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Howl - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Not Rated.
HowlHowl

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

915 Ratings
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 915
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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 915 | Reviews: 434 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jlindros
jlindros

Massachusetts

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

"Take the world for a spin, don't let the world spin you" the infinite wisdom of the Magic Hat caps. Well, I'm starting to go through and review the Magic Hat beers, since it was the company that got me into craft beers. Next up is the winter seasonal, a schwarzbier!

A: A nice frothy 1 finger head rises up like it's lording over the glass. It's a pretty dark colored head but fades pretty quickly. Super dark brown roasted malt color that doesn't let any light through. It almost looks black except the touches of color shining through. This beer is NAAAATTT blAACCKKK!

N: The nose hits you right away with smoked malt, but not overly smokey. Some light roasted and chocolate malts hit you as well. I get some charred wood and light smoked porter aromas. There's even a slight fire roasted log aroma, they should patent that.

T: Wow, taste starts right away with smoked malt as well, almost bacon fat like taste. Actually pretty tasty. It quickly adds some roasted malts and caramel sweet malt flavors. Perhaps some maple flavor would really add here, but it's not there. It's still a little lighter than I would expect for the flavors, almost as if it was watered down, even though its not. Slight creamy dark malts and a little bitter spicy hop flavors round off the taste.

M: A little spicy perhaps from hops, medium body with good carbonation.

F: Finishes very smoky and pretty dry. The lingering smoke doesn't go away, it really gives you the feeling that you were sitting around a campfire all night trying to eat the smoke. Slightly bitter as well, but its hard to tell if that's from some random hops added or just the charred quality of the roasted/smoked malts.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2009 04:49:22 | More by jlindros
Photo of thekanna
thekanna

Maryland

2.95/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Pours a thin dark brown with a decent tan, foamy head.

S: Aroma is of faint sourness, roasted malts, and medicinal hops.

T: Sour, roasted hops with a slight herbal medicine quality, capped off by a strong bitterness.

M: Strong, biting carbonation.

D: Interesting style, but I can't say I'm a huge fan of this Schwarzbier.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2009 04:50:42 | More by thekanna
Photo of Cagden
Cagden

Maryland

3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I liked this Schwarzbier style from Magic Hat. MH just refers to it as a "black-as-night Winter Lager" on the label. First Magic Hat beer I have tried, btw. I first sampled this at a Brewpub, but I am reviewing it after having a full pint. Had about an inch of head at the beginning, but after the first sip it started to dissipate until it just became lacing. The beer is a dark, black Lager, not Ale, with roasted, chocolate-esque & coffee-like overtones. It seemed like a Porter, but the aftertaste, body and finish is very much Lager. I liked that it was smoother than a Stout or Porter, not as heavy. My regret is that I only bought one bottle because this single pint left me thirsting for more.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2009 00:50:31 | More by Cagden
Photo of Mavajo
Mavajo

Georgia

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

Pours a slightly opaque black with obvious ruby highlites. Average tan head that retains reasonably well and leaves light to moderate lacing.

Nose is mostly roasty with subtle coffee. Taste brings the same as the nose with a certain earthiness. Not a particularly strong taste. I actually found it a bit boring at first but it got better as it warmed. Mouthfeel is probably medium overall but lighter than it looks. Medium carbonation. This beer actually tastes and feels a good bit like a porter, but with a bit more carbonation. Fairly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

11-19-2009 00:16:42 | More by Mavajo
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

3.78/5  rDev +3%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2009 21:51:15 | More by WesWes
Photo of hosehead83
hosehead83

Ohio

3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a twelve ounce bottle into a standard pint glass
Black/dark brown in color, with short, tan head of foam
Aroma-Roasted malts,subtle coffee and chocolate
Taste-More of the same: Roasted malt, chocolate and coffee notes-Porter-like
Overall,tasted like a weak porter, but enjoyable-certainly sessionable at4.6 ABV.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2009 13:31:36 | More by hosehead83
Photo of wac9
wac9

Pennsylvania

4.22/5  rDev +15%
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 UWDAWG90
UWDAWG90

Ohio

3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased as part of a mixed 12-pak. Serving from a 12oz bottle.

A - Jet black typical of German black lagers. Good carbination with an aggressive poor recieved a two finger tannish head. Bubbles tight and good lacing lasting throughout the glass.

S - Definitely smells like coffee and the malts come through nicely. However, there is something in the background that smells sour. Did not discern this immediately but grew as the beer warmed.

T - Roasty... is the best word to describe this beer. Like roasted coffee beans and malt. Not heavy at all. Bitterness at the start, finishing smooth.

