Winter Warmer | Lancaster Brewing Company

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Winter WarmerWinter Warmer
395 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 395 |  Reviews: 172
Photo of zrab11
3.58/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a amberish color with a small thin head

S- Has a bozzy spicey aroma to it. also catch some carmel and malts

T- Has alot of spice up front followed by the booze and then finish's crisp

M-Light bodied with ok carbonation

D-Overall this realyl didn't do it for me. Old ale isn't my fav. style but i def. have beers i like from this style. This just wasn't complex enough for me and didn't have a very good after taste.

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Photo of happy4hoppybeer
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a midnight/pitch-black with nice creamy,light tan head, dissipating in a few minutes, leaving medium lacing that sticks to the glass well after first sip. Lacing fizzles before drink is finished though.

Dark roasted malt, coffee, chocolate aromas, no sign of hops.

Roasted malt and chocolate sweetness hit the tongue, with light/medium carbonation.The sweetness comes through the most,not quite dominating but the main palate overall. An above-medium body, but not heavy. Alcohol can be detected slightly, not overpowering but I've had higher ABV beers that hid the alcohol better.

Very good. The first "Old Ale" I've had, so I can't compare with others in the style. But a solid nice brew to kick back with.

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Photo of thebrood1987
4.15/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Head dissolves to nothing but I assume that is because of the high alcohol content coming in at just about 9 percent. It smells really roasty with some chocolate malts and some plum/dark fruit like smells with a slight earthy/fruity hop smell. Taste is very rich and sweet with the bite in the beginning and the dark fruits and chocolate tastes come together.The sweetness is in the middle ending with a dry slight earthy and very slight citrus hop taste mixing with the dry yeast a slight alcohol taste. The only thing that brings this beer down is the alcohol isn't that well masked but it gets better as it warms a little.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From winter brew tasting notes (2010): Pours a clear bright ruby body with a small fizzy off-white head that fell to a thin film. Thick sweet malt nose with dark fruits and some burnt caramel. Light licorice note. The flavor is sweet dark caramel with a bit of cherry fruitiness and a little graininess and a husky note on the finish. A little sticky and clingy on the palate up front with fizzy prickly carbonation. A little coarse on the finish. Not bad, but it could be a bit smoother.

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Photo of AdamBear
3.86/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A-really dark brown with a nice thin tan head

S-a lot of barley and sweet malts with some salted caramel. medium strength. smells quite strong.

T-there's just a big blast of smooth barley with some peppery spices in there, but not quite winter spices...almost like peppercorn. there's also a fairly decent roasted taste to it. the dark roasted grains are just so evident. the roasted flavor really lasts awhile. its a pretty well put together beer. quality is high with this one.

M-medium carbonation with a slightly creamy finish

D-it actually goes down real easily and quickly for the ABV. actually this is one of the better old ales I've had. it really does taste like a barley wine that is much easier to drink. go out and get this one, do it for the wolves!

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Photo of Ty1erC
4.1/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

*12 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass.*

a: dark mahogany in appearance. almost black. head quickly disappears, no lacing.

s: malt, caramel, raisins. a very pleasant smell.

t: alcohol, sweet malt, plums, slightly bitter finish.

m: full-bodied, moderately carbonated.

d: not very sessionable (given the higher abv), but smooth for the style. reminds me a lot of arcadia's "big dick's olde ale", which is definitely a good thing.

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Photo of magine
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

***Revised from a previous 2008 batch review which was scored a B- previously***

Poured this brew into an oversized Duvel glass.

Pours a dark brown (nearly black) with a hint of red color, tan head that fades quickly; head settles to a lace ring around the glass edges. Lace rims the glass, some patchy lacing. Looks pretty good.

The beer smells of caramel, roasted malts and licorice maybe. Has a sweet roasted smell. Good tasty smell.

Tastes sweet initially then the roasted flavors begin to take over. Clean and light mouthfeel. Roasted malts, nuttiness, coffee, caramel, licorice as well. Nice warming effect from the brew, wow very drinkable stuff here.

This is a very good winter warmer. Nice to enjoy a few of these bad boys during a cold winter night. Very good brew, one of Lancaster Brewings better efforts. Way better then I remembered it being.

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Photo of ZeroSignal
2.77/5  rDev -25.9%
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 cjoc83
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with some ruby hues showing through at the edges of the glass.

the nose is plum, candied dark fruits, some bready malitiness, and a bit of all-spice.

the predominant flavor is of dark candied fruits and allspice, with some bready malt and a slight warming alcohol feel on the finish. Nice and clean finish. The contrasting flavors balance nicely and the 9% ABV is not terribly noticeable.

