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Howl - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

933 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 933
Reviews: 434
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 14.44%
Wants: 31
Gots: 41 | 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:
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 933 | Reviews: 434 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of baseballrock
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Black color with a light brown hue when held to the light.

S - Light hints of roasted malts. Plus some coffee aromas are very pleasant.

T - Balanced malt flavors. As I sip I detect some cocoa flavor. The taste is finished off by a bit of hoppyness the rounds of a better than average brew.

M - Light bodied brew, but as stated prior it is well balanced. The one thing that does stand out is the bit of Hop flavor, I find it nice in this beer.

D - A very good session beer.

baseballrock, Nov 09, 2010
Photo of angelmonster
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a 2 finger beige head, body is black with very dark brown highlights. Head retention and lacing are good.

Smell is of dark dried fruits like raisins. There is also some roasted, smoked malts. No hops or alcohol are detected.

Taste is the same as smell, very raisiny. There is also some chalky bittersweet chocolate and roasted malts. Slight smoke and oak are in there. Hops are pretty low and alcohol is obviously not present since its not even 5 percent.

Mouthfeel is good. Carbonation is well balanced and head has a nice presence that adds to the medium bodied consistency of the beer.

Drinkability is good. Very sessionable beer of a style that I wish more breweries would make. Would drink again whenever I want a light beer

angelmonster, Jan 28, 2010
Photo of VelvetExtract
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours akin to Pepsi. Bigger frothy head is born. Head is consistent and leaves lightning bolt lacing patterns. I can barely see through this beer.

S-Smells like a Porter. Roasty and surprisingly quite smoky. Light chocolate as well. I think the smoke is the most noticeable aspect of the nose. Certainly more brawny than I was expecting. Actually a bit excited to try this.

T-Chocolate comes out more in the flavor. Underlying smoky character. Roasted coffee beans strictly in the finish. Good dose of coffee at the end to be exact. Definitely has more flavor than I expected.

M-Medium body with enough carbonation. Not too much lasting feel.

O/D-Better than I was expecting. A pretty good glass. Magic Hat will come up and surprise you every-so-often. Hard to find fault with this one.

VelvetExtract, Jan 18, 2012
Photo of nrbw23
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a really dark brown with a bit of ruby highlights. Appears to be pretty clear but its also pretty dark. Head is a tannish color that has pretty much no lacing and lacing.

S- Smells of roasted malts with a bit of sweet malitness. A bit of chocolate, smoke and I'm not really picking up any hops.

T- Taste is smoky grain, quite a bit of spice, nutty and a very light amount of coffee.

M- On the lighter side of medium in body and carbonation.

D- Not to bad at all. Pretty easy to drink. A pretty simple beer.

nrbw23, Dec 05, 2010
Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got to have this up at the brewery before it was even released a few years ago. Kind of exciting I thought. The beer poured out really dark even for being a sampling glass. The light that could get through just gave off a red hue inside the glass. The head was thin but has a light brown color to it. The smell of the beer was a lot like a German Lager with some roasted malts and chocolate in the mix. The taste of the beer gave off a lot of chocolate and dark malt flavors, it had a good bitterness to it as well. The mouthfeel was on the lighter side which I thought was impressive. Overall this beer isn't bad, I got to have it again from the bottle and it was still pretty good.

Knapp85, Sep 02, 2011
Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into a BBC pint glass.

A: Poured a dark, ruby-brown color; almost like a root beer. Formed a two-finger head of tan foam with bits of bottle sediment which clung to the webby lace.

S: Smells nice, sweet and roasty. Hints of carob and coffee blended with a little cocoa powder and dark, herbal hops.

T: Flavor is a little watery at first, giving mostly sweet, dark bready malts and a little roasted black malt almost with a dry stout quality. A little smokiness and that bittersweet, weak coffee flavor builds towards the middle and finishes mellow with a little lingering roasted malt flavor. lighter than I expected, but still fairly tasty.

M: Mouthfeel is medium-bodied but watery for the most part, with a little clingy sweetness around the middle and finish.

D: Magic Hat kept the ABV really session with Howl at 4.6% which adds to the drinkability, but maybe flavors aren't rich enough for hose seeking shelter from the cold in their pint glass.

Not quite a schwartz, not quite a brown and not quite a stout. Howl is an interesting choice for the winter party goer, and I'd be glad to take it in a mix winter pack but would be reluctant to buy a 6 or 12 myself.

Gambrinus1184, Jan 22, 2010
Photo of vpipkt
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is one that, as they say in the UK, does what it says on the tin. It is definitely black-as-night and it is definitely a lager.

Color has a bit of a deep dark brown tinge in the light. Pour was nice with a decent tan head. The color of the head is far lighter than you would think looking at the near black.

Smell is very much the lager when the head is up. Reminded me of a Grolsh, a more robust lager to be sure. After the head dies down it is a bit more coffee-like. The taste is alright, about what you would expect with this style of beer. But it is actually somewhat unremarkable, malty and smoky, and there is even a hint of bitterness and alcohol to the finish. This surprised me because the ABV is only 4.6%.

