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Powder Hound Winter Ale | Big Sky Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
82
good
256 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:
256
Ratings:
515
Avg:
3.62
pDev:
17.68%
 
 
Wants:
11
Gots:
43
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 256 | Ratings: 515
Photo of czechsaaz
2.87/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Very fruity aroma. Lots of sweet cherries and plums. There's some mlat backbone that seems a little like munich but it's so overwhelmed by the fruity aroma that it's kind of nondescript. Nop hop aroma that I can pick out.

Reddish and clear with a very small head. Almost no visible rising carbonation.

Flavor is very sweet, malty but also more fruit flavored. Very light hop bitterness. Some bready yeast, but the dominant character is like the aroma, fruity.

Body is medium and the carbonation is pretty low so it's kind of lifeless on the palate.

Kind of a strange offering. It seems very light and so not a hefty winter warmer. It's so fruity that it seems more like a warm weather thirst quencher than a winter beer. That said, it does go down easily but it's really not what I'm looking for in a winter beer.

 826 characters

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.

 600 characters

Photo of hopsaplenty
3.4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz brown bottle, 242 06 5 inkjetted on the bottle near bottom label, but I’m not sure if this is a date. Bottle cap text: "Whut?"

Clear, deep amber. Slow building, slow fading tight head of fine sand colored bubbles. A few chunks and splotches of lace remain alongside a thick skim. Distributed slow carbonation streams. The aroma of cookie spices, sweet caramel, and soft hops are noticeable away from the glass. Light spices lead up front complimented by a bit of sweet toasty malt. A slightly spicy hop note sticks out in the finish and lingers a bit. There is also a bit of cinnamon perhaps that drags on in a sweet way. But it is that crispy, spicy hop note that sticks in the corners and doesn’t really play nicely with the rest of the beer. Medium-light body with a slightly dry mouthfeel and a perfectly adequate level of carbonation. I found the hops to sit on top of the other spices and as a result it seemed a bit off kilter. It reminded me of last year’s Snowcap from Pyramid which suffered from the same problem.

The White Elephant BIF strikes again.

 1,075 characters

Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.32/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Originally reviewed February 22, 2005. On tap at Old Chicago, Duluth. Slightly murky hazel brown pour with copious off-white head, complemented by thick sheets of lacing. No aroma. Extreme caramel and toasted nut flavors. The malt in this beer is fantastic. Smooth on the palate, with a smack of sweet cinnamon and apple. Extremely drinkable and rich.

 351 characters

Photo of kmpitz2
3.33/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle. Pours a solid tea color with a small and sparse head that is patchy over top. Very good clarity on this one and a light carbonation can be seen in the liquid. This one really looks like iced tea. Smell is caramel, light buttery diacetyl, with a touch of darker aromas from a tough of roast and melanoidan toastyness, with even a touch of nuttyness in there. I'd like a little less nuttyness and a light graineyness to put a touch of an edge on it. This one is a touch closer to a nut brown in the aroma. Flavor is a bit more interesting than the nose. Caramel, light butter, moving towards a melanoidan toastyness and nuttyness, finishing with a very mild bitter. Its okay, but I don't like the nuttyness in here. It doesn't work well with the other flavors in my opinion. Feel is on the light end of moderate, with a carbonation that is moderately strong. It works very well with the flavor of the beer. Overall, this one is okay. I don't like the nutty character in it, as it seems to be fighting with the sweeter notes, not compliment them. I'd like to see this one go a little darker and hit the nutbrown category.

 1,132 characters

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.

 720 characters

Photo of DogFood11
2.82/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Milky tan head that levels out. Ring lacing, rolling medium to mild carbonation, Amber color.

Bread, doughy almost. Looks like a thin body.

Taste carries a raw malt presence, backed by a light fruitiness. The taste eventually rounds itself out into a fairly interesting ending to the brew but for the most part its rather forgettable to me. I liked the raw mash type aroma, and it was easily put down without a second thought, hence the problem.

 451 characters

Photo of beveragecaptain
2.86/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle. Pours out a dark, amber color with an off-white head. The aroma is a strange sour smell with some caramel and spice. Buttery toffee flavor with pineapple and some nuttiness. A soapy flavor nearly ruins this beer, although some pleasant maltiness still comes through. Finishes sweet with very little hop flavor. This beer is not malty enough, and there are too many off-flavors. Not a complete waste, but I wouldn't recommned it either.

 452 characters

Photo of descartes
3.01/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 33 cl bottle.

