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Powder Hound Winter Ale - Big Sky Brewing Company

Powder Hound Winter AlePowder Hound Winter Ale

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

404 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 404
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: 404 | Reviews: 234 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.98/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pour at the BevMo Holiday Beerfest held at Golden Road Brewing in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy orange-tan head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus fruit, and citrus zest. Taste is much the same with a mild hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2012 05:33:11 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

3.55/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fuzzy, dark orangish bronze; a relatively common winter beer color it seems. The compact, orange-tinted beige cap features a pebbled surface of gently popping bubbles. As it drops, sloppy rings of lace appear on the upper portion of the glass.

The nose is redolent of heavily toasted malt and puts me in mind of coarse, heavy, dark bread. I don't smell chocolate per se, so comparisons to pumpernickel don't really apply. It smells a bit earthy as well. The aroma needs something to give it some life. Hops would do the trick, but are virtually absent by my nose.

Powder Hound Winter Ale tastes better than it smells. While it's still malt-dominant, it's more multi-dimensional than the nose could ever hope to be. The malt backbone is firm and stops just short of roasted. Caramel and mild chocolate lead the way and a moderate sweetness helps rather than hinders.

Despite the early and mid sweetness, bitterness gathers itself at the midway point and increases modestly through the finish. The sweet-bitter interplay is wonderful, I just wish the underlying flavor was more to my liking. The body is a click or two above medium and the carbonation is on the shy end of things, resulting in a lovely mouthfeel.

I've been pleased by Big Sky in the past. Powder Hound isn't bad, but a few tweaks are needed to bring it up to the level of its stablemates. I feel like a broken record sometimes, but more hops would improve this beer immensely... more hops would improve this beer immensely... more hops would improve this beer immensely...

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2005 14:23:42 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of mikesgroove
mikesgroove

South Carolina

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

ruby tinted brown with lots of reddish hues easily visible on both the sides and bottom of the glassthree finger high head of sticky and foamy off white lace

aroma was full of hops creating a large sweet aroma. thick malted backbone that was full of deep earthen grains and roasted malts, and a nice caramel coating that seemed to tie it all together very nicely. resin pine with a sugary caramel sweetness balancing it very nicely. The backbone being the roasted malts consisting of a nice spattering of cereal grain and earthy grasses. All of this seamlessly blended together in a thick mix of almost chewy goodness.

Serving type: bottle

09-18-2011 04:29:06 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

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

Appearance: Pours a hazy amber color with a two finger head that displays good stickage and leaves shards of lace

Smell: Sweet malt and caramel aromas as well as a hint of piney hop

Taste: While there is a biscuity malt flavor, up front, that merges with caramel, the piney hop notes quickly arrive to balance out the sweeter flavors; after the swallow, the flavors are nicely balanced with some winter warmer elements but, overall, this is a very hoppy beer for the style; a tingle of mint on the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: A beer that combines a range of styles, this is a nicely balanced beer with enough flavor to keep one's attention

Thanks, sholle, for the opportunity

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2011 01:40:55 | More by brentk56
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

3.75/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very nice beer for style. Has the look of winter ale--lood of sticy without thickness. Nicely browned with ruby highlights. A dirty off white head that persists shows body. Smells toasty and maty. Toffee and chocolate malt round out the nose. Tastes malty, toasty, slightly roasty, slightly chocolately, quite nutty, vanella-ey, and a little caramel-ey. Light buttery and candied. Big body per style that dominates with creamyness and carbonation. Finishes cloying and tacky with light tones of bittering that shows grainyness.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2005 06:12:54 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

3.38/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a clear, deep, dark amber body with a frothy, off-white head.

Smell: Gently toasted biscuits with notes of caramel and fruit and just the teeniest, tiniest pinches of lemon zest and spice.

