To be honest and fair with my followers, this beer is one I’ve really taken my time to sample. In fact, I can recall seeing it in arriving in the beer store well over a year ago, greeting the winter drinking season of 2011/2012 with promise. And I must admit, it caught my eye and I was eager to see how it stacked up to other winter beers, most notably Granville Island’s, Tree’s, and Dead Frog’s. And yet I did nothing…
Until now. And since it’s still winter and the seasonal beers keep coming, I thought it was high time to strike this one off my list. And, once again in the spirit of honesty and fairness, this beer did not stack up extremely well, at least when compared to its brethren. Much like the aforementioned winter seasonals, it boasted a dark character, sweet malts, and notes of vanilla. However, unlike the others, it was a rather light lager, which kind of detracted from the overall experience. Though still pleasant and drinkable, the famous winter flavor kind of falls flat amidst its crisp, clean-tasting body.
Appearance: Dark brown-amber, transparent and mild foam retention
Nose: Sweet malts, caramel, vanilla
Taste: Immediate hint of vanilla, mild caramel and honey malts
Aftertaste: Lingering vanilla taste, malts, very clean
Yes, this beer was by no means a slouch, but it was a little light and clean for my taste. Personally, I do wonder why they went with a lager instead of ale for this installment in their lineup. But then again its entirely possible they were looking to build on the success of their Hermann’s Dark Lager. But in this case I’d say it was a marriage which, though done well, could have been done better.