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Powder Hound Winter Ale - Big Sky Brewing Company

Powder Hound Winter AlePowder Hound Winter Ale

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BA SCORE
82
good

403 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 403
Reviews: 234
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 12.47%


Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company visit their website
Montana, United States

Style | ABV
American Amber / Red Ale |  7.20% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
Two words describe winter in our neck of the woods... cold, dark, and snowy. Just the way we like it! At 7.2% ABV, Powder Hound Winter Ale gives just the right amount of warmth, balanced by its rich taste and generous dose of Hallertau, Palisade, and Amarillo hops. After a cold day of getting it done or just relaxing, the avalanche of flavor will have you saying these four words - "I'll have another Powder Hound"!

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-13-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 403 | Reviews: 234 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of MartzMimic
MartzMimic

Oklahoma

3.34/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours from the bottle a clear amber with a big foamy head. Nice lacing on the glass. Aroma is of biscuits and caramel. Both come through predominately in the taste, along with a bit of coffee. Hops give it a touch of bitterness and warmth. Medium mouth. This is a really nice beer for a cold winter evening.

Serving type: bottle

03-03-2014 00:32:34 | More by MartzMimic
Photo of BeerKangaroo
BeerKangaroo

Alaska

3/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Three beers into this sixpack, ok, I'm getting the feel of what how this beer is coming across.

Light somewhat green stamp upper left corner of the label "032014." I'm assuming that's best by date, ok, no worries, here goes:

Into a pint glass.

A: mostly clear amber/red colored body with a one fingered white foamy head that dies within almost a minute, it manages a nice amount of foamy somewhat sticky lacing

S: mostly soapy caramel nuts with a cardboard grassy note to it

T: mainly sweet with some caramel kinda crackery malt to it; the aftertaste is super crackery maltiness with a very dry finish

M: light to medium on the body, mostly sessionable, carbonation comes across fairly smooth and is decent for the style and for me

O: not much to see here, just an average American Amber/Red Ale, I'm unsure if I'd have again

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2014 03:08:05 | More by BeerKangaroo
Photo of whynot44
whynot44

Missouri

3.64/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Almost clear gold/amber color with a modest white head that retreats to just a skin but does manage a bit of lacing.

The aroma is brazil nuts, toffee, caramel and cardboard with a grassy note,a bit odd but not terrible.

he taste is caramel malt, crackers, pine nuts, with a bit of citrus hops. The finish is fairly dry with a lingering grassy, somewhat spicy note.

Medium bodied, smooth and very drinkable.

Overall not a bad brew, especially for a cold fall or winter day.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2014 11:49:27 | More by whynot44
Photo of Johnny_Muir
Johnny_Muir

New Jersey

4.21/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into pint glass. One of my top Montana beers, and a stiff one at 7.2% abv. Darn near fully clear in appearance. Very refreshing, almost a fall ale more than winter. Its got warmth but its not fireplace heavy. Good and bitter, almost pale ale ish. Love it.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2014 18:20:49 | More by Johnny_Muir
Photo of Eisen
Eisen

Washington

2.88/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Poured light amber with white head that fades into thin lacing. Doesn't smell or taste like much. Alcohol dominates the flavor, and there is relatively not that much alcohol. I've drank this beer since high school and it has either gone down in quality or failed to keep up.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2013 05:34:07 | More by Eisen
Photo of bmwats
bmwats

Louisiana

3.53/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a standard pint.

A: Dark golden hue. Moderate amounts of rising effervescence. Pours a 1 finger, bubbly, white head. Some slight yet persistent lacing.

S: Yeast, sourdough, and pine nuts. A little orange.

T: Hops and yeast. Some lightly sweet and acidic lemon and orange citrus.

M: Crisp yet syrupy. The elevated alcohol is apparent. Biting finish with almost a synthetic sweetness that lingers on the palate.

D: Elevated alcohol will slow your progression a bit, but pretty much sessionable.

Atmosphere is pretty good. Dark hue, continual effervescence, slight head and lacing. Nose is Yeasty with some pine hop. Yeasty, hoppy, and a little sweet. Overall, this is a good quaff.

