Nightcap Winter Ale
BridgePort Brewing Co. / Brewpub

Nightcap Winter AleNightcap Winter Ale
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Winter Warmer
3.51 | pDev: 10.83%
BridgePort Brewing Co. / Brewpub
Oregon, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Nightcap Winter AleNightcap Winter Ale
Notes: IBUs: 40
ABV: 7.2%
Color: Medium to dark brown
OG: 17.2
Reviews: 27 | Ratings: 33 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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UCLABrewN84 from California

3.59/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared at GRG1313’s tasting.

Pours a hazy orange with a foamy tan head that settles to a small cap on top of the beer. Small swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is malt, caramel, toffee, and bourbon aromas. Taste is much the same with a caramel flavor on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that smells better than it tastes in my opinion.

May 09, 2013
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TheStove from Illinois

3.18/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Purchased the last one from liquor store in SF. Saved just about until next winter warmer season but figured it was worth cracking open given the 7.2% abv. Poured from a 22oz bomber into a 12oz mini imperial pint glass as two servings.

Pours a mahogany/rich deep brown color. Looks like quite a good brown ale but like a winter ale it has very low carbonation. Smells like sweet malt with slight molasses and hop coming through. The bourbon barrel is slightly there.

Rich malty flavor upon first sip, from sweet to some light bitterness. Slight bit of the bourbon barrel character jumps in to impart some booziness. Slight bit of hop tang at the end or maybe it's the snap from the bourbon barrels. Nice linger on the tongue almost like warm maple syrup.

Overall, at least as a winter warmer, it's slightly disappointing. I was hoping the bourbon barrel character might lend some complexity to this but I think it's an excuse to "warm" you for winter than to try to put something into this (spices) that makes it feel like winter. Either this is better as a big brown ale or I waited too long to crack this but I didn't get much Winter outside of the boozy taste at the end and at 7.2%, it's gonna take more to warm me up.

Sep 06, 2011
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beerandcycling88 from Washington

3.61/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a kind of cool looking bomber into a mug.

A Pours a cola brown with a 2 finger off white head that sticks around and leaves lacing.

S First I get a bit of bourbon, then some malty notes and a bit of dark fruits. However the nose is kind of faint.

T The taste is pretty malty with some caramel notes along with smooth bourbon, and just a faint hint of hop bitterness.

M very smooth creamy beer. Drinks well

Overall this is a pretty good beer, that is enjoyable to drink. There is enough bourbon to keep it interesting but not overpower. A very good beer I hope Bridgeport brings back next winter.

Jul 12, 2011
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HuskyinPDX from Washington

3.41/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Taken from tasting notes on 2.14.11

22oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A - Deep amber in color with lighter edges. Thich creamy head with good lacing and retention.

S- Smell is faint, slightly sweet and bourbon.

T - Very malty and bitter, finishes with a bourbon wave.

D - Bitter but good carbonation.

May 30, 2011
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Offa from California

3.87/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Very dark red, big pale tan head slowly shrinks to foamy ring and no real lace.

Aroma is aromatic dark toast, tea, prunes, hints of Dr.Pepper and meat. Overall, it’s very nice.

Taste is fermented fruits, woody bitterness and pepper, light wine quality, dryish finish and a light spicy element. It’s very good, with a tiny bit of complexity, but not really great.

Apr 22, 2011
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philbertk from Washington

2.64/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bridgeport Brewing Company--Nightcap Winter Ale--33% Ale Aged In Oak Bourbon Barrels And 67% Ale--Bridgeport Big Brews--Enjoy the Spirit of the Season--2010 22 oz. Bottle. 7.20% ABV. 30 IBU's? (2.5 / 5.0) Fizz rejuvenated dense foamy light tan lasting 1/2 inch plus head. Fizz clouded dark deep ruby bronze color. Strong Oak Bourbon mild hop front. Bottle Conditioned Barrel Aged sediment. Slightly creamy mild sweet malty oak infused mild fruit complex toffee body. Mild hop Bourbon end. Unbalanced! Sampled 3/25/2011. Purchased for $5.59 @ Fred Meyer--Ballard, Seattle on 11/11/2010. Still Available on Multiple shelves as of today.

