Winter Ale
Alaskan Brewing Co.

Winter AleWinter Ale
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Style:
English Old Ale
Ranked #140
ABV:
6.4%
Score:
84
Ranked #36,125
Avg:
3.7 | pDev: 13.51%
Reviews:
374
Ratings:
875
From:
Alaskan Brewing Co.
 
Alaska, United States
Avail:
Winter
Wants
  46
Gots
  126
SCORE
84
Good
Winter AleWinter Ale
Notes: English Olde Ale. Traditionally malty with the warming sensation of alcohol, Olde Ales are brewed in the fall as winter warmers.

Brewed in the style of an English Olde Ale, this ale balances the sweet heady aroma of spruce tips with the clean crisp finish of noble hops. Its malty richness is complemented by the warming sensation of alcohol.

Alaskan Winter is made from glacier-fed water, Sitka spruce tips and a generous blend of the finest quality European and Pacific Northwest hop varieties and specialty malts. Our water originates in the 1,500-square-mile Juneau Ice Field and from the more than 90 inches of rainfall we receive each year.

22 IBU
Reviews: 374 | Ratings: 875 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Mindcrime1000
3.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a tulip.

Pours clear and honey-amber with a fast-subsiding head but decent lacing.

The aromas are mild and caramel-malt forward, with only hints of herb and the top-billed spruce.

The brew hits the tip of the tongue with solid caramel malt flavor that expands to bread, biscuit, yeast, and candi-sugar in mid stream. It's here that the herbal and spruce flavors arrive, along with some subtle fruity notes. The brew finishes with some excellent but restrained floral, grassy, and earthy hops. Although skewed somewhat sweet and malty, this is consistent with the style, and the hops provide excellent balance.

The brew is just beyond medium, and lighter than expected. Solid carbonation and finish.

This is a sneaky-good brew. It's flavors and aromas are restrained, especially for the style, but they are very well-balanced and harmonious, and fit inside a very-drinkable feel.

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Photo of cardfan212
1.98/5  rDev -46.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a glass.

Look - Brownish amber and clear. No head or visual carbonation at all. Very still.

Smell - Caramel, cinnamon, vanilla, resin, rubber. Smells more like a candle than a beer.

Taste - Like licking a Christmas tree covered in cleaning chemicals. Not pleasant.

Feel - Flat and thick, makes the bad taste linger for far too long.

Overall - Focus too much on the holiday and not enough on the beer. Hard to get through.

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Photo of tigg924
4.49/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear, dark orange in color with 1/4 inch head. Taste is blackberry, juniper, toasted malt, and light spruce. Very light bodied, sweet, with moderate carbonation. Amazing winter ale. May be up there with my favorite winter seasonals. Unique, different, and delicious. Should have ordered a full case instead of just a six.

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Photo of sjrider
3.46/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a reddish amber color with minimal white head and lacing. Nose is slightly sour and malty. Taste is surprisingly sweet and not at all what I expected. Not sure what to compare this to. Interesting but too sweet for me.

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Photo of Jared40
4.48/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tried this for the first time. This is actually my first ever beer from this brewery. Boy this is a great beer great winter seasonal. Comes out a light auburn color with some head smell is of a winter getting hints of caramel as well and I love it. Beer has a crisp taste to it. This beer is a great winter seasonal that isn't too heavy and very easy to drink.

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Photo of schoolboy
3.25/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This is a safe to drink, but far from a treat. This style is tough to make "nice."

It pours burnt orange with an inconsistent head. The aroma is kind of strong and malty. The taste? Where's the spruce? It's mostly malty. It's not as nasty as some of the style, but kind of boring.

Not recommended, You have better things to drink.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.39/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is an interesting one, not even sure if they make it every year, some winters I don't see it. Auburn in color, this is like that level between brown ale and old ale. Good clarity. Off white to beige head 1/4". Aroma had the dark fruit thing going for it. Maybe its the label, but I got a good amount of tree out of the nose too.

Taste brought even more tree. Spruce? Some caramel and toffee at play here. I dunno if I can call it creamy with the sting of alcohol and dark fruit bitterness that are hanging throughout the entire beer. Sure there is a little bit of sweetness, but it isn't enough to bring it to a place of balance that would make me call it smooth or creamy. For me, this beer could be improved by changing something about the yeast, temperature or otherwise, just didn't need that dark fruit aspect of it.

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Photo of ckornmannn
3.96/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From a bottle: transparent, Amber color. Spruce on the nose, the very small of winter, my favorite part of this beer. Head is pretty thin and dissipates quickly. Good amount of carbonation though. Malty and sprucey.

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Photo of LetsgoAs9
3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

6pack glass purchased from Rosauers in Hood River, OR

Intense creamy mouthfeel quite carbonated with strong aftertaste of sweetness and alcohol - a great winter ale indeed - light hop profile, heavy spruce at the end - a comforting ale for a cold afternoon in southern Washington

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Photo of jonnydas
4.22/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

It is a very good east coast winter beer. Malty, on the sweet side, with the just right hops bite. A nice orange. Very worthy IMO. I've not been a fan of Alaskan brews but this one is exceptional I think.

