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Snowbound Winter Ale - Left Hand Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Snowbound Winter AleSnowbound Winter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

164 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 164
Reviews: 146
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 13.86%
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:
Beer added by: GCBrewingCo on 11-24-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 164 | Reviews: 146 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Spider889
3.37/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Had on tap at Winking Lizard for their 2010 Christmas in July celebration. I was not aware that the beer was actually retired... I hope I was not served old beer, however if this had been sitting around since last winter it could explain a lot.

Appearance was black as oil but thin with a two-finger tall head of light caramel color. It took several minutes for the head to recede to a point where I was not drinking mostly head in each sip.

Smells of very strong molasses. There is also definitely cinnamon and ginger in there as well.

Taste is of even stronger molasses flavor than in the smell. If they didn't brew this with molasses then I should never review a beer again, it is very thick and syrupy tasting. I taste slight ginger and nutmeg and a little orange peel. The other predominant flavor is cinnamon hiding just beneath the malt profile.

As far as mouthfeel goes, the beer was thin, almost flat, although the flavor of the various ingredients was thick and oily.

I found this to be a very interesting beer, one which would likely only be better fresh and during the Christmas season. However it was not very drinkable in my book, I found myself struggling to finish the pint (and I love molasses). Maybe if paired with a molasses or gingerbread cookie it'd be easier to stomach.

All in all I can see why it was retired, though there is a chance I was served 8 month old beer. I give Left Hand props for pushing the envelope, because all of their other beers are so well balanced and restrained. Keep experimenting - I'd be happy to try the new holiday replacement!

Photo of nrbw23
3.34/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this at the Winking Lizard Christmas in July.

A- Pours a super dark red color with just a few bubbles of head. Bubbles are gone fairly quick and leaves no lacing.

S- The smell is pretty spice dominated. Ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg all over the place. Some sweet malts and maybe a bit of sugar and honey in there too.

T- Follows the nose with cinnamom being the most pronounced flavour.

M- Lighter side of medium in body and carbonation was ok.

D- Not my favorite winter beer. I'll stick with Great Lakes.

Photo of Durge
3.92/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Another nice find at the Dive Bar in Worcester, MA this recently retired winter warmer shows an opaque black/mahogany color with a decent but thin tan cover and good lacing. The aroma brings an intriguing mint chocolate and Dr. Pepper sweetness, peat and cherries very nice and unique. The first taste says...hmmm, very interesting with licorice and allspice cinnamon and a chunk of fruitcake I think. This may not be for everyone but for the spirit of Winter/Christmas, despite the fact that it's a balmy June evening in Worcester, I am enjoying the unique flavors. Probably not a highly drinkable choice, but a fun try if you should ever run into some left over stock like I apparently did. The carbonation is very fine and smooth, with a medium plus body that feels somewhat resinous and smooth with a bit of a tart bite. More fruity than hoppy. Glad I tried it but probably not something I will dream of revisiting. Then again, I guess I will be unlikely to see this again anyway.

Photo of capra12
3.9/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed out of an East End pint glass,

Appearance: Poured a slightly cloudy brown with 1 1/2 fingers of frothy head.

Smell: I smell the winter spice mix of cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Taste: Opens very easy with a subtle brown grain as the holiday spices creep into the middle to end. There is a sharp peak of spices as roasted malt profile emerges at the end, must be from the honey. A malty and spicy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Moderately carbonated, light to medium bodied at most and oh so tasty... oddly enough for the simplicity I enjoyed this beer. Too bad it is retired.

Drinkability:I would have this again and recommend this to anyone seeking a solid winter ale with spices.

Photo of Soilworker
2.73/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Dark brown with a dark red hue. Thinly bubbled head which is a light brown color.

S: As mentioned before there is a lot of spice going on here. Mainly characterized by strong nutmeg and clove. There are undertones of nutty malt with a bit of caramel sweetness. Very holidayish.

T: Cannot say that this beer really 'wowed' me. The taste is dominated by spice (mainly nutmeg, cloves, and a bit of corriander). There is a definite presence of alcohol here. In my opinion the spice is a little too powerful.

M: Medium carbonation with a slightly oily finish.

D: This beer had too much spice to be drank in large quanities. It was worth a try and I might buy it again if the price was right.

