Lions Winter Ale
Granville Island Brewery

Lions Winter AleLions Winter Ale
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Granville Island Brewery
British Columbia, Canada
Winter Warmer
Ranked #74
Ranked #23,525
3.74 | pDev: 14.97%
Apr 16, 2022
Oct 11, 2004
Lions Winter AleLions Winter Ale
Notes: Our Lions Winter Ale combines premium malt with aromatic specialty hops. The vanilla-like finish of this robust ale is a great excuse to get out of the cold and enjoy BC’s favourite winter beer made from the finest natural ingredients.
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Photo of Sunsetlane_guy
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by Sunsetlane_guy from Canada (AB)

Very nice winter ale Definitely recommend

Apr 16, 2022
3.42 by Electros from Canada (ON) on Mar 26, 2022
4.02 by Adamhb from Canada (BC) on Dec 12, 2021
Photo of Jiminie
1.06/5  rDev -71.7%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1
by Jiminie from Canada (ON)

I guess it's not surprising for a city that doesn't have winter to produce a "winter ale" like this. Appearance is not bad, but it's all downhill from there. It tastes like some unidentifiable liquid with vanilla extract and chocolate dumped in after the fermenting process. The flavour is entirely separate from the liquid itself. Somebody wrote elsewhere that it tastes "artificial," and that doesn't go far enough. Someone else wrote that it doesn't seem like these flavours came from malt alone - no kidding!! It's the winter ale for people who don't like beer, because it doesn't taste like beer at all. I suppose I should have been warned when I read "flavoured beer" on the label. If you are actually a beer drinker, stay away. This is like drinking Malibu Rum if you appreciate good rum. Disgusting.

Dec 11, 2020
Photo of InspectorHound
3.47/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5
by InspectorHound from Canada (ON)

Look: Pours opaque coppery brown with a foamy 2 finger white head.
Smell: Dominated by the vanilla.
Taste: Tonnes of Vanilla, some caramel, very sweet.
Feel: This beer is a little light and more watery than I remember it from past years. Plays forward in the mouth.
Overall: This beer was a favourite dessert beer of mine from years past. I always looked forward it becoming available in the LCBO each winter season. Not sure if the recipe has changed or my tastes have, but now this beer is underwhelming me. It's not a bad beer, but it's not anything I'm going to be seeking out. I'd give this beer a B-

Mar 07, 2020
3.75 by bikko from Canada (ON) on Feb 21, 2020
Photo of altstadt
3.64/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3
by altstadt from Canada (BC)

Clear red-brown color. Head formed of medium sized bubbles and quickly dropped down to a thin skiff. No lacing. High flux of small bubbles rising from the bottom keeping the minimal skiff of head replenished.

Very sweet smell blended from caramel, marshmallow, and some floral/herbal scents that seem more familiar in a soft drink like a coke. Swirling the glass kicked up cherry and chocolate scents as if a black forest cake had gone into the mash.

Tastes like a thin black forest cake, with sweet cherries and some mild chocolate. The caramel malt joins in a mid-taste. The aftertaste is of a slightly bitter chocolate that has been baked a bit.

Some tongue tingling for a while as it builds to a large bubbled foam. The foam ends up feeling like a medium heavy body.

Interesting scent and flavor. This should probably appeal more to the chocolate lovers. I would have enjoyed it more if there had been more caramel malt and less chocolate.

Nov 05, 2019
Photo of woodychandler
3.99/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5
by woodychandler from Pennsylvania

Happy CANada Day, hosers! Take off, eh? This is one of my FAVORITE holidays of the year since it provides me with the impetus to a) drink CANned CANadian beer ISO The CANQuest (tm); b) watch hockey (either pre-recorded games or movies, like "Slapshot"; c) watch "Strange Brew"; d) eat some beaver & e) parade nekkid in the street while waving a CANdian flag. 2017 was their 150th Anniversary so I pulled out all of the stops, using sparklers & firecrackers as accoutrements, which was attention-getting, to say the least. The local CANstabulary was bemused & amused as they led me away, but I was less-than-thrilled with the 1st & 2nd degree burns, especially to my sensitive bits! Needless to say, I have scaled back since then. This will be my last for the holiday since having drank extensively of Ontario & some of Quebec, now it is British Columbia's turn!

