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Winter Storm | Heavy Seas Beer

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Winter StormWinter Storm
Very Good
1,081 Ratings
Winter StormWinter Storm

Brewed by:
Heavy Seas Beer
Maryland, United States

Style: English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale)

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,081 |  Reviews: 546
Reviews by charlesw:
Photo of charlesw
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed as a barleywine 'cause there ain't no way this is an ESB. Seriously... The brewers call it an "Imperial ESB". Well, golly, we don't review the IIPA as an IPA do we? Indeed, we don't see the IESB as an ESB either.

Anyway... Beautiful clearish brown amber with a medium cream head that lasts well with lacing that goes on and on...

Smells... Like a nice barleywine. Malty and grassy and malty and did I mention the grass?

Tastes... Well... Almost like a Smuttynose Barleywine. Maybe a light version of that, but you get the idea. It's more about your English (noble) hops than about Cascades - sure, it's bitter and all, but it doesn't have the big citrus head of so many (thankfully). Smooth and easy going down. A little bitter hit right in the middle of the tongue right at the end. But very nice. Not too sweet. A great summer barley wine!

Ah, right. Well, so... If it's a barleywine or imperial or whatever, well... Then it's probably thin on the mouth, eh? It's about right for an ESB (on cask? Get out of here! This would be awesome!) but not for anything claiming to be bigger, you know?

Still... Drinkable? Oh yeah! I wish I had more than the 3 that came in my mixed case! Hell yeah! Love it!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of GHow
4.27/5  rDev +12.4%
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!

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer review from BA Mag Nov 2007.

Arrrr! You may have missed "Talk Like A Pirate Day" on September 16th, but at least you can drink like one. Yes, this is part of the "Heavy Seas" brand from Clipper City, pirate theme and all--eye patch not included.

Rusty red color, clarity is good. Solid foaming action from medium pour, head retention is stable. Big flamboyant aroma, fruity with expressive alcoholic esters, hops are not shy with thick herbal and citric notes, and the malt draws in caramel, bread crust and cake batter. Fluffy full body, smooth with a light snappy crispness that says "refreshing." Complex flavors flail around, hops and malt battle for domination. The malt is dense with clean toasted grain and sweet caramel flavors while the hops bring a duo of balanced bitterness and an herbal, bitter citric-peel flavor. Middle to end the alcohol comes in with a spicy start and warming finish with suggestions of melon, peaches and raisins. Finishes a little bittersweet.

So this is what an Imperial ESB tastes like--American brewing at its best here even with excessively creative made-up styles. Impressive, yet another seasonal we wish was year-round. Give this one a go especially if you are already sick of the spiced winter warmers that taste like organic toothpaste.

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Photo of BJB13
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a big ESB; nearly approaching strong ale strength and flavors. Begins with a piney-sweet, malty-spice aroma that captured clean fermentations aromas, citrus, and pecans. Flavors begin and remain with a strong balance of barley malt and assertive hops (I think they may have sneaked in an American hop or two). Remains strong well into the finish. Body is heavy for the style which hurts the drinkability, but the access flavors I find pleasant and bold. Almost minty fresh in the finish with a mild drying, partly from alcohol, partly from hops. You'll likely find this brew in my fridge until they disappear from the shelves.

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Photo of oberon
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

My first St. Patty's day beer of the day.Poured a rich deep copper with a tight 1/2 finger head that left a light sheet of lace behind as it settled,big dose of herbal hop in the nose somewhat grassy with a noticable caramel malt note underneath.Not a bitter double IPA by any means and well balanced piney and herbal hop notes over top a big sweet caramel malt base the alcohol seems to really come in play as it warms in the finish.This is not an in your face hopped up double IPA just a well balanced big hopped brew,I liked it.

 531 characters

Photo of Tiernan
4/5  rDev +5.3%

Photo of SIRIUS2
3.39/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a chalice style glass.

Pours reddish-brown or amber color, clear, with a relatively small head - relatively low retention produces light lacing.

Aroma was pleasant, a maltiness mixed with something yeasty, a sort of biscuit smell that worked well. If you are looking for it, you can pick up some signs of citrus or grapefruit hops on the nose as well.

