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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

420 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 420
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: 420 | Reviews: 235 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

imperialking, Jan 09, 2012
Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%

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.

lacqueredmouse, Jan 28, 2012
Photo of tempest
3.2/5  rDev -11.6%

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.

tempest, Dec 20, 2007
Photo of akorsak
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%

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.

akorsak, Mar 11, 2007
Photo of Zorro
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%

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.

Zorro, Jan 24, 2006
Photo of superspak
3.8/5  rDev +5%

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best by 02/15/2012. A bit of a gusher upon opening. Pours crystal clear golden amber color with a nice 2 finger dense off white head with great retention that reduces to a thick cap that lingers. Some decent lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of caramel, orange, pine, herbal, bread, pine, toasted malt, and light spiciness. Some nice aromas with good strength and balance. Taste of orange, grapefruit, pine, caramel, herbal, toasted malt, bread, and spiciness. Decent amount of bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of bread, caramel, herbal spiciness, and citrus on the finish for a bit. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and slightly creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming after the finish. Very drinkable and smooth for 7.2%. Overall this is a very nice and drinkable amber ale. Nice hoppy and spicy flavor, with good malt balance.

superspak, Jan 16, 2012
Photo of Wasatch
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

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.

Wasatch, Jan 18, 2007
Photo of wrightst
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

wrightst, Jun 13, 2014
Photo of Mebuzzard
3.13/5  rDev -13.5%

A glossy brown pour, nice fluffy head that settled to a soapy layer. A bit sticky on the glass.
Malt is first with the nose. A sticky sweetness, some soft fruit and cranberry. Musky a bit, too. Hops seem to keep it dry.
Sweet malt in the mouth, mixed with figs and cranberry. Subtle hints of dark fruits like plum, maybe some banana, but very little.
Notice of a slight crisp aftertaste, malt lingers a bit.

Mebuzzard, Dec 06, 2007
Photo of LXIXME
4/5  rDev +10.5%

LXIXME, Apr 14, 2014
Photo of Bighuge
4/5  rDev +10.5%

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.

Bighuge, Mar 26, 2002
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

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.

Beerandraiderfan, Nov 29, 2011
Photo of JohnGalt1
3/5  rDev -17.1%

12oz for about $1.30 at the Boise Coop, poured into my standard red wine glass.

Crystal clear dark amber .. red highlites when held up to the light.... good 3/4" head the drops to an off white collar with lacing that stick around to the end of the glass.

Smell is malt dominated with pit fruits.. sweet cherries and a little peach. No noticeable hops ... just toasted and bready malts ... something is missing.

Flavor is much more complex and appreciated. Malt accentuated with toasted and roasted grains .... stops well short of black grains. Fruitiness is still very prevalent .... enough bitterness to barely balance... needs more hops. Good body.. and dialed in carbonation.

Powder Hound is one of those Holiday brews I pick up every year (I have a soft spot in my heart for Montana breweries). I like all Big Sky brews, especially the special releases available at the brewery, but Powder Hound I've always though needs work .... just a little work and quite a bit more hops. I would get bored fast drinking more than 1-2 of these in a session.

JohnGalt1, Dec 01, 2007
Photo of Tone
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%

Pours a clear, copper color. 5/4 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and good lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight citrus hops, hint of floral hops, and a hint of earthy malt. Fits the style of an American Amber / Red Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, hint of pale malt, floral hops, slight citrus hops, hint of earthy malt, and a hint of caramel malt. Overall, good appearance, body, complexity, and blend.

Tone, Jan 03, 2012
Photo of beertunes
3.23/5  rDev -10.8%

Served in Imperial pint. Poured a nice medium brown with a tall, fluffy, off-white head that had very good retention and lacing. The aroma was mostly sweet malts, some caramel notes, with a trace of hops.

The taste was also mostly sweet malt, with a bit of hops and spice. The body was typical, perhaps a bit on the thin side. Drinkability was good, but with the beer being so average, I can't see having more than one.

Overall, this is a decent little beer, worth a shot if you see it.

beertunes, Dec 12, 2010
Photo of harpus
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%

harpus, Oct 18, 2012
Photo of Gusler
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

The pour a deep brown color, the head light chocolate, the lace in average sheets.. Nose is malt, slightly sweet, the start is sweet, the top flimsy. The beer finished with a potent hop spicy bite, medial carbonation, and a tad dry. Not a great beer, but quite quaffable, although I think it could or should have more body for a "Winter Warmer".

Gusler, Oct 19, 2002
Photo of scruffwhor
3.38/5  rDev -6.6%

Pours a clear copper color with a one finger head that recedes to an ok film of foam. Nice toasted bread and grain aroma with some light grass hops in the nose. The starts with an oily malt of bread and some cooking oil. The middle mellows the oilyness on the palate. As the beer warms, the palate becomes more grainy and malty. Pretty nice session amber ale.

scruffwhor, Jan 02, 2010
Photo of BeerFMAndy
4/5  rDev +10.5%

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic.
7.2% ABV, numbers on neck.

