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

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BA SCORE
86
very good
515 Reviews
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Heavy Seas Beer
Maryland, United States | website

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
515
Ratings:
984
Avg:
3.83
pDev:
16.97%
 
 
Wants:
37
Gots:
86
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 515 | Ratings: 984
Photo of HoppySeconds27
4.63/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a frosted glass, as one does. Drinking this beer makes me feel like a pirate.

Appearance: Beautiful stuff, dark amber, decent head when poured vigorously with some lacing as I drank. Love the appearance of this one.

Smell: Hoppy, caramel, spice. Wintery aromas. Very appealing.

Taste: I'll be honest, Heavy Seas never blows me away but this one did it in terms of taste and appearance. Taste is its strength, it's got bite, hoppy aftertaste, a bit of spice, caramel tones when you first sip it... Honestly, for the heft of the beer and the complexity, I find myself going back for more. Easy drinking for something this caliber.

Mouthfeel: Smooth at first, lots of residual carbonation and tang.

Overall: Taste says it all, I love this beer. Any shortcoming are made up by the taste and I can't rate this any lower overall without kidding myself.

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Photo of yesyouam
4.31/5  rDev +12.5%
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 CTraft
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A bold, translucent, dark red color. Hardly any head, but I could see bubbles throughout.

Aroma: A subtle, hoppy aroma.

Taste: Very bitter, very hoppy. The kind of taste I like for a cold winter day.

Mouthfeel: Rather heavy, but refreshing. Just the right amount of carbonation to feel good on the mouth.

Overall: Well crafted. Just what I would expect for an extra special bitter to sip on during a cold winter day locked inside the house. Try it with some dark, smoked meats.

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Photo of GrizzlyBrew
3.21/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - rich amber, brilliantly clear, a whitish head that disappeared almost immediately

S - metallic/minerally character (reminds me of Bombardier, but a little too prominent), some British yeast characters

T - low bitterness with a semi-sweet malt character coating the palate and then a sharp turn towards toffee at the end of the sip; an unexpected twist. That dark, dry caramelized finish is nice, but comes a little too late and fades too quickly. There is also a alcohol sweetness coming through (not heat, but sweet).

M - fine carbonation at a moderate level, but still extremely smooth overall

O - A little too disjointed for me. Some nice characteristics, but they fail to play nicely together and leave me searching too hard for the highlights.

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Photo of SolipsismalCat
3.81/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass. Reviewed alongside Gritty McDuff's Christmas Ale.

A: Clear red-brown with two-finger, off-white, creamy head that lasted a more than a few minutes. Great lacing.

S: Caramel malt with dark fruit, molasses, and hops.

T: Light sweetness and moderate hop bitterness. Malty, a little bit of fruit, and alcohol.

M: Medium to full bodied with fizzy carbonation. Thick but not so smooth. Alcohol and slight dryness.

O: This beer looked fantastic and had a great nose. Taste was a bit more bitter than I was expecting, and the alcohol is noticeable. Close to a tie between this and Gritty McDuff's.

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Photo of PhillyStyle
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer appeared a nice reddish brown color, kind of typical of an ESB that produced an oatmeal color head that dissipated into a small thin cap that lasted throughout the beer.

The beer gave off a nice caramel malt aroma with some hints of hops in the background.

The taste of the beer was mostly malty, upfront, with some bitterness at the end. Kind of what I expected from a higher ABV ESB.

The beer had a medium feel, it was smooth and the beer seemed a bit under carbonated, but I suppose that is more typical of the style. Overall, a pretty good beer.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.1/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I picked up a bottle of Heavy Seas Winter Storm a couple weeks ago for $1.69 at The Lager Mill. I haven't had any Winter Warmers this season so I thought I would give this one a try and see how it goes, after looking it up I see it's an ESB and not a Winter Warmer, I like ESB's so it's all good but the name led me to think that this was a Winter Warmer. The bottle was notched February 2012. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A- The label on this beer looks ok and it's a little plain, similar to all the smaller format beers from Clipper City. It poured a very dark amber color that is bordering on being brown and it had a half a fingers worth of white head that quickly died down to a very thin ring. The color is nice, but the head is disappointing.

S- The aroma is pretty simple and straight forward. It starts off with loads of sweet caramel malts that are pretty sweet and impart a brown bread aroma along with some caramel and molasses. There is also a light amount of grassy hops. The aroma is all about the malts which have a sweet candy like aroma.

