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Snow Day Winter Ale | New Belgium Brewing

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383 Reviews
Snow Day Winter AleSnow Day Winter Ale

Brewed by:
New Belgium Brewing
Colorado, United States

Style: American Black Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Pleasantly hoppy, Snow Day carries the subtle chocolate and caramel flavors of a new brewing malt known as Midnight Wheat. The Styrian Golding, Centennial and Cascade hops bring the backbone of hoppy bitterness to complement the roasty undertones. This beer is the deep garnet of a roasted walnut and presents a creamy tan head, floating artfully atop. Snow Day is bold and hoppy, drinkable and strong.

Added by NStLincoln on 10-14-2011

For Trade:
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Reviews: 383 | Ratings: 1,498
Photo of kristenspaintings
3.11/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Looks very dark, toasty amber highlights, creamy tan head. The 2-finger head has a a very appealing yeasty, bubbly, creamy look.

Tastes like double-dark roasted coffee. The initial taste is not a very strong one, but very oaty/nutty and toasted. The mouthfeel is VERY dry.

Our overall impression is that it's very pungent and overcooked.

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Photo of mithrascruor
3.11/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown color, seemingly clear. Light-tan head is a fluffy 1-finger, and leaves a bit of lacing. Not much retention.

Smell: Hardly any aroma; I suppose there's a mild hint of citrus.

Taste: Mild malts with a bit of citrus-y hops on top. Similar finish and aftertaste. Not much as far as spices go.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and smooth, with quite a bit of carbonation.

Drinkability: Relatively easy to drink, with a moderate ABV.

Fairly disappointing "winter" beer from New Belgium - honestly, much closer to a black IPA, and not a particularly good one at that.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.12/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle served into a dixie cup in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a one finger head of nice cream, pretty good thickness, and and good retention. Colour seems to be a nontransparent brown, but it's difficult to tell out of a dixie cup. (I was at a party).

Sm: Lovely caramelized malt, caramel, and more hops than expected. A mild strength aroma.

T: Bittering hops, biscuity caramel, and lightly toasted malt. Well-balanced and decently built, but boring and simple. Uninspired.

Mf: Smooth and wet, suiting the flavours in a general sense.

Dr: Quite drinkable, but also unremarkable. I'd try it on-draught. It's pleasant, but they'd do well to increase the impact of the toasted malt.

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Photo of MarkBlackout
3.13/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this as a gift -- part of a holiday mixed 12-pack. 2nd one I've tried, just got through reviewing Fat Tire. I thought this tasted somewhat similar at first, at the risk of sounding ignorant. There is SOMETHING similar about these, though. I'm not really tasting the supposedly considerable hops that much in this. Bready smell, toasty taste, a bit of hop bite. Pretty boring, thank god for the slightly elevated abv to provide a bit more flavor and punch. I would hope to have something better than this if I was snowed in, but I wouldn't cry real tears as long as I had enough of them.

edit: Tempted to up the overall score to 3.5, but I wont, due to a lack of 'winter' spices. Not too into spiced brews unless they're tasty belgians or something worth adding an extra dimension to.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
3.13/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours out a very deep dark brown with a fluffy light tan two finger head that collapses quite rapidly yet leaves some nice craggy chunks of lacing behind in the glass. Smells of musty damp earthen basement floor at first, but as it warms up the aroma also gets a mild roasted tone that builds up from underneath in tandem with some nicely restrained pine hopping odor. Taste is a steady wave of pine bittering hops tag teamed with a malt bill that comes across as a blend of porter and caramel malts, but leaning a bit further into caramel territory than I personally prefer in my black ales. I am not able to detect any coffee or baking chocolate in this malt bill at all...just straightforward roasted grain being itself. I would have liked to have tasted some more complexity....

Texture is nicely smooth and creamy but also feels slightly under-carbonated. Not a bad black ale, but I still prefer Black Top over this one any day. Why? Because this brew doesn't really come across as memorable or distinctive... It's just not complex enough to impress, nor is it simple enough to sell the minimalism approach... so I end up with mediocrity.

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Photo of Arithmeticus
3.13/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured chilled in straight-edge ale glass

A: very dark ale; thin but frothy head; good, silky lacing
S: all hoppy; sweet and inviting
T: very dark roasted malt; strong hops profile; bitter, charred; overly dominated by roast

It's pretty good, but I won't get a new 6-pack

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Photo of Dmart1223
3.14/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Definitely expected more from this beer, but it isn't bad.

