Howl - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Not Rated.

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952 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 952
Reviews: 436
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 14.48%
Wants: 35
Gots: 57 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  4.60% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-18-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Born of dark and cold and snow in the marrow of the northeast's longest night, Howl comes in on wailing winds with winter-weary eyes burning holes in sunless shadows. In its darkened depths our inner voids are warmed.

32 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 952 | Reviews: 436
Reviews by Kooz:
Photo of Kooz
2.97/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a bottle into a Sam Adams pint glass.

Not quite black as night--more of a dark brownish-amber. Tan head that starts out pretty thick and stays for the length of the beer.

Smells of malt and molasses. Fairly nice.

Tastes a bit bitter and burnt, but has a mildly sweet aftertaste that fades into a mellow maltiness.

Mouthfeel is a bit harsher than expected. Sharp at first and has a very sharp (not crisp) bite. Somewhat creamy and thick on swishing, but not enough to outweigh the overbite!

Overall, this beer is a bit too much for me to drink regularly. It's not bad, but I'll pass next time.

More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Moncshof schwarzbier pokal a deep chocolate color with a ruby tinge,a thinner but well sustained light tan colored head atop.Chocolate aromas really stand out with a roast uderneath.Earthy and dry on the palate with some roasted coffee notes intertwined with unsweetened chocolate,again not much sweetness to be had here.Much dryer and more earthy than most I have had of the style but I like it.

Photo of CBOLAND17
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

a very smooth magic hat brew. not as extreme as an ipa or as sweet as say the #9, but this beer is quite good. a very smooth lager which is not typical of magic hat, but it is very good and i enjoyed it. i got it at a local pud and enjoyed it there i really like magic hat.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #35 (Dec 2009):

A new winter seasonal from MH described as a "black as night winter lager." Under the cap: "only Louts are ruled by Doubts."

Blacker than night, actually, and opaque with a nice looking creamy tan head and residual lacing. Minerally and metallic in the nose; smells of old coins and fresh bloody steak. Light and fluffy up front with some lively fizzy carbonation. Roasty malt notes, burnt edges, wisps of smoke. Hint of chalk. Dry, well-attenuated; however, as the beer warms and opens up, some sweet undertones and a touch of caramel emerge, and a light note of apples. No real bitterness, which is expected, but there's a light, semi-coarse, leafy hop character woven throughout. Bone-dry finish with lingering mineral and earthy flavors.
Pretty on par with the style, which is a style that we dig and is rarely explored by Ameri- can brewers. Get some before the season is over and check out the cool micro-site.

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a sixer on a whim for a Halloween party. Pours into my glass a deep dark brown bordering on black with a solid khaki head on top of the brew. Aromas of dark roasted malt with a burnt black coffee undertone. Toasty and a bit of cocoa. Rather mellow overall.

First sip brings roasted malt with a bit of a chalky aspect to it. Burnt coffee rolls in with a bit of a cocoa undertone. Mild hops roll through on the way down. Overall, an easy drinking, tasty schwarzbier.

Mouthfeel is crisp and light with an edge of graininess to it. Solid carbonation throughout. Pretty easy to drink. Overall, it's a little heavy on the burnt coffee for me, but is still probably one of my favorite beers I've had from Magic Hat. Sessionable.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I didn't know this winter seasonal was a schwarzbier until I sat down to review it. I thought I was drinking some kind of porter. In a pint glass the beer was a very dark brown/black color with a small tan head. Sweet, roasted malt, and floral aroma. The taste showed some dark fruit, coffee, and late hops kick. Medium bodied, moderately enjoyable.

Photo of bishopdc0
3.72/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is dark with a thick head to start, the head dissipates but remains on the glasses edge. The aroma is full of roasted malts and is very pleasant. The beer starts with a roasted carbonation, and you expect a larger maltyness that never come. The carbonation quickly dissipates while the roasted flavor remains (think a like a stout but with no malt).

Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with a freshness date.

The color is not like they state "Black as Night" but it is pretty dark, good head retention like most of the Magic Hat beers. Hints of coffee, dark chocolate and charcoal in the nose. Big on smoothness with a light to medium body, roasty from start to finish though stays mild. Mild charcoal character is pleasant, maltiness lands dry. Hops a leafy and a little oily with a even bitterness. Dry end with a linger of roasted grain.

This does not make up for the fact that they killed of Heart Of Darkness a while back but I'll take this for now. Damn good stuff here.

Photo of merlin48
3.48/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle pours a dark cola hued body with a small tan head. Some spotty lace decorates the glass.

