1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Snowbound Winter Ale - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Snowbound Winter AleSnowbound Winter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

164 Ratings
THE BROS
88
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 164
Reviews: 146
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 14.4%
Wants: 4
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  8.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: GCBrewingCo on 11-24-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 164 | Reviews: 146 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by schoolboy:
Photo of schoolboy
4.58/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Woo hoo! This is a big beer. Several or us split a big bottle and everyone agreed it was a good festive beer.

We all started guessing all the spices and things in here. Then we read the label - they are all printed right there.

Although we split it too many ways, we still all had enough. It's pretty sweet.

schoolboy, Dec 14, 2007
More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer review from BA Mag Dec 2007.

Real American craft brewers have the courage to brew big seasonals, especially for the wintertime. Snowbound is a hefty 8.6% ABV and brewed with honey, orange zest, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.

Dark leather-brown color, clarity is fine. Nice fluffy head with a sticky crown of lace. Flamboyant spicy aroma with the strengths in this order: ginger, honey, clove, cinnamon, orange zest and cardamom. A perfect level of spicing, being that we could pick every one out within the thick-toasted malt nose. Full, crisp body. Sturdy malt backbone throws smatterings of toasted grain, caramel, brown bread and a hint of carob. Spicing hits firm but never overwhelming; ginger, cinnamon and clove upfront with hints of orange zest and honey in the back. The alcohol is sneaky and starts to warm the palate and throat after a few sips. Sweet and spiced ending which point to semisweet.

This is a spiced ale done right, nothing light and dainty about this beer at all. Its just the way we like our Winter Warmers, with some character and girth.

BeerAdvocate, Aug 01, 2010
Photo of orbitalr0x
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours into my glass a deep dark, garnet red color with a bubbly off white head on top. Color bursts out when held up to the light. Aromas start with caramel sweet and slightly roasted malts along with a good deal of fruity accents. The honey brings a light floral scent as well. Lots of cinnamon, orange peel, allspice. Maybe even a touch of clove and nutmeg. Nice and festive!

First sip brings a somewhat roasted caramel malt upfront with a touch of grain. A rush of fruit flavors with a touch of orange peel and apple that quickly transitions to spicy flavors. Big cinnamon, allspice and a touch of nutmeg. Finishes with some clove and a lingering, warming spiciness. Tasty and malty brew.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice creaminess. Fairly malty and rich overall. Quite a spicy brew but I am enjoying it on a cold winter night. Overall, a tasty, spiced brew for the winter months from Left Hand. Makes me think of the holidays. Check this beer out if you come across it, a bomber works well for two people.

orbitalr0x, Dec 05, 2008
Photo of Billolick
4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bomber, purchased at De Cicco's Market in Ardsley, NY. Dark mahogany amber, dark tan head and quite respectable lace left on the glass. Just a hint of winter spice and cola in the nostrils. Full flavor "winter ale", that tastes more like a Belgian strong dark ale. Cola, dark ripe fruit, winter spicing all going on. Hearty and flavorful, with a long robust, rum infused finish. Very enjoyable offering.

Billolick, Jan 23, 2009
Photo of tigg924
2.68/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: small head, leather brown, clear, small carbonation

Smell: strong whiff of holiday spices like: cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg..and some honey

Taste: holiday spices like: cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, honey, and alcohol

Mouthfeel: smooth, slightly bitter, medium heavy body

Drinkability: I really love what Left hand does, but I was not a fan of this offering. This to me is a very spicy although average winter warmer. The bomber size along with the high ABV makes this a one and done. I will not be getting this again.

tigg924, Apr 07, 2009
Photo of WVbeergeek
3.13/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appears a dark mahogany Christmas spiced ale to share with your friends during the winter months, this one also has some honey additions. Minimal khaki tan head forms even after a vigorous pour. Lacing left behind is fine and even, I can't really complain.

Aroma has more spices with some ginger accents with cinnamon and cardamom some sugar malt with minimal hop presence. I highly discourage leaving out hop components in craft beers the majority of your audience looks forward to hops even with a nice winter warmer. My local makes Snow Melt which is excellent, spiced with nice hops that follow.

Flavor however is too dominant with bark and cinnamon spice flavors, there's just not enough balance to create a happy camper. So heavy in spices and honey it becomes an unpleasant experience nearly burnt caramelized sugars represent the feeling the over comes me. Like real maple syrup soaked with alcohol and tree bark flavors.

