Old Man Winter Warmer | Lake Superior Brewing Company

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Old Man Winter WarmerOld Man Winter Warmer
Very Good
111 Ratings
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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 111 |  Reviews: 72
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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Photo of Viggo
3.38/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle, thanks to grub for sharing.

Pours a nicely clear dark red, some light brown and orange hues, thin off white head forms, forms a thin ring around the glass, some lace spots stick around, looks nice. Smell is strong, lots of alcohol jumps out, brown sugar, raisin, lots of fruit, strawberries, cherries, fusels, very sweet, sherry, pretty interesting. Taste is similar, very sweet and fruity, shery, caramel, raisins, brown sugar, alcohol, nutty, watery and slightly bland, a bit of a bitter and spicy astringency in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low to medium carbonation, goes down easy but is a little weird and not very exciting. Thanks Russ!

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Photo of maximum12
3.54/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

10.3%. Good warm up for the main event tonight.

We used to drink a fair amount of Lake Superior, years ago when it was one of the few "micros" at the bottle shop just down the street from our old house; Kayak Kolsch was once one of the wife's favorite brews. This is one I haven't seen before this winter.

Smell is downright excellent, lots of dark sweet fruit flowing out of the pint glass. Taste doesn't quite follow suit. Both the sweetness & the fruits are present, but muted, with the alcohol rushing in a bit unpleasantly to disrupt their little tango. It's distracting. I couldn't drink more than one of these.

Interesting to see what a year or two would do to this beer. Right now it's got a fine nose on it, & I suspect if the booze were toned down a bit, this would be a winner. As is, it's pretty good, but not as good as the smell advertises.

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Photo of gford217
4.17/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle courtesy of Buebie poured into a snifter.

Pours a dark, dark copper with a small creamy off-white head that recedes fairly quickly to a ring and a swirl of bubbles in the middle. There was spotty lacing.

The aroma had lots of caramel malt sweetness with lots of dark fruits as well - figs, plums, raisins. There was also a noticeable citrus hop kick with oranges and grapefruit mainly.

The taste was similar to the aroma with the abundant caramel malts and dark fruits. The citrus is present up front but not as prevalent as the aroma. The finish had some alcohol burn that lasted quite a while.

The mouthfeel is slightly slick but definitely not as sugary sweet as a barleywine. Good carbonation with a slight bitterness from the hops.

This a very good winter warmer that borders on a barleywine but doesn't quite get there. Either way, a complex beer that might actually taste better in a few months.

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Photo of Buebie
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle with no freshness date. New lable design, so I knoe its fresh.

Dark, almost black in color, with a ruby red glow when held to light.
2 finger tan fluffy head. Receeding to a thin cap of retention and thin spotty lace.

Aroma of red grapes, dark fruit, alcahol fumieness, plums and spices with wisps of grassy hops. Some doughy bready aroma, sweet burnt caramel, and some chocolate grain aroma.

Taste up front is mildly sweet and soo soo smooth, very little carbonation. Not at all flat, just enough carbonation, with an inky creamieness to the mouthfeel.
More dark fruits, fermented grapes, cherries, chocolate malts and hints of coffee, burnt caramel, cinnemon?
Cloves, just flat out a malt bomb, god this is good. No alcahol warming on the pallet. Finish is with grassy hops and hints of pine in a dry type of mellow flavor.

This is one modest WW, borderline barleywine! I highly recommend giving this a whirl if you have any chance to do so. Its well balanced and flat out delicious.

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Photo of optiontwo
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. Poured into generic pint glass

Appearance: Very dark reddish brown with minimal tan/white head.

Smell: Roasted malts, lots of dark chocolate notes with a subtle coffee smell in the background. Hints of vanilla and bourbon in there too, smells delicious.

Taste: Mmmmm, for perfect a cold night. The roasted malt smell present in the aroma comes through in the forefront of the flavor which is really quite interesting. I'm used to barley wines being sweet right away but this has a nice bitter roasted coffee type flavor to it. After that the chocolate, vanilla, and bourbon come through and compliment everything very nicely. Since my bitter detecting taste buds are satisfied by the initial flavor the hops definitely play background characters but are still there.

Mouthfeel: On the lighter side for a barley wine. This beer is almost like if you mixed a porter and a barley wine together. It's dark in color like a porter, light(er) in body, and has coffee and chocolate notes but at the same time has the sweetness and bitter after taste that most of the barley wines I've tried offer. Anyway, the carbonation feels right and the mouthfeel isn't too thick.

