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.

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Reviews: 145 | Ratings: 163
Photo of BEERchitect
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Always great to see these surprises at the local beer store.

Interestingly, the beer opens with an ester profile that dominates the stronger malt components. Rich apples and cherries open the nose with spicy ginger and nutmeg to follow. A malty molassas and toffee backbone round out the aromas and give the beer a pomising start.

The following appearance gives a standard ruby-crimson glow with great clarity, very good initial head retention that lasts the session.

Flavors begin with a burst of fruits and spices that the nose promises. These are soon overtaken by the malty, root beer, cola character that will set the tone for the beer. A rising burst of anise, ginger, allspice, and nutmeg eventually take on proportions of mixed drinks and take away from the true beer experience of it all. Other flavors of berries, white pepper, oranges, and pineapple also make their way into the flavor, but in sporatic and segregated roles. I would like to see what age does with these.

The textures fare much better than flavors. The initially sticky-sweet cola flavors actually lift off of the toung and does not leave the sugary film that I expected. Still, a touch of residual sweetness lingers along with all those spices. The bitterness from the spices is not evident and makes the drinkability better than expected. Ultimately a good drinking beer.

Tough to find a Winter Warmer that has this much flavor that drinks better. Though not perfect, it may be closer in a year or so.

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Photo of jujubeast6000
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Reviewed 12/18/2008 (bottle):

Pours a heavy brown colored body, with a big tan head, that is diminishing. An aroma of cookies or milk chocolate? Some kind of spice like saffron or ginger or something. Some other sweet spices are present too, and some vanilla can be detected. Some dark malts. Spicy taste, that same sweet ginger or some kind of spice present, maybe nutmeg? Some roasted malts, coffee is present too. Hides the alcohol well, not hot or alcoholy tasting. Somewhat creamy mouthfeel. Slightly bitter aftertaste. Very nice beer, very reminiscent of Christmas/Winter.

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Photo of stephens101
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Drank the hell out of this one last winter, but never got around to reviewing it. Now that my palate has matured (by small degrees), I'm going to give it another whirl, and see if it stands up to my initial impressions. A hard pour results in a 3+ finger thick and dark tan head. Color is a sort of burnt, dark-red. Retention is adequate, and when all settles down, a slim lacing is left above a thin covering of froth. Smells of sweet malts, spice, some very subtle notes of pumkin and maple syrup. Tastes malty and spicy up front, with a pretty good hit of alcohol and some bitterness at the end. Feels medium bodied, and the alcohol heat keeps it a sipper. Might not be quite all that from what I remember, but still a damn good, and slightly underrated winter warmer.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.15/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

St. Bernardus goblet, on tap on Acadia Cafe'.

Dark brown, nearly black, not quite, but close, slim head.

Cocoa, carob, nuts & toffee in the nose. ...raisins, anise, nicely spiced.

and more spice in the flavor, too, nutmeg roaring in...cinnamon.
Rich, dark malt, coffee and cocoa underneath all the spice. Medium bodied. Sip again, and the spice roars back at you.
Fully flavored, long, spicy, malty finish.
Very warming, comforting...tasty as heck.

I love a rich, spicy dark ale for winter time. Spice never quits, nor does taste. good one.

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.15/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, nearly opaque, almost sable mahogany with a fine-bubbled, light tan head. Rich, malty aroma has an overtone of cloves and cinnamon and a hint of molasses. Flavor is malty and spicy, undertone of cloves and cinnamon, touch of sweetness and hint of licorice and cinnamon candy. Texture is very smooth, almost syrupy, and leaves a slightly sweet, slightly hoppy, cinnamony aftertaste.

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Photo of tpd975
3.97/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to fishingnet for this one.

A: Pours a nice bold brown hue with amber tones showing thru. Medium head with no lace.

S: Nice spice rack aromas with hints of nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. There is a solid malt background that gives of a touch of caramel sweetness.

T: Very much like the aroma. Bold mix of spices with a nice caramel sweetness. Just a dash of hops as well.

M: Medium in body, smooth with good carbonation.

D: I enjoyed it.

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Photo of jasonjlewis
3.64/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a decent 1/2 finger head with very thin lacing and a nice amber brown color that I can see through.

Big whiff of allspice, nutmeg, and sweet orange peel. I detect some crystal malts and a bit of chocolate malt undertones.

Taste is of some sweet crystal malts with some dark malt balance (but is not very much). I may have been wrong with the sweet orange peel reference, it tastes like bitter orange peel. Spices come out as well (nutmeg and cinnamon and allspice).

This beer needs a bit more body, the ABV isn't too over the top though. I want bigger specialty malts in this one. The spices are a little out of balance. Use more specialty malts and get ths one where it needs to be.

I just don't see a rhyme or reason for this one. No flavor really shines. It's not bad, but I know this isn't the best that left hand can do.

