Schell's Snowstorm 2012 | August Schell Brewing Company

very good
21 Reviews
no score
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Brewed by:
August Schell Brewing Company
Minnesota, United States

Style: Bière de Garde

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
A French style Christmas beer. Expect a light amber beer with red tints that is malt forward with noticeable yeast flavors of white pepper
and citrus from an authentic French ale yeast.
Slight herbal hop note in the background,
with a spicy, citrusy, peppery aroma.

Added by jera1350 on 10-28-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 21 | Ratings: 79
Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From tasting notes. L: Pours brilliant deep amber to chestnut under a thin tan foam collar.
S: The nose is spice, cinnamon, orange, cardamom, over malt, light clove
T: the flavors are the spices over a light malt, some honey, light caramel sweetness that is answered by a light hop touch in the finish. Behind the fruit cake there is a hint of chocolate but very faint. There is some drying astringency in the finish from the spice that helps balance the sweetness.
F: medium full body, medium high carbonation
O: Not as funky French as it could be but is still a good beer.

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Photo of youknowmyname
3.07/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Odor: From the bottle I got a real strong sourdough smell. Once I poured it into a tall tulip glass, the scents came out. Sweet toasted malts, yeast and a hint of something bitter on the end.

Pour: Filtered. Pours a deep bronze with a minimal head. Nice lacing that dissipates quickly.

Taste: Medium body. Very smooth with decent carbonation. Very earthy tasting at the beginning. The malt and yeast really hold the taste until you swallow and then slight sweet notes come out; caramel, toffee, something along those lines but very faint and then the malt comes back with a slight nuttiness that lingers. To anyone who has ever made beer or ever been in the back end of a brewery, think of the smell of Barley Malt Syrup and mix that with walnuts that is the lingering aftertaste.

Opinion: Not bad, not great. I probably wouldn't hunt this one down, but glad to try a new beer. I think if you were a fan of lower end bocks but wanted something a bit different, you would probably dig this a lot.

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Photo of Shabedue
3.76/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

First off, I got this beer for <$.50/bottle as it's now June 2013 so the beer is not fresh.

Appearance- Brown to red. Head disappears within a minute but some lacing persists.

Smell- Interesting, I detect a bit of bready maybe even nutty undertone. Plum and "dark" fruit character.

Taste- Mouth feel is appropriate, medium attenuation that makes its presents known without being overbearing. Sweet character shares space with the bready/nutty taste about evenly. The sweetness balance almost reminds me of a belgian tripel and has similar mouthfeel. Finishes velvety but clears immediately.

Overall- I like this beer quite a bit. I wish I had picked it up fresher although I don't think the age had too much impact.

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Photo of Foam
3.25/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

got a single bottle at my local bottle shop.
never been a big Schell guy but the bottle-shop has most of the 2012 Winter Brews on sale for about $1.50 or so a bottle. Hard to pass up.
i had a big indulgent easter meal of salty ham and cheese grits and wanted some carbonated beverage to purge the air from my stomach and aid digestion.

appears as a dark amber lager-y brew with banana/spice/clove/candy nose appeals.
taste is along same lines as banana spicy but dry-er than seems usual for this type of beer. it's a bit restrained in that way. i'd prefer it to be a bit sweeter. a little bit moreso, anyway.
as another reviewer noted - it's a beer that I would only want 1 of at a time ... it's a bit much for session-ing as are most winter beers... more suited for pairing with holiday foods ...

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Photo of mothman
3.75/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This was one of the more unique offerings from Schells that I have had.

Color is a clear amber brown with a little bit of white head. No lace noted.

Aroma: A lot of cloves, bananas, spice, and caramel. Some bready malt flavors. Somewhat fruity with some toffee notes. A bit of earthy hops.

Mouthfeel is kind of dry and sweet. Medium bodied with a medium amount of carbonation.

Overall, an enjoyable brew. I could only have one at a time though. I guess I have had talls at the bars, but only one. Nice beer for the season.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.07/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Schell's Snowstorm 2012 Biere de Noel Beer, August Schell Brewing Company, New Ulm, MN.

