Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale | Highland Brewing

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
89
very good
317 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Highland Cold Mountain Winter AleHighland Cold Mountain Winter Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Highland Brewing
North Carolina, United States | website

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by RBorsato on 11-25-2002

BEER STATS
Reviews:
317
Ratings:
756
Avg:
4
pDev:
20%
 
 
Wants:
87
Gots:
153
For Trade:
7
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 317 | Ratings: 756
Photo of GarthDanielson
3.84/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a ruby-tinted caramel coloring with a thin, sparse, surface coating of foam. Aromas of roasted nut sweetness, plum, dates, raisins, berries, toffee and caramel in the backbone, and a subtle cinnamon spicing. Smells are rich, but light enough to refrain from overpowering. Flavors are roasted and rich forward, with a tart and tangy berry and nut sweetness blending on the palate, with some woody and subtle bitter highlights. The body is robust, but light, with a transition into a crisp, clean finish. The aftertaste is more of the caramel and toffee sweetness, although some fruity notes do linger through. Easy drinker and full of flavor.

 694 characters

Photo of rudzud
3.84/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Received as extra in a trade.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a crystal clear mahogany hue with a good two finger creamy off white head that faded to leave a thin quarter inch blanket and nice lacing.

S - Nice caramel and toffee along with biscuits and malts. Very gentle spice notes.

T - Taste is nice, light caramel and sweeter toffee. Twinge of metallic notes and faint typical winter spices. Actually some alcohol too, which, is rather odd.

M - Mouthfeel is a bit on the thinner side. Light carbonation here.

O - Overall, not a bad beer, just everything is a bit too subtle. Plus, I shouldnt be getting alcohol in a 5.8% beer.

 635 characters

Photo of Axnjxn
3.84/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

rereview 12oz bottle into a FW tulip. 10/30/13 bottling date consumed 3 weeks later.

Pours a dark amber color with a nice inch thick head. Aroma is almost nonexistent...maybe a tad of caramel? not much at all. The taste is quite different though...a bit sweet with a good amount of caramel and toffee flavors that linger on the palate for quite awhile. Biggest thing about this beer is its drinkability...you could drink it all day and in a hurry... almost light bodied with mild carbonation.

Overall this is an old favorite among North Carolinian's and honestly shouldnt get such high marks nowadays. Its still good, just not amazing.

 637 characters

Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Deuane for sharing a bottle of this at his recent tasting. Poured from a 22 ounce bomber into my glass and appears a clear deep cooper, almost brown color with about a finger of light tan head. The aroma and taste remind me of an orange tootsie pop. Notes of caramel and cocoa are also evident. The taste is much more complex than the nose would lead you to believe. Medium bodied and satisfying with medium carbonation. I'm looking forward to tracking a few bottles of this down next season.

 502 characters

Photo of BeerDawgs
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A 22oz bottle, picked up after enjoying it on cask at a festival

A - A dark amber/copper color, with some clarity. 1 finger of head, nice sticky lacing on the glass

S - Spices, and malt character. A little light on the aroma front.

T - Caramel and vanilla spices. Low hop character. Very smooth though. Enjoyable.

M - Light bodied and fairly light carbonated.

O - An enjoyable winter warmer on a cold rainy day

 417 characters

Photo of willjansen
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottled purchased in North Carolina in January 2007 and consumed in June 2007. Travelled all the way to Australia and sat on my shelf for the last six months, and at last it's winter time here. Let's hope it is as good as it was back in NC...

Appearance: Deep, transparent crimson in color. Nice, creamy head with better than average retention. Head reduces a nice surface lace.

Smell: Sweetened vanilla straight away. Sweet, malty backbone supporting holiday spices such as allspice and a hint of nutmeg. Molasses, raisins and toffee hiding in the background. Overall, very complex and inviting for a winter brew.

Taste: Much like the smell, vanilla is the first thing that hits you followed by a plethora of spices that leave you breathing pumpkin pie vapors through the nose. Starts off with a maltiness dominated by vanilla, followed by the spices. Aftertaste of vanilla and allspice.

Mouthfeel: Soft, velvety mouthfeel. A bit weak on the carbonation, but somewhat appropriate for a winter brew. Silky, and somewhat watery.

Drinkability: The high levels of spice require slow sipping and I can only get through one or two bottles before I've had enough. While it's an amazing beer and quite drinkable for a spiced winter ale, this style in particular requires moderate consumption. All in all, an amazing and unique beer and one that I'll be looking for every winter.

 1,386 characters

Photo of brother_kenneth
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle, poured into two snifter glasses.

A- Pours a nice deep amber / red. Not a lot of head, but honestly the best lacing I have ever seen. Seriously, this is a beautiful beer!

S- Could be that it needed to warm up a bit, but I didn't get a whole lot on the nose. This is a fairly mild beer though, so that probably explains it. Nonetheless, some vanilla and spices were noticeable.