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Photo of maddogruss
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a bottle of this into a shaker glass.

A: Pours a dark brown body with a small, white head with pretty good retention and nice lacing until the finish.

S: A slightly bittersweet, malty smell with some ginger notes.

T: A strong, ginger taste with a slightly, malty finish. You can feel the alcohol in the beer while you are drinking it, but you cannot taste it on your tongue, which allows the malts and spices to be the center of attention instead of the high ABV.

M: A medium bodied mouthfeel that was also pretty smooth and nice on the palette.

D: A pretty good winter warmer. The ginger is nice, but I felt that it might have been a bit much. Pretty good mouthfeel and taste combination that yielded a pretty good drinking beer overall.

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Photo of everetends
3.97/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at the Brickstore Pub. Served up in a nonic pint.

A: Poured a really nice black. When held to light it had some nice burgundy to red wine color shining through. Poured a tan head that had pretty low retention and very little lace to talk about. The beer is pretty still with very little carbonation movement. Decent looking brew.

S: Smell is very nice and wintery. Nice lightly roasted malts that hve some great sweetness. This beer really smells exactly like a gingerbread cookie. Tons of ginger, nutmeg, cinamon and sugar. Just great.

T: A hell of a lot like the nose. Big time gingerbread cooking goodness. Yet again all of the flavors of ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, and sugar. The malt is light and sweet with notes of caramel and butterscotch. There is also some nice brown sugar goodness in there as well. Still with all thes flavors, this beer somehow rides a very thin line by some how not being crazy sweet. Just enjoyable.

M: Full bodied brew that really has decent thickness to it and creaminess. The flavors really coat the mouth and linger big time. Tons of the gingerbread flavors linger in the aftertaste. Carbonation is low. ABV is light but noticable.

D: For this beer being decently high in ABV and being a heavy winter brew, this brew is very easy to drink. I don't think I have ever pounded a winter warmer as fast as I did this one. Just an overall good beer that has good flavors and aromas that really are easily enjoyed. Just a fine beer.

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Photo of Monkeyknife
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle a deep mahogany color with a thin tan cap.

Sharp aroma of cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and brown sugar.

Spicy taste of cloves, cinnamon, brown sugar, ginger, and anise. Finish is nicely spiced with a light bitterness. The 8% alcohol is well hidden.

Medium bodied, smooth, and mildly carbonated.

A decent little Christmas-style ale from Left Hand. A bit heavy handed on the pie spices but worthy of a try.

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Photo of ProfessorHops
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance- Dark black. Lighting at Old Chicago is not the best.

Aroma- Cinnamon, & fruity

Pallet- Robust malt, maple, and some real cool pineapple which is distinctive.

Finish- Long complex layers of bitterness and candy.

Guzzle- Drinks a little hard. A little thick.

Texture- Moderately thick.

Extra: First drink I was served at Old Chicago Pizza. Bar keeps was awesome and let me pick the glassware. She made the beer professionally.

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Photo of AMoceri7
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

What a pleasant surprise, got this on one of those "go off on a limb" days. This could easily be a pumpkin ale if categorized by that and all would believe.

A: Deep mahogany with a pinch of red hue. Dark... Glistened in the light. Minimal head, but too much head on a brew like this would be annoying.

S: DFH Punkin ale. Spices on top of spices. A deep malt backbone with just a hair of hops. Smells balanced. No noticeable alcohol.

T: Exactly what you smell. Really as plain and simple as possible, a pumpkin ale all the way. The honey to me is hard to pinpoint. Maybe the residual sweetness after sip, or maybe even gulp, this puppy is easy to go down. Typical pumpkin pie spices, cardamom, cinnamon, a pinch of ginger, nutmeg and a nuttiness which is not nut brown ale nuttiness, but a taste like actual walnuts or cashews were used in the brewing process. Very good and modern. Burps consist of all things spices, star anise and/or licorice is very evident.

M: Perfect carbonation. Its low, but it suits it perfectly. No overbearing bitterness and it bounces on the way down.

D: Fairly even. Probably two pints and I might be sick of it. But curl up next to the fire with your wife and you wont let go of it.

Overall: Great beer, a branch from the norm which is always worthy of gratitude. But should probably fall more in the category of pumpkin beers. Probably a tad darker of DFHs Punkin Ale and very similar in taste. Would buy again

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Photo of KeefD
3.2/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown color with a small head and light lacing. Spicy aroma, mostly cinnamon and ginger. Like liquid ginger bread house mixed with alcohol. Taste follows suit. Spicy, plenty of cinnamon, hints of licorice, light ginger flavor and a definite spicy alcohol character. Smooth, but relatively light bodied. Alcohol is not as well hidden as I would like. An OK winter warmer, but nowhere near a favorite. If you like spices, give this one a shot.

