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Howl - Magic Hat Brewing Company


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898 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 898
Reviews: 435
rAvg: 3.68
pDev: 14.13%

Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Schwarzbier |  4.60% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-18-2009)
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 898 | Reviews: 435 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of udubdawg


4.3/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle

pours very dark brown, though far from opaque. Quite a bit of ruby highlights when held to the light. Took off a half point or so for the fleeting nature of the tan head.

Aroma has a bit of a roasted component right up front, coffee, touch of bittersweet chocolate. Light caramel behind, no alcohol, no burnt grain aromas. No fruitiness or diacetyl, very clean with a hint of minerals - perhaps from the water? Slight herbal hop character. Overall there is a perception of a little more sweetness than I prefer to the style, but it is hard to find an area where it is does not fit the style guidelines. Very nicely done so far; on to the taste!

Nice mixture of sweet, coffee and bittersweet chocolate roastiness, and a small amount of caramel flavor. Not a huge malt presence overall; to style. Again clean and with no off flavors, fruitiness, or diacetyl. Dries on the palate though there is a surprising amount of residual sweetness. I'd like to to be even slightly drier. No real hop flavor but a moderate refreshing bitterness.

medium light body, nice drying finish, though the carb level could be higher for a super high score. No astringency despite the decent amount of hops and quit a bit of roasted grains.

Overall this is one of the best of the style I've had. I'd be happy to drink this any day of the year. It doesn't seem particularly underattenuated but the amount of residual sweetness mixed with what could be a higher carb level keeps it from the upper echelon of my favorite beers.
Very well done.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2011 00:04:24 | More by udubdawg
Photo of 160Shillings

North Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aroma: coffee-like roast malt with faint spicy floral noble hops
Appearance: Very dark brown with a hint of ruby. Pours a nice head of fine tan foam that falls into a small ring that follows the beer down the glass.
Flavor: French roast coffee-like roast malt, caramel, rounded melanoidin malt are all present without being excessive, they linger into a long finish. Medium hop bitterness with spice and floral flavors.
Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel with medium carbonation.
Overall Impression: A nice German-style lager that is dark without being burnt
Comments: Schwarzbier is sometimes called “black Pils”, Magic Hat Brewing Company shows why it is, not as hop dominant as a true Pilsner, but a great German-style lager that presents a full range of flavors without being burnt.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2012 05:40:16 | More by 160Shillings
Photo of RedSpecial1


4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark roasted color, and a small off white head which dissipated quickly.

S: Slightly roasted coffee notes, and a caramel maltiness, maybe even toffee.

T: Light coffee flavors with caramel and faint hint of vanilla.

M: Smooth as you first sip, but more bitterness comes out as it warms up.

D: Very smooth, could definitely be a good session beer in the winter months.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2009 01:01:47 | More by RedSpecial1
Photo of Chickenhawk9932


4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It is a deep burnt umber with a light brown head. More brown than black but definitely dark.
Cap reads "no rain, no rainbows."

In the nose is roasted oats and sweet cereal.

The fullness of the grain coats the palate followed by the slight sweetness, then finnishing dry with a slight bitterness. This has balance and complexity - quite delightful.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2010 20:20:55 | More by Chickenhawk9932
Photo of Hopfenpeter


4.25/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a crystal mug the color is like expected from a Schwarzbier, black. The beige head builds nicely and leaves good lacing. The smell hints sweetness, but is not strong. Tasting the beer you will first feel the roasted malts and taste a sweet toffee- coffee taste, which is balanced evenly with mild hops at the back.
Mouthfeel is prickly , due to good carbonation.
Very drinkable beer, a very nice seasonal Schwarzbier.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2010 03:23:08 | More by Hopfenpeter
Photo of NJpadreFan

New Jersey

4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2009 18:08:03 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of wac9


4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

another great dark beer is here .a roasted , coffee taste and smell but not too much , make a nice drinking beer . enjoyable night when is beer is around. a jet black in color which is the only color beer should be. everybody writes better review then me but try this beer you may like it. it another dark black beer to add to your list to drink . join me in drinking this beer tonite

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2009 01:57:23 | More by wac9
Photo of horshack7


4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: From a twelve ounce bottle with a label that has some eveil eyes over seeing the night itself. Wathcing your every move and the letter o in howl is a clock that is soon to strike midnight. It pours black that has deep mohagany hues around the edges. The head is about one finger thick of frothy goodness.

