Harpoon Winter Warmer | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

1,542 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 1,542 |  Reviews: 650
Photo of stockingcpl
4.39/5  rDev +38.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: This brew pours a wonderful red amber. The head is thin, but there is plentiful spiderwebbing.

Smell: Upon opening, a wonderful sweet spice aroma that assails the nose. There are pine overtones that pervade the background. Very well done!

Taste: Indeed the spices shine through. Malt taste is slight, but accompanied by a pine presence. The flavor is very good.

Mouthfeel: This brew sits well on the tongue, but the spicy character tends to burn into the palate. This would not make a good selection for accompaning food, however on it's own this brew stands out.

Drinkability: The very heavy spice presence, while wonderful, does tend to crowd the stomach and palate. Thi is a good selection, but one or two would be enough for any drinker.


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Photo of BasementDweller
3.77/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle. Pours a middle-amber with little in the way of head, and nothing in the way of head retention or lacing. Aroma is of pumpkin pie, cinnamon, clove, and faint nutmeg or gingerbread. Flavor is that of a pumpkin pie with too much water added to the filling, cinnamon, and a clove tang at the end. Good carbonation and light body makes this beer less filling (and worlds less overwhelming) than most winter/spiced ales. This beer almost -- ALMOST -- makes me want to stop calling Harpoon a pseudo-micro. Then again, I'm from Boston.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
2.53/5  rDev -20.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours clear amber with a white fizzy head and a little lacing.

Lots of aromas here. Tons of pie spice and stone fruit, some limited sweet malt/caramel.

Spice right up front, and lots of it. Cinnamon and nutmeg combined with some sweet malt/caramel and some fruit. Any bitterness present is completely out of balance with the gingerbread flavors.

Beer is medium bodied with a little crispness in the finish, but there's also a lingering sweet spiciness. A gingerbread cookie blended with an amber ale, this is just hard to get down, and one is enough. It's too bad, because at the first whiff, you are wishing that it would be great -- it's not. I like spiced/flavored beer, but this one is just a bit overdone.

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Photo of Dodo2step
3.01/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

P- Market Cross Pub in Carlisle.

A- a nice copper toned color with a weak head with little staying power. A weak lacing as well.

S- nice aromas of cinnamon and nutmeg. Sweet malts and cherries round it out to a pretty nice aroma.

T- The cloves actually come out in the flavor. Very weak and watery though. Cinnamon is there with subtle malts. Cinnamon and clove comes out strong.

M- watery and clove-cinnamon. Not a very good combo but it is alright nonetheless.

D- An ok beer but i dont think i would purchase more than one just to try. Might be good with licorice or anise cookies.

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Photo of meday
4/5  rDev +25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass

Rich reddish brown color with very little head. Seemed a bit undercarbonated, but overall a nice color.

Aroma: cinnamon. A nice good inviting winter aroma.

Taste: yes lots of cinnamon, but also some caramel, and toffee. I would have preferred a bit more malt sweetness and a touch more alcohol to really warm things up, but overall pleasant

A good balance in the mouth. Rich, and creamy, with enough carbonation to give it some jump

It went well with dinner and dessert. A almost had another, but I decided to save the calories for my wife's chocolate cake with bourbon glaze.

A good addition to the Harpoon Winter variety pack, but not something I would buy regularly by itself.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.57/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From a 12 fl. oz. bottle dated 03/15/09-329. I don't think it is as bad as the Bro's and previous raters. I actually kind of like this one. The aroma has a sensation of cloves. The mouthfeel is about medium and the flavor has a clove-like hoppy sensation. It's not all that bad.

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Photo of matt062286
3.49/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. Bottle came as part of a Harpoon Winter Sampler 12-pack.

Appearance - pours a nice reddish copper color with a decent sized tan head. Head dissipates rather quickly. Maintains very little head. Light lacing, and a nice stream of tiny bubbles constantly flowing.

Smell - Easily picked up on cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and pine. Also can smell sweet cherries, and maybe a hint of the hops. Quite pleasing to say the least.

Taste - Quite a clash of different flavors here. Wish it tasted as good as it smells but does not. Cloves are most apparent, as well as some bitter hops. Undertones of cinnamon, dark fruits, and nutmeg. Aftertaste of pine sap.

Mouthfeel - Medium body with a low amount of carbonation.

