Winter Storm Imperial ESB | Heavy Seas Beer

very good
1,023 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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,023 |  Reviews: 522
Photo of Mooslerfitness
3.99/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of RobDB
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of Beeradelphia
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

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

Pours a clear, deep copper color with a tan head the falls to just about nothing. Thin Spotty lace.

Picking up sweet caramel malts in the nose backed by an herbal hop aroma.

Taste is similar with a noticeable caramel malt base flavored with bitter hops. Does a good job of hiding the alcohol.

The beer is much fuller in the mouth than the appearance would lead you to believe. Also a bit biting.

Not bad at all. Easy enough to drink, I'd say a good solid brew.

 464 characters

Photo of BHansen214
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of JoeLacy
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

Photo of rapidsequence
4.24/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, last of my six pack. Bought at a Total Wine in NoVA.

Appearance: Despite all 6 attempts, I can't even rough pour a decent head into this beer. I get a thin rim that rapidly dissappears. The beer is not flat, but there's no head (this is not my glass, its happened six times to this beer, and none to any other beers). Interestingly, it laces pretty nicely. The color is a nice, clear, dark amber.

Smell: Mmmm. Pretty hoppy. Dry grassy hops and some citrusy notes too. There's a little sweetish caramelly toastiness too. Thats a good smelling ESB.

Taste: Hoppy upfront with grassy, earthiness and a little grapefruity bite for just second in the middle. The finish is sweet and toasty with a little hint of fruit. After you swallow, there's another touch of bitterness in the finish. This is tasty and nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel: Its about right. Carbonation is lowish, but not low. Good.

Drinkability: I'm glad I bought this beer. Its a tasty, well balanced, easy drinking beer with a sneaky 7.5% abv. Good stuff.

 1,032 characters

Photo of Apellonious
3.96/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, poured into a pint glass , best by 2/18/16.

A - Clear brown with orange highlights, Half finger head that moves to a thin bubbly lace within a few minutes.

S - Toffee, malts, some nuttiness. Raisin.

T - Bready. Toasted grains, mild bitterness. Some of the aroma notes are here, though muted.

M - Carbonation medium, a touch on the light/watery side, but that is normal for the style (as I remember it, been a while since I tried one).

O - Good to revisit the style. This beer , while not remarkable, is well made and tastes pretty good.

 563 characters

Photo of ithinkimasofa
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of ToddGingerich
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

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 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 reitzbrewing
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

Photo of Baab200
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of Imstillthegman
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
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 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.

 854 characters

Photo of Roberto11232
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of fscottkey
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: [4.25] The bottle lists the ABV (7.5%). There is also a best by date stamp (04/16/2017). The beer is a light leather color and has 1.5 fingers of dense off white head.

S: [3.75] Leather, peat, toasted sugar. Not much more.

T: [4.00] Similar to the nose. Peat, brown bread, brown sugar and a bit of tobacco smoke.

M: [3.75] Medium body and decent carbonation. There is a bit of dryness that lingers out on the end.

O: [4.00] I really like this beer. If I had to guess I would have called it a Scotch Ale (by flavor). It has a distinguished sort of aroma and flavor. I would get this again.

 607 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

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 BuxMontBeerLover
3.92/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of bishopdc0
3.18/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Allagash chalice.
Its color is a golden amber with a thick white head. The head dissipates but does leave an nice lace on the glass as the glass empties.

The aroma is hard to place it is a mix of crystal malt and perhaps biscuit. The aroma together seems almost off for an ESB, not to say that it isn't pleasant a slight almost alcohol comes in the end.

The mouth begins with a large amount of carbonation on the tongue, and top of the mouth. Flavors of a caramel brown and a roasted porter come together to make this ESB. The end is dry and a slight alcohol finish mixed with a slight out of place hop bitter probably to make it more "American".

Overall not a bad ESB but definitely not the best. I bet most would like it but i like a little more of an English style

 789 characters

Photo of RedHaze
4.3/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jhammerly for the bottle.

Pours a dark brown with amber highlight. The head is about a 1/4 inch in height, an fades quickly to a thin cap and ring, leaving behind a nice webbing of lace.

Smell; very nice spicy and citric hops are very dominant, but this also has a nice biscuity malt aroma in the background.

Taste; citric and floral hops are upfront, but do not come off as overpowering. The toasted/biscuity malts do a very good job of balancing out the hop bitterness. Very nice, this is a beer that is good to savor, but would also be good to have a few of in a night.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability; mouthfeel is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation, and a great drinkability. If this were available near me, I would make it a regular in the beer fridge for the winter months.

 800 characters

Photo of Lawl3ss
4.5/5  rDev +17.2%

Photo of dedrinker
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I went camping last night and kept company around the fire with my Winter Storm as the wind howled through the trees on the mountaintop. This reminds me of an ESB but more hops and alcohol. Everything is in good balance - malt-hops-alcohol. It is a little chewy but gently robust in its easy drinkin (for a hop head) mouthfeel and finish. I would do it again fer sure. Not a session beer ok?

 391 characters

Photo of droomyster
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear copper with a sudzy tan head. Smells of sweet carmel malts and faint citrus hops. Tastes is full of brown sugar and molasses up front but over the effect is well-balaced because it finishes considerably drier, with a burst of piney hops on the back end that linger. I like this beer quite a lot. In terms of drinkability, Winter Storm is dangerously good. Despite it's high abv I could keep reaching for this one all night long.

 442 characters

Photo of Satsuma
3.69/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Winter Storm Imperial ESB from Heavy Seas Beer
3.84 out of 5 based on 1,023 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.

    Learn More
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.

    Learn More
  • Our Magazine

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

    Learn More