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 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 superspak
3.68/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, best before 3/18/2014. Pours fairly crystal clear deep ruby red color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass. Aromas of caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, raisin, plum, fig, light nuttiness, light roast, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt and light-moderate yeast fruitiness; with solid strength. Taste of big caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, light nuttiness, raisin, plum, fig, light roast, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Light earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, raisin, plum, fig, light roast, and herbal/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Nice robustness and complexity of big dark/bready malt and light-moderate yeast fruitiness; with minimal cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a moderately creamy, smooth, and lightly slick/bready mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is a nice English strong ale. Big robustness and nice complexity of dark/bready malt and light earthy hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of metter98
3.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear amber in color and has a moderate amount of carbonation. It poured with a short white head that quickly died down, leaving lacing on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of caramel malts, toasted malts and toffee are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, except that the flavors of toasted malts and toffee stand out in particular.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This isn't a bad Winter Warmer if you like toffee flavors. Although no alcohol is perceptible in the taste, it will warm you up a bit and is a lot easier to drink compared to other beers in the style.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
3.35/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

K9 pours a darker amber color with a small lacing head. There really wasn't an aroma; smells like air. The taste had a nice sharp malty bite, with a good amount of spices. Good feel, decent flavors. Overall its a pretty average beer, enjoyable but nothing to special.

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Photo of BB1313
2.99/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

2013 vintage. 12oz bottle poured into a tulip. Pours a clear copper with an average off-white head that fades and leaves nice retention and decent lacing. Great color. The aromas are pretty malty. Lots of caramel and cherries. This smells and tastes like a Marzen/Oktoberfest to me. The flavors have an earthy bitterness to it. Very grainy. More caramel malts. Some toffee in the mix. I'm really picking up alot of cherries. Some subtle cocoa notes are in the mix as well. Alcohol goes unnoticed. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with active carbonation.

This is an alright beer, but nothing too exciting and it becomes redundant quick. I can appreciate this, but it's not something I'd try again.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.11/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I picked up a bottle of Flying Dog's K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale last week for $1.69 at The Lager Mill. It's been a while since I've had a beer from Flying Dog, but since I've never had this one before I thought i would pick up a bottle to try out, so lets see how it goes. No Visible bottling date. 2013 Vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label looks good, I like the drawing of the crazy looking snowboarding dog and in typical Flying Dog fashion I think it's pretty eye catching. It poured a pretty clear caramel amber color that took on more of a copper and ruby color when held to the light with two fingers worth of light tan head that died down to a thick ring that stayed till the end and it left some patchy lacing behind. This was a pretty nice looking beer, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness followed by loads of malts which impart some grainy, bready, sweet malt, and toasted malt aromas with a nice caramel malt aroma that seems to stick out the most and there's a slight nutty aroma in the background. Up next comes a pretty light amount of spices with no single spice seeming to stick out the most and it imparts a light generic spice aroma followed by a good amount of fruity yeast with some fruity and light dark fruit aromas showing up. This beer had a decent aroma, but it was pretty light on the spices for a Winter Warmer.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with a slightly higher amount of medium sweetness followed by loads of malts being the first to show up and they impart lots of grainy, bready, sweet malts and toasted malts flavors with the caramel malt aspect still seeming to stick out the most. Up next comes a very light amount of spices that are almost undetectable and there's also a pretty light amount of that fruity yeast that just imparts a pretty light generic fruity flavor. On the finish there's some earthy and slightly herbal hop flavors with a slightly higher amount of medium bitterness with a very malty and grainy aftertaste. This beer tasted ok, it was fairly bland and it wasn't very Winter Warmer like.

M- Fairly smooth, a little rich, a little sticky, fairly crisp, on the thicker side of being medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. The mouthfeel was ok, but I could have gone without the stickyness and richness.

