RATINGS: 576   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.49/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 225   ABV: 7.5%
Our "winter warmer" ale, brewed with copious helpings of English malts and US and English hops, a ruddy hued "Imperial ESB" in style. Full malty flavors dancing with powerful hop aromas and a lingering, firm hop bitterness. Seasonally available from mid October to February.

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ThisWangsChung (836) - Leonardtown, Maryland, USA - MAR 1, 2014
Look what I found buried in the fridge! 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. A: Pours a clear chestnut color. Thereís about two fingers worth of pale yellow head, featuring a soft texture and good retention. As it fades, some lacing is left behind. S: It smells...like an ESB. The malt profile here is quite nutty, with just a hint of chocolate; and even for an old bottle, there is a bit of a hoppy kiss. Earthy hops, in this case. Thereís also something funky I canít put my finger on. It doesnít really excite me, even for an ESB. T: At first, the malts come through with some nutty, fruity, and even (occasionally chocolaty) notes. The malt backbone works decently considering I donít like the maltiness of this style. Before I know it, a wave of generic hop bitterness closes this one. The only hop flavor I really note is a touch of ginger. I actually donít mind this one having generic bitterness, because ESB. Itís the jarring transition between the malt and the hops that gets me. M: Creamy and soft, yet dry on the back end. Itís pleasantly carbonated, as well. No real trouble with the mouthfeel - itís more of the flavors that support the feel that raises my indifference. O: Itís nice to have your expectations met. Before reviewing this, I thought "meh, ESB"; and after finishing this, I thought "meh, ESB." I didnít particularly enjoy this one, but thatís due to my dislike of the style.

reggiedunlop (3718) - The dub c, Pennsylvania, USA - JAN 20, 2014
pours amber/ruby with a medium white head. aroma has mild fruity notes...berry...malty with subtle chocolate and fruitcake notes. flavor has some doughy notes and fruity...fruitcake for sure...light caramel and chocolate sneak in...some earthy bitterness. mouthfeel is medium/full and the finish is earthy/chocolatey and bitter.

b3shine (8804) - Indiana, USA - JAN 8, 2014
Draft to taster (from notes). Looks good for an Imperial ESB; a transparent copper with foamy head somewhere between off-white and light beige. Smells yeasty, grainy, and mildly hoppy. Tastes like it smells with some toastiness too. Average on the palate. Alright.

574deadzone (1419) - North Central, Indiana, USA - JAN 4, 2014
Pours a hazy darker amber with a thinner khaki head that settles to a ring and leaves some splotchy, hanging lace. Nose involves brown sugar, some earthy and spicy noble hops, savory doughy yeast, some toffee, mild dark fruit, some toasted malt, some cellared quality. Fairly sweet, pretty bitter. Medium to full bodied, oily, fair carb, with a drying bitter finish. Not enjoying this as much as i hoped. It has some clashing elements, aromatics that compete for attention along with a kind of muddled palate. Not crisp and bright like a standard ESB.

ChadPolenz (1804) - Lakeland, Florida, USA - DEC 22, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a nonic pint glass. It had a best before date of March 2014 and cost $2.89 ($0.24 per ounce).

Appearance: Dull copper hue with some visible carbonation. Pours to a large, white, frothy head which laces and retains extremely well.

Smell: Virtually odorless. Hint of sweet malt. Thatís about it.

Taste: Heavy Seas Winter Storm is described as an "Imperial ESB," which would seem to be a contradiction in terms. While I donít claim to be an expert on the style, I do know what it should taste like and I donít think this is it. The beer is a strange concoction of malt flavor and strong hop presence. Itís not that the flavors are bad, itís just that they donít seem to match up.

Much like the aroma, the malt presence here is quite faint. Slightly rustic, slightly spicy character with a hint of cinnamon, some confectionery notes and a touch of dark fruit. While thatís somewhat enjoyable, thereís a strong hoppy character that overshadows it. Dank, earthy, spicy hops are strong from beginning to end. They donít seem to have genuine flavor, but are just there for spice. The problem is there isnít enough base beer to support this much hop character. At no point is it off-putting, but at no point is it particularly enjoyable.

Drinkability: I was surprised by the low drinkability of this beer. While Heavy Seas Winter Storm is not all that complex, itís definitely robust as the bitterness (and some alcohol) really make themselves known. I found myself drinking it in short sips. The mouthfeel is medium, and not all that smooth. It leaves a dry, bitter aftertaste. At 7.5% ABV there should be much more flavor here than there is. Thankfully, that alcohol is not too intense, though there is minor warmth to be felt.

tillmac62 (728) - Gaffney, South Carolina, USA - DEC 10, 2013
Pours a nice medium amber with red hue that has a nice head that laces and retains well. Nice light nose of biscuit malt with a touch of hops. Medium bodied with good carbonation. A nice balanced flavor of caramel malt sweetness and bitterness against a mild hop flavor, which I believe is East Kent Goldings. Finishes clean with malt sweetness followed by the bitters. My first sampling of Heavy Seas products, and this one outstanding. A nice change of pace for winter warmers that is expertly done.

Beergeek23322 (2602) - Chester, Virginia, USA - NOV 25, 2013
12/1/2009. From bottle labeled as Category 5. Pours red-brown to copper color with a tan head. Big malty aromas with hints of caramel and hops. Earthy flavors with caramel and hops.

Maxbier (953) - Maryland, USA - NOV 23, 2013
Deep oaky color, creamy tan head, aroma if oats, alcohol, raisin, smoke. Creamy mouth feel, apples and barley. Small hops flavor with bitter finish. Finish is similar to grapefruit juice; lingers a few minutes.

robgibbens (432) - Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA - NOV 23, 2013
Draft at Gillyís in Rockville, MD. Decent dark amber color with an OK foam. Good bitter flavor. Finishes a bit chalky for me.

dliberto (217) - Hampstead, Maryland, USA - NOV 17, 2013
On tap at the Padonia Ale House. Pours a real dark brown. Small tan head. Nice hop taste while not being the main focus of this brew. The malts take over to give a nice smooth finish. A little bitter. Real good beer

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