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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.

244 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 244
Hads: 488
Avg: 3.62
pDev: 12.15%
Wants: 9
Gots: 30 | 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
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Reviews: 244 | Hads: 488
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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Photo of BanjoGasmic
2.79/5  rDev -22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Overall sweet aroma, with very light banana esters. Very light caramel sweetness, without toasted or roasted malt aromas. No DMS or Diacetyl detected, though I found a hint of phenolic spice, paper, and a light sourness. Sourness increased as the beer warmed, and alcohol became more noticebale.

Very brilliantly clear, deep red, with a thin off-white-to-tan head.

First sip is dominated by a quick-fading astringency, followed up by a malty sweetness that lacks a definite character. Somewhat rough and grainy. Oxidation comes through in the finish without any attractive port-like or sherry qualities. Detectable alcohol in the finish. I pick up traces of cinamon or clove, though this may be derived from phenolics rather than actual spice additions.

The mouthfeel is full, with a relatively high carbonation. Noticeable alcohol thins out what might otherwise be described as a medium, mouth-coating body. Astringency lingers.

Overall, it is somewhat complex and interesting, though I have to say it bombs when looked at as an American Amber Ale. There is an utter and complete lack of hop aroma and flavor, which definitely takes it down a notch... I gotta say, Big Sky: I'm a little disappointed...

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Photo of JohnnyM2002
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled from a 12 oz bottle, poured into a chalice at 50 degrees. Picked up in a trade from JohnGalt1 - thanks!!

A - Pours a clear amber with ruby red highlights. A medium, off-white head sprouted up right away, then melted away to a small ring, which eventually dissipated.

S - Strong aroma of spice and smoke. Slight hops lingered amongst the other scents; a little alcohol was also present.

T - Flavors of smoke and grapes jump out at front, followed by mild hops and spices. Alcohol comes out in the aftertaste, which lingered for a little too long. Dark cherries came out as the beer warmed up.

M - Light-to-medium body with some carbonation. A slight warming sensation on the way down, but a little rough on the finish.

D - I wouldn't really rush out to find this again, but I'm glad I got to try it. It's not bad - just pretty average. Thanks JohnGalt1!

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Photo of BeerBelcher
3.43/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've had several beers from this brewery I thought were only fair, but this one definitely ranks above average to me.

It pours a copper color with plenty of white head.

Aroma is a medium amount of caramel malt smell.

Taste is really rather good. It is a nice balance of caramel maltiness, mild sweetness, and a bit of hop.

Moutheel and drinkability are good.

All-in-all, I would recommend this beer.

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Photo of demcorhip
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.

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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 flexabull
3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber with a light head.

Aromas are a bit light. A bit of smoky sweet malt character there.

Flavor is pretty enjoyable. Reminds me a bit of Jubelale. A lot of sweet roasted malt character, a tinge of hoppiness. But maybe a tad light.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, but a bit lean in the finish.

Overall this is a pretty good beer. It is very drinkable, and session worthy. Certainly worth a try.

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Photo of watermelonman
3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This poured to a nice deep amber color with a medium head that shrank but never disappeared. It left a few big lines of lace.

Malts and spices come through strong in the smell. The taste starts with malts and finishes with a combination of spice and cherry that come together well. The mouthfeel is medium and the drinkability is good.

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Photo of RJLarse
3.32/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I grabbed a six-pack of Powder Hound Winter Ale at a grocery to taste and review. I poured this beer in to a pint tumbler.

Pours a redish copper color and is clear. A two-finger head comprised of large bubbles forms, and dissipates rather quickly. Once the head is gone there is very little lacing on the sides of the glass.

It smells like black licorice. There are some fruity fragrances and a bit of a smoky burned aroma.

The taste is pretty good. There is a rich roasted malt backbone, and some smoked fruit flavors, along with a bitter hop finish. The flavors are reasonably well balanced, but perhaps a bit awkward.

Mouthfeel is thin, watery and heavily carbonated.

