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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
80
good

433 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 433
Reviews: 237
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 12.71%
Wants: 6
Gots: 12 | 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: 433 | Reviews: 237 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Tone
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 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 Huffaroma
4.5/5  rDev +24.3%

Huffaroma, Jan 02, 2012
Photo of bsp77
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Clear golden amber with billowing head and slight lacing.

Smell: Citrus, toast and an undeniable similarity to Great Lakes Christmas Ale, which I associate with cinnamon and honey, but I don't think that is in here, so not sure where that aroma is coming from.

Taste: Light malts of biscuit, toast and mead, with a nice layer of spicy English hops on top, which has a tinge of citrus and pine. Still getting some very light winter spices.

Feel: Medium body with moderate carbonation and a nice dry finish.

Overall: Nice ale overall that does not seem to fit any known style. Kind of an English Strong Ale, kind of an Amber Ale, kind of a Spiced Winter Warmer (despite the lack of spices). This seriously confuses the hell out of me, but if I put my beer reviewing hat away, it is clear that I really enjoy it.

bsp77, Dec 30, 2011
Photo of Pegasus
4.03/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Lovely copper-colored body sports a large, dense off-white cloud top head, which retains superbly. Thin lacing coats the glass walls. The carbonation is slight, a few bubbles drift lazily to the surface.

Aroma: Lots of crisp pine tar hops vie with toasted and caramel malts. The hops win out easily.

Taste: Opens with lots of toasted malt, like toasted rustic dark bread. A moment behind the malt are rather prominent grapefruit hops, these soon dominate the taste. Beneath the hops, there appears a bitter cocoa note, which offers some balance. Finishes with a long, lingering slightly oily grapefruit rind flavor. The alcohol is handled quite gracefully, at 7.2% ABV, it was quite subtle.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, quite pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: : Well-done. For my own taste, I would like to have seen more emphasis on the malt, rather than the hops. Nonetheless, this is a quite well-crafted example.

Presentation: Packaged in a twelve-ounce brown glass bottle with a pry-off crown, served in a standard Pilsener glass.

Pegasus, Dec 29, 2011
Photo of ChuckStingray
4.5/5  rDev +24.3%

ChuckStingray, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of ponbon63
3.33/5  rDev -8%
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.

ponbon63, Dec 23, 2011
Photo of captainbearcat
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%

captainbearcat, Dec 23, 2011
Photo of frenchblood21
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

frenchblood21, Dec 22, 2011
Photo of longbongsilver
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

longbongsilver, Dec 21, 2011
Photo of sneekee22
4/5  rDev +10.5%

sneekee22, Dec 21, 2011
Photo of Phelps
3.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed in a shaker pint at Flanny's.

Light, shiny copper with amazing clarity. A half-finger of fuzzy, off-white head quickly becomes a thin top layer that never leaves completely.

The nose: orange peel, apricot, grass, sweet biscuits, touches of caramel and honey. A nice, sweet amber.

Same deal in the flavor. I get subtle grass, apricot and just a hint of orange zest. A bit of caramel comes through as well in clean, straightforward sweetness. It's not complicated, but it's good.

Body is a smooth medium-light, with soft massaging carbonation and just a touch of fizz. Finishes clean and a little drying. Mild bitterness. I don’t get a hint of the 7.2 ABV.

If Powder Hound were a snowfall, it would be about four inches. Not too deep, but enough to enjoy. A well-balanced, drinkable amber.

Phelps, Dec 15, 2011
Photo of EricCioe
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours a medium orange with an eggshell head that left some lace. On the nose there is a good hop presence with some sort of spice behind them, and evidence of a biggish caramel backbone. In the mouth there is an earthiness to go along with the forest-floor-type pine hops, and a long finish. It is a bit oily in the mouth, but decent carbonation breaks it up well enough.

Overall, this is a pretty decent beer, and a somewhat different style of winter brew, a welcome change.

EricCioe, Dec 14, 2011
Photo of fattire513
4/5  rDev +10.5%

fattire513, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of jsisko01
3.33/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Pours a clear red-orange color with a very small head that dissipates instantly. Has decent lacing.

Smell - Sweet, fruity, coriander, and citrus.

