100 best winter warmer beers for the holiday season

Written by:
December 3, 2018
MaxyM // Shutterstock

100 best winter warmer beers for the holiday season

With winter upon us, ‘tis the season for spending time indoors with family and friends—and for keeping warm with a few favorite libations. Chief among these are winter warmer beers; a distinctive class of malty, sweet brews marked by full-bodied flavor, deep and rich color (from brownish-red to black), and delightfully balanced overtones.

These robust brews celebrate the season with words in their names like “fireside,” “Christmas,” and “bonfire.” English varietals often come unspiced, while others carry traditional “wassail” flavors like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Stacker scoured the Beer Advocate to curate the 100 best winter warmer beers for this holiday season. For the purposes of this list, only winter warmer beers with 50 or more ratings were considered, and ties were broken by the number of rankings available. Check out this slideshow to see if you’re favorites are among it—and to find a few new varieties to try before spring.

1 / 100
Unknown // Pyramid Brewing Facebook

#100. Snow Cap

Brewery: Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
ABV: 7.0%
Score: 3.51
Ratings: 874

2 / 100
break.things // Flickr

#99. Fireside Chat

Brewery: 21st Amendment Brewery
ABV: 7.9%
Score: 3.51
Ratings: 1,327

3 / 100
Sonnett // Flickr

#98. Blitzen Holiday Ale

Brewery: Maumee Bay Brewing Company
ABV: 7.7%
Score: 3.52
Ratings: 74

4 / 100
Eddie~S // Flickr

#97. Dundee Festive Ale

Brewery: Genesee Brewing Co. / Dundee Brewing Co.
ABV: 6.2%
Score: 3.52
Ratings: 162

