Powder Hound Winter Ale | Big Sky Brewing Company

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255 Reviews
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Powder Hound Winter AlePowder Hound Winter Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company
Montana, United States | website

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:
43
For Trade:
0
User Reviews
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Reviews: 255 | Ratings: 513
Photo of laituegonflable
3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a burnished gold colour with steady bead. Head is off-white, a bit whispy but nice uneven sinking with clingy lace on the edge. Quite a decent-looking head; otherwise slightly meh.

Smells pleasant and hoppy. Nice citric notes with a side order of mango, melon and apricot. Nice English malt behind it, slightly burnished again and maybe a touch of booze. Quite pleasant.

Taste is quite a malty-hoppy blend. Lots of rich, quite earthy English toffee malts with a touch of carob; gets resiny and slight citric hop notes floating over the top. A little bit spongey and dank, but it's not such a heavy bittering hop flavour that it gets bogged down towards the back. A touch of melon ester on there as well, then finish is tangy and light. Could use a bit more bitterness but it's quite clean notwithstanding. Not mind-blowing, but pleasant.

Clean and fairly smooth. A touch above watery and nothing too sharp.

Nice, drinkable hoppy beer. Wouldn't be complaining if there were more, but it's still decently put together.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Amber, slightly oranged, with a one finger head that lasts well and leaves a bit of lacing.
S- The smell is sweet and doughy, with a bit of floral and citrus hop aroma.
T- The taste is pleasant at first, doughy with a good bit of hoppiness. There is a touch of bracing alcohol in the finish.
M- Alcohol is noticable. Medium--full body for an amber. Carb is medium low.
O- It's a decent, albeit unremarkable beer.

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Photo of Jamesthebrit
3.37/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

a: amber
s: I swear I smell some chocolate in there. Also a floral scent
t: sweet, floral, a little lingering bitterness.
m: a little bitter and a little too bubbly.

Overall an above average ale. More floral than others I've had and also for a winter beer much better than others.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pleasant light copper amber hue with a very fine, indeed powdery, head of off-white. Some patchy lace is left. Body is quite fine and fluid, but with a nice slickness to it. Very fine carbonation. Indeed, "fine" is coming up a lot in describing the appearance; it is a fine looking beer.

Nose is muted, with a touch of crisp, generic American hop aroma that smells as though it's been left a little long. Some clean, lemony dish detergent aromas, with a touch of chlorine and turned earth. Nice, but not that exciting.

Taste is pleasantly malty, with a solid backbone of faintly toasted malts, leading to a clean but pronounced American hop bitterness on the back of the palate. Clear feel lets the crisp hop characters shine, lending a freshness to the mix that a heavier body would mask.

Overall, a pretty nice hoppy American amber ale. It's smooth, and the malt is perhaps a little less pronounced than it could be, but it's a good, if somewhat middle-of-the-road example of the style.

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Photo of warnerry
3.36/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours clear copper with one and a half fingers of tan head. Head has very good retention and leaves nice rings of lacing.

S - Toffee and caramel are prominent, with a bit of clove and citrus.

T - Similar to smell, with quite a bit of bitterness from some citrus hops and the spices. Leads to a dry finish.

M - Medium mouthfeel starts slightly sweet and transitions to bitter and dry on the finish.

O - A decent amber/ winter warmer, though the bitterness isn't particularly desirable in this case.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.68/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The powder hound is a beautiful beer. Poured a clear perfect amber with slighly off white head that is at least a half finger and is lacing really well. The smell is a good heavy carmal malt with tinges of spice. The initial taste was an alcohol explosion. The second taste allowed for the malt and carmel to begin to blossum. The mouthfeel is medium body with good carbonation. Overall this is a decent beer....the alcohol content is not masked as well as I would like.

