Beer Review 0071: Samuel Adams Winter Lager

Samuel Adams Winter Lager, produced by the Boston Brewing Company, is a beer brewed with holiday spices designed to warm the drinker up on cold winter nights. Winter Lager is a dark wheat bock, which originates from the town of Einbeck, Germany.

This type of beer is known for its high content of food energy and nutrients, so it was traditionally brewed by monks and drank during fasting periods.

The specific spices used for this holiday beer are cinnamon and ginger, with some orange peel and a huge quantity of malts.

Pouring this beer into a glass produced an average size head that hung around for a bit, finally reducing to a thin but creamy cover over the beer. The liquid was orange-amber in color, more orange than amber, thus taking on a slightly medicinal look. The body was clear of any particles or sediment, and the lacing left behind in the wake of sampling was pretty good.

The aromatics showed a decent balance between malt and hops; on the malt end, there was plenty of grain and some caramel, which was evened out by a herbaceous hop presence. There were a couple of miscellaneous aromas, like a hint of banana, and as the beer was first poured, it had a wet dog scent that distracted from the good aromas. For a beer that is spiced with holiday-esque fare, there isn’t any of that on the nose.

To the palate, I found the beer to start with blast of grainy malt, followed by release of some of the noted spices, specifically ginger and orange. There’s some cinnamon lingering in there that transitions into the finish, which is more of the grainy malt with a slight hint of caramel. I noted a slightly metallic finish that detracted from the whole winter spice theme. The mouthfeel wasn’t chewy thick, but it definitely didn’t qualify as thin, either.

We’ve got a decent beer here, but sadly, most of the Samuel Adams beers I have had in my drinking career never get beyond “just average.” I will give Boston Beer credit for making a beer that seems a little outside the bounds of a typical winter seasonal (like, say, a porter or a stout), but I don’t think I would particularly seek this one out again.

Samuel Adams Winter Lager, 81 points. Price: $14.99 for Winter Classics variety pack, in which you receive two of this beer.

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