Heavy Seas - Small Craft Warning (Über Pils) | Heavy Seas Beer

very good
590 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Heavy Seas - Small Craft Warning (Ãœber Pils)Heavy Seas - Small Craft Warning (Ãœber Pils)

Brewed by:
Heavy Seas Beer
Maryland, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Pilsner

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Arguably our most well-balanced beer, Small Craft Warning seems at once hop-forward and malt-forward; our brewers debate over which flavor force prevails in the beer. Small Craft exemplifies a robust pilsner - it's crisp, well-carbonated, and slightly sweet. The beer is characterized by a firm malt backbone and a pronounced hop character. A fine aroma, from an array of hops, completes this quaffable beer.

Added by farHillsBrewer on 03-12-2004

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 590 | Ratings: 1,096
Photo of LogicalDave
2.9/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

Appearance: Dark gold/ amber. In my opinion the classic look for a beer.
Smell: Slightly...chemical scent, but with a heavy yeast smell. Definitely reminds me of baking bread.
Taste: Nothing special as far as beer goes. Slightly bitter. Again, extremely heavy on yeast taste.
Mouthfeel: Not too heavy, very lightly carbonated. It reminded me of slightly flat ginger ale.

 372 characters

Photo of obrendano
2.91/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

had this once and didn't enjoy it, figured I'd give it another shot

A - not a bad appearance, nice clear golden pils color

S - middle of the road, decent, but not very standoutish

T - after the good up front taste of spicy hopped malt, this really loses me. the middle of each sip brings this odd, wet, lightly malted tone that I really don't enjoy, kinda heavy and obnoxious and belies the concept of a pilsener, to me at least.

M - similar to the taste, a little heavier than I'd like, not quite as crisp as it should be

D - kind of grudgingly finished the 6 pack over a couple weeks, each time it was more and more forcing myself to drink it so it would go away. I really like everything else I've tasted from Heavy Seas/Clipper City, this just isn't my thing

 767 characters

Photo of Ricochet
2.91/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Never had a Double Pils before, so I'm no expert on the style, but compared with other craft pils I have tried, I can see why this is indeed an odd yet tasty beer.

Lighter orange rather than that yellow I know, it was more the color of malt liquors with similar head retention, and looks. However, it looked fuller so it gets better than average. Plus, it had the beads of beer when poured...

Smell was odd. At first it smelled fruity but when poured into the glass , I'd could detect a odd "catsup" smell and slight hoppy notes it also had a sugary scent that screamed malt liquor.

Mouth was good, and had a nice foam and went down being a little thicker than most.

Taste was not malt liquor, and that was good, but it seemed almost like some octoberfests that I've had, only the hops were sudued, the malt didn't make itself known but the raisin taste was there and the wheat aftertaste was also pretty good.

So, I just don't know. I probably would not get this again because while it was fairly good, it was dangerously much like malt liquor. It's kind of like when I had an imperial porter, seemed like they boosted the alcohol content just to have it and that detracted from a decent beer.

 1,213 characters

Photo of evantwomey
2.96/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Good beer, but I don't know how they can call this a pilsner.

A: Beautiful golden yellow, but it looks like a pale ale, not a pils.

S: Sweet and fruity, not what you would expect from a pils. Little hop nose. As it warms, alcohol very apparent. Smells a bit like vodka.

T: Pretty well balanced, a bit on the sweet side. Very ale-like. Or maybe like a bock. But pils?

M/D: Easily burned through a 6 pack, but probably would not buy again

This beer is in style-limbo. Definitely not your normal pils, much closer to a very tame pale ale or a hoppy bock.

 556 characters

Photo of greybeardloon
2.98/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Best before June 2013

A: Apple juice. Poor retention and no lacing.

S: fairly faint. A swirl brings out a whiff of toilet bowl cleaner.

T: Sweet crackers, apples, bread, mild grassiness. Light on the hops; could use more to counteract the syrupy sweetness.

M: Feels a bit too thick, maybe compounded by the sweetness.

O: Fairly uninteresting; perhaps it will be better with food.

 388 characters

Photo of thecarster1
3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

a- bottle poured into a tasting glass, one finger of head that fades gradually leaving behind some lace, straw coloring.

s- flight alcohol, a bit of grain, slight citrus, not a whole lot to the nose.

t- alcohol perceived, some grain, very light light. not a whole lot here either, light noble hop bitterness that lingers a little, light citrus.

m- thin in the mouth, could be better.

d- only, glad to have tried this but i think that this is a one and done beer.

