Winter Storm Imperial ESB | Heavy Seas Beer

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Winter Storm Imperial ESBWinter Storm Imperial ESB
Very Good
1,049 Ratings
Winter Storm Imperial ESBWinter Storm Imperial ESB

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:
Formerly Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale)

Added by stirgy on 02-17-2004

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 1,049 |  Reviews: 530
Photo of nlincoln
5/5  rDev +31.6%

Photo of Manny1909
5/5  rDev +31.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of ColSanders123
5/5  rDev +31.6%

Photo of rwb
5/5  rDev +31.6%

Photo of cgarcer
5/5  rDev +31.6%

Photo of RBorsato
4.95/5  rDev +30.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Dark gold/bronze with a full pillowy beige head, very active carbonation and lots of lace. Big beautiful citrusy grapefruit hop aroma and flavor. Medium bodied (may have felt a touch lighter due to carbonation) and creamy with an awesome fresh hoppy finish.... nice hop burps !!!

Must be the CC Reserve Winter Ale redux... very similar from memory as I remember that one being excellent as well.

Per CC website: Winter Storm "Category 5" Ale.
Available - Mid October
ABV: approx. 7.5%
IBU'S: 50+
Malts: Pal, Crystal and Carapils
Hops: Magnum, Fuggles, Cascade and Centennial
Style: Imperial IPA - a hearty, winter warmer, it is brewed with huge amounts of malts and hops, producing a rich flavor and powerful hop aroma.

Purchase Before: Mar '05
Tasted: 12/11/04

($27.99 / case)

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Photo of woodychandler
4.8/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Back on The Bottle Beat, thanks to my regular trade buddy, tone77.

From the bottle: "With a full ruby hue, rich malty character, and earthy hop aroma, Winter Storm is an original - an Imperial ESB for the winter months."; "Clean Water Fund [-] A portion of the proceeds from each case of beer we sell goes to help, a national organization dedicated to protecting the quality of the water we drink and the water we use to brew. Can't make great beer without clean water! Finds from the sale of this beer go back to the region where it was purchased."

I was impressed by the two rocky fingers of light-tan head that I got off of my pour. Not only was it markedly different than the fizzy head that I usually see from AmeriCAN Adjunct Lagers, but its retention was fabulous. Color was a deep coppery-amber with ruby highlights and NE-quality clarity. Nose was initially big with malt, but there was also a good bit of piney hops in the mix. Yum! Mouthfeel was medium with a wild juxtaposition of caramel sweetness and pine hops on the tongue. Dang, but this was really good and wayyyy too smooth. I could see putting a couple of these away before I even knew what had happened. Finish was more hoppy than malty, but it was the interplay between the two that really made this a unique beer. I really should not pooh-pooh bottled beers the way that I had been. I would drink this pretty routinely during the winter.

 1,428 characters

Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.75/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Extremely bright, see-through amber, a hops-dominated nose, with a massive blast of caramel, almost a burnt caramel smell, if there is such a thing! Very rich, oh so smooth and creamy; a blast of hops that will slap the palate into shape; fresh grapefruit and orange peel notes in the body, a decent warming affect as she warms, throw in some fresh baked bread tastings that slide down the hatch. Juicy and sweet hops, incredibly smooth and refreshing, a Double IPA Winter Seasonal? WOOO said the nature boy!

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Photo of WhitmansNiece
4.75/5  rDev +25%

Photo of williepep
4.75/5  rDev +25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A-Reddish amber with a medium head which retained itself quite well, leaving rings around the glass on the way down.

S-Distinct,aromatic hops mixed with some sweet malt.

T-Malty with a good hop finish. Very little alcohol taste.

M-Medium bodied brew. Just right for a bitter.

D-Goes down very easy for a beer that's 7.5% alcohol.

Had this last year and couldn't wait for them to put it out again. This should be available all year round. It's just what I imagined an imperial bitter would taste like. Domestic bitters tend to be a bit too dry for my liking. This one is slightly sweet, somewhat similar to a Fuller's. Heavy Seas has made another excellent beer. Baltimore should be proud.

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Photo of DCH
4.75/5  rDev +25%

Photo of cfriend2
4.65/5  rDev +22.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This one pours a deep copper color under a beautifully thick and full head. Great lacing. Strong aroma of hops and alcohol, some citrus and caramel in the nose as well. Great taste: grassy hops balanced very well with a nice amount of bitterness, some malt sweetness, and a hint of alcohol, but not too much. A citrusy and lightly bitter aftertaste. Nice full mouthfeel. Would definitely have another.

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Photo of stirgy
4.64/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

My first beer from this brewer poured a bright and orange amber color. The head rose up quick, then settled, leaving a Swiss cheese-like head of creamy foam.

Beautifully sweet aroma of roses, herbs and cherry nectar. I love the aroma! I must give it a perfect score. Very appetizing and attractive. So far so good.

The taste is quite amazing as well. Medium/light in body and very fruity. Some floral bitterness lingers after you sip. There’s plenty of complex and alluring things to get out of this beer. I detect apples, pears, raisins, dates, honey among other things. I want more of this sublime beer. I hope this is an indicator of good things to come from this brewer.