This is a drinkable beer, but not the best red ale I've had. Still it's one of the better beers I have had from Big Sky. I would have Powder Hound again, especially if it's on sale.

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Photo of Pooba001
3.48/5  rDev -3.9%
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.

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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.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
2.56/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pours an absolutely brilliantly clear, burnt amber color. It is topped by an initially three-finger thick head that leaves some light lacing and is a pale tan color. The aroma is sweet smelling; leaning towards malt, but with some definite fruitiness as well. There seems to be some low level spiciness here as well (of the sweet baking variety). I wonder if this has spices in it, though if it does it is quite subtle. Boozy aromatics of alcohol and berry extracts combine to give this a nose similar to, though not as concentrated as, a cheap berry liquor.

The beer is fairly sweet, yet still relatively thin. It finishes with a sweet boozy beeriness that is definitely a bit off putting. A berry like fruitiness is prominent, but this seems to be stripped of all of the malt character that would lend complexity to this beer. This tastes like it is highly filtered, it is just missing a depth of character that would make it drinkable. The strong boozy character, straight forward fruit and lack of depth combined, make this beer something I don't particularly want to drink.

Purchased: Plaza Liquors, Tucson AZ

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.18/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I tried this beer last year, but never rated. Luckily its back again so here goes, the pour is a dark red color with brown hues and good clarity. A nice tan colored head that quickly dissipates and not much lacing after some time.

Overall the aroma is rather light. The nose is malty with some tropical fruit and fig aromas. A bready and somewhat grainy essence. There are some hop esters with a grassy feel to it.

The taste is sweeter then expected with a basic sweet pale malt taste and honey flavor in the background. Some fruity notes continue with some hints of plums and raisins coming out. Light caramel touches at the end and herbal hop presence as well.

The body has a mid to light feel that has a not quite dry finish to it. There is also a light chalky finish which is a deterrent. Carbonation is good though. Overall its a good beer with room to improve.

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Photo of czechsaaz
2.87/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Very fruity aroma. Lots of sweet cherries and plums. There's some mlat backbone that seems a little like munich but it's so overwhelmed by the fruity aroma that it's kind of nondescript. Nop hop aroma that I can pick out.

Reddish and clear with a very small head. Almost no visible rising carbonation.

Flavor is very sweet, malty but also more fruit flavored. Very light hop bitterness. Some bready yeast, but the dominant character is like the aroma, fruity.

Body is medium and the carbonation is pretty low so it's kind of lifeless on the palate.

Kind of a strange offering. It seems very light and so not a hefty winter warmer. It's so fruity that it seems more like a warm weather thirst quencher than a winter beer. That said, it does go down easily but it's really not what I'm looking for in a winter beer.

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

A: Dark cider with some haze thru it. Head started off nice but fell quick leaving strays across the top and a decent light beige ring around the glass.

S: Strawberry, caramel, cooked carrots, a bit grassy and some brown sugar.

T: Begins fruity (boysenberry, dull cherry and yellow apple) mixed with earthy hops. Dingy caramel moves forward with spicy hops across the tip of the tongue. Finishes with lingery red fruit and flat bitterness.

M: Medium body but thin and watery.

D: Eh. I like where they are going but the execution isn't stellar. Not huge into the "earthy" flavors as well.

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Photo of hopsaplenty
3.4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle, 242 06 5 inkjetted on the bottle near bottom label, but I’m not sure if this is a date. Bottle cap text: "Whut?"

Clear, deep amber. Slow building, slow fading tight head of fine sand colored bubbles. A few chunks and splotches of lace remain alongside a thick skim. Distributed slow carbonation streams. The aroma of cookie spices, sweet caramel, and soft hops are noticeable away from the glass. Light spices lead up front complimented by a bit of sweet toasty malt. A slightly spicy hop note sticks out in the finish and lingers a bit. There is also a bit of cinnamon perhaps that drags on in a sweet way. But it is that crispy, spicy hop note that sticks in the corners and doesn’t really play nicely with the rest of the beer. Medium-light body with a slightly dry mouthfeel and a perfectly adequate level of carbonation. I found the hops to sit on top of the other spices and as a result it seemed a bit off kilter. It reminded me of last year’s Snowcap from Pyramid which suffered from the same problem.

