About Winter Ale

About Winter Ale
Winter ales are deep golden to dark brown in color and range in alcohol from 5.5-9%. Beers in this category can be unspiced, though a majority of these beers feature a wide variety of seasonal spices. True to their name, these beers are commonly brewed in the winter and often feature cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and all spice in their flavor profiles. Better examples of this style feature a balance between added spices, hops, malt and alcohol. Noteworthy examples of this style include: Great Lakes Christmas Ale, Full Sail Wassail Winter Ale and Deschutes Jubelale.

Top Picks for Winter Ale

Full Sail Brewing Co. Wreck The Halls Hoppy Holiday Ale
94 points
Brilliant golden amber color. Hoppy aromas and flavors of herbs, pine, and roasted citrus peels and apricots with a supple, vibrant, finely carbonated, dryish medium-to-full body and a tingling, interesting, very long finish with nuances of pepper, radicchio, gooseberry chutney, and nutskin finish. A bright and boldly bitter winter ale for hop-heads.
Awards: 2017 Best Winter Ale
Full Sail Brewing Co. Wassail Winter Ale
93 points
Dark bronze color. Interesting aromas and flavors of caramel apples, papayas and pears, honeyed roasted nuts and pork rinds, delicate spices, and tamarind with a satiny, bright, finely carbonated, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, interesting, long finish imparting nuances of fruit cake, peppered greens, and latte finish. A rich, malty winter ale with subtle layers of flavor.
Stevens Point Brewery St. Benedicts Winter Ale
93 points
Nearly opaque dark dark brown color. Mild, sweaty aromas of chocolate and vanilla swirled ice cream, toasted nuts, coffee ice cream, and twinkies with a glycerous, bright, finely carbonated, off-dry medium body and a tingling, complex, medium-length chocolate cream pie, puffed rice cereal, and dried fruit finish. A dark and rich winter lager.
Great Lakes Brewing Co. Christmas Ale
92 points
Bright copper color. Spicy, attractive aromas and flavors of gingerbread, cinnamon roll and cereal, coconut-mango chutney, and lemongrass with a silky, crisp, finely carbonated, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, refreshing, long finish with shades of holiday spice cake, chai, and root beer float finish. A fun, spicy winter ale that screams holiday parties.
Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig
92 points
Reddish mahogany color. Bright, spicy aromas and flavors of spicy carrot cake, sassafras float, and gingerbread with a lively, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, complex, medium-length finish that shows suggestions of honeyed nuts, red licorice, and delicate sweet and pepper spices finish. A fresh, lively delicately spiced winter ale.
Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery Winter Welcome Ale
90 points
Bright gold color. Citrusy aromas and flavors of lemon herb muffin, grapefruit marmalade, white grape, and hop pellets with a satiny, vibrant, effervescent, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, elegant, long finish that presents accents of toasted dark baguette, peppercorns, and watercress finish. A lovely, quenching winter ale with great balance and style.
Ohio Brewing Compa4ny Jingle Bell Ale
88 points
Red oak color. Aromas and flavors of chocolate covered pretzel, toasted coconut, sticky toffee pudding, and drinking custard with a velvety, bright, spritzy, moderately sweet light-to-medium body and a polished, refreshing, medium-long finish. A sweet and festive winter ale packed with holiday confection; coquito flavors in a toasty brew!
Stevens Point Brewery Snow Pilot Pistachio Nut Brown Ale
88 points
Minutely hazy copper color. Creamy, confected aromas and flavors of peach vanilla bon bon, pistachio nougat, and warm cereal with sweet cream with a supple, bright, finely carbonated, fruity medium body and a seamless, interesting, medium-long finish with notes of coconut macaroon and wafer cookies filling finish. A fruity, somewhat decadent, dessert-like winter ale that is sure to please.
Stanley Park Brewing Layer Up Winter Wheat Ale
87 points
Mahogany color. Aromas of blackberry jam, raspberry thumbprint cookie, sasparilla, and grape candies with a satiny, crisp, fizzy, dry-yet-fruity light body and a smooth, quick kvass, mixed nuts, and wintergreen finish. A fruity beer for crowd-pleasing; a warming winter wheat ale.
Deschutes Brewery Jubelale Winter Ale
87 points
Brilliant reddish mahogany color. Funky aromas of cacao nibs, roasted corn and asparagus, and fruitcake with a medium body and a peppery, buoyant molasses, orange marmalade, peppery spices, and hard candies finish. A bitter brew balanced with just the right amount of festive cheer; serve with Christmas ham.