Winter Cheer Ale | Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.

Your Rating: None
Want it   Got it 
Winter Cheer AleWinter Cheer Ale
45 Ratings
Winter Cheer AleWinter Cheer Ale

Brewed by:
Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: American Amber / Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.30%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by charlesw on 11-10-2007

View: Beers
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Ratings: 45 |  Reviews: 38
Reviews by charlesw:
Photo of charlesw
3.03/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

You know... I just can't figure out where to put this beer... After drikning barleywine it tastes like a light amber ale. Drinking it, as tonight, side-by-side with an actual amber (Spanish Peaks, none the less), well... It's not amber.

It pours brown. Opaque brown. So... Maybe that's the part they're talking about - the hearty part. The head is tiny. Smells hoppy. Tastes hoppy, too. Like a mass-market IPA, I guess. My wife said, "This tastes like a watered down IPA." and, "Could you pour me a different beer?"

Anyway, this time I'm reviewing it as an IPA. I mean, that's what it tastes like. But it sure looks like a brown ale. And it has the characteristics of a brown or IPA. It's lost and confused. And not enough of anything to be a winter ale. Seriously... As I said in my other review, this tastes like a great lawnmower ale - nice and light and easy to get down if you're all hot and sweaty and thinking of drinking something light. And that is so not what I think of as a winter ale...

Positive side (constructive criticism. Really.): with a little less color and a bit more flavor this could be a decent IPA, I suppose. With a bit less hops and a bit more body and flavor this could be a decent brown, I suppose. With a lot more body and flavor (and maybe fewer hops) this could probably be a decent winter warmer.

 1,332 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of mlasher1
3.63/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Found a bottle in the back of the fridge so I thought I'd give it a try even though it's a little out of season...

A- Pours a deep amber with a decent size off-white head, which retains slightly and leaves some lacing

S- Nutty and some chocolaty notes accompany the generally malty aroma..not much hop character detected

T- Sweet with hints of nuts and chocolate, overall a fairly smooth drink..not a ton of complexity, but could be worse

M- Good body to this beer with a medium amount of carbonation..

D- Overall a nice beer with good drinkability...definitely a beer I might keep an eye out for next year..

 613 characters

Photo of Brenden
3.86/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The color is a deep coppery brownish amber. An aggressive pours makes for a thick, dense and rocky head that leaves fat patches of lacing in the glass.
The aroma is strongly off malts right up front, with natural toffee, dark chocolate and coffee notes. A gentle nutmeg-like spice in the back reminds that it is a winter seasonal.
There's surprisingly good balance and more hops than I'd expect. Hops and malts compliment each other well and the gentle spice is underlying rather than overwhelming, adding a nice effect and aftertaste.
The body is medium and there's moderate carbonation. It's more crisp than smooth.
This is a good winter offering and I'm sure it's fairly old; this makes me wonder if it just ages well. The spice is at an optimal level; evident, though not especially strong, and lingering through every sip.

 828 characters

Photo of cjgator3
3.81/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle

A- Pours very dark brownish amber color with a tan head that leaves a great amount of lacing and retention.

S- The aroma is very malty with dark fruit, caramel, butterscotch and hops. Very nice aroma, this one's shaping up nicely.

T- The taste like the aroma features a nice malty base with quite a bit of hop flavor as well. There is a much bigger hop presence in the taste than the aroma suggests, very pleasant surprise.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- Spanish Peaks Winter Cheer is a pretty solid brew that I wouldn't mind having again. Recommended.

 612 characters

Photo of corcoram
3.99/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

OK, so this is my first review AND I'm fairly new to the quality beer market (having been a bud light chugger for years). Bare with me and I'll promise to make them better as time goes on.

That being said, I stumbled upon Black Dog Ale at the local Kroger. Now that I have tried the Winter Cheer Ale, I am a huge Spanish Peaks Brewing fan. This beer was a like heaven on my tongue when having it last night.

I particularly enjoyed the strength of hops that permeated the beer. Although I drank from the bottle, I'm looking forward to pouring a glass next time.

 562 characters

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.16/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz picked up yesterday at the Coop for I believe about $1.25.... poured into my shaped SA glass.

Honestly... an impressive head and tons of lace... brew is more brown than amber...

nose is spicy hops and caramel... a little metallic..

Flavor mirrors the nose with a significant nuttiness to it.. again the finish has a sorta metallic/coppery element.... fair amount of citric hops as it warms. Not alot going on though.. the body is a little lite.

Will I buy again? Probably not.


