Harpoon Winter Warmer | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

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Harpoon Winter WarmerHarpoon Winter Warmer
1,572 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,572 |  Reviews: 658
Photo of josefnewsong
3.44/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A - not impressed at all. pours a russet/reddish color with very little head and no lacing
S - smells of roasted malts, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a little bit of rye
T - almost all nutmeg, clove in the finish, heavy roasted malt (almost burnt) as well
M - light/medium bodied with crisp carbonated finish
D - goes down real easy, could definitely toss back a few

It's kinda like carbonated water with a lot of christmas spices...or maybe burnt christmas cookies but its still fairly enjoyable

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Photo of mostpoetsdo
3.19/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A: Looks clear and copper. Little head.

S: Cinnamon and nutmeg, absolutely, spicy for sure.

T: Not overwhelming, but strong cinnamon up front. Little kick at the end.

M: Much more thin than I anticipated before pouring.

D: Mediocre. Easy enough to drink, but can get sick of the spices quickly.

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.8/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer is nice...a moderately alcohol, sessionable, and very spicy brew. I had this at Stocks and Blondes in Chicago, and on a cold December day near Christmas, this beer really hit the spot. IMO, there are a lot of things that can be done to screw up a winter warmer, and I thought this beer pulled the style off nicely - it looked good (brilliant clear body of dark brown, nice head presence and retention) smelled seasonally spicy (nutmeg, cinammon, maybe allspice and cardamom - but that's reaching for my olfactive skills), and tasted like Christmas. Mouthfeel was a touch thin. This was a solid base-beer (maybe a caramel-y and weakly hopped amber ale) that was well-spiced. I liked it, and think it appropriate for the season.

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Photo of bob3701
3.75/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I can see by most reviews here they were not happy with the strong spice of this brew. I however loved the prescence of nutmeg, clove and cinnamon that dominates this brew. Nice dark clear amber color with a nice head and descent lacing. Even a nice spicy smell. In are latest drinking session this was the surprised hit. I enjoyed this beer but I do think my limit would be two in a sitting; as much as I liked the spicy flavor I think it is overpowering and that my taste buds would revolt before too long.

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Photo of grayburn
2.01/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

The liquid in the bottle pours normally enough, a deep amber hue with a fingers worth of white foam.
the smell and taste are dominated by a ridiculous amount of sweet and synthetic spicing. I can't pick up any other aromas or flavors. Mouth is cloying which makes drinking quite a chore. No thank you.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
3.52/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

decent initial head with ok retention and ruby color.

smell is of strong pumpkin spice. its powerful, but not overbearing.

taste is strong caramel and strong pumkin spice.

mouthfeel is a little thin and the spice is a little strong.

decently good beer, surprised at the low scores.

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Photo of dasenebler
2.52/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours an attractive deep copper with a small head.

Aroma is kind of messy and cloyingly spicy.

Flavor is not great. Tons of gross spice. Maltiness is good, nice and toasty. Touch of hop tang. Pretty sweet, with a pumpkin ale kind of thing going on. Mouthfeel is kind of watery. At least the carbonation is spot-on.

Borders on a drain-pour. I'll stick with Harpoon IPA.

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Photo of Kanyon22
2.7/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Got this bad boy in the Harpoon winter pack. I remember not liking this one last year, hopefully my beer palate has gotten better.

A:Pours a clear reddish brown color with a small off white head maybe it was very small, also a good amount of little carbonation bubbles floating around.

S:This is a spicy one cinnamon, nutmeg and pumpkin pie spice smell in the aroma, not much else.

T:Malts try to come through then the cinnamon, and spices slap it down really quick.

M:Has a medium fullness to it but really leaves the mouth really dry and searching for some water

D:Like most winter warmers IMO you can't just down these one after another, but the fact of it being so drying also diminishes my need to grab more of it.

Harpoon Winter Warmer is way better then last years I actually got it down, but also seems like a chore to keep drinking. It has nothing to keep me interested very long.

