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Winter Storm Imperial ESB | Heavy Seas Beer

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Winter Storm Imperial ESBWinter Storm Imperial ESB
Very Good
1,037 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:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,037 |  Reviews: 525
Photo of Hopfenpeter
3.78/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I am drinking from a crystal mug, the color being a very rich amber brown/golden with little head building and dissolving fast leaving little lacing.
The smell is weak, but hints orange, citrus flavors.
A fruity malty taste at the front is balanced by o stronger hop with a dominating bitterness that will again change to bittersweetness at the end. not unattractive, but rather pleasing.I think this beer becomes more drinkable at the second beer.
A nice seasonal brew.

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Photo of mcolmsted67
2.75/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Too bitter at the back of my palate. Not an ale for my taste. All other aspects were very good. The aroma of the freshly opened bottle was very hearty and pleasant. At first the taste was nutty like most ales but the overwhelming bitterness was too much. Might be an ale to be paired with food... Probably not buy this product again.

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Photo of jbriggs7036
4.27/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bam! On Cask at Frisco's in Columbia

Looks great, and the head is sexy coming from the cask.

Smells of fruity/fresh hops, purely delicious

Taste- PLeasure to the palate. Again very fresh.

MF- Could have a bit more carbonation

Drinkability- 2 and out.

Overall, loved it, went back to Frisco's looking for it, but they had switched their cask to a Flying Dog that was also good.

PS. Frisco's is my new favortite place to go

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a tulip. Pours a moderate copper color with a white head and a dose of lacing. The nose is fairly hoppy with some floral and earthy notes. Nice caramel notes. The taste is pretty good with a mild hoppiness. Feel is light and a tad bit harsh. Drinks fairly well and is a nice concept.

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Photo of TheFightfan1
4.17/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Crystal clear ruby color with a very thick fluffy white heading. More of the free flowing bubbling action from the bottom of the glass.

Smell is fruity with a quick following of a roasted maltiness. Earthy tones are dominant.

Taste has an immediate crazy toasted maltiness,some caramel,some burnt that just attack the tastebuds.Very earthy taste's mingle with a decent fruitiness. Good hop finish as well.

Mouth is full bodied,great carbonation and just an all out assault on the palate with that beautiful maltiness.

Very unique tasting beer.

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Photo of burring
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had Winter Storm (Category 5 Ale) during Northeastern Ohio's first snow storm of the fall season. Quite fitting! Poured into a pint glass to enjoy and warm myself.

Appearance: a dark, brownish ruby colour, as the label on the neck alluded to. Little to no head from the pour. Small amounts of lacing but nothing noteworthy.

Smell: the smell was hoppy with a subtle amount of malt character. I also picked up a fruity aroma that I would characterise as cherry? I couldn't quite pick out WHAT the fruit was. Cherry is the first word that comes to mind though. I found it all a little underwhelming.

Taste: though it was sharp, I found myself a little disappointed. I wasn't sure what I was expecting but I found little character in it. It's not to say it was bad but not what I expected. I suppose it didn't have the balance that I was expecting in an ESB.

Mouthfeel: sharp and hoppy. After swallowing the beer, a malty after-taste ran over my palate. This was probably my favourite part of Heavy Seas.

Drinkability: it's a good, casual drinking beer. I enjoyed the overall experience.

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Photo of nickthegun12
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

i would like to have seen a little bit more of a head on this beer>>>dark ruby color
the nose is some warming of the alcohol and aroma hops>>they always do a great job hopping up their beer
the tasters pick up warm cinnamon and a slight bit of hops
creamy mouthfeel def a well built beer
very nice drinkability to it
this beer company makes very nice beers>>>never had one i didn't like!

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Photo of Frosty80
3.04/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color: pours copper. sits slightly dark copper with a ruby hue. excellent clarity

Smell: not getting much of ANYTHING. just a very light, slightly sweet aroma. no strong malt OR hop presence. both seem to cancel each other out

Taste: again, nothing distinctive. no obvious hop flavors that stand out. same with malt.

im not even going to finish reviewing this beer and save myself some headache trying to pick it apart. very disappointed. i LOVE just about everything these guys do but i gotta say this fell hard on its face. not sure why. the last beer i just got done reviewing was of similar structure so its not like my buds were like a deer in headlights from an enormous blast of hops, but perhaps ill still give them the benefit of the doubt and come back to this beer again some time.

