Winter Storm
Heavy Seas Beer

Winter StormWinter Storm
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Bitter - English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Ranked #38
Ranked #24,089
3.84 | pDev: 11.72%
Heavy Seas Beer
Maryland, United States
Very Good
Winter StormWinter Storm
Notes: Formerly Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale)
Reviews: 548 | Ratings: 1,086 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of chitoryu12
chitoryu12 from Florida

4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Look: Clear amber with some minor carbonation bubbles rising. Slightly over half a finger of bubbly white head with decent retention.

Smell: Doughy malt, toffee, caramel.

Taste: Malty, with a slight metallic note, and generally sweet. Very mild hop flavor and limited bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Full, chewy body with good carbonation.

Overall: Not the most amazing ESB on the market, but very warming in the cold.

Apr 22, 2020
Photo of gestyr
gestyr from Pennsylvania

3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle. Bought a discounted 6 pack as its best buy date was 17 Feb 2019.

Pours a nice deep reddish amber with a thick, long lasting off-white head that leaves lots of lacing.
Smells of malt, toffee, caramel and a hint of hops
Tastes strongly of malt and toffee with a hint of dark fruit. There is a distinct bitterness that balances the sweetness.
The body is on the heavy end of medium bodied.
I have no idea what this beer went through in the year since it expired but it did age well. :) It reminds me of a Barleywine.

Apr 04, 2020
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an English pint glass.
The appearance was a nice looking dark orange/amber color with a slight transparency about it. Capped by a small little white foamy head. Dissipated nicely to leave some messy speckled lace.
The aroma starts off with a huge toffee sweet malty character playing with a ton of grassy hops. Fruity esters enter in sweetly with noticeable "boozy" features.
The flavor was moderately bitter and dry like a normal ESB ending up providing a substantial toffee maltiness. Long bold toffee sweet aftertaste and a grassy to earthy play.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied, perhaps just a touch under. Good carbonation and ABV. Finish is crisp and fruity dry, eloquent hoppiness for balance.
Overall, it's a pretty cool concept of an ESB. ABV is cleaned up enough to say this works.

Mar 03, 2019
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spectru from Florida

3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

very dark amber, clear; creamy colored head recedes rapidly; good-smelling beer; nicely carbonated, sparkly; The taste is fairly robust, but not clearly identifiable to me.

Dec 20, 2018
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Fatheroftoomany from Pennsylvania

3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cloudy amber pour with deep frothy head. Smells of caramel and hops. Bitter taste is just right and doesn’t over power your mouth. Slightly sour finish.

Dec 15, 2018
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Maestro0708 from Kentucky

3.59/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours deep amber, fairly clear, with a small white head that fades quickly.

Aroma is rich malt, hint of caramel, earthy, spicy hops.

Good balance in the flavor between earthy, spicy hops and rich, bready malt. Hints of caramel sweetness are swept away by a firm bitterness.

Body is medium, carbonation seems a bit high for the style.

Its hard to find ESB in the States. This is a tasty imperial version.

Dec 12, 2018
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JustCamIt from Virginia

4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: reddish-amber and moderate head
S: jasmine tea, raisin, and caramel
T: fruitcake ( the type that has no cake but made of candied fruit, peel, and brandy)
F: medium bodied and oily
O: Uncomplicated drinking. Quite nice and competitively priced.

Dec 03, 2018
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Brutaltruth from Ohio

4.04/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From the growler via Jungle Jim's in a snifter. This nice ESB pours a
muddled orange tinged brown color with a nice head of khaki foam
that settles to a thick ring, thin swirling pool, and shows some light lacing.
Nose of subtle citrus, moderate pine, and caramel malt. Flavors are
perfect for the style---citrus and pine mingle with a spicy rye note
and sweet caramel malts with a touch of spicy hops. Very nice mouth
feel; medium body, medium light carbonation, and a sweet malt and
balanced hop finish.

Overall, a SOLID brew from a great brewery!


Dec 02, 2018
Photo of nicholas2121
nicholas2121 from Ohio

4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Winter Storm brewed by Heavy Seas Beer, with an ABV of 7.50% This English Extra Special/ Strong Bitter pours out a deep amber/Copper color with a nice white head. There is a nice amount of lacing to this brew, it sticks to the side of the glass well. Really digging the copper color of this brew. The smell is rich with grains and malts, with a nice amount of hop bitterness. You also pick up some spices. Now for the taste , it is Bold with flavors. You first pick up a nice amount of spices mixed with grains and malts. There is a lot going on in this brew This well put together brew. The body of Winter Storm is a solid medium. There is nothing overpowering about this brew, it has a super nice balance to it. It is really hard to pick up on the 7.50 ABV in this brew,it is that smooth. The mouth feel is Bold, Rich, Clean, Smooth and Refreshing. Overall I am going to give Winter Storm a 4.25 out 5. I would definitely look this brew up again giving the opportunity to.Heavy Seas Beer, did a super nice job with brew.

