Winter Beard (Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout)
Muskoka Brewery

Winter Beard (Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout)Winter Beard (Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout)
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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #2,253
Ranked #16,585
3.91 | pDev: 10.74%
Muskoka Brewery
Ontario, Canada
Very Good
Winter Beard (Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout)Winter Beard (Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout)
Notes: Our Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout is rich and sturdy with roasted dark chocolate malts, real cocoa, 70% dark chocolate, and freshly harvested local cranberries. Pair that with a slightly higher alcohol content and you'll find yourself sharing this bottle of joy all winter long.

25 IBU
Reviews: 69 | Ratings: 177 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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ChrisCage from Canada (AB)

3.94/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A- Nice cork topper in the bottle and nice little logo to go with this masculine looking stout! The brew itself pours a dark cola color, shows good clarity for a dark ale, and I see plenty of little bubbles rising to the top. The lacing is sticky and clings well to the inside of the glass. Overall a decent looking beer....the only knock may be that the head doesn't show much in terms of retention.

S- Hint O' coffee, cranberry essence, chocolate (dark and milk), semi sweet darkened malts, burnt toffee/blackstrap molasses. There is an Earthy hop presence on the finish....

T- Cocoa, cranberry, chocolate, black coffee and hints of molasses sweetness accent the burnt chocolate malts. The finish has a certain tartness from the fresh berries and compliments the entire flavor profile!

M/O- Surprisingly light in body and rather full carbonation for a stout, however, the flavors are full and as it warms, the chocolate character becomes more intense. I would say that this is a social beer and I am enjoying it the longer I have some to sample. I think with some aging that this would be even better after say one or two years. Cheers!

Nov 24, 2019
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timmy2b from New York

3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark brown color with single finger head which was off white with a very subtle pinkness to it. Scent of cranberry and some dark chocolate. Chocolate is present in the taste. Cranberry takes over as this warms. Decent, but a little too much going on with the cranberries.

Apr 09, 2018
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patre_tim from Thailand

4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Dark brown with the ruby tinge, and topped with two fingers of beige head. The head also has a slight pink tinge to it.

Smells of dark cocoa, cranberries, a variety of sweet and fruity notes, milk, and coffee.

The taste is much like a porter in my opinion. I get notes of chocolate, coffee, dark toasted malts, and then there's this fruitiness that comes in. There's cranberries and fruitiness, but there's more of a sour note probably from the cranberries. It's also sweet and chocolatey. Vanilla is in there too.

The body feels very light for eight percent. It's very smooth, and has a moderate amount of carbonation.

Although I purchased this in Kitchener Ontario, I'm drinking it in Muskoka. Today is December 19, 2017. This is a really good brew. Very light and pleasant on the pallete.

Dec 20, 2017
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PorterPro125 from Canada (NB)

3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Serving Type: 750 mL Cork and Cage Bottle (Packaged on Sept. 9, 2016)

L- Pours an opaque black hue (ruby on the edges) topped by a 1 finger tan head. Fairly decent retention, little lacing.

S- Mainly getting coffee and chocolate. There seems to be a lingering sweetness which may or may not be the cranberries. It's really hard to tell.

T- Sadly not getting any cranberry on the taste. Same roasty notes from the aroma with the chocolate much more apparent and creamy.

F- Solid medium body. Low carbonation. Just how I like it for this style.

O- The only thing that's really holding Winter Beard back from greatness is the inherent lack of cranberries. Fairly disappointed in this beer but not enough to give it an unfavourable score. This is a great brew, it just didn't live up to the bottle description.

Feb 23, 2017
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zachary80 from Indiana

3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had the 2015 in early 2017 after several months in the cellar. Good head, brown body, adequate retention. Presence of chocolate and roasted malt.... hints of coffee.

A good to very good stout. Unfortunately, it promises cranberries, and any appearance of them is fleeting.

Jan 17, 2017
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Cramshawbar from Canada (ON)

2.75/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

This is neither rich nor sturdy and I honestly wasn't able to distinguish any of the tastes claimed to be included, most especially the cranberry. Just a weak attempt.

Jan 01, 2017
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Coronaeus from Canada (ON)

3.26/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

750ml bottle. 2015 edition.

Deep black with light cream head that is small and dissipates quickly. Slight bitter chocolate aroma. Broad, by mild berry notes as well. More coffee from the malts than chocolate from the chocolate, with mild berry and fig/prunes flavours. Very thin. I would have appreciated more chocolate in this one, and perhaps a more substantial base stout. Will not revisit.

