Winter Warmer | Lancaster Brewing Company

very good
168 Reviews
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Winter WarmerWinter Warmer

Brewed by:
Lancaster Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States

Style: Old Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.90%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our classic Olde Ale delivers a complex malt flavor and blend of British and American hops. True to its name, this beer finishes with a nice warming alcohol flavor.

Added by NeroFiddled on 11-10-2003

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Reviews: 168 | Ratings: 385
Photo of JPowell712
4.9/5  rDev +30%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

For me this was the perfect example of a winter warmer ale. The taste is bold and warming. The subtle booziness doesn't overpower the flavor but you can feel it's there! The dark color gives way to a perfect blend of spices and smoky flavors. This may be one of my all time favorites!

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Photo of LuskusDelph
4.88/5  rDev +29.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A beautiful brew...everything an old ale/winter warmer should be. Appropriately lower carbonation is perfect for the style...excess fizziness would definitely ruin this and most other complex and flavorful beers.
Fantastic malty richness and just enough hops to balance things out.
A lot of so called "craft" breweries have a lot to learn about balance. This beer defines balance. Highly recommended.

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Photo of DocBrewroo
4.75/5  rDev +26%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Medium head, fairly dark color and a medium to full body. On the nose, I get sticky, caramelized fruit a rich underlying maltiness – not much of that 9% alcohol on the nose.

Full fruit forward flavors and a warming alcohol are immediately evident and perfect for a cold winter’s night. The finish is rich with a lingering roasted and almost smoky nut flavor.

I can’t stand winter beers with spices and crap in them. This is just a big, bold winter brew and I love it

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Photo of bigfnjoe
4.58/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Color is a very dark amber. Not much of a smell, but the hops are strong. First taste, you get some smokiness and nuttiness. The more you drink, the caramel comes through more and more. Just a fantastic heavy winter beer. It packs a punch at close to 9%, so don't drink too fast.

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Photo of KoG
4.52/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown with a ruby background and a light, frothy head. Leaves light lacing and keeps head around the edge.

Smells of coffee and fruit. Intriguing smell but very inviting nonetheless.

Taste is very well rounded. Hop flavors blend with coffee and roasted barley followed by a sweeter malt. Finishes a bit fruity with a hop flare. No presence of alcohol and a very interesting Winter Warmer interpretation.

Goes down smooth and can be very drinkable, although the ABV may catch up at 8.9%.

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Photo of asabreed
4.47/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just bought a 6-pack for around $9 at my local market around the corner. I saw the 8.9%, the fact that it's a winter warmer, and considering the heat and my want for maybe something a bit sweet, I thought I'd snag it. Turns out it was a fantastic idea.

12 oz bottled poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: I do have to say, Lancaster is adamant about posting that they don't use preservatives or spices, and I really like that on the side of the 6-pack. That also made my decision a bit easier. In the glass it looks opaque at first, but then in the light shows a gorgeous dark amber, with some tiny bubbles floating to the top in the middle. Decent-sized head at about 1", though that fades, with some clumpy lacing toward the head near the top of the glass.

Smell: A lot going on here, with nothing too dominant and a pretty balanced aroma. Nuts, figs, dark malts, caramel, slight vanilla, slight toffee, vinous characteristics, and almost a brandy-like bit of alcohol floating up. Very very nice.

Taste: Almost right on toward the taste are all the aromas. Some plum and fig sweetness at first, then followed by some vanilla and maple, some of the brandy-like alcohol flavor, then onto some dark and toasted malts. Finishes with a chocolate malt sweetness, onto a chocolate malt bitterness and slight hops to close it out. Very complex and very much lacking the high alcohol taste I thought I'd be getting. This is quality stuff.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and silky to the max, with a pretty big body and fantastic finish. The carbonation levels stay the same the whole time, moderate but contributing completely to the silky feel of the brew. Pretty stellar.

Drinkability: I'm damn surprised that this beer's this good. I guess I just wasn't expecting it. For an Old Ale at nearly 9% ABV the alcohol's hidden (I actually would've guessed maybe 6% at the highest if I wouldn't have known) extremely well, and the brew is complex on all sides. I'm glad I took a chance, and if you see this around, I'd definitely say do the same.

