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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

415 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 415
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: 415 | Reviews: 235 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of henrysunset
henrysunset

Washington

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.

Serving type: bottle

10-24-2004 22:17:30 | More by henrysunset
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

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.

Serving type: on-tap

11-20-2002 15:57:46 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of mattster
mattster

Texas

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2008 06:43:34 | More by mattster
Photo of WoodBrew
WoodBrew

Illinois

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2012 02:30:59 | More by WoodBrew
Photo of lhaqq
lhaqq

California

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.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2009 04:16:49 | More by lhaqq
Photo of Rayek
Rayek

Colorado

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.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2008 18:30:13 | More by Rayek
Photo of whynot44
whynot44

Missouri

3.64/5  rDev +0.6%
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 Scotchboy
Scotchboy

Idaho

3.64/5  rDev +0.6%
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 GRPunk
GRPunk

Michigan

3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a pint glass.

A- A moderate pour left a 2-finger, pillowy, khaki head with what looked like a spot of yeast left behind. The head sustains at about 1/2-finger and leaves fluffy rings on the glass. The body was a clean amber that was just slightly hazed and had loads of carbonation.

S- It was pretty sweetish at first. I got caramel malts, citrus and earthy hops. There was an orange zest quality that almost seemed juicy. Later on I picked up some husky grains, maybe brought on by some warmth.

T- Really well balanced. There was slightly burnt caramel, herbal and citrus hops. The hopping clean and dry the finish. There was some toasted and cereal-like grains in the middle-to-end.

M- Sips are through a fairly frothy head. It's fairly full-bodied. There was a pleasant grainy quality. It had a very dry finish.

D- It came across as an amber that's had everything ratcheted up a notch. Very flavorful. As a winter seasonal, it's a nice seitch from some of the overly-spiced, alcohol bombs out there. At first I thought this would be some kind of a "sessionable" seasonal. However, it ended up a little too bold for a bunch in any one sitting. Not really a sipper, but definitely not a chugger.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2010 02:01:14 | More by GRPunk
Photo of demcorhip
demcorhip

Ontario (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance
Poured a clear, deep rusty amber. A one finger light tan head formed on the pour. This finely carbonated ale was able to produce a fine yet thick collar of lacings.

Aroma
Fruity and toasted bready malts. Red cherry skin, perhaps a touch of red grape also present. Some earthy and leafy (as in autumn) hops also there.

Taste
Dry malts, predominant flavours of toast and biscuit. A lesser, hazelnut flavour also present, along with intersting fruity notes, some maraschino cherry and red grape. The mild, earthy and leafy hops finished this one out.

Mouthfeel
A simple, refreshing, well made beer. Nicely balanced, refreshing, with a dry finish. Lacks real depth or complexity.

Drinkability
A very drinkable brew, definately sessionable. Would be a great brew to drink with friends or family that would normally stick to BMC or Molbatts, as long as they have to courage to try something new. May look for this one again if such a situation arises.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2006 00:33:16 | More by demcorhip
Photo of Durge
Durge

Connecticut

3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A clear mahogany color with a big fluffy light tan head with good lace. The aroma is a light nutty sweetness with some malt, but very mild. It has a mellow woody-nut flavor, some vanilla with a full body feel but sort of flat at the same time. I detect a little smokiness and there is a slight hop bitterness at the back of this. Drinkable enough and definitely worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2007 06:32:41 | More by Durge
Photo of Spikester
Spikester

Oregon

3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
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 StoutHunter
StoutHunter

Michigan

3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
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
Photo of hopdog
hopdog

Pennsylvania

3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle.

Poured a medium to deeper orangish color with a small sized off white head. Aromas of toffee, caramel, roast, and chocolate. Tastes of toffee, roasted and toasted malts, and I was getting a lighter fruitiness.

Notes from and tasted on 02/01/08.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2008 21:42:51 | More by hopdog
Photo of KajII
KajII

North Carolina

3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Best served in a Trappist glass]

The pour was a hazy medium orange with an average sized (1-2 finger) white creamy head that diminished into a puddle of residue which in turn created streaking sheets of lacing.

The aroma was of a mild bread malt, pine hops and a sweet doughy yeast with notes of caramel, toffee, coriander, a bit of clove and just a touch of alcohol.

The taste was malty and mildly sweet with notes of caramel and toffee early on and then progressed into a nice bitter hoppy flavor that had notes of some dark fruit and spices with a hint of alcohol at the end. The flavor lingered for a nice long time and left a nice spicy malty flavor on the taste buds.

Mouthfeel was medium in body and a tad watery in texture with a medium carbonation.

Overall a nice bold Winter Ale that had just the right amount of spices and a great hoppy finish.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2012 19:35:07 | More by KajII
Photo of Nerudamann
Nerudamann

Oregon

3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Look - clear, light amber in color. Half to one finger's worth of foam that dissipates quickly. Moderate carbonation.

Smell - Hoppy-smelling, there's also a pepperiness or spiciness to it that I can't quite pin down. Very intriguing smell. Hopefully the taste is just as captivating.

Taste - Fairly high level of bitterness from the hops. The spice smell lives on in the taste as well, but I still can't quite define it. I want to say maybe Agave, but I don't think that can be right. Bitterness lingers on in the aftertaste, but only as a guest for the night, as it doesn't linger too long. Texture is fairly well-balanced, but is more on the creamier side.