Mouthfeel is actually fairly nice and I'd say one of the nicer aspects. Like the dark color, it is reminiscent of a much bigger, darker beer in that it is substantial and smooth.

Drinkability gets a lower score due to the weakness in flavor and the somewhat awkward overall character. Other schwarzbiers I've had may surprise you, but they are winning with taste and drinkability. Some tinkering needs to be done to figure out the sharpness and resolve alcoholic taste.

vpipkt, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of Transatlantic
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a hefeweizen glass and served with leftover holiday tamales.

A - Nice hazy chocolate dark brown color with a great creamy head. Lacing is quite good as well, leaving some chunks.

S - A bit of a wet hay smell, but behind it is a faint smell of chocolate, coffee, and perhaps clove spice? Not great but not bad either

T - Incredibly refreshing and with stout like characteristics. The taste of chocolate and light coffee is there with a cracker like taste. Not really picking up much on any hops. I would say there IS a bit of floral hop presence but it's hard to lay it down.

M - Light bodied but tricks you into thinking it's medium bodied with it's taste. Carbonation is just right in the alley it's sparking.

D - It's very refreshing and PERFECT for the beer drinker who wants the taste of stout but without all the strong characteristics of a stout.

Transatlantic, Dec 26, 2010
Photo of MaxBrews
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

355ml bottle poured in my fluted pilsner glass.

Pour yields a fluffy 2 finger that dissipates at a moderate rate into a soapy lacing that clings to the glass. Color is black in the middle and very dark brown around the edges.

Aroma is faint, but yields chocolate, biscuit, and roasted malt. Very light toffee and vanilla bean.

Taste is mostly of roasted malt and hints of caramel and chocolate. I mostly got a roasted malt flavor from this beer and not much else. Which made for a beer that was as not as clean as I was expecting for a lager.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side and carbonation is average. Absolutely no bitterness.

A pretty simple Schwarzbier or Black Lager. Heavy on the roasted malt which gives a slight perception of a stout, though lighter and cleaner. Still one could be fooled since this isn't a particularly clean lager.

So overall it tastes good even if its un-complex and not terribly interesting, thus making it well suitable to many types of cuisine. Light enough and low enough in ABV to be extremely sessionable. A good winter offering from magic hat and suits the season quite well.

Other looks of popular Schwarz's are Sam Adams Black lager and my personal favorite Saranac Black Forest.

MaxBrews, Dec 20, 2009
Photo of kzoobrew
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Would you be interested in selling?" another peculiar quote located beneath a Magic Hat cap.

Body could be easily mistaken for black especially in a poorly lit environment. When held to direct light the body is a clear deep mahogany. Head is a malted milk white, retention is decent a nice little cap is left perched atop. A thin sheet of very tight lacing encompasses the glass. Very nice looking brew.

A very pleasant roasted aroma is picked up first. Majority of the roasted notes are identifiable simply as roasted malt smell though a slight coffee present. Slight fruitiness and subtle hop presence picked up. Overall the aroma seems muted and subdues, very pleasant just leaving you with a desire for more.

Underlying sweetness through out. The roasted flavor is incorporated well without being overwhelming. Very subtle chocolate and toffee. Hops provide a combination of earthiness and citrusy flavors. Flavors are all very complimentary of the others, good deal of balance through out.

Light bodied rather crisp mouthfeel. Carbonation is moderate, finish is just less than dry.

Drinkability is excellent. This is not a beer I would normally reach for but is extremely easy to drink and rather enjoyable. Very smooth going down and there is nothing offensive about Howl at all. Solid session beer.

kzoobrew, Dec 26, 2009
Photo of ccampo
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle with freshness date on the side.

A - This is a lager?! This beer is a very dark brown color. I could not see through the glass. Big head that fades fast, but leaves a decent thin layer after a few minutes.

S - Roasted malt with a hint of booze. Virtually no hops in the aroma. It smells good, and it's definitely unique, but it didn't blow me away.

T - Roasted malt, with a slight hop bitterness. Finally, some hops! Not that complex really. Think of a much darker, much thicker american lager.

M & D - Smoooth. Here I am, not really that impressed with this beer, yet half the glass is gone in a few minutes. It is really, really drinkable.

This a simple beer, but I definitely am enjoying it. Goes down smooth, and rates up there with one of the top lagers I've tasted (Sam Adams reigns supreme). I would have liked more hops, but the roasted malt tasty nonetheless.


ccampo, Dec 27, 2010
Photo of weasbri
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

weasbri, Nov 26, 2009
Photo of PhillyStyle
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Best by 3 31 2011 - bottle:

The beer poured a nice dark black with a nice off-white, maybe tan-ish creamy head with decent retention. No cap to note.

The beer had a nice aroma, average at best, maybe slightly better, but it gave off a nice sweet malt smell with a hint of hops and chocolate.

