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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 ozzyCobblepot
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I dont know what a Schwarzbier is, but this seems like nothing more than a less bitter American Porter.
A: Pours a very dark brown beer, with red on the edges. The head does not cling well but forms a nice, foamy ring around the glass. S: Doesn't smell particularly distinguished, but I do pick up coffee beans and dark chocolate notes.
T: More coffee, bit of a nutty flavor. Deep toasted malts follow off a slightly sweet note. Not much of a hops or bitter taste to speak of.
M: Good carbonation you don't exactly expect given how opaque the beer is. Smooth, medium bodied. Nothing wrong, but nothing memorable about it.

A fine winter brew. Nothing particularly great about it, but there are no real problems with it either. Basically a safe bet, and I one I'll forget tomorrow.

ozzyCobblepot, Dec 15, 2009
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 12/13/09 at Doherty's East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a short beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of roasted malts, coffee, lager yeast, some dark fruit and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a dark roasted malt character followed by flavors of coffee and dark fruits. The sweetness isn't too heavy despite the maltiness and there's a decent balance. The hops presence is mild but complementary. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, mild kick, good representation of style, if you're in the mood for the style this is a good beer to drink for a while.

TheManiacalOne, Dec 15, 2009
Photo of JRed
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black in body topped by off-white head that sticks around for a while. Smells of grains, sweet malt, little spice. Lager flavors of some sweetened cereal, dark malts, faint chocolate note toward the finish and then a vague butterscotch aftertaste. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. A lighter winter seasonal than most. A nice crossover for people who wish to reach for something other than macro brews and SA Winter Lager.

JRed, Dec 14, 2009
Photo of atsprings
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a DFH Signature glass pours a not quite opaque dark brown with a thin diminishing off white head that leaves a slight amount of lacing on the glass. Aroma is a slight amount of dark malts, not much else. The taste is dark malts with a nice accompaniment of bakers cocoa and slight caramel and fresh ground coffee. The beer is quite light, crisp and smooth with decent carbonation. This is an enjoyable beer, while it wouldn't be my first choice for a cold winter night, it does do the trick.

atsprings, Dec 14, 2009
Photo of AndyAvalanche
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass, this beer is pretty dark brown in color and has a lighter brown, close to reddish color highlights when held up to the light. It has a pretty thick creamy looking head that goes away after a few minutes, only the slightest bit of retention to it.

The smell is pretty good, I would say unique is a better term though. This beer has a very malty smell. The issue with it is that the roasted malts almost smell a little too burned than roasted. You can also smell notes of dark chocolate and roasted coffee.

The taste is much like the smell, again the malts taste a little overly burned. When the beer is left to room temperature there is a slight taste of hops, but even after waiting you still really have to look for them, the taste isn't very strong.

Mouthfeel and drinkability are above average, but I wouldn't say anyting to write home about. This was a pretty interesting, I wouldn't have ever classified it as a schwarzbier, but who am I to argue? It has some of those characteristics and also those of a porter or brown ale.

I don't regret trying it and may get it again in the future. It seems as if this brewery is going down hill, I feel this is one of the better beers left behind Roxy Rolles.

AndyAvalanche, Dec 14, 2009
Photo of Clydesdale
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep, dark, nearly opaque brownish-black. The tall, light brown head has a dense, frothy texture and very nice retention. Lacing is rather attractive.

S: Sweet, roasted black malts for the most part. Hints of dark fruit and molasses. A mild herbal hop background is also present. Light nutty and cocoa notes.

T: Roasted, moderately sweet black malt flavor up front. A bit of creamy/lactic character. Light notes of dark fruit, herbal hops, nuts, and cocoa.

M: Medium bodied, with fairly creamy carbonation. Just a touch watery, with a medium-dry finish.

D: A pleasant, somewhat surprising schwarzbier from Magic Hat. Easily drinkable and nicely flavored. A solid representative of an underrated style.

Clydesdale, Dec 14, 2009
Photo of Ezone024
3.4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

never been big into magic hat i've only ever liked the HIPA but a friend brought over some of the black as night. it's pretty legit.

pours out black as night, you can't really get anything from the look because it's so black.

it smells metallic with hints of carmel

the taste gives off a good balance of toffee and a light hops background.

light alcohol content makes it a good beer to drink alot of. it has a really good warming feeling.

apparently this beer has been retired but this is from a new pack, so they must have just discontinued it. but you can still get it at your local beer spot.

