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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.

413 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 413
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: 413 | Reviews: 235 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of flexabull


3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2006 21:45:11 | More by flexabull
Photo of watermelonman


3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2006 09:24:30 | More by watermelonman
Photo of RJLarse


3.33/5  rDev -8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2006 05:07:04 | More by RJLarse
Photo of Pooba001


3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2006 04:55:45 | More by Pooba001
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-18-2006 06:30:41 | More by supercolter
Photo of Gueuzedude


2.53/5  rDev -30.1%
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

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2006 16:24:44 | More by Gueuzedude
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2006 23:26:20 | More by Oxymoron
Photo of czechsaaz


2.88/5  rDev -20.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2006 01:59:06 | More by czechsaaz
Photo of Westsidethreat


3.18/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2006 05:43:09 | More by Westsidethreat
Photo of hopsaplenty


3.35/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2006 11:45:03 | More by hopsaplenty
Photo of CharlesDarwin

Rhode Island

3.4/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

07-27-2006 14:28:58 | More by CharlesDarwin
Photo of kmpitz2


3.3/5  rDev -8.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2006 22:12:32 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of Hhawk06


3.05/5  rDev -15.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-04-2006 12:54:11 | More by Hhawk06
Photo of DogFood11


2.78/5  rDev -23.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2006 04:19:50 | More by DogFood11
Photo of beveragecaptain

New Jersey

2.85/5  rDev -21.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2006 22:03:32 | More by beveragecaptain
Photo of descartes


3.03/5  rDev -16.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2006 22:03:46 | More by descartes
Photo of Zorro


4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2006 04:32:00 | More by Zorro
Photo of ReebShorts


3.23/5  rDev -10.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2005 05:26:13 | More by ReebShorts
Photo of pjwilson


4.33/5  rDev +19.6%
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)

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2005 06:38:52 | More by pjwilson
Photo of nathanho


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

Appears red amber; medium head dissapates quickly. I like Big Sky's branding.

Smells of berries & hops with background pineapple.

Taste is immediately straw with wheat, strong seaweed, some alfalfa, bitter malt, and a walnut aftertaste. Mouthfeel is silky.

Not my kind of session beer due to bitterness & interesting but strong seaweed/straw taste.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2005 04:33:23 | More by nathanho
Photo of rowew


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

Presentation: 12 oz longneck bottle. This is another beer that is new to the Denver market. As with all the other Big Sky beers, the label is a badly drawn animal. I am starting to think they let their kids design the labels.

Appearance: Pours a dark reddish brown color with a nice thick tan colored head. Nice lacing.

Smell: Not a lot of aroma - slight malt sweetness and a hint of spice, but it is faint.

Taste: Medium bodied mouthfeel with a fairly low carbonation level. Nice combination of malt sweetness and just a hint of yeast in the beginning, with a good amount of hops to balance out the finish.

Overall impression: A nice winter beer - very drinkable with a good balance of flavors.

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2005 19:25:23 | More by rowew
Photo of xoqx


4.15/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - This beer pours copper with a yellow, one finger head exhibiting light retention and wispy lacing.

Smell – There are honey, fruity, malty, and caramelly smells here.

Taste - This beer tastes very malty with bready, honey characteristics. It is nicely balanced with restrained hops. The finish is nothing but average.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is clean, creamy, and nicely-carbonated.

Drinkability – This is a drinkable beer, if not an overly interesting one.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2005 05:46:19 | More by xoqx
Photo of loren01


4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color into pint glass. Nice brownish/white head, light carbonation, slight lacing down the pint glass. Smells very nutty with some roasted grains as well. There is also a scent that I can't quite put my finger on, possibly like a cream/buttery smell. Taste is sweet at first with a nice bitter hoppy aftertaste. The aftertaste was very much unexpected, I didn't really smell any hop scents at all. This beer goes down very easliy, has a great mouthfeel to it. A very solid winter beer by Big Sky.

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2005 03:10:53 | More by loren01
Photo of Beaver13


3.03/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Pours a reddish amber with a creamy light tan head that goes to a film that laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet caramel and chocolate, some grassy hops and a little cherry.

The flavor is sweet toffee malts with some slightly tart cherry fruitiness and a musty earthiness - kind of a strange combination. It is medium bodied and has a good level of carbonation.

Overall, it's nice and is drinkable, but not too exciting. It seemed like more of a fruit beer than a pale ale.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2005 05:24:51 | More by Beaver13
Photo of battlekow


4.08/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Powder Hound, described on bigskybrew.com as a "Northern Rockies Strong Ale," is a clear reddish-brown color with a small, off-white head that quickly dissipates. Smell has a nutty, slightly buttery character and a caramel sweetness with a tinge of apple; it's a great scent but a little different, and I'm struggling to describe it. Almost smells like ice cream. Tastes pretty good, but not as interesting as the smell. There's a slightly hoppy finish, but Powder Hound tastes for the most part like a generic, malty amber ale. Does have a nicely creamy mouthfeel. Pretty easy drinking for Northern Rockies Strong Ale, I must say.

Serving type: bottle

10-17-2005 17:17:28 | More by battlekow
Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 413 ratings.