Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale | Highland Brewing

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very good
317 Reviews
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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:
755
Avg:
4
pDev:
13%
 
 
Wants:
87
Gots:
153
For Trade:
7
User Reviews
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Reviews: 317 | Ratings: 755
Photo of Wasatch
3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to slcbrewer for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a slightly cloudy amber color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tannish head, some sticky lacing follows. The nose is sweet, malty, and lots of caramel. The taste follows the nose pretty much. Slightly dry finish. Medium body. Drinkable, a nice little WW, but not that high in alcohol content.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Winter 2003-2004 Release, Sampled August 2004.
Pours a deep amber-ruby color with an amber-tan head. Thick aromas of syrupy malt waft from my glass, I also get notes of caramelized oranges and cherries (which are strong enough that there might actually be some cherry additions to this beer). The taste is dry up front, but then moves to a weird, fruity note; cough syrup perhaps. This also has some interesting subdued dark malt character to it, a slightly acidic finish, as well as some candied cherry notes. The cherry is not nearly as strong in the taste as in the aroma. Up front this beer could just about pass for a malty Scottish ale. It is fairly light and interesting enough as a quaffing brew (good thing that I have a 1 liter bottle of this to enjoy).

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Photo of yourefragile
3.22/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

On tap at Tyler's Taproom Carrboro, NC

A: Somewhat clear, dark amber with a basically white head that quickly dissipates to a splotchy film with little lacing.
S: A whole of spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, gingerbread, not much in the way of hops. Moderately strong, not all together appealing however
T: Ok, wow, cinnamon and gingerbread are very very strong. This tastes like a cinnamon bar I get from a bakery at home, in fact that's all I can think of right now. Some hops or bitterness for balance would be nice, but instead it almost tastes like I'm eating that pastry. Not bad, certainly unique, never tasted this in a beer, but I'm slightly overwhelmed by it.
M: Moderate carbonation, very smooth and creamy, medium bodied. Goes does easy and strong gingerbread, cinnamon aftertaste
D: I enjoyed this first time around and tried a second pint, and well, had some issues finishing it. The spices are too sweet and overpowering drinking too much of this. I liked this, but drinkability was severely limited for me, after first pint, it was just too much of too sweet.

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Photo of plaid75
2.45/5  rDev -38.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured a deep amber hue with a wisp of white foam atop. There was little retention and lacing.

The smell featured a strong sweet cereal aroma with a healthy dose of vanilla. Some nutmeg detected as well.

The taste consists of and astringent cinammon and nutmeg flavor with an overdose of vanilla. Very medicinal in the bitterness.

The mouthfeel was thin with an uncomfortable astringency.

Overall I was disappointed in this beer. Perhaps it is past its prime. Either way, I couldn't finish it.

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Photo of Zorro
3.7/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled through the efforts of mikesgroove and Battlecruiser BIF.

This is a clear reddish brown colored beer without much head formation.

The smell is sweet and candy like and reminds me a lot of 'sweet tea" as served in the Southern United States. Strong caramel and brown sugar aromas along with a little spice that I can't identify except for the vanilla and cinnamon.

The taste begins sweet with a VERY strong vanilla flavor and an egg custard taste. WOW this is one beer with a HEAVY vanilla flavor to it, if you don't like that taste then this will be beer hell on Earth for you. After a while the vanilla relents a bit and the taste changes to a New Orleans bread pudding flavor.

The mouthfeel is good.

Eh...drinkability is hard to determine. Too much vanilla. This is the kissing cousin of cream soda. This is a beer where one flavor has really has really taken over. Real simple a beer for vanilla lovers period.

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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.

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Photo of dvmin98
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opened a quart bottle w/ ceramic stopper

A: Deep copperish hue/ small, lacy head

S: Vanilla, maple, spices

T: As soon as I put my lips to the glass, all the vanilla hit me like a mac truck. Holy crud. To be honest, it was almost overwhelming at first, but I got used to it and enjoyed it.

M: Not very carbonated; very smooth

O: I liked this beer a lot, but after 1 1/2 pints, I was ready to move on

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Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to hopdog for unleashing this '05 bottle at the tasting...
Appears a semi-transparent orange toned brown with an ivory white head that fades into a collar. Little streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of caramel, vanilla, juniper, orange peel, cranberries, and biscuits.
Taste is of the aromas with a highlight of caramel and berries.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, mildly spiced, along with a light sourness that fades into a wild spiced and hopped finish.

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Photo of corby112
3.15/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to kubrick215 for sharing.

