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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
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Reviews: 243 | Hads: 491
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.

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Photo of ponbon63
3.37/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

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Photo of frenchblood21
3.89/5  rDev +7.5%
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.

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Photo of longbongsilver
3.52/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of Phelps
3.8/5  rDev +5%
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.

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Photo of EricCioe
3.73/5  rDev +3%
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.

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Photo of jsisko01
3.38/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

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Photo of brotherloco
3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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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.

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Photo of quaybr
3.36/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

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Photo of bump8628
3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of tony223366
3.38/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

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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.

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Photo of TheSarge
4.02/5  rDev +11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours decent for a finger thick white head, and has a cleanly filtered copper colored body.

The aroma is piny and orangish along with a hint of toffee.

Taste wise it's well balanced between caramel from the hops and lemony/piny flavors of the hops.

Feels medium to full in body. Good carbonation as well as wetting to the palate. For a higher ABV brew, there is little to no alcohol burn, which is always a plus in my book.

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Photo of harrymel
2.52/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottled Unk, vintage 2011

A: copper with two fingers of off-white billowed foam falls to a sheet of the same and leaves behind cobweb lace. Excellent clarity.
S: Earthy hops, tea and some metallic malts.
T: Malt. Sweet malt and some metallic off flavors. Quite sweet.
M: Medium bodied with low carb and a semi dry finish.
O: Meh, okay, sessionable. Would drink if already drunk. Really unobtrusive.

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

Poured into a shaker pint glass.

The beer is a hazy light orangish copper color. A light white head sits on top for a second then dissipates to a thin film of white bubbles. Some sticky lacing.

The beer smells of slight citrus notes with a sweet metled caramel candy piece to top it off.

The taste is sweet, malty, and very much in the caramel/toffee mindset. This gives way to a strong spicy bitter hop finish adding balance.

The mouthfeel is a tad sticky and full.

Overall, I rated this 2.63 the last time I had it, but I think it's really good this time.

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Photo of blakelive784
2.78/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 fl oz bottle served in a snifter:

A - Pours a transparent copper/amber color with a billowing white head. The head's creamy and holds itself well. Generally appealing.

S - Caramel, toasted malt, and musty grapefruit hops. The hops are relatively strong and seem to be out of balance.

T - Strong malt opens, with sweet candy, caramel and cream. There's some fruit in there somewhere. The hops don't figure into the taste all too much, and I suspect they were all added for aroma.

M - Well carbonated, medium bodied, and smooth. Works for whats there.

D - The balance is way off in this beer. The aroma doesn't match the flavor, and the entire thing is off kilter. It's not bad, but something is way off with this one.

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Photo of BilbosNuts
3.94/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

A: Pours a clear, dark golden color. It has a small, thin, white head that reduces to a small ring, and is pretty sticky. It is very still as a limited amount of carbonation is visible.

S: The aroma produces a nice hop profile. Citrusy fruitiness and piney aromas beckon a taste, while not overpowering the scent of toasted malts.

T: A good amount of hops provide a wonderful piney and fruity taste. Again there is a subtle toasted malt flavor. It finishes slightly bitter.

M: It is medium bodied, and quite viscous. A light amount of carbonation allows the flavors to travel across the palate. The crisp and bitter finish refreshes the palate, preparing you for another taste.

O: There isn't anything about this beer that is remarkable, but it is solid in almost every way. The appearance could use some work, but other than that, this is a quintessential example of an amber ale- nice hop profile, toasted malts, slight fruitiness. Look no further if you're searching for a solid amber. Well done Big Sky.

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Photo of isualum12
4.03/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great looking beer. I have had it over the years from a bottle but never like tonight from a tap. I was excited to see it. Nice red copper tone to this beer. It smell is not overly strong. Taste is great. Lots of flavor without kicking you to hard. Feel is close to perfect.

Great beer that is worth having a few time throughout the year.

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

ruby tinted brown with lots of reddish hues easily visible on both the sides and bottom of the glassthree finger high head of sticky and foamy off white lace

aroma was full of hops creating a large sweet aroma. thick malted backbone that was full of deep earthen grains and roasted malts, and a nice caramel coating that seemed to tie it all together very nicely. resin pine with a sugary caramel sweetness balancing it very nicely. The backbone being the roasted malts consisting of a nice spattering of cereal grain and earthy grasses. All of this seamlessly blended together in a thick mix of almost chewy goodness.

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Photo of a2marzman83
2.68/5  rDev -26%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Clear dark orange with soapy light beige head.

Toasted beady malts are at the forefront of the nose with a hint of earthy hops. Not much spicy or fruitiness appreciated. Not much to get exited over either.

Sweet malt flavors work themselves into the profile but this beer like it smells with a heavy dose of toasted malt. A little boozy as it warms.

The mouthfeel is a little thin for the sweetness

I wanted to like Powder Hound more than I did. I love winter warmers and Big Sky brews quality beers but this one you can pass on for all but the coldest of nights.

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Photo of Mitchster
3.98/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

$1.89 for a 12oz single @ Jacks. 7.2% ABV per the website. Hopped with Hallertau, Palisade, and Amarillo.

Pours out to a slightly hazy burnt orange, light amber, forming a tall whipped meringue like light yellow head with superior retention and solid thick sheeys of bubbly lace. Very nice looking beer. Moderately strong carbonation provides a nice stream of bubbles. Prickly mouthfeel with a medium dense body. The nose is a nice blend of up front grassy hops sitting on top of a nice malt body. I love the Amarillo skunk funk. Suggestion of toast and biscuits, red apples and pears. The taste is a recap of the aroma...spicy but not overwhelming hops tickle the tongue at first, then it's followed by a nice biscuity malt with vanilla and fruit, even a touch of tangerines. There is residual saccharin sweetness which offsets the medium herbal bitterness. Lots of fruit esters...tastes like Wyeast British Ale yeast. The finish reminds me of black tea with a hint of sugar.

A peculiar but good beer. It has a certain twang to it

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Photo of imagese
3.57/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- hazy golden with a one finger head that faded quickly, hung around as a fine layer, and left light spotty lacing

S- grassy hops, apple, and a lot of yeasty spice. This smells like lager yeast was used

T- bitter apple and grassy hop combo along with a nice spiciness. There is a strong boozy yeast finish

- crisp and dry light body and nice carbonation

D- interesting beer. Very easy drinking. Not a typical winter ale at all

I could swear that this an attempt at an imperial pilsener.

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