Alaskan Winter Ale | Alaskan Brewing Co.

836 Ratings
Alaskan Winter AleAlaskan Winter Ale

Brewed by:
Alaskan Brewing Co.
Alaska, United States

Style: 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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Reviews: 362 | Ratings: 836
Photo of Chris_Cali_2o9
3.92/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Sam Adams cup

A- Amber, 1" fluffy off white head

S- Berries, pommegranet, citrus, apple cider, grapefruit

T- Intensely fruity with a bready malt backbone

M- Medium bodied, low carbonation

O- Pretty good, when i think of a winter warmer, gingerbread and spices come to mind. This one has taken the fruitcake aspect of the holidays. It's very fruity and sweet, but never overbearing. If someone offered me it, i would graciously accept it, but i don't see myself buying it again.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a clear, golden amber with a head that's just under 2 fingers. Average retention. Lacing is very small and spotty.

Smell - Faint, but the aroma hits on notes of graham cracker, caramel and berry, with slight hoppiness well beneath.

Taste - Forward malt sweetness, with a lot of fruity berry character upfront and hints of graham cracker beneath. A tingle of initial mint. Grassy hop bitterness is subtle, and comes through near the finish, and becomes more significant as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with quite a bit of stickiness. Fair carbonation. finishes smooth, and is quite quaffable.

Overall - Not exceptional in any way, but this is a good, well-rounded beer. One I like to have at least once a year during the winter months, especially if it's on tap. The flavor of the spruce tips does well to add a uniqueness to this beer, a character you don't often see in other winter seasonal offerings.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Sea-Tac airport.

A: The beer was a light amber/copper color with a small white head that reduces quickly and leaves some thin lacing on the glass.

S: Rather closed with some faint grainy malt and some fruity hops. A bit of caramel as well.

T: Similar to the aroma, sweet and fruity, the hops are surprisingly assertive.

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

O: I was expecting an old ale, certainly a bit maltier than this beer was, but all in all, tasty and easy drinking.

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Photo of diamondc
4.1/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

$2 for a 12 oz bottle. Best before 031013.

A: Deep amber, pillowy egg shell white head. Filtered. Lots of lacing. Looks good.

S: Fruity, almost raspberry-like, grainy, caramel.

T: Big butterscotch note here, sticky caramel, Fruity Pebbles-like. Wow! Really unusual for this style.

F: A bit 'light' almost lager like, but packed with flavor.

O: A surprise from Alaskan Brewing, will probably buy a six pack soon.

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Photo of NickSMpls
3.52/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A nice dark-golden beer, light for an Old Ale. You can definitely pick up the spruce notes and roasted malts. Taste is ok, but doesn't seem to have a real focus....maybe trying to be too many things at once. Not bad, but nothing to write home about.

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Photo of JMad
3.96/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a nice golden amber color with a thick frothy off white head. The aroma is slightly fruity with a hint of caramel. It tastes bready and malty with some lemon and spruce. The beer is very smooth, medium bodied with a long satisfying finish. Very nice beer here, would definitely drink this again.

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Photo of drpimento
4.34/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, I really like this brew! Poured it a bit warm and I think that was a good idea as the spruce tips really come out, giving a sweet, ripe berry component. Poured with a smallish, cream-colored head that soon settled out to a few islands and a ring with a bit of lace. Color is a medium clear amber with huge amounts of bubble trails. Aroma is malt, caramel, toffee, fruit, wet grain. Flavor's like nose, on the sweet side, but not overly; sweet and carbonic tang are in front with just enough bitter to balance it all nicely. Body and carbonation are perfect. Finish is like flavor, lingers for a while, has a slight booziness, and is so drinkable. Curious to see if it's this good a little colder.

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Photo of GPHarris
3.13/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

a - poured a one finger thick eggshell-colored head into a tulip glass that left some nice lacing but it disappeared halfway through the beer. the body was a bright amber color.
s - caramel, toffee, and an almost cake-like sweetness dominate.
t - caramel and toffee with just the faintest hint of piney hops.
m - medium and slick.
o - disappointing beer overall. it had some good points but i did not get any spruce flavors or aromas here.

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Photo of budgood1
3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours out a peach tinged copper colour with a thin white head reducing quickly to some sparse lace. malty aroma...some cookie dough and spice with a dash of mint and sugar. the taste was a surprise, very malty a liquid, minty, candy/cookie concoction with a slight boozy undertone. this has x-mas beer written all over it like egg nog or tom and jerry's do. the spruce tips are not overdone and meld wonderfully with any alcohol spice present. definitely belly warming and face flushing. the body is medium to slightly above medium and has a smooth slick mouthfeel that allows this winter ale to slide down too easily. therefore, it's easily drinkable and quite enjoyable.

overall a unique and understated brew that delivers subtle yet tasty ale drinking enjoyment. i might have to revisit this at some point this upcoming winter. hits the spot on the first real cold spell this november. go try it.

