Snowbound Winter Ale | Left Hand Brewing Company

163 Ratings
Snowbound Winter AleSnowbound Winter Ale

Brewed by:
Left Hand Brewing Company
Colorado, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.60%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by GCBrewingCo on 11-24-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 145 | Ratings: 163
Photo of Duff27
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Half-inch bubbly head, dark amber/brown beer. Mediocre head retention and lacing.

S- Faint spices. Not getting much from the nose (due to age?).

T- Woo. Sweet, honey. Well hidden alcohol. Some spices, little hops.

M- Smooth, creamy. Nice carbonation still.

D/O- I actually really liked this. TATURBO supplied this out of his cellar after being there for who knows how long. Very sweet. Never heard or seen this one before. Thanks Chris!

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Photo of Knapp85
3.62/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This winter warmer poured out as a dark orange color with a bit of a small head on it. The smell was really spicy, tons of cinnamon spewing out of this beer along with other wintery spices. The taste was a little lighter than the aroma surprisingly. The mouthfeel was pretty smooth but felt a little flat too. This was good, I'd try it again if I ever came across it one day.

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.78/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a snifter. Pours a very dark reddish-brown color with a very short head. The nose brings loads and loads of spicing with some cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, light ginger, and a bit of pepper. Just too much and this carries over into the taste, where it really just is quite a bit too much. The feel is spicy and I'm not a fan. Not easy to go through much of this.

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Photo of drpimento
3.76/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Let this bottle sit a while outside the fridge before opening. With aggressive pouring I got a small to medium sized light tan head and no lace. Color is a clear dark amber with orange accents. Aroma is very nice - malt, dark ripe fruits, spices, a hint of honey and orange as described, also a bit of vanilla. Flavor is not quite as deep, but pretty much all still there and a little brandy too. Body is ok and so is carbonation. Finish is like flavor and of short to medium length with definite alcohol at the end. Not really a session beer.

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.05/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A bottle of the 2008 Vintage, but had I known that this was retired, I would have picked up more of these, since they were going for $4 a bomber...Poured into a long-stemmed tulip at a summer bbq.

The pour yields a dark brown beer that is very clear. It is highlighted by garnet around the edges and in the body when held up to light. There was no head and no lacing.

The aroma is exactly what I hope for in a winter warmer. An assload of spices. Toffee, caramel, and piney notes highlight a spiced base that holds ginger, clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon, among other trace spices. The taste is pretty much the same.

On the palate, it is smooth and creamy with a medium texture. Very well done, and it packs the punch that I was looking for. Too bad it is now retired...

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beer review from BA Mag Dec 2007.

Real American craft brewers have the courage to brew big seasonals, especially for the wintertime. Snowbound is a hefty 8.6% ABV and brewed with honey, orange zest, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom.

Dark leather-brown color, clarity is fine. Nice fluffy head with a sticky crown of lace. Flamboyant spicy aroma with the strengths in this order: ginger, honey, clove, cinnamon, orange zest and cardamom. A perfect level of spicing, being that we could pick every one out within the thick-toasted malt nose. Full, crisp body. Sturdy malt backbone throws smatterings of toasted grain, caramel, brown bread and a hint of carob. Spicing hits firm but never overwhelming; ginger, cinnamon and clove upfront with hints of orange zest and honey in the back. The alcohol is sneaky and starts to warm the palate and throat after a few sips. Sweet and spiced ending which point to semisweet.

This is a spiced ale done right, nothing light and dainty about this beer at all. Its just the way we like our Winter Warmers, with some character and girth.

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Photo of jampics2
4.05/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ the Winking Lizard. Part of the Christmas in July event, this was one of two X-Mas beers served on a hot late July day. The other was Cleveland's favorite, Great Lakes Christmas Ale. This was hands down the better beer, destroying that aged mess of a spiced ale.

Looks nice in the pint glass. Plum color with a small white head that sticks around. Lace is nice.

