Lions Winter Ale | Granville Island Brewery

BA SCORE
83
good
249 Ratings
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Lions Winter AleLions Winter Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Granville Island Brewery
British Columbia, Canada
gib.ca

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by IronDjinn on 10-11-2004

BEER STATS
Ratings:
249
Reviews:
75
Avg:
3.69
pDev:
15.18%
 
 
Wants:
16
Gots:
71
For Trade:
1
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 249 |  Reviews: 75
Photo of biboergosum
3.46/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle, procured in Vancouver a few weeks ago - I don't think that I got to traverse the titular bridge then, though!

This beer pours a perfectly clear, medium cola-tinted amber hue, with a satisfying amount of thinly puffy off-white head, which melts away at due pace, leaving some random specks of lace around the glass.

It smells of spiced, slightly sweet and spiced bread – ginger and nutmeg – quite light, all, with a further caramel/toffee maltiness, and a touch of smoky vanilla. The taste is replete with the aforementioned warming spices, a bit of yeastiness, a strong caramel malt backbone, some softly acidic hoppiness, and some earthy, and sweetly boozy vanilla.

The carbonation is just about average in its supportive frothiness, the body sporting an adequate medium weight, some sugary creaminess informing its overall smoothness. It finishes on the sweet side, as the spices drop away totally, leaving the caramel malt and vanilla to their own devices.

With no appreciable warming from the tweak of extra alcohol, this is a nice, mild winter sipper, less spiced than many of its seasonal brethren, and another agreeable choice for those occasions when a six-pack is the order of the day.

 1,217 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a clear deep amber color ale with a medium size foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of caramelized sugar and light toffee notes with subtle fruity ester are quite interesting. Taste is also a great mix between some caramelized sugar and toffee while retaining a good balance of sweetness with some light subtle fruity ester. Body is about average with good carbonation. Easily drinkable winter warmer style beer with just enough complexity.

 473 characters

Photo of imperialking
3.87/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of 22Blue
3.74/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of liamt07
3.66/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Steve, 341ml into a tulip.

Golden brown in colour, offwhite head - only a ring of retention persists, no lacing. Nose is full of vanilla, perhaps slightly artificial in tone. Some cocoa, brown sugar and nuts as well. Taste is lightly nutty, more breadiness, caramel, cocoa and vanilla. Carbonation is a bit higher than I'd like, but a few swirls of the glass took it down to a manageable level. Fairly thin however, and perhaps a little too sweet in the finish. Nose is quite nice, but palate doesn't live up to it. I thought this could've been a lot better with some more body and mouthfeel.

 611 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%

Photo of Derek
3.2/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This one's not retired. It's a seasonal, that's available again!

A: Copper-orange/amber, very clear. Nice off-white head, zero retention, no lace.

S: Caramel, grainy and a little astringent.

T: Bready malt, caramel, a litte nutty, good bittersweet balance.

M: Moderate body and carbonation.

D: Good. Should appeal to the general public, if they're feeling a little aventurous!

 391 characters

Photo of biegaman
3.77/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chestnut is always a handsome colour for a winter seasonal and, indeed, Lions Winter Ale has a look that exudes both class and personality. It demonstrates flawless clarity, decent froth and is rich with gleaming highlights. You'd sell a lot of magazines with this on the cover!

A bit quiet initially, the aromas of vanilla and creamy caramel build effortlessly once they've had a chance to properly breathe. A dash of carob and pecan-like nuttiness also grows on you, as does the faintest whiffs of waffle and bittersweet Belgian chocolate. These sweet, universally appealing scents make a very friendly introduction.

The vanilla flavouring is hardly creamy or candy-sweet - it tastes like vanilla pod not vanilla cupcake. Still, the beer feels a bit artificial. The toffee and creamy caramel notes aren't the subtler, nuanced type typically suggested by specialty malts - they are the kind you get in a store-bought cake. The flavours are rather buoyant and very toothsome, which isn't bad...

though it must be said that there is hardly a palpable taste of winter in this 'winter ale'. Christmas, maybe, because of a carob/nutmeg-like spice. But winter? This doesn't quite have the body, strength or makeup to match the harsh realities of a (non-Pacific) Canadian winter.

British Columbia's Lions Winter Ale is kind of a reflection of where it's brewed. It would be a great pint to share with friends after a mild day on the slopes, but it doesn't have the depth and complexity to support a long night of solitary inner-reflection in the midst of a dark, dead, frost-bound environment. Very tasty stuff, but buy accordingly.

 1,633 characters

Photo of spinrsx
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

473ml Can from the Ottawa LCBO for 2.50$

Appearance - Clear reddish brown colour with an above average size fizzy beige head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing and there is some faint lacing. The head lasted for 3-4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, dark fruits, caramel/chocolate/vanilla

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, dark fruits, and some chocolate/caramel/vanilla. There is also a bit of a herbal flavour and it ends with malty slightly sweet aftertaste.