T- Just like the aroma this beer is all about the malts, but it's not nearly as sweet as the aroma lead me to believe. It starts out with loads of caramel malts that had a low amount of sweetness and imparted a very grainy and brown bread like flavor. After that comes the hops which show up more then they did in the aroma but are still pretty light and they impart of mixture of earthy an piney flavors. The finish had a light amount of bitterness to it with a grainy and earthy aftertaste. I would have liked a little less malts and more hops.

M- Smooth, slightly dry, on the light side of being medium bodied and it had a light amount of medium carbonation. A good mouthfeel for an ESB.

Overall I thought this was a pretty average ESB that really didn't interest me that much. The flavor was heavy on the malts, the malt profile wasn't bad, it just needed more hops to balance it out and it needed more bitterness. I could probably drink a couple of these, but the flavor is a little dull and doesn't hold my attention so I doubt I would want to drink more then one. What I liked most about this beer was the mouthfeel, it was pretty spot on for an ESB. What I liked least about this beer was the lack of hops in this beer, the aroma and taste could have benefited from more hops, the malts are just too dominating for an ESB. I don't think I would buy this beer again, I would much rather have Saugatuck's or Short's ESB. If your a big fan of ESB's you may find this beer disappointing, but if you like malty beers this may be worth a try. I haven't had a whole lot of experience with ESB"s but the ones I have had had a much better hop presence and that's where this beer was lacking. This isn't a bad beer but i just didn't do anything for me, it seems like I have much better luck with the mutiny fleet instead of the smaller format bottles. A pretty meh beer and so far my least favorite ESB, I am starting to think that the better beers from Clipper City come in the Mutiny fleet since I have yet to be impressed by their 12oz bottles.

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Photo of troysoy2
3.55/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Another style-bending brew for the winter months.
Poured into a pint glass, it's a nice brownish red with gold on the edges. A thin head, but it sticks around for a long time. Lots of tiny bubbles in the body.

The body of the smell is sweet malt. Not light and biscuity, yet nor is it heavy and thick smelling. Very moderate. There's also a hint of hops, and somehow I am reminded of another Clipper City beer, Loose Cannon.

Interesting taste. The bitterness is indeed surprising. Citrus attacks the tongue at first, but over time the malt really comes through to wash away the prickly hoppiness. The malt is kind've tangy in its own way, though, and the finish is a bit drier than you may expect. Mouthfeel is ok. Not watery. Not overly or under-carbonated.

Not your average winter seasonal. I'm not so sure it really gets me in the mood for a winter storm, but in and of itself, it is not a bad beer. Not really as balanced as an ESB typically might be, but it's got an interesting interplay between flavors. Recommended to try at least once!

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Photo of Heischman
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer/Brewery - Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale)/Clipper City Brewing Co. / Heavy Seas Beer
City/State- Baltimore, Maryland
STYLE – ESB
ABV – 7.5%
IBU – 57
DATE – 04 DEC 2011
SERVING TYPE – 12 OZ bottle
GLASSWARE – Pub Glass
APPEARANCE – SRM of 39 reddish brown nice consent head that is real thin but stay with the whole session. Nice lacing.
AROMA- Nice roasted malts with some sweetness chasing in behind
TASTE – Bitter right off the bat. Would not have thought that with the aroma. It mellows out after a while and the roasted malts sneak their way in. There is a small hint a sweet fruit, but the hoppy bitter hides it. Tasted like an IPA hybrid ESB
MOUTHFEEL – A little thick with a good level of carbonation
CONCLUSION – A little too hoppy for me. I think winter ales I think nice sweet or high ABV to warm you up, this was not either of those. Not bad just not for me.
-JH-

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce into a pilsner glass.

A: A nice finger of head has moderate retention and leaves heavy lacing behind. The beer is a pleasant golden-red amber, but is exceptionally clear.

S: Malty-strong with a touch of fruit. Mostly sweet, with little noticeable hops. Tinge of alcohol; pleasant beer.

T/O: Damn good beer. Perhaps not exceptional, but definitely a worthy ESB (if, indeed, that's how it should be categorised). The smell is largely indicative -- the strong, malty, noticeably alcoholic backbone is the heart and soul of this beer. The fruit here develops into citrus, lending a well-needed hoppiness to the flavour. The endtaste especially bears the bitter hallmarks of that exceptional, floral bittering agent Humulus lupulus. A balanced, fruity sweetness dominates this excellent beer.