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Photo of ShogoKawada
3.25/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On tap @ The Fastnet, Newport, RI. Served in a tulip pint glass.

A- Cinnamon-stick brown, not much of a head, but it was a sloppy pour from the bartender. 1cm off-white head that fizzed out pretty quickly.

S- Nutmeg, cinnamon, winter spices. Like potpouri.

T- Follows the nose, a spiced brown ale. Cinnamon and nutmeg are the main event... Hmm. Beer is almost in two layers. The spices are nice, but seem to almost separate from the bland brown ale underneath. Tasty, the spice hits you and then is gone, leaving this mediocre bland brown ale.

M- A little low on the carbonation, would like to have seen a bit more, but pretty decent body and composition.

D- Moderate. I liked the spices, but not the aftertaste of the base beer. I'll have to try this in the bottle and see if it tastes any different. A nice winter warmer, but a bit of a head-scratcher. Not overly spiced, in my opinion, though.

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Photo of FickleBeast
2.14/5  rDev -33.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A - Pours clear copper with minimal head that dissipates quickly

S - HUGE cinnamon / nutmeg aroma, almost overwhelming

T - whoa. spices abound. yuck. I pick up nothing other than the nutmeg.

M - dry, feels like I poured cinnamon on my tongue.

D - I'm having trouble finishing this one. bleh.

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Photo of KTCamm
3.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12 oz bottle into pint glass.

Pours deep brown red with 1 finger white foam that retains a creamy layer. Laces.

Smells like cinammon spice and nutmeg. Malty spicy taste with cinammon hints. Overriding sweetness that borders on excess. Lightly carbonated in the mouthfeel. Lingering sweet taste.

Decent taste, but not one for multiples. Sip one and move on.

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Photo of sophisticated
3.37/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A pretty dark clear amber, tiny fizzy head. It smelled strongly of cinnamon and nutmeg, along with some malts and mild...banana? It tastes sweet, like pumpkin pie. Noticeable malts. Despite the strong flavors, it still comes across as thin. Perhaps...Like watered-down banana bread, if that were possible. But overall, pleasant, if not awesome.

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Photo of bum732
2.66/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a ruby red, decent creamy head leaving good lacing. Smells of pumpkin spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, maybe some pine? touch of earthiness, . Tastes of sweet, spicy malt with a strong earthy dryness in the background. Bitterness is fairly low, beer finishes surprisingly dry. Mouthfeel is a little thin.

A pretty poor beer, not much flavor besides the spices. I don't know if the dryness is from being overattenuated or the hops, but not really expected for a "rich" winter warmer. Stay away from this beer.

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Photo of GoalieRon33
3/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A- dark, soil-like light brown with a tint of orange when the light hits it

S- spicy, light that of christmas celebrations. (if that makes sense to anyone)

T- Tasted OK, with a little too much spice. Did give a warming feeling, but only after a spicy burn. A little too spicy for my liking

M- Thick, with a malty character. Goes down smooth

D- A little tough to handle all the spice. Not bad to have one or two, but thats the cut-off

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Photo of njmoons
2.22/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Picked this up with several other winter warmers singles at Half Time Beer Store in Poughkeepsie.

I drank it and was spiced out. Peculiar taste with lots of spices and that is about it.

I drank the whole things, so it was no terrible. On the other hand it was not really very beer like. I would not buy one again.

I won't break it down into detail, other than to say try it if your curious but that would be the only reason.

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Photo of SeanfromShorts
2.43/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Presentation--12 oz brown long neck. Code date reads, "Best by 2/15/10". Red, White and Green dominate the label's color. Reminds me of Christmas, or perhaps the world's tackiest sweater.

Appearance--Pours with hints of amber, brown and copper. An orange tint can be observed in light. Slightly hazy. Light tan head, with average lacing and retention in the glass.

Smell--Re-donkulous amounts of spice up front. Definitely more cinnamon than nutmeg. Apple pie and brown sugar also stop by to say hello. Damn, this beer could probably help clear up a wicked sinus infection!

