Snow Cap | Pyramid Breweries, Inc.

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Snow CapSnow Cap
874 Ratings
Snow CapSnow Cap

Brewed by:
Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
Washington, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Deep mahogany in color, our full-bodied winter warmer is brewed in the spirit of British winter ales. Crafted with a flurry of roasted chocolate and caramel malts, and generously hopped, it delivers a smooth finish that makes this beer the perfect cold weather companion.

Added by Jason on 11-11-2001

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Ratings: 874 |  Reviews: 510
Photo of ReebShorts
3.8/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought a 12 pack at Safeway for $12. Red, Green & White label. Two large pyramids on front, an elk, some trees, snow, etc, titled "seasonal ale".

Big frothy, chunky, sticky, brownish colored head on pour. I let it sit for a few minutes and as the head slowly subsided, it left a thick wall on the sides of the class. Beer is Ruby in appearance.

Aroma, like many of the winter ales I've sampled, has plenty of malty caramel. Also picked up on Dark fruits, cherries, chocolate, breadiness, and some spicy hops.

There was quuite a bit of alcohol taste noticeable, and spicy hop on the finish. I normally welcome this approach, but I would like to have tasted more of the fruit, cherry, etc, up front before the alcohol took over. A bit quick from start to finish for me I guess.

Mouthfeel is good. Creamy going in and a nice hop bite (like I said it just "bit" too early).

Due to the mouthfeel, and my desire to get smashed after doing all the Christmas family activities I'm probably giving the drinkability a bit higher a rating than I normally would.

Over all an above average X-mas beer for me, but there's a few better.

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Photo of Vancer
2.61/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Clear mahogany with a foamy, sticky tan head – Very nice.
A clove and nutmeg aroma, on top of malts – nice.
The quaffs, hmmm, brother, earthy and resinous, an unbalanced hoppy/bitter finish – not good.
Harsh and dry – not good.
To hot and alcoholic to drink for any duration – bummer.

Thumbs down on this one.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.25/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours out to a burnt red / dark auburn color with a short lived head. Minor notes of lacing in the glass. Medium low levels of carbonation. Aromas of sweet hops and earth blend with some spice character. Flavor is fair; sweet malt, grain, some mild hops. The alcohol had a nice warming affect.Mouthfeel is nominal, nothing special. Decent drinkability, i'd have this again.

THE BLOODHOUND FACTOR: Benji drank it all, and begged for more. Peaches didn't get any and left sad and sober.

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Photo of tavernjef
3.63/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ruby red and a bit smeared in glare, very thin off-white foam quickly evaporates to a slimming, bubbly collar. Spotty lace in minimal amounts sticks across the glass.

Aroma is soft, light, yet deep and darkly subdued with a slight roasted molasses, root beer, chocolate thing going on.

Taste is dark and semi tangy with a roasty underlay and light kick of floral hops towards the finish. Flavors are a weird mix of vanilla, molasses, and roasted grains. Some burntness is evident along its roasty scoring as is a smideon of chocolate bite mixed with a floral hop of its own. Nothing quite stands out or is justified to be favored as its balance seems awkward. Dark, sweet, roasty, burnt, and all on a fairly understated scale.

Feel is clean and low on carbonation in most regards to its lighter medium body. Again, its balance seems off somehow. Stays mostly on the roasty/burntish side of things.

An OK Winter brew, I've had it on-tap a few times in the past and liked it at about the same I'm liking it out of the bottle.

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Photo of Zorro
4.2/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear deep reddish brown ale with a tan head.

Smell is all British ale scents. Clean scent of Kent Golding hops and fruity esters from a British ale yeast. A bit of a sweet malt scent with aromas of crackers, figs and cherry.

Taste is a little sweet at first with a brown sugar, vanilla and then the bitterness from the hops taking over and leaving an Oak after taste. After the initial sensations slightly bitter chocolate and brown sugar fight to be the dominant flavor on your tongue without either really winning. All the complexity in this beer is in the aftertastes. Ginger, cinnamon, rum, cherry, ginger and black pepper all come out in the aftertaste. Hops remain only a bittering agent in this beer with an assertive bitter snap to every sip.

Mouthfeel is good.

