Review of "Youngs Winter Warmer"

published 22/12/2003 | ElizaF
Member since : 14/08/2003
Reviews : 73
Members who trust : 99
About me :
Pro Tasty, rich, not too gassy
Cons Limited availibility
very helpful

"Brrrrr....Baby it's cold outside....."

Youngs Wandsworth

Youngs Wandsworth

Samples of Ales produced by Youngs brewery:
Young's Waggle Dance Ale, Bottle 1 x 500ml £1.65/bottle
Young's Special Ale, Bottle 1 x 500ml£1.66/bottle
Young's Special Ale, London, Bottle 1 x 500ml £1.70/bottle

Variety being reviewed today:
Young’s Winter warmer (tap)

Quantities and availability:
500ml bottles (very limited availability)
I found it in a local Co-op for £1.59 per bottle. The bigger supermarket chains do not seem to be stocking this beer this year (2004), which is disappointing.

On tap in public houses where Young’s beer is served. These are especially prominent in the Wandsworth area of (South-West) London.

Period of availability
This is a seasonal beer, which is only on sale as long as stocks supplied from Young’s brewers last. They send out their batches from November to December annually.

Alcohol content: (ABV)
Alcohol 5%

Interesting tit-bits:
This beer is suitable for veggies

Background to Young’s brewery:
The site of Young's brewery in Wandsworth is the oldest place in Britain on which beer has been continuously brewed. Production here started during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I!

In reverence to Youngs, they seen very keen on tradition and shy away from a tendency to 'modernise, modernise, modernise. Their beers are delivered to local pubs brewery pubs by Shire horse and cart on a daily basis and they have preserved the well in the yard of the Ram (under the floor of the modern brewery) which is where the water used for brewing originally came from. A tour of the brewery (WELL worth doing!) shows that the brewing equipment itself is a strange combination of new and old. It is a bit puzzling but at the same time heartening to see Victorian ceramic standing vessels being used alongside the gleaming chrome pipes of modern brewing technology.

There is buckets more that I could tell you about the history of Youngs having done the tour on Saturday such as the owner who turned all production to stout, dramatic fires, huge investments in the new railway system by the company to transport their beers, partners running off with other partner’s wives, air-raid damage, their emergence onto the stock market in the mid-50’s, buying out bottling firms, the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to the brewery to celebrate their 150th anniversary, a new £5 million brewhouse in 1984, the building of the company’s first purpose built hotel at the Bridge in Greenford but as this op is more about the beer than the brewery, I shall leave you to have an explore of their website (listed in recommended URLs at the end of this op) with the HIGH recommendation that you have a tour of their brewery if you are ever in SW London.

The Ingredients:
Malt, crystal malt, Young's Special Mix Sugar, Fuggles and Goldings hops.

This bottled version of this beer is NOT bottle conditioned. For the uninitiated
this means that yeast is not added to the bottle once the initial brewing is complete. The problem with this is, unless otherwise advised, the beer is really only good for drinking right away rather than laying down at home to improve.

Right enough of a history lesson, what does it look/smell/taste like?
I first had this beer in the Queen Adelaide pub in Wandsworth as a Christmas drink as it was new and having been a fan of the hysterically named Waggledance ale, I was inclined towards anything made by Youngs brewery.

On first appearance, it is a medium bodied beer, deep brown in colour with a deep red mahogany tint. The head is creamy for a few seconds after leaving the tap but quickly turns into a weak looking cousin of the flecks of washing-up liquid that live on the top of a bowl of tea time dishes.

Never mind, it takes more than this to put me off a freshly poured pint….

The aroma from the beer is of toffee and hops which is indicative of the sweet/bitter dichotomy of flavours to follow. First tasting is lovely, really rich and warm, it puts many a weaker beer to the watery shame that they are. The first mouthful is lovely, a malty, fruity taste. After a few mouthfuls, the beer has that same characteristic as Guinness in that it makes you feel quite full. This feeling is not from the gassiness, as even after a few jars, it does not send you plunging for the great outdoors to share your wind with the traffic rather than risk social exclusion from your office forever. The feeling of fullness comes from the rich and varied range of tastes included in the beer.

The overall sensation is of a beer that is full of flavour and well rounded on the palate. A blood warmer, it ‘hits the spot’ with an iron fist wrapped in a velvet glove. One pint melts the leg muscles and loosens the tongue (and this is after a big lunch), two get the drinker in the mood to settle into the comfortable seating of the pub and I imagine three would have had me singing ‘fairytale of new york’ complete with out-of-tone-and-tune chorus and accompaniment.

The aftertaste is of hops with a slightly bitter edge to them but not enough to be ‘nasty’. I did notice, however, that about an hour or so after the last pint that there was a taste in my mouth like the dentist had just inserted a metal tongue press.

In conclusion....
This is a lovely tasting rich beer which is ideal for a pint at lunchtime or a few swifties after a day at work. I would not recommend it as a drink all night long as it makes the drinker feel very full and very tipsy very quickly.

According to Ben Franklin: "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." And who am I to argue with him? With a beer like Winter Warmer in existance, I know I am really LOVED by him/her/it/whatever upstairs.

Useful Related URL’s:
************* (flash site unfortunately)

Thanks for reading


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Comments on this review

  • Gildor_Inglorion published 25/01/2006
    Lol, like the Ben Franklin quote, not tried this, though i do like my ale, especially when its infront of me ... Gil
  • kam76 published 05/09/2005
    Fabulous review - I feel like a pint right now! Cheers, K.
  • n13roy published 30/08/2005
    Really well written, informative and detailed review, and some History thrown in too. I've tried this a few times and quite like it, but I do agree, it can get you tipsy very quickly indeed.......Roy
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Product Information : Youngs Winter Warmer

Manufacturer's product description


Product Details

Type: Ale

Manufacturer: Wells & Young's


Listed on Ciao since: 22/01/2003