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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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Reviews: 515 | Ratings: 984
Photo of WesWes
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours an amber color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is decent. It has a nice malty scent that boasts of pale and roasted malts along with a bitter hop aroma. There seems to be good balance in the aroma. The hops compliment a darker malt bill, but lose some of their aromatic character. The taste is decent also. It has a very bitter hop flavor that comes at you hard and stays with you through the finish. The malt bill warms you, but it loses the balance and finishes empty. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a medium bodied beer with good carbonation. This seems better suited as a full bodied beer. This is a pretty good beer, but it could use some tweeking. The hops roar, but it needs more body. Still, a decent drinker.

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Photo of oberon
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

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Photo of yelterdow
2.64/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

I'm revisiting this offering almost two years later... got a fridge full of beers, and I've got a little free time tonight.

Best by February 2008, I've got the bull by the horns.

Appearance- Very impressive... clear and deeply russet, with just a touch of chill haze and bottle conditioned yeast. The head, still two fingers tall, is craggy and stalwart and looks real mean. Already the lacing is clinging like tape to the inside of the glass. Damn good looking beer.

Smell- Rich and full on the nose, the malts are leaping out of the glass with an earthiness and a suggestion of mineral water. As the beer comes to temperature it becomes less desirable and overly pungent.

Taste- Damn... layers and layers of intensity here, starting clean and malty and becoming sharp and wickedly bitter in the finish. The hops are flogging my tongue, becoming more dangerous as the beer goes down.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Excellent texture... small foamy mouthfeel, active enough to support the malts and hops. The beer itself overall is oversteeped and overhopped for the style, and for a winter beer, it could use a lot more balance from the malts.

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Photo of jaluria
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a copper color with a white head that left behind intense lacing. Aromas of malt, honey, and hops; not as diverse as might be expected. The taste was flavorful with a mild sweetness upfront followed by a stronger hop flavor that grows into the finish. Much sweeter than might be expected for this style, almost liek a barley wine. The hops just were not as dominant and everpresent as I would have liked, especially for this style. Quite tame and mild, but still enjoyable.

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Photo of asabreed
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

As I'm sipping this, I'm wondering, can Clipper City just do this series and leave the other brews behind? Or not necessarily that, but please give us some more?

12 oz. bottle into a tulip, because the suggestion on the right caught be my surprise, and I figured why not.

Appearance: A nice, hazy amber color with hints of orange coming through the bottom of the glass. A decent head fades fast and some wet lacing clings for dear life to the glass.

Smell: Lots of hops, though more piney than anything else. A bit of caramel comes through from the malt, along with some peppery spice and a slight amount of citrus. Very hoppy, which I certainly dig in the nose.

Taste: Lots of hops and lots of bitterness at first. What I like about the taste is how it slowly yields to the caramel and slightly fruity nature of the malt, which ends up lingering at the tongue by the end. It's a pretty wild ride, and one that transforms well and goes to different places through the whole process.

Mouthfeel: Lots of carbonation at first along with a bit of slickness, but at the end it becomes pretty full and slightly creamy.

Drinkability: Certainly a solid Double IPA for me, and one I will be drinking again. At 7.5% it's between the possible point of no return and "Well, I'll have another one I suppose," which also makes it attractive as a session beer.

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Photo of ggaughan
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a dark golden color with a medium tanish head that disapated rather quickly. There was some good lacing down the side. The aroma is of some floral hops but not as intense as I would expect for a double IPA. There was also the smell of lemon and a touch of malt character. Overall pleasing. The taste of hops is a bit more intense than what I smelled and it also is a bit peppery. This beer has a medium body that is enjoyable and never gets too heavy.

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Photo of Gavage
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a dark amber color with a nice 2" fluffy head with a few big bubbles. Mild lacing develops through the drink.

Smell: easily detectable floral hops and citrus.

Taste: the malt level is quite up front, as caramel and roasted tones are strong but nicely balanced with grapefruits and an average bitterness which does not overwhelm. Alcohol is barely noticeable.