This pitch-black beer retains a mocha head forever. I have a cold, but a friend and I couldn't find many pronounced flavors on the nose – maybe some malts.

Snow Day is heavy in the mouth, but not as heavy as I thought it would be. There's very little carbonation. Centennial and Cascade hops are definitely present, but muted.

The best quality of this beer is it fills you up, but the complexity promised from the bottle's label left me wanting more. Not a bad beer; I'd drink it if it was offered to me. But this isn't a beer I'd anticipate every winter.

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Photo of blackcompg
3.15/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Poured from their 12oz bottle...

Appearance - Poured 2 fingers of light tan head, body is a deep translucent garnet when held to the light, otherwise looks nearly brown mahogany in a glass, keeps nearly a finger of cap throughout the session, nice foamy lacing left at the end of the session.

Smell - Slight grapefruit and pine, roasted malt, light coffee and toffee

Taste - combined flavors of roasted malts, grapefruit rind, light burnt toffee, slight floral hops, touch of anise, finishes bitter grapefruit rind and pith, touch of pine, black licorice, and maybe a coffee ground or two.

Mouthfeel - Lighter side of medium, pretty thin actually, carb is higher side of medium with lots of edges, almost feels sharp at the back of the tongue - and this somewhat affects/detracts from its drinkability.

Overall - There are some good flavors here, but at times the combination almost gives a cough syrup kind of flavor, including the slight alcohol warmth - sorta nyquil-ish. I like alot of the flavors I've mentioned above but here they don't seem to mesh all that well. Try this one for yourself, it's just not my cup of tea...er uh glass of beer.

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.16/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Er not sure I would really call this a Black IPA but ok. Pours a mostly black color with shades around the edges. Mostly clear with a soft light tan head.

The aroma is balanced with a light astringent malt aroma with more of a fruity nose up front. Some orange and grapefruit but more like a zest than hop. A light herbal almost floral aroma with some rose peddles and a kiss of sweet caramel.

The flavor follows suit. More of a fruity, zesty note with a herbal backing. More astringent malts come out with a light toasty and big toffee notes. Some butter-esk flavors as well. More earthy like, not exactly dirt but something esk there.

The body is moderate but well carbonated. Not overly but does enhance the astringent characters. Overall more of a different style of beer, but as a black IPA it doesnt quite fit.

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Photo of velosuds
3.18/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a 12 oz. bottle into a clear pint glass. Best by 11MAR12. Paid $8.59 at local grocer.

A-pours a dark, ruby red hue with a two+ finger head that recedes into decent lacing. A little light colored for a black ale.

S-Aroma is disappointingly light. Hops are not evident. Just a little bit of lite roasted barley.

T-Roasted, almost smoky character more reminiscent of a porter but the taste is closer to a brown ale than a black ale. Brewery must be hopping according to the AB paradigm. Not nearly enough hop flavor.

M-Medium dry body is smooth but a little thin.

O-Overall this is like most winter days in Oregon: dreary. The worst of style I have had, made worse by the presence of wheat malt.

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Photo of antique
3.18/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a mug.

Pours a moderate brown with red hues and a fairly large, tan head that lingers for a good while. Heavy lacing lines the drinking glass.

Smells like hops, straight up, with maybe a little caramel or chocolate poking through. Not quite as pungent as lots of IPAs, but it's close.

Given the smell, you'd rightly expect it to taste hoppy, and it surely does. Much like the smell again, there are hints of chocolate and lingering caramel in the aftertaste. It's pleasantly carbonated--but not overmuch--and the alcohol is fairly well-hidden but does poke through.

For such a widely available winter seasonal, it stands out and does the job, but to my tastes, the hops kind of overpower the darker flavors I want in a wintery beer, and generally there's a conflict between the hops and some of the more subtle flavors--it's not the most balanced beer I've ever had.

But it's solid, and given its decent ABV, more than likely a fine, warming beer on those snowy days. I doubt I'd ever turn one down.

