Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

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

Bros Score:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Ratings: 45 |  Reviews: 38
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 adamette
4.03/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle exactly like the one pictured above. Poured into my clean, clear Samuel Smith pint glass. Got this from my friend Floyd around Christmas time. Thanks Floyd!

A Nice frothy head over a ruby red dark brown translucent head. Nice lacing left on glass after repeated drinking.

S Nice winter warmer smell with some strength, some body to it.

T Malt, hops, spice, maybe nutmeg, cinnamon, a nice bigness to it. A nice beer that should be categorized a winter warmer and not an amber/red ale.

M Full with malt, hops, spices. A big beer.

D Good. I would look for this again.

Notes: A very solid holiday beer. I am glad that I tried this one.

 665 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 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 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 BuckeyeNation
3.78/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Roasted pecan brown (that becomes dusky cranberry when backlit) with orange peel trim. This has to be one of the darkest red ales in existence. The outstanding looking crown is golden beige in color, is softly rocky and is laying down a huge amount of sticky lace in gauzy sheets interspersed with thicker chunks. Talk about a great looking beer coming from out of the blue.

The nose is pleasantly aromatic. It features buttery caramel and butterscotch, with a big assist from citric fruity, slightly spicy hops (Mt. Hood, Perle and Cascade). This is shaping up to be mighty fine beer.

Still going strong, though the flavor isn't holding up quite as well as the ounces pass. The few negatives are relatively minor: a lack of depth due to a mouthfeel that could be more full, an underlying sourness that is easily managed and a faint metallic tang that fades by the third mouthful.

Spanish Peaks did good by slanting Winter Chill more toward the darker malts (roasted and chocolate) than one usually finds in a beer of this style. It gives this offering a heartiness that is lacking in the mouthfeel. Flavors include dark caramel, sweet dark fruit, generous shavings of orange and grapefruit zest... and a maraschino cherry on top.

With a more full, more chewy, more creamilicious mouthfeel, the flavor score would almost certainly get a nudge upwards. It isn't bad, but it shouldn't be too hard to bulk up and fill out. The carbonation is fine right where it is.

Initially, I thought that Winter Chill would supplant American Pale Ale as my favorite beer from this brewery. It comes tantalizingly close, but falls just short in the end. Bottom line: APA and WCA are are the cream of the Spanish Peaks crop.

 1,711 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 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 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

Photo of rowew
3.68/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz longneck, label has the usual black lab playing in the snow. Date code is not obviously decipherable.

Appearance: Pours a dark reddish brown, nice offwhite head with good retention.

Smell: Sweet caramel malt aroma, just a bit of hop spiciness in there.

Taste: Mouhtfeel is thinner than I expected. Quite a bit of hop flavors here that come across as peppery.

Overall impression: Not bad, but not what I expected from a winter warmer. If the body was a bit thicker it might fit the bill. That being said, its a nice red.

 544 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 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 GPHarris
3.61/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

a - poured a three-fingers thick light tan head into a snifter. the head was thick and creamy and left sticky lace throughout. the body was dark brown.
s - malty with some spice.
t - spicey hops with a little malt sweetness. caramel?
m - crisp and clean but way too thin for me and this style(?).
d - goes down smoothly and even though it doesn't seem like the style listed i kinda liked it. if you just want to drink some beers and not think about it, this isn't a bad choice.

 477 characters

Photo of ZAP
3.6/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I think this is correctly listed as a red ale...the description on the bottle makes one think this will be a heavy duty high gravity beer but in reality it is a nice drinking, relatively hopped up Amber Ale.

A-Brown with amber highlights.

S-Very nice....spicy and fruity hop notes...malt gives off a toffee aroma.

T-Not as good as the smell but decent....relatively hoppy but backed with the toffee like malt backbone...hops are earthy and spicy mainly with some mild fruitiness (pears).

M-Medium bodied at best...seems thin and watery at times...finishes dry.

D-Once I got past the expectation that this was going to be a big ass winter beer and started enjoying it for what I was actually experiencing I actually liked it...solid red ale...I wouldn't turn one of these down...biggest knock is a watery feel to the body...

 828 characters

Photo of biggmike
3.6/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color with a nice frothy off-white head. Aroma is quite spicy and hoppy. Taste is hoppy and malty; a bit like a watered-down English IPA. Mouthfeel is a bit thin. Nice lacing on glass. Overall, not a bad beer, very drinkable, but it just seems like the characteristics are lacking some cohesiveness.

 318 characters

Photo of thekevlarkid
3.57/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours a deep, dark brown with a frothy cap that lingers and lingers. Darkest amber ale I've ever seen, very wintry. Almost no lacing but great retention. Aromas not very pronounced (butterscotch?) but good flavors. Roasted malt, sweet dark fruit like figs, slightly spicy but an underlying sourness. Mouthfeel is a little thin for a beer this dark. A little unusual in general.

 377 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 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 BillRoth
3.5/5  rDev +2.9%

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

It's a deep chestnut in the glass with a thinnish but dense and creamy khaki head. Leaves sheeting lace. There's a nutty, malty aroma intertwined with a biting herbal hop smell.

The first sip delivers lots more hops than I expected. Spicy, herbal hops balanced by a nutty sweet malt. Sticky finish but a relatively light mouthfeel.

Be forewarned...if you're looking for a big, bold winter warmer, you won't find it here. But it is well-balanced and an easy drinker. As long as you're not expecting it to hit you over the head, it's well worth checking out.

 558 characters

Photo of enfield249
3.37/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark burgundy, with copper highlights. Has a 1mm layer of white foam that lasts for a few minutes, and fades to a ring.

S - Floral, spicy, sweet. Maybe a hint of sweet plums.

T - Sweet, and then some bitterness which strikes me as a mix of roast and hops. Then there is some lingering bitterness that hangs out on my tongue in the back.

M - Medium body, lots of sharp carbonation.

D - Overall a really nice winter ale. The smell is really the best part of this beer, and that makes it hard for the taste to live up too. I would almost prefer a touch more sweet and a touch less bitter in this particular beer, but again, very drinkable.

 645 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
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.