This time around he’s made a Winter Warmer style. Winter Warmer’s tend to have a bit higher ABV (this one is around 7%) where it gets its name is from the warming effect the alcohol provides. From beeradvocate.com:
These malty sweet offerings tend to be a favorite winter seasonal. Big malt presence, both in flavor and body. The color ranges from brownish reds to nearly pitch black. Hop bitterness is generally low, leveled and balanced, but hop character can be pronounced. Alcohol warmth is not uncommon.
Many English versions contain no spices, though some brewers of spiced winter seasonal ales will slap “Winter Warmer” on the label. Those that are spiced, tend to follow the “wassail” tradition of blending robust ales with mixed spices, before hops became the chief “spice” in beer. American varieties many have a larger presences of hops both in bitterness and flavor.
Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 5.5-8.0%
When I started exploring and enjoying beer, one of the first big “hits” with me was a winter warmer style ale. The Moonraker Ale, by J.W. Lees & Co., introduced me to malts like I had never tasted before, and a smooth mouthfeel like I hadn’t ever experienced before. Though I’d have to go back and give it another go almost two years later, I’ve always been a huge fan of Porters, Stouts, and Winter Warmers.
So, lets see how Rob did this time!
Appearance: Mocha brown body topped by a caramel head that dissipates fairly quickly.
Smell: Very malty chocolates, toasted notes, and alcohol are detected.
Taste: I initially pulled out some peppery spices, with some lightly chocolated biscuity malts, and very mild hop character, with that alcohol warming. I felt like the chocolates and sweet cream was skimped on the taste because it was all in the scent. Room for improvement, but definitely on the right track.
Mouthfeel: Light body. clean finish. Slight coffee noted on a burp. Unfortunately I was hoping for a silky creamy thickness on the palate of this brew. This ends up being the only real disappointing character of the beer.
Drinkability: It seems to carry the warming effect of the style very well, and though it comes slightly shy on some of the flavor and palate, it is a very drinkable brew. Cheers!
Appearance: 4.0 (20%)
Smell: 4.0 (20%)
Taste: 3.5 (40%)
Mouthfeel: 2.5 (10%)
Drinkability: 4.5 (10%)
OVERALL = 3.7 (Solid B)