Blue Ridge Snowball’s Chance | Wild Goose Brewery, LLC

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Blue Ridge SnowballÂ’s ChanceBlue Ridge SnowballÂ’s Chance
42 Ratings
Blue Ridge SnowballÂ’s ChanceBlue Ridge SnowballÂ’s Chance

Brewed by:
Wild Goose Brewery, LLC
Maryland, United States

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 05-26-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 42 |  Reviews: 40
Reviews by DarthMalt:
Photo of DarthMalt
4.02/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I'm gonna grab a tap handle for this puppy one day. It's a big freakin' snowman!

I had shortness of breath about finding this one this year, after I heard rumors about Frederick Brewing Co. going Chapter 11 last year. But, thank Ninkasi, it's still around!

Great dark-red ruby color, with a packed head that looks like light brown sugar. Smell should be heavenly to ale afficianados--super grapefruit punch with a good yeasty smell underneath. It screams ale, basically.

Head hangs on tight for the trip down south, while yeast profile barely keeps its blanketing ooze in check.

A lot of beers talk shit about their "select" malt varieties, but Snowball's six really peel out into several distinct flavors of malt--each cup a new experience. The Columbia and Mt. Hood hops present a master stroke in the art of bitterness and flavoring.

Alcohol appearance is nil, even at 6.0%.

Best of all? No hokey spices!!!!!!

This is one of those beers that takes three or four to decide whether or not you really like it. :)

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More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.38/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brown with light red tones with a light head that leaves some light lacing,aroma is deep roasted malt and a litle meaty.The taste has a slight smokey tinge to it to begin with a sweet raisiny finish that lingers on the tongue.This beer is real close to being a real top notch brew but misses in the complexity department not bad but not worth seeking out.

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Photo of OldFrothingSlosh
3.9/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12oz. amber bottle with an empty "best by" box on the label.

Appearance: Poured a dark clear brown color with a creamy smooth tan-colored head that does a good job of lacing the glass.

Smell: Sweet-smelling aromas mixed with some spices and fruity scents make for a pretty darn complex-smelling beer.

Taste: Something in the flavor is perplexing to me. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it was a "spicy" something that really drew me into the taste. Aside from the "mystery guest" in the flavor department of tonight's beer sampling, there were other flavors, mostly malty sweet that were noted. There is a slight bittering effect in the taste as well, and I noticed this mostly towards the end of the taste.

Mouthfeel: Very large, chewy, and creamy. Just what you'd expect from this type of beer. A real palate-coater.

Drinkability: The smooth and creamy mouthfeel, along with the really interesting spicy character of the flavor really helped hold my interest in this beer. It has no lingering aftertaste, the alcohol content is quite low and doesn't "burn" on the way down like some other, stronger beers in this category. Overall, quite a nice beer.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears a ruby caramel mahogany brown hue with an off white tan head leaves even coats of moderate tan lacing with each sip. Aroma is nice with mild cocoa powser roasted malt profile herbal hop finish just a touch with a nice overall pleasant mild smell to it. Flavor has a touch of hop bitterness with chocolate cocoa powder and mild coffee and is complemented with a herbal pine hop finish very easy going in flavor though. Mouthfeel is lighter to medium bodied with a smooth mild creaminess about it even carbonation does stay on the palate for a bit. Drinkability nice christmas session not over spiced like some others I had this past holiday season, oh yeah these are past notes that I stumbled on.

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Photo of beerluvr
3.43/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

It pours with a tight and large beige-colored head over clear deep red liquid. Lots of malt and a nice amount of hop in the nose, with fruity and slight sulphur notes when freshly poured. The taste is fruity and malty, then drys out and a nice dosage of hops is tasted...then some toasted maltiness appears. Finishes rich and full bodied with fruity/dry undertones.

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Photo of PhantomVodoo
4.03/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mahogany in color with a tan head that leaves lace. Looks tasty.
Interesting aroma: fruit, citrus, sweet malts and a bit of alcohol.

Taste follows the aroma with a bold and interesting flavor. Citrusy, spicy hops. Sweet malts play large in the flavor profile. There is a fruity character to the beer as well. Some lingering bitterness after the finish.

Good mouthfeel with some creaminess to it.
Good drinkability.

I like winter seasonals and this one is no exception. I really enjoyed it. A good beer and solid winter ale. Very similar to how I remember their Wild Goose Snow Ale. It would be interesting to sample the two side by side.

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Photo of GeoffRizzo
4.14/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Plain brown, with bright red highlights. The egg-shell like head is quickly absorbed and dissolves fast. The nose is sweet and colorful—malts, oaks, earthy notes, raisins and just a hint of alcohol. An oily slick mouthfeel, very rich—full bodied. Primarily malt based body, back with a hoppy-bite. Caramel notes throughout; also some chocolate and rich cocoa flavorings round out this rather nicely. The palate and after-affects are burnt caramel malts and toffee. Lacks the ‘bite’ that other winter seasonals offer, yet very easy to drink and pretty flavorful.

