Snowstorm 2009 | August Schell Brewing Company

very good
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Snowstorm 2009Snowstorm 2009

Brewed by:
August Schell Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: Baltic Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Buebie on 10-26-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 60 | Ratings: 69
Photo of Stinkypuss
3.28/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

August Schell Snowstorm, poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. A dark brownish amber in color with a bit of lace.

Aroma comes off quite light just a whiff of chocolate malt.

Flavor consists of roasted malt and a lingering minerally bitterness. Light syrupy chocolate on the palate. A bit of clean alcohol is noted.

Mouthfeel is full bodied with chewey malt.

Drinkability is fine, an average example of a baltic porter that delivers the basics but doesn't surprise.

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Photo of dfried
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Almost black with some ruby and mahogany hues, a sudsy light brown head that keeps well as a cap. Sweet, malty, cocoa-ish aroma with notes of vanilla and a slight nuttiness. Roasty charred grain. More charred grain at first sip, along with anise. Dark fruits fold in as it finishes, and flavors similar to dried and candied pineapple and mango, possibly from the hops making an appearance. Dark chocolate sweetness and the anise are there throughout, with the fruity notes more apparent in the finish. The texture is rather smooth and creamy, not quite silky like a cream stout, but never harsh. A bit sticky on the lips.

Overall: medium bodied with strong but not overpowering flavors makes it quite drinkable. I love the candied fruit flavors. A fine, balanced winter warmer.

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Photo of gford217
3.85/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle courtesy of buebie poured into a tulip.

This one pours super dark brown, I'm almost tempted to say black, but not quite. It's got a small but very thick head that remains a cap for much longer than I expected and left very good lacing.

The aroma is highly roasted with black malts and some bakers chocolate coming through. There is some underlying molasses sweetness and licorice as well.

The taste has an initial sweetness from the caramelized sugars and dark chocolate, and the taste seems to be sweeter than the aroma in general. There are some roasted coffee hints in the background but it's not as prevalent as I was expecting.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied and extremely smooth. It's probably a little lighter than the best Baltic porters out there, but its very good, especially given the lighter ABV. Very drinkable.

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Photo of brewdoc75
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Enjoying this during a massive snowstorm. We are supposed to get 18 inches of snow with wind and ice. It's a good thing I stocked up for the holidays yesterday.

A: Dark brown with ruby and mahagony hues. Strong, everlasting, 1/2 inch off-white head with moderate carbonation.

S: Chocolate, hints of coffee and toffee aromas. Herbal and earthy hops.

T: Flavorful, yet subtle. Lots of light chocolate flavors. Some toffee and caramel. A hint of coffee here and there. The hops finish with a nice herbal component. The flavors are quite enjoyable and well balanced. I even get a hint of fruitiness, which is nice. The flavors go very well with the cold weather outside. The only downside is a that the alcohol is a bit subdued for the style.

M: Medium bodied and smooth. Finishes a bit velvety. Nice.

D: A very nice winter beer. Lots of flavors, but not too overpowering. Sessionable. Maybe they will keep this around a bit longer. We need more Baltic Porters.

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Photo of billab914
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to mnjeff for this one. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. Pours nearly black with a modest tan head that settled to a thin covering.

Aroma has some roasted malts with some chocolate, but also a somewhat sweet fruitiness. Taste has a roasted chocolate flavor that is offset by some sweet fruity flavors. Also has a slightly bitter finish.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good, I enjoyed this one a lot. It was nicely balanced in that the roasted bitter flavors and the sweetness went well together to make a very drinkable and enjoyable beer. Something I could easily have more of.

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Photo of cokes
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Generally opague black with glints of auburn poking out when the glass is held up. The pale khaki head is a whipped cream blanket on top, slowly diminishes and leaves all sorts of lace.
Big time caramel and chocolate-covered raisin nose. Fruit deepens over time with more prune emphasis, along with a background woodiness.
Dripping lush caramel as it rolls onto the tongue. There is a backing from anise and carob, eventually forming a full-fledged cocoa impression. Fruitiness gathers in the middle, in a stew of black cherries, figs, golden raisins, and prunes. A dash of coffee ground bitterness precede the woody hop bitterness, as this then lingers afterward with liquorice.
Medium bodied with a low, steady CO2. There is a muscularity here despite being on the low end of the Baltic Porter strength scale. The heavy sweet tones are predominant but balance is maintained. Don't be prejudiced by a perceived "smallness" here as I was prior to tasting it. The homework has been done on this.
Love the old school labels too.

