Winter Ale | Weyerbacher Brewing Co.

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Winter AleWinter Ale

Brewed by:
Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: English Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.60%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
This beer is not spiced.

Added by Todd on 09-24-2001

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Ratings: 796 |  Reviews: 380
Photo of ujsplace
3.95/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pub glass.

A: Thick chunky tannish off-white head. The brew is very dark brown in color on the verge of black.

S: Toasted caramel malts and mild hops...

T: Sweet malts - roasted caramel and maybe toffee. Also there is nice spicing here - maybe nutmeg and mild cloves. Faint, mild bitter hops.

M: Medium with nice carbonation.

D: A caseworthy winter brew, a good session brew.

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Photo of pzrhsau
4.18/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Very deep brown. Almost black but maintains some clarity. Good head with decent retention.
Smell: Strong aroma of roasted malt.
Taste: Nice toasty flavor with an interesting undertone of maple or possibly honey.
Mouthfeel/drinkability: Nice crisp beer. Well carbonated and overall very easy to drink and enjoy during the holidays.

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Photo of Minotaur
4.17/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured an exceptionally deep brown-red into a pint glass. Foam the color of chimney smoke bubbles up to a nice froth and hangs for a bit before settling into a thin, grayish skim.

The aroma is a caramel, molasses and nutty scent with hints of gingerbread, nutmeg and clove. It has a much better aroma than many other more heavily spiced ales.

The taste has a dry warmth with a hint of hops underlay. Not as sweet as it smells though the toasty, sweet malts are there. Over that are some thin bread/cake flavors, with the faint hint of the spices (clove, cinnamon, nutmeg predominantly peaking through). There may be a touch of light citrus in there but its hard for me to pick out. It has a smooth richness that is earthy and warm, but does not have any hallmark unique characteristics that radically set it apart from other warmers except for perhaps its very smooth and inviting nature.

The mouth feel is fruity and chewy but not overly thick. The flavors linger with a bit of bitterness. It is extremely drinkable, perhaps its greatest quality.

Weyerbacher Ales tend to be among my favorite for their sense of standard accessibility. Following suit, this may not be the most unique, mind-blowing, or complicated winter out there, but it is definitely one of the seasonal ales I always find myself returning to for reliability and welcoming sense.

I have had this yearly for the last 4 or 5 years, and I would say this is probably one of the stronger batches in the last 3 years.

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Photo of bob3701
3.33/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Sam Adams glass. Great white head with a really dark amber body with orange highlights. Somewhat malty aroma. OK lacing. Taste is the issue here. Mind you it does not taste bad and I could easily chug this brew (very smooth) but for looking like such a big beer there is little taste.

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Photo of bonkers
3.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a standard pint glass. It pours a deep caramel, reddish highlights, with a sticky 2 finger white head. The only thing I detect on the nose is sweet malty notes. The flavor is malt dominant. The sweet bready flavor dominates, enough hops to keep it from being cloying. It has a dry finish. This beer needs a bit more body, but it did pair well with tonights dinner. I do not think I will buy it again.

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Photo of gford217
3.33/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

Pours a deep mahogany that shows a deep, clear copper when held up to light. There is a small creamy white head that recedes to a big collar and swirl in the middle.

The aroma lightly sweet caramel malts and an almost herbal tea-like aroma. It's a pretty mild aroma for a winter warmer actually.

The taste is a bit better than the aroma with the big sweet malt backbone and some very light spices. The finish is slightly dry but it's not too complex overall.

The mouthfeel is light to medium bodied with good carbonation but it's fairly watery overall.

This is a pretty mediocre winter beer that fairly drinkable but doesn't have much flavor or body and is just mainly light malts and a hint of spices.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.6/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

What exactly is happening on this label? Looks like thirsty snowmen are stealing beer from a mid-winter picnic that some humans are having (they've got a fire blazing too). Mischievous snowmen are running away from the picnic table with six-packs, but there's another snowman heading toward the scene of the crime with what appear to be either 1) cases of beer in white boxes, 2) blocks of ice, or 3) they're stealing the good Weyerbacher beer and dumping cases of Miller Lite off on the humans. Or maybe the humans are crashing the snowman party? I'm totally confused.

Glossy ruby-hued caramel-brown color, with a thinnish head that settles to a bubbly crown in about a minutes. Connect-the-dots lace is pretty cool.

Aroma reminds of porter meets brown ale -- a little bit mineral, a little bit roast, a lot of milky nuttiness. Fruity, wintry elements (ie. spices) do start coming in with a little swirling and warming, but not much, and certainly not as much as your typical version of the style.

