Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Harpoon Winter Warmer | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
638 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 638 | Ratings: 1,508
Photo of taez555
4.43/5  rDev +39.3%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2003 vintage (this is key considering they seem to change the recipe slightly every year)

This beer poured a small white head that died almost immediately with a rather clear amber body.

The nose was beautiful. A big nutmeg smell with touches of cinnamon. A sweet candy like sweet malt smell, with doughy bread like quality.

The taste is light and smooth. A firm malt and surprisingly attentive bitterness. Basically though it’s dominated by a big nutmeg and cinnamon spice taste. A sort of grainy quality is present throughout each taste. There’s even a slight slight hint of grapefruit bitterness.

Simply this is THE holiday beer. Unlike most seasonal offerings that are a Belgian with a touch of spice, or just a big-bodied beer, this one, tastes like Christmas. I know it sounds weird, but… this beer just screams the holiday season. You smell and taste the cinnamon.

I will say that this beer has really gone down hill over the years. It’s gotten a lot grainer and it seems like every year they use cheaper and cheaper ingredients in the way of spicing it. Not that it’s bad, just disappointing if you’re used to last years effort. Also… this is a beer that is MUCH better on tap than in bottle.

 1,223 characters

Photo of chaduvel
3.74/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Nice amber color, small white sticky head. Smell is of cinnamon and nutmeg. Taste is dominated by cinnamon and nutmeg. Touches of malt and hops, but spices are left to do their work. I actually like the spice characteristics of this beer, makes me think of the holidays and it warmed me up nicely.

 297 characters

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

This stuff is weird. Poured amber with a small, white head. Nose is of floral hops, cinnamon and nutmeg (reminds me of ginger bread and pumpkin pie). This was intriguing. Unfortunately the taste was a bit of a let-down. The spiciness was a little too much, and a lot of the other characteristics were muted as a result. This beer could have been so much more. The beer did have a nice warming characteristic to it. Someone else said that this beer loses something after the first sip. I'd have to agree.

 503 characters

Photo of BeefyMee
3.05/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3.5

I love the amber color of this beer. A head quickly formed as I poured and disappeared even faster when I put the glass down. So, I took a whiff, and wow, this is one wacky beer. It smells exactly like pumpkin pie. Kuh-razee. Anyway, I was enticed. If someone had told me about the smell beforehand, I probably would have postponed drinking this, but once I was up close and personal with the brew, I was digging the aroma. I was looking forward to the magical convergence this pumkin pie element would have with the actual beer part of the beer. However, the taste let me down. I wasn't expecting it to taste exactly like it smelled, but I was hoping for more than I got. The pumpkin pie taste wasn't as good as the smell and the beer flavor was muted. Ultimately, this beer needs to do some soul searching and find itself. I'll revisit when it's ready.

 854 characters

Photo of DagFishHead
2.87/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Fall 2003.
Appearance: Crystal clear amber body. Orange-tinged, light tan head is very temporary and leaves only a trace of lace.
Smell: Another reviewer nailed this one: Spicecake. Cinnamon, allspice, lots of nutmeg. Crystal malt stands ready in the background.
Taste: Disappointing, I think largely due to poor mouthfeel. Clean, semi-dry, spice flavors weaker than those picked up in the nose. Malt and hops fail in their struggle to surface.
Mouthfeel: Thin, watery, with low carbonation to the point of approaching flatness. The zip in this beer disappeared very quickly.
Drinkability: This beer literally went flat during the time it took me to type this review (hunt and peck method I admit, but come on). I expect better from Harpoon.

 747 characters

Photo of clg898
2.43/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Well, I remeber this beer being better than this. I'm disappointed. Pours a nice a very nice reddish copper colr with a good head with large bubbles. The head quickly dissipates to nothing. Little to no lacing, but good color. Smell is dominated by the spices, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice. Pretty good smell. The problem comes with the first sip. Actually, the first sip is ok, it's the second, third, fourth, etc.

The spices overpower the ale. All I taste is nutmeg and cinnamon when I drink this. A conspicuos absence of hops bitterness or aroma. I'm a Boston boy and I love my Harpoon IPA, but unfortunately, this falls short. Less spice, more hops and they would have a winner.

Overall, not bad to have one, but not more than that.

