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

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very good
517 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 pezoids on 02-17-2004

For Trade:
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Reviews: 517 | Ratings: 994
Photo of charlesw
4.32/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed as a barleywine 'cause there ain't no way this is an ESB. Seriously... The brewers call it an "Imperial ESB". Well, golly, we don't review the IIPA as an IPA do we? Indeed, we don't see the IESB as an ESB either.

Anyway... Beautiful clearish brown amber with a medium cream head that lasts well with lacing that goes on and on...

Smells... Like a nice barleywine. Malty and grassy and malty and did I mention the grass?

Tastes... Well... Almost like a Smuttynose Barleywine. Maybe a light version of that, but you get the idea. It's more about your English (noble) hops than about Cascades - sure, it's bitter and all, but it doesn't have the big citrus head of so many (thankfully). Smooth and easy going down. A little bitter hit right in the middle of the tongue right at the end. But very nice. Not too sweet. A great summer barley wine!

Ah, right. Well, so... If it's a barleywine or imperial or whatever, well... Then it's probably thin on the mouth, eh? It's about right for an ESB (on cask? Get out of here! This would be awesome!) but not for anything claiming to be bigger, you know?

Still... Drinkable? Oh yeah! I wish I had more than the 3 that came in my mixed case! Hell yeah! Love it!

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Photo of mschenk
4.32/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Clipper City rep was at the liquor store today offering free samples of their various beers. I settled on the Winter Storm, part of their super charged Heavy Seas line.

I purchased a 6 pack and poured into a 16 oz mug. There was very little head which also did not last very long. The beer is a dark amber, boardering on brown.

The smell is very nice with a pretty strong juniper odor for a hoppy beer. The hops here are flavorful but for the amount of hops in the beer it is not overly bitter. Carbonation level is good leaving a good mouthfeel. The taste is just what you would expect from the smell.

I really liked this beer as I did most of the other samples. If you like a certain style and they make it, it is worth a try. I'll be buying this one again

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Photo of nriech
4.32/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Nice deep amber color, light head but not completely white. Medium/Light on the lacing.

Smell: Lots of hops. Very fresh too. Very good malt smell also. Tiny bit of alcohol.

Taste: Huge amount of hops at first. A little more than a 60 min IPA but not quite 90. After you get accustomed to that, the malts come out. A little sweet but a good blend of hops and malts. The alcohol isnt very evident. Overall taste is very enjoyable. Mouthfeel was enjoyable, just right.

Overall a very good ESB, one of the best I've tasted. I prefer the extra hops which tasted very fresh.

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Photo of MiScusi
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A special thanks to markgugs for throwing this beer in as an extra in our trade.

This pours an almost clear reddish-orange with a dirty white frothy head. Lacing is very good. The smell at first is very similar to Sierra Nevada pale ale with some piny and earthy hops coming through. With more time you get a big pale and caramel malt presence. At the first sip the hops hit pretty hard- again, earthy and a bit citrusy, fading into a caramel or melanoidin sweetness at the end. That starts to dominate as you get a bit numb to the hops. The general feeling is that this is a very tasty and easy drinking ESB. I've never had an imperial ESB, but this kicks up both flavors- the hops and malt- to something a bit more intense but yet still balances them very nicely. Towards the end of the glass you pretty much enjoy a more malty beer as the hop presence has lessened. The mouthfeel is slightly slick. This is a type of beer I could find myself having a few of and not getting tired of it.

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Photo of hustlesworth
4.33/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- puffy moist 1 3/4in of rocky beige head with a creamy orange-ish tint. clear garnet-redwood in color with golden amber highs and widely spaced rising bubbles. head slowly recedes like a balloon with a pinhole in it, turning to a thick oatmeal and coating the inside of the glass with a network of sticky lace.

S- roasty toasted grains and caramelized gitrus (orange, grapefruit), curacao, plenty of malt everywhere (this IS imperial, after all). dry sherry, pineapple, some tart yeast aromas, and just the faintest hint of alcohol, aromatic wood, wine barrel, fresh bread, and herbal earthy hops.

T- very full of flavor, there is no question about the malt content. pale & caramel, and lots of it. no shortage of hops either. they come through piney and earthy, with strong notes of pineapple and burnt grapefruit pith. a little cocoa come through as well lending a certain amount of depth to the bitterness. cocoa flavors (from the malt? hops? i don't know) for me blend well with pine, spruce, etc. and make for a great brew. some bitter orange at the end as well as biscuit and quality bread crust and a dry malty bittersweet finish.

MF- thick and rich, would be a quencher if not for the malt sugars and hop oil in this thing making a chewy rubbery, yet velvet-like texture that really feels substantial on this 20 degree ohio evening.

D- i like big beer. the heavy seas line sure has it down and i will try my damndest to sample every one! so far, small craft warning and winter storm have hit it off w me in a major way.

