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Powder Hound Winter Ale - Big Sky Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Powder Hound Winter AlePowder Hound Winter Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

420 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 420
Reviews: 235
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 12.43%
Wants: 6
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
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: 420 | Reviews: 235 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by zacharius:
Photo of zacharius
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer pours a reddish brown color with a nice head that lasts throughout the drink. Aroma is nice, sweet toffee and hops. The taste is sweet toffee balanced with hops, kind of an english hoppy flavor. This beer has a very thick mouthfeel. Drinkability is fine, I wouldn't have too many because they are a bit sweet. Seems like it is alot stronger of a beer than it actually is.

zacharius, Dec 28, 2004
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light brown with a little orange tint to it with a thin wispy head,aromas of chocolate and roasted nuts most prevalent with some orange and citrius in there as well.A malt tilted flavor a little sweet and nutty a little chocolate in thee with some pine and citruis in the finish wich becomes more pronounced as it warms a little.A decent brew big in the malt department tastes alot better as it warms.

oberon, Dec 24, 2004
Photo of RoyalT
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – This one had a monstrous head that filled half the glass with a moderate pour. The foam went down slowly, pitting and lacing the glass. The beer itself is a bright, clear ruby color. This one is gorgeous.

Smell – The sharp citrus hops are complimented with a piney bite. Together they mask but do not hide the light malt base. The aroma is wonderful combination of complex pine and citrus hops.

Taste – The malt base comes out HUGE at the taste. I can’t believe the disparity between the nose and the tongue on this one. The hops are actually in the background here, and the creamy, caramel malt is incredible. It loses some of its Amber/Red Ale character, but this is awesome.

Mouthfeel – This one is very creamy in the mouth. It is medium-bodied and just refreshing enough to foot the bill.

Drinkability – A little off-style but an excellent interpretation to say the least. I was quite impressed.

Update – What a difference a year makes. I decided to re-review this with a 2004 (my Dec '04 review was with a 2003) vintage and was greatly disappointed.

The appearance was so-so and the aroma rather cheap. It lost a lot of its smoothness and really didn’t have any stand out flavors like I remember. My initial review had a 4.5 for Appearance and 4.0s for everything else, but I’m changing each of the five rating categories to 3.5.

Update – The 2005 was a lot maltier than years before. They really are working on this recipe. The flavor is grainy but beefy malts. Straight 3.5s seems to be this beer’s home so I’ll leave it as such. It’s a nice ale though and I would definitely recommend.

RoyalT, Dec 10, 2004
Photo of tectactoe
3.29/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

tectactoe, Jan 21, 2013
Photo of warnerry
3.33/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours clear copper with one and a half fingers of tan head. Head has very good retention and leaves nice rings of lacing.

S - Toffee and caramel are prominent, with a bit of clove and citrus.

T - Similar to smell, with quite a bit of bitterness from some citrus hops and the spices. Leads to a dry finish.

M - Medium mouthfeel starts slightly sweet and transitions to bitter and dry on the finish.

O - A decent amber/ winter warmer, though the bitterness isn't particularly desirable in this case.

warnerry, Jan 26, 2012
Photo of chip26
3/5  rDev -17.1%

chip26, Jul 10, 2014
Photo of Beaver13
3.03/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Pours a reddish amber with a creamy light tan head that goes to a film that laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet caramel and chocolate, some grassy hops and a little cherry.

The flavor is sweet toffee malts with some slightly tart cherry fruitiness and a musty earthiness - kind of a strange combination. It is medium bodied and has a good level of carbonation.

Overall, it's nice and is drinkable, but not too exciting. It seemed like more of a fruit beer than a pale ale.

Beaver13, Oct 20, 2005
Photo of BuckeyeSlim
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

BuckeyeSlim, Apr 21, 2012
Photo of Mora2000
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a golden-orange color with a white head. The aroma is heavy on the toffee with some caramel and grassy hops mixed in. The flavor is toffee and bready malt. There is a little bit of hop bitterness and a tad bit of flavor from the grassy hops, but this beer is all about the malt. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

When I opened the beer I was expecting a winter warmer. It was a surprise to see a lighter colored amber ale, but the beer was still enjoyable.

Mora2000, Dec 03, 2010
Photo of frenchblood21
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jegross for this one!

Bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance- Beautiful! One inch light tan head that slowly disappears. The beer is a light copper color.

Smell- Smells like a typical winter warmer. Toasted grains and toffee.

Taste- Carmel and butter are what stands out to me. Malty and very hoppy.

Mouthfeel- Feels a bit thin. The flavor is nice and it coats the whole mouth.

Overall- I got this beer as an extra, so I am thrilled about it. Its really good and I recommend trying it.

frenchblood21, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of mattster
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Opened cold 12 oz bottle, poured into Nonic glass.

Poured a nice head of 1", died down to a hazy layer of bubbles atop a tea brown brew. Clear, mild bubbles in brew.

