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Powder Hound Winter Ale - Big Sky Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Powder Hound Winter AlePowder Hound Winter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

243 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 243
Hads: 491
Avg: 3.62
pDev: 17.4%
Wants: 10
Gots: 31 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company visit their website
Montana, United States

Style | ABV
Winter Warmer |  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: 491
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 tempest
3.21/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of stephens101
3.92/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours redish brown with good carbonation bubbling up into a nice two-finger thick tan head. Head sticks around a while with a good consistent lacing left behind all around the glass. Smells of malts, tea leaves, and a faint hint of spice. Taste isn't as complex and spicy as other winter warmers, but is very drinkable with some sugary sweetness, spicy apple, roasted malts and hoppiness involved. Very drinkable winter warmer from a consistent brewer, but with so much good competition out there in this style it's hard to overlook some of the others.

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

A clear mahogany color with a big fluffy light tan head with good lace. The aroma is a light nutty sweetness with some malt, but very mild. It has a mellow woody-nut flavor, some vanilla with a full body feel but sort of flat at the same time. I detect a little smokiness and there is a slight hop bitterness at the back of this. Drinkable enough and definitely worth a try.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
3.15/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
2.99/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3


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.

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

12 ounce bottle my friend purchased from BevMo in Redlands as part of six pack that was eight dollars, split a bottle with him last night

Poured into an old brandy glass with deep red amber color and a 1/2 vanilla head with above average retention, left some small amounts of lacing

Smell had some chocolate, caramel, different hoppy aromas, tobacco, leather, and hints of spicy aromas

Taste was full of sweet malt at the beginning, then faded into a finish with dry hoppiness, this one seemed more like a winter warmer than a red ale, some small amounts of cocoa and faint citrus were also in the taste, some tangerine and orange in particular, the bitter aftertaste kind of threw me off after the intial sweetness, would have like more of a balance between hops and malt in this one

Pretty weak body and taste did not last long, leaving a pretty weak mouthfeel, would have liked this one to be a little thicker, not much carbonation

Could drink a few bottles of this, but it is pretty heavy on the stomach even though it is only around six percent alcohol, the syrupy texture gets old after a while and eventually force me to put this one down

I would probably recommend trying this beer but I do not need to ever again, nobody should be in a big hurry to do so, it is average at best but if you are curious like I was about another Big Sky seasonal, then you should grab some when you see it

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Photo of ohoove
3.46/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

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Photo of Murchmac
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Where did you come from? Kiss me

the best thing about this beer is its taste and mouthfeel.

Reddish amber color

Alcohol malt smell. Tastes like a light brandy with hops and more malts less alcohol taste.

I like this beer but it's still average compared to other holiday beers. Good beer to drink if David Byrne is attacking you.

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

Appearance: Copper-brown color with a golden-tan head.

Smell: Pine accented hops with a thick, malty undercurrent.

Taste: Initial toasted malt flavor finishes with a tart, minor hop flavor.

Mouthfeel: Medium body. Semi-oily with a waxy finish.

Drinkability: Decent brew. Accessible flavor and alcohol content. Decent example of the style, but not a standout.

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

Dark amber colour with thick light tan head that retains well. Nice lace.

Nose is grassy, some citrus, and baked goods sweetness.

On the palate the palate is some faint chocolate, malt sweetness, and semi-harsh alcohol to hops flavor. The flavors aren't integrated very well.

Finish has a metallic grassy characteristic.

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Photo of russpowell
3.51/5  rDev -3%
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

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Photo of Bitterbill
2.65/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

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Photo of umustdrink
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark brown beer but bright ruby red when held to light. Head is light brown and retains at an eighth inch. Minimal lacing.

S - A light greenish bitterness with a light caramel malt. Somewhat bland.

T - Starts bitter with a carbonation bite, then some creamy and caramely malts.

M - Medium consistency with medium to high carbonation.

D - Not a bad beer at all. Taste is simple but good.

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Photo of bodybyadam
3.37/5  rDev -6.9%
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,

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Photo of arizcards
3.48/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Picked up a couple of bottles from Sportsmans in early January for $1.59 each.

Beer poured an amber brown color with a nice off white head that is leaving a lacing behind. Nose was noticeably of floral hops at first and has faded into a maltyness as the beer warms. Taste is malty with a strong acidic oilyl finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and very smooth across the palate. Drinkability is OK. The residuall acidic oilyness is a bit too heavy on the palate. This is a nice beer to try with desirable attributes.

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Photo of shadow1961
3.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big Sky Brewing Co's Powder Hound Winter Ale pours a big fluffy tan
head over a cloudy red brew. It has steady carbonation and a bready,
malty nose. The flavor is malt and herbal hops, with a grassy hop finish.
The mouthfeel is crisp, dry, and a little tart. It's actually pretty appetizing,
but the alcohol by volume of 6.2% is a tad high for a session brew, but
just about right for a winter warmer. Well worth a try.

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

From a 12 oz bottle, this poured a dark amber color with a nice slightly off-white head that left good lacing. Nose of malts and some hops. Mouthfeel was average and flavors strong on caramel and overall a little on the sweet side. This brew as drinkable but not exceptional.

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Photo of akorsak
3.87/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

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

Into a pint glass, poured a solid orange amber with good head, a solid thicket of head for the whole time, ok lacing. The aroma is full of roasty malts, some not so active hops, citric like, maybe some chocolate. The taste is also pretty decent, kinda roasty malts, kinda caramel sweet, some chocolate, a little hop citrus and bittering. The mouth has decent body, carbonation, really a good beer but nothing too special. Just glad it wasn't called a winter warmer, cause it didn't. That said, a decent beer.

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

Thanks to Slatetank for sharing this beer.

Drinking this next to Big Sky Brewing Company's Moose Drool, lead me to realize they share a common thread; the toasty toffee.

Appearance: Pours a dark copper brown with a tan head.

Smell: A nutty toffee and caramel aroma with a toasted malt bready nose, a hint of alcohol and smokiness. The hops are piney but reserved in this bottle.

Taste: Toffee, nuts, bready malts and caramel flavors lead with a light hoppy feel that takes a back seat (unlike most ambers), then a dry bread finish.

Mouthfeel: Smooth creamy medium body beer with low carbonation lending a softer feel to this sessionable brew.

Drinkability: This is a tasty approachable brew that is easy enough to drink.

Hope this is helpful.

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Photo of aaronh
3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Deep reddish amber body topped by a thin, ecru head. The head gradually fades to just a loose grouping of larger bubbles ringed in tight foam. The aroma is almost all caramel malt notes, but there's just a hint of woody herbalness. Light caramel flavors are supported by a slight alcohol note, then wrapped up with some bitterness. Slight, very slight medicinal/metallic note on the finish that's just a bit astringent. Mouthfeel is solid, but a bit over-carbonated. Drinakbilty is ok. A solid beer, but not exceptional.

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Photo of Chaz
4.03/5  rDev +11.3%
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!

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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 Wasatch
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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