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Howl - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

917 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 917
Reviews: 434
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 14.44%
Wants: 28
Gots: 39 | 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)
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Ratings: 917 | Reviews: 434 | Display Reviews Only:
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!

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2009 02:47:25 | More by weeare138
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2009 22:13:13 | More by endincolorado
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2009 08:09:23 | More by ommegoose
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2009 20:43:31 | More by morimech
Photo of irishking1977

New Jersey

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.

Serving type: bottle

12-05-2009 00:57:54 | More by irishking1977
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2009 04:45:00 | More by wagenvolks
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2009 01:21:28 | More by Spineypanda
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy

New Hampshire

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.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2009 22:14:05 | More by GratefulBeerGuy
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-01-2009 22:34:12 | More by dasenebler
Photo of bonbright7


2.53/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I had this on tap at Bobbique in Patchogue, NY and was served this with a platter of ribs. I thought it looked fine with a small head and its aroma was okay with coffee tinged malts, but nothing fancy for a winter ale. When I got the first taste, I thought it must be the bbq ribs, so I had water and bread before trying again. It may have needed a little time to warm up after coming through a cold tap. It tasted like a black version of Euro- pale lagers with nothing in body or taste. Not bad, but no substance to it. I consumed half the pint and then moved on to something else.

Serving type: on-tap

11-30-2009 14:39:04 | More by bonbright7
Photo of adamette


3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Review from notes. Enjoyed by me 11 28 09. Poured from the ¾ pint bottle that I was offered at a Birthday party last night by my friend Chuck. Thanks Chuck. No observed "best by" date. Price sticker on side of 6 pack was $7.99. Poured into a tall, clear weizen glass.

A Dark brown body that has a mahogany glow in front of direct light under a light brown, creamy head that actually had better retention than I thought it might. 4.0

S Dark roast malt and even some chocolate notes. Good smell. 4.0

T Dark roast malt carried right over into the taste which has many qualities in common with a light porter. It lacked depth but a pleasant taste none the less. 3.5

M Light which I am sure is on par for the style but not much to my liking. 2.5

D Pretty good. I could see having a few of these. 4.0

Notes: A nice surprise from Magic Hat and the first one of their beers that I find myself actually recommending to others. Bravo!

Serving type: bottle

11-30-2009 02:08:53 | More by adamette
Photo of tjd112

New Jersey

4.03/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got with a pack of microbrews

Appearance - Pours an almost black colour with a good retained off-white head
Smell - Very sweet chocolate aroma with some roastiness and some cornhusks
Taste - Follows the smell, but more of a roasted nuts
Mouthfeel - A semi-dry, yet smooth finish
Drinkability - Very sessionable

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2009 16:42:29 | More by tjd112
Photo of jwc215


3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best by end of January '10 notched on label.

Pours dark brown - not black - with a light brown/tan head that vanishes rather quickly to thin wisps. Minimal lacing sticks.

The smell is a bit pungent at first - with some roast, some fruitiness, some coffee and grainy notes.

The taste is of semi-sweet dark malt and grainy notes with roasted coffee. The light roast gives balance to the semi-sweetness. Tingly carbonation lends a dryness in the finish.

The carbonation is on the aggressive side - tingly/prickly, yet the body holds up to reach medium.

Not as dark or rich as it could be. Not as smooth as a lager should be either, and carbonation is too pushy. Yet it does have potential. Calming the carbonation and pushing up the malt character might help.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2009 16:08:19 | More by jwc215
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2009 21:27:56 | More by Monkeyknife
Photo of bob3701

New Jersey

3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a fizzy white head that did not linger long with minimal lacing. Very clear very dark brown in color but could see through my glass. Nice roasted aroma a little more bitter in taste then I was expecting. I think the are better black lagers out there but this one will do and I thought the lable was pretty cool.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2009 21:01:32 | More by bob3701
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2009 13:18:53 | More by lordofthewiens
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: dark brown in color with a 1" head that falls apart quickly.

Smell: roasted malts, smokiness, and sugar sweetness.

