Powder Hound Winter Ale - Big Sky Brewing Company

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Powder Hound Winter AlePowder Hound Winter Ale

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BA SCORE
82
good

483 Ratings
THE BROS
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(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 483
Reviews: 244
rAvg: 3.63
pDev: 12.12%
Wants: 9
Gots: 27 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-13-2002

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 483 | Reviews: 244
Photo of DCP
4.69/5  rDev +29.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

At Big Sky or Bridger, when it's negative 25 and you're snowed in, drink this keg first. You will all be in better spirits.

Photo of TexIndy
4.45/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Best by date of 3/29/11 on the neck. It was a clear, medium amber color with some carb streams. It had a thick white head that slowly settled into a thick collar and thin cover of foam. Good lacing with plenty sticking.

The aroma was excellent with spicy and citric hops along with caramel malt. Really like the aroma on this one. Kept going back from sniff after sniff. The taste was also great and followed the aroma with the spicy and citric hops leading the way. Mini session beer on taste. The mouthfeel was medium with good carbonation and pleasing aftertaste.

Overall, I'd been avoiding this one as I thought it was a winter warmer style but it's not. Glad I finally tried it as it greatly surprised me with it's rich aroma and flavor. Highly recommend. Avail here in TX. Rotation - it's an Oct-Jan seasonal. Worth a 6 pack spread out over that time for sure. [R; Y]

Photo of GClarkage
4.42/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11/08/04- Sampled at the Big Sky Brewery on tap.

*taken from notes in August 2004

Appearance- Pours a dark amber-chestnut color with a small head and slight lacing.

Smell- Sweet smelling carmel and malt with maybe some citrus also. Lemon?

Taste- Yummy, malty and slightly nutty sweet taste. Definitely some citrus in the background also.

Mouthfeel- Excellent carbonation. Goes down soooo easy. Smooth and creamy.

Drinkability- Extreme drinkability. Had this for the first time a couple of years ago and it was the beer I most crave from Montana. Awesome beer!

Photo of RushLimbmalt
4.4/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A nice dark red ale with a fat off white head. The aroma of citrusy hops and crystal malts. The flavor is a bit maltier than the aroma and the hops come on strong towards the end. I was going to rank this beer a bit lower, but as I sit and sip this brew it is making it's personality known and I am growing fond of it. It is not as strong as most winter brews, but it is definitely drinkable.

Photo of xhuskr
4.38/5  rDev +20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a nice sessionable Winter Ale. Not quite what I consider a Winter Warmer nor a Strong Ale, but very mild and enjoyable. Malt flavor is balanced with a nice hop presence, but not anything like the hoppy brews I lean towards. I've had this 3 times this week as it's a nice every day brew to have with food. It compliments bbq and give you a warm feeling without the big alcohol kick.

Photo of WesWes
4.33/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a beautiful ruby red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice malty scent that boasts of pale, crystal, victory, and bisquit malts. It is quite toastey and breadlike. The taste is excellent. It has a sweet, yet dry and toastey flavor with a bitter breadlike finish. There are hops in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good beer. It has awesome aroma and taste; a great seasonal brew and a great drinker.

Photo of pjwilson
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

notes: i've always thought this brewery made some good beers...so i jumped at this one when i saw it on sale. The abv is 6.2 on the bottle. This is a winter warmer if anything, as it reminds me more of jubelale than your average red beer. on with the review.
appearance: lots of carbination settles down to a nice thin layer that lasts along time. ok so i guess this beer is pretty red. Reddish brown.
smell: chocolate malts in this one kids. some mild hoppiness(noble no doubt) nothing crazy but nice
taste: this is a nice tasty beer. I'm so hapy it's not too sweet (i've been getting killed with too sweet beers lately) It's quite dry actually. Great balance between the chocolate, the hops and the base malt. The first taste is that chocolate, followed with a nice mild bitterness...(bet my dollar that it's williamete hops in this one) Just great balance. If counted as a winter warmer this is one of my favorites....likin' this more than jubelale at least.
mouthfeel: it's good, nice and light, but still filling...perhaps a hair watery but that just helps with the drinkability i think.
drinkability: great, walking the line between a sipper and a session. I would go so far as to call this a great session ale, but it is 6.2 percent after all. Great beer. I haven't been let down by this brewery yet, and they seem to get low marks. Give this one a shot. It's probably the most drinkable winter warmer i've had. (much more drinkable that jubelale, winter solitice, anchor's)

Photo of climax
4.25/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I didn't quite know which style Big Sky was aiming at here. I was assuming a darker winter warmer, but after I poured it and took a whiff, it seemed more of a high output Pale Ale. The color was a lighter than anticipated amber, with pretty good clarity. The head was a couple fingers of lumpy tan foam.