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Photo of oelergud
4.47/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown body almost opaque with a delicious looking tan tiny to small bubbled head that starts out big but dissipates to a thin float fairly quickly. Some lace.
Thick scent of chocolate and spiced caramel. Faint almonds.
Very good taste of chocolate, toffee and coffee. Very well balanced against the sweet are spiced but still mild hops. Aftertaste is burnt malts and stronger spiked yet rounded hops.
Full and chewy body. Plenty of coating and very slick.
Drinkability is great. This beer disappeared faster than I had intended it to.


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Photo of mcowgill
4.47/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a reddish brown color that looks great held up to the light. Thick creamy tan head dissipates quickly and leaves a trace of lacing on the glass.

S - Nice caramel and dark fruit combination with a hint of alcohol. Methinks this will be warming indeed.

T - Great complex tasty brew here. I get a nice mix of dark chocolate, cherry, caramel and spice. A nice sharp delicious flavor.

M - Great carbonation and tingling mouthfeel

D - For 8.9% and with complex flavors, this is a very dangerously drinkable old ale.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.45/5  rDev +18%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer arrives with a thick, foamy tan head that, much like many of LNC BC's offerings, just dissipates much too quickly. It has a very malty nose with much evidence of an underlying alcohol content. As it warmed, it begins to give off a smell of carmel and/or candi sugar. The color is a deep reddish-brown bordering on mahogany. The mouthfeel is very thick, as well as being intensely sweet as well as noticably hot. The finish is where it really stands out. This is an extremely complex beer for LNC BC, displaying notes of sherry, dark chocolate, and cherries. Very tasty!

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Photo of crhensel
4.42/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(Bottle into a pint glass) Poured a beautiful dark brown with very thin light brown head that dissipated quickly. The first thing I noticed opening the bottle was the strong fruity aroma. As I let it air and took time to get a good whiff, there were strong molasses notes with a lot of banana and raisin. It smelled like a freshly baked bread, which was lovely. Very light in the mouth, with a hearty hop bite with cinnamony noted to compliment the fruity sweetness. This ia a very refreshing, enjoyable drink and definitely was a warmer!!

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Photo of njmoons
4.39/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had an opportuntiy to try this on tap at the Lancater Brewing Co in Harrishurg.

I tried many beers there over the weekend I was in town. This was by far my favorite.

Appearance was a see through black/brown, wasn't too sure at first look. Only a little foam which quickly dissipated.

Smell was a malty, toasty with maybe a hint of smoke.

Taste started a nice toasty malt with some caramel, and a hint of fruit. The alcohol takes over in the middle providing some warmth which is quickly taken over by a relatively (for an ale) crisp finish.

I really enjoyed this beer, and found it highly drinkable for a higher alcohol beer.

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Photo of bigdeuce
4.38/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A handsome pour. Nice well rounded tight head with great retention. You can smell Cherry, sherry, and toasty prune malts from across the table. More flavors going on the nose like a sweet belgian candi. Full tasting, blasting through my taste buds with a thick, rich, complexity. Very smooth yet very full mouth feel. Creamy, not much bitterness at all. Not much of a fan of these so called "winter" beers, but damn this one is good! High abv is hard to detect as it is 9% alcohol. The toasty, cherry(not cloying) sweetness remains well after the beer is down. I don't know what style this should be(it's no old ale) classified as except the winter is a great time for it, but damn it belongs by your fireplace when it gets cold and it is a very, rich, flavorful surprise I will continue to buy! Best so called winter warmer I've had since Sam Adam's "screwed up" it's 2003 circa recipe!

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Photo of psurandy
4.37/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a great beer. I am currently drinking and thus reviewing from a bottle pour, however I have had it from growler and also from the tap at the Harrisburg brewpub.

When I poured it from the bottle into a snifter it had a thin, tan head with a very dark amber hue when held to light but I wish I would have poured more vigorously. When I had it from tap and growler the head was outstanding. The smell is of brown sugar, fig and dark rich fruits. Mouthfeel is full, smooth and silky. Carbonation doesn't give it a fizzy feeling, but stands up. The taste follows with a full rich malty flavor of dark brown sugar and malt; even a bit buttery as it warms. Drinkability is best out of tap or growler since it just tastes so fresh, but I could drink more than a bottle in a sitting.