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Photo of AsburyParkJMH
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours a nice ruby colour with a mild off white head that leaves a decent though non-spectacular residue on the glass.

the smell is malty with chocolate, nuts and a bit of tart fruitiness present. a tad thin but nice overall.

the flavour is a malty caramel cream predominantly, with some chocolate at the finish mixed in with a bit of fruit flavouring, raspberry perhaps. there's a touch of a hop kick here and there which is nice as well. the mouthfeel is nice, with a bit of a chalky, brown ale feel to it.

this is a pretty good brew overall that mixes up the flavour nicely and provides for a bit of warmth as well. it's a winter brew you should check out at the very least.

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Photo of cubedbee
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Frisco Burritos, comes out in the pint glass a deep dark brown, a finger of beige head that vanishes fast, but some moderate lacing on the glass. Nose is a bready, slightly toasted, malt, brown sugar, and a slight gingerlike spice. Taste is more of the same, a bready sugary malt, like gingerbread cookies, a dollop of molasses just a slight spicey finish, no hops detectable. Definitely on the sweeter side of things, but it never becomes cloying and is actually very drinkable. I definitely preferred the spicier Anchor Christmas Ale also on tap, but this is a decent winter warmer in it's own right.

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Photo of weeare138
3.6/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appears a dark brown with a slight red hue and a nice beige head that retains nicely. Beautiful beige lacing rings stick around all sides.
Smell is of a nice array of malt with a mixed up grain bill that is pleasant. Aromas of caramel, wheat, and perhaps a light billing of German and Belgian malts lingering in the background.
Taste is sweet swheat malt mixed with an array of mixed malts. Quite jumbled but interesting enough to drink.
Mouthfeel is smooth but slightly watery along the palate with finish cutting out with mild hop bitterness. Definite wheat presence.
Drinkability...needs to be more full bodied and definitive. The Snow Goose seems to be more of a winner for a warmer and this is leaning towards a porter gone awry. There is just too much going on betwen the yeast, grain bill, different malts, and mild hop finish. I can't put my finger on it. Not bad but not that great either.

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Photo of marc77
3.68/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark garnet in hue, with brilliant, lager like clarity. Fluffy, well retained vanilla white head leaves sparse lace. The aroma is a melange of mild chocolate notes, dark caramel malt and lightly burnt roasted grain sweetness, along w/ restrained raisiny fruitness and a leafy, herbal, tobacco laced hop nose. Bready and molasses tinged malt sweetness hit the palate concomitantly, then consort with roasted notes and buttery caramel, lending an light brown sugar sprinkled burnt toast impression. Clean, dried date fruitiness complements malt sweetness. Hop bitterness is mild, leaving roasted grain bitterness the burden of balancing malt sweetness. Moderate in body, with a dextrinous, yet light mouthfeel that aids in overall drinkability. Faintly floral hop flavor. Finishes with pronounced lingering caramel and residual sweetness. Snowball's Chance is a unique brew. It's akin to an English brown / strong ale hybrid. Quite tasty, but the unhindered malt sweetness eventually weighs a bit heavy. With a more assertive hop bitterness this could be excellent.

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Photo of Dithyramb
3.97/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled as a pint glass at Frisco's in Columbia. Pours a smokey dark brown with sparse tan head. Only a bit of cabonation feeding up, with limited retention and lacing.

Just a very slight roast toasty malt aroma with some sugary background.
Dark roasted malts and sugars are the predominant flavor here, just perfect for the winter. Caramel, molasses, bready, toffee laden goodness. Hops are basically hardly in this party.
Mouthfeel was just right. Usually, when something is so malt driven, it is a bit cloying, but not the case here. Just right mouthfeel, light carbonation, clean finish--very drinkable.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.53/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle

Pours a medium chestnut brown with ruby highlights. Has a creamy tan head that thins, mild lacing on the glass.

Aroma is a lightly toasted caramel malt with a distinct nuttiness. Some light cocoa and mild herbal hop aromas are also present.

Caramel malt upfront leading into a blend of nutty and cocoa flavors. A mild bitterness hits almost at the finish along with a mild herbal hop flavor that lingers a bit.

Medium body, solid carbonation.

A drinkable brew, and a nice overall winter warmer.

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Photo of battlekow
4.23/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I really like this beer. I got it in a trade awhile ago and it's been begging me to put it out of its misery for awhile; I'm glad I finally obliged. It's a pretty simple beverage, though mine is at least a year old now so it's undoubtedly mellowed. Thick and malty, not unlike a baby old ale. Extremely biscuity finish is evocative: early morning memories of Bisquick boxes and sausage (maybe I should pair it with a rauchbier). The dry finish contrasts well with the gooey sweetness upfront. Almost raisiny but not quite. A great beer to relax with while your girlfriend does her endless French homework.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.35/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a good head but not much carbonation and leaves no lace. Deep ruby/garnet color. Nice malt flavor, with medium sweetness, clean medium bodied excellent winter beer, this is the best of five, I have had so far from Frederick. Came as a care package and I have not seen it here in NH. :(

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Photo of Gavage
3.91/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a clear brownish burgandy color. 2" fluffy tan colored head. Some mild lacing develops.

