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Powder Hound Winter Ale - Big Sky Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Powder Hound Winter AlePowder Hound Winter Ale

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414 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 414
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: 414 | Reviews: 235 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tbeck


4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber, almost brown with a creamy one finger brown head. It has a slight clarity, darker than some other ales. Aroma is simple, malty sweetness and fruity. Very smooth taste, a lot of malt but well balanced sweetness. Hints of chocolate and coffee with a slight hoppy bitterness. Good body but not heavy with a slight chewy texture. A very enjoyable ale, highly recommended as a session beer and one to try.

Serving type: bottle

12-08-2008 04:35:24 | More by tbeck
Photo of Rayek


3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep brown with a decent off-white head thta has OK retention. Leaves bits of lace.

S: Mostly malty, with caramel, toffee and a touch of pine.

T: Not very exciting, but still good. A very balanced beer with a toasted maltiness up front and mild citrus and pine bitterness in back.

M: Medium body has the right amount of fizz.

D: One of the weaker winter seasonals I've had. A decent beer nonetheless that holds it's own away from other winter offerings.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2008 18:30:13 | More by Rayek
Photo of magictrokini


3.23/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear brown pour with no head. Caramel-sweet aroma makes you think this is going to be sticky sweet. The malt and hop profiles, however balance this one out into a very smooth, slightly spicy beer. Only problem was that I expected more from a winter beer, either in the alcohol content or overall flavor. Kind of weak in both areas, but still an enjoyable brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2008 17:30:23 | More by magictrokini
Photo of CHSLBrew


3.38/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a large mug.

A-Copper colored beer, very clear, topped with a large-bubbled tan head. Moderate to low retention, the head reduced to a thin layer with minimal lacing.

S-Mostly a nutty and bicuity maltiness. Maybe some toasty hints, as well. No hop aroma.

T-Dominating nutty malts, with tones of a slight spiciness. When the nutty flavors subside, hints of caramel are able to emerge. These malts are balanced by a just-enough bitterness.

M-Moderate carbonation. This beer has a body that is a little thinner than I expected.

D-OK drinkability. I wasn't terribly impressed by this beer. Still, it's an enjoyable brown/amber ale that's easy and enjoyable to drink.

Serving type: on-tap

12-03-2008 16:18:40 | More by CHSLBrew
Photo of thehand


3.38/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Samuel Smith pint glass. Pours a medium dark amber-orange color, with about 1" of tan slightly rocky head. Head dissipates pretty quickly leaving a thin layer of foam and no real lacing to speak of. Aroma is light and sweet, mostly caramel and malt. Tastes a little sweet up front, caramel, touch of hops balanced nicely. Finishes dry with a little earthy hoppiness that tends to stick around. Mouthfeel is pretty light, creamy, low carbonation. Light mouthfeel makes it easy to drink, the finish gives you a little more to think about after each drink. Nice winter seasonal.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2008 00:20:22 | More by thehand
Photo of xymyl


3.8/5  rDev +5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2008 17:07:20 | More by xymyl
Photo of MTNboy


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

Appearance: It is a good deep bronze color with a thin tan head but produced some really nice lace.

Smell: A little bit fruity but mainly malty smell.

Taste: It flavor is mostly chocolaty and malty not much for hops.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied.

Drinkability: It is probably one of their better beers.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2008 22:30:55 | More by MTNboy
Photo of Ragingbull


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

Deep amber in color with flares of red and brown in the light. Heavy and thick mocha colored foam head after pouring into a pint glass. Still. Mild malty nose. . . so mild that its barely detectable. Smooth clean attack that almost creates a sweet sensation. Finishes with some hops that continue to grow bitter all the way through the aftertaste. Mild nut flavor seems to be present. I would rate it a B- myself.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2008 18:38:23 | More by Ragingbull
Photo of KeefD


3.05/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This pours a dark amber color with ok head and minimal lacing. Smells super sweet and malty. Taste is very much the same. Dark fruits when it's cold, but warms to a caramel, chocolate, raisin, prune flavor. Good carbonation, but it's can't overcome the thickness and syrupyness of this brew. Not the best winter offering I've had.

Serving type: bottle

05-23-2008 01:52:53 | More by KeefD
Photo of ThreeWiseMen


3.23/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Rich amber in color. Clear, with nice 1 finger head and sticky lace. Looks like a pretty good amber.