 466 characters

Photo of AndoBrew
3/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

*i almost did not mind it, but I do.. so.. I dont like it and wont buy it again*

app: burnt yellow color, nice wonderful firm head. looks like a picture beer.

smell: hop foward floral citrusy hops. not much else. smells like an ipa.. neat!

while drinking it I picked up the dirty nickles smell.. uh oh.

taste: ha, and it tastes like one to. ok flavor, hops are king in this beer, then a mild golden ale type malt phase then into some of the dirty nickles, then an almost spicy hop tounge finish. dont know what to think really. I wish it had more of the malt flavor, the over all blend and flavor rainbow is odd, not for me.

mf: nice, i like the feel of it being bright then creamy almost.

drinkable?: so so.. not in a way huge way..

dont know much about what an uber pills is supposed to be, this is an ok not for me beer with only a couple problems.

 874 characters

Photo of goodbyeohio
3.01/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

light yellow with a pumpkin-tinged crown.. lots of random sticky lacing and a patchy funk of wisps on the surface. bubbles struggle in the mix. smells of lager yeast and syrupy sweetness. not much in terms of hops or developed sugar. slight roasty character. hoppier in the mouth, with a dry finish and a unique counter-balance of sweet adjuncty base and green green botanicals. for 7.5%, this is a heavy ass beer disguised as something much lighter. with morimoto, i got more flavor and balance out of the beer and didn't mind its big gravity. here, i wish for a similarly flavored 'single' pils with a higher drinkability. decent, but not one i'd revisit again. this style needs an affordable, flawless example to continue to flourish.

 737 characters

Photo of predikit
3.02/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer was very malty but had some flavors which did not agree with me. I was very turned off by it, but I got used to it by the third beer which is no plus in it's favor. Can't say I would ever go for this brew again.

 222 characters

Photo of PBRstreetgang
3.04/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pour a deep golden yellow with expressive carbonation and slight haze due to bottle conditioning. Dense three finger head is soapy and shows stubborn retention and sticky patches of lacing. Mostly noble hop nose, floral and grassy, with plenty of pale malt aromas and a hint of apple ester. Highly sweet upfront; a high-gravity pale malt flavor, follwed by assertive, cidery alcohol taste and finally pungent german hops. The hop flavor is more prominenet in the semi-dry aftertaste; bountiful spicy Saaz character and floral Hallertau flavor also impart a dryness that helps break-up the cloying sweetness of the malt. The medium body with a perculular "light-syrupy" texture is interesting, and the medium-level carbonation is very subtle and smooth, although fine and abundant. Finishes with some residual pale malt and apple ester but is well-balanced by voracious German hop biterness. Not much of a session lager, as the off-flavors and hop bite limit it's drinkability, but a real treat for die-hard Pilsener fans looking for something more.

 1,048 characters

Photo of hreb
3.05/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle purchased today at the Clipper City Brewery outside of Baltimore. The label reports that the beer is best if purchased before December 2007, that some yeast has been left in the bottle, and the ABV is 7.0%. Moderately chilled and served in a tall wine glass.

The beer is clear and yellow-gold with a thin white head. Aroma is faint and vaguely malty without much hoppiness. Very light and pleasant a carbonation works well with this beer, although for the pilsner style I would have expected more. The flavor is medium-bodied and full of malt, with a light sweetness which defies the name pilsner. There's not enough hop bitterness to counteract the malt, but the beer is still reasonably drinkable, and the high alcohol content is undetectable except for the indicative residual sugar content.

Clipper City Über Pils works better as a English or Belgian strong blonde ale than as a pilsner. For the double pilsner category I much prefer the offerings from Rogue and Dogfish Head. But this is still satisfactory, although between the alcohol content and the over-the-top maltiness, drinkability suffers.

 1,122 characters

Photo of bruachan
3.07/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

a little darker, and perhaps with some orangish hues that your average pils won't have. head retention was not particularly remarkable

very hoppy aroma: flowery and fruity. citrus and apricot, as well. very fruity tasting as well. decidedly maltier than a standard pils, but still with an aggressive hop character

i think the beauty of a nice pils is totally hijacked by this style. my expectation of pilsners is a clean malt that crisply sets up hops. this is just too sugary. one style that "imperial" or "double" just doesn't belong in front of

 553 characters

Photo of Nipitato
3.08/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a bottle at Downtown Wine and Spirits in Somerville, MA.