Smell: the aroma is of mild roasted malts, bread, and slight nuttiness.

Taste: this brew is malty. The flavor is of caramel, pumpernickel bread, molasses, soft chocolate, mild bitterness, and a hint of alcohol. This is like drinking a hearty meal.

Mouthfeel: medium - heavy in body. The mouthfeel is smooth at the start and finish. The finish is long on the malt and bread qualities.

Drinkability: very drinkable and a nice winter brew. Worth seeking out.

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Photo of ROGUE16
3/5  rDev -17.8%

Photo of IrishRedRock
3.38/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

To begin with, this is a great looking beer. Thick, creamy appearance with a deep brown color and bright ruby glow when held to the light. The head retains rather nicely, reminding me of a Belgian dark ale. Cherries and toffee in the nose, along with some dark chocolate and spices.

It's all been good so far, but the taste does not so much do it for me. The initial flavors are fruity with some semi-sweet chocolate thrown in, but the aftertaste is has an acrid acidic maltiness that I don't really care for. Nevertheless, I press onward. Mouthfeel is rich and coats well, but this brew could use some hops to balance itself out better. Not bad, but not really worth seeking out.

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Photo of Toocls2h8
4.65/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I am really suprised at the relatively low rating for this beer. My brother lives nextdoor to the brewmaster of Frederick Brewing Co. and received a couple 6-packs as an early Christmas gift.

The picture here is pretty much what it looked like when I poured it.

The taste is a warm, moderately hoppy, balanced with some malt with an assertive coffee flavor. This is a very drinkable beer, I drank four of them in an evening and would have kept going if I didnt have to drive home.

Not too hoppy, not too malty, not too alcoholic--just right.

One of my favorites.

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Photo of WesWes
4.47/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a ruby red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a creamy, toasted scent that boasts of pale, crystal, and roasted malts. It's earthy with a breadlike aroma. The taste is good. It has a rich, earthy flavor that is quite sweet and complex. It goes down easy and finishes smooth and breadlike. I love the malt palate. It has a nutty flavor as well. The mouthfeel is outstanding. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good beer. It is has awesome aroma and taste; a great sessions beer. The label doesn't impress me, but the beer is good.

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Photo of TPoling
3.43/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Decent tan head that disappears quickly. A reddish clarity. Some malt and dried sour and sweet fruit in the nose. Various levels of malt run across the tongue, progressing from tart, to ground coffee to bitter. The middle range is where the roasted flavors peak, but the hoppy finish isn't bad.

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Photo of cichief
3.03/5  rDev -17%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A- Poured a deep ruby-brown, with a thin, light brown head.

S- Sweet smelling, malty.

T- Again, sweet, with a malted barley overtone, slight coffee flavor, with dry finish.

M- Bubbly, with a thin to medium body.

D- At 6% ABV its not too heavy, a decent drink in colder weather.

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Photo of jhu1995
2.4/5  rDev -34.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Picked this up at World Market as part of a winter brew variety pack. Appearance was a very deep, dark brown, bordering on blackish-brown. Very thin head. Smell was all caramel malt. For having a wide variety of malts in the mix, I was a little disappointed. Thought I would get some roasted flavor. Taste was similar to the flavor with caramel taste dominating. Not much of a hops presence. Does not make you want to reach for another one.

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Photo of rabsten
3.98/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For the review, I've poured it into a pint glass, but I honestly think this beer tastes better right out of the bottle. Pours thick and dark, with a red-tinted caramel brown color. The head is thick and sticky, and laces the glass with every sip.

It smells sweet and malty, with some vanilla/caramel (something candy-esque, anyway) and coffee tones. No hop aroma.

Tastes just like it smells. Malty, with coffee overtones, and a sweet, caramel aftertaste. Not bitter at all.

Very smooth brew. Feels good going down and starts a nice, warm feeling in the belly. It's definately a "warmer."

As metioned above, this beer somehow tastes better from the bottle. I'm not sure why, but it does. Perhaps the brewmaster designed it to be consumed out in the snow, maybe at a place like Wisp. Overall, a pleasant, accessible winter warmer ale.

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Photo of tgbljb
3.58/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

poured a very deep color with reddish tints, Head was slightly off-white and adequate. Left minimal lacing on the side of the glass. Smell is minimal with some molasses, bread, malt detected.Taste is superb with massive caramel, nuts, dark fruit (plums) in abundance. Finish is nice and dry and very enjoyable. Beckons for another taste. A Very good example of the style.

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Blue Ridge Snowball’s Chance from Wild Goose Brewery, LLC
Beer rating: 3.65 out of 5 with 42 ratings