Aroma: Lots of sweetness from the malts. Little bits of carmelized sugar. A light hop nose that gives off tiny notes of sweet ripe fruit.

Taste: Nice carbonation to start. Maltiness shows up right up front. A little bit of hop bitterness but the hops are roasted dark. Way in the back ground is a little smokiness. A little bit of sweet fruits but mostly sugary notes.

Notes: This is quite a nice style of beer. I'ts nice to see a Schwarzbier. This is one is a nice winter brew. Cheers.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2010 04:21:49 | More by horshack7
Photo of JMOvechkin


4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter.

A: Very dark and inviting, with a decent head. Made me want to light a fire.

S: Kind of malty and toasty. Hops were a mildly herbal.

T: As winter lagers go, I thought Magic Hat did a great job. Very balanced.

M: Medium thickness, good level of carbonation

D: I like my beer a bit hoppier then this, with that being said, I could slam a six pack around a campfire any day.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2010 16:08:08 | More by JMOvechkin
Photo of latackbeer


4.22/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Very dark, but black as night not so much. I saw some reddish colors at the edges. Decent tan head.

S- little smoky, Had some toffee notes

T- Dark chocolate, some spicy hops but a great balance

M- What I liked a lot is it's lighter than your typical porter but you still get some the characteristics with the malt.

I enjoyed this would get it again!

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2010 02:44:39 | More by latackbeer
Photo of monkeybutler


4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I just got home from work and opened the last bottle out of a 12-pack of this beer.

I'm lucky enough to live in Vermont, the state with the highest number of craft breweries per capita of any state in the union and probably of any single place on the planet. Other planets we haven't discovered yet might have better beer and more of it, but until then, Vermont is it.

I like to give a good beer time to permeate my life over a period of days or weeks, if possible, before giving it a review. It's only fair. Other folks might review three or four beers at a shot, but I prefer a much more sedentary pace of three or four beers a month, tops.

So, this is a good beer and I've been drinking it for the past couple weeks. I first tried a few samples of it at the brewery.

Before I get into the specifics, I'd compare it favorably to Sam Adams best beer (in my opinion): black lager.

It pours a deep brown with a one finger, latte colored head. Good cob-web lacing all the way down.

The smell is actually much more pronounced in the nose than it reveals itself in the flavor. It's very roasty, like an impy.

The taste is excellent, though not quite as bitingly roasty as I would like. I think that's where this beer doesn't quite match up with Sam's version.

The mouthfeel seems like it could be a bit thicker. No complaints...

And I have downed more than a few of these on occasion and with no shame I can tell you that they go down real easy. You can put down 3 or 4 before you even know it. Good wintertime drinking beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2010 22:35:24 | More by monkeybutler
Photo of Misfit138


4.2/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle into pint glass

A- Nice dark chocolate color with a fizzy head that went away quickly

S- Sweet toffee and caramel malt with hints of roastiness

T- Nice flavor, more roasty than the nose-perhaps almost like coffee, with some hints of toffee and caramel

M- Medium in body with fair carbonation

O- Solid black lager, certainly enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2012 03:28:42 | More by Misfit138
Photo of david131


4.18/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- A deep, slightly murky brown that has some ruby highlights around the edges. The mocha head rises and falls fairly quickly, but leaves some splotches behind. About right.

S- Roasty malt, caramel topping, milk chocolate, and some oatmeal. Smells pretty rich and appealing.

T- Rich, roasted malt with flavors or caramel, milk chocolate, coffee, toffee, smoke, and oatmeal. Very flavorful and unique for the style and ABV.