A BIG "THANK YOU!" to my local, in-person trading partner, @tone77 , for providing me with a buncha beers for today's CANebration! He said that many of them will take me back to the early days of The CANQuest (tm), when AALs were the standard & the norm. No matter! Today, we CANebrate & inebriate! Cheers to our CANuck neighbors!

From the CAN: "This winter warmer features robust notes of cocoa, caramel and vanilla. So get out of the cold and into the bold. It's good to be here (R)."

I had "Rush's Greatest Hits" playing on YouTube as I Crack!ed open the vent to begin this momentous CANebration. I went with a slow, gentle C-Line Glug on this one, having just awakened from a late-evening nap. I watched in rapt fascination as it billowed into two-plus fingers of dense, foamy, rocky, deep-tan/light-brown head with moderate retention. Color was a gorgeous Coppery-Brown (SRM = > 17, < 22) with CANadian-quality clarity. Nose smelled like a liquefied chocolate cookie with notes of chocolate and vanilla with a bready, doughy sweetness. Mmm. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste was VERY chocolaty & quite sweet with an inherent doughiness. It was closer to cookie dough than an actual cookie. Finish remained sweet & chocolaty. I was less-than-enthused, but only because sweet does not do it for me. YMMV.

Jul 02, 2019
3.79 by Oh_Dark_Star from Washington on Apr 21, 2019
Photo of tone77
3.68/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75
by tone77 from Pennsylvania

Poured from a 16 oz. can. Has a bronze color with a 1 inch head. Smell is of cocoa, malts. Taste has lots of cocoa powder, some vanilla is present. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall, not exactly what I expect from this style, but an enjoyable beer nonetheless.

Mar 22, 2019
4.95 by accronin from Canada (ON) on Mar 21, 2019
3.65 by jsrsd from Canada (AB) on Dec 29, 2018
3.79 by DaPan from Canada (ON) on Dec 26, 2018
4.93 by Bostonred1 from California on Nov 20, 2018
Photo of polloenfuego
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by polloenfuego from Canada (NB)

Pours a tawny amber color with a decent thumb and a half of fluffy head. Break leaves a nice collar and some spotty lacing.

Smell is rich. I get cocoa powder, vanilla and spices. It really mixes well and is quite pleasant.

Taste follows the nose, with the vanilla and chocolate battling out for the lead. The spices come in on the back end and there is a hint of cinnamon that I pick up.

Feel is medium bodied with good carbonation. Finish is cocoa and spice.

Well slap my ass and call me Randy. I tried this beer on a lark and damn but if I don't like it. Not a beer you would want a ton of, but still solid. A way better winter/holiday beer than say some of the Central City stuff.

Nov 09, 2018
3.73 by FBarber from Illinois on May 29, 2018
3.52 by Darandos from Canada (AB) on May 13, 2018
4.04 by nullbort from Canada (ON) on Mar 09, 2018
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by StonedTrippin from Colorado

this tastes a little artificial to me, but i really like it for some reason, almost a guilty pleasure sort of thing. it tastes a little cheap too, and adjuncty, like their is no way they got these flavors from grain alone, there is straight up cocoa and vanilla in here i would have to think, both are forward and sweet, and do not taste malt derived, but i could be wrong. i like these flavors in an amber brew, not a stout or a porter, its a neat change of pace and a cool idea for a winter beer, i think this is the seasonal window that needs innovation more than any other, so it was cool to discover this, even if it seems a little contrived. the flavors work really well, sweet caramel malt with a little european character, vienna type sweetness there is cool with the dry powdered cocoa i taste, and its all extended and warmed up by vanilla, which is as flavorful as it is aromatic. sounds like this one may have changed a little over time based on the other reviews, but these flavors did not taste natural to me. good carbonation, some hops at the end, and a lighter body for all the flavor, its drinkable oddly enough. cool beer, weird and cool, i dig it.

Feb 12, 2018
3.58 by Glorithm from Canada (ON) on Feb 04, 2018
Photo of Beerbuds
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5
by Beerbuds from Canada (ON)

A: deep amber colour with off white head. Not very thick that fades quickly.
S: Smells of banana vanilla and toffee
T: tastes of caramel vanilla cocoa
M: pretty thin. light mouthfeel
O: Decent but nothing great

Jan 18, 2018
Photo of rudzud
3.92/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75
by rudzud from Massachusetts

Received this bottle in a Secret Santa. Cool!

