Harpoon Winter Warmer | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

647 Reviews
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Harpoon Winter WarmerHarpoon Winter 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

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Reviews: 647 | Ratings: 1,535
Photo of Sammy
3.92/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A decent winter warmer. Its not top beer smell, but you can smell spices and yeast on top of it. You can see the hps, it preserved well over the winter. Decent spice, cinammon and nutmeg, citrus and not overpowering malt nor yeast taste. Medium mouthfeel.

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Photo of kylehay2004
4.2/5  rDev +32.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Half finger head with nice amount of lacing on a clear amber body.

S: peppery and cinnamon in the aroma.

T: tons of cinnamon flavor and gingerbread. Caramel malt background.

M: medium body and moderate carbonation.

Overall: this beer is appropriately flavored for the winter season. For what it is trying to be it is actually very good.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.5/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

surprised to see this rated so low. the pour is clear dark copper in color, with a really disappointing white head. the nose is more fall spice than winter, with cinnamon and clove, similar to a pumpkin beer, but the flavor reveals a nice sweet caramely malt profile, which holds up the spice well. its wintery with the spices loaded on the back end, and the sweetness of the malt all the way through. finish is really clean for the style. mouthfeel is okay, a little thin in body, i would like this even more with a bigger dose of malts. the carbonation is fine though, and this one is pretty easy drinking. my problem with it is the abv, i like to see a bit stiffer of a winter warmer, something to really warm me, and this takes too many to do that job. thats my most severe critique of an otherwise quite palatable brew.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.03/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured out as a dark amber color with a white head on top. the lacing was minimal along with the retention. the smell of the beer had some spicy notes on the nose along with some sweet malts. The taste of the beer reminded me too much a pumpkin ale, I felt that their spice choice might have been a little off here. The mouthfeel wasn't too bad but still pretty average. Overall this isn't something I'd go oout of my way to have again. There are some better choices out there in my opinion.

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Photo of metter98
3.15/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: The beer is crystal clear amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high fluffy and dense off white head that slowly died down, leaving thick lacing down the sides of the glass and thin lacing covering the surface.
S: There are light to moderately strong aromas of nutmeg in the nose along with hints of cinnamon.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and also has some elements of malty sweetness.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. No warmth from the alcohol is perceptible.
O: The beer is easy to drink compared to others in the style but could use more complexity and fuller-bodied nature to make it more of a beer that can be enjoyed while sipped.

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.63/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The winter seasonal's have arrived at my local store and this hopped into the mixed sixer I made.

I heard a lot of negativity concerning this beer last year so I was somewhat excited to see how it tasted this year (never got to try it last year). It smells of cinnamon, a great smell, and pours a light copper color.. very appealing. Taste is of nutmeg and cinnamon and is medium bodied. Alcohol is not present at all, being that there isn't much of an ABV to begin with.

The spices may be a BIT over bearing, but not really. It's called a winter warmer, but this is only 5.5% ABV so it's a bit of a misnomer. Most breweries go for high alcohol/heavy body for this style but Harpoon went with more of a holiday spice twist.. everyone has their own interpretations of a winter seasonal. Just because it is different doesn't make it bad.. a solid beer.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.87/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A good try by Harpoon, but it just didn't have the oomph or the melding of a good winter warmer. Looks amber in color with a sparkle of spice floating in there. Good head retention and viscocity. Smells moderately malty with caramel and toffee notes. Spices of nutmeg and cinemon go along with a solid hop addition. Tastes much like an amber ale, with spices added. Moderately malty, with a light grain flavor. Easy on the palate with creamy carbonation. Finishes a little sweet and sticky and a little less than clean. A nutmeg aftertaste. Worth a try.

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Photo of brentk56
3.58/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: The crystal clear amber liquid is capped nicely, with a densely packed head that leaves a few dots behind

Smell: Cinnamon and nutmeg dominate with a caramel spice cake character underneath

Taste: Caramel spice cake, with the cinnamon and nutmeg flavors dominant; there is a bit of a metallic bitterness that arrives, after the swallow, but the beer is all about the spices

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: The spice cake character of this beer is very well done but that is just about all there is to this beer; I enjoyed the first few sips but after a while I became tired of the sweetness

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Photo of oline73
3.1/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear amber with a finger of off white head. The bubbles are large and they go away completely.

Smell: Sweet malt with some cherry/almond and Christmas spices.

