Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Heavy Seas Winter Storm - Category 5 Ale

Today's tasting comes from Beer!, where we review the winter seasonal from Heavy Seas - their Winter Storm ESB.

Brewery: Clipper City Brewing Co.
Location: Baltimore, MD
Style: ESB
Brewery Website
Rating: A

Today's beer tasting is Heavy Seas' winter seasonal, the Winter Storm Category 5 Ale. The Winter Storm is a big ESB. It is deep amber in color with an off-white, clumpy head and fine bubbles of carbonation. The nose has a big citrus-hops aroma with some faint sweetness.

The Winter Storm leads off with a solid bitter kick up front. Fruity hops flavors pass by quickly but distinctly. The bitter hops then take on a pine/juniper quality with some floral notes as well. There is a hint of sweetness, some mineral notes and a background of pretzel maltiness. The Winter Storm has a fairly heavy body, which suits it well. The finish is long bitter hops balanced by a hint of sweetness.

It's not often that I taste a seasonal beer and wish it was available year-round, but the Heavy Seas Winter Storm is a rare exception. This is simply a fantastic ESB. There is a considerable bite for the hopheads, but it is balanced by a faint residual sweetness. Its heavy body and high alcohol content (7.5% ABV) help hold everything together as well. This is a top-notch beer for the hopheads, get some soon before it's gone.