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

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Samuel Adams Winter LagerSamuel Adams Winter Lager
6,064 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:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 6,064 |  Reviews: 2,013
Photo of Mustard
3.68/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz. brown bottle; standard Boston Beer Company "for brewery-fresh taste, purchase before month notched" warning on the bottom label's left edge; no ABV %; purchased on sale from Ralph's for a stellar $7.99/12.

Appearance: Dark, brownish orange hue with faint hints of red; good to very good clarity; huge, batter-like head -- at least with a rough pour; a good d-cup's worth of lace; good but not great head retention.

Aroma: Lightly of nutmeg and orange peel but primarily of sweet malt; slightly phenolic.

Taste: Mainly of a sweet, molasses-like malt presence; spicy, phenolic thrust; mild hop bitterness; secondary flavor characteristics include notes of cinammon, nutmeg and orange peel; medium bodied with a slightly creamy, prickly mouthfeel.

Notes: A mixed bag for me; sweetness can be cloying if you're not in the mood for it.

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Photo of Dmann
4.06/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Sam Adams Winter Lager is a beer that I look foreward to every year and this year's version is just as good as ever. The beer is a very pretty dark amber color and looks great when held up to a light. The smell is very malty with hints of cinnamon and some other spices. The taste, unlike the Old Fez, is a much more balanced beer with less emphasis on the spice and more emphasis on the balance. There are many different layers of this beer, from the cinnamon flavors to the hint of orange this is a very complex brew. Given all the spice flavors, this is a beer I could start out on but not one I could make a session out of.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.51/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Super coppery color thats pretty deep and glowing, thin ivory head that fades fast, lace minimal but sticking in thin ink blot patches. Smell is more sweet then spicy, the spice seems citric like cinnamon and nutmeg mixed with pepper and orange peels, malty sweetness subdued overall with a burnt-like caramel. Not all that strong but interesting. Taste is all over the place, layers of different spicyness, including dried peppers, cinnamon, curried apples, orange peels, did someone mix the fruit salad with the salsa? Some malty sweetness of caramel lingers in the back trying desparately to keep things in check but lets go in quite a few areas. A mild but wild ride, nothing really stands out or is overwhelming. Feel is lighter then medium with a texture that didn't fit in the carbonation for me. Seems creamy, but the smoothness is all but lost due to the carb bite it tends to have mixed with the spices. Not something I'd have again really, but wouldn't turn it down if offered. Subtle but complex, but maybe trying a little to hard to stand out.

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

Ok new Winter 2003/04 version with a slighly changed label.
In appearance this a deep dark red almost garnet coloured beer woth a tiny off white head..goes but leaves nice lacing.
Smell is rather subdued..malty though.
Taste is almost all sweet malts..some fruity flavours near end.
Pretty average feel in the palate.
Have to say i was dissapointed I have had this beer the last 5 winters was always excellent..maybe its just my changed taste buds but i think the recipe has been "tweeked" for the worst opinion only!

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a ruby copper tone with a massive fluffy tan head leaving healthy amounts of dispersed lacing. Aroma: Nice shot of pine cone scented hops initially much better improved from last year's Winter lager, this is a rich malty lager nice caramel sweetness mixed with some bready dough like yeast notes and an undertow of spices. Taste: Full flavor syrupy rich nutty edge with hop bitterness not as dominant in flavor as the aromatic qualities with the bready finish characteristic of most Sam Adams products the spiciness bites at the palate nice winter lager, the BBC can still get it done when it wants to. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied slightly syrupy texture and a strong carbonation, does the palate good. Drinkability: Glad to see a lager around 7%abv this one can definitely be sipped on it's on tap at a local restaurant in Morgantown right now very tasty.

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

this beer has a different label now, no more sam, wait hes on there, hes just a little sam now. i was excited to see this at the store since id never had it. it pours a deep copper that is very pleasing to the peepers. the smell of spices, ginger, cinnamon, basically everything delicious. it has the perfect balance of malt and hops (a tad bitter) with caramel, cinnamon and spice running all over the place. this stuff is delicious. nice medium bodied mouthfeel, not thin at all, a tad sticky in the mouth. this is an awesome beer, its not very expensive and it has a nice alcohol kick. goodtimes.

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Photo of beerguy101
3.66/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Dark copper color, medium white foamy head. Aroma is spicy and sweet. Nicely malty, medium hopped. Slightly roasted malts, good flavor. Full taste, smooth flavor. Mostly malts in this beer. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean. Aftertaste is malty, slightly bitter, some spiciness.