Taste: Toasty, biscuit-like malt overtones with some caramel sweetness present, though overall, the tastes here seem a tad thin. Modest amount of fruitiness. Spicy, lightly citrusy hops with a low bitterness. Up from the taste came a bubblin' herbal quality giving the beer a tea-like flavor on the drying finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: While it's definitely not the most engaging or alluring of wintertime offerings, it is fairly acceptable for a relatively light seasonal offering.

Serving type: bottle

07-05-2009 19:48:53 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of oberon
oberon

North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev +3.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2004 01:27:06 | More by oberon
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 NeroFiddled
NeroFiddled

Pennsylvania

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

A clear, ruby-orange copper body and yellowish tan head welcomes you to Big Sky's Powderhound. Its head retention is good, and it leaves rings of craggy and spotty lace about the glass. The nose is fruity with citrusy hops (and yeasty fruitiness?), and malty with a hint of chocolate-drizzled caramel. In the mouth it's delicately zesty with a median carbonation and medium-light body; becoming somewhat creamy as it warms in the mouth. The flavor is fuller than the nose suggests, and it's loaded with rich, chocolate-accented deep-caramel and toffee malt washed by citrusy hops and backed by a rock-solid bitterness and cusp of roastiness. It finishes dry with some lingering tangerine-like fruitiness and mild pine from the hops; some mildly sticky toffee and caramelish malt; and a restrained but lingering bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2005 22:56:04 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of feloniousmonk
feloniousmonk

Minnesota

3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
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 russpowell
russpowell

Oklahoma

3.53/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Here's my take on this year's release:

Pours copper/reddish orange with 2+ fingers of sand colored head.
Above average lacing & head retention

S: Some breadyness, not much else

T: Earthy hops up front along with hints of cherry & brown sugary malt. Breadyness & tobacco-like hoppyness, along with a hint of raspberry & caramel as this warms. Finishes a bit warming, with citric & herbal hops, plus just a hint of orange jam

MF: Medium-bodied with moderate carbonation, a little juicy, & okay balance

Drinks pretty easy, this isn't as good as it was, but I could still easily session on this. This works better as winter warmer than an amber, but I'm not sure I'd agree with the original call

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2007 05:18:27 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

4.35/5  rDev +20.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2004 00:19:19 | More by WesWes
Photo of Mora2000
Mora2000

Texas

3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2010 17:54:47 | More by Mora2000
Photo of zeff80
zeff80

Missouri

4.08/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a bubbly, copper color with a small, tan, foamy head. It left small, thin traces of lace.

S - It smelled of roasted malt, floral notes and it had an earthy quality.

T - It tasted of biscuity, sweet caramel malt. It had a nice spicy hop kick.

M - It was crisp and sharp with a dry finish. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a nicely balanced amber ale with good doses of sweet malt and spicy hops.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2008 20:21:04 | More by zeff80
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

2.53/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours an absolutely brilliantly clear, burnt amber color. It is topped by an initially three-finger thick head that leaves some light lacing and is a pale tan color. The aroma is sweet smelling; leaning towards malt, but with some definite fruitiness as well. There seems to be some low level spiciness here as well (of the sweet baking variety). I wonder if this has spices in it, though if it does it is quite subtle. Boozy aromatics of alcohol and berry extracts combine to give this a nose similar to, though not as concentrated as, a cheap berry liquor.

The beer is fairly sweet, yet still relatively thin. It finishes with a sweet boozy beeriness that is definitely a bit off putting. A berry like fruitiness is prominent, but this seems to be stripped of all of the malt character that would lend complexity to this beer. This tastes like it is highly filtered, it is just missing a depth of character that would make it drinkable. The strong boozy character, straight forward fruit and lack of depth combined, make this beer something I don't particularly want to drink.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2006 16:24:44 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of jwc215
jwc215

Wisconsin

3.93/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Wasatch for including in a trade!

Pours copperish amber - nice clarity - with a thin head that becomes a wisp leaving some traces of lacing.

The smell is of nuts, caramel and a hint of minty spicing.

