Winter Storm Imperial ESB | Heavy Seas Beer

BA SCORE
86
very good
1,025 Ratings
Winter Storm Imperial ESBWinter Storm Imperial ESB
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Heavy Seas Beer
Maryland, United States
hsbeer.com

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,025
Reviews:
523
Avg:
3.84
pDev:
11.98%
 
 
Wants:
38
Gots:
98
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,025 |  Reviews: 523
Photo of mendvicdog
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of russpowell
4.04/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this one from Sebletije, cheers Seb!

Pours copper with a finger of sand colored head. Very good head retention

S: Slight brown bread notes

T: Caramel, a touch of leafy hops, some dryness & brown sugar up front. Herbal hops, more caramel, a touch of toffee & dryness as this warms. Finishes with slight grapefruit hoppyness, plus leafy hops more caramel & a kiss of vanilla???

MF: Medium bodied, semi-sticky, fairly low carbonation, great balance

Drinks pretty easy for the ABV, a nice heavy hitting example of the style. One of the better beers from this brewery IMO

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Photo of smcolw
3.97/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good starting head but it dies a little too quickly; very little lace. Light brown color, reasonably clear.

Dark crystal malt aroma--slightly sweet. Great hop kick at the end.

On the dry side (surprising, considering the smell). Full bodied, but not quite creamy. Peppery hop swallow and aftertaste. There's a dry darker malt flavor that comes out in the aftertaste. Great complexity and blend of flavors.

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Photo of atrocity
3.17/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.58/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle - $1.79 at Hop City in Atlanta, Georgia. Purchase Before: February 2010.

Appearance: Pours out a translucent, darkened amber body with a finger-high, off-white head. Very thin, very sheer lacing on the way down.

Smell: Well-toasted malts seasoned with sugar and spice and a small dash of dried citrus peels, with just hint of alcohol in the background.

Taste: Malt profile tasting of deeply toasted and subsequently crushed bread crusts sweetened with a generous mixture of both brown sugar and common, ordinary, everyday table sugar. Slight fruitiness. Earthy, zesty, citrusy hop profile with a medium-high bitterness. The initial sweet, sugary quality comes straight back into the taste alongside the persistent bitterness for a bittersweet, lightly crisp finish at the end.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation.

Drinkability: It's alright, I suppose. It's sweet, it's got ample bitterness, and alcohol (though thankfully not anymore than it does). Personally, I've never been overly enamored with the Heavy Seas line-up, but you could certainly do alot worse than this.

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Photo of Gkruszewski
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of paulish
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of duceswild
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Transparent ochre with bright orange edges. The fantastic looking head is currently filling as much of the glass as the beer. It's orangish ecru in color, velvety firm and melts in intriguing fashion. Interlocking, abstract squiggles of lace adhere to the glass.

The nose is pungently hoppy, but isn't quite explosive enough to compete with the big boys. Caramel-covered grapefruit rind and evergreen boughs emanate from the glass. The hop bill includes some of my favorites: Magnum, Fuggles, Cascade, Centennial and Chinook. None of them really outshines the others.

There's a little less flavor than I would like. CCB Winter Storm is firmly malted, with an upfront sweetness and a slick mouthfeel. It fits the DIPA style like hand in glove (note: so why was it recently changed to an ESB?). Given the five incredible hop varieties in this bottle, the overall amount of hoppiness leaves a little something to be desired. It's definitely good, but I've had IPAs that were hoppier. White grapefruit is still the standout, followed by pine sap and bitter orange.

Although the flavor is increasing a tad with warming, this still isn't a bud buster. The mellowly hoppy finish is prolonged thanks to a mouthfeel that fits squarely between medium and full. A laid back amount of carbonation is perfect for the task at hand.

Winter Storm is sub-titled "Category 5" Ale. I'm going to have to downgrade it to a much less dangerous "Category 4". There's a lot to like, but when judged against its peers, it doesn't have enough of what makes the DIPA style hum. Namely hops. It's still mighty tasty beer. Thanks to meathookjones for the bottle.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.8/5  rDev +25%
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 CleanWater.org, 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.

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Photo of Jason
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
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 Slatetank
3.34/5  rDev -13%
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 orangesol
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of jgunther71
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.48/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Caramel amber hue big velvety cream tan colored head leaves fine intricate lacing. Aroma: Sharp grassy citrus notes very aromatic big caramel malt base wow, yep I could sit around and smell this one for awhile nice. Taste: Strong bitterness lies in the middle of a fluid balance of flavors, somewhat mild for a double IPA nowadays but very good nonetheless. Big herbal juicy hop bursts with slightly burnt citrus peel notes puckering the lips mellowed by sugary sweet caramel malts nice brew. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied evenly carbonated sugary slightly sticky texture nice. Drinkability: Excellent really drinkable DIPA so flavorful but not overbearing in anyway very nice version, probably the best beer I've had from Clipper City.

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Photo of InspectorBob
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of ejimhof
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: nice head, dark brown color,slight lacing

Smell: hoppy, honey and malt smell

Taste: sweetness and slight hops

Mouthfeel: smooth and very English

Drinkability: This is like every other Heavy Seas Beer easy to drink and easy to drink more then one

 261 characters

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

Photo of rolltide8425
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of AlexFields
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

Photo of dvmin98
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of imbibehour
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a nonic pint glass. Good till February 2012 we are off and running.

A real nice dark amber red and clear body, with a nice simple off tan caramel three finger head. Pin head sized bubbles, some fairly large in the head, with a small cap and some good retention. There might be some small haze in this, kind of dark to see.

Nice very mild chocolate sense from the malt, but fairly small nose. Not too much going on, but it's nice when taking a big whiff.

A very noticeable hop bitter, with a good mix in milk chocolatey malt sensations. Palate feels fairly hoppy but not so rich. Aftertaste brings some pine sense, and there's some definite prickly feelings. Not big on alcohol taste, but very stomach winter warmer boozy feeling.

Overall described as earthy, but doesn't feel like that so much to me. It is a real nice drink but definitely hop forward for this style. I think if you are a bit of a hop head and want to try and ESB this might be your perfect beer.

 995 characters

Photo of Billolick
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
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 jwc215
3.52/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Best by May '08 (barely) notched on label (though another bottle I have doesn't have anything notched):

Pours copperish amber with a thin head that becomes a patch.

The smell is citric and earthy with caramel coming through.

The taste is citric and earthy with an herb-like, almost tannic, bitterness that interferes with a maltiness that is caramelish/toffeeish/almost chocolatey. Alcohol a bit raw and somewhat too noticeable (even for higher abv). Bitterish finish.
Near full-bodied, but more medium.

Nice smell, but the hops (which I normally would welcome - as I did on the smell) seem out -of -whack here. The noticeable alcohol and tannic finish slow this one down. Not bad, but wouldn't be among my top choices for a winter beer.

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

Pours a slightly hazy, rich amber color. 1/3 inch head of a pale tan color. Good retention and good lacing. Smells strongly of hops, then some sweet malt come through, there's some nutty and biscuit aromas as well. Fits the style of a Extra Special / Strong Bitter. Mouth feel is smooth and crisp with an average carbonation level. A noticeable dryness is present as well. Tastes of hops up front, then sweet malt, then the nut flavors and dryness are present, an interesting yeast flavor, a slight alcohol flavor come through in the middle, and the finish is again hops. Overall, not quite what I was expecting from an ESB, but surprisingly good.

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Winter Storm Imperial ESB from Heavy Seas Beer
3.84 out of 5 based on 1,025 ratings.
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