Snow Day Winter Ale | New Belgium Brewing

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

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Reviews: 383 | Ratings: 1,500
Photo of smakawhat
3.36/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass. What the heck?! It's snowing in DC before Halloween?!?!?! Couldn't be a better time to crack one of these I guess!

A real unique colored cap for the head, with a very creamy appearance giving off a color that looks like faint white cocoa butter. Tiny creamy bubbles, and sitting on a dark red body. Some tiny spotted lacing occasionally.

Nose is very light, and not that noticeable. Slight spicy malt sense and some light cream. Not much really going on here.

Taste is very hop forward. This I wasn't expecting. In fact it's very hop dominant with a pine sensation and lingering astringent bitter. Nothing too powerful but nothing too unique. Kind of a mild cream texture with an IPA like sense of carbonation. Some mild candy like black licorice as well on the finish.

Overall though, this is not what I look for in this style at all, where is the warming malt body on this? Sounds like they went for hop heads, not what I want in a winter warmer, I need my spices, sweetness, and my malt, not a hop blast. I am going to pass on this one. (EDIT, someone had updated the notes on this from Winter Warmer to Black Ale since I wrote this review, which makes more sense now).

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

12 oz bottle poured into Sam Adam's Perfect pint glass

A: Dark brown with ruby highlights. Good 2 fingers with of head with wonderful lacing.

S: Piny hops really comes on strong... light notes of caramel and chocolate... Maybe some roasted malts mixed in.

T: The hops hits first... then a little caramel and chocolate drop in mid palette... the finish is a little on the bitter side.

M: Medium body but smooth.

D: Not a bad winter ale. Little more hoppy than I was expecting. Not my favorite from New Belgium but not bad.

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Photo of ferrari29
3.37/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Beer poured from bottle into a Nonic shaped pint glass

A - Beers pours with a healthy looking tan head; about one finger in size; rocky in appearance; not much carbonation in the dark brown colored body; clear body; little lacing formed

S - Roasted caramel malt; toffee; light pine and hop nose; chocolate; creamy; coffee

T - Nice roasted malt taste; dark chocolate; sweet caramel taste; hop flavor of pine and grass, which immediately turns bitter; crisp

M - Slightly tart; creamy feel; lingering dark roasted malt taste; dry taste and heavy bitter linger on the back of the tongue; bitter aftertaste

D - Overall not bad; it could use more hop flavor and a deeper malt body; it's a unique and fun drink for the holidays

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Photo of quaybr
3.37/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass, a dark brown with an amber tint. Light tan head that dissipates after a few sips. Pretty lacing left for an inch, none thereafter.

Smells of strong floral and citrusy hops with roasted and caramel malts present.

Caramel pushes through - a bit too much - with roasted, as well, making up an unbalanced malt backbone. Hop profile is bold and it works for me. A bit confused by the sweetness.

Mouthfeel is weak and thin, with a slight oily residue. Doesn't carry across the tongue well.

Not a fan of this. It seems like they were going for a sweet Black IPA, but the flavor and feel are a bit off. To a friend with a limited beer budget, I would suggest they pass this up.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown pour, decent 'clarity' for a dark brown beer, no undesireable floaties, decent size off white head. Aroma was sturdy malt, but nothing beyond that.

Decent hop presence, good chewiness, bringing what you want in a winter warmer, alcohol in check. Good bitterness. Similar to the old 2 below beer. Pretty straightforward, simple, cheap and available. Some of these to have on hand should be a must in the winter. You might turn some peeps on to more adventurous stuff, or it might just be right up their alley.

Would recommend.

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Photo of homebrew311
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: appears clear brown, short tan head, minimal retention

S: nose features rich caramel and piney earthy hops, notes of chocolate in there as well as mildly roasted malts

T: front is full of rich malts followed by firm bitter hop profile, finish is earthy... Robust flavors

Mf: light body, medium carbonation

O: I prefer 2 below to this, it has a lot of flavor but not the best balance or drinkability

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Photo of Murrhey
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured in a Pilsner glass. (The pint glass was dirty, I missed out).

A- Deep mahogany brown, poured with a two finger thick khaki head. Fluffy and appealing. Can't tell the carbonation from appearance.

S- Very hoppy, reminiscent of New Belgium's IPA. Some brewing spices in it. Fairly complex but I can't pick up the subtle scents.

T- Very little of the hoppiness I smelled, but roast flavors and spices. Is very gentle.

M- Lingers bitter, but very consistent and tasty.

O- Great winter warmer. New Belgium always treats me right, and this hoppy but gentle darker beer doesn't change that.

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Photo of kawilliams81
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass.

A- Dark amber, almost brown. 2 finger off-white head with some lacing that remains at the top of the glass.

