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

very good
519 Reviews
Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale)Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale)

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: 519 | Ratings: 1,015
Photo of karst
4.4/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

April '05 date "Category 5" Ale. I love the sea and I love a strom. With the woods filled with a late winter snow. This almost nitro-fine foamy 2 1/2 finger head forms over a whisky copper ale.
Aroma and flavor are building to Category 5 in my nose and mouth. I love beer and probably overrate most brews at this point. I spite a a warning about a fine layer of yeast " at her bottom" on smelling and tasting this very nice brew - risk being sent to "Davy Jones' locker. This bottle was definately protected from the rigor of life at sea! (or Corral's shelves at Granite City, Illinois)
If you have to go down, why not on a double IPA!
This ship rides the winter storms well with is strong body and complex nose and taste of caramel malts and a hop sail trimed to perfection. I'll ride this clipper to the ends of the earth!

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Photo of sdawson
4.39/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Given to me by a generous on-BAer. Thanks Kelli! Winter Storm pours a beautiful brown with ruby undertones. There is a thin layer of foam and moderate lacing on this. I found the scent somewhat nondescript with pine and sweet resin dominating. The taate is where this one truly shines for me, an introduction of sweet sugary maple gives way to tart grapefruit and lemon. The mouthfeel is near-perfect, but a touch overcarbonated for the subtler notes. I am very sad Clipper City is not local, as this would be a very welcome six pack to be always on hand. To be fair, I must be very partial to the imperial esb style, as I loved Velvet Underground ESB when Hopworks had it on draft. I wish more brewers would work with this beautiful style.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.38/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with meathookjones. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a big pillowy 2" light beige head above the slightly cloudy, light copper brew. Laces excellently, with large chunks here, there, everywhere, and aroma is intense piney hops. Taste is initially malty, and the hops kick in, yet not as intensely as the nose led me to expect. As balanced as you'll see a DIPA, although the hops burps have already started. Mouthfeel and drinkability excellent for the style. Check it out if hops are your thing.

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Photo of srrn
4.38/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of a make your own sixpack. I knew nothing about this beer or brewery when I bought it. Poured a beautiful ruby/amber with one finger head. Smelled of grassy and citrus hops and malt. This is a perfectly balanced beer I wish I could get year round. An Americanized version of an ESB. I guessed this one correctly after tasting it seems. Wished I bought more!

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.37/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an orangey (black and orangey?) copper with a thin but persistent ivory head. Some light lacing.

Lots of big citrusy hops in the nose buoyed by bready malt aromas.

The first sips reveal big hops but this beer is not just a hops delivery vehicle. Although it does that quite well. It's strangely balanced with the sweet and considerable bready malt profile. Bitter herbal and citrusy hops dominate the finish and aftertaste. Their website says they use American and English hops and I believe it. Not sure I've ever tasted this combination of hops working in such balance before.

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Photo of beerluvr
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an incredibly rich a thick deep cream colored head rising 2 fingers high above the rim of the glass. Deep golden amber color with a yeast induced haziness. The nose is fresh intense flowery hoppiness with a nice sweet biscuity malty base to it. Kick ass hop bitterness fills the mouth along with thick slightly sweet maltiness. The hops just go on and on, ending in a long drawn out finish...bittersweet, but way more bitter/dry than sweet. Not too much alcohol sensed here, this one's a winner.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best by date of march 07, this beer pours a deep amber with a thin tan head that retains ok and leaves nice lacing. The aroma is intensely hoppy, with big citrus, pine and floral character upfront, along with caramel and toasted bread, and a touch of alcohol. The flavor again packs a serious hop character, with big grapefruit and pine taste, as well as some floral hop notes, intense caramel flavor and slight sweetness, toasted bread, some fruity esters and some alcohol. The mouthfeel is smooth with light carbonation and drinkability is good despite the ABV. The description on the bottle calls this beer an "imperial ESB" and that seems more apropriate than a DIPA, with the big malty backbone...whatever it is, it's kickass.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass. The liquid is a nice dark amber with good carbonation. The head is 2 fingers off white, and leaves some lace.

The Smell had a nice familiar APA thing going on. piny, woodsy hops, with a malty back ground.

The taste is real nice. Not a big beer but it's not supposed to be. The malt in this extra bitter beer ties it up real tight. what a find.

The mouthfeel is right on brother, great body nice carbonation, really ww
ell done.

the drinkability is straight up great. This is a fine brew all around Prosit und Zum Wohl. MK

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Photo of errantnight
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An excellent, excellent beer.

But first, Imperial ESB... wtf? Because it's .5% over the generally listed style guidlines for an ESB? It's not the only place where this beer deviates from what I'd expect from an ESB... but I'm not going to deduct points for that... beers this good shouldn't be docked for daring to go beyond the pre-existing style guidelines, even if they give themselves silly style classifications that don't fit.

Pours a rich, radiant pale ruby/copper with reasonable head, good lacing all the way down.

Smells strongly of American hops, sweet and citrus, floral (roses). Malty, and perhaps just a bit of English yeast ester around the edges, which blends seemlessly into the hop profile.