Serving type: bottle

12-12-2013 03:09:36 | More by bmwats
Photo of Scotchboy
Scotchboy

Idaho

3.64/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle to Sam Adams Perfect Pint.

A: Chill-hazed gold with white head and lace.

S: Grapefruit and a robust malt backbone, caramel and nutty aromas, slightly toasted, orange and orange peel, hint of spice, bready, toffee.

T: Toasted grain and bread, with caramel and toffee as the Amber-side of this beer takes over. There is a slight hop bite with citrus and orange and grapefruit peel. Hint of something like allspice as well, but I could be wrong...

MF: Medium bodied, no real alcohol presence, there is a bit of spice/hop bite on the finish.

O: Decent overall, a pleasant amber ale with a nice underlying hop presence.

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2013 16:53:19 | More by Scotchboy
Photo of brewbattles
brewbattles

California

3.18/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

We did a blind taste test between this and 4 other Winter Seasonals to objectively determine which one was best. They beers were: Deschutes Jubelale, Anderson Valley Boont Winter Solstice, Big Sky Powder Hound, Alaskan Winter Ale, and Redhook Winterhook. Check it out:

http://youtu.be/TJowachG1no

Serving type: bottle

12-09-2013 13:48:22 | More by brewbattles
Photo of Spikester
Spikester

Oregon

3.6/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear amber with a modest white head, Not much on the lacings. Smell is malty and bready yeast.
Taste is earthy bitter hops fair amount of caramel malts. Hops are floral grapefruit and earthy,
Mouthfeel is medium with average carbonation. It has a medium dry bitter finish.
Overall an unusual amber. Almost an Impy Amber if such a style exists. Needs more spiice and malts for a winter warmer. Otherwise a tasty brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2013 14:58:20 | More by Spikester
Photo of archyquaffer
archyquaffer

Montana

3.73/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a longneck into a shaker pint. A moderate pour produces about an inch of billowy head, which reduces quickly but settles into a sticky lace. The beer is a fairly pale but hazy golden color. It's quite attractive, but it does not look like an amber/red, as this site characterizes it.

Subdued piney and citrus hops on the nose, with perhaps a little funk, and some biscuity malt in the aroma-flavor. I also detect undertones of caramel, and a little bit of non-specific fruitiness that, with the hop bitterness, is somewhat reminiscent of mild ruby grapefruit or cranberry but without the pucker. Warming alcohol as the beer progresses.

This beer strikes me as more of a pale ale than a red (perhaps an "Imperial" pale?). It's very drinkable and quite good, and makes a good session brew if you don't mind a little buzz...

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2013 01:24:35 | More by archyquaffer
Photo of StonedTrippin
StonedTrippin

Colorado

3.74/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

light and sweet and awfully german for the style. not a winter warmer in my book, too light on the malt, an almost golden brew, not much head to speak of, but an impressive aroma of german hops and honey sweetness. the flavor matches well. its balanced but easily malt forward, not spiced like so many are, but warming in an alcoholic sense, and for the fact that this is not particularly drinkable, and improves with temperature. unfolds if you will, like origami, really works for what it is, but it is not a conventional winter warmer. about what I would expect from big sky, quintessentially Montana. big and bold, unique but conservatively decent. a good match with February, less so with November, but it was cold tonight and it did it well enough for me.

Serving type: on-tap

11-13-2013 06:00:51 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of UpToMeBeer
UpToMeBeer

Colorado

4.11/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was a pleasant surprise. It got buried in the back of my fridge somehow over the winter. Unburied it last night. It seemed almost like an IPA with the floral hops and hints of orange, lemon and tangerine. There's a caramel-sweet edge to it. It goes down really easily. Ironically, fit my hot summer night really well. Maybe next time I'll get to try it on a cold winter night. Well-made brew!

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2013 17:09:31 | More by UpToMeBeer
Photo of TheMarkE
TheMarkE

California

3.74/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Golden caramel with moderate foam and moderate lacing.

Smell: Caramel, pine, floral hops.