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Photo of Brent
3.48/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My overall impression was that this was a bit heavy-handed. Heavy-handed, you say? But isn't that the point of an "imperial ESB?" Well, I suppose so - no question that they pumped this beer up on some sort of beer steriod - but in that regard it came across like a similarly pumped-up body builder - no balance. Appropriately big malt, but in an effort to keep pace with hopping, the bittering came across as rough and a bit raw. The ETOH similarly was not well integrated into the flavor, and rode atop with a warming harshness.

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Photo of sdawson
4.39/5  rDev +15.5%
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 FeloniousDrunk
3.57/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from 12oz. bottle into a pint glass. A small head formed, but it left quickly. The appearance is a dark mahogany, brown and rich, but clear.

The smell does not hide the alcohol, but it has a warm cherry brandy aroma, and the malts are well-defined in the nose.

The taste is robust, with caramel, smoked malts, raisins, dehydrated fruit, mild spice, alcohol and yeast. This is a whopper of a winter ale, and will most certainly keep you warm with it's 7.5% abv tag. It is certainly a sipping beer, and mellows a bit as it warms, leaving the smokier notes to linger in the glass.

The mouthfeel is substantial, like soda bread, but not in a prohibitive way. A good beer to chew on is what one looks for in a winter offering.

One of these per session will suffice.

*Reviewers edit: I just noticed that the "purchase by" date was 4 months old at the time of reviewing. This may have affected important characteristics, and will try to amend this review with a fresher batch.

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Photo of cagocubs
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle.

Pours a light brown/almost burgundy color. Good active carbonation with a nice 1quarter head.
Smells like grain and some sweet molasses/honey.
Good taste of spice, bread, and sweetness. A little too much alcohol bite at the end.
Nice carbonation and mouth coating.
A surprisingly drinkable beer for a strong bitter.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer review from BA Mag Nov 2007.

Arrrr! You may have missed "Talk Like A Pirate Day" on September 16th, but at least you can drink like one. Yes, this is part of the "Heavy Seas" brand from Clipper City, pirate theme and all--eye patch not included.

Rusty red color, clarity is good. Solid foaming action from medium pour, head retention is stable. Big flamboyant aroma, fruity with expressive alcoholic esters, hops are not shy with thick herbal and citric notes, and the malt draws in caramel, bread crust and cake batter. Fluffy full body, smooth with a light snappy crispness that says "refreshing." Complex flavors flail around, hops and malt battle for domination. The malt is dense with clean toasted grain and sweet caramel flavors while the hops bring a duo of balanced bitterness and an herbal, bitter citric-peel flavor. Middle to end the alcohol comes in with a spicy start and warming finish with suggestions of melon, peaches and raisins. Finishes a little bittersweet.

So this is what an Imperial ESB tastes like--American brewing at its best here even with excessively creative made-up styles. Impressive, yet another seasonal we wish was year-round. Give this one a go especially if you are already sick of the spiced winter warmers that taste like organic toothpaste.

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Photo of canoehornpoint
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

brownish red, light off cream colored head, slightly opaque. Mild aroma, mostly flowery and earthy hops. Big beer taste, sharp chocolatey malts rounded out with indescernable hop bitterness. The hop bite lasts long, moderate mouthfeel. pretty well done. This would be nice in the winter.

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Photo of ejimhof
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
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

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Photo of berpwillie
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours an amber-copperish color semi-transparent with less than a fingers width of light tan head. very light on the carbonation. it has an array bitter, citrus, hoppy, and malty flavors. the hops most present in the smell. tons of yeast floating about the beer makes it very interesting to look at while drinking.

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Photo of FallsDamBrewery
3.79/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, nicely carbonated, yellow/light brown color

Smell: bready, honey

Taste: sweet, bready, some taste of cinnamon, alcohol at the end

Mouthfeel: nicely carbonated, smooth, not too bitter, easy going down

Drinkability: Definitely an above average ESB, love the smooth alcohol finish, easy to have two or three at a time, warms you when it is cold outside!

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Photo of tigg924
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, high carbonation, clear, yellow/brown in color

Smell:honey, hops, and bread

Taste: honey, hops, bread, touch of cinnamon, brown sugar, and alcohol at the end

Mouthfeel: smooth, sweet with a slightly bitter middle, modearte carbonation, medium/light bodied

Drinkability: An above average bready ESB. I could have two or three. Nothing extraordinary, but nothing bad either.