Taste: very grainy roasted malts, mild smokey flavor, mild bitterness, and hint of dark fruit sweetness lingers in the background.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied. Lightly crisp throughout with some dryness late. Aftertaste is short lived.

Drinkability: kind of a slow drinking beer and it has little refreshment. One bottle was more than enough in the session.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2009 22:18:02 | More by Gavage
Photo of u2carew


3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz Bottle. Consumed Thanksgiving 2009.
A- pours with a thin wispy head. Lacing in weak nearly nonexistent. Dark brown in color.
S - Roasted grains. Caramel malt sweetness. Subtle smokiness.
T - Caramel malt. Coffee. Maybe just a hint of smoky grains. Some noticeable hop bite.
M - Fizzy. Medium body. Light dryness. A bit of grittiness.
D - A decent brew. A nice winter-ish beer. I'd have another.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2009 19:31:16 | More by u2carew
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2009 00:16:01 | More by weasbri
Photo of Suds


3.75/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I like a good Schwarzbier, they're often a refreshing change to dark ales. This one is pretty good, but not exceptional in my book. It's an essentially black color with reddish hues when held up to the light. Very slight tan head. The aroma is of roasted grain and malt. No real hop smell. It's a bit more roasty than necessary, though. The taste is moderately dry and a little more toasted than expected. It's also a little slick on the tongue. Very smooth and satisfying, however. Flavorful and very enjoyable. Overall, it's easy to drink and could be a good session beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2009 20:07:38 | More by Suds
Photo of droomyster


4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a very tasty schwarzbier, with a broader array of flavors than almost any other of its style that I've tried. It also looks amazing: pours a very dark brown with some interesting carbonation cascades that gradually form a craggy grayish head. Aromas are understated given the power of its flavors, which start out very sweet and chocolately before releasing a smokey, burnt bitterness. Finishes long and sweet. A very gratifying brew. I plan to stock up on it this winter.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2009 04:30:00 | More by droomyster
Photo of FickleBeast

New Jersey

3.25/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Smuttynose pint glass

A - Pours black, with a brownish tinge around the edges when held up to the light. Head is massive and fills the pint glass

S - some malt sweetness, roasted malts, slight vegetal hoppy aroma.

T - husky, grainy, decent amount of sweetness. Lingering bitter aftertaste is a bit off-putting

M - astringent roasted black malt bitterness, moderate body

D - not bad, but not particularly noteworthy either. Could be good to have a few of these tailgating

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2009 03:55:08 | More by FickleBeast
Photo of kshankar

District of Columbia

3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with some ruby streaks, and a tan head that is thick..but probably due to an aggressive pour. Recedes quickly, and leaves a cap

Aroma is of roasted malts.

Taste is of roasted malts. And its not a bad taste, its like a porter, except much lighter. Which isn't necessarily bad, but this is a schwarzbier. I sense very little in terms of hops (which I would consider a component of the style).

Mouthfeel is light and smooth

Drinkability is fine. It tastes fine (even if it deviates from the style), and its smooth.

Ultimately, I'm unsure how highly to rate it just based on the limited hop profile, and a roasted malt flavor that reminds me more of a porter than a schwarzbier. But its good, so I won't be exceedingly harsh..

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2009 09:38:15 | More by kshankar
Photo of mnrider


3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. Brown bottle. Pilsner glass.

A: Pours an almost moonless night black. Thin brown head with very little lacing.

S: Roasted malts with coffee and chocolate.

T/M: Roasted malts. Tastes like a porter but much thinner and watery. Don't taste much hops, but this brew is smooth. Finishes on the bitter side.

D: It's a good brew for sure. I'd get it again. Although it's nothing remarkable, as it's a little light on taste. Still very drinkable.


Serving type: bottle

11-23-2009 01:45:44 | More by mnrider
Photo of jsh420


2.6/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

pours dark brown almost black with a 1+finger head that left rings of lacing down the glass

smells of roasted chocolate malts

taste is a bit thin - some spice some roast but in the end a terrible bitter funky aftertaste i hated

mouthfeel was good light very carbonated that made it very crisp

drinkability is below par - i am glad i bought a single

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2009 04:25:48 | More by jsh420
Howl from Magic Hat Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 917 ratings.