Taste: Sweet caramel, earthy hops, grapefruit.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, creamy, with a nice bitter hop aftertaste.

The Verdict: I like it. Instead of the typical winter warmer, this is more like Sierra Nevada's Celebration. Not nearly as good, but similar. Good balance of hops and malt, good flavor.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2013 00:29:06 | More by TheMarkE
Photo of GossageBrewery
GossageBrewery

Missouri

3.03/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this amber ale from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, poured a clear amber color, produced a nice off white head, decent retention and it left a good amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma consisted of caramel and lemongrass. Medium in body, this ale had a foundation of malted grain, sweet caramel and some citric lemon hops. Somewhat bitter- Dry finish. Overall, not very flavorful- its decent for a session beer but for a "Winter Ale" i was expecting a bit more umph!

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2013 23:04:18 | More by GossageBrewery
Photo of spicelab
spicelab

Australia

3.74/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle. BB 14 March 2013, but you can thank shonk importers Beermasons for that.

Lovely looking beer, bright and clear orange with just the right sized head, barely off-white, that falls slowly to a nice raised ring.

Decent amounts of candied hops served up by a lightly caramelised malt backbone. Thanks to the age hops are quite subdued, but still get some nice tangerine notes.
Some alluring barky, nutmeg notes and other brown spices which I can't nail, and plenty of strawberry.

Flavours follow the nose and introduce an earthy pine bitterness, which although subdued has me questioning whether I've interpreted the bottle dating correctly.

Medium and slightly syrupy, with silky carbonation paving the way for a modest bitter finish.

Yet another solidly crafted and enjoyable offering from the most consistent brewery I know.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2013 07:51:38 | More by spicelab
Photo of ADZA
ADZA

Australia

3.79/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Winter Ales for me can be very hit and miss so glad this is an American Amber without the spices so should be interesting and pours a clear amber hue with a two finger creamy head and lacing here and there,the smell is very malty with hints of caramel,toffee,dried fruit,a hint of raisins and fruity hops in the background,the mouthfeel is medium bodied with moderate carbonation and has tastes of toffee,candy,marzipan the slightest hit of piney resinous hops followed by a nice citrus bitterness and overall i like this as a winter ale and as the old saying goes less is best definately applies in this case,a very drinkable amber.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2013 11:32:00 | More by ADZA
Photo of TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

3.29/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Served in a willibecher at Firkin.

Do they have skiing teams in the Big sky conference? Regardless, this stuff pours a clear amber topped by a finger-and-a-half of cream-white foam. The nose comprises very light grapefruit peel, mixed greens, light honey-dripped biscuit, and very light toffee. The taste brings in more of the same, along with more greens, a touch more sweetness for the honey and biscuit, and an added hint of grass. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda drying finish. Overall, an alright, if thoroughly nondescript, little beer.

Serving type: on-tap

02-10-2013 05:15:40 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of twistedweather
twistedweather

Washington

3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured this into a nice snifter I found at Pear, a store at the Pike Place Market here in Seattle. I relished at the carmel color, and dip in for a sniff. Like smelling flowers and true hoppiness. By this time I was drooling a took a large sip. A bitter smooth flow cascaded down my throat...

Ahmen Ahmen I shouted hahlellujah! This beer is excellent. It even has a nice scene with a husky and some snow on the label. Belltown is were I found it, jus a single but would definetly get a sixer! floral smooth not too spicy goes down great!

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2013 01:31:29 | More by twistedweather
Photo of Mdog
Mdog

Minnesota

3.31/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: Amber, good head.

Smell: Oxidized, over ripe fruits, prune?

Taste: An unusual mix of fruit, toffee, and earthy flavors. Kind of muddled.

Overall: Received a few bottles as a gift. I think they may be a little old but reviewed anyway. This beer reminded me why I usually avoid "amber ales" and "winter ales" unless they are highly recommended. An uninspiring mix of fruit and toffee flavors, at least it didn't have metallic hop flavors like my least favorite red/amber ales.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2013 02:08:58 | More by Mdog
Photo of Daktyls
Daktyls

Massachusetts

3.98/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours a crisp and clear amber color with a half finger head on the top that dissipates to a fine lacing on the top with patches of larger bubbles in the middle and clinging to the edge of the glass.

