Butte Creek Winter Ale | Butte Creek Brewing Company

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Butte Creek Winter AleButte Creek Winter Ale
32 Ratings
Butte Creek Winter AleButte Creek Winter Ale

Brewed by:
Butte Creek Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-18-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 32 |  Reviews: 31
Reviews by beerphilosopher:
Photo of beerphilosopher
3.22/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep brown color with a light cocoa head that lasted well. Sheets of lace in the pint glass. Nose was all sweet malts (smells like Ovaltine) and not much else. Palate is also of roasted malts, caramel, and a touch of chocolate. Nowhere near as rich as the nose lets on. Mouthfeel is thin, even for a Porter. Moderately low carbonation and an easy dry finish. All in all, not a bad porter at all, but the thinness of this beer is it's biggest fault. Big nose, small flavors. Good, but could be much better.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.62/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a brown color with nice creamy head.Like the other reviewr of this one I got a very buttery smell from this wich I really liked.Very malty taste and somewhat rich,very chocolaty and earthy.Kind of light in body but drinkable.Pretty good winter ale I must say.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.03/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – This one is a very dark brown in color with some light ruby notes along the edges of the glass. The head is huge and holds up really well. It left some nice lacing on the inside of my glass.

Smell – The brownish, toasted malt notes are very pleasing, as only a good Brown Ale can be. The raw sugars are very rich and controlled. I can pick up a light English hopping of some kind that rounds things out nicely. There is a subtle yeastiness to the malts that keeps one interested.

Taste – The darkish malts step things up big time at the taste. They are big and bitter and littered with coffee grounds. The light leafy hops actually manage to smooth things out here.

Mouthfeel – This medium-bodied ale has some light carbonation and is very bitter.

Drinkability – This is a deep, serious Brown Ale that demands respect. It went down nicely and I would easily buy again.

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Photo of OStrungT
3.3/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark brown with a slight mohogany tint. It has a thin light tan head that fades a little too fast. It leaves minimal laces.

This beer has a nutty aroma. It smells malty sweet. It has a toffee like nose. A slight hint of floral hops mixes in as well.

This beer tastes quite nutty. It has some biscuit like flavor also. It has a sweet caramel malt taste. It also tastes slightly spicy.

This beer is quite undercarbonated. It leaves a nutty aftertaste.

This beer might be a decent session beer. It is very mildly flavored, and it is not too high in alcohol.

Overall: I am not impressed with this beer. It is almost not carbonated, which is bad for the style. Also, the flavor is quite booring. With all the great winter beers out there, I will not spend my money on this mediocre one.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.49/5  rDev +22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A clear, deep, russett-brown body reveals light mahogany highlights at the base of the glass. A rough pour brings up a short head of light tan froth, but it inevitably receeds to just a creamy collar around some lacy surface foam. A tilt of the glass, however, reveals some very fine bubbles; and its soft, low-level carbonation leaves it exceptionally smooth across the palate. It's obviously intended to have more of an English feel to it, and as such, a low-level head is quite appropriate. In the nose, some highly kilned malt borders on roastiness along with some chocolate, toffee, toasty nuttiness, and a swatch of sweet buttery caramel. The same character is carried over into the flavor; and although the body is light, the flavor remains rich. An underlying bitterness is necessitated by such a delicate ale, and it's excuisitely executed here. It finishes with a light touch of fruit wrapped in nutty caramel; then fades to a dry roastiness and dull bitterness in the aftertaste. A most impressive English-style brown ale that appears as if poured from a cask straight out of the bottle!

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Photo of ElGordo
3.89/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Our local distributor ordered way too much of this beer and had to sell it basically at cost. Thus, my store was selling it at $3.95/6pk, or cheaper than Budweiser.
Pours a deep amber hue, topped by a wisp of creamy white head that remains floating on top for a while. Very appealing aroma of sweet roasted malt, with huge notes of vanilla bean, bourbon whisky, and light chocolate. Palate is more of the same - nice, sweet roasted malt accented by mild bittering hops, along with notes of vanilla, pepper, and a faint hint of clove. Good, sturdy body lingers on the palate, helping to keep this tasty beer a slow-sipper. Tasty, and almost unbeatable for the (current) price.