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Photo of NilocRellim
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

The ale poured out from the bottle and had a blackish ruby color to it. It also had a faint, citrus hop nose to it, but only slightly. It tasted like a red ale to me, and was hopped but not bitter or overwhelming in any way. No significant after taste or lingering flavours.

Would I buy this beer again? Probably.

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Photo of dogchasecats
3.26/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Overall, I like the ale. On Thursday, I found the beer on tap at my local pub. It was pretty good. Saturday, I went to Best of Brews in Duluth, and brought home a growler, which I am using for my review.

I'm drinking it from my Sam Adam's glass. It really is the best all around glass for beer. I like the large bowl so you get a lot of aromatics.

The taste is fine. It leaves a nice bitter aftertaste on the back of the palate. I don't see much lacing on the glass. The only off thing is the nose is a bit sour. not hugely unpleasant, but just a bit.

Bring home a growler of this ale. It's going great with Sunday football. I think I need some some super nachos to go with it, maybe even some hot wings.

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Photo of BeerManDan
3.26/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The color when poured was a very dark amber with a reddish hue, on the verge of dark brown. There was very little foam, but, a lot of lace of the side of the glass. The smell had the aroma of mild piney hops and not much else. The taste and flavor was of piney hops and nothing else that I could taste. This ale just reminded me of another, mild, IPA. Not impressed with this ale. Just a palate full hops and bitterness.

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Photo of brandon911
3.26/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This was bought along with a handful of other seasonals in a "make your own six pack" at HEB.

This was poured into a frosted mug.

It poured a nice dark brown with some amber/orange hints with about a 3 finger head and hardly any light let through Some lacing while being drank.

There was something about the smell that I just couldn't get past, I don't know what exactly though. It wasn't bad, I just don't know, maybe a little skunked? I didn't pick up any hops, mainly malts, some cinnamon and nutmeg, and a little coffee and chocolate.

Taste was pretty good, just nothing that stood out to me. Taste was similar to smell (though without the weird unidentified part). Hops apparent a little more in taste than in smell. The beer overall was fairly sweet.

I wasn't a big fan of the overall mouthfeel. I guess it wasn't creamy or carbonated enough.

I enjoyed it, but I don't think that I would get it again.

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Photo of blakelive784
3.27/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap in an oversized wine glass, reviewed live,

A - presents an incredibly dark ruby color with a half fingers head. Retention isn't good, but then again there wasn't much room for the head to begin with.

S - toasted malt and caramel build the foundation. It's ploy, with some piney and citrus notes that are held in check by chocolate. Nice

T - a citrus open masks a toffee and toast build. Theops linger all the way to the finish were they leave you with a piney aftertaste. Not as balanced as the nose predicted.

M - coarse on the open but finishes smooth and creamy. One of the best features.

D - another decent offering from nb, but that's all it is.

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Photo of sommersb
3.29/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Tasted On: 11-16-2011
Freshness: Best by 03-04-2012
Packaging: 12 oz. brown bottle
Glassware: New Belgium globe glass
Purchased: 6 pack from Wal-Mart

A: Black and clear, with ruby highlights. The head is tan and billowy, sitting 4+ fingers high. Good retention and excellent lace in the glass.

S: Citrus smelling hops are the only aroma I get.

T: Taste is composed of hoppy bitterness, with caramel and chocolate malts bringing a little sweetness. There are also flavors of burnt grains, like a heavily roasted coffee.

M: Carbonation and body are medium, with an aftertaste of roasted malts and hop bitterness. The finish seems astringent.

Overall this beer seemed one-dimensional and not very interesting. Not one I'd likely buy again.

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Photo of sam_bliss
3.29/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pint glass.

A- Deep dark brown with a hint of red. Surprisingly close to translucent for such a dark-colored brew. Small white head that doesn't last long. Perhaps a bad pour by the bartender?

S- Smells of caramel and evergreen. A waft of wild stalky grasses permeates.

T- Tastes like hoppy coffee. Caramel and a bit of burnt toast round out the experience. It's a bit sweeter than the nose implied.

M- Malty but not too thick in the mouth. This ale goes down clean and leaves some dark chocolate bitterness.

This is dark and almost porter-like. If you're a porter lover, this is a quality winter ale. I like it, but wish it were a bit more robust either in the sweet malts or the piney hops.

