Old Man Winter Warmer | Lake Superior Brewing Company

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Old Man Winter WarmerOld Man Winter Warmer

Brewed by:
Lake Superior Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: English Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.30%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
"Brewed in late spring and aged in our refrigerator until mid Fall, this barley wine style ale brings a whopping 10.3% ABV to the task. Deep brown and sweet with spices, Old Man Winter Warmer does what its name promises for your nose and your belly. O.G. 1.101."

Added by Gusler on 12-12-2001

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Reviews: 72 | Ratings: 110
Photo of jimmah120
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Diesel, brown sugar and maple syrup with hops that are old and dusty like dry leaves. Goes down smooth like 5W-30, and is perfectly carbonated... just enough. Boozy and delicious, an actual winter warmer.

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Photo of Jahjehwa
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014; I really like this. Dark, good aroma. It actually has that slight warm alcohol burn. Really nice. Burnt sugar and a bit bitter. Will miss it. Hard to hold on to this one. Will age a couple bottles just for fun.

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Photo of pat61
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

Dark sugar nose with a hint of sour and alcohol, faint chocolate, dark dried fruit. Pours bright deep dark brown under a 1/2" light tan tinted white foam cap. Spicy malt suggesting anise or licorice on the palate along with dark dried fruit with a soft undercurrent of light chocolate. Fruit and dark sugars dominate with a balancing hop bitterness on the finish. Creamy and chewy with medium to medium low carbonation.

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Photo of pettis
3.91/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber-brown with a thin white head that quickly fades to a lacing. Sweet fruit and spice on the nose. Taste is classic English barleywine--deep malt with some caramel and toffee notes, fig and dark fruity flavors mid-palate, with a pleasant hop bitterness on the finish. Silky smooth mouthfeel--perhaps a little on the thin side for the style, but quite pleasant nonetheless.

Overall a nice take on the style. Would recommend and try again.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.21/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Surly Darkness chalice.

Appearance: Pours a deep dark brownish amber red with a moderate amount of bubbles. Very slight off white head that quickly fades. Leaves a decent amount of lacing.

Smell: A deep and toasty malt forward aroma with big hints of caramel, smoke, and dark fruit. Toasted barley malts with upfront hints of sweet caramel, toffee, biscuit, grains, and yeast along with some hints of smoke, wood, chocolate, peat, and nuts. Sweet hints of molasses and brown sugar. Good presence of dark fruit with hints of raisin, fig, plum, and dates. Hops are subtle. Smells more like a Scotch ale than Barleywine. Pretty solid.

Taste: Like the aroma, a toasty and roasty Scotch ale like malty taste with good notes of caramel, smoke, and dark fruit. Bready taste of toasted barley malts with notes of biscuit, caramel, toffee, grains, yeast, chocolate, and nuts. Also some good notes of smoked malt, peat, and wood. Sweet taste of brown sugar and molasses. Dark fruit undertones including notes of raisin, plum, fig, and dates. A very solid toasty malt winter taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, slick, and slightly syrupy. Finishes smooth with a well hidden alcohol presence.

Overall: A really solid Winter brew. More smokey and Scotch like than any Barleywine I've tried. Whatever it is it is a really nice malty Winter beer.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.56/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

Tasted 6 February 2013, reviewed from notes.

Pours deep and clear, an enigmatic color - an interesting blend of dark amber, brown, and red. Intriguing. Thin layer of yellowish head, gone quickly, leaving only a little lacing. Nice color, not much foaminess.

Smell is woody and loaded with dark fruit. Plums, brown sugar, a touch of smoke. Nice.

Taste is similar to the smell, but it drifts off into a messy realm where an odd bitterness (alcohol?) dominates, leaving those pleasant fruity and smoked wood flavors in the dust. Not bad, not great. I want more sweetness, more depth, more oomph.

Feel is fine. Medium-heavy body, slightly sticky, with a lasting finish. Carbonation is right on the low edge of what I'd consider acceptable.

Every piece of this beer is fine or better, but as whole, it's meh. Overly bitter in the flavor, and given the ABV, I want a lot more flavor and complexity than I'm getting. Woody, smoky, and the smell's promise of fruit wasn't backed up by the taste.

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Photo of yamar68
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Swampy brown body cluttered with little floaty bastards... thin head and some lacing tell me that there might be alcohol in here.

Smells like Christmas and leather-bound spy novels.

Tastes pretty smooth, nothing stands out really... some caramel and nutmeg, oaky vanilla flavors, some spruce maybe...

