Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest BeerAdvocate updates delivered to your inbox.

Powder Hound Winter Ale - Big Sky Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Powder Hound Winter AlePowder Hound Winter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

243 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 243
Hads: 486
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 9
Gots: 28 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-13-2002

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 243 | Hads: 486
Photo of ThePeskyDingo
3.53/5  rDev -2.2%
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. (324 characters)

Photo of wolfinthemirror
4.05/5  rDev +12.2%
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. (530 characters)

Photo of longbongsilver
3.52/5  rDev -2.5%
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. (886 characters)

Photo of ReebShorts
3.2/5  rDev -11.4%
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. (522 characters)

Photo of xymyl
3.78/5  rDev +4.7%
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. (472 characters)

Photo of Johnny_Muir
4.2/5  rDev +16.3%
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. (262 characters)

Photo of ponbon63
3.37/5  rDev -6.6%
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. (772 characters)

Photo of gnemesis
3.5/5  rDev -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. (451 characters)

Photo of Vashtar
3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
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. (294 characters)

Photo of zacharius
3.6/5  rDev -0.3%
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. (381 characters)

Photo of imagese
3.57/5  rDev -1.1%
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. (494 characters)

Photo of 1whiskey
3.11/5  rDev -13.9%
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. (923 characters)

Photo of CamuMahubah
3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
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... (450 characters)

Photo of V1per41
4.2/5  rDev +16.3%
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. (176 characters)

Photo of NatetheGreat
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Beautiful looking, deep ruby-brown with light tan head. Spicy aroma, with a nuttiness and notes of clove. Taste didn't live up to the nose, but did have a nice hoppy finish (guessing noble hops). Thick, rich mouthfeel and a good brew overall. Certainly on spot for the style. (275 characters)

Photo of PCBrewski
3.35/5  rDev -7.2%
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. (464 characters)

Photo of ohoove
3.46/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Chestnut/copper with an eggnog colored head that quickly faded but left some decent to good lacing.
Really wasn't impressed or moved much by the smell , more malt and wheaty than anything else.
Not much of a winter warmer or an amber/ red. To me this leaned more towards an Oktoberfest style than anything else.
Wouldn't turn this down , then again i wouldn't actively seek this one out. I guess if you're curious give it a shot.
Forgettable but not regrettable. (466 characters)

Photo of Pooba001
3.48/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear light/medium amber with decent carbonation and a little head that fades to light lacing. Smell is bitter, notes of sour apple, butterscotch, and burnt something that I can't put my finger on tonight. I'm becoming less optimistic about this beer.

Taste is caramel malt, light hop flavor, without the off notes from the aroma. Still, I'd like to see something distinct here, some spice or hop or big maltiness. There's really nothing distinguishing about this beer, its a fairly run of the mill amber ale.

Mouthfeel is thin, not ideal. Drinkability is good, its an ok, non-objectionable beer that you could have a few of. (639 characters)

Photo of frenchblood21
3.89/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jegross for this one!

Bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance- Beautiful! One inch light tan head that slowly disappears. The beer is a light copper color.

Smell- Smells like a typical winter warmer. Toasted grains and toffee.

Taste- Carmel and butter are what stands out to me. Malty and very hoppy.

Mouthfeel- Feels a bit thin. The flavor is nice and it coats the whole mouth.

Overall- I got this beer as an extra, so I am thrilled about it. Its really good and I recommend trying it. (510 characters)

Photo of quaybr
3.36/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass, the look of this beer is the best part. It's a pretty one. Sits a very clear amber beneath a frothy, sizable head.

Smells of english malts, some toffee, some caramel. A slight citrus hop accompanies.

Things get a little funky with the flavor. The malts taste off, slightly indistinguishable; the taste is tangy and lingers unpleasantly. Reminds me of an extract homebrew that suffered from scorched extract. Not quite sure, but it's not good. Bitter hops wash down a bit distastefully.

Mouthfeel is ok. Doesn't wash down too clean, leaves a residue.

Overall, I'm a little disappointed. I like that they're going for something other than a spicy winter ale, though. (694 characters)

Photo of madtappers
4.2/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Very drinkable winter seasonal. This beer has the right amount of hops and malt to balance out the taste. Seems to be more of a traditional ale than a winter warmer.

Great beer to session, and share with some friends.

Big Sky always has had good beers and this "winter" seasonal proves it. (291 characters)

Photo of bodybyadam
3.37/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a deep dark brown filtered ale with a bead around the rim of the glass.

S: Nose of heavy malts, and distinct caramel.

T: Notes of heavy barley and malts, and sweet caramel malts. There’s a taste of “broccoli”. Distinct caramel malt comes out in the finish as well as the other deep malts with a woody flavor.

M: Nice medium chewy feel but light and smooth at the same time.

Elbows Up,
Adam (415 characters)

Photo of BehindtheFinBrew
3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle to a 16 oz American pint

A: Poured a clear dark copper with hints of red. 2-finger cream colored head, which eventually reduced to a thing frothy raft. Creamy thin lace clung to the top part of the glass.

S: Dominated by malted grain with cinnamon and clove.

T: A roasted malty sweetness is paired with slight notes of holiday spice and orange citrus. Hop character is minimal with some lingering bitterness on the finish. For a winter ale, spice character is not overwhelming and somewhat light.

M: Carbonation is sufficient which gives way to a thin mouthfeel due to the under representation of malt. Light for a winter ale

D: The lightness of flavor and body make this a decent session beer. (725 characters)

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

As Missoula, Montana's Big Sky Brewing is the purveyor of Moose Drool, one of my favorite browns from last year, I had big expectations for their winter offering. As a "winter warmer," their Powder Hound Winter Ale is pretty subtle--which is a good thing at this point. I was getting tired of all the beers in my fridge tasting like repossessed gingerbread house.

The Hound forms a nice, tenacious eggshell-colored head and throws a warm caramel-malty nose. There is a small hint of nutmeg, the misunderstood crown prince of the winter spices, but all in all what we have here is a really decent British-style brown ale. The hops don't really come into play until a late, final note on the back of the tongue.

I've yet to do a side-by-side tasting with Moose Drool, but really, with the days getting noticeably longer, our attention turns to beers of a hoppier nature ... maybe next year. (890 characters)

Photo of descartes
3.01/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 33 cl bottle.

Appearance: Clear amber beer with slight tan head.
Smell: Nectary sweet smell, with hints, smells thin.
Taste: Malty taste,with hint of burnt caramel. Off aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied but becomes watery quickly.

Overall: I was disappoint by a thin body, an overly sweet smell and a one dimensional roasted taste. (355 characters)

Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 243 ratings.