Winter Warmer | Lancaster Brewing Company

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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: 169 | Ratings: 386
Photo of ChuckMartel37
2.36/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle, into a glass.

I'm afraid to say that the appearance of this beer is the best thing about it. And the soundtrack of Chicago blues that I'm playing in the background, but admittedly, that has nothing to do with this beer.

It smells a bit boozy with dried fruit and plum. I get the "boozy" part now because I just realized it's nearly 9%. It has the ubiquitous caramel/molasses/sugary smell of heavy winter beers.

No. I might be the only person on here that dislikes this beer, but it was a miss for me. It was too metallic for my liking, and the dried fruit smell was more sour than I expected. It did improve as it got warmer, but still, there are so many other winter beers to choose from.

The moutfeel was metalicious, which is a word I just made up. And if you read the preceding paragraph, you'd know that it was a bit sour - and therefore a bit tart in the talkhole.

Again, this didn't hit the mark for me. In a world with so many holiday or winter beers to be had, this one would get a lump of coal from me. Go have the Lancaster Milk Stout instead. You'll be glad you did.


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Photo of Gandhified
2.41/5  rDev -36.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured a nice dark amber color with a small tan colored head. Smells malty, with fruity undertones... maybe raisin? Little to no hop presence detected in the nose. Mouthfeel is thick. Tastes malty, sweet, little to no hop bitterness. I don't think I could or would want to drink more than one of these. The high alcohol content is well hidden by the malts though. Overall an ok beer.

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Photo of q33jeff
2.55/5  rDev -32.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 2.5

On tap at blend.
Aroma: barley. Brown ale.
Appearance: black. Little white head.
Taste: weak caramel, veggie.Feel is very very flat.

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Photo of justintcoons
2.56/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle poured into a stemmed tulip.

Deep chestnut brown with dark ruby highlights. 1 finger of off-white head with good retention.

Molasses and caramel cubes.

Molasses, toffee, and caramel. Light earthy roastiness. Residual sugars stick around with warming alcohol. Subtle crushed Aspirin bitterness.

Medium bodied, crisp, and oily with a medium bitterness.

Sugary and sticky with an Aspirin bitterness. Meh.

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Photo of jjboesen
2.73/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This was one of a dozen beers (4-ounce pour) tasted at a recent Winter Beer event. Initial head was thin and quick to dissipate. The minimal lacing was splotchy and unstructured.

While the dark copper color provided minimum clarity, there was little in the way of smell. I found the taste somewhat flat and lacking - and some what dissapointing. The mouthfeel showed some balance but little structure

There are probably many reasons for this poor sampling; I am not familiar with the beers of Lancaster Brewing Company, so this experience will not be used as total judgement. I would gladly try this beer againg under different circumstances, given previous reviews. Beer is a cruel master at that.

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Photo of LordHammer
2.74/5  rDev -27.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Norther Brewer glass.

A: A beautiful deep red, bordering on mahogany. Pours with a small tan head that fades to a lace which stays all the way down the glass.

S: Some subdued malts and spices, but an overwhelming scent of alcohol. Hope this isn't as boozy as it smells.

T: Sweet malty presence, then very prominent alcohol in the flavor. A bit of spice and hops at the close, but nothing really significant here. Gets better as it warms and things balance out a bit.

M: Predictably thin, as you would expect for the ABV, with low carbonation.

D: One and done here. I had a few sips, then waited about 20 minutes for it to warm, then it was drinkable. Definitely don't want another for a few days.

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Photo of ZeroSignal
2.77/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle

A - Dark brown pour, about half an inch beige head with decent retention, lacing is minimal and wispy

S - Malty nose; sweet and fruity with an almost metallic edge to it.

T&M - Medium full bodied brew; malty, caramel flavor with what feels like high acidity. Warmth from the alcohol in the front of the mouth and clean in the finish. On the negative side, feels a bit watery, and at times has an almost soapy taste and feel.

D - The flavor combos just don't do it for me. The overall flavors and feel are off to me. I'm glad I only have a single bottle.