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Photo of silver0rlead
3.77/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with ruby highlights, and an off white head that dissipates quickly. The aroma has some toasted bread, blackstrap molasses, spices, floral hops, chestnuts and hazelnuts and some roasted malts. The flavor starts out with roasted malts and toasted bread, followed by some blackstrap molasses, spices, spicy and floral hops, hazelnut and chestnut, nutmeg and cinammon. The mouthfeel is a shade lighter than medium with moderate carbonation and good drinkability. An enjoyable winter brown ale.

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Photo of russpowell
4.17/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a lets say chestnut brown color since thats what the brewers are puporting this as, fairly accurate on the color side of things. 1" white head head quicly drops to a bubbly film with some lacing

Smell: Big fruity malt nose with good layers of cinamon and brown sugar.

Taste: Big toasty malt/nutty taste with some spicyness cutting through (brown sugar, vanilla & malt)

MF: Good carbonation, but not enough body for winter ale.

Drank just fine. but thought this was brown ale unless I didn't already know better. I'll try again out curiosity to see if aging affects for better or worse (my guess)

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Photo of Dukeofearl
3.47/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque, dark brown ("chestnut brown", according to the label- ok by me, but I can't tell the difference) with a medium tan head thta quickly drops to a nothing cover. Aroma is sweet, malty, some slight winter spice-pleasant, but nothing sticks its head up and begs to take note.

Flavor is a hit of winter spices (there they are!) backed by some hops at the end of the swallow. Some malty, creamy feel, but the spices are the main event here (as they should be).

Full-bodied, nice pleasant drink. This is an alright beer, but to be honest, I'm not a big fan of the style.

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Photo of lou91
3.13/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer has a nice dark brown color with little head on the pour. It is a pleasant brown ale but faar from a true winter beer - way too thin and nothing big, spicy or special about it. It has a nice malt hop balance and goes down easy - like a negra modelo. Good with food but not as a true winter. They have another x-mas ale which i just picked up and hope to add to the butte creek list. I was fortunate to get a single bottle and did not have to buy a 6-pack.

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Photo of scottoale
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle pours a dark copper ale with a half-inch thick almond head. Good carbonation and very little lacing, the head fades quickly.

Burnt toasty malt and caramel are the stand-outs with this warmer. After notes of toffee and nuts come into play. Not much in the hop dept. makes it through the sweet, malty nose.

To the tongue, sweet malts stand out, then give way to a nice roasted nut flavor (almond, pecan and hazelnut come to mind). The burnt malty smell translates to a somewhat smokiness in taste, not cloying however. All in all, it's a very "nutty" brown ale...style suited.

Not to sure of the ABV, it's certainly well hidden. A pleasant easy to drink brown ale with a filling, creamy mouthfeel and a well balanced smooth finish...a bit like Pete's Wicked if you will...cheers!

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

The color a deep lucent brown, the head presentable in size, spumescent in texture, and a winsome light tan in color, lace is sufficient to cover the glass. Nose is caramel, sweet malt, crisp and pleasing with very light hints of toasted grain, sweet malt laden start, top is moderate in its feel. Finish is prickly in its carbonation; hops are upfront and pleasant in their spiciness, quite dry aftertaste, a nice drinkable beer that shows up here about every other year?

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Photo of plaid75
3.41/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 Vintage.

Poured a medium brown hue with an incredible 7 finger foamy tan head. There was good retention and lacing. The beer was nearly impossible to pour because of the incredible head.

The smell featured a lightly sweet grainy malt with some smoky traces.

The taste was rather well balanced with an upfront soft sweetness that faded into a clean nuttiness.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness with some cloying sweetness at the start. Overly carbonated in my opinion.

Overall a decent brown ale.

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Photo of Zorro
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear deep chestnut brown colored ale with an ample tan head.

Smell is roasted malt and fruity, with a noticeable alcohol scents. Chocolate and vanilla scents with a little sourness and butterscotch too.