 746 characters

Photo of edchicma
3.97/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hmm....pumpkin ale??? Somewhat like a pumpkin pie (a hint of mint in the background?), but with a nice smell...pumpkin spice-like. Had to remind myself to review this for what it is...a seasonal, spiced brew. I enjoyed the taste, although one or two would be sufficient for the evening..heavy, chewy quality that was full-bodied, although a tad overly spiced. For a seasonal, sippable brew, it was quite nice...the kind you would sip rather than take a long draw from.

 468 characters

Photo of vitesse
3.27/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

served in 12 oz. brown bottle.
this seasonal just got to the shelves this week, i believe, so it couldn' t be much fresher.
pours a nice brown color. weak head retention, though.
smells of nutmeg and ginger -- very, very similar to gingerbread cookies.
kind of bland taste actually. gingerbread flavor seems only to be in the aftertaste.
mouthfeel is way too carbonated and crisp -- i think that may seem to dull some of the flavor.
average drinkability.
a decent spiced ale. not great, though. could be more spiced and flavorful.

 539 characters

Photo of nixhecks
3.66/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This beer marks the beginning of the winter season for me, a season that compliments its crappy, cold weather with great seasonal brews. Winter Warmer pours a light brown color with a highly carbonated head that dissapated instantly. The cinnamon and nutmeg aroma reaches my nose all the way from on the desk, this reminds me of sticking those little cloves into oranges to make christmas ornaments when I was little (I think that's what it is - lol).
While the aroma is mouthwatering, the flavor is a bit off. It has a strong holiday spice flavor but it seems just flat and unbalanced, I can't put my finger on it, but it's mostly in the finish. Very high in carbonation - pushed its spice aromas up into my nose. Mouthfeel was a little thin, but it helped keep this brew from being too much.

 794 characters

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

I've tried this over the past several years usually after Thankgiving
through the New Years. It isn't for every taste, but it does have
a nice spiced kick going for it and although I wouldn't want
to drink more than a couple here and there at one time, it does
have an unusal taste going for it(its not for everybody) I have
friends that love it and some can't even drink more than a sip.
If you like a spiced beer on the stronger spiced side it wouldn't
hurt to give it a try.

 484 characters

Photo of Suds
3.53/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an attractive, ruddy brownish-red color with a thick, bubbly head. To be honest, the head is short lived, but this is a very pretty pour. The aroma is all spice and sweetness. This is a medium bodied beer, and is a decent spiced ale, but there are certenly better beers in this style out there.

 300 characters

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

This is the tale of two beers if I have ever seen. The pour was nice and cloudy orange with a thick, foamy, white head that receded into loose lace. Here is where the dualistic part comes. The smell was like a pie. Something close to pumpkin with lots of clove, nutmeg and cinnamon, which gave me no impression of what the actual beer tasted like or if there was even anything more than the spices. The taste was entirely different with only a small hint of the spices. There were some nice hop bitterness with a dry refreshing taste. This is not such a bad beer, but I think I will stick to Old Fezziwig when I am looking for winter spice beers.

 646 characters

Photo of Bighuge
3.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Clear copper in color. Thin to medium fluffy white head. Retention is very good. The aroma is big on cinamon stick. Some underlying malt in the background. Reminds me of a pumpkin beer from the aroma. Lace forms vertical lines down the glass. The label states there is nutmeg in this beer. I'm finding all cinamon. Nutmeg is tough to find...at least for me. I don't mind cinamon in beer so this one doesn't offend me. However, there could be a little more substance underneath to support. Malt character is minimal and there is not a lot of hop support either. Body is medium at best. At times, it feels like I'm drinking a hot cinamon apple cider. Soley from the cinamon perspective though, not the cider qualities. This beer could use a little tweaking, but it's really not too bad as is.

Thank you Davo for yet another Harpoon beverage.

 843 characters

Photo of IrishRedRock
3.63/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Interesting, and unlike any of the other winter seasonals I have tasted. I really love how it tastes, but it really doesn't taste like beer. The smell is somewhat weak, but what is there is a nice blend of ginger and spices.

Unfortunately, this is not a very well balanced brew. There is very little hop flavor at all. This definitely needs to be improved to make this a standout winter brew. If this was anything other than beer, I would love it. It has strong flavors of cinnamon, ginger, apple pie, pumpkin pie...but no hop flavor at all. If they could just balance that out, this would be kick-ass. Still an enjoyable brew, and the mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Probably would make a nice crossover to get the macro drinkers to enjoy a winter brew.