Drinkability - might be a little too bitter for me to enjoy on many occasions, but I'd keep coming back just for the complexity of it. Nice brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2010 03:49:20 | More by Nerudamann
Photo of aaronh
aaronh

Pennsylvania

3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Deep reddish amber body topped by a thin, ecru head. The head gradually fades to just a loose grouping of larger bubbles ringed in tight foam. The aroma is almost all caramel malt notes, but there's just a hint of woody herbalness. Light caramel flavors are supported by a slight alcohol note, then wrapped up with some bitterness. Slight, very slight medicinal/metallic note on the finish that's just a bit astringent. Mouthfeel is solid, but a bit over-carbonated. Drinakbilty is ok. A solid beer, but not exceptional.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2007 23:44:36 | More by aaronh
Photo of CamuMahubah
CamuMahubah

Nebraska

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...

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2007 08:42:11 | More by CamuMahubah
Photo of rebel1771
rebel1771

Florida

3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish brown with a nice off white head.

Earthy smell with bready malts making up the body of the aroma. Just a touch of caramel finsihes off the aroma.

Roasted malt flavor jumps out of right up front with a touch of candied fruit in the end. The mouthfeel ends a little wattery but nice overall.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2008 22:50:52 | More by rebel1771
Photo of zacharius
zacharius

Washington

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.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2004 00:39:13 | More by zacharius
Photo of Vashtar
Vashtar

Texas

3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice head! It's fairly light and really clear.

The smell has some metallic and pine hints, with an overall caramel scent.

The taste is... metallic, HOPPY and nice. I'm not sure this is really a "winter ale."

The mouthfeel is fluff! Totally like that fake snow stuff that they use in diapers.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2011 07:12:37 | More by Vashtar
Photo of WastingFreetime
WastingFreetime

Wisconsin

3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from tasting notes.

Poured out a darker amber with decent clarity, two fingers of foamy head that stayed around for a minute and a half, with medium levels of lacing left behind. Smells like an even blend of citrus peel, chocolate malt, and a garnish of vanilla on top. Tastes has a gentle toasted nut and vanilla character combined with a citrus / earthy hopping garnish. Noticeably absent is any kind of 'holiday spicing', for better or for worse. Feels thicker in flavor than the body actually is, gently carbonated and creamy in texture.

Serving type: bottle

06-16-2012 01:10:39 | More by WastingFreetime
Photo of cretemixer
cretemixer

Indiana

3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Clear light auburn in color with an off-white head that fades fast leaving a sporadic sheeting of lace.
Caramel malts with a hint of dark fruits. Raisins and a bit of over-ripe peach.
Fruity taste, but not overly so. Less spice than I was expecting from a "winter ale" though. There is a very mild hoppiness that comes into play by mid-glass as the beer finishes on a dry note.
Mediumish body with nice mellow carbonation. Slightly oily too.
Not a bad beer, by any means, but I had hopes that this dog had a little more bite. Thanks to Bighuge for the sample.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2004 03:43:16 | More by cretemixer
Photo of BeardedRiker
BeardedRiker

Texas

3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The last Big Sky beer I had was a couple of years ago. I thought it was OK and never felt the need to go and try more. Since I've been asked and convinced to try another and review it. I like pretty much every winter ale I come across so I thought getting the Powder Hound would be a good choice, and it was. Let's see what the mountain folk of Montana came up with!

Like most beers that are good, I knew this one was just by pouring it out. Its aroma hit my nostrils pretty fast, but that'll be touched on later. The Powder Hound has a great head on it. It's thick, foamy, off-white in color, and leaves plenty of lacing as well as leaving a foamy film on the surface throughout drinking the beer that is a clear golden-orange. The smell is wonderful. To me it smells like a sugary cookie in some ways. Sweet malts and earthy hops are dominant with citrus present underneath. I don't get that floral aroma like most pale ales have from the hops but that's not a negative toward this beer. It smells like a winter ale should be: hoppy, plenty of malt, and earthy.

I think what I enjoy most about Powder Hound is the mouthfeel and balance of flavor. Hops are most prevalent but there isn't too much bitterness. It's very nice though. Instead it has a more earthy-spicy flavor that's not overwhelming. Mango citrus tang follows the hops with malty sweetness and a light roastiness. When drinking this I think of sitting by a fire after being outside in the cold and snow. In this case I guess the Powder Hound has done its job of being a winter ale since it makes me imagine drinking it in the winter. :P Hop bitterness and citrus do linger at the very end in the mouth. There's nothing like good flavors lingering to help you have a more lasting enjoyment of the beer. Although I don't think this beer is extraordinary, it is definitely very good. It's a great example of a quintessential winter ale. If you're snowed in then get this one!

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2011 04:33:01 | More by BeardedRiker
Photo of imagese
imagese

California

3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- hazy golden with a one finger head that faded quickly, hung around as a fine layer, and left light spotty lacing

S- grassy hops, apple, and a lot of yeasty spice. This smells like lager yeast was used

T- bitter apple and grassy hop combo along with a nice spiciness. There is a strong boozy yeast finish

M
- crisp and dry light body and nice carbonation

D- interesting beer. Very easy drinking. Not a typical winter ale at all

I could swear that this an attempt at an imperial pilsener.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2011 02:37:48 | More by imagese
Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 415 ratings.