M- A little thin and dry with a slightly cloying aftertaste. the sweetness fixes a lot, though.

D- A very nice beer that drinks great. A great, richly flavored beer that isn't too heavy... if that makes any sense.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2009 05:18:12 | More by david131
Photo of mynie


4.18/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cute bottle with excellent artwork, but that's just par for the course with Magic Hat.

Nice pour. I'm judging this as something between a warmer and a schwarz and it's appearance doesn't disappoint as either. Big, thick purple bordering on black with a two-finger white head.

Smells like toasty, burnt malt and medium brewing spices. Gingerbread, roasted barley, caramel, and grass. Nice.

Starts off tasting like bread, moving into sweet ginger cookies and rounding itself off on bitter roasted malt and light, dry stout hops. Nice.

Tastes like it smells, only a bit more dry. The spices are present but not all that strong. Mostly it's the the malt that's in charge, sweet up front and bitter and roasted in the back. Nice thick body makes it go down like chocolate syrup.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2010 23:09:54 | More by mynie
Photo of scruffwhor


4.18/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

The color is a nice cola bron and ruby mix. Very quick one finger, tan head, and no bubbling.

The aroma starts with a mild roasted character, but smokes up a little. Teh roasted malts turns a little campfire-like, but not overbearing by like some smoked German beers. This beer has a smokey aroma that invites you to have another.

The taste starts smokey, then gets a little more roasted as the smokiness settles. Theres even some earthy peet mixed in with the smoke. Just smooth, roasted and definetly smokey all the way through the palate.

This is an awesome session beer. I want this beer on tap sooo bad.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2010 05:54:20 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of twiggamortis420


4.18/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle with freshness notches of Jan 10. Pours a dark brown color showing some ruby highlights around the edges. Head is a frothy tan color and displays below average retention. Lacing is decent though.

Nose is pretty nice for a Schwarzy...plenty of roast, bit of licorice and some sweet malted milk. Fits perfectly within the style.

Taste is very pleasant as well; balanced roast and milk-chocolaty sweetness. Low on the fruit and a nice bready characteristic from the yeast. Medium-full for the style and there is a nice kiss of hop bitterness on the finish. I was not expecting a whole lot with this one, especially given that the freshness dating is 4 months past, but this is a pretty damn nice Schwarzbier. One of the better American brewed versions in fact. I will most certainly purchase a sixer of it next winter as I do love a good black lager, could easily down this by the liter full. Well done Magic Hat.

Serving type: bottle

05-09-2010 19:58:49 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of stevecee2003


4.18/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got the bottle at a local Supermarket that started selling exceptional beers. I had actually never heard of this beer, so I took a chance.

App: Dark colors abound, with only a hint of light through the bottle.

Smell: INstant smell of coffee and chocolate. May be too much coffee for my taste but I certainly appreciate it.

Taste: Definate coffee very strong, but the chocolate seems to balance it out. With a hint of caramel.

Feel: With all that coffee I would not have liked it, 'cept fore the smoothness of it all. Damn good.Very smooth to drink.

Overall: I agree with most a damn good beer. What a find! This is why I love the world of beers. You can walk into a supermarket, try sometning and discover a taste you never had before.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2010 04:19:44 | More by stevecee2003
Photo of EnojysAnyBeer


4.18/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Very dark brown color that is on the edge of blackness. Supports a big, frothy, tan head that leaves some lacing in splotches and lines

S- Dark rye bread is the first thing I am reminded of with the roasted bitterness. There is also a dark caramel sweetness drizzled over the dark rye bread. There is a bit of off-putting metallic twang

T- Flavor is very smooth and extremely balanced with a bit of what makes every beer special. Solid bread and grain flavors set off by twangs of bitterness from hops and roasted malts. The caramel sweetness sticks around and keeps the tongue satisfied

M- Light body somehow manages a smooth, silky feel usually found only in thicker beers

D- Delicious

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2010 03:35:09 | More by EnojysAnyBeer
Photo of Clowerweb


4.18/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: Very dark brown, almost as close to black as you can get. Completely opaque, though not quite "black". Single finger of light brown/tan head, although I always pour slowly down the side of the glass to prevent too much head from forming. Head lingers for about a minute, and then dissipates with a decent lacing that will hold for a good 5 minutes or more.

