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

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very good
516 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

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Reviews: 516 | Ratings: 992
Photo of FireEmt37
3.35/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- dark amber color, little head, nice lacing

S-toasty and earthy aromas come through nicely

T- stong, bitter hop flavor, slight metallic taste also

M- smooth with a little carbonation, a little heavy

D- a decent beer if you like strong a strong malt/hop beer.

 264 characters

Photo of SIRIUS2
3.39/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a chalice style glass.

Pours reddish-brown or amber color, clear, with a relatively small head - relatively low retention produces light lacing.

Aroma was pleasant, a maltiness mixed with something yeasty, a sort of biscuit smell that worked well. If you are looking for it, you can pick up some signs of citrus or grapefruit hops on the nose as well.

The balance of the brew is pretty good for this ABV but it is a touch sweet to bring down the alcohol presence. A good job of hopping this brew as there is still a good solid mouthfeel without splitting the flavors. There is a bit of warming as it slides down the throat.

The mouthfeel is a touch heavy but understandably so. A very enjoyable offering and perfect for cold weather. I dig it.

 779 characters

Photo of Thickfreakness
3.39/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours a rich cherry/copper into my DFH glass. A thick and fluffy, tinted head that leaves a ton of chewy lacing as it slowly fades away. Wonderful clarity!

S- Whole grain nut bread, pine needles, cashews, caramel, hay, orange/tangerine peel. Nothing really dominate or over the top, in fact... I'd say lackluster. Even as it warms, nothing really pops out at you. I'm a little dissapointed.

T- Bitter orange peel/pine sap mixed with raw sugar and caramel. Some toasted whole grain bread, wet grass, and lemon-pepper. Dry and citrusy... just a hint of alcohol. Nice, but I was hoping for more than nice. Very drinkable tho!

M- Dry... piney, some bitter citrus and hints of sweetness. Feels a bit flat.

O- A decent sit around the fire fall brew. Flat on the tongue, and nothing very special about this brew. Bitter as it should be, but the nose, taste and mouthfeel are all very underwhelming!

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Photo of inxy
3.39/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into 10 oz tulip.
A - Burnt orange, hazy with very few streams of visable carbonation. Very little head, leaves a snakey lacing which melts down the side into nothingness. If it werent for the pretty color, this wouldnt be a whole lot to look at.

S - I'm not picking up on much. Malts, caramel sweetness.

T - Creamy caramel, sweet fruity banananess, low spice, with a clean hop finish. I like it.

M - Suprized by the carbonation. Very prickly, still smooth, medium heaviness.

D/Overall - In a longer 3+ beer session, I could fit this in towards the end, but I'd skip it if I had lots of options. Not bad, but not super memorable.

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Photo of CrazyMacHarris99
3.4/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a clear amber red with a small white head that leaves a small thin ring with some legs and lacing on the glass. The smell is some dark fruits with a hint of alcohol. Not much of a hop presence in the nose. The taste is fruity with some yeast and alcohol. There is a slight bitter hoppiness at the end but mostly an alcohol sting. Another reviewer stated this is more like a light barleywine. Since this is billed as a Imperial ESB I would agree but it needs more hops to become a true b-wine. The mouthfeel is oily from the alcohol and could be a little thicker in the body. Drinkability is good for a cold, snowy night. I could finish off a sixer by the fire before bed.

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Photo of curasowa
3.4/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a dark copper color with a thin cap of head that fades to a ring. Big, sweet malt aroma, with hints of fruity hops. There's a strong, green bitterness that dominates from start to finish, with some sweetness from the malt trying to make itself known, but not succeeding too well. The finish is lingering with a slightly harsh bitterness, and a bit of alcohol and body is medium with a decent amount of carbonation. Drinkability is good. Its nice to try a winter beer that doesn't involve cloves or nutmeg, but the hops are a bit too green for my liking.

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Photo of cracker
3.41/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Frankly I was sort of let down by this beer. After hearing about it and having been impressed with small craft warning (also from this heavy seas line), I was expecting hoppy ipa with a strong hop aroma presence. It certainly is hoppy but sorely lacks floral hop aroma. Also, it doesn't seem to have a fruity malty backbone as most ipa's do (albeit they are more hoppy than anything else). It almost seemed like a overly hopped pilsner rather than an ale. Overall, I'd say it's just an average ipa. It's drinkable but not nearly as good as others out there.

 557 characters

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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Photo of bobljr
3.43/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a deep ruby color with a nice creamy head. Leavs a good amount of lace.

Aromas of citrus, pine, and fresh hops.

There is a strong hop presence with a mild sweet malt quality. Not the most balence as the hops are a bit overpowering.

