MadTree Brewing

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Scottish Ale
Ranked #15
Ranked #19,110
3.86 | pDev: 13.21%
MadTree Brewing
Ohio, United States
Very Good
Notes: The conditions have to be just right for the formation of Thundersnow. Ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, hints of cinnamon and a bready malt sweetness are the secret. When you find this rare occurrence, savor it as long as you can.
Reviews: 26 | Ratings: 167 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Caveworm
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thunder Snow | MadTree Brewing. Poured from the can into a pint glass, this has a two finger thick head, spotty lacing, and a deep brown body.

I smell cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg.

The taste is similar, with ginger and a slight sweetness. Nice warming finish.

Medium mouthfeel with mild carbonation.

I'll choose to rate Thunder Snow | MadTree Brewing with a 4.25.

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Photo of rky3fan
3.93/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great winter beer that could stand on its own as a Scottish Ale. Spices are a nice addition and don't take away from the traditional flavor. Good winter ale color. Really drinkable to be 8.5%. One of the best winter ales I've had in awhile.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I bought a bottle of this off the single shelf at Giant Eagle just down the street. It poured a dark nearly opaque mahogany with no head and no lace. The scent had Xmas ale like spices... cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg....ect. The taste followed suit and leaned The mouthfeel is lighter in body with smooth carbonation. Overall it's ok.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce can into snifter, canned on 11/14/2017. Pours clear very dark brown color with a 1 finger fairly dense and fluffy light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation retaining the cap. Aromas of big caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove; with lighter notes of raisin, plum, fig, date, vanilla, toffee, chocolate, coffee, leather, tobacco, peat smoke, herbal, pepper, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/bready/light roasted malts, spices, and light-moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and clove; with lighter notes of raisin, plum, fig, date, vanilla, toffee, chocolate, coffee, leather, tobacco, peat smoke, herbal, pepper, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate herbal hop, spice, and roast bitterness on the finish. Lingering notes of caramel, brown sugar, brown bread, toasted biscuit, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, dark fruit, vanilla, toffee, chocolate, coffee, leather, tobacco, peat smoke, herbal, pepper, and yeast/roast/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Awesome complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready/light roasted malts, spices, and light-moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; with a great malt/bitter/spiciness balance, and zero cloying/astringent flavors after the finish. Lightly increasing dryness from bitter/spiciness. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, creamy/bready/grainy, and lightly sticky/chalky balanced mouthfeel that is great. Zero warming alcohol for 8.5%. Overall this is an awesome spiced scotch ale! All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/bready/light roasted malts, spices, and light-moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; very smooth and easy to drink for the ABV; with the mellowly bitter/drying finish. Perfectly balanced rich malt complexity and spices; with nice complementing restrained fruity yeast and earthy hop character in the background. A very enjoyable offering, and spot on style example.

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Photo of BB1313
3.86/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Canned on 11/14/17. 12oz can poured into a tulip. Pours a very dark brown, almost black, with a nice creamy khaki head that falls leaving great retention and sticky lacing. The aromas are malt forward. Subtle hints of cocoa and spices. The flavors are a bit bolder. More cocoa along with some subtle balanced spices. Hints of anise/black licorice along with some mild hints of cinnamon and peppermint. Solid malt backbone. Alcohol is well hidden and goes unnoticed. Mouthfeel is nice. It's full-bodied with moderate carbonation. It's very fluffy, smooth and easy to drink.

This is a nice Scottish ale. It's slightly unique, but still stays true to the style. It's enjoyable and fun to drink. Well done.

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Photo of bnes09
3.75/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Maple color with light head and weak retention. Malty and spicy aroma. Palate reveals maple and brown sugar malt character. Lots of nutmeg and some licorice notes. Not getting much cinnamon or vanilla. Full bodied and bordering on syrupy texture. Not bad.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes. Poured from a 12 oz. can into a Russian River pint glass.

A: Very dark amber, just a bit translucent. A thin tan head forms and fades quickly. Low visible carbonation.

S: Brown roasted malts and spices - nutmeg, allspice, a touch of cinnamon - up front. Rich and sweet. It smells pretty good, as it avoids the "Yankee candle" issue that so many succumb to.