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Photo of JMD
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Rich copper color with big off white head that fades slowly. Leaves light lacing on the glass.

S: Toasted malt, some carmel and bitter hops.

T: Bready malt with sweet brown sugar and carmel. Finishes with a bitter hop bite.

M: Medium bodied and smooth. Nice texture.

D: Nice drinking winter ale. At 7.5% abv these will definitely keep you warm on those cold New England nights.

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Photo of tuckevalastin
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear amber with a quickly disappearing white head

S: A roasty malt with mainly caramel tones

T: A sweet malty flavor with lots of piney hops. The caramel flavor carries through as does a brown sugar and fruit taste.

M: Little spice or heat but moderate bitterness. Medium bodied with good carbonation.

D: A little too hoppy to be a everyday drinker. Not so much as to be strictly a sipper though.

Overall, I can't compare this to others of the style as it isn't a style I've tried. It is however a very nice beer and another good member of the Heavy Seas sampler.

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Photo of elgiacomo
3.57/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Amber color, almost two finger light tan head, but doesn't retain much, some spotty lacing.

Aroma is caramel malts, then some fruit, green raisins, banana, into some citrus/pine hops.

Flavor is sweet caramel malts, some fruit, bread, with a somewhat bitter, hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel is slick, moderate fullness, medium carbonation.

I enjoyed this one, but have had very few ESBs to compare it to.

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Photo of Jayli
3.91/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This beer pours a gorgeous crystal clear amber color with a 1/4 inch of off white head. Head recedes immediately leaving spotty lacing.

S: Nose is of rich, deep caramel malts, toffee, grains and some sugar.

T: Taste is more reminiscent of a red to me. Rich malts fill this beer out - caramel and toffee, touch of fruitiness and honey, and a solid bready quility to it.

M: Lighter side of medium body, moderate carbonation, crisp and clean feel.

D: Decently blended and tasty. It didn't seem to fit the style though.

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Photo of jbase
4.08/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I really dug this beer. Nothing too crazy going on, just good beer. Drank it out of pint glass, and had it with some pork ribs and rice, it was a perfect complement to the BBQ.

I got about a fingers worth of head, but wasn't really expecting much anyway. THis beer has a great slightly toasty malt base with hints of carmel, bread, and citrus. A good amount of hops throughout that drew out on the finish as well.

I've been impressed with all the Clipper City beers I've tried and this one is no exception. I bought one single bottle, but I could have drank 2 or 3 of this fine Imperial ESB.

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Photo of tippebrewcrew2
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3


Clipper City
Winter Storm
Imperial ESB
Abv 7.5

A=4 small frothy white head

S= 4 Straw with a hint of burnt smell, I couldn't place it

T= 3.5 Harsh hops up front and at the end. It last for close to ever with a mouth coating slam

M= 3 Light Alcohol burn and a moderate carbonation

D= 3 I could not drink a lot of this beer. The hops are harsh with a long draw at the end of bitterness. It was a good style of esb and I'm impressed with Clipper City. This was the first Imperial ESB I have had and I now have an idea, a bench mark, of what an imperial ESB should taste like.

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Photo of Philabeerphia
3.25/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The ESB is a style I appreciate but often overlook. Glad to have this in front of me. 12oz into a snifter. Hazed amber and ruby body, the khaki head looks painted on. I like my ESBs a shade darker and with a bit more action up top.

The Winter Storm gives up round malty notes of shortbread that elongates into some nuttiness and finally sharpens into a sugared grapefruit blend of caramel and hops.

Giving this a shot on the tongue. Sharp carbonation at the start is a plus...taste starts with a honey and caramel maltiness. Thin on the tongue... A citric acidity shows up at some point then goes back into hiding. A nice, slight touch of dark fruit appears towards the balance. Ends with a potent but long TOASTED CARAMEL note on the tongue... This is the dominant taste here overall. Hints of bitterness pool in the corners of my mouth. A bit of alcohol present at the top of the throat. This beer is too nondescript to really impress. A solid brew, but lacking bright or deep notes. One saving grace is the strong carbonation. The activity on the tongue enhances the beer's bitter character and impedes the toasted malts from becoming cloying. In light of this beers shortcomings, at 7.5% ABV, it is not a beer I would choose to drink often...

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Winter Storm Imperial ESB from Heavy Seas Beer
Beer rating: 3.8 out of 5 with 1,037 ratings
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