Mouthfeel is cloying with spice and honey, I can't believe they didn't sample before bottling I loved every other Left Hand brew I've tried recently including Polestar Pilsner, Left Hand Ofest, and Warrior IPA. This one has an over carbonation that I can't get over, along with the over spiced character dominating this party.

Drinkability is pretty much shite I could never imagine finishing a bottle of this on my own and asking where's the next beer. If you're actually able to make it through a bottle you should earn a badge of courage not a shot at your next sample it's rough all the way through.

WVbeergeek, Jan 09, 2009
Photo of glid02
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this on-tap at Taco Mac in Decatur.

Pours a cloudy brown color with a one-finger off-white head. The head sticks around for a while before receding into a wispy layer of bubbles on top and a thin ring around the glass. Lacing is decent.

Smells largely of spices - nutmeg and brown sugar with some cinnamon. Very nice.

Tastes similar to how it smells - up front. Lots of spices, but then a sweetness takes over that's a bit overpowering. This would be really tasty if it wasn't so sweet.

Mouthfeel is good. Good thickness and carbonation.

Drinkability is alright. As I mentioned before, this is too sweet to be very drinkable, but as it is it's still pretty good.

Overall I was impressed with the smell and initial taste of this beer, but after that it was just slightly above average. Worth a shot.

glid02, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of caddybuyer
4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a deep garnet brown with ruby highlights when held to the light. Moderate tan head that settles quickly with minimal lacing.

S-Sweet malts, cinnamon, nutmeg and perhaps some clove.

T-Nose carries through to the taste, and opens with a spiced sweet malty flavor with a nearly overwhelming sweet licorice overtone, and a hint of citrus and cherry (or is that honey?). Mid palate is balanced and it ends with a very mild hop finish and a bit of alcohol. Jim Koch calls Old Fezziwig the "Christmas Cookie of beers" BS, this is....reminds me a bit of Sly Fox Christmas. (But not quite as good)

M-Thick and chewy with medium carbonation. Very nice for the style.

D-I like this one very much, but I am partial to this style at this time of year. This is about as spiced as you can get without it getting to be a bit over the top, but it is done very well. I bomber is about all one can take of this at one sitting as it is a rather singular taste. Wish they offered it in a 12 oz.

Let this one warm a bit (but not alot, ie, it is a bit cloying at cellar temp) It is the one to go for if you are in the mood for sweetness and sugarplums, but stay away from it if you are not. I have many of these in the cellar, and it hits the spot if you are in the mood for sweetness....

caddybuyer, Jan 09, 2009
Photo of IntriqKen
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A dark, dark amber....very little light penetrates it.
Smallish off white head that melts away rather quickly.
Aromas are sweet amber malts and fresh winter spices...cinnamon, predominately.
Flavor is much stronger than the scents...strong toasted dark malts, raw cinnamon and cardomon, raw alcohol.
This becomes a very big winter warmer with very heavy and intense flavors. Very different...don';t know if I'll get another but I'm going to enjoy this entire bomber.
Interesting.

IntriqKen, Jan 20, 2007
Photo of NJpadreFan
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Left Hand- Snowbound Winter Ale

A- Dark reddish cola brown with a small fizzy head.
S- Molasses malt with nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla.
T- Nutmeg up front and center with a nice touch of cinnamon. Molasses flavored malt dominates with black licorice finish.
M- Spicey up front with a sweet body. Dry and chewy in the end. 8.6% alc is well hidden.

Overall- Tasty and proper for a dark, cold, and rainy winter afternoon.

NJpadreFan, Dec 23, 2007
Photo of GilGarp
4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We had the fireplace swept and are now enjoying the first fire of the year. Seemed like an ideal night for a winter warmer.

Pours into a pint glass a slightly hazy coppery brown color with less than an inch of head.

The aroma stands out as being full of winter spices like the kinds you find in pumpkin pie or wasail.

Flavor is rich in all that spicy goodness as well. A big malty backbone is accented by cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and anise. In addition, there's orange, vanilla, and oak flavors in there too.

Mouthfeel is nice medium bodied, perfectly carbonated, and smooth. Maybe it's all the spices but I don't sense the alcohol much except in it's warming feeling.