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Photo of mptorpey
2.77/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Dark brown with rich white head

S: Very Malty at fist with a roasted nut hues in the background. Some carmeal and oats to finish.

T: Smooth med-light beer with low carbonation. Mostly a roasted malt and cerial taste.

M: Somewhat ligh for a winter warmer style beer with a hight ABV, but a nice full long finish with malt and light nut.

O: A very steady beer that is easly drinkable but wuold expect a more robust beer for the style.

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Photo of ajm5108
2.85/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep ruby with impressive foam head, strong retention. Aroma is flat, mostly pale malt and stale hop, with just a dissapointing hint of that welcoming old ale sweet malt. Flavor does a little better bring out the caramel malt, and there are smatterings of raisin, dark fruit and toffee (the classic old ale notes) but they are faded and flat. Finishes with a mildy strong phenol / fusel alcohol, which isn't blended very well with the rest of the beer. Finishes with a lasting alcohol note. Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth. Overall a middling beer but it has some good qualities.

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Photo of jzeilinger
2.91/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

A - Pours a dark chestnut burgundy color with a thin, but consistent creamy layer of caramel colored siky foam.

S - Figs, prunes, raisons, mild roasted caramel and chocolate. Decent but a little weak for a beer of this magnitude.

T - A little nutty but mostly dark fruit - figs, prunes, raisons, sweet roasted caramel finish is unobtrusive and leaves a moderate coating of dark fruit on the palate with a light pine bittering. However, kudos to the brewer for doing a nice job of hiding the alcohol which also makes this a little dangerous since it can't be detected and it will creep up on you pretty fast if you're not careful.

M - Very light medium body and way too thin for a winter warmer.

O - The ABV is there for a Winter Warmer but too wimpy on the flavor and mouthfeel for my liking.

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Photo of KYFriedChildren
2.95/5  rDev -21.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

-From 2009 Notes-

Bought a sixer of this at Capone's in Norriton, PA.

-Appearance- Poured a super dark brown color into a pint glass. Had kind of a thin dark creme head on top. The beer settles and soon the head disappears to only a ring.

Smell- Very boozy, kind of got the dark fruit thing going. Very figgy as well. Little overpowering on the boozy-ness even more so than is expected for it's ABV.

Taste- Boozy and figgy once again. Emphasis on the booze. It doesn't taste bad but it's not smooth and goes down a little too hot. Can't drink too many of them.

Mouthfeel- Thin, too thin for my liking. That's about all I can say about it.

Drinkability- I don't love the beer. I have to be honest. It's a bit too boozy for me and it burns a bit going down the pipes. Couldn't and probably wouldn't drink more than one or two.

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Photo of Minkybut
3/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured this beer into my tumbler at 50 degrees. The beer was a nice mahoganny color with a tan head and fine tiny bubbles. The beer smelled really spicy and had a hint of toffee taste and Christmas spices. The beer was a little sweet and had a right tuff alcohol after burn. I think you should try it but I will most likely not buy again.

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Photo of yelterdow
3.02/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A friend of mine brought this over tonight as a birthday surprise... part of a mixed sixer of holiday brews. Thanks, breeze... this one comes straight from the brewery itself.

Served in a Duvel tulip at just over fridge temperature, over the course of about 45 minutes.

Appearance- Deep caramel brown with slight reddish highlights, the head rising far above most "old ales" I have sampled. Even when still for several minutes, the thin but firm mat does not break or separate. There is a wonderful presence to this beer, and I can't wait to dig in.

Smell- Divine. Old, sweet, candied dark fruit, vanilla, and sugar blend seamlessly with leather and old books... I am amazed that Lancaster has created such an awesome nose for a Winter seasonal. This is what I love about tasting and rating new, unfamiliar beers... you never know when a blockbuster will surprise the shit out of you. As the beer approaches cellar temperature, a dark, sweet, malty character comes forth.