Smell is mild malty. Taste is clean. Very subtle, I taste some dark fruitiness - cherry on the back? Brew is has some sweetness with a nice pleasant finish. I actually expected more from this one, but it really didn't deliver much past average. It is a decent beer, maybe its just not cold enough here in Arizona to get the full effect. But all being said, it is a decent beer.

mattster, Jan 24, 2008
Photo of bsp77
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Clear golden amber with billowing head and slight lacing.

Smell: Citrus, toast and an undeniable similarity to Great Lakes Christmas Ale, which I associate with cinnamon and honey, but I don't think that is in here, so not sure where that aroma is coming from.

Taste: Light malts of biscuit, toast and mead, with a nice layer of spicy English hops on top, which has a tinge of citrus and pine. Still getting some very light winter spices.

Feel: Medium body with moderate carbonation and a nice dry finish.

Overall: Nice ale overall that does not seem to fit any known style. Kind of an English Strong Ale, kind of an Amber Ale, kind of a Spiced Winter Warmer (despite the lack of spices). This seriously confuses the hell out of me, but if I put my beer reviewing hat away, it is clear that I really enjoy it.

bsp77, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of magictrokini
3.23/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear brown pour with no head. Caramel-sweet aroma makes you think this is going to be sticky sweet. The malt and hop profiles, however balance this one out into a very smooth, slightly spicy beer. Only problem was that I expected more from a winter beer, either in the alcohol content or overall flavor. Kind of weak in both areas, but still an enjoyable brew.

magictrokini, Dec 05, 2008
Photo of rhinonau
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

rhinonau, Oct 28, 2013
Photo of Thrasher
4.08/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A sweet malty beer good for keeping out the winter chill. Darkish red-amber with small dwindling head and some lace. Malts are very nice, warming, leathery and a touch smoky. Lots of biscuit sweetness and a sweet currant fruitiness that slowly becomes apparant. Lots of Irish red ale malt character too. Hops are not very substantial but they do the job with a definite herbal character. A long, lingering sweetness entices you to take another sip. I was surprised how good this beer was. It at first seemed like an average malty winter brew but as it asserted itself I was more and more impressed with its complexity. This beer would go well with foods, maybe smoky meats, but I also wonder how it would do alongside a sweet caramelized dessert. It tastes a little like the burnt top of a creme brulee.

Thrasher, Dec 22, 2003
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a little on the brown side as opposed to red or amber, but those are the three colors mixed together I'd say that produces the final visual product. Good clarity, looks professional, 1" head. Aroma was more in line with a red ale.

Decent hopping, red ale malt flavor, peatyness is there. Alcohol stays off the tongue, good job for something over 7%, wouldn't know it from the taste. Light body absorbs bitterness, this one is similar to a winter warmer but equal parts red ale. Stays lively on the palate compared to a winter warmer.

Really a better beer for fall or spring than winter. Unless you need a break from big ass beers.

Beerandraiderfan, Nov 29, 2011
Photo of Jeffwildcat
4/5  rDev +10.5%

Jeffwildcat, Mar 22, 2014
Photo of ADR
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fairly thick pour, initial head is minimal and diminishes quickly. Very dark copper color -- attractive. Aroma is reserved but deep, tending more toward molasses than caramel. Some buttery diacetyl flavor, but dark, a little like mushrooms, wood, and burnt popcorn kernals. Distinct hops assert at the finish. Nice low carbonation but mouthfeel is on the thin side. This brew isn't delicious to my tongue but is somewhat interesting -- I'm still thinking about this one.

Later notes: the malt profile of this beer seems to get stronger every year

ADR, Nov 21, 2002
Photo of cmwilliq
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

cmwilliq, Jan 23, 2014
Photo of LXIXME
4/5  rDev +10.5%

LXIXME, Apr 14, 2014
Photo of CamuMahubah
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark amber into the mug.

Choice malt aroma.

Complex...this beer has a nice malty backbone with a particular bite. Delicate yet bold. More of a caramel malt than cacao. Hopped fairly well.

Medium with a nice lubricity. One smiles when the hop kick is realized.

This is a good beer and tonite the high is 25° and the low was around 4°, so the odds of this gal having a good show were pretty much spot on. Never once did she disappoint...

CamuMahubah, Dec 31, 2007
Photo of watermelonman
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured to a nice deep amber color with a medium head that shrank but never disappeared. It left a few big lines of lace.

Malts and spices come through strong in the smell. The taste starts with malts and finishes with a combination of spice and cherry that come together well. The mouthfeel is medium and the drinkability is good.

watermelonman, Nov 25, 2006
Photo of hsus0225
4/5  rDev +10.5%

hsus0225, Nov 07, 2013
Photo of TheSixthRing
3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

TheSixthRing, Dec 08, 2012
Photo of DruC4
4/5  rDev +10.5%

DruC4, Feb 10, 2013
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Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 420 ratings.