Drinkability - pretty easy to drink, although it is more of a sipper for me. Wouldn't mind having a couple of these in a sitting, although I think there's better winter beers out there.

I had high hopes for this one; I had a sample of it at a tasting and it was quite good then. I think the bitter tasting hops in this one just kinda ruin the rest of what is a good beer. Overall, it's not as bad as other people make it out to be.

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

As far as winter warmers go, this one is lacking character, some medium to full bodied roundedness, and interesting spiciness. The recipe of this beer has changed significantly over the years. It used to wallop you with nutmeg and cinnamon. These days it is pretty toned down. There is a definite nutmeg spice to the beer, but this is overall quite bland. Staying within the winter warmer genre, I had Harpoon's WW before tasting an Old Fezziwig from Sam Adams, and the difference is substantial. The Harpoon WW is amber, clear, some off white head. The aroma is entirely adequate with some nutmeg coming through. The beer is just nothing special. Rather than modifying a rather robust but flawed recipe, it seems as though Harpoon opted for boring, simple, and by the numbers. It's okay, but nothing special. Perhaps they should come up with Winter Warmer 3.0

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Photo of damienblack
3.32/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours with a thin head the color of eggnog, quickly dissipating leaving a bit of lacing around the glass. The beer itself looks like a standard amberish-brown pint, nothing very distinct about it. Smells of malt and spices, with a hint of the yeast underneath it.

I taste the standard malt sweetness, a moderate amount of malt taste here. But there a bitterness or sourness I can't put my finger on, it's not hop bitterness, or a good sourness, almost a bitterness from the spices used. Whatever it is, it just doesn't mesh well. I was expecting more cinammony like some of the pumpkin ales out there. The overall experience is nothing to write home about, everything just feels kind of flat... not just the carbonation, but also the beer's appearance, taste, spicing (don't get me wrong, I hate overspiced seasonal beers, but I would like to see the spice profile here add more to the package than an underlying bitterness.) Mouthfeel is the same way, no stickiness, or coating, just meh. Mediocrity all around. It's certainly drinkable if you like it, with a light body, but I would rather find something I like the taste of a little more.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.74/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle. Pours a clear brown with a small light tan head. Aroma of bubblegum, allspice, and nutmeg. Flavor of cinnamon and nutmeg, tastes almost like a spiced pumpkin ale. Some vegetal notes. Warming finish. This just sort of tastes funny, the flavors do not blend together well. Boring and I did not really enjoy drinking it.
Aroma: 5/10
Appearance: 4/5
Flavor: 5/10
Palate: 3/5
Overall: 12/20

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Photo of robbyc1
2.58/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Light clear amber with a decent white head, good lacing.

Big nose of the cinnamon and nutmeg, more than a "touch" to me. Can't tell if there is beer here from the nose.

The spices hit you right up front on the taste, as they fall away slowly, a bit of amber malt comes through, but not quite enough. Needs more backbone, finish is OK if light, no sign of hops.

Good body, well carbonated, but as for drinkability the spicing keeps you down to one. Too bad, would be much better if they had more malt and maybe a higher abv.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.8/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

**after writing this, I am shocked by the overall rating and especially the Bros. report. I noticed that those are from 2001. I can only imagine it's been reformulated since then. I enjoyed the beer and will post it as I wrote, before seeing the average scores...

I had the opportunity to try this on tap yesterday at lunch. The pint came with a finger creamy head that did fade rather quickly. The beer was a dark amber with ruby red highlights and was mostly clear. I could not see any visible carbonation. Not much in the way of lacing.

Nutmeg spice aroma also with some cinnamon. The spice notes really popped.

I enjoyed the flavor and thought it was really nice. A nice combination of bread notes with the holiday spice. I think the sweetness is the right amount to balance the malt tones you get with the holiday spices that are clearly present. Reminded me a bit of eating a piece of carrot bread or something like that. Some kind of winter baked bread....
I think the part I liked the most was the lingering bread notes I was tasting.

The beer was medium body and just short of being considered creamy.

I did think it was drinkable and wished I had time for another pint.

If I see this again, I would not hesitate to try it once more.

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

Appearance: Lots of carbonation seen in glass...small head that leaves a film on top. Color is a clearish copper

Aroma: Cinnamon, nutmeg, and some malt. The spices are the most upfront. Look forward to this.