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.02/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks mnjeff!

pour is deep cola with a quick light creamy head.

fig, roasted malts, sweet, a touch of charcoal

light and sweet up front with a light roasted malt flavor. a bit of dark cherry and light molasses.

fairly full but quite light and easy to drink

it has the attributes of a baltic porter, only on the lighter end. does not quite remind me of a "baltic" porter but def an english porter. very easy and very flavorful. well done.

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

I poured my bottle into a 16 oz mug.

The following is taken from my review @ -

I'm reminded of the phrase, "Don't judge a book by its cover." My first consideration of this beer speaks volumes in relation to that phrase.

When I first looked at the label, I thought, "Hey, this looks like a typical, domestic, run of the mill lager." Wow, was I off! Out pours a dark porter and a delicious looking beer (I completely failed to read the label around the neck, "Baltic Porter"). Unfortunately, for not doing my homework, namely not knowing that it was a porter, I poured the beer into my mug wrong, but managed to shake up a decent looking head and I'm continuing to swirl as I sip. Personally, I'd say the pour for a porter should be somewhere in between a lager and a stout, so kind of down the middle, but a little down the side(Beer snobs are thinking "This guy doesn't know what he's talking about").

I'm earning a very thin layer of head with my swirl, but its there and the retention is pretty good. The taste offers a dark, burnt coffee flavor, with enough sweetness to form a contrast, culminating into a balance that is quite remarkable. The color of the beer is damn near pitch black, but I'll save the 100% category for the stout I run into that deserves it. The lacing is thin, but the head itself is darker than that of Breckenridge's Christmas Ale, similar to the foam of a fancy coffee. The body of the brew is generally medium-heavy, but just a tad bit heavier than Breckenridge's Christmas Ale. The bitterness of the brew is very close to that of Breckenridge's Christmas Ale as well (if only a little drier), so you could definitely pair the two as I have done.

This is a very drinkable beer, but I'm guessing 5-6 of these in a night and you'd be set. If you see it, definitely give it a try. The ABV is 5.8%, and its only brewed once a year. In fact, this brewery sends out a different style of brew with the name Snowstorm every holiday season. I like that idea. Here's to August Schell Brewing Company: Cheers, and drink well!

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Photo of ZAP
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Dark brown/ruby colored...nice tan creamy head..

S-Chocolate, caramel, molasses. plums and hints of coffee,

T-Very roasted malt flavor... finishes with an alcohol spiked plum fruitiness/booziness...a real nice rich chocolate layer as well..almost like dark chocolate cake batter, but not overdone...just a layer in the overall flavor...

M-Creamy...medium bodied despite the lower ABV for the style... I've had several Baltic Porters with much more heft and body than this but this has a decent body to it...medium to full I'd call it...very creamy

D-Interesting version of a baltic porter...comes with a little German style doppelbock influence which is not surprising because few US breweries do German style as well as Schells. Does not quite measure up to some of the well known Baltic Porters in flavor intensity or size....but I find this quite enjoyable for what it is. Definitely a nice pick for this years Snowstorm.

I'm hoping some of the Anniversary series draft beers will find their way back in Snowstorm bottles in the future.

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Photo of kartoffelsalat
3.88/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass.

The appearance is very dark with a 1/2" head which had decent retention and the lacing on the glass was significant.

Smells of black patent malt are strong and perhaps a hint of smoke was picked up too. No hops are detectable in the smell.

Tastes like a well balanced porter with a bit of booziness finish, which I enjoyed. The front was sweet but balanced by the dark roasted malt.

Mouthfeel, yea I felt it. smooth and goes down easy. for a 5+% beer, this one could be sessioned by a winter campfire.

I would recommend this beer to anyone who likes porters, and hopefully next year's snowstorm will impress again.

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Photo of MPLS
3.2/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Interesting to think that the style of the Winterstorm brew changes every year. Althought there was no formal review I remember being impressed by last year's version of this beer. It made for a very affordable 12-pack. I am giving this one a try in a single 12 oz bottle.

A: Poured into my Uptown Tattoo Surly exclusive pint glass, I mean neon green Surly logo. The color is a dark non-descript dark ruby with 1 cm head that held little retention. Lacing is spotty, certainly not sticking to glass like Spiderman.

S: Coffee, very tame smoke, nuts, and call me crazy but a hint of bubble gum and bananas. This is rather mellow to the noise, nothing huge and I had to get the nostrils in pretty deep.

T: A nutty roasted coffee like beer with short lived vanilla+banana aftertaste. A small trace of chocolate can be find too. I feel like this beer could be more robust and flavorful for the style. I find the aftertaste of this beer not to my liking and a little skewed for the style. Pleasant tasting, but I'll be generous and say it's average.

M: Alright mouthfeel, thin is in according to this baltic porters body, but rather silky at the same time.

