Snowstorm 2004 | August Schell Brewing Company

Snowstorm 2004Snowstorm 2004
23 Ratings
Snowstorm 2004Snowstorm 2004

Brewed by:
August Schell Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): not listed

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
This year years beer was referred to as a "dark amber cream ale."

Added by garymuchow on 11-02-2004

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 23 |  Reviews: 21
Reviews by Southernbrew:
Photo of Southernbrew
3.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a medium red-brown, pretty small head.

Not much aroma, a bit nutty, some malt. A bit lacking in my opinion.

Medium bodied but on the lighter end. Pretty smooth. Mostly malt in the flavor, a bit bittersweet, hops make a weak, brief experience. Middle brings up a faint bready flavor that remains throughout. No real aftertaste.

Not bad, I've had many better ambers or whatever this is. I think Schell needs to man up and make a bigger beer for winter. How about a barleywine or impy stout?

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More User Reviews:
Photo of skybluewater
3.2/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a deep amber color, no lace. Smells a bit malty. Taste is pretty nice, nothing special, but not bad either. Mouthfeel's a bit thin. It tastes quite a bit like Firebrick lite, in all honesty.

I don't recall liking last year's Snowstorm, so this one's a step up for me. Nothing special here, however. I would love to try that cherry-vanilla porter though...

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Photo of ADR
3.42/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

For 2004, Snowstorm is a "Dark Amber Ale"...sometime these traditional Lager brewers need to do a big ass Double Bock or Eisbock, but that's just me. Dark copper color, transparent. Head diminishes quickly to just a skin. Thin and sparse horizontal strings on the glass. Caramel aroma, nice but that's about all there is. A little gritty and deconstructed in flavor, sense of hopping early, a bit of lemon and tamarind. The mouthfeel is on the lighter side, I expected more slickness and fullness given that oats are tossed in the malt bill. Fades quite a bit at the back but what's a little more of a letdown is a pasteboard flavor that's not as pleasant as the aroma implies. Not a big favorite for me this year.

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Photo of cokes
2.12/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark bronze under yellowed foam.
Dazzling (ahem..) aromatics of caramelized cabbage, with some Cornnuts tossed in for good measure.
Enters weakly malty in a loose, brown sugar sense. Faint suggestions of nuts and toastedness. Then it just recedes into nothing....aside from a wavering vegetal sourness. Nothing good here, but at least it doesn't taste as repulsive as it smells.
Light body. Flaccid feel.
I'm suprised at this effort out of Schell's. Seems more like it should be named "Grain Belt Dark".

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.65/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Schell's 2004 edition of Snowstorm delivers a crystal-clear reddish-copper body beneath a creamy tan head that holds fairly well and leaves some inital rings of craggy lace about the glass. The nose is malty, nicely toasty and even a bit nutty; backed by a thin thread of background hops. It's nicely dextrinous and creamy across the palate with a restrained carbonation and medium body. The flavor mirrors the aroma with its toasty and caramelish malt dominating. Spicy and grassy hops and a solid bitterness do appear across the middle, however, and it finishes dry with a lingering toastiness and swirls of spicy hops. It's a decent session ale, and would probably be quite nice cask-conditioned.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.38/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

decent, nothing incredible, but nice for the style. Light amber in color with a smooth, even, head of white on top that faded off after a couple of moments. Light lacing was left by the side. Aroma is bready, hints of caramel and grassy notes and warming brought out tons of grains. Light, crisp and clean taste, light grassy hops and a smooth even caramel malt base

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Photo of santoslhalper
2.66/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearence: Pours a clear dark red with a thin creamy off-white head.

Smell: The malts are the only thing you smell. Unbalanced and not that pleasing.

Taste and Mouthfeel: At first it's adecent sweet malty flavor, followed by an incredibly water down hop taste. The flavor is weak, and doesn't taste like anything special. The mouthfeel is super thin.

Drinkability and Overall: In my opinion, an ESB is a hard style to do right, and this a perfect example of my theory. This one is watered down. Blah. Average, average beer.

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Photo of TastyTaste
4.2/5  rDev +33.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

My bottle describes this as a Dark Amber Ale
Pours a dark red copper color, with a very small head. Smells faintly of roasted malt and cotton candy sweetness. Flavor has a slight coffee flavor, with a smooth creaminess (from, as the bottle states, oats). Decent sized hops backing. Body is a little thin, and I was hoping for a bigger, more adventerous beer from schell this winter, but this is not a bad choice. For $9.50 a 12 pack, it was an excellent value.

After finishing the bulk of a twelve pack, i have updated my ratings to show my satisfaction with this fine beer. Every sip was delicious and refreshingly different.

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Photo of Frozensoul327
3.43/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured out to a caramel/red color with a short lived head that came down to about 1/8 of an inch. Aromas of nuts and caramel, with a nice malt backbone. Medium carbonation. Taste was solid for a season semi-macro; flavors of malt, caramel, and earthy grass notes. Very smooth mouthfeel made the grade, and this is one of the better winter beers i've had, despite the fact it is being consumed in September 2005. Good drinkability, i'd call this a seasonal session brew. This is simply another proof that Schell is doing something right. Recommended.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.03/5  rDev +27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle description lists it as a "creamy amber ale."