M - Appearance hints at something heavy but very light. Carbonation keeps it crispy and very nice.

D - Could drink this all night and seems to get better as it warms except for the sour smell.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2009 01:11:25 | More by UWDAWG90
Photo of albern
albern

Massachusetts

3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is indeed a German Black Lager. It looks good, coming in with an inky black, impenetrable hue, and an off white somewhat creamy head. There's a good bit of lace, some retention. The nose is quite nice with liquorice and roasted malts.

The taste is quite light, a tad watery, a bit more carbonated that I was expecting. There is a slight cocoa powder dryness and malty chocolate flavors. There is also a very noticeable hop bitterness on the back end that is very complementary to the dryish malts. This is a very refreshing beer, suitable for all seasons. This is not a thick winter warmer by any stretch, although the labeling could fool you. There are definitely mild roasted notes, maybe a touch of molasses in there too from the dark malts. The mouthfeel is light the aftertaste lingers a bit with some dry nutty flavors and some charred roast. This is a decent beer. There is a slight chalky flavor popping through in parts that the beer could do without.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2009 21:42:25 | More by albern
Photo of scottbrew4u
scottbrew4u

Pennsylvania

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

A: Out of the bottle, this beer pours a black color with some light coming through clearly and a dense tan head. Good lacing as this beer is consumed.

S: Dry grains, bitter and burnt malted barley, with some ashy and nutty tones and molasses. Faint herbal hop aroma noticeable.

T: Roasted and burnt malt bring it on full force and a hearty nuttiness and caramel sweetness play in nicely. Light coffee bitterness with a creamy undertone. The crisp grains of a lager are in the finish setting it apart from a porter.

M: Medium body with tight carbonation and a smooth dry finish.

D: I loved this beer for its flavor and drinkability which is in great combination. Not heavy or strong but very solid in flavor and it begs you to drink more because it goes down easier than a heavy stout. I was very pleased by this one from Magic Hat and I hope they keep it going.

Serving type: bottle

11-14-2009 02:15:44 | More by scottbrew4u
Photo of MrHurmateeowish
MrHurmateeowish

New Hampshire

3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle purchased as part of a 6-pack at Shaw's in Derry, NH. Pours a pitch black body with slight brown-red highlights around the edges and nearly an inch of somewhat short-lived light tan head that clings to the side of the glass. Smells roasty, somewhat nutty - coffee comes to mind - with slight fruit and vanilla notes. Tastes roasty too, with a definite cappuccino-like quality, with some nut, hints of milk, vanilla, and a tinge of butter (I'm guessing from Ringwood yeast?), but not enough to overwhelm the rich sweet roastiness. Medium to full in body with moderate carbonation. This one is somewhat of a sipper, despite the low ABV and lack of viscosity, due to the complexity of the flavor. Not the best Schwarzbier I've had - I'm guessing this was made with ale yeast? Could stand to be cleaned up a bit leaving it with less-no diacetyl (which is another thing hurting the drinkability of it for me), but overall a pretty good beer, and one of the best that I've had from these guys by quite a wide margin. Glad I bought it!

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2009 00:39:51 | More by MrHurmateeowish
Photo of donkeyrunner
donkeyrunner

Massachusetts

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

R.I.P. Jinx, hello Howl. Cap says, "the Real Scene can not be Seen."

True to labeling, Howl is indeed "black as night." Tan head with a few lacey diversions.

Roast malt, coffee, and chocolate with an English porter type sourness. Taste is similarly roast malt, iced coffee, a tad char, and brown ale type nuttyness. Clean.

One of those beers I may not rate high, but could drink all night long.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2009 01:40:57 | More by donkeyrunner
Photo of BeerPhan86
BeerPhan86

New York

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

Excited to see a new seasonal from Magic Hat this year. However, since Howl replaced Roxy Rolles and Roxy Rolles replaced Jinx, I am sad to see Jinx go. It was a great, smoky, sit around the fire kind of fall beer and one of Magic Hat's better offerings. In my opinion the brewery has gone downhill quite a bit these past few years so I am hoping this new beer can help redeem them a little bit.

A - Pours a very dark blackish brown with a one finger light brown head. Good retention and lacing.

S - Very strong coffee and chocolate presence. Sweet malty smell and an interesting tart or sour hint.

T - Intense chocolate flavor, coffee, and some dark fruit. It has a tart aspect to it that you could detect in the aroma, almost like fresh berries. Roasted malts. More like a good porter than a shwarzbier. Has a smoky flavor to it that would be perfect for sitting around the fireplace on a snowy day.