Overall I wasn't a big fan of this beer and I didn't think it was a good example of a Winter Warmer, it wasn't a bad beer, but it was pretty bland and it wasn't very Winter Warmer like with such a low amount of spices, it was more similar to a Amber Ale or a Bock. This beer had ok drinkability, it was fairly smooth, a little rich, a little filling, and the taste didn't do a good job of holding my attention and I quickly got bored with it, so one is enough for me, I have no urge to drink another one in a row. What I liked the most about this beer was the appearance, it was nice and it was the aspect with the least amount of things wrong with it. What I liked the least about this beer was how it isn't true to style, I haven't had a Winter Warmer that tasted this bland. I wouldn't buy this beer again, it's not very hard to find a much better Winter Warmer and I wouldn't recommend this beer to any of my friends. All in all this beer just wasn't for me, it didn't really live up to being called a Winter Warmer. This one is up there as one of me least favorite Flying Dog beers, better luck next time guys, this one needs some major work.

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Photo of dwren89
3.58/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: chestnutty brown with gold highlights and a creamy light tan head, brilliant clarity

Aroma: warm date and fig with a subtle hint of cardamom and raisin, soft molasses and an overall pleasant and warming aroma

Taste: bready, with molasses overtones and nutty finish. Subtle spiciness of nutmeg and cardamom and a dark fruitiness in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: medium-full body, smooth finish, medium carbonation

Overall: A nice beer that can be swigged instead of just sipped by the fireside, embracing the taste of the season of nutmeg, cardamom, date, fig, and molasses and keeping the body to a drinkable level.

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Photo of Act25
3.38/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Flying Dog has only wowed me once, and that's with their nearly perfect Oyster Stout.

A: Bottle poured into large pint. Ruby red body with visible carbonation, thin head, a little dotty lacing.

S: Sweet malts with fruit second (apples, cherries), and then some spruce and spice. Pleasant, but sweet. A little bit toasted cherry pop-tart.

T: Follows smell. Fruit forward beer! Apple/Cherry/Cola - a bit too cola like for my taste, and it's weakly countered by roasty sweet malts. Alcohol present, but not a bad finish, not cloying on the end note. A sipper, but starts too sweet cola for me.

Feel: Not enough body. Wine/soda like, prosecco like. A sipper. Could give a hang-over?

Overall: Marzen style. This beer gets much better as it warms. Too much soda pop and booziness. Sip carefully. It's under-rated, but still just above average, the least of this season's winter warmers for me, with Widmer Brr at the top at 4.0.

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Photo of RandomExile
3.53/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: inch of eggshell foam, dissipates quickly to substantial foam, translucent amber red
S: clean malt and yeast, mild hops, sweet
T: malt and yeast, bitter, salty/savory, hint of spice/clove
M: dry finish, medium-bodied, smooth
O: excellent marzen-style winter ale

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Photo of thecheapies
3.66/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Incredible head retention. It's been there for about 20 minutes; must be permanent. Beer looks cola red with good clarity.

Sweet malts with a good dose of spice. Apple-y notes mix with black grape, cinnamon, and cream. Light clove and anise. Mostly just sweet and spicy malts with a light roasty character.

Very apple-y with a sprite tart note. Of course, countered by a sweet and breathy booze and roasty sweet English malts. Spices are much more muted and secondary, whereas I'm questioning if they're even there at all. Some solvent-y flavors in the outro. Semi-buttery. Not bad.

Again, big with the booziness. Even a little overblown for a warmer. Body is medium, and the carbonation might be a hair above that. A decent bite of beer, per sip.

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Photo of flyingpig
2.95/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Bottle from Good Spirits Co, Glasgow (355ml, £2.40):
Rich looking copper colour with a large and foamy looking head that is a light brown colour. Retention isn't too bad with some lacing left on the glass and minimal reduction in size.

Earthy with some light malts and a touch of sweet caramel and toffee. There is some spice and darker fruits but these aromas are kept to a minimum. Not all that exciting and lacking depth to be honest.

Earthy malts and some caramel ones too, I could also detect some darker fruits but like the smell these were at least partially masked throughout. There is some spice and lighter hops but everything just seems to blur together.

Medium with a sweet, warming alcohol taste and some touches of earthy bitterness but not a lot. The carbonation is quite mild and the beer comes across as a basic one with a very smooth mouthfeel.

A basic and unexciting taste that is out of character for Flying Dog as their beers are usually always interesting and worth trying. This one started pretty slow but did have some nice caramel malts and some fruits somewhere around the middle but it wasn't enough to save the drink I'm afraid.

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Photo of mpyle
3.85/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

App - Rich amber color, brilliantly clear. Pours a fairly large just off-white head with good retention.