Still reminding of a brown ale on the tongue, although with a slightly brighter, more colorful flavor than your typical brown. The base is nutty malt (hazelnut, mainly), sweet cream, and a bit of toasted bread. Some chocolate, a little vanilla. Mild spices come into the mix, as in sweet pie spices, although no specifics come to mind and they're pretty mellow. Not a ton of depth, but I do enjoy this and am glad the sweetness is kept in check. Wha? Grape Kool-Aid in the otherwise nutty/malty/bready finish? Hmmm...

Fairly creamy, although the carbonation nip detracts from the fuller, rounder feel I wanted here and felt would've helped the flavors come through stronger. But no big complaints though.

This is pretty good. Not quite up to the usual Weyerbacher standards, but luckily not over-spiced, over-sweet, underwhelming or any other number of problems that other, lesser winter ales have.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.43/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-pours two fingers of dirty white head, almosst a cream color, the head disolves pretty quickly and it does leave a light lacing on the glass. the color is blackish that allows light to shine through, it has some hues of red when i shine a light on it and some bubbles from the carbonation.

S-some light spice and cinnamon with a hint of vanilla and pale malt finishing with some yeasty tones that aren't too pleasant

T-lighter in taste with hints of spice, cinnamon, and some pale malts. all flavors are not big

M-nice mouthfeel being very smooth, it is medium bodied with some carbonation burning the back of the throat

D-nothing really stands out, the best part of the beer is the fact that it is smooth going down but even that is compromised by the carbonation at the end of the sip.

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Photo of coalcracker
3.31/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Cola-colored with light brown well-formed carbonation.

Smell: Aroma of toffee, caramel, and fig. Some mild spicy notes also detected.

Taste: Light malts that are a bit on the sweet side with a touch of spice. Hop presence is balancing but a bit weak. Finish is clean and light.

Mouthfeel: Feels a little thin for the style.

Drinkability: ABV is mild and the taste profile is pleasant if not a little light.

Overall, ok winter warmer. Thinner than most, but pleasant.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.36/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, poured to a pint glass. Big thanks to Metalmonk for sending a cross-country box with a bottle o' this included.

A: Good-looking pour, a roasted umber pour that shows almost clear when held to light, with a plethora of cascading bubbles. Not a tall head, but a reasonably long-lasting one (the lightest tan color), with a 'broken-cobweb' lacing.

S: Not a ton of aroma, and what there is is a fairly humdrum 'malt' - a musty cocoa, brief fruitiness, a vague vanilla and a slight 'rubbing alcohol' hint.

T: Malty with a modest spice, a fine cocoa powder.

M: Not so much 'crisp' as it is 'cooling; a relatively smooth, slightly grainy feel with a spicy-roasted backing.

D: Not bad, an 'everyday' winter warmer of the type I personally lean toward (maltier, spicier, less-jarring hoppiness). Have really enjoyed some Wyerbachers in the past; this one is just an 'OK' as a recommendation, but one I'd drink again given the chance. But given where I live in proximity to PA, that's not happening soon; thanks, Jeff, for the chance to try this one.

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Photo of FickleBeast
3.2/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass

A - pours mostly brown with reddish undertones, one finger of foam fades quickly.

S - slight malty nose, maybe a little spice? not detecting much.

T - tastes like an uninspired brown ale - slight maltiness, minimal hops - nothing bad tasting, just nothing particularly noteworthy

M - very thin bodied, carbonation fizzes through

D - it's drinkable enough, there's really nothing bad (or good) with this beer. Overall pretty average.

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Photo of glid02
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cask at Aroma's in Athens, GA.

Pours a hazy dark brown color with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a thin layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of mild roasted malts with hints of toffee, chocolate, and metal.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Slightly harsh roasted and toasted malt flavors up front segue into hints of semi-sweet chocolate and lighter hints of toffee. The ending holds a bit of nondescript fruit flavors and spices that linger on the palate.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a smooth thickness with soft carbonation.

Drinkability is alright. I finished my glass however I'm not sure about another.

Overall this was an odd winter warmer that was a bit too muddled. Not terrible but not worth seeking out.

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Photo of jlindros
3.58/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

In my new quest to review all winter ales I can this year, next up on the list is the Weyerbacher Winter Ale. I'm a fan of most Weyerbachers, except their seasonals seem to be not of my style. And since this is a seasonal, I'm a little worried.