The nose is well-balanced, rich on both ends of the spectrum. There's no shortage of juicy hop aromas. They break through with citrus and pine. The malt side of things is sweet, caramel and toffee with a slight dark roasted edge to it. Buttery flavor, nuts, and an herbal earthy presence add to the complexity.

The flavor is quick to impress. It starts as a hop heavy pale ale, with spice and citrus. Lingering pine resin bitterness carries through, but its the malt complexity that impresses me. I began to think it's nothing more than balance (sweet caramel), but then I got strong hints of roasted chocolate followed by ripe fruit and a kiss of alcohol. Truly a joy to break down.

Don't let the color fool you, this one has plenty of gusto. The body is pretty thick with a nice stickiness. Carbonation is crisp from start to finish, and the lingering dry bitterness keeps me sipping. The 7% ABV is evident, but totally acceptable. It adds the extra warmth that elevates this beer to the next level. The style it falls into could be highly controversial, but forget where it fits, and enjoy.

Photo of mjurney
4.25/5  rDev +17.1%

Appearance:
Dark gold color, clear. Lots of carbonation rising. Thick bright white head.

Aroma:
Herbal, a little citrus, sweet pale malts.

Taste/Finish/Body:
Sweet pale malts, bready, toffee, biscuit. Fruit character, pears and apples. Spicy-herbal, a little citrus from the hops. Finish is sharp and dry. Body is medium, crisp, a little warmth, smooth.

Overall:
Doesn't taste like an Amber Ale, more like an English-style Pale Ale. It's an excellent beer!!

Photo of matjack85
4.23/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I found this single 12oz brown bottle at the Binny's store in Plainfield, IL for $1.69. I love the labels from this brewery. Not sure what style category this beer falls under though as the label says it's a winter ale, yet I see the Beer Advocate braintrust has listed it as an American Amber/Red Ale. After trying it, all I can say is that it has traits of both styles.

The beer poured a hazy orange/amber color with a nice 1½-finger creamy looking white head that lasted several minutes befire settling down. There was also plenty of lacing left on the glass with each sip.

Light but pleasant smell of sweet malt combined with various hop varieties.

Nice use of the three hop varieties to give the beer a little complexity. Definitely hop dominated, but not overly bitter. Citrus and pine hops are balanced with just enough sweet malt and peppery spices to make this a really good tasting beer.

Light to medium bodied with medium to high carbonation. At 7.2%abv I expected a little warming alcohol taste, but there really wasn't any. The alcohol is barely noticeable.

I enjoyed this as just a good tasting beer, but not sure it qualifies as a winter warmer. Lots of flavor, but on the light side rather than full bodied, and while it is spicy, I don't usually associate pepper as a winter spice. Whatever it is, it tastes good and is easy to drink.

Photo of tavernjef
4.23/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Super nice color which seems dark chestnut brown, ahh but hold it to the light and it becomes a lovely glowing amber agate with a deep reddish tone, gorgeous color. Head is tannish and thin, leaves very minimal lace. Aroma is all malts, sweet, dulled citrusy-like, fresh, touching on some caramel and nutty bagel dough. Taste has a smooth and easy malt profile, very drinkable, lightly sweet, some caramel, lightly chewy, bready light, some notions of dulled citrus melon, nutty dryness and dried hops come in late with some light dryness and calm bitterness. Solid medium body feel with a smooth, lightly creamy start and center, a bit chewy, finish goes to lighter drying of hops and nuts with a touch of bittering bite. A nice drinker this one! Quite subtle with a good amount of easy hefty malts. Its like taking Capital's Autumnal Fire and blending it with their Amber.

Photo of Johnny_Muir
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
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.

Photo of V1per41
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into pint glass.

Clear light color with no head.

Smell wasn't very potent but smell and taste was very good. Went down very smooth especially for this abv.

Photo of madtappers
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Very drinkable winter seasonal. This beer has the right amount of hops and malt to balance out the taste. Seems to be more of a traditional ale than a winter warmer.

Great beer to session, and share with some friends.

Big Sky always has had good beers and this "winter" seasonal proves it.