M - Creamy and good amount of carbonation for this style. A tad watery.

D - Pretty flavorful with low alcohol content. Surprisingly sessionable though.

Overall, this suits the winter seasonal category much better than Roxy Rolles did. I can see why they did not want to have two dark beers back to back for Fall and then Winter but I am still sad to see Jinx go. It was however still on tap at the brewery a few weeks ago so it doesn't seem completely retired. They could have at least revamped Roxy Rolles to fit the fall season a little more, perhaps even put a pumpkin twist on it. Overall Howl is a solid winter beer but reminds me more of a chocolate porter than a shwarzbier for sure. Let's see what the Vinyl spring lager has in store this spring, and I really hope they aren't axing HIPA permanently!

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2009 01:56:31 | More by BeerPhan86
Photo of wahhmaster
wahhmaster

Virginia

3.23/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a 0.5L Krušovice-branded pilsner glass.

Appearance: Pours a jet black color with a medium-sized tan head that dissipates slowly leaving spotty lacing.

Smell: Has a sweet malty smell to it with a bit of a strange tea-like smell in the background.

Taste: Starts light with a bit of sweetness balanced by a touch of hops. Finishes with a strong roasted malt flavor. Interestingly balanced.

Mouthfeel: Has nice body to it but way too much carbonation.

Drinkability: An average schwarzbier. Makes sense for their winter pack though. It's got that full-bodied roasted taste you expect from most winter brews but is also light, crisp, and refreshing.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2009 20:00:25 | More by wahhmaster
Photo of Mosstrooper
Mosstrooper

California

4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into 19oz pilsner glass.

Appearance: Black with some cola coloration showing through on the edges, with a small, but thick tan head that leaves heavy lacing.

Smell: Chocolate malts and an interesting, tart smell about it.

Taste: Roasted chocolate malt all the way throughout, with only minimal bitterness toward the end- a sweeter scwarzbier.

Mouthfeel: Balanced, natural feeling carbonation with a smooth, medium body and a finish that sticks to the palate.

Drinkability: A nice schwarzbier, could be better if it had a bit heavier of a flavor but overall I like it. Sweeter and less bitter than most of the style.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2009 02:36:10 | More by Mosstrooper
Photo of beer2day
beer2day

North Carolina

3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark brown to near-black with an ambitious 2-finger head. Laces well and decent head retention.

Nice roast and toast chocolate malt aroma. Faint anise presence. Tiny bit of vanilla as well.

Smooth and creamy on the front of the tongue. Bitters kick in towards the middle, with chocolate. Slight fizziness detracts from the overall presentation. More cream in the finish and a decent hop profile.

Mouth is decently robust, but that slight fizzy appearance gets in the way.

Easy drinker on a cool winters day.

Serving type: bottle

11-10-2009 02:29:33 | More by beer2day
Photo of riversider76
riversider76

New York

3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours almost black with a fluffy tan head. Excellent retention and a very nice lacing. Aroma is of smokey chocolate malts,and coffee. Body is medium with light carbonation. Taste has a smokey presence throughout. Hints of coffee and dark chocolate,with a bit of spice. Not bad,but the Sam Adams Black ale was better in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

11-08-2009 20:40:49 | More by riversider76
Photo of Bung
Bung

Michigan

3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Blushing Monk Asheville. A very nice near black pour with a highly contrasting white head. Aroma is mild, roast/burnt malt and nut. Taste has the same, with some dark chocolates, smoke and ash. Thinner body than I would like, just a tad on the watery side. Finish is quite clean and dry. Drinkability is very high, especially with the abv. Aroma and flavor is a bit subdued compared to ones I've had that I liked more. But, I'd say this stuff was pretty good, especially for Magic Hat, which has some pretty mediocre brews.

Serving type: on-tap

11-08-2009 18:55:27 | More by Bung
Photo of Metalmonk
Metalmonk

North Carolina

3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wonderful label design, one of the best in recent memory. Great name too--inspired by the Ginsberg poem, perhaps? An enigma on the outside, this Howl. Let's see if the scrawl under the bottle-cap holds any revelations: "I Have What I Want." Hmm...fair enough.

Label claims "Black as Night" and there's no false advertising here, as this thing is incredibly dark...maybe not pure ebony, but maybe the darkest brown the human eye can decipher. Ah hell, it's black. The head is a healthy two fingers thick, rocky and foamy, with lots of lace clinging to the sides as it slowly recedes.

