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Harpoon Winter Warmer | Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall

630 Reviews
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Harpoon Winter WarmerHarpoon Winter Warmer

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

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: 630 | Ratings: 1,492
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Photo of bewareOFpenguin
3.3/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I poured it into the glasses, one for me and one for my wife. Nice dark amber color, good head. It smelled festive. The first sip expolded with spices. In fact, it kept exploding. It took me three beers to finally overcome the spices. My wife could not drink hers, muttering something about "potpuorri". This is a good Christmas eve beer, when you are trying to get into the spirit of the season. I could not drink this on a regular basis, much like Earl Grey tea.

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Photo of Murph
4.05/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This years batch may be the best I've had, but I'll wait till I try some draught before making that proclamation. Pours a dark copper/ruby color with an unimpressive head that leaves no lace or film behind. Slight cinnamon with some fairly strong nutmeg as well in the nose without much else present. Nice smooth and sweet malty body carries this brew with some, subtler than in past years, spices playing second fiddle. The brew finishes with a nice spice flourish that features more cinnamon than nutmeg but both are there in nice quantities. Smooth maltiness makes for a nice medium-heavy bodied beer that is warming me up very nicely as a nightcap. I'll be sure to quaff some more of this as the season goes on, definitely a welcome sign that winter is upon us.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
3.2/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Amber in color with a 1/2 inch off white head. Smells very spicy like the holiday season. The spices are a bit overpowering in the beginning but tale off at the end. Cinnomon and brown sugar are things that I taste. I can almost taste a slight bitterness towards the end but it fades quickly. The aftertaste is a bit odd, the spices seem to be gone. I don't think that I could have more than one or two of these.

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Photo of MaineBeerMan
2.02/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Nice looking light brown beer with a small white head that left a bit of lace. Aroma was of my grandmas kitchen before a holiday, all pie spicy with a lot of cinnamon and nutmeg, too much spice in my opinion. Smooth mouthfeel with a dry finish, but as far as flavor , the spices seem overdone once again. All in all the best way I can describe this beer is that it has an old spice cologne aroma with a captain morgans rum aftertaste/finish. If you are a fan of either of these concoctions, go ahead and try this beer, otherwise stay away.

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Photo of StevieW
2.36/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Rich copper to Amber color. Decent beige head. First smell brought whiffs of nutmeg, cinnamon, spices everywhere. Raised eyebrows as the taste of nutmeg, christmas cookies, and everything else hit your tongue. Not a good combination, overly spiced. If I wanted a gingerbread cookie, I would eat one. Tastes like a liquid spice cake. Not good, way to spicy. I couldn't drink it more than once.

Ed's note: I found my notes from last winter's trip to Boston.

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Photo of beernut7
4.1/5  rDev +28.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is the first spiced beer I tasted way back in the day. Beautiful deep amber color and head. Aroma of nutmeg and cinnamon with light hoppiness. This is a unique taste among even other winter beers. The spices really give this one its main character. Not to heavy and goes down smooth. Has an interesting aftertaste, though which sometimes detracts from the experience.

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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 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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Harpoon Winter Warmer from Harpoon Brewery & Beer Hall
73 out of 100 based on 630 ratings.
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