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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.

414 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 414
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: 414 | Reviews: 235 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Zraly


3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Powder Hound poured amber in color, a very consistent looking beer. However, the head didn't hang around for too long. What was left did cling nicely, though. The smell is rather plain...just the presence of hops. Good, but nothing extra-special.

What did impress me was the overall flavor. There is wonderful nutty, spicy flavor that warms up the mouth and belly quite rightly. In particular, I want to describe the main note as chestnut. There is another flavor that ends up prevailing as the beer warms a tad...that of root veggies. My tasting partner exclaimed "bean sprouts!"...which I started to notice and identify once she mentioned so. Very weird lil' nuances going on in this beer. The sweetness is mild and the hop finish is on the warm side. This works nicely to enhance the nutty aspect of the overall taste.

Besides the quirkiness of this beer, (and the odd flavors that come along with it), I'd say it is actually very drinkable. And although a bit strange, it's a good strange.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2002 13:57:36 | More by Zraly
Photo of GossageBrewery


3.03/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured this amber ale from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass, poured a clear amber color, produced a nice off white head, decent retention and it left a good amount of lacing on the glass. The aroma consisted of caramel and lemongrass. Medium in body, this ale had a foundation of malted grain, sweet caramel and some citric lemon hops. Somewhat bitter- Dry finish. Overall, not very flavorful- its decent for a session beer but for a "Winter Ale" i was expecting a bit more umph!

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2013 23:04:18 | More by GossageBrewery
Photo of climax


4.28/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I didn't quite know which style Big Sky was aiming at here. I was assuming a darker winter warmer, but after I poured it and took a whiff, it seemed more of a high output Pale Ale. The color was a lighter than anticipated amber, with pretty good clarity. The head was a couple fingers of lumpy tan foam.

The nose is well-balanced, rich on both ends of the spectrum. There's no shortage of juicy hop aromas. They break through with citrus and pine. The malt side of things is sweet, caramel and toffee with a slight dark roasted edge to it. Buttery flavor, nuts, and an herbal earthy presence add to the complexity.

The flavor is quick to impress. It starts as a hop heavy pale ale, with spice and citrus. Lingering pine resin bitterness carries through, but its the malt complexity that impresses me. I began to think it's nothing more than balance (sweet caramel), but then I got strong hints of roasted chocolate followed by ripe fruit and a kiss of alcohol. Truly a joy to break down.

Don't let the color fool you, this one has plenty of gusto. The body is pretty thick with a nice stickiness. Carbonation is crisp from start to finish, and the lingering dry bitterness keeps me sipping. The 7% ABV is evident, but totally acceptable. It adds the extra warmth that elevates this beer to the next level. The style it falls into could be highly controversial, but forget where it fits, and enjoy.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2010 03:20:30 | More by climax
Photo of happygnome


3.33/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

a: pours a clear brown color with red hues noticeable produces a half inch of head that does dissapears fairlt quickly leacing a decent amount of lacing in the glass
s: deffinatly dominted by the malts, but im not surprised, cherry aroma detectable, bready malts though dominate aroma
f: sweet malts that are nicely toasted, cherry flavor is detectable, cherry flavor still noticeable, could use more hop bitterness
m: light to medium bodied beer with a good amount of carbonation

overall, this isnt that bad of a brew but it could use more hops

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2008 17:31:28 | More by happygnome
Photo of jharris0624


3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

11-17-2012 19:12:36 | More by jharris0624
Photo of supercolter


4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Good appearance, some nice head and lacing.
Smell is good as well, some drier malt and darker fruit, maybe a touch of hops is all.
Taste is really similar to the smell
Mouthfeel is medium in body with a bit of carbonation.
Drinkability is very good. I would recommend it.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2006 06:30:41 | More by supercolter
Photo of benloho


3.25/5  rDev -10.2%

01-29-2014 20:17:37 | More by benloho
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2013 00:29:06 | More by TheMarkE
Photo of Jameswoody


4/5  rDev +10.5%

12-25-2012 03:14:57 | More by Jameswoody
Photo of ruckus232


3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

05-05-2013 18:41:41 | More by ruckus232
Photo of TrojanWheels


4/5  rDev +10.5%

01-04-2014 00:17:24 | More by TrojanWheels
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2010 01:03:03 | More by philbertk
Photo of tubeyes


2.25/5  rDev -37.8%

01-07-2013 02:51:05 | More by tubeyes
Photo of CHSLBrew


3.38/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a large mug.

A-Copper colored beer, very clear, topped with a large-bubbled tan head. Moderate to low retention, the head reduced to a thin layer with minimal lacing.

S-Mostly a nutty and bicuity maltiness. Maybe some toasty hints, as well. No hop aroma.

T-Dominating nutty malts, with tones of a slight spiciness. When the nutty flavors subside, hints of caramel are able to emerge. These malts are balanced by a just-enough bitterness.

M-Moderate carbonation. This beer has a body that is a little thinner than I expected.

D-OK drinkability. I wasn't terribly impressed by this beer. Still, it's an enjoyable brown/amber ale that's easy and enjoyable to drink.