D: I enjoyed last years offering more compared to this years...or at least my memory is telling me this. It remains and affordable brew, but I'd pick others over it. This beer just doesn't entice my buds for it's style, but I was never disgusted with it. The alcohol was masked well and I'd choose a local brew like this on tap over other offerings in the right situation.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.1/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Blackened mahogany with a deep slim glow. Very slippery and short stacked cap of tan foam laps up quickly then fades to some spotty lacing and a broken collar.

Aroma of deep dark breadyness and darker sweetened maltyness that carries some molasses, cocoa, fig, plum, and vanilla.

Taste has much more chocolate noting to it. Quite tootsie rollish and moderately creammy and smoothed over in a soft, delicate purge of dark fruity malt with raisin, fig, plum, and noted molasses and light vanilla. There's a puff of cocoa and cinnamon in the finishing area as it softens with alluring dryness of flourless tort.

Feel is a solid medium and carbonated just right with a well maintained smooth creamyness. Coats the palate well with chocolate maltyness and other forms of dark fruity malt as it lightens into a bit of airy dryness in the finish with some dark cookie spice.

Schell's Snow Snow is usually one of the better offerings they put out and this years' rendition of a Baltic Porter is a dandy. Not quite up to par with the Eastern European standards of the style, more stouty, but remarkable done well with that nice German touch of craftability that Schell's always puts into their beers.

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Photo of blackearth
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black body with ruby red corners. Thin off-white head that quickly fades. Aroma of toasted peat malts. Medium bodied with low to medium carbonation. Flavor is a blast of roasted malts - dried plums, coffee, hint of vanilla. A great dark malty brew.

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Photo of budgood1
3.51/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours out an opaque brown colour with barely seen ruby highlights. frothy, bubbly tannish head...slow to recede and sticking nicely to the edges of the glass as i sip. there is a nice smoky nose accentuated by some dark roasted malts and ripe red fruit notes. the taste is a nicely balanced combination of maltiness...some chocolate and toffee mixing in with some malted milk balls, a hint of sourness, and a creamed coffee note. a touch of floral hopping rounds thing out nicely. tastes good but not really in the true baltic porter tradition. it has a medium but firm body. mouthfeel is creamy and smooth albeit just a touch thinner than i had hoped. i find the drinkability just tastes good, smells good and looks good.

a well constructed porter with a great deal of character. very approachable. i can honestly say that when i heard of the style for this years snowstorm offering i was eager with anticipation. i'm a bit let down after sampling but certainly not disappointed.

definitely recommended. another quality snowstorm rendition by schell.

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Photo of katan
4.05/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz into a pint

A - Pours a dark brown to black. Against the light I can see just a hair of amber highlights. Mocha colored film formed, not much head. Well retained. Carbonation is light.

S - Roasted and chocolate malts. I would say the roasted, caramel, and toffee notes are most prevalent with a light chocolate backdrop. Some alcohol phenolic notes.

T - Starts off with a light malt flavor, chocolate, some vanilla notes. Some yeast astringency. Gets a fairly bitter backbone midstream, with only a hair of english hopping coming through. Some alcohol detected. Finishes with a smooth bittersweet chocolate note, which then turns to a "aged coffee" acidic bite.

M - Moderate body - not as creamy as some of the other baltics I've had. Carbonation is a strong component of the body. Does leave behind a clinging sweetness.

D - Moderate drinkability - exceptionally low ABV for a baltic, which probably drags it out of BJCP style. Somewhat filling at times. Overall very easy to drink for a BP.

Certainly worth trying.

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Photo of mikey711
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Very deep brown with only a tiny amount of head and no lacing.

S: Biscuits and caramel, very mellow and not too aromatic

T: I was surprised in a very good way. Nice balance of chocolate, biscuits and caramel.

M: Very smooth and decent amount of body. No booziness.

D: I could probably put two bottles of this back but wouldnt want much more than that

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Photo of mothman
3.45/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Schells pint glass.

Pours hardly any light tan head. Fizzles down instantly. Leaves some very thin splattered lace. Color is a dark chocolate, caramel hued, brown.

Aroma: For some odd reason this reminds me a touch of 2008 snowstorm (if I remember correctly). A lot of smoked/roasted malts, caramel, dark fruits (dried cherry).

Taste: Very dry tasting first off. A ton of smokey/roasted malts. Caramel, chocolate and cherry again. For some reason, this really isn't what I was expecting.

Mouthfeel: Very dry, light crispness. For the style, the body is really thin and the carbonation is very low. Leaves a sticky dry aftertaste (very roasty).

Overall, it's not a bad beer, just not what I was expecting. Definitely has Schells German style written all over it though. It is drinkable, but I'll stick to one during a sitting.