Taste- Spicy, vanilla laced malt notes take center stage, with a strange, cloying oversteeped tea backdrop. This started off so good, I hate to see it crumble before my taste buds. There is definitely a problem with the structure here, because the aroma would have you believe that a sweetness would follow up with big, candied malts and a mild bittering finish. Instead, the beer turns completely tannic and unpleasant in the mouth... to the point where I cannot go on.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Blah, nothing to enhance the flavors or overall experience of the beer. Almost completely nondescript, and fleeting.

This is the second time that a Lancaster brew has completely bombed in a tasting... the first being their Four-Grain Pale Ale. Maybe it's because of the all-natural ingredients... they might spoil rapidly. I remember really enjoying this beer last month, in a snifter, reading Garrett Oliver's book "The Brewmaster's Table". But tonight it flopped, a victim of who knows what.

Never have I rated a beer so highly on sight and smell, to have it dive below average on the Big Three categories. I am disappointed and sad for this unfortunate reality.

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Photo of Doctor_Bogenbroom
3.16/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

I got this on tap, poured into a standard pint glass:

Appearance: A dark, almost violet color (although the light in the establishment may have had something to do with this), with a weak off-white head and minimal lacing.

Aroma: Sultry citrus notes mixed with a kind of woody overall cast to it.

Taste: Berry flavors dominate with some malty background tones, plus some sweetness on the finish. Aftertaste is a bit on the pungent side, not the best.

Mouthfeel: Kind of watery, thin, with minimal carbonation and not much kick.

Overall: This is an acceptable beer. When I first tasted it, I had to pause, because I couldn't quite put my finger on whether I liked it or not. By the end, I decided it was pretty much a miss. It's not totally a lost cause, but I wouldn't race back for another one. I will say, however, that I stepped outside about half-way through the drink to have a quick smoke, and it was freezing out there. I came in a couple minutes later, and I don't know--maybe it was the cold--but the beer tasted better to me, at least for the first couple minutes after I sat down.

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Photo of tone77
3.2/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a dark brown color with a small head. Smell is of malts and caramel, slightly sweet. Taste is also of malts and caramel along with alcohol. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has average drinkability. Overall this is a decent beer but nothing great.

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Photo of mikereaser
3.21/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - pours a deep borwn with a slight off-white foam

S - slight hints of caramal malts and spices, but not much to speak of

T - sweet malt and the alcohol, nothing too amazing or flavorful here

M/D - There wasn't alot of flavor in this one, definitely wasn't what I was expecting. I guess I was expecting some more spices and flavor. I'll have to pass next time.

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Photo of GiantMidget
3.23/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought at a Wegmans in King of Prussia PA.
I live near Lancaster brewery and intend to get out there sometime soon.

Poured into a 12 oz tulip glass.
Little to no head.
Looks like a Dr. Pepper, even has the slight scent of it as well.
Although one that is heavily spiked with alcohol.
I notice scents of licorice, fruitiness (raisins/plums) and maybe clove.

These flavors also fill the mouth upon the first few sips. The alcohol taste is very present, I wish they had masked it better. But the combination of all of the other flavors do an OK job of making it worthwhile to drink.
Definitely a sipper, not a session beer IMO.

It has a good full bodied but not overly carbonated mouthfeel, and holding it in does allow a full chance to feel the flavors.
A good 'cold night by the fireplace' beer.

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Photo of assurbanipaul
3.25/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark oaky brown with a thin tan head. Aroma is rich, spicy malts with some raisins, dark fruit and a hint of cocoa. No date or year; I assume this is from the past winter season.

Taste is dark, roasty malts and spice. Nice bready flavors of spice cake, pumpernickel, some chocolate, more raisins and burgundy. Fair amount of cola and chocolate malt elements, good in a stout, probably more than I'd like in a seasonal.

Mouthfeel is light for a winter warmer, which would be medium for most other beer. Easy to drink, a mere hint of the alcohol in the aftertaste. A good beer, a beer I'd drink again, but not a great beer.

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Photo of microbrewlover
3.29/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This brew pours a dark brown with some red highlights when held up to the light. It has a fluffy, off white, two finger mocha head with heavy lacing on the glass; some of the head remains on the top and as a collar.

The smell is thick malts and bitter hops. Some nuts and dried fruit.

