1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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.

162 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 162
Reviews: 146
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 14.44%
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
Ratings: 162 | Reviews: 146 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hellbilly


3.15/5  rDev -14.2%

on tap @ papago...

dark copper-y brown colored pour with a creamy light tan head. the foam seems pretty determined to stick around and also leaves a bunch of drippy lacing behind.

very sweet smelling with brown sugar, a touch of pale molasses, spicy cardamon like earthiness, orange and other sweet fruits.

the palate is very brown sugar sweet... normally a bad thing but in this case spiciness and alcohol clean it up quite well enough. pumpkin pie spice numbs the tongue after flavors of molasses, malt and raisins pass by. the finish strikes me as soapy since ginger too often doesn't translate well.

medium body is kept from becoming sticky with help from spice overload and alcohol's presence.

too sweet but not bad...6/3.5/6/3/14/3.3

02-17-2009 06:40:29 | More by hellbilly
Photo of bort11


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
Photo of damienblack


3.48/5  rDev -5.2%

Pours a dark sappy brown, with a very thin, nondescript head. Quickly dissipates. Not much at all on the nose that I can smell, a little bready, a little graham crackery, not much in the way of spices.

Tastes of an off-dry earthiness that spikes up a bit of sweetness in the middle. Spices are pretty subdued in the character. Overwhelming characteristic is a barkiness to it. Yeasy bite kicks up near the end, a little bitter to swallow, but it doesn't seem like from hops. Definitely a full body, but the taste seems rather disjointed. I really am at a loss as for what to make of it. It doesn't fit the standard winter warmer profile. Taste is decent, but it's a hard drink. Mouthfeel is strange, it's not cloying or anything, and for a beer like this, it seems kind of thin despite the kick it has. A definite winter sipper, and kind of an enigma.

02-15-2009 07:05:26 | More by damienblack
Photo of fostwal


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
Photo of Pencible


3.78/5  rDev +3%

This poured an opaque mahogany with a bit of tan head. It smelled complex like chocolate covered cherries and watermelon and earthy coriander, with clove and vanilla and oak. It tasted like cherry cough syrup and bittersweet chocolate, with some black licorice and clove and Grand Mariner. It was slightly thick with no carbonation, and had a lasting bittersweet aftertaste. Overall this is what I would consider a fascinating experimental brew. It had very unique flavor that was fairly enjoyable. It was clean and hid the alcohol pretty well, and had good body too. This isn't a beer I would drink often, but it was interesting to try as an interpretation of a winter warmer.

02-03-2009 22:25:20 | More by Pencible
Photo of Risser09


3.23/5  rDev -12%

22oz bottle poured into a snifter - Fridge temp - 2008

Appearance: Dark black beer with a 3/4" tan head that forms and doesn't last very long. Minimal lacing is on the glass, very little.

Smell: Spicy. Lots of cinnamon, licorice, allspice, nutmeg and clove. I also smell lots of honey. Underlying base malt is sweet smelling.

Taste: Honey is there, as well as the plethora of spices. Clove is quite strong, as is some cinnamon and nutmeg. Very sweet caramel malt flavor.

Mouthfeel: Very sweet and sort of cloying with spices. Initial and lingering honey sticks with you. Spicy finish and some booziness.

Drinkability: Not bad. The spices are all over the place. The honey was a good touch for this brew, and probably it's saving grace. I don't know if I could drink too much of this. Not bad.

02-02-2009 12:44:57 | More by Risser09
Photo of skrib09


3.28/5  rDev -10.6%

poured out black with a tinge of brown showing through behind a light. off white head.

smells spice-like... winter warmer... ginger, cinnamon, strong cardamon.

it tastes bready and spicy.

grainy mouthfeel.

below average drinkability for me. one bomber is enough.

01-30-2009 04:33:38 | More by skrib09
Photo of Georgiabeer


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
Photo of beer2day

North Carolina

3.85/5  rDev +4.9%

Pours dark brown with a thin head. Sugary, bourbony nose. Initial hit on the tongue is thick with a strong alcohol prescence. The bourbon hit turns to a rum finish. Lots of caramel malt here. I can't quite put my finger on the spices involved, though.

