Snowbound Winter Ale | Left Hand Brewing Company

145 Reviews
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.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 145 | Ratings: 163
Photo of tigg924
2.7/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: small head, leather brown, clear, small carbonation

Smell: strong whiff of holiday spices like: cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg..and some honey

Taste: holiday spices like: cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, honey, and alcohol

Mouthfeel: smooth, slightly bitter, medium heavy body

Drinkability: I really love what Left hand does, but I was not a fan of this offering. This to me is a very spicy although average winter warmer. The bomber size along with the high ABV makes this a one and done. I will not be getting this again.

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Photo of demcorhip
4.03/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cellared for just over 1 year. thanks to chonyr for the bomber. A nice looking deep brown ale with a nice two finger tight, well retained head sits on top. Mildly carbonated, and already leaving some sticky yet intricate lacings.

A very inviting aroma of toffee and spice greets the nose. Earthy and tangy with its orange zest, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. I love cardamom. A nice balance is struck between the malts and the spice.

This is quite the winter warmer, and with its spice would be perfect for sitting around a fire with the family at christmastime. Toffee and honey meets zesty and earthy spices in a nice balance as described above. Some alcohol reveals itself with its warmth.

Medium bodied and quite smooth and slightly creamy. An excellent balance between the malt, honey and spices. Some alcohol warmth, as well as a touch of astringency from the grains.

For a somewhat big beer this is quite drinkable. Im a fan of Left Hand and am enjoying this offering as well. I would definitely recommend this to fans of the style, and think it would be a great brew to serve friends and family over the winter holidays. I would definitely be happy to come make acquaintance with Snowbound again.

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Photo of peabody
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a clear dark brown with two fingers of off-white to slightly brown suds. Slight lacing.
Smells like dry bubble gum and lots of spices like a fresh baked pumpkin pie.
Taste is a little alchol at first then a warm maltyness with some caramel sugars. Aftertaste is bubblegum. The spices are the star here.
Mouthfeel is a bit dirty but still pleasant.
Drinkability is not as great though. Too much alcohol presence and not enough spices.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle

A- Pours a dark reddish brown color with a light tan head with good lacing.

S- The aroma is sweet malt, caramel and a load of spices that includes most notably cloves and cinnamon with some ginger as well. The sweetness from the honey in this brew is evident in the aroma as well.

T- The taste like the aroma is dominated by the malt and spices. It can be a little on the sweet side for me at times but definitely a tasty beer.

M- The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- This is a pretty solid beer, the sweetness and high ABV limits the drinkability of this beer for me a little bit but it was definitely a beer that I enjoyed. Worth a shot.

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

Clear, but still dark and sexy mahogany brown in the tulip, bubbly tan head. Raisins, nutmeg spice and a bit of anise in the aroma. But wow, the pumpkin, clove and overall sweetness pounds though in the taste, very nice. Almost over-spiced, but still overall a solid and quaffable drinker. No hint of the over 8%, drinks like dream - sweet and easy.

Good beer from Left Hand - kudos to them.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.17/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

While not exactly "snowbound", I was sent home from work today because of snow, which makes Left Hand's "Snow Bound" winter ale the perfect beer to enjoy.

It pours an almost black body with ruby and dark chestnut highlights beneath a creamy head of light tan. I can see it's been filtered as I pour it, and in the highlights. The head retention is good, but not great, and the lacing follows that although it's a little better - at least at the outset.

The nose is sweetish, malty, chocolatey, and lightly spicy. In a certain way it reminds me of carrot cake, and also ginger cookies. I'm finding dark, moist cake with cinnamon and ginger. And All-spice as well. Honey? It's listed on the label. Yes, I do think I get some honey. I'm not sure if that's the power of suggestion or not. ...yes, honey, like honey grahams. And cardamom, which makes me think of Indian foods. It's subtle, but clearly there. And I also get some almond, which is kind of weird, but OK, perhaps it's a combination of sweetish malts and clove or something. And, orange as well. But I should also note that these spices are not over-done! Way too many spiced beers are over-done, and this one is not. It's at the pinnacle, let me tell you, for sure, but it's not quite over the top. Some piney hops are there as well, and to some extent, and I'm not sure how, they help to anchor the aroma.

