K-9 Winter Ale | Flying Dog Brewery

367 Reviews
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K-9 Winter AleK-9 Winter Ale

Brewed by:
Flying Dog Brewery
Maryland, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.40%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale

Added by kbub6f on 10-30-2001

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Reviews: 367 | Ratings: 807
Photo of hoplover82
4.82/5  rDev +44.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A-Pours a dark hazy ruby red with a tan creamy medium head that sticks around until the fat lady sings and leaves great lacing.

S-Wow! Lots of hops! Wonderful suprize! Earthy, floral and piney hops. Lots of very aromatic malt too. Caramel and toffee shining through with biscuits too. Very complex.

T-Wow! It's a five! Very impressed. Very creamy malty with lots of hops flavor and bold but clean bitterness. Caramel and biscuits also come through. There is soft lingering bitterness in the end.

M-Very creamy and full bodied.

D-My goodness, I could sip these all night, I wish this could last forever. Very impressed. I think the beer has been improved over time, I had the 2008 one and it seems the reviews of the past years are not as good as it is now. I think everyone that has had this should go back and revisit this one.

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Photo of RedBaron
4.75/5  rDev +42.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beguiling. Wow-wee. Defies the rules this one.

Appearance: Dark ruby-red. Poured with the thinnest of heads, but the remaining lacework sustained throughout, daring you to try...
Smell: Bready, woody, bulky and bold. Dry hopped, but detected only under subtle layers of complex malt accents.
Taste: Complex malts lend a nice, Belgian-like sugar mix in the foretaste, a balanced middle, and a dry finish. Goddamn.
Mouthfeel: Initially, sits lite on the tongue. But after swallowing, the cheeks and the upper palette beg for the experience of fireworks to explode once more.
Drinkability: A wonderful beer which can be truly appreciated in mid-winter's chilly grip. This beer is packed with complex malty sugars, but lets ya know that the hops won't be denied - they're just part of the colorful trees in this vast forest of wonder.

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Photo of Lilbeck23
4.66/5  rDev +39.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The smell is a deep but light strong ale smell. The color and look is a deep brown or dark Amber appearance. Overall tast is amazing. It hits a barley and malt flavor but inviting with a sweet mellow bourbon; with a hint of fig. Like a fig Newton without the cookie but sweetened. Not as sweet as sweetened dates. However, a fig with a sweet hint of licorice. Overall, "mind blowing"!!

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Photo of RBorsato
4.55/5  rDev +36.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Mahogany color with a nice light brown head, decent carbonation, and sporadic lace rings. Fresh citrusy hop aroma with a nice nutty malt aroma underneath. Perfecrtly balanced strong malty ale with just enough citrusy hops to not make it very sweet in any way. Medium-light bodied with a lightly hoppy finish.

Much more hoppy than the description leads you to believe ... much more approachable than Arrogant Bastard.

Per FD website: English Strong Ale with a malty taste, unique and different, a true Flying Dog original.
Original Gravity: 16.0 Plato
Specific Gravity: 1.064
Alcohol by Volume: 6.8%

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Photo of MmmIPA
4.47/5  rDev +34.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Let me first say that the art work on this bottle is pheonominal.

A-Semi big head about 1 in..Dark amber in color.

T-Malty,Carmel? almost "Stout" tasting.

S-Flowery,I really cant tell ya what kind of flowers are in it.

D-Very refreshing,I wanted more.I would have bought a 6er of this.I bought a 12 oz bottle of it for 2 bucks.I thought it was well worth it

M-Great taste.

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Photo of MurphyMacManus
4.4/5  rDev +32.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. brown bottle into oversized wine glass.

Look: mahogany brown with an off-white head that fades to a thin layer of lace. To be fair, though, I gave it a gentle pour and the "optimal freshness" date was 2 weeks ago.

Smell: Dark fruit up front. Dried apricots, dates, and a bit of an alcohol note. Like the fruit you soak in booze before putting it into your Christmas fruitcake. There's a bit of a toffee/sticky pudding note underneath the fruit and booze, as well.

