Cold Mountain
Highland Brewing

Cold MountainCold Mountain
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Winter Warmer
Ranked #3
Ranked #5,026
4.04 | pDev: 12.87%
Highland Brewing
North Carolina, United States
Cold MountainCold Mountain
Reviews: 324 | Ratings: 820 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Foyle
5/5  rDev +23.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from 12 oz bottle into pint glass. Color is deep amber with 2" tan head. Aroma of toffee, caramel, toasted malt. Mouthfeel is medium with a pleasant finish. Flavors of toasted bread, caramel, cinnamon, earthy hops. Overall: outstanding in the style.

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Photo of puck1225
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had it poured into a small snifter from tap. Dark reddish amber with nice creamy head and great lacing. Cinnamon and nutmeg smell and taste. Nutty, dark bread malty flavors. A bit of pepper. It is indeed a warming beer!

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Photo of mj24053
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Full flavored. Syrupy, sweet. Perfect level of sweetness without overdoing it. One of the better winter ales I've had. Medium mouthfeel. Medium carbonation.

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Photo of snaotheus
3.81/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle served in a big snifter. I don't know where I got it. Filled 10/10/17 -- so it's aged.

Pours a dark brown with a small head and not a lot of carbonation. Smell is malty, toffee, a bit of toastiness.

Taste is pretty mild -- more of the toasty and malty come through, though. Some bitterness comes through, not sure where it's coming from.

Mouthfeel is surprisingly light. Overall, pretty good winter ale. Maybe a bit milder than I think of them being.

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Photo of woemad
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle courtesy of Dragginballs76. Bottled on October 19, 2017. Label (which is slightly different than the one displayed on BA) states this is "malty in body, lightly hopped, and rounded out with spices nuts and fruit."

Poured into a shaker pint glass, this was a dark, russett color that took on a more rubyish hue when held up to light. Modest, beige colored head that left little in the way of lace but never entirely disappeared, forming a thin foam collar.

Malty, nutty, slightly sweet aroma. I get a little bit of toffee. No apparent hop aroma.

Mildly sweet and toasty maltiness in the flavor. I get a very slight fruitiness in the taste as well. The spices and hops seem to have fled over the course of the nearly 8 months this has been waiting to be opened, which is not surprising.

Medium bodied, with slightly low carbonation and a little bit of a flabby mouthfeel.

Just okay, but understandably so due to age. I've had similar beers much worse that spent a similar amount of time in a bottle. Shows enough promise that, were I to come across a fresh one, I'd have it again.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into pint glass; no bottle dating, but is a recent seasonal release. Pours crystal clear deep ruby red/brownish color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings down the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, toffee, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, hazelnut, ginger, and toasted biscuit; with lighter notes of chocolate, cocoa, raisin, plum, berries, herbal, floral, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready/light roast malt, spices, and light fruity yeast/earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste big caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, toffee, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, hazelnut, ginger, and toasted biscuit; with lighter notes of chocolate, cocoa, raisin, plum, berries, herbal, floral, and yeast/toasted earthiness. Light herbal hop and spice bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, toffee, vanilla, cinnamon, hazelnut, toasted biscuit, light chocolate/fruitiness, and herbal/yeast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready/light roast malt, spices, and light fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitter/spice balance, and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light dryness from hop/spice bitterness as well. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, moderately creamy/bready/grainy, and slightly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Zero warming alcohol as expected of 5.9%. Overall this is an excellent winter warmer. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready/light roast malt, spices, and light fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; very smooth and easy to drink. Follows the English style for the most part. Great malt complexity and underlying fruity yeast notes; nice spice balance without being overwhelming. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.92/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From the 22 oz bottle in a snifter. This nice winter ale pours a clear reddish tinged amber with a nice head of off white foam that settles to a THICK big bubbled ring, thick layer, and very nice lacing. Nose of light cinnamon spice, light toffee and caramel, light vanilla, and subtle bittering hops. Flavors exceed the nose with caramel and vanilla on the front and sides, light citrus notes on the middle of orange and cinnamon, and herbal hops rounding out the back. Overall a nice winter ale with good carbonation for easy session-ability and a light bitter hops aftertaste---only detraction is this is a touch watery, but still solid for the style.


