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Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) | Heavy Seas Beer

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very good
515 Reviews

Brewed by:
Heavy Seas Beer
Maryland, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by pezoids on 02-17-2004

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 515 | Ratings: 984
Photo of ordybill
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 OZ bottle into a pint glass. The appearance is a clear amber with a small white head. The aroma is malt. The taste is malt with some hops. Ayyyyy really like this beer (had to do it)

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Photo of Grindelvasdrum
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle poured into glass stein.
A-Beautiful very dark red, only barely translucent, half a finger head after
aggressive pour which faded fast, a little lacing.

S-Sweet malts & dried dark fruits, some alcohol, smelled a bit of grape as it warmed.
T-Awesome big chocolatey bitter! Offset by some sweet dried dark fruit, prunes, cherry.
Finishes a nice strong bitter.

M-Big creamy feel! Nice level of carbonation for the style.
O-Complex blend of sweet & bitter. Isn't the real test if you'd drink it again?
Yes...yes I would!

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Photo of TX-Badger
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear orangish light reddish color with ivory colored head. Caramel, malts, and some light grass on the nose; follows onto the palate. Medium bodied. Finishes with mostly malt.

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Photo of UPMD_Bill
3.86/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark reddish brown with half inch head
Smell is caramel malt. Taste is the sweet malt with some peppery heat from the alcohol, followed by earthy hops and moderate bitterness. Reminded me a little of a scotch ale but with more hops.
Carbonation is moderate - creamy but a little bite from lots of small bubbles . Very drinkable for after shoveling.
Overall, pleased with this, would get it again.

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Photo of Marraybay
3.99/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look - Dark honeyed amber: +1 fingers of white head. cloudy.

Smell: Yeasty dough.

Taste: Decent malt backbone that gives way to some mid & closing
level bitterness that "accumulates." Wouldn't call the bitterness "citrusy"
necessarily--at least at 1st--but as it built upon the palate, it may have
taken on some of those characteristics.

Feel: full

Overall: I enjoyed this. for me it was a bit of a hybrid thing; Not
quite a DIPA, but not a brown either.

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Photo of Apellonious
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass , best by 2/18/16.

A - Clear brown with orange highlights, Half finger head that moves to a thin bubbly lace within a few minutes.

S - Toffee, malts, some nuttiness. Raisin.

T - Bready. Toasted grains, mild bitterness. Some of the aroma notes are here, though muted.

M - Carbonation medium, a touch on the light/watery side, but that is normal for the style (as I remember it, been a while since I tried one).

O - Good to revisit the style. This beer , while not remarkable, is well made and tastes pretty good.

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Photo of Lahoi
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A beautiful copper color. Hazy. Small head, good lacing.

Smells a lot like a caramel apple mixed with a candied apple on top of an apple pie that is sprinkled with cinnamon. In other words, very good.

Starts bitter, but finishes smooth. Very earthy.

Medium to full bodied with limited carbonation.

Overall, a good beer.

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Photo of microbrewlover
3.44/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This brew pours a solid copper color with ruby highlights when held up to the light. There is a white one finger head which hangs around until the end and there is a pretty good amount of lacing.

The smell is a base of toasted malts and some caramel with some bubblegum and dried fruits, smells like apples, on top.

The taste starts with toasted malts and caramel along with some spice and a fruity taste. Everything is well balanced but nothing really pops. The finish is dry; leaves your mouth puckered.

Overall this is a pretty good ESB; it is worth trying.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.34/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I enjoyed this in a pint on tap at Anthony's in Harrisburg PA.

the color is dark medium brown with translucent clarity and thin head that relaxes to a ring. The smell is lightly sweet with a mild dried fruit scent and slight earthy yeast ester. The feel is okay with mild toast texture and subtle bitterness with some diacetyl but finishes generally on the dry side with moderate carbonation.

The taste is a little lackluster -starts okay with some caramel and nutty malt flavor with a hint of raisin perhaps but the yeast gives a sort of woody and earthy flavor or it could be the hops however it finishes dry and has a lingering yeast which is almost like butterscotch. Overall I hoped for better than what I tasted since I am normally pleasantly surprised by Heavy Seas beer, but that was not the case with this ESB.

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Photo of uvachief
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Draft. Pours an orange brown but more brown than orange. Finger of head. Smells like not much. Want to say ginger and hops. Something bitter. Tastes hoppy bitter upfront. Little dirty or musty. Interesting taste. Never had this type of beer before. Don't love it but don't hate it either.

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Photo of jopezu
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

amber, good carbonation, razor thin head. smells of slight hops and sweet fruit. taste is a strong nut bitter and woodsy mixture. not exactly super compelling, but a decent beer for an esb; nothing to write home about.

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Photo of Crackblind
3.86/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pint from a cask. Definitely benefits from being cask drawn rather than tap. Nice bubbly foam head though sweeter scent than expected. Thin mouthfeel but very pleasant flavor. I'm a big fan of ESBs and while I was not disappointed, the sweetness did surprise me. Would definitely get again.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap:
Pours a deep copper bordering on light brown, with a translucent light haze. Head I nice soapy to foamy off-white, and provides decent lacing. Nose is a tad malty, but that may be the "imperial" coming through. Floral/herbal bittering agents do come through as well, a bit of noble hops feel. I expected more of this "ESB bitterness" than I got.