T: Toasted malty sweetness, like a thick moist homemade bread. Nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, and mild cinnamon again. Hints of chocolate lurk under a hit of dark fruit and candied spiced raisins. A light hop bitterness towards the end with residual savory spices.

M: Body a bit towards the heavy side overall, average for style. Good carbonation, and the alcohol is a bit warming.

O: This avoids some of my more common complaints about heavily spiced beers. Still not my favorite, but remains pretty drinkable. Decent, but I wouldn't go seeking out another serving.

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Photo of kentuckyboy
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: VERY deep mahogany in color. Barely transparent when held to light with a thick and gorgeous tan head that retains well.
S: Spicy and alcoholic! Scotch with definite notes of clove and cinnamon. Reminds me of Christmas time... and Scotch! ;)
T: Rich and spicy with a HEAVY BITE of Scotch as it goes down! Aftertaste soon turns to clove. Mesmerizing!
F: You can really feel the burn of the alcohol in this 8.5 % ABV beer. This is a good thing, and is complimented by it's above-average carbonation and, FAR above-average viscosity/consistency (not quite on a stouts plane though).
O: If i could explain the entire beer in 4 words it would be: Rich, Spicy, Alcoholic, and Complex. A Well-balanced beer, indeed! Another beautifully crafted beer by Madtree. Well done, guys! And as for a tangential rant, in one of my other reviews, i noted that MadTree's Spiced Scottish Ale, was among one of my faves and i must say, this batch tastes just as good as last years, which really says something about the consistency of their beers. Keep it up, guys! (^^)b

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Photo of JDK
4.75/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This was a little different but in a good way. My local store, Chief's, just received Mad Tree in and I purchased 2 - 6er's and enjoyed them both. 8.5% but you couldn't tell it because there is no burn at all, very smooth.

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Photo of mlockman
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Not incredibly interesting, but a good beer in its own right and very drinkable. The base is a solid scottish ale, and the subtle spicing is certainly evocative of winter themes.

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Photo of LAp
3.33/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Another on the page of tasting notes I lost, so I'll have to recreate a partial review from memory. I'll put my cards on the table up front and say that this is not a style I'm in love with in the first place. In part because, as with this beer, so many fall into the trap of over-spicing and over-sweetening. This beer had prominent notes of cinnamon, ginger, and spices, with an almost coca-cola like element, but all were pervaded by an almost overpowering malt sweetness that ultimately made the spicing seem little more than cloying. Overall, just okay.

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Photo of jp32
4.16/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Can print says "canned 10/23/15". I like this addition to their cans.

Pours a very deep brown color with some khaki colored fizz atop the brew. Biscuity caramel malts dominate the aroma. Something sweet, syrupy, or candied is also present in the nose.

Immediately I notice brown sugar, or maybe burnt sugar in the flavor. Heavy vanilla notes are present, as well as ginger and cinnamon. Something burnt gives it a dirty flavor, but I kind of like that.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and carbonation is perfect. The high abv is also very well hidden here.

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Photo of Weisenbeer
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Ok. First, this is a nice beverage. Pretty tasty with a bit of a kick. I just don't think this is "beer" as I think of it. I like this brewer a lot, and love the name of this selection, but let's not call it beer, ok?

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Photo of woodychandler
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

As The CANQuest (tm) CANtinues to press on, I am giving my palate a rest and switching gears from the hoppy onslaught of APAs, AIPAs and DIPAs that has CANstituted the bulk of the past few days.

From the CAN: "It's cold outside. Nice and toasty inside. Stay warm."; "Boom! Spiced Scottish Ale"; "The [CAN]ditions have to be just right for the formation of Thundersnow. Ginger, nutmeg, vanilla, hints of cinnamon and a bready malt sweetness are the secret. When you find this rare occurrence, savor it as long as you [CAN]."; "Illustration: John Doubet [;] Treemark: Christopher Daniel [;] CAN Design: John Pattison".