Taste: Slightly disappointed. I don't mind the spice profile in beers at all, I like winter warmers just fine. I think they overdid it on the spices though, it overpowers everything else. I can barely taste anything else.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is certainly lively so its crisp...add the intense spice profile, its got a kick of some sort, that's for sure. Goes down fine

Drinkability: I can finish the one I just had, but I don't see myself buying this one again. Maybe they'll change it up next winter. Too much of a spice profile and too little of any hop/malt...or any beer characteristic.

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Photo of HopsYeast
1.98/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

a-clear amber color very a 2 finger beige head that quickly dissipates with moderate to small lacing
s-mild spice, honey, subtle malts, orange peel, and maybe the slightest scent of detergent? its kinds like a very good scented candle. smells good, but its wax.
t-a little bit of the spices, unimpressive malt flavor, and then this aftertaste of soap kinda.
m-lacks any real body. has slightly above medium level of carbonation, and leaves a film on the palate.
o-years ago would enjoy this, but guess my palate changed very much and now all the covering things like spices, and other characteristics were easily looks past to expose whats really there, an unimpressive brew.

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Photo of PatrickJR
2.82/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into nonic pint glass.

A - Clear amber with about 2 fingers of beige head. Retention is moderate before falling to a thin cap, very minimal lacing.

S - The cinnamon and nutmeg are very obvious, with hints of caramel and vanilla from the malt rounding out the aroma. Some earthiness pulls through as well.

T - The cinnamon and nutmeg hit immediately with just a hint of malt sweetness. Sourness pulls through mid palate and grows until the finish. Bitterness from the spices with an earthy undertone pull through heavily also. There isn't much to this beer beyond the spices.

M - Body is medium upfront but thins out becoming watery near the finish. Carbonation is moderate to high but too high to allow any malt to pull through; instead it causes a sort of astringency that pushes the spices to the forefront without letting any other flavor through. Carbonation also perpetuates a rough sour/bitter character.

D - I wanted to like this beer but it just isn't balanced at all. The spices jump out but there is nothing to compliment the flavors. Untamed bitterness coupled with a sub-par mouthfeel makes one of these a bit of a chore to get through. Overall this reminds me of a weak and unbalanced pumpkin ale without the pumpkin.

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Photo of gabe23
3.52/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Clear amber with a rocky white head. Quickly dissipates with little lacing.

S - Mild aroma of nutmeg, clove, cinnamon. Perhaps a bit of malt underneath, but the spices make it hard to tell.

T - Fairly sweet flavor punctuated by the spices. Finish is dry with a slight hop bitterness and very little aftertaste.

M - Average amount of carbonation and a thin mouthfeel.

D - If you are into spiced ales, this is a decent brew. As others have said, it's not really a true winter warmer, but it works well for a lighter alternative. I happen to like the spicy taste, and these are mild enough (and cheap enough) to share with others that don't usually drink craft beers. I enjoy a few six packs of these at Christmastime, but it's not something I'd drink all winter.

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Photo of BamaBeerBuff
3.37/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours an orange-crimson color with a frothy, slightly fluffy head that recedes fairly quickly. Minimal lace and average retention.

S: Big time nutmeg and cinnamon spice. Some faintly underlying bready malt. Not enough supporting malt aroma. Spices should be filled out better with something besides the standard Harpoon malt backbone, which is weak.

T&M: Honestly, it tastes like the Harpoon Octoberfest with some spices thrown in. Sweet and toasted bready/tea-like with some cinnamon and nutmeg up front. Hops bitter later on, with a small, yet lingering finish. Body is lighter than medium with a prickly carbonation. I think a little bit more substance would help things out a bit. Can't knock it too much because they're trying to produce a lighter, drinkable winter warmer. I'm just afraid such a project is somewhat of a non-starter, however.

D: It's easy to drink because it's nothing too big. Flavor is sufficient, but could be a lot better. Still, a decent winter warmer that will definitely please those looking for a lighter, more drinkable alternative.

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Photo of bjoyce12
3.75/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The first thing that will hit you are the spices. VERY spicy, but in a good way. Not cloying nor too sweet. This is what I expect in a Christmas/Winter ale. Hearty taste with a robustness and good body, and this is what Harpoon Winter Warmer delivers. Good color and appearance with an aroma that hints at the spiciness, but the taste is what makes me give it such high marks. Tried it at the brewery first and liked it enough to buy some for the fridge at home.