Appearance: Clear amber beer with slight tan head.
Smell: Nectary sweet smell, with hints, smells thin.
Taste: Malty taste,with hint of burnt caramel. Off aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied but becomes watery quickly.

Overall: I was disappoint by a thin body, an overly sweet smell and a one dimensional roasted taste.

 355 characters

Photo of Zorro
4.07/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a clear red colored ale with a good tan colored head.

Smell is sweet and malty with an aroma of figs and raisins with some vanilla and smoke. Good toasted bread aroma. Fair amount of spiciness in the scent to the point I suspect they added spice to create a sort of winter warmer. Scent is somewhat like a bock beer.

Taste is slightly sweet bitter and smoky in the first taste with a residual wood and vanilla finish. Strongly malty but it is very aggressively hopped to compensate and does a very good impersonation of a good Scottish ale. Smoky malt and strong herbal hops make this a very pleasing beer! The oak, vanilla and caramel continue as after tastes through out the glass full.

Mouthfeel is only average here; this has that one slight fault.

A very drinkable Scottish ale here. According to the website they call this "a Northern Rockies Strong Ale" but taste wise this is a malty and smoky Scottish ale in my book. A surprisingly drinkable beer that I really didn't expect to be as good as it was.

 1,027 characters

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.

 522 characters

Photo of pjwilson
4.3/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

notes: i've always thought this brewery made some good beers...so i jumped at this one when i saw it on sale. The abv is 6.2 on the bottle. This is a winter warmer if anything, as it reminds me more of jubelale than your average red beer. on with the review.
appearance: lots of carbination settles down to a nice thin layer that lasts along time. ok so i guess this beer is pretty red. Reddish brown.
smell: chocolate malts in this one kids. some mild hoppiness(noble no doubt) nothing crazy but nice
taste: this is a nice tasty beer. I'm so hapy it's not too sweet (i've been getting killed with too sweet beers lately) It's quite dry actually. Great balance between the chocolate, the hops and the base malt. The first taste is that chocolate, followed with a nice mild bitterness...(bet my dollar that it's williamete hops in this one) Just great balance. If counted as a winter warmer this is one of my favorites....likin' this more than jubelale at least.
mouthfeel: it's good, nice and light, but still filling...perhaps a hair watery but that just helps with the drinkability i think.
drinkability: great, walking the line between a sipper and a session. I would go so far as to call this a great session ale, but it is 6.2 percent after all. Great beer. I haven't been let down by this brewery yet, and they seem to get low marks. Give this one a shot. It's probably the most drinkable winter warmer i've had. (much more drinkable that jubelale, winter solitice, anchor's)

 1,493 characters

Photo of nathanho
3.77/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appears red amber; medium head dissapates quickly. I like Big Sky's branding.

Smells of berries & hops with background pineapple.

Taste is immediately straw with wheat, strong seaweed, some alfalfa, bitter malt, and a walnut aftertaste. Mouthfeel is silky.

Not my kind of session beer due to bitterness & interesting but strong seaweed/straw taste.

 357 characters

Photo of rowew
3.46/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 12 oz longneck bottle. This is another beer that is new to the Denver market. As with all the other Big Sky beers, the label is a badly drawn animal. I am starting to think they let their kids design the labels.

Appearance: Pours a dark reddish brown color with a nice thick tan colored head. Nice lacing.

Smell: Not a lot of aroma - slight malt sweetness and a hint of spice, but it is faint.

Taste: Medium bodied mouthfeel with a fairly low carbonation level. Nice combination of malt sweetness and just a hint of yeast in the beginning, with a good amount of hops to balance out the finish.

Overall impression: A nice winter beer - very drinkable with a good balance of flavors.

 707 characters

Photo of xoqx
4.12/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - This beer pours copper with a yellow, one finger head exhibiting light retention and wispy lacing.

Smell – There are honey, fruity, malty, and caramelly smells here.

Taste - This beer tastes very malty with bready, honey characteristics. It is nicely balanced with restrained hops. The finish is nothing but average.

Mouthfeel - The mouthfeel is clean, creamy, and nicely-carbonated.

Drinkability – This is a drinkable beer, if not an overly interesting one.

 486 characters

Photo of loren01
4.12/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a light amber color into pint glass. Nice brownish/white head, light carbonation, slight lacing down the pint glass. Smells very nutty with some roasted grains as well. There is also a scent that I can't quite put my finger on, possibly like a cream/buttery smell. Taste is sweet at first with a nice bitter hoppy aftertaste. The aftertaste was very much unexpected, I didn't really smell any hop scents at all. This beer goes down very easliy, has a great mouthfeel to it. A very solid winter beer by Big Sky.

