Alaskan Winter Ale | Alaskan Brewing Co.

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Alaskan Winter AleAlaskan Winter Ale
872 Ratings
Alaskan Winter AleAlaskan Winter Ale

Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: English Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.40%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-03-2001

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Ratings: 872 |  Reviews: 373
Photo of rhinonau
5/5  rDev +35.9%

Photo of Sargully
5/5  rDev +35.9%

Photo of aasimon
5/5  rDev +35.9%

Photo of dvdhrns
5/5  rDev +35.9%

Photo of EMass85
5/5  rDev +35.9%

Photo of Anew
5/5  rDev +35.9%

Photo of robmorris31
5/5  rDev +35.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

BLUF: It's like drinking Christmas!

The absolute and I say again the ABSOLUTE BEST regionally distributed WINTER ALE on the market period

from the Alaskan Brewing Company:

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.

From the seafaring adventurers of the 1700s to the homebrewers of today, adding spruce tips to beer has a rich history in Southeast Alaska. Alaskan Winter Ale was first released by the Brewery in 2000.

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.

Perfect winter warmer by the fireside or an accompaniment to holiday fare. Serve with roast goose, turkey, ham or lamb. A nice complement to holiday breads, pound cake, or apple pie.

Throughout Southeast Alaska, bald eagles can be spotted landing atop the towering old growth forests of Sitka spruce trees. As many as 3,000 bald eagles congregate among these evergreen trees on the shores of the Chilkat River for the last large run of salmon before winter. Sitka spruce trees carry a significance of their own to local Alaskans. The tender new growth of the spruce tips lends a delicious, yet subtly sweet floral aroma to teas, jelly and now our Alaskan Winter Ale.

 1,751 characters

Photo of Mike22
4.92/5  rDev +33.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The color is a bright copper
Smell is caramel with hints of evergreen.
Taste is malty, medium roasted hops with a sweet caramel finish
Mouthfeel seems to be better as the beer warms up, in fact the beer does better the warmer it is, maybe due to the fact it is an English style Ale.

Overall this is one of my favorite easy to get, not over priced brews.

 355 characters

Photo of dwitt24
4.75/5  rDev +29.1%

Photo of wrightst
4.75/5  rDev +29.1%

Photo of Sir_Goatman
4.75/5  rDev +29.1%

Photo of bobsy
4.7/5  rDev +27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Picked up a bottle from Whole Foods in San Fransisco.

Poured a shiny copper, with a decent-sized frothy white head, which does diminish a fair bit, settling to maybe 4 or 5 millimetres, while providing some nice lacing. The aroma is sweet and piney, with the spruce tips used in the brew evident, but not overpowering. The first taste I get is full of caramel, but the spruce comes through pleasingly in the middle, and the hops provide a nice bitterness at the sides of the tongue. There is also a strong berry flavour to this brew, as well as a sweet spicy warmth. I'm actually finding it hard to fault the flavour because I like the spruce addition and the freshness it brings to the sweet backbone. The mouthfeel is smooth, helping to make this an easy drinker.

I really dig the spruce flavours and they combine well with the sweet malts to provide a nicely balanced winter warmer that reminds me of a nice Christmas treat. I could definitely take down another of these!

 976 characters

Photo of Vashtar
4.65/5  rDev +26.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Chris_Cali_2o9 nailed it in his review.

It has a nice head with acceptional lacing.

The berry taste is definite, but doesn't become monotonous. It isn't a typical winter beer, but it's one of my favorites.

The mouthfeel is like laying down a heavy grocery sack that you haven't been carrying for more than a few seconds.

The smell could be a wonderful air freshener, but better.

I would definitely like a six pack. I just wish the labeling were more appealing so that more people might discover it.

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Photo of detgfrsh
4.64/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Marked best by 4/4/16. Pours a transparent amber with a big two finger head. Smells of malt and spruce. Light mouthfeel with a rich malt, hop, and spruce flavor. One of my all-time favorites. I love the spruce tips in this one and have only tasted one or two other beers that are even remotely like it.

 302 characters

Photo of Psilo707
4.62/5  rDev +25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love most Alaskan Ambers and was very happy to try this one finally. If it has been out before I dont believe I have ever seen it.

A: Very light golden/amber color, head dissipates quickly but leaves nice trail of good looking lacing.

S: Smells fruity and inviting, a soft aroma of berries wafts from the top of the glass into your nose in a unique way.

T: WOW! Delicious the ENTIRE way through, from the first sip to the aftertaste. And especially the aftertaste! A nice malty flavor with some blueberry and even boysenberry reminiscence. This is awesome!

M: Decent, 4.0, nothing to write home about but better than most.

D: I could down these all night. Great stuff.

Overall, my favorite Alaskan Amber and one of my newest favorite beers... ever.

 756 characters

Photo of Sorcerer
4.6/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A six pack from a fresh shipment, 11-2010.