Dec 02, 2018
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Bouleboubier from New Jersey

4.22/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

(12 oz bottle, 18217/225, BEST BY FEB2619... poured into a large glass mug)

L: fairly clear, med-dark amber-tawny liquid, 3/4" pad of off-white foam on pour, collapses to thin, persistent pad, but no lace

S: robust underlying caramel-y malts, raisin-packed; floral-herbal, tea-like, dried citrus peel hop aromas atop... hint of alcohol lifting what's an invitingly rich, almost doppelbock malty scent

T: huge pop of earthy, herbal/piney, pungent hop bitterness up front; rich, caramel-loaded malt starting midway, dropping during the finish, leaving a humming aftertaste of that peppery-spicy, piney/woody, black tea-like hop bitterness and a toasty, lightly-burnt, clearly-defined display of caramel malt... alcohol is at a perfect complimentary level against the unabashed bittering

F: thick, viscous malty body, plump and oily going through, cut hard in the finish by its mildly-stinging bitterness and soft ethanol burn

O: heard about this on a Brewbound podcast - had never tried this before... glad I had to buy a six-pack (and was lucky to actually stumble across one too), because this was a love-at-first-sip experience... rather American flavors overall and/or much like a heartily-hopped doppelbock - one of the more dynamic US-y USBs I've tried!

Dec 01, 2018
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KonigObHops from Ohio

3.64/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This beer was poured from a 12 oz. bottle that I purchased at a local craft store. The beer was a hazy medium copper color with yeast floating in it (which was a surprise because there is nothing on the bottle stating that this beer is bottle conditioned. The head was off white and about one finger-width clear.

The aroma of the beer was slightly hoppy with a hint of citrus.

The initial taste was a bit on the sweet side, but in the middle it is somewhat earthy. The beer finishes with notes of citrus.

The mouthfeel was well balanced between smooth and crisp.

Overall, this was a nice example of a style that is becoming increasingly difficult to find. I would be happy to find this beer again.

Nov 29, 2018
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rudiecantfail from Pennsylvania

3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle poured into a tulip glass.

L---Deep, reddish amber color. Middling head with minimal retention. Left nice bands of lacing.

S---Sweet malts dominate. Caramel & some fruit. Not complex, but not bad, either.

T---Malty, very malty. There's actually some hop notes in there, too. Caramel & dark fruits.

F---Full & rich. Creamy. Minimal carbonation.

O---A nice (on some light steroids) example of an ESB. Not my first choice of styles, but it's pretty good, nonetheless

Nov 16, 2018
Photo of jrc1093
jrc1093 from Connecticut

3.78/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Best by 2/17/19

Pours a deep, burnt ruby hue with a short-lived finger of off-white head; quick retention leaves a fair amount of thicker, webby lacing around the glass.

Aromas of piney, earthy hops on a deeply saturated backbone of amber malts with hints of tempered diacetyl fleeting in between; pine, wood, leather, all well-pronounced and smooth.

Tastes of robust earthy malt, charred caramel, and faint, enhancing diacetyl adding a certain flow to the profile; earthy, grassy hops appear subtly on the finish.

Mouthfeel medium-bodied with well-balanced carbonation and a crisp, subtle denseness on the palate; lightly coats the palate with flavor while a malty bitterness maintains a general consistency.

Dense and earthy while never losing its sessionability; a well-made beer with pronounced character built for easy drinking. Good stuff.

Nov 14, 2018
Photo of ajm5108
ajm5108 from Pennsylvania

4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Well balanced, biscuity malt but not too heavy, dash of caramel malt, hops have a bitter European kiss, checks all of the boxes for the style, well done

Nov 12, 2018
Photo of BJB13
BJB13 from Maryland

3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip style pint glass.

Slightly cloudy tarnished copper in the glass with an inch of somewhat rocky off-white foam leaving some slick lacing.

Nose is a moderate to strong aroma of bread and caramel malt with a hint of earthy hop and some not quite dark fruity esters coming through.

No surprise after a good whiff the taste is medium bitter, both from toasted malt and hops, with a little caramel and darkish fruit sweetness. Bitterness may even be high for the style.

To the high side of thin bodied with fairly low carbonation it finishes rather smooth with a bit of frothiness. It does coat the tongue some but not too noticeably.

I have looked forward to this brew for the last few winters.

Feb 22, 2018
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scotorum from Massachusetts

3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4


Poured from the 12 oz. bottle into an English nonick pint.

a; Clear copper with an inch thick offwhite head which receded to even surface foam and dense patchy lacing

s: Caramel malt with slight cinnamon and pear notes.

t: Mild caramel and spice with light to moderate hop bite which lingers more as it warms. Sweetish finish along with some residual bite.

m: Medium, smooth body and some carbonation tingle.

o; A good ESB with little hop bite until it grows stronger later, which along with light notes of spice and fruit provide a relatively complex overall taste experience. The format suggests the potential for conflict between any hop flavors and the basic caramel malt, but this works well in substituting some additional if still mild hop bitterness for a heavier malt profile.