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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 beerluvr
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an incredibly rich a thick deep cream colored head rising 2 fingers high above the rim of the glass. Deep golden amber color with a yeast induced haziness. The nose is fresh intense flowery hoppiness with a nice sweet biscuity malty base to it. Kick ass hop bitterness fills the mouth along with thick slightly sweet maltiness. The hops just go on and on, ending in a long drawn out finish...bittersweet, but way more bitter/dry than sweet. Not too much alcohol sensed here, this one's a winner.

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Photo of silver0rlead
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best by date of march 07, this beer pours a deep amber with a thin tan head that retains ok and leaves nice lacing. The aroma is intensely hoppy, with big citrus, pine and floral character upfront, along with caramel and toasted bread, and a touch of alcohol. The flavor again packs a serious hop character, with big grapefruit and pine taste, as well as some floral hop notes, intense caramel flavor and slight sweetness, toasted bread, some fruity esters and some alcohol. The mouthfeel is smooth with light carbonation and drinkability is good despite the ABV. The description on the bottle calls this beer an "imperial ESB" and that seems more apropriate than a DIPA, with the big malty backbone...whatever it is, it's kickass.

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Photo of MuenchenerKindl
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a pint glass. The liquid is a nice dark amber with good carbonation. The head is 2 fingers off white, and leaves some lace.

The Smell had a nice familiar APA thing going on. piny, woodsy hops, with a malty back ground.

The taste is real nice. Not a big beer but it's not supposed to be. The malt in this extra bitter beer ties it up real tight. what a find.

The mouthfeel is right on brother, great body nice carbonation, really ww
ell done.

the drinkability is straight up great. This is a fine brew all around Prosit und Zum Wohl. MK

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Photo of errantnight
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An excellent, excellent beer.

But first, Imperial ESB... wtf? Because it's .5% over the generally listed style guidlines for an ESB? It's not the only place where this beer deviates from what I'd expect from an ESB... but I'm not going to deduct points for that... beers this good shouldn't be docked for daring to go beyond the pre-existing style guidelines, even if they give themselves silly style classifications that don't fit.

Pours a rich, radiant pale ruby/copper with reasonable head, good lacing all the way down.

Smells strongly of American hops, sweet and citrus, floral (roses). Malty, and perhaps just a bit of English yeast ester around the edges, which blends seemlessly into the hop profile.

Tastes... well, it tastes like an American IPA with the bitterness tamed down to virtually nothing, and the hops reigned in to a perfect balance with the malt. Not a strong, bready, biscuit-y, earthy malt profile like you might expect from a strong ESB, rather, a subtle, smooth malty sweetness redolent of caramel, juicy fruit, oranges. Finishes clean without being dry. Not too rich.

Body is excellent, carbonation helps lift the flavors, but is relatively low, creamy, and smooth.

Pour me another! Now!

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark copper tones with a bit of foamy head that leads to a moderate lace ring.

S - You get some nice hops, herbal not bitter with a touch of caramel

T - I like it. Comes off earthy in hops bitter yet smooth with a toffee/caramel sweetness. Finishes with no bite of alcohol yet a bitter finish.

M - Medium bodied. Hard to believe it so smooth.

D - I am actually thinking about getting a six pack as I type if its still around my local place I should get it for around 10 bucks. Not a bad price for such a great brew!

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Photo of dickroop
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours coppery dark, on the brown side of amber, clear, with brownish foam that didn't last. The smell was mostly citrus hops.

The taste was initially a rich, citrus and floral hop blast, oh so good. There is malt sweetness that develops in the mid-palate, the malt flavor is something more than grainy but doesn't seem to me to go as far as toasted. The finish is gently bitter, balanced, delicious. This is fine ale for the hophead, reminiscent of some of the best DIPAs but witih less alcohol and little or no alcohol evident in the taste.

Mouthfeel was medium- to full-bodied, almost creamy, excellent carbonation. Yummy, I want more. Drinkability was very good. This is hop-juice magnifique.

Bottle label is a little funky, but it included "Best bought by" dating. And fair warning that this is a strong brew.

To think this great stuff is brewed right in my back yard in Baltimore and I haven't tasted it until now. Well you can be sure I'll be going out of my way to find more of this stuff. Highly recommended.

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Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.37/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an orangey (black and orangey?) copper with a thin but persistent ivory head. Some light lacing.

Lots of big citrusy hops in the nose buoyed by bready malt aromas.

The first sips reveal big hops but this beer is not just a hops delivery vehicle. Although it does that quite well. It's strangely balanced with the sweet and considerable bready malt profile. Bitter herbal and citrusy hops dominate the finish and aftertaste. Their website says they use American and English hops and I believe it. Not sure I've ever tasted this combination of hops working in such balance before.

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Photo of ppoitras
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle obtained via trade with meathookjones. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a big pillowy 2" light beige head above the slightly cloudy, light copper brew. Laces excellently, with large chunks here, there, everywhere, and aroma is intense piney hops. Taste is initially malty, and the hops kick in, yet not as intensely as the nose led me to expect. As balanced as you'll see a DIPA, although the hops burps have already started. Mouthfeel and drinkability excellent for the style. Check it out if hops are your thing.