Low carbonation which is pretty nice, and mid to full bodied.

The dominant hop presense and high alcohol content can make this a little tougher to drink. Was drinking this from a SN Celebration glass and I gotta admit I was a little confused.

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Photo of microbrewlover
3.44/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This brew pours a solid copper color with ruby highlights when held up to the light. There is a white one finger head which hangs around until the end and there is a pretty good amount of lacing.

The smell is a base of toasted malts and some caramel with some bubblegum and dried fruits, smells like apples, on top.

The taste starts with toasted malts and caramel along with some spice and a fruity taste. Everything is well balanced but nothing really pops. The finish is dry; leaves your mouth puckered.

Overall this is a pretty good ESB; it is worth trying.

 565 characters

Photo of Dodo2step
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

P- Market Cross Pub in Carlisle.

A- pours a nice clear ruby amber color with a nice head that leaves a spot lacing on my glass.

S- alcohol and strong floral hops come to the forefront. It is rounded out with a piney and citrus aroma as well.

T- A strong dry grapefruit and piney flavor. Quite hoppy and somewhat malty. they dont balance each other out very well. Very dry tangy flavor.

M- dry and bitter. not very smooth or creamy. A tart and bitter coating in the mouth.

D- I like ESB's but this one isnt as good as some of the others. It is decent but i have had better. It can be hard to put more than 2 of these down.


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Photo of Bebum
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Muddy, orange-brown color,
Full body, intense flavor, rich but not heavy mouthfeel, avg length.
Bitter, tart, background sweetness well in balance, bitter finish.
Fruity, orange juice-like,
Different, very interesting.

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Photo of rgore
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - Pours an amber-red color with a very small light lemon yellow amount of head. Not much lacing on the glass as I drank the beer.

S - A complex nose. Nice balance of hops and malt. Very earthy. This is my favorite aspect of this beer.

T - The balance of hops and malt doesn't hold up as well when I taste. The malts over power the hops. Its an earthy-bitter flavor. More hops to balance with a light floral or fruit taste would help. You can taste the 7.25 alcohol.

M - Crisp, the bitterness stays for a while and drys out the mouth some (not in a bad way).

D - Not something I would session, again I think more hops or reigning back the malt some would help hide or mask the alcohol and improve the drinkability.

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Photo of RedChrome
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear and very light red in color. Frothy half inch head off white head shrunk slowly. A handful of carbonation bubbles rising moderately. Stick lace clung to the sides of the glass.

The aroma has an overall citrus quality with clear hops roots. Very light bread scent from the malt is quickly run over by the hops strength. More bitter then balance.

Same sense of overall bitterness caries from the aroma to the taste. Flavor is less then balanced against an almost non existant malt base. Not exactly a typical beer in the style.

An average thickness sits on the tongue. Low amount of carbonation effect lets this one linger without notice.

Just above average. I would like to pair this one with a pulled pork sandwich. Nothing great to look for in the style, but worth it as part of the mixed pack.

 822 characters

Photo of jdhilt
3.46/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a three finger cream head that fades slowly to a thin layer leaving a good lace. Nice clear amber color. Mix of hops and malt nose. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Flavor is almost sweet caramel with the hops balancing. Better than an ESB - brewer calls this an imperial ESB which fits. $2.00 for a 12oz bottle from Tullys Beer & Wine Wells, Me. Best before Mar 2009.

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Photo of sprucetip
3.46/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very clear copper/amber, with a thin head that fades rapidly. Leaves a bit more than patchy lacing. The sparkling clarity makes this very attractive visually.

Smell is pretty weak overall. Mild hoppy influence is noticeable, but strong booze dominates. Light graininess in the mix, too.

Thankfully it tastes better than it smells. It's grainy with a moderate bitterness, roughly balancing malty sweetness, and strong booze. It's not exactly balanced, let alone smooth, but nor is it a mess. The alcohol is too dominant.

Feel includes a bit of a bit at first, but then the rich, full body is pretty smooth. There is modest warming and a drying finish.

Overall, I guess this one drinks pretty easy. But it doesn't leave me wanting another, and I don't think I'd reach for another one soon, considering the plethora of options. But I'm glad I tried it, and I wish Clipper City the best in its endeavors.

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Photo of Backer2004
3.47/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Just like the style guidelines, the "imperial?' ESB pours nice dark copper color with very little head and just a tad bit of carbonation. Smells of fresh hops immediately, followed by esters. The malts do not seem to balance the hoppiness to this one. A bit hot, especially since more ESB are much lower in alochol. Warms the belly, but nothing too great.