S- Sweet amber malts, some chocolate. Has a funky dirty sock smell.

T- Sweet toasted malts, nuts, hint of chocolate, some pine bitterness but not hop forward for sure.

M- Light body, very smooth and easy to drink.

O- Not bad, sort of a mix of a winter warmer and a black ipa.

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Photo of larryi86
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle best before March 4, 2012 poured into a snifter

A- A very dark brown/black with a one finger off white head.

S- Toasted malts, spices, earthy/piney hops, nice, but could be stronger.

T- Very close to the nose, but a little more muted. I feel that the spices kind of take over, wish it was maltier.

M- Smooth, nice medium body.

O- Not bad, but I have had better, the feel of the beer is the best part. I might pick it up again, but I drinking it reminds me of Fat Tire with how underwhelmed I am by this beer.

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Photo of KajII
3.4/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

[Best served in a Tulip glass]

The pour was a very dark ruby reddish brown with an average sized (1-2 finger) foamy beige head that retained itself for a good long time while producing some excellent sheets of sticky lacing.

The aroma was extremely strong of piney hops, a grain malt and a woody yeast with notes of citrus, caramel, mild chocolate and a strong odor of pine needles.

It tasted mildly bitter and a bit malty with a hint of spices and caramel from the start to the finish with a very strong hoppy pine presence at the end. The flavor stuck around for a little while after the swallow leaving behind a lingering woody pine taste.

Mouthfeel was just a shade light of medium in body and dry in texture with the carbonation being rather soft.

Overall a brew with lots of malty pine flavor. If they were going for a beer that tasted like a Christmas tree, they hit the nail on the head with this one.

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Photo of argock
3.41/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz brown bottle into a Duvel tulip. Best before 04Mar12 on side of front label. Single purchased at Wine Warehouse (Charlottesville, VA) for $1.60.

A: Very dark chestnut brown with ample 1-2 finger off-white/oatmeal colored head with decent retention and copious lacing down the glass.

S: Aroma is light overall with some dark malt and grain aromas with light herbal hopping.

T: The flavor has a touch of caramel with an earthy dark maltiness and a bit more spicy, herbal, and slightly orange citrus hoppiness than is evident in the aroma. There is a raw grainy edge as well which given the beer a musty malty quality.

M: A bit more prickly than most winter ales. The body is firmly medium.

O: Not bad but not really anything to write home about, but it's out there for malt lovers out there.

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Photo of smalenberg
3.42/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Plentiful floral hop notes. Though cascade is noted on the label (in addition to other hops), this beer is pleasantly free of the sometimes overpowering grapefruit character that comes with it. The pleasant level of hop bitterness is balanced nicely with the rich-wheaty malt character. The nose is probably my favorite part of this beer and the taste has a tough time keeping up with it.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.42/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

like everything new belgium does, this is a bit more hoppy than its counterparts. pours a deep dark mahogany brown/red with almost no head (bottle might be different). smells woody, boozy, hoppy, smokey. a sort of tart wine like vibe in the begining turns into a pleasant chocolate hops fusion with a nice winter warmer type sweet slow strong finish. the mouth feel is bizarre, not being very carbonated but kind of heavy makes it a weird one to drink a lot of (again, at least on tap). overall it isnt my favority new belgium offering, but as usual i appreciate their take on the style.

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Photo of Furlinator
3.42/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with a one inch khaki head that leaves thick strings of lace. The smell is very hop forward. The taste follows with bitter pine followed by a malt finish. This comes across more like a black IPA than any other Winter ale I've had.

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Photo of phishsihq
3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

We could really use two of these right now....Well one beer and one day off work...

New Belgium Brewing Company seems to be with us on this, with the newest release in a cycling seasonal line up, Snow Day. This brew pours a very deep, dark brown, with flashes of ruby, all contained under a thin, small-bubbled head which provides a good lacing throughout. Always adventurous, New Belgium incorporates a new brewing malt, Midnight Wheat, which leads to some caramel and chocolate in the nose, as well as less than subtle hop tones. A medium to light body is rounded out with average carbonation. A roasty-toasty flavor meets the pallet, with the chocolate again appearing before hops come in to steal the show and linger in the finish. At a less than modest 6.2%, this American Black Ale is tasty as a winter warmer, and even better on a cold snowy day.

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Photo of peacebone116
3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12-oz bottle into a tulip glass.

A: Dark brown/black with little head, but excellent lacing that clings to the sides of the glass and forms trails throughout enjoyment.

N: Subtle chocolate and a hint of hoppy pine.

T/M: Although this beer has a somewhat watery body, the flavors are well rounded and complete. Roasty notes of chocolate meld quite well with a citrus pine to make a complete and simple beer.