 502 characters

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.9/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear, deep ruby color. This lazy, fat and pillowy cream colored head puts a smile on my face.

Smells of pine trees, nutmeg, brown sugar, sweet malts and a decent amount of hops.

Wow. I am pleasently surprised, was not expecting too much from this one after several other SP offerings. Malty, hoppy and oh so smooth. Not exactly a prime example of a winter warmer, but it is a tasty brew.

Had as a single in a mixer sixer, but I do believe I would buy more of this if I saw it. Definitely worth a try.

 504 characters

Photo of dstc
3.48/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a very deep dark ruby with a big foamy tan head that falls to a minimal head. Nice lace.

Malt nose with hints of hops.

Sweet malt in taste with considerable hop spice. Not a very pleasant metallic finish.

Medium bodied in the mouth.

Very average beer.

 261 characters

Photo of PaleAlien2
3.51/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Bottle says it's copper in color, but it's a lot darker than that. Looks like a Porter.
S: Smell is quite weak. No malt or spices, maybe a little hops.
T: Taste is pretty good. Typical of a winter brew, maybe a little hoppier than most. Pretty damn good though if you like the style. Spices emerge as it warms.
Overall: Pretty good, but there are better winters out there.

 375 characters

Photo of rohrbachsfan
2.4/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Appearance: Very dark brown with a tall head.

Smell: Strong Hops and sweet malt.

Taste: Sweet malt with a very strong hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth.

Drinkability: Just didn't like this beer. Way too hoppy for a dark sweet malty brew in my opinion.

 258 characters

Photo of Monkeyknife
3.45/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle a dark ruby red with a healthy beige head and lots of sticky lacing.

Aroma is flowery hops and malt.

Tastes of malts, dark fruits and a hoppy bitterness upfront.

Lighter mouthfeel, smooth, and moderately carbonated.

A very drinkable ale but on the light side for a Winter ale.

 301 characters

Photo of iceball585
3.3/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Very dark reddish brown color, non-transparent, thin tan lacy cover of a head

S- Caramel malts, toasted nuts, citrus hops, brown sugar, spices

T- Dark malts, dried fruits, molasses, flowery hops, caramel, hint of pine

M- Medium body, medium carbonation, a bit watery to an oily finish

D- Not too bad

When I saw the label of winter cheer I was expecting a winter beer, not an amber/red ale. Still decent flavors thoughout.

 429 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

DOn't remember where or when I got this, and it must be somewhat old, but here goes.

The head rises up to about a finger and fades at a decent pace with lots of big bubbles mixed in a thick creamy head. The beer is very dark, mostly brown with lots of dark red mixed in, like a maroon chocolate color.

THe nose brings on lots of dark syrups, a little brown sugar, molasses, and maybe corn syrup like, with some dark malts, and there's some interesting fruit aromas. Interestingly it has a light aged bourbon oak chip aroma too, which is surprising.

The taste is not like that, but it does start with more syrups. Some molasses, brown sugar, and sweet syrups add to the rich maltiness of it. A little caramel malt as well. Lots of malts, darker, also bring some minerality to one of the roasted malts. There is a very light hoppy bitterness, which is probably stronger when fresh. SLightly chewy malts, and very light fruits finish it off.

The mouth is medium bodied with decent carbonation.

It finishes slightly sweet but dries a bit, with some bitterness coming on strong on the finish. It has a nice earthy and very slightly spicy bitterness, reminds me of an ESB. Some lingering toasty and dark malts, with more syrupy flavors and stickiness. A slight mineral bitter off flavor also finishes through.

 1,308 characters

Photo of RBorsato
3/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of captenaj
3.33/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I was pleasantly surprised at how dark this beer poured. There was only a minimal head (am I pouring incorrectly?) that quickly dissipated. The smell was primarily of malt, but hops could be detected. Slight spiciness was present but not too prevalent. The taste was pleasing but a little too hoppy for my liking. I think this would be better with a burger or other hunk of red meat rather than a sit-back-and-relax drink. Mouthfeel was good: not too thin. Overall, I would say this beer is slightly above average. I'm not a fan of hops but if you are, this would be very nice.

 577 characters

Photo of WesWes
3.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a smooth and creamy scent that boasts of crystal and roasted malts. It's got a fruitiness to it as well as a dry roasted element. The taste is decent. It has a dry and bitter flavor that boasts of crystal and roasted malts. It's sweet with a mild hop presence and a dry roasted malt finish. There is some yeast fruitiness as well that seems to mesh well with the hops. This is a decent brew, but definately an uninspired winter seasonal. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. I wasn't expecting much from this beer and I wasn't disappointed. These guys brew middle of the road beers and this is no different.

 758 characters

Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -11.8%

Photo of tgbljb
4.35/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a very deep brown color with perfectly sized off-white creamy head. Lots of sticky lacing.
Smell is loaded with dark fruit with a faint promise of citrusy hops in the background.
Taste is great. There are strong notes of dark fruit, roasted malt, caramel, toffee, and molasses. There hoppiness is slow in developing, but eventually rises to the point to compliment the malt perfectly.
The sweetness and bitterness combine perfectly at the finish.
One of the best winter beers I had. Great job.

 500 characters

Photo of sixerofelixir
3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Sampled a 12 oz bottle in season, 2009. Review from notes.

Pours very dark brown/copper, cloudy. Dark malty aroma. Taste is old coffee, a little musty with a bitter hop twang at the end. A bit of spices detected. Finish and drinkability average. OK, worth this one try.

 270 characters

Photo of dpend
3.46/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in Sam Adams pint glass @ 55 degrees

Pours a deep copper/black with a rich, but quickly fading head.Lacing is a bit oily without much retention.

Carbonation seems to be bit high, but isn't harsh to the throat.Very thin for a winter seasonal, hence very drinkable.

More hops than most winter brews, but that's fine in my opinion.Aroma is of faint caramel and pine.Tastes of pine,roasted malts in the front leading to a bit of bland middle and finishing with a dry burnt hop linger.Flavors are more or less balanced, but the beer is too young.With some cellaring or slower brewing, the layers would pull through.

Overall a decent winter beer that strays from the norm with a bit more time needed to age and pull out those complexities.Think of a rauchous little brother of Anchor's OSA.

 795 characters

Photo of Brad007
2.97/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Color: Dark red color with a nice and frothy head. Lacing as well.

Aroma: Malty with a hint of spice. Strong. Somewhat hoppy.

Taste: Malty and spicy. Almost too sweet/spicy for my tastes. Mouthfeel is unpleasant. A hint of chocolate (probably the malt) and not much else to note. It's thick and malty.

Mouthfeel: Dry and too sweet. Somewhat overwhelming.

Verdict: An average beer that falls flat of the style. I can see that they tried to make it a winter warmer-type of beer but should have gone with a brown ale instead.

 528 characters

Photo of BigRedN
3.73/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass, the beer is dark amber, nearing brown in color. My pour produces a 1/2 inch off white head that fades to a thin cover on the liquid. Leaves some patchy lacing.

Smell: Some roasted malt aromas. A scent of caramel, (roasted barley?) and a touch spices which I attribute to hops (the bottle say there are no fewer than three varieties).

Taste: Follows with the scent. A decent balance of roasted malts with a sharp bitter hop finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body with moderate carbonation. A little harsh and prickly going down.

Drinkability: I put two bottles in a mixed six pack to try this winter seasonal. Pretty decent. I am compairing this to a beer I had just had before it of similar style (Powder Hound from Big Sky which I liked a little bit more). A decent enough beer to sit back and enjoy.

 839 characters

Photo of cdkrenz
3.1/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Brown body that looks allot like a soda but doesn't have the fizz. The medium brown head is decent standing at about a quarter inch.

Smell - The scent of malt and black licorice.

Taste - At first take the flavor is filled with black licorice. Then it migrates and offers a bitter coffee flavor before finishing with the black candy again.

Mouthfeel - The feel is fluid and smooth. It does have the nice subtle coarseness often found in a good ale.

~ I can't say I'm really impressed with the beer but I must admit it is unique. I think this to be an average cross between an English style ale and a mild porter.

 629 characters

Photo of Vancer
3.53/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Don’t know why this is list as an amber/red, cripe, the label plainly says winter cheer/winter ale…

This one starts out with promise – an oaken brown with a hearty topping of tan marshmallow. It’s sticking to the sides like monkey glue.

Good pop of spicy hops in the aroma, but the quaff turns a bit on the harsh side. Woody and resinous, it needs a bit more malt to balance it out better. Smooths a bit by mid-bottle, but a little weak in the body and alcohol to be a top notch winter warmer. Still, good price and enjoyable

 531 characters

Photo of Drew966
3.7/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Winter Cheer Ale pours a dark brown color with an off white head from a brown twelve ounce bottle. The aroma is kind of hoppy, although malt is clearly present as well. The flavor is malty up front but finishes fairly hoppy and with some caramel. A decent ale, worth a try.

 273 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Winter Cheer Ale from Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.4 out of 5 with 45 ratings