The mouth feel is full and supple with a medium-full body and a soft carbonation that leaves it almost creamy.

The flavor expresses light chocolate and spice, with cardamom, pine and cinnamon appearing first. It's almost like a pumpkin beer in some ways, and then the piney hops sway you back to thinking of a crisp mountain top. The honey noted on the label does appear in the finish, and there, it's surprisingly not over-loaded with spice - how all of that spice doesn't lead to a complete highway pile-up I don't know, but Kudos for that! Along the way the malt is both chocolatey and cocoaish, and softly grainy and gently caramelish. And the hops are spicy and grassy and lightly piney - a perfect accompaniment - anything citrusy would have thrown this way off-course!!

Overall, given the complexity of the flavors, and the balance that they exhibit, I'd say that this is one remarkably drinkable ale. On the other hand, I have no idea how old this bottle is - it may be a year or more, which would have softened it, so I'd say try it. Put one in the cellar and wait until February or March when the snow builds up.

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Photo of nick76
3.44/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The aroma is like a Christmas should be. It's got spice, pine, fruit, bread, and molasses. The appearance is medium red brown with a small head. The flavor is like the aroma but the finish is astringent and soapy. The palate is a little thin. Overall it's good but could have been great had it not has such a bitter finish.

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

dark brown. tan head. minimal retention and lace. smell is weaker than i would have hoped for, but consists of ginger snappish notes and cinnamon spiced rum scents. taste is better than i expected from the nose, and it is a bit hot, but that's what i want from a winter warmer, particularly on a snowy night like tonight. relatively well balanced spices and a boozy finish that lingers. medium full and quite nice as i get further along.

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Photo of MaggieReed
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a- dark beer with a very slight tan lacing, not too heady.

s- definite warm, bready scent w. ginger-y? notes- nice smelling and to be expected from the winter warmer...

t- better than expected- more flavorful and full than the smell implied. Nice spice profile- like eating a ginger snap in mulled wine...tasty tasty!

m- thinner and less carbonated than I might have prefered, but quite good over-all.

d- good- could have one or two of these in a night before switching to something else. i would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the style. It is very similar to founders abominable snowman in terms of flavor profile, but imo not quite as good. This brewery is new to me and so far Ive been very impressed.

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Photo of hellbilly
3.16/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

on tap @ papago...

dark copper-y brown colored pour with a creamy light tan head. the foam seems pretty determined to stick around and also leaves a bunch of drippy lacing behind.

very sweet smelling with brown sugar, a touch of pale molasses, spicy cardamon like earthiness, orange and other sweet fruits.

the palate is very brown sugar sweet... normally a bad thing but in this case spiciness and alcohol clean it up quite well enough. pumpkin pie spice numbs the tongue after flavors of molasses, malt and raisins pass by. the finish strikes me as soapy since ginger too often doesn't translate well.

medium body is kept from becoming sticky with help from spice overload and alcohol's presence.

too sweet but not bad...6/3.5/6/3/14/3.3

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Photo of bort11
4.29/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle poured into a Corsendonk Christmas Ale tulip. Mild light tan head that dissipates quickly to a thin film. A few specs cling to the glass with each sip then quickly disappear. Color is a solid dark ruby red with garnet highlights.

Smell is strongly spiced. Ginger and cloves are dominant with a mild honey sweetness in the background. Taste is a sharp ginger snap. The honey creates a sticky sweetness that almost, but not quite, balances the spice.

Mouthfeel is a full bodied with a mild carbonation. Pretty filling. The spices are so over the top, it would be interesting to age this one to see what happens.

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Photo of damienblack
3.43/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark sappy brown, with a very thin, nondescript head. Quickly dissipates. Not much at all on the nose that I can smell, a little bready, a little graham crackery, not much in the way of spices.

Tastes of an off-dry earthiness that spikes up a bit of sweetness in the middle. Spices are pretty subdued in the character. Overwhelming characteristic is a barkiness to it. Yeasy bite kicks up near the end, a little bitter to swallow, but it doesn't seem like from hops. Definitely a full body, but the taste seems rather disjointed. I really am at a loss as for what to make of it. It doesn't fit the standard winter warmer profile. Taste is decent, but it's a hard drink. Mouthfeel is strange, it's not cloying or anything, and for a beer like this, it seems kind of thin despite the kick it has. A definite winter sipper, and kind of an enigma.

