Snowstorm 2009 - August Schell Brewing Company
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Ratings: 67 | Reviews: 59 | Display Reviews Only:
3.63/5 rDev -7.4%
Dark walnut with generous highlights of cherry and orange. Backlighting with an overcast sky reveals a lack of opacity. A vigorous pour generated nearly three fingers of caramel nougat colored foam that is responsible for the good score all by its lonesome. Scattered scraps of sudsy lace neither help nor hurt.
The nose opens up with warming, which it desperately needed to do. This winter release smells more like a standard American or English porter than a Baltic porter. There's a little chocolate and coffee... and not much else.
Snowstorm 2009 is decent beer, something that is true for most of August Schell's lineup. It's unfortunate that they decided to call it a Baltic porter (at only 5.8%, no less) because that tends to change expectations and to raise the bar a bit. The fact that it doesn't smell, taste or drink like the stated style cannot be ignored.
The somewhat skimpy malt backbone delivers bittersweet chocolate, cold coffee and dark caramel. No molasses, no brown sugar and no anise. There is a fair amount of contrasting hoppiness (even as Spring approaches), which allows the drinkability score to be bumped. The hops taste generic, like Magnum or Willamette or something along those lines.
The mouthfeel doesn't come close to being big enough for the stated style... although I've given up thinking of the beer in those terms. It's barely medium for an American porter and is satisfactorily bubbled.
Schell's Snowstorm 2009 is a pretty good drinker for fans of the brewery, but that's as far as it goes. Some beers in this series end up as regular (or at least seasonal) releases. Although it's enjoyable enough, I won't be on tenterhooks waiting to find out what ASBC decides.
03-19-2010 13:11:05 | More by BuckeyeNation
4.05/5 rDev +3.3%
thick dark brown, looked black to be honest but if you held it up to the light some very nice ruby tinted notes came out. Nice tan colored head settled back pretty quickly and left a thin veil of lace across the top throughout the rest of the session. Decent amount of side glass lace as well could be observed.
The aroma wasa little light, and full of alcohol, but hell its almost 10% right? Decent roasted malt nose with hints of licorice, and maybe raisin, something with a touch of fruit tartness in there. Hint of chocolate way in the back as well. The flavor was dominated by the alcohol, though it was not overbearing at all, rather just coming through very full. Lots of roasted malts, hints of dark earthy tones and a hint of bitter chcolate. Almost a smokey feel to it. Nice medium bodied ale, alot lighter then I thougt it would be, but still very nice.
12-04-2011 06:23:08 | More by mikesgroove
4/5 rDev +2%
Bargain bin at Bocktown treating me nicely this and a Smuttynose Winter. I see a dark nearly opaque colar with brown higlights to it. Lage mocha tan head forming thick lucious foam action above the rim of my glass. Aromatics come coreect with dark roasted cocoa and coffe accents a nice warming presence about it. Flavor has chocolate, cocoa, raisins, a touch of sugar and cream coated tones with some mild coffee finished tree bark accents. This is a wild winter Baltic porter lagered for sure to style, it's slight fruity but nice and roasty with a touch of light alcohol the only presence not felt that should be is the booze tones going around. Mouthfeel is creamy bodied moderate body and carbonation crazy sensation in a good way. I would like more of this in the future maybe not a back to back brew but this stuff is tasting good right now.
04-11-2010 01:16:06 | More by WVbeergeek
4/5 rDev +2%
Thanks to morimech for this!
031110 on neck - I assume that's the freshness date...
Pours very dark brown with ruby/garnet hues. A thin tan creamy head stays. Dotted lacing, then strands of lacing as it progresses, stick.
The smell is of roasted coffee, chocolate, licorice and earthy notes.
The taste is of mildly roasted coffee, bittersweet chocolate, anise/licorice and caramel. An earthy undertone keeps it from being too sweet. It has a clean lager smoothness and finish. The body is medium-to-full.
It has a well-hidden, modest abv for the style. Sweetish, but balanced. This is a nice interpretation of a traditional Baltic Porter! Very enjoyable!
02-11-2010 18:15:36 | More by jwc215
3.73/5 rDev -4.8%
On-tap at Three Squares in Maple Grove. I'm impressed that Schell's took on the style and didn't just try to make a strong porter like some other American-brewed Baltic's I've tried. This has the sweet light candy, or wine-like, chocolate note under the roasted malts. My only complaint is that the middle sweetness turns to more of an old-shoe note (like oxidation) that builds as the beer warms, but it's very light. Otherwise, this is tasty and to-style take on the Baltic porter.
01-06-2010 06:47:21 | More by tempest
4/5 rDev +2%
(Served in a snifter)
A- This beer pours a jet black dense body with a faint red glow and a thin ring of tan head that last for a few sips. There is a tiny carbonation that slowly glides up the sides of the glass.
