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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

427 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 427
Reviews: 235
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 12.43%
Wants: 6
Gots: 12 | 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: 427 | Reviews: 235 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.98/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

UCLABrewN84, Dec 02, 2012
Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

zestar, Aug 10, 2014
Photo of Texasfan549
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

Texasfan549, Mar 26, 2013
Photo of brentk56
4/5  rDev +10.5%
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

brentk56, Jan 31, 2011
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
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...

BuckeyeNation, Mar 31, 2005
Photo of BEERchitect
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

BEERchitect, Jul 16, 2005
Photo of kjkinsey
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

kjkinsey, Mar 23, 2013
Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

mikesgroove, Sep 18, 2011
Photo of jaydoc
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

jaydoc, Oct 26, 2013
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.38/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

ChainGangGuy, Jul 05, 2009
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 TMoney2591
3.29/5  rDev -9.1%
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.

TMoney2591, Feb 10, 2013
Photo of zeff80
4.08/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

zeff80, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

NeroFiddled, Feb 16, 2005
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.

StonedTrippin, Nov 13, 2013
Photo of Slatetank
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

Slatetank, May 24, 2013
Photo of russpowell
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
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

russpowell, Nov 02, 2007
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.

feloniousmonk, Nov 20, 2002
Photo of WesWes
4.35/5  rDev +20.2%
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.

WesWes, Dec 27, 2004
Photo of mendvicdog
4.25/5  rDev +17.4%

mendvicdog, Jan 16, 2013
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 jwc215
3.93/5  rDev +8.6%
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!

jwc215, Apr 11, 2009
Photo of Gueuzedude
2.53/5  rDev -30.1%
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

Gueuzedude, Nov 14, 2006
Photo of Halcyondays
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

Halcyondays, Nov 21, 2010
Photo of GClarkage
4.43/5  rDev +22.4%
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!

GClarkage, Nov 08, 2004
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Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 427 ratings.