Winter Warmer | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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Winter WarmerWinter Warmer
1,597 Ratings
Winter WarmerWinter Warmer

Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.90%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
When you bring a glass of this dark copper ale to your lips to take your first sip you will notice the aroma of cinnamon. There is no aromatic hop added that might overpower the distinct spice scent. The medium body of this beer is formed from caramel and pale malts. These create enough body to support the spices without making the beer excessively rich. Bittering hops are added to counter the sweetness of the malt and spice. The finish of the beer is a blend of cinnamon and nutmeg. The combination of these two spices results in a balanced, pumpkin-pie flavor.

22 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 12-06-2000

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,597 |  Reviews: 664
Reviews by lightfool:
Photo of lightfool
3.5/5  rDev +9%

More User Reviews:
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.17/5  rDev +29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The cinnamon is immediately noticeable in the nose of this reddish-amber ale. It's bright and fresh and welcoming! It's creamy ivory-colored head holds well, and it leaves some small areas of craggy lace at the outset of the glass. In the mouth it's medium-light bodied but still somewhat creamy and surprisingly smooth. The softness is a nice change of pace; and it's restrained carbonation helps balance it by letting the malt come through rather than accentuating its spiciness. Nutmeg and some mild cloves appear in the flavor along with the cinnamon and some yeasty fruitiness. Initially some malt gets through (although the spices do start to becoming cloying halfway through), and it's just-delicately caramelish and mildly biscuity. It's flavors are subtle except for the spice, but it's well-balanced. The malt is mild; the bitterness is sublime; and it's spices are clear but kept in check. It's a really nice holiday beer that would be perfect before, during, or after a holiday meal; but I'm not sure how drinkable it would remain outside of a special event. I'd enjoy one at the pub, but I don't think I'd go beyond that - personal preference.

 1,156 characters

Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.75/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a clear mug, the appearance was a copper to dark amber/brown color with a finger's worth of white foamy head that glistened before gently sliding off. Sticky speckled lace.
The aroma had some cinnamon, allspice, ginger, dark bread, some milk chocolate, nutmeg, butterscotch, and a little bit of earthy spice even lighter in the background.
The flavor was moderately spicy with a gentle sweetness coming about. Light aftertaste of a blend between chocolate, butterscotch and nutmeg.
The mouthfeel was about medium bodied with a fair sessionability about it due to the spices becoming non-distracting. Carbonation felt on par. Finishes slightly spicy with a little bit of malt.
Overall, works for me as a winter warmer, I'd have again.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.6/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Finely dusted terra cotta that appears unblemished unless backlit. The softly creamy cap is sandlewood in color with a slight orangish tint picked up from the beer beneath. Although it isn't loaded with character, the foam hangs around a while and leaves a modest amount of unsticky, soon-to-be-washed-away lace.

I'd like to think that, even without being told by Harpoon, I could have identified the cinnamon and nutmeg used in this beer. I'm positive that I could have picked out the nutmeg since this is one of the nutmeggiest winter warmers I've ever run across. The nose isn't powerful enough, nor is does it have any real underlying complexity.

I feel the same way about the flavor: better than average, somewhat enjoyable, nowhere near great. I don't believe that simply adding spices to an amber ale is enough to turn it into a winter warmer. I think winter warmers should be a little bigger, a little bolder and a little more full-bodied than the beer that is sitting on my coaster at the moment.

On a positive note, the choice of spices is nice and the amount added is just about perfect. The warm 'cinnameg' flavor isn't too muted, nor is it so overwhelming that drinkability suffers. It shares the stage with a toasted maltiness and an adequate amount of hop bitterness. This is simple beer, but there's nothing wrong with that in most cases.

The mouthfeel doesn't fit my favored profile for the style, but it does fit the rest of this beer's attributes. It's somewhere between light and medium, with enough carbonation to keep things hopping. Drinkability is good for many of the reasons noted above. The spices may become a bit wearing over an entire sixer, but a few bottles would be no problem at all.

Winter Warmer grew on me from first sip to last. Once I got out of the mindset of 'hearty, sippable and warming' and accepted the possibility of a lighter, easy drinking, spice-added winter ale, I enjoyed it more and stopped thinking of ways in which it falls short.

 1,989 characters

Photo of oberon
3.7/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap while living in Vermont,liked it alot.Then bought in bottle form,not quite as good.On tap tasted fresh and like eating a nice spice cake.

 153 characters

Photo of cam477
3/5  rDev -6.5%

Photo of Turbo
3.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of Tiernan
4/5  rDev +24.6%

Photo of ccapurso
2.75/5  rDev -14.3%

Photo of MikeC144
3.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of chOAKbarrell
2.11/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

The only beer I've had that possibly has more cinnamon flavor than this is Shipyard's Pumpkin ale. Needless to say, heavy cinnamon flavoring does not lend itself well to beer. It ends up being overly sweet and difficult to finish. That's pretty much the base of this beer - cinnamon, cinnamon, cinnamon. I didnt particularly enjoy this and I'm glad I only bought a single, as I dont want to have it again.