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Photo of ONUMello
4.04/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle dated 10/27/15 poured into a pint glass
A: Reddish brown with a one-finger head
S: Caramel, roasted malts, baking spice
T: Tons of vanilla up front, some caramel on the midpalate then a malty finish. Each is a bit simple/unidirectional on their own but it makes a nice journey start to finish (if that makes any sense)
M: Medium-bodied, a touch sweet
O: This is a tasty winter ale. I can only imagine drinking it in the midst of baking Christmas cookies

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Photo of Myotus
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured at 47°F from a 12oz bottle (bottled on 15Oct15) into a nonic pint glass. Consumed on 09Jan16.
LOOK: Pours with a fingers worth of khaki foam that shrinks down into a quarter fingers worth after 1 minute and 50 seconds. Dark copper in color. Rising bubbles are moderate in quantity and both small and medium in size. Lacing is moderate and mostly thin, with a few spots of thickness.
SMELL: Mild aromas of sweet chocolate, sweet and tart raspberries, toffee, vanilla, caramel, and white bread are backed by subtle cinnamon aromas and hints of piney hops.
TASTE: Strong toffee flavors and mild flavors of raspberries, figs, and plums (neither of the latter were in the smell) enter initially. The raspberry and plum flavors are a good balance between tart and sweet. Mild caramel, vanilla, and sweet chocolate flavors immediately follow as toffee flavors grow slightly stronger. Mild spruce (those came from nowhere) flavors and subtle piney hop flavors enter lastly as all previous flavors persist, except for sweet chocolate, which grow slightly stronger. Whatever cinnamon that was detected in the smell was not perceived in the taste.
FEEL: Somewhere between full-bodied and medium-bodied. Carbonation is moderate. Goes down somewhat smooth. Finishes with a slight dryness.
NOTE: This was one of the best Winter Warmer I have had to date. If you can get your hands on one, I would suggest you do so.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - The poured a drak brown color with visible carbonation but little head.

Smell - The beer smells of Christmas with notes of ginger and pine.

Taste - My initial impression is liquid Christmas tree with strong ginger notes and other spices. The malts form a dry cookie backbone. The pine lingers at its most bitter in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel reminds me of a brown ale. Carbonation is faint.

Overall - This is a great winter warmer. Seek it!

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Photo of outdoor7or24
3.74/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle thanks to Kyle. Poured into dogfish head pint glass.
A: pours a clear dark ruby brown body, off white foam fine bubble head, some spotty lacing, carbonation
S: best part of this brew, raspberry, cranberry, vanilla, slight cinnamon, very light hints of hazelnut, hint of citrus hop
M: medium body, creamy
T: roasted malt, hint of rasberry, vanilla, some lite bitterness from the hops, caramel, toasted nut, cinnamon
O: good brew, could drink a few of these, smooth flavor

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Photo of clayrock81
3.79/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured a brownish red body with one finger tan head and lace ring. Aroma has some sweet spices to it like cinnamon and vanilla to it. Medium bodied beer, has this cinnamon/vanilla spicy sweetness kick to it for some reason (nutmeg it isn't as nutmeg isn't this bold) and finishes hot, but not boozy, and spicy. A one-trick pony, so to say, as it can be summed up as sweet and spicy (not to infer that this beer is like BBQ sauce) and I enjoyed it.

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Photo of mlockman
3.1/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Far from opaque, this beer had more of an amber hue and had a large head when agitated. The aroma followed the palate being largely uninteresting with minimal notes of spice of any kind and only the faintest bit of maltiness to its flavor. While it improved marginally as it warmed, I found this beer to be largely disappointing and certainly not worth its price tag.

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Photo of rasafrasit
2.26/5  rDev -44.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

People around Asheville go manic for this stuff but to me it tastes like a Target potpourri candle: saccharine in sweetness, overloaded with pungent "spices" and little or no true body. This beer is all hype and no substance.

Look: nice amber color and decent head
Smell: like your grannie's guest bathroom
Taste: overloaded with "flavors" but basically a gimmick beer
Feel: slightly syrupy but inoffensive
Overall: I'd rather drink a soda

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Photo of KingEdward
3.17/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Not much flavor . Brown ale with extracts poured into it. Could be done much better. Decent for a brown ale. overpriced. I try it once when it comes out to make sure its as equally disapointing as the year befores version...

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Photo of gcamparone
4.14/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Acquired as an extra in a trade.

Pours a deep Amber, translucent body with an off white head that reduces to a ring. Pretty nice color!

Spices and malt, toffee, caramel dominate the nose. On the tongue is a really nice medley of sweet vanilla, toffee, caramel, butterscotch, and slight spices. Low carbonation, medium body.