Taste: Some bready malt up front with mild fruity notes and some Christmas spices. There is a bitterness to the finish and it a bit watery.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a lot of clunky carbonation and a slightly dry finish.

Overall: This beer isn't great for the style. I would like it to warm me a bit when I drink some. I used to love to have this every time the holidays roll around, but we've grown apart a little bit.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes.

Served in a tulip glass. Pours a moderate rusty-red color with a slight head and some pretty good lacing. The nose is overloaded with spices--cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and a hint of ginger. The taste is the same way with some very mild malt in the background. The feel and the drinkability both suffer from the fact that this is just a spice bomb and I can't handle too much of it.

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Photo of mothman
2.34/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2

Beige head. Copper caramel color.

For a winter warmer, this is way too spiced. It is like they took a pumpkin ale and then added more spice to it.

It is not very drinkable and not something I ever plan to drink again.

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Photo of oberon
3.7/5  rDev +16.4%
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.

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Photo of superspak
3.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best before 3/15/2013. Pours slightly hazy reddish copper color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big caramel, raisin, prune, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, toast, biscuit, clove, and light herbal hops. Nice aromas with good strength and solid balance; very fruity and malty, with a fair amount of spices. Taste of caramel, raisin, prune, brown sugar, cinnamon, toast, nutmeg, ginger, bread, light banana, light clove, and light herbal. No bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, dark fruits, brown sugar, cinnamon, toast, nutmeg, ginger, bread, light banana, light clove, and herbal on the finish for a bit. Solid flavor balance and complexity; a big malt backbone and light complimenting spices; with minimal cloying flavors present on the finish. A little bland on flavor as well. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied; with a very creamy and slick mouthfeel that is ok. Alcohol is fairly well hidden with a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is a decent winter warmer. Moderate spicing and big maltiness with minimal cloying; and quite smooth to drink. A fairly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of jlindros
3.06/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tap at jj sport bar.

Light but decent creamy head hits 1/2 finger and fades at med pace, clear darker tan almost copper color.

Nose has spices, allspice, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc, fairly strong but not overly, sweet molasses and caramel malts, definite holiday smelling.

Taste similar, stating with light spices again, alittle ginger in there, allspice, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, etc, followed by a light bitter herbal hop and earthy spice taste, which is a bit of a put off. Then malts, syrupy caramel malt, quite sweet, toasty copper malts, biscuit and little bready, and some nutty flavors like candied cashews and chestnuts. The holiday spice character really dominates but doesn't destroy the palate. Finish is sticky and syrupy, a long herbal earthy bitter spice flavor, icky bitterness, and syrupy malts.

Mouth is med to fuller bodied, little sticky and syrupy, decent carb, despite abv below 6% still feels syrupy and boozy, although it could be heat from the spices.

Overall meh, syrupy and sticky, icky bitterness, dominating spices, all wouldn't be great on their own but together even worse.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.17/5  rDev +31.1%
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.

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Photo of chinchill
3.1/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle dated best by 2/15/12 and served in a pint glass.

Appearance - A crystal-clear, reddish mahogany with a thin, off-white head that quickly reduces to a ring. Very little lacing.

Smell - Nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and banana.

Taste - Strong nutmeg flavor from start to finish, although there's plenty of cinnamon here too. Secondary notes also dominated by spices, leaving a barely detectable malt base. A bit medicinal. Mild bitterness becomes medium strength in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Medium-thin body and carbonation. A bit sharp.

Overall - too much spicing, especially the nutmeg.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.85/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is reddish amber with a short off-white head that fades quickly and doesn’t leave much lace on the glass.

S: The smell is very sweet and is heavy with cinnamon, ginger, spice and malt.

T: The flavor is very bready with the same cinnamon, ginger, spice and malt that you get in the smell. Someone, who didn’t like this beer, once told me that this particular beer tasted like you were drinking a gingerbread cookie. While that may be an accurate assessment, I think that’s a good thing in this style. It’s the type of taste that I drink this style for.

M: Smooth with a heavy body, medium carbonation and a finish that’s a touch dry for the style.

D: Tasty, mild kick, good representation of style, I once sat down and killed a sixer of this beer very quickly, so I’ll say that it goes down quite easy; however it is a bit filling.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.33/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Johnny Brenda's, Philly, PA

Pours hazy amber with a nice off-white head that recedes quite a bit. Cinnamon and spice in the nose with undertones of malt. More cinnamon and spice in the taste, nutmeg and a little clove or pepper. Malty sweetness in the background for smoothness, and little to no hop quality noticeable.