I just literally came in from mowing the lawn, so this struck me as a perfect lawnmower beer on a hot, humid summer's day. The CANQuest (tm) may have addled my brain, but a Crack! and inverted Glug later, I was ready to drink some beer. I had two-plus fingers of fluffy, deep-tan head that withered in the heat and humidity, but it left some nice lacing in its wake. Color was Dark Brown to Very Dark Brown (SRM = > 27, < 34) with NE-quality clarity and caramel highlights, especially at the edges. Nose was very spicy! It was hard to discern between ginger and nutmeg, but between them and the cinnamon, it popped with spice. Mouthfeel was medium. The taste was initially heavy on the nutmeg on the tongue, but it slowly gave 'way to the breadiness that they mentioned. It reminded me very much of spice cake and made me nostalgic for a time in my youth when I loved to cook. Warming (and it did not take long), I began to get the vanilla and cinnamon subtleties. Finish was very dry, thanks to the inclusion of the various spices. I may have been drinking it out of season, but it was a welcome treat!

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Photo of madelfonatree
4.48/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Look - Dark brown with a red hue. It is slightly darker than Dr. Pepper. Head is thin and tan. Lacing does not stick around.

Smell - Ginger and Christmas spice. Chocolate.

Taste - A lot of spice. Coffee, light bourbon, and chocolate. Mint. Finishes with ginger and gingerbread.

Feel - Medium body. Carbonation does not explode as much as expected, good.

Overall - This beer is half the reason for my name sake. It may be May, but there is no reason you can't enjoy some Thundersnow. Mad Tree!

Edit 11/24/2015

I am doing a vertical with 12/24/2014 compared with a 10/23/2015 both enjoyed in Mad Elf tulip/snifters on 11/24/2015.

Look - The 2014 has a lot less head. Other than that both have a deep, dark reddish brown body. The head is tan with medium to thick bubbles. Both settle to a thin ring with not a lot of lacing.

Smell - Not much different on the two. Both have a coca cola taste. Chocolate, ginger, and Christmas spice. Neither more subdued than the other. As both warm the fudge really comes out.

Taste - The 2014 has a tobacco flavor. Spice, coffee, and chocolate. My review on this above show I was much more animated in the past.

Feel - Medium on both. Carbonation is lower on the 2014.

Overall - I keep forgetting this is such a good beer. It is the reason I liked MadTree in the first place. I worry after drinking beers like Pumpcan that the spice is going to be overpowering, but it isn't. If I have ever had a complex beer, this is it. Yes, it is too complex, but it is a beer than newbies and old timers can enjoy. Barrel aged is even better. Can't wait for that to be released again.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Great beer. Has a kind of mildly smoky thing going. So much so that it seems a hybrid of a rauchbier (mildly so) and brown ale? Either way, it's a smooth feel. I enjoyed this one more than I anticipated.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.86/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Like finding a four-leaf clover for meteorologists, the rare occurrence of thunder snow really get their rocks off. And the MadTree brewers are hopping that the same happens with the craft beer crowd and their winter warmer by the same name.

Chestnut brown with faint haze, the wintry ale casts a foamy head of cotton. Trailing quickly, the beer sheds a masculine array of aroma. Nutty, sweet and robust, its deeply malted character slathers on the palate with toffee, toasted pecan, peat, chocolate and light coffee.

As the sweet maltiness cuddles up with the tastebuds, its sweetness begins to relax to allow for spicy elements of nutmeg, ginger and vanilla to give the middle palate a spicy edge and a soothing balance. Trending nutty and earthy, notions of cola and whisky round out the bulk of flavor.

Medium-full, the ale satisfies the cold weather thirst for hearty and meaty beer, but it also finishes substantially lighter with its firm carbonation, peppery spice and a boost from alcohol dryness. Its aftertaste of pecan and vanilla outweigh a lingering cola flavor and give the taste a calming presence to help us get through winter

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Photo of Beer_Loving_Brandon
1/5  rDev -74.1%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1


Everything that is wrong with craft beer right now...

Tastes like the fluids that accumulate in the gutters on Bourbon St after a log weekend.

Bourbon fusion beers = terrible
Scotch fusion ales = disgustingly horrible

Whiskey has been around forever. Beer has been around forever. Don't you think someone already thought of mixing the two hundreds of years ago?