S-This beer has a dark roasted malt aroma that is followed by a cold but not stale coffee aroma.
T- The smooth roasted dark flavor has an inky quality with a raisin finish. There is a very slight tartness to the slightly sweet finish and a faint cola note that becomes more pronounced as the beer warms.
M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with a slippery texture and no alcohol heat noticed.
D- The nice roasted flavor are good but a bit muted with not much depth behind them. This is a nice dark winter beer good for quafting a pint or two.
02-04-2010 22:40:27 | More by rhoadsrage
United Kingdom (Wales)
3.45/5 rDev -12%
Poured into my Schells pint glass.
Pours hardly any light tan head. Fizzles down instantly. Leaves some very thin splattered lace. Color is a dark chocolate, caramel hued, brown.
Aroma: For some odd reason this reminds me a touch of 2008 snowstorm (if I remember correctly). A lot of smoked/roasted malts, caramel, dark fruits (dried cherry).
Taste: Very dry tasting first off. A ton of smokey/roasted malts. Caramel, chocolate and cherry again. For some reason, this really isn't what I was expecting.
Mouthfeel: Very dry, light crispness. For the style, the body is really thin and the carbonation is very low. Leaves a sticky dry aftertaste (very roasty).
Overall, it's not a bad beer, just not what I was expecting. Definitely has Schells German style written all over it though. It is drinkable, but I'll stick to one during a sitting.
11-22-2009 06:17:16 | More by mothman
3.3/5 rDev -15.8%
August Schell Snowstorm, poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. A dark brownish amber in color with a bit of lace.
Aroma comes off quite light just a whiff of chocolate malt.
Flavor consists of roasted malt and a lingering minerally bitterness. Light syrupy chocolate on the palate. A bit of clean alcohol is noted.
Mouthfeel is full bodied with chewey malt.
Drinkability is fine, an average example of a baltic porter that delivers the basics but doesn't surprise.
12-29-2009 13:50:14 | More by Stinkypuss
4/5 rDev +2%
Very dark shade of ruby. Nearly opaque. Creamy, sticky brown foam laces the bottle nicely as I drink. Pretty nice aroma of roasted cashews, vanilla and dark malts. This beer packs a fair amount of flavor even if the a/v seems a little shallow for a Baltic. Chocolate roasted tones stand out. And smooth caramel with some accents of nuts and a little anise. Medium bodied and lightly carbonated. Pretty creamy mouthfeel. Solid beer.
11-21-2009 04:22:13 | More by Bighuge
3.98/5 rDev +1.5%
Thanks to mnjeff for this one. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. Pours nearly black with a modest tan head that settled to a thin covering.
Aroma has some roasted malts with some chocolate, but also a somewhat sweet fruitiness. Taste has a roasted chocolate flavor that is offset by some sweet fruity flavors. Also has a slightly bitter finish.
Mouthfeel is thick and creamy with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good, I enjoyed this one a lot. It was nicely balanced in that the roasted bitter flavors and the sweetness went well together to make a very drinkable and enjoyable beer. Something I could easily have more of.
12-22-2009 01:43:57 | More by billab914
4.03/5 rDev +2.8%
Pours a black color. 1/3 inch head of a pale tan color. Decent retention and decent lacing. Smells of roasted malt, acidity, slight hop, slight sweet malt, and a hint of yeast. Fits the style of a Baltic Porter. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp with an average carbonation level. There is also a nice amount of acidity. Tastes of roasted malt, acidity, sweet malt, slight alcohol, and a hint of hop. Overall, a good mouth feel, body, blend, and aroma.
04-09-2010 02:04:31 | More by Tone
4.1/5 rDev +4.6%
Blackened mahogany with a deep slim glow. Very slippery and short stacked cap of tan foam laps up quickly then fades to some spotty lacing and a broken collar.
Aroma of deep dark breadyness and darker sweetened maltyness that carries some molasses, cocoa, fig, plum, and vanilla.
Taste has much more chocolate noting to it. Quite tootsie rollish and moderately creammy and smoothed over in a soft, delicate purge of dark fruity malt with raisin, fig, plum, and noted molasses and light vanilla. There's a puff of cocoa and cinnamon in the finishing area as it softens with alluring dryness of flourless tort.
Feel is a solid medium and carbonated just right with a well maintained smooth creamyness. Coats the palate well with chocolate maltyness and other forms of dark fruity malt as it lightens into a bit of airy dryness in the finish with some dark cookie spice.
Schell's Snow Snow is usually one of the better offerings they put out and this years' rendition of a Baltic Porter is a dandy. Not quite up to par with the Eastern European standards of the style, more stouty, but remarkable done well with that nice German touch of craftability that Schell's always puts into their beers.
11-29-2009 23:31:48 | More by tavernjef
4.22/5 rDev +7.7%
A-Dark brown/ruby colored...nice tan creamy head..