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Photo of srrn
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Part of a make your own sixpack. I knew nothing about this beer or brewery when I bought it. Poured a beautiful ruby/amber with one finger head. Smelled of grassy and citrus hops and malt. This is a perfectly balanced beer I wish I could get year round. An Americanized version of an ESB. I guessed this one correctly after tasting it seems. Wished I bought more!

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Photo of sdawson
4.39/5  rDev +14.6%
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 karst
4.4/5  rDev +14.9%
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!

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Photo of boilers
4.41/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - copper colored beer with lacy tan head
Aroma - very malty with very little hop presence.
Taste - hop-forward taste rounded out by a good malty finish
Mouthfeel - alcohol detectable but not overpowering. Body could be a bit heavier.

Very easy to drink and a good unique beer!

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Photo of Imstillthegman
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found a bottle hanging out in the dbf and realized I have never reviewed this one...so here it goes.

Pours a clear garnet/copper color with about an inch and a half of dirty, off-white head. Pretty good lacing.

The aroma is quite tasty by itself. I get some zesty, citrus hops blended with toast that's been coated in molasses. Smells yummy.

The flavor is almost as good as the smell. The spicy hops start things off with a blast of citrusy lemon zest, before the sweet, gooey malts show up. They try to stick around, but the hops...they are bitter, so the hops just show 'em the door. I give it a 4.35, but I rounded it up to a 4.5.

Mouthfeel is good, so is the carbonation. Aftertaste is semi-dry with a good shot of bitterness. Clipper City has never disappointed me with their Heavy Seas line. A sixer of this wouldn't be a chore at all.

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Photo of sweetwaterman
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours a sort of dark orange amber. Medium head that doesn't last long, but goes to lingering lacing. Appears mostly clear.

Smell: Nice smell very malty, with a hint of sweet. What I'd expect of a winter-type beer.

Taste: Mmmmm, nice solid malt flavor, aggressive hop bitterness about the middle. sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Slightly viscous. Can kinda-sorta taste the alcohol.

Drinkability: A fine winter beer. I can see why people are giving this one accolades. Would quaff again.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

single finger frothy head without much retention. dark amber in color and clear. some lacing but not much.

lots of herbal and floral hop aroma with a malt backbone.

Very hoppy beer. spicey notes with a semi sweet finish. Nice complexity to the hop character.

Medium to high carbonation and medium body.

Overall a nice beer, a nice strong ESB. One of the better offerings from this brewery,

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Photo of maxpower
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle pours hazy glowing amber-orange color with a thick creamy off-white head that leaves a nice lace in my glass. Sharp hoppy aroma of grapefruit and pine, resinous sticky pine and grapefruit flavors , has a full thick, sticky and slightly syrupy mouthfeel that finishes with a lingering bitterness, has a good malt balance, I need to get more.

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Photo of Maestro
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am impressed by this winter offering from Clipper City. The beer is a hefty, ruby colored ESB that smells of thick, toasty and biscuity malts. You can also pick up a heavy dose of hops in this one. The taste is quite a big gulp of malts and hops. The maltiness seems to be very powerful, but not overly sweet. The hops make the sweetness subdued and you are left with a great winter ale. Mouthfeel is a bit dry and thick...which I consider a positive for a winter offering. Drinkability is great. Just watch as the alcohol creeps up on you.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.46/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle with March 2013 clipped off the label. Sampled on January 22, 2013.

The way it poured all I could think of was a winter storm churning out in the deep ocean with circular carbonation bubbles slowly falling apart and becoming a handsome looking medium amber with reddish hues and a lasting head.

The aroma is of dark malts, plum (maybe), toffee, and English yeast. The hops are not as evident on the nose.

The body is bold and smooth.

The taste begins mildly sweet with a balanced but slight hop bitterness kicking in to round things off. Like the aroma there is an array of dark malts and dark fruits showing up in the flavor. Quite nice and authentic to a strong British Bitter.

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Photo of shapudding
4.47/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tab dated April 2005. Poured out a clear an amber goldne with a thick and frothy head of orangey eggshell color. The head reduced down to a thin layer with a thick ring at the edge. Very nice scents of fruits- apples, oranges, plump raisins, maybe a bit of banana even...? Yeastiness floating up in the warm spiciness. The first sip really just filled my mouth. The body/carbination actually surprised me, but is very nice. Medium bodied I guess. The carb feels bood, almost creamy, alot going on. I'm surprised by the white grapefruit hoppy biteyness here. Very good flavors. Kinda like I am drinking white grapefruit juice in a beer form though? I find this to be a good drinker and can see myself having this one in the summer too. There is a good amount of flavor left over in your mouth after each sip.
-Thanks to the blitheringidiot for giving me a bunch of these!

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Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
3.83 out of 5 based on 994 ratings.
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