Snowbound Winter Ale - Left Hand Brewing Company
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Ratings: 162 | Reviews: 146 | Display Reviews Only:
4.63/5 rDev +26.2%
Better than any of the offerings from Left Hand I've had, Snowbound Winter Ale is a peculiar but highly enjoyable amalgam of flavors that I found rather original. I was immediately impressed with the presentation, with two fingers of froth nestled atop a cloudy, dark walnut body, very nice. Even better were the "leavings" along the side, far more a coating than lacing, densely painted on the mug. The smell was initially odd though not off-putting, but I realized it was more me than the beer, and figured it out upon tasting it. I detected some of the familiar winter warmer flavors--cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg for sure, with a healthy amount of fruity goodness--but also got the distinct impression that vanilla was present in aroma and taste. The more I drank it, the more this fine beverage grew on me, and I'm going to grab another and stock up for the winter with some fine warmers. The texture is creamy smooth, allowing the flavors to cascade over the taste buds and senses all the more. This, for certain, will receive future attention in a one-on-one conversation with me by the roaring fireplace and a sterling history book. Well done, Left Hand. Snowbound Winter Ale restored my faith in Left Hand, and was nothing short of outstanding.
11-16-2007 04:11:37 | More by Gehrig
4.58/5 rDev +24.8%
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.
12-14-2007 05:25:55 | More by schoolboy
4.58/5 rDev +24.8%
I am shocked at why people are giving this beer a score other lower than B+. This is a super beer in line with the best of belgian christmas ales.
presentation - 22oz bomber. Poured in to a 12oz snifter. Pours dark brown with a thin foam covering.
smell- caramel, sugar, raisins, smells much like a belgian St. Bernadus
taste- well crafted malts, hops, with caramel, suger, raisins, very consistent from first taste to aftertaste.
mouthfeel - nice gravity for a heavier beer
drinkablility - I would have this quite often. Too bad I cant find it in 12oz bottles!
01-25-2009 18:04:13 | More by chipachu2
4.5/5 rDev +22.6%
In honor of the snowstorm that just pounded this area (and my former residence): Poured from a 22oz bottle into an imperial pint glass. Appearance is a dark amber/chocolate colr with a creamy head. Little lacing. Head forms a silk screen on top of the beer.
Aroma is pleasing. Spicy and festive. Pine trees and cinnamon. Some gingerbread as well. A very Holiday Season smelling beer. Spiced berries like blueberry and strawberry. Cherry pie. Man, thats nice. Reminds me of those Yankee Candles I buy at this time of year.
Taste most certainly mimics the aroma here. Very festive and winter like. Lots of pine tree and Christmas tree flavors backed by cinnamon, nutmeg, spicy berries, holly (?). A very festive beer.
Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Some alcohol is noticeable as the beer warms but actually adds to the overall flavor and experience of the beer.
Overall, this may be my favorite winter time/ holiday beer. Along with Highlands Cold Mountain, this is up there. I wish I had another to enjoy while I open the presents by the fire this evening with my wife :( Will Certainly pick up more if given the opportunity this year. A must try!
12-21-2006 20:47:48 | More by SaCkErZ9
4.45/5 rDev +21.3%
22 oz. bottle bought at Byron's in OKC, poured at a few degrees warmer than cellar temperature
Gorgeous deep, deep mahogany brown clear brew with short head. Just the perfect color.
The flavor and aroma is Christmas in a glass. Lots of spices, a tiny bit of citrus and warm malt. Quite possibly a standard for the style.
On the negative side of things, I would have liked a bit more balance, maybe a tiny bit more hops or some bitter roasted notes.
But that is really nitpicking. I much prefer this to some of the overly hop-heavy Christmas beers of other breweries.
01-02-2008 22:27:02 | More by jmbranum
4.43/5 rDev +20.7%
Poured from 22oz bottle into a Belgian tulip/goblet (gulden draak glass). Bottle is vintage aged from my closet from 2006.
Appearance- Beer pours a dark red brown with a nice large frothy tan head of big bubbles. When straining one can see thru the beer but it looks more solid brown without scrutinizing. Lacing is not too significant on the glass.
Smell- Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, caramel. Sweet malts and spices primarily. No real hops in the aroma.
Taste- Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, vanilla, caramel, pumpkin, bittering hops, Quite a lot of flavor in this winter beer. Perhaps too many bittering hops, but quite a good beer overall.
Mouthfeel- Thick and slightly bitter, medium bodied and fully carbonated.
Drinkability- I would give this high drinkability. If not for those bittering hops it would damn near be one of the best winter beers I've had the pleasure to drink. Great job on this one Left Hand.
12-25-2007 20:27:43 | More by blakesell
4.43/5 rDev +20.7%
Poured a deep mahogany with an average amount of cream colored head, light tracing around the pint glass. Aroma is intoxicating to say the least, hints of spices like nutmeg and cinnamon plus fruity notes apple and grapefruit. You smell it and think "Christmas", fits the winter warmer style to a T.
The taste is excellent, again nuts and spices very strong. Light carbonation and frothy mouthfeel, not too overwhelming though. Drink this beside a yuletide fire on Christmas eve, truly a holiday brew.