Very pleasant beer in the drinkability department. Tasty without killing you with sweetness this is a winter beer that is better suited to adult’s taste buds. Assertive bitter finish is a nice surprise, and I do believe that this is the highest score I have ever given to a beer from this brewery.

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Photo of objectivemonkey
3.82/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

~Pours a dark, dark mahogony, with a short and quickly receding off-white head. Lacing is minimal if at all.
~Smell malts, cherry, and a tiny hint of vanilla or brown sugar.
~First taste is a warm and smooth cascade of malts, with the alcohol only noticable for its warming presence. Not a very complex presentation, focusing mostly on the hops, with hints of the cherries and brown sugar, and dark chocolate in the middle. The hops are only slightly noticable for first few seconds and then when the aftertaste is fading away. Overall, the taste is a little weak in the middle, with most of the experience being at front and a less impressive aftertaste.
~Feels warm in the mouth, and very smooth, but leaves a thick paste afterwards. Don't notice any carbonation, which is appropriate here.
~Pleasantly surprised with my first try of Pyramid brews. Pump up the malts a little more and they'd have themselves a fantastic winter brew.

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Photo of DuqTroops
3.68/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bought this at the local brew shop in town and enjoyed it a lot. Seasonal Brew.

Appearance: reddish-brown in color; more of a mahogany color.

Smell: vanilla, cherry, little hops

Taste: can't taste the alcohol too much. it is very smooth and has a short after taste. can taste the vanilla and hops.

Mouthfeel: moderate amount of carbonation and doesn't surprise you at all. it is what it looks like it will be, dark and smooth.

Drinkability: it has great character and is a great drink to have during the winter months. probably wouldn't have it in the summer, however, i would get it again in the future.

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Photo of slyke
3.83/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found this one at the liquor store for the first time today.

Appearance: Deep red with a 3/4 inch off-white head - very inviting.

Smell: It has that typical "winter warmer" aroma. A bit of hops, more malt, vanilla.

Taste: Hops are only noticeable at the first and last moments of a taste, otherwise it is malt's show. There is a bit of an alcohol bite to this beer too.

Mouthfeel: Nice and full mouthfeel like you'd expect of the style

Drinkability: This one is pretty drinkable - there is nothing about this beer that would discourage me from picking it up again. It is not perfect, but it is plenty good.

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Photo of SupaCelt
3.58/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Tis the season, I suppose, for a winter warmer.

Looks: striking mahogany colour as stated per label, short lived
tan head, somewhat bubbly
Smells: unique, fruity in the way of cherries, candied, dark
fruit skins, fruit cake
Tastes: cherry tootsie roll pops in melted brown sugar, vague
spice character, over browned fruit cake, hop bitters
Mouth: high side of medium, juice like nectar
Ability: fine, very strange, not bad, surely unique, might repeat

I never realized that winter warmer was an actual style. I once considered a heavily alcoholic, robust, fire side sipper a winter warmer. I guess I was sorely mistaken. Snow Cap was quite an interesting experience with strong dark qualities and festive fruitiness. I am somewhat perplexed and intrigued by it. Hmmm.

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.56/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a crystal brown with a stunning red glow and a frothy tan head. Smells of fruity hops and sweet malt. Not too much there. I got light headed huffing this stuff trying to extract the aroma. What’s there is nice, but there’s just not much of it there. Flavor consisted of pungent dry hops with a light chocolate malt, a few slight spices and a huge dry finish. Mouth feel as a little on the light side with mild carbonation.

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Photo of nathanho
2.98/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Dark red amber - hard pour - low head - moderate lacing.

Smell - canned peas, spices, roots & chocolate.

Taste - metal, earth, spice, rootbeer? - some pleasant bitterness on the backside - metal.

Mouthfeel - silky, lightly chalky, slick

Drinkability - What's with all this metal I'm drinking tonight? What's the TSA going to do to me at the airport - I shudder to think...are they just cranking out their seasonal brews to get them on the shelves? Truth be told, the metallica of this brew is not as overwhleming as in the Sam Adams Winter Lager I tasted three seasonals ago...not bad.

