Monday, December 6, 2010

Harpoon Winter Warmer

Harpoon Winter Warmer

Brewed by:
Harpoon Brewery
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Winter Warmer

5.50% ABV

Commercial Description:
Harpoon Winter Warmer is a full-bodied rich ale that uses a touch of cinnamon and nutmeg to achieve its spirited flavor. Perfect for the holidays!
Ingredients: Water, Malted Barley, Hops, Yeast, Flavoring (cinnamon and nutmeg). (

General Pricing:
12oz bottle, ~$8.006pack, ~$29.00 case

No rhyme or reason on this one. I just picked up a few seasonal Christmas beers a couple of weeks ago to review. Based on my previous experience with a Harpoon Seasonal, Harpoon Celtic Ale I’m really not expecting much from this but you never know, this one could surprise me. This is one of those that I’m expecting the worst but hoping for the best, or at least something decent. So let’s see if this Winter Warmer has any surprises in store for us.

The beer pours a clear amber with ruby hues and a fairly rich off white head.

The nose is nice with caramel malt aromas and cinnamon. This actually is a very inviting nose. I can’t wait to take my first sip,

This is a nice tasting Christmas beer. There are very pleasant caramel almost toasted malt flavors and a very interesting light hop and cinnamon spice on the finish. I’m actually pretty impressed with that first sip.

The experience starts out with sweet caramel malts up front followed by a nice effervescence over the tongue in mid-sip. The back end is very easy drinking there is also a carbonation release during the swallow that masks most of this beer’s flavors. But this adds a very refreshing quality to the beer that is quite enjoyable. As you come out of the swallow into the finish the real flavors start to come out of this brew. The finish is very flavorful with sweet malts, light hops and the most pleasant cinnamon spice flavor. At any rate it is a perfect Christmas flavor. The final aftertaste is some lingering malts and this great Christmas Spice.

Wow, I am pleasantly surprised by this beer. What a nice little Christmas beer. It’s really not a “Winter Warmer”, there is no warming effect and it is only 5.5 ABV. However it really is a very flavorful Christmas beer. I am really enjoying this one.

The beer has warmed a little to 55 degrees.

So far this beer has remained consistent. It has not picked up any off flavors or unpleasantness as it warms.

I’m not sure now much warmer this is going to get. This beer has such a refreshing quality it’s not going to stick around for long.

The head diminished to just a patchy island about a third the way down. It did however leave some moderate lacing.

Well, that’s all she wrote for this one. The glass is empty.

I’m not sure if I enjoyed this more because I expected something much worse so the surprise made it much better than it really is or if this really is that good of a beer. At any rate I really did enjoy it.

I can nit-pick about this and give it a low rating by saying it’s not a good Winter Warmer, which it isn’t. But this was such a flavorful and refreshing Christmas beer I’m going to cut it same slack. Actually I’m going to give this one a B. This is a solid B; a very flavorful Christmas Ale with nice malt flavors and the perfect amount of Christmas spice. This was a very enjoyable experience.

What a sleeper; I’m so glad I decided to pick this one up. I will most likely be going back for some more over the Holidays.

This is a nice clean and refreshing amber ale with just the right amount of spice to make it nice treat for the Holidays. I highly recommend this beer to anyone especially the common beer drinker that may be looking for something different but not extreme for the Holidays. I also encourage the beer snobs out there to give this one a try. Hopefully you will be as presently surprised as I was.

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