Clear, auburn/crimson hue, small, soon-gone white head.

Aroma: Malty and distinctly lovely. Belgian sweetness and Belgian funk. Flowery, fruity, and utterly delightful.

Taste: On the lips and tongue, a repeat of the nose. Sweetness hits, with a small, almost indiscernible dose of hops, with lush malt carrying the character. Belgian yeast delivers plenty of flavor.

I've never heard of the style "biere de noel", but if they are referring to a Belgian Christmas Ale, which is a rather loose style, this one delivers, though it also feels like a biere de garde. A bit more flavorful, spicier version?

Medium body, long, malty/spicy finish, forever flavorful.

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Photo of scot_chale
3.74/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Clear copper body with 1 finger of a white creamy head that subsides rather quickly. Very little apparent carbonation activity.

S- Faint. I get a bit of caramel malt and maybe a banana type smell. You have to really stick your nose in to get it though.

T- Delicious. It's got an alcohol burn, it's sweet, it's slightly bitter, it's just a really nice beer. It's got a sourness that's really appealing too. It's a complex flavor that had me going for a second taste very quickly.

M- A little heavy on the carbonation. It's dry. I'd like a softer mouth feel with a little more flavor to linger over. The alcohol burn on the back of the throat is a nice touch though.

O- My first Biere de Garde. This wasn't my favorite snow store of all time, but it's a nice offering. I feel like this gave me a base upon which i can judge further brewery's offerings. I would buy six to share with my home brewing friends, but leave it alone at that. If i were in a dinner situation, i'd order it for sure.

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Photo of budgood1
3.74/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours out a hazed auburn colour with a foamy off white head, a half inch thick reducing down rather nicely to some thinnish lace. first thing on the nose is a champagne inspired grape skin fruitiness, some dark fruity and funky maltiness, and a tertiary nut and pine base aroma. smells unique for sure. the flavour profile is belgian like...funk infused yeastiness intertwined with dry cocoa and nougat maltiness. a mid tongue fruit sweetness throws down a hint of currant and berry notes. a slight boozy/brandy alcohol warmth appears, followed by a nut and fig finish complimented by a slight spicy hop bitterness which lingers ever so longingly. there is definitely some welcome layers of complexity to this ale. tastes very nice. the mouthfeel is lightly prickly from the carbonation, otherwise about appropriate for what this offering is supposed to be. body is rock solid...mostly dry and well attentuated. drinkability is quite pleasant and maybe even a bit too easy for an ale of this style.

overall i'm impressed by this years snowstorm from Schell's. a belgian inspired brew from a strongly german/lager brewer. and they mostly nailed it in my humble opinion. winter season appropriate, and a great treat on a bitterly cold northern Minnesota eve soaking in hockey day in Minnesota and the return of the NHL. nice.

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Photo of zeff80
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a clear, ruby color with a one-finger, off-white head of bubbly foam. The long lasting head receded to leave sticky patches of lace.

S - It smelled of dried fruits - plum and fig. Some spicy notes.

T - Dried fruits - fig, plum and currants. Sweet bready malt with a touch of spiciness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry, clean finish.

O - This is always a good beer. I try not to miss it on my annual MN trip.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.3/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Sam Adams "Perfect Pint" glass.

Appearance: Pours a deep copper amber orange with a lot of rising bubbles. Big four finger off white head with good retention. Leaves a lot of lacing sticking to the glass.

Smell: A malty, yeasty, fruity, and spicy aroma. Lively French yeast and toasted malt with hints of banana, clove, and pepper. Bready biscuit, caramel, toffee, and cracker. Hints of apple and dark cherry along with some citrus lemon. Light hints of earthy and herbal hops that linger in the background. Kind of smells like a Belgian ale. A very solid aroma.

Taste: Like the aroma hints, a spicy, yeast driven and fruity taste. Good mix of malts and French yeast that give a taste of bananas and apple along with some clove and white pepper spicing. Malt notes of bready biscuit, wheat grains, cracker, caramel, and toffee. Also a subtle taste of dark cherry and lemon zest. Mild taste of hops with some earthy herbal hops in the background. A really nice taste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, spicy, and pretty smooth.