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Photo of beveritt
3.47/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into an Imperial pint glass. Label depicts a cubic drawing of someone manning the helm during a storm. Recommends drink by April 2009.

Appearance: Pours with just shy of one finger of light tan head. This settles slowly to a ring around the glass and an island of foam in the center of the glass. A very small amount of lacing. The beer itself is a brilliant ruby copper color. No sediment in the bottle.

Smell: Sugary caramel malt with hints of toffee. Slight acrid bite in the finish, not unpleasant, just noticeable.

Taste: Strong caramel malt upfront, with hints of maple syrup, followed by high medium hop bitterness. Finishes dry and midly astringent.

Mouthfeel: Average carbonation level. Body is good.

Drinkability: A pleasant enough beer, with nice malt depth.

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Photo of hopdog
3.47/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle.

Poured a deeper orangish / copper color with an averaged sized off white head. There were lots of suspended particles in there too. Aromas of caramel, toasted grains, and citrus. Tastes of caramel, toffee, and citrus.

Notes from: 12/24/07

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Photo of Cugabuh
3.47/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a 6er of this when I got off work. Being a huge fan of both Heavy Seas "Loose Cannon" and ESBs in general, I figured this would be a good match for me.

Pouring into a standard 16 oz pint glass, I notice a head roughly 1 finger length tall that dissipates rather quickly. A bit of lacing lingers for most of the brew but nothing to write home about.

Appearance: The appearance of this beer might just be my favorite part. It's a BEAUTIFUL ruby red color that will certainly catch your eye after pouring is complete.

Smell: The aromas of this beer are a bit lacking, and I wish such a beautiful looking beer could follow up with a wonderful smell (fortunately the taste saves it a bit but we'll get to that)! Unfortunately the smell is on the weaker side. Hints of bread are certainly to be found, as well as a certain nuttiness.

Taste: The taste of this beer (as stated earlier) makes up for its weaker aroma. The bread/nut flavors certainly stand out much more on the tongue. Obviously, with this being an Imperial ESB, even a tongue with a single taste bud could taste the bitterness of this beer. Personally, I love the flavor and the 7.5% ABV blends perfectly with the flavors and malts. You know it's there, but it's not punching you in the face screaming "I'm BOOZY!"

Mouthfeel: Fairly strong carbonation, and of course a bitter flavor that lingers in the mouth for quite some time after taking a sip. It has a body that could be put on the same level as a brown ale (detectable malts but nothing that will weigh you down).

Overall: I'd certainly recommend this beer to a friend. With all the stouts and porter flooding the market during the winter months, it's nice to find something a little lighter. This opens up the window for a good winter drinking session with some buddies. Certainly not on par with their Loose Cannon, but regardless Heavy Seas has impressed me yet again! Touche HS.

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Photo of Brent
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
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 dbrauneis
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: Pours a clear dark garnet red in color with moderate amounts of active visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass and some copper + cola brown highlights. The beer has a quarter finger tall foamy sudsy light tan head that quickly reduces to a medium sized mottled very thin film and a medium thick ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Light aromas of citrus/orange rind hops, toasted nutty malts, and fruity yeast.

T: Upfront there are moderate flavors of toasted malts with a light amount of nuttiness as well as a light amount of toffee sweetness. There is a slightly stronger than moderate amount of citrus/orange rind hops that contribute a light to moderate amount of lingering bitterness. Hints of alcohol in the finish as well.

M: Medium bodied with slightly more than moderate amounts of carbonation. Slight amounts of dryness in the finish.

O: An interesting take on an ESB - much hoppier than any of the others that I have tried. Slightly too much alcohol and that alcohol is not well enough hidden for me. Probably would not grab another one of these but it can definitely be enjoyed.

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Photo of LanceW
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearence: Dark amber in color with a thin layer of carbonation retained through out the tasting.

Smell: When served at a colder temp the beer did not have any sent at all. There was an aroma as the beer heated up but nothing I could put my finger on

Taste: Very solid beer. Easy to drink and had a very balanced flavor. Would definitely have again but nothing to write home about.

Mouth feel: what you would expect from a beer of this caliber. Nice body but nothing too thick or thin. Once again... very well balanced.

Drinkability: Easy to drink and could have more than one at a sitting.

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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 Aenema
3.48/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance - Dark ruby brown, clear with a foamy white head. The head fades quickly, though there is nice lacing.
Smell - Grapefruit? Bitterness.
Taste - Slight breadiness, bitter bite.
Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation.
Drinkability - Not bad, but not a very sessionable beer.

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Heavy Seas - Winter Storm ("Category 5" Ale) from Heavy Seas Beer
3.83 out of 5 based on 992 ratings.
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