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Photo of IntriqKen
4.6/5  rDev +31.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nice warm creamy head atop dark coppery tan pour quickly dissappates to a very small lacing. Aromas of brown sugar and carmel. Nice mouthful of tiny carbonation and comfortable alcohol warming going down.
Tastes of very light hops....nice malt...slight bitter chocolate.
Pleasant chocolate with brown sugar aftertaste. No bitterness.

Overall, pleasant warming holiday brew. Nicest thing from Pyramid.
Wish it was available year round. Even with the high alcohol content, I can drink these all night and love each and every one.
I've been enjoying these all year but now it is September. The last one I had was probably July and it was enjoyable. Tonight I opened the last one in the fridge and it was undrinkable for me. So just as a point of reference, 6 months maximum for cellaring IMHO.

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Photo of Gagnonsux
3.58/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Snow Cap has a dark, nutty brown color with a small and creamy light brown head. The aroma has a sweet malt smell, toasted, with a bit of spiciness. Touches of dry, hoppy smells are noted in the background. A sip starts with sweet malt flavors, caramel and molasses stand out among a standard sweet malt body. A piney hop taste is also in the mix, but plays second fiddle to the malts. Towards the finish a vague dark fruit flavor pops out alongside a vague alcohol taste. The finish concludes with a caramel sweetness. Overall, Snow Cap has a nice mix of flavors, but the overall experience is a little thin-flavored, especially in the middle of a sip. If Pyramid pumped up the malt flavor a bit this could be an excellent winter beer.

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Photo of whynot44
3.35/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark mahogany red with a decent tan head that disappears quickly leaving only a ring and faint traces of lace.

The aroma is roasted malt with a hint of pine needles.

The taste is the similar - roasted malts, hints of chocolate and caramel, and piney hops. The finish is pine needles with alcohol and a vague metallic aftertaste.

Medium bodied, although well balanced, the flavors are a little rough and the alcohol is too apparent, but is is drinkable and warming.

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Photo of Gaisgeil
3.02/5  rDev -14%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Waldowin and Newbie BIF '05 for the sample!

Pours a chestnut/red in color, fairly fizzy head that diminished into nothing after a few minutes. Nose is slightly metallic, reminds me of smelling canned beer through the pour opening. Slightly fruity, sweet cherries, baker's chocolate, smells fairly thin however somehow, everything being sort of faint. Taste is well balanced, nothing particulary sticking out about it, alcohol is overly present in the aftertaste, quite warming, suitably to style. Mouthfeel is a bit thin with the body leaving something to be desired. Quaffable for sure, but not overly exciting, one was quite enough for this brawny lad.

Slàinte! (but wear a jacket, it's cold out there!)

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Photo of GreenWBush
2.66/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Ruby/cherry in color, with a tan poofy head.

Rough aroma: malt, wort, vanilla, wallpaper glue, cola, heavy cream.

The tasty echoes some of the nose, with additional tongue-slaps of pennies, batteries, and other metallic twinges. Slight suggestion of berries. Drain-pour.

But that's about it. Just not a quaffable ale at all, though I had expected it to be. This was a beer that once turned me onto the world of strong ales.

This beer's mouthfeel is about its only strong suit.

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Photo of sinistrsam
4.2/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've never been terribly impressed with Pyramid, but this was a very interesting and exciting beer.
It was a winter ale, but easily as dark as a porter, poured with a medium-sized head. The aroma was mild roasted coffee, some fruits and toffee. Nothing too impressive as of yet. But then I tasted it.
I can't really even describe the taste of this beer, other than it was an evolution of flavors. It started creamy and fruity, and less bitter than a porter but became more bitter yet refreshing and warming as the taste lingered. It was refreshing, fruity, roasty and in general, completely different than any beer I've had, especially a winter. Yet another reason I love beer; predispositions to breweries or styles can be crushed just like that. Check this one out.

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Photo of silver0rlead
2.88/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a dark brown with a thin tan head that recedes quickly. Aroma is pretty simple, some piney hops, dark and roasted malt and some alcohol. The flavor has some roasted malt notes, toasted bread, spices, a bit of hops and some alcohol, boring. Mouthfeel is thin and drinkability is not very good. Never been impressed with any pyramid brew and this doesnt change that.