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Photo of aaronh
3.04/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Medium red-copper color beer with amber highlights. Topped by a thick cream colored head. It displays excellent retention and good lacing. The aroma is rather light, with just a touch of clove spices. The taste is rather sweet, with an interesting nutmeg flavor mixed in with the roasted malts. A nice caramel flavor comes through as well. Mild bittering on the finish leads to an herbal aftertaste. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Drinkability is decent. Not a bad beer, but not all that exceptional either.

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Photo of jlervine
3.93/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I hosted a barbecue yesterday at my apartment complex, and one of the guests brought a sixer of this beer. Two mysteriously were left behind in my fridge. This is the tale of one of them.

Poured a crystal clear deep brown with a perfect compact head. The head seemed to last about a minute or two before receding to the sides of the glass for the remainder. The smell is very malty with a hint of cinnamon and orange/citrus. The first thing I noticed with my first taste was the explosion on my tongue. Sensory overload, courtesy of carbonation. The second sip was a bit more manageable, with a bit malt presence, subtle hops, and a bit of spicyness. Good for one glass, but I dunno about the second bottle...

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Photo of fattyre
3.47/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer pours a clear brown-red color with a moderate tan clingy head. The mouthfeel is on the thin side of moderate. The smell is of malt with just a touch of allspice. The taste is mild spritzy malt with a slight clove and a slightly unpleasant sharp bitterness. This is a fairly drinkable winter lager but not by any stretch great. The odd bitterness seems to ruin it for me.

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

This is a very nice beer. I was a little concerned when I picked up this bottle of a winter beer once spring had sprung, but apparently I've just gotten lucky. Poured out a very good looking dark amber with a nice ivory head that was creamy and longlasting. The lacing effect lasted down the glass. A nice malty, yeasty, bready aroma that increased with warmth. Full mouthfeel and a creamy sense. Alcohol noted in the flavor. Bits of hop bitterness jump on along the route and the finish is fairly dry. Some very faint hints of spice peek through and there is just a sense of crispness in the final finish. Well done Sam.

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Photo of Tballz420
3.97/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a nice dark amber color. A nice looking head, eventually dimishes but never completely disappears. Tastes pretty malty, lots of spices mixed in there. The taste slightly reminds me of their double bock brew, but it could be just me. Great beer though, give it a shot.

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Photo of Stubbie1
3.63/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark garnet color. A thick tan head gives way to a thick lace to the end of the beer. Aroma is malt and spices and a hint of dark fruits like plums come to mind. The taste is a roasted malt and small hint of the spices. This brew went down smooth and is very drinkable.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.75/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a lovely ruby red color, with a nice, lasting tannish head. Aroma is delightful, with loads of spices, very sweet, and dark, lush with dark fruits, plums, grapes. A rich cornucopia of fruits and spice.
On the palate, we feel a warm rush of hops, and the thick, luscious malt shows up immediately. Very pleasant recurring finish, notes of fruit, spice, and nuts return again and again. A little thin in body, but then, it's plenty full for a lager.
I first tried this on tap, earlier this winter, and was disappointed. Right now, drinking from a bottle, in a Minnesota late March that still won't give up to a proper springtime, I can't find a fault with this tasty, delicious brew.

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Photo of ThePostmaster
2.9/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours typical of Samuel Adams. The smell is sweet, with accents of yeast and wheat. This is a very malty brew, with a thick mouthfeel. Goes down smooth and pretty filling. I liked this although I don't know what a "winter lager" is. I think it supposed to be like an Oktoberfest with a heavy malt taste?

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Photo of Quaffer
3.92/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The label states, "A dark wheat lager brewed with winter spices."

Appearance: This was a slightly hazey, amber-red beer. The cream colored head rose up to two fingers and settled back down quickly. It ended up as a thin layer of fine, dense foam floating over the top of the brew. Lacing was non-existent. I wouldn't think of rating an ale that looked like this above average. But considering it was a lager, it looked pretty good.

Smell: There was a very mild, clean aroma of caramel, cream, and sweet chocolate. I could not detect any of the "winter spices" touted on the label.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and creamy upfront, with a heavy carbonation as it slides into the back of the mouth.

Taste:The flavor consisted mainly of chewy roasted malt combined with a good dose of ginger. There was a floral hops bitterness on the finish that balanced this brew out nicely. There were some other spice flavors that flitted about on my tongue, but they were so fleeting that I just couldn't put my finger on any of them.

Not a bad brew, but I would like to see SA crank this beer up a notch. Really, it's pretty unique in my beer experience. I haven't had a lot of spiced, dark wheat lagers in the past.