Ezone024, Dec 14, 2009
Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.98/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

A - black, close but not quite impenetrable, some crimson highlights shine through, a finger of tan hed sits atop with decent retention

S - roasted malts dominate and lend nutty and smoky aromas, some earthiness and peat finish the nose

T - the nutty flavors take center stage in the taste, roasted malts follow, with a slight hint of coffee beans, the earthy/peat element is diminished from the aroma, but present in the finish

M&D - thinner than expected, but smooth and highly sessionable, especially at less than 5%, would be great on tap, nice brew MH

sinstaineddemon, Dec 14, 2009
Photo of tone77
3.18/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of malts, some notes of coffee. Taste is rather mild, roasted malts and little else. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has average drinkability. Overall not a bad brew, but less flavorful than other beers of this style.

tone77, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of Gmann
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a near black, almost cola like color, with a wispy tan head that settles into a sparse cap but left some lacing. Light aroma of roasted malt, caramel and perhaps some chocolate. A nice light roasted malt flavor, some brown sugar, caramel, hints of metal and some herbal notes. Some light tea like characteristics in the end. Very nice flavors, a touch sweet. A light to moderate feel with fizzy carbonation, nice balance between sweet and roasted malt bitterness. I thought that this was a very enjoyable schwarzbier, nice light roasted malt flavor, fairly light body, easy drinking.

Gmann, Dec 12, 2009
Photo of aaronh
3.13/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Dark chocolate body with a thin off white head. Body is very clear. Aroma has a hint of bittersweet chocolate but is otherwise very clean. Flavor is roasted malts backed by light biscuit note. A slight bitter edge appears on the finish and it gradually dries the back of my throat. Body is on the lighter side. Carbonation is a litle agressive and combined with the dry finish actually starts making me feel parched. I need a heavier beer after this! The flavor is nice - the finish is not.

aaronh, Dec 11, 2009
Photo of ImusBeer
3.23/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I'll try to update this later since when I tried this I had a bit of a cold.

It arrived in a 22oz mug, very black with a dark tan head and some thin lacing while I drank.

The only real thing I smelled was smokeyness from the roasted malts. The taste only added to the smoke and roasted malt aromas.

The mouthfeel as really thin, some bitter bite at end. A nice beer not very heavy nor too smokey, I could have had another.

ImusBeer, Dec 11, 2009
Photo of mgbickel
2.95/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass. Slowly formed a 2 finger light tan head that had some surprising staying power and lacing. The body is a deep chestnut with dark amber edges. Starting off great!

Has a grainy, malty aroma with some organic undertones...apples and earth come to mind.

No where near as flavorful as the appearance would suggest...bummer. Malty and woody to start with a slight coppery, bitter kick at the finish.

Pretty thin mouth feel with lots of carbonation...again not what I expected based upon the pour.

Not a bad beer, but not what I wanted/expected...lacking in the flavor and mouth feel departments.

mgbickel, Dec 10, 2009
Photo of GordonQuid
3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Sam Adams bubble glass.

Dark copper/black with a wispy head and ample lace.

Smells of black patent and debittered black malts with a slight earthy undertone.

Taste is a crisp lager with melded black malts and noble hops.

THis is a very good Dark Lager true to class of a Schwarzveir. Very drinkable; smooth with a nice lager yeast bite.

GordonQuid, Dec 09, 2009
Photo of glid02
3.78/5  rDev +3%
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.

glid02, Dec 08, 2009
Photo of david131
4.18/5  rDev +13.9%
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.

david131, Dec 07, 2009
Photo of weeare138
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a dark brown nearing black. A deep, dark ruby when held to the light. A thick, frothy off white head sticks around forever. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of roasted grain, cocoa, caramel, toasted nuts, and bready yeast.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with more of the cocoa flavor coming through, along with roasted grains running along the palate.
Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, chewy, with a toasted grain running along the palate.
When I picked this up, I thought it was going to be competition(and similar too) Sam Adams Winter Lager. I was way off from my preconceived notions of this being a mildly spiced dark wheat lager. I knew NOTHING of this beer ahead of time. What I found was a nice, mildly roasted Schwarzbier. MH doesn't have a whole lot of dark beers in their lineup right now...even the occasional ones. This actually reminds me a bit of a blend of Jinx, and Heart of Darkness. Too bad those ones went the way of the dinosaur and only make rare appearances at the brewery. More dark brews, please Magic Hat!

weeare138, Dec 07, 2009
Photo of endincolorado
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, nearly black chestnut brown body with a foamy light tan head that settles quickly. Light-moderate lace.

Aromas of cocoa and some roasted malt. Along with a mild hop bitterness.

Flavors are also on the maltier side, with a dry cereal character that's slightly reminiscent of a dry stout, and some coffee and light cocoa. Hop bitterness is light, but appropriate.

Mouthfeel is medium, smooth and satisfying. Carbonation is on the light side.