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle into pint glass, best by 02/15/2012. A bit of a gusher upon opening. Pours crystal clear golden amber color with a nice 2 finger dense off white head with great retention that reduces to a thick cap that lingers. Some decent lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of caramel, orange, pine, herbal, bread, pine, toasted malt, and light spiciness. Some nice aromas with good strength and balance. Taste of orange, grapefruit, pine, caramel, herbal, toasted malt, bread, and spiciness. Decent amount of bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of bread, caramel, herbal spiciness, and citrus on the finish for a bit. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth and slightly creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming after the finish. Very drinkable and smooth for 7.2%. Overall this is a very nice and drinkable amber ale. Nice hoppy and spicy flavor, with good malt balance.

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Photo of n2185
3.48/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a clear orange with two fingers of off-white head that recedes into a thin layer with good lacing.

S: Lots of caramel malts and sweet orange citrus on the nose. There are some bready aromas mixed in as well.

T: Caramel malts dominate alone with sweet bread flavors. There are some lightly sweet citrus notes mixed in as well along with a slightly bitter finish.

M: Medium body and carbonation, this beer is a little watery feeling.

O: A decent beer, though nothing special. I'd like a bit more hop presence in the nose and flavor.

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Photo of KajII
3.56/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

[Best served in a Trappist glass]

The pour was a hazy medium orange with an average sized (1-2 finger) white creamy head that diminished into a puddle of residue which in turn created streaking sheets of lacing.

The aroma was of a mild bread malt, pine hops and a sweet doughy yeast with notes of caramel, toffee, coriander, a bit of clove and just a touch of alcohol.

The taste was malty and mildly sweet with notes of caramel and toffee early on and then progressed into a nice bitter hoppy flavor that had notes of some dark fruit and spices with a hint of alcohol at the end. The flavor lingered for a nice long time and left a nice spicy malty flavor on the taste buds.

Mouthfeel was medium in body and a tad watery in texture with a medium carbonation.

Overall a nice bold Winter Ale that had just the right amount of spices and a great hoppy finish.

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Photo of MonkeymooTJ
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance:

Crystal clear amber/orange with a two finger off white head. An abundance amount of carbonation rises up to the top of the glass

Smell:

Caramel maltiness with a good dose of spicy hops in the mix

Taste:

A caramel malty sweetness is noticeable initially with a follow up of a combination of spicy and citrus hops

Mouthfeel:

This beer gives off a medium to heavy feeling and leaves a slight alcohol burn on the tongue. The carbonation level hits the spot just right

Overall:

I got more of an American Strong ale impression from this beer rather than a amber/red due to the bitterness and alcohol twinge. I did enjoy the balance it provided and would purchase again

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Photo of Tone
3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, copper color. 5/4 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and good lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight citrus hops, hint of floral hops, and a hint of earthy malt. Fits the style of an American Amber / Red Ale. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, hint of pale malt, floral hops, slight citrus hops, hint of earthy malt, and a hint of caramel malt. Overall, good appearance, body, complexity, and blend.

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Photo of bsp77
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Nonic Imperial Pint.

Appearance: Clear golden amber with billowing head and slight lacing.

Smell: Citrus, toast and an undeniable similarity to Great Lakes Christmas Ale, which I associate with cinnamon and honey, but I don't think that is in here, so not sure where that aroma is coming from.

Taste: Light malts of biscuit, toast and mead, with a nice layer of spicy English hops on top, which has a tinge of citrus and pine. Still getting some very light winter spices.

Feel: Medium body with moderate carbonation and a nice dry finish.

Overall: Nice ale overall that does not seem to fit any known style. Kind of an English Strong Ale, kind of an Amber Ale, kind of a Spiced Winter Warmer (despite the lack of spices). This seriously confuses the hell out of me, but if I put my beer reviewing hat away, it is clear that I really enjoy it.

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Photo of Pegasus
4.03/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Lovely copper-colored body sports a large, dense off-white cloud top head, which retains superbly. Thin lacing coats the glass walls. The carbonation is slight, a few bubbles drift lazily to the surface.

Aroma: Lots of crisp pine tar hops vie with toasted and caramel malts. The hops win out easily.