Aroma begins with a lightly toasted, slightly caramel quality and stays with malt qualities through out. The bottle lists a "spicy hop aroma" that I find hard to pick up.
Beer pours with a smaller creamy colored head, that moves to a thin layer that is very persistent. Good amount of lacing. Dark amber color of orange/golds and browns. Clear. Good looking beer.
Immediately note a malty dryness that is there start to finish that mixes with moderate to strong hoppy spiciness and bitterness. This is the dominant flavors that covers the rather "hearty" malt character that's noted in the aroma. Malt increases its presence as the beer warms. Seems to lack a fruity quality.
No doubt this is creamy with a lot of softness from the carbonation. The carbonation also adds a strong sense of fullness to the beer. Medium thickness overall.
As with last years Snow Storm the enjoyment of the beer is enhanced by experiencing it as it warms. This brings out an unexpected array of flavors.
It is interesting that a traditional German brewery has been primarily using English Ale styles for its winter beer. The last four have been a porter (cherry/vanilla), scottish ale, brown ale and this ESB. They may not fit a BA's notion of hearty, and they certainly don't push the envelop of styles the way other American breweries have, but as they stand they are good to better than good examples of English ales, and are enjoyable in there own right.
My hat is off to the brewer who gives us something new to look forward to annually, even if it's in part just to complain about what it is not.

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Photo of BeerBuilder
3.01/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

First off, I gotta agree with ZAP...come on make a big beer! Jeez, they call this beer Snow Storm, it is a winter seasonal....and they brew a Dark Amber Ale...WTF. I know when I think cold, and winter...I think Dark Amber Ale...yeah, that will warm me up....NOT!

Alright on to the review.

Clear dark copper color with an off-white head that diminishes to just a ring. Does leave a bit of lacing. The aroma....ahhh...searching....seaching....I think it is running away. Very faint caramel malt aroma, with a bit of graininess. The flavor is semi-sweet caramel malts, with a touch of spicy hops and graininess. It is light in body and easy drinking.

Would be a good summer refresher, but a winter beer, please try again.

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Photo of tavernjef
2.59/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Glaring copper color with a soft yielding foam of yellowed puff about a finger high. Keeps a slim skim and laces well in broken sheeting and some spotting.

Aroma is a bit off, some smallish sweet malting but has some mixed wet cardboard and some dullish hop notes detected with a faintness. The offness is upsetting, there's definately something a rye with this.

Flavors are milding, kinda sweet, dry with a soft malting and even lighter hopping. Not exactly sure what I'm tasting here, it has cardboard with a vegetable sweetness and buttery corn nuts or plain fritos without the salt aspect. Weird and not enjoyable for what is suppose to be an ESB.

Feel is thin, borderline watery, slight drying and sweetness helps keep it more lively than most macros but not heads above anything that I'd prefer.

Slightly below average here for a any beer, ESB or not. Tame and lame.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.65/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliantly clear deep amber color with copper highlights. The head is a nice light amber color, and is medium sized. The aroma is nicely malty with a bit of hoppy spiciness thrown in to the mix. I get notes of sweet caramel, biscuits, an appealing graininess, and a hint of herbal spicy hops. This beer has quite an appealing nose to it, much better than I was anticipating. This beer lives up to the smooth and creamy billing, it slides right down. It is sweet up front with a slight hint of dark malts in the finish, that manifests itself as a toasty note. This beer is fairly light, but has a certain heft to it that probably comes from the oats used. The finish also has a kiss of spicy hoppiness along with a pleasing lightly bitter finish, which helps to balance some of the sweetness.

This is a nice solid beer, that hits the spot after a long day at work. A bit simplistic, but sometimes that is what is satisfying.

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Photo of ZAP
2.39/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2


As I work my way through this sixer I realize this is the worst Schells beer I have ever had....they should be embarrased to bottle this...I'd drink Meister brau before this...seriously....tastes like blood...metallic...highly unenjoyable...forget the fact they didn't have a big enough sack to try something "big"..what they did try fails miserably..this is one of the few beers I highly suggest not even trying...I feel shitty I wasted money on a six pack...they've got too many other solid beers I should have bought..This beer looks good...that's it..seriously...stare and look at the fucker and you'll be as giddy as a son of a bitch but just don't put it to your lips...

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Photo of budgood1
2.46/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

pours out a clear dark amber colour. light tan head and with a festive amount of lace around the glass. slightly candyish on the nose...light caramel, toffee with a malted milk ball aroma, too. completely understated, ambiguous and ghostly flavours of the aforementioned aroma. wow...this is one lame attempt at a winter themed beer. as an extra special bitter i supposed it's in the ballpark....schell claims it's a dark amber ale, but it's weak for an amber ale, too. mouthfeel is watery; body is lean and wimpy. washed out spicy hop flavour appears in the aftertaste, with a spattering of bitterness to leave the drinker rather unimpressed.

i can safely assume that this years rendition of snowstorm was brewed with the masses in mind with no thought given to those of us who appreciate a specialty craft brew. i hate to rail on our historic brewery in southern minnesota, but this years snowstorm is a gigantic let down.

