LaFinca (6) - state college, Pennsylvania, USA - NOV 5, 2003
4 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: DEC 13, 2003 I’m not very much into spicy beers but decided to purchase a mixed case of ESB and Winterhook today (11/5/03). I purchased the beer at a drive thru distributorship and noticed when I got home they accidentally slipped an entire case of the Winterhook in the back instead of the mixed case. I was a little upset and went on the Internet and read, no surprise, a lot of terrible reviews which even made me more upset.
I was almost ready to take the case back when I went to the Redhook website and seen that the Winterhook was dry hopped (I’m a dry hop freak) and I also read one or two reviews stating that the 2003 batch has changed so I decided to take a chance and pop one open instead of returning the case.
Right of the bat, the dry hopped aroma hit me and it was breathtaking. I’ve never had a bottled beer with this much dry hop aroma unless I had brewed it myself. This is definitely a 10 in the aroma category and the dry hopping, I believe, also gives this beer a clean, crisp, and astringent taste.
As for balance, some reviews of previous years stated the beer was sweet and malty but I found this year’s batch to be somewhat on the hoppy side. Redhook’s website states the bittering units are 29.2 which isn’t too shabby if you love hops and they may have raised the alcohol level somewhat from the last few years to remove the sweetness.
Their website states “Best Damn Vintage Yet” and never having tried any of the others and after reading so many horrible reviews, I guess they made a lot of changes to improve this beer. Although they are not overpowering, I would love to try this one without the spices.
Don’t be hesitant, like I was to try it; you just might be surprised.
fdomig (543) - München, GERMANY - MAR 5, 2015
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
330ml bottle in Reykjavík. Aroma is brown sugar, caramel. Appearance is dark brown with a light brown-ish head. Taste is bitter and light sweet. Dry-ish and a medium carbonation. Very nice.
bjakk (486) - Skagafjordur, ICELAND - MAR 1, 2015
3.5 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Brownish, clear, with yellow foam. Mild Candice, malt, caramel, in the aroma. Sweet malt, with burned sugar in that grows into a sweet burned aftertaste that grows, Watery and high in carbon
BeerInHeaven (256) - Brillion, Wisconsin, USA - JAN 24, 2015
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
pours a burgundy copper with a medium off white head. Aroma is floral. Taste is bright and hoppy, hint of citrus. Moderate hoppy bitterness slowly creeps in then slowly fades through the finish. Good beer.
jds2008 (20) - Washington, USA - DEC 18, 2014
3.3 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Mahogany colored ale, fine head that lingers and clings, slightly roasty malty aroma with spicy hops, caramel beginning but strong hoppy bitterness and malty finish. Good but not great.
Eirikur (376) - hafnarfjordur, ICELAND - NOV 28, 2014
2.5 AROMA 4/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 4/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 10/20
Pours well, thick-ish dark amber, with medium head.
Its one of those non-traditionals.
For my taste its a bit too hoppy for a winter seasonal.
Apart from that, its well constructed and would siut better with food then on its own.
dliberto (216) - Hampstead, Maryland, USA - NOV 14, 2014
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Drank from the bottle. Aroma consists of nuts, caramel, toffee, and pine. Taste is resin, metal, nuts, and caramel. Medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation and a slight sticky mouth feel.
klk343 (139) - - NOV 7, 2014
3.4 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
A brown amber color. Roasty malt flavors. Some bitterness. I immediately thought red ale.
slowrunner77 (7078) - Reno, Nevada, USA - OCT 18, 2014
2.5 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 2/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 10/20
"a nice nutty malt flavor greets you, but it kind of goes off the tracks after that. better than their average beer, but with the abundance of winter ales out there, this one is easily passable."
scarletfire65 (1106) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - AUG 29, 2014
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
Bottle at home. A bit "out of season", but what the hell. Aroma is of spice, wood, toasted malt. High carbonation. Flavors include rye, pumpernickel bread, piney hops, crackers, cinnamon, grass. Dry, roasty finish. A great winter seasonal, even in August.
Darkmagus82 (1998) - - AUG 17, 2014
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Transfer from BA review on 12-4-12-
Poured from bottle into pint glass
Appearance –The beer pours a mahogany-amber color with a big two finger off white head. The head has a good level of retention, fading to leave only a light level of lacing.
Smell – The aroma is bready and sweet of toffee. These aromas are mixed with some nutty and pine aromas, balancing out the sweet and malty.
Taste – The taste starts out with a bready and toffee taste. A light citrus and dark fruit flavors are also upfront with a spiced flavor of cinnamon and nutmeg quickly after coming to the tongue. Nutty and some bitter pine flavors then come to the tongue. The mix of these flavors takes the taste to its end where a bready and lightly bittered, but still overall caramel and toffee sweet, flavor are left on the tongue.
Mouthfeel –The body of the beer is on the medium to creamier side with a carbonation level that is rather average Overall the body was very nice for accentuating the fruit and spice flavors of the brew, while the carbonation maintained an exciting and very drinkable feel for the brew.
Overall – A nice tasty, slightly sweeter, yet still roasty and spiced holiday brew. It has a nice feel and price, which when mixed with the good taste make for a brew to try and one to possibly go back to again and again.