enjoyable of this mid fall day.

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Photo of 160Shillings
4.45/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: The aroma is sweet and dark malt accompanied by mild ginger and orange peel with a faint hint of cinnamon.

Appearance: Pours with two inches of tan head that collapses into nice lacing. The color is deep copper.

Flavor: Big broad malt flavors. The spicing is mild, evenly spread between ginger, cinnamon and orange peel. There is the clean flavor of lager yeast fermentation.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is medium-heavy.

Overall Impression: Overall I find this a very well executed winter lager. It is very good bock with just enough spicing to enhance the beer without overpowering the underlying flavor of the beer.

Comments: Sam Adams’ specialty beers are sometimes poorly executed, however this one is certainly a success. This beer is based on a very good bock with a sensible addition of typical holiday spices.

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Photo of Sudsy89
3.33/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle, chilled.

Pours with a big foamy head to it, amber-brown color to it. Big, bubbly carbonation. Aroma is good, has a citrus hint to it but I didn't notice the ginger, a bit of cinnamon is there. Lighter-bodied than I expected, but still highly drinkable, not too much ABV. Overall this beer is similar to their Octoberfest, but I think the flavors weren't as prominent so I would go with the Octoberfest instead. Still not bad, I got this as a gift and enjoyed it.

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Photo of ChadQuest
2.56/5  rDev -28.7%
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 ZenAgnostic
1.78/5  rDev -50.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Side of from label notched Enjoy before April.

Appearance - Clear medium amber body. Pours two finger off-white head with good stick and decent retention.

Smell - Malty. Seasonal spices. Perhaps vanilla or cinnamon? Maybe even some Pumpkin. Can't quite pinpoint it, but it's not bad.

Taste - Spicy. Metallic. Very bitter and metallic. Unpleasant all around. Hopefully the bottle meant April 2012 and not 2011...

Mouthfeel - Acidic. Astringent. Some frothiness from the head. Perhaps even light to medium bodied... but I can't focus on anything but the acidity and astringency.

Overall Drinkability - This has to be the worst beer I've had from Sam Adams. Usually they get decent scores from me, but not this time around!

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Photo of Holland
3.95/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: nice amber color, deeper than I thought it would be. Pours clear with a one inch head that dies down very slowly.

S: big malt character, with mostly pale. Some breadiness and yeast show up with some spice.

T: tastes much the same as it smells, but with a slight bitter hop presence. Tastes very seasonal.

M: smooth and coating, but still has carbonation. Medium body.

O: solid beer overall, I'd have it again. Might not be a go-to at times, but it hits the spot sometimes.

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Photo of diamondc
3.08/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark mahogany, little head, almost non-existant lacing.

S: Woodsy, some subtle caramel & cinnamon notes, but not much of anything else.

T: Bready, brown sugar, getting some of those pumpkin pie spices with a bitter orange peel flavor lingering long after the subtle dirt-like hops.

M: Very carbonated, maybe too light bodied for a winter warmer type beer.

O: An average holiday spiced beer. I always pick up a single every year hoping this beer gets better, but have yet to be wowed.

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Photo of elNopalero
3.88/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another one of their seasonal selections, sold in the variety pack and, if I’m not mistaken, separately in sixers. Poured in a Sam Adams perfect pint glass a clear amber/brown color. For some reason this feels exceptionally cold right now—as I’m not picking up much of anything on the aroma at first. Even as it warms there’s not a very noticeable aroma. Muted, malty. Taste is a different matter as I can definitely catch a blend of holiday spices with each sip. It’s spicy, not as in hot but as in flavorful, with a finish that invites another sip, although I can’t escape the feeling that this is just Sam Adam’s Lager with spices.

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Samuel Adams Winter Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.59 out of 5 with 6,061 ratings