If you live in South Africa, you may have noticed that we are having an uncharacteristically cold winter this year. Maybe because you’ve had to crack the ice in your bathtub before getting in, or because your eyelids have been frozen shut while sleeping.

Of course, there is always beer to turn to in these cold winter months, so today I’m reviewing a lineup of winter warmer beers that will help to chase the cold monsters away. Winter warmers are often darker, more roasted beers, but not always. As you’ll see in this review, the lightest coloured of beers can sometimes pack the heftiest warming punch.

Moortgat Duvel

(8.5% ABV; 330 ml.; bottled)

Colour: Light straw, with a large yeasty head

Aroma: Hints of floral hops, yeasty zest, and lemon.

Taste: This Belgian Ale is a complex expression of spicy fruit with notes of toast, citrus, and dried apple. It finishes incredibly smooth despite its high alcohol content, which in turn does wonders for the winter chills. Highly addictive and moreish–a fantastic winter winner!

Paulaner Hefe Weiss Dunkel

(5.3% ABV; 550ml.; bottled)

Colour: Hazy dark amber

Aroma: Raisins and fruit

Taste: This beer starts off a bit tart, but quickly turns more fruity with classic Weiss flavors. There’s a slight hint of darker, roasted malts at the end that rounds out the brew quite well. A little on the fizzy side for late night consumption, but still a solid, warming beer.

Darling Black Mist Ale

(5% ABV; 550ml.; bottled)

Colour: Very dark cola

Aroma: Molasses and brown sugar

Taste: This is a complex beer that starts with a bitter, resinous hoppy flavour but rounds out with sugary malt and burnt caramel. There are also slight hints of toffee and liquorice in the after-taste. Black Mist is a full bodied brew that is perfect for cold winter days or nights.

Mitchell’s Raven Stout

(5% ABV; 1l; bottled)

Colour: Opaque black

Aroma: Roasted cocoa

Taste: This stout is a lovely, silky beer with initial tastes of coffee and bitter chocolate. It finishes with a slightly earthy, dry after-taste that makes you want some more! It has a good full-bodied profile that is very habit forming on a cold day.