Taste: Given the sugary aroma, surprisingly not sweet. There's a solid malty backbone, with a little bit of sweetness and some toasted notes, but there are enough hops in the finish to prevent it from being cloying. Hops are present, but not dominant. Hop bitterness is earthy and blends into an unsweetened cocoa note in the finish. As it warms, there's a little spice up front with the sweetness.

Feel: My only complaint about the K-9 is that it feels a little thin. With an aroma and flavor profile like this, I expect a chewier, stickier beer. I want the texture to complement the richness of the flavors and the aroma, but it doesn't quite get there.

Overall: This is a well executed take on a winter warmer. It takes on the flavors and aromas of Christmas puddings, balanced with just enough hop and cocoa bitterness to avoid being cloying. Using it as a session beer might be a bad idea because of the alcohol content, but that may also prove useful at a holiday dinner with unpleasant family members.

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Photo of thebeerdoctor
4.35/5  rDev +30.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

There was a time when K9 said: "when in doubt go flat out", but that was before the troubles in New York back in 2001. This version from Maryland is an incredible delicious ale, where malt sweetness combines with a crunchy biscuit flavor note in the finish. This is even better than I remember of the first version I sampled from Colorado.

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Photo of csrbv
4.35/5  rDev +30.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ran across a 6-pack of this at Wegmans.

Look: Poured a rich copper. Carbonation seemed a little low. Head was a thin kaki color; about 1 finger was left after things calmed down from the pour.

Smell: The aroma was robust with spicy malts and some dark pit fruits. There were also some faint hints of molasses and brown sugar. Basically all the spicy and sweet notes I usually expect in a top notch winter warmer. No booziness was noticeable in the nose.

Taste: Good – the taste was right on with the aroma. First was the spicy roasted malts followed by the sweeter dark fruits. The finish had smooth sugary notes with a hop bite right at the end. Aftertaste was an enjoyable earthy spice that lasted for a while.

This brew is reminiscent of a couple Christmas Ales that I have had, this is a very enjoyable winter beer.

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Photo of shoham
4.32/5  rDev +29.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Coca-Cola brown. Poured it into a Pittsburgh Steeler Beer Stein. Drinking my third one right now. Smells sweet at this point in the evening! For a beer with almost as much alcohol as wine it's pretty smooth sailing. Feel milky, again this is my third beer (7.4%) so I feel like this is the time to write the review.

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Photo of mdagnew
4.22/5  rDev +26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

355ml bottle bought from Tuckers Maltings.. Dated November 2006

Poured a deep mahogany brown colour... Light mocha head poured quite small and thick then faded quickly to thick ring around the edge. Very light lacing...

Aroma - Quite rich sweet toasted malted bread notes, spicy dark fruits (prunes, strawberries, dates), Christmas cake notes, treacle / brown sugar sweetness, some saltiness, some pine / sap notes, light peppery hops, toasted nutty sweetness...

Taste – Loads of rich sweet bready malts, dark alcohol soaked fruits (currents, prunes, raisins, some figs), toasted malt loaf, treacle sweetness, the faintest of piney / peppery hops, definite roasted nuttiness...

Feel - Rich, smooth and creamy... medium / full bodied... Pretty drinkable for a 7.48% beer although all those sweet malts might be too much after a while...

Overall - An excellent beer - i really enjoyed this.... a bit like a mix between a Scottish wee heavy and a Doppelbock... Recommended...

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Photo of Brent
4.2/5  rDev +26.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice light walnut. Aroma is sweet and a faint dark fruit. Big, big malt body with a fair bit of yeasty phenolic action going on - buttery diacetyl and a hint of prune. Finishes fairly clean for the malt, and the surprisingly high abv is not evident in the flavor profile. More like a strong Scottish export ale than anything else I can compare it to. Quite good.

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Photo of WesWes
4.17/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark amber/brown color with a thin off-white lace head. The aroma is good. It has a rich malty scent along with a warm molasses type aroma. The taste is good. It has a smooth, rich, malty flavor that has some dark malt qualities. It goes down really easy and finishes with a buttery molasess aftertaste. The mouthfeel is good. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a really smooth old ale. It has an elevated abv. , but you would never know it. This beer drinks very well.