S: Doesn't have a very strong aroma, the scent was a very light hint of roasted malt, with just a touch of fruit. I thought I might have smelled a bit of blueberry. I thought the smell was a bit too mild.

T: As another commenter pointed out, it tastes just like it smells. Roasted malt, almost coffee flavored, smoky with a touch of fruit. No bitterness. Finishes with a sweeter, nutty flavor, with the smoky flavor lingering in the aftertaste. Nicely layered, complex, but not overdone. Definitely has more of a smoky/roasted flavor than anything else.

M: Has both a crisp and creamy feel, medium carbonation, goes down very smooth.

This is overall a very good beer, worthy of drinking a 6-pack easily in a sitting. It won't leave you wishing you had something better, but I wish it had a little stronger aroma, because what's there smells amazing.

Give this beer a try, I doubt you'll have any regrets.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2012 00:00:05 | More by Clowerweb
Photo of GregSVT


4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a pint glass

A: Pours a cola black with a small white head that fades to a small layering and leaves no real lacing.

S: Nose is full of cocoa, chocolate malts, and a roasty flavor. Great nose.

T: The taste is huge with tons of chocolate/roasted malt, coffee, cocoa, and a bit of a roasty bitterness on the finish.

M: The feel is a bit thin but for the style it's not bad. Could be a bit creamier like other top notch Schwarbiers.

D: Great drinkability although the bitterness from the roasted malt catches up to you after a little while. Crazy that they can get so much flavor out of a beer like this with a tiny ABV.

I didn't expect much out of this one but it d

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2010 10:06:27 | More by GregSVT
Photo of whisperjet


4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: Pours a very dark brown and creamy with a frothy off white head that absolutely rockets out of the glass. Head sticks around for a very long time and leaves very sticky lace

s: Pretty mild in the nose. A little bready and malty with some woody undertones but nothing too powerful or noticeable.

t: Malty and chocolatey. Hint of coffee bitterness. The bread really comes out as the beer warms to givea nice balance of flavors.

m: Full bodied and smooth with little carbonation to bite.

d: Could easily put a few back on a cold night. Has a very warm feel and flavor. Just an underwhelming nose.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2010 17:42:08 | More by whisperjet
Photo of beefnbarley


4.15/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Certainly a nice beer that fits the style. From a bottle, it poured a nice tall light brown head that persisted some time. It was dark cola in color. The aroma was dominated by dark grains giving it a coffee and low chocolate nose. No hop aroma in this beer. It was well balanced with just enough bitterness to offset the malty backbone but certainly weighted toward the malt. Finished dry and was well carbonated. Overall a very drinkable and enjoyable schwarzbier. I'd like another please.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2010 21:59:00 | More by beefnbarley
Photo of WVbeergeek


4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-01-2009 19:54:09 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of garymuchow


4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The final bottle to review of my winter 12 pack.
Pours beautifully into my Sam Adams glass. One inch tan head that's both dense and showing larger bubbles. Black with red and brown tints. Nice looking.
Aroma is very reminiscent of August Schell beers, so I assume similar yeast is used. Nice dark malt hinting of roast but not too dark. Also chocolate. Good.
Chocolate stronger with taste and roast in background, until the mid to finish in which it contributes to a pleasing drying and soft bitterness (that really adds to the flavor nicely).
Fully carbonated, maybe a bit much, yet it adds more softness.
This is a good beer and at 4.6% abv makes it an easy drinker. Well done.
I'd like to compare it to the Schwarzbier that Schells did a few years ago.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2010 17:54:54 | More by garymuchow
Photo of CBOLAND17


4.13/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2010 20:28:13 | More by CBOLAND17
Howl from Magic Hat Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 898 ratings.