Photo of THORN
4.04/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle poured into pint. Brewed in 2009.
A: Dark mahogany brown. No head.
S: Clove, cinnamon, and super sweet. Dark cherries and chocolate complement spices well.
T: Initially robust dark malts: chocolaty and cherry filled. slight bitterness accompanies body. Spicy flavors include cinnamon and clove.
M: A little light on tongue.
D: Flavorful, blends well, and covers alcohol well.

Photo of RomaniIteDomum
3.88/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

Photo of mulder1010
2.73/5  rDev -25.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A growler bought from Left Hand brewery

A-- A dark reddish brown color. Got a very large head (3 fingers) on the pour that stayed very nicely and left a good lacing on my pint glass.

S-- Every Christmas spice you can think of is in this. Do get an alcohol smell in it as well.

T-- Lots of spice in this puppy. Nutmeg, cinimmon, clove, candied sugar, orange, and on and on and on.

M-- Spices then the alcohol in the mouthfeel. it is OK at start but gets tiresome.

D-- for a $5 dollar growler I am not complaining but it is a tiresome beer. Too much going on and early on too spice driven. Once it gets air the spices calm down a bit. Good effort but one 750 is enough.

Photo of sprucetip
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes. Medium brown, but reddish amber when backlit. Very clear. Modest head falls fast, no lacing. SMELL is spicy, cinnamon and nutmeg maybe? Big sweet malty base, faint hopping. Dissipates quickly. Boozy later. TASTE is spicy, malty sweet, dark fruit, modest hop backing and bit boozy. Finishes clean. FEEL mellow fiz, rich taxture, full body, mild bitternes and drying in the finish. OVERALL Not as complex as teh first nip of the nose would indicate, but interesting and enjoyable.

Photo of donkeyrunner
2.63/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Dark auburn with a large white head. Some lace and ok retention. Yankee Candle-esque bottle art.

Aroma is of xmas spice, cloves, licorice, honey: Left Hand went through the whole kitchen with this one.

Taste is still faily alcoholic despite this being in my cellar for almost a year. Again, choking xmas spices dominate with a dehydrating finish. There's some nice caramel malt fortified with molasses underneath there somewhere.

Photo of Cheers
2.31/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

good idea gone wrong...

good idea : a good looking dark winter ale sweetened with honey complemented by spices.

Gone wrong : the spices come first! The flavor is so strong I feel like I should be picking pieces of cinnamon, clove, and coriander out of my teeth. To make matters worse, the honey is too sweet. This beer tastes like holiday scented potpourri... A pretty big let down from Left Hand...

Photo of BradLikesBrew
2.53/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Spending my day off catching up on some old reviews. The stack is pretty massive, just now getting around to Winter beers.

Free sample from my LH rep. Wish I could remember his name, but this was at least 6 months ago and I haven't seen the guy since.

Dark brown body. The aroma is all spice: nutmeg and coriander, not a good start. On the palate malt and hops take a back seat to spices. Nutmeg forcefully controls this beer. No balance, just the baking spices that have unfortunately come to define too many Winter offerings. The body was smooth and creamy, but this spice bomb was a drain pour for me. Maybe its just my personal preferences, but this seemed completely out of balance and was not enjoyable.

Photo of cdizinno
2.41/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Tasted on 6/19/09 at Flying Saucer in Columbia, SC.

A: Dark brown with minimal lacing.

S: Spicy scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc...all the winter spices rolled into one.

T&M: Overpowering sweetness of malty and brown sugar. High degree of syrup flavor which overpowers anything else. Although the spices are nice, the sweetness is too overpowering.

It ranks just about average or below compared to other winter ales.

Photo of thequeen711
3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a dark brown into the tulip glass, left skimpy lacing. Spicy nose of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc...all the winter spices rolled into this drink. Light mouthfeel, although the spices make the tongue tingle and wakes up to the flavours. In comparing this to other Winter beers, it ranks just about average, I'm not big on the heavy spicing. Once the beer became room temp the spices were more prevalent!

Photo of HiAIPA
3.56/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber. This was another Left Hand beer to try. Poured a dark base and smelled of Christmas flavors - spices and caramel. Tasted much the same, with a strong nutmeg component that was nice. This is a sipping beer for a long winter night, not a slammer. I find this with many winter/christmas spiced beers.