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Photo of glid02
3.77/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this on-tap at Taco Mac in Decatur.

Pours a cloudy brown color with a one-finger off-white head. The head sticks around for a while before receding into a wispy layer of bubbles on top and a thin ring around the glass. Lacing is decent.

Smells largely of spices - nutmeg and brown sugar with some cinnamon. Very nice.

Tastes similar to how it smells - up front. Lots of spices, but then a sweetness takes over that's a bit overpowering. This would be really tasty if it wasn't so sweet.

Mouthfeel is good. Good thickness and carbonation.

Drinkability is alright. As I mentioned before, this is too sweet to be very drinkable, but as it is it's still pretty good.

Overall I was impressed with the smell and initial taste of this beer, but after that it was just slightly above average. Worth a shot.

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

Picked this one up last year and it has been sitting in the fridge for a good long while, nicely aged, this was a lovely 2007 vintage bottle. Served chilled and poured into three taster glasses. This one was consumed on 12/05/2008.

A rich dark brown emerged right away. Nearly opaque with the only light coming through on the sides and the bottom which gave it that slightly light reddish notes on the bottom. Nice light tan head and it settled down nicely.

The aroma was really charged, lots of spice here with a ton of cinnamon and nutmeg mixed in. Intresting that I picked up such a ton of spice here. Light alcohol notes a bunch of caramel malts. Smooth, creamy and rich delivery of the flavor. I loved this in the style. Big flavors here of cinnamon, nutmeg, and lots of pecans and walnuts. Almost an anise like flavor to it as it warms and lots of light fruit notes from the yeast. Really tight, quick, and smooth flavor hid the alcohol well and made this one alot more drinkable then I normally would have thought.

Overall a solid and very big winter warmer. I would have no issue at all with hitting this one up again, and look forward to this one on tap.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.05/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours into my glass a deep dark, garnet red color with a bubbly off white head on top. Color bursts out when held up to the light. Aromas start with caramel sweet and slightly roasted malts along with a good deal of fruity accents. The honey brings a light floral scent as well. Lots of cinnamon, orange peel, allspice. Maybe even a touch of clove and nutmeg. Nice and festive!

First sip brings a somewhat roasted caramel malt upfront with a touch of grain. A rush of fruit flavors with a touch of orange peel and apple that quickly transitions to spicy flavors. Big cinnamon, allspice and a touch of nutmeg. Finishes with some clove and a lingering, warming spiciness. Tasty and malty brew.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice creaminess. Fairly malty and rich overall. Quite a spicy brew but I am enjoying it on a cold winter night. Overall, a tasty, spiced brew for the winter months from Left Hand. Makes me think of the holidays. Check this beer out if you come across it, a bomber works well for two people.

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Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.69/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I believe I'll kick off December with A Winter Warmer. Here's to snow - may it come my way.

Nose is spicy like a pumpkin pie. Slightly malty, mostly spicy. Smells good.

Pours a medium brown color into a deep near-opaque dark brown body with small creamy top. Looks pretty good.

Devilishly spicy. Nicely malty. It is sweet and creamy and zesty-cool. Lots of pumpkin pie kind of spices - allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon come to mind - give it an nice autumn feel. The smooth creamy malty body helps to ground it down to the wintery side of late fall. Spice dominates the palate thus far. No alcohol noticeable. Good nutty maltiness grows. Tastes pretty good. Feels pretty good.

Upon reading from the website, I agree that it is quite clove-like and orange-zesty. I'm not sure what caramon tastes like off the top of my head. The honey may have fermented completely as it tends to do. I imagine that the spicy heat near the finish is ginger.

Good drinkability. Nice spice ale.

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Photo of corby112
3.23/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Serving type: bottle.

Pours a dark cherry-red color with a small white foam head. Spicy aroma with strong alcohol and dark fruit presence. Tastes kind of funky with a mix of spicy pepper, ginger, syrupy cough medicine, dark cherries and alcohol warmth.

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Summits, Snellville, GA. Served in a traditional American pint glass. Haven't had this one in ... well, about a year now, so it's a welcome reunion.

Appearance: Pours a dark ruby-colored body, clear around the edges, with less-than-average retention on the one-finger of slightly off-white head that leaves a slight foamy sheen after it recedes.

Aroma: Ginger and cinnamon are the predominant notes on this one, all wrapped up in a really thick blanket of honey-like toasted malts. A friend notes that it "smells like Christmas" - indeed.

Taste: Ah! Sweet, malty, with tons of spices. Dark toasty notes, but plenty of simple sweetness, thick, sticky. Hints of darker fruit, though it's really all about the ginger, cinnamon, and toasted sweetness. A little TOO sweet perhaps, bordering on cloying. At least the spiciness is authentic.

Mouthfeel: Thick, creamy, even feeling, medium carbonation, but a little syrupy.