Jan 10, 2016
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kevinlater from Canada (ON)

3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2015 vintage, 750ml corked & caged bottle (tough to uncork + looks like the cork got bent during bottling) into snifter. packaged on sep 14 2015, consumed dec 8 2015

a: pours dark-ish brown, developing into a really dark mahogany. light brown head

s: nice chocolatey nose, more milk chocolate than bittersweet cocoa, with a good cranberry fruity presence. hint of cinnamon

t: bitter, slightly sour cranberries covered in milk chocolate. good woody, toasted nut finish with shy black coffee flavours. a bit of alcohol

m: on the lighter side of medium with moderate, prickly carbonation. dry finish

o: exactly the chocolatey cranberry beverage you would expect it to be. not mindblowing, but wouldn't mind having it again a few times in the future

Dec 09, 2015
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Borbly from Canada ()

3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2015 Edition - L: 3 S: 3.25 T: 3.5 F: 3 O: 3.25 (AVG 3.31)
Deep black appearance with beige head. Scent is fairly heavy on chocolate and roasted malt, not getting much on cranberry. The taste is bitter, with a fairly nice coffee taste, though again no cranberries. The feel consists mainly of a deep coffee bitterness. All in all, an alright beer, though I'll stick with more traditional stouts.

2016 Edition
Back again with another double chocolate cranberry stout! Pours a deep black body with a good amount of bubbly tan head. The aroma has faint chocolate and coffee coming through, along with some mild fruitiness and a sharper peppery tone. The taste immediately brings forward subtle cocoa flavours, with some green pepper as well adding into the mix. As was last year, the cranberry is subtle, but it adds a nice touch of vibrance and festive warmth to the stout. It has a velvety soft body, that allows it to be drunk as if it were hot chocolate. Maybe my tastes have warmed up towards this beer and bigger stouts in general, but I definitely think that this beer takes the cake. Looking forward to keeping this beer as a holiday tradition.

Nov 21, 2015
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BeerWatcher from Canada (ON)

4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is the 2013 edition, which was produced in 2012, aged by Muskoka for a full year, purchased by me in 2013, and then further aged by me for an additional year, trying it for the first time today. Very dark brown , bordering on black with very slight reddish hilights in the light. One finger off off-white head, that leaves behind some truly beautiful lacing. Aromas of chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. Some cranberries, and I believe some mint hilights too. A nice creamy palate introduces tastes of cocoa, vanilla bean, and a hint of red fruits dancing in the background on the swallow. Between their aging and my aging, this is just velvet on my tongue. Good on you Muskoka for producing this gem.

Jan 08, 2015
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taxandbeerguy from Canada (ON)

4.09/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle served fairly cold into a pint glass. Awesome looking bottle with cork and cage. Only downside is that it's about $14 CDN.

Appearance - dark brown nearly black in color. Small half finger of head is poured and recedes quickly. Opaque as hell.

Smell - exactly as you'd expect. Lots of dark chocolate and cranberry. I can almost taste the chocolate covered cranberries through my nose. It's straightforward but very delicious.

Taste - just like the nose, chocolate and cranberries blended together in a smooth mixture. Maybe hints of caramel too.

Mouthfeel - surprisingly light on the tongue, medium high carbonation, and moderately light body. Smooth but not oily or slick.

Overall - a very well executed imperial stout with a taste for chocolate and cranberries. It's exactly what it says it is nothing more nothing less. If it weren't for the prohibitive cost, I would pick this up a little more regularly.

Nov 09, 2014
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LampertLand from Canada (BC)

3.84/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Muskoka Brewery 'Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout' aka Winter Beard 2013 Vintage @ 8.0% , served from a corked/caged 750 ml bottle purchased for $12.50

A-pour is a dark cola brown from the bottle to a near black in the glass with some ruby red peeking thru a small creamy tan head which is leaving a spotty lace along the pint

S-roasted dark chocolate malt , hint of sweet cranberries

T-intial taste is sweet cranberry , followed by dark chocolate/cocoa in a somewhat dry finish

MF-mild carbonation , bit thin & viscous , feeling a bit of a full body warmth

Ov-ok beer , needs some more body , not just the ABV

prost LampertLand

Mar 17, 2014
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souvenirs from Canada (BC)

3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Who could resist a beer with a beard on the label? Not this guy.

A: As black as black can be, impenetrable to light, with two fingers of cocoa-coloured head that dissipate fairly quickly without leaving a whole lot behind in the way of lacing.
S: Dark roasted malts, cocoa, coffee. I can't pick up the cranberry.
T: Cocoa! It's a little bit like putting straight cocoa powder in your mouth, with a little bit of sweetness to balance out the bitterness.
F: Lighter body than I expected.

Mar 16, 2014
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AussieAbroad from Canada (ON)

3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750 mL 2012 Vintage corked bottle

A - Pours a pitch black with a half inch cream head. The head receded to a fine ring, with no lacing.

