malrubius (1999) - Springfield, Vermont, USA - DEC 3, 2012
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Dark amber brown with lasting head and lace. Earthy caramel toast hay aroma. Roasty caramel medium sweetness with earthy woody bitter finish and some lingering roasty malt. Medium body. Clean and balanced. FRESH. Pretty good.
chinchill (2647) - South Carolina, USA - NOV 27, 2012
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
12 oz bottle served in pint glass in 2011, 1+ month before "Best by" date
Deep mahogany color; clear; thin off-white head with brief duration but lasting ring. Nice aroma of roasted and caramel malt. Malts are also the main flavor components, but it has some spiciness as well. Not very sweet overall, and definitely not as sweet as the aroma; IBU = 28.
Hophead22 (2879) - Redlands, by way of Wisconsin,, California, USA - APR 19, 2012
2.8 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
12oz bottle. Rating #235. Very dark amber pour with a beige head. Light toast with a caramel sweetness. Flavor is more caramel, mild bitterness and a bit more toast. (2331)
sonnycheeba (4096) - Federal Hill, Baltimore, Maryland, USA - MAR 25, 2012
3.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bottle. Pours clear tawny with thin, creamy off-white head; decent retention and spare lacing. Aroma is caramel and cookie malt, toffee, floral hops, and figs. Flavor is heavy malt with light hops; sweet finish. Light/medium body, medium carbonation, and low warmth.
BeerandBlues2 (10514) - San Diego, California, USA - MAR 25, 2012
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
Bottle. Pours clear dark brown with ruby highlights, a medium, fizzy light tan head, short retention with light lacing. Aroma is nutty, chocolate, and toast malt with dates, nutmeg, and leaves. Flavor is malt dominant, light hops and bitterness, dark fruity esters, spices and a sweet finish. Medium body, warmth, and carbonation.
JCB (3999) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - MAR 16, 2012
3 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 12/20
12oz bottle shared by durhambeer - thanks, Bob! Deep into the tasting, this one came across as indistinct - and like a lot of the TJ’s beers, that’s a pretty accurate impression. Copper/brown pour, moderately carbonated. Nose of molasses, toffee, and roasted malts. Taste is weirdly grainy, coming across like a neo-schwarz as much as a doppel, given how heavy the roasted elements come out.
KickInChalice (860) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAR 12, 2012
2.9 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 11/20
From notes. First reviewed 9/17/2011. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.
Winterfest pours a full cherry brown color that is somewhat transparent when held up to the light. A small white cap leaves only a ring around the edges after a minute, with no real lace.
In the nose, soft molasses, some dark fruits blend together well - plum, raisin, and figs. There is not a lot of depth to the aroma though.
The flavor starts out with some caramel malts, with a sweetness that grows into a molasses flavor, interwoven with plums and raisins. Light earthy hops are noticeable but don’t add much bitterness at all to the end. A light alcohol bite.
Slightly sticky on the lips, this is obviously a sweet beer. The feel starts a bit sweet and grainy, moving more syrupy as the sip progresses. There is a slight cut to the stickiness at the end, but not much. Creamy carbonation that is not all that smooth, and a medium body.
I guess if you are picking something up from Trader Joe’s and really want it to be Trader Joe’s brand, this would be an all right one to pick up. Everything is muted compared to others of the style, but it isn’t too bad.
seymour (1591) - Maplewood, Missouri, USA - MAR 9, 2012
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Tasted from 12oz bottle into nucleated pint glass. Poured a beautiful, mostly clear, dark reddish brown color with big creamy foam and lasting Belgian lace. Excellent multi-layered aroma: bread, caramel, perfumey hops and smooth alcohol, some peppery yeast phenols. Flavors of rich, caramelly malt sweetness, well-balanced hoppy tang, brown bread, molasses cookies, raisins, plums. Medium body, moderate carbonation, long-lasting bittersweet aftertaste. Delicious. One of Trader Joe’s best house beers by far.
nick76 (4300) - Tampa, Florida, USA - MAR 6, 2012
3.1 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 12/20
The aroma is sweet and toasted with molasses and a touch of chocolate. The appearance is brown with a small head. The taste is like the aroma with a bit of coffee. The palate is smooth. Overall I like it.
theisti (3396) - Leawood, Kansas, USA - MAR 5, 2012
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
12 oz bottle purchased at the Trader Joe’s in Kansas City, Missouri. Best Consumed Before 04/14/12. The pour is a lightly hazed copper tan with a one inch cream colored head. Nice lacing. The aroma is fruit, sort of a sweet apple, nice full maltiness, and some clove yeastiness. Nice full nose. The taste is the fruit malt sweetness, some grainy cardboard, and then some of the clove yeastiness. The finish is dry and straw. The palate thin to medium bodied, lower carbonation level, the alcohol shows in the finish. I liked the smell of this, the taste was just ok.