 758 characters

Photo of JISurfer
4.25/5  rDev +33.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is one kick arse beer. I gave it a shot on a whim. Boy, was that a great buy! I got a sixer of it for $6! At first I was expecting a robust beer, with a harsh aftertaste. I was once again proved wrong. It smells just like a gingerbread house. The taste is of strong baked ginger, like gingerbread, with the gingerbread aftertaste. I guess the main theme is gingerbread. The finish is very smooth and goes down super easy. Give it a try, it won't let you down.

 464 characters

Photo of UncleJimbo
3.98/5  rDev +25.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pint was nice coppery color with beautiful, smooth, slightly off-white foam that was long lasting. The dominant aroma was cinnamon and spice. The taste was dominated by cinnamon and "pumpkin pie" type spices with a very good floral hop flavor blended in. The aftertaste was of cinnamon. The mouthfeel was good: dry, smooth with nice balance, but a little thin. The drinkability was good. A good Winter brew.

 412 characters

Photo of SixpointJMH
2.05/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

holy spices, batman! was there beer in that bottle or did i just drink liquid spice? pours a hazy copper and, again, the spice content immediately overwhelms you. faint hints of cinnamon and nutmeg throughout. this is one of the few harpoon beers i find hard to enjoy, and thus have only found myself drinking about one per season in hopes that it might change.

 361 characters

Photo of kelticblood
4.34/5  rDev +36.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a tap.

No head really present but did not lack in carbonation.The color presented a dark cherry red.The taste is simply outstanding and festive.Tastes of cinnamon,nutmeg,and ginger are abundant.A medium body with a spicy finish.The taste is of ginger bread cookies and pumpkin pie.What a great brew!

 314 characters

Photo of kunzbrew
3.7/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light amber color with a good head that leaves rather quickly, leaving a sexy lace in it's tracks. It has a strong pumpkin flavor with herbs and spices that really reach out and grap ya. Fruity notes come out at the end of the swig and last in an aftertaste which is rather pleasing.

 291 characters

Photo of aracauna
3.55/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Clear red brown, bright. Ok head. Aroma is lemon pepper and mild pumpkin spices. Flavor is mild spices with sweet malt. It's far from over spiced, but lacks a bit of fullness in the flavor for a good winter.

 207 characters

Photo of Jon
3.82/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an amber color with a solid head, which leaves decent lace down the glass. Nose is big on cinnamon and nutmeg. Taste is dominated by cinnamon, nutmeg, malt, etc. Probably similar to what liquid pumpkin pie might taste like. Very spicy overall. As the label states, it's "beer with spices added," indeed. Mouthfeel is fairly smooth and appropriate for a winter brew. Although I probably couldn't drink too many of these, this goes down fairly easy. A good seasonal brew, but there are better ones out there, for sure. I would prefer a bit more balance here between the spicy flavors.

 588 characters

Photo of doerickson
3/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Light copper color, sticky pearl-white head. Cinnamon and nutmeg aromas drown out most everything else. Active carbonation. The spices are the dominant feature of the flavor, and thankfully this beer is not very sweet--there is a solid hop presence that keeps this from being a sickly-cloying brew. It's an okay beer; there are certainly scores of better winter brews out there.

 378 characters

Photo of manofmanners
4.77/5  rDev +50%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If you want a taste of Christmas, this is your beer. Good to have at the Christmas get together and most people haven't had it so it would be like your gift to them. The cinnamon scent and taste makes this truely a holiday beer. It is a true New England beer.

 259 characters

Photo of RBorsato
4.44/5  rDev +39.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2001 Version:

Hazy bronze color with a light brown head. A powerful spice aroma and taste (cinnamon and nutmeg). Hard to smell or taste much else but spices but I liked it a lot. Full bodied (leans medium). Great for winter time!

Label states: "Beer with spices added"

[2001 version Tasted 11/23/02]

2003 Version:

Consistent notes but adding: Little to no carbonation and lots of suspended sediment.

Lowered Appearance from a 4 to a 3.5.

Bottled: 10/17/03 (lasered on neck)
Tasted: 03/29/04

 517 characters

Photo of beerluvr
3.92/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This pours with an ample but short-lived off-white head, settling on top of reddish/amber liquid. Nose is cinnamon, some light nutmeg..and some maltiness. Taste is is spicy cinnamon notes, somewhat stronger than I remember in past editions & a good amount of hopping is noted as well. A little light-bodied, not your typical malt monster Xmas beer at all. Finishes with malt sweetness & spices. A nice Xmas ale on the lighter side of the scale.

 444 characters

Harpoon Winter Warmer from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
3.18 out of 5 based on 1,508 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
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!