The White Elephant BIF strikes again.

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Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.32/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Originally reviewed February 22, 2005. On tap at Old Chicago, Duluth. Slightly murky hazel brown pour with copious off-white head, complemented by thick sheets of lacing. No aroma. Extreme caramel and toasted nut flavors. The malt in this beer is fantastic. Smooth on the palate, with a smack of sweet cinnamon and apple. Extremely drinkable and rich.

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Photo of kmpitz2
3.33/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours a solid tea color with a small and sparse head that is patchy over top. Very good clarity on this one and a light carbonation can be seen in the liquid. This one really looks like iced tea. Smell is caramel, light buttery diacetyl, with a touch of darker aromas from a tough of roast and melanoidan toastyness, with even a touch of nuttyness in there. I'd like a little less nuttyness and a light graineyness to put a touch of an edge on it. This one is a touch closer to a nut brown in the aroma. Flavor is a bit more interesting than the nose. Caramel, light butter, moving towards a melanoidan toastyness and nuttyness, finishing with a very mild bitter. Its okay, but I don't like the nuttyness in here. It doesn't work well with the other flavors in my opinion. Feel is on the light end of moderate, with a carbonation that is moderately strong. It works very well with the flavor of the beer. Overall, this one is okay. I don't like the nutty character in it, as it seems to be fighting with the sweeter notes, not compliment them. I'd like to see this one go a little darker and hit the nutbrown category.

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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 DogFood11
2.82/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Milky tan head that levels out. Ring lacing, rolling medium to mild carbonation, Amber color.

Bread, doughy almost. Looks like a thin body.

Taste carries a raw malt presence, backed by a light fruitiness. The taste eventually rounds itself out into a fairly interesting ending to the brew but for the most part its rather forgettable to me. I liked the raw mash type aroma, and it was easily put down without a second thought, hence the problem.

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Photo of beveragecaptain
2.86/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle. Pours out a dark, amber color with an off-white head. The aroma is a strange sour smell with some caramel and spice. Buttery toffee flavor with pineapple and some nuttiness. A soapy flavor nearly ruins this beer, although some pleasant maltiness still comes through. Finishes sweet with very little hop flavor. This beer is not malty enough, and there are too many off-flavors. Not a complete waste, but I wouldn't recommned it either.

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Photo of descartes
3.01/5  rDev -16.9%
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.

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Photo of Zorro
4.07/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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.

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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 pjwilson
4.3/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

notes: i've always thought this brewery made some good beers...so i jumped at this one when i saw it on sale. The abv is 6.2 on the bottle. This is a winter warmer if anything, as it reminds me more of jubelale than your average red beer. on with the review.
appearance: lots of carbination settles down to a nice thin layer that lasts along time. ok so i guess this beer is pretty red. Reddish brown.
smell: chocolate malts in this one kids. some mild hoppiness(noble no doubt) nothing crazy but nice
taste: this is a nice tasty beer. I'm so hapy it's not too sweet (i've been getting killed with too sweet beers lately) It's quite dry actually. Great balance between the chocolate, the hops and the base malt. The first taste is that chocolate, followed with a nice mild bitterness...(bet my dollar that it's williamete hops in this one) Just great balance. If counted as a winter warmer this is one of my favorites....likin' this more than jubelale at least.
mouthfeel: it's good, nice and light, but still filling...perhaps a hair watery but that just helps with the drinkability i think.
drinkability: great, walking the line between a sipper and a session. I would go so far as to call this a great session ale, but it is 6.2 percent after all. Great beer. I haven't been let down by this brewery yet, and they seem to get low marks. Give this one a shot. It's probably the most drinkable winter warmer i've had. (much more drinkable that jubelale, winter solitice, anchor's)

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Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 244 ratings.