Photo of Frosty80
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color: pours golden straw. sits a brilliant, light copper.

Smell: good malt backbone slightly overtaken by mellow, yet pungent European hops. hops are earthy and spicy.

Taste: up front it almost tastes like there is a little bit of rye, followed by smooth, wet maltiness. those earthy, SPICY hops quickly take over and leave a dry, somewhat bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: medium body with low carbonation. pretty smooth.

Notes: an American amber made with British hops? not sure what technical category to put it in but it is a great hoppy amber (ESB maybe?)

Photo of bradybeer
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark Copper Brown with a light brown head
Smell: no noticable aroma
Taste: Light malt taste with a hint of sweetness
Mouthfeel: Medium

While it maybe 6.20% I find this beer to be an easy drinking beer and would have no problem drinking more than a few of these.

I was a little disappointed in that I assumed that as a winter beer it would have been more along the lines a traditional winter ale-but all in all next year I will pck up a few sixers

Photo of Gatch
4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Clear, light amber in color with an off-white head that bubbles up quickly and fades just as quickly. Doesn't retain much of a head but lace sticks to the glass all the way down.

S - Toffee, roasted malt, caramelized sugar, a bit of citrus. Big fan of the nose on this beer.

T - Sweet, roasted malt with a bitter finish from the hops. Nice balance. Caramelized sugar. Thoroughly impressed with this flavor profile. Alcohol is barely there.

M - Smooth, clean, low carbonation. Medium-full body. Very drinkable. Fairly high ABV for this style but the booze barely shows. Awesome example of the style and perfect balance of malt to hops for the season.

Photo of champ103
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark reddish/amber color. A large beige head of over two fingers form with good retention. Lots of sticky lace is left behind.
S: Caramel malt and dried dark fruits. Nutty and light oak notes. Light chocolate. A very faint lingering hop bitterness.
T: Follows the nose. Lots of caramel malt. Some dried dark fruits balances out the sweetness from the caramel. There is a nice almond flavor as well.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. Pretty creamy, smooth, and easy to drink. I can drink this all day.

A really good beer. Big Sky continues to impress me. Highly recommended.

Photo of xoqx
4.12/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - This beer pours copper with a yellow, one finger head exhibiting light retention and wispy lacing.

Smell – There are honey, fruity, malty, and caramelly smells here.

Taste - This beer tastes very malty with bready, honey characteristics. It is nicely balanced with restrained hops. The finish is nothing but average.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is clean, creamy, and nicely-carbonated.

Drinkability – This is a drinkable beer, if not an overly interesting one.

Photo of loren01
4.12/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color into pint glass. Nice brownish/white head, light carbonation, slight lacing down the pint glass. Smells very nutty with some roasted grains as well. There is also a scent that I can't quite put my finger on, possibly like a cream/buttery smell. Taste is sweet at first with a nice bitter hoppy aftertaste. The aftertaste was very much unexpected, I didn't really smell any hop scents at all. This beer goes down very easliy, has a great mouthfeel to it. A very solid winter beer by Big Sky.

Photo of supercolter
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good appearance, some nice head and lacing.
Smell is good as well, some drier malt and darker fruit, maybe a touch of hops is all.
Taste is really similar to the smell
Mouthfeel is medium in body with a bit of carbonation.
Drinkability is very good. I would recommend it.

Photo of UpToMeBeer
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
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!

Photo of beernut7
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark auburn with a thin head. The heavy aroma of toffee and sweet malt reminds me of some of my favortie British ales. A distinct bitterness is the first thing to hit the palate followed quickly by heavy deep chocolate and toffee flavor. Fairly smooth body supports the well-rounded taste. Very much like Sam Smith's Winter brew with a bit more solid bitter. Very taste and worth the shipping.

Photo of pkalix
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

Photo of colts9016
4.1/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From my notes in December 2008. Poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: A one finger light tan/ivory head that has some retention. The color of the beer is a copper with garnet hues. The clarity of the beer is clear with a touch of haziness.

Nose: A nice rich roasted malt with a nice hop aroma. The hops are floral bouquet, pine, and grapefruit. There are also characters of spices.

Taste: A rich roasted malt that is nutty, toffee, caramel, molasses, wood, grapefruit, floral esters. There are notes of spices too.

The mouth feel is warm, creamy, and rich.

Overall: The body of the beer is medium and the finish is medium full. A good winter warmer.

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Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 483 ratings.