Drinkability: I remember enjoying this a little more last year. It's not a bad beer - it's actually pretty flavorful, balanced, reasonable in abv% - but it's just a little "much," given the level of residual sugar in this one. It's like drinking a cookie, and while that's fine if you're in the mood for a cookie, I wasn't, heh. Still, there's a time and a place for this one, so give it a shot.

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Photo of jamie2dope
3.72/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was very happy to see this one available, as it is one of the few Left Hand beers that I have not seen in my the art on the cover too. Poured in to a chalice a chestnut brown, with a tiny bit of lace for a head. Mild smell of cola comes first, followed by ginger, clove, baked bread...reminds me of fruitcake a bit. Taste is very pleasing, with a nice underlying thick bread flavor that helps all the other flavors come together. Theres a bit of mint in the finish that stays with the palate for some time after swallowing. Body is heavier than expected...I guess I would call it medium in size. I had no problem polishing off the bomber, so drinkability is pretty good with me. I have to say that Winter Warmer used to be one of my least favorite styles, but as of late has risen to the top of my list of favorites. I never used to be all that in to the holidays, but beers like this seem to put a bit more spirit in to me. Cheers

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

We had the fireplace swept and are now enjoying the first fire of the year. Seemed like an ideal night for a winter warmer.

Pours into a pint glass a slightly hazy coppery brown color with less than an inch of head.

The aroma stands out as being full of winter spices like the kinds you find in pumpkin pie or wasail.

Flavor is rich in all that spicy goodness as well. A big malty backbone is accented by cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and anise. In addition, there's orange, vanilla, and oak flavors in there too.

Mouthfeel is nice medium bodied, perfectly carbonated, and smooth. Maybe it's all the spices but I don't sense the alcohol much except in it's warming feeling.

Perfect beer for a cold night and a warm fire.

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Photo of rye726
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I beleive this is the same as the old xxxmas.

A nice medium brown color with an off white silky gead.

The nise has complex malt profile surrounded by a mixture of stong spices, honey and earthy floral hops. Nutmeg, corrainder, clove, ginger, cinnamon and some orange or lemon rinds.

This was not at all out of balance. The huge spice variety is balanced well and compliments the beer. A strong full bodied malt presence keeps the foundation.

Full and creamy body with perfect carbonation. Can drink this ginger powered drink all winter long.

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Photo of rgore
3.27/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Dark brown color with a small head that quick dissipates. The nose is all cloves, and nutmeg. It certainly reminds you of the holidays and winter. The taste is sweet and powerful. I can imagine pairing this with a bitter chocolate as dessert. The finish lingers; you can feel the alcohol warming you. Its drinkability is limited. I began to lose steam after the first half of the beer. Its a winter only beer, and I can't imagine having more than one even on the coldest and cozy days. Overall its an extreme take on holiday/winter brew. That decision comes with pluses (nose and taste) and minuses (drinkability).

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Photo of Imstillthegman
4.12/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one pours out a color that very closely resembles cola. There are some particulates noticed with the second pour. Light tan head rises about a half inch above the liquid. It doesn't stay long and leaves practically no lacing behind. I dig the color, though.

The aroma is loaded with lots winter cooking scents. I get some cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, honey, nutmeg, and some lighter cloves. There's a good bit caramel candy in there, too. Getting my nose just close enough to the glass to get a whiff, it kinda reminds me of a candy bar.

The flavors of the scents all make a showing in the taste. The spices seem to take turns popping on the tongue. Slightly sweet, but the spices keep it in check. Almost tastes like what I imagine a simmering pot of winter time potpourri would. Weird analogy, I know.

Nice feel to it. Heavier medium body with lighter carbonation. The carbonation that is there gives it a nice sparkle in the mouth, however. This is a good beer to "warm" up with on a cold day. I really enjoy the winter warmer style and this one doesn't disappoint at all. Nice job, Left Hand.

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Photo of erikm25
4.22/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a toffee and buttery brown coloring. Head is minimal and tinted light tan. Moderate retention and slight lacing. Sits in the glass like liquid gingerbread cookies.

S: Aromas of cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, and peppers. The nose is caramel with honey coating and topped off with citrus zing. Smells like fresh gingerbread men pulled out of the oven and topped with icing ties and raisin eyes. The bottle indicates this is brewed with, among other things, cardamom explaining the balance of sweetness and spiciness.

T: Fresh spice blast that gets better with each sip. The spices are swirling around here like a snow storm of cinnamon, ginger, brown sugars, and clover. Alcohol is balanced nicely against the peppered spice tastes. A mild hops bitterness in the middle but this pure festive spices.

M: Heavy medium and malty body with good carbonation.

D: I was looking for something that was heavy on spices and be careful (and glad) with what you wish for. Warms up nicely and is perfect for the winter season.

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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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