12-17-2006 19:50:33 | More by wagenvolks
4.4/5 rDev +19.9%
This is a really nice brew to drink. It is a dark and clear fluid. The smell is really interesting. You can really smell the spices. Not overpowering, just a distict and pleseant aroma. The smell is a nice compliment to the smooth taste. Its not very malty and no hops at all. It allows the spices to really come forward. A really nice feel in the mouth. Nice and thick with low carbonation. Full finish with a slight bight at the end as you savor the flavor. A real delight to drink.
02-10-2009 09:38:00 | More by fostwal
4.3/5 rDev +17.2%
Beer pours a dark brown color with a small white head.
Aromas are very spicy and complex. Ginger, cinnamon, and sweet baked bread.
Taste is also complex, spicy, and quite interesting. Dark roasted malts, sweet, creamy, and lots of spice flavors. Similar to a pumpkin ale, but without the pumpkin. (if that makes any sense at all...)
Mouthfeel is good, nice and thick.
Drinkability is good. Very nice Winter Warmer, one of the best I have had in while.
12-27-2007 02:32:42 | More by flexabull
4.3/5 rDev +17.2%
22 oz bottle poured into a Corsendonk Christmas Ale tulip. Mild light tan head that dissipates quickly to a thin film. A few specs cling to the glass with each sip then quickly disappear. Color is a solid dark ruby red with garnet highlights.
Smell is strongly spiced. Ginger and cloves are dominant with a mild honey sweetness in the background. Taste is a sharp ginger snap. The honey creates a sticky sweetness that almost, but not quite, balances the spice.
Mouthfeel is a full bodied with a mild carbonation. Pretty filling. The spices are so over the top, it would be interesting to age this one to see what happens.
02-17-2009 04:01:55 | More by bort11
4.25/5 rDev +15.8%
There has been a case of this sitting at my local retailer for at least a year and a half. I bought a bottle recently, knowing that the retailer is reputable and would take it back if it had spoiled on their shelf.
Off the bat, I was surprised by the flavor of this brew. A nice ginger kick with nice malt flavor and a decent hop finish. A year of aging has definitely not done this beer wrong, and it's not skunked at all. I tried to get my wife to try some, but she's not real experimental, and anything darker than a Blue Moon tends to get her jumpy. She sipped it and said "it's not bad", unenthusiastically. Overall, notes of dark fruits, spicy and crisp malts, nice ginger in the mid-palate, and a dry hallertauer-like finish. Definitely a nice winter brew. I was pleasantly surprised.
01-21-2008 04:29:14 | More by deliriumtremens
4.22/5 rDev +15%
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....
01-09-2009 01:20:23 | More by caddybuyer
4.22/5 rDev +15%
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.
11-21-2008 00:40:56 | More by GilGarp
4.22/5 rDev +15%
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.
11-28-2007 21:24:35 | More by fitzy84
4.22/5 rDev +15%
Picked this one up last year and it has been sitting in the fridge for a good long while, nicely aged, this was a lovely 2007 vintage bottle. Served chilled and poured into three taster glasses. This one was consumed on 12/05/2008.
A rich dark brown emerged right away. Nearly opaque with the only light coming through on the sides and the bottom which gave it that slightly light reddish notes on the bottom. Nice light tan head and it settled down nicely.
The aroma was really charged, lots of spice here with a ton of cinnamon and nutmeg mixed in. Intresting that I picked up such a ton of spice here. Light alcohol notes a bunch of caramel malts. Smooth, creamy and rich delivery of the flavor. I loved this in the style. Big flavors here of cinnamon, nutmeg, and lots of pecans and walnuts. Almost an anise like flavor to it as it warms and lots of light fruit notes from the yeast. Really tight, quick, and smooth flavor hid the alcohol well and made this one alot more drinkable then I normally would have thought.
Overall a solid and very big winter warmer. I would have no issue at all with hitting this one up again, and look forward to this one on tap.
12-06-2008 02:06:24 | More by mikesgroove
4.22/5 rDev +15%
Had this on tap at the Brick Store Pub. Absolutely great on tap- much better than in the bottle in my opinion. Poured cola colored with a reddish tinge and a nice tightly beaded, creamy head. Smells and tastes a bit like eggnog. Sweet, rich, creamy, boozy, and spiced. In the nose there are notes of ginger, chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, cream, as well as brandy and rich malt. Tastes similar, very creamy and quite delicious with an eggy richness a nice alcohol hit, and loads of ginger in the finish. A bit sweet, but drinkable enough especially as there is a bit of bitterness in the mix and its very smooth. A pleasant surprise.
01-28-2009 21:43:53 | More by Georgiabeer
4.22/5 rDev +15%
A: Pours a toffee and buttery brown coloring. Head is minimal and tinted light tan. Moderate retention and slight lacing. Sits in the glass like liquid gingerbread cookies.
S: Aromas of cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, and peppers. The nose is caramel with honey coating and topped off with citrus zing. Smells like fresh gingerbread men pulled out of the oven and topped with icing ties and raisin eyes. The bottle indicates this is brewed with, among other things, cardamom explaining the balance of sweetness and spiciness.