Drinkability: High ABV takes away from the drinkability but this is definitely way more drinkable than other barley wines that weigh in at the same ABV, like Old Ruffian or Hog Heaven for example (both of which I love).

Overall: I suppose most of this should be taken with a grain of salt seeing as BA says this is a winter warmer but I reviewed it as a barley wine, but that's because it clearly states that's what it is on the bottle. In all I really enjoyed it and I'm glad I have five more in the fridge especially since Thanksgiving is in just a few days. This is a great holiday brew that I will pick up again if I'm lucky enough.

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Photo of jpalarchio
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Twist off cap, kind of odd. Bottle says barley wine, BA says winter warmer. Confusing start here...

Pours a deep, really deep, reddish-brown color (nearly black) with a decent head. Smell is very malty, with nearly a bit of bourbon like hint. Taste is a bit harsh and the alcohol is very evident. As it warms, the taste seems to mellow or perhaps it's just the alcohol kicking in.

One bottle in a sitting on this one, can't see putting down too many more than that.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this brew in a trade with josephhaugen, Thanks Joe!

12oz bottle served in a tulip glass.

L - dark brown color with a small tan head that fell to a ring, carbonation bubbles rose continuosly.

S - sweet date/fig and a touch of alcohol in the aroma.

T - sweet date taste upfront with a slight bitterness and alcohol warming on the finish.

F - medium bodied with mild carbonation.

D - a nice sipper or nightcap on a cold day/night.

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Photo of DrJay
3.08/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Received from JeffKrenner as part of my BC2 package. Thanks!
There was a loud hiss when I popped the cap. It poured with a gigantic dark beige head, some chunky lacing, good retention. The beer was dark brown, nearly opaque, a little hazy around the edges. Warm malt aroma with herbal hop notes, some caramel. Bitterness was solid, but not overly strong. Hefty malt backbone that didn't have cloying sweetness. Herbal hops throughout with a bit of peppery spice in the finish (plus a little warmth). Hints of chocolate were present once it warmed. The carbonation was way too high and very distracting - to the point that it was difficult to tell what flavours were present. It seemed like a decent beer, but the carbonation level was a serious problem. I really don't expect this type of texture from a "barley wine style ale".

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

A very good beer. For 10% abv the alcohol has taken a back seat which was a nice surprise. Very nice dark brown with good foam throughout. The aroma was bursting with fruit. So much so that it was difficult for me to pick out individual fruit. All this mixed with plenty of malts and molasses. Perfect for what its name implies - a "winter warmer." Makes me wish for the cold weather to stay.

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Photo of MMAJYK
4.12/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Deep, dark brown; almost black in color with ruby hues when held to the light. The head is one finger of tan head after a semi conservative pour. You cannot see through it because it is so dark.

S- Darkness. Over ripe fruits, such as plums, raisins, and grapes. There are some citrusy notes and florals there too. The malts are very sweet and burnt-like caramel. The alcohol burns the nose a little on the end of the whiff. VERY complex smell.

T- Served just under room temperature, the fruits are BUSTING out at the seams. Where do I begin....Dark red cherries, raisins, dark fruits, plums, same as smells. The malts are super sweet and syrupy with some caramel and chocolate like tastes. There is a lemon like zing there too. The alcohol taste is hidden pretty well, but it warms the chest like crazy on the way down. I honestly had to take my shirt off while I write this. WOW! This is a very complex beer.

M- Carbonation is about mid-way up the scale. Mouthfeel is thick to medium and leaves a sticky lacing or film on the tongue and hangs around there for a long time, even without taking another drink.

D- Style in mind here, it is very drinkable. Hmm...let's just say it is very sippable, that would be more accurate. It would be perfect for sitting by the fire on a cold night.

Overall- Unreal. No joke, I was NOT expecting all of these complexities from the nose, to the tongue, to the feel, to the aftertaste/burn. Absoultely amazing for what it is. It warmed me right up and was totally enjoyable. I loved it. GREAT JOB to the guys who made this.

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Photo of ntillemans
2.65/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A - This one is a dark, clear red with a little head.

S - A nice caramel smell

T - There's a strong hop flavor here. Otherwise, it's missing a lot of the complexity I was hoping for. It's an over-hopped American beer with a high ABV.

M - There's some bitterness but mostly an alcohol burn.

D - I couldn't drink much of this because of the high ABV and bitterness.

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Old Man Winter Warmer from Lake Superior Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.91 out of 5 with 111 ratings