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Photo of kojevergas
2.8/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a shitty highball glass in a hotel room in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average merely from the style. Acquired as part of a mixed sixer at the Four Firkins.

Served straight from the refrigerator. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a half finger beige-khaki colour head. Nice cream and thickness. Underwhelming retention, but excusable given the ABV. Colour is a very dark dull nontransparent brown. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Toffee, amber malts, heavy biscuit malt, old ale-esque notes, dark fruit (plum), and raisin. Toffee and plum are dominant. A pleasant aroma of moderate strength. No alcohol is detectable.

T: Sticky plum and toffee, with sugary sweet biscuit malts throughout. Not as hoppy as I'd expect from an English barleywine; any hopping is minimal at best and blandly floral. Raisiney. Dark fruits. The stickiness is a bit of a turn-off. Sort of messy, but not as boozy as you might expect. Not real balanced or complex. I'm not particularly impressed. No yeast or alcohol comes through - quite an achievement at this high an ABV. Overly sweet.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and above all sticky. Not at all creamy. Good thickness, but too heavy on the palate for the lack of diverse flavour. Certainly full bodied. Carbonation is off; I can't tell in which direction. Somewhat chewy. Too sugary.

Dr: Drinkable for the high ABV. I wouldn't have it again, but it's not bad. Well priced. A decent barleywine, but not one worth seeking out.


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Photo of Ungertaker
4.29/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes, 1/6/12.

12oz bottle poured into a tulip.

A- almost black with a 1/2 finger head and minimal light penetration.

S- plums, raisins, sugar cookies

T- vanilla, sweet dried cherries, bourbon, raisins

M- medium to thick mouthfeel with low carbonation. Very smooth, overall.

O- A clean, smooth-drinking 10+% ABV beer. A great winter warmer.

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Photo of lackenhauser
3.97/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Somewhat hazy, coppery color. Nice foamy tan head. Very malty aroma wise. Treacle and a hint of spice-almsot like nutmeg. big malty flavor with just enough hops to notice. Somewhat boozey in a good way. Not a sharp alcohol bite, just a warm sort of burn. Nice body-love the sticky, gummy mouthfeel from the malt. Nice UK version. I could do another or 3.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2008

A= Pours a dark brown burnt caramel color. The head rises to a small skin on top of the glass that falls to a ring and leaves a little lacing but not too much. A pretty basic barleywine color. The head is a bit surprising due to the age on it. Three years old and it still holds some carbonation with a screw cap.

S= The smell still contains a bit of alcohol right up front. First thing other than alcohol I noticed is a sort of toffee sugary aroma. Toasted malt and a touch of dark fruit. Mostly a sticky sweet toffee aroma however.

T= The taste is much smoother than the aroma leads it to be. The alcohol is well hidden and the malt comes off a little less sweet and a little more roasted. The flavors are a bit mild however for such a large beer. Leaves me wanting a little more.

M= Still holding a bit of carbonation which is nice and the mouth isn't super sticky.

O= A quality beverage for sure. The flavors are melding nicely but the flavor isn't as powerful as I expected it to be. Light on flavor. I'll have to buy some fresh to see if the flavor diminished with time or if this is just how it is.

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Photo of crossovert
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hand written twist-off bottle 2008 vintage.

It pours a dark brown with a big, creamy tan head. Nice lacing.

The smell is dark and fruity. It is really nice. It is one of the better smelling BWs out there.

The flavor is pretty good. A classic barleywine. Not overly alcoholic, just smooth and malty with some fruits, light hops and a lot of malt.

Pretty good.

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Photo of alpinebryant
3.92/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From trade from Tumpster? Thanks!

Pours a raisin brown color with virtually no head, but surprisingly leaving a white lacing around the edges pretty well.

Smell of marachino Cherries, blue plums, brown sugar and caramel.

Taste of sweet ripe fruit. Starting with an extremely sweet caramel, and as it warms, a more pronounced cotton candy cherry flavor mixed with caramel ripe plums and brown sugar. Purely English hop varieties which are great. This reminds me of Monster from Brooklyn Brewery with less clean profile which I prefer. There is a more biscuity / graham cracker taste to this which comes together nicely with all of the over the top sweet sugars left over. I dont think this beer is extremely well tenuated but it tastes good nonetheless and maybe that was the plan? Some leftover booze / phenol nail polish-like flavors but overall this is nice, a strong sipper that you should take
your time with.

Thick mouthfeel and light carbonation. definitely slow sip this one and let it warm up.

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Photo of MinnesotaRIS
3.58/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased just outside of Duluth; bottle serving in a glass. Pour with a heavy body, foamy head that dissipates to a layer of creamy foam. Very dark amber, coffe-ish, purple edges and clear.