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Photo of beergoot
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Golden amber body with active carbonation, crowned with a rich, foamy white head. Sweet malts, softly pungent spiciness in the nose; light pine and licorice in the aroma. Warm and sweet in the mouth; smooth and creamy texture. Flavors range from roasted grain and malt (e.g., cookie dough) to a lightly pine-like flavor (must be the spruce); nutty; hints of ginger; a bit of alcohol warmth.

An excellent winter ale. Flavorful with interesting taste complexities. Nicely balanced with a subtle boldness. Tasty and easy drinking...

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Photo of Hoptometrist
4.05/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from the bottle into a snifter

A- Poured a very clear medium golden color with lots of visible carbonation with off-white frothy head that left minimal lace

S- Big sweet apricot and peach aroma, white grape juice

T- Huge white grape juice, apricot, and peach flavors. Lots of sweet fruitiness, some almost mint like flavor, lots of breadiness, and barley

M- Dry, pretty smooth, lighter to medium body

O- This beer is not what I expected out of an old ale, but damn is good. Lots of big fruity flavor and a minty freshness.

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Photo of DavidST
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, coded bottle date. This pours an amberish color with a smaller but decent off white head with a med retention length. The smells are light but nice, a little sweet, some caramel malts, some spruce, berries. The feel is medium with higher carbonation. The taste is high malts, a little bitterness and some berries.

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Photo of elNopalero
4.48/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Alaskan winter ale, brewed with spruce tips—not sure if this is in place of or to supplement the hops, or even how much of a presence they actually have. But, the power of suggestion is a strong thing indeed.

This looks fantastic, a glowing amber with a toasted white cotton puff atop it. Thick & cloudy like the SF fog. The bouquet is pleasantly piney, like an evergreen or pine forest, backed by an orange marmalade note. Flavor has a mild bitterness, and there’s some definite pine notes, and a sweetish caramel malt finish. Smooth and enjoyable.

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Photo of obrike
3.65/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought a single at my HEB in Round Rock for a bit under 2 bucks.

A honey colored ale, not much head and very little lacing. Big fat bubbles shooting from the bottom of my pint glass though.

Not a strong scent, but getting some sugary malt, blueberries?, graham crackers, maybe some faint pine. Certainly not pronounced...wish it were more prevelant.

Taste followed...some malty graham crackers, maybe a bit of honey, malts certainly dominate here. Quite dry on the backend. I like that. Makes me want to take another sip almost immediately. In fact, I've nearly finished this beer during this review. Hides the booze well and would certainly be good on a cool fall/winter day.

Not a bad beer from Alaskan. Would buy again and recommend to friends.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.05/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle pours a mostly clear copper color with a dense off-white head. Retention is ok, as is the lacing. A pretty good looking brew…and the label has a nice, classy look to it.

Nose is fairly sweet and bready with a little bit of caramel. Some honey and blueberry skins seem to be the main aromas I am getting from the spruce tips. Lightly hopped and pretty pleasant overall.

Taste has more of the blueberry-esque fruitiness with a grainy sweetness that screams honey. Very smooth and easy drinking ale, although it does plenty to stand apart from your typical winter offering. I like it, the mouthfeel is full and silky and flows from malty to fruity to mild finish quite well. I'll buy this again for sure...good beer.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.78/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours an amber color with a white head. The aroma is full of honey, dark fruit, toffee, caramel and a hint of alcohol. The flavor is similar. The spruce comes through in the flavor, adding a bit of a herbal, minty quality. I also get some honey and the associated sweetness, as well as some grape and cherry notes. The alcohol is not present in the flavor, which makes the beer quite easy to drink. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A nice winter beer.

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Photo of phishsihq
3.89/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brewed in the tradition of an English Olde Ale, Alaskan Winter pours a clear amber with some orange tint as well. A creamy half-inch of off-white head caps this brew and spotty lace clings to the side of the glass. A lot of aromas are going on in this beer, some hard to pin down, we came up with sweet caramel, pine sap, and some citrus. Bready malts intermingle with the spruce tip flavors, with a good balance achieved with slight hop bitterness in the finish. Medium bodied, and tongue prickling carbonation round out this tasty Winter seasonal. Always a favorite come the coldest season.