 516 characters

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.

 495 characters

Photo of battlekow
4.09/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Powder Hound, described on bigskybrew.com as a "Northern Rockies Strong Ale," is a clear reddish-brown color with a small, off-white head that quickly dissipates. Smell has a nutty, slightly buttery character and a caramel sweetness with a tinge of apple; it's a great scent but a little different, and I'm struggling to describe it. Almost smells like ice cream. Tastes pretty good, but not as interesting as the smell. There's a slightly hoppy finish, but Powder Hound tastes for the most part like a generic, malty amber ale. Does have a nicely creamy mouthfeel. Pretty easy drinking for Northern Rockies Strong Ale, I must say.

 631 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
3.72/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A very nice beer for style. Has the look of winter ale--lood of sticy without thickness. Nicely browned with ruby highlights. A dirty off white head that persists shows body. Smells toasty and maty. Toffee and chocolate malt round out the nose. Tastes malty, toasty, slightly roasty, slightly chocolately, quite nutty, vanella-ey, and a little caramel-ey. Light buttery and candied. Big body per style that dominates with creamyness and carbonation. Finishes cloying and tacky with light tones of bittering that shows grainyness.

 529 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fuzzy, dark orangish bronze; a relatively common winter beer color it seems. The compact, orange-tinted beige cap features a pebbled surface of gently popping bubbles. As it drops, sloppy rings of lace appear on the upper portion of the glass.

The nose is redolent of heavily toasted malt and puts me in mind of coarse, heavy, dark bread. I don't smell chocolate per se, so comparisons to pumpernickel don't really apply. It smells a bit earthy as well. The aroma needs something to give it some life. Hops would do the trick, but are virtually absent by my nose.

Powder Hound Winter Ale tastes better than it smells. While it's still malt-dominant, it's more multi-dimensional than the nose could ever hope to be. The malt backbone is firm and stops just short of roasted. Caramel and mild chocolate lead the way and a moderate sweetness helps rather than hinders.

Despite the early and mid sweetness, bitterness gathers itself at the midway point and increases modestly through the finish. The sweet-bitter interplay is wonderful, I just wish the underlying flavor was more to my liking. The body is a click or two above medium and the carbonation is on the shy end of things, resulting in a lovely mouthfeel.

I've been pleased by Big Sky in the past. Powder Hound isn't bad, but a few tweaks are needed to bring it up to the level of its stablemates. I feel like a broken record sometimes, but more hops would improve this beer immensely... more hops would improve this beer immensely... more hops would improve this beer immensely...

 1,549 characters

Photo of Tballz420
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew is a brown to dark-brown color, medium tan head with some cascading action. Fair amount of lace. Some caramel malt action on the nose, touch of hops. Sweet malt front, caramel, punctuated in the jaw by some bittering hops. Fairly thin mouth, I can see where they were thinking about going with this beer, but they need some more of everything. Not bad but could surely be better.

 389 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A clear, ruby-orange copper body and yellowish tan head welcomes you to Big Sky's Powderhound. Its head retention is good, and it leaves rings of craggy and spotty lace about the glass. The nose is fruity with citrusy hops (and yeasty fruitiness?), and malty with a hint of chocolate-drizzled caramel. In the mouth it's delicately zesty with a median carbonation and medium-light body; becoming somewhat creamy as it warms in the mouth. The flavor is fuller than the nose suggests, and it's loaded with rich, chocolate-accented deep-caramel and toffee malt washed by citrusy hops and backed by a rock-solid bitterness and cusp of roastiness. It finishes dry with some lingering tangerine-like fruitiness and mild pine from the hops; some mildly sticky toffee and caramelish malt; and a restrained but lingering bitterness.

 822 characters

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 zacharius
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer pours a reddish brown color with a nice head that lasts throughout the drink. Aroma is nice, sweet toffee and hops. The taste is sweet toffee balanced with hops, kind of an english hoppy flavor. This beer has a very thick mouthfeel. Drinkability is fine, I wouldn't have too many because they are a bit sweet. Seems like it is alot stronger of a beer than it actually is.

 381 characters

Photo of WesWes
4.33/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a beautiful ruby red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice malty scent that boasts of pale, crystal, victory, and bisquit malts. It is quite toastey and breadlike. The taste is excellent. It has a sweet, yet dry and toastey flavor with a bitter breadlike finish. There are hops in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn good beer. It has awesome aroma and taste; a great seasonal brew and a great drinker.

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Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
3.62 out of 5 based on 515 ratings.
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