Saturday, December 27, 2008

Weyerbacher Winter Ale (2008 original review)

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (736) - Albany, New York, USA - APR 30, 2010
It’s so difficult to find true quality winter ales these days. Most beers are either too spicy, too weak or are just too strong. Weyerbacher Winter Ale is one of the few beers that is able to fulfill all the requirements of a quality seasonal in that it’s tasty, well-balanced, smooth, and won’t overwhelm the drinker.
2013 edition pictured


POUR, COLOR AND AROMA

Weyerbacher Winter Ale pours very smoothly to a dark brown/red, hazy complexion. In fact, it pours a little too smooth as I had to roughen it up to get a decent head. However, said head is off-white, thick and foamy which never completely dissipates and leaves some lacing on the glass. The aroma is a little subdued, having a mild, dry, but very malty scent. I didn’t detect any distinct ingredients but I could tell it was crafty.

TASTE

I’m glad I allowed this beer to warm to 45 degrees because straight out of the fridge its coldness locks up the flavor. Once the beer reaches the right temperature it is extremely flavorful. Chocolate malts are used in the brewing process giving the beer a slightly chocolaty, sweet taste without being gimmicky.

Unlike other winter ales that are inundated with spices, Weyerbacher Winter Ale is fairly mild but not to the point of being too weak. It has the perfect balance of craft brewing and genuine beer taste and flavor. Therefore, the taste is good but not outstandingly delicious.

FINISH

It didn’t surprise me this beer finished so smoothly because the flavor wasn’t too strong. So many winter ales tend to be too heavily spiced and are difficult to drink, but Weyerbacher Winter Ale not only has a balanced taste, it’s easy to drink as well.

BODY

From what I understand, this beer used to be much stronger but the brewers have brought its potency down to a reasonable 5.6% ABV. This compliments the overall composition of the beer since it’s not overwhelming in the mouth or in the finish. It doesn’t seem to have an obese body, either, although I’m assuming it’s at least 200 calories per serving. Winter ales work better as after-dinner brews or any kind of short session drinks and in that regard, this beer fits the mold very well.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Maybe my standards are a bit too high as I find myself genuinely impressed by a solid beer like Weyerbacher Winter Ale. Of course, if this is the case and I think it’s a good beer, then the average beer drinker will likely enjoy it even more. It’s hard to find a seasonal from a craft brewery that is so drinker-friendly, therefore, it’s very commendable.

Grade: 8/10

Read my 2013 re-review here:  http://www.chadzbeerreviews.com/2013/12/weyerbacher-winter-ale-2013-re-review.html