Winter Warmer
Picaroons Traditional Ales

Winter WarmerWinter Warmer
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Barleywine - English
Ranked #221
Ranked #32,490
3.75 | pDev: 15.2%
Picaroons Traditional Ales
New Brunswick, Canada
Very Good
Winter WarmerWinter Warmer
Notes: Brewery description: This strong ale, with its deep mahogany color and intense fruity nose is our interpretation of a classic English barley wine. Its enjoyment lies in the balance between the rich maltiness, hoppy aroma and alcoholic warmth.
Reviews: 19 | Ratings: 46 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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souvenirs from Canada (BC)

3.62/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Given the name, I was expecting a winter warmer, but I see this is a barleywine.

A red brown and clear with tan head
S roasted grains, molasses
T quite sweet with a lingering bitterness
F crisp on the tongue

Dec 18, 2016
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julienbeerstein from Canada (NB)

3.67/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

nice and bready from the roasted malts, some toffee nut flavour, bitter hops at the end but just a hint, after taste is a little spicey as well likely from the yeast.
Over all, it is a well balanced beer however the lower than average ABV for a barley wine, and the overall lack of creativity in this beer is a downside.

Nov 29, 2015
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PorterPro125 from Canada (NB)

3.54/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

This is the second winter I have purchased Picaroons Winter Warmer and I am pleased to say my thoughts have not changed a bit!

Serving Type: 500 mL Bottle

A- Pours a beautiful dark red/brown colour with little to no head. There is a thin skiff of foam that persists throughout the session.

S- The smell of this brew is reminiscent of a festive winter kitchen. Nutmeg, cinnamon, and fruity notes are quite noticeable. Raisin notes seem to take the forefront in the nose.

T- The taste is heavenly to say the least. Fruity and spicy, balanced by a small dosage of hops that shows itself towards the end of the finish.

M- Although it is classified as a barleywine, it doesn't quite have the full body of a typical barleywine. Medium to light body.

O- Although this is no doubt a great beer, I've grown tired of it after a 6 pack. Despite this, I must say that it is a beautiful brew that provides a pleasant alcoholic warmth that goes hand in hand with a cold winter night! If you can handle the intensity and alcoholic strength, I recommend that you pick this brew up if it is available in your area.

Dec 22, 2013
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Ivanhoes_Backpack from Canada (NB)

4.21/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Side by side with a bottle of Garrison Winter Warmer. Each poured into 4oz tasting glasses. Admittedly, the two are listed as different styles, but they come from a pretty similar base.

A – clear, dark ruby colour with slight light tan head and good lacing. Very pretty beer to sip in front of the fire.

S – dark fruits like raisins, some cinnamon, malt.

T – lots of sweetness, dark fruits again, light spiciness, little hop bitterness at the end, great balance.

M – medium bodied, pretty smooth given the higher abv. Good carbonation.

O – got this beer less than a week old and man is it good. Picaroons batches tend to be inconsistent as a whole, but their Winter Warmer this year has been spot on. Lot of great dark fruits, hints of spices, hops, malt. Great drinkability, especially at 7.3% abv. Excellent balance. This is some of the best stuff Picaroons has churned out in years. And to be honest, it’s about time. If Picaroons finds a way to be consistent, they could be among the top breweries in Canada, certainly of English-style beers.

Dec 08, 2013
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JohnnyBarman from Canada (ON)

3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Single bottle from the brewery, picked up for me by a friend passing through on the way to Nova Scotia.

Poured into a nonic glass. Dark ruby-brown in colour, with a billowing white head that settled nicely as a thick ring. Lots of lacing.

Nose is earthy and rich in caramel, brown sugar, and with a bit of vanilla, dark fruit and leafy hops.

Similar tasting notes as in the nose. Lingering earthy and leafy hops, with a nice caramel, chocolate and vanilla entry. Dry on the tongue. Carbonation is a touch high, but several minutes of warming and air exposure calms things down and opens up the possibilities of this brew.

Like many other of my BA colleagues have stated, this is far more akin to a Winter Warmer than a barleywine, which really shows you how challenging ale categorization is when even the brewery itself calls it an "interpretation" of a barleywine. But since the brew is called Winter Warmer, and since it tastes like one, I feel can rate it as one - and it's a pretty enjoyable one at that. Earthier than I expected, but certainly pleasant and complex enough to be worth a pick up!

Jan 07, 2012
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liamt07 from Canada (ON)

3.01/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle from cjbmcdon a while back, 500ml into a pint glass. Thanks Chris.

Pours an almost opaque dark brown with some mahogany and violet highlights, thin tan head with some good retention. Nose has some pressed red grapes, slightly wet wood and earthy notes, brown sugar and some dark fruits with an almost rotten note to it - not pleasant really, odd and almost 'old.' Some caramelized notes as well. Flavour has more of the name, some old dirty caramelized dark fruits with a weird bitterness that comes through around the middle of the mouth and battles with the sweetness. A bit of sourness, chocolate and some alcohol in the end. Carbonation is high and out of place, almost fizzy at points - swirling this around for a while did it a service. Unimpressive and uninteresting overall, betters as it hits room temperature but the verdict remains the same. Not a barleywine, but an odd winter warm that I don't think I would revisit.