This is a rich malty warmer and one of my favorites. Sometimes when I get a winter warmer I'm afraid it is going to have too much of a Christmas Ale feel to it. That isn't the case with this one. You get a good, strong, malty beer without going crazy with the spices. I wouldn't expect a hophead to go crazy over this one, but now that I look at it I see that this one, though called by the brewer a winter warmer is categorized as an old ale, which is appropriate when you read the description.

Very well worth picking up a sixer or growler if you can. I believe I paid in the nature of 9 or10 at the brewpub for a sixer, but highly recommend getting a pint at the bar or a fresh growler. Enjoy.

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Photo of BZero007
4.28/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a great warmer! Received this beer from a beer of the month club and loved it.

It pours a very dark brown with a tint of red. The head is a beautiful tan brown, that produces a great aroma. A roasted malty caramel aroma with some spice in the background is what powers this great smell.

Taste is a great balance of all the ingredients. A roasty malt taste being very prominent threw the beer. With the right amount of alcohol to hide in the brew, but warms the body on a cold winter night!

Its a very drinkable beer with a low amount of carbonation to fit the bill perfectly. No more than a couple and you will be well for the night!

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Photo of warriorsoul
4.27/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a sixer while in the area this past bummed I could not find time to chill at the source...would have loved this one on tap. Thanks to LBC for packaging this seasonal...allowing me to enjoy one at home.
Pours like a coca-cola...less than 1/4 finger of off-white head with very little lacing and the head disappears very rapidly.
Very inviting in the nose...sweet malt, raisins, a touch of smoke, and some vanilla extract to boot.
The taste is great...all of the above with just a warming hint of the alcohol up front. A hefty dose of malt to sweeten this one up and a gentle hop bitterness to dry it in the finish.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied and the carbonation is perfect...I had this on tap a year or so ago and it is everything I remember and more.
Solid offering and a nice representation for the style...will enjoy this one again soon.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%

Dark roasted malts offer up a nearly opaque mahogany brown ruby highlighted body beige khaki head forms smooth carbonation fine bubbles are evident.

Aroma has plum and raisins off the bat I'm met with dark fruit and smooth mellow warming alcohol with some perceived sweetness from the caramelized sugars.

Flavor nutty earthy roasted malts English in nature they say this is done in an old ale style, well guess what? It's working dark fruit plum vinous fruit and raisins, really stick to the palate slightly salty umami sense in the finish I'm pleasured to be drinking this fine beer from Lancaster Brewing.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied smooth finish no alcohol burn whatsoever this is poetry in motion big malts and balanced hop character a bit of earthiness maybe that's it even though there's English and American hops.

Overall, supreme drink for the winter go search it out if it's available in your area...most definitely the best offering I've ever had from Lancaster this is world class for me!

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This sturdy winter offering is solid in every way, starting with its exceptionally deep mahogany body. It's clear with a reddish cast, and reveals ruby highlights when held to the light; and its creamy light tan head slowly dwindles to a collar but leaves some nice, spotty lace. The nose delivers a caramelish malt with some fruit; and its creamy and smooth in the mouth with a firm body and very fine, restrained carbonation. The flavor delivers a rich, caramel malt center wrapped in berry-like fruit and tempered by a solid bitterness. It's just slightly vinous with it's alcohol lending something to its fruit; and there's a cusp of chocolate that combines with its bitterness to take on an almost roasty edge. Yet, it's clean and very well-balanced all around! Quite nice! A tasty treat that shouldn't be missed if you're in the area.

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Photo of waughbrew
4.24/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep honeyish brown with a medium off-white creamy head that laces and lingers as a foamy ring. Smell is..oh hell yeah...malt. And more malt. Beautious huge gobs of toffee. Thick, lowly carbonated, and sweet. Balanced by plums and dark wood, this is just sweet enough. Alcohol is not tasted, but is noticed in the feel and finish. Nutty and very smooth. I would choose this over 80% of old ales and barleywines. This is real nice.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.23/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served as a very deep red-brown colored beer with moderate off-white creamy head. Left extraordinary lacing. Great head retention.
Smell has strong notes of caramel, coffee, and toffee.
Taste is trult enjoyable. The strong maltiness, with dark fruit and caramle sensations 1s very refreshing.
Left a strong fruity taste in the mouth with no alcohol noted.
Way too easy to drink. An excellent beer.