T: Fresh spice blast that gets better with each sip. The spices are swirling around here like a snow storm of cinnamon, ginger, brown sugars, and clover. Alcohol is balanced nicely against the peppered spice tastes. A mild hops bitterness in the middle but this pure festive spices.
M: Heavy medium and malty body with good carbonation.
D: I was looking for something that was heavy on spices and be careful (and glad) with what you wish for. Warms up nicely and is perfect for the winter season.
10-26-2008 21:30:39 | More by erikm25
4.2/5 rDev +14.4%
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.
03-03-2009 00:00:19 | More by NeroFiddled
4.18/5 rDev +13.9%
Deep bloody red body. Good clarity. Thin beige head. Lacing is sporadic and patchy. A dusty, grainy malt aroma. Like the grain room at the local homebrew shop. Also hints of orange, honey and spices. The flavor is quite pleasing. Not the sweet honeyishly cloying beer I was dreading. The beer is sweet, but more malty than honeyish. And it's countered with a slight hop spiciness and some real spices as well. Cinnamon is the most notable, but also some light liquorice-like cardamon notes. And the orange zest is apparant too. Even given all that is thrown into this (honey, orange zest, ginger, cinnamon and cardamon), it isn't a busy mess on the palate. It's all integrated nicely and delicately. And 8.6%? Wow. It's not noticeable in the slightest. A nice accomplishment here overall and an enjoyable send off to winter!
03-14-2008 04:39:42 | More by Bighuge
4.18/5 rDev +13.9%
Pours a nearly brilliant gold-tinged copper in color, topped with a pale tan head. Seems almost still in the glass (carbonation was adjusted after tapping. . .) and it's a bigger, viscous brew to begin with, but that's never stopped me before. Pungent nose, brimming with orange peel and citric hops, light fruity esters, insistent spices, and light fusel characteristics. Ripe plum, pineapple, raisin, rum, and some banana peel. Lighter cinnamon and clove and . . .honey, almost mead-like. Boozy, but up-front about it. Altogether the nose might scare some away, and if it does the brew itself will probably be overwhelming. At 7.6% it feels (and drinks) heavier, and very definitely reminds me of Lefthand's xXxmas Ale. It also reminds me (favorably) of the Lakefront Holiday Spice, which has very similar characteristics and drinkability - it must be the honey!
On the palate it's fairly full-bodied and viscous, sweet with notes of treacle and molasses, yet tempered by the spicing and hops. The tongue is given a good coating, and a bit more carbonation would likely suit other drinkers' palates better, but I'm happy to tango with this somewhat uncompromising brew in any form. As it warms it seems to grow exponentially, both in its aromatics and its warming capabilities -- definitely one to drink on the warmer side, as much of its character will be lost when served too cold. Not too much in the way of hop bitterness, but it finishes drier than you'd think. A sipper and a rare treat.
11-28-2007 19:23:03 | More by Chaz
4.15/5 rDev +13.1%
Poured into a pilsner glass. Was a dark brown color, almost like a brown ale, but had red tinges. Each pour yielded a two finger foamy white head. The aroma was mostly heavy on the honey sweetness, seemed like a honey nut bread. Very slightly cinnamon/nutmeg hints. Taste was similar, the honey dominated. Thankfully, it wasn't quite as sweet as it smelled. It felt wonderful in the mouth, coated very nicely. Very easy to drink.
12-26-2007 00:13:35 | More by mountdew1
4.15/5 rDev +13.1%
Appearance: Pours a hazy mahogany color with a frothy tan head that sticks reasonably well while depositing strands of lace
Smell: Gingerbread, cinnamon, clove and allspice with undertones of buttery pecan
Taste: Opens like a piece of gingerbread, with the spice bite developing by mid-palate, when the ginger really takes over; undertones of chocolate and toffee as well; after the swallow, the flavors mellow, but the cardamom and orange peel arrive with along with a ginger hotness that lingers
Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation
Drinkability: If you like a nice spiced Winter Warmer, then this is for you (and it is for me); if you are wanting hops, look elsewhere
04-29-2008 23:34:50 | More by brentk56
4.15/5 rDev +13.1%
P:650 ML. Bomber, 7.6% abv.
P: Dark brown mahogany pour with a finger of loose foam that quickly dissolving to a scant cover then nothing.
S: Much like a pumpkin ....nope it's the spices in pumpkin cloves, brown sugar and toffee sweetness
T: Burst of Christmas herbs that separate to include nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon and ginger with a spicy heat at the end.
M: Full mouthful of flavors that burst out in the mouth and then settle down to a dull roar on the palette. This one is a real mouthful!
D: Spices and herb really explode on the mouth, and it is almost too much! But isnt that what big beers are being asked to be now? Hats off to the team that thought this one up. Will be having more of these this fall/winter and cellar a few to see if time mellows it a bit.
Want to take your mouth for a wild ride try it, as there is nothing subtle about this one.
11-17-2007 02:51:07 | More by NitroGen
Snowbound Winter Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 162 ratings.