The balance of the brew is pretty good for this ABV but it is a touch sweet to bring down the alcohol presence. A good job of hopping this brew as there is still a good solid mouthfeel without splitting the flavors. There is a bit of warming as it slides down the throat.

The mouthfeel is a touch heavy but understandably so. A very enjoyable offering and perfect for cold weather. I dig it.

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Photo of tuckevalastin
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear amber with a quickly disappearing white head

S: A roasty malt with mainly caramel tones

T: A sweet malty flavor with lots of piney hops. The caramel flavor carries through as does a brown sugar and fruit taste.

M: Little spice or heat but moderate bitterness. Medium bodied with good carbonation.

D: A little too hoppy to be a everyday drinker. Not so much as to be strictly a sipper though.

Overall, I can't compare this to others of the style as it isn't a style I've tried. It is however a very nice beer and another good member of the Heavy Seas sampler.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Yet another in the Heavy Seas series here. Pours from the bottle a deep ruby red hue with a touch of orange and a big creamy inch of head. Nice sticky lacing. Aromas of rich sweet caramelly bready malts alongside a blast of resinous hops that are piney and a bit citric as well. Good aroma here.

First sip brings a sweet caramelly toasted maltiness with a smooth transition to a resiny piney / grapefruity hoppiness. A bit rough and vegetal. Flows down with a nice bitterness that complements the sweetness well. Seems more like a malty IPA to me than anything else. Overall it just doesn't quite grab me.

Mouthfeel is creamy and full. A bit chewy with good bubbles. Overall this was a pretty tasty brew that just failed to really excite me. Not something I'd go out of my way to seek out, your mileage may vary.

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Photo of blitz134
3.63/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orange/apricot colored body with a one inch off-white head. Aroma is very light. A touch of citrus and some grassy hop aromas, not much else. Taste is mainly hop dominated, but not overly bitter. Hops are floral and citrus in nature. There is a bit of an herbal side to the hops in this brew. Needs more malts to fill this out; a bit unbalanced. Mouthfeel is a bit thin for the style, not overly thick and oily like I feel it should be. Drinkability is good though. Worth a taste...a reasonable DIPA.

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Photo of chOAKbarrell
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

For a double IPA, this beer wasn't as pulverizing as I expected. Which isn't a bad thing. The bitterness is nicely balanced, making it go down easy. It did have the typical IPA characteristic of leaving my mouth very dry, though. Also featured the typical dark amber color of highly hopped beers, with a frothy head. I enjoyed this beer somewhat, but it is not my favorite of Clipper City's Heavy Seas line. I just didnt find it unique enough to really try it again.

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Photo of Golfontap
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of JasonA
4.18/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from Corridor Wine and Spirits in Laurel MD

Pours a clear brown, maybe a little darker than a brown ale. Finer of head that disapaites into lacing and tiny head.

Smells spicey and malty. Lovely boquet, maybe more hops that expected. Smells a bit fresh.

Tastes spicey, with some alcohol. Is that raisin and currant? Nice winter taste here.

Lovely to drink. Would like to have a few of these. Medium bodied for a winter beer, alcohol is definately pleasent but seems to fit well with the spice.

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Photo of shapudding
4.47/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tab dated April 2005. Poured out a clear an amber goldne with a thick and frothy head of orangey eggshell color. The head reduced down to a thin layer with a thick ring at the edge. Very nice scents of fruits- apples, oranges, plump raisins, maybe a bit of banana even...? Yeastiness floating up in the warm spiciness. The first sip really just filled my mouth. The body/carbination actually surprised me, but is very nice. Medium bodied I guess. The carb feels bood, almost creamy, alot going on. I'm surprised by the white grapefruit hoppy biteyness here. Very good flavors. Kinda like I am drinking white grapefruit juice in a beer form though? I find this to be a good drinker and can see myself having this one in the summer too. There is a good amount of flavor left over in your mouth after each sip.
-Thanks to the blitheringidiot for giving me a bunch of these!