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Photo of CliffBrake
3.64/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to immobilisme for the bottle. Cheers!

Bright copper color with only a ring of bubbles from an aggressive pour. Not a hint of lacing.

Nice but very slight spruce aroma..but not a strong nose. The flavor is nicely balanced between bready malts and spruce with a bit of spicy hops and a mildly bitter, dry finish.

Medium body with a good carbonation.

Nice use of spruce. I was glad to have tried this one.

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Photo of Murrhey
2.89/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A- Thin, nearly clear head. No retention. Some minimal spotty lacing. Cloudy orange-amber color with bits and pieces floating about. Not great appearance.

S- Medium malts, orange and other citrusy notes and some spruce smells. Fairly decent smell.

T- Full bodied flavor, overly sweet though. Taste like pine sap almost. Intentional? I can't tell. Nothing bad, nothing good.

M- Decent carbonation, wet and lighter bodied.

O- I probably wouldn't grab this one again. Not special enough and the sweet flavor is off-putting.

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Photo of mwbeerman
4.08/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours crystal clear, golden amber, carbonated, and with a small amount of head that disappears before I can blink. I can smell the esther from across the room. Incredibally sweet aromas, bready malt, and SPRUCE!! That spruce sentiment carries over into the flavors, bringing a candy flavor into the profile that is unique. While being very rich, this beer is really balanced, and definitely warming. A nice spice in the profile, and plenty of malt to fill the belly. The bitter aftertaste compliments the malty/esther flavor of the initial taste.

Personally, I would have liked more body, but the rich flavors, great malty/spicy tango, and incredibly unique spruce flavors makes this another beer that will be keeping me warm through the harsh winters of MN.

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Photo of Blargimus
3.39/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle, poured into wine glass (really need to get a snifter). Best before 4/14/2012.

Pours a crystal-clear brownish gold color. Half a finger of head that disappears almost immediately, leaving absolutely no lacing and no visible carbonation. Not the best-looking beer - looks almost like whiskey sitting in the glass.

I don't really know how to describe this smell. It's maltier than it is hoppy, but the exact proportion is difficult to tell. I don't smell any spruce nibs, but there's a strange fruitiness with a hint of alcohol. I can't properly describe it, but I do like it.

Malt, malt, malt. Just enough bitterness to balance it out, but not enough to distinguish what sort of hops. I detect maybe a hint of pine. The fruitiness from the smell is in the aftertaste - it seems like blueberry, which is strange for a winter beer but not unpleasant.

Medium body. Much more carbonated than it appears. Not overwhelming, and not enough to make it creamy, but enough to be noticeable.

My first beer from Alaskan Brewing Co., and not a bad one. It's not going to touch Odell Isolation, but it's solid.

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Photo of tjsdomer2
3.91/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Apperance: Very Christmasy red-orange hue. Good thickness as well and crystalline carbonation. Nice layer of foam. I will give high points since it fits the season.

Smell: Very malty as I recall. Honestly don't remember much about this. It was good though.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Very peppery, with a nice fruity balance. Mostly dark fruit. Maybe some cinnamon here? Overall hop bitterness is a bit unnecessary due to the pepper.

Drinkability: Good beer that I wish I could find again.

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Photo of stealth
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one is weird. Like many others, I couldn't pin down the aroma. I was out and about and didn't care to be bothered smelling it for 10 minutes so I dove in. Really enjoyed the sweet spucy taste to it. Definitely different. I'll have it again if I see it on tap, but I won't go out of my way for it.

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Photo of adrock7309
3.42/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a bottle into a central waters pint glass.

About an inch of light creamy head which sustained about an eight of an inch and bubbled vigorously from the bottom.

Great amber color. Very clear

Smell was light and crisp with a bit of toffee and caramel

Taste was also crisp malt with some dark toffee and good malt/hops balance

Mouthfeel was smooth and light.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.45/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Having had the barleywine and smoked porter from Alaskan, I was a little surprised that I liked this one best. The other Alaskan had a strange oily note that I did not like. This beer did not have that.

The beer started with a biscuity aroma and presented a copper color. The initial taste was a surprising sour flavor. This lemon flavor was a surprise for a winter ale. The sourness stays on the tongue nicely to the finish. It is smooth without a bothersome level of carbonation. Though pleasing, the beer is a little one-dimensional in terms of the flavor.

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Alaskan Winter Ale from Alaskan Brewing Co.
3.65 out of 5 based on 836 ratings.
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