Taste: Opens with lots of toasted malt, like toasted rustic dark bread. A moment behind the malt are rather prominent grapefruit hops, these soon dominate the taste. Beneath the hops, there appears a bitter cocoa note, which offers some balance. Finishes with a long, lingering slightly oily grapefruit rind flavor. The alcohol is handled quite gracefully, at 7.2% ABV, it was quite subtle.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, quite pleasant.

Drinkability/notes: : Well-done. For my own taste, I would like to have seen more emphasis on the malt, rather than the hops. Nonetheless, this is a quite well-crafted example.

Presentation: Packaged in a twelve-ounce brown glass bottle with a pry-off crown, served in a standard Pilsener glass.

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Photo of ponbon63
3.37/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: poured into pint glass. Coppery, decent half-inch head.

S: Strong hope smell, fairly sweet and citrusy smelling hops for a red ale. Refreshing, fresh smell.

T: Slightly thin and alcoholic tasting, but a decent sweet hoppy flavor. Normally I wouldn't prefer more bitterness in a beer, but I feel that the alcohol would have been tamed by more flavor in this beer.

M: Too thin for the amount of alcohol. Feels like a lager with not enough body to handle the flavor and alcohol.

O: I feel this brew is worth trying for sure. It goes down easy and has a medium hop intensity. Overall I feel it was a decent winter beer, but was lacking in certain areas to make it a great beer. I would recommend trying this beer, but I wouldn't expect it to become anyone's favorite.

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Photo of frenchblood21
3.89/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jegross for this one!

Bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance- Beautiful! One inch light tan head that slowly disappears. The beer is a light copper color.

Smell- Smells like a typical winter warmer. Toasted grains and toffee.

Taste- Carmel and butter are what stands out to me. Malty and very hoppy.

Mouthfeel- Feels a bit thin. The flavor is nice and it coats the whole mouth.

Overall- I got this beer as an extra, so I am thrilled about it. Its really good and I recommend trying it.

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Photo of longbongsilver
3.52/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

New night, new winter ale. Why not?

Fills mug a crystal-clear copper, thick biscuity white head of a couple inches sticks around a bit. First scent reminds me of honey & a bit of cinnamon, followed by some surprisingly naked barley considering the clarity. Something that reminds me of green apple rounds out the back.

On swig the hop characteristics show up in the form of mostly an understated bitterness, nothing real floral or fruity going on here. The smell telegraphs the taste rather well, though for the strength it's more subtle than I expected. Carbonation is very laid back but still noticeable, goes down like a cream ale actually.

It's a more simple than you'd think high-gravity chugger. Sometimes it's what a brewer doesn't do that factors in more than what they did, and they didn't broadcast strength in particular here. Wouldn't fight anybody over it, but it works.

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

Enjoyed in a shaker pint at Flanny's.

Light, shiny copper with amazing clarity. A half-finger of fuzzy, off-white head quickly becomes a thin top layer that never leaves completely.

The nose: orange peel, apricot, grass, sweet biscuits, touches of caramel and honey. A nice, sweet amber.

Same deal in the flavor. I get subtle grass, apricot and just a hint of orange zest. A bit of caramel comes through as well in clean, straightforward sweetness. It's not complicated, but it's good.

Body is a smooth medium-light, with soft massaging carbonation and just a touch of fizz. Finishes clean and a little drying. Mild bitterness. I don’t get a hint of the 7.2 ABV.

If Powder Hound were a snowfall, it would be about four inches. Not too deep, but enough to enjoy. A well-balanced, drinkable amber.

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Photo of EricCioe
3.73/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This pours a medium orange with an eggshell head that left some lace. On the nose there is a good hop presence with some sort of spice behind them, and evidence of a biggish caramel backbone. In the mouth there is an earthiness to go along with the forest-floor-type pine hops, and a long finish. It is a bit oily in the mouth, but decent carbonation breaks it up well enough.

Overall, this is a pretty decent beer, and a somewhat different style of winter brew, a welcome change.

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Photo of jsisko01
3.38/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Pours a clear red-orange color with a very small head that dissipates instantly. Has decent lacing.

Smell - Sweet, fruity, coriander, and citrus.