Aroma is faint. Hints of spicy hops and dark chocolate, not much else.

Light medium body is well carbonated.

Tastes pretty good and spot on for style. Dark chocolate, roasty notes, hints of coffee and smoke balanced by a subtle spicy hop bitterness.

Easy drinking and a good example of the style but lacking in the aroma department.

Photo of Billolick
3.7/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Growler filled up at Yorktown Beer and soda, Yorktown, NY, $9.99 (yeah my closest beer store now has 8 taps for fresh growlers)

Pours near black, moderate darker mocha head, goes to a thick collar and leaves ample thicker lacing.

Light chocolate and darker grains in the nose.

More chocolate, minor coffee note noted, dark grains, moderate sweetness. On the lighter side bodywise. Nothing special, respectable dark lager, easy drinker. Nice long finish, with lingering coffee grains and lightly bitter chocolate. More slightly better then middle of the road beer from hit or miss Magic Hat.

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer pours a dark brown, almost black with a white head. The beer has some brownish-red highlights when held up to the light.

Smell is some roasted malts, with a little bit of chocolate and coffee. Taste follows the aroma, with lots of roasted flavor. The beer is a little thin in the mouth, but there is a creamy texture similar to what you would find in a milk stout. Overall this is a good beer that has a very good mix of flavor and low alcohol.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sample poured into a tasting glass at Magic Hat.

Pours a dark brown almost black, with a little lasing. Smell is very yeasty and roasty.

Taste is sweet, coffee and chocolate, low carbonation makes it very smooth and rich. Awesome winter beer, very tasty and malty, really surprising this is a lager!

Photo of RTEdmunds
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

very dark, with a nice creamy looking (albeit smallish) head.

smells malty and roasty. can't really detect hops in the aroma.

tastes smokey and sweet. light on the hops

feels a bit thin, with average carbonation.

overall a pretty good brew.

Photo of far333
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rumor has it that this is a repackaging of the now defunct Orlio dark lager. Deep chestnut colored, nearly opaque, with ruddy highlights. Nice oatmeal colored firm head that settles out slowly to a fine tight cap. Aroma of roasty malt, some cocoa and root beer.

Flavor is initially roasty malt, some cocoa and smoke, hints of leather and coffee. Mild bitterness.

Semi-thin mouthfeel, a little slick upfront, very bubbly, finishes too tingly. Could be more full. Tasty beer, could be more complex, but pretty drinkable.

Photo of BadBadger
3.69/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a moderately dark color. There was a pleasant, and rather subtle, aroma of fruity hops. The head was minimal, and what was there did not last for long. The taste was smooth, with a nice toffee (toffee not coffee) finish. Overall a rather pleasing beer which I would recommend giving a try.

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.13/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appears dark black with cola brown edges when held toward the light. Large tan head rises above the rim of my glass, nice chunks of lace spread evenly around the sides of my Weihenstephan glass. Aroma is filled with dark roasts with semi bitter notes. Herbal grassy mildly citrus notes of hops in the bacground, with upfront coffee and dark bitter chocolate. Flavor has creamy chocolate and bitter coffee grinds blended nicely a really nice experience. Like drinking a big stout with a light body and alcohol content herbal hops blend in the mix as well. Heavy on the dark bitter roasts in the finish I like it minimal herbal hops are flowing with persistance. Mouthfeel is medium to lighter bodied with a nice even level of natural carbonation flowing creamy overall with a nice roasted malt bitterness left on the palate with each sip. Drinkability is great especially in the cooler months, I could love on a sixer of this whilst tailgating in the Burgh before the Steelers play down at Heinz Field. I could mix a few lighter beers into the mix and have a black and gold sampler this would be a good staple for the schwarzbier category.

Photo of chinchill
3.82/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A very dark brown, rather than black beer. Opaque, with a thin but durable tan head.

Aroma of dark roasted malts and spicy hops, with hints of dark fruits, chocolate and spices. Aroma is a tad too earthy. The flavor is a bit stronger than the aroma suggests, although there is little flavor from hops. Not unpleasant light hint of charcoal/smoke. Finishes with a long-lasting, roasted malt aftertaste. Taste improves and gets richer with warming.

M: Medium to medium-light body and carbonation.

O: good.

Photo of glid02
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle purchased from Green's on Ponce in Atlanta.

Pours one shade from black with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of nondescript fruits with good amounts of roasted malt aromas.

Tastes good and a bit more interesting than it smells. Black malt flavors up front with good roasted qualities. A faint underlying fruit sweetness pervades the sip finally lingering on the palate after a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a solid thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is alright. I finished my glass without a problem however I'm not terribly excited about another.