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Photo of Philousa
3.29/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Appearance is opaque black, cola colored against the light. Head is decent in size with small bubbles, grey in color. It really looks like a well carbed Old Ale. Lacing is good. Aroma has slight Belgian malt sweetness with floral, somewhat grassy hops, and some baker's chocolate. The chocolate comes through in flavor right away, slightly bitter, followed by earthy barkish metal. The bitter hoppiness is earthy as well. I'm guessing English hops such as fuggles are used for bitterness. Feel tends slightly toward watery and finishes dry. I would never put this in the same category as Sublimely Self Righteous or other Black IPAs, but its definitely not a winter warmer, considering its formidable use of hops. This reminded me a bit of 1554 but a bit brighter. I'd have one again. Which is good considering I got a variety 12 pack with three more left.

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Photo of bbkd3b
3.32/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

You know, 2 Below happened to be one of my more satisfying brews to get a hold of during the winter. Imagine my shock when I happened upon this beer. It's, quite literally, of a different color.

That color happens to be a heavy, dark brown... Red tones shine through on occasion, but even the head is pretty tan. Its tough to get a real look at it, though - it starts off decent enough before fading out of existence. Sure, there's some lace that'll cling to the pint glass, but nothing worth writing home about. I have to get in pretty close before I catch a scent of any thing. The colder it is, the more pronounced the hops are. Sprucy aroma slowly mixes into the combination of roasted malts - a hint of marble rye and a bit of chocolate. Not bad, albeit a bit light.

Its hard to define this beer's character - it feels light on the tongue. At first, those hops really pop on to the taste buds. It's not until the beer fizzles its way to the back of my tongue that a surprisingly robust taste of roasted coffee shows up. Nice and balanced, but its also fairly two dimensional.

Not necessarily a bad brew for those cold winter nights, but definitely not the first one I'd turn to. With a creamier body and a heavier flavor, this would be a really good one. For shame.

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Photo of gatornation
3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

from 12 oz bottle with BB 02/19/12

A- pours a dark mahogany color with a slight khaki head with some nice sticky lacing

S- malts and earthy smells with some citrus hops

T was roasted malts some earth funk,citrus hops,toffee and caramel but all was light but present

M- was light with carbonation and taste with the above mentioned smells and taste

O- a drinkable winter warmer but a couple will do it for me, many better and tasty WW out there

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Photo of elNopalero
3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This pours a ruby brown color with tremendous foam that dies down into a crisp layer. Seems like an interesting brew—certainly the appearance is nothing like what I had expected from an (ostensibly) wheat beer.

The aroma has a noticeable roast followed by an almost lactic hint of tartness, like a milk stout.

While the aroma was engaging the taste didn’t match up.

While roasty & smooth with rough edges that have that characteristic wheated sweetness it just didn’t come together. Unfortunately, the flavor collapses as it warms. I went from liking this brew to disliking it to finding it ok. But it’s not one I’d have again.

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Photo of 1fastz28
3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark amber color with a big cloudy head that lingers and laces quite well. The aroma is strong with roasted malt and light chocolate and toffee hints. Taste is ok but surprisingly bland, with the stronger aroma one would think that the flavor would be more pronounced. Mouthfeel is decent and overall its a fine beer.

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Photo of Bitter_Echo
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A black ale trying to be an IPA, I'm not sure. And darker than black, which doesn't actually give any idea of snow, and but looks like beer, so that's ok. Smells dark, malty, sweet, and slightly floral, although not nose forward, that's for sure. Taste is malt sweet and light but clear hops and caramel and some chocolate and late coffee. Mouthfeel is busy and foamy and creamy and really quite good here. I don't drink much in the dark beer category, but this isn't too bad all considering. Although, at the end, I always want a clear, very bitter ale to follow.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.36/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

When poured from an inch or so above the glass you get a big light brown head that settles into a pretty decent lacing above clear dark red amber colored medium bodied beer.

A light citrus hops with some dark chocolate malt aroma.

The taste is more of the dark chocolate malt with less of the citrus hops coming through than in the aroma.

A dry aftertaste with hints of citrus and dark malts.

An almost rich body and taste without a lot of definition which leaves to the conclusion that its very drinkable but why, if I'm going to drink a full bodied heavy beer I would like to have some richer tastes.

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Snow Day Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
3.72 out of 5 based on 1,498 ratings.
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