Mouthfeel: mainly smooth with a light crispness and finishes dry. Medium bodied.

Drinkabilty: this does not overwhelm the tastebuds, and several of these can be quaffed in a session. Not great, but enjoyable and worth seeking out.

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Photo of Zorro
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 Oz bottle Sampled through the efforts of SS 05 BIF and Meathookjones.

A careful pour in to the glass reveals a dark for the style DIPA. Pours a clear copper red colored ale with no real head formation.

Smell is dark malt and strong hop aromas. Slightly sour smelling with mostly citrus aromas and a slight pine aroma. The alcohol fumes carry pepper and bitter orange scents.

Taste is sweet and mildly bitter at the beginning. This DIPA stays smooth through out the glass and never gets into the harshness zone. The hops get quite woody very fast here and make for a mellow and dry DIPA with a minimal grapefruit and pine flavor. Strongly herbal flavored ale.

Mouthfeel is good.

This very drinkable strong IPA, strong enough to numb your tongue this just doesn't taste that strong. This is in the same class as a dry English bitter in pleasantness to drink.

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Photo of mentor
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle provided by higravity, via SS'05. Thanks for the opportunity. Pours a one-finger tan head over a nearly clear bright orange liquid. Smells pith hoppy. Sharply...it almost stings. Some pine and a hint of oranges. Tastes grapefruit and oranges. Dry. Nice toasty character and a late tangerine. Woody dry finish. Amarillo goodnesss. A bit of oil on the flat of the tongue. Not overly bitter, but a nice lupulin bite. Md-light body and moderately carbonated. Very drinkable as an IPA, but falls short in body for a DIPA.

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Photo of JISurfer
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a serious beer from these skallywags(pirate humor). This is a little different than I expect for a WW, but infact, it does warm the chest. The high alcohol and hoppy taste, probably is the main factor. Whatever it is, it works out great, not having either characteristic overpowering the other. For a stronger beer, I think it's well balanced and goes down easy. A little too easy, which is why it could be dangerous. If ye drink too much of this grog, ye better watch ye booty!

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Photo of Bierguy5
4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle with a purchase before APR 06 notch on the label. Much appreciated. Pours a slightly hazy amber color. Thick creamy, fluffy off-white head. Great head retention. Good amount of patchy lace is left on the sides of the glass as this disappears. Citrusy and floral hop aroma hits you right away in the nose. Hop flavor jumps out right away, followed by some caramel malt. Floral, citrusy, and piney hop flavor. Bitterness is not overwhelming. Medium body, low carbonation. Very enjoyable and well balanced. This doesn't seem to be a typical hop monster DIPA, but it is tasty.

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Photo of chOAKbarrell
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
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 Frozensoul327
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is good stuff. Pours out to a dark copper color with a big foamy head that remained consistantly large. Big rings of lace were present. Medium low level of carbonation. Nice. Aroma has an overall roasty tone to it, but malts and hops were mostly noted. Some grassy notes. Taste was medium to full bodied, and quite complex; hops, sweet citrus, roasted malts, dry grains and small but notable whisky flavor toward the finish. Mouthfeel was like having a cooking oil sloshing around in my mouth. Slightly slick, but definitly heavy. Good drinkability. This is a solid winter warmer. Recommended. Special thanks to MaltyGoodness for the sample.

THE BLOODHOUND FACTOR: Benji went for the kill on this one. Really dug it. Peaches wasn't in the beer mood. More for the guys, WOO-HOO!

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Photo of pentathlete
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark gold, tarnished brass with an off-white head and some stickiness. Plenty of tiny-bubbled carbonation. Smell is mild hops and a smooth malty odor. Taste is a fine blend of grainy malts, floral hops and some sweet notes. Mouthfeel is medium with a medium body. Drinkability is fine for the style. High ABV keeps it from being sessionable. Enjoyable.