5 / 100
Breckenridge Brewery // YouTube

#96. Christmas Ale

Brewery: Breckenridge Brewery
ABV: 7.1%
Score: 3.52
Ratings: 1,126

6 / 100
Bernt Rostad // Flickr

#95. Young's Winter Warmer

Brewery: Wells & Young's Ltd
ABV: 5.0%
Score: 3.53
Ratings: 243

7 / 100
magerleagues // Flickr

#94. Hoppy Holidaze

Brewery: Marin Brewing Company
ABV: 7.0%
Score: 3.55
Ratings: 108

8 / 100
walknboston // Flickr

#93. Wassail Ale

Brewery: Woodstock Inn Brewery
ABV: 8.0%
Score: 3.56
Ratings: 104

9 / 100
nick.amoscato // Flickr

#92. Great Lakes Winter Ale

Brewery: Great Lakes Brewery
ABV: 6.2%
Score: 3.56
Ratings: 121

10 / 100
Sebago Brewing // YouTube

#91. Slick Nick Winter Ale

Brewery: Sebago Brewing Company
ABV: 7.2%
Score: 3.58
Ratings: 136

11 / 100
Steven Wetherill // YouTube

#90. Red Nose Winter Ale

Brewery: Natty Greene's Pub & Brewing Co.
ABV: 6.8%
Score: 3.58
Ratings: 190

12 / 100
Total Wine & More // YouTube

#89. Redhook Winterhook

Brewery: Redhook Ale Brewery
ABV: 6.0%
Score: 3.58
Ratings: 948

13 / 100
The Draught // YouTube

#88. Atwater Lebkuchen Christmas Ale

Brewery: Atwater Brewery
ABV: 6.2%
Score: 3.60
Ratings: 61

14 / 100
Chasqui (Luis Tamayo) // Flickr

#87. He'Brew Hanukkah, Chanukah: Pass The Beer

Brewery: Shmaltz Brewing Company
ABV: 8.0%
Score: 3.60
Ratings: 168

15 / 100
lynnfennell // Flickr

#86. Never Summer Ale

Brewery: Boulder Beer / Wilderness Pub
ABV: 6.5%
Score: 3.60
Ratings: 573

16 / 100
lynnfennell // Flickr

#85. The First Snow Ale

Brewery: RJ Rockers Brewing Company
ABV: 6.0%
Score: 3.61
Ratings: 199

17 / 100
Channel C // YouTube

#84. Winter Ale

Brewery: Rivertown Brewery & Barrel House
ABV: 7.0%
Score: 3.62
Ratings: 140

18 / 100
fourbrewers // Flickr

#83. Festivus

Brewery: Full Pint Brewing Company
ABV: 6.0%
Score: 3.62
Ratings: 155

19 / 100
Scottb211 // Flickr

#82. Powder Hound Winter Ale

Brewery: Big Sky Brewing Company
ABV: 7.2%
Score: 3.62
Ratings: 538

20 / 100
Foodista // Flickr

#81. Barrel Aged Brrrbon (Brothers' Reserve Series)

Brewery: Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
ABV: 9.4%
Score: 3.62
Ratings: 588

21 / 100
Jessie Pearl // Flickr

#80. Winter Warmer

Brewery: Hangar 24 Brewing
ABV: 7.8%
Score: 3.63
Ratings: 64

22 / 100
David Pursehouse // Flickr

#79. Jubilation Ale

Brewery: Baird Brewing Company / Fishmarket Taproom
ABV: 7.0%
Score: 3.64
Ratings: 75

23 / 100
lynnfennell // Flickr

#78. Rosey Nosey

Brewery: George Bateman & Son / Batemans Brewery
ABV: 5.0%
Score: 3.64
Ratings: 83

24 / 100
Oppigårds Bryggeri // YouTube

#77. Oppigårds Winter Ale

Brewery: Oppigårds Bryggeri AB
ABV: 5.3%
Score: 3.64
Ratings: 128

25 / 100
bandita // Flickr

#76. Ebenezer Ale

Brewery: BridgePort Brewing Co. / Brewpub
ABV: 6.4%
Score: 3.64
Ratings: 447

26 / 100
Flickr

#75. Winter Ale

Brewery: Mt. Carmel Brewing Company
ABV: 8.0%
Score: 3.66
Ratings: 79

27 / 100
Zanatpike // Wikimedia Commons

#74. Pike Auld Acquaintance Hoppy Holiday Ale

Brewery: Pike Brewing Company
ABV: 5.5%
Score: 3.66
Ratings: 133

28 / 100
lynnfennell // Flickr

#73. Winter Welcome Ale

Brewery: Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster)
ABV: 6.0%
Score: 3.67
Ratings: 2,272