The taste is good, a well balanced beer really.

The beer had a lighter feel to it. The beer is smooth and very easy to drink, maybe the best quality of the beer, which made the beer very enjoyable.

PhillyStyle, Jan 20, 2011
Photo of srv33
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A black lager. Pours, well, black, medium size bubbles a little lacing. Smell of molasses cocao, reminds me of a porter. Taste is much the same, strong chocolate and molasses tones, a bit of tobacco too. Leaves a clean aftertaste, fades quickly, very light mouthfeel for what it is. How light its mouthfeel is almost reminds me of an oatmeal beer, like The Poet, though this is a bit sharper. Solid beer for what it is, though a little underwhelmed overall.

srv33, Jun 30, 2012
Photo of whiplash3825
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Kinda confused... my bottle is marked "Black as Night Winter Lager" but the review page says duplicate listing and to review under "Magic Hat Howl". But listed as two different styles so who knows. From "Feast of Fools" winter variety pack.

Pours an almost opaque very-dark brown with a smallish 1-finger tan head that doesn't stick around.

Even in the midst of having a very bad cold, I can smell mucho dark ripe fruit... fig, raisins, cocoa, and coffee. Lots of roasted malt scents.

Taste is a little bit of a letdown; not as rich as the smell by any stretch, but still good. Pretty much the same flavors as those in the nose, just not as intense. Very warming for a 4.6% beer... I would have guessed a higher alcohol content. Definitely a good beer for this frigid January day!

Mouthfeel seems a tad on the thin side, and a little more carbonation would improve it imo.

The lower alcohol content helps in the drinkability department... I'd think it'd be pretty easy to knock back quite a few of these.

whiplash3825, Jan 13, 2010
Photo of Philfromakron
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured out dark. Really dark. Held it up to the light to see what would happen and had absolutely no reaction. No light got through until their was only about an inch left.

It smelled great. Rich, dark with a hint of coffee. Too bad the complexity didn't translate to the taste.

The flavor was a little bland for my tastes. It felt smooth, almost like a root beer float, but without the "root". The label says "Winter Seasonal" but it's far from your typical holiday spices. If standing alone in the woods at midnight had a taste, magic hat captured it pretty well. I would have liked the flavor to be a little stronger.

[edit] - Tried my second one right from the bottle and the taste came across much better

Philfromakron, Nov 01, 2010
Photo of TtheGrey
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A - Dark Full Body color.

S - Nice nutty nsmell.

T - Similar to some craft stouts that I have sampled. Full and rich.

M - Full with some carbonation.

D - I like the flavor and other characteristics, but as with me and most earthy beers, more than a couple would be a challenge.

TtheGrey, Apr 27, 2010
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

lordofthewiens, Nov 27, 2009
Photo of Billolick
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

Billolick, Nov 21, 2010
Photo of Monkeyknife
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle a dark brown with a thin tan head.

Aroma of roasted malts, black coffee, and grains.

The taste matches the aroma. Black coffee, roasted malts, dark fruit, and a hint of citrusy hops. Finishes quite clean.

Medium bodied, slightly dry, and a ticklish carbonation.

Monkeyknife, Nov 27, 2009
Photo of BMoney575
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sampled on 1-16-10
Best before February 2010

Pours a very deep red color, almost black. The head is thin and settles quickly, to a thin film.

Smell is very smoky and malty, with strong notes of vanilla and maybe even a little coffee. Very complex and better than I expected.

Taste is subtle, flavors match up with the smell. Nowhere near as flavorful as the smell would lead you to believe. The finish is slightly bitter and smoky, with a pleasant aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is a little on the thin side, but seems appropriate.

Drinkability is very good, light flavors and abv make it a great session beer.

Overall, rather thin and light, but worth a try.

BMoney575, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of billab914
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Sam Adams pint glass. Pours dark brown, slightly ruby colored around the edges when held to the light. Pretty decent head retention and a little lacing.

Aroma has a good amount of roasted malts with some coffee bitterness and a little burntness to it. The taste is roasty as well with all the flavors present in the nose, except it's has a little more chocolate flavor then the bitter coffee the aroma has.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly lighter then expected giving all the flavor that it has. It's light, smooth and pretty drinkable.

billab914, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of northaustin
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a clean black with two fingers of rapidly disappearing brown head. some stringy and spotted lacing.

smells of mild roasted malts with a basic two row overdose in the back. pretty good

tastes awesome. full bodied and full of roasted malts. tastes kinda like a regular stout but thinner. the only black lager ive had that i liked.

mouthfeel: smooth and silky goin down and leaves your throat coated and your cheeks semi dry and sticky.

drinkability: highly sessionable. a tad light but still full flavored for what it is. worth a try.

northaustin, Jan 16, 2010
Photo of tectactoe
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

tectactoe, Jun 08, 2012
Photo of Zakk
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Zakk, Jun 03, 2012
Howl from Magic Hat Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 933 ratings.