Taste--Did Harpoon hire Martha Stewart to empty her spice drawer into their boil? I think they may have. Again, cinnamon and nutmeg are the dominatrixes of the flavors. Bits of caramel and a little banana make their way onto the palate. I feel like I'm drinking a gingerbread cookie.

Mouthfeel--It's brisk, baby.... Average to high carbonation.

Drinkability--Certainly drinkable...you have to really enjoy spice, though. Not exactly a session beer (for me, anyway)--I could stand 1, maybe 2 at a time. I can see women loving this.

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Photo of thebeerdoctor
2.53/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Had this as part of Harpoon's winter sampler 12 pack. I've had this before and have never been impressed. It is simply ale with a lot of spices dumped in. Plenty of flavors but no balance at all, or subtlety. Might be okay at a party where no one cares about the quality of wassail, otherwise, just leave this alone.

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Photo of feelmefoam
2.57/5  rDev -19.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a nice reddish amber color with lots of carbonation and a thin head that didn't last too long. Not a whole lot of lacing to speak of.

Smells SPICY. Lots of cinnamon present, as well as a little nutmeg and possibly... more cinnamon.

Taste is pretty much the same as the nose. At first there's a nice lightly malted taste, but then the cinnamon spice absolutely dominates the flavor, including the aftertaste. I'm usually a fan of cinnamon, but this was a bit much for me.

Pretty thin mouthfeel for a winter warmer, in the cold fall/winter months I want a beer with a bit more substance to it to warm my soul.

Not very drinkable in my opinion. It was finishable, but I wouldn't go for this again. Way too overspiced, if you ask me.

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Photo of farrago
3.24/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Light tan head which barely covers the surface, forms islands of larger bubbles, fades swiftly but leaves more lacing than you'd expect. Steady flow of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg in the nose, not overbearing, adds in orange citrus, brown sugar, not that sweet and possesses a clear hoppy spine, the apricot and peach scents subdued too and in lockstep with the rest. Medium-bodied, carbonation gives it a charge and perhaps a bit too much churn. The coriander, nutmeg, cinnamon spice is there, lighter on the clove. Presents smooth maltiness yet stays dry and doesn't soak into the palate much. Grains and hoppy grasses keep it on a generally equal distribution. None of the respective elements deep or resonant, hence in the end it does not make a lasting impression. Swift denouement.

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Photo of thespaceman
1.99/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass:

Appearance: Pours a nice deep brown in color, off white slowly builds nicely, decent lacing and retention all around. A bit darker then I remember in previous years.

Smell: Loads of spice up front, I actually get some apple pie like spice up front, kind of odd for a winter warmer. Also apparent up front is some brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon, and a touch of nutmeg. This stuff is spicy enough to burn off all your nose hairs!

Taste: Whew, I thought the nose was bad, this stuff is way overspiced. Again, emptying out your mom's spice cabinent would be the only way to describe this beer. Cinnamon is way too harsh, a smallish malt backbone can barely stand up to the spiciness and the hops get dominated by such a residual, metallic tasting spice element. Winter Warmer? This should be a spiced beer. I also get that apple pie flavor here a bit, a bit too artificial to actually be enjoyed.

Mouthfeel: Decent amount of carbonation, combined with the overload of spice really makes this hard to session. Medium bodied and small bitterness.

Drinkability: Not much of a beer I'd go looking for again. Given Harpoon's name, I see this as a big dissapointent. Way too spicy! If the flavors were slightly subdued, this might be decent. Otherwise, stick to your winter guns and avoid this mess of a beer.

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Photo of supag32
2.36/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

I remembered this beer from last year, I actually quite liked it then. It was full bodied and malty and full of flavor last year. This years version is watery, bitter and had no malt body what so ever. Really disappointed. I do taste a bit of sweetness - caramel/candy kind of flavor. It seems like they are trying to compete with fall beers with the flavor profile. Not robust enough for a winter warmer.