Taste - Very bitter with caramel and has a toasty malt to it. Coriander and maybe some clove.. and has an alcohol bite to it. Doesn't really fit the description of a winter ale, but it does warm you up lol.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation.

Overall - Like I said before, it's really just a spicy amber ale. Not bad though.

jsisko01, Dec 12, 2011
Photo of jaidenjb
4/5  rDev +10.5%

jaidenjb, Dec 10, 2011
Photo of brotherloco
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle x2. Best by 01/25/12. Served in a tapered 22oz glass.

Pours clear copperish gold with a big two+ finger head of beige foam that never completely goes away. A small amount of cascading bubbles. Medium amount of thick lacing clings to the glass.

Aroma of bready and caramel malt with a nice does of perfumy floral hops. Some spicy alcohol notes.

Flavor is lightly sweet caramel malt, with some toasted notes emerging in the middle of the flavor. Floral hoppiness takes charge in the finish with bright and bitter notes. There is a noticeable amount of spicy alcohol in the finish, but it is well integrated. Adds a bit of winter kick to this amber ale.

Medium bodied with medium carbonation. A touch prickly, but it supports the flavor.

Another no-nonsense winter ale. Just a decently crafted strong version of a traditional style. And I really love the folk art label, it reminds me very much of the paintings my grandmother used to make.

brotherloco, Dec 09, 2011
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.

nukem5, Dec 08, 2011
Photo of Unchi
4/5  rDev +10.5%

Unchi, Dec 07, 2011
Photo of quaybr
3.33/5  rDev -8%
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.

quaybr, Dec 07, 2011
Photo of bump8628
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hard to classify is Powder Hound Winter Ale. American Amber, English Strong, Winter Warmer - I don't know, I'm just going to call it ale. Eclectic blend of hops including Hallertau, Palisade, and Amarillo - certainly some of my favorites. Seems to be Hallertau-heavy and more of the other two would be appreciated. Lots of wild herbs, fresh oregano, black pepper, and dandelion greens. Some orange marmalade too. Copper colored with a fine head of foam and moderate carbonation. Nice dryness, but a slather of caramel on wheat toast pretty much balances the hops evenly.

Yeah, this is pretty good beer. After one glass I'm still not sure exactly what to think. Would I want this on tap at the house? Sure, but I'm not sure I would pick up another six pack with all the other winter selections out there. Several would go down easy whilst standing around the smoker on a snowy afternoon, but I wouldn't count on it to get me through a January night in Montana.

bump8628, Dec 06, 2011
Photo of Gatch
4.15/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Clear, light amber in color with an off-white head that bubbles up quickly and fades just as quickly. Doesn't retain much of a head but lace sticks to the glass all the way down.

S - Toffee, roasted malt, caramelized sugar, a bit of citrus. Big fan of the nose on this beer.

T - Sweet, roasted malt with a bitter finish from the hops. Nice balance. Caramelized sugar. Thoroughly impressed with this flavor profile. Alcohol is barely there.

M - Smooth, clean, low carbonation. Medium-full body. Very drinkable. Fairly high ABV for this style but the booze barely shows. Awesome example of the style and perfect balance of malt to hops for the season.

Gatch, Dec 06, 2011
Photo of HaysAmerica
4/5  rDev +10.5%

HaysAmerica, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of Vashtar
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

Vashtar, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of tony223366
3.35/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Caramel/gold color. Great head, really fluffy and 2+ fingers after a vigorous pour. Nice lacing so far. Good clarity, although that's not necessarily what I want in a winter beer.

S: What first strikes me is a large amount of piney hops. Moreso than there probably should be. The malt aroma is subdued and I'd say slightly metallic. What does come through seems to smell mostly of caramel.

T: I get much more of a citrusy hop with some hints of a pine. The malts are unsubstantial, mostly caramel malts. I think this beer is lacking balance a bit. I think I want it to be a little rounder with the malts.

M: The mouthfeel is nice and smooth with great carbonation. Tongue Tingling.

O: Man, I don't want it to appear that I don't like this beer because it's good. But to style as a winter amber/red? This is more of a hoppy red. Wouldn't have it be my winter seasonal if I was Big Sky. That being said (and I'm a hop-head) I do enjoy it.

tony223366, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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
Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 433 ratings.