Mar 29, 2011
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birdypowder from Oregon

3.78/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A balanced and very drinkable "big brew" winter ale. Wait is that possible...? As usual, Bridgeport serves up a balanced, tasty brew with high marks for drinkability. Cheers! Unfortunately, for a "winter warmer" and one that is partially aged in Makers Mark barrels, inspiring is not on the agenda for this Nightcap.

Looks good with deep ruby edges encasing a mysterious dark brown center. Light tan head caps this winter warmer though it doesn't stay around for long. However, lacing is respectable.

Malty, dark fruits, raisins, some coconut and a light hot chocolate cocoa smell...all slightly ruined by a whiff of DMS. Where is the whiskey hit?

Enjoyable malt profile hits you with that same dark fruity malty presence. Balanced. Hints of wood. Malty sweet finish, fades to an almost watery ending, slightly papery.

A little light for a "big brew" but enjoyable none the less.

Yes. But I would gladly sacrifice a bit of this drinkability for a bit more complexity and intrigue.

Feb 14, 2011
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jdense from Oregon

3.63/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle from local grocery store shared at neighborhood beer buddy's house, 2.3.11.

Tan head one finger fairly quick dissipation some lacing over dark brown clear body, small trails of rising carbonation around edge of glass. Very malt dominated nose, caramel, some brown sugar, a faint bit of milk chocolate, not much hop aroma, perhaps a wee bit of floral notes. Taste mirrors nose, very malty, little bitterness on back end. Mouthfeel is medium good effervescence. Drinkability is pretty good, alcohol well hidden. While this isn't the most memorable Winter Warmer I've had, it's a nicely crafted, traditional malt forward interpretation that I wouldn't be afraid to try again.

Feb 06, 2011
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GreenCard from Maryland

3.58/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: ruddy brown, slightly hazy, huge layer of tan fine-beaded foam, good head retention

Aroma: cocoa powder, almond extract, bourbon, malt

Flavor: malty sweetness upfront with notes of malt whiskey, vanilla, and a hint of coffee and roast beef in the finish

Mouthfeel: medium body, gentle carbonation, warming in the throat

Jan 29, 2011
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Kakaraht from Canada (BC)

3.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark brown color with Two fingers of white head and good retention.

S: Pale oak and sweet caramel malt, sweet apricot and raisin notes.

T: Kinda taste like a copper/red ale more hop notes than I would have expected there is no oak in the flavor but the malts are sweet and smooth.

M: Medium body with nice carbonation and a good smoothness to it.

D: Not up to its name but still a reasonably good drink.

Jan 27, 2011
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stoutfiend27 from North Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

another bomber sent to me in the latest with james

a-deep dark brownish mahogany color..two finger off white head...lots of bubbles

s-muted malts...light dry wood...some raisins...and sweetness

t-much of the same..slightly sweet malts up front..some granny smith apples follow??..some very slight hop bitterness...dry tannins from the wood.

m-light and very very dry and woody feeling...carbonation holds its own...

d-will have no problem getting through the bomber....not sure if time would lend a helping hand with the barrel aging or not...

ive enjoyed all the bridgeport offerings ive had so far...this is no different just not 100% sure what they were trying to achieve with this one..

Jan 19, 2011
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cdkrenz from Wisconsin

3.93/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Beautiful pour into a 16 ounce pint. Crimson and translucent body topped by more than two inches of pale tan head. Head is very sticky as it slowly tapers back leaving a merange-like surface.

S - Vanilla, citrusy hops, slightly yeasty, a bit of alcohol, and a base of oak.

T - Mild bitterness in the hops. Subtle sour taste in the finish. There's a bit of oak and pungent plum flavors evident here as well. There too is a yeast flavor in the middle imediately followed by the taste of alcohol which goes as just as quickly as it had revealed itself.

M - Watery feel with a slight coarse accent in the finish.

~ This is a good beer. It goes down well. I have to say t his one may be a bit better if I had let it age for a bit. If the yeast aromas and flavors had a chance to fade I think the brew could be an A.