A: Pours a huge 2.5 finger head that pops down semi quickly. It's a very dark raisin brown colored hazy beer with little light coming through, showing the many bubbles rising up.

N: Hmm, pretty much as I expected for a winter warmer. Lots of winter style spices, some nutmeg, nutty aromas, sweet syrupy malt aromas, I almost expect a touch of alcohol, but it never comes as its only 5.6%. Not sure if it's jsut me, but usually a winter warmer is a little higher in abv since its trying to warm you, esp with the heavy malt sweetness. This must have started with OG of 1070 but ended with 1025 or so.

T: Starts with more almost adjunct type flavors for sweetness. Its syrupy but not super sweet. Some spices but not super spicey. A little nutty flavors, semi light and watery at the same time. A little bit of rich fruit as well.

M: Semi thin, a little watery, good carbonation.

F: Finishes really week too. The flavor just disappears and its almost like drinking water. However, with everything gone almost instantly, I'm ready for another sip right away. Perhaps its good that its not a heavy abv beer as I could get in trouble drinking this fast. A decent session beer though. The spices aren't as overwhelming as I thought they would be.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.08/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This pours dark like Coca-Cola with a decent amount of carbonation in the beginning which eventually dissipates, slight head on top when poured but eventually goes away with a light lacing around the glass. Smells of deep roasted, chocolate malts. The taste is practically all malt and chocolate which fades quickly to a somewhat watery finish. The body of this is much lighter than I anticipated. This one reminds me more of a porter, it's drinkable, but wished it were more deep and complex like many of their other beers. I hate scoring this beer so low because I love Weyerbacher's beers, I'm not much of a fan of this style and I'm trying to be as fair as I possibly can.

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Photo of JasonA
3.7/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a root beer brown with small reddish hue off the edge of the glass. Solid finger of head with ample lacing. Large bubbles begin to form.

Medium malt, some spiced fruit, some ABV and some carmel.

Little dry, some deep malt, not a lot pf malt depth. Some stoutish bittering hops. ABV with some cloying.

Bites a little. Dryness more prevelant than I would like.

Its a little closer to Sam Winter than I would like for a micro winter. The little cloying is a bit of a turnoff. Ill move on from this winter, but Ive had a lot worse.

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Photo of nickfl
3.98/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Two and a half fingers of light tan head on top of a dark, ruby colored body. The foam slowly settles to a thick film of bubbles and leaves moderate lace.

S - Light aroma of sweet malt and cinnamon with some nutmeg and allspice. Light caramel and toffee notes with no noticeable character of roasted grain.

T - Sweet malt with cinnamon and nutmeg up front. Some caramel and noticeable toffee notes come out next. A little bit of slightly fruity yeast appears before a darkening finish of nutmeg-infused chocolate malt balanced by light bitterness and a hint of grassy hops. Lingering flavors of coffee and smoke.

M - Medium body, moderately high carbonation, and a slightly dry finish.

D - I thought this was a little weak and watery at first, but the flavor really comes out towards the finish, especially once the beer has a chance to warm. There are only minor discernible notes of spice in this beer, but those that are present work well with the caramel malts to create subtle complexity. The roasted finish is well balanced by light hopping and is dry enough to keep the beer drinkable without making it taste like scorched toast. This is one of the better winter warmers that I have come across, and one of the few I would consider drinkable.

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Photo of KarlHungus
3.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a clear brown color. The head is an inch in height, and recedes quickly into minimal lacing. The aroma is caramel malt, but is quite faint and certainly unimpressive. The taste is maltier with some toffee note to go along with the caramel. It is a rather simple flavor profile, but it is pleasant. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation that is moderately high. Overall, this is a decent beer, but there are a lot better malty winter ales out there.

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Photo of dogfishandi
3.93/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle at about cellar temp poured into a snifter. pours a dark deep looking maghony. frothy light tan head. some good retention, a little lacing.

malty aroma. buttery, caramel, toffee, roasted malts, chocolate comes through as it warms. maybe a touch of earthy hops as well.

nice balanced flavors going on here. first you get a buttery, chocolate, toffee, toasted malt flavor that continues to the finish, but with some bitterness from the hops at the end. slight dark fruity taste in the finish as well. almost slightly smokey.

medium to almost light body, slick creamy light mouthfeel. very easy drinking, very sessionable, even in the summer time. i saw this lone 6pack at my local beer store so i decided to pick this up seeing as weyerbacher has yet to disappoint me.