Tastes... well, it tastes like an American IPA with the bitterness tamed down to virtually nothing, and the hops reigned in to a perfect balance with the malt. Not a strong, bready, biscuit-y, earthy malt profile like you might expect from a strong ESB, rather, a subtle, smooth malty sweetness redolent of caramel, juicy fruit, oranges. Finishes clean without being dry. Not too rich.

Body is excellent, carbonation helps lift the flavors, but is relatively low, creamy, and smooth.

Pour me another! Now!

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark copper tones with a bit of foamy head that leads to a moderate lace ring.

S - You get some nice hops, herbal not bitter with a touch of caramel

T - I like it. Comes off earthy in hops bitter yet smooth with a toffee/caramel sweetness. Finishes with no bite of alcohol yet a bitter finish.

M - Medium bodied. Hard to believe it so smooth.

D - I am actually thinking about getting a six pack as I type if its still around my local place I should get it for around 10 bucks. Not a bad price for such a great brew!

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Photo of dickroop
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours coppery dark, on the brown side of amber, clear, with brownish foam that didn't last. The smell was mostly citrus hops.

The taste was initially a rich, citrus and floral hop blast, oh so good. There is malt sweetness that develops in the mid-palate, the malt flavor is something more than grainy but doesn't seem to me to go as far as toasted. The finish is gently bitter, balanced, delicious. This is fine ale for the hophead, reminiscent of some of the best DIPAs but witih less alcohol and little or no alcohol evident in the taste.

Mouthfeel was medium- to full-bodied, almost creamy, excellent carbonation. Yummy, I want more. Drinkability was very good. This is hop-juice magnifique.

Bottle label is a little funky, but it included "Best bought by" dating. And fair warning that this is a strong brew.

To think this great stuff is brewed right in my back yard in Baltimore and I haven't tasted it until now. Well you can be sure I'll be going out of my way to find more of this stuff. Highly recommended.

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Photo of MiScusi
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A special thanks to markgugs for throwing this beer in as an extra in our trade.

This pours an almost clear reddish-orange with a dirty white frothy head. Lacing is very good. The smell at first is very similar to Sierra Nevada pale ale with some piny and earthy hops coming through. With more time you get a big pale and caramel malt presence. At the first sip the hops hit pretty hard- again, earthy and a bit citrusy, fading into a caramel or melanoidin sweetness at the end. That starts to dominate as you get a bit numb to the hops. The general feeling is that this is a very tasty and easy drinking ESB. I've never had an imperial ESB, but this kicks up both flavors- the hops and malt- to something a bit more intense but yet still balances them very nicely. Towards the end of the glass you pretty much enjoy a more malty beer as the hop presence has lessened. The mouthfeel is slightly slick. This is a type of beer I could find myself having a few of and not getting tired of it.

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Photo of hustlesworth
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- puffy moist 1 3/4in of rocky beige head with a creamy orange-ish tint. clear garnet-redwood in color with golden amber highs and widely spaced rising bubbles. head slowly recedes like a balloon with a pinhole in it, turning to a thick oatmeal and coating the inside of the glass with a network of sticky lace.

S- roasty toasted grains and caramelized gitrus (orange, grapefruit), curacao, plenty of malt everywhere (this IS imperial, after all). dry sherry, pineapple, some tart yeast aromas, and just the faintest hint of alcohol, aromatic wood, wine barrel, fresh bread, and herbal earthy hops.

T- very full of flavor, there is no question about the malt content. pale & caramel, and lots of it. no shortage of hops either. they come through piney and earthy, with strong notes of pineapple and burnt grapefruit pith. a little cocoa come through as well lending a certain amount of depth to the bitterness. cocoa flavors (from the malt? hops? i don't know) for me blend well with pine, spruce, etc. and make for a great brew. some bitter orange at the end as well as biscuit and quality bread crust and a dry malty bittersweet finish.

MF- thick and rich, would be a quencher if not for the malt sugars and hop oil in this thing making a chewy rubbery, yet velvet-like texture that really feels substantial on this 20 degree ohio evening.

D- i like big beer. the heavy seas line sure has it down and i will try my damndest to sample every one! so far, small craft warning and winter storm have hit it off w me in a major way.

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Photo of Rickythejeweler
4.33/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Translucent light brown, half finger head, minimal lacing, alot of carbonation bubbbles.

S - Lager yeast, nutty, light hops, orange peel.

T - Pale malt, earthy bitter hops, mild fruits, caramel, nutty.

M - Medium body, good carbonation.

O - Pleasantly suprised at how much I like this!

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Photo of Tiderion
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
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 charlesw
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
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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Photo of mschenk
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Clipper City rep was at the liquor store today offering free samples of their various beers. I settled on the Winter Storm, part of their super charged Heavy Seas line.

I purchased a 6 pack and poured into a 16 oz mug. There was very little head which also did not last very long. The beer is a dark amber, boardering on brown.