Jan 15, 2011
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100floods from California

3.39/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

pours a dark wood brown with a tan head. Gentle, but very present notes of pine, juniper, caramel malt. A few different things going on, but nothing too hard to find. Burnt, slightly sweet malt. There's a strong, earth flavored hop finish, a little too earthy. It almost feels like tree bark Nice, light-medium body, with a good dose of carbonation. Notes of cola/caramel flavored malt. The sheer earthiness of the hops and the burnt malt flavors are what made this beer not so good. I kept on thinking that this beer was spiced. The bottle I have says that it's 33% aged in oak bourbon barrels, and I taste 0% of the bourbon. Perhaps some of the wood from the barrels got into the beer. In that case some of the flavors would make more sense, but it doesn't.

Jan 08, 2011
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RJLarse from Washington

3.62/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I bought a bomber of nightcap in a grocery store. $5.79. Poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a nut brown color and is clear, with a hint of chill haze. Creamy off-white head.

Smell is a caramel and malted grain aroma.

Taste is a malty caramel and bourbon flavor, with some citrus and dry spice notes, and a mild bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and fairly clean.

A drinkable winter ale, but not a great value at this price point.

Jan 03, 2011
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Spikester from Oregon

3.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear amber , almost brown. One finger of cream color head. Modest lacing. Aroma is malty with a touch of wood. Taste is some sweet malts, with a touch of the alcohol from the barrel aging. Mild cherry, prune juice. Maybe this batch was aged in a wine barrel by mistake. Mouthfeel is alright with slightly less carbonation than I would like. Drinkability is just average in my opinion. Slightly dry mildly bitter finish. Overall a bit too sweet and cloying for my taste. Another handful of hops would have lifted this brew to another level. Worth a try if you don't mind beers on the sweet side of the spectrum.

Dec 27, 2010
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Bookseeb from Washington

3.33/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a dark reddish amber with a thick head leaving mild lace. Smell of sweet malts, spice with some earth mixed in. Taste has a note of bourbon barrel, sweet malts, spice and rounding off with the hops. mouthfeel is medium with good carbonation. A good brew, but not as big as i would like for a winter ale.

Dec 24, 2010
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notsoprobeer from Oregon

3.93/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Color is reddish brown with a tan head that lasted for most of the drink. No lacing. Aroma and flavor are similar to Ebeneezer (mainly caramel malts) but with the addition of bourbon and oak. Not a lot of hop flavors going on here. Light to medium bodied, nice carbonation level, with a touch of bitterness in the finish.

I liked Ebenezer, and Nightcap adds a nice twist to it by integrating subtle bourbon and oak flavors. I wish BridgePort had used a higher percentage of the barrel aged beer in the blend. This is a limited release, so if you want some, you better pick up a bottle (or two) soon!

Dec 19, 2010
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loren01 from Washington

3.62/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark ruby color, very nice 2 finger width head great lacing down the glass
S: Spicy/earthy and woody scents
T: Slightly sweet caramelly up front. Wood is more pronounced than I had though it would be from the scent.
M: Medium to full bodied, thick and sticky going down
D: This is a pretty solid beer, one I had not seen from Bridgeport previously, glad I picked it up.

Dec 18, 2010
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ebrauser from Utah

4.69/5  rDev +33.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber to a pint glass

Appearance: Deep ruby hue with a very thin head, especially coming from a relatively warm (~55ºF) bottle

Aroma: Spicy licorice, orange, and pine fill the nostrils along with the pungent oakiness from the bourbon barrels.

Flavor: A particularly complex and flavorful beer, the taste is woody, fruity, with hints of smokiness. Hopping is extremely slight and can only be detected around the edges. The bourbon steals the show, standing out as 'that new flavor you don't taste very often.' It is accompanied with a mild sting of alcohol and cherries but without the abrasiveness of high carbonation. A great beer that could be drunk early and often.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, though a little greasy and coating at the finish.

Dec 14, 2010
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ccrida from Oregon

3.8/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into my Delirium snifter, Nightcap is brownish garnet with a nice sized off-white head with decent lace, leaving nice lace.

Smell is pleasant, aromatic but not heavy-handed, a really nice coconut flavor from the wood.

Taste is similar, there's a bit more then depth your average winter warmer thanks to the barrel character. The malt is on the thin side though, it's pretty generic otherwise - I'm surprised it clocks in at 7.2, as it seems lighter.

Mouthfeel is drier, some nice carbonation, medium light bodied.