Jan 31, 2018
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jmdrpi from Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

On draft in a pint glass

Clear, copper colored, white head. Mild aroma of earthy hops and bready malt. Mildly bitter, Clean flavor. Thin to medium bodied.

Jan 27, 2018
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SaltofOH from Ohio

3.71/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Bottle best by Feb 13, 2018. CBF Tulip.

A: pours a golden copper-amber with tiny chunks of suspended sediment and 1/4 finger off white head that fades quickly but retains well. Streams of small-bubble carbonation. Exquisite lacing.

S: sweet, orangey citrus malt. This beer smells exactly as I expected and desired. Very similar to Mt. Carmel Harvest, or a toned-down Bigfoot. English esters, too. Overripe pears.

T: taste follows the nose to begin with - sweet malt - toasted wheat bread dripping with orange honey, orange marmalade. Toward the end the sweetness doesn't stop, but is overlaid with a slightly floral, heavily woodsy hop bite that lingers into the finish.

M: full bodied without a doubt. Middling carbonation, and extremely slick.

O: I came into this expecting this to be a contender for one of my favorite beers of all time, and the appearance, smell, and first sip didn't disappoint. But it quickly got sickly sweet and too heavy. Definitely more of a sipper. Would love to have it again, but what I love about ESBs is this flavor profile and sessionability, and though this has the flavor profile 100%, the imperial aspect does it in for me.

Jan 20, 2018
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EMV from Pennsylvania

3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip

L: Nearly-clear mahogany brown pour. 2 fingers of foamy white head. Solid ring of lacing.

S: Sweet caramel... earthy... mild spice.

T/F: Follows the nose. Sweet and spicy... caramel and toasted grains. Earthy/nutty and balanced with some spice and hop bitterness. Dark fruits and yeast. Medium to light bodied... well carbonated. Sharp on the tongue... the finish is bitterness and molasses.

O: A really nice ESB.. great flavor, good mix of bitter and sweet. Enjoyable.

Jan 19, 2018
Photo of DanO1066
DanO1066 from Maryland

4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Used to enjoy this on tap (in season) at my old corner bar (Frank & Nic's West End Grille in Baltimore). Tonight it was a pair of 12oz bottles poured (sequentially) into a tulip glass. Nice copper color, a malty aroma, and a balanced tasting ale that goes down smoothly.

Jan 17, 2018
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MrOH from Malta

4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours clear, dark amber with a dense off-white head. Good retention and lace.
Toffeeish malts, some yeasty fruitiness, a whiff of spicy hops.
Deep caramel, toffee, and bready malts. Nice earthy/spice hop flavor.
Kinda heavy, but it's meant to be a winter beer.
My favorite offering from Heavy Seas.

Dec 28, 2017
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GHow from Connecticut

4.27/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Received as a X-mas gift from the youngest of My Three Sons. This (E)xtremely (S)mooth (B)Sailor from Maryland meets high standards in my captains log. Dark color, spicy, earthy, forest taste. Also gifted a logo-ed chart map pint Heavy Seas glass. Arghhh Yee Matey!

Dec 26, 2017
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IronLover from Pennsylvania

3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Deep orange in color with a light haze. Poured with a short, dense, off-white foam with medium retention. Medium bready, toasted and caramel malt aromas with light earthy hop and boozy notes. Medium light bodied with medium carbonation. Light smooth feel through the middle with boozy warmth toward the finish. Dark fruity flavors up front followed by toasty and bready malt aromas. Medium, earthy, lightly spicy hop bitterness through the middle. Spicy hop flavors and a boozy bite from the middle to the end. Finished with light bready malt and spicy hop flavors. Evenly balanced hop and malt flavors with pleasant boozy warmth.

Dec 21, 2017
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Ob512316 from Pennsylvania

3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12oz beer poured into glass.
Look: amber with a thin white head, with minimal lacing.
Smell: biscuits, caramel, toffee, and earthly notes.
Taste: Caramel, toffee, biscuits then earthly notes at the end.
Feel: Very carbonated with a really nice mouth feel, finish is dry and pretty smooth.
Overall: Balanced, love the malt first then hops at the end.

Nov 22, 2017
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mpyle from Maryland

3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Nice amber color, brilliantly clear. Pours healthy sized white head, creamy and long lasting.

Big malty nose, lots of caramel, complemented with hints of earthy British hops. Overall has a rich, slightly sweet aroma.

Nice hit of malt up front, but quickly brought into balance by adequate hops. Soft bitterness carries into the finish, but the malty sweet lingers to the end as well. Quite a malt/hops battle. The big malt bill with a higher ABV beer probably explains some of the residual sweetness

Medium-full body, and lower end of medium carbonation. Very soft and pleasant on the tongue, no astringency and only the slightest hint of warming.

Nothing exceptional about it, but a nice easy drinking bigger beer. Very clean, and feels big but not overly boozy.

Nov 05, 2017
Winter Storm from Heavy Seas Beer
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 1086 ratings