Overall: A really solid Belgian like beer. Solid mix of spices and fruity esters. Kind of like Surly's Cynic Ale.

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Photo of DrFermento
3.64/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I guess the closest I could compare this to would be a Belgian Ale, although it also reminds me of a wheat beer too. The taste of banana sticks out with some other other fruity aftertones. This twelve pack was given to me by my next door neighbor who didn't much care at all for it. I'm sort of a seagull when it comes to beer so I couldn't refuse. Probably won't buy any myself though.

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Photo of hardy008
4.32/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear amber / copper color with a one finger off white head, with good retention and spotty lacing. the aroma has toasted malt, caramel, cloves, and yeast. Smells like it should be somewhat sweet.

Tastes pretty much like I expected. There is Caramel, toasted malt, cloves, yeast, some citrus, and a little pepper. This also has a bit of an herbal flavor to it. Not overly sweet, as there is some balance provided by the citrus hops and herbs.

Medium bodied with average carbonation. There is a bit of an herbal aftertaste. Nicely made, and well worth having again.

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Photo of NuclearDolphin
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Tulip Glass

Appearance - Clear Red/Brown color with moderate carbonation. Head pours around 1 finger in width which fades quickly. Doesn't leave behind any lacing though

Smell - Cloves, Caramel, Malts, Hops, and Barley. Not bad at all!

Taste - Cloves, Bananas, Caramel, Hops and Malts. Interestingly enough, this tastes almost exactly like a Hefeweizen. The only difference is that Hefeweizens are typically lighter and cloudier. However there is a slight spiciness to this beer, which adds an interesting kick to the flavor.

Mouthfeel - Moderate body and the carbonation is mild but adds some flavor. Served cold, it's really crispy and fresh!

Overall - My past experiences with the "Biere de Garde" have been rocky at the very best. So it makes me happy to say that this is how it's done right. It tastes great, it goes down well and it's an all around great beer.

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Photo of Mdog
3.65/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Clear brownish amber with a good head.

Smell: Quite aromatic, dark fruit, clove, bit of earthiness.

Taste: Mild sweetness and earthiness to start. Fruit flavors remind me of red wine but lean back to apples and malt breadiness. Dark fruit and earthy hops.

Overall: I always pick up at least a 6er of the Snowstorm every year. This year's version reminds me of a Belgian dubbel, quite earthy with dark fruit flavors. It's all right, but I'm just not a big fan of this style.

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Photo of TheQuietMan22
4.29/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving type: 12-ounce bottle. There are batch codes on the shoulder of the bottle but no discernable freshness date.

Appearance: Poured into a tulip. The color is dark amber. Two fingers of bubbly head dissipated quickly to leave a spotted lacing and bubbly ring around the edge.

Smell: Nice and spicy. It smells like Schell hijacked a batch from Unibroue and bottled it for themselves. Cloves and sharp pepper spice, lemon citrus, a little fruit (mostly banana and apple), and yeast.

Taste: It mostly mirrors the smell. The sharp clove and pepper spice lead and are followed by orange and lemon citrus, a hint of apple, and the yeast.

Drinkability: Whoa! This is from Schell?! The brewers there go all out with each new Snowstorm and I have to give them a deserving round of applause. Well done!

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Photo of gatornation
3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle with a BB 031713

A-pours a clear dark copper color with a small off-white head very little laing with a good collar

S- dark fruit with banana spice and hops floral and earthy

T- dark fruits like plum and fig with spice and hops baked bread with earthy yeast and sweet sugars

M- light carbonation with a fruity spicy and floral hop feel sweet and malty

O- its good but will not buy a sixer singles the next 3 months will be fine with me

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Photo of Duff27
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Short off white head on a deep amber body. Cap and collar throughout. Some lacig present.

Very sweet smelling, weizen yeasts.

Caramel malts, ending with more of the weizen yeast notes...bananas in this case. Aftertaste is a little distracting, hard to describe. Fairly easy drinking for being 7.5%abv.

Medium to medium-low carbonation. Medium mouthfeel, almost syrupy.