S - Dark, roasted chocolate malts upfront with an undertone of muted sweetness courtesy of the cranberries

T - Dark chocolate coats the palate with the cranberry notes lightly lingering on the finish. There is no sign of the 8% ABV.

M - Medium, creamy body with little carbonation and smooth, semi dry finish.

O - Reviewing this as I drank it, I found the 8% ABV stealthily crept up on me! The subtle, chocolately smoothness became warming, and satiating to the point of fullness. Everything about this brew is subtle, but very drinkable, and, as the name suggests, perfect for a chilly winter evening. While the early fall might not have been the best time to drink up, I'll definitely be searching out their 2013 offering.

Sep 05, 2013
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mick303 from Canada (ON)

4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A - a viscous oily dark brown with some slight whispy film and lacing. Thick and dark, an initial nice dark tan head on it, quite pretty.

S - a rich chocolate liqueur, jammy cranberry, and dark chocolate, roasty and dark malts come through nicely, a rich and intriguing nose, nicely balanced.

T - a rich mouthfeel, smooth liqueur with slight carbonation, sticky molasses and dark malts that linger heavily on the finish, some tannic cranberry and dark cocoa. Some rich flighty chocolate notes, again with some alcohol spiciness. Rich cranberry notes, some mild earthy and a lot of roasty spice.

M - a thick viscous feel, some interesting vegetal notes on the finish, quite a slick feel to it, some light carbonation on the palate.

This bottle had about 1.5 years on it, and the chocolate and dark roast malt notes mellowed nicely. Drinks nicely, with a nice smooth but not overly heavy body. Characterful and well-constructed, full feel with some residual alcohol heat.

Jul 31, 2013
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ComradeCanadia from Canada (AB)

4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Hadn't had a dessert stout in a while, and this totally scratched that itch.

Appearance is black as tar with a thin mocha head that didn't stay around too long.

Smell isn't particularly strong, but I can certainly pick up the chocolate, deep malts, a bit of hops, and the edge of the cranberries.

Taste is very pleasant and smooth. Not too strong. Earth malt flavours dominate the palate with chocolate, coffee, and a kind of burned edge in there, but just a bit. The chocolate isn't particularly strong, but lingers on the palate for a good while. At the front of the palate lie the cranberries with some lemon and orange flavours.

Mouthfeel - This is smooth and nice to drink with a feisty carbonation I quite like. However there is a bit of a chalky texture which lingers that I'm not fond of.

Overall - This is a nice dessert stout I'd be happy to drink again and its mild, muted flavours would make it a good recommendation to craft beer novices.

Jul 28, 2013
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Rutager from Canada (BC)

4.01/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2012 bottle with a big thanks to liamt07.

Appearance. Pours a deep dark brown, almost black in the glass and topped with almost two fingers of light tan head.

Smell. Sweet dark chocolate, red and dark berries, and some dark roasty malts.

Taste. Sweet dark chocolate and dark malts and a little bit of red berries. Fairly mild flavours, no alcohol, and a nice medium level of sweetness.

Mouthfeel. Medium-full body, medium-low smooth and creamy carbonation.

Overall. Very nice but I would like to taste the berries a little more.

Jul 24, 2013
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thehyperduck from Canada (ON)

4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

750 mL caged-and-corked bottle from the LCBO (2012 edition). This is the only one of Muskoka's rotating seasonal offerings that I have not yet tried - but given past experience, I expect I'm in for a pretty good couple glasses of beer. Served only slightly chilled; poured into a snifter.

Pours an opaque brownish-black colour, topped with one finger of creamy, foamy, beige-coloured head. Retention is decent; it gradually wilts away over the next five minutes or so, leaving behind plenty of sticky lacing, a narrow collar around the edge, and a spotty film on the surface. The aroma is enticing, with lots of cocoa powder and rich chocolate fudge, some mocha, roasted nuts, and a pleasant cranberry tartness to round it all out.

Somehow I doubt they're kidding about the 'double chocolate' part, because this brew's flavour is rife at first with rich dark chocolate and cocoa powder, and the chocolate notes don't really let up from there. Roasted coffee grinds come through as well, followed by dark cherry, anise, baker's chocolate and some light cranberry tartness toward the finish. Roasted, earthy aftertaste with a slight hint of booze and dark chocolate that lingers nicely. Full-bodied and fairly thick, with a slick, almost oily feel left behind on the palate. I must admit, I wasn't expecting an 8% stout to be this full, and it threw me off a little at first, but there's something to be said for its smooth, creamy nature.

Final Grade: 4.03, a solid A-. Muskoka's Winter Beard probably isn't my favourite of their seasonals, but it's still an excellent imperial stout. Surprisingly well-balanced for the style, with the rich sweetness of the chocolate being delicately countered by the roasted character and slightly sour cranberry. It's a brew that's almost too much - but never going overboard or becoming cloying, with just the right amount of warmth from the alcohol to make this into a perfect winter sipper. I really enjoyed this stuff, but at $10.95 a bottle I doubt I'd ever get this more than once a year (although I might get another bottle and crack it next January to see how it develops). Worth a try, but not a worldbeater.