I E-mailed the brewer for more info, since there wasn't anything on their site and this was the response I received:

Yes we brew that beer. It was the first release in our "Heavy Seas" line where we feature our bigger, more afficiannado styles. It was a seasonal and I am sorry to say it is now all gone. If you see any in a store, BUY IT. Look for it again around mid-October. The ingredients are fairly standard - just a lot of them - pale (both American and European) crystal and Munich malts, magnum, cascade, hersbrucker and chinook hops. 7.5%ABV. The next release is called Small Craft Warning, is a 7% pilsner bock (Uber Pils), and will start to ship in early March. Thanks for your interest and glad you enjoyed the beer.

- Can't wait for the small craft warning.

 1,467 characters

Photo of HoppySeconds27
4.63/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a frosted glass, as one does. Drinking this beer makes me feel like a pirate.

Appearance: Beautiful stuff, dark amber, decent head when poured vigorously with some lacing as I drank. Love the appearance of this one.

Smell: Hoppy, caramel, spice. Wintery aromas. Very appealing.

Taste: I'll be honest, Heavy Seas never blows me away but this one did it in terms of taste and appearance. Taste is its strength, it's got bite, hoppy aftertaste, a bit of spice, caramel tones when you first sip it... Honestly, for the heft of the beer and the complexity, I find myself going back for more. Easy drinking for something this caliber.

Mouthfeel: Smooth at first, lots of residual carbonation and tang.

Overall: Taste says it all, I love this beer. Any shortcoming are made up by the taste and I can't rate this any lower overall without kidding myself.

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Photo of jjboesen
4.63/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Having always been a fan of this Baltimore brewery, I was eager to suck this baby down! There was little dissapointment: this beer offers a golden hue with clarity; and it abides beneath a fast-dissolving head, loose clingage and many pinpoint bubbles rising from the bottom.

The nose is treated to an intense floral bouquet that is present at the initial pour. The palate is offered a sweet hop intensity throught the quaff.

I did enjoy the acute and well-balanced hop/malt mouthfeel; additionally, there was detected a lingering warmth sans any noticable bitterness - surprising, given this style.

I love Clipper City beer. They always have something wonderful to offer. Would that they could increase their distribution area, so more beer lovers could fall in love with their wonderful product.

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Photo of chilidog
4.58/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As I read some other reviews as to if this beer hits its proper style, perhaps not so much a bitter, but man does it hit the spot.

For me it poured a full bodied rusty/copper with an impressive tan head that maintained and laced real well.

The aroma of roasted malts, slight hop and alcohol.

The taste had alittle of everything I like in a craft beer. It start off alittle malty sweet from toasted malts that pick up a creamy caramel. Hops come next to balance well and crisp up the beer. At the finish a smooth alcohol makes itself known by a slight warming of the chest and mouthfeel.

For me, one of the best winter beers i've had this year. It has alittle of everything I like in a quality, full bodied beer. Great job!!

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Photo of Oakenator
4.55/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a darker brown to amber color with a decent head at pour. Decent head retention and good lacing. Aroma is darker malts and maple syrup. Taste is sweet - again darker malts and syrup present. Starts sweet and finishes on a slightly bitter note but not over powering for those that like milder hops. Great beer for a cold day.

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Photo of athensbeermaster
4.55/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

November is such a good time for hard to find seasonal brews.
This Winter Storm alway's makes the list. Nice amber/grey color with a good two finger tan dense head that leaves intense lacing down the whole glass. The nose battles it out between citrus and sweet carmel aromas that end with a floral earthy scent. The first sip slaps your taste buds with fuggles hops and gives way to the silky malts that mellow out this complex brew. I like the fact there
are no weird x-mas spices. Maybe a small hint of clove? Such an array of fruits like plum,raisins,orange rine. And the finish leaves a single malt scotch taste (Glen Morenge 12 year) mixed with a hint of earl grey tea!

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Photo of Jekerdud
4.52/5  rDev +18.9%

Photo of combatbootz
4.52/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Very well brew ESB, great strong bitter end

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Photo of wheelinshirt
4.52/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle (oddly called a 'pounder' on the neck label, perhaps some sort of weird pirate slang, i don't know) poured into a pint glass to enjoy with my dinner. Let me just warn you, this was one of my biggest (good) surprises in beer to date--i loved it.

Beautiful rich amber color with a finger of head that doesnt last but doesnt quite disappear all together and leaves some nice lacing. Smell is a good balance of earthy hops and malt. Taste is similar, great hop taste and sweetness from the malt. Dry-ish finish that makes me drink it a bit too quick--gotta slow down. I almost forgot how strong this was, where do they hide the alcohol on this?

Mouthfeel is good with medium low carbonation that makes it all taste so creamy. I could drink this one all the time--it actually reminds me a bit of an IPA, but really balanced. I was simply floored by this--an amazing offering from heavy seas and something different for winter.

 936 characters

Photo of DonWeymouth
4.52/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Sephiroth
4.52/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Just recieved this in trade from meathookjones. Thanks, man. It pours with a light head, and is a clear amber. The hop smell is one of the most complex I have encountered. It is unfortunately too faint. A little citrus, a little pine, and some grassiness.

The taste is nice. I am often disappointed by IIPAs because they are not Dreadnaught. This has a more refreshing and complex flavor. This is citrusy, piney, and grassy at the same time. The flavors are layered, not just a chaotic mess like some IIPAs. If you don't taste the malt halfway through a sip, you'll miss it. It is quite fleeting. This has a slight wet hop character. The mouthfeel is ultra creamy and smoothly carbonated. Drinkable as hell, except it is my only sample.

 740 characters

Photo of ordybill
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
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 DerrickW
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%

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Winter Storm Imperial ESB from Heavy Seas Beer
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 1,049 ratings
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