In Beer, BBQ and Mancaves we trust!!
2012 UPDATE: See my comments at the end of this review -- MLN
DESCRIPTION: Ok, I am a bit late on reviewing this beer now that it is February. Sam Adams Winter Lager is a Seasonal beer that is brewed as a “dark, wheat lager with Winter Spices.” The Sammy Website classifies this beer as a “Bock” style with a “robust, malty, caramel, crisp finish from wheat malt and earthiness from Golding’s hops.” I purchased a single bottle of Winter Lager as part of a “Make Your Own Six Pack” at my local store.
POUR/TASTE: Let me go on the record as saying that I love most Sam Adams beers and I especially love beers with a heavy, malt-style flavor. Winter Lager pours with a nice copper / brown color and a decent white head. My first whiff of this beer struck me with a very metallic aroma. There are also some caramel malts and a funky, pungent hop note … one I can’t quite describe. Honestly, I also smelled something that reminded me of serious “B.O.," as the beer has a very bitter note that pushes to the forefront. There is a hint of “winter spices,” but I’m not sure what those are; Sammy says it is Cinnamon and Ginger. At any rate, they are very subdued.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THIS BREW TO OTHER MANLANDERS? Probably not. If you want a great mainstream Winter Lager, try New Belgium's 2° Below Ale or Alaskan Brewing Co’s Winter Ale. If I were still using the MANLAND beer scoring system, I would have to rate the Winter Lager as a 2 of 5. Sorry Sammy.
2012 UPDATE: Just scored a Sam Adams Winter sampler and revisited their Winter Lager. The previously noted defects in this beer are no longer there. It's possible that the bottle I sampled in 2010 was bad. This time around, I get more malt and a spicy flavor that's prevalent in a lot of Winter-style beers these days. This isn't one of my favorite Winter beers due to the spices, but it's not a bad beer at all.