Winter Seasonal Beer

BJCP 30c

Overall Impression
A stronger, darker, spiced beer that often has a rich body and warming finish suggesting a good accompaniment for the cold winter season.
Comments

Overall balance is the key to presenting a well-made Winter Seasonal Beer. The special ingredients should complement the base beer and not overwhelm it. The brewer should recognize that some combinations of base beer styles and special ingredients work well together while others do not make for harmonious combinations. If the base beer is a classic style, the original style should come through in aroma and flavor.

History
Throughout history, beer of a somewhat higher alcohol content and richness has been enjoyed during the winter holidays, when old friends get together to enjoy the season. Many breweries produce unique seasonal offerings that may be darker, stronger, spiced, or otherwise more characterful than their normal beers. Spiced versions are an American or Belgian tradition, since English or German breweries traditionally do not use spices in their beer.
Ingredients
Generally ales, although some dark strong lagers exist. Spices are required, and often include those evocative of the Christmas season (e.g., allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger) but any combination is possible and creativity is encouraged. Fruit peel (e.g., oranges, lemon) may be used, as may subtle additions of other fruits. Flavorful adjuncts are often used (e.g., molasses, treacle, invert sugar, brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, etc.).
Commercial Examples
Anchor Our Special Ale, Goose Island Christmas Ale, Great Lakes Christmas Ale, Harpoon Winter Warmer, Lakefront Holiday Spice Lager Beer, Weyerbacher Winter Ale