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Photo of RedwoodGeorge
4.26/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one pours kind of a sleeper - not much head apparent on the pour so I finished a bit more vigourously - huge mistake as tan foam billows out all over the countertop... The beer itself is a medium brown with a lumpy, sticky dirty tan head. Lots of lacing on the glass...

Oddly not much of a nose either fresh out of the bottle or later as it's warmed up. Some light sweet smell and a lightly floral hop note but that's about it.

This brew is big on flavor with a bold malt body and plenty of hops to bring the beer into focus. Malts are sweet, lightly caramel, plenty of toasted fresh bread and a hint of nut or maple. Hops are big-huge but not very bitter with plenty of green, herbal notes and a bit of spicy pine with a touch of orange peel. Centennial is the predominant hop but the noble hops add some interesting floral notes.

Mouthfeel is excellent - just a few notches from incredible. The bottle conditioning makes all the difference with plenty of fine bubbles that gives the brew a velvety fuzz. Medium bodied and even with all the malt it's not overly cloying. Enough hops to finish up each sip but no bitter or astringent aftertaste.

[This brew was from a recent trade with meathookjones but I'm pretty sure I got another bottle in a trade a month or so ago... I sure hope I have another bottle. I've got to go check my stock to see if I've got more of this. Maybe I'll arrange another trade soon to get another couple Winter Storms. Maybe I'll just move to Baltimore so I can have this year round... Dang this is a very tasty brew!]

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Photo of EStreet20
4.06/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 12 ounce bottle bought as part of a winter mix six pack from marketplace wines and spirits in East Brunswick, NJ, poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Pours out a dark copper color with a large off white foamy head. Definitely darker than most DIPAs I've had. A nice look overall.

S - A pretty nice citrusy hop aroma but not nearly as strong smelling as any other DIPA, or even IPA I've had. A nice aroma, just a little faint for an "in your face" style.

T - A nice taste with some citrusy hops followed by a nice sweet malt. The finish is a little bitter and somewhat dry. A truly surprising treat of a taste overall. Subdued compared to many DIPAs but very good.

M - Very nice, just the right amount of carbonation but nothing too tickly. A bit more carbonated than many DIPAs I've tried but that works well since this isn;t a complete hop bomb like most are.

D - A very good beer. One I had never heard of but was pleased with. I tend to be a hophead and love DIPAs that are hop monsters but one that's a little more subdued with some sweet malts is definitely welcome as well.

Notes: Score!!! This is why we buy samplers/mixpacks after all. This is a beer that I may have had some reservations about buying a six pack of but now will def revisit. A good DIPA that's a little different than the rest. Def not my favorite of the style but a good change of pace.

S -

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

12oz. bottle

Pours a deep amber brown with a creamy head that thins slightly. Nice lacing on the glass. Boy, these DIPA brews really do come in all colors....

Nice light citrusy aroma with a bit of malt woven in. Rather weak compared to other DIPAs I've had. I really have to stick my beak deep in the glass to get a good whiff.

Nice citrus hoppy taste upfront followed by a delicious malt base. Finishes rather dry with a bit of hops at the end. Rather clean finishing overall.

Body seems thin for a DIPA. Baby could use more back.

This is an easy drinking DIPA, although it seems more like just an IPA.

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Photo of blitz134
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
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 carln26
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep amber in color, very clear with a decent tan head. Nice lace left on the side of the glass as I drink. Lots of citrus grapefruit and hay in the aroma with a light caramel back. Taste is a balance of grapefruit and a light sweetness of caramel and toffee. The hay present in the aroma is gone in the flavor. Richer and heavier mouth feel than the IPA I had from these guys last week, more body, but less balance. Good drinkability as the beer hides the alcohol well.