Taste is coffee and chocolate up front with a slight tangy flavor. Mild sweetness and a subtle bitterness. Slight metallic flavor, not strong and it is mostly an aftertaste and subtle. Mildly warming in the chest would guess alcohol is 7-9%

Mouthfeel is the one weakness here it is a bit watery.

Drinkability is good. Sort of basic but well executed and pleasant, mouthfeel might be a bit light for a winter beer

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Photo of daliandragon
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The bear on the label gives a thumbs up and a big grin and so far the pour is bearing this to be so (no pun intended..ok, i lied, it was). Decent head on top of a dark, light trapping, brown boody and accompanied by a sweet nose with coffee and roasted nut notes.

The taste is malty and nutty and well textured and finishes with a surprising kick of hops. Carbonation is a little off, especially at the finish, where the beer is completely flat. It is better balanced than a lot of brown ales I've had but the taste doesn't quite do it for me and I wouldn't choose this beer for a session unlesss choices were pretty thin.

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Photo of Reidrover
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ok new offering 2003 Winter Ale..has big brown bear on label holding beer and giving thumbs up..cant beat that!
Well says this is a "chesnut brown "ale..its actually a lot darker..dark garnet in colour in fact ( almost like a Scotch ale)..with a small tan coloured head..I would have given the appearance an extra ).% had this not been out of style.
Pleasant but weakish aroma of malts ..milky , creamy scent also.
Nice enough tasste of the sweet malts..mild hop below..smooth
This is strange on the palate..its creamy and smooth and at the same time well carbonated..weird.
A nice drinkable ale..not excellent..but a good enough to quaff a few I dare say.

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Photo of karst
4.39/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Derbert (from our Thanksgiving trade)

The first snow of the season sends a storm of song birds to the feeder in the backyard between the snow covered black slotted deck and the clearing between the house and woods stacks up with the usual mid Missouri wildlife. Just past the tree line 25 yards away two does watch as this years crop of doe play in the lightly falling snow - their first snow.

Inside counting myself lucky that my job of tasting beer keeps me at home. Like the bear on the label, I can slumber late and stay in the den.

Winter Ale pours "wet bear" chestnut brown, clear with mahogany highlights when the 0.4 L rastal sniffer is held up to the snowy landscape. The tan head has quickly vanished like the deer in the woods. The only trace is the tracks left behind around the meniscus. A ring sustained by fine bubbles of CO2 that rise and follow the edge. A wisp of lace hangs on the New Belgium glass like a icing of snow on the pine branch disturbed by a cardinal that sends it falling to the bare ground sheltered beneath.

Thankful that I choose the sniffer I huff in the aroma of heavy roasted malts, chocolate, toffee and sweet caramel. These are reflected in the rich flavors like my now half full glass against the window. I open the patio door to let my yellow lab, Daisy, in from her winter walk. A light body but still enjoyable mouthfeel is inhanced by a near perfect malt : hop balance. The bitterness from well balance hops keep the taste buds clean and the beer finishes with dry impressive end.
This English-style brown ale was a welcome winter guest as I listen to the cars race as their tires spin against the hilly country road made almost impassible for the day. A day when you take pleasure in your cellared ales that you have so wisely put away for winter storms.

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Photo of SethB2
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served out of a bottle, poured into a pint glass.

Pours very dark, much like a porter, with nice fluffy 1.5 finger head. It is slightly sticky, but the lacing isn't overy impressive. But still it is a very nice looking beer. Initial smell is strong in fruits, raspberry maybe, and some toasted malts. Taste is bready, with fruit backing. Not much hop present. Mouthfeel is full and rich. Perfect amount of carbonation.

This is probably my favorite Butte Creek beer. Well done.

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Photo of JISurfer
3.44/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was an ok beer, but nothing to write home about. I bought it and all the other Winter beers that I could down here in SC a few weeks ago. I am slowly making my way through the beers and this one didn't really stand out from the lot. The smell was pretty good, with hints of roasted malts, some various spices, and cherries. The taste was similar, but more in the area of the roasted malts. It does get better as the beer warms up, but still nothing too exciting. Another notch in the preverbial "bed post" I guess.