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Photo of cokes
3.58/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep golden crimson with a dwarfed tan head.
Sweaty wheat aroma mixed with cherries and nonspecific spices
Taste begins cherry like: both sweet and tart. Actually a bit off-putingly tart, leaning toward sour. Switches to a husky, psuedo-wheat flavor. Spicing pales compared to what the nose offers, but brings forth ginger and cinnamon. Tiny bits of German hops close this out. Rather simple.
Relatively thick, and smooth given the heft.
Decent, but far from a special weizenbock or winter brew.

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Photo of Mitchster
2.98/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Brewed with cinnamon, ginger, orange peel, 2-row pale, caramel 60, Wheat malt, and Munich malts. Hopped with East Kent Goldings, Tettnenger, and Hallertauer.

5.8% ABV, OG=1.0164, 200 cal/12 oz.

Brilliantly clear dark amber with ruby highlights, forming a 2-finger tall beige head atop medium bubbles with medium carbonation. Retention is average and lacing is sparse. Aroma is similar to an Oktoberfest, with a clean fermentation, amber malts, and subdued hops, yet there is a hint of a wheat bock character in there too. I don't pick up any obvious spices in the nose. Mouthfeel is initially bright and lightly acidic, with a medium body. Starts with a medium brisk fizz with mild German Noble hop spiciness, fading into a nutty, toasty amber wheat malt profile, a light metallic off-note, a black pepper character, very faint nutmeg ruddiness, and ending in a semi-astringent metallic note with some thin malts, black dirt, orange peel, and rubbery hops. Despite not being able to taste the spices, I know they are in there because of the ruddy finish and queezy feeling in my stomach. I am feeling the alcohol in this one, though it's well disguised in flavor. Everybody is mentioning ginger and cinnamon in here, so I went to the cupboard and refreshed my memory...I still don't pick up on these at all.

At the bottom of the Sammy collection...this is a beer that I would only drink one of, and is entirely forgettable.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.25/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a reddish/copper with a nice foamy head. Initial smell is a wonderful combo of gingerbread/alcohol/and a bit malty. Taste is of sweet caramel, somewhat bready and spicy malts. The mouthfeel is well rounded, a great warming feeling is left after drinking this one, making it very drinkable.

Notes. To me, this is what a winter lager should be, loved this beer--very complex.

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Photo of Fabric8r
4.62/5  rDev +28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Loved this winter lager. Seemed like an ale though. Nice malt flavor with spices flavors that are just perfect for the holiday season. You can just pour you a glass and sit down and enjoy the evening. I can't find it now, but look forward to more next winter.

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

I've never had this on-tap, so I was eager to try this when my local pub added it. The healthy off-white head sat nicely on this deep copper colored brew. A good amount of lace clung nicely to the glass for the whole pint. Caramel, hops, and malt were the three strongest smells. The taste was nicely spiced and sweet with just a touch of hops. At first touch to the tongue it is crisp and spicy, but finishes very smooth. Overall a fine warming winter brew that is not fabulous, but also should not disappoint.

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

There was almost no head on this dark brown/chestnut/dark copper brew. The place I was in was a little smokey, and I'd had a few already, but there wasn't really much noticeable aroma -- a little bit of a sweet scent but nothing dramatic by any means -- pretty much par for the course for a lager without much head I suppose. It tasted fine but *felt* watered down -- not much body to it, certainly not very full at all. It had a nice caramel malt sweetness going, and it was a solid beer for what I paid -- $3.50 for a legit pint.

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Photo of stegmakk
3.38/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark copper with a nice tan head.
Aroma is slightly malty.
Flavor has malt, tiny hint of alcohol, could have been some spice. Again...not enough to make it a good winter brew, however still better than their regular lager.
OK...but I will not buy again.

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Photo of beernut7
4.1/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Tall head in the glass sits atop a light amber colored body. The trademark Sam Adams hop aroma is backed up by a nice mellow malt. The first sip brings forth a smooth body supporting a crisp caramel malt flavor and mellow hop spice. Very drinkable winter brew and one of the only guaranteed decent brews on tap in most an bar locally.

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Photo of PhantomVodoo
4.37/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark copper color with a small amount of light tan head. Aroma of roasted malts, spices, and alcohol. Smooth, slightly sweet malt flavors dominate and include caramel and a hint of chocolate. Spice and alcohol flavors really compliment this beer well. Hops strike a wonderful balance in this one, keeping the malt in the forefront, but not overly so. Slight bitterness at the back end. Finishes well, with a slight lingering sweet flavor that leaves you longing for more. Smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Good drinkability, although some feel the spices are a little overboard. I find them quite to my liking.
This is by far my favorite Sam Adams offering and one I will look for every year. Overall, a very good wintertime lager. Seems to be one of those beers some really like while others just don't care for it.

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Samuel Adams Winter Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
Beer rating: 3.59 out of 5 with 6,064 ratings