Perfect beer for a cold night and a warm fire.

GilGarp, Nov 21, 2008
Photo of NeroFiddled
4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

While not exactly "snowbound", I was sent home from work today because of snow, which makes Left Hand's "Snow Bound" winter ale the perfect beer to enjoy.

It pours an almost black body with ruby and dark chestnut highlights beneath a creamy head of light tan. I can see it's been filtered as I pour it, and in the highlights. The head retention is good, but not great, and the lacing follows that although it's a little better - at least at the outset.

The nose is sweetish, malty, chocolatey, and lightly spicy. In a certain way it reminds me of carrot cake, and also ginger cookies. I'm finding dark, moist cake with cinnamon and ginger. And All-spice as well. Honey? It's listed on the label. Yes, I do think I get some honey. I'm not sure if that's the power of suggestion or not. ...yes, honey, like honey grahams. And cardamom, which makes me think of Indian foods. It's subtle, but clearly there. And I also get some almond, which is kind of weird, but OK, perhaps it's a combination of sweetish malts and clove or something. And, orange as well. But I should also note that these spices are not over-done! Way too many spiced beers are over-done, and this one is not. It's at the pinnacle, let me tell you, for sure, but it's not quite over the top. Some piney hops are there as well, and to some extent, and I'm not sure how, they help to anchor the aroma.

The mouth feel is full and supple with a medium-full body and a soft carbonation that leaves it almost creamy.

The flavor expresses light chocolate and spice, with cardamom, pine and cinnamon appearing first. It's almost like a pumpkin beer in some ways, and then the piney hops sway you back to thinking of a crisp mountain top. The honey noted on the label does appear in the finish, and there, it's surprisingly not over-loaded with spice - how all of that spice doesn't lead to a complete highway pile-up I don't know, but Kudos for that! Along the way the malt is both chocolatey and cocoaish, and softly grainy and gently caramelish. And the hops are spicy and grassy and lightly piney - a perfect accompaniment - anything citrusy would have thrown this way off-course!!

Overall, given the complexity of the flavors, and the balance that they exhibit, I'd say that this is one remarkably drinkable ale. On the other hand, I have no idea how old this bottle is - it may be a year or more, which would have softened it, so I'd say try it. Put one in the cellar and wait until February or March when the snow builds up.

NeroFiddled, Mar 03, 2009
Photo of cjgator3
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle

A- Pours a dark reddish brown color with a light tan head with good lacing.

S- The aroma is sweet malt, caramel and a load of spices that includes most notably cloves and cinnamon with some ginger as well. The sweetness from the honey in this brew is evident in the aroma as well.

T- The taste like the aroma is dominated by the malt and spices. It can be a little on the sweet side for me at times but definitely a tasty beer.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- This is a pretty solid beer, the sweetness and high ABV limits the drinkability of this beer for me a little bit but it was definitely a beer that I enjoyed. Worth a shot.

cjgator3, Mar 20, 2009
Photo of RomaniIteDomum
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark brown with a nice foamy head.

Smells a litte convoluted. There is a bit too much going on, but it isn't unpleasant.

The taste is a little less confusing. The base beer comes out with a little connamon, come nutmeg, and a little vanilla. If only the weather here was as festive...

In the mouth it has a nice creamy feel. Ver nice carbonation.

This is much better than egg nog could ever hope to be. It's refreshing with nice spices and fairly refreshing. Good beer.

RomaniIteDomum, Nov 30, 2009
Photo of russpowell
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This offering is 8.6% abv, poured into my free Sam Adams glass:

Pours an effervescent copper/brown with 2 fingers of rapidly disappearing sand colored head. Very good lacing & head retention, when all is said & done

S: Mulling spices & berries, dissipates as this warms.

T: Ginger, allspice, nutmeg dryness & a bit of cakeyness up front.
More dryness, cinnamon & tangerines as this warms. Some cakeyness, sweetbreads, hints of rum, boozey warmth & butterscotch in the finish

MF: Slick, but lively carbonation, too much really & barely medium-bodied, but thickens up as this warms.