Smell: Roasted malts, brown sugar, maybe a little alcohol

Taste: Definitely taste the malts. Strong bread flavor (gingerbread maybe?). This reminds me a lot of 2 Below. Aftertaste was mildly bitter/hoppy.

Mouthfeel: watery with mild carbonation = dissapointing

Drinkability: meh... I guess I'd drink it, but there's so many other better winter beers out there. Then again, I guess this is an amber. For an amber, it's alright.

Serving type: bottle

05-21-2008 05:57:46 | More by ThreeWiseMen
Photo of rebel1771


3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish brown with a nice off white head.

Earthy smell with bready malts making up the body of the aroma. Just a touch of caramel finsihes off the aroma.

Roasted malt flavor jumps out of right up front with a touch of candied fruit in the end. The mouthfeel ends a little wattery but nice overall.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2008 22:50:52 | More by rebel1771
Photo of garymuchow


3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aroma starts with a hoppy (kinda' green grassy) and then moves to a soft and mild roasty character, with the latter staying stronger.
Clear amber of orange/red. Dense, thick creamy looking head that seems to leave a heavy mark after sups.
I drank this rather warm and this seems to have really brought the malt qualities to full capacity. Semi-rich roasty flavor state stays consistent throughout the drink. Red ale is probably a good style, as it's not as dark and heavy tasting as a winter warmer, but it pushes towards it nicely. The American style hops also keep it in the red ale category and balance the drink and prevent any significant sweetness. Dryness is minimal and shorter finish leaves me ready from another drink.
Surprisingly heavy for style and this is accentuated by the dense carbonation of seemingly very tiny bubbles. Good feel.
The heaviness of the drink allows this to be enjoyed at a slower pace, but the flavors of the drink push for faster drinking. Nice dilemma, huh? I enjoyed this. This brewery makes really accessible beers. Overall, while not blown away, it's good, reliable beer that I'll never turn down.

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2008 02:30:48 | More by garymuchow
Photo of WJVII


3.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer has a moderate brown color with a slight purple tint when held to the light. Semi transparent with a nice thick tan head that is creamy and laces well. This beer has a slight oaky smell with definite malts and an earthiness. The taste is of rich roasted nuts and has a warmth to it. It has a deeper taste that the color would lead one to believe would be evident. The finish is not as smooth as I like, but the flavor makes up for that. This is a decent brew, glad to have tried it.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2008 01:38:27 | More by WJVII
Photo of OKCNittany


3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: 1" off white head. Decent retention and lacing. Clear dark copper.

S: Light aroma of toasted malts. Had an initial fruityness that disappeared quickly.

T: Toasted malt flavor throughout. Finished with a nice hop bitterness and something slightly off.

M: Medium body with tingly carbonation. Dry citric hop finish.

D: Not a bad brew, but for Big Sky, it falls a bit short. I'm not entirely sure what's missing, but I'm sure a healthy dose of additional hops wouldn't hurt. (has it ever?)

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2008 05:59:57 | More by OKCNittany
Photo of KarlHungus


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

This beer pours clear amber color. The head is two inches in height, and recedes slowly into nice lacing. The aroma is of caramel malt, and grapefruit. The taste is of sweet with only a hint of hops in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with lively carbonation, but is somewhat sticky. Overall, this is a nice beer, and I could drink it again.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2008 21:10:34 | More by KarlHungus
Photo of BigRedN


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

Appearance: Poured into a pint glass. The beer is a dark amber with an off white head about 1 inch in height. head fades to a solid cover on the liquid and leaves some good lacing.

Smell: Some lightly roasted malt, a little caramel, a light chocolate scent and something else (a little roasted barley?). Hints of hops from just a touch of a floral aroma, but mostly malty.

Taste: A well balanced beer. Some decent maltiness followed by a bitterness that is welcome but not overpowering.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, adequately carbonated (not too bubbly and not flat either) with a somewhat dry finish.

Drinkability: Got two bottles as part of a mixed pack. Very enjoyable, although at just over 6% I don't know if I would be able to session with this. Still it is a good beer to sit back and enjoy one (or two) on a cold winter night.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2008 03:23:26 | More by BigRedN
Photo of dbalsock


2.68/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

App: Pours medium amber, maybe a little darker than medium amber with a reddish, offwhite head. There's some watery lacing on the sides of the glass and the head diminishes quickly. Big bubbles of carbonation.