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Photo of Bighuge
2.36/5  rDev -25.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Nice looking scarlet red appearance. Steady streams of carbonation surface at a moderate pace. And there's a skimming of beige cream on the surface. Nose is weak, but of toasted malts and spicy hops. Flavor is weaker. Watery mouthfeel. Flavor profile lacks substance. Toasted malts are perceptible at trace levels and there is some semblance of hops as well. Spicy?? Hard to tell. This one is damn unimpresive. The worst of their Blizzard and Snowstorm Ales that I've consumed (6 in all).

Their "Snow Storm" brews over the past 4 years have mostly been more like "Flurries." I plead to bring back the "Blizzard Ale" label, and with it, something more reprentative of what the label suggests: Bold Fucking Crazy Ass Brews....or at least something that's capable of warming your bones during a snowstorm/blizzard.

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Photo of assurbanipaul
3.48/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark amber with a good-sized, bone-colored head. Aroma is nice and malty.

Taste is malt and spice, a bit of cinnamon and gingerbread. Elements of fruit, some dark, some light, a touch of citrus. Mildly sweet, not real bitter. Rather a nondescript flavor, nothing bad, just nothing memorable that I might come back to.

Mouthfeel is smooth.and a little heavier due to the oats. Overall, not heavy-duty but not a bad ale. I think it does miss the style by far, however, if it is intended as a Winter Warmer of sorts. Thanks to TastyTaste for sharing this one.

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Photo of ALC82
4/5  rDev +27%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

too much change of pace from last years

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Photo of alexgash
3.28/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Rich, deep amber hue with dark copper edges and a dense, khaki head. Smells of caramel cookie dough malt, light [tropical] fruit, and spicy hops. Caramelly malt flavors up front; moderately sweetish. Turns to fruit with toasted edges. Rubbery, spicy hops move in. Finish is lightly bitter, but mostly sweet in a burnt-sugar-bock-y kinda way. Tries to be medium-bodied, but is a little thin. An okay "amber ale" that seems to stick close to Schell's lager roots. I hope they make something better for next year's snowstorm.

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Photo of einman
3.47/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of maxpower
3.13/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear reddish brown with a decent off- white head that leaves some sticky lacing, nice toasty nutty and caramel aroma. Malty, nutty and bready flavors, medium bodied with a somewhat syrupy mouthfeel, finishes sweet. I wouldn't call this an ESB, a brown ale maybe.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.49/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The label calls this beer a 'dark amber ale' not an Extra Special Bitter. The Schell website states that Snowstorms from other years have included a cherry vanilla porter, a mead and a raspberry chocolate beer. I find myself wishing that I had one of those in front of me instead of this 2004 version, but that isn't entirely fair since I haven't tasted it yet.

Dusky pumpkin orange with generous infusions of red and amber. The creamy head is toasted tan in color and has a gently rocky surface. Fat strands of lace begin to stick to the glass as the cap recedes, but melt away before too long at all.

The nose isn't good by any measure. It's underpowered, grain-like and lightly spicy, lacking even a minor amount of appeal. The flavor is barely better. Snowstorm is malt dominant, but only in the sense that hops contribute almost nothing. Each sip delivers a harsh, borderline metallic, not-quite-burnt toast flavor with an overlay of unidentified spices.

Snowstorm 2004 is one of the worst winter beers that I've had this year and was a minor chore to finish. It's too bad that August Schell couldn't have come up with something a little more interesting, as it seems they have other years. Other than their Pale Ale, I'm not sure that they're capable of brewing beer that's much above average. My advice is to wait for next year's Snowstorm.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
2.89/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear, deep amber color, thick, creamy, rocky head of foam, nice retention...looks okay..
Aroma: not much there, faint hints of cocoa & nuts, but that's stretching it. Largely empty, as an ESB ought to be, mighty malty, nothing from hops.
("slightly spicy hop aroma" says the label. Oh, I beg to differ...maybe by a stretch of the slight do you want to go?)
Taste: brief, fruity bitterness, light bodied, just a glimmer of a finish, that rests on the palate for a moment, then departs. I can imagine this would fit in fine in an English pub, perhaps, but like others, I'm at a loss to figure why this would work as a winter seasonal. Perhaps it's time for Schell to really rethink what they're doing with the SnowStorm idea, and stick to a consistent program.
As an ESB, it's passable, workable, drinkable, but not too special.
"Schell's an ESB!" ...nope, doesn't work!
And, by the way, "it's creamy smoothness comes from the brewmaster's judicious use of oats in the mash."

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Snowstorm 2004 from August Schell Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.15 out of 5 with 23 ratings
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