Drinks alright, hides the abv well but so busy. This would probably go down better by a bonfire in the snow, go figure! This better across the board at the brewtap, no surprise. If you like sweetness & spices this is your beer. I can almost feel it rotting my teeth as I type!

russpowell, Nov 28, 2007
Photo of dgallina
3.33/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

650ml undated brown bottle. Presumably this year's release as its a winter seasonal.

Clear dark brown with red edges in the glass. Quite a bit of fast carbonation, but no head whatsoever. Lots of traditional Christmas spices in the nose. Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and anise on a raw doughy base. Flavor is a bit limp. Medium-toasted biscuit malts are in the forefront. Alcohol-laced raisin and apple notes in the center. Finishes with a rush of brown sugar and cinnamon. Medium body is overly gassy at first, then quickly looses its carbonation altogether. Slightly above average in a crowded field of spiced Christmas ales.

dgallina, Feb 27, 2007
Photo of Gmann
3.93/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown color with a decent light tan head that dissipated into a ring around the glass. The smell is spicy; nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon. Very much reminds me of a pumpkin spice brew. The taste is of all the same spices in the smell. In addition I pick up some vanilla, roasted malt, and some alcohol. The feel is fairly light with moderate carbonation, finishes sweet and a tad boozy. A nice and spicy winter warmer. The malt presence could be a bit stronger to neutralize some of the spice. I enjoyed this very much and is worth a try.

Gmann, Feb 03, 2008
Photo of JamLand
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

JamLand, Jul 01, 2013
Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

GRG1313, May 17, 2013
Photo of Rzzzzz
3.8/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Chimay chalice. Darkish brown with a small white head that quickly dissipates to a long lasting film. The nose is all spice--oddly similar to root beer, but there are some dark bread aromas in there too. Taste is initially dark malt, though perhaps a little watery, soon chased away by a nicely balanced blend of holiday spices. Medium body and carbonation. Alcohol creeps up on you, A nice one for the holidays. Wish I had a Christmas tamale to wash down with this.

Rzzzzz, Sep 15, 2008
Photo of Bung
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. Rather dark brown/amber pour. Limited white head. Strong spice aroma, cinnamon, nutmeg and some maltiness. Some nice lacing. The spiciness is a bit edgy, with the sweetness the drinkability just slightly, but still ok. Taste has some maltiness that improves as it warms a bit. More cinnamon and nutmeg than malt though. Nearly no hop presence. Pretty lively mouthfeel, which is increased with the spice on the tongue. Winter warmers are a real niche that bend into other styles usually, this one is tough to put a finger on. If you like a west coast style, this will not have enough spice/hops. If you like a Euro style warmer, this will be closer, but probably too much spice. Worth trying though.

Bung, Apr 25, 2009
Photo of Franchise
4.1/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This winter offering from Left Hand pours a dark brown leaving a thin tan head. The aroma is honey, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, a ton of winter spices abound.

The taste is sweet upfront, boozey, the alcohol is pretty apparent, soft caramel toffee and cookies of the holiday kind. The hop presence is minimal leaning towards a strong malt backbone. I like this beer very comforting and warming. Dare I say can't wait for the winter?

Franchise, Jun 13, 2008
Photo of beerthulhu
3.73/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a dark cranberry/mahogany with a creamy, bubbly, light tan head.

S: The nose was very spicy with nutmeg, and cinnamon notes being dominate.

T: The flavor was sweet and spicy full of holiday spicing (cinnamon, nutmeg) along with cloves and some sweet molasses and darken caramelized notes. There was a dry spicy bitterness, with some spicy alcohol flavors. The beer was very clovey with a moderate finish and light boozy sweet caramel notes.

M: The body and mouthful was light with dry nutmeg hints coming through upon warming.

D: Overall a typical winter beer loaded with spices and a tad sweet. 8.5% abv hidden rather well with some alcohol warming and a dry finish.

beerthulhu, Jan 21, 2008
Photo of Magery
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

Magery, May 03, 2012
Photo of fitzy84
4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a 22 oz bottle. The appearance is very dark with little amber in light. A frothy head endures after long periods time. The smell is loaded with wintery spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, etc with some fruity aromas. The taste is really rich and spicy with heavy malts. It has a good carbonation with a medium-heavy body. Overall this is one heck of a winter warmer that definitely makes you wish it is snowing outside so you can stay in and drink this.

fitzy84, Nov 28, 2007
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Snowbound Winter Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 164 ratings.