TheBeerLover (1019) - DC Metro Area, USA - JAN 28, 2006
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
Most American versions of IPA have a very aggressive hop profile, and use a blend of American hops. Gearyís Winter Ale, is a British inspired IPA, and uses British hops such as Golding and Fuggles, but being this is an American beer, a good dose of Mt. Hood hops are used as well. The malts used are English(clarity, crystal, and wheat malt), and this beer uses a very distinctive British yeast strain known as Ringwood. Ringwood gives the beer an earthy/buttery character in both aroma and flavor, and gives the beer another dimension.
Gearyís Winter Ale pours to a beautiful deep golden to light amber color with a thick and creamy white head, and a good bit of carbonation. The nose on this beer is fantastic with flowery and citric hop aromas, which marry with earthy/yeasty aromas. The palate is firm with lots of good pale and stewed crystal malt flavors, with yeasty and buttery undertones. Gearyís Winter Ale finishes with more malty and buttery flavors up front, then ends with a very pleasing hop bitterness that lingers.
A very well done domestic example of a very British inspired IPA. This is a hearty beer, and is a great beer to match up with hearty dishes, and that of course means steamed or baked stuffed lobster, or New England clam chowder if you are in Maine. This beer is available in select good beer markets from November to February, so get it while supplies of this beer lasts.
beaconstreet (811) - Washington DC, USA - DEC 13, 2004
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: DEC 14, 2004 One of the more perfect IPAs that Iíve had. I settled into this one while contemplating the onset of a winter night and the telling chill that comes before a day that is forecast for snow. I stepped out to observe the night on the neighborhood in which I grew up in while I sipped this from a pint glass bought in Montreal. I consider where Iíve been and what Iím doing, and how Iím not the person I was when I was growing up, yet in some ways hope to retain myself from then and still am that person. Hints of orange, just the right amount of hops. Iím proud of Maine, proud of Portland, for this beverage I just sampled. Itís not my hometown, but I feel allegiance to it from summers spent on the Maine coast nearby. Returning back from the ethereal, this is a damn satisfying beer. Goes well with almost any feeling you have in the depths of winter. Refreshes with that corn-sweet pleasure that you had when you drank fresh Pepsi as a kid at a restaurant. Best tasting with the full aroma, in a glass rather from the bottle. Delicious, and good for the season.
jason (1671) - Easton, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 28, 2006
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
IPA? Winter Ale? Both?
Yea I guess it would be both. Odd taste, great aftertaste.
Chad9976 (1018) - Albany, New York, 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.
BigBen2120 (688) - Derry, New Hampshire, USA - NOV 20, 2006
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Amber body with thin off-white head. Smells malty and fruity (apricot?). Tastes like apricot, with some malt and floral notes. Medium in body. Rather tasty and enjoyable, but doesnít tast much like an IPA. Reminds me in some ways to DFH Aprihop or Magic Hat #9... I like it.
BuckyBazoo (31) - Holiday, Florida, USA - JAN 23, 2008
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
12oz bottle. Not what I expected from an IPA. Subtle honey undertones. Hoppy after affect. Slight linger. All in all, a surprising beer from the the north east!
ClarkVV (3579) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - DEC 18, 2003
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: AUG 16, 2006 Hard to believe this is an IPA. I would say English Strong Ale. Anyways, pours a mostly clear reddish-brown with a huge white head. Big yeasty smell, slightly spicy, with some soft fruit flavors as well. Medium bodied, low carbonation, moderately sweet, subtle, soft hops. Yeast flavors are great, cherries and apricots? Malt is just right, not too dry, not too sweet. No hint of alcohol. Not terribly complex, as is usual for this brewery, but just wonderfully even.
PhillyBeer2112 (2473) - Oviedo, Florida, USA - FEB 2, 2004
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Darkish amber, medium foamy head. Aroma orangey, earthy, light pepper/oregano. Earthy and caramelized aroma. Thickly sweet finish with herbal overtones. A bit candyish. Curiously clean fermentation profile, making this a bit one-dimensional in its caramelly sweetness. I'd like to see some fruitiness here, in the absence of any particular hop presence.
steve23mj (273) - Essexville, Michigan, USA - NOV 13, 2004
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Pours orangish golden color with initial tan head. Nose is sweet, fruity and of caramel. Very nice. No significant hop presence. Flavor is rich and malty, almost chewy. Finish lingers. Doesnít fit the traditional IPA mold but does seem much more like a holiday ale.
Braudog (5354) - Hampton, Virginia, USA - JUN 9, 2007
3.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle: Poured completely still, bronze, with just a thin fizzy of a head. Nice aroma of hops, strawberries, bit of floral goodness. Also nicely flavored -- lightly sweet malt, lightly mixed with a hint of spicy hops, and again with an almost strawberry note, this is a nice flavorful brew. (#2969, 6/9/2007)