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Photo of IrishRedRock
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I think if the English were to make a DIPA, this might be it. Pours a deep coppery color; nose has some leafy hops and lemon twinge. Nicely hopped, but not the fresh raw oily sticky hoppiness found in so many American double's; this is more relaxed, some crushed pinecone and tree sap here to balance a big biscuity malt middle. Carbonation is light and balanced. Finishes with some icy sweet cake frosting and solid slap of bitterness. Alcohol hides well, but is noticeable in the aftertaste. I'm enjoying these Heavy Seas brews more and more, and this is no exception. Pretty nice indeed.

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Photo of budsboy
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, dark amber with a tannish frothy & rocky head.

Smell is piney hops, but a smidge of sweet malt comes through.

Piney hop taste for sure, sweet carmel fights for space but hops win. Finishes with a grainy, hoppy bitterness. Grain bitterness doesn't linger, but pine cone hop flavor is there.

Medium bodied and somewhat silky, bit oily.

Pretty nice beer. Not a palate killer like many. Don't know if that is good or bad for the style. Alcohol does it's job. I've been enjoying Clipper City's brews lately and this is no exception.

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Photo of Foxman
4.17/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It came to me a rusty but clear amber, orange in flashy spots, with a finger of tight white head that sustained nicely. Twists of lacing stepped lightly down the glass.

The aroma wafted the berry fruitiness of toasted malt, along with the clean, floral bouquet of Cascade hops. A lighter grapefruit citrus zest drifted gently by the merest vapor of alcohol.

The first sip revealed a quick flash of malt and yeast fruit mellowed by warm glimpse of vanilla. However, the hops asserted much more here, casting about piney, pitched bitterness that barely allowed the alcohol anything more than a dash across the middle. The bitterness fell back enough toward the close to permit an encore by the fruity malt and a walk-on of biscuit malt. The finish lingers expectedly with the hops bitter dryness. It's a bit back and forth, but never dizzying.

Short of medium bodied, there was enough hops presence to lend a slick but sticky feel to the palate. A fresh hoppy glow teased the mouth as it lingered.

First, I have to agree that this seems much more aptly suited to live its life as an IPA, not a DIPA, but that's so much quibbling because it's a tasty beasty no matter what you label it. The hops are crisp and sassy, and never over the top, even though they did tend to hog the limelight a bit. The ABV is manageable, and it reveals itself enough to make sure you take note. Still, it's nicely drinkable, assuming moderation, and it it makes a name for itself. In fact, it could call itself sewer water and I'd still gladly come back for more.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear, crimson coloring, a thick, puffy, creamy head, as poured into the Belgian tulip glass I chose to employ for this tasting. Looks nice.

Aroma is fruity, rosy, vibrant. Hoppy, yes, but none too bitter. Mainly fruity, though there's dull thud at the end. Doesn't give quite enough projection in this nose.

Taste: again, fruity, hoppy, but too short in that regard. Apples, melons, cherries, and a bit of citrus. Pleasant, but rather simple and shy of the bombast we'd espect from a 7.5% Double IPA. The hops, what there are, are treating the palate with kid gloves, when we really would rather get it rough.

Medium bodied, light, fruity finish. Alcohol burn starts to show further in, but doesn't flare. Too simplistic for the style, but, beyond that, not a bad IPA at all. Very warming, inside the mouth and out.

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Photo of wedge
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
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 NEhophead
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1" foamy, off white head that remains for a few moments. Patches of condensed lacing with decent strength. Watery maple in color with shades of mahogany.

Moderate floral and Cascade hop aromas; light citrus, lemon zest. A full caramel, semi-sweet aroma; bready. Nothing in the aromatics that scream Double IPA.

An initial caramel sweetness that subsides and is replaced with a heavy grapefruit and bubblegum flavor from the hops. The hop intensity is almost non-existant at first, but soon becomes quite intense and juicy. The hops are more perfume-like and gaseous offering hints of tart apple and lemon. A sharp bitterness that doesn't last too long.

Medium bodied; the malt character gives this Double a smooth, rounded quality. The hop profile is light and citrusy; a strength in this version.

Light on the palate and in terms of abv. A unique version of the style; not aggressive enough for a hophead. Somewhere between an IPA and a Double.

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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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