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4.15/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm not a huge fan of the Flying Dog family of beers, but thought I would try the K9 Cruiser since my local liquor store has a "build your own six pack" section!

The beer poured well into a pint glass-- as I drank just a bit of foam hung around, with no lacing. The color was a deep burgundy-- it just looked like it would taste good.

I was pleasantly surprised by the taste. I didn't know what to expect, since the bottle didn't describe the beer at all. Nice maltiness, a bit of smokiness, and even a slight bitter hoppiness on the finish. Nice and rich-- almost like having an after dinner cognac or sherry.

I probably wouldn't drink more than one of these in a sitting, but a very good "winter warmer" and dessert beer.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.14/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I am continuing to reduce my backlog of beer, seasonally apropos or not, since I cannot justify trading for CANs or buying more bottles when I have so much to drink as it stands currently.

From the bottle: "Your legs are strained and your ass is clenched as you descend down the face. You don't even notice the blood drip from your nose as the powder is crushed beneath you. It's freezing cold, but you don't feel a goddamn thing."; "Seasonal Selection"; "'Good People Drink Good Beer' - Hunter S. Thompson".

I went with an aggro pour since nothing on the label suggested doing otherwise. There was an initial pseudo-cascade before I backed off, but I still ended up with three fingers of dense, rocky tawny head with good retention. Color was a deep-copper (SRM = > 17, < 22) with NE-quality clarity. Nose was very malty, kind of nutty with an underlying spiciness like nutmeg. Believe it or not, I actually prefer drinking these kinds of beers when the temperature warms up. I truly prefer this sort of thing to most Hefeweizens, for instance. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full and the inherent heat in this one was immediately obvious on the tongue. Phew! Once the initial burn abated, I got flavors of dried dark fruits, spices and a bit of molasses. Finish was dry as a bone, rather hot, even after six months, giving greater weight to my waiting to drink it. I want to try this again in the Winter, just to see what it is like fresh, but this was quite good.

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Photo of russpowell
4.13/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured with a light tan head that settled in at 1/3" with good lacing. Mahogany body was clear and attractive

Smell: Alcohol, malt, fruitiness and hints of cinamon and vanilla

Taste: Matliness and dryness collide with a lot of subtle flavors blending together well. Cinamon, brown sugar, butterscotch (diadactheyl (sp?), but not a detractor), and hop bitterness on the tounge and throat

MF: Smooth and well balanced with good carbonation levels

Dangerously drinkable, I cooould enjoy this well into summer!

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.13/5  rDev +24%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A brown blood, yet clear ale hue greats my eyes along with a a sprse head with no retention or foam with this beer. The aroma amkes up for the look of this beer. Great malts presence brinbgs out lots of dark fruits and hintys of cocoa. The taste is like a bunch of malty prunes. With a dash of Ovaltene. Very smooth for such a fruity tasting ale. Very sessionable if teh abv wasn't so high.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.12/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass. The liquid is a very dark amber with good Carbonation. The head is 2 fingers thick, tan and leaves a whole lotta lace.

The smell is like a fresh spicy fruit cake.

The taste follows mild spice and a very fruity and bready malt main body that is mellow.

The mouthfeel is big, thick and sticky.

The drinkability is good a nice well rounded brew. MK

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The malty, lightly toasted grain aroma of this beer is more impressive than the flavor found within. It's appearance is nice, however, with a clear, deep mahogany body with a ruby cast; and a short head of light tan foam that holds sufficiently well before dropping to an average collar. Some areas of thin, tiny-spotted lace appear on the glass with each sip, but never seem to be able to hold. The body is medium and its fine-bubbled and moderate carbonation leaves it lightly creamy and silky smooth. The flavor is similar to that of it's Munich malt like graininess with a dollop of caramel, but it's nowhere as rich as it suggests. It is balanced nicely, however, with a touch of yeasty fruitiness and some light, citrusy hops; all backed by a firm bitterness. It's alcohol is noticeable (and surprising at just 7.5%), but it's not overbearing. It finishes fairly short and dry with little fan-fare.

