1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Howl - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

949 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 949
Reviews: 436
rAvg: 3.66
pDev: 14.48%
Wants: 35
Gots: 52 | 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

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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 949 | Reviews: 436
Photo of weasbri
3.67/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

Photo of Suds
3.72/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

Photo of droomyster
4.06/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

Photo of FickleBeast
3.28/5  rDev -10.4%
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

Photo of kshankar
3.45/5  rDev -5.7%
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..

Photo of mnrider
3.87/5  rDev +5.7%
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.


Photo of jsh420
2.68/5  rDev -26.8%
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

Photo of micromaniac129
4.35/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Magic Hat Howl is Schwarzbier. It's a combo beer in my opinion though.
It starts off pouring a deep brown/black with some ruby tints. A dense smooth head fades quickly to a lingering bead around the edges.
It smells of roaste malts with some hops coming through slightly at end.
It tastes of roasted malts, smokey like a porter or stoudt finishs with a lager bitterness, dry.
Like an Octoberfest style.
It feels thin in the mouth like a lager but not watery.
I could drink this beer all day no problem.
Take it to the mountains in fall with the leaves changing with crisp air and sunshine.

Photo of NJBeerguy
4.8/5  rDev +31.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow! There are few beers I start a review with Wow, but this is one that deserves it. Howl took me by surprize. While I've enjoyed beer from Magic Hat in the past, I've found some to be just so-so but not this one. This beer, poured into a standard pint glass looked just like a still winter night, black, with a head of light brown/beige sky. The head dissipates a bit as one drinks down but still remains till the bottom of the glass,(trust me it's so good each sip will invite you back the bottom of the glass arrive quickly). The nose is a faint roasted grain aroma with a hint of coffee. The taste is velvety chocolate and the suttle aftertaste of a sweet mild morning coffee. The finish lingers in such a way as to invite another sip (that I just had to have right away!). The ABV at just 4.60% make Howl my new sessions beer. If the boys at AB want to really know what the meaning of drinkability is, this is drinkability with flavor. I think I'll Howl but, not at the moon, all night.

Photo of jlindros
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Photo of thekanna
2.94/5  rDev -19.7%
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.

Photo of Cagden
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

Photo of Mavajo
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

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 hosehead83
3.77/5  rDev +3%
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.

Photo of wac9
4.2/5  rDev +14.8%
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

Photo of UWDAWG90
3.14/5  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.

Photo of albern
3.85/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Photo of scottbrew4u
4.01/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
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!

Photo of donkeyrunner
4.1/5  rDev +12%
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.

Photo of BeerPhan86
3.73/5  rDev +1.9%
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!

Photo of wahhmaster
3.2/5  rDev -12.6%
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.

Photo of Mosstrooper
4.03/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Photo of beer2day
3.9/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Howl from Magic Hat Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 949 ratings.