Smell - Smell has trouble escaping the lingering head! Sweet caramel malty aroma, a slight metallic smell.

Rich malty flavor up front, some chocolate. Fairly assertively bittered leading to a balanced, slightly bitter finish. A big malty beer that isn't overly sweet.

MF - Medium body and carbonation, some alcohol warming but it is under control.

Overall a very pleasant beer with a strong malt character. Would be an awesome beer to sip by a roaring fire during the winter.

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Photo of garymuchow
3.59/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Brilliantly clear with smallish dark head. Nice red amber.
Malt aroma with slight aqueous quality.
Straight out malt flavor. Quite a bit of malt drying on the finish, which is quite long. Slight dark fruitiness. Soft hop flavors and some bittering too (cutting some sweetness).
Really kinda' light body, but fullness is aided/added by the carbonation.
Not sure why this rates so low of a score. It is better than that.

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Photo of CloudStrife
3.56/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a clear ruby with a 1 finger off white head. Average amount of visible carbonation. Leaves some splotches of lacing as the head dissipates.

S: Sweet carmel malts with a hint of spiciness to it. A touch of roasted malt and a decent amount of dark fruits. Raisin, fig and plum come to mind.

T: Carmel and toffee blend together with some of the roasted malt. Mild dark fruit taste with a hint of fermented fruit. Spices like allspice and cinnamon come to mind as well. Slight touch of booze at the end. Lingering sweetness.

M: Medium to thick body with a slightly syrupy mouthfeel. Low carbonation and a bit sticky after swallowing. Works well in the warming department.

Overall not an overwhelming flavor, certainly something smooth and relaxing for a cold winter night. Wouldnt mind just a bit more spice or a more complex malt profile.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.52/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into ommegang tulip. Pours a syrup color brown with moderate head. Good hop and syrupy booze aromas. Sweet syrup and malt flavor with minimal spice. Its slightly hopped but its noticeable. Overall not something id reach for all the time but a good sweet malty nicely spiced warmer.

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Photo of schoolboy
3.43/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I didn't expect a lot from this brew and it delivered less than I expected. It is a great color, but the head is very thin. The aroma is pretty unusual, and for that reason cool. It is pleasant enough.

The taste is a mixed up mess. It's boozier than it should be. It's malty, bitter and yeasty all at the same time. There is an off fruity taste in there too and it lingers in the aftertaste.

Overall, this does not work for me and I will not seek it out again.

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Photo of tdm168
3.51/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A - dark amber with a thick, off white, brownish head that has good retention

S - a bit grainy, sweet, some faint caramel

T - bread, caramel, a rather bitter finish

M - warm, well carbonated, medium bodied

This is a rather simple beer. It is prominently caramel in flavor with very faint notes otherwise. The bitterness in the finish is more intense than it should be. There isn't much here to separate this beer from any other winter offering. I'm glad to have tried this once, but I won't be seeking it out again.

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Photo of CHickman
3.05/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Pours a clear amber reddish color with bubbles racing up the middle, and huge 2 finger light tan head that had tons of little bubbles in it and faded very slowly, leaving decent excellent foamy lacing coating the sides and a layer on top.

Smells of yeast, medicine, grass, musty notes like a moldy basement, and sweet fruit like pear, apple and plum; it’s sweet and funky with some bready notes, with yeast coming on the strongest.

Tastes like it smells, with yeast, medicine, grass, sweet fruit like pear, apple and plum, funk, cardboard, biscuit, herbs, tea leaf and light spices or floral hops. The aftertaste has some allspice or cinnamon peek through, leaving a funky metal taste that seems mixed with vegetables. The ABV comes through, but not in a bad way.

Mouthfeel is creamy and mild, with light carbonation, a medium body and a funky aftertaste that is on the dry side. This was kind of blah, and overall on the dull side. Not a beer I’d seek out again, nor would I buy it if it weren’t in the mixed 12 pack.

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Photo of 1Nrwyscotch
3.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a pint glass. K-9 Winter Ale, no Cruiser on my bottle.

A. A ncie amber color with a thick off white head that stays around and leaves a little lacing.

S. Some sweet malt aroma which quickly turns to some earthy wet grass.

T. It is not too complex a little caramel and I'm not getting any spicing but it finishes the lingering light bitterness of the hops followed by some warming from the alcohol.