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

Very dark shade of ruby. Nearly opaque. Creamy, sticky brown foam laces the bottle nicely as I drink. Pretty nice aroma of roasted cashews, vanilla and dark malts. This beer packs a fair amount of flavor even if the a/v seems a little shallow for a Baltic. Chocolate roasted tones stand out. And smooth caramel with some accents of nuts and a little anise. Medium bodied and lightly carbonated. Pretty creamy mouthfeel. Solid beer.

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Photo of dbossman
3.95/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Very dark brown with a finger head that dissipates to a fingernail; good lacing

S: Sweet roasted malts and chocolates; subtle toffee, coffee, and caramel; there is also something slightly smoky in the aroma

T: Sweet and malty; nice chocolate characters; there is also a nice bitterness on the back end; the toffee and caramel that I subtly caught in the aroma are also subtly in the taste

F: Pretty even mouth coat; a bit over carbonated

D: Easy going delicious porter; it's rich and sweet but not too much

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Photo of CHSLBrew
3.65/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a pint glass.

A-Dark, dark brown beer, but not quite black. Light brown head rises nicely off the pour and sustained ok to a thin layer.

S-semi-sweet chocolate malt, slight roast. Toasty toffee.

T-Lots of chocolate, toffee sweetness off the first sip, which fades into a subtle bitterness. Lingering choco-bitterness at the end mixes with a slight hoppiness and dark fruit appearing here and there.

M-Moderate-high carbonation, give a bit of a bite and is evidently a bit too much. The body feels quite on, though, presenting a heavier-moderate feel.

D-Tasty, but not a spectacular brew. It's very easy to drink, and each sip is enjoyable, yet it's just not quite perfect.

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Photo of jjanega08
4.42/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A= pours a nice black color with a little amber shining through the edges just enough to let me know its not a complete black out. The head pours up two fingers and then falls to half a finger and sticks around at about there throughout the drink. No lacing on my glass though :/
S= there's a really nice sweet toffee smell to it. Loads of toffee actually with a ton of rich sweet caramel. Smells like dessert actually. I later start to notice a little smokeyness as my nose adapts.
T= again with the super sweet toffee flavor. Tons of caramel as well. Like a nice rich sweet dessert. After a moment I do notice on the label that this beer was lagered which would explain the mouthfeel a little more and when I read it I thought it would make the flavor suffer but this beer is so smooth and clean with such awesome flavors it all works out. Really great. The smokeyness I smelled never really shows up which is a little sad but its so gread.
M= this is where I do think it suffers a little. The lager yeast might make it a little too light and crisp for such a great flavor. I wish the taste would hang out just a little longer in my mouth for me to enjoy.
D= great beer. Wow this is really good. A hit outta the ballpark with this one. Awesome job Schells. I'll be buying a ton of this. So sweet and smooth at the same time. If the mouthfeel was a little different it would be one of my favorite beer right now.

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Photo of Overlord
3.9/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to a generous trader.

Pours a dark, cola-esque brown. Tiny tan head. Smells like cocoa, some toasted sugars and malt, and maybe a bit of bitter coffee. Mmm...smells good.

Taste is strangely lager-esque. Almost like a doppelbock, with the sweet malt/sugar backing, a touch of chocolate (the coffee vanishes), and an interesting lingering roasty mouthfeel.

A nice, supple, balanced beer I wouldn't go out of my way to find, but if it was reasonable priced would buy all the time. If there's a downside, it's the watery mouthfeel.

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Photo of BeenJammin
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is a monochromatic dark brown but lacks what I would call a head. Smells really good with a lot of roasted malts and some sweetness. Chocolate and smoky and roasty flavors and medium in mouthfeel. Full of flavor and I could get this again once. It will be a great holiday beer.

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Photo of CRichardsMN
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark Brown, weak dirty brown head that falls quickly to a creamy ring. Leaves a small amount of spotty lacing.

Very smooth, nutty and roasted. Nice hints of sweet caramel.

Again, incredibly smooth nutty roasted malts. Slightly sweet with a small bit of bitterness. Very nicely balanced.

Smooth and creamy with light carbonation, almost flat. Medium heavy body and clean.

Smooth, balanced and clean. Interesting and full of flavor. Very good.

I hope they make this a regular offering, it's really that good!

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Photo of drpimento
2.8/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Somewhat interesting effort, but not up to snuff as far the actual Baltic regional brews. Poured with a small to medium tan head and a bit of lace. Color is an almost opaque brown with cherry highlights. Aroma is standard porter. Flavor is simple standard porter. Body is a bit thin, but good carbonation. Not so strong for a traditional Baltic Porter. Ok, finish.

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Snowstorm 2009 from August Schell Brewing Company
3.92 out of 5 based on 69 ratings.
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