 405 characters

Photo of joel_bou
2/5  rDev -37.7%

Photo of BigMarty1980
2.68/5  rDev -16.5%

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.08/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

My daughter loves this beer. I think that's because she lives in Florida and rarely gets to drink it. It's a clear orange color with a small head. A sweet, spicy aroma. All I could taste was cinnamon, not exactly what I was looking for. I think this is an OK winter warmer, but too aggressive with the spice.

 308 characters

Photo of csmartin6
3.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of Todd
1.92/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Had this for the first time this year @ the Harpoon X-mas Party. It was dreadful. They actually changed the recipe this year because they were getting complaints about spice dregs at the bottom of kegs that made the beer cloudy. So, this year they went with "liquid spice". I've talked to other brewers, all of who refuse to use this stuff as it's too potent.

Just imagine drinking a cinnamon hotball, but without the hot. It's so over-spiced that you can't enjoy the other characters of the beer.

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Photo of AlarmClock314
3.07/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

12oz bottle, best by date of 2/15/17. Pours transparent orange with a medium sized off-white head. Smells of nutmeg, cinnamon, lightly roasted malt, and generic hops; low intensity. The taste follows exactly with lightly roasted malt, spice, and hops; straightforward and low intensity. Some light bitterness and sweetness. The body is thin and carbonation is above average. Overall, this is like a 'light beer' version of a Winter Warmer; it's low on intensity and almost watery. No off-flavors, but also not very desirable. Not recommended.

 549 characters

Photo of SmellsofMahagony
3.52/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Doomcifer
2.75/5  rDev -14.3%

Photo of Guden
2.54/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

A- A very clear cherry tinged amber color with a one finger off white head that fades quickly leaving no lacing.

S- Very high in the spices, it smells like cinnamon and a bit of off smelling yeast character. I'm a little confused and not pleased.

T- Well the nose had it right. The flavor is a moderately high amount of cinnamon and nothing else. Not awful, just not very well thought out or presented. They should've just called this "Cinnamon Beer" instead of winter warmer.

M- Pretty watery really. Fairly low in both body and carbonation.

D- This is a lot like the overspiced pumpkin beers that are made by most breweries, but with even less complexity and really just one note of cinnamon. There's nothing to hate but unless you're a big cinnamon person stay away. Made me crave Stegmeier Winter Warmer for all the things that this one was not.

 853 characters

Photo of Bill2809
3.75/5  rDev +16.8%

Photo of petewheeler
3.5/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Jason
2.12/5  rDev -34%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Notes from 2001: Way too much spice this year, takes away from the malt and subtle hops. I wish they would bring this beer back to what it used to be.


Presentation: 12 oz brown long neck with an ink jet printed bottled on date above the label.

Appearance: Slighty chill hazed copper coloured brew with thin yet creamy lace which leaves a few rings around the glass.

Smell: More cinnamon than nutmeg, fresh pie apples and a faint aroma of esters in the sweet nose also.

Taste: Medium bodied with a sweet chewy malt and spice mix up front, cinnamon and nutmeg are about even. Some fruitiness in the middle with a sharp tingling hop bitterness that is just enough to balance all of the sweetness. Mild alcoholic esters are more evident towards the end ... drying grain in the finish.

Notes: Very drinkable, sweetness is not cloying and spices are not over done. A well crafted and balanced beer. A good pick if you can't handle the "big" winter brews.

 972 characters

Photo of merlin48
3.35/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear amber body with a small offwhite head that retains decently and leaves some sparse patchy lace. Aroma is unusual, reminding me of a wintergreen scented Coca Cola. A dash of cinnamon in the background. Mouthfeel is lightbodied with medium carbonation. Taste is some light caramel maltiness that gets lost in the spices. I taste mostly wintergreen, but cinnamon and nutmeg are also prominent. Some hop bitterness comes on toward the middle and the finish is spicy bitter with a nutmeg aftertaste. Very light in body for a winter warmer. This one fares poorly compared to most of the other winter warmers I've sampled this season.

 633 characters

Photo of Billolick
3.17/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 ouncer, comes w/o freshness info. Pours clear, light mahogany amber, minimal to no head, no lace and seems to be on the low side carbonation wise. Holiday spice on the nose.Thin toasted malts, more thanksgiving pie spice notes and but continued thinness and lack of any sizzle. Metallic and off putting finish. Pretty dull stuff.

 332 characters

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Winter Warmer from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Beer rating: 3.21 out of 5 with 1,597 ratings