Have never reviewed an American double pilsner before so take this with a grain of salt.

A: Medium copper hue. Zero head. Slightly brilliant clarity.

S: Clean and crisp mild aroma. Some toasty sweet malt with a healthy dose of floral hoppy aroma.

T: Malt flavor is slightly sweet and very clean and crisp. Hop flavor dominates. Hop flavor is resiny and piney and in my opinion a little overpowering - but not particularly bittering.

MF: Medium light mouthfeel. Moderate high carbonation. Lingering hop aftertaste.

D/Comment: So-so. Maybe it's not that the hop flavor is particularly overpowering rather the hop combination just creates a taste I don't care for (maybe the tettang). My palate isn't schooled enough yet to pin this down. But I think that is the problem with this beer for me. The off hop flavor hurts the drinkability. I would not have this beer again but it has piqued my interest in the style.

 998 characters

Photo of stakem
3.09/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle into a standard pint glass. It appears a clear copper color with a white finger of froth. Strings of patchy finger-like lace stick to the glass.

The nose is filled with buttery tones blending with noble hop attributes. A bit of caramel, toffee and herbs fill the middle. A light touch of solvent alcohol comes in from the back.

The taste is sweet with toasty caramel malt that includes some butter and fruity hints. A bit of herbs and earthy pine round things out. I am surprised by the residual sugar here but I guess that goes along somewhat with the imperializing of this style.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. A bit too much residual sugar is in the finish which ruins the expected crispness I look for in this style. Regardless, it is not bad. Worth trying but not particularly something I would buy again.

 859 characters

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.11/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep golden colour, verging on amber, with a filmy, large bubbled head of white bubbles. The head sticks around, even though it had to be coaxed into existence with a reasonably aggressive pour, and sticks to the edge of the glass in pleasant lace curtains. The colour reminds me a little too much of generic pale lagers, and I'd like a fluffier head to begin with, but it looks pretty good overall.

Not a great deal on the nose - a sweet blend of mealy grain character (I'm loath to write "adjunct-y", but it comes close), and some piquant green hops that only exist as a single point of aroma. Unfortunately, it smells somewhat akin to Pride of Ringworm, that most hated Australian hop variety. While this gives it some sharpness, it also conjures up for me the aroma of every poorly constructed Australian macro-brewed lager. Unfortunately, I'm not a huge fan.

Some sharp bitterness on the palate, but that syrupy honey-like sweetness is present here too, coating the tongue, and making the hop flavour work ever so hard to balance it. Given this is a pils, and what's more an Imperial pils, it has far little hop character to my mind. It has a better flavour profile than the nose suggested, but it seems a little flat, and not very robust to me. Mouthfeel is crisp with fine carbonation, which is a plus.

This one only falls slightly above average for me. It just didn't do enough. It seemed a little too tame and a little too generic. Drinkable enough in its way, but I wanted something more.

 1,509 characters

Photo of Seanibus
3.11/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a bright orangy golden with a small white head that falls fairly quickly. The aroma is malty, with a tight hop character - a little earthy, a little citrusy, with a sharp pine note that gives it a pinched, slightly sour edge. The flavor has that same piny sourness, not entirely unpleasant, but not terribly subtle or refreshing either. There is a faint slap of alcohol that is unbecoming in a pilsner. The mouthfeel is surprisingly viscous, leaving that sour note clinging to the tongue. This is not a beer I'd be happy to spend much time with.

 551 characters

Photo of A_Frayed_Knot
3.16/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Poured a decent foam to start which dissipated quickly, yet lacing along the glass lingers a good while, which is mysterious. Aroma not overwhelming nor overly defining of what's to come. It seems almost flat for lack of carbonation that I would expect other than the fact I'm getting this out of a bottle -- on tap could've been different. Mostly an average pils experience compared with others... There is a pleasant taste that really comes through mostly with the aftertaste, my palate feels "tricked" into thinking there was more than what it really was. I'm likely to share this with fellow consumers who tend away from hops or dark brews i.e. for whom a pilsener would be ideal. Possibly because I've such hops-affinity I feel getting an opinion from a regular adjunct-beer consumer would be interesting if they tried this beer. Nor did I notice the 7 ABV, since I'm usually kind of sensitive to the amp'd up alcohol content of select beers.