Drinkability is pretty good, it's a smooth winter warmer that drinks pretty light, which in combination with the typically good pricing Bridgeport offers makes it an easy one to suck back.

Dec 13, 2010
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dragonWhale from New York

2.85/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bought this just for kicks, for a laugh, ahahaha! Usually these guys class it up with solid beers. We shall endeavor to find out if it is again the case.

33% bourbon barrel aged. 7.2%. These numbers seem to be on the low end.

Amber, no lovely lace on the glass. Just sliding straight on down, leaving my tulip bored. Sweet malts and bourbon aroma, a little bit of hop, some peach. Its flavor is remote, aloof. It doesn't engage me. Heavy bourbon influence on a beer that tastes both sweet and a little watery. The hops are well-placed, though, and help to battle with the barrel.

This could've used a less skimpy malt bill. A 9% ale would've likely handled the barrel a little bit better. Surprised at the lack of thickness, their yeast probably just decimated it.

This could be very nice with more age on it. Perhaps the flavors are just not ready for integration yet. Unfortunately, I'll likely not have a 2nd bottle due to finances, so I shall never know first hand.

Dec 06, 2010
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juhl31 from California

3.28/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

-dark brown with a reddish hue to it. white head with a tan shade. pours with a decent head that leads to a paper thin retention the rest of the way

-has a pretty big nut character to the nose, maybe some vanilla and caramel. oak barely comes out

-nut still there, but not as strong as the nose. some wood taste to it. kind of reminds me a like a caramelized buttered toast type taste. the bourbon is not really apparent. maybe a bit at the end

-more of a carb bite that i want in a winter warmer. especially with a bit higher abv. some warmness comes in at the very end

-was very intrigued to try it, but it didnt wow me by any means. it's not trash, but i wouldn't ever consider buying it again unless they upped the bourbon barrel percentage

Dec 06, 2010
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ElGordo from Oregon

3.63/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the 22oz bottle into a Maudite snifter. Body is a pretty ruby color with amber highlights, topped by a good flourish of creamy tan head that takes a few minutes to settle down. Aroma of biscuity English malt, a touch of holiday spice (allspice?), and a slight metallic quality.
Palate is malt-forward, a mild, biscuity malt that is telltale Bridgeport. The house yeast also contributes the usual sweet character, a mild fruitiness that is pleasant and unobtrusive. Allspice and a touch of clove are detectable, but are not really front and center. Although the bottle indicates that a third of this beer has been aged in bourbon barrels, I find almost no evidence of that save for a mild boozy character on the finish.
Body is clean and gently carbonated, again, classic Bridgeport. This is nicely drinkable, but it's difficult to tell that it is either barrel aged or a winter warmer.

Dec 01, 2010
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JohnGalt1 from Idaho

3.43/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up today at the COOP... ~1" foamy white head really doesn't stick around too long but leaves okay sheets of lace... clear deep walnut.

The aromas are pretty mild for a winter warmer.... bits of toasty malt... lite cocoa... and something resembling oak... no real hops to speak of.

Flavor is more rich than expected.... plenty of nutty malt character combines with a bit of vanilla and caramel.

Body is respectable with a good carbonation.

Only okay.... but glad to see Bridgeport continuing to change their big bottle lineup.


Nov 28, 2010
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Docer from Washington

3.63/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Snagged a bottle to try... "I live... in a world... of Winter Ales!"

- Pours a semi-cloudy copper caramel.. almost a mincemeat warm color... fluffy white head really... leaves a nice thin layer on top and a rather medium sized ring.

- Woody, earthy, grassy, spicy... malty... bitter hoppy... all mixed together in a smooth smelling concoction.. certainly a bright bitter hoppy spiced ale..

- Smooth light caramel backing, spicy winter alt up front, light herbs, earthy spice and grassy character.. not too much bourbon or oak really... kind of leaves me wanting more %-age barrel aged.

- Medium bodied, drying, chewy... well carbonated...

- Quite easy to drink, smooth... balanced, maybe only a touch too grassy and earthy... but not enough barrel.. and in a world of winter ales which all seem to be the same, and boring.. this one is only floating around the upper portions of the mix like oil in water.

Nov 20, 2010
Nightcap Winter Ale from BridgePort Brewing Co. / Brewpub
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 33 ratings