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Photo of neonbrown82
4.1/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4.5

This is a good winter release from Flying Dog. Pours to a nearly opaque brown with a maroon hue. The head is thin and wispy, receding to a ring and a film in a matter of seconds. Lacing is washy and subsequently very spotty.

The smell is nice. Smells rich and chocolatey with hints of caramel, like a mild porter or bock with some good holiday spices, like juniper and allspice. The taste is a beautiful extention of the nose. Sweet with all the above flavors and a nice dry gently roasty finish.

The mouthfeel is very thin and kind of disappointing for a high-ish gravity beer. Furthermore, it seems to be damn near flat. The result is a very watery "beer juice," but it is actually quite an enjoyable product despite the weak body. Surely doesn't seem like a 7.5% beer.

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Photo of rarbring
4.1/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a clear amber brew, has an off-white high head with uneven bubbles leaving lots of lacing.

The smell is sweet brown syrup, dark bread, and grass.

Upfront slightly sweet and with bread notes, bitter oranges and then bitter hops.

Medium high carbonation, small aggressive bubbles, but smooth texture, a good body and a dry finish.

A really enjoyable and hoppy winter warmer.

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Photo of gbarron
4.1/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a 12 oz. bottle.

A - dark ruby, pretty clear. Head is slightly off-white/tan, about a cm. thick. Leaves excellent lacing and has very good retention.

S - slightly sweet, malty, sugary smell. Very little hop aroma. Mostly smells of sweet candy, dark fruits, higher alcohols, fresh flowers.

T - fairly rich flavors of licorice, dark fruits, candy sugar. Somewhat well balanced brew for a strong ale - tart, dry bitterness comes at the end not making this beer overly sweet and counteracting the sweet aroma and maltiness of this brew.

M - a little bit of a sticky finish, carbonation is average, slight alcohol warming.

D - pretty tasty, not sure why this beer is getting such low ratings. Yes, the flavor is a little flat compared to the aroma and I've had many better strong/winter ales, but this one is ok.

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Photo of Hibernator
4.1/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser
12 oz brown bottle
Jet ink print 06907FY
6.4% ABV
Served in a 20 oz tulip pint glass

Pours a light brown with rustic highlights. Thin is some areas and darker in others. A thin circular head curves around the glass.

Light nose. Mainly smells very malty and sweet.

Thick malty and syrupy backbone. A tad creamy with toffee & caramel highlights and a mini hop snap on the finish. I like this beer, it reminds me a Scottish Ale. Very drinkable at 6.4% ABV and quite appropriate on this late December evening.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.08/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured a deep ruby-copper color with abundant tannish puffy head. Smell is mostly of toasted malt. Taste is truly enjoyable, with an abundance of dark fruits (raisins, prunes, figs) combined with a sweet fruitiness. Finishes sweet in a good way, as it was from fruit, rather than a corn syrup. Considering the alcohol content, this beer is very scary in its drinkablility.

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Photo of Brad007
4.08/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bit early for a winter warmer, eh? Not quite as snow fell in parts of Vermont this week.

Pours a nice reddish-copper color with a two-finger head into my fluted glass. Nice hue that reminds me of christmas colors.

Aroma is full of sweet malt with a hint of spice and smokiness out of all the things.

Taste is sweet and yet, flavorful. Chewy and full of a bit of smoke. Alcohol warmth is unwanted but it's there. Otherwise, the smokiness and chewiness helps it stand out.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering smokiness and chewiness of the malt. Very nice. Not bogged down or overly-carbonated.

I like this. It's not a typical winter warmer and you could drink it whenever the night was full of cold.

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Photo of mangledorf
4.03/5  rDev +21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A lot of winter ales have a taste that seems to linger and die and finally rot on top of my tongue. This one is a clear exception. The stunning Steadman bottle pours neatly in the glass with a slight, white head and translucent ruby red color. The first sip is smooth and filling. The taste deteriotes only slightly as the glass slowly empties. A good winter choice.

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K-9 Winter Ale from Flying Dog Brewery
3.33 out of 5 based on 807 ratings.
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