Overall this was a decent - and low ABV - beer for the style however it didn't really have enough malt presence to be anything more.

Photo of ianjsullivan
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving type: 12 ounce bottle poured into a standard glass.

Appearance: Decent thick head that does not last long. The color is dark, almost black, with a ring of brown toward the bottom. When held to the light red hues become prominent.

Smell: Nice smell, sweeter malts match toasted malts and smoke.

Taste: As is normally the case (since most of taste comes from smell anyway) sweet and toasted malts mash into one another leaving a smoky finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodies, not very heavy but with a pleasant acidity and creaminess that follows to the finish.

Drinkability: Since the beer is not very heavy it can be consumed fairly easily. However, the taste is still present of darker beers. It reminds me of a cross between a dark lager and a stout.

I was really impressed with this winter offering by Magic Hat, mostly because I went in with low expectations. I am not knocking on them as a brewer, some of their beers I enjoy quite a bit, some I dislike just as much. Howl offers some nice taste with a body that allows for consistent drinking. It could be stronger and the body could be heavier, however, it is a good beer for the price.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.43/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(Served in a tulip glass)
A- This beer pours a dense black body with a thick rocky tan head that last a good bit.

S- The soft coffee roasted note has some raw grain silage in the finish but is otherwise pretty clean.

T- The nice roasted coffee malt has some clean lagered characteristics with a watery finish. The watery coffee flavor lingers with a bit of a green coffee bean note coming through as it opens.

M- The medium-light mouthfeel has a scrubbing fizz in the finish.

O- The nice clean coffee flavor turns thin and watery and there are no other flavors to support it or pick up the slack. Gets a little drab getting through 12 oz.

Photo of jbphoto88
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Muddy brown that is on the verge of being clear but doesn't quite make it. The edges of the glass have a splash of reddish walnut. The head is fluffy and thick and quickly rises two fingers above the beer. It dissipates to a thin layer of cappuccino colored foam that sticks to just about everything it touches.

The smell is lovely dark and malty. It's a fresh out of the box cereal scent that has notes of caramelization and coffee. This beer smells like something I'd like to pour on my cheerios.

Smooth and sweet the malts don't stop just at the nose. The fresh crushed malted grains are the strongest feature in this flavor profile. They range from toasted bread to coffee and a pinch of dark chocolates. A kiss of hoppy bitterness is a nice balance to the malt punch I've gotten from this beer.

Medium bodied beer with a moderate carbonation. For the most part it's quite satisfying and I can't quite figure how they got so much flavor into a low ABV beer. A very nice brew that is worth getting into on a cold day.

Photo of acurtis
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled and brought home growler from Magic Hat. Very dark brown with small head and good carbonation. Aroma of roasted malt, coffee and nuts. Light body but very smooth. Super drinkable. This was my 2nd favorite of the 12 or so beers on tap at Magic Hat. Very enjoyable.

Photo of Brenden
3.95/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Notes are old but very thorough.

The color is a very dark brown that doesn't quite reach black. A nice tan head pour out soft but sturdy and maintains itself well. Light lacing is left on the glass.
The nose is of roasted malts with a heavy hops addition. A bit of earthy smokiness with a dry yeast note round it out.
Earthy, smoky malts don't contribute nearly as much bitterness as a good portion of fresh hops. The flavor is bittersweet and roasty with a nutty touch to it and some smoke all the way through, with just a hint of citrus floating around.
The body is medium but seems to lack punch. It seems a little flat and could use a bit more liveliness. It's solid, but slightly lacking.

Photo of NJpadreFan
4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Magic Hat- Howl

A- Dark deep black with a thick frothy head, good lacing.
S- Smokey roasted malt with a hint of chocolate and molasses.
T- Sweet molasses and brown sugar, mild dark roasted smokey malt, buttery, and an earthy ashy light sweet green pine hops.
M- Sweet, ashy dry, smokey, and a thick maltiness. Nice sweet hop finish.

Overall- This is much better than I was expecting. Solid.

Photo of weasbri
3.67/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark beer with red highlights and a thin head that fades quickly.
Lots of roasted malt aroma.
Plenty of chocolate malt in the flavor which pretty much takes over. There is some hop bite trying to break through, but it gets smacked down by the chocolate roasted malt.
A tad thin on the mouthfeel, but that keeps it on the lighter (drinking, not color) side of things.

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Howl from Magic Hat Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 952 ratings.