Powder Hound Winter Ale | Big Sky Brewing Company

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82
good
255 Reviews
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Powder Hound Winter AlePowder Hound Winter Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company
Montana, United States
bigskybrew.com

Style: Winter Warmer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Two words describe winter in our neck of the woods... cold, dark, and snowy. Just the way we like it! At 7.2% ABV, Powder Hound Winter Ale gives just the right amount of warmth, balanced by its rich taste and generous dose of Hallertau, Palisade, and Amarillo hops. After a cold day of getting it done or just relaxing, the avalanche of flavor will have you saying these four words - "I'll have another Powder Hound"!

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-13-2002

BEER STATS
Reviews:
255
Ratings:
513
Avg:
3.62
pDev:
12.43%
 
 
Wants:
11
Gots:
42
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 255 | Ratings: 513
Photo of KeefD
3.07/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This pours a dark amber color with ok head and minimal lacing. Smells super sweet and malty. Taste is very much the same. Dark fruits when it's cold, but warms to a caramel, chocolate, raisin, prune flavor. Good carbonation, but it's can't overcome the thickness and syrupyness of this brew. Not the best winter offering I've had.

 330 characters

Photo of BeerAngel
3.07/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark amber/copper with a small off-white head. The aroma reveals a light malt and wet dog aroma (?). Must be the hound ;-). The taste is a toasty bread taste with mild hops and finishes with an alcohol taste…fortunately no hound this time. This is a light bodied brew that is decent at best. It is not highly complex and not extremely appealing. Thanks nonetheless to budgood1 for sending me this brew! Cheers!

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Photo of Beaver13
3.08/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Pours a reddish amber with a creamy light tan head that goes to a film that laces the glass.

The aroma is sweet caramel and chocolate, some grassy hops and a little cherry.

The flavor is sweet toffee malts with some slightly tart cherry fruitiness and a musty earthiness - kind of a strange combination. It is medium bodied and has a good level of carbonation.

Overall, it's nice and is drinkable, but not too exciting. It seemed like more of a fruit beer than a pale ale.

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Photo of Hhawk06
3.08/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

This beer starts off promising and kind of goes downhill as you can see from my ratings.

It poured with a nice pillowy and largely beaded head. The dark amber color it displays is muddied by further ruby and brown colors. It looks good. The nose is malty fresh and bread-like. The body is straight medium but there is a clear rough edge to the mouthfeel that robs a bit from the drinkability. The over-riding chestnut flavor drives the beer, but the background consists of a cinnamon spice essence that I would expect from a winter offering. The finish i smore malty with the clove/cinnamon presence more pronounced. Ultimately, it leaves you leafy dry. Its ok, but proves somewhat pedestrian by the time you're done.

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Photo of mdcrouser
3.08/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A half inch of eggshell colored head initially tops off this beer, but it quickly fades to a simple ring around the glass, pocked by bubbles atop the beer. Looks like a standard reddish-brown winter ale from here.

A mildly spicy mix of malts an light hops tempts the nose, inviting a closer sample.

Only a hint of spice on the tongue, but a nice touch of caramel maltiness - sweet and bitter, with much less spice than one would expect.

An initial kick of carbonation quickly ceases, leaving lingering sweetness, but overall a pretty unexciting beer - drinkable, but uninspired.

Wishing they would have incorporated some rye malts here - could have added much more depth.

Enjoyable in its drinkability, but probably not for a repeat run.

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Photo of 1whiskey
3.11/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a weizen glass. Deep mahogany red/brown, fairly clear when held to light. Nice frothy two finger head.

Very light nose is slightly sweet and sour with some hop character (EKG, Fuggles?) noticeable if you try hard. Real hard. Not much here.

Intitial taste is fairly clean, but a nice toasted grain flavor is evident. So where is the "avalanche of hops" Big Sky boasts of on their website? A low level of tea-like bitterness is the only thing I can detect here. It doesn't taste bad, it just doesn't taste like much at all. Seems like more a transition beer than a hearty winter ale.

