Winter Warmer | Rush River Brewing Company

very good
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Winter WarmerWinter Warmer

Brewed by:
Rush River Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by feloniousmonk on 11-19-2004

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Reviews: 33 | Ratings: 62
Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

L: Pours garnet amber with a slight haze under a clingy 2” cream colored foam collar.
S: Spicy malt, caramel, faint fruit cake.
T: Very malty palate with caramel, fruit, spice, a hint of anise with a bitter hop accent on the finish.
F: Moderate carbonation, medium full body.
O: This is a decent and drinkable beer but nothing really stands out.

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Photo of NilocRellim
3.44/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Ale was poured from the bottle into a pint glass and was reddish brown and cloudy in colour. Malty nose with a hint of spice to it. Ale had a slightly bitter hop taste with roasty notes. Tasted like more of a chestnut brown than a scotch ale. It had a mild bitter aftertaste typical of winter ales.

Would I buy this beer again? Maybe.

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Photo of garymuchow
3.67/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A real grainy quality to the aroma, closer to smelling the grain before the mash than after. Slightly cooked and caramelized.
A real good looking beer. Dark head that is full and dense. Body is near garnet and quite clear.
Heavy feel with a slight biting character, both from alcohol and carbonation. Approaches a chewy quality.
Full on malt flavor. No sweetness to note, but some caramel flavors start to show as it warms. Strong toast without going to roast. Decent dryness that is aided by the hops slight bitterness and soft flavors.
This is close to being impressive and certainly holds the winter ale qualities. Some adjustments, esp. with the aroma and a little with the flavor could make it more of a go to winter beer.

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Photo of maximum12
1.7/5  rDev -54.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Picked up this single in the waning months of winter, really didn't see much of it around, but intriuged by a scotch ale coming from RR. 12 oz. bottle shared with my wife.

Pour is light sundown red, with a ton of sediment evident. President. Nice caramel in the nose mixed in with other evidence of sweetness.

Winter Warmer has an edge to it that I don't care for. That edge has a name, & it's sour, there's a faint but distinct touch of sour cherries to it. Check that. As it warms a degree or two, it becomes dominant. Earthy, too. Terrible.

Rush River makes some good, solid beers, so this one caught me off guard. Not sure if this is infected or just terrible, but the end-all-be-all is the same; one ounce is enough. Awful.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
3.79/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

A. Dark murky brown with a snowglobe flurry of chunky sediment, and a fizzler of a head that disappears in 20 seconds leaving no lacing behind.

S. Toffee caramel and brown sugar aroma. Earthy hop tones are also present and booziness from ABV is nowhere to be found!

T. Just as the nose predicts, but with additional earthy and spice hop tones, also a bit of nuttiness to the mid palate.

M. Thick and meaty body, yet smooth in would be a perfect five if it weren't for all the nasty 'clots' of sediment flying around getting stuck in between my teeth. It seems to be a Rush River signature that the sediment in their brews tends to form up into little swirling clumps. So if you believe in decanting beer before enjoying you'll do just fine with this one.

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Photo of kristenrae8
3.29/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into Snifter/Beer Goblet

Appearance: Blushing Amber.

Smell: Peat dominant. Clove/Caramel notes.

Taste: Malt dominant - bitter, warming.

Mouthfeel: Medium heavy, coats tongue.

Overall: Good enough to have another. Marries well with Friday night pizza.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Red-amber with just a head that has just the slightest bit of color to it. Head retention is average.
S- Aroma is nutty, with some caramel, and a very light wood and hop aroma.
T- It leans sweet with some bready and nutty flavors. There is a faint chocolate flavor, but it's a fleeting note. Some caramel flavors as well.
M- Carbonation is pretty high for the style, higher than I'd like. Body is more or less standard.
O- A servicable winter malty ale. I would drink this again.

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Photo of jera1350
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brewed on the second week of Nov. according to the label.

A nice deep amber color with a short silver colored layer of foam on top. Some sticky lacing also.

Lots of toffee and caramel sweetness in the smell. A really nice scottish malt profile.

The toffee and caramel malts are there along with a fruity, almost belgian candi sugar presence. Similar to their Uber Alt. Same yeast maybe? A touch of booze comes in at the end. Very nice flavor.

A chewy feeling body with some soft carbonation.

This is a very nice wee heavy. Lots of flavor and well crafted. This is my kind of winter warmer.

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Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.91/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Corsendonk Christmas Ale stemmed glass.
8% ABV, Dec. Wk1 notched on the label.

A - The color is a gorgeous gradiated golden yellow to a dark burnt, rusty amber. A short but well-retained head caps the beer like a slight snowfall. Fingers of lace cling to the glass.

S - Complex while modest, the aroma goes off in a few different directions at once. Notes of caramel cube and toast with cold black coffee come fourth with an accompanying nuttiness. Earthy hops provide balance while a dry, musty yeast aroma fades into the back. No alcohol involvement at all!