S: Maltiness and floral hops present themselves almost immediately with hints of pine and a little bit of burnt caramel as well. Not too much else that I can pick up.

T: Floral hops, light and crisp notes of pine with malt notes providing a balanced backing. Some caramel again manifests itself in the background with some breadiness present as well.

M: A crisp tasting beer with enough flavor to hide the higher alcohol content which almost leaves a layer in mouth after the swallow. Very enjoyable.

O: Again, a very enjoyable beer, not too aggressive, but presents itself enough to make its flavors know. While perhaps not a 'traditional' winter ale, still very enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2013 01:06:51 | More by Daktyls
Photo of tectactoe
tectactoe

Michigan

3.29/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a super-hazy, golden-orange color, some brighter yellow tips around the edges. Packed with lots of tiny pieces of sediment that float around the beer. Creamy, beige-colored head settles fast and doesn't leave much lacing. Aroma was full of malts, up and down, toasted caramels, mild spices, a deep, sweet, musty earthiness to it as well. Some sweeter fruits sit in the background, like dates and prunes. Hops? Basically nowhere to be found on the nose. Taste is even more jam-packed with caramel malts and spices, giving it a slight warming feeling. Alcohol comes through, but doesn't really hinder. Sweet, sharp fruitiness comes through; prunes, grapes, almost wine-like as it meshes with the mild alcohol character. Some more spices come through as the beer warms, but I really can't put my finger on what they might be. Earthy tones and deep, sweet esters come through - this beer is almost a little too malty and sweet. The hops are still mostly absent. Slight nuttiness along with some grains in the aftertaste, but still pulling heavy on the sweet caramel malts and deep fruitiness. Medium body, medium carbonation.

Eh, I wasn't really feeling this one. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't very good, either. A little to unbalanced with the malt in my opinion, and the sweetness just wasn't controlled or able to stand all on its own. Decent, but certainly nothing special.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2013 03:59:13 | More by tectactoe
Photo of pkalix
pkalix

California

4.1/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

i'm realizing that "winter ale" can mean almost anything to different people.
this one pours a clean, clear, reddish amber with micro buubles rising straight to the top.
this one also smells like a forest of hops.
tastes pine-y, grapefruit-y; almost a forset of hops. it's clean and refreshing, none the less....
overall, for a 7.2% i can hang with this one. it does appear the hops in american beer is to hide the abv and make it easier to drink but this one hasa decent balance of pine-y to abv that i can handle.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2012 20:32:03 | More by pkalix
Photo of BeerFMAndy
BeerFMAndy

Wisconsin

4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic.
7.2% ABV, numbers on neck.

A - Clear golden amber in color, Big Sky Powder Hound has very little carbonation floating though it resulting in a somewhat poorly sustained sand-colored head. Thick lace covers the glass like frost on a cold morning's car window.

S - Powder Hound's aroma mimics the painted label with fresh pine and a crispness of the cold, the open outdoors. Herbal hops poke through like a distant whiff of tea with caramel drizzled hard roll maltiness following.

T - Shifting back and fourth, the flavor can't seem to make up it's mind on whether malt or hops should dominate, starting with a bready and beefy malt flavor. Caramel and warm dough are overtaken by a a flurry of hops ranging in flavors from pine and sticky sap to earthy herbal notes and candied, dried pineapple on the finish.

M - Though the flavor doesn't quite present itself as deliberate at first, the balance and feel sure does, plowing forwards with a smooth medium malty body and dry, decidedly bitter finish that lingers around for a few moments.

O - Powder Hound has a beautifully painted label that evokes strong outdoors-y feelings of winter in the northwoods for me but that's about where the "Winter" character of this beer stops. It seems to me more of a higher octane amber with a nice little hop push and solid malt body, suitable for tailgating during those cold winter games.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2012 23:38:14 | More by BeerFMAndy
Photo of TheSixthRing
TheSixthRing

California

3.83/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Pours a clear, bright orange amber with a pillowy white, 2 finger head. Fantastic retention. Lacing coats the glass from top to bottom. Great stick. Very impressive.