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Photo of fostwal
4.44/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This is a really nice brew to drink. It is a dark and clear fluid. The smell is really interesting. You can really smell the spices. Not overpowering, just a distict and pleseant aroma. The smell is a nice compliment to the smooth taste. Its not very malty and no hops at all. It allows the spices to really come forward. A really nice feel in the mouth. Nice and thick with low carbonation. Full finish with a slight bight at the end as you savor the flavor. A real delight to drink.

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Photo of Pencible
3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured an opaque mahogany with a bit of tan head. It smelled complex like chocolate covered cherries and watermelon and earthy coriander, with clove and vanilla and oak. It tasted like cherry cough syrup and bittersweet chocolate, with some black licorice and clove and Grand Mariner. It was slightly thick with no carbonation, and had a lasting bittersweet aftertaste. Overall this is what I would consider a fascinating experimental brew. It had very unique flavor that was fairly enjoyable. It was clean and hid the alcohol pretty well, and had good body too. This isn't a beer I would drink often, but it was interesting to try as an interpretation of a winter warmer.

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Photo of Risser09
3.27/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle poured into a snifter - Fridge temp - 2008

Appearance: Dark black beer with a 3/4" tan head that forms and doesn't last very long. Minimal lacing is on the glass, very little.

Smell: Spicy. Lots of cinnamon, licorice, allspice, nutmeg and clove. I also smell lots of honey. Underlying base malt is sweet smelling.

Taste: Honey is there, as well as the plethora of spices. Clove is quite strong, as is some cinnamon and nutmeg. Very sweet caramel malt flavor.

Mouthfeel: Very sweet and sort of cloying with spices. Initial and lingering honey sticks with you. Spicy finish and some booziness.

Drinkability: Not bad. The spices are all over the place. The honey was a good touch for this brew, and probably it's saving grace. I don't know if I could drink too much of this. Not bad.

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Photo of skrib09
3.28/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

poured out black with a tinge of brown showing through behind a light. off white head.

smells spice-like... winter warmer... ginger, cinnamon, strong cardamon.

it tastes bready and spicy.

grainy mouthfeel.

below average drinkability for me. one bomber is enough.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.2/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Brick Store Pub. Absolutely great on tap- much better than in the bottle in my opinion. Poured cola colored with a reddish tinge and a nice tightly beaded, creamy head. Smells and tastes a bit like eggnog. Sweet, rich, creamy, boozy, and spiced. In the nose there are notes of ginger, chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg, cream, as well as brandy and rich malt. Tastes similar, very creamy and quite delicious with an eggy richness a nice alcohol hit, and loads of ginger in the finish. A bit sweet, but drinkable enough especially as there is a bit of bitterness in the mix and its very smooth. A pleasant surprise.

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Photo of beer2day
3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with a thin head. Sugary, bourbony nose. Initial hit on the tongue is thick with a strong alcohol prescence. The bourbon hit turns to a rum finish. Lots of caramel malt here. I can't quite put my finger on the spices involved, though.

It would be nice if this came in smaller bottles. A 22 of this is a lot for one to finish.

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Photo of chipachu2
4.58/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I am shocked at why people are giving this beer a score other lower than B+. This is a super beer in line with the best of belgian christmas ales.
presentation - 22oz bomber. Poured in to a 12oz snifter. Pours dark brown with a thin foam covering.
smell- caramel, sugar, raisins, smells much like a belgian St. Bernadus
taste- well crafted malts, hops, with caramel, suger, raisins, very consistent from first taste to aftertaste.
mouthfeel - nice gravity for a heavier beer
drinkablility - I would have this quite often. Too bad I cant find it in 12oz bottles!