Oct 13, 2011
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LazyL from Canada (BC)

3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The 500 ml bottle pours a dark red/ brown that looks almost black when not held to the light. The mocha foam starts off thick and creamy. The nose is stout like with some nice roasted malt, espresso, dark fruits and a little boozy. Very nice and representative for this style. The taste is all roasted malt and boozy Christmas fruit. The mouthfeel is dry and has a little bitterness on the finish that really balances out the sweetness. Overall this is a good beer and very easy to drink. Please make sure you dont drink it too cold as it really opens up as it warms. Perfect brew for a Winter evening, I feel warmer allready.

Mar 23, 2011
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spree92 from Canada (NB)

4.22/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First off, as mentioned in other reviews, this is a Winter Warmer and not an English Barlewine. Now a review. 500ml bottle with no date that I could see.

A- A deep brown/mahogany all the way around. The fluffy, big-bubbled creamy head made a nice impression on me and the glass. Heavy lacing left behind.

S- Lots of stuff goin' on here. Roasted malts, toffee, vanilla and a touch of coffee are present. There is enough room for the hoppy aroma to fight through at the end.

T- The great balance of malts and hops are awesome. Everything from the smell is picked up during consumption.

M- Such a lingering, changing affect. Just when I thought there was nothing left, the bitterness hits late. The toffee notes are the ones that stick around the longest.

D- 7.3%, really! This is such a great beer and so well balanced that I slowly creeps into a fav category. Also note that this is much better and complex as it nears room temperature.

Mar 08, 2011
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robnews from Canada (NB)

4.04/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Stella chalice.

Nice hoppy malt with fruity notes on the nose. Pleasant smell.

Thick 3 finger head with vigorous pour. Dark almost stouty head with dark cherry like color.

Fruity taste, bitter with warmness throughout. Long aftertaste, kind of creamy. Definitely unique. Slightly harsh but drinkable. Hints of caramel. Not bad actually. Better than average. Yes I can finish it.

Dec 17, 2010
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Long813 from Canada (ON)

1.93/5  rDev -48.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Bottled on: 08/02/10
From: Premier Wine & Spirits

A: Dark brown body with a thin ring of tanned head and no lacing.

S: Hard to distinguish what I note here. Malty base, some sour notes and something funky.

T: Strong malt base with some very displeasing taste to follow. Can't point my finger on it, but it's very displeasing.

M: Medium-thick bodied and medium carbonation. Leaves a very unpleasing aftertaste. Alcohol is also quite present.

D: Barleywine or winter warmer, this beer is quite aweful. I would not recommend this to anyone and it's extremely hard to finish - if I even can.

Jul 06, 2010
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bobsy from Canada (ON)

3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is as much an English barleywine as the transparent liquid that comes out of your tap. However, the brewery description states its a barleywine, so as a barleywine it stays.

(Psst! Its really a winter warmer!)

Pours a medium brown with red highlights and a light tan head that dropped to a film and left the odd spot of lace. Obviously less carbonated than most Picaroons I've come across so far. Caramel, biscuit, floral hopping and mild diacetyl greet the nose. Flavours very decent for the style (if it was a winter warmer). Strong caramel, biscuit malts, a hint of spice, and a light butter presence (more complimentary than detracting). Medium bodied with a nice carbonation.

No barleywine, but definitely a winter warmer in the British tradition. It certainly doesn't amaze me, but it does make for a pleasant and easy quaff. Go into it with the right expectations and you'll be fine.

Thanks to Jeremy and Karen for sharing.

May 22, 2010
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wordemupg from Canada (AB)

3.18/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle poured into pint glass may3 2010

A a light brown with some red when held to the light, a fast falling thumbs width of tan head left a few patches of lace

S not too much some sour apple and a little vinegar

T again a little tart with almost a sour wine taste and some overripe dark fruit

M a little thin for the style but decent carbonation saves it from having a watery feel

D nothing special but nothing offensive either for 7.5% its was easy enough to drink

I think this my be my first beer from this brewer and I need to thank Moniker for that chance

May 04, 2010
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PEIBeerGuy from Canada (PE)

3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's a very dark, yet clear, beer. It seems dark brown, but is more of a deep red-brown. The head is pretty nice, and a little of it lasts pretty much for the duration of the drink. What does vanish leaves its traces on the glass.

It smells pretty good... a bit sweet and roasty, but to be honest... the fruity / sweet part of it almost has a hint of pee.

The taste is good. Pretty much what I expected from Picaroons. Supposedly, it's a "barleywine", but it tastes pretty much the same as a few dark beers I've had before. It's def. got a roasted character, tastes of dark / bitter chocolate, and does have some kind of a tartness / acidity like a fruity wheat ale.

It's a bit creamy, smooth, and carbonated pretty much just right. Maybe a bit overly so if you you let it run around over your tongue... it or the tartness leaves a bit of a tingling effect on the sides.

