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Powder Hound Winter Ale | Big Sky Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
82
good
255 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
255
Ratings:
513
Avg:
3.62
pDev:
17.68%
 
 
Wants:
11
Gots:
44
For Trade:
0
Powder Hound Winter AlePowder Hound Winter Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company
Montana, United States | website

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

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"!

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-13-2002

User Reviews
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Reviews: 255 | Ratings: 513
Photo of xoqx
4.12/5  rDev +13.8%
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.

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Photo of henrysunset
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

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Photo of tbeck
3.98/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber, almost brown with a creamy one finger brown head. It has a slight clarity, darker than some other ales. Aroma is simple, malty sweetness and fruity. Very smooth taste, a lot of malt but well balanced sweetness. Hints of chocolate and coffee with a slight hoppy bitterness. Good body but not heavy with a slight chewy texture. A very enjoyable ale, highly recommended as a session beer and one to try.

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Photo of BeardedRiker
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!

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Photo of PopeJonPaul
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A rich copper-red with a thin tan head, smelled like malted milk balls. Tastes like cinnamon and brown sugar, heavy on the malty sweetness, maybe a bit of nutmeg in there as well, they didn't overdo it one the spices, which is nice. Not much hops, but what there is adds a pleasant citrus bitterness. Quite smooth and drinkable, went especially good with Yam Yam's BBQ (Portland, OR.) I wouldn't really call it a Winter "Warmer" though.

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Photo of RushLimbmalt
4.4/5  rDev +21.5%
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.

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Photo of Hhawk06
3.08/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer starts off promising and kind of goes downhill as you can see from my ratings.

It poured with a nice pillowy and largely beaded head. The dark amber color it displays is muddied by further ruby and brown colors. It looks good. The nose is malty fresh and bread-like. The body is straight medium but there is a clear rough edge to the mouthfeel that robs a bit from the drinkability. The over-riding chestnut flavor drives the beer, but the background consists of a cinnamon spice essence that I would expect from a winter offering. The finish i smore malty with the clove/cinnamon presence more pronounced. Ultimately, it leaves you leafy dry. Its ok, but proves somewhat pedestrian by the time you're done.

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Photo of V1per41
4.2/5  rDev +16%
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.

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Photo of bradybeer
4.15/5  rDev +14.6%
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

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Photo of UpToMeBeer
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
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!

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Photo of ThePeskyDingo
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a 1 finger off white head. Beer color is a dull copper brown with some carbonation.

Smells of sweet dried fruits, malts, caramels

Tastes of malts, nuts and dried fruits.

Mouthfeel is smooth and medium bodied. finishes clean.

Easy to drink. Could drink several in a session if the opportunity presented itself.

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Photo of wolfinthemirror
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a cloudy orange caramel color and a nice off white head sticks around for a while.

Smells very hop forward, sweet orange and grassy hop notes mostly.

big, bright hops hit me first, and then it's backed up with a nice caramel malt backbone. It has that classic, spicy quality that I like in winter warmers.

Medium bodied, moderately carbonated.

This is a very enjoyable winter warmer, I could drink these fairly often if they didn't sell out so quickly. I think I'll make it a habit of drinking Powder Hound every winter.

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Photo of longbongsilver
3.52/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

New night, new winter ale. Why not?

Fills mug a crystal-clear copper, thick biscuity white head of a couple inches sticks around a bit. First scent reminds me of honey & a bit of cinnamon, followed by some surprisingly naked barley considering the clarity. Something that reminds me of green apple rounds out the back.

On swig the hop characteristics show up in the form of mostly an understated bitterness, nothing real floral or fruity going on here. The smell telegraphs the taste rather well, though for the strength it's more subtle than I expected. Carbonation is very laid back but still noticeable, goes down like a cream ale actually.

It's a more simple than you'd think high-gravity chugger. Sometimes it's what a brewer doesn't do that factors in more than what they did, and they didn't broadcast strength in particular here. Wouldn't fight anybody over it, but it works.

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Photo of ReebShorts
3.2/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a chalice, just because I love drinking from it. Somewhat aggresive on the last half of the pour and still only managed a thin head which faded quickly, leaving some central bubbles behind and lacing around the rim.