The taste is malty and hoppy, everything blends together well but I had to knock off a few points for the heavy alcohol, (boozy) taste that leaks through; it is too much for me. If that is your thing though, then give this a try.

The feel is actually a little creamy; the beer goes down smoothly.

Overall, this is a nice brew where the malts and hops are well blended but there is too much alcohol taste leaking through for my liking but if you like that sort of thing then give this a try.

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Photo of Jeffreysan
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, deep, dark, mahogany color with a quarter of a finger of white head that quickly dissolved into a thin lacing of foam that completely covered the top of the beer.

Aroma: Malty and bready up front, with notes of freshly baked dark bread. Some spice notes as well, specifically clove, black pepper and brown sugar.

Taste: Roasted malt and notes of freshly baked dark bread, followed by some brown sugar-like sweetness and some surprising licorice flavors (surprising in that I didn’t get any hints of that in the aroma). No hops to speak of.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with no carbonation to speak of. With an ABV of 8.9%, I’m surprised that there is no presence of alcohol on the palate.

Overall: This is a pretty decent beer, but not great. Some good malt flavors, but a little too much licorice for my liking. However, because a portion of the proceeds of this beer goes to charity, specifically, the Wolf Sanctuary of Pennsylvania, I’ll get a few more bottles of it to support that charity.

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Photo of mooseisloose
3.35/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Kind of off base drinking a "Winter Warmer" when it's 75 degrees outside, but hey, I'll give it a whirl. Smells of red licorice and nutmeg with a hint of cinnamon. Pours to a deep translucent reddish brown. No real head to speak of. Taste is well balanced at the start, then sweet and very tangy in the middle with a sharp bitter almost acidy finish. Mouthfeel is tremendously thick and chewy. AC is evident but not overly so. I like the taste in the beginning and end but it finishes a little harsh for me. My choice would be to dull out the bitterness at the end.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.35/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

The beer off the pour looks great. But the flavor profile is way, way too malty sweet. No balance whatsoever. Some people might dig this interpretation of the style, but I can't say that I really do. It just doesn't work for me. And I personally don't think it fits to style. Too sweet with not enough accent to keep it interesting. I suppose you could age it to see what happens.

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Photo of jwc215
3.37/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours clear light to medium brown with a thin head that immediately becomes a disappearing patch.

The smell is caramelish and nutty. Slightly fruity, with a touch of alcohol.

The taste is of lightly spiced dark fruits - figs and dates. It's malty and sweet with a touch of estery alcohol.

Medium-bodied, it has something rather astringent about it.

A sipper due to noticeable alcohol and slight astringency. Well- it's a winter warmer for sure, but aroma and flavor don't seem to reach their potential fullness.

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Photo of Minotaur
3.39/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This ale pours a syrupy, deep milk chocolate color with dark copper highlights. Very little head which quickly fades to wood-colored wisps.

The aroma was not particularly impressive out of the gate: mostly the scent of alcohol and a little malt.

The taste was unexpected and rich. It is earthy, with cocoa, vanilla, and vaguely nutty toasted notes. It is deep and has a hint of alcohol. It is malty and has overtones of molasses (treacle?) and is reminiscient of holiday vanilla spice holiday cookies. There may be just a tiny bit of cherry deep in there too.

The mouthfeel and body is surprisingly thin despite the rich tastes.

It is not quite smooth with the high alcohol; there is a bit of roughness on the swallow. Like the mouthfeel, this seems in contrast to the sweet and earthy flavor.

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Photo of iceviper22
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Lancaster Brewery and bottled. It pours a nice deep brown to dark reddish color with a one to two finger head that fades quickly. It has an aroma of biscuits with some hints of caramel or toffee.

The taste is similar to the smell in that it has a very biscuity, maltyness, with some notes of caramel and toffee to sweeten it up just a bit. Little carbonation helps give it a nice winter warming mouthfeel.

Overall it is a prettty decent brew along with the rest of Lanaster's lineup. I would drink a few of these.

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Winter Warmer from Lancaster Brewing Company
3.77 out of 5 based on 386 ratings.
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