T- The main thing here for me is the vanilla. Like other reviewers, the first time I had this one, I expected big spices like you usually find in a winter beer. Not the case here. It is mainly vanilla, with some spices in the background. It is somewhat malty, and there is definitely an nice carbonated mouthfeel.

O- This is an exceptional winter beer and I am surprised how much I like it. It is fairly light-weight, all things considered, but it is just the perfect taste! Really enjoy it and intend to drink many more this season!

 927 characters

Photo of ksimons
3.83/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A-kind of a amber ruby color with a fingers worth of head that leaves some lacing around the top

S-the smell is nice, caramel and warm winter spices

T-caramel malt, light vanilla, slight bitterness, and spices

M-medium body, moderate carbonation

Overall it is easy to drink but to me is not very exciting. I do like how the beer isn't overly sweet like a lot of winter warmers can be.

 388 characters

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

Pours dark caramel with brown hints, moderate dark white head bu leaves no lace.
Aroma of sweet caramel, toffee, bread, chocolate and some nuts.
Flavor of sticky, sweet toffee, molasses, honey, faint chocolate, cassis. No real bitterness at all.
Mouthfeel is relatively, light bodied hyper sweet with some moderately, dry bread tones and finishes with a hint of spicy hops.
Drinkability is good, very sweet which makes tough to put down a lot but very good.

 461 characters

Photo of metter98
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is clear reddish amber in color and has a moderate amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high dense beige head that died down, leaving a large patch of bubbles in the center of the glass and a collar around the edge.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of cranberry juice, hazelnut and vanilla beans in the nose.
T: The taste shares some similarities with the smell but also has some hints of raspberries. Notes of cinnamon sticks are also apparent towards the finish, although these become muted as the beer warms up and are replaced with flavors of hazelnuts and later with berries. Neither sweetness nor bitterness is perceptible.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a little smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is quite unusual for the style and has an interesting mix of fruity flavors and spices. I liked how the dynamics of the beer changed as it warmed up, which make for it being an interesting winter warmer to sip.

 987 characters

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

A: nice copper color .... healthy white head.... nice lacing

S: smell is vanilla, cinnamon, honey... pleasant

T: taste follows the smell, ultimately a little sweet for my taste...some caramel flavors develop and linger

M: very smooth and easy to drink for the amount of and size of the flavors....nice sense of body

O: this is a nice example of the style, and if I was in the mood for a winter warmer i'd try to get this one...that being said, like GL Xmas Ale, I don't think this beer justifies the hype it has around here

 527 characters

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

Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass

A - Dark copper. Yields a two finger creamy off-white head. Excellent lacing.

S - Roasted malts produce caramels and hints of vanilla. Even a slight dark fruit smell simmilar to raisins. Floral hops present.

T - Lightly roasted malt producing a predominately caramel flavor. Odd slightly sour note in the middle that throws off the taste. Hops there but mainly detected in the nose.

M - Medium bodied. Moderate carbonation. Easy drinking.

O - This is a highly drinkable winter warmer. I tend to like beers in this style to have a little more body, but this is a great beer nonetheless. Light caramel flavors and none too rich.

 671 characters

Photo of mdfb79
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 01/22/11 notes. Shared by Lunch at a recent tasting. Thanks Paul.

a - Pours a dark amber color with one inch of white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of butterscotch and vanilla. Also a little spice and bready malts. Pretty good.

t - Tastes of watered down vanilla and butterscotch, spices, bready malts, and toasted malts. Good, but as I said, tasted watered down.

m - Thin to medium body and low carbonation.

d - A nice winter warmer. Taste was a little lacking, but still enjoyable. Would have again.

 528 characters

Photo of LiquidBread219
3.8/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - Pours a dark amber color with one inch of white head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of butterscotch and vanilla. Also a little spice and bready malts. Pretty good.

t - Tastes of watered down vanilla and butterscotch, spices, bready malts, and toasted malts. Good, but as I said, tasted watered down.

m - Thin to medium body and low carbonation.

d - A nice winter warmer. Taste was a little lacking, but still enjoyable. Would have again.

 456 characters

Photo of clayrock81
3.79/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

 450 characters

Photo of tillmac62
3.79/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 12/13. Pours a ruby amber with a nice head and lacing. Slight nose of sweet malt with a hint of spice and chocolate. Light medium bodied with a nice level of carbonation. Smooth, but not slick or creamy, mouthfeel. This is not a strong flavored ale. It has more of a subdued profile rather than a flavor bomb. Light spice, cinnamon/cardamom, over a light sweetness. Pleasant and not overpowering. Crisp finish that leaves a slight bitter and spice aftertaste that is also tart.