Smell - Healthy dose of caramel malt hits the nostrils, complemented nicely by a slightly floral, slightly citric hop aroma. Wonderful smelling brew.

Taste - Strong caramel malt backbone from start to finish, starts with the caramel before a noticeable citric hop character takes command by mid-taste, riding out through the finish. Slightly spicy. Hits briefly on cocoa. Leaves behind a caramel, slightly toasted biscuit and a slight orange pith hop aftertaste. Good, but nothing special.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied, with active carbonation. Creamy, smooth and entirely drinkable.

Overall - Too bad the flavor doesn't quite match up with the rest of the qualities this beer presents, otherwise this thing could be a monster of a winter release. It's just missing one thing that would really set it off. Maybe if it popped a bit more on toasted notes? A pinch more chocolate malt, maybe? In any event, it's a pretty darn good beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2012 06:46:15 | More by TheSixthRing
Photo of StoutHunter
StoutHunter

Michigan

3.6/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of Big Sky's Powder Hound Winter Ale last week for $1.69 at The Lager Mill. I haven't seen this beer around before, so I decided to take a chance on it, so lets see how it goes. No visible bottling date, but I know it's fairly fresh. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A- The label looks nice and I think it's pretty well done. It poured a light amber color that was slightly golden and it took on some amber hues when held to the light with a finger and a half worth of slightly off white head that that died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end and left a nice ring of lacing. This was a nice looking beer but the color and head were just a little on the weak side.

S- The aroma starts off with some very sweet caramel malts that imparted a very sweet, grainy, caramel, and a slight brown sugar like aroma. After that comes the hops which seem to be floral and citrusy with the citrus fruit aspect seeming to stick out the most imparting a sweet mango, orange and grapefruit aroma. The aroma is nice, I like the caramel and citrus fruit aromas but it has a little to much sweetness to it.

T- The taste seems to be pretty similar to the aroma and it starts off with the malts that have a higher amount of medium sweetness to it and imparts a grainy, bready, and caramel like flavor. After that comes a light amount of spices that aren't that noticeable and are followed by a good amount of citrus and floral hops with the citrus still seeming to stick out the most and they impart some nice light citrus hops flavors with no one fruit overpowering each other. On the finish there's a slightly lighter amount of medium bitterness with a pretty grainy and slightly sweet aftertaste. This was a nice tasting beer that seemed to be pretty balanced and very true to style.

M- Smooth, clean, crisp, on the lighter side of being medium bodied with a slightly higher amount of medium carbonation that was just a little prickly. This beer had a nice mouthfeel that was very true to style.

Overall I thought this was a nice beer and an above average example of the style, it had all the things that I look for in a good Amber Ale and the balance was pretty nice. This beer had very good drinkability, it was very smooth, crisp, a little refreshing, and it had a decent amount of flavor to hold my attention, I could drink a few of these without a problem, it's a pretty easy drinking Red Ale and I like that. What I liked the most about this beer was the drinkability, it was very good and better then most Amber Ales and it also hid it's alcohol very nicely. What I liked the least about this beer was how sweet it smelled, it had me preparing for the worse but luckily all that sweetness didn't make it to the taste. I would buy this beer again to keep around in the fridge since I think it's a good example of the style and it's always nice to have a quality easy drinking Amber Ale on hand, I recommend this beer to just about anyone, fans of the style should really appreciate it. All in all I was pretty happy with this beer and I thought it was very solid and a good example of the style. the last couple Big Sky beers I had weren't too impressive so it's nice to get one that I enjoy. My only problem with this beer is that I think it's miss marketed, I don't really think of this as Winter Ale, it has that nice Amber Ale flavor that is perfect for the summer and fall and I think this beer would do much better if marketed as a year round Amber Ale instead of a Winter Ale, but that's just my opinion. Either was this was pretty solid and I'm happy I tried it.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2012 04:47:11 | More by StoutHunter
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Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 403 ratings.