M: Firm, robust, and yet delicate. The superb hop highlights add another dimension to both flavour and feel, adding dryness to complement the carbonation.

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Photo of Immortale25
3.57/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter. Label says purchase before March 2012.

A- Pours a dark, dark amber with a 1/2 inch head that doesn't last long and withers down to a big bubbly ring around the edge of the glass with swirly surface foam. Nice lacing.

S- Has a hard candy smell that also reminds me of fresh baked pecan pie. Some alcohol fumes show up after some short, sharp sniffs. Pretty enjoyable.

T- The taste isn't as sweet. It's heavier in the malt department. The alcohol also kicks in harder and gives a sharp aftertaste. Also, quite a hop bite that kind of clashes with the rest of the flavor elements. An ESB isn't supposed to be all that bitter but I guess they figured higher gravity = more hops needed. I think their projections were a little off this time.

M- Not very thick and, once again, a sharp tingle in the aftertaste that's not very fun. Medium carbonation.

O- This seems to be a recurring theme with most of the Heavy Seas brews: They have great ideas for beers but don't execute them well. IMHO, their two "Cannon" beers are the best things they've done and the rest is just "eh." Wins points for the pleasant aroma but, other than that, just another dud.

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Photo of perrymarcus
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in a pint glass.
best by: JAN (2012) notched

pours a deep amber / borderline chestnut tone while yielding a solid 2" creamy tan head. very solid retention and some nice lacing as well. simply a great looking beer.

nose is nice if not especially potent. caramel malt leads the way with some hop characters trailing in the background.

taste trends a bit more toward the so-so range IMO. big malt-forward beer with secondary notes of piney hops. not overly complex. reasonably tasty, just nothing fantastic. medium-full bodied mouthfeel with average carbonation.

overall a nice beer; not one i would kill myself trying to get a hold of, but does not disappoint either.

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Photo of zaphodchak
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A high pour for 2 fingers of tan head, smooth and even except for some coarse bubbles on one side. Thick, sticky lacing. Golden-amber body.

Smell contains some dark caramel malt with maybe some toffee. Not overtly sweet though, some rye bread, too.

Taste has a bunch of malt upfront and becomes more bitter with hops as you taste it. The gradation is quite smooth, that is so say; the eventual bitterness is not a 'kick.' The taste itself is sort of a hopped-up ESB (too obvious?) but sort of crossed with an English barleywine. So, pretty much what you might expect.

Feel is unusually smooth, but thick. Carbonation isn't evident per se, but the body is quite thick without being syrupy.

This is pretty good. Not my favorite style, but still pretty good, and definitely does what it set out to do (whoever heard of an Imperial ESB?)

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

Heavy Seas- imperial esb, well they accomplished that, whats the story on why they chose that though? toasty malts with good hop presence. interesting winter labeled ale.

We did a large christmas and winter beer tasting panel and this was one of the many that we tried. Most of the beers we tried we solid including this one that the panel liked.

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Photo of dball
4.27/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I state on my profile that my favorite beer is an American Strong Ale. This is it...

I haven't acutally had a real one in some time. This one is strong and sweet and full and mild. I like it a lot. Good strong ale. I would say get some and have a taste.

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Photo of Rickythejeweler
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
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 chinchill
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 bottle served in a pint glass.

Pours a crystal clear red-brown with a medium tan head. Head reduces quickly to a lasting top coat.

Attractive malty aroma with some light, unusual spicing. Likewise, the flavor has a solid malt backbone, with some pleasant, unobtrusive spicing. High ABV is a bit more obvious than ideal in mouth but not in the aroma.

M - good carbonation; medium body; less smooth than desired.

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Photo of BeerLover99
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: copper/brown, light white film, patchy lacing

S: pine, malt, caramel, nutty, date/fig

T: sweet malt, nutty, caramel, hint of boozy,
mild fruit (date/fig), pine, mild bitter finish

M: med body, smooth mouth

O: I really enjoyed this beer
and would love to try even more of
Heavy Seas. ESB is one of my fav;
nice to see American craft brewery
deliver it so well.

SPOT ON, TRY THIS TREAT!

