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

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1,949 Reviews
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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: 1,949 | Ratings: 5,765
Photo of JohnnyI
3.76/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice copper color with bright amber highlights. Accentuated by a rocky, antique white head that dissipates quickly, leaving ample lacing on the glass. Nice clarity for such an amber beer. The aroma is fruity, mildly tart with a familiar lager scent, but does little to conjure the spirit of winter. The flavor follows the nose, finishing with some mellow spice and faint toasted grains. Without the hints of ginger and cinnamon, this would be quite pedestrian. Sam lists orange peel as a special ingredient, and might help explain the fruity tang that the beer conveys. The caramel malts and spices do mesh well with the Noble Hops, delivering a harmonious brew. Rather inoffensive and easy to drink. The mouthfeel is medium-thin, with effervescent carbonation that awakens the gentle flavors. Not as rich as my ideal bock, but tasty nonetheless. Like many Sam offerings, it's a nice gateway in to bigger, bolder things. I would certainly not turn my nose up at this beer if offered, but I'm unlikely to ever seek it out. Especially with so many other superior seasonal offerings widely distributed. Stock this at a holiday party and it's sure to be a hit with some casual beer drinkers.

Edit: I actually had a holiday party, and found that I ended up drinking a lot of these myself. I kept coming back to it for the smooth, easy drinkabiIity and pleasant flavors. I've revised the score up a little to reflect the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed it and have developed an appreciation for for this subtle spiced lager. Perhaps I will seek it out again after all!

 1,571 characters

Photo of TheGrunt
4.55/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Best winter lager in my opinion! In fact, my favorite winter beer and something I just need to have during the christmas time. Dark copper color, very fruity almost lemon smell and something resembling Hefe wheat beers. Average carbonaton, light foam. Taste is very fruity with mild hops, very ale'ish in fact and not lager. Bit sweet, a hint of Hefe here too. Just terrific product in my opinion!

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Photo of CIBoy10
3.93/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Solid seasonal offering by Sam Adams. Look is nice - an amber brown with clarity. Smells lagery with a hint of wheat. Taste is like an amber ale with a little hint if winter flavor. You get a tad of the wheat on the tongue. Feels like a good refreshing lager that isn't watered down. Overall I prefer some of Sam's other offerings but this is good.

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Photo of Bunman3
3.67/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is a very nice beer, overall. It pours nicely and behaves like I would expect a Sam Adams beer to behave. The head hangs around, the carbonation is steady, and it smells of biscuity caramel malt. There are hints of nutmeg and orange that wrap around the caramel and cola to produce a very pleasant combination.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.47/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Copper brown in color with excellent clarity. A fingernail of beige colored foam covers the majority of the top. Light aromas of caramel and dark malt are in the aroma. The flavor is subtle caramel and dark malt. The body is smooth and gentle.

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Photo of relynnjr
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a brown color with a redish tint about two fingers of foam and leaves no lace. Aroma is coriander, orange, and maybe a hint of nutmeg but is not overwhelming with aroma very subtle. Taste is very much like the nose, but bread, some orange and spices. However flavor is subtle as well.

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Photo of leantom
3.23/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

It's been a while since I had a Bock. Here goes:

A: Good. Clear brown with a very large white head; also leaves plenty of lacing. Somewhat pale for a bock, though - expected the beer to be somewhat darker.

S: OK, I guess. Very toasty, which is good, but the beer also has some bready and grainy notes that I do not like. Albeit, the caramel malt is very good, but it's rather faint relative to the grainy notes. Some German hops as well.

On a side note, there's this sourdough yeast smell that's somewhat off-putting. Almost like a homebrew gone wrong.

T: Very mediocre for a bock. Grainy and somewhat sour (I hated the sourness of this beer), giving it the feel of a bad homebrew. Some caramel malt, which is good, but this is totally overtaken by the grainy and sour notes.

M: Very light and watery - not filling at all.

O: A very mediocre beer. Some good notes, but I will not be having it again.

 921 characters

Photo of larryi86
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A- A clear light brown/reddish color with a two finger off white head.

S- Toasted malts, hint of some hops, not really getting cinnamon, ginger or orange peels, but it does a nice spice quality to it.

T- Toasted wheat/malts, hints of sweet malts, mild spices, hints of the ginger and cinnamon.

M- Smooth, medium body.

O- Not a bad winter beer, but didn't wow me. I am enjoying it and wouldn't pass it if it was offered to me, but I would buy it at a store.