The Winter Warmer is medium-bodied and eminently drinkable. I have not had much experience with 'old ales', but as far as winter warmers go this is well-crafted and definitely worth a try.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

3.5 A: Clear deep mahogany brown color. One finger of frothy tan head that falls quickly and leaves no lacing.

3.5 S: Sweet toffee and sugary. Caramel, candied fruits (especially sugar plums), some raisin and tobacco, and rounded off with a toasty nuttiness. Good, but a bit too weak.

4.0 T: Good amount of flavor in this one. Loads of sweet toffee, some caramel, and lots of dark fruits. Sugar plums, raisin, dates, prunes, tobacco, figs. A touch of roasty toastiness, but just a touch. A bit sweeter than I'd prefer, but full flavored and not too bad.

4.0 M: Medium to heavier medium body. Good moderate spritzy carbonation. Good creaminess and pretty smooth.

4.5 D: Overall a pretty good beer. Some of the other categories were on the borderline next up, so I gave this a 4.5. Very flavorful, sweet and fruity, and perfect for a snowy day.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.63/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer has been on my personal tick list for a while. Cool to find it at my local shop!

A - Deep brow amber hue, clear in color with a half inch of creamy white head that slowly turns to a ring of lace.

S - Roasted malt, caramel sweetness, mild booze, slight hop presence yet smells really boozy.

T - Wow it taste heavy with the booze which caught me off guard. Not really balanced the sweetness and hops round the flavor out with a warming feeling. No spices were evident and after the ABV gets settled on the palate all flavors just mash with a caramel finish. Kind of blah like boring.

M - Very heavy, in fact if you were drinking beers 5-7 ABV then this you would almost gag since they don't cover the ABV very well.

D - Well it was cool to try and really wanted something like great divides Hibernation ale but got a heavy old ale. Will not buy again.

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Photo of JunkYardJake
3.67/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into tulip.
This is the only ''old ale'' I've had so I don't have reference point but I do really enjoy this brew. It isn't overly impressive to look at but it looks the part of a serious winter warmer. Dark, dark brown with a sliver of white head. The nose is quite unique. Licorice, fig, tree bark, and even a little cocoa. Palate lives up to it's name as the 9% is tasted and felt till the last drop. There is a rich earthy quality to the taste with all of the elements of the nose translating to the palate. Good but a little rough around the edges. Mouthfeel is full bodied and semi-dry. Drinkability is about what you would expect for a high test warmer, a slow sipper. Worth a try if you can get it.
12/18/11 Side note: Had a bottle that was down in the cellar for a year. Still pretty boozy but I think it improved. Maybe this brew would do well with extended aging.

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Photo of KYFriedChildren
2.95/5  rDev -21.1%
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 jlindros
4.07/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This bottle has been sitting in the back of my fridge for a while, taunting me for a long time, and finally I decided to pull it out. This one thanks to Noslenwerd.

It pours with a nice 1 finger thick and fluffy head that fades slowly over a very dark molasses brown color.

The nose comes with some nice subtlety. It has that definite aged aroma to it. Some nice dark malts, a little caramel, syrup, touch of roast, some creaminess, a little dark fruit, and even a slight chocolate aroma. All that comes with that aged feel that fits right in with a good old ale.

Taste starts very creamy and rich, almost nitro like on the feel and creaminess, but not quite there. It has some dark malts again, a little roast and more chocolate, then some sweetness with a little caramel and touch of brown sugar. Also comes a touch of booze taste as well as warmth. Again a slight aged taste, but not quite as much as the nose brought. No winter spices that most winter beers have either, which I think is great!

The mouth is creamy and lush, medium to slightly thicker body with lower but decent carbonation.

It finishes still slightly sweet with a touch of dryness, with more of the creamy feel and taste, bringing more malts with a touch of chocolate and aged malts. I also start to get a hint of a bitterness too.

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Photo of sbw138
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
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 Daniellobo
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hefty winter ale, nice complex offering but a bit short of extraordinary.

Presentation: 12 oz bottle. Simple label design with a snow symbol tagging the warm lettering with the name of the brew over a Capitol (Lancaster?) background in blue. Short of any description other than saying that it is brewed naturally without preservatives. Lacks an actual date of bottling or freshness although it shows a batch-bottling code and encourages to enjoy the brew now or age it to develop flavors. Poured into a tall tulip glass.