Smell is all roast and smoke...like smelling charred meat in a smoky bar. That's about all that's here too, except for a nutty element (also roasted). A bit one-dimensional maybe, but considering what kind of beer this is, it does the job.

Plenty more roast and char on the tongue, and there's a light chocolate-and-anise layer giving more depth to the flavor than what the aroma had. Milky sweetness also comes through. A tart touch in the finish throws unripe dark berries on top of the flavor pile. Nice!

Creaminess in the flavor also shows up in the texture, it's medium-body being round and smooth, although ample carbonation acts as an offset. It's just right (that's for all you Goldilocks & the 3 Bears fans out there).

One of the better new Magic Hat beers in quite some time. They needed one of these to renew my faith, as the Winter '09 Odd Notion was a disappointment and they have, in general, been playing it safe (ie. boring) lately. Seek out Howl, especially if you're a fan of dark German-style lagers.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2009 18:15:39 | More by Metalmonk
Photo of mtstatebeer
mtstatebeer

West Virginia

3.35/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle. Pours an opaque black color with a decent fizzy light brown head, decent lacing. Aroma is caramel and roasted malts, coffee, and a hint of earthiness. Flavor is roasted malts, wood, nutty, and earthy hops. Mouthfeel medium, well carbonated, kind of chalky at the end. Pretty good beer, good for the style.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2009 03:30:26 | More by mtstatebeer
Photo of far333
far333

Connecticut

3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Rumor has it that this is a repackaging of the now defunct Orlio dark lager. Deep chestnut colored, nearly opaque, with ruddy highlights. Nice oatmeal colored firm head that settles out slowly to a fine tight cap. Aroma of roasty malt, some cocoa and root beer.

Flavor is initially roasty malt, some cocoa and smoke, hints of leather and coffee. Mild bitterness.

Semi-thin mouthfeel, a little slick upfront, very bubbly, finishes too tingly. Could be more full. Tasty beer, could be more complex, but pretty drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2009 23:34:46 | More by far333
Photo of drawbackwards
drawbackwards

New York

3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Nice pour...little head. i smell burnt & licorice. not too happy to start. nice mouthfeel pretty smooth. wow...this is some light stuff for the color. good taste though. i have to hand it to magic hat...they packed some flavor into this really light beer. you can drink this all night long, but i doubt you will hand one to your bud and say"bro, you gotta try this, it will knock your socks off". it's pretty good, not great, but good. the abv is appropriate for the feel on this one. i had this back to back with avery's new world porter. not a good move, cuz that one packs a whollop. if you pair this with a bad ass beer it will not stand. on it's own, you should have a pretty good time...

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2009 02:29:45 | More by drawbackwards
Photo of Duhast500
Duhast500

Rhode Island

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

Pored from a 12oz. bottle into a pint glass.

The color is a dark black with some light brown foamy head and some slight lacing.

The smell is malty but not very strong. Some hints of toffee and a little coffee bean.

The taste is of burnt malts and some slight coffee flavor. There is a spicy/sweet flavor to this beer that does have a slight bite. There is some brown sugar flavor as well.

The feel is pretty good for this winter beer. It has a great medium body and goes down better than expected.

Serving type: bottle

11-04-2009 03:59:57 | More by Duhast500
Photo of FuzzyGuy84
FuzzyGuy84

Virginia

3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a shaker pint

A - Deep chocolate brown with a thin, dark head.

S - Toffee, cocoa, and coffee are all pronounced and very balanced. Great smell for a winter seasonal.

T - Tastes like it smells, lots of roasted malt notes along with candy and coffee.

MF/D - Easy drinking and surprisingly thin for the deep taste. Would go great with ice cream and brownies.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2009 22:23:34 | More by FuzzyGuy84
Photo of orbitalr0x
orbitalr0x

Illinois

3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a sixer on a whim for a Halloween party. Pours into my glass a deep dark brown bordering on black with a solid khaki head on top of the brew. Aromas of dark roasted malt with a burnt black coffee undertone. Toasty and a bit of cocoa. Rather mellow overall.

First sip brings roasted malt with a bit of a chalky aspect to it. Burnt coffee rolls in with a bit of a cocoa undertone. Mild hops roll through on the way down. Overall, an easy drinking, tasty schwarzbier.

Mouthfeel is crisp and light with an edge of graininess to it. Solid carbonation throughout. Pretty easy to drink. Overall, it's a little heavy on the burnt coffee for me, but is still probably one of my favorite beers I've had from Magic Hat. Sessionable.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2009 03:45:24 | More by orbitalr0x
Howl from Magic Hat Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 915 ratings.