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

458 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 458
Reviews: 239
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 12.43%
Wants: 9
Gots: 17 | 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: 458 | Reviews: 239 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ltltony
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of truesolution
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of Leschber
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of RMTWM
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of schnarr84
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

Photo of spicelab
3.74/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Photo of TheMarkE
3.74/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Photo of KAP72
3.74/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.74/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Photo of MonkeymooTJ
3.73/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance:

Crystal clear amber/orange with a two finger off white head. An abundance amount of carbonation rises up to the top of the glass

Smell:

Caramel maltiness with a good dose of spicy hops in the mix

Taste:

A caramel malty sweetness is noticeable initially with a follow up of a combination of spicy and citrus hops

Mouthfeel:

This beer gives off a medium to heavy feeling and leaves a slight alcohol burn on the tongue. The carbonation level hits the spot just right

Overall:

I got more of an American Strong ale impression from this beer rather than a amber/red due to the bitterness and alcohol twinge. I did enjoy the balance it provided and would purchase again

Photo of umustdrink
3.73/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown beer but bright ruby red when held to light. Head is light brown and retains at an eighth inch. Minimal lacing.

S - A light greenish bitterness with a light caramel malt. Somewhat bland.

T - Starts bitter with a carbonation bite, then some creamy and caramely malts.

M - Medium consistency with medium to high carbonation.

D - Not a bad beer at all. Taste is simple but good.

Photo of archyquaffer
3.73/5  rDev +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...

Photo of ZAP
3.73/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

7-5-04-

Updated thoughts....a nice red ale or perhaps a blend of a red and a brown ale...not a big-ass winter warmer by any means but decent enough....I think the nose on this is very good..toasted caramel nouget...there is a bit of a sour aftertaste but overall this has a nice toasty flavor....worth trying...

12-12-01
-Nice sweet aroma...Nice malty sweet ale...hops balance perfectly and make this an easy drinking tasty winter ale..solid malt base...a good solid tasty easy drinking ale.

Photo of twiggamortis420
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear amber color with a thick layer of fine-bubbled beige foam. Pretty good retention and some decent lacing on the glass.

Smells like a caramel covered apple, the sweet bready and slightly toasted malts are complimented by a touch of yeasty fruitiness and just a hint of grassy hops.

Taste is pretty good with a wide variety of maltiness on the palate...grainy, toasty, nutty and even a bit of cocoa. Decent hop bitterness lingers a bit on the back of the tongue. A bit light bodied and flavored for the 'Winter Ale' designation on the label, especially from a snowy, cold northern state. It is a pretty easy drinker and tastes great for an amber ale, which is what I am rating it as. I would drink it again and me thinks it would be even better fresh off the tap.

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.

Photo of pmcadamis
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - This one is a medium brown hue that shows some garnet highlights under the big fluffy tan head. Big sheets of lace coat the glass, and head retention is awesome. Sitting on my desk in the wintry snow sunlight, this looks translucent and luminescent. Good lookin' brew!

S - Nutty brown ale notes, wet firewood, and a hint of brown sugar. Unsalted almonds, chestnuts, and walnuts. Some maple syrup is there, nut only just.

T - Earthy, nutty, and rich. This is really nutty, and it takes he whole "winter spice" aspect of the style to a different place. Unlike other winter brews, this one avoids cinnamon ad nutmeg in favor of chestnuts roasting on an open fire.

M - Medium bodied, lightly carbonated, and quite dry. The dusty dry finish works well with the nutty complexity.

D - Pretty damn good stuff. It won't wow you or knock your socks off, but it is a really solidly built brew.

Photo of MTNboy
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: It is a good deep bronze color with a thin tan head but produced some really nice lace.

Smell: A little bit fruity but mainly malty smell.

Taste: It flavor is mostly chocolaty and malty not much for hops.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied.

Drinkability: It is probably one of their better beers.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pleasant light copper amber hue with a very fine, indeed powdery, head of off-white. Some patchy lace is left. Body is quite fine and fluid, but with a nice slickness to it. Very fine carbonation. Indeed, "fine" is coming up a lot in describing the appearance; it is a fine looking beer.

Nose is muted, with a touch of crisp, generic American hop aroma that smells as though it's been left a little long. Some clean, lemony dish detergent aromas, with a touch of chlorine and turned earth. Nice, but not that exciting.

Taste is pleasantly malty, with a solid backbone of faintly toasted malts, leading to a clean but pronounced American hop bitterness on the back of the palate. Clear feel lets the crisp hop characters shine, lending a freshness to the mix that a heavier body would mask.

Overall, a pretty nice hoppy American amber ale. It's smooth, and the malt is perhaps a little less pronounced than it could be, but it's a good, if somewhat middle-of-the-road example of the style.

Photo of philbertk
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big Sky Brewing Company Powder Hound Winter Ale 2001 12 oz. Bottle. 5.70% ABV. (3.5 / 5.0) Clear burnt copper amber color. Light head and lace. Roasted malty mild Winter spice floral hop front. Semi sweet thick rich roasted sweet spiced cherry biscuit body. Clean sweet hop Winter spice end. Mild. Sampled 12/17/2001.

2002 12 oz. Bottle. 5.80% ABV. (4.0 / 5.0) Clear rich bright copper amber color. Mild head. Rich lace. Roasted mild spice nutmeg hop front. Burnt creamy sweet caramel cherry nut crusty earthy body. Spruce hints in roasted balanced mild hop end. Sampled 12/20/2002.

2003 12 oz. Bottle. 5.80% ABV. (4.0 / 5.0) Rich lacy head. Clear bright copper red color. Malty mild toasted nutmeg hop front. Creamy smooth sweet light toasted biscuit earthy caramel spice fruit body. Balanced mild hop end. Tasty mild Winter ESB. Sampled 1/2/2004.