 485 characters

Photo of Apellonious
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1 pt 6 fl oz

A- Dark amber with fluorescent highlights, it poured a frothy head that hung on the side of the glass

S - Dark berries, cascade hops, cinnamon

T - Wow. Slight left turn from the aroma. Malty, vanilla notes are up front, with a mild hop finish, and then the vanilla again with the aftertaste. There is another baking type spice present, maybe some brown sugar. At times it tasted like Dr Pepper.

M - slightly creamy, a touch on the flat side carbonation wise, could have benefited from some more hop bite.

D - drinkable to a point, moderate alcohol doesn't wallop you like some of the 9-10%ers, one of these with or post meal would hit the spot.If you don't mind some sweetness in your beer, and can tolerate the slight Dr. Pepper vibe, I would recommend it.

 776 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.77/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another very pleasant brew from Highland. Pours mocha-looking body with some off-white head. This was aged somewhat. Malty, with some roasted malt, and sweetish spices. The hops are understated, but present in the finish.Tad above average mouthfeel. Drinkable. Not a high rating of outstanding, but enjoyable nevertheless.

 322 characters

Photo of Georgiabeer
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark brown with a light head and no real lacing. Looks a little richer than it turns out to be. Smells of soft vanilla and hazlenuts- a little sweet on the nose. Taste has a lot of vanilla up front- probably too much- followed by some soft hops and a final malt creaminess. The mouthfeel is a little thin, but there is a nice creaminess. A very drinkable beer, but I was expecting more. This feels a little simplistic and not the classic I was hoping for.

 461 characters

Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a clear rusty amber with almost no head. The nose is a tremendous caramel and a slight woodiness (maple). The taste is just as sweet with almost no spice and almost no carbonation after sitting a few minutes. There is almost no alcohol present either. Overall it's an interesting beer to have mid summer, but it's not too bad.

 341 characters

Photo of outdoor7or24
3.74/5  rDev -6.5%
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

 487 characters

Photo of barczar
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours a brilliant amber with a frothy, lingering beige head that leaves spotty lacing.

Nutty, toasted malt dominates the aroma, with a hint of specialty fruitiness and floral hops.

Flavor reveals soft underpinnings of spice, a backbone of toasted nuts, substantial malt fruitiness, and a lightly floral and fairly bitter hop finish. Cinnamon, perhaps nutmeg, and clove are very subtle...indistinguishable. Vanilla, cocoa, and oak surface in the aftertaste.

Body is moderate, with carbonation a touch high, and light alcohol warmth.

Aside from the malt fruitiness, metallic character, and slightly overly bitter finish, a very nice winter warmer. Like the subtlety of spicing. Good malt character, though it may benefit from even more.

 738 characters

Photo of bosox941827
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had to try this at recommendation of a buddy...
A - Mostly brown but with prominent a garnet/violet tinge to it; almost no head and with no haze whatsoever; very clear.
S - A hint of winter spices off the nose (cinnamon/nutmeg) along with some malty sweetness
T - A very unique beer that's for sure; so the nose is confirmed by the taste - a glycerin-type of cinnamon/nutmeg/cocoa flavor at the front that is not really sweet, but is subtle and not over-powering; flavor also has hints of a children's chewable aspirin(!). That is all VERY quickly wiped away - literally - by the hop finish. The hops are similarly not over-powering, but they clean up the palate and lend a dry finish, something which you wouldn't expect given the flavors at the front. An interesting beer....
M - Average carbonation and fairly smooth. Hops lend a dry finish.
D - Could probably do two of these and that's about it, but that may just be me.
Glad I tried this one; very unique beer that I would definitely try again and would recommend.

 1,020 characters

Photo of GregSVT
3.71/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a tulip

A: Pours a clear dark amber with a nice off-white head that fades to a ring and leaves some lacing on the glass.

S: The nose is pretty faint but there are minimal amounts of sweet malt, vanilla, and a hint of cinnamon.

T: The taste is much better with nice flavors of vanilla, sweet malt, and a slight cinnamon flavor. Pretty flavorful on the palate for such a low ABV beer.

M: The feel is slightly creamy and on the lower side of medium bodied. Not typical for the style and a bit more body could make this one better.

O: The vanilla and spices really save this one from mediocrity but it could use more body. I'd probably have this one again if it was offered in TX.

 698 characters

Photo of AgingWarrior
3.71/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark copper color with some reddish brown highlights into my Great Lakes pint glass. The pour produced a thick finger of tan colored foamy head with good retention and lots of lacing.

Smell is sweet malts, fruit and spices. The scent is a bit understated for a winter warmer.

Tastes a lot like it smells, a little sweet, malty but also somewhat different than most winter warmers. The spices are there, but subtle. Nicely balanced brew with a smooth and clean finish.

Medium body drink, smooth and creamy. Feels great as it washes over the tongue.

Smooth and easy drinking, very enjoyable.

Not exactly what I expected from a Winter Warmer, but a very enjoyable beer.

 680 characters

Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale from Highland Brewing
4 out of 5 based on 756 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer FestĀ® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!