Josh Weikert's picture

90 Rating: Cold Mountain Winter Ale by Highland Brewing Co.

December, 2017
Judges Rating: 
21 / 24
6 / 6
36 / 40
9 / 10
Overall Impression: 
18 / 20

Cold Mountain Winter Ale (judged under BJCP category 30C, Winter Seasonal Beer) is a pleasant surprise for anyone who expects all "winter ales" to be hot and heavy.  Its subtle flavors are a nice change of pace, and it doesn't sacrifice a rich, wintry impression despite that subtlety.

The beer pours a deep brown, with good clarity that shows off a touch of ruby highlights.  The initial aroma is of a subtle herbal and spice character that's indistinct but definitely comes through.  The underlying malt character is of a milky chocolate.  Overall, the aroma is clean and lager-like, with no apparent fermentation character.

Flavor generally matches aroma, and the mocha, cafe au lait impression comes out even more!  To the herbal flavor we add low-medium bittering and a slight vanillin sweetness.  The finish is balanced, with a cocoa flavor lingering in the aftertaste.  There's definitely body there, but this beer is far from heavy, and the impression is one of "fullness" rather than heft.  

A great option for a cold evening, but not something that has to be carefully sipped from a small snifter - I enjoyed the entire bomber, and could have gone back for more!