2004 12 oz. Bottle. 6.20% ABV. 30 IBU's? (4.0 / 5.0) Creamy lacy head. Clear bright dark amber red garnet color. Toasted mild nutmeg hop front. Creamy smooth toasted sweet toffee subdued fruit spice body. Clean smooth mild spice hop end. Mild Winter Ale. Sampled 10/13/2004.

2005 12 oz. Bottle. 6.20% ABV. 45 IBU's? (4.25 / 5.0) Thick light amber lacy head. Clear bright thin dark red color. Tangy cinnamon hop malt spice font. Thick earthy burnt caramel spice medium sweet Winter ESB body. Crusty balanced clean nutmeg hop end. Nicer than I remember. Sampled 10/26/2005.

2006 12 oz. Bottle. 6.20% ABV. 35 IBU's? (4.25 / 5.0) Creamy tan lacy head. Pretty clear bright dark bronze red color. Crisp malty mild nutmeg roasted hop front. Mellow tangy burnt dry sweet toffee fruit nutmeg-malt spice rich body. Clean malt hop spice end. Sampled 9/14/2006.

2007 12 oz. Bottle. 6.20% ABV. 30 IBU's? (4.0 / 5.0) Winter Ale--Malty. 6-Pack $7.49. Dense lacy light tan head. Clear rich deep amber red color. Mild hop malt spice nutmeg hint front. Creamy cloying mild sweet toasted caramel mild fruit spice body. Mild fruit hop spice clean malty end. Tasty Smooth Malty Mild Winter Ale. Sampled 1/13/2008.

2008 12 oz. Bottle. 6.20% ABV. 25 IBU's? (3.5 / 5.0) Winter Ale--Malty. Dense rich lacy tan head. Pretty clear bronze red color. Mild roasted nutmeg spice toasted mild hop front. Dry sweet thin burnt toffee caramel mild sweet malt spice bland body. Dry sweet all spice mild hop citrus hint clean mild end. Bad Buds Bland? Sampled 10/27/2008. 6-Pack $7.49.

2010 12 oz. Bottle. 6.20% ABV. 40 IBU's. (3.5 / 5.0) Winter Ale? Off white thin lace half inch head dissipates quickly. Clear bright thin pretty amber gold color. Delicately toasted mild pine hop front. Earthy crusty mild sweet pale ale caramel malt Winter pine spice hint mild fruit body. Spicy earthy bitter hop end. Crisp, minimal Winter character and slightly odd flavor. Sampled on 10/20/2010 from 6-Pack purchased for $7.99 @ Fred Meyer--Ballard, Seattle on 10/19/2010.

2010 Version 2 12 oz. Bottle. 7.20% ABV. 40 IBU's. (4.0 / 5.0) Winter Ale? Off white lacy dense half inch head. Rich clear bright gold color. Delicate malt spice aromatic winter hop spice front. Crisp tangy rich cloying caramel mild sweet spicy rich pine hint mildly fruity rich malty hoppy body. Clean spicy earthy mildly bitter mild citrus clean bright odd British hop spice end. Sampled on 11/14/2010 from 6-Pack purchased for $7.99 @ PCC--Fremont, Seattle on 11/6/2010.

Photo of henrysunset
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

huge foamy head of tiny tan bubbles. Beer is clear and dark reddish brown, inbetween a brown ale and an amber.

Smell is very nice, malty and slightly sweet, what hops i can sense are sharp and orangey/citrusy.

Taste is somewhat sweet as the smell suggested, not too hoppy, quite mellow infact. Pleasing, althoug quite mellow. Aftertaste is very fine too, a mellow toasty sweetness.

Mouthfeel is also nice, there is a lot of thickness and body here to enjoy.

It's a great winter ale. Would be refreshing, especially with a hearty winter meal.

Photo of feloniousmonk
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ruby color, smallish head. Aroma: plum, cherries, some dark fruits. Medium body, lingering pleasant finish, slightly sweet, and very mellow. Normally, I like my winter ales to be on the spicier side, richer and toasted, and stronger. We'll have to wait 'til Anchor Our Special comes in...not a bad beer here, though.

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.

Photo of WoodBrew
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The powder hound is a beautiful beer. Poured a clear perfect amber with slighly off white head that is at least a half finger and is lacing really well. The smell is a good heavy carmal malt with tinges of spice. The initial taste was an alcohol explosion. The second taste allowed for the malt and carmel to begin to blossum. The mouthfeel is medium body with good carbonation. Overall this is a decent beer....the alcohol content is not masked as well as I would like.

Photo of lhaqq
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Clear amber body and a billowy fluffy coffee-colored head with great lacing on the glass and about 3mm on top throughout drinking.
S: Smells like a dark lager, pretty sweet overall. Malty and some honey.
T: Sweet malts, light and dark, up front. Diacetyl and some alcohol and banana, with the banana and some smokiness finishing off the taste.
M: Smooth. Maybe a bit too sweet overall but not bad.
D: A great beer to have in winter months. Probably could have a couple but the sweetness may get to be too much after this.

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

A: Deep brown with a decent off-white head thta has OK retention. Leaves bits of lace.

S: Mostly malty, with caramel, toffee and a touch of pine.

T: Not very exciting, but still good. A very balanced beer with a toasted maltiness up front and mild citrus and pine bitterness in back.

M: Medium body has the right amount of fizz.

D: One of the weaker winter seasonals I've had. A decent beer nonetheless that holds it's own away from other winter offerings.

Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 458 ratings.