Pours a hazy dark amber/copper color with a one finger beige head that slowly fades into a lasting ring.  Sporadic spotty lacing left behind.  

Earthy, leathery malt aroma with an odd syrupy medicinal presence along with some dark fruit and heavy spices.  Hints of nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla bean followed by cherry juice, plum and raspberry.

Medium bodied wih a dry, medicinal flavor along with a heavy vanilla and spice presence.   Lots of dark fruit and sweet caramel malt sweetness with notes of hazelnut, toffee, raspberry, cherry juice and lots of vanilla.  Floral/potpourri like with zesty cinnamon and clove spiciness.  Really weird combination of flavors.  Not bad but a few ounces was more than enough for me.

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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.

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Photo of akorsak
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 1 L swingtop bottle courtesy of Deuane.

A: The ale is a dark amber, a full brown color of turbid cider or iced tea. Decent head on multiple tours.

S: The nose is not your normal mulled winter warmer, it has incredible depth and complexity. Vanilla bean is dominant, sitting atop cinnamon, powdered chocolate and faint tart cherries. Full without the bland spice complex many WWs have.

T: The ale is full of dark caramel and chocolate malts. Full nuttiness with some toffee drives the base of the ale. Vanilla bean flavors remain the center of attention but much more happens throughout the ale. A faint sour cherry flavor provides a warming undertone that mixes freely with some boozy warmth. Brown sugar, cinnamon, powdered cocoa all have their moment in the sun providing a nuanced flavor that is very pleasant to sip on.

M: Lots of spices make this a filling, delicious ale. With so much happening, you really need to take your time with it and allow each element to slowly emerge.

D: Boozy and strong, this is not a quaffing beer. Spend a few hours getting to know a bottle.

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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.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.99/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz bottle

A- Pours a dark brown color with a light tan colored head that leaves sporadic lacing around the glass.

S- The aroma is nice and malty with a good dose of cocoa and spices. I'm surprised at the amount of cocoa in the aroma, it really adds a nice dimension. The aroma is fantastic and immediately reminds me of the holidays.

T- The taste is a little on the sweet side with a lot of malt and cocoa flavors but there are just enough spices in the taste to help balance the sweetness out.

M- The mouthfeel is a little lighter than I would expect from a winter warmer.

D- This one's pretty drinkable, I'd be interested to find out what the ABV of this beer is. It doesn't seem to be all that high so it is a pretty solid drinker.

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Photo of beertunes
3.2/5  rDev -20%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a clean, clear ruby-brown color with just the thinnest cap of slightly off-white head that no retention or lacing.

The aroma is very much a sweet malt bomb. There are some hints of raisins or other sweet fruits. Not much, a bit, of show through. The flavors very similar, with the addition a sticky-sweet finish.

Mouthfeel and drinkability were both average for the style. Overall, a decent, if not spectacular, example of the style. Worth a shot if you see it.

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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.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.93/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Obtained in a trade with Brentk56. Thanks a bunch!!

To start off, I have the 1L taped swing top bottle ...it's very cool looking.

It pours into my New Belgium chalice a very nice amber with a smallish head of foam. It doesn't stick around very long and I'm left with just a ring around the edge of the glass and there's just a tiny bit of lacing.

The smell...I'm getting a huge whiff of vanilla, malt, and some other spices.

The taste is also very big on the vanilla with a nice burnt caramel malt backing it up. Swishing the Ale in mouth, I get a bit of citrus tartness and some chocolate notes and that has me smacking my mouth. This is a very unusual tasting sample of the style and I'm liking it.

The finish is on the bitterish side with flavours of hot cocoa and it leaves a pleasing long lasting aftertaste. I'm not getting too much warming so either the abv is fairly low or it's really well hidden. A *very* nice drop indeed. I'm glad I got this one in the trade. :^)

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Photo of ppoitras
4.07/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1L bottle from Secret Santa ninjaworm. Wax sealed swing-top. Cool.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" light tan head above a deep copper brew. Head shrinks pretty quickly, but still eaves a coating of uneven bubbles, and lacing is average. Aroma is sweetly of malts, coupled with a seemingly peat component. Not smoky, more of an earthy contribution there, maybe their yeast strain, never had anything from Highland before. Taste is a combination of sweet maltiness, earthy tones, and possibly a vanilla bean or two. Certainly a lot going on here, but it all comes together nicely. Mouthfeel is good, and drinkability is excellent. Nice offering here, with a cool package and a pleasing product.

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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.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Surprise keg at Thirsty Monk Asheville. Served in an Unknown Brewing pint glass.