M. It has a pretty light body.

O. It is a decent tasting beer just nothing to go out of your way for. It kinda reminds me of some wet hopped beers.

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Photo of hosehead83
3.13/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Clear copper hue, with a big, two-inch head of off-white foam.
Aroma-Faint caramel.
Taste-Toasted malt, faint cinnamon. Nothing really jumps out at you in this brew. Tastes o.k. but everything is kind of muted and laid back. A middle-of-the-road offering from a brewery that has a lot of better beers to offer.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.38/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle. No bottled on date. My bottle has omitted the word "Cruiser" from this beer's title, so perhaps Flying Dog changed it's name this year? I don't know. Mine says only K-9 Winter Ale.

A - Extremely dark copper penny color. No head to speak of.

S - Smells floral and spicy. Some strange musty hops buried in the end somewhere. A slight bubblegum creeps out as the beer warms.

T - Coppery, malty, slightly spicy, slightly floral. Definitely a more bitter, full-bodied beer than the Samuel Adams White Christmas I just drank.

M - Nice, pleasant sticky mouth.

Overall, glad I was able to pick this up, as yesterday was the first time I have seen this beer in my area. A decent seasonal from Flying Dog.

Flying Dog K-9 Winter Ale ---3.5/5.

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Photo of BrownAleMale
3.06/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a Horny Goat pint glass

Appearance- A clear amber color with a small amount of off white head that sits on the surface and leaves minimal lacing.

Smell- Some ripe fruit with a little citrus and alcohol.

Taste- Follows the nose minus the citrus. A smokey alcohol finish isnt to plesant.

Mouthfeel- The light side of medium and a little lite on the carbonation.

Overall- Just an average winter warmer that uses unhidden ABV instead of a nice warming finish. Lazily made in my opinion.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.72/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a dark chestnut color with a good amount of clarity. While the offwhite colored head has a nice texture, it quickly fades into a very thin collar - and isn't impressive to start with at less than one finger. The body is pretty beautiful, at least.

S: Has a definite graham cracker and chocolate vibe to the aroma. When given the chance to warm up, it develops a prune-like character to it. There isn't much in the way of spicing other than a touch of cinnamon.

T: I'm surprised how bitter this is. There is almost no sweetness to the caramel and toasted malts - if there is, I sure as shit don't notice it. Normally, this is a good thing for me. But this bitterness works against everything else, ruining both the balance and potential subtleties the spicing could have provided. After a while of warming up, some Centennial hops seem to make an appearance after the midtaste, almost as if it's trying (and failing) to ape SN Celebration in a manner. Not horrible, but everything just seems out of whack, and without any distinctness to any of the flavor notes.

M: The finish is dry and astringent. The problem is, it's not in a balanced manner, increasing the harshness of it. Even worse is the general chalkiness of the feel, which I'm no fan of either. All it does is make the texture feel thicker without really feeling substantial.

O: ST's 2XMAS planted a seed of doubt toward my general dislike of winter warmers. Even if it's not a great example of the style, this makes me remember why I don't really care for the typical winter warmer. It feels off for some reason.

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Photo of stephenjmoore
3.23/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark Amber colored body with an off white head that just leaves some bubbles.

S- Mostly caramel malt with some roasted malt.

T- Similar to the smell, just a malty beer without a whole lot going on.

M- Medium bodied, medium carbonation, pretty good.

O- Drinkable, but nothing mind blowing.

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Photo of Morey
3.31/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2012 bottle into Tulip.

Appearance: Beautiful reddish-brown color with stunning clarity. Head was a cream color, and initially stood about one finger tall, but settled pretty fast. Some decent lacing being left behind on the sides of my glass.

Aroma: Very mild with suggestions of dark fruits and chocolate malts being the most dominant smells.

Taste: I get the malts right up front, along with a modest dose of hop bitterness. Not far behind, I get the dark fruits and some subtle spices as well. I can't help but be reminded of GL Christmas Ale, but less cinnamon & ginger....and well...it's not as good.

Mouthfeel: Medium-thin body with moderate carbonation. A thin layer of spicy film is left coating the pallet.

Morey's Bottom Line: It's not as bad as the score suggest, but it's not super memorable either. It's average and lost in a sea of winter warmers and Christmas ales.

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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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