There is a reason it did not catch on.

I can't wait for this fad to go away...

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Photo of zdk9
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

A- Pours a thick, darkest of dark brown without quite hitting the black mark. A half inch of head and tendrils of lacing lifting up like brambles reaching to the top of the glass tower.

S- Sweet, boozy, a little bit of coffee. Lots of brown sugar, and almost honey. There's some spice, especially ginger.

T- A lot of the same as the aroma. Tasty beer.

M- Kinda sweet and sticking

O- It's a tasty winter beer.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz can dated 12/22/14 poured into a pint glass
A:Dark brown color with a 1/2-finger head that quickly settles
S: Nice roasted malts, hints of molasses and spice, but also a bit of an off metallic note
T: Roasted malt, caramel/toffee and warming spices. Quite tasty
M: Medium-bodied, smooth yet with a nip of bitterness from the spice
O: Unlike many beers that look/smell great but fail to follow through, this one didn't give me great initial expectations but delivered. I'm very much enjoying drinking this on a cold snowy day

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Enjoyed this one thanks to a friend from work---Thanks Kevin!
Poured in a pint glass, this interesting Christmas spiced Scottish ale. Nose of rich caramel malts, cinnamon, and a hint of chocolate. Flavors are quite interesting. Caramel malts, toasted bread, and cinnamon assault up front, with nutmeg and ginger coming through on the aftertaste. Solid malt backbone with a heavy dose of cinnamon and nutmeg, with warming alcohol coming through after each sip, especially as it warms. Coating spice aftertaste with decent carbonation. Brewers recipe shows vanilla, although I can not detect it. Viewable online from the MadTree website. Solid offering.

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Photo of stewart124
4/5  rDev +3.6%

Pours a deep brown with ruby highlights. Centimeter of tan head. Nice lacing forms as this drinks down.

Rich bready nose. Vanilla and nutmeg come through as well.

Medium body. This needs to warm a bit because I feel like it is masking quite an bit of the flavors. Some tobacco notes go along with the rich caramel flavors. Little hops to speak of. Big bready malt characters come through. Nothing really overwhelming or more specifically not one element of this beer truly dominates. The malt character really sits well with the spices and there is just a touch of residual sweetness leftover.

Some alcohol notes b come evident as this warms up a bit. More tobacco and leathery characters but this doesn't take away anything from the beer. There is a bit of roasted malt but again this just adds to the overall complexity.

Very nice beer. Big but that is to be expected from a winter warmer. Darker and a bit more roasted character than some but a very solid beer.

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Photo of Pukstopper
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%

Had this at a place called Knock Back Nat's. A little place in Downtown. It was very cold outside but this beer warms you up. It comes in a Can, and we didn't get a glass. It has nice maltness, and spice flavors. It's 8+% abv warms you up nice. Since we didn't get a glass i can't comment on the head or lacing.

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Photo of UrbanCaveman
2.82/5  rDev -26.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 2.75

On tap at Rick's Tavern & Grill in Fairfield, served in a shaker pint.

A: Arrived as a clear walnut wood-hued brew with a thin pale head that died to a ring pretty quickly. It left some lacing on the glass in sticky patches.

S: Bar with kitchen atmosphere always interferes with my detecting the aroma. What I was able to smell was an earthy toffee malt with hints of spice.

T: This drinks like a spiced Scotch ale, heavy on the earthen and peaty notes, which fight for dominance with the sweet toffee malt background. The spices present are subtle, skulking about the edges of the sweet-bitter skirmish as though looking for their time to strike - primarily cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, but all faint additions rather than showcase pieces. There's a bit of pine flavor to this as well, especially at the finish.

M: Thin bodied, sharply carbonated.

O: While I'm pleased to find one MadTree offering that is not "all hops, all the time, have more hops, whee hops", this still has enough of them to not be a favorite winter warmer.

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Photo of Illini5596
2.8/5  rDev -27.5%

Not my preference. Didn't taste much like a Christmas or Winter ale to me, more just sour. I like some of the other MadTree beers I've had, just not this one.

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Thundersnow from MadTree Brewing
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 167 ratings