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a nice crystal clear chestnut hue with a one finger tan head that fades slowly to leave a thin blanket and super light side lacing.

S - Aromas of winter warmer spices. Light chocolate, vanilla, metallic malts, winter warmer spices, light chocolate covered toffee. Quite pleasant.

T - Taste is similar to the nose. Rather strong metallic notes sadly. Nice light chocolate toffee, big vanilla notes, decent winter warmer spices. Malts are lightly sweet. Finish is more lingering vanilla.

M - Mouthfeel is very lightly carbonated, super thin on the body. Very very watery.

O - Overall, this was a solid winter warmer. If the mouthfeel was better this might be the best winter warmer I've ever had. It's still up there because of how nice the taste and aroma is. Man though, the mouthfeel ruins this beer!

Serving Type: Bottle

Dec 28, 2017
4.04 by bixby1971 from Canada (ON) on Nov 13, 2017
4.17 by michaelbillington from Canada (AB) on Oct 18, 2017
4.34 by StormAles from Canada (ON) on Jul 10, 2017
Photo of JonnyBeers
2/5  rDev -46.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2
by JonnyBeers from Canada (BC)

Last time I had this I couldn't believe what a shell it was of it's former self. Good job Molson. Sickly sweet and a big hit of extract awaits you. Yum...

Apr 30, 2017
Photo of ewpass
3.64/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5
by ewpass from Canada (PE)

Dark amber with small head. Big sweet vanilla nose leading to solid malt backbone and slightly carbonated finish. Good for winter sipping.

Apr 24, 2017
3.79 by halivera from Canada (ON) on Apr 14, 2017
Photo of Guillaumeprovost
4.37/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Guillaumeprovost from Canada (QC)

Poured into a classic Pint glass.

A- Really thin collar of foam about 1/4 inch. Nice red/brown semi-transluscent color.

S- Pretty intense sugar smell.

M- Nothing really remarkable about the mouthfeel. Instead its really comforting to drink and well done. When you drink it you detect maple syrup aroma and fruits. Its really a winter warming stuff. I would probably buy again if I can.

O- Pretty cool beer wich goes down really easily. The aromas seems pretty authentics ( non-artificial ). The beer is overall really enjoyable and fun to drink


Mar 29, 2017
Photo of pmoersch
3.97/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75
by pmoersch from California

Initial taste is spicy and vanilla but that gives way to a creamy white chocolate finish. This is an ideal beer for winter consumption and with heartier beef meals. I could not drink this all the time due to the strong extra flavors but it does avoid the curse of most winter beers that lean too heavily on the spice.

Feb 11, 2017
Photo of kevinlater
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4
by kevinlater from Canada (ON)

like chocolate chip cookie dough in liquid form. a really pleasant and highly flavourful beer for the winter season. well, i really wouldn't mind having this at any time of the year. quite lacking in body though

Jan 07, 2017
3.75 by Howlader from Canada (AB) on Jan 06, 2017
3.68 by derdtheterd from Canada (AB) on Jan 04, 2017
Photo of mortsbrews
4.43/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by mortsbrews from Canada (ON)

This was a treat. Deep amber colour, gentle notes of vanilla and chocolate. Very smooth drinking, can have a couple easily.

Dec 24, 2016
Photo of RobbieG
3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5
by RobbieG from Canada (ON)

Appearance - deep Amber, fairly quick disappation of head
Aroma - very strong smell of vanilla and cocao
Flavour - continuation of the vanilla and chocolate, but fairly dissapointing finish, very bland. Has "watered-down" feeling.
Mouthfeel - medium carbonation, very little body or lingering sweetness from the malt
Overall - from first glance and smell, was very excited to taste this beer, flavour and mouth feel very underwhelming.

Dec 24, 2016
3.81 by bilbobrewer from Oregon on Dec 20, 2016
4.94 by PanicFox from Canada (MB) on Dec 17, 2016
3.87 by imperialking from Illinois on Dec 05, 2016
Photo of N_E_Beer
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by N_E_Beer from Canada (BC)

Chick beer.

Nov 28, 2016
Lions Winter Ale from Granville Island Brewery
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 274 ratings