 947 characters

Photo of smakawhat
3.2/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a pilsner glass. Good to go till November 2011!

A very thick foamy head, white, with tiny bubbles for its shape. Very large cola like bubbles coming up from fourteen carat gold and crystal clear bubbles.

Nose is slight pepper, muted grass, and light pilsner like malt but also kind of alcohol sweet.

Taste is thick with some sweet like bread but also solvent like alcohol. Almost syrupy in texture and feel. Somewhat fusel like as well.

Overall it comes across as a bit of a boozy mess, without some crisp or more importantly fresh bread!!

 571 characters

Photo of atsprings
3.2/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Flying Saucer served in a standard Pint glass a crisp but slightly murky light orange with a thin khaki head that diminishes to a thin layer. Aroma is slight sweet malts and crisp hops. The taste is a muddled blend of overly sweet malts and tangy hops that don't seem to get along that well. The beer is medium bodied with an aggressive amount of sweetness. This one is not what I expect in an Imperial Pilsner, or even a Pilsner for that matter.

 456 characters

Photo of Reiksguard
3.21/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Rated from a 12oz bottle poured into pint glass. A very nice deep gold color with little head and no lacing.

S: There is a fairly decent malt character on the nose, but it is run over by a little by the alcohol smell.

T: Light malt, bready flavor with a little bit of fruit in the background. A hint of hops with a strong alcohol taste hidden behind the front flavors.

M: Light with little carbonation.

D: A decent big beer that is not overpowering. Probably couldn't knock down a couple in a sitting, but as a single bottle, it was good.

 545 characters

Photo of PhageLab
3.21/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Yar be my first Über Pils, and a decent one it was. Expires February '08, or so the bottle says.

A - Yeasty bronze coloration with a pale hue. Small bit of head that rode all the way down. I gave a 4 here simply for the lacing, it was beautiful. It created multiple layered rows of sharks teeth on the side of the glass, I was pretty amazed.

S - Meh, not too much here, slight hop tinge with some characteristics of wheat or grain. Average I suppose.

T - Yeast and hops hit the tongue immediately, but afterwards you get a bit of an earthly tone and some mild bitterness. Grainy sort of aftertaste. Not bad, but not too impressive.

M - Light bodied and well carbonated. Would've given a 4 here were it not for the soapy residue it leaves behind.

D - I could do a few and would probably try it again, but I wouldn't seek this out, and if I had a choice of their brews, I'd definitely take the loose cannon. Worth a try at any rate.

 936 characters

Photo of mostpoetsdo
3.22/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: A deep yellow-orange gold. Little to no head.

S: Malt and a sweet, almost citrus, smell.

T: Malty and sweet. Slightly bitter hop ending.

M: Pretty thin, alcohol is not too high. Lower carbonation than I expected.

D: This is nothing special. Will not purchase again.

 272 characters

Photo of jeffmonarch
3.23/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle in a pilsner glass.

A - Copper color with very little head.

S - Sweet caramel malts. Faint but what there is is good.

T - Good strong malt flavors. Some hops are present.

M - Medium bodied with good carbonation.

D - Good beer but there is something there that seems out of place.

 298 characters

Photo of Brad007
3.25/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours an orange-amber color with a one-finger head and what appears to be ample carbonation into my pint glass.

Aroma is full of grainy malt and a bit of alcohol burn. It seems somewhat sweet as well.

Taste is full of grainy malt upfront followed by a sweet finish. Has a bit of an alcohol burn to it.

Mouthfeel is still smooth at first but the alcohol takes over in the middle. There doesn't seem to be enough room for the malt to really shine here

I'm not quite sure what to make of this. It doesn't seem like either a pilsener or imperial pilsener. It's still drinkable but again, I'm not too impressed. I would prefer that it stress the flavor of the pilsener malt more but it doesn't appear to do this. A good pilsener, even an imperial pilsener, should be tasty. This is just a bit too boozy for me.

 810 characters

Photo of secondtooth
3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clean golden, with thick 3-finger head of off-white carbonation. Beautiful lace.

Nose is grains, typically lager-like. Not bad, not outstanding.

Taste is malty and nearly sweet at first, followed by a tangy, chewy, nearly boozy finish. I get a limited hops presence here.

While this is definitely an "uber-pils", it's not one I'd chase down again.

 359 characters

Heavy Seas - Small Craft Warning (Über Pils) from Heavy Seas Beer
3.78 out of 5 based on 1,096 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

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