Light bodied and highly carbonated, Powder Hound is nothing if not highly drinkable.

Probably not what most BAs are looking for in a hearty winter ale, but it's an easy drinker that could make for an unobjectionable transition beer for your friends, as well as an easy pairing with your typical pub fare.

 923 characters

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.15/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A glossy brown pour, nice fluffy head that settled to a soapy layer. A bit sticky on the glass.
Malt is first with the nose. A sticky sweetness, some soft fruit and cranberry. Musky a bit, too. Hops seem to keep it dry.
Sweet malt in the mouth, mixed with figs and cranberry. Subtle hints of dark fruits like plum, maybe some banana, but very little.
Notice of a slight crisp aftertaste, malt lingers a bit.

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Photo of CaptainIPA
3.18/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Dark copper in color with burgundy flaring around the edges and amazing clarity. An aggressive pour yields an impressive, two-finger, cream-colored head with fair retention and moderate lacing.

S: Citrus hops and caramel malt with suggestions of brown sugar.

T: After strong marks for both appearance and aroma, things begin sliding to the middle of the road. Taste opens trending sweet, with roasted malt notes and touches of caramel. A mild hop bitterness rounds out the middle and brings it on home. Finishes astringently dry. Not much else happening here.

M: Relatively thin bodied, yet slick on the palate and chewy in the mouth.

D: As a Winter Ale, Powder Hound needs to be taught a few new tricks. Just not inspiring enough to warrant session drinking.

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Photo of Oxymoron
3.18/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I tried this beer last year, but never rated. Luckily its back again so here goes, the pour is a dark red color with brown hues and good clarity. A nice tan colored head that quickly dissipates and not much lacing after some time.

Overall the aroma is rather light. The nose is malty with some tropical fruit and fig aromas. A bready and somewhat grainy essence. There are some hop esters with a grassy feel to it.

The taste is sweeter then expected with a basic sweet pale malt taste and honey flavor in the background. Some fruity notes continue with some hints of plums and raisins coming out. Light caramel touches at the end and herbal hop presence as well.

The body has a mid to light feel that has a not quite dry finish to it. There is also a light chalky finish which is a deterrent. Carbonation is good though. Overall its a good beer with room to improve.

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Photo of alexgash
3.18/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Chestnut amber with a light tan head. Smells of butterscotch cookie dough with a dash of vanilla and Christmas wreath. Shortbread cookie flavors up front, along with butterscotch, and sweet vanilla. Hops enter, resinous, but mostly astringent and raw. Bittersweet finish. Medium-bodied, with a soapy feel. Not as good as I had hoped.

 333 characters

Photo of magictrokini
3.2/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear brown pour with no head. Caramel-sweet aroma makes you think this is going to be sticky sweet. The malt and hop profiles, however balance this one out into a very smooth, slightly spicy beer. Only problem was that I expected more from a winter beer, either in the alcohol content or overall flavor. Kind of weak in both areas, but still an enjoyable brew.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.2/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark cider with some haze thru it. Head started off nice but fell quick leaving strays across the top and a decent light beige ring around the glass.

S: Strawberry, caramel, cooked carrots, a bit grassy and some brown sugar.

T: Begins fruity (boysenberry, dull cherry and yellow apple) mixed with earthy hops. Dingy caramel moves forward with spicy hops across the tip of the tongue. Finishes with lingery red fruit and flat bitterness.

M: Medium body but thin and watery.

D: Eh. I like where they are going but the execution isn't stellar. Not huge into the "earthy" flavors as well.

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Photo of ReebShorts
3.2/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a chalice, just because I love drinking from it. Somewhat aggresive on the last half of the pour and still only managed a thin head which faded quickly, leaving some central bubbles behind and lacing around the rim.

A bit redder in color than other winter ales I've been sampling, kinda of a carmel brown/red.

