Stoudt's Winter Ale (2008-2009) | Stoudts Brewing Co.

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Stoudt's Winter Ale (2008-2009)Stoudt's Winter Ale (2008-2009)

Brewed by:
Stoudts Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Stoudts changes this recipe annually. We'll be attempting to split apart entries down the road.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-11-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 173 | Ratings: 186
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate magazine Vol. II Issue XI:

This year's batch is a Robust Porter at 30 IBUs, brewed with five malts and Cascade hops for bittering and aroma.

Pours dark, opaque and pretty much black with rich, dark brown hues and a creamy head. Roasty and a bit bready in the nose, some chocolate too. Medium bodied, but the carbonation-induced creaminess is silky smooth and gives the palate a bit more to chew on. Slightly acrid up front; burnt edges, dry, bitter, unsweetened chocolate and faint coffee notes. Drop of caramel. Hint of hop bitterness, too--leafy and green. Bready malts, hint of sweetness, but a dry maltiness overall with some husky notes toward the finish, especially as the beer warms. Becomes slightly abrasive on the palate at the bone-dry end.

This is a very solid and different offering from many of the spiced winter seasonal offerings that currently line the shelves and tap handles.

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Photo of bheilman
4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark golden color. I taste banana on the initial impression, which I find unusual for the style until the malts wash on the sweet and slightly spicy taste, it does have a nice leafy sour, natural scent to please the palate and a warmth to wash over the tongue keeping everyone yearning for more. So along with the the blend of malt and hops is malt-heavy but does have a decent hops aftertaste. Excellent winter beer with enough flavor and body to make you want to drink another.

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Photo of Morey
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Past versions of this beer may have been in the Porter category, but this 2009 bottle certainly is not.

Pours a reddish copper color with brilliant clarity. Nice light tan head that still hasn't settled after 15 minutes have elapsed.

Smell is rather mellow, yet pleasant with subtle fruity aroma coupled with a malty aroma.

Taste almost as if it's brewed with some winter spices, although I'm not sure that it is. A little more on the Scottish Ale side of things, but there's also some definite hop flavor going on here.

Mouthfeel is thin-medium with moderate carbonation.

I could definitely sip on this for a cold winter evening.

Morey's Bottom Line: A very drinkable winter ale. If you're having guest over that don't like anything too crazy, this might be a good choice if you can get your hands on a sixer.

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Photo of Infamous7100
3.37/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Was expecting a winter warmer, ended up with a porter.

A: Poured a deep brown/black, like a Guiness without the creamy head. Minimal head on my pour.
S: Very malty with hints of sugar and chocolate. You can smell the roasted barley as well, also reminiscent of Guiness.
T: A nice blend of the malts, sugar and chocolate. The alcohol is almost completely masked. I would have like to taste it a little more. Roasts provided a hint of bitterness that hung around.
M: Had a medium carbonation, which surprised me. A little bit of hang on the tongue, but basically smooth.
D: Extremely drinkable. A decent flavor and an average ABV could lead to one having a few of these.

Nice effort.

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Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a dark brown, with a 1 1/2 fingers of firm sandy colored tan head. Solid looking creamy retention that coats the sides of the glass with rich lacing. The aroma is quite rich and roasty smelling. Thicker and sweet notes of cocoa powder and caramel sit on top of darker tones of coffee and roast, which crunches up the back of nose.

The taste is even toastier than the aroma was, with an even mix of roast and bitterness the whole way through. Nice balance to this too though, with the sweeter malts playing second fiddle but still nicely evening out the darker aspects of this. Big time roasty lingering finish on this that just sticks in the mouth for quite a long time. The mouthfeel is medium feeling with an overall firmness to it, yet this is still surrounded by a softier and creamier carbonation that makes this go down very easily.

Overall very solid Winter offering from Stoudt's. Full Porter flavors and a super easy drinkibility to this. I'd like to see then develop this into a year-round beer, as they need another darker offering to compliment the Fat Dog.

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Photo of Lexluthor33
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep brown with a generous two inch head and good lacing.

