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Snowbound Winter Ale - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Snowbound Winter AleSnowbound Winter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

164 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Snowbound Winter Ale Alström Bros
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Ratings: 164 | Reviews: 146 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

t0rin0, Nov 22, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
2.75/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a snifter. Pours a very dark reddish-brown color with a very short head. The nose brings loads and loads of spicing with some cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, light ginger, and a bit of pepper. Just too much and this carries over into the taste, where it really just is quite a bit too much. The feel is spicy and I'm not a fan. Not easy to go through much of this.

Thorpe429, Nov 14, 2010
Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

GRG1313, May 17, 2013
Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

brentk56, Apr 30, 2008
Photo of BEERchitect
3.68/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Always great to see these surprises at the local beer store.

Interestingly, the beer opens with an ester profile that dominates the stronger malt components. Rich apples and cherries open the nose with spicy ginger and nutmeg to follow. A malty molassas and toffee backbone round out the aromas and give the beer a pomising start.

The following appearance gives a standard ruby-crimson glow with great clarity, very good initial head retention that lasts the session.

Flavors begin with a burst of fruits and spices that the nose promises. These are soon overtaken by the malty, root beer, cola character that will set the tone for the beer. A rising burst of anise, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg eventually take on proportions of mixed drinks and take away from the true beer experience of it all. Other flavors of berries, white pepper, oranges, and pineapple also make their way into the flavor, but in sporatic and segregated roles. I would like to see what age does with these.

The textures fare much better than flavors. The initially sticky-sweet cola flavors actually lift off of the toung and does not leave the sugary film that I expected. Still, a touch of residual sweetness lingers along with all those spices. The bitterness from the spices is not evident and makes the drinkability better than expected. Ultimately a good drinking beer.

Tough to find a Winter Warmer that has this much flavor that drinks better. Though not perfect, it may be closer in a year or so.

BEERchitect, Jan 05, 2009
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.05/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark bronze, dark orange, dark red. This is an attractive hue for a winter warmer. Atop the beer sits a golden beige colored lid that has a whipped frothiness and is more than capable when it comes to glass decoration. Right on the money so far.

As long as it isn't overdone, I love winter warmers that include the entire spice rack. This one has an intruiguing list of ingredients that smells fantastic: cinnamon, honey, ginger, orange zest, cardamom and cloves. I *think* I can appreciate them all (except honey), but could never have come up with all of them on my own.

Snowbound is tasty stuff... with a few small reservations. The spice load is definitely on the high side and might become wearing over the course of the entire bomber. We'll see. In addition, the beer could use more crystal malt guts. At least that's the member of the malt bill that I would increase. Pale, Munich and chocolate are also present.

As in the nose, the spices are fairly easily identified on the palate since the brewers used so much of each one. Cardamom is especially prominent, but then a little cardamom goes a long way. Alcohol provides a fireside warmth on tongue and in belly, without making a nuisance of itself. Again, very little makes it through the blizzard of spices.

The bottom half of the bottle has been breached and drinkability is just hanging in there. If you're having a selection of beers over the course of the evening, drink this one last. The mouthfeel isn't quite up to snuff given the ABV and the style. More malt please.

Snowbound Winter Ale is a no-holds-barred spiced winter seasonal that won't be every BA's cup of grog. I think it's good stuff that could be even better with a few focused tweaks. Nice job Left Hand.

BuckeyeNation, Sep 10, 2008
Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%

jaydoc, Dec 14, 2013
Photo of mikesgroove
4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

mikesgroove, Dec 06, 2008
Photo of Knapp85
3.6/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This winter warmer poured out as a dark orange color with a bit of a small head on it. The smell was really spicy, tons of cinnamon spewing out of this beer along with other wintery spices. The taste was a little lighter than the aroma surprisingly. The mouthfeel was pretty smooth but felt a little flat too. This was good, I'd try it again if I ever came across it one day.

Knapp85, May 20, 2011
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.2/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a clear, dark reddish-brown body with a small, ivory-colored head.

Smell: Brown malts with a holiday scent parade of cinnamon, nutmeg, orange peel, candied ginger, dried fruits, and a sprinkle of brown sugar.

