Petrus Winterbier | De Brabandere

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Petrus WinterbierPetrus Winterbier
198 Ratings
Petrus WinterbierPetrus Winterbier

Brewed by:
De Brabandere

Style: Belgian Dark Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-23-2002

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 198 |  Reviews: 144
Reviews by damndirtyape:
Photo of damndirtyape
4.03/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl pour in a chalice at La Trappe, San Francisco.

Appearance: Brown/copper/amber clear beer, with an initial rocky light tan head upon pouring that died down to a thin 1/8" foam across the top with plenty of lacing in strands and sheets all over the glass. Great looking beer.

Smell: Malty, molasses, burnt sugar, with something spicy at the end. Hard to pick it out - maybe nutmeg, maybe cinnamon. I could not tell.

Taste: Rich and malty, but smooth. Nice roasted malts, burn sugar, molasses, winter cookie spice at the end. Again, I could not tell if it was cinnamon, nutmeg, or both. Not really strong spice, more like a complimentary one.

Mouthfeel: Nice thickness. A bit chewy and sticky on the teeth.

Overall / Drinkability: Oh wow - an amazing good winter beer. Like a combination of a Belgian dark ale and an American spiced winter warmer. Dangerously drinkable - this one tempted me into another one rather than trying yet another beer from the wider La Trappe menu. A great winter beer.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
3.77/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance – Nice, sugary brown color with lots of sediment but a smallish head.

Smell – The yeast is laden with table sugar and maple. There is also a light toastiness to this one but, strangely, no spices.

Taste – The bread comes up distinctive on the tongue along with those wonderful flavors of raw maple, sugar cane (if you’ve ever sucked on plain sugar cane), and very light toast.

Mouthfeel – Lightly carbonated and very smooth due to the emphasis on sugar and maple.

Drinkability – This went down without a hitch.

Update – I tried an ’04 bottle upon the recommendation of a friend, and I did indeed find it to be a better ale. The “no head” bottle from last year actually exploded on me in the ’04 vintage. I got some nice wintertime spices in the nose.

I thought this was a bit light for a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, and said so myself during my ’03 review, but during the style revisions this one was changed to a Belgian Dark Ale. Having said that, it was pretty darn good. I re-rated this bad boy and, overall, the score went from a 3.05 to a solid 4.0.

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Photo of brownbeer
3.22/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours orange with gold highlights around the edges and a fluffy white head

Estery nose, spicy yeast with apple and banana notes.

Body is light with apple, plum, and mild, dried fruit notes.

Lacks depth and character, not really the best example of a Belgian winter warmer.

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Photo of shapudding
4.12/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Light amber or dark iced tea color with tons and tons and tons, have I mentioned tons? of chunky protein/wheat floating thickly throughout, some finally resting on the bottom of the glass. Bit of white head on top. No dating on this bottle that the cute irishboy had pulled from the celler.... hmmm....
Scents of cider. Highly carbinated. Champagnelike mouthfeel. Vineous taste, chardonnay and grapey, alcohol is there but not overly present. Tastes more like a cider...
As disturbing looking as this one poured, it was darn good!

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Photo of Doomcifer
3.2/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours an extremely ruddy brown with chunks galore floating around. Nice creamy, off-white head that retains very well. Good lacing.

Smells is, surprisingly pretty tart, with hints of balsamic vinegar. Burgandy wine, cherries.

Taste is not as tart as the aroma may lead you to believe. Slight balsamic vinegar flavor, some dark fruits, dry finish. SLight alcohol warmth. Overall, rather thin though. Seems "watered down."

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, decent carbonation, dry.

Drinkability is so-so. I think one would do me good on these guys.

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Photo of Jason
3.28/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

8.4 oz slender brown bottle with no freshness date.

Appearance: Turbid reddish beige appearance from a loose flaky yeast at the bottom of the bottle, head retention is just fin and dandy with some stickage here and there.

Smell: The aroma suggests lemon icing, faint cookie like malt and a weathered yeast.

Taste & Mouthfeel: Ample crispness within the sturdy medium body, dry palate with fruitiness abound. Hints of bubble gum and a dry herbal phenol with a lax hop by the waist side.

Drinkability & Notes: Nothing special but still tasty, at least the six pack came with a cool wooden bottle opener. I was expecting a more flamboyant brew ...

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Photo of Billolick
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Large Belgian brown bomber, caged and corked. I could not understand the numbers that were printed on the label (freshness info?) Pours darker amber, with a moderate reddish hue. Lively carbonation initially (pour with care) resulting in a loose and active head, that calms down and then lives a thick outer ring. The lacing is slippery and thick. Fruity/spiced nose, interesting and different. Zesty, slightly sour brown ale. Dark fruits, blackberry life saveresque. Perhaps some light winter spicing. Sweet/sour/spiced. Interesting and tasty brew, perhaps festive is the best way to describe it. I enjoyed this one, if you appreciate the variety and eccentricity of Belgian brewing this one is worth a try

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.88/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Amber nut brown with an off white cream head leaves behind fine Belgian style lacing. Aroma: Candi sugar, ripened fruit undertones with a sweet malt this is nice and slightly more subtle than most Belgian Xmas ales. Taste: Sweet candi sugar jumps out once again, upront slight toasted malts fruit soaked in alcohol very tasty. Mouthfeel: Medium-light body nice strong carbonation. Drinkability: Nice and easy going Christmas ale but solid enough to be memorable to me.