A - Brown to ruby brown pour with a good ecru head, with little retention and a bit of lacing.

S - Roasted malt nose, a bit of a sense of dark fruits, and a boozy whiff.

T - Caramel and roasted malt, with a dark fruity sweetness that coats the boozy presence well and offers some interesting richness.

M - Medium to high body with fading carbonation.

D - Could be a sipper but complexity and range of flavors don't make it there.

Notes: Nice winter ale, not bad for a revisit but not something necessarily worth looking out for...

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.86/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Blue Point snifter.

A: Standard pour yields an upward cascading 1.5 finger fluffy light-brown cream colored head with moderate retention. Beer itself is a wonderful clear dark reddish amber. Lacing is thin but abundant.

S: Nose is a bit boozy, sweet, brown sugar. Dry with a purple grape smell that is quite prominent.

T: Starts deep, brown sugar, and grapes and other various fruits (unripened prunes maybe?). Incredibly malty and boozy in the middle to the finish. A bit of smokey character is apparent right before the final swallow.

M: Medium bodied and semi-smooth. Mouth is a bit oily and finish is sticky yet rather clean. This doesn't leave much.

D: Great complexity here with a body that is just a bit thin. A bit too malty at parts and the hopes are non-existent. A tad off balance. However, still a beer with great character. Seek it out if you can!!

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Photo of shotreverseshot
3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap into a pint glass at the Lancaster Brewery.

A - Pours a reddish dark brown with a very nice light brown head.

S - Molasses and raisins. A tiny bit of alcohol hidden very well.

T - Warm and sweet, not spectacularly so, but a little bit of the same molasses and raisin taste. Not too strong, but also not enough to be particularly noteworthy.

M - Very smooth, especially for the high ABV. Surprisingly light and a good warming effect.

D - Could definitely drink a few of these, though I'm certain the high alcohol content could creep up slowly. Not too aggressive nor too weak.

Overall - What it has in drinkability in lacks in punch. For a beer with this much alcohol I expected a bit more to it, but it does deliver the sweet, malty taste of a good winter beer.

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Photo of FickleBeast
3.45/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass. 8.9% ABV Old Ale? Would be nice if this was mentioned on the bottle.

Pours a ruddy dark reddish brown. A thin ring of foam forms and dissipates quickly. No lacing.

Aroma is candied fruits, sweet roast malts

Taste is of raisins, plum, no hop flavors detected. The body is watery thin. There are no off flavors or anything really negative detected, just an overall malaise on the palate when this beer hits.

carbonation is very low, but the mouthfeel is not smooth or creamy. It is rather thin-bodied for a beer of this potency - a major detriment.

The good news is that the alcohol is well hidden in this beer. The bad news is there just isn't enough flavor or mouthfeel to make this beer above-average.

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Photo of crhensel
4.42/5  rDev +18.2%
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 KeefD
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to SpeedwayJim for this one! Dark amber almost brown color, no head or lacing. Aroma of dark bread and fruit, caramel, and light nuttiness. Flavor is very doppelbock-like. Dark sugary malts, brown sugar, caramel, bread and over-ripened apples. There's also a light metallic note in the back end on the finish. Medium bodied, average carbonation. Decent beer, and I'm having a hard time believing the ABV is really this high.

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Photo of BeerIsland
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've been having a lot of fun with the Warmer this year, primarily as a base for mixing with other beers. This item goes well with the Hop Hog if you want to stay big or with the Amish if you need to tone it down a little. At home, I've used Celebration and Lake Placid IPA with decent effect. This could be the universal solvent!

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Photo of bigfnjoe
4.58/5  rDev +22.5%
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 Minotaur
3.39/5  rDev -9.4%
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 CHADMC3
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky chestnut brown with reddish hues and a thin, light tan head that quickly dissipates leaving almost no lacing behind.

Rich, warming, sweet malt such as caramel and molasses are apparent to the nose. Yeast and sweet nuts follow, and hints of something creamy or vanilla.

The flavor is not what I was expecting, featuring dark, sweet fruit, seasonal spices, and more sweet malt. There are also hints of caramel, and possibly the same vanilla-like flavor I found in the nose. As the beer warms, a sweet nuttiness becomes more apparent as well as some linger earthy hops.

Medium to thick in body, perhaps slightly chewy with carbonation on the lighter side.

This is a great winter warmer/old ale. Tons of flavors to offer, very warming, easy to sip on, and appropriate for the season.

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Winter Warmer from Lancaster Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.74 out of 5 with 395 ratings