Overall, this is a nice beer. It does not stack up all that well compared to others in its style, however; there are several other beers in this category that I find to be much more complex and rich. Although I like this beer, I think it could be much more rich and a little bit less watery.

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Photo of jjamadorphd
3.44/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

New Belgium's seasonal from 2007 is making a return in 2015 - not the best I've had from them, but it's still pretty good.

What impresses me the most is the appearance of the beer, black in color with a thick, white head. The head's got good staying power with great lacing down the glass. I wasn't overly happy with the smell - mostly the ordinary hops scent and a mouthfeel that had hints of wateriness to it, which is surprising for New Belgium. It was a decent tasting beer, nothing outstanding, but not particularly bad, so overall I gave it a decent rating. Nice brew, I'm glad I have a few more to partake, but still nothing I will go out of my way next time to go get.

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Photo of nickapalooza86
3.44/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Super dark brown, clear, finger and a half of tan head.

smell is piney hops, chocolate, caramel and a little coffee

taste is bitter coffee, caramel, chocolate, piney and floral hops.

mouthfeel is the biggest flaw in this beer, really thin, really sharp, doestbwork for the style imo.

a decent black ale but I will stick with others I enjoy more.

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Photo of sunkistxsudafed
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- pours a dark cola color with a bone colored head that sticks around.

S- toffee, caramel, wheat, and citrus hops all greet the nose. This is smelling like it's going to be a good beer.

T- matches the nose with the slightest touch of cocoa and nuts.

M- a little thin in my opinion for the flavors that are present, a winter warmer like this could use a little more body.

O- the hop profile of this beer works really well with the midnight wheat. I was a huge fan of 2 below, but this beer has won me over.

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Photo of andrewjraab
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Dark, dark brown. Nice creamy yellowish head with decent retention and some lacing.

S - Caramel, malts, raisins, spices.

T - Malty, chocolate, caramel, toasted grains.

O - This is a decent winter warmer selection, but not much bite or any characteristics that actually stand out. Even with all the different flavors, it is seemingly one note. Meh. I'm one and done with this one.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.46/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brown, lots of clarity despite how dark it is, 1/2" white to off white head. Aroma was of dark malts, sweetness more than roast.

Hops are there, brown and chocolate malts, slight sweetness, thicker than most winter warmers, this had the edge in viscosity. Chewy. Bitter. This was like an imperial fat tire.

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Photo of CamuMahubah
3.47/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

That's awesome! A beer that looks like a Porter tastes like an IPA and professes to be a Winter Warmer...

Identity crisis...well they are fun...this is a nice experiment. So pleasantly surprised by the hops. I love hops like this in the cold. It's cold where I live and this beer does taste like a beer I would drink in the middle of Winter.

A bud says this tastes like the old 2 below and I don't think so...gonna have to compare notes...

So glad this beer is what it is...a nice warm surprise for me...this should be called a Winter IPA...It's a nice twist of styles...

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Photo of Chiefy770
3.47/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served: From 12oz bottle to a New Belgium globe glass.

Appearance: On the initial pour it produced plenty of bubbles. The bubbles disappeared quickly and the beer stood rather flat in the glass.

Smell: Complex scents in this beer. Very vague scent of a coffee shop. A drop of citrus. Toasty/nutty scent seems to be the dominant trait here.

Taste: The first sip gives a bitter taste of roasted nuts. Very rich taste. Very minor pickups of chocolate and almond.

Mouthfeel: Very flavorful. Thick swish to the brew. The malts and hops leave the mouth feeling like it just ate a citrus fruit.

Overall: Winter warmer. Lives up to the hype and gives a satisfying taste. Lacked on the foam for me. Perhaps it was just a bad pour on my part. It was smooth and then it was bitter and then it was smooth again. Complex, thick, and warming. Perfect companion on a cold winter night.

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Photo of bum732
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

S: Bright grapefruit citrus, some pine, some roastiness, almost like a black IPA.

L: Fairly clear dark brown, light tan head that dissipates to a dusting. Good lacing.

T: Citrus up front with a fairly clean malt flavor. Medium citrus bitterness with a fairly crisp finish. Some light roastiness in the finish, fairly dry.

M: Medium light bodied, clean and almost crisp. Medium carbonation.

Not sure what to think of this beer. Not really to style, but not bad overall. I think i still like their previous winter seasonal, 2 degree, better.

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Photo of barleyman
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the 12 oz brown glass bottle, into my Geordie schooner. A deep ruby color is very attractive. No head or lace to speak of. MMM a very pleasant cidery aroma with notes of bread as well. Taste is similiar, bread and cider, grapefruit,citrus and fairly mild but very well balanced hop.A little thin, but overall very nice.

Just a thought,


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Snow Day Winter Ale from New Belgium Brewing
3.72 out of 5 based on 1,500 ratings.
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