Quite drinkable!

Mar 13, 2010
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berley31 from Canada (NB)

3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured with a large, off-white head that dissipated to 1/2-finger or so. Body is a deep, dark, clear shade of ruby red... it really looks black until you hold it to the light.

S: Strong malt sweetness in the aroma; some roasted and burnt notes as well, with hints of caramel.

T: Slightly fruity, with a high amount of roasted flavor at first, then finishes quite sweet with just a touch of bitterness. Very slight hint of alcohol warmth. Average duration.

M: Medium bodied, quite creamy, with average carbonation.

D: So, it's an English barleywine, and not a winter warmer? Either way, an enjoyable winter brew.

Mar 06, 2010
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Seanstoppable from Canada (NS)

3.03/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A recent acquisition from Premier Wine and Spirits. As the weather warms up, I figured if I was going to get a Winter Warmer, I should get it while it is still winter.

Pours an extremely dark red, almost to the point of being black. You pretty much almost have to hold it in front of a light to detect color. Plenty of head, 3 fingers in fact, which slowly evaporated.

Fairly fragrant. After opening the bottle I could start smelling it right away. Initial scent was actually a bit sour, reminding me of a bad batch of Jon By I had a bit back. That quickly cleared away, leaving some bready malts and a hint of alcohol.

Taste is of bready malt with a hint of chocolate and some alcohol. Unfortunately, while sourness had disappeared from the nose, there is a bit of a sour note at the end. Bready aftertaste for a minute or so.

The sour note isn't to prevalent, so it is at least drinkable. It just niggles at your taste buds from time to time. Overall decent, but better examples of winter warmers and barleywines are available locally.

Feb 25, 2010
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DoreenAndDave from Maine

3.3/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Color is a very dark amber. Not much of a head. The aroma is faint: some caramel and pumpernickel bread. The taste is fine, but nothing special. It's malty and bready. Somewhat bitter. The taste doesn't do that much for me. There's just not that much going on. I was expecting something bigger or more complex. It's certainly not bad, but it's not that interesting, either. Mouthfeel is fine. Sturdy and well carbonated. Drinkability is ok. This seems somewhere in between a bitter, hoppy, peppy beer and a heavier, complex winter ale

Dec 12, 2009
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markaberrant from Canada (SK)

3.62/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Served in 12oz tulip

Appearance - Colour is very dark red, but clear. Light tan head forms quite big, then slowly recedes to a ring. No lacing.

Smell - Intoxicating aromas of bready malts, rich toffee and a bit of fruit (cherry comes to mind). A hint of alcohol

Taste - burst of cherry to start, then shifts to a woody dryness. Not a lot of bread or toffee that was in the smell. Somewhat surprising, but I am "warming" up to it. Alcohol is somewhat present, but not overly bothersome. The carbonation at the start gives it a bit of acidic sourness.

Mouthfeel - Overcarbonated, thin and dry. Over attenuated??? Probably the weakest link. Gets better as it sits and carbonation softens. Definite warming sensation.

Drinkability - Mouthfeel and a noticable alcohol limits the drinkability.

Overall - A weird one to say the least. It gets better as it warms and softens, but it is still too thin. A fuller body and lower carbonation would make all the difference.

May 15, 2007
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MMansfield from Canada (NS)

4.23/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the last of the Picaroon's given to me by my friend Keith. Thanks a million.

Appearance: Pours a very deep red, but almost black when poorly lit, with a nice offwhite/tan head. Nice retention, looks great.

Aroma: Big roasted malt, smokey, bready, notes of chocolate and apricots. Not as fruity as label suggests, but still present. Some modest hops.

Taste: Roasted Malt, dried fruit, cocoa. Nice bitterness in the finish. Very good tasting brew.

Mouthfeel: Very creamy, but not uncomfortably. Good level of carbonation. Overall, smooth and drinkable. A Pleasure.

Final Statement: I'm not sure how true an english barely wine this is, and it does not have the taste of a winter warmer. Essentially it has the characteristics of a baltic porter. Whatever you want to call it, it's wonderfully enjoyable beer, and I highly recommend.

EDIT: After reading the previous reviews, the first reviewer must have had a bad batch, which I have had from this brewery. I hope he tries the brew again, because it truly is a winner.

Jan 10, 2007
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Goldorak from Canada (QC)

2/5  rDev -46.7%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Appearance: Dark red, like a sherry with a crown of lace.

Smell: Weirdo...Picture this, those Popeye candy cigarettes you probably got at halloween back when you were a kid, take those and dissolve them in cinnamon flavored nail polish, that's the smell in a nutshell. Cheap powdered sugar, cinnamon spicyness that seems fake, and some volatile solvent.

Taste: Just about as off as the smell, some acidic sourness that I didn't enjoy, and that's pretty rare for me. Aftertaste is long, and there again just didn't do it for me. Infected? I hope so. I'm glad I split this with a dozen other guys because if had to drink it alone this Beer would have met an untimely death down the toilet.

Feb 26, 2005
Winter Warmer from Picaroons Traditional Ales
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 46 ratings