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Photo of bobsy
3.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Winter offering from Weyerbacher, drank at the end of a long night of excellent beer in the middle of summer. Purchased in NYC.

Pours a rich oak with a frothy tan head. Some retention and lace. Aroma of cocoam brown sugar and earth. Lots of toffee/caramel in the flavour, along with biscuit and the slightest hint of spice. Not much to differentiate it as a winter warmer. Medium body and carbonation.

A nice enough beer, but I don't see what classifies this as a winter warmer other than the prancing snowmen?

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Photo of thekevlarkid
3.45/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Out of a bottle this beer was a copper color with two-fingers-worth of khaki head. The retention was good as a thin cap and the lacing thin. The aroma was of roasted malt, light caramel malt, nuts and earth. The flavors were of caramel malt, toasted malt, some slightly sour notes from the citrus hops and the finish was acidic and a little coffee-like. The mouthfeel was average, the body medium/full and the carbonation medium/high. Not a bad beer but not a good winter ale or a good example of what these brewers can do.

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Photo of argock
3.97/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date. Single purchased at Ancona's (Ridgefield, CT) for $1.85.

A: Ruby-brown with 1-2 finger light beige head with good retention and scant lacing down the glass.

S: Seriously malty with a little spice of nutmeg in there too. Caramel and dark malts deliver a big fruity, lightly toasted breadiness that would go well with a snowy night. Alcohol is well-hidden and there are earthy hops present but taking backseat here.

T: Flavor pretty much follows the nose with big caramelly and vanilla maltiness with light spice of nutmeg and cinnamon with smattering of earthy hops. Medium toasted flavor with a bit of char in the finish. Alcohol not really detectable which is a plus in the beer I think.

M: Feel is solidly medium with low carbonation and pleasant fruity malt aftertaste.

D: A very nice winter ale that sports big maltiness and gentle spice and hops notes with a medium body. Good one from Weyerbacher.

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Photo of far333
4/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chestnut colored with ruddy highlights, a light brown frothy head rises up high and settles out slowly.

Aroma of roasted malt, light molasses, brown sugar and cocoa.

Flavor of lightly roasted malts, toasted biscuits, toasted marshmallow, some leather and cocoa. Caramel and toffee emerges later. Low bitterness.

Smooth and full mouthfeel, a bit creamy. Tasty beer, smooth and drinkable.

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Photo of skeeordye11
3.55/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Deep dark ruby in color with almost no head. This is an out of season bottle, so that could contibute to this.
S- Caramel sweetness with a subtle biscuitlike aroma.
T- Grainy biscuit flavors mixed with a roasted sweet flavor. Very complex. No noted spices, which is surprising for a winter ale. Some earthy hops linger in the background.
M- Thinner than expected based on the style, but good.
D- Quite drinkable actually. This style is usually more of a one and done for me, but in my opinion this appears to be more of a red ale than a winter ale. Worth a try.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle

A- Bottle poured into pint glass. Pours a dark brown color with a light tan head.

S- The aroma is a nice mixture of sweet malt and spices with a touch of cocoa and caramel along with hints of hops and yeast as well.

T- The taste like the aroma is sweet malt and spices and slightly nutty with a touch of cocoa. The taste is very mild in the hop department. Maybe a bit too thin in the taste department.

M- The mouthfeel is light bodied with a good amount of carbonation. A bit thinner than expected.

D- Overall, this is a decent beer but not something I would purchase again.

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Photo of PatrickJR
3.17/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Dark brown with ruby highlights, some light makes its way through. A finger of mauve head rises with short to moderate retention. No lacing.

S - Great aroma of subtley sweet malt, touches of caramel, toffee, and cinnamon. Somewhat subdued but very pleasant.

T - The taste is really throwing me off. I daresay this brew is almost flavorless. There's a slight sweetness early on backed by a bland and almost non-existent bready flavor. Late palate there's a whisper of caramel/toffee that tries to surface but falls short just as becomes noticable. Moderate bitterness pops up afterwards and fades into the aftertaste.

M - Moderate carbonation with a silky smooth medium body. Nice stuff going on here, just wish there was more to taste.

D - Weyerbacher's Winter Ale is pretty easy to put back via a combination of the mouthfeel and lack of flavor, but it's ultimately lacking. The sweet malt and hints of spice from the nose are really nowhere to be found on the palate. I don't quite know what went wrong here, but this brew is devoid of any real character.

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Winter Ale from Weyerbacher Brewing Co.
3.45 out of 5 based on 796 ratings.
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