Sam Adams Winter Lager

By on February 19, 2009 @ 8 PM (4 Comments)

Sam Adams Seasonal LabelYou probably know that we’re fans of the Sam Adams Seasonals lineup. We don’t hide that. They’re usually quite a bit more balanced than the regular Sam Adams Boston Lager, and we like that because we like our taste buds to retain the ability to actually taste things. See, it’s a proven fact that too many hops can actually dissolve your tongue. It’s true, look it up! (Editor’s note: that’s not true in the least bit).

The Sam Adams seasonal lineup looks like this, starting in the spring: Sam Adams White Ale, Sam Adams Summer Ale, Sam Adams Octoberfest and Sam Adams Winter Lager. We’re hitting all the Sam Adams seasonals and this is stop three of four on our incredible journey. Sam Adams of course, is brewed by the Boston Beer Company, which makes lots of fine beers – probably 10 to 20 different beers total – that cover a broad range of styles, alcohol contents and price points.

Our Sam Adams Winter Lager registered an initial temperature of 47.5 F and our 12 oz bottle sported a nice 5.8% ABV. We used an English pint glass for our review.

The initial pour gave us a large 2 1/4″ foamy off-white head that dissipated slowly and left us some good head lacing en route. There were no discernible carbonation bubbles to speak of. The body was clear with a textbook amber color.

For the aromas we were able to pull our a very light caramel, nutty, floral, orange, resin, cinnamon, ginger and some miscellaneous spices. It’s really a great sniffer of a beer. For the tastes there were fewer notes, which gave us biscuit, light caramel, floral, ginger and some more miscellaneous spices.

The initial flavor notes were a moderate to heavy sweet and a very light bitter. The finish flavor notes were a light sweet and light to moderate bitter. The moderation in the hops and bitterness in this and other Sam Adams Seasonals is one of the biggest selling points for us.

The finish length is short, the mouthfeel is nice and creamy (not like a Guinness, but still creamy nonetheless), and the tongue hit is in the middle of the tongue. There’s no body lacing as we lower the beer levels in the glass.

On The BeerFathers patented malt to hop scale it comes in one click to the right of balanced on the hoppy side (a 6 for those keeping score at home, and we know you are). For our bottom line notes we get a yes to drinkable, repeatable, balance and buy again. We get a no to harmony, memorable and wow factor.

This is a good beer, a fine beer really. There is a nice malt sweetness that hits you immediately and makes you take notice, along with the wonderfully smooth mouthfeel. It really shows you what Sam Adams can do when they put a restraining order on the hops.

This is a beer that really fits the time of year that it’s available – winter. It matches up beautifully with what the body craves during the cold winter months. The Winter Lager could also go well with dessert – the spices would play beautifully with just about any final course.

The price is good and it’s a good value at the price. This is a great beer for repeatability – you could and should do more than one. It’s terrific on tap (Son Beer Love had a lot of this on tap during the winter months) and it’s a nice introduction to winter/Christmas style beers for the craft beer newbie. It’s also a perfect conversion beer for those wanting to get into craft beers or for those you want to get into good beer.

As a test I gave this out at a Panthers tailgate party to a pure Bud Light drinker (who had told me not to bring any fancy stuff) and he wound up having 3 of them. Then he called me the next week to tell me he bought a six pack to have that weekend. Mission accomplished and you’re welcome.

Sam Adams Winter Lager Rating: 5 out of 10 (?)

4 Comments (Add Your Comments)

  1. Matt says:

    This last winter I tried looking everywhere in this city (Temecula, CA) and I couldn’t find one store that sold this beer. I’m upset…

  2. Bruce Hackmann says:

    Sam Adams scares me! But, this past winter when the bar had the seasonal tap going, I had to try one. Had a taster glass first and I was ready for the taste bud assualt. I envisioned pine needles being dragged across my tounge. Wow, no extreme bitterness. Yes, it was a nice winter brew. Only have had it on tap a couple of times. Maybe this winter I will be brave enough to buy a six pack. But, after trying the Blackberry syrup last week – I am not looking for a Sam Adams for a while. Two sips of Blackberry and all the bottles from that six pack watered my new flowers I planted.

  3. Grant says:

    I think this is one of the better beers on the market. I really enjoy the cinnamon flavors in the after taste of the lager. I think it is best to drink straight out of the bottle, or on tap, but i would never pour from bottle to glass. This beer is one of the best things about the winter for me.

  4. Scott says:

    I really like SA’s Winter Brew but it’s seasonal and now ‘out of season’ maybe it’s the warm winter….
    Anyway, do you have a recommendation for a like tasting beer that is available all year round?

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