Taste: Sweet and spicy, with the ginger leading the pack, followed close by the cinnamon and nutmeg. Hint of cocoa powder. Tangy fruitiness. Mild woody hops. Finishes relatively sweet with another dose of the nutmeg.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Lightly sticky mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Somewhat cloying and a bit too overspiced for me.

ChainGangGuy, Dec 27, 2007
Photo of zeff80
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I sampled this the same night (12/16/07) that I shared a Dark Lord with dertbert. Somehow I forgot to review this until now. Thankfully, I took notes.

A - Poured out a semi-opaque, burgandy color with a foamy, off-white, two-finger head. It left some lacing.

S - It smelled of spices - cinamon and ginger (cardamom). Also, a biscuity malt aroma.

T - It tasted of cardamom, nutmeg, and cinamon. The malt provided a smooth sweetness.

M - It was smooth and crisp. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This was a pretty good winter warmer.

zeff80, May 18, 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 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 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 feloniousmonk
4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

St. Bernardus goblet, on tap on Acadia Cafe'.

Dark brown, nearly black, not quite, but close, slim head.

Cocoa, carob, nuts & toffee in the nose. ...raisins, anise, nicely spiced.

and more spice in the flavor, too, nutmeg roaring in...cinnamon.
Rich, dark malt, coffee and cocoa underneath all the spice. Medium bodied. Sip again, and the spice roars back at you.
Fully flavored, long, spicy, malty finish.
Very warming, comforting...tasty as heck.

I love a rich, spicy dark ale for winter time. Spice never quits, nor does taste. good one.

feloniousmonk, Dec 30, 2008
Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark amber/brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has an excellent cinnamon and nutmeg scent along with a roasted and crystal malt aroma. The taste is good as well. It has a solid malt base of roasted and crystal malts. It's a bit sweet and not at all warming. The spices are quite aggressive, but in a good way. It's sweet up front, yet dry and toastey in the finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate/good carbonation. This is a good winter warmer. It's deceptively high in alcohol, yet flavorful and spicey; a fine winter seasonal.

WesWes, Feb 26, 2008
Photo of jwc215
3.08/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours medium to dark brown with slight rubyish hues. Plenty of clarity. A thin head immediately becomes a very thin cover/patch before virtually disappearing.

The smell is of ginger, nutmeg, honey, cocoa powder with a hint of cinnamon and cherries. Alcohol is certainly noticeable - in a raw way. I mentioned ginger first - with good reason - it dominates...too much.

The taste is very spicy and sweet - ginger is in the forefront with alcohol just behind it. Other spices, along with some honey come through. Too me, it's a bit too spicy and sweet in an imbalanced way. Cocoa is in the back with mint and alcohol in the finish.

Medium to full bodied, the carbonation is mild, but has an effervescent feel.

A spicy - overly - slow sipper. The ginger dominates too much and the minty spices don't allow the malts (and hops) to come through enough. Interesting, but I would go to winter warmers in which the spices are less flamboyant (esp. the ginger), and alcohol less raw, before this one.

jwc215, Jan 02, 2008
Photo of Gavage
3.58/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a hazy bronze color with a very short 1/2" head that breaks apart immediately. No lacing develops.

Smell: loads of spices like nutmeg, ginger cinnamon, and allspice. Some sugary sweetness comes through too.

Taste: nice malt profile with some prunes and raisin sweetness. Spices picked up by the nose are easy to detect, almost a bit too strong here. Mild alcohol and some yeast tones are detectable. Bitterness is moderate and provides some nice balancing of the sweetness.

Mouthfeel: lightly crisp at the start, smooth at the finish. Long spicy aftertaste. Medium bodied.

Drinkability: decent winter beer to enjoy on a cold night, but the spices do tend to wear thin by the time the bottle empties.

Gavage, Jan 26, 2008
Photo of corby112
3.25/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Serving type: bottle.

Pours a dark cherry-red color with a small white foam head. Spicy aroma with strong alcohol and dark fruit presence. Tastes kind of funky with a mix of spicy pepper, ginger, syrupy cough medicine, dark cherries and alcohol warmth.

corby112, Nov 28, 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 Georgiabeer
4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Georgiabeer, Jan 28, 2009
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 Bighuge
4.18/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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!

Bighuge, Mar 14, 2008
Photo of harpus
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%

harpus, Oct 07, 2013
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
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Snowbound Winter Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 164 ratings.