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Photo of Schmidts
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours from the bottle dark amber brown with a small tan head that leaves quickly. Smells of chocolate cherries and coffee.
Taste is sweet candy fruits, roasted malts,sweet breads, spices and a very nice alcohol hit and a small citrus hop bitterness and a very nice crisp ending. I really enjoyed this one and I give it an overall rating of 4.0. Give this delightful winter ale a try I sure enjoyed it. Thanks to Epps Beverage for this sample.

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Photo of Maestro
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Red/Brown with a very light tan head.

Smell: Dates, Raisins, Biscuit, Fresh-baked bread, lemon

Taste: Big-time malthead beer. Big time fruit flavors with only a bit of hops. Biscuity malt character stands out in this old ale.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and refreshing for a beer of this size.

Drinkability: Well done, Lancaster. This one goes down ever too smoothly.

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Photo of Sachsenfreude
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance; clear but very dark, purple-brown. Nearly opaque with a tan, sandy head that quickly dissipates leaving only a thin film. Nice rings of lace remain.

smell; some raisins and molasses come to mind. Hints of hop bitters when a stronger wiff is taken. Some creamy odors pop out from time to time. Mostly strong syrupy malts dominate.

taste; a sharp bitterness backbone from start to finish, growing more hoppy towards the finish, yet the malts keep resiny flavors from hops at bay. Some very nice sweet-slightly sour malts run along the backbone, coating it with warm molasses and toasted malts, that hide and compliment what alcohol is perceived. Good hop/malt balance, hops are most appreciated with a belch or two.

mouthfeel; on the lighter end of heavy bodied. Thick and smooth with a velvety smooth finish with warm comforting numbness.

overall; for such a high abv, little alcohol is perceived, making this a drink to be repected. I'm nearly clueless on the style but I would recommend this one, very tasty.

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Photo of sbw138
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a bottle bought at The Foodery.

Appearance - Pours a nice dark red/amber with a small, but think, red/light brown head. Very appealing in appearance.

Sweet - Sweet molasses and dried fruits. Nice malty backbone.

Taste - Nicely warm and sweet, I guess that's why it is called a Winter Warmer. Not very strong on the fruity taste.

Mouthfeel - Pretty smooth drink. You can taste the alcohol, but it is not overpowering.

D - Could definitely drink a few of these, would like to try it fresh on tap. I think I would start to feel the alcohol after a few. Overall, a pretty good winter beer.

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Photo of macster
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pleasantly surprised with this tasty Winter Warmer. Pours a ebony brown color. Forms a solid 2" creamy and thick light tan head with superb retention. Thick rings of lacing adhere to the sides of the glass.

Rich and fruity aromas of raisins, figs, dates, molasses and brown sugar are noted upfront with some faint notes of coffee and caramel.

Full and thick mouthfeel; very smooth and creamy.

Flavor profile is predominantly sweet with lots of dark dried fruit, balck licorice, molasses and burnt caramel candies. Just a touch of hop bitterness and well hidden alcohol emerge to tame the sugary sweetness.

For $8.99 per sixer from Stateline in MD this is a great value big winter ale.

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Photo of scoobybrew
4.19/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This was poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

A - deep ruby amber color, small head that settles quickly into a lacing

S - complex aroma; caramel-like malt is noticeable, but there is a faint trace of spices most likely produced by the yeast which seems to be blended with a slight oxidation and very slight amount of hops

T - much like aroma, strong caramel maltiness is dominant with subtle hops noted on the finish (stronger as it warms); very complex play of malt/yeast/hops; very slight amount of oxidation noticed but it's welcome with this blend of flavors (and the style)

M - medium body; moderate carbonation

D - This is a very interesting old ale. The complexity really matches up to what I expect from the style. It's quite enjoyable on this cold winter day.

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Winter Warmer from Lancaster Brewing Company
3.77 out of 5 based on 385 ratings.
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