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Photo of bishopdc0
3.18/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Allagash chalice.
Its color is a golden amber with a thick white head. The head dissipates but does leave an nice lace on the glass as the glass empties.

The aroma is hard to place it is a mix of crystal malt and perhaps biscuit. The aroma together seems almost off for an ESB, not to say that it isn't pleasant a slight almost alcohol comes in the end.

The mouth begins with a large amount of carbonation on the tongue, and top of the mouth. Flavors of a caramel brown and a roasted porter come together to make this ESB. The end is dry and a slight alcohol finish mixed with a slight out of place hop bitter probably to make it more "American".

Overall not a bad ESB but definitely not the best. I bet most would like it but i like a little more of an English style

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Photo of Tiderion
4.32/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Copper color with a light foamy head. Constant bubbling throughout drinking. Mild lacing.

S: Heavy hop smell.

T: Great bitterness on the back end. Strong but not overpowering.

M: Smooth. Has a bit of a bitter punch that you have to get used to after the first two sips.

D: For this style, I'd drink this all the time.

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Photo of Doomcifer
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber color with a nice, off-white head that retains wonderfully. Great lacing left behind with each sip. Smells of floral hops and sweet malts, maybe a little bready aromas too. Tastes of sweet malts and lots of hoppiness. This is definitely an imperial ESB. Almost like a hopped up red ale but different malt bill. Not too much depth but very good taste nonetheless. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, good carbonation, finishing a bit dry. I wouldnt call this a session beer as it's fairly strong @ 7.5% ABV, but I would enjoy a few of these. Not bad at all.

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Photo of iemailjack
3/5  rDev -21.1%

Photo of Jason
3.83/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz brown bottle with a freshness date.

Great lacing from a dissapating three fingered head. Toasted malt, baked apples, earthy, hint of alcohol, & faint caramel in the nose. Big malt character, thick medium body. Herbal woody hop, lots of balance here. Apple skin, dried grass, faint orange pith, brown malt, husky, drying graininess. Finishes dry and toasty.

This is a great rendition of of an ESB, bold enough to be set as their winter seasonal.

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Photo of Billolick
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ouncer sampled, label has area for freshness dating, but no matter how close I look, nothing has been notched/marked, oh well. This one pours a nice glowing orangy amber, white tiny bubble head/film and respectable lacing. Nose is a citrusy/resiny blend. Barely respectable DIPA. Ratings seem high to me, as this one is sort of mushy body wise. This is a decent IPA ,but Double? C'mon get real. Could be more firm and crisp to get a higher rating from me. Does have a nice hoppy finish (not the crunch to be expected from a top DIPA however) and lots of caramel malts. This is the best offering I can recall trying from Clipper City

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Photo of warriorsoul
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another one picked up in RI...so close yet so far.
Big thanks to Beerguy for this brew.
Pours a dark rust color with a full finger of creamy off-white head...has excellent cling, producing some fabulous lacing and half of the head sticks around for quite a while.
More malt in the nose at first, but a decent amount of hops show up with a lingering nose...a bubble gum aroma with some earthy yeast.
The taste is nice...more of an English style IPA with a handful more hops IMO. The malt backbone is solid and much more of a presence helping itself distinguish itself from the Loose Cannon.
The alcohol is very well hidden yet it is felt quite nicely after most of the pint.
Finish is quite bitter, the mouthfeel is medium bodied and the carbonation is just a touch high for me. Could enjoy a few of these and be quite happy.
Either way, another solid offering from CC and one I will look for on tap soon enough.

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Photo of tigg924
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, high carbonation, clear, yellow/brown in color

Smell:honey, hops, and bread

Taste: honey, hops, bread, touch of cinnamon, brown sugar, and alcohol at the end

Mouthfeel: smooth, sweet with a slightly bitter middle, modearte carbonation, medium/light bodied

Drinkability: An above average bready ESB. I could have two or three. Nothing extraordinary, but nothing bad either.

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Photo of StupidlyBrave
4.46/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of reitzbrewing
4.25/5  rDev +11.8%

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Winter Storm from Heavy Seas Beer
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 1,081 ratings