It would be nice if this came in smaller bottles. A 22 of this is a lot for one to finish.

01-26-2009 01:49:00 | More by beer2day
Photo of chipachu2


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
Photo of Billolick

New York

4.13/5  rDev +12.5%

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.

01-23-2009 00:28:54 | More by Billolick
Photo of Lambstrong


2.38/5  rDev -35.1%

The appearance and the aroma of this beer is a bit deceiving. It pours a very dark brown color with a thick sandy brown head. The aroma consists of caramel, brown sugar and roasted malt notes. All of this is very pleasing and leaves one with high expectations. However, the taste is extremely sweet and a little twangy. There is a lot of chocolate and caramel with a lingering roasted malt aftertaste. It is the sweetness that is dissagreable. The high alcohol content lends itself to sweetness but there is nothing to balance this out. Moreover, the mouthfeel consists of an over-carbonated consistency, almost like mineral water. To say the least, I was very dissapointed with this offering from Left Hand Brewing Co.

01-22-2009 15:19:45 | More by Lambstrong
Photo of clayrock81


3.85/5  rDev +4.9%

Poured a dark brown with moderate head that dies and leaves little lace down the glass. An alright sweet malt smell with cinnamon along with spices to give it that winter warmer pickup. Smooth and tasty, an almost creamy medium-body with the malts coming through and some prickly hops but the warming from the alcohol on the backbite, along with a peppery, cinnamonny finish, is a little strong and burns the tongue a little. I could drink this but do it slowly and not session; still, on a very cold day this warmed the spirit up.

01-18-2009 02:11:24 | More by clayrock81
Photo of EPICAC


2.42/5  rDev -34.1%

This beer is a clear, amber-garnet brown. Topped by a half-inch, beige head that fades to a film leaving pin-prick spots of lace. Malty and spicy on the nose: ginger, honey, caramel and dark fruit.

Honey sweetness upfront, moving quickly into a very spicy center. Cinnamon, clove and ginger are very strong, and overpower everything else. There's a light bitterness in the finish. Full-bodied, highly carbonated.

The use of spices in this beer is really heavy handed. They're overpowering and too strong to be pleasant.

01-15-2009 21:45:45 | More by EPICAC
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

3.13/5  rDev -14.7%

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.

01-09-2009 16:23:10 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of caddybuyer

New Jersey

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
Photo of BEERchitect


3.68/5  rDev +0.3%

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.

01-05-2009 04:18:17 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of jujubeast6000


4.1/5  rDev +11.7%

Reviewed 12/18/2008 (bottle):

Pours a heavy brown colored body, with a big tan head, that is diminishing. An aroma of cookies or milk chocolate? Some kind of spice like saffron or ginger or something. Some other sweet spices are present too, and some vanilla can be detected. Some dark malts. Spicy taste, that same sweet ginger or some kind of spice present, maybe nutmeg? Some roasted malts, coffee is present too. Hides the alcohol well, not hot or alcoholy tasting. Somewhat creamy mouthfeel. Slightly bitter aftertaste. Very nice beer, very reminiscent of Christmas/Winter.

01-04-2009 22:09:57 | More by jujubeast6000
Photo of stephens101


4.13/5  rDev +12.5%

Drank the hell out of this one last winter, but never got around to reviewing it. Now that my palate has matured (by small degrees), I'm going to give it another whirl, and see if it stands up to my initial impressions. A hard pour results in a 3+ finger thick and dark tan head. Color is a sort of burnt, dark-red. Retention is adequate, and when all settles down, a slim lacing is left above a thin covering of froth. Smells of sweet malts, spice, some very subtle notes of pumkin and maple syrup. Tastes malty and spicy up front, with a pretty good hit of alcohol and some bitterness at the end. Feels medium bodied, and the alcohol heat keeps it a sipper. Might not be quite all that from what I remember, but still a damn good, and slightly underrated winter warmer.

01-01-2009 23:41:34 | More by stephens101
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.15/5  rDev +13.1%

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.

