Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Winter Warmer

Winter Warmer, an English style, is described thus:

"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."

I'm confused. Spiced winter seasonal beers. Does anyone know which beers they're talking about?  I can think of two English beers called Winter Warmer: Young's, which is a Burton and Sam Smith's, which is pale. Neither fits the guidelines.

I thought KKKK was the winter seasonal.

Confused. I shouldn't read American style guidelines. They funny up my head.


The Beer Nut said...

Wychwood's Bah Humbug? The Christmas Ale Cropton make for M&S?

Tandleman said...

Walker's Winter Warmer was ruby/black and wasn't spiced either.

Oblivious said...

Would it have come from a mulled ale and a blend of some idealistic Christmas oldy English/Germanic traditions?

StuartP said...

Young's Christmas Pudding Ale is spiced. It is also a decent drink. Available in the Winter, around Christmas.

Gary Gillman said...

Morocco Ale would qualify:

As I recall the bumph, it was inspired by a strong ale of this name whose origins could back to the Middle Ages. The term Morocco denoted the spices imported from that or adjoining regions in other words. I have tasted it and it is very good, somewhat like Young's Winter Warmer but with a strong taste of Xmas spices (ginger, cinnamon, etc.).


Ron Pattinson said...

So, Old Ale with spices in it. That counts as a separate beer style now?

Oblivious said...

"So, Old Ale with spices in it. That counts as a separate beer style now?"

Spice beers have there own style BJCP category 21A. Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer!!!!!!

The Professor said...


These days, it seems that if you add one extra hop cone to any traditional beer, it becomes designated as a new style.
Rather funny, really.

Graham Wheeler said...

Shame on the lot of you.

It is daft and stupid that some arbitrary label that a brewer shoves on a beer should be interpreted as a style; stuff like ESB.

For example Brakspears Winter Warmer was exactly the same beer as "Old" and "XXXX" - no difference whatsoever apart from the label stuck to it. But those three beers were just their bog-standard 1040 best bitter coloured up with oodles of caramel, initially at least, and roast malt extract latterly.

For the last fifteen years or so, Brakspears have been producing a winter beer called OBJ (Oh Be Joyful). How long will it be before some daft bugger tries to classify that as a style.

Anonymous said...

Of course your head will hurt if you read BeerAdvocate's "style guidelines" as anything other than a poor attempt at comedy.

The Alstrom Brothers have done many fine things for American craft beer, and good beer in general, but they're not brewers or beer historians, and they are vulnerable to the usual American biases.

re: Oblivious. You're forgetting that Michael Jackson described spiced beer as a separate style, albeit in Dutch: