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Howl - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

924 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 924
Reviews: 434
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 14.44%
Wants: 28
Gots: 40 | 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: 924 | Reviews: 434 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of riversider76

New York

3.58/5  rDev -2.5%

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.

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


3.65/5  rDev -0.5%

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.

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

North Carolina

3.93/5  rDev +7.1%

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.

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

West Virginia

3.35/5  rDev -8.7%

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.

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


3.85/5  rDev +4.9%

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.

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

New York

3.48/5  rDev -5.2%

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...

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

Rhode Island

3.43/5  rDev -6.5%

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.

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


3.93/5  rDev +7.1%

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.

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


3.53/5  rDev -3.8%

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.

11-03-2009 03:45:24 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of tavernjef


3.75/5  rDev +2.2%

Pours an almost blackened brown and settles even darker still with a deep mahogany cast at the edges and a khaki hued thin capping of firm tight foam. A dusty skim stands the top of the liquid as well as coats the glass as a fine lacing.

Solid aroma of sweet black malt with a slimming roasty element that reminds me a bit of a what burnt croissant kind of gets like when left in the oven a bit too long.

Flavor is mildly quick and lowly sweet with a bit of burnt roasty tint to it in the finish with some very slight coffeeish dryness and crispy, fire burnt husks. The sweetness is mostly front ended and underscored well within the roast for a decent balance but just doesn't stick on the palate long enough nor does it really have a complexity intriguing enough for a better expression of taste.

Feel is just under medium and perhaps a tad weakened with a watery center that has a light tender sweet tone in the front and about the same kind of impression in its finish with some roast and burnt flecks that do help carry it thru to something worthy of drinking a couple more of.

I can see drinking alot of this, but perhaps getting a bit boring after two or more. A decent enough Schwartzbier for what it is, being that it's a fairly difficult style to really nail down.

11-03-2009 03:20:24 | More by tavernjef
Photo of clayrock81


3.63/5  rDev -1.1%

Pours a blackish body with a tan head that died slowly on top of a malty aroma of roasted/coffee malts along with some bready/herbal sweet malt smells. This beer has a mediumish body that goes down smooth and finishes slightly dry. Has a mild taste that mixes roasted/coffee malts along with some sweetness. Goes down easy although a little dry/rough for a schwarzbier.

11-03-2009 02:02:41 | More by clayrock81
Photo of goblue3509


3.43/5  rDev -6.5%

Beer pours a very dark cola color with a brown color head that is very thin and gives way quickly with very little lacing present. The smell is of coffee and roasted malt notes. The taste has a big coffee flavor with a slight hint of coco and a roasted malt backbone. The mouthfeel is a little thin and watery. Overall it is a very drinkable beer, it has good flavor, and you could have a lot of these because it is not heavy.

11-02-2009 19:38:23 | More by goblue3509
Photo of Eiik


4.53/5  rDev +23.4%

A: it's a lager but it doesnt pour like a lager, it's a little bit lighter. and the head on it has a really nice dark brown color.

S: Has a very nice roasted almost coffeish smell to it.

T: Very good taste, coffey, carmely taste at the begining the at the end it goes to that good roasted flavor.

M: Just melts in your mouth.

D: Not as heavy as normal lager. so it makes it quite easy to just enjoy and drink along.

11-02-2009 03:42:32 | More by Eiik
Photo of Beejay


3.53/5  rDev -3.8%

A: Deep brownish color with some dark red where the light shines through. A little bit of tan head, but that dissipates to a ring.

S: Molasses, and possibly some nutty aroma as well.

T: Some nice roasty flavors, burnt almost. The aftertaste is interesting, but I can't seem to put my finger on what it is...

M: Nice and clean. Fairly light in body, and appropriately carbonated.

D: A taste was enough for me, but in general it is a fairly good beer, just not amazing. Fine job, now bring jinx back.

11-02-2009 03:02:51 | More by Beejay
Photo of WVbeergeek

West Virginia

4.13/5  rDev +12.5%

Appears dark black with cola brown edges when held toward the light. Large tan head rises above the rim of my glass, nice chunks of lace spread evenly around the sides of my Weihenstephan glass. Aroma is filled with dark roasts with semi bitter notes. Herbal grassy mildly citrus notes of hops in the bacground, with upfront coffee and dark bitter chocolate. Flavor has creamy chocolate and bitter coffee grinds blended nicely a really nice experience. Like drinking a big stout with a light body and alcohol content herbal hops blend in the mix as well. Heavy on the dark bitter roasts in the finish I like it minimal herbal hops are flowing with persistance. Mouthfeel is medium to lighter bodied with a nice even level of natural carbonation flowing creamy overall with a nice roasted malt bitterness left on the palate with each sip. Drinkability is great especially in the cooler months, I could love on a sixer of this whilst tailgating in the Burgh before the Steelers play down at Heinz Field. I could mix a few lighter beers into the mix and have a black and gold sampler this would be a good staple for the schwarzbier category.

11-01-2009 19:54:09 | More by WVbeergeek
Photo of NJpadreFan

New Jersey

4.22/5  rDev +15%

Magic Hat- Howl

A- Dark deep black with a thick frothy head, good lacing.
S- Smokey roasted malt with a hint of chocolate and molasses.
T- Sweet molasses and brown sugar, mild dark roasted smokey malt, buttery, and an earthy ashy light sweet green pine hops.
M- Sweet, ashy dry, smokey, and a thick maltiness. Nice sweet hop finish.

Overall- This is much better than I was expecting. Solid.