Aroma is malty, and maybe some dark fruit, like plum.

Ok, taste is malty, and sweetened possibly by honey. Finish is dry. Not a bad sipper, but nothing really "wow's" me here. Pretty average.

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Photo of brewbattles
3.2/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

We did a blind taste test between this and 4 other Winter Seasonals to objectively determine which one was best. They beers were: Deschutes Jubelale, Anderson Valley Boont Winter Solstice, Big Sky Powder Hound, Alaskan Winter Ale, and Redhook Winterhook. Check it out:

http://youtu.be/TJowachG1no

 297 characters

Photo of tempest
3.21/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a firkin at Groveland Tap.

Came with a bit of head and lacing from the firkin, but I couldn't pull must aroma or flavor out of it, even as it warmed. Maybe some beers just aren't made to go on cask. I just got a little cocoa malt with decent hops bitterness. Felt nice and easy to drink, but I wasn't particularly inspired to drink more.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.21/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Rich amber in color. Clear, with nice 1 finger head and sticky lace. Looks like a pretty good amber.

Smell: Roasted malts, brown sugar, maybe a little alcohol

Taste: Definitely taste the malts. Strong bread flavor (gingerbread maybe?). This reminds me a lot of 2 Below. Aftertaste was mildly bitter/hoppy.

Mouthfeel: watery with mild carbonation = dissapointing

Drinkability: meh... I guess I'd drink it, but there's so many other better winter beers out there. Then again, I guess this is an amber. For an amber, it's alright.

 543 characters

Photo of CWiggins
3.22/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Jeremy for this beer. I probably would have never heard of it had he not been so generous.

What should one expect when the words "winter ale" appear on a bottle? I have high expectations for any beer displaying those words, and when the brew turns out to be a hoppier or slightly stronger ale than regular beers by that brewer I am usually very disappointed. I sorely desire those words to mean something–specifically, I want those words to imply a spiced ale in the grand tradition of the winter warmer. But almost anything is possible with "winter" ales, and I found my desires once again thwarted by an otherwise decent ale.

This one pours a dark red/amber, and the dark tan head that forms quickly dissipates almost as fast. It emits a musky smell reminiscent of the woods on a cold autumn morning, with aromas of biscuit-like malts, Granny Smith apples, chestnuts, cotton candy, and cherry pie. The flavor isn't nearly as expressive: there is a mild malt body accented by hops at the finish. The hue of mildly roasted malts and sweet fruit is followed by an oatmeal-like aftertaste accompanied by that familiar hoppy bitterness. The bready aftertaste lingers for a pleasant amount of time.

I have to admit amber/red ales aren't my forte. In fact, I usually avoid them like the plague! Big Sky's Powder Hound Winter Ale is pleasant to drink and contains a breadth of interesting flavors, even if it doesn't meet my silly expectations.

 1,452 characters

Photo of marc77
3.23/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Ruddy bister hue, topped by a beige head that recedes into a lean, but steadfast layer. Frothy, loose lace remains. The aroma is a combination of mellow cocoa and tepid, slightly tart lemon like citrus. Floral hints arise as it breathes, but as a whole the aroma is understated and functional at best. The flavor is a facsimile of the nose. Mild cocoa and citrus are prevalent, although an undertone of caramel sweetened, dark biscuit adds depth. Hop bitterness is paltry and leaves ample, but inobtrusive residual sweetness. Virtually bereft of esters, save a trace figgish complement. Lightly bodied and conducive to easy quaffing. Needs more dextrins to bolster the malt backbone. Finishes squeaky clean, with only a ghostly hint of roasted barley. An innocuous, well crafted, albeit unimaginative brew. Excellent drinkability, limited savorability.