12-30-2008 04:39:10 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of Cyberkedi


4.13/5  rDev +12.5%

Pours a dark, nearly opaque, almost sable mahogany with a fine-bubbled, light tan head. Rich, malty aroma has an overtone of cloves and cinnamon and a hint of molasses. Flavor is malty and spicy, undertone of cloves and cinnamon, touch of sweetness and hint of licorice and cinnamon candy. Texture is very smooth, almost syrupy, and leaves a slightly sweet, slightly hoppy, cinnamony aftertaste.

12-30-2008 02:43:30 | More by Cyberkedi
Photo of tpd975


3.98/5  rDev +8.4%

thanks to fishingnet for this one.

A: Pours a nice bold brown hue with amber tones showing thru. Medium head with no lace.

S: Nice spice rack aromas with hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. There is a solid malt background that gives of a touch of caramel sweetness.

T: Very much like the aroma. Bold mix of spices with a nice caramel sweetness. Just a dash of hops as well.

M: Medium in body, smooth with good carbonation.

D: I enjoyed it.

12-30-2008 00:00:17 | More by tpd975
Photo of jasonjlewis


3.63/5  rDev -1.1%

Pours a decent 1/2 finger head with very thin lacing and a nice amber brown color that I can see through.

Big whiff of allspice, nutmeg, and sweet orange peel. I detect some crystal malts and a bit of chocolate malt undertones.

Taste is of some sweet crystal malts with some dark malt balance (but is not very much). I may have been wrong with the sweet orange peel reference, it tastes like bitter orange peel. Spices come out as well (nutmeg and cinnamon and allspice).

This beer needs a bit more body, the ABV isn't too over the top though. I want bigger specialty malts in this one. The spices are a little out of balance. Use more specialty malts and get ths one where it needs to be.

I just don't see a rhyme or reason for this one. No flavor really shines. It's not bad, but I know this isn't the best that left hand can do.

12-29-2008 02:13:37 | More by jasonjlewis
Photo of maddogruss

New Jersey

3.53/5  rDev -3.8%

Poured a bottle of this into a shaker glass.

A: Pours a dark brown body with a small, white head with pretty good retention and nice lacing until the finish.

S: A slightly bittersweet, malty smell with some ginger notes.

T: A strong, ginger taste with a slightly, malty finish. You can feel the alcohol in the beer while you are drinking it, but you cannot taste it on your tongue, which allows the malts and spices to be the center of attention instead of the high ABV.

M: A medium bodied mouthfeel that was also pretty smooth and nice on the palette.

D: A pretty good winter warmer. The ginger is nice, but I felt that it might have been a bit much. Pretty good mouthfeel and taste combination that yielded a pretty good drinking beer overall.

12-28-2008 19:44:20 | More by maddogruss
Photo of everetends


3.98/5  rDev +8.4%

Had this on tap at the Brickstore Pub. Served up in a nonic pint.

A: Poured a really nice black. When held to light it had some nice burgundy to red wine color shining through. Poured a tan head that had pretty low retention and very little lace to talk about. The beer is pretty still with very little carbonation movement. Decent looking brew.

S: Smell is very nice and wintery. Nice lightly roasted malts that hve some great sweetness. This beer really smells exactly like a gingerbread cookie. Tons of ginger, nutmeg, cinamon and sugar. Just great.

T: A hell of a lot like the nose. Big time gingerbread cooking goodness. Yet again all of the flavors of ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and sugar. The malt is light and sweet with notes of caramel and butterscotch. There is also some nice brown sugar goodness in there as well. Still with all thes flavors, this beer somehow rides a very thin line by some how not being crazy sweet. Just enjoyable.

M: Full bodied brew that really has decent thickness to it and creaminess. The flavors really coat the mouth and linger big time. Tons of the gingerbread flavors linger in the aftertaste. Carbonation is low. ABV is light but noticable.

D: For this beer being decently high in ABV and being a heavy winter brew, this brew is very easy to drink. I don't think I have ever pounded a winter warmer as fast as I did this one. Just an overall good beer that has good flavors and aromas that really are easily enjoyed. Just a fine beer.

12-20-2008 03:49:49 | More by everetends
Snowbound Winter Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 162 ratings.