29 / 100
Sly Fox // YouTube

#72. Christmas Ale

Brewery: Sly Fox Brewing Company
ABV: 6.5%
Score: 3.68
Ratings: 425

30 / 100
BOC Guys // YouTube

#71. Frostnipper Winter Warmer

Brewery: Aviator Brewing Company
ABV: 7.3%
Score: 3.69
Ratings: 72

31 / 100
Authentic Michigan // YouTube

#70. 3 Scrooges

Brewery: Griffin Claw Brewing Company
ABV: 6.5%
Score: 3.69
Ratings: 74

32 / 100
JerryDAndrews // Flickr

#69. Diamond Knot Ho! Ho! Winter Ale

Brewery: Diamond Knot Brewery
ABV: 8.5%
Score: 3.69
Ratings: 85

33 / 100
Olivier boit des bières // YouTube

#68. 25 Dodici

Brewery: Birra Del Borgo
ABV: 9.5%
Score: 3.69
Ratings: 102

34 / 100
Public Domain

#67. Schlafly Christmas Ale

Brewery: The Schlafly Tap Room
ABV: 8.0%
Score: 3.69
Ratings: 562

35 / 100
AdamsCraftBeerChannel// YouTube

#66. Poacher's Choice

Brewery: Badger Brewery, Hall and Woodhouse
ABV: 5.7%
Score: 3.70
Ratings: 63

36 / 100
sashafatcat // Flickr

#65. Mogul Madness Ale

Brewery: Rogue Ales
ABV: 6.6%
Score: 3.70
Ratings: 335

37 / 100
emileifrem // Flickr

#64. BiFrost

Brewery: Elysian Brewing Company
ABV: 8.3%
Score: 3.70
Ratings: 543

38 / 100
Kingfox // Flickr

#63. Batch 666

Brewery: Appalachian Brewing Company
ABV: 7.7%
Score: 3.71
Ratings: 90

39 / 100
o_sam_o // Flickr

#62. Winter Warmer Ale

Brewery: No-Li Brewhouse
ABV: 7.5%
Score: 3.72
Ratings: 60

40 / 100
mastermaq // Flickr

#61. Vertical Winter Ale

Brewery: Tree Brewing
ABV: 5.0%
Score: 3.73
Ratings: 50

41 / 100
chrisscott // Flickr

#60. Wasatch First One Down

Brewery: Utah Brewers Cooperative
ABV: 7.1%
Score: 3.73
Ratings: 55

42 / 100
radiobread // Flickr

#59. Father John's Winter Ale

Brewery: Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company
ABV: 7.0%
Score: 3.73
Ratings: 69

43 / 100
PeterKraayvanger // Pixabay

#58. Winter Warmer

Brewery: The Brew Kettle Taproom & Smokehouse / Production Works
ABV: 8.0%
Score: 3.73
Ratings: 148

44 / 100
radiobread // Flickr

#57. Winterbraun

Brewery: Lost Coast Brewery and Cafe
ABV: 8.0%
Score: 3.73
Ratings: 446

45 / 100
cursedthing // Flickr

#56. Summit Winter Ale

Brewery: Summit Brewing Company
ABV: 6.1%
Score: 3.73
Ratings: 588

46 / 100
Sam Cavenagh // Flickr

#55. Nutcracker Winter Warmer Ale

Brewery: Boulevard Brewing Co.
ABV: 7.8%
Score: 3.73
Ratings: 920

47 / 100
Tyler Monroe // YouTube

#54. Elevator Winter Warmer Ale

Brewery: Elevator Brewery & Draught Haus
ABV: 8.6%
Score: 3.74
Ratings: 59

48 / 100
IsabellaO // YouTube

#53. Fish Tale Winterfish

Brewery: Fish Brewing Company / Fishbowl Brewpub
ABV: 7.5%
Score: 3.74
Ratings: 182

49 / 100
amberdegrace // Flickr

#52. Frosted Frog Christmas Ale

Brewery: Hoppin' Frog Brewery
ABV: 8.6%
Score: 3.74
Ratings: 416

50 / 100
Love the wind // Shutterstock

#51. Casco Bay Winter Ale (Old Port Ale)

Brewery: Casco Bay Brewing Co.
ABV: 7.3%
Score: 3.75
Ratings: 84

51 / 100
nan palmero // Flickr

#50. Old Bat Rastard

Brewery: Freetail Brewing Company
ABV: 9.1%
Score: 3.75
Ratings: 97

52 / 100
QuesterMark // Flickr

#49. Winter Warmer

Brewery: Rahr & Sons Brewing Company
ABV: 8.5%
Score: 3.75
Ratings: 233

53 / 100
Venture Vancouver // Flickr

#48. Lions Winter Ale

Brewery: Granville Island Brewery
ABV: 5.5%
Score: 3.75
Ratings: 260

54 / 100
Sam Cavenagh // Flickr

#47. Festivus Holiday Ale

Brewery: Black Raven Brewing Co.
ABV: 7.6%
Score: 3.76
Ratings: 50

55 / 100
Sam Cavenagh // Flickr

#46. Bonfire Ale

Brewery: Fremont Brewing Company
ABV: 6.0%
Score: 3.76
Ratings: 158

56 / 100
patruby83 // Flickr

#45. Prelude

Brewery: Shipyard Brewing Company
ABV: 6.7%
Score: 3.76
Ratings: 581

57 / 100
Natalya Okorokova // Shutterstock

#44. Winter Ale

Brewery: Telegraph Brewing Company
ABV: 7.1%
Score: 3.77
Ratings: 81

58 / 100
Sarah McDevitt // Flickr

#43. Brrr

Brewery: Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
ABV: 7.2%
Score: 3.77
Ratings: 968