I like a good spicy winter warmer, but this is just a little too thin compared to other beers of the style that are more pronounced. I like a winter warmer to be bursting with flavor, and while this does have alot of flavor, it's thinned out a bit in the body. But still drinkable overall.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.23/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Pours a crystal clear amber in color with light to moderate amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a finger tall dark beige head that slowly reduces to thick film covering the entire surface of the beer with a slightly thicker ring at the edges of the glasses. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of toffee malt sweetness with some slightly lighter notes of cinnamon and nutmeg.

T: Upfront there is a moderate to strong flavor of toffee and caramel malt sweetness with lighter notes of cinnamon and nutmeg following. Very little bitterness is present.

M: Medium to heavy bodied with moderate to heavy amounts of carbonation. Smooth

O: Pretty well balanced between the malts and the hops but there is just a little too much cinnamon/nutmeg spiciness to this brew to be easy to drink. Enjoyable but this is not a beer that I want to drink a couple of...this is a one and done beer for me.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.6/5  rDev +13.2%
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.

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Photo of mikesgroove
2.77/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Ordered this one up at Barleys on my last trip through. I always love trying whatever is new on tap, and I figured I would give this one a chance, as I had not had it in the past. Served right from the tap and poured into a pint glass. This one was consumed on 11/19/2008.

The pour was decent enough, a rich light brown color coming through thee glass. Nice clarity here as the light bounced off giving hints of a subtle reddish tint to it. A smallish head of about a half an inch sitting on top faded rather quickly, leaving nothing really appreciable in its wake.

Rich malt aroma. Some nice touches of light caramel and nuts in here, with a touch of some light spices, maybe nutmeg and some cinnamon, but nothing really bowling me over here. The flavor was more f the same, maybe just a touch above average and a stress the word here. It was a bit thin on the profile, though some nice earthy hop notes stated to come through rather nicely as it cleaned up. Decent medium body with a carbonation profile that was far from overwhelming me in any way. Easy enough to drink though.

Overall it was decent, nothing spectacular but I guess I really was not expecting that too much. Overall not bad, probably would not order it again, but would not hate it if it was offered.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.94/5  rDev +23.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this up as part of a mix-a six at Giant Beer Garden & Eatery enjoyed chilled in a tulip

The color is deep amber bordering on bronze with brown accents and thick creamy ecru cap with fine bead and lace waves cling. The smell is very nice with a light fruity yeast ester and mild caramel malt with a kind of gentle almond nuttiness with a mild hop aroma which is more in the herbal fruity range.There is a slight spice aroma with the cinnamon/nutmeg combo obvious in the smell. The feel is moderately carbonated with a slight spice tinge and texture is more on the sweet side with mild alcohol in the feel with medium body and semi-dry finish.

The taste has a nice presence of spice with a slight caramel and fruity yeast flavor. The taste is very festive with a warming (go figure) amount of alcohol yet pretty smooth in the middle with the spice lasting after the swallow with some woody aspects of cinnamon with a nice spice-cake like malty dark sugar element. Overall this is pretty great it seems appropriate as the weather cools off I could see myself enjoying this with a hearty stew since the spice is not too much that it overwhelms the malt foundation.

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Photo of smcolw
3.42/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Harpoon Winter Warmer is a heavily spiced beer that is very thick and rich.

Appearance--The color is light bronze/dark amber. The head was decent at the beginning, but went down dramatically within a minute. No staying power on the glass lace.

Smell--Heavy cinnamon, a little nutmeg, perhaps a touch of clove. The rest is all malt, no hop

Taste--Malt up front; all spice in the finish and the aftertaste. Slight hop in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel--slightly oily, rich and thick

Drinkability--Excellent novelty beer, not one I'd repeatedly have.

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Photo of Jason
2.12/5  rDev -33.3%
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.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.23/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Lagunitas mason jar.

Is a "winter warmer" under 6% ABV actually gonna warm you in any appreciable sense? In any case, this stuff pours a clear sunset copper topped by a finger of sandy cream foam. The nose comprises ginger, clove, brown sugar, light toffee, banana, and candied orange peel. The taste brings in more of the same, with the focus heavily now on the spices, particularly the clove and brown sugar, which end up o'erwhelming all else. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation, a slick feel, and a sorta/kinda drying finish. Overall, not a bad winter warmer, but a decidedly one-dimensional one.

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Harpoon Winter Warmer from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
3.18 out of 5 based on 1,535 ratings.
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