Bottle label doesn't have a yellow frame anymore.

Poured into pint glass.

1/2 inch head bubbles into nothing in less than 5 seconds. Clear dark honey.

Smells like a cold Christmas Day. I smell the tree and some wet wool. A trace of something sweet in the oven and a hint of toast.

Carbonation is in middle of the range, and pleasing. Maltiness prevails with doughy flavor up front. Bitterness is milder than APA's with the Spruce seemingly holding its own against a decent fresh blonde hoppy veneer. Becomes sweet on the tongue after swallowing, and leaves a great sweet blueberry-pine flavor lingering for a long time after the bottle is finished.

Easy to drink. Not sure about the after-effects of a session, as I've only had 2 at a time. I am skeptical of spiced beers. This one, if it is spiced (not sure, but likely), is not over the top.

Obviously I like this beer. Usually I drink IPA's and Munich style Hefeweisen.

 972 characters

Photo of efsulliv
4.59/5  rDev +24.7%

Photo of Givekidsmeth
4.58/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this after checking out the BA reviews, and they're pretty spot on. My girlfriend hates beer, and this one is something she actually loved. Excellent beer for someone who says they dislike beer because of bitterness.

Appearance - Poured into a tall beer glass. Light carbonation, two finger head, color of perfect caramel. This stuff just looks delicious.

Smell - Bread, light spice, dried fruits, malts. inviting and warm, the only reason I'm knocking a half point off for is that I'm not getting the spruce tips. But that's not to say it was in the least bit disappointing.

Taste - Again, the spruce tips don't come through, but everything else just shines more than enough to carry the weight. There's bread, light spice, that sweet, dried fruit flavor is up front and center. The tastes linger in a sweet, warm way across your tongue, and it just entices you into taking another sip.

Mouthfeel - creamy and delightful. Easy to drink, the carbonation is careful and spot perfect. Not dry, a very "wet" beer.

Overall, I'm not disappointed that the spruce tips didn't come through. The malty, bready, fruity aspects of this beer make it the best winter warmer I've found at my local grocer yet. It's not complex, but that just lends to its charm. It's honest, simple, affordable, and just mixes well with winter in a way few beers can.

 1,349 characters

Photo of warriorsoul
4.57/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A huge thanks to beernut7 for this bottle...
Pours a clear bronze color w/ a full finger and a half or tan head w/ a gentle pour...lacing is tight and goes nowhere.
Aroma packed w/ vanilla, caramel, sweet malt and a definite spice to it...says its brewed w/ spruce tips...smells simply fantastic.
The taste is one juicy-fruit of a brew...served damn near room temperature and this one has such an incredible flavor. A nice addition of hops, but by no means bitter.
Mouthfeel is a bit thicker than average...drinkability is quite high, in doesn't really quench the thirst, it pulls you in to drink more and more. Alcohol is real well hidden to the very last sip.
By far, the best winter I have experienced and I would really enjoy this one during the winter anyone?

 795 characters

Photo of LaniG
4.57/5  rDev +24.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love anything with spruce or fir tips. This one is very well done

67 characters

Photo of tjd112
4.56/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Presentation - Poured into Flying Fish pint glass

Appearance - Yellow-ish brown with a fast receding half finger head, but with good white lacing

Smell - Very fruity, like your average run of the mill pale ale

Taste - Fruity with spiciness and true to the label, spruce, as well as a hint of booziness

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with a dry finish

Drinkability - Very much so, somewhat sessionable

Overall - A very unique twist on beer

 439 characters

Photo of SnatchyMcPants
4.56/5  rDev +23.9%

Photo of Jester1011
4.52/5  rDev +22.8%

Photo of Kuaff
4.51/5  rDev +22.6%

Approximately cellar temperature, assuredly in my snifter.

Well the head is sorta nothin' and disappears to nearly nothin'. The color is pretty, however. A radiant, rich golden amber.

Smells pleasantly of honey, marmalade, white bread, cloves, and ginger. Also a tinge of cinnamon and some sweet, fruity citrus.

The flavor again hits with the honey and marmalade, transitioning oh so nicely into this blend of kinda tangy orange, sweet and yeasty bread, and lightly bitter hops. The finish gets a little astringent and resiny and is where I feel the spruce tips might be making their mark. Well-put-together!

Its feel is hangin' out in the medium to full zone, which works well here.

Very nice. While I wasn't sure at first, I also pick up on tartness that really reminds me of wild Alaskan blueberries (which I'm very familiar with) in both aroma and taste. I don't don't know where it's coming from, but I like it. Overall, this is an ale that doesn't overpower in any area, but is balanced and integrated as well as unique. Subtlety is key, using only the tips, and not the whole tree!

 1,093 characters

Photo of stampfler07
4.5/5  rDev +22.3%

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Alaskan Winter Ale from Alaskan Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.68 out of 5 with 872 ratings