The aroma of chocolate mocha with coffee and cream. Sweet aroma of vanilla and malts.

The taste starts off sweet with a malty flavor followed by chocolate,coffee and vanilla hints so it pretty much followed the nose.
The feel is medium body with a smooth and creamy character. Low carbonation with mild bitterness in the finish.

Notes: A really good beer for a cold winter night. Not too complex,but an above average beer none the less.

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Photo of angelmonster
3.78/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is the 2008 version

Pours a nice 2 finger beige head. Body is black and opaque. Head retention and lacing are pretty good

Smell is big on sweet roasted malts. Hints of coffee and chocolate are also there. Not much on the hop side

Taste is of light roasted malt and bitter chocolate. There is a slight after taste of some earthy hops. Over all the taste is a bit underwhelming, not bad but nothing special

Mouth feel is a little disappointing. The body is light but has a good head to it. Its kind of a tease of what it could be. There is a nice balance of carbonation though. Leaves a slightly dry feeling on the mouth

Drink ability is good. Not too big on alcohol so it is definitely session able. Over all solid offering from Stoudts but I'll take Fat Dog over this beer any day

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Photo of PhillyStyle
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz Bottle

Best by 5.19.09 (I think that I tried it right before the best buy date):

Poured a very opaque black, looked like motor oil with a very nice tan head. The beer also had a nice cascade effect.

Aroma is a heavy roasted malt and coffee, no hops to note.

Taste is heavy roasted malt and coffee and maybe a little chocolate adds a very light hint of sweetness. Didn't notice any hops, but still, solid.

Medium body with a fair amount of carbonation, smooth and fairly easy to drink. Overall a pretty solid beer.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.95/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 12 ounce bottle purchased at the Beer Stop for $1.75. Poured into a nonic pint glass. Appears a somewhat clear dark chestnut color with about two fingers of dense, lingering ecru foam. Smells and tastes of cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate, a touch of dark roasted coffee beans, a bit of vanilla, with a subtle hoppy bitterness throughout. This porter is at the least, medium bodied with a fair amount of carbonation for the style. This is one of a handful of seasonal's that I look forward to enjoying every year.

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Photo of organicbrewer
3.41/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Deep brown with a large tan head. Not brilliantly clear.

S-Slightly metalic which grows as the beer warms. Espresso, dark chocolate. Some dark fruit esters.

T-Chocolate and espresso again. A little more of that metaliciness. Firmly bitter from both hops and dark malts. Nice.

M- Fairly Dry body. No alcohol heat. A good amount of bitterness but not over the top. Nice for style.

D-Mid range in alcohol and fairly dry. I could drink a couple of these in a sitting.

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Photo of prototypic
3.98/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark nut brown color. There's a few garnet highlights attributable to a healthy amount of light getting through. A light tan head that reaches a finger and a half deep tops it off. It receded quickly and left light, stringy lace clinging to the glass.

The nose is loaded with roasted malts. Smells delicious. There's a little chocolate malt in there to sweeten the deal, but it's mostly roasted malts. Beyond the strong malt aromas, it's tough to pick out much. The secondary elements seem to be a little lost at sea. There is a little coffee and light hops that add some character. But, I'm not picking up much beyond that. It's a nice smelling beer, but loses a little steam past the malts. It's nice, but I can't help but think about what could've been.

Stoudt's did a fine job with this winter release. I wasn't expecting much, but it is very good. The bulk of the flavor is comprised of roasted malts. But, they taste excellent. There's is a little bittersweet chocolate, but it pales in comparison. Coffee is a secondary component. It's subtle, but effective. Citrus hops give it a nice buzzy jolt. I like that addition quite a bit. It finishes a little bitter and dry. This is a tough call. I'm extremely close to awarding a "4.5" for flavor. In the end, it's just not quite that good. Damn the absence of tenths of points.

The body is on the heavier side of medium. Given the abv, it's pretty impressive. Carbonation is relatively light and well done. It's nice and smooth. A little more body and it'd be special. Drinkability is very good. Winter Ale has a really nice flavor and low abv to boot. What's not to love?