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Photo of Billolick
4.08/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bomber, purchased at De Cicco's Market in Ardsley, NY. Dark mahogany amber, dark tan head and quite respectable lace left on the glass. Just a hint of winter spice and cola in the nostrils. Full flavor "winter ale", that tastes more like a Belgian strong dark ale. Cola, dark ripe fruit, winter spicing all going on. Hearty and flavorful, with a long robust, rum infused finish. Very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Lambstrong
2.52/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

The appearance and the aroma of this beer is a bit deceiving. It pours a very dark brown color with a thick sandy brown head. The aroma consists of caramel, brown sugar and roasted malt notes. All of this is very pleasing and leaves one with high expectations. However, the taste is extremely sweet and a little twangy. There is a lot of chocolate and caramel with a lingering roasted malt aftertaste. It is the sweetness that is dissagreable. The high alcohol content lends itself to sweetness but there is nothing to balance this out. Moreover, the mouthfeel consists of an over-carbonated consistency, almost like mineral water. To say the least, I was very dissapointed with this offering from Left Hand Brewing Co.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark brown with moderate head that dies and leaves little lace down the glass. An alright sweet malt smell with cinnamon along with spices to give it that winter warmer pickup. Smooth and tasty, an almost creamy medium-body with the malts coming through and some prickly hops but the warming from the alcohol on the backbite, along with a peppery, cinnamonny finish, is a little strong and burns the tongue a little. I could drink this but do it slowly and not session; still, on a very cold day this warmed the spirit up.

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Photo of EPICAC
2.5/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

This beer is a clear, amber-garnet brown. Topped by a half-inch, beige head that fades to a film leaving pin-prick spots of lace. Malty and spicy on the nose: ginger, honey, caramel and dark fruit.

Honey sweetness upfront, moving quickly into a very spicy center. Cinnamon, clove and ginger are very strong, and overpower everything else. There's a light bitterness in the finish. Full-bodied, highly carbonated.

The use of spices in this beer is really heavy handed. They're overpowering and too strong to be pleasant.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.16/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appears a dark mahogany Christmas spiced ale to share with your friends during the winter months, this one also has some honey additions. Minimal khaki tan head forms even after a vigorous pour. Lacing left behind is fine and even, I can't really complain.

Aroma has more spices with some ginger accents with cinnamon and cardamom some sugar malt with minimal hop presence. I highly discourage leaving out hop components in craft beers the majority of your audience looks forward to hops even with a nice winter warmer. My local makes Snow Melt which is excellent, spiced with nice hops that follow.

Flavor however is too dominant with bark and cinnamon spice flavors, there's just not enough balance to create a happy camper. So heavy in spices and honey it becomes an unpleasant experience nearly burnt caramelized sugars represent the feeling the over comes me. Like real maple syrup soaked with alcohol and tree bark flavors.

Mouthfeel is cloying with spice and honey, I can't believe they didn't sample before bottling I loved every other Left Hand brew I've tried recently including Polestar Pilsner, Left Hand Ofest, and Warrior IPA. This one has an over carbonation that I can't get over, along with the over spiced character dominating this party.

Drinkability is pretty much shite I could never imagine finishing a bottle of this on my own and asking where's the next beer. If you're actually able to make it through a bottle you should earn a badge of courage not a shot at your next sample it's rough all the way through.

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Photo of caddybuyer
4.2/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a deep garnet brown with ruby highlights when held to the light. Moderate tan head that settles quickly with minimal lacing.

S-Sweet malts, cinnamon, nutmeg and perhaps some clove.

T-Nose carries through to the taste, and opens with a spiced sweet malty flavor with a nearly overwhelming sweet licorice overtone, and a hint of citrus and cherry (or is that honey?). Mid palate is balanced and it ends with a very mild hop finish and a bit of alcohol. Jim Koch calls Old Fezziwig the "Christmas Cookie of beers" BS, this is....reminds me a bit of Sly Fox Christmas. (But not quite as good)

M-Thick and chewy with medium carbonation. Very nice for the style.

D-I like this one very much, but I am partial to this style at this time of year. This is about as spiced as you can get without it getting to be a bit over the top, but it is done very well. I bomber is about all one can take of this at one sitting as it is a rather singular taste. Wish they offered it in a 12 oz.

Let this one warm a bit (but not alot, ie, it is a bit cloying at cellar temp) It is the one to go for if you are in the mood for sweetness and sugarplums, but stay away from it if you are not. I have many of these in the cellar, and it hits the spot if you are in the mood for sweetness....

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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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