The smell is very nice with a pretty strong juniper odor for a hoppy beer. The hops here are flavorful but for the amount of hops in the beer it is not overly bitter. Carbonation level is good leaving a good mouthfeel. The taste is just what you would expect from the smell.

I really liked this beer as I did most of the other samples. If you like a certain style and they make it, it is worth a try. I'll be buying this one again

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Photo of nriech
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nice deep amber color, light head but not completely white. Medium/Light on the lacing.

Smell: Lots of hops. Very fresh too. Very good malt smell also. Tiny bit of alcohol.

Taste: Huge amount of hops at first. A little more than a 60 min IPA but not quite 90. After you get accustomed to that, the malts come out. A little sweet but a good blend of hops and malts. The alcohol isnt very evident. Overall taste is very enjoyable. Mouthfeel was enjoyable, just right.

Overall a very good ESB, one of the best I've tasted. I prefer the extra hops which tasted very fresh.

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Photo of yesyouam
4.31/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Heavy Seas Winter Storm Category 5 Ale is a crystal clear and very sparkling copper ale with a huge, foamy, off white head that has outstanding retention. A sweet grainy bready raisin aroma is kind if muffled by the head. The soft, smooth, full body has a bone dry finish. It's creamy. A spicy bitterness is at the front, first like juniper and then like wood resin. There's a slight baklava sweetness lingering, but the bitterness keeps it opressed. This is a big burly beer. Good stuff.

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Photo of hdofu
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A strawberry jam colored beer with a cappuccino colored head. Smell is hoppy, a big old hop smell kicking the nostrils. Taste starts out a deeply bitter taste which sweetens as it finishes as you progress through the glass the beer gets to be much sweeter as you move through the glass. This is a medium bodied bubbly beer. The beer is sweet enough to settle my desires for a bitter brew while sweet enough to keep me interested.

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Photo of wedge
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep red amber that fades to a lighter color at the bottom - frothy off-white head floats on top. Pleasant citrus hop aroma is rather tame for the style. Taste is of solid hops very well balanced with clean malts. No alcohol detected. Nice firm bitterness, solid mouthfeel.

I had never heard of this brewery until recently but I have to say I'm impressed. Good juicy hop flavors...excellent balance. Kinda on the line between IPA and DIPA but who cares? Its a damn good beer.

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Photo of RedHaze
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jhammerly for the bottle.

Pours a dark brown with amber highlight. The head is about a 1/4 inch in height, an fades quickly to a thin cap and ring, leaving behind a nice webbing of lace.

Smell; very nice spicy and citric hops are very dominant, but this also has a nice biscuity malt aroma in the background.

Taste; citric and floral hops are upfront, but do not come off as overpowering. The toasted/biscuity malts do a very good job of balancing out the hop bitterness. Very nice, this is a beer that is good to savor, but would also be good to have a few of in a night.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability; mouthfeel is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation, and a great drinkability. If this were available near me, I would make it a regular in the beer fridge for the winter months.

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Photo of JackTheRipper
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a medium amber color with a big fluffy head. Lacing is minimal. Beer is very clear with no haze or sediment.
S: Nice floral hop aroma. Just a wee hint of a grainy aroma.
T: Starts with a nice big load of grapefruity hop flavors. Underneath that, though, is a nice taste of a malty caramel flavor that doesn't take away from the bitterness, rather it sets it off nicely. Finish tends toward a lingering balance of sweetness and bitterness.
M: Medium body. Good level of carbonation. Alcohol feel is pleasantly warming.
D&N: Very nicely balanced for a double IPA. Very smooth in the mouth with enough bite to make it interesting. This is a very good beer, IMHO. Clipper City does it again.

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Photo of albern
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a first rate winter beer that I'm glad I picked off the shelf. It pours a nice clear amber color with a small but creamy head, some retention, and lacing. The nose on the beer is sweet malts, cherry type citrus notes, a liqueur type sweet but subtle alcohol hint, and some piney or grapefruity hops. This is a low to medium carbonated beer, but not flat or overly syrupy.

The taste is a delight. This is a medium bodied beer, not too syrupy on the tongue, but oily and smooth. This is a complex beer for sure. There is the full palate of caramel and sweet malts. There is a liqueur type sweetness with warming alcohol notes. There is also some citrus flavors, most noteably a bit of cherry and orange rind. There is a nice piney, grapefruity, slightly bittering hop presence. There isn't the oily or estery hoppiness in the beer, nor is it overly leafy or bittering. The hop is just so well balanced with the sweet malts and liqueur and warming alcohol notes, that the whole beer comes together just nicely. The alcohol is present but not over the top. There is a slightly oily mouthfeel and some lingering piney hop bite in the aftertaste. This is a real treat. L'Chaim.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Received as a selection of the beer of the month club Poured a deep amber color. Head was a nice white fluffy color with good retention. Smell gave a hint of the hopr to follow. Taste was superb with enough hops to make it interesting without being overpowering. Alcohol content was well hidden, This is a very enjoyable beer

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Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
3.84 out of 5 based on 1,015 ratings.
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