T - Much hoppier than to be expected, the earthy tones from the nose rise fourth and balance the nutty caramel sweet malt. Bready, toast, and a little spicy yeast ester on the finish.

M - Medium-bodied and smooth with a soft palate entry, this winter warmer fit's into it's name with a subtle warming finish. Not too much alcohol. Slightly dry and well-balanced on the finish with a nice sweetness and mild bitterness.

O - The complex aroma is nice but needs a little boost in potency. I was sniffing pretty hard to pick out it's qualities. The flavor comes through more but seems to fade out at the very end. Fitting for the "unusual" snow were having mid-April. Of course, it IS Wisconsin.

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Photo of burnheartsMKE
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opened this bottle and was gently greeted by a hazy brown liquid that ushered in a wholesome nuts rolled in nougat aroma; sweet, kind & nostalgic.

Tasted a little like butterscotch upfront with a diminished sweetness followed by a dry bitterness that kept this dude drinkable. It took me until just after the first 1/4 before I decided that I was actually enjoying this.

Although I began this tasting unaware of the style I was drinking (I initially thought it was a weak barley wine) but once I realized I was imbibing a Wee Heavy it all made a little more sense; the candy notes, the toasted nuts etc. As I have mentioned in an earlier review, I currently hold Lake Louie's Warped Speed as my standard to which all other American Wee Heavies (especially any made in Wisconsin) must compare and sadly, this didn't quite beat those expectations.

Overall, it was enjoyable for what it was; it kept me warm on a night when I needed a little extra warmth. That being stated, I wouldn't ever kick it out of bed on a cold winter night.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.62/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz single - Steve's - University

appearance: served in a bells shaker pint, murky copper body, tons of sediment, light white ring of head

smell: toasted nuts, caramel, toasted malts

taste: toasted malts, grain, caramel, toasted peanuts, toffee, light cocoa. Unfiltered and slightly underdeveloped - i prefer the more hopcentric offerings from rush river

mouthfeel: medium body, creamy, alcohol more abrasive than it should be at 6.5%

drinkability: ok

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Photo of chicagoabbot
3.1/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

On-tap at Emma's in River Falls, WI. Maybe I've just been having too many good winter warmers lately, but this beer didn't sit that well with me. In fairness, it was following a pretty hoppy IPA. Color was murky but not dark enough. Nose had some decent spice in it. Some good maltiness. A little too sweet and underdeveloped flavors. Doesn't really go down all that easy though, and you can taste the alcohol. Not their best beer by any stretch.

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Photo of arboristfish
4.5/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours an amber color with a white head. The aroma of this beer smells of bananas, wood, and a hint of hops. The taste of this beer is sweet, with a hint of wood, and finishes with a hop flavor and bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium and is very drinkable.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a brown color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes slowly into rocky lacing. The aroma is of caramel, toffee, and some floral notes. I can only identify a few things, but they all have great depth giving this aroma nice complexity. The taste doens't have as much depth as the aroma. There is still come nice caramel and herbal notes though. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation, and a smooth texture. Overall, this is good Scotch Ale that I would certainly drink again.

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Photo of GregSVT
3.84/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a dark ruby/amber with a white head that fades to a ring and leaves some a tiny bit of lacing. Lots of particulates in the glass...perhaps I poured it a bit too fast but I also expect beer from a brewery to not have this crud in it.

S: The nose is all sour cherries and dark fruit with a sweet malt aroma.

T: The taste is more of the cherries from the nose and a nice smoked malt flavor on the finish.

M: The feel is creamy and medium bodied.

D: I didn't hate this beer but I didn't love it either. Decent scotch ale but the sour fruit aromas/flavors have me wanting another beer already and I'm only halfway done with it.

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Photo of CHSLBrew
2.9/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A-Slightly cloudy copper brew, dull. Tan head sustained ok at first, but receded to a blah-looking sparse bubbles.

S-Rich caramel malts, slight spicy breadiness, moderate butterscotch.

T-Caramel-toasty maltiness, slight butterscotch, semi-sweet with a slgith chocolate nuance near the finish. Hop bitterness does not do much, allowing the malt flavor to take center stage. Hop flavor is minimal to absent. Finish is residually sweet, caramel-butterscoth remanants, with moderate esters.

M-Moderate body seemed at times rather full, at times rather thin. Carbonation level seemed in-line with my expectations.

D-This beer is a solid, though average winter warmer.

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Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, burgundy color with a small, tan head of bubbly foam. It left soapy sheets of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of spices, earthy notes and caramel.

T - It tasted very spicy and malty with roasted malts. It had an earthy flavor like any good scotch ale should.

M - It was crisp and very smooth. A medium-bodied ale with a warming presence.

D - This is a good beer. A pleasant surprise that it wasn't a winter warmer.