Smells of spices (ginger, nutmeg) and some vanilla, all atop a caramel mountain of malt. Some oxidation from the 2 year old keg is evident but overall it smells like a malty warmer should.

Taste is really decent, better than I expected. Initial spices leave a trail of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Malt driven, there's a nice bready malt and some molasses. Actually reminds me of raisin bread or gingerbread. Slight booze but not distracting.

Medium body and creamy carb. Nice mouthfeel makes this seem richer than it is.

OK, so it is a bit weighty. And it probably was better fresh as supposed to 2 years old. But this beer kicked aged Great Lakes Christmas in the nuts. Glad to have tried this for the last time in Ohio.

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Photo of Spider889
3.37/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Had on tap at Winking Lizard for their 2010 Christmas in July celebration. I was not aware that the beer was actually retired... I hope I was not served old beer, however if this had been sitting around since last winter it could explain a lot.

Appearance was black as oil but thin with a two-finger tall head of light caramel color. It took several minutes for the head to recede to a point where I was not drinking mostly head in each sip.

Smells of very strong molasses. There is also definitely cinnamon and ginger in there as well.

Taste is of even stronger molasses flavor than in the smell. If they didn't brew this with molasses then I should never review a beer again, it is very thick and syrupy tasting. I taste slight ginger and nutmeg and a little orange peel. The other predominant flavor is cinnamon hiding just beneath the malt profile.

As far as mouthfeel goes, the beer was thin, almost flat, although the flavor of the various ingredients was thick and oily.

I found this to be a very interesting beer, one which would likely only be better fresh and during the Christmas season. However it was not very drinkable in my book, I found myself struggling to finish the pint (and I love molasses). Maybe if paired with a molasses or gingerbread cookie it'd be easier to stomach.

All in all I can see why it was retired, though there is a chance I was served 8 month old beer. I give Left Hand props for pushing the envelope, because all of their other beers are so well balanced and restrained. Keep experimenting - I'd be happy to try the new holiday replacement!

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Photo of nrbw23
3.34/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Had this at the Winking Lizard Christmas in July.

A- Pours a super dark red color with just a few bubbles of head. Bubbles are gone fairly quick and leaves no lacing.

S- The smell is pretty spice dominated. Ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg all over the place. Some sweet malts and maybe a bit of sugar and honey in there too.

T- Follows the nose with cinnamom being the most pronounced flavour.

M- Lighter side of medium in body and carbonation was ok.

D- Not my favorite winter beer. I'll stick with Great Lakes.

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Photo of Durge
3.92/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Another nice find at the Dive Bar in Worcester, MA this recently retired winter warmer shows an opaque black/mahogany color with a decent but thin tan cover and good lacing. The aroma brings an intriguing mint chocolate and Dr. Pepper sweetness, peat and cherries very nice and unique. The first taste says...hmmm, very interesting with licorice and allspice cinnamon and a chunk of fruitcake I think. This may not be for everyone but for the spirit of Winter/Christmas, despite the fact that it's a balmy June evening in Worcester, I am enjoying the unique flavors. Probably not a highly drinkable choice, but a fun try if you should ever run into some left over stock like I apparently did. The carbonation is very fine and smooth, with a medium plus body that feels somewhat resinous and smooth with a bit of a tart bite. More fruity than hoppy. Glad I tried it but probably not something I will dream of revisiting. Then again, I guess I will be unlikely to see this again anyway.

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Photo of capra12
3.9/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed out of an East End pint glass,

Appearance: Poured a slightly cloudy brown with 1 1/2 fingers of frothy head.

Smell: I smell the winter spice mix of cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Taste: Opens very easy with a subtle brown grain as the holiday spices creep into the middle to end. There is a sharp peak of spices as roasted malt profile emerges at the end, must be from the honey. A malty and spicy aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Moderately carbonated, light to medium bodied at most and oh so tasty... oddly enough for the simplicity I enjoyed this beer. Too bad it is retired.