Photo of roblowther
3.32/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Clear dark reddish brown with no head. The smell is ginger, oranges, and cloves. The taste is honey-dominant. It tastes like wassal meets indian buffet. Good, but Wow! The mouthfeel is silky & a bit watery. Drinability? No. The taste is just way too assertive. Good, interesting, but a one-off for sure.

Photo of thryn
3.5/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, surprising translucency for the depth of color. Not much head, fades to a layer of foam on top, cream in color and creamy looking. A lot of lace sticks to the glass.

This is HEAVILY spiced, if the nose is any indication. I tend to love such things (I remember a super-spiced offering from Dunedin being one of my gateway beers). Orange, clove, cardamom, molasses.

This tastes *exactly* like it smells. I honestly kinda wish I'd saved this one for cold weather, and it's boozy enough that I suspect it would have held up. Not super-strong, and the alcohol is well masked in all that spice and sweetness, but still. A solid dark malt foundation is heavily topped with honey, cardamom, orange, clove and other spices, I suspect. Slight bitterness in the finish.

If you don't like over-the-top spice, you will not like this. Fortunately, I do.

Mouthfeel is a little syrupy -- it's slightly heavy, which is fine, but it's a little stickier than I want from the consistency. Carbonation is moderate.

This is a little too spice-forward to be the most drinkable of winter warmers, but it would hit the spot on a cold night and do well as a sipper over an hour or two. It'll see me to bed tonight, that's for sure. Hell, I'm half tempted to recap the balance now that I realize how late it is.

Edit -- I have to downgrade as this warms. Even for me it's overspiced. I still think it would be a good winter sipper, but the spice profile is just overdone.

Photo of Bung
3.83/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

Photo of tigg924
2.7/5  rDev -26.6%
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.

Photo of demcorhip
4.03/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cellared for just over 1 year. thanks to chonyr for the bomber. A nice looking deep brown ale with a nice two finger tight, well retained head sits on top. Mildly carbonated, and already leaving some sticky yet intricate lacings.

A very inviting aroma of toffee and spice greets the nose. Earthy and tangy with its orange zest, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. I love cardamom. A nice balance is struck between the malts and the spice.

This is quite the winter warmer, and with its spice would be perfect for sitting around a fire with the family at christmastime. Toffee and honey meets zesty and earthy spices in a nice balance as described above. Some alcohol reveals itself with its warmth.

Medium bodied and quite smooth and slightly creamy. An excellent balance between the malt, honey and spices. Some alcohol warmth, as well as a touch of astringency from the grains.

For a somewhat big beer this is quite drinkable. Im a fan of Left Hand and am enjoying this offering as well. I would definitely recommend this to fans of the style, and think it would be a great brew to serve friends and family over the winter holidays. I would definitely be happy to come make acquaintance with Snowbound again.

Photo of peabody
3.65/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a clear dark brown with two fingers of off-white to slightly brown suds. Slight lacing.
Smells like dry bubble gum and lots of spices like a fresh baked pumpkin pie.
Taste is a little alchol at first then a warm maltyness with some caramel sugars. Aftertaste is bubblegum. The spices are the star here.
Mouthfeel is a bit dirty but still pleasant.
Drinkability is not as great though. Too much alcohol presence and not enough spices.

Photo of cjgator3
3.75/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

Photo of Vancer
3.85/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, but still dark and sexy mahogany brown in the tulip, bubbly tan head. Raisins, nutmeg spice and a bit of anise in the aroma. But wow, the pumpkin, clove and overall sweetness pounds though in the taste, very nice. Almost over-spiced, but still overall a solid and quaffable drinker. No hint of the over 8%, drinks like dream - sweet and easy.

Good beer from Left Hand - kudos to them.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.17/5  rDev +13.3%
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.

Photo of nick76
3.44/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The aroma is like a Christmas should be. It's got spice, pine, fruit, bread, and molasses. The appearance is medium red brown with a small head. The flavor is like the aroma but the finish is astringent and soapy. The palate is a little thin. Overall it's good but could have been great had it not has such a bitter finish.

Snowbound Winter Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 164 ratings.