Jan 12, 2013
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MaxwellSchaefer from Canada (ON)

2.9/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Appearance: Light head, little rention.

Smell: chocolate and coffee notes shine here with undertones of caramel. I was surprised not to detect any cranberry whatsoever.

Taste: Silky mouth feel, almost like crushed chalk without the taste. The carbonation was tough and very strong--maybe thats where the particulate mouthfeel came from. The taste was chocolatey with some burnt coffee notes--I still couldnt really taste the cranberry.

Overall: the beer kind of sparkles in the mouth but feels muddled. For a beer that calls itself a winter warmer it did make me feel kind of warm. Next time I'll grab something else.

Jan 11, 2013
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EgadBananas from Louisiana

3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a near pitch black colour, with a tanned, foamy finger of head that leaves some spongy lace. The aroma has plenty of chocolate on the nose, with a big roasted character and a light fruity cranberry sweetness/twang. Very interesting taste. Definitely chocolaty, and there's plenty of tangy sweet cranberry.

It didn't look too viscous, but it had a nice rich creamy texture, low carbonation, and a full body. Quite the unique take on an imperial stout, but a nice deviation, nonetheless.

Thanks Chris!

Dec 16, 2012
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ZorPrime from Canada (QC)

3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer was sent to me in a recent trade with Liam. Thanks and cheers.

The beer is dark black with a nice brown head on top of it. Nice looking. The aroma is dominated by dark chocolate with some cacao. Pretty simple in the aroma. Chocolate. The taste is similar. It's chocolate domination. Not bad, but it would gain if I was able to distinguish the cranberries. It is very big in the mouth. Voluptuous. I like it. This is a dessert in a bottle. A nice beer but I was expecting more complexities from an imperial stout. Try it out for yourself.

May 20, 2012
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korguy123 from Canada (ON)

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

2011/2012 release into Muskoka tulip.

A- Dark brown/black pour with a light tan two finger head. Lacing is excellent.

S- Bakers chocolate, slight coffee and cranberry sauce (thanksgiving style) Sweet chocolate syrup. Almost reminiscent of a chocolate strawberry sundae.

T- Chocolate syrup galore! The cranberry reminds me more of strawberry jam in the taste. I can remember last years batch having a malt taste and feel (similar to hot chocolate powder. This one is much more refined in my opinion.

M- Full bodied, slightly creamy with a low but satisfying carbonation.

O- Excellent bottle/batch this year. I bought this bottle for a trade that fell through and really had no interest to drink it. I'm glad I did. The malt taste/feel last year was a real put off but that has been remedied!

May 17, 2012
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TerryW from Canada (ON)

3.33/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark walnut pour under a fairly substantial brown head. Looks good out of the bottle. The head is quickly disappeared, no lace.

Aroma is primarily chocolate, coffee, some fruit. Flavour is lots of chocolate. Coffee and malt as well. There is also the characteristic tart-sweetness of cranberries that really noticeably comes across as fruitiness. Makes it a little bit different from a typical stout. Gentle carbonation.

Tasty, but almost a novelty stout.

Apr 09, 2012
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BGDrock from Canada (ON)

3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes:

Appearance: deep chocolate; nice head; slight ruby tinge; look is similar reminding me of creme de cacao

Aroma: coffee, a nice roast; not very aromatic; lightly of chocolate

Taste & Mouthfeel: dark, bitter chocolate lingers strongly on the palate (very intense!); clean, medium body, although there's a tinge of powder in the texture; medium carbonation; cranberry is non-existent, possibly over-powered by the chocolate; some creaminess

Overall: fantastic as a chocolate stout, and texture and body make it greatly drinkable, but fails on delivering the promised cranberry flavour

Mar 25, 2012
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joemcgrath27 from Canada (AB)

3.6/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - classic tar black stout, thumb of head dissipated quickly and nosily, down to a thin covering
S - dominated by big chocolatey and roasty malt aromas, a mild sour aroma reminiscent of a porter
T - starts with dark roastiness and quickly moves to a sour bitter fruit flavour, strong cocoa, with a mild hint of graininess, this one is a bit of a riddle
M - a medium body more like a porter than a stout, sweet and sour with a light smoky and chaulky finish
O - this is a different brew, is has big chocolate and light fruitiness with the character of cranberries, not a great chocolate stout but big props for adding a unique twist

Mar 18, 2012
Winter Beard (Double Chocolate Cranberry Stout) from Muskoka Brewery
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 177 ratings