A - Clear golden amber in color, Big Sky Powder Hound has very little carbonation floating though it resulting in a somewhat poorly sustained sand-colored head. Thick lace covers the glass like frost on a cold morning's car window.

S - Powder Hound's aroma mimics the painted label with fresh pine and a crispness of the cold, the open outdoors. Herbal hops poke through like a distant whiff of tea with caramel drizzled hard roll maltiness following.

T - Shifting back and fourth, the flavor can't seem to make up it's mind on whether malt or hops should dominate, starting with a bready and beefy malt flavor. Caramel and warm dough are overtaken by a a flurry of hops ranging in flavors from pine and sticky sap to earthy herbal notes and candied, dried pineapple on the finish.

M - Though the flavor doesn't quite present itself as deliberate at first, the balance and feel sure does, plowing forwards with a smooth medium malty body and dry, decidedly bitter finish that lingers around for a few moments.

O - Powder Hound has a beautifully painted label that evokes strong outdoors-y feelings of winter in the northwoods for me but that's about where the "Winter" character of this beer stops. It seems to me more of a higher octane amber with a nice little hop push and solid malt body, suitable for tailgating during those cold winter games.

BeerFMAndy, Dec 14, 2012
Photo of Bitterbill
2.58/5  rDev -28.7%

Purchased as part of a sampler pack.

This beer pours from 12oz bottle a clear deep amber with a 1 finger head of foam that shrinks to some spotting and a ring around the glass.

The smell has notes of caramel malt and a bit of spice.

The taste has a good caramel malt flavour up front followed by a bit of spice and some citrus hops and an earthy backbone that kind of throws the flavours out of whack. A few more sips in and that earthy flavour now dominates the flavour; too bad because I think this had potential to be a good winter ale and pretty darned drinkable but as is, I won't look for it again. Pretty messy, imho.

Bitterbill, Oct 28, 2007
Photo of WoodBrew
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%

The powder hound is a beautiful beer. Poured a clear perfect amber with slighly off white head that is at least a half finger and is lacing really well. The smell is a good heavy carmal malt with tinges of spice. The initial taste was an alcohol explosion. The second taste allowed for the malt and carmel to begin to blossum. The mouthfeel is medium body with good carbonation. Overall this is a decent beer....the alcohol content is not masked as well as I would like.

WoodBrew, Jan 20, 2012
Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

Hopheadjeffery, Aug 01, 2013
Photo of twiggamortis420
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%

Pours a clear amber color with a thick layer of fine-bubbled beige foam. Pretty good retention and some decent lacing on the glass.

Smells like a caramel covered apple, the sweet bready and slightly toasted malts are complimented by a touch of yeasty fruitiness and just a hint of grassy hops.

Taste is pretty good with a wide variety of maltiness on the palate...grainy, toasty, nutty and even a bit of cocoa. Decent hop bitterness lingers a bit on the back of the tongue. A bit light bodied and flavored for the 'Winter Ale' designation on the label, especially from a snowy, cold northern state. It is a pretty easy drinker and tastes great for an amber ale, which is what I am rating it as. I would drink it again and me thinks it would be even better fresh off the tap.

twiggamortis420, May 05, 2009
Photo of tavernjef
4.22/5  rDev +16.6%

Super nice color which seems dark chestnut brown, ahh but hold it to the light and it becomes a lovely glowing amber agate with a deep reddish tone, gorgeous color. Head is tannish and thin, leaves very minimal lace. Aroma is all malts, sweet, dulled citrusy-like, fresh, touching on some caramel and nutty bagel dough. Taste has a smooth and easy malt profile, very drinkable, lightly sweet, some caramel, lightly chewy, bready light, some notions of dulled citrus melon, nutty dryness and dried hops come in late with some light dryness and calm bitterness. Solid medium body feel with a smooth, lightly creamy start and center, a bit chewy, finish goes to lighter drying of hops and nuts with a touch of bittering bite. A nice drinker this one! Quite subtle with a good amount of easy hefty malts. Its like taking Capital's Autumnal Fire and blending it with their Amber.

tavernjef, Nov 11, 2003
Photo of ZAP
3.73/5  rDev +3%

7-5-04-

Updated thoughts....a nice red ale or perhaps a blend of a red and a brown ale...not a big-ass winter warmer by any means but decent enough....I think the nose on this is very good..toasted caramel nouget...there is a bit of a sour aftertaste but overall this has a nice toasty flavor....worth trying...

12-12-01
-Nice sweet aroma...Nice malty sweet ale...hops balance perfectly and make this an easy drinking tasty winter ale..solid malt base...a good solid tasty easy drinking ale.

ZAP, Jul 06, 2004
Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 420 ratings.