A good beer, not great. Take away the awkward, slightly off-putting aftertaste and I think a winner is this. Thanks for the extra Gord!

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Photo of bsp77
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Tulip.

Appearance: Orangish-brown, like burnt sienna. Moderate cream colored head with wispy lacing.

Smell: Spicy, fruity and tart. Some cherry, pepper, and an earthy, metallic hoppiness.

Taste: Somewhat toasty malt body. Light biscuit notes, definitely some cherry. Then the yeast and hops come through, with pepper, herbs and a little too much metal. Slightly tart on the finish, but the metal and cherry dominate which is a distraction. But let it warm a bit (little more so than expected for the style) and much of the metallic off-flavors disappear.

Feel: Moderately high carbonation with a medium body. Finish is a little odd.

Overall: Interesting SnowStorm release. I think all of the right elements are here, but I wish the malt body was more evident, and the metallic and fruity notes were dialed back a notch. I like the light tartness though; that was surprising.

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Photo of garymuchow
4.15/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brownish hue and very clear. Snow white head settles out in a faster course.
Spiciness of the yeast is most forward in both the aroma and taste. Definite pepper quality with the other spiciness more intermingled. A definite sourness in the aroma too (I kinda' like that). Soft malt character is, unfortunately, more background. Too bad, as it is nice.
I've noticed with previous Snowstorms that temperature is very important and this one is not different. The warmer it is the malt flavors show more. Still not enough foreground, but better able to be appreciated. A soft light touch of alcohol. Hints of hopping at times. Some caramel laying on the tongue before a notable drying kicks into the finish. Little streams of the sourness show in the finish- I'm digging those.
Smooth body with ample carbonation that adds a prickliness to the yeast, but doesn't seem to limit the smoothness of the feel.
There is a lot going on here. A complex beer that requires quite a bit of attention to fully appreciate. As a "beer for keeping" I wonder first how much this was aged (just curious) and how this might develop over time. I'm certainly enjoying my second serving more than my first and I got a feeling Snowstorm 2012 will continue to grow on me.
Update: I'm now on my third bottle and it is almost like a completely different beer. None of the spiciness in the aroma, more of a straight malt character, not too sweet or heavy and the yeast character more blended and balanced into the overall experience. What an interesting beer this has been.

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Photo of morimech
3.47/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear copper/garnet color with a small head that quickly settled to a thin skim. No lacing is left down the glass.

Aroma has plenty of yeast esters. Has a vinous quality. Also a little herbal hop hint. Not really getting much malt aroma.

Ester dominated flavor as well. Grapes. Sweet malt with a touch of herbal and earthy, hop bitterness near the finish. Overly ester dominated.

Body is a little too light and thin. Seems to be overcarbonated.

Not a favorite. The yeast esters are really too much that not much else gets past. Maybe this will grow on me like Snowstorm 2011 did.

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Photo of jera1350
4.27/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From Schell's:

"2012 Snowstorm Beer Style: Biére de Noél

A French style Christmas beer. Expect a light amber beer with red tints that is malt forward with noticeable yeast flavors of white pepper
and citrus from an authentic French ale yeast.
Slight herbal hop note in the background,
with a spicy, citrusy, peppery aroma."

A transparent copper/amber color with just a thin layer of dark sandy foam that retains fairly well.

A very fragrant nose with belgian yeast characteristics. Floral, spicy, light clove, earthy sweetness.

A complex and deep flavor here. Medium malty sweetness, caramel, toffee, some nuts. Stronger though are the spices which reminiscent of the holidays. Not strong like say a pumpkin beers spices, but muted and blended to create real complexity. Peppery with a touch of dried orange peel. Some light bitterness and at the end.

Very dry, especially on the finish. Medium bodied with lower, but soft carbonation.

This is a wonderful beer. A great year round beer, but will work wonders for the holiday season. This would be wonderful at both Thanksgiving dinner and the beyond. Turkey and cranberries with this? Oh, yeah. I will be grabbing some more of this one for sure.

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Schell's Snowstorm 2012 from August Schell Brewing Company
3.85 out of 5 based on 79 ratings.
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