59 / 100
lynnfennell // Flickr

#42. Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale

Brewery: Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
ABV: 5.9%
Score: 3.77
Ratings: 3,715

60 / 100
5chw4r7z // Flickr

#41. Christian Moerlein Christkindl Winter Warmer

Brewery: Christian Moerlein Brewing Company
ABV: 7.0%
Score: 3.78
Ratings: 123

61 / 100
Oakshire Brewing // YouTube

#40. Ill-Tempered Gnome

Brewery: Oakshire Brewing
ABV: 6.8%
Score: 3.78
Ratings: 127

62 / 100
West Sixth Brewing // YouTube

#39. Christmas Ale

Brewery: West Sixth Brewing Company
ABV: 9.0%
Score: 3.79
Ratings: 100

63 / 100
Sam Howzit // Flickr

#38. Winter Warmer

Brewery: Columbus Brewing Company
ABV: 7.5%
Score: 3.79
Ratings: 112

64 / 100
Sarah McD // Wikimedia Commons

#37. Fa La La La La

Brewery: Double Mountain Brewery & Taproom
ABV: 7.6%
Score: 3.80
Ratings: 90

65 / 100
Dark Horse Brewing Co// YouTube

#36. Dark Horse 4 Elf

Brewery: Dark Horse Brewing Company
ABV: 8.8%
Score: 3.80
Ratings: 845

66 / 100
wickenden // Flickr

#35. Avalanche

Brewery: Snoqualmie Falls Brewing Company & Taproom
ABV: 6.8%
Score: 3.81
Ratings: 51

67 / 100
Nrbelex // Flickr

#34. Sweetwater Festive Ale

Brewery: SweetWater Brewing Company
ABV: 7.7%
Score: 3.82
Ratings: 816

68 / 100
Adam Jones, Ph.D. // Wikimedia Commons

#33. Full Sail Wassail

Brewery: Full Sail Brewing Company
ABV: 7.2%
Score: 3.82
Ratings: 876

69 / 100
Garrison Brewing // YouTube

#32. Winter Warmer

Brewery: Garrison Brewing Company
ABV: 6.8%
Score: 3.83
Ratings: 63

70 / 100
Brewheads Entertainment // YouTube

#31. Winter Ale

Brewery: Fremont Brewing Company
ABV: 8.0%
Score: 3.84
Ratings: 204

71 / 100
o_sam_o // Flickr

#30. Cabin Fever Ale

Brewery: Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
ABV: 6.3%
Score: 3.84
Ratings: 337

72 / 100
RCH Brewery // YouTube

#29. Ale Mary

Brewery: RCH Brewery
ABV: 6.0%
Score: 3.86
Ratings: 78

73 / 100
Bernt Rostad // Flickr

#28. Frosted Frog Christmas Ale - Barrel-Aged

Brewery: Hoppin' Frog Brewery
ABV: 8.6%
Score: 3.86
Ratings: 159

74 / 100
Erik Wood // YouTube

#27. Stir Crazy

Brewery: Indeed Brewing Company
ABV: 6.5%
Score: 3.86
Ratings: 225

75 / 100
nyuhuhuu // Wikimedia Commons

#26. Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale

Brewery: Anderson Valley Brewing Company
ABV: 6.9%
Score: 3.87
Ratings: 1,847

76 / 100
Bernt Rostad // Flickr

#25. Bestefar

Brewery: HaandBryggeriet
ABV: 9.0%
Score: 3.88
Ratings: 145

77 / 100
o_sam_o // Flickr

#24. Vinter Varmer

Brewery: Laurelwood Public House & Brewery
ABV: 6.4%
Score: 3.89
Ratings: 85

78 / 100
LeeKeoma

#23. Fuller's Old Winter Ale

Brewery: Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
ABV: 5.3%
Score: 3.89
Ratings: 106