Taste also starts a tad more malty than expected, but not as much as I would've thought from the nose. Honey-biscuit in nature, it lingers in the background after quickly being countered by the bitterness from the nose. The floral/herbal hops don't come on string enough, leaving this more balanced bitter ale, versus "extra". Body is also heavier than expected, and feel is a bit rough on the tongue (carbonation and dryness).

I actually enjoyed this beer fairly well, just not sure if you were looking for a standard ESB if this would fit. Also, not being overly versed in the style, maybe the offerings I've had are a bit more heavy on the bitter than expected.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.57/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Dark hearty pour leads to a malty aroma. Tea leaf, sorghum, caramel malt, grains and barley.

The flavor is malty with a touch of spice. The malt is dry grains, dark fruits, barley, molasses and tea leaves. The spices are not overly pronounced and heard to differentiate. I think I get anise, caraway, and cinnamon.

The feel is a bit abrasive and bitter.

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Photo of seedyone
4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On cask at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Great well rounded flavor. A touch of the bitter but all in a great pour. As with most cask presented brews there is not much head or lacing, but the flavor is there. It is unquestoinably an ale so Hop heads take heed.

 248 characters

Photo of Bebum
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Muddy, orange-brown color,
Full body, intense flavor, rich but not heavy mouthfeel, avg length.
Bitter, tart, background sweetness well in balance, bitter finish.
Fruity, orange juice-like,
Different, very interesting.

 222 characters

Photo of bmcmahon1024
3.54/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It starts off very pleasant with a malty taste that quickly goes into a caramel flavor. The aftertaste is very very bitter and keeping my liking of the beer at a minimum. That bitterness seems to last forever.

 210 characters

Photo of Flounder57
3.79/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle was poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: A one finger head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is an amber color with good clarity and vision of bubbles coming up through the glass.

Smell: Toasted, burnt bread, biscuity, caramel, fruity, and earthy.

Taste: Definitely chewy malt forward with burnt toast flavor, bitterness, some citrus, caramel, and fruity notes.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium bodied, chewiness, dome bitterness, and medium carbonation.

Overall: Pretty spit on for the style. Sometime one is in the mood for chewiness and mild bitterness.

 586 characters

Photo of InkedinRi
2.9/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I was not crazy about this beer. Poured a dark copper with what looked to be something like yeast floating as thick as a snow glob. Taste was watery with a alcohol after taste. Over all a poor beer.

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Photo of dbl_delta
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle dated "best by Feb 29, 2016" into pint glass. Pours a murky dark amber with durable eggshell-white head. Initial impression is slightly sweet roasted malt, with biscuit and nutty notes. A little bitter up front, but not dominant by any means. Medium mouthfeel (perhaps a little thin for the style); medium carbonation. Finish is medium-dry. OK, but not exceptional.

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Photo of TastyFoodAndDrink
3.57/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pouring a hazy orange-brownish color leaning into mahogany, Heavy Seas Winter Storm gives an initial top note of hops. As it opens up, there’s elements of orange peel, subtle woodsy notes, and elements of cacao. There’s just the slightest trace of bread. On the palate it starts bright, slightly bitter with flavors of citrus, pine, and an earthiness that’s almost slightly herbal. The hop flavors are plentiful, the but the malt plays back up, with notes of subtle biscuit, burnt sugar, and toast. The body is thick, noticeably carbonated, bright, and focused on hops leaning into the bitter side of the spectrum. The ending comes alive has elements of unlit mild cigars, dried herbal notes, bread, burnt sugar, and hits of citrus pith. The finish is long and complex.

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: hazy; medium born in color; 1 finger khaki head that receded slowly to an uneven cap; nice lacing;

S: toffee and malt;

T: nicely balanced; malty with a little toffee; long, moderately bitter finish with a little spice;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation; alcohol is present, but not overwhelming; dry finish;

O: a little hoppier that your average ESB, which makes me happy;

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Photo of JimKal
3.25/5  rDev -15.1%

I wanted to like this one a lot more than I did. Pours a dark amber with a tan head that dissipates quickly but leaves some nice lacing behind. It is a bit on the boozy side for an ESB and has a strong caramel aftertaste that just doesn't work for me.

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Photo of embass
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured a copper/amber-ish color with a one finger head which disapated to a thin layer pretty quickly. Nice look and carbonation.

Had a nice toasty caramel smell along with some fruits; a little citrus note as well. I really liked the initial smell of hops there…

Definitely malt forward with with some bitterness up front; (a faint) citrus flavor along with something that is a bit herbal tasting to me.

Mouthfeel was pretty smooth; medium bodied and moderate carbonation.

Overall pretty good beer; not overly bitter and very bright. I have not had a lot of ESB style beers so this review may need to be tweaked a bit over time as I taste more.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: Pours a clear dark garnet red in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and some copper + cola brown highlights. The beer has a quarter finger tall foamy sudsy light tan head that quickly reduces to a medium sized mottled very thin film and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light aromas of citrus/orange rind hops, toasted nutty malts, and fruity yeast.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of toasted malts with a light amount of nuttiness as well as a light amount of toffee sweetness. There is a slightly stronger than moderate amount of citrus/orange rind hops that contribute a light to moderate amount of lingering bitterness. Hints of alcohol in the finish as well.

M: Medium bodied with slightly more than moderate amounts of carbonation. Slight amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: An interesting take on an ESB - much hoppier than any of the others that I have tried. Slightly too much alcohol and that alcohol is not well enough hidden for me. Probably would not grab another one of these but it can definitely be enjoyed.

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Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
3.83 out of 5 based on 984 ratings.
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