ChadPolenz (1676) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - DEC 14, 2012
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
I tend to associate "winter ales" with the winter warmer style or any Christmas beer full of spices, but why not use a traditional style for a change? Several brewers release India Pale Ales in the winter, but few call them actual "winter ales," except for Gearyís Winter Ale. Itís quite unique for what it is: an English style IPA with a touch of Christmas spice thrown in. Not just interesting, but good.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.
Appearance: Brown/ruby red appearance. Dark, but translucent. Forms a small, white, soapy head which mostly evaporates but does leave some lacing on the glass.
Smell: Surprisingly sweet nose with notes of caramel and ginger plus some floral hops.
Taste: Itís hard to find a traditional English-style IPA in America, let alone a good one, but Gearyís Winter Ale is both. Itís too hoppy and too dark to be just a pale ale, but doesnít have the over hoppiness of most American brews of the style. Instead of a sharp citrusy or piney hop bite, thereís a consistent, slightly dry bitterness from start to finish.
Much like the aroma, thereís a prominent sweetness to the palate here. Caramel, toffee, shortbread and a touch of ginger and/or cinnamon all seem detectable. They make for a good flavor combination as the spices and hops complement each other quite well, while the malty sweetness keeps it balanced. I think I even get a touch of berry in there somewhere. For what would appear to be just another generic winter ale sitting on the store shelf, this one really should stand out more than it does.
Drinkability: While not exactly a beer youíd chug, Gearyís Winter Ale is no challenge at all to drink. The body is quite full with plenty of flavor throughout. The mouthfeel is slightly crisp, but in no way thin (not thick either). There is a slightly bitter, dry aftertaste, but something akin to eating a Christmas cookie. At 6% itís right where it should be in terms of all-around weight. It would work well with a meal or cheese, or a standalone as a dessert.
beerfest5 (1207) - Cloneen, IRELAND - APR 19, 2012
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Definitely an English style ipa, solid malt foundation with enough hop aroma and flavor to balance it, but not the hopbomb that we have come to expect from an ipa.
Thorpe429 (5016) - , Illinois, USA - FEB 4, 2012
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Pours a moderate amber-brown color with an off-white head and some light lacing. The nose carries some caramel and a bit of toffee. Some bready malt in the background. Light vanilla. Not sure this was much of an EIPA. Either way, I appreciated the light malt character throughout. Almost like a barleywine-light. Maybe a faded bottle already? Either way, fairly enjoyable. Caramel and bread through the flavor. Medium body with a pleasant chewiness. Not fantastic or out of the ordinary, but a well-made brew.
gnoff (9548) - MŲlndal, SWEDEN - FEB 2, 2012
3.3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Draught at Rattle íNí Hum, as part of a flight of beers, on January 30, 2012
Clear dark copper color, off-white head. Sweet, nutty, hair product, brown sirup taste. Nutty aftertaste. Moussy mouthfeel, medium dry bitterness. Sweet, nutty scent.
bigguns22 (774) - Maryland, USA - OCT 17, 2011
3 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Would have never guest IPA.Pours dark brown with amber tones small tan head.Aromas of caramel and malts.Starts out sweet and malty and finishes a little bitter with a light hop note.
ROGUE (2182) - Lewes, Delaware, USA - FEB 25, 2011
2.7 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 10/20
12oz bottle. It pours a nice clear amber with a fast fading white head. The aroma is an even mix of doughy malt and floral hops. Flavor has sweet caramel and fresh bread coming through in the malt. A good herbal quality that lasts throughout. Along with grapefruity, light tea-like and lemony sour bitterness. Not very winter brewish.
ben4321 (5642) - Hoboken, New Jersey, USA - FEB 23, 2011
2.5 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 10/20
Location: Draft at RnH, 2/19/11
Aroma: Oddly, this one smells just like a Wertherís Original, no other way to describe it
Appearance: The pour is kind of a bronze color with an off-white head
Flavor: The taste is basically metallic flavors plus butterscotch candy
Palate: The body is overly carbonated and it has a lasting metallic finish to it
This is one weird beer. Honestly, itís a kinda on the sucky side. I canít get over the fact that itís pretty much just like a Wertherís Original with metal. Beer shouldnít taste like that. Itís too weird!
GirlyBeer (190) - Old Orchard Beach, Maine, USA - DEC 23, 2010
2.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 9/20
On tap. Iím guessing I got the wrong beer. My beer was dark amber with a thick tan head. Winter seasonings and a chocolately flavor. Smooth mouthfeel. It hit me hard, so I guess the alcohol was over 6. Looking back over the tap selection, I might have gotten a Weyerbacher Winter. That would explain the malty chocolatyness and color. So I guess Iíll need to have both beers now to see which is which!
tennessejed420 (940) - Denver, Colorado, USA - APR 22, 2010
2.6 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 10/20
12 oz. bottle. Pours an orange gold color, with decent sized off white foam head. Aroma of mint, dough, york peppermint. Kind of a york peppermint flavor with a metallic, watery hoppyness on the finish. I fail to see how this is an IPA. Not the worst beer, but not an IPA.
Heathen (1500) - Wilmington, Delaware, USA - FEB 11, 2010
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
THOUGHTS: I was a little scared that this would be skunked because the bottle was very dusty, but it wasnít. It might have been a little old, but not by much. Not as good as Sierra Nevadaís hoppy holiday offering, but still nice, It didnít really taste like a winter beer, but there was a slight warming effect. Some dark sediment made me want to try a fresher bottle next year.
TECHNICAL: Bottle. Poured a murky, light to medium orange with a large to huge, rocky, somewhat meringue looking, ever so slightly off-white head that slowly, but mostly diminished and left good to fair lacing. It also had medium sized particles in the body of a thin density. The aroma was light toasted malt and cracker; moderate to heavy floral and perfumy hops; light yeast; apricot and peach. The initial flavor was slightly sweet, acidic and bitter; while the finish was lightly sweet, rather bitter and acidic with a long duration. There was slight honey-like malt, cracker, oranges, peaches, floral hops, yeast, apricot and wine. The light to medium body was fairly dry with fizzy carbonation and a lightly metallic, chalky, ever so slightly astringent and very dry finish.