S-Chocolate, caramel, molasses. plums and hints of coffee,
T-Very roasted malt flavor... finishes with an alcohol spiked plum fruitiness/booziness...a real nice rich chocolate layer as well..almost like dark chocolate cake batter, but not overdone...just a layer in the overall flavor...
M-Creamy...medium bodied despite the lower ABV for the style... I've had several Baltic Porters with much more heft and body than this but this has a decent body to it...medium to full I'd call it...very creamy
D-Interesting version of a baltic porter...comes with a little German style doppelbock influence which is not surprising because few US breweries do German style as well as Schells. Does not quite measure up to some of the well known Baltic Porters in flavor intensity or size....but I find this quite enjoyable for what it is. Definitely a nice pick for this years Snowstorm.
I'm hoping some of the Anniversary series draft beers will find their way back in Snowstorm bottles in the future.
12-10-2009 05:32:07 | More by ZAP
3.53/5 rDev -9.9%
Dark brown/black with a small tan head that leaves a collar. Minimal lacing left.
Slight roastiness with oxidation written all over it.
Chocolate notes although oxidation is setting in. Licorice. Very spot on for the style I'd say. Would guess at a 7%abv.
Very smooth mouthfeel with just enough carbonation.
I guess it didn't realize this was so skimpy on the ABV when I set it aside for 2.5 years. Regardless it still was drinkable and enjoyable, though I can't say how much longer you're going to want to keep a full one around.
05-28-2012 03:06:37 | More by Duff27
3.83/5 rDev -2.3%
12oz bottle courtesy of buebie poured into a tulip.
This one pours super dark brown, I'm almost tempted to say black, but not quite. It's got a small but very thick head that remains a cap for much longer than I expected and left very good lacing.
The aroma is highly roasted with black malts and some bakers chocolate coming through. There is some underlying molasses sweetness and licorice as well.
The taste has an initial sweetness from the caramelized sugars and dark chocolate, and the taste seems to be sweeter than the aroma in general. There are some roasted coffee hints in the background but it's not as prevalent as I was expecting.
The mouthfeel is medium bodied and extremely smooth. It's probably a little lighter than the best Baltic porters out there, but its very good, especially given the lighter ABV. Very drinkable.
12-28-2009 03:46:41 | More by gford217
2.78/5 rDev -29.1%
Somewhat interesting effort, but not up to snuff as far the actual Baltic regional brews. Poured with a small to medium tan head and a bit of lace. Color is an almost opaque brown with cherry highlights. Aroma is standard porter. Flavor is simple standard porter. Body is a bit thin, but good carbonation. Not so strong for a traditional Baltic Porter. Ok, finish.
11-11-2009 01:46:10 | More by drpimento
4.13/5 rDev +5.4%
Generally opague black with glints of auburn poking out when the glass is held up. The pale khaki head is a whipped cream blanket on top, slowly diminishes and leaves all sorts of lace.
Big time caramel and chocolate-covered raisin nose. Fruit deepens over time with more prune emphasis, along with a background woodiness.
Dripping lush caramel as it rolls onto the tongue. There is a backing from anise and carob, eventually forming a full-fledged cocoa impression. Fruitiness gathers in the middle, in a stew of black cherries, figs, golden raisins, and prunes. A dash of coffee ground bitterness precede the woody hop bitterness, as this then lingers afterward with liquorice.
Medium bodied with a low, steady CO2. There is a muscularity here despite being on the low end of the Baltic Porter strength scale. The heavy sweet tones are predominant but balance is maintained. Don't be prejudiced by a perceived "smallness" here as I was prior to tasting it. The homework has been done on this.
Love the old school labels too.
12-18-2009 08:53:17 | More by cokes
4.33/5 rDev +10.5%
Pours a little cold for a porter, but it's not like you can blame me for chilling it since it doesn't list its style on the bottle.
Pours dark. Real, real dark. Glugs out. Medium head that dies quickly, but the opacity makes up for it.
Smells cold... I let it warm up, and it smells thick, bready, bittersweet and inviting.
Tastes like a Baltic motherfucking Porter. Goodness me. Dark fruit starts things out, lightly vinous, plums and raisins and apricots. This moves into a smaller, dyer middle that's more standard for a porter this size, and it ends on a cross between the very light alcohol burn of an RIS and linger dry sweetness of a good American porter. Holy hell. That's an awful lot of good for a beer this size.
Absolutely did not expect so much flavor out of this little fellow, especially since sixers only cost 6 bucks. If you can still find it, grab it.