Stoudt's did a really nice job with this past year's winter ale. Generally, I've come to expect holiday spices with nearly every Christmas time release. I like what they did with this one a lot. It's a very well rounded, flavorful porter. Pretty straight forward, but impressive. The nose could use a little more muscle. But, the flavor's damn close to being special. Perhaps a slightly more pronounced coffee flavor or a bit more of a hop jolt would do the trick. In any event, this is a very nice beer as it is. I strongly recommend picking up a bottle before it's too late.

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer pours a dark brown color with decent head over it. The nose is coffee, chocolate, and little herbal character. Nice and smooth on the palate, with a powdery dryness. A little fruitiness complements the roasted malt and cocoa flavors. An earthy finish to a good brew.

"Winter Ale" in the name fooled me at first, but this is definitely a porter.

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Photo of clemtig76
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The kast bottle from a mixed six my son got me for Christmas from Charleston Beer Exchange. Pours a deep mahogany brown that is almost black.The aroma has hints of cinnamon, brown sugar and sweet malt. The taste is a wonderful blend of dark chocolate and roasted malts, spice and just a faint kiss of hops. An outstanding porter.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark walnut brown with coppery orange trim. Although there isn't yet enough sunlight to get an accurate reading, it looks as though the liquid is opaque. The golden sandstone colored crown has no weaknesses. It looks good, it lasts and it laces exceptionally well.

SWA smells like an American porter with no added spices. It also smells like a roasted malty, rich and hearty porter...the very best kind. In fact, I might have said 'stout' if blinded. If the nose is any indication, this should be mighty tasty beer.

Very nice. Winter Ale is chock full of flavor, which makes my taste buds do a little jig with each large gulp. Too bad it doesn't come in bombers. The secret (as always) is plenty of ingredients; especially hops. This bottle is being consumed close to the 'best by' date and the hop flavor and bitterness are still able to punch through the malts with relative ease.

Specifics include roasted coffee beans, cocoa nibs and an herbal-fruity hoppiness whose origins are a mystery. I'll go with something English (probably Goldings) and one of the American C-hops. Sneakily complex, delicious and mighty drinkable too.

Even though the mouthfeel isn't as full as it could be, it's plenty big enough given the ABV. More malt and two more percentage points would be great, but then I'm always looking to supersize good beer.

Stoudt's Winter Ale (2008-2009) is a keeper... and I mean that literally. The brewery can still change Winter Ale's style from year to year, but they need to release this American porter year-round. Especially since that's one of the glaring holes in their lineup. A new name, a new label and... presto!

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Photo of williamherbert
4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep brown with a hint of dark red. Opaque. Looks like a porter, very dark. A brief, small glimpse of head.

The smell is roasted coffee and cut tobacco. Has sweet toffee, raisin and dark cherry in the second sniff.

The taste is dueling sweet toffee-raisin and dark/bitter coffee-mocha. Porter flavor with extra cherry sweetness (maybe that's where the "winter" part comes from). Hints of a strong barleywine at the end. The sweetness is only an accent, though, and a necessary counter to the bitterness.

The feel is chalky and yet easy to sip. This is one damn good beer. But don't let the name fool you, it's a richly flavored porter.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.48/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pretty good looking beer on the poor. 2 fingers of tan head with ok retention. Deep brown color. No lacing to speak of.

Aroma is fruity caramel, some cinnamon and a hint of chocolate or cocoa powder.

Flavor starts with some grain flavors and caramel. Then some chocolate and a real roasted malt flavor. This give way to a lingering bitterness that seems to come from both dark roasted almost burnt malt and some hops.

The beer is medium bodied, rather smooth and very subtle carbonation.

Really very drinkable.

Nice beer, not a classic or anything. The burnt notes are almost too much...

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Photo of beer2day
4.12/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours near black with a respectable 1-finger head. Decent lacing.

Aroma hints at roasted chocolate and spice. Hit is slightly thinner than expected. Roast comes out in the finish, but the spices overwelhm at the end.

Good drinking on a cold day outside on the deck with the fire going.