Taste - Very bitter with caramel and has a toasty malt to it. Coriander and maybe some clove.. and has an alcohol bite to it. Doesn't really fit the description of a winter ale, but it does warm you up lol.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with a decent amount of carbonation.

Overall - Like I said before, it's really just a spicy amber ale. Not bad though.

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Photo of brotherloco
3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle x2. Best by 01/25/12. Served in a tapered 22oz glass.

Pours clear copperish gold with a big two+ finger head of beige foam that never completely goes away. A small amount of cascading bubbles. Medium amount of thick lacing clings to the glass.

Aroma of bready and caramel malt with a nice does of perfumy floral hops. Some spicy alcohol notes.

Flavor is lightly sweet caramel malt, with some toasted notes emerging in the middle of the flavor. Floral hoppiness takes charge in the finish with bright and bitter notes. There is a noticeable amount of spicy alcohol in the finish, but it is well integrated. Adds a bit of winter kick to this amber ale.

Medium bodied with medium carbonation. A touch prickly, but it supports the flavor.

Another no-nonsense winter ale. Just a decently crafted strong version of a traditional style. And I really love the folk art label, it reminds me very much of the paintings my grandmother used to make.

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Photo of nukem5
3.55/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a great dark rich amber with solid foam cap which clings to walls of glass.

S: Aromas of light floral hops and sweet malty goodness.

T: Taste is a full throttle blast of sweet caramel malts with a light hop finish.

M: Medium body with smooth character all it's own.

O: Overall good beer with a bit of a boozey bite to help fight off winter cold blahs and bring in the holidays.

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Photo of quaybr
3.36/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass, the look of this beer is the best part. It's a pretty one. Sits a very clear amber beneath a frothy, sizable head.

Smells of english malts, some toffee, some caramel. A slight citrus hop accompanies.

Things get a little funky with the flavor. The malts taste off, slightly indistinguishable; the taste is tangy and lingers unpleasantly. Reminds me of an extract homebrew that suffered from scorched extract. Not quite sure, but it's not good. Bitter hops wash down a bit distastefully.

Mouthfeel is ok. Doesn't wash down too clean, leaves a residue.

Overall, I'm a little disappointed. I like that they're going for something other than a spicy winter ale, though.

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Photo of bump8628
3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Hard to classify is Powder Hound Winter Ale. American Amber, English Strong, Winter Warmer - I don't know, I'm just going to call it ale. Eclectic blend of hops including Hallertau, Palisade, and Amarillo - certainly some of my favorites. Seems to be Hallertau-heavy and more of the other two would be appreciated. Lots of wild herbs, fresh oregano, black pepper, and dandelion greens. Some orange marmalade too. Copper colored with a fine head of foam and moderate carbonation. Nice dryness, but a slather of caramel on wheat toast pretty much balances the hops evenly.

Yeah, this is pretty good beer. After one glass I'm still not sure exactly what to think. Would I want this on tap at the house? Sure, but I'm not sure I would pick up another six pack with all the other winter selections out there. Several would go down easy whilst standing around the smoker on a snowy afternoon, but I wouldn't count on it to get me through a January night in Montana.

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Photo of Gatch
4.15/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Clear, light amber in color with an off-white head that bubbles up quickly and fades just as quickly. Doesn't retain much of a head but lace sticks to the glass all the way down.

S - Toffee, roasted malt, caramelized sugar, a bit of citrus. Big fan of the nose on this beer.

T - Sweet, roasted malt with a bitter finish from the hops. Nice balance. Caramelized sugar. Thoroughly impressed with this flavor profile. Alcohol is barely there.

M - Smooth, clean, low carbonation. Medium-full body. Very drinkable. Fairly high ABV for this style but the booze barely shows. Awesome example of the style and perfect balance of malt to hops for the season.

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Photo of Vashtar
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Nice head! It's fairly light and really clear.

The smell has some metallic and pine hints, with an overall caramel scent.

The taste is... metallic, HOPPY and nice. I'm not sure this is really a "winter ale."

The mouthfeel is fluff! Totally like that fake snow stuff that they use in diapers.

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Powder Hound Winter Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 255 ratings.
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