Overall - Not too shabby. It has a little something taste wise for everyone. I can see this working well as a good gateway beer to get into craft. Not something I'd buy another can of, but I'd probably get a pint on tap if I saw it at a bar.

 779 characters

Photo of Erik-P
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%

Photo of wordemupg
3.79/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

341ml bottle poured into 400ml dab glass nov4 2009

A clear amber leaning towards red, very fast falling two finger head that leaves no lace

S a fair bit of milk chocolate with some spices and vanilla

T tastes as it smells and that's not a bad thing the spice is mild not over the top, pretty mellow

M thin but has good carbonation helping its cause

D pretty easy drinking but not worth looking for, not quite enough booze for a winter warmer in my eyes

good but not great, worth drinking good flavor going on but I think you can get better winter ales with little effort

 576 characters

Photo of petermethot
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%

Photo of bylerteck
3.97/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pint at Cat's Social House on Granville Island. From notes.

A - Amber pour with a one finger white head. Bright. Light carbonation, spotty lace and a film of retention.

S - Sweet spice, lot's of caramel and toffee.

T - Nice toffee and caramel, hops, sweet spice.

M - Nice carbonation, medium body, some hops and spice in the finish.

O/D - Very nice spice which was subtle but mixed well with other elements. Rich malt and nice hops in a winter beer. Good stuff.

 467 characters

Photo of Howlader
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of DrJay
4.09/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Viggo
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a sixer of this. Medium brown/red colour with good head and good lacing. Smells like light malts and vanilla, smells really good. Its subtle but still strong, just have to try it to understand. The taste is vanilla as well, with some bitterness. Kind of tastes like beer cream soda, i really really like it. Very smooth, could see anyone slamming these back, very tasting and refreshing and not really like any other beer I've tasted. Very recommended.

 462 characters

Photo of Rutager
3.92/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance. Pours a nice amber-brown. Half a finger of off-white head.

Smell. Vanilla, roasty malts. Pretty nice.

Taste. Artificial vanilla and light, roasty malt. Just a hint of sweetness with a beter vanilla aftertaste than the initial hit.

Mouthfeel. Medium carbonation. Quite thin.

Drinkability. A pretty good drinker. Goes down easy due to it being a bit watery and not too sweet.

 390 characters

Photo of andrenaline
3.84/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Another in-person trade acquisition.

A - Pours a crystal clear copper brown, thin layer of head with no real retention, no lacing, and decent visible carbonation on the body.

S - This one is super bready with some rye malt characteristics, buttered bread, caramel, cinnamon and vanilla.

T - Holy vanilla! Though rather discreet on the nose, the vanilla comes through quite strong on the flavour followed by sweet caramel and buttered bread. Bit of a pepsi-cola flavour to it as well, very unique and tasty.

M - This stuff goes down smooth, but it is a tad watery.

D - I like this winter warmer because the flavours are mild enough that you could enjoy several in one sitting. Definitely a tasty offering from Ganville and I will be buying more of this.

 757 characters

Photo of jrenihan
3.59/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber in colour, a bit of a caramel hue. A very small off-white head disappears almost instantly.

The nose is filled with vanilla, almost overwhelming. Behaind that, caramel malt, cocoa, hazelnut. Smells very sweet, candy like. The vanilla smells like it is probably extract or artificial- does not seem like actual vanilla bean.

The vanilla is also prominent in the taste, which is no surprise. Coupled with caramel and hazelnut, as well as some spices. Quite sweet. Finish is a bit metallic, artificial.

Beer is quite thin, strongly carbonated. Rather insubstantial, particularly for the flavours.

Overall, decent, but not something I would want often. I am a big vanilla fan, which probably helped, but I don't think it is done particularly well in this beer.

 774 characters

Photo of bumchilly25
4/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of schopenhauerale
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of Molson2000
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%

Photo of Kmat10
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of peensteen
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Amber/copper colour, one finger of dense white head, good amount of lace here as well too. Smell is a nice mix of vanilla and spices, caramel, toffee, a subtle roast malt profile as well as some chocolate present. Taste is spicy and lightly sweet, vanilla with bits of toffee, chocolate and roast were more pleasant on the nose than on the palate, bit of bready flavours with a light bitterness. Medium carbonation, light to medium body. Not a bad beer and something I apreciate compared to some other spice bomb winter ales, a bit lackluster however but still a good drink.

 574 characters

Photo of canucklehead
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the 2005 version and I must say that the often overpowering vanilla notes are moved to the back. The beer is creamier and more assertive in its flavour of hops. I will start buying this as thankfully the sickly vanilla esters are only a small part of the makeup.

 270 characters

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Lions Winter Ale from Granville Island Brewery
3.69 out of 5 based on 249 ratings.
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