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Photo of HiroProtagonist
3.24/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Powder Hound was served from a 12 oz bottle. In a Duvel tulip, the beer was a very attractive deep ruby-orange, and was topped by an off-white head that left very nice and ornate lacing. The underpowering nose was sweet with a delicate strawberry maltiness and a subtle citric hoppiness. The taste was also rather bland for a winter beer. The malt character was quite mild and not as sweet as the nose suggested, with no roastiness to be found. Instead, a Belgian strong ale-like focused strawberry essence presided, and held up throughout the mild bitter finish. I am reminded somewhat of a wimpy version of the Victory Grand Cru. My conclusion is that this beer is an experimental variant of the Belgian pale strong style (though there was no spice), perhaps an attempt to blend this style with another, altough with what I don't know...maybe with an amber/red ale as the style designation suggests, or an English pale ale. The result is not very inspiring, but isn't bad, just bland. The body of the beer is decent, though carbonation seemed fizzle out to quickly. An interesting beer, but fails to make a splash.

 1,116 characters

Photo of Murchmac
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Where did you come from? Kiss me

the best thing about this beer is its taste and mouthfeel.

Reddish amber color

Alcohol malt smell. Tastes like a light brandy with hops and more malts less alcohol taste.

I like this beer but it's still average compared to other holiday beers. Good beer to drink if David Byrne is attacking you.

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Photo of beertunes
3.25/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in Imperial pint. Poured a nice medium brown with a tall, fluffy, off-white head that had very good retention and lacing. The aroma was mostly sweet malts, some caramel notes, with a trace of hops.

The taste was also mostly sweet malt, with a bit of hops and spice. The body was typical, perhaps a bit on the thin side. Drinkability was good, but with the beer being so average, I can't see having more than one.

Overall, this is a decent little beer, worth a shot if you see it.

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Photo of EagleTalon
3.26/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours to a rocky head that lasts and laces. Light copper. Aroma is spicy hops and pale sugary malt. Flavor is more of the same but you would not know it has over 7% alcohol. Mouthfeel is light-medium. Not a bad brew, just not particularly exciting and not what i think of as a winter warmer.

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Photo of beerguy101
3.26/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Medium brown color, medium head. A medium bodied brown/amber ale, spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon. Slightly sweet malts, slight orange taste. Good flavor. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter. Nice warming beer.

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Photo of tectactoe
3.29/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Pours a super-hazy, golden-orange color, some brighter yellow tips around the edges. Packed with lots of tiny pieces of sediment that float around the beer. Creamy, beige-colored head settles fast and doesn't leave much lacing. Aroma was full of malts, up and down, toasted caramels, mild spices, a deep, sweet, musty earthiness to it as well. Some sweeter fruits sit in the background, like dates and prunes. Hops? Basically nowhere to be found on the nose. Taste is even more jam-packed with caramel malts and spices, giving it a slight warming feeling. Alcohol comes through, but doesn't really hinder. Sweet, sharp fruitiness comes through; prunes, grapes, almost wine-like as it meshes with the mild alcohol character. Some more spices come through as the beer warms, but I really can't put my finger on what they might be. Earthy tones and deep, sweet esters come through - this beer is almost a little too malty and sweet. The hops are still mostly absent. Slight nuttiness along with some grains in the aftertaste, but still pulling heavy on the sweet caramel malts and deep fruitiness. Medium body, medium carbonation.

Eh, I wasn't really feeling this one. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't very good, either. A little to unbalanced with the malt in my opinion, and the sweetness just wasn't controlled or able to stand all on its own. Decent, but certainly nothing special.

 1,379 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.29/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Served in a willibecher at Firkin.

Do they have skiing teams in the Big sky conference? Regardless, this stuff pours a clear amber topped by a finger-and-a-half of cream-white foam. The nose comprises very light grapefruit peel, mixed greens, light honey-dripped biscuit, and very light toffee. The taste brings in more of the same, along with more greens, a touch more sweetness for the honey and biscuit, and an added hint of grass. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a sorta/kinda drying finish. Overall, an alright, if thoroughly nondescript, little beer.

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Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
3.62 out of 5 based on 513 ratings.
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