79 / 100
fourbrewers // Flickr

#22. Winter Ale

Brewery: pFriem Family Brewers
ABV: 7.5%
Score: 3.90
Ratings: 51

80 / 100
Christopher Brown // YouTube

#21. First Frost

Brewery: Fullsteam Brewery
ABV: 8.8%
Score: 3.90
Ratings: 83

81 / 100
Fil.Al // Flickr

#20. St. Peter's Winter Ale

Brewery: St. Peter's Brewery Co Ltd
ABV: 6.5%
Score: 3.90
Ratings: 264

82 / 100
Time4Hemp // YouTube

#19. Double Diamond Winter Ale

Brewery: Dick's Brewing Company
ABV: 7.5%
Score: 3.91
Ratings: 77

83 / 100
Mike Tigas // Flickr

#18. Odell Isolation Ale

Brewery: Odell Brewing Company
ABV: 6.0%
Score: 3.92
Ratings: 816

84 / 100
cogocogo // Flickr

#17. Special Holiday Ale - Nøgne Ø / Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales / Stone Brewing Co.

Brewery: Nøgne Ø - Det Kompromissløse Bryggeri A/S
ABV: 8.5%
Score: 3.93
Ratings: 260

85 / 100
peteSwede // Flickr

#16. Jubelale

Brewery: Deschutes Brewery
ABV: 6.7%
Score: 3.93
Ratings: 2,843

86 / 100
Intrigue Media // YouTube

#15. Iron Duke

Brewery: Wellington County Brewery
ABV: 6.5%
Score: 3.94
Ratings: 89

87 / 100
Public Domain

#14. Brewer's Art St. Festivus Holiday Ale

Brewery: The Brewer's Art
ABV: 8.0%
Score: 3.95
Ratings: 74

88 / 100
Dark Horse Brewing Co// YouTube

#13. Rum Barrel Aged 4 Elf

Brewery: Dark Horse Brewing Company
ABV: 8.8%
Score: 3.95
Ratings: 100

89 / 100
The Cleveland Kid // Flickr

#12. Christmas Ale

Brewery: Great Lakes Brewing Co.
ABV: 7.5%
Score: 3.95
Ratings: 3,163

90 / 100
ThisisCLE // YouTube

#11. 12 Dogs Of Christmas Ale

Brewery: Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
ABV: 8.3%
Score: 3.96
Ratings: 768

91 / 100
Boundary Bay Brewery // YouTube

#10. Cabin Fever Winter Ale

Brewery: Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro
ABV: 8.5%
Score: 3.97
Ratings: 82

92 / 100
Pittsburgh Ale Trail // Flickr

#9. Snow Melt Winter Ale

Brewery: East End Brewing Company
ABV: 7.0%
Score: 3.99
Ratings: 147

93 / 100
CohenSBHS // Pixabay

#8. Highland Cold Mountain Winter Ale

Brewery: Highland Brewing
ABV: 5.8%
Score: 4.01
Ratings: 806

94 / 100
Adam Jones, Ph.D. // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Lead Dog Olde English Ale

Brewery: Yukon Brewing Company
ABV: 7.0%
Score: 4.02
Ratings: 69

95 / 100
CartonBrewingCompany// YouTube

#6. Decoy

Brewery: Carton Brewing Company
ABV: 12.0%
Score: 4.02
Ratings: 115

96 / 100
cogocogo // Flickr

#5. God Jul

Brewery: Nøgne Ø - Det Kompromissløse Bryggeri A/S
ABV: 8.5%
Score: 4.08
Ratings: 334

97 / 100
QuesterMark // Flickr

#4. Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer

Brewery: Rahr & Sons Brewing Company
ABV: 8.5%
Score: 4.08
Ratings: 423

98 / 100
ThisisCLE // YouTube

#3. Barrel Aged 12 Dogs Of Christmas

Brewery: Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
ABV: 10.0%
Score: 4.12
Ratings: 111

99 / 100
Firkin Awesome // YouTube

#2. Wintervention

Brewery: Peticolas Brewing Company
ABV: 10.0%
Score: 4.20
Ratings: 61

100 / 100
Hopstories // YouTube

#1. Coffee Cinnamon B-Bomb

Brewery: Fremont Brewing Company
ABV: 13.0%
Score: 4.57
Ratings: 943

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