The taste is nutty and caramelish - towards toffeeish. A spicy hop touch balances out the sweetness in the finish.
Malt accented with a hop touch.

Medium-bodied.

Not a spiced winter brew, but a nice malty (but with a hop balance and a hint of warmth) brew. Could see how it fits with "winter", though did well on a cold, rainy spring day. Easy to drink despite hint of warmth. An enjoyable brew!

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2009 15:20:12 | More by jwc215
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

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

12 oz. bottle, glad to see a single of this finally,

A: Pours amber with a moderate white head, solid lace.

S: Crystal malt, overall sweet smell with a hint of hops.

T: Crystal malt with a lot of bitterness, very earthy, but nothing really wintery about it.

M: Medium-bodied, soft carbonation, fairly smooth.

D: Solid winter beer, definitely more in the Celebration realm for winter beers. Tasty, but nothing more.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2010 07:24:48 | More by Halcyondays
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 tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

3.2/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a firkin at Groveland Tap.

Came with a bit of head and lacing from the firkin, but I couldn't pull must aroma or flavor out of it, even as it warmed. Maybe some beers just aren't made to go on cask. I just got a little cocoa malt with decent hops bitterness. Felt nice and easy to drink, but I wasn't particularly inspired to drink more.

Serving type: cask

12-20-2007 04:48:55 | More by tempest
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle from Liquid Solutions.

A: The ale is an amber red color, showing off some garnet red highlights and some auburn orange. The head is a concentrated band at the top of the beer, showing a potential for lacing.

S: The ale has a nutty toffee malt aroma with a mere kiss of hops.

T: The flavor continues the malty nose, presenting a nutty malt flavor that has caramel elements. The malts are very chewy, providing a depth that is very filling and grainy. Hops are incidental, bittering the ale without interfering with the malt profile.

M: The thicker malts provide a nice taste without overdoing it. They are strong enough to evoke some spice notes in the ale that don't really exist.

D: An enjoyable ale, this makes for a decent sipping ale.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2007 22:01:51 | More by akorsak
Photo of lacqueredmouse
lacqueredmouse

Australia

3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2012 02:30:53 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of Zorro
Zorro

California

4.1/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a clear red colored ale with a good tan colored head.

Smell is sweet and malty with an aroma of figs and raisins with some vanilla and smoke. Good toasted bread aroma. Fair amount of spiciness in the scent to the point I suspect they added spice to create a sort of winter warmer. Scent is somewhat like a bock beer.

Taste is slightly sweet bitter and smoky in the first taste with a residual wood and vanilla finish. Strongly malty but it is very aggressively hopped to compensate and does a very good impersonation of a good Scottish ale. Smoky malt and strong herbal hops make this a very pleasing beer! The oak, vanilla and caramel continue as after tastes through out the glass full.

Mouthfeel is only average here; this has that one slight fault.

A very drinkable Scottish ale here. According to the website they call this "a Northern Rockies Strong Ale" but taste wise this is a malty and smoky Scottish ale in my book. A surprisingly drinkable beer that I really didn't expect to be as good as it was.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2006 04:32:00 | More by Zorro
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

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

Thanks flexabull for the brew.

Pours a nice clear amber color, nice carbonation, nice little creamy tan head, nice sticky lacing afterwards, and hangs around for awhile. Nice scent of sweet malts, slight hops, and caramel. The taste is malty with a nice bitter bite in the finish. Light-Medium body. Drinkable, a nice brew from Big Sky, could drink a few of these.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2007 00:37:13 | More by Wasatch
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
Beerandraiderfan

Nevada

3.5/5  rDev -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.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2011 19:36:03 | More by Beerandraiderfan
Photo of Bighuge
Bighuge

Minnesota

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

This is the first year I tried this one. Beautiful mohagony color. Great malt taste. Very good. This beer tastes as if it was aged in oak. Nice warming winter brew.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2002 16:38:30 | More by Bighuge
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Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 404 ratings.