Howl - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Howl Alström Bros
Ratings: 952 | Reviews: 436
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 WesWes
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a solid pilsner and patent malt scent along with a dry lager yeast aroma. The taste is decent. It has a light and easily quaffable patent malt flavor that's earthy and coffee-like with a smooth, dry finish. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a medium bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a pretty good beer. It's basic, but highly drinkable. It could use some crystal malts to round out the flavor more, but it's fine regardless.

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 Gavage
3.42/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

Photo of tdm168
3.98/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a half of an inch of brown, soft, dense, head that has great retention. The nose smells of roasted malt and faint coffee. The taste is similar to the nose. Tastes primarily of deep, roasted malt and coffee. There are very faint chocolate notes in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, and rich, and the carbonation gives it a little crispness.

This is a solid beer. It's definitely one of the better offerings from Magic Hat. I have this beer every winter.

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 billab914
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of tempest
4.03/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bottle from Abe's Cold Beer. It's always good to see more schwarzbier. The Magic Hat website also lists the malts as pale, crystal 80, and carafa. And it's also good to see more carafa getting used.

Anyways, there's an inviting toasted dark chocolate aroma that carries over into the flavor. There's also a surprisingly big kick (for MH) of herbal and citrus rind hops. Dark chocolate, a touch of toffee, and a heathly helping of noble hops - very tasty. I wish this was a regular beer. I'd drink lots;.

Photo of weeare138
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
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!

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

Pours a five finger very light tan head that fades slowly, leaving some lace. Black color, no highlights. Roasted/burnt coffee. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Flavor is almost sweet burnt/roasted coffee. Burnt coffee after taste. Expecting spices with label saying this is a Winter seasonal. Best by Jan 31, 2010. $1.70 for a 12oz bottle from Tully's Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

Photo of johnnnniee
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours the deepest of dark reds with a fluffy tan head that sticks itself to the glass all the way down. Smells of cocoa and milk chocolate, grainy with some roast and dark fruits. Taste is cocoa powder with some dark fruits. Grainy malts with a hint of roast in there as well. Finishes kind of dry with a lingering roasted malt finish. Carbonation is high, very prickly and annoying. Mouthfeel is creamy and the body is medium. I'm confused by this one. Its a decent enough beer, although a bit less carbonation would have helped this out. Its labeled a Schwartzbier, but it reminds me more of a porter. Its a lot better than some of the beer Magic Hat has been trying to pass off lately. I'd enjoy another, but I wouldn't seek it out.

Photo of plaid75
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On draft at T.J. Finley's, Bayshore, New York.

Poured a medium brown hue with a one finger foamy off white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a light roasted barley and a touch of smoke.

The taste consisted of upfront roasted malts, charcoal and dry coffee. All subtle noted however.

The mouthfeel was toward the cleaner side of the style.

Overall a tasty black beer and a welcomed easy drinker for winter.

Photo of WoodBrew
3.55/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Black-as-Night...Hell to the YEAH! This beer is so black it could be Navy! Does Schwarzbier equal eight parts water, one part alcohol and one part coffee??? This beer, although tasty in a pinch, reminds me of stouts that several fledgling breweries make. There is coffee scents and taste....but not over powering. The low alcohol content makes this an easy session beer. After the pour a nice head forms on this beer and keeps throughout the salutation. Not the best....not the worst....ENJOY!

Photo of beerthulhu
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: From the bottle poured a deep caramel brown with dark cranberry highlights for trim, while in the glass it appeared a dark chocolate coloring with a 1 finger foamy, tan head. Retention was short-lived leaving a thin ring lacing around the glass.

S: The nose upfront was soft roasted of dry chocolate with supporting dried cherries added in. There is an earthy bitterness of fresh wet coffee grounds that was light overall strength-wise.

T: The flavor comes off a bit watery at first upon the initial sip, like weak coffee. Fortunately it does appear to add a bit of fullness flavor wise later on with slight hints of charred wood and malt as well dark dried fruit of dates. The flavor was fairly simply in execution leaving just enough of a roasted malting to give you an impression without filling you up body wise just like a Schwarz should. I was a bit confused as to why this was called a winter warmer on the label, it neither has the alcohol warmth (4.6%abv) nor spicing of a winter warmer and is truly a Schwarz flavored beer by nature.