 500 characters

Photo of HamdenHector
3.98/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: crystal clear; deep amber; 1 finger creamy, khaki head that receded to a thin cap; very nice lacing;

S: caramel, brown sugar, dark fruit;

T: dark fruit and weak cola up front; mixes with caramel at mid-palate; a little harsh cough syrupy bitterness at the end;

M: medium bodied; moderate creamy carbonation;

O: the harshness at the finish is a turn off for me;

 367 characters

Photo of predikit
3.75/5  rDev +3%

On tap, drafted into a frosted mug. Poured a transparent brown, left a two inch off-white head with plenty of lacing on the glass.

Scent is a little malty, with some hops throwing out some citrus.

Tastes of roasted caramel malts, barley, a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg. Hop overtone rounds it out into a well balanced brew.

Light-medium bodied, high drinkability, not disappointed.

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Photo of Redog
3.76/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nicely balanced, sprightly taste – it teases the tongue.
One wonders,"What's going on with this brew?" It's fun.
For best take on mouth feel and taste get a bite of the head.
Got mine from Costco where I can afford it, in a variety pack with
eight not just four bottles of this one, and glad they packed it that way.

 319 characters

Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.8/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a snifter from a twelve ounce bottle. Not sure whether a snifter is kosher for a lager but it looks so good there.

Creamy, frothy and chewy head, cream-colored. The head retention is exceptional and walls of lace around the edges abundant. Dark amber and light brown with trickles of carbonation and medium clarity. 4.5

Sweet, bready, caramel-like with spiced notes. Lager-like yeasty aroma, faintly floral, sweet is detectable with more inspection. 3.75

The flavor is spiced, I'm thinking notes of clove mostly but maybe anise, and it's a nice complement to the bready, subtly sweet malt. Floral, grassy and earthy hop flavors move in and finish strong. The flavor is pretty nice, but somehow I want more. 3.75

Lighter body with a medium carbonation and a potent bitter finish. The spice is restrained and not overwhelming. 3.75

Solid beer, pretty enjoyable for the season. I could drink a few more this season.

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Photo of ordybill
4.35/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.
Aroma- Has a toasted malt and sweet bread aroma.
Appearance- A clear dark amber with a small white head.
Taste- Has a nice toasted malt with a bread flavor, faint taste of sugar and citrus thrown in.
Palate- A medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. the beer finishes with a semi-dry hoppiness.
Overall- Another good Boston Beer product. I will drink this again.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with some good carbonation to tickle the taste buds. With an ABV of 5.6%, there is no alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a good winter beer. Good balance between sweet malt and hops. Very drinkable.

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Photo of PostRockandCats
3.74/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On draught

L: dark red. Clear. Small head. Tight, spindly lacing.

S: malty and spicy. Biscuity.

T: toasty malts with some citrus spice notes.

M: smooth. Not too light.

O: pretty solid. I don't remember liking this as much before. I'd like it to be a tad stronger for the style, though.

 294 characters

Photo of ArchimedesSox
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Pours a crystal clear, dark brown color with a large pillowy head that hangs around a while leaving good lacing down a 20oz pub glass.

Smell is good. I get the sweet malts with maybe a little hint of some spices at the end of the sniff.

Taste is pretty good, I get the sweetness up front with some bitterness after the sweetness gives way. The very end gives those spices and the aftertaste is of the malts and spices.

Mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation.

Overall, a good beer. Sam Adams seasonal are pretty decent and this one is about average as far as they go. The Summer ale is probably my favorite.

 624 characters

Photo of Jaysauras
3.28/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

L: Maybe not the most appealing beer in the world but not the worst. Pours a light amber color with a very thin cream colored head. Few carbonation bubbles move to the top after pour, but there is a nice bit of lace that is left upon sip.

S: Not overly aromatic. Some malt and breadiness to it mixed with a slight whiff of citrus or light berry.

T: The taste is rather enjoyable, if not overly simplistic. The malt flavor strikes you right away and lingers before dissipating into a slightly sweet mixture of orange peel and assorted spices. There is a slight hoppy after taste that swells into the backend of the sip. Good signature Bock balance of hop and malts from beginning to end.

M: Chewy, thick, lightly carbonated tingle with a dry finish.

O: Samuel Adams is generally my go to for non-craft brews. It's almost universally carried, isn't overly expensive, and most beers are above average. The winter lager isn't generally a favorite of mine but it isn't a bad beer. It's exceptionally average in many regards while being above in a few. There is a pretty nice balance in the flavor of malt and hops, which is a staple of the Bock style and the highlight of the drink. Not their best brew in my opinion, but a worthy bock and a decent holiday staple.