Smell: Sweet fruity hops and malts blend together on the nose. Smells pretty good, kinda reminds me of how american barleywines smell.

Taste: The malts are subdued and don't do their part in livening up the flavor. There's a caramel background, a little toffee, but not much really going on. The hops don't stand out much either, leaving this beer kinda boring, and pretty weak for a red ale.

Mouthfeel: I was expecting some more hop bitterness to counteract the sweetness in the aroma, but it's not very bitter. It tastes kinda flat and slick... a little oily as it covers the mouth. I could use some more hops and some carbonation.

Drinkability: Well, I have a 6 pack... but this is most probably going to be offered to guests... and not my guests but my roommates guests. Not very good, but not the worst.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2008 03:21:56 | More by dbalsock
Photo of tonistruth


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

A- amber in color with about a half finger of off white foam, decent retent on that, and quick fading lacing

S- fruity aromas (raisin mostly), toffee

T- bready, toasted malts, raisin, cookie, with lingering malt sweetness throughout, spicy hop notes and some pine

M- dry medium and somewhat coarse body

D- nice season, though neither fascinating or repulsive

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2008 01:03:03 | More by tonistruth
Photo of mattster


3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Opened cold 12 oz bottle, poured into Nonic glass.

Poured a nice head of 1", died down to a hazy layer of bubbles atop a tea brown brew. Clear, mild bubbles in brew.

Smell is mild malty. Taste is clean. Very subtle, I taste some dark fruitiness - cherry on the back? Brew is has some sweetness with a nice pleasant finish. I actually expected more from this one, but it really didn't deliver much past average. It is a decent beer, maybe its just not cold enough here in Arizona to get the full effect. But all being said, it is a decent beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2008 06:43:34 | More by mattster
Photo of CWiggins

North Carolina

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

Thanks to Jeremy for this beer. I probably would have never heard of it had he not been so generous.

What should one expect when the words "winter ale" appear on a bottle? I have high expectations for any beer displaying those words, and when the brew turns out to be a hoppier or slightly stronger ale than regular beers by that brewer I am usually very disappointed. I sorely desire those words to mean something–specifically, I want those words to imply a spiced ale in the grand tradition of the winter warmer. But almost anything is possible with "winter" ales, and I found my desires once again thwarted by an otherwise decent ale.

This one pours a dark red/amber, and the dark tan head that forms quickly dissipates almost as fast. It emits a musky smell reminiscent of the woods on a cold autumn morning, with aromas of biscuit-like malts, Granny Smith apples, chestnuts, cotton candy, and cherry pie. The flavor isn't nearly as expressive: there is a mild malt body accented by hops at the finish. The hue of mildly roasted malts and sweet fruit is followed by an oatmeal-like aftertaste accompanied by that familiar hoppy bitterness. The bready aftertaste lingers for a pleasant amount of time.

I have to admit amber/red ales aren't my forte. In fact, I usually avoid them like the plague! Big Sky's Powder Hound Winter Ale is pleasant to drink and contains a breadth of interesting flavors, even if it doesn't meet my silly expectations.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2008 03:48:28 | More by CWiggins
Photo of happygnome


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

a: pours a clear brown color with red hues noticeable produces a half inch of head that does dissapears fairlt quickly leacing a decent amount of lacing in the glass
s: deffinatly dominted by the malts, but im not surprised, cherry aroma detectable, bready malts though dominate aroma
f: sweet malts that are nicely toasted, cherry flavor is detectable, cherry flavor still noticeable, could use more hop bitterness
m: light to medium bodied beer with a good amount of carbonation

overall, this isnt that bad of a brew but it could use more hops

Serving type: bottle

01-03-2008 17:31:28 | More by happygnome
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...

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2007 08:42:11 | More by CamuMahubah
Photo of tempest


3.2/5  rDev -11.6%
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.

Serving type: cask

12-20-2007 04:48:55 | More by tempest
Photo of stephens101


3.93/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2007 23:35:09 | More by stephens101
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2007 06:32:41 | More by Durge
Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 414 ratings.