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Photo of watermelonman
2.44/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This poured to an amber and red color with a medium head. Lace is minor.

The smell is a poor mix of spice and caramel. The taste has more of the caramel and malt flavor and less of the spice. Some yeast funk is in there too. The mouthfeel is too light. Drinkability suffers with the flavor.

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Photo of IntriqKen
3.68/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No age dating on the bottle, however my bottle states 7% ABV rather than the 6.5% shown here and Winterbeer is spelled 'American style' rather than the 'Winterbier' as shown here. Bottle purchased tonight, 8/22/2006.
Pours a cloudy tawny amber with a large tan head that melts quickly to a faint lacing.
Aromas of vanilla, cake yeast and cookie dough meet the senses with a slight scent of soap (no...the glass had no residue in it)
The mouth is hit with a creamy vanilla and sweet white cake flavor and a thick and chewy dark fruit (raisins and cherries mostly) taste.
Mouthfeel is almost overly creamy.
The yeast taste is surprisingly bland by most Belgium standards. Sort of white cake as I said before, but nothing distinctively Belgium about it.
I'm not sure how Christmasy this is but it is an interesting Belgium dark ale.

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

Petrus winter pours a brown/ruby color with a persistent head. Be aware of the cork and the fizz when opening, i almost broke the light fixture on my ceiling, and soaked my carpet the first time i opened one of these. the first thing i notice is the intense carbonation not too common in belgian winters. after recooping from the first sip i took a second, fizzy at first, then flemish sour red ale flavors start to dominate,but without the strong sour taste. this was a nice experience to smell and taste the vinous flavors without puckering my lips on the first ten drinks, and with carbonation which is almost non existent in alot of flemish reds. the finish is slightly hoppy. not a great winter warming effect, but a great afternoon refresher ( relatively speaking) interesting to say the least. Not what i expected from a belgian winter, but still quite good. beware the cork! it is a missile!

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Photo of Sammy
3.45/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy orange with some head, and significant lace. Yeast and alcohol in aroma, not too much there. Taste is yeast, rather plain Belgium. A bit astringent and alcohol in mouthfeel.Mild spice. Finishable and moderately satisfying. Drying aftertaste. Medium mouthfeel.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.41/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Carefully poured it's only slightly hazy; although it's difficult to keep from disturbing the sediment and allowing flakes of particulate to come into play (how old are these bottles?). Its thin white head drops readily but it maintains a creamy collar throughout the goblet. Lacing is limited. The aroma is malty and cake-like with a sugary note of vanilla and a touch of mild spice. It's alcohol becomes apparent as it warms. It's creamy and smooth in the mouth due to its medium body and very fine, natural carbonation. There's more fruit (cherry, raisin) in the flavor than the nose indicates; and the vanilla remains, along with some light caramel and rum. It's exceptionally well-balanced by a restrained bitterness, and the finish is simply a long dissolving of the flavor already present in the mouth as a drying bitterness slowly rises. Rich, malty, fruity, exciting. Quite a remarkable beer!

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Photo of cjgator3
3.28/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a murky amberish brown color with a light tan colored head. Aroma is sweet and tart with bubblegum and citrus. Mouthfeel is crisp and prickly from the high level of carbonation in what may be too much carbonation. The taste much like the aroma is slightly tart with a very dry finish. Overall, this is a pretty decent brew that my really only gripe with is lack of character. It is a solid brew but lacks the character and depth that would make me want to come back to it in the future.

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Photo of woodchip
3.75/5  rDev +5%

Photo of bewareOFpenguin
2.95/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The wife picked this up for me. I was none to impressed by anything but the bottle. Something about a fat man on a sled. Some earthiness and hops, but overall, not a very exciting ale. It did have a little "tart" sting to t, but just non-eventful.

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Photo of zonker17
4/5  rDev +12%

Photo of Gmann
3.5/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Out of a 750ml corked and caged bottle. The BDA pours a clear honey brown color with an airy egg shell colored head that settled into a light cap. The aroma is light, some vinous attributes, sweet overall. The taste is sweet toasted malt, similar to an amber ale, has a lemony tartness and a subtle earthy spice. The feel is fairly light, tons of carbonation, finishes tart and sweet. A medicore BDA, no outstanding flavors, a tad over-carbonated. Basically bought it for the glass.

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Photo of KTCamm
4.15/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a champagne bottle into a Duvel glass.