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Photo of NYCWheatFanSC
3.35/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Whoa, whoa, whoa...I feel that Harpoon is way underrated for the type of beer model that they're going after. Harpoon is indeed searching for a mass produced beer, but its certainly better/more "crafty" than alot of people give them credit for!

A - average indeed, a pale rustic orange as to be expected

S - nutmeg rules, perhaps too much so...

T - solid. Perhaps I'm an apologist, but it's a beer thats trying to compete with the october/november punkin ales to extend the season, and I think it does well as such.

M - nice and light, definitely a session beer.

D - like I said, "definitely a session beer"

Nonetheless, I give props to Harpoon for having the cajones to compete with Boston beer company in MA. Its a microcosm of the craft beer movement, esp. considering Boston Beer Co. is about to *officially* leave the craft beer arena.

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Photo of CHickman
2.1/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured amber with a 1/2 inch tan head; smelled of cinnamon, spice and malt; an odd combination that's very spicy with cinnamon and nutmeg dominating the taste, with hints of malt and a sweet taste like caramel and then a touch of banana (almost a tease as the cinnamon and nutmeg dominate again after that slight sweet taste in a turn for the worse); a hint of pepper and something else lead to a dry finish with a bad aftertaste, like tasting rusted metal; overall a poor beer and not enjoyable at all.

I picked up a six pack and tried to like it, but just couldn't dig the flavor. I would not recommend this beer.

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Photo of prototypic
3.08/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Winter Warmer's slightly hazy and copper in color. A little light gives it an orange tint. It's topped off with a light beige head that's about a finger and a half deep. Retention was short and left light strands of lace clinging to the glass. It's above average, but not by much.

Wow! I believe this is the strongest cinnamon and nutmeg scents I've ever encountered in a beer. They're so strong and prominent throughout that they damn near drown everything else out. There's a slight, sweet malty scent and grainy notes. But, that's about it. It's holiday spice on overload. Very average.

The flavor is plagued with the same problem. It's way too heavy on nutmeg and cinnamon. I like those flavors, but where's some restraint. It tastes like cinnamon is the stronger of the two, but they're both overwhelming and dominate the flavor profile. Yeah, there's a little sweet caramel malt and a bit of grain. There might be a tad bit of a hop flavor here, but it's buried beneath the spices pretty well. A yeast flavor collides with spices on the finish and gives it an aftertaste that's not good. It's helped by a nice bitter hop surge, but that's not enough to redeem it. This is not good stuff. There's loads of better Winter Warmers that play the holiday spice card very well. This one...eh...it's very average and that might even be a little too generous.

It has a light/medium body that's too thin. Carbonation feels light, but it's not smooth. Needs more body for that. Drinkability is average and again that's probably being too kind. It doesn't take long for the strong cinnamon and nutmeg flavor to get annoying. It's not really enjoyable despite the fact that it is light and goes down somewhat easy.

Harpoon Winter Warmer needs work. Fortunately, a little work could go a very long way. Just tone down the spices. That alone would open the door for quite a bit of the other flavor to shine through. I know it's there, it's just buried. Meh. Too many great Winter Warmer's out there to spend much time on this one. Skip it and pick up one of the good ones.

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Photo of clayrock81
4/5  rDev +25%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I see this beer has mixed bags of reviews, but I must say that the bottle I had (found in the back of a cooler so the aging of it and at the temp probably nullified some of the edgier spices).
Poured a dark copper with one finger offwhite head. A nice faint smell of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger spice and some pepper. Smooth, easy-drinking, thin-to-medium body with hints of caramel and vanilla notes underneath a strong balance of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, possible clove, and there are citric hop notes as well. Finishes clean and sweet. This isn't really a beer to "warm" up with, but it is nice to polish one off after a meal.

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Harpoon Winter Warmer from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
Beer rating: 3.2 out of 5 with 1,572 ratings