Drinkability:I would have this again and recommend this to anyone seeking a solid winter ale with spices.

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Photo of Soilworker
2.73/5  rDev -26%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: Dark brown with a dark red hue. Thinly bubbled head which is a light brown color.

S: As mentioned before there is a lot of spice going on here. Mainly characterized by strong nutmeg and clove. There are undertones of nutty malt with a bit of caramel sweetness. Very holidayish.

T: Cannot say that this beer really 'wowed' me. The taste is dominated by spice (mainly nutmeg, cloves, and a bit of corriander). There is a definite presence of alcohol here. In my opinion the spice is a little too powerful.

M: Medium carbonation with a slightly oily finish.

D: This beer had too much spice to be drank in large quanities. It was worth a try and I might buy it again if the price was right.

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Photo of THORN
4.04/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

650 mL bottle poured into pint. Brewed in 2009.
A: Dark mahogany brown. No head.
S: Clove, cinnamon, and super sweet. Dark cherries and chocolate complement spices well.
T: Initially robust dark malts: chocolaty and cherry filled. slight bitterness accompanies body. Spicy flavors include cinnamon and clove.
M: A little light on tongue.
D: Flavorful, blends well, and covers alcohol well.

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Photo of RomaniIteDomum
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice dark brown with a nice foamy head.

Smells a litte convoluted. There is a bit too much going on, but it isn't unpleasant.

The taste is a little less confusing. The base beer comes out with a little connamon, come nutmeg, and a little vanilla. If only the weather here was as festive...

In the mouth it has a nice creamy feel. Ver nice carbonation.

This is much better than egg nog could ever hope to be. It's refreshing with nice spices and fairly refreshing. Good beer.

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Photo of mulder1010
2.73/5  rDev -26%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

A growler bought from Left Hand brewery

A-- A dark reddish brown color. Got a very large head (3 fingers) on the pour that stayed very nicely and left a good lacing on my pint glass.

S-- Every Christmas spice you can think of is in this. Do get an alcohol smell in it as well.

T-- Lots of spice in this puppy. Nutmeg, cinimmon, clove, candied sugar, orange, and on and on and on.

M-- Spices then the alcohol in the mouthfeel. it is OK at start but gets tiresome.

D-- for a $5 dollar growler I am not complaining but it is a tiresome beer. Too much going on and early on too spice driven. Once it gets air the spices calm down a bit. Good effort but one 750 is enough.

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Photo of sprucetip
3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes. Medium brown, but reddish amber when backlit. Very clear. Modest head falls fast, no lacing. SMELL is spicy, cinnamon and nutmeg maybe? Big sweet malty base, faint hopping. Dissipates quickly. Boozy later. TASTE is spicy, malty sweet, dark fruit, modest hop backing and bit boozy. Finishes clean. FEEL mellow fiz, rich taxture, full body, mild bitternes and drying in the finish. OVERALL Not as complex as teh first nip of the nose would indicate, but interesting and enjoyable.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
2.63/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Dark auburn with a large white head. Some lace and ok retention. Yankee Candle-esque bottle art.

Aroma is of xmas spice, cloves, licorice, honey: Left Hand went through the whole kitchen with this one.

Taste is still faily alcoholic despite this being in my cellar for almost a year. Again, choking xmas spices dominate with a dehydrating finish. There's some nice caramel malt fortified with molasses underneath there somewhere.

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Photo of Cheers
2.31/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

good idea gone wrong...

good idea : a good looking dark winter ale sweetened with honey complemented by spices.

Gone wrong : the spices come first! The flavor is so strong I feel like I should be picking pieces of cinnamon, clove, and coriander out of my teeth. To make matters worse, the honey is too sweet. This beer tastes like holiday scented potpourri... A pretty big let down from Left Hand...

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Photo of BradLikesBrew
2.53/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Spending my day off catching up on some old reviews. The stack is pretty massive, just now getting around to Winter beers.

Free sample from my LH rep. Wish I could remember his name, but this was at least 6 months ago and I haven't seen the guy since.