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Photo of umtox
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish black/brown with a small head

Smells of charred malts and a bit of spice

Taste is complex with decent hops and charred malts.

Moutfeel is impressive with decent body and developing dryness.

I would have guessed the ABV to be even higher. 1 would probably be my limit on this brew.

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Photo of matt062286
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - very dark ruby brown color that is only apparent upon holding up to a light. Otherwise appears black. A one finger head that dissipated quickly. Little head retention and moderate lacing.

Smell - Very characteristic of a porter. Big roasted barley and malt here. Almost reminds me of slightly overbaked sourdough bread.

Taste - Almost exactly as I had anticipated from the smell, with an aftertaste of bitter chocolate and some caramel undertones. I had this beer not long after having an Old Dominion Baltic Porter, which is very similar to this beer. I'd have to say the Stoudt's has the upper hand though, to me the Stoudt's malt and barley are much more robust and the balance is slightly better.

Mouthfeel - Minimal carbonation and a smooth feel and finish.

Drinkability - I'd say this is a good sipper, couldn't imagine having more than one or two in a sitting. Would recommend trying, but buying a sixer might be a stretch.

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Photo of Gyle41386
3.69/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

I didn't really expect a porter, so you can imagine my surprise when this one poured an opaque dark brown, bordering on black. Pretty much no head at all, just some weak tan foam at the top.

Aroma is of bittersweet chocolate, roasted malts, and coffee beans.

Taste is of roasted malt and coffee with a smoky chocolate aftertaste.

High carbonation leaves a tingling sensation. Medium bodied. Finish on the dry side.

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Photo of bluegrassbrew
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into pint glass.

Very black in color. Had a decent coffee colored head.

Smell was mostly of coffee.

Taste was coffee and mocha.

Overall, a decent brew. Nothing wrong with it. Just not outstanding. Most of the beers from Stoudt's that I have enjoyed have been excellent. This was just ok.

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Photo of beachbum1975
3.63/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this single up at Jungle Jim's about a month ago. 12 ounce bottle with a cartoon cloud blowing down on a home. No detectable freshness/born on date.

Pours a clear, dark root beer brown with an average ½ light tan head with average lacing and decent retention.

Smells of chocolate malts, smokiness and light sweetness. Coffee grinds definitely in the mix, as well.

Medium bodied and flavored with ample carbonation. Smoke , light char, dark chocolate and coffee grinds are the predominant flavors. Moderate amounts of malts and light hops to finish the beer dry and pleasing. Tastes like nice American porter should.

Easy to drink and enjoyable for the time of year.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
3.66/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Deep brown, almost black color, typical of a porter. 1 cm of creamy-looking head. No lacing.

S: Deep roasted malt scent, not much more to it.

T: Roasted malts up front give way to caramel malts, and, if you look for it, a piney hop flavor. A chocolate malty taste lingers on the palate.

M/D: Medium bodied, and surprisingly light for a porter. Creamy feel and finish, which really adds a lot to the beer's character.

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Photo of Kraken
3.53/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed 1/16
Poured from a 12oz bottle into a standard pint glass. Firm pour results in 1 of light tan finger head. Head fades quickly and leaves a nice little lace. Color is almost black with ruby edging.

Nose- Porter-esque, some coffee and bitter chocolate.

Taste- Very sooth, light roasted coffee, some bitter chocolate. Some burnt caramel. Slightly bitter finishing hops at the end. Very tasty. Chocolate kinda stays with you.

Mouthfeel- velvety, zippy carbonation

Drinkability- good, although I am not much of a stout person

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Photo of mountdew1
3.7/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a dark cola, with a brown foamy head. The head only lasted a few minutes, leaving a thin layer that clung to the sides. Aroma alternated between coffee and chocolate. Taste was slightly over roasted, extra sweet coffee, that still has a bit of bitterness. Coated the mouth well, but felt slightly over carbonated as it tingled on the cheeks. Not to easy to drink, limited ABV was prevalent, and the over carbonation was distracting.

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Stoudt's Winter Ale (2008-2009) from Stoudts Brewing Co.
3.68 out of 5 based on 186 ratings.
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