M: light with a smooth creaminess and texture. A pretty active feel of carbonation is detected especially on the tip of the tongue.

D: Drinkability was good, perhaps its strongest point, light bodied with just enough roasted character to give it some flair. I could easily drink several of these as a session beer and at 4.6%abv is fairly easy to handle. Six pack worthy.

Photo of Tone
3.97/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. 2/3 inch head of a pale tan color. Good retention and decent lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight roasted malt, slight coffee, slight hop, and oatmeal. Fits the style of a Schwarzbier. Mouth feel is smooth and slightly creamy, with a low carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, roasted malt, oatmeal, slight coffee, and slight hops. Overall, a nice blend, body, and mouth feel.

Photo of tone77
3.2/5  rDev -12.6%
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.

Photo of Bighuge
3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nearly opaque. Thin and creamy light brown head. Lacing is quite full and intricate. Boy is this a thick smelling beer. Thick with earthy notes, like spent coffee grounds, dirt, mud, tar. I love it. The flavor has a smoothness associated with lagers to it but also a roastiness and chocolatey feel to it. A little underlying caramel. Some char. And a lingering dryness to it. Smells great. Taste decent enough. Goes down just fine.

Photo of cjgator3
3.33/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle

A- Pours a black color with light tan head.

S- The aroma is slightly roasted grains with a little bit of sweet chocolate notes as well.

T- The taste has a little bit of sweetness up front with some roastiness from the malt in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is between light and medium bodies wih a good amount of carbonation.

O- Overall, not bad but not something I would purchase again. I would prefer more hops in a beer like this.

Photo of Brad007
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pitch-black color with a thick, two-finger head into my fluted glass. Lacing lingers on the edges of the glass.

Aroma is sweet with a hint of roasted chocolate malt in the nose. Roastiness isn't overwhelming (as it shouldn't be).

Taste is once again sweet with a hint of grainy malt and caramel. Just a hint of roasted malt at the back. Seems overly grainy.

Mouthfeel is full of lingering sweetness and grainy, roasted malt. Not bad. Carbonation is mild but could be toned down. Seems alright.

Certainly not like the (defunct) Orlio Black Lager but still quite drinkable. There are definitely better styles out there but given MH's recent track record, hopefully this is the last "new" beer they'll have on the horizon as they've already killed off much better beers.

Photo of scruffwhor
4.16/5  rDev +13.7%
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.

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 bluejacket74
3.92/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head. Head retention is decent, but there isn't much lacing. Aroma is roasted malt, coffee, bittersweet chocolate and a bit of nuts. The brew tastes like roasted/burnt malt, coffee and bittersweet chocolate. Maybe I started drinking this a bit too cold, as it tasted better the warmer it got. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it's a bit coating and has good carbonation. I liked this brew, it was better than I was expecting it to be. Pretty decent for $1.79 a single bottle. Worth a try, and I'd buy this again.

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

From the 12 fl. oz. bottle with the label clipped at March 2010. This beer is still brewed or at least it has returned for the 2009-2010 season. It pours black with a quarter-inch creamy beige head. It carries a nice aroma of chocolate malts and hops. Medium to bold mouthfeel. The taste is smoked coffee with a nice bitter finish. It is very much like a Porter really and enjoyable.

Photo of claspada
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rather dark brown body with a half inch of khaki head leaving minimal lacing on the way down.

Aromas are predominatly earthy nose with equal notes of roasty coffee, toasted breadiness and baker's chocolate.

The tastes begin with roasted graininess with a light sweetness and some slight a roasty/chicory flourish to it. Lesser hints of unsweetened chocolate and toasted breadiness. Spicy hop were a nice addition with just a touch of dried citrus lingering there as well. Earthy, drying finish with a sustained taste of toasted maltiness.

The mouthfeel is medium-light bodied with medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Overall this is a a decent, if average Schwarzbier. Slightly hoppier and more "American" in the flavor than other more treaditional German examples, but a decent take on the style. Nothing to seek out and definitely not a must try but decent enough if it's all you find in your friends fridge during a holiday party.

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