Malt is profound. Faintly of alcohol. Coffee, toffee, dark caramel malts. Winter spices are evident.

Tastes boozy; caramel and bitter is not balancing very well. Could have been hopped a bit more with nobles. Some grassy in there.

Mouthfeel is actually pleasant; cleans up well and leaves an aftertaste that is not overwhelming at all. This is definitely a winter warmer. I could not drink a bunch of it in one sitting; probably two at the most. It is a rich beer that is a good craft warmer.

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Photo of zeff80
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy color with a one-finger, tan head of soft, bubbly foam. It receded to leave sudsy lace on the the glass.

S - It smelled of caramel, toffee, nuts and floral notes. There was also a boozy presence, too.

T - It tasted of sweet caramel and rich malt. A slightly nutty taste. There is a strong boozy flavor, too.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full-bodied ale with a soft mouthfeel.

D - This is a very nice barleywine. Probably the best from the folks a Lake Superior.

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Photo of Chaz
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brilliantly-clear deep brown/amber in color, topped with a frothy khaki/light tan head. Plenty of lace is left on the sides of the glass as the head slowly recedes, and a good amount of froth is left on top.

The nose is softer than I recall, with dark fruit and no hop presence or trace of bitterness. Plums, prunes and raisins, a hint of phenolic character, but otherwise fairly subdued. The alcohol character is also notably missing*.

Sweet and earthy** on the first sip, with lighter notes of black pepper and pear in the aromatic aspect of the drink. The dark fruits from the nose are all over the place, here, and you'll either appreciate this or you won't. It's not that it's a one-dimensional beer at all, but with all of the other hopped-up American barleywines out there this one would likely seem to fall flat in the eyes (and palate) of some. Some excellent blackberry and cherry notes are left on the back of the palate after the first couple of sips, and there's a touch of lingering bitterness to offset the big up front juiciness and mouthfeel. For some reason this has always reminded me a bit of the dreaded Samuel Adams Triple Bock -- is there maple syrup or sugar in here? Cane or turbinado sugar? It's not a bad thing in my mind, in fact it complements the beer rather well.

Very drinkable for such a big beer, and with nowhere near the heat that I recall it as having back in the hoary old Early Naughts : ) I'm a little surprised that I haven't reviewed this one yet, but on the other hand eight years ago was a blur, and I wasn't "officially" reviewing at the time, and since then Lake Superior has been a little bit difficult to find in the Twin Cities market. Still, this is an old favorite and I'm very glad to revisit it -- worth picking up a couple of sixers at least, as I know for a fact that it ages well!

Served at room temperature, in a tulip.

* I haven't enjoyed OMWW since spring of 2003, but I went through several cases of '02 that year (oh my head . . . : )

** Back when I worked retail, a couple of younger guys returned a sixer of 'Mesabi Red', claiming that it "tasted like dirt". Well, truth be told there -is- an earthy character to Lake Superior's brews (a house ale yeast character, perhaps?) and I liken it to the aromatic aspect of fresh, black dirt. It doesn't bother me in the least, but it's not for everyone.

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Photo of bsp77
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Somewhat dark brown with just a hint of red. Not much head or lacing but has the color of a great wood stain.

Smell: Figs and plum, toffee and molasses. Quite sweet smelling.

Taste: Very sweet with toffee, butterscotch, molasses, plum, figs and even some bittersweet chocolate. While not at all bitter, there is a light lingering English hop taste (Fuggles/Goldings).

Feel: Very low carbonation, very smooth and almost chewy full body.

Drinkability: Extremely full-flavored English Barleywine with an interesting touch of chocolate. Great sipper.

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Photo of jera1350
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours into a snifter a ruby hued brown color. The head is thin and tan in color. Reduces to a ring around the glass. A little lacing.

Not a real strong nose, but does present notes of apple, brown sugar and hops.

Quite metallic up front, dark fruit juice, solid earthy and spicy hop presence, malty and boozy on the back end. Seems like a little age would help this one open up and meld a bit. Definitely gets better as it warms up to room temp.

Feels a little thin, especially at this abv. Soft carbonation with a dry finish.

Not sure why it's listed as a winter warmer when it says on the bottle it is a barleywine. However, this drinks pretty well despite the high abv. It seems to need some age to really be a good beer. Worth a try, but probably better to cellar at this point.

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Photo of ckeegan04
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark mahogany with bright, deep ruby highlights when held up to light. Thin, foamy light brown head quickly fades to a thin cap on top of the beer. Spotty lacing left behind.