Drinkability is pretty good. Flavors are balanced, if not overwhelmingly impressive.

endincolorado, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of ommegoose
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looks to style for a schwarzbier. Near opaque. One finger of head to start, but holds to a full sheet across the top. Decent retention and some lacing.

Nice cocoa powder aroma from the nose of the bottle. Seems promising.

Bittersweet chocolate flavor. Pretty dry, not much sweetness to the beer at all. Finishes with mild roasty flavor and light hop bitterness. It's a pretty simple beer.

Light bodied and carbonation is a little busy. Fine overall.

This is a pretty nice try at a schwarz. Has the dry, slightly roasted malt down. It's not a strong beer, and very easy to drink.

ommegoose, Dec 06, 2009
Photo of morimech
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown colro with a small tan head that quickly settled to a thin cap. Moderate amount of spotty lacing is left on the glass. Lagerish aroma of malt and a touch of smokiness. A little bit reserved. The flavor features a lot of smoky flavor, a lot more than what is typical of the style. Hints of smoked meat and bitter chocolate. To the flavor is dominated by the smoke. The body is light like it should be but it seems overcarbonated. Sessionable ABV and body. I would be more inclined to buy a 6-pack of this than have to buy it part of a mix 12.

morimech, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of irishking1977
3.55/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Part of a mix pack.

A: Pours an opaque black/brown/crimson with no head or lacing whatsoever. Looks almost like Pepsi or Coke.

S: Roasted malts with a hint of chocolate and a slight bitterness. Not bad.

T: A pretty good balance of roasted, burnt malt and mildly bitter chocolate. Neither is overwhelming. Minimal bitter chocolate finish that lasts briefly after each sip. It's a pretty tasty brew that belies the average appearance and scent.

M: Somewhat thin and reserved. Decent carbonation but not too heavy or cloying. A light feeling, but dark looking, brew.

D: A good beer to have as a six pack during a cold winter evening. Not overwhelming in taste or feel, but a better alternative to a boring macro lager.

irishking1977, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of wagenvolks
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a Great Divide tulip.

Aggressive pour unleashes a deep crimson brown body with ruby red highlights. Yeast chunks float at the base, while above a towering head of rocky ecru bubbles slowly subsides, leaving an initially thick ring of lacing. Very agreeable nose, with earthy cocoa nibs, caramel, medium roast coffee, and a backdrop of doughy bread crust. Vague hints of smokiness.

Surprisingly flavorful for Magic Hat, Howl is spicy and spritzy on the palate with a finish that is hard to place. Actually, the flavors in this beer are more difficult to describe than most I've come across--a hint of chocolate and dark fruit here, a little coffee and brown malt there. Hops continuous in the background, adding earthy notes and a pinch of citrus. Light body with a good carbonation level. Slight drying finish could stand to be a bit smoother. Overall, I found Howl to be a pretty good attempt at a Schwartzbier. Not the best, but certainly above par for Magic Hat.

wagenvolks, Dec 03, 2009
Photo of Spineypanda
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark thick black/dark brown. Head is nice with a decent retention time.
Smells of roasted malts, even though the style does not usually lean towards that.
Tastes a bit like a syrupy smoky taste. Has a good taste and is so easy to drink!

Try this beer, it is a great winter beer.

Spineypanda, Dec 03, 2009
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A new 6-pack for winter '09 The black as night lager has a rather demonic lable with some dark images.

A very dark brown color, not black, not opaque but very dark indeed. A deep, chunky tan colored head, clumpy, sticky dissipation.

The aroma is rather unique, it has a big sesseme seed aroma, roasty wheat and dried corn husks. There is an earthy lager yeast aroma underneath all that.

This is a full and heady look with a refreshing medium body feel. roasty wheat and smokey malt flavors abound, pretty complex. Hearty flavor's dominate, mixed nuts and a musty yeast add further depth. Refreshing with a dry bite, it drinks easy with a nice balance of dark malts and herbal yeast, dry earthy hops keeps it grounded.

Magic hat was long overdue for a new and interesting seasonal.

GratefulBeerGuy, Dec 02, 2009
Photo of dasenebler
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Though not quite "black as night" like the bottle claims, this beer pours a very dark brown with reddish highlights.

Aroma is quite good: solid malt presence with chocolate notes.

Flavor is nice. Emulates a Schwarzbier or black lager pretty well. Dry and dark, woody notes suggest darker malts such as patent. Not a whole lot of hop flavor, but there is some almost roasty bitterness going on. Mouthfeel was light for a dark beer. Good marriage of flavor and drinkability.

A pleasant surprise from Magic Hat. Nothing offensive about the flavor. Eminently sessionable.

dasenebler, Dec 01, 2009
Howl from Magic Hat Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 933 ratings.