It's held up since winter, I really enjoyed this one. Nice flavored all around

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Photo of scbeerman
4.17/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Found on tap at Backstreets in Clemson, SC and took a case home as a Christmas present.
Poured a medium-dark brown; clear with plenty of red hints noticeable. Thin off-white head that left nice lacing.
Nose of vanilla, some roasted malts, raspberries, spices. Not a strong smelling beer but pleasant.
Tastes similar to the smell, but with great complexity and depth of flavor. Vanilla most prominently with hints of cocoa, hazelnut, raspberries over a solid malt backbone with some light hop bitterness and pine present towards the finish. Not overly spiced like some winter ales.
Mouthfeel is light and slightly oily with medium low carbonation. Definitely very drinkable; it would be easy to have a few of these.
Overall, this was definitely much better than I expected and it's become my favorite seasonal beer. Extremely drinkable with a much more subtle flavor than most over-spiced winter beers. Definitely try it at least once if it's available in your area.

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Photo of Jarnol21
4.74/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is hands down my favorite winter ale. Vanilla is the dominant flavor and it could not be smoother drinking! Grab it if you see it, it's very hard to get your hands on. Cheers to Highland!

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Photo of Tuckieman
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours rich amber color with a nice tan colored head that subsides slowing with mild lacing remaining on the glass and slight clumping once head subsides. Aroma of malts, slight hops with vanilla and hints of inter spices of cloves and cinnamon. Mouth is what is hoped for and expected with a winter warmer. Initial hit on the palate of slight hops with a vanilla mid and a light malty finish. Always one of my favorites during the winter.

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Photo of Tilly
3.64/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice transparent brown with a huge thick frothy head. Aromas of carmalized sugar, vanilla and light fruits. Tastes complexed. Carmalized sugar, vanilla and light fruit taste! Go figure! Light mouth feel, light with not much bitterness. Nice winter ale.

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Photo of KnucklesMcFisty
4.5/5  rDev +11.4%

Wow...this is a pretty beer...the color is very inviting! Smell leans towards vanilla and caramelized sugar. Nothing really takes center stage in the taste...vanilla, dark fruit, raisins, sweetness from the malt and a dry, slightly spicy finish from the hops and cinnamon. This beer is all about balance...flavor, mouthfeel, aroma....they are all perfectly balanced making this an excellent winter warmer!

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Photo of east_tn_gk
4.75/5  rDev +17.6%

I thought this beer was amazing. It's not really heavy, more of a medium ale. The flavors that really stuck out to me were vanilla and hazelnut. The vanilla isn't too overbearing as some can be. The hazelnut evens it out to make a sweet, non-bitter excellent winter ale. Wish they had it all year.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%

The adjuncts are noticeable on the nose where vanilla is strongest. Hazelnut, malt, dark fruit, fruit cake, and a tinge of hops.

The front end holds vanilla but more tempered than the smell. The hazelnut comes next and then fruitcake. The fruit is mostly prune. The cake is mostly malty. The end is rather bitter but it's not detracting. The feel is a little too thin.

This is a rather good winter warmer that with a bit more malt could be great.

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Photo of Jimlikesbeer
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Highland brewing Company Cold Mountain Winter Ale is a really good seasonal. I don't get why it is in such demand though. Most places around here sell out in one day, and I am in North Carolina. Amber color, winter spices, especially nutmeg, and pours with a good head. This is a very good beer, but not worth driving all over town trying to find one bottle (all most places would sell me). Plenty of other seasonals that are just as good.

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Photo of zac16125
4.19/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle into a Stella goblet
2014 vintage

A: Dark mahogany, 2.5 fingers width of tan head has good retention before dissipating down and leaves lots of lacing. 4.25

S: Chocolate, vanilla, caramel/toffee, hazelnut, cinnamon. The hazelnut/chocolate combo reminds me of nutella (I love nutella, btw). Nice aromas, but as a whole they are quite mild. 4

T: Really good. Lots of hazelnut and chocolate, again the taste reminds me of nutella, I also get some roasted malt, vanilla. Tasty 4.25

M/D: Smooth, medium body, carbonation on the lower end which is appropriate, has a feel of a “bigger” beer, in a good way. Drinkability is above average. 4.25

O: I very much enjoyed this, more so than I thought I would. I’ll probably add this to my “once a year each winter” lineup. 4.25

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Cold Mountain from Highland Brewing
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 820 ratings