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Photo of gatornation
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

wow this is a beautiful wee heavy its a dark amber brown with a great head that stays with some sticky lacing it looks smells fresh its sweet toffee and caramel some biscuits and some roasted coffee tastes fresh its robust but sweet with the malts/caramel it has a hop presence followed by a burnt toffee/coffee taste then throw in some nuts and currant fruits..that is nicely balanced nothing overwhelms but all flavors are complimented to each other ..this is one of the best wee/scotch ive had this winter its a sipper and a warmer for the tummy..highly impressed by this one 4 sure..midwest brews rock the nation

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Photo of ZAP
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at Old Chicago in St. Cloud and was surprised at how much I liked it so I went and got a sixer to take back to the Northwoods of Minnesota where this is not available.

A-Burnt orange colored

S-Smells great...very sweet..a lot of dark fruits, wood, and caramel/toffee.

T-Very sweetish but in a good way....again a lot of dark cherries, red and black grapes, and plums..also some of the caramel/toffee like malt sweetness. I also picked up a very like cocoa element near the end of the glass.

M-Feels like a winter warmer...a sipper. I like how it finishes. For as much sweetness as I detect on the aroma and taste it closes clean and not at all cloying.

D-I really like this one. Kind of a wee heavy but lacking the smokiness I guess. Quite enjoyable.

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Photo of hopdog
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle acquired in trade with tytoanderso (thanks!).

Poured a deeper orangish/copper color with a larger sized off white head. Aromas of roastiness, caramel, toffee, and just all around maltiness. Tastes of caramel, a touch of chocolate, toffee, and toasty. Some dark fruitiness in the tastes too.

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Photo of wryepicures
4.17/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Old Fashioned

Poured dark tan/red with slight caramel colored head, not as thick or sticky as expected from a wee heavy.

Smelled thick and dark fruity, sweet, malts, almost a praline scent.

The flavors unexpected: first some typical nuttiness, caramel, dark fruits, cocoa. Then a bit more sweet malt with the mid-flavor and a headier mouthfeel with some warm honey tossed in. The finish was slightly bitter for a warmer/wee heavy and lacked the smoke common to the style. A bit on the alcohol taste towards the end making me think it was way higher than 6.5%. It was as full of flavor and body as many more alcoholic brews.

Drinkable, warming, and won't put me on the floor? Nice.

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
4.15/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 ounce bottle of Rush River's Winter Warmer, a wee-heavy inspired beer. The brew pours an attractive amber color with an initial cap of foam that descends into a persistent ring of around the glass. The aroma has a combination of sweet fruitiness, pears, apples, red vinous grapes, spicy hops, and some alcohol esters. A pleasant and enjoyable aroma. The flavor starts with fruity malt, pear notes and some sugary sweetness. It crescendos with a meld of cherry, brandy, spice, and perhaps some oak flavors. An interesting combination indeed. Finishes smooth with a mediated alcohol warming. This is a good beer. The flavor is a little light for a wee-heavy but works well for a winter warmer. It is drinkable and not overbearing.

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Photo of Wisconsin
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a dark amber body with a two finger head (maybe larger) that sticks around for quite sometime. It took awhile to get this beer into the glass without having the head overflow.

S - Malts, spices and some warmthy deliciousness welcomes your nose.

T - The taste is much different than the smell. The beer is smooth entering your mouth but leaves you with a bitterness at the end.

M - Smooth in the beginning but very bitter (coffee-like) at the end.

D - Somewhat bitter towards the end of the beer.

If this beer tasted as good as it smelled it would be one hell of a beer.

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Photo of Buebie
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Interesting style mix here with a scotch based winter warmer.

Poured from a 12oz brown bottle into a snifter. Deep transparent mahogany red in color. Leaving a 1 inch off white head. Retention is grand and delightful. Thin watery streaks of lace line the glass.

Aromas of sweet red grape juice, merlot, oak, spice, purfume like grassy floral hops, rose pedals. Some doughy bread like aromas.

This is pretty sweet upfront, with a nice dark fruit profile. Very smooth with mellow amounts of carbonation slideing over my tounge. Some alcahol warming up front. Touches of oaky cork likeness, corriander, and burnt caramel. Finishing sweet with a hint of chocolate and a good dosage of merlot flavors. Some mild grassy hop linger with a hint of peppercorn.

This is the most wine like brew I had since Chimay red.
I can imagine this would age very well.

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Photo of morimech
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A Winter Warmer using a Scotch Ale recipe as a base. Pours a murky reddish brown with one inch of dense white head. Head retention is good and settles to a thick cap. Lacing is spotty and light. I smell roasted malt, floral hops, mild spice, and a touch of alcohol. The smell is complex but a bit subdued. For a Scotch Ale the malt flavor is a little weak. More spice and hoppiness come through in the flavor. A little alcohol flavor and warming on the finish. Medium body with low carbonation. Has a nice creamy texture that briefly coats the mouth. Overall I enjoyed this beer. Nice ale which would score slightly higher as a Winter Warmer than a Scotch Ale.

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Winter Warmer from Rush River Brewing Company
3.75 out of 5 based on 62 ratings.
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