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Photo of tlazaroff
3.81/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer looks like perfectly clear dark caramel, topped with a foamy tan head which provides generous lacing, and sticks around for a while after the pour.

S: First thing that hits me is the big caramel aroma. This beer just bleeds it into the room. It smells like homemade sticky sweet caramel.

T: Again, this beer is a caramel bomb because thats what I get on the taste. The alcohol comes through on the finish as well, which kind of helps round this beer out.

M: Sticky sweet, just as it smells. It's full bodied with moderate carbonation levels. A bit cloying, but very nice.

D: Defiantly a beer that you want to let warm as you drink it so the experience changes, a sipper for sure.

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Photo of seesnow3
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Oktoberfest mug, Feb. 2012 freshness, $1.99/bottle in RI

Pour-Pours a thick, fluffy two finger very light brown head that begins to recede, but holds at a thick film. Fairly translucent brownish copper, fairly heavy effervescence, lacing doesn’t really stick just kind of washes.

Nose-While pouring it smells like citrus (lemon) that honestly reminds me of floor cleaner. More nosing lead me to find a fairly prominent herbal quality that smells just like freshly chopped parsley with a hint of mint. Quite a weird nose, but not unpleasant nonetheless.

Palate-Kind of stings the tip of the tongue from the alcohol and carbonation. A little bit of sweet followed by a moderate amount of sour and also a moderate amount of bitter. The flavor is bitter lemon peel with a little bit of a fresh herbal quality to it, though not exactly what was on the nose. Some other fruits as well. Definitely a toasted malt flavor as well, like a light caramelized flavor. Very interesting, I like it so
far.

Body-Medium to full bodied, moderately heavy, moderate effervescence

Final Thoughts-Overall I really like this. I think it’s something you’d again, only have a couple of but it really is worth trying, though if you drink lighter beers the taste of this may be overwhelming for you. It does have a decent amount of the mentioned flavors, but for the dark or stronger beer drinkers this is surely a good beer worth trying.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer on tap at a local beer bar in a snifter. Beer is dark amber and clear with a huge tan head of small bubbles, some lacing but low retention and low lacing.

Aroma is a little sulfury and a little malty, overall fine.

Beer is a little rough to drink though. Harsh sulfur midpalate flavor. The finish is a little dry but overall it is a decent little beer. Not my favorite but I might have it again.

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Photo of plaid75
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draft at Canterbury Ales, Huntington, NY.

Poured a deep amber hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good lacing and retention.

The smell featured an earthy grainy caramel malt with a touch of grassiness.

The taste featured a multiple tiered malt that started with an earhy sweetness and finished with a toasty buttery bread.

The mouthfeel was clean with a dry finish.

Overall a tasty and hearty winter delight.

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Photo of Wildman
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer poured a clear dark amber color and formed a light tan foamy head that coated the glass with lace as it subsided. A medium amount of carbonation is present. An aroma of malt, molasses, hops and bitter coffee with some smoky aspects. The flavor was of malt, hops, caramel and candy sugar like molasses. The body was medium light and the finish slightly sweet with a slight burnt aspect.

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Photo of smakawhat
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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Photo of CraftBeerTastic
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ba Review #81
Served On: 11/09/2011
Glassware: Shaker Pint
Labeled ABV: 7.5%
Date/ Code: Feb

Had to buy a whole case of this one because of PA’s antiquated liquor laws. I’m kind of glad I did though – it turned out to be a phenomenal winter seasonal.

Look: Poured a clear tarnished copper color with red tinges towards the middle. A two finger rocky tan head dissolved to a thin film of random sized bubbles. The carbonation was low. Supposedly this is a bottle condition beer. Not really seeing it so far.

Smell: The aroma was great on this one. I got strong notes of toffee and spices. I could also detect a faint hop citrus. There was a heavy Barley Wine quality in the nose – similar to the Anchor Old Foghorn.

Taste: First was a bitter sweet caramel and toffee followed by roasted malt. The finish proved to be very bitter with some alcohol heat that stuck around into the aftertaste. It was mainly a salt-water bitterness that seemed to work extremely well with the overall complexity and initial sweetness.

At first, the extremely bitter finish hit me unexpectedly – but my palate adjusted nicely after a few more sips. It’s not quite the best ESB I’ve ever had, but certainly an interesting one – definitely ‘imperial’ like the label says.

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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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