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle to snifter, the appearance was a nice mahogany color with a thin finger's worth of white foamy head that softly dissipated to leave some messy semi-stringy lace that quickly slid into the beer.
The aroma had a soft sweet cherry flesh up front playing with some clean caramel/toffee malts and then some juniper needle fresh sweetness came about to enliven a light dark biscuit/breadiness.
The flavor leaned towards the sweet side of the prior mentioned aromas. Clean sweet dark malty aftertaste, touch of grassiness and the juniper here.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a clean sessionability about it. Carbonation felt fine. ABV felt appropriate as brewed by the brewer.
Overall, pretty nice old ale, not sure if the cherry sweetness was intentional but it definitely went well with the rest of the make up of the beer. Also, this with some smoked salmon is practically heaven sent to my belly.

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Photo of gandres
3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle 12 ounce poured to wine glass
Sight: Amber, hazy, small foam
Smell: fragrant, grains
Taste: medium bitterness, some sweetness
Mouthfeel: lively carbonation, creamy, sweet follow through, long finish, bitter aftertaste
Overall: very good beer, ok to repeat, but not look for
drank: Thursday, May 04, 2017 11:07 PM

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Photo of Libeertarian
3.78/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From notes taken 03/20/17:

I will probably re-review a much fresher batch I just picked up, soon!

Semi-opaque copper-amber, with particles in various sizes in suspension. Head is a light tan, filmy, watery, but long-lasting. Caramel, toffee, frozen berries, alcohol on the nose. Caramel and toast, some nuttiness, and light spice/bitterness that seems like it could be the spruce and the noble hops. It’s good but not extremely piney. Medium-bodied, creamy and almost nitrous with fine, abundant carbonation.

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Photo of Benjolovesbeer
1.4/5  rDev -62.2%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

L: flat looking, thin head, red amber body, not what you expect for A winter warmer.
A: malt, dark fruit
F: heavy but feels like brewer didn't put much effort into it
T: like it smells malty and dark fruit but boozy excessively boozy, and 6.4 abv, fine if it's 9% or more but it's 6.4. Also has cider taste.
O: expected more winter spice, spruce, pine taste. Was moreso a strong Belgian ale with weak abv something I'll never buy again glad I only got 1. Not smooth, unbalanced. Almost undrinkable but I drank it any way because if i bought it i'm going to drink it. But I strongly recommend on passing it and never trying.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

I bought a 6pck of this from Meijer. It poured a clear copper with almost non-existent think head that is not lacing. The scent was hint of pine and white grape. The taste was slightly malty with a white grape like flare. The mouthfeel is medium in body with good carbonation. Overall it's ok.

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Photo of BB1313
3.37/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Best by 3/6/17. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a glowing orange with a subtle haze, but still has nice clarity; small off-white head that fades leaving okay retention and little lacing. The aromas are malt forward. Lots of caramel and toffee. Bread and crackers are there with some hints of orange. I'm not really picking up on the spruce tips. The flavors seem to follow the nose. Strong malt backbone. More caramel and toffee leading the way. Hints of corn along with more fresh bread. More hints of citrus. Lots of fresh grass giving it an earthiness and a subtle bitterness. The spruce tips are mild and hard to pick up. It's not sweet at all. Alcohol goes unnoticed. Mouthfeel is on the lighter and thinner side of medium-bodied with active carbonation. It's smooth and easy to drink.

This is a solid winter brew. It's not flashy and I personally wish the spruce shined a bit more, but it's still enjoyable and fitting for this time of year.

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Photo of TomH57
4.4/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

I poured some of this amber medium-bodied old ale from a 12 oz bottle into a small sampling glass. The head was off-white and dissipated quickly. The beer itself has a distinct sweet taste, which I suspect may be from the spruce tips. Its smell was a sweet smell infused with hops.
Overall, Alaskan Brewing Co's Winter Ale definitely made me feel as if I was in Alaska. Visiting Alaska is now on my bucket-list (along with a tour of Alaskan Brewing Co). This beer's peculiar sweetness is its strongest feature. It was well worth buying and I will definitely buy it again.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.68/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I picked up a bottle of Alaskan Brewing's Winter Ale a few weeks ago at The Lager Mill for $1.69. I've been meaning to try this one, so lets see how it goes. 2015 Vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks good, it's got a nice design and it's a little eye catching. It poured an amber orange color that took on more of a orange color when held to the light with a little half a fingers worth of bubbly off white head that eventually faded away and it left some a little bit of spotty lacing behind. This is a nice looking beer, but I wish the head and retention were better.

S- The aroma starts off with a lower amount of medium sweetness with a woody and spruce aroma being the first to show up and it goes into a fruity yeast aroma with some stonefruit aromas showing up along with a little more sweetness that goes into the malts with some grainy, bready and caramel malt aromas. This beer has a pretty nice aroma, it lives up to it's name.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with a lower amount of medium sweetness with the spruce being the first to show up, but it quickly goes into those fruity yeast aspects that I got in the aroma, it's a little cherry like, but there is still some stonefruit coming through. Up next comes a slightly higher amount of medium bitterness that lingers just a little with some more spruce and fruity flavors showing up in the aftertaste. This is a pretty nice tasting beer, no flavor is too overpowering.