02-20-2010 01:23:27 | More by mynie
4.13/5 rDev +5.4%
This beer pours a brown color. The head is two inches of tan foam that recedes slowly into lacing that sticks around until the beer is gone. The aroma is of roasted malt, toffee, graham cracker, a hint of baker's chocolate, and a significant amount of Schell's house lager yeast character. The taste is much the same as the aroma, but with everything being a little more pronounced. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is a really nice beer. It might be a little small for the style, but its depth and complexity more than compensate for that. I plan on drinking a lot of this this winter.
10-31-2009 18:29:23 | More by KarlHungus
4.13/5 rDev +5.4%
12 oz. bottle.
Dark cola brown body. Clean. Small, light sandy brown head. Minimal lacing. Some roasted malts on the nose, but even bigger notes of peat, dark chocolate syrup, cola, dates, and licorice.
Toasted, nutty malts up front quickly transition to sweetish, peaty, figgy flavors. Singed caramel, earthy tobacco, and semi-sweet chocolate lead the way to the finish. Lingering peat malt, mild herbal hop bitterness, and a touch of flavored coffee. Tasty! Medium-bodied with a nice creamy feel. A lighter, very sessionable Baltic porter, that I will miss when the six pack is gone!
01-29-2010 23:45:00 | More by alexgash
3.18/5 rDev -18.9%
My first time reviewing this beer was lost in the latest server crash. I have drank most of a 12 pack since then and my impression has not improved much.
Pours a dark brown with some red highlights. Has a large tan head that has good retention before settling to a thick cap. Moderate amount of sticky lacing is left on the glass. Has a weak aroma. I detect mostly smoke with the Schell's lager aroma. Smoke is the flavor that runs through the complete experience of this beer. A hint of chocolate is detected as well. I think the thing this beer is missing the most is some sort of acidity and sourness. This tastes like an English Stout with the roasted and smokey malt. I wonder if Schells used the same malt as they use in their English Stout. The body is a bit thin for the style. Carbonation is low so it maintains a nice texture. This Baltic Porter is done in the style of Eastern European porters by using a lager yeast. Still a nice drinking beer but lacks that little extra to match the flavor of the greats of the style.
10-27-2009 22:14:55 | More by morimech
4.05/5 rDev +3.3%
Pours a semi-thick, deep and dark brown color with a thin tan head that quickly shrinks down.
Rich roasted malt with some caramel and a hint of hickory smoke.
Much like the nose. Great roasted malt character with some toast and a nice sweetness not unlike caramel and toffee. Maybe just a hint of coffee. Some chocolatey malt as well.
Nice full bodied and creamy mouthfeel. Moderately thick and smooth. Semi-dry finishing.
Not sure what the ABV is here, but I could easily put a few of these down. Schell's has really done a nice job with the Snowstorm Series and this one does not disappoint.
10-29-2009 21:21:47 | More by jera1350
4.18/5 rDev +6.6%
Always an exiting moment in the year of beer for me. Label is a little less descriptive than it has been in the past. No bother, just curious.
Aroma is caramel with the familiar lager yeast aroma of this brewery (although I suppose it could be the water, but I'll refer to that familiar quality as yeast until I learn better of it). Roast qualities are in the background, yet present. Very slight hints of darker roast (coffee, especially). No discernible hops to my senses.
Poured with a very dark head of about a finger size (after a fairly aggressive pour). Very dark in glass with a deep garnet in the light. Clear with plenty o' bubble action.
First impression - dry, roast, lager, Schell's yeast and reasonably full body. Subsequent drinks show richness, coffee, intermittent mild hop flavor. Slight sweetness up front (touch of caramel). Really coats the tongue with roast flavors and a mild bitterness that extends to a long gratifying finish.
This is as full a beer as I've had from Schell's. Nice body and very well done on carbonation. Smoothness isn't quite to a dopplebock level (not implying it should be), just a tad thinner and fluffier, and nice.
Big enough to want to take time to enjoy the nuance and the changes in flavor as temperatures adjust. Yet, not so big as to not want another (and maybe even another). There is plenty going on, but it's not big and obvious. As with many of the Snowstorm selections temperature makes a difference. Too cold prevents complete appreciation. Well done and thanks to the good folks at Schell's for making these godforsaken MN winters more bearable again. mmm beer.
10-30-2009 16:52:44 | More by garymuchow
3.9/5 rDev -0.5%
Thanks to a generous trader.
Pours a dark, cola-esque brown. Tiny tan head. Smells like cocoa, some toasted sugars and malt, and maybe a bit of bitter coffee. Mmm...smells good.
Taste is strangely lager-esque. Almost like a doppelbock, with the sweet malt/sugar backing, a touch of chocolate (the coffee vanishes), and an interesting lingering roasty mouthfeel.
A nice, supple, balanced beer I wouldn't go out of my way to find, but if it was reasonable priced would buy all the time. If there's a downside, it's the watery mouthfeel.
11-13-2009 09:23:58 | More by Overlord
Snowstorm 2009 from August Schell Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 67 ratings.