 1,267 characters

Photo of Gajo74
3.66/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a nice copper tone with a thick head. Head settles into a creamy off white and foamy lace that displayed excellent retention. The aroma is quite strong which bothers me somewhat. Very grainy smell with a slight element of not fresh bread or vegetables that for me is slightly off putting. Upon first tasting, the flavor reflected the aroma. However, the taste develops into a pleasant blend of earthy spices, grainy malt and smooth finish. Feel is medium bodes with light carbonation. Overall, not a bad beer to enjoy in the winter, but not my favorite.

 559 characters

Photo of SlamKing
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Look: Looks very nice, orangish brown and with a pretty high transparency. A medium/high darkness. The head is a pale yellow and it poured at about 3 inches. Dissipates fairly quickly though.

Smell: A bit malty as expected. It hints at sweetness and is a bit floral. Not much on the side of hops.

Taste: The taste is light and not that bitter, while still sustaining a pretty good flavor. Malty with a tangy hop finish. The carbonation is very light. I would have preferred a little more.

Overall not a bad beer. It borders the line between a quick beer and a slow beer. I'm sure I could chug it if I wanted to. Not the best beer I've had, but not the worst by far.

 668 characters

Photo of TimeBandit
4/5  rDev +9.9%

Nice, well-balanced, flavorful winter holiday beer. I used to drink this a lot, and then became tired of it and took a break for a couple of years. Just had one this weekend and remembered why I used to drink it a lot. Nice spice, but not overdone. Enjoyable and sessionable.

 279 characters

Photo of Scooby_1985
3/5  rDev -17.6%

Appearance: Nice, deep color. A good bit like pouring a Shiner, maybe with a bit more reddish hue.
Smell: I catch a bit of the sweetness here, but there's not a whole lot going on here.
Mouthfeel: The carbonation isn't overwhelming, nor is it a heavy beer to drink.
Taste: Lots of citrus up front, followed by some dry hops. Almost reminds me of a beefed-up
Radler. The hops continue on through the taste, which doesn't linger too much but fades pleasantly.
Overall: I'd throw this above Shiner and the other Texas bocks, but below Anchor's and more serious beers. However, given that this was from the convenience store on the other side of my block, I'm more than happy about it. Sam Adams always seems like a family reunion beer to me, but this one's alright.

 763 characters

Photo of barczar
3.52/5  rDev -3.3%

Ginger, cinnamon, toasted, nutty malt, caramel, and a hint of orange peel form the aroma. Spices are subtle, in comparison to the melanoidin character. Flavor reveals fruity specialty malt and orange at the base, with notes of cinnamon and ginger weaving throughout. The finish is slightly bitter. Orange dominates, overwhelming the bock notes. The spices are fairly subtle, but ginger emerges in the aftertaste.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%

Bottle from the 12 pack Pours a slightly hazy brown amber color with a decent off white head that persists for a while leaving spotty lace on the sides. Aromas of cinnamon and citrus with a caramel brown sugary malt to back it up. The flavor is rich and dark sugary malts with a spicy citrusy bite to counter. Medium body with a moderate to high level of carbonation and a sweet bubbly mouthfeel. I’ve had this many times in the past and its never been my favorite, but today with a grilled cheese and some cracked pepper chips it just worked.

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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 Doctor_Bogenbroom
3.26/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I purchased this on tap at a local Ruby Tuesday. Really, there was nothing else there of interest for me, but I probably would have gotten it in any case, because I appreciate seasonal brews.

Appearance: A lustrous copper hue, with moderate carbonation and a three-finger light brownish head.

Aroma: Very light, slightly sweet. Definitely a berry smell.

Taste: It's definitely better than the Sam Adams Octoberfest, and I'm getting a slight berry bitterness that tickles the senses but doesn't bowl you over. At the beginning I found myself really liking this beer, but unfortunately toward the end, I started to sense a stale taste in the back of my mouth. Not so good.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, lots of carbonation. Slightly bitter and biting on the tongue.

Overall: I'm going to agree with the Adjunct Hippie on this one. The Winter Lager is fairly decent, but it's not a bock. I liked it better at the beginning than toward the end. I wouldn't turn one down if it was offered to me, and I might seek it out in a situation where the only alternatives are Bud Light and other weak AALs.

 1,101 characters

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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Samuel Adams Winter Lager from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
3.64 out of 5 based on 5,765 ratings.
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