M- Fairly smooth, on the lighter side of being lighter bodied, a higher amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel is pretty nice and it works well with this beer.

Overall I thought this was a pretty nice beer and good example of the style, it reminds me of Short's juicy tree, but it isn't nearly as intense. This beer had nice drinkability, I think one would be the perfect amount for me. What I like the most about this beer is that no aspect was to overpowering. What I like the least about this beer is that it wasn't just a little less bitter. I would buy this beer again next year and I would recommend it if you like spruce and piney beers. All in all I was happy with this one, it was kind of like a juicy tree light and I liked how all the key flavors were there, but no super intense. It's not a favorite Alaskan beer, but it's a little above average for the style, good job guys this is a tasty beer.

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Photo of tbryan5
3.64/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Have not had much from Alaskan Brewing Co. but this was a very pleasant ale. Nice winter spices with a malty backbone to complement the spices and slight hop bitterness.

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Photo of akolb
3.29/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Reviewed 1/8/25. Best by 3/3/16.
Look: Clear dark amber with thin, foamy head that quickly loses momentum. A suggestion of blood. 3/5
A: Far off pine trees. Clean, like stainless steel. Subdued malts. Nothing that grabs the nose. 3.25/5
T: Caramel and sweetness. Menthol and spice. The excitement is not there, but pleases the tongue. 3.5/5
M: Thin. Medium-low carbonation. Unfulfilling. 2.75/5
O: Uncomplicated. An easy drinking beer. Tastes better than it smells. The thin mouthfeel distracts. Drinkable, but I would not buy it again as there as multitudes of more interesting winter beers out there. 3.25/5

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Photo of Myotus
3.79/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Poured at 51°F from a 12oz bottle (best by date 21Mar15) into a snifter.
LOOK: Pours with a quarter fingers worth of off-white foam that shrivels into a partial line within 40 seconds. Rising bubbles are medium in size and are so scarce, that I can count them rising. Has a nice and clean copper color to it. There is no lacing.
SMELL: Strong aromas of tree nuts entangle with mild aromas of raisins, prunes, toffee, and caramel along with subtle earthy and spicy hop aromas. The spruce tips that the bottle says it is brewed with can barely be detected.
TASTE: Strong tree nut flavors enter initially and are immediately followed by strong raisin and prune flavors. Strong flavors of toffee and mild flavors of caramel, spicy hops, and earthy hops continue this symphony of taste. Subtle flavors of spruce enter lastly as all previous flavors persist, except for tree nuts, which fade to mild.
FEEL: Medium-bodied and moderately carbonated (where were all the bubbles, though?). Goes down smooth. Finishes with a subtle dryness. A slight alcohol warmth can be felt as it goes down the throat.
NOTE: As beer warms, spruce flavors become slightly more apparent. A very well balanced beer. I would like to have tasted more spruce, but everything else was great.

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Photo of DefenCorps
3.62/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Kroger.

A clear copper pour with a thin off white head with decent retention, this looks great. The nose is subdued with a blend of kettle caramelized English malts and some spruce. A little burnt sugar, toffee and butterscotch are present. The palate opens with a clean English hop character, earthy, mildly woodsy with pleasant bitterness. This is followed by a robust malt flavor on a distressingly thin body. Burnt sugar, toffee, a touch of wet campfire smoke even, all complemented nicely by the spruce. Unfortunately, the body is a little too thin to pull this off. The finish is clean and mildly hoppy with a firming bitterness and a wet, woodsy note. Solid stuff.

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Photo of cdragos
2.29/5  rDev -38.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Oh no! What happened to this awesomly delicious beer? I even asked the owner or brewer at the great American Beer Fest when it would be released this year. I hyped it up at my local liquor store to the clerks. There is no pine smell or taste whatsoever. Did global warming wipe out all spruce trees in Alaska? This years' offering reminds me of a weak Fat Tire Ale.

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Photo of mjurney
4.1/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance:
Amber color, clear. Highly carbonated. Small head.

Aroma:
Sweet malts, caramel, bready, a little citrusy and piney.

Taste/Finish/Body:
Rich malts, bready, biscuit, caramel, lightly roasted. Fruity character, mostly black cherries. Hint of pine (I guess that's the spruce). A bit of citrus hops towards the end. Finish is very crisp and clean. Full bodied, very crisp, refreshing, highly drinkable, very nice carbonation.

Overall:
It's well made English-style old ale. Alaskan did a great job on this beer!

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Photo of Spacedog666
3.26/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Look: The best thing about this beer. Amber in color. There was head... for about 2 minutes. It disappeared very quickly. No lacing at all.
Smell: There is a faint and dulled scent of Spruce... sort of. It mostly smells like PBR with some herbs.
Taste: Again, PBR with some herbs.
Feel: Slightly carbonated. Light bodied.
Overall: I was very disappointed with this beer. It was not at all what I was hoping for. Could be made a little bit more bitter and the Spruce taste needs to pop out at me more.

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Winter Ale from Alaskan Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 875 ratings