Pours reddish brown with huge amounts of white foam. Long lasting, and leaves a big island in the middle. Cherries, plums, raisins in the nose. Cinamon/nutmeg too. Taste is full of fruit with a bold malt taste. Spices in the mix and hints of a sour finish. Just a hint of hop at the end. Really tasty, love the sour finish.

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Photo of TruePerception
3.73/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Alright, time to christen the new beer chalice!

Petrus Winter Ale. 6.5% ABV.

Appearance: Nice, heavy pop, followed by a good amount of haze. Certainly no skimping on the head. About 2 and a half fingers. Only a slight lacing, and doesn't really hold. Orange amber with hints of yellow.

Smell: Lighter malty smell, with decent amount of sour, cherry funk.

Taste/Moutfeel: More dry funk on the palate. Bit of leather. Maybe some barnyard. Some dry plum notes. Apricot skin dryness. Only a mild acidity.

Certainly the weakest offering I've had from Petrus, so far, but still fairly good. Doesn't have any overwhelming flavors, so probably a pretty decent session beer (if a tiny bit strong for such a purpose). When you factor in the free chalice, a fantastic deal at $9!

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a Petrus chalice.

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Photo of StoutBulldog
2.87/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I am a sucker for Santa Claus so I picked up a few bottle of Petrus Winterbier when I saw the jolly old guy on a sled on the label. Nothing remarkable or bad about the head or appearance...just kind "was". Wait, I take that back -- there was a lot of carbonation. It smelled of sweet vingar and not too much else. Not surprisingly, the taste of vingar was apparent and I was sort of stuck on that. It was also quite thin and watery. I kept sipping hoping to enjoy the next sip a little more but I really didn't. Despite the carbonation, it left me flat. It was not aweful but just not as satisfying as I would have hoped.

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3.72/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A three finger rocky tan head almost jumps out of the glass. Body is a rich murky dark brown. Nose is huge, invigorating, and very complex. You get notes of spicey biscuits, creamy vanilla, honey and raw sweet dough with a hint of pepper. A unique mix of soured, tartfruity feel and pepery doughy spice enters the mouth on first sip. There is a nice crispness that resembles a green apple and a powdery spice feel that is even and long lasting on the end of the palate. Mouthfeel is realatively clean but does have a bit of thickness. Drinkability is solid.

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Photo of isualum12
2.52/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

I found this beer at Boise co-op down in the northend on Eighth street sitting on the endcap of the beer sectioin with the other individual larger bottles. It came 750mL champagne style bottle, corked &caged wrapped in gold foil label inside a large box. I thought it was just an extra large bottle of beer which sold for about $13. I was intrigued with the box and the write up on the beer bud yet never heard of it before. I snagged the bottle and brought it home when. I open the box I was quite surprised to find a glass inside as well. The glass is classic gobbler shape from the Belgian style glass that you would expect to come from a Belgium brewery.

I thought at first it would have a large head but it had almost no header. I'll would say maybe one & 1/2 cm head. It is white head. The beer looked brown-color rolling into a copper color at the bottom of the glass. I poured it directly from the bottle into the Petrue glass which came in the box.

Smells orangey and pruney. My first impression was very sweet and smelled very nice. I enjoyed the smell. My first taste I thought was crazy, I've have never taste anything quite like this before. Very sweet. Lots of carbon. Really citrus labor on the back of your throught. I enjoyed the first taste but I'm not sure of it. I can taste the raisin or prune flavor in there. It's actually burns my nostril on the after taste.

In the end I couldn't handle to much of this beer. I gave it a low drinkablity with a high flavor. Something about it twisted up my stomach within seconds of my first drink. I would really enjoy using this beer to cook with along with pairing it with some different meats.

All in all I wouldn't buy this beer again.

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Photo of Boilermaker88
3.03/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

On-tap at Lucky Baldwin's Christmas beer special and served in a chalice. Had a murky, muddy brown color, lots of particulates in suspension and a dense, creamy tan head. Kinda looked like creek water; not too appealing.
The nose had the aromas of dusty malts, dried fruits - dates and raisins - and mummified yeast. If Coors can taut "cold" as a taste then I can go with "dry" as a smell. Noticeably absent was any hint of spices. None, nada, zip, zilch, zero.
Taste is said to be based on what you can smell. Based on this beer, that is a truism. Petrus Winterbier had a dry toasted malt flavor up front along with a dose of maple-dipped cereal and light nuttiness. Then a moderate fruitcake-inspired sweetness briefly surfaced. Lastly, buried among the desert-like yeast taste was a hint of flat herbal hops bittering. Again, no spice flavors on the radar. The feel was, you guessed it, dry, medium-light, and lacking all that much vitality.
Overall, this was a pretty big disappointment. Petrus Winterbier was one-dimensional and pretty listless. With all the other Christmas beers available, I won't be back for another one of these again.

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Petrus Winterbier from De Brabandere
Beer rating: 3.57 out of 5 with 198 ratings