Serving type: on-tap

12-03-2008 16:18:40 | More by CHSLBrew
Photo of TheQuietMan22


3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Straight pour into a pint glass. The color is a clean, clear, light copper that is probably just few shades past straw. Two and a half fingers of eggshell colored head developed and slowly dissipated to leave a billowy lacing and ring around the edge.

Smell: The aroma is faint (probably because of my cold), but I can make out grapefruit citrus, caramel malts, toffee, pine spice, and a little bit of sweet fruit, which other reviewers have labeled pineapple.

Taste: There is a lot of hop and spice action going on, mostly grapefruit and pine. There is also some pepper spice as well. Beneath the hop surface is a nice caramel sweetness that probably keeps the beer from becoming too aggressive. Each sip leaves an adequate bitterness lingering on the tongue and cheeks. The alcohol eventually reveals itself as the beer warms, though it is far from overpowering.

Drinkability: Tasty stuff. Another decent holiday warmer. Too bad it can't cure my cold.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2010 04:55:45 | More by TheQuietMan22
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2013 07:51:38 | More by spicelab
Photo of EROCK75


3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

01-11-2012 15:02:41 | More by EROCK75
Photo of Tumble


3/5  rDev -17.1%

02-16-2012 22:16:02 | More by Tumble
Photo of Chaz


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

Poured cool (not from-the-fridge cold). Medium-firm pour into a Westmalle chalice produces a full one-fingered, pale tan head of medium duration and moderate lacing. Nose is fairly rich with esters of dark fruit, caramel, cocoa, and rather minimal hop. Smells creamy. Brilliant amber in color, fairly dark, and with a touch of crimson. Fruity and mildly-sweet on the first sip, with more dry biscuity malt notes than rich, roasty malt. VERY creamy. Lingering bitterness, with plenty of fresh piney, resiny hop aromatics, and a drying quality as well. Malt is fairly juicy on the second sip, and the alcohol is warming and nearer the front of the palate . . . tingly. Stronger than I recall it as being (and it drinks a bit stronger than 6.2%), but my overall impression is that this brew has changed a good deal since I first tried it five years ago . . . I really like the way they've balanced the juicy, aromatic, and bittering hops with the pale and roasty malt. Mildly roasty, cocoa notes tend to linger along with the both the hop bitterness and resiny quality, all to a rather pleasing affect. Light notes of cherry and caramel, cocoa and vanilla. Mouthfeel is light and creamy tingly as opposed to scrubbing/cleansing, and it is very *readily* drinkable, almost too much so. Carbonation is lower than I recall, with the brew being softer and more refined than I recall, definitely an improvement. Seeing as I haven't tried this in a good while and as it was on sale -$4 / six pack!- this made for a great buy for a cold day in February. Seeing as how their flagship brand (Moose Drool) has really come into its own in recenet years, it's no surprise that this brew would do likewise. Big Sky’s Powder Hound is worth enjoying again and again!

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2007 23:57:36 | More by Chaz
Photo of tonistruth


2.98/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- amber in color with about a half finger of off white foam, decent retent on that, and quick fading lacing

S- fruity aromas (raisin mostly), toffee

T- bready, toasted malts, raisin, cookie, with lingering malt sweetness throughout, spicy hop notes and some pine

M- dry medium and somewhat coarse body

D- nice season, though neither fascinating or repulsive

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2008 01:03:03 | More by tonistruth
Photo of Beermazter310


3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

12-16-2013 21:44:04 | More by Beermazter310
Photo of chumba526


4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The ale pours a light reddish color with a small head. The smell is kind of nutty/Smokey, it also smells a bit like orange peels; there is also a slight herbal fragrance to the ale. It tastes of rich roasted malts: the ones that add a slightly bitter Smokey quality to beer. The beer has a noticeable amount of hops; the hops mostly add to the bitterness but there is a slight citrus flavor to them as well. The malts and hops blend nicely with no element really overpowering the other; the carbonation which was low helped the flavors blend together. It is an excellent wintertime beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2010 23:47:50 | More by chumba526
Photo of demcorhip

Ontario (Canada)

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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 nukem5


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

A: Pours a great dark rich amber with solid foam cap which clings to walls of glass.

S: Aromas of light floral hops and sweet malty goodness.

T: Taste is a full throttle blast of sweet caramel malts with a light hop finish.

M: Medium body with smooth character all it's own.

O: Overall good beer with a bit of a boozey bite to help fight off winter cold blahs and bring in the holidays.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2011 01:45:32 | More by nukem5
Photo of BigRedN


4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass. The beer is a dark amber with an off white head about 1 inch in height. head fades to a solid cover on the liquid and leaves some good lacing.

Smell: Some lightly roasted malt, a little caramel, a light chocolate scent and something else (a little roasted barley?). Hints of hops from just a touch of a floral aroma, but mostly malty.

Taste: A well balanced beer. Some decent maltiness followed by a bitterness that is welcome but not overpowering.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, adequately carbonated (not too bubbly and not flat either) with a somewhat dry finish.

Drinkability: Got two bottles as part of a mixed pack. Very enjoyable, although at just over 6% I don't know if I would be able to session with this. Still it is a good beer to sit back and enjoy one (or two) on a cold winter night.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2008 03:23:26 | More by BigRedN
Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 414 ratings.