Winter Warmer | Lancaster Brewing Company

very good
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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: 387
Photo of nick_perry
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aromas of toasted bread, brown sugar, and molasses. Minimal head on the pour, fair amount of carbonation. Notes of spice and roasted malt, although some hops sneak in. Slightly dry on the finish, lingering mouthfeel and taste.

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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 lastmango
3.92/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a deep brown with a reddish hue. Two finger tan head that dissipated to a film but remained. Heavy lacing. Mild aroma of figs and malt. Initial taste of big sweet malt and figs. Moderate carbonation and body with an oily feel.

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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 dbl_delta
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Straight out of an undated bottle. Initial impression is malt, rum, dark fruit, faint earthy hops way way way in the background. Light carbonation; medium mouthfeel. Finish is slightly bitter/chemical. All in all, a decent but not outstanding brew. HOWEVER....
This brew supports the Wolf Sanctuary of PA. A worthy cause, and worthy of support. I've been there, and those people do good work. Try ONE of Lancaster's Winter Warmers (if nothing else, to add it to your list), but condsider supporting the Wolf Sanctuary directly.
And, if you get a chance, visit them. The sound of twenty or more wolves howling at dusk is enough to raise the hair on your neck. Seriously cool stuff.
Check out their web site -

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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 mvanaskie13
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass: color is brown, with amber edges; head is light tan presents thin then dissipates to ring, no lacing.

Smell is mild fig/raisin, then licorice, light roasted malt, mild fresh hops.

Taste is a malt bomb of deep flavors, mainly figs, raisin, light licorice and roast; hops are earthy, grassy and not overly pronounced in the flavor. Reminds of some deep malty doppelbocks, this is a sipper.

Mouthfeel enhances with warmth, plesant lingering sweetness and enough hop bitterness to not leave a cloying presence. Carbonation is moderate, allowing the flavors to present well.

Overall, this is huge malty beer that gets better with just a bit of warming, the sharpness of the large malt bill settles some and the flavors begin to meld with mouthfeel.

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Photo of delta490
3.49/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Deep cloudy brown with a thin, relatively fizzy tan head. The aroma is very mild, but still offers a small amount of dark fruit and burnt sugar. But as is warms, those qualities disappear. The taste is a little bit more robust with a bit of earthy hops as well. The body is a little thin and a little too carbonated.

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Photo of Ksmoove27
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look - dark brown/red... light brown one finger head...a circle lacing throughout

Aroma - raisins, fig

Taste - raisins, fig cherry clove...floral and herbal hops

Feel - a lot of smokiness...could medium to heavy body as would be expected in a winter warmer...masks the alcohol well.

Overall - I was pleasantly surprised...I am not a big fan of the clove flavor but as for the rest in had a nice dank dark fruit flavor with the hint of cherry...nice for a cold winter night.

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Photo of tigg924
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The taste is raisin, rum, slight oak, pumpernickel bread, and dark cherry. This definitely tastes a bit like a dubbel, yet I still get old ale. Complex and dangerously drinkable. This may be my favorite from the brewery.

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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 KWrightVT
3.66/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle poured into a snifter glass. Color is very dark brown/almost black, but when held up to bright light, it shows a deep ruby, cloudy red color. Deep tan head, with little lacing. Aroma is a blend of caramel, chocolate, and some spices like cloves I believe. Taste hits with a good balance of hops and malt. The malt comes through slightly over the hops, with good heavy caramel and a slight chocolate flavor. Slight spice flavor in the background without overpowering. Crisp mouthfeel. Well balanced and pretty smooth for a warmer with a decent kick.

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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 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 KTCamm
3.49/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12/14...very dark brown, red tints, light sneaks through. No foam. Malty cola nose, breads, caramel, light fruit. Tasteis a chewy fruit, quite boozy, light bitter. Astringent mouthfeel.

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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!

 1,014 characters

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 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 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 rawfish
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cola brown with ruby highlights. Large three finger head with good retention and bits of lacing around the rim of the cup.

Sweet caramel malts, raw grain, syrup and molasses. Fruity notes of fig, raisins, red berries and slight gingerbread spice notes. Large alcohol note and notes of licorice.

Doughy malt, caramel sweetness tied in with holiday spice, licorice, anise and rhubarb. Very earthy spice character paired with light date, fig and red berry fruit. Slightly vegetative and herbal hops provide balance and drying. Alcohol is persistent on the finish.

Thin with low carbonation. High alcohol but a mellow winter warmer.

A slow sipping winter warmer, high alcohol and lower carbonation make the drink sit well and allow it to warm. The beer flavor is very simple and spread very thin but I appreciate the balance of spice, sweetness and fruit notes.

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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

 477 characters

Photo of WissBrauSean
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

The beer poured a beautifully clear red mohagany with a fine tan head that is slightly clingy and has some attractive lacing for how thin it is. It dissipates and stays a nice thin ring around the glass with a small Friar Tuck cap in the center.

I opened this bottle at 45 degrees. I instantly from the bottle smelled alcohol. It is to be expected. The most noticeable aroma was of the malts and slight yeast. As the beer warms up some others join the party like figs and maybe banana. The alcohol is mildly noticeable in the aroma and if there are any hops they are barely noticeable.

Sweet malts carry you throughout the sip and along the way you will get some roasted malt flavours, a bit of figs, maybe some cherry, you will definitely taste caramel nearing the end as well as a nice hazelnut type flavour. At the very end of the drink there is only the mildest of hop character, just enough to make you thirsty for another sip! I do taste alcohol on my breath after the sip is over. It's not unappealing, just noticeable.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly medium. It's sweet and smooth, but not as heavy as I would think. The carbonation is light, thankfully. And the beer eventually finishes a little dry and peppery with faint hops. It's pretty much overly sweet and not balanced well, but that is a description of the style now isn't it?

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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 Ryanm1
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle to a 12oz globe. Shows a dark brown to black hue depending on the light. Large amount of brown lacing when pour vigorously. Dissipates quickly. Sweet nectar smelling. Molasses. The dark pour emanates the dark fruit odor, such as candied raisins. Chocolate and Car Bitter on the tounge intially finishes smooth with very little aftetaste. Slightly malty. Packs a punch at 8.9% abv.

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Photo of ColdWaffles
3.72/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a Samuel Smith Tulip-Pint. Been bummed by most of the Lancaster brews I've had in bottles, but figured I'd give this a chance. I tend to like the style and the bottle said proceeds went toward the PA Wolf Sanctuary. Cool. Still, seems a little ridiculous that they're still having Lion Brewery contract all their bottles, especially for the prices they want.

Appearance: Deep, dark red/brown with slight clarity. Poured a nice tan head, but it dissipated quite quickly. Leaves a pretty regular lacing.

Smell: Alcohol, dark dried fruits, and this weird artificial seeming sweetness I've picked up from all of their bottles except maybe the Milk Stout.

Taste: Surprisingly pretty good. Roasty malt flavor follows a sweet dried fruit flavor into a little bit of spice. Light amount of hops evidence toward the end. Nothing amazing, but not bad. The same sweet/copper flavor I've picked up on the end of most of their bottles is still there, but it works well to kill the alcohol here. Little alcohol evident for the ABV.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium body ale with lighter carbonation. The most enjoyable part of the beer.

This is probably the best bottled beer I've had from Lancaster, and only one of two I'd recommend at all. (The other is their Milk Stout, which is passable.)

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Winter Warmer from Lancaster Brewing Company
3.77 out of 5 based on 387 ratings.
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