10-31-2009 18:08:03 | More by NJpadreFan
Photo of oriolesfan4


3.85/5  rDev +4.9%

Gotta love the appearance of this one.. deep black with a hint of redness in the light.. off white head. Smell it a bit roasted coffee smelling.. reminds me a lot of an oatmeal stout. Taste is very smooth with a nice mouthfeel. Nothing too prominent in the particular tasting notes, just some nice maltiness and some of the roasted flavors. Pretty heavy bodied as well which was a surprise, certainly not one to pound down. Nice of MH to mix it up for a winter seasonal, not my favorite but a solid beer in their mixed pack.

10-31-2009 03:46:32 | More by oriolesfan4
Photo of MrHungryMonkey


3.18/5  rDev -13.4%

Nose is malty - bread crumb with soft melanoidin-like aromas. Soft diacetyl notions. Smells okay.

Pours deep caramel/brown with some clarity through the darkness, mild head. Looks pretty good.

Creamy smooth with fairly thin body. Good bit of chocolate roast, also a soft, sweet, buttery diacetyl flavors and slick/soapy mouthfeel. Soft caramel and toast. Soft sourness. Tastes okay. Feels pretty good. Pretty good drinkability.

Would be better without the diacetyl.

10-30-2009 22:33:09 | More by MrHungryMonkey
Photo of MikeBrandman


4/5  rDev +9%

A - Looks a menacing black. Completely opaque. Not quite Imperial Stout Trooper, but close. Head is a little disappointing. I was looking for something a little rockier, or even longer lasting, but alas, the head is about 2 fingers of quickly receding white head. Good lacing to boot.

S - Smell is hardly there. From what I can tell, it's a little burnt coffee or something along those lings.

T - Taste is similar. Not as strong of a taste as a stout or porter, but good flavor nonthelesss. Very well balanced. Good combination of coffee and chocolate flavors with rich spices. Well balanced and dry finish to boot.

MF - Flows nicely through the mouth. A little thicker than I expected. Compliments the rich flavor very well. Makes the drinkability go down a little though.

D - If this was a little lighter, I'd say it was more drinkable. As it stands, it's hard to have more than two I'd say.

10-29-2009 03:42:56 | More by MikeBrandman
Photo of Mora2000


4/5  rDev +9%

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.

10-27-2009 22:45:37 | More by Mora2000
Photo of OneDropSoup


3.95/5  rDev +7.6%

Excited to see this on the shelves at 6 & Save in New Kensington, PA. Bottle to pilsner -- action.

Pours a deep, shiny black with some brown, karo syrup highlights toward the bottom & two fingers of tan head that falls to a thin coats & leaves sheets of lace.

Smell is interesting & complex -- starts off with kind of a smell of Shredded Wheat, even crisp fall leaves. As it warms a somewhat, um, "funkier" smell arises. Musty, tangy, not unlike manure actually, but not unpleasant. Accompanying it are some hoppy & chocolate notes. I'm a little tentative, but intrigued.

The wheaty, grassy flavors are up front, but soon consumed by a burnt bitterness. The style description says that schwarzes are distinguishing by not relying on roast flavors -- someone should tell this beer. Light-bodied, yes, but overwhelmingly roasted & bitter tasting. In the deep aftertaste a hint of vanilla comes into play. Nice to get this much flavor from a light-bodied beer. On second sip some other flavors pop up, some caramel, but again are swallowed by the roast. And there's that manure quality again, pungent yet floral...

Mouthfeel is pretty sharp & leaves a burnt taste after swallowing. For a sessionable beer, this has a big taste & mouthfeel. At first I'm kind of taken aback by the stripped feel I get from all the astringent roast, but that goes away after a minute I'm ready for more.

Got a lot of things I didn't expect from this one. Very complex for a relatively simple & "un-strong" beer. I both enjoyed & felt challenged by it -- there were parts I didn't necessarily love, but they were interesting enough that it wasn't a turn off. Nicely done, Magic Hat.

***EDIT: I've had other bottles since that didn't have the strange tangy manure taste. Must've been an off bottle.

10-27-2009 00:01:39 | More by OneDropSoup
Photo of cbutova


3.68/5  rDev +0.3%

Haven't had many schwarzbiers, but they seem decently straight forward. This one reminds me of Left Hand Milk Stout from what I remember. Pours a pitch black color with a light tan two finger head that retains decently, nice and creamy. Leaves medium lacing behind. Smells of sweets, roasted malts and chocolate, strong nose but not a great one. Tastes of roasted malts and chocolate. Mouthfeel is moderate with a bit of creamyness to it, leaves a sweet grainy taste on the tongue. The carbonation is a bit much, really throws the beer off IMO. No alcohol warming at all. Drinkability is decent, the taste is not bad, the mouthfeel kind of throws this one off, great price, no bad flavors to kill this one, can be sessioned, probably won't buy this one again specifically.

10-18-2009 05:38:21 | More by cbutova
Photo of Brad007


3.53/5  rDev -3.8%

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.

10-17-2009 00:07:10 | More by Brad007
Photo of kingcrowing


3.88/5  rDev +5.7%

Sample poured into a tasting glass at Magic Hat.

Pours a dark brown almost black, with a little lasing. Smell is very yeasty and roasty.

Taste is sweet, coffee and chocolate, low carbonation makes it very smooth and rich. Awesome winter beer, very tasty and malty, really surprising this is a lager!

10-16-2009 01:09:58 | More by kingcrowing
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Howl from Magic Hat Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 924 ratings.