Dark brown body. The aroma is all spice: nutmeg and coriander, not a good start. On the palate malt and hops take a back seat to spices. Nutmeg forcefully controls this beer. No balance, just the baking spices that have unfortunately come to define too many Winter offerings. The body was smooth and creamy, but this spice bomb was a drain pour for me. Maybe its just my personal preferences, but this seemed completely out of balance and was not enjoyable.

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Photo of cdizinno
2.41/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Tasted on 6/19/09 at Flying Saucer in Columbia, SC.

A: Dark brown with minimal lacing.

S: Spicy scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc...all the winter spices rolled into one.

T&M: Overpowering sweetness of malty and brown sugar. High degree of syrup flavor which overpowers anything else. Although the spices are nice, the sweetness is too overpowering.

It ranks just about average or below compared to other winter ales.

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Photo of thequeen711
3/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a dark brown into the tulip glass, left skimpy lacing. Spicy nose of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc...all the winter spices rolled into this drink. Light mouthfeel, although the spices make the tongue tingle and wakes up to the flavours. In comparing this to other Winter beers, it ranks just about average, I'm not big on the heavy spicing. Once the beer became room temp the spices were more prevalent!

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Photo of HiAIPA
3.56/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber. This was another Left Hand beer to try. Poured a dark base and smelled of Christmas flavors - spices and caramel. Tasted much the same, with a strong nutmeg component that was nice. This is a sipping beer for a long winter night, not a slammer. I find this with many winter/christmas spiced beers.

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Photo of roblowther
3.32/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Clear dark reddish brown with no head. The smell is ginger, oranges, and cloves. The taste is honey-dominant. It tastes like wassal meets indian buffet. Good, but Wow! The mouthfeel is silky & a bit watery. Drinability? No. The taste is just way too assertive. Good, interesting, but a one-off for sure.

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Photo of thryn
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, surprising translucency for the depth of color. Not much head, fades to a layer of foam on top, cream in color and creamy looking. A lot of lace sticks to the glass.

This is HEAVILY spiced, if the nose is any indication. I tend to love such things (I remember a super-spiced offering from Dunedin being one of my gateway beers). Orange, clove, cardamom, molasses.

This tastes *exactly* like it smells. I honestly kinda wish I'd saved this one for cold weather, and it's boozy enough that I suspect it would have held up. Not super-strong, and the alcohol is well masked in all that spice and sweetness, but still. A solid dark malt foundation is heavily topped with honey, cardamom, orange, clove and other spices, I suspect. Slight bitterness in the finish.

If you don't like over-the-top spice, you will not like this. Fortunately, I do.

Mouthfeel is a little syrupy -- it's slightly heavy, which is fine, but it's a little stickier than I want from the consistency. Carbonation is moderate.

This is a little too spice-forward to be the most drinkable of winter warmers, but it would hit the spot on a cold night and do well as a sipper over an hour or two. It'll see me to bed tonight, that's for sure. Hell, I'm half tempted to recap the balance now that I realize how late it is.

Edit -- I have to downgrade as this warms. Even for me it's overspiced. I still think it would be a good winter sipper, but the spice profile is just overdone.

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Photo of Bung
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. Rather dark brown/amber pour. Limited white head. Strong spice aroma, cinnamon, nutmeg and some maltiness. Some nice lacing. The spiciness is a bit edgy, with the sweetness the drinkability just slightly, but still ok. Taste has some maltiness that improves as it warms a bit. More cinnamon and nutmeg than malt though. Nearly no hop presence. Pretty lively mouthfeel, which is increased with the spice on the tongue. Winter warmers are a real niche that bend into other styles usually, this one is tough to put a finger on. If you like a west coast style, this will not have enough spice/hops. If you like a Euro style warmer, this will be closer, but probably too much spice. Worth trying though.

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Snowbound Winter Ale from Left Hand Brewing Company
3.69 out of 5 based on 163 ratings.
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