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: 12 oz bottle with no freshness markings. Pours a dark brown with some tawny hues when backlit. Very little light comes through this beer. The head is creamy and sits for a long time before thinning. Swirling also revives a nice, smooth head.

Smell: Very malty, toasted malts, chocolate malt, anise and grass.

Taste: Very roasty and tangy with a rich malty base. Very sweet with a mild spicing of cloves and pepper. Sandy with some dried cranberry and raisin flavors anda bit of red apple. Some floral hop flavor pops in at the end with faintly bitter ending. The aftertaste is very bready and sweet.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied with a slightly watery feel. Smooth without any stickiness.

Drinkability: This is a tasty brown ale and breaks from other winter beers by being neither overly spiced nor terribly sweet. I like this beer in the winter or any other time. It's a solid offering from good brewery.

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Photo of beerguy101
3/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Eclipse black color, small head. Burnt coffee aroma. Thin tasting brown ale. Roasted malts, chocolate and coffee flavor reminiscent of a stout. Slightly spicy. Balancing between a brown ale and a winter warmer, this beer sort of splits down the middle; but, NOT in a good way. Mouthfeel is a little thin. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is malty.

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Photo of brentk56
2.7/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Way overcarbonated, with a huge frothy head sitting atop a mahogany colored liquid with garnet highlights; leaves lots of lacing, however (Since others have had the opposite experience with the level of carbonation, I wonder whether the brewery is having some quality control problems.)

Smell: An odd balsa wood and menthol aroma

Taste: Starts with a nutty and bready flavor that is joined, mid-palate by that odd bitter balsa/menthol quality; after the swallow, some chocolate joins in that provides a welcome relief, but those odd bitter flavors return in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and sudsy

Drinkability: I really cannot recommend this one - just too many flaws; not sure whether this is organic but my experience with organics has been that most are sub par

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Photo of harpus
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of WetCoaster
3.87/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Quite something, this. Very deep true brown with a dense, massive, foamy head with great retention. Didn't see that coming. Honestly, I'm not sure if this head is a good or bad thing. I say good; but I'm gonna cut a notch off the score because it might be a case of carb gone crazy -- it may not be intentional.

Smell:Spicy hop, dense toffee malt and yeast combine into a nice spiced caramel apple.

Taste: Pretty good. Hops are MUCH more bitter than the scent would suggest, but are countered (beaten down?) nicely by thick, roasty, dark chocolate malt and buttery toffee flavors and a tangy apple tartness.

Mouthfeel: I actually like it quite a bit; syrupy, but the carbonation is remarkably (too?) strong and drags it back to the lively zone. Works for me.

Drinkability: I like it, but it's such a glassful of contrasts that I think one is enough. It's sort of like a sea urchin in a sense, with flavors and textures shooting out in all directions. It's good, but I can't help but wonder if some of this was an accident.

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Photo of FormatKid
4.08/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A pricey six pack of this showed up at my local store that stocks some craft beer. What the heck? I'm always looking to try new stuff and I'm hoping buying their beer will encourage a better selection. Anyway, I dumped this beer into a standard pint glass. I get a nice head with a decent amount of retention, thin whisps of lace. The body of this beer is clear, but a good deal darker than your standard brown ale almost like the "burnt sienna" crayon. The head is suprisngly white. Very sublte nose typical of brown ales, some smokiness and light touches of caramel and biscuit. This beer is a lot more flavorful than the nose would have you believe though. Toasted nuts, dabs of milk chocolate and caramel, a faint puff of smoke, and a nice hop smattering in the finish. The mouthfeel is soft and really quenching. A really solid and flavorful brown. Is this beer worth the $10 I paid for a sixer? Probably not. Also I think I think a brown ale is sort of a weird winter seasonal, but then again so is Celebration IPA.

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Butte Creek Winter Ale from Butte Creek Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.66 out of 5 with 32 ratings