A- Pours a reddish dark amber color with a 1/2 inch light tan head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a solid sheet of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a jagged ring behind.

S- Great notes of caramel, sweet dark fruit like sugary raisins, fig and some bready fruitcake all tied together nicely with a considerable hop aroma. Kinda ends up seeming like a light barleywine in the all-around bouquet.

T- Taste goes in the same direction with more dark fruit, brown sugar, maybe a hint of maple and even a nuttiness which I think may be perceptive due to the fact that it tastes so close to fruitcake. Once again, there's a solid hop presence behind all this which is what I think is the key to the complexity exhibited in the flavor profile.

M- Soft, almost creamy with medium-low carbonation and a fullish body.

O- Apparently this beer falls in the "used to be so much better" class of seasonal releases but I think this is a great beer. Kind of on the light side for a winter warmer in regards to both ABV and malt content but I can't mention enough how the hops really make all the spices sing together in a unique harmony. A must try if you have the chance. So glad I was able to six months after it was released.

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Photo of avalon07
4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to an imperial pint glass. Had an amber color and a slightly hazy consistency. There was a small amount of foamy head that quickly dissipated and good lacing.

S: A nice aroma of sweet malt, spices and a somewhat fruity quality.

T: Tasted of malt, cinnamon, some other spices, and mild fruit (at least that's what it seemed like to me). Nicely balanced, clean flavor.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a very dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: A very good winter warmer. Extremely drinkable.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.13/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Woohoo! First tick for 2011. I picked this up over Thanksgiving in Asheville after being very impressed with a pint I had on tap (2010 Winter edition).

A beautiful, clear mahogany with a dense, off-white head with excellent retention, there isn't much to show for lacing apart from some patchy foam. Clarity is exceptional, this is a particularly attractive beer. The nose is great too, like I remember it being. A touch of spice is present with cinnamon and mace, I also get some brown sugar and a prominent vanilla note. The combination is dessert-like, but this still smells light. Hops are mild, there's some earthy, mildly leafy and mineral-like hop aroma present. Solid.

The palate opens with a blend of light brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon. A light but simple sweetness, a blend of brown sugar and burnt sugar is present. Notes of vanilla and maple appear in the mid-palate. Drying on the finish with the hops asserting their presence, there's a blend of earthy, leafy bitterness and lingering vanilla. Light in body with medium-high carbonation, this is an enjoyable beer. I preferred this on tap, where it was a lot creamier, but even out of a bottle, it's still the best Winter Warmer out there.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.8/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Hazy auburn bronze color with a beige head. A nice spicy aroma and taste (nutmeg and cinnamon) reminiscent of cinnamon toast. A toasty warm feeling great for wintertime. Medium bodied (leand full) and very smooth. Similar to Harpoon Winter Warmer in terms of spice intensity.

[2001 version (1 liter swingtop bottle) Tasted 11/23/02]

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Photo of Bung
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

One of the better winter seasonals I've had. Red/brown pour, nice whiteish head. Reminded me a little like drinking a windmill cookie, with some caramel toping poured over it. Had this on draft and bottle, definetely better on draft. Also I liked the 2007 version a little bit better, was just a little heavier. Had more characteristics of a Christmas porter to go along with the christmas cookie. I look forward to next year's batch.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Bucketboy for the opportunity to try this one. 22oz. bottle served in a standard pint. Pours a translucent amber with a quarter inch, loose, off-white head that quickly disperses into a thin band around the shoulders. Some strands of lacing appear during the tasting, but exhibit poor retention. Nose is somewhat muted - light to medium malt with a suggestion of spice. Taste consistent with nose with the addition of some caramel/toffee notes. The spice seems to be be nutmeg. Mouthfeel is light-medium with a lively carbonation which contributes to a semi-dry finish. All and all a pretty drinkable beer for the style. Not at all cloying with enough flavor to make this quite quaffable.

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Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased from Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours a clear "old-penny" copper color with a one-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of light caramel malts with hints of toffee and good amounts of vanilla. As the beer warms the vanilla aromas intensify.

Tastes good. Mild caramel malt flavors up front are quickly joined by hints of toffee and large amounts of vanilla flavors. Midway through the sip a touch of leafy hop flavors enter into things before fading into the background to make way for a mildly sweet finish.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a smooth thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall this is lighter on spices than many winter warmers however I have to say that I enjoy it more than many winter warmers. Well worth a shot.

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Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale from Highland Brewing
89 out of 100 based on 317 ratings.
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