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Photo of SteveO1231
3.63/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was told that this brew was a good winter warer so when I saw it I grabbed it.

Poured dark brown, bright red when held to the light. Little tan head, does not retain very long. Moderate carbonation. Little bit of bubbly lacing.

Nice scent of roasted malts and barley.

Rather light and crisp on the palate. Sweet malt flavor, followed by a sour spicy bitterness.

Descent, but not that impressed, Tasted a little watered down to me.


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Photo of waldowin
3.75/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, dark amber, never really opaque. A light tan head that fades to a ring, and then sticks around. Good lacing.

Smells of dark malts, toast, and walnuts.

Tastes of roasted malts, raisins, and roasted nuts, with a hint of smoke in the finish. Robust and hearty, almost like a weak RIS.

Mouthfeel is thick and bubbly, chewy as it rolls over the tongue.

Drinks pretty handily. I'd recommend trying it with cookies, as I am mine!

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Photo of rowew
3.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz short neck bottle. Twist off cap. new label design this year, with the enjoy by date stamped on the neck's label.

Appearance: Label describes the color as mahogany - it pours a very dark brown with red around the edges. Off-white head that fades quickly.

Smell: Just a hint of alcohol with some malty aromas and spices. There are a bit of hops in there too.

Taste: Pretty well rounded - not very sweet. The spice is nice, and it has a bit of a hoppy finish.

Overall impression: Decent winter warmer - not the most exciting one out there, but worth a try.

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Photo of mattcrill
2.98/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Enjoy by 4/26/06 printed on the neck of the twist off bottle.

Appearance: An amber brown pour with a visibly carbonated body. An off white head that quickly fades to suds.

Smell: Banana bread, raisins, a touch of yeast, and a bit of maple. Smells a touch papery (oxidized???)

Taste: Raisins, wheat bread, a touch of some raw hop bitterness, and then kind of a watery finish. Leaves just a touch of alcohol behind on the palate.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with some lively carbonation.

Drinkability: Easy enough but pretty boring overall. Maybe a good winter beer for non-craft beer fans. Probably won't re-visit.

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Photo of ElGordo
3.97/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep brown color with garnet highlights and a one-finger tan head, creamy with large bubbles. Sweet aroma of roasted malt, with some chestnut and brown sugar notes. Palate is full of roasted dark malt, tempered by a nice hoppy bitterness. Notes of brown sugar, plum, and dry ale yeast are present. The finish is crisp and dry, which is a bit of a curveball, but pleasant. Medium, creamy body is just a tad thin for the style, though still substantial. An enjoyable seasonal ale, and one of the best offerings from a usually mediore brewery.

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Photo of Ricochet
4/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not much to say about this, other than it was very good across the board and makes a nice drinker with food or watching a movie. This is not an everyday beer, and that makes it a damn good drinker.

A: Dary ruby amber, little head

S: Complex, with a little raisin, some alcohol and a lot of the malt scent. Hops too making themselves known.

M: Stong with good foaming action in the mouth that goes down like a stronger beer should.

T: Well, it tastes just like it smells. The hops really make themselves known however and they are welcome. Also a touch of the licorace and raisin flavors. This is good stuff.

D: Yes, this is a great seasonal, and it does have price/drinkability to rate it is a buy-again beer.

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Photo of Muddybuddy
3.11/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

****Edit: Apparently this sample WAS from last year (2004) and I bought it from a stash that had been saved. I noticed that this years batch has new labels. So the aging process will tend to mellow out that hops quality quite a bit and more to my liking.***

I almost always try to get both a tap and bottle of this to sample every year, as the tastes wildly differ and are seldom the same. Last year the tap was almost too hoppy and the bottle was not so much with malt flavors fairly balanced. This year (2005), though I have not had it on tap yet, the malt flavor seems a bit overpowering, but more suited to the season than last year.
I prefer a good dark stout or porter style beer with good hop or specialty ingredient balancing for a winter seasonal, and even though this isn't that, I have to concede that it is a quality brew that has many facets that I have yet to explore. I believe I may try to cellar a few and see what flavor the brew takes on.
I'll let you know ;-)

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Snow Cap from Pyramid Breweries, Inc.
Beer rating: 3.51 out of 5 with 874 ratings