A bit redder in color than other winter ales I've been sampling, kinda of a carmel brown/red.

Aroma is malty, and maybe some dark fruit, like plum.

Ok, taste is malty, and sweetened possibly by honey. Finish is dry. Not a bad sipper, but nothing really "wow's" me here. Pretty average.

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Photo of xymyl
3.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Clear deep red/amber with a fluffy tan head that lasts surprisingly long for the lightness of the beer.

Smell is caramel, dough and fruit (apples and grapes), with light floral hops.

Taste is simple with plenty of caramel, but bottoms out in the middle just like Moose Drool (although this is far better than Moose Drool).

Light, simple and refreshing... NOT a winter warmer & too much caramel to mow the lawn with. But I still liked it. The best I've had from Big Sky.

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Photo of MNAle
3.73/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

281151 020516 stamped; consumed on 1/05 and 1/06/16. Golden color, clear, well carbonated. 1/2 inch off-white creamy head that recedes fairly quickly, leaving some lacing. Nice hop aroma, faintly spicy, hint of citrus. Mild initial taste with a well established malt backbone with subtle hop flavor. Appropriate mouth feel for the style, tending toward slightly thicker than expected. Very well balanced, with a moderate level of bittering in the finish. This is not a hop-forward ale, but neither is it an overly malty ale. Well balanced, no booziness even at 7.2% ABV, but don't expect a big, WOW flavor profile. Easy drinking, pleasamt and enjoyable for a winter evening.

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Photo of Johnny_Muir
4.2/5  rDev +16%
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.

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Photo of ponbon63
3.37/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: poured into pint glass. Coppery, decent half-inch head.

S: Strong hope smell, fairly sweet and citrusy smelling hops for a red ale. Refreshing, fresh smell.

T: Slightly thin and alcoholic tasting, but a decent sweet hoppy flavor. Normally I wouldn't prefer more bitterness in a beer, but I feel that the alcohol would have been tamed by more flavor in this beer.

M: Too thin for the amount of alcohol. Feels like a lager with not enough body to handle the flavor and alcohol.

O: I feel this brew is worth trying for sure. It goes down easy and has a medium hop intensity. Overall I feel it was a decent winter beer, but was lacking in certain areas to make it a great beer. I would recommend trying this beer, but I wouldn't expect it to become anyone's favorite.

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Photo of gnemesis
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into pint glass on 10/22.
Appears amber in the glass with a thin white head- disappears quickly and leaves little lace. I can smell the maltiness immediately. A bit of herbal hops and some spicy notes detected as well. It tastes as it smells. This brew is crisp but gets syrupy as it warms. Dry finish and is medium bodied while cold but thickens warm. Low carbonation. This ale is perhaps a little above average but not great.

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Photo of Vashtar
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.

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Photo of zacharius
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
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.

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Photo of imagese
3.57/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

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Photo of 1whiskey
3.11/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a weizen glass. Deep mahogany red/brown, fairly clear when held to light. Nice frothy two finger head.

Very light nose is slightly sweet and sour with some hop character (EKG, Fuggles?) noticeable if you try hard. Real hard. Not much here.

Intitial taste is fairly clean, but a nice toasted grain flavor is evident. So where is the "avalanche of hops" Big Sky boasts of on their website? A low level of tea-like bitterness is the only thing I can detect here. It doesn't taste bad, it just doesn't taste like much at all. Seems like more a transition beer than a hearty winter ale.

Light bodied and highly carbonated, Powder Hound is nothing if not highly drinkable.

Probably not what most BAs are looking for in a hearty winter ale, but it's an easy drinker that could make for an unobjectionable transition beer for your friends, as well as an easy pairing with your typical pub fare.

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Photo of CamuMahubah
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...

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Photo of PCBrewski
3.35/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear light amber almost golden color, one to one and a half fingers of head that reduced quickly to a thin layer, moderate carbonation.

Aroma: A nice peppery hoppy smell, nothing too over powering, but awakens the nostrils.

Taste: A good smack factor from the hops but not too bitter. Pretty well balanced with spice and hops, and has a nice warm after taste.

Overall: I would buy this beer again. Balanced, hoppy, spicy and a great after taste.

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Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 255 ratings.