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Photo of Hokies
2.43/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12oz brown bottle poured into a pint glass. Pours a deep amber colour with a small white head and little lacing.

Nutmeg and cinnamon spice and a light malt aroma.

Tremendously over spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon. Any hop flavor and malt taste is overshadowed by the spices.

Not terrible to drink but the spices will get to you quick.

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Photo of fitzy84
2.93/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had one from a sample pack I bought. Dark, clear red amber with a slight dullness and little lacing. Aromas had a seasonal spice of cinnamon mixed with a nutty flavor. The taste was a little too sharp and very dry with a malty sweetness that trails off to a bitter aftertaste. A good mouthfeel though that includes a dry crispness and good carbonation. The flavors do not help it from being refreshing, however. I wouldn't mind drinking this in a winter party, but nothing too special here.

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Photo of JDK
3.56/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark honey amber color with a 1/2" head that quickly disappeared.
Virtually no lacing
The smell is so faint it's hard to pick anything else. Seems more sweet than most.
Mouthfeel is good, right amount of carbonation, very nice drink.
Taste the spices, mainly nutmeg.
Pretty good overall

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Photo of donkeyrunner
2.89/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This is a terrible beer but I love it anyways.

Winter Warmer (I say "Wintah Wahmah" and get made fun off) pours amber with a large quickly deteriorating head. Minimal snow splash lacing.

Smells like a fistfull of Christmas and clove cigarettes.

Tastes like a fistfull of Christmas and clove cigarettes. Holiday spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, etc) do thier best to mask a bland, subpar beer. No complimentary flavors, fizzy carbonation and and thin mouthfeel.

That said, I love Harpoon Winter Warmer. It's a great, guilt-free cheap thrill...like Bon Jovi karaoke.

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Photo of soupyman10
3.21/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one in a mixed sixer. Haven't been particularly blown away by Harpoon beers, and this one falls in that generally mediocre area. Look is good - deep maroon-amber color, crystal clear, with a nice off-white head and a good amount of lacing. Nose is a ton of nutmeg, with a touch of caramel. Not a lot going on there. Flavor is basically eggnog - nutmeg and spiciness, and cookies. Again, a pretty straightforward spicy malt flavor. Body is appropriate with busy carbonation. Overall, it's not terrible, but not particularly interesting either.

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

Pours crystal clear and ruby-amber in color, with a small cream-hued bubbly head that lasts but briefly and leaves only a few traces of its history on the glass.

Nose is full of holiday spice, most notably cinnamon, but also a bit of nutmeg and not much else.

Rather light in body, with a medium level of carbonation. Flavors of spices immediately take over, with just a bit of sweetness filling out the flavor profile; the sweetness becomes almost apple-like, lending a flavor profile not wholly unlike mulled cider, with no apparent hop bitterness. Finishes with a lingering spicy-sweetness.

Mostly drinkable, but an exceedingly poor example of its style. Winter Warmer is a misnomer for this brew, which is more of a simple spiced ale than a Winter Warmer, lacking in nearly all areas characteristic of that style, even possessing lager-like characteristics such as extreme clarity and a light, refreshing mouthfeel. With the 5.5% ABV, it is also decidedly lacking in warming qualities.

Not necessarily a bad beer, but a poor attempt at its stated style. Harpoon really needs to bump this one up to a Fall seasonal or simply rename it.

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Photo of bbeerman
3.5/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A..Decent mid-brown color when poured, though no head to speak of.

S..I enjoy the scent off Harpoon's Winter Warmer. Not exceptional, but certainly the nutmeg and spices remind me of winter memories. A comforting scent if nothing else.

T..I think the taste is good throughout. With some spice or flavored beers, the initial taste wanes by mid-bottle. Not so with this one. A little hop noted.

M..A little below average, but not terribly bad. However, don't be surprised that this beer tends to be a bit watery.

D..I think this is an average session beer for the winter. Overall, I always enjoy a couple of six packs before the end of the year, but nothing I would drink regularly anymore.

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Harpoon Winter Warmer from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
3.18 out of 5 based on 1,542 ratings.
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