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

very good
521 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 stirgy on 02-17-2004

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 521 | Ratings: 1,022
Photo of RedwoodGeorge
4.26/5  rDev +10.9%
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!]

 1,562 characters

Photo of EStreet20
4.06/5  rDev +5.7%
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 -

 1,386 characters

Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
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.

 619 characters

Photo of blitz134
3.63/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

 500 characters

Photo of carln26
3.8/5  rDev -1%
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.

 470 characters

Photo of IrishRedRock
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
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.

 590 characters

Photo of budsboy
4/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

 547 characters

Photo of Foxman
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

 1,556 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

 825 characters

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.

 484 characters

Photo of NEhophead
3.43/5  rDev -10.7%
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.

 957 characters

Photo of warriorsoul
3.91/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

 918 characters

Photo of Sephiroth
4.52/5  rDev +17.7%
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 Ricochet
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I thought this would be a winter warmer, but it's a double IPA. I don't know that I've had any of the type, so I'm winging it.

Well, I'm enjoying this beer! Deep amber orange with little head, but a plus is those tiny beads that formed. Smells like a stong pale, grapefruit and orange smell more than anything else.

Mouth was very thick on the tounge,went down very smooth with some of the bitterness of the hops making itself known. The paleness of the alcohol content was welcome. Nice.

It was, well, a very decent IPA with a plus. The bitterness of the hops and the fruity flavors presented themselves well and like with the mouth feel, the alcohol was dumbed down in favor of the flavor. Amazing this is high ABV because I'm enjoying the taste without tasting the alcohol. Nice job.

Drinkability: High. I'm anxious to get a six of this. Very good.

 856 characters

Photo of rajendra82
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I live in the Atlanta, Georgia metropolitan area, a place where until recently domestic micro-brewed beer was slim pickings. Oh how the things have changed. This week two new DIPAs entered the market at the same time. And curiously they are from the same brewery. The Clipper City Loose Cannon is a year around offering, while the Winter Storm will come ashore once a year. I had to pick them both up, to see what all this was about. The Loose Cannon was reviewed first yesterday, and here comes the Winter Storm, a Category 5 Ale.

The blue label on a 12 oz. bottle was in the standard style of Clipper City. The beer poured out dark reddish amber, with total clarity, and a beige colored head. The carbonation appeared steady and natural. The aroma was not very hoppy at all. Smelled more like a toned down English Barleywine, with brown sugar like malt being predominant. The hops seemed to be those of spicy and earthy English variety. The taste proved hoppier than the smell, with s strong herbal hop bitterness, backed by thick dark malts with a nutty sweetness. The body felt thicker than it looked with an Old Ale like stickiness, and noticeable warmth. There was a citric sourness coming through at warmer temperature.

I found the contrast between this and the sister beer quite striking. Both clock in at identical 7.5 percent ABV, but the similarities end there. The Loose Cannon is more heavily carbonated, light, highly aromatic, rather citric tasting, and not too bitter. The Winter Storm is none of these things. Maybe if I was to make a 50/50 mixture, I’d get a classic DIPA.

 1,597 characters

Photo of ybnorml
4.01/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A clean dark amber/brown beer. Has a nice creamy beige head and good lace. There is a sweet fruity character to the aroma with some hop note floating around in there and a hint of vanilla in the background. There is a small bit of sweetness ( with fruity and vannilla notes) at the front of your mouth. But all the action takes place at the back. With a combo of roasted malt and grapefruit hops making for a well balanced finish.

 430 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Winter Storm delivers a dark orange body beneath a frothy head of ivory foam that holds very well and leaves short walls of lace on the side of the glass. The nose displays clear, grapefruity and piney hops, but it's not overtly bold, and the flavor is very much the same way. Its lightly caramelish malt works in unison with its firm bitterness and floral/citrus/pine hop flavors to deliver a solid, well-rounded and well-balanced beer... but it doesn't hit you on the head. It does leave it quite drinkable, however, and the only thing lacking is enough complexity to keep you coming back again and again. Still, this is a solid IPA that probably deserves more attention than it gets.

 686 characters

Photo of apintofknowledge
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep coppery-amber hue with a foamy off-white head that's thick, but disappates quickly, leaving behind a good amount of lace. The aroma is pure floral hops. I know I'm in for a hop-bomb here (or at least I thought so).

Now for the taste... a surprisingly full sweet maltiness initally, followed by an almost whiskey-like mix of alcohol and sweet grain. The hops are certainly there in the finish - long, lingering and bitter. An interesting mix of flavors, and somewhat more complexity than I was expecting. Certainly not the hop-bomb expected from a Double-IPA, with more malt character than others, which I happen to like. And while you can taste the alcohol, it's not exactly a "big beer" either. Not really a beer I would drink all night, but not a bad change of pace from my usual favorites. All said, a unique brew well worth trying.

 851 characters

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.

 1,637 characters

Photo of maybrick
3.12/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured the bottle right after removing it from the 'fridge. I let it settle a bit and noted a nice head retention. Holding it up to the light I observed a copper to orange color tinge to another wise dark brown brew. The taste is pretty good with notes of pine, citrus fruit.

The finish is crisp and has good bittering. Overall, not too bad.

 345 characters

Photo of MuddyFeet
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The freshness date was not notched. Poured amber in color with a filmy head. Fairly high carbonation. The aroma is hops. The taste is strong in the hops, but brings to mind cleaning supplies. The mouthfeel is overly carbonated and the alcoho burn is almost uncomfortably high. I think after a couple of these beers my taste buds will be shot.

 342 characters

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

 325 characters

Photo of cubedbee
4.18/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle with Jul 05 freshness date. Pours a clear bright orange with a nice thick whitish heads, with very nice lacing. Nose is all hops, primarily citrusy. Medium bodied syrupy mouthfeel. Very nice amount of bitterness both upfront and in the aftertaste for fans of hops, although it is balanced out with an almost caramel malt flavor. As others have noted, this isn't a very good IIPA, but is a great tasting for a strong IPA.

 447 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

 635 characters

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!

 828 characters

Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
3.84 out of 5 based on 1,022 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.