S - Rather boozy nose with a strong dark malt sweetness as well. Hints of dark sugar and just a bit of toffee.

T - Sweet and malty up front with a bit of nuttiness and some dark brown sugar. Sweetness lingers throughout and the alcohol is well masked in the taste. There is a pleasant warming.

M/D - Medium to bull bodied and silky smooth. Just enough carbonation to move the flavors through.

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Photo of shadow1961
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lake Superior Old Man Winter Warmer is a beer I've been hearing about for years so I was eager to finally get a sample of it. A hard pour get a finger of creamy foam which collapses pretty quickly. Carbonation doesn't seem to really be part of the equation, though it would be hard to gauge anyway due to the deeply opaque black brew. Nose is bitter chocolate and notes of butterscotch, molasses, and alcohol. The flavor is smokey dark malt, baker's chocolate, molasses, and some sharp grassy/herbal hops off the back. Mouthfeel is smooth and semidry, but there's a bit of alcohol bite which actually accentuates as the brew warms. Very likely the biggest bottled beer made in Minnesota, approach this one with caution- ABV is not listed on the label, but it's probably high-ish. But do give 'er a try...

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Photo of corby112
2.43/5  rDev -37.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark chestnut brown color with amber edges when held to a light source and a very thin off-white head that immediately disappears, leaving not trace of lacing.

Earthy leathery malt aroma with hints of chocolate, dirt(earth), alcohol and dark fruits, namely prune and raisin.

Slightly watered down with some earthy malt flavor, subtle alcohol and earthy hops. Similar to an English style barleywine, but not a good one. Leathery malts, dark fruits, again mostly prune and raisin. Sweet alcohol with some soft carbonation up front making it pretty drinkable for the ABV. Dry finish with bitter hop notes. I wasn't a fan of this one at all.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.52/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A 12 ounce bottle poured into my nonic Imperial pint glass. Appears a clear chestnut / crimson color with about two fingers of quickly fading light ecru foam. Nose and flavor are of brown sugar, raisins, cherries, plums, a touch of cocoa and rich roasted grains. About medium bodied with adequate carbonation. Glad I was able to try something from this brewery, a first for me.

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Photo of mikesgroove
2.73/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Another extra  I had received recently. I had never actually heard to his one before, so I really was flying blind into it. Served at cellar temp and poured into a snifter, this one was consumed on 05/19/2009.
The pour was decent, nothing earth shattering here, with a ruddy copper color, light reddish tint to it, but again nothing really standing out much for me. Light crown of white was on top initially but that also faded quite quickly leaving the top essentially bare. Aroma was a bit hot, lots of caramel and bready malts, hints of what may have at one time been a piney hop bite had faded into a mellow, and messy malt monster. Again the flavor misses the mark for me, too hot and not enough balance for me to be honest. Almost a medicinal quality to the taste as it warms, light candied sugar tries to save it but really does not come across well. Light carbonation, almost old ale like, but again, not very interesting.
Overall not bad per se, but nothing to write home about either. I just think it tried to be too strong and that really drown out any hope it had for a mellow and balance feel. A bit of a mess.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.07/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear brown with a barely noticeable crème head. Nose is strong figs and raisins. Flavor is bringing the same but also an alcohol burn that would probably dissipate after a few years. Feel is slick and sticky smooth with pretty low carbonation. Decent now, but probably very very good in a few years. One of the better barley wines I've had in quite some time (besides Gratitude that is).

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Photo of grub
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

WankerWeasel hooked me up with this as a bonus in a recent trade. thanks ben!

12oz bottle. sampled feb 7/09.

pours deep red-brown, crystal clear and showing lovely garnet hues when held to the light. a thin wisp of light tan head appears and disappears almost instantly, leaving only a few spots of lace to mark its passage.

aroma is nice. alcohol. caramel and toffee. bit of butterscotch. multi-grain bread and biscuit. has a bit of a doppelbock feel to it. bit of dark fruit. slightly earthy.

taste is good. dark fruit - raisin, date, fig. caramel, toffee, and butterscotch. lightly toasted whole wheat bread. cracker. earthy. medium-low bitterness level.

mouthfeel is good. just over medium body. medium carbonation level.

drinkability is pretty good. there's definitely a nice warming alcohol, but this is a winter warmer after all. there's a solid malty base and a little bitterness to keep things somewhat in check. i liked this one.

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Old Man Winter Warmer from Lake Superior Brewing Company
3.91 out of 5 based on 110 ratings.
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