Howl | Magic Hat Brewing Company

435 Reviews

Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company
Vermont, United States

Style: Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.60%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Born of dark and cold and snow in the marrow of the northeast's longest night, Howl comes in on wailing winds with winter-weary eyes burning holes in sunless shadows. In its darkened depths our inner voids are warmed.

32 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-18-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 435 | Ratings: 957
Photo of donmonkey1
4.97/5  rDev +34.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours black with a nice, thick tan head with nice lacing. The head receeded a little faster than I would have liked.

Smell: COFFEE. Really nice toasted smell. Regular toast, burnt toast, toasted nuts, toasted barley, unsweetened chocolate.

Taste: Sweet tree bark. There's a sweetness that's very noticeable in the taste that I didn't sense in the smell. There's a dark roasted flavor I can't describe.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, nice carbonation.

You can get different beer but you can't get better. I can't think of a way to improve this beer except for a little better head retention.
This is a world class beer.

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Photo of callmeclemens
4.97/5  rDev +34.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I bought this from my local shop after a night football game.

Upon getting nice and cold playing football, I walked through the woods back to my car in the dark. It was only then that I decided it was time for a winter warmer, and I found Howl.

I got home, cleaned up, bundled up, poured this into my favorite mug, and took it to my back porch to stair out on the woods.

This poured black as the night sky, holding it up to the light it's still black, but with a deep hint of a dark dark crimson, perhaps maroon. Theres was no head whatsoever, just darkness though it still glazed finley.

I held it up to my nose and felt a swirl of Chocolate and coffee, with a hint of malt and caramel. The smell alone began to warm me.

The tasted swirlled around in my mouth much like the wind through the trees, starting with chocolate and finishing with the soft malted caramel. Warmed me to the bone.


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Photo of NJBeerguy
4.8/5  rDev +30.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Wow! There are few beers I start a review with Wow, but this is one that deserves it. Howl took me by surprize. While I've enjoyed beer from Magic Hat in the past, I've found some to be just so-so but not this one. This beer, poured into a standard pint glass looked just like a still winter night, black, with a head of light brown/beige sky. The head dissipates a bit as one drinks down but still remains till the bottom of the glass,(trust me it's so good each sip will invite you back the bottom of the glass arrive quickly). The nose is a faint roasted grain aroma with a hint of coffee. The taste is velvety chocolate and the suttle aftertaste of a sweet mild morning coffee. The finish lingers in such a way as to invite another sip (that I just had to have right away!). The ABV at just 4.60% make Howl my new sessions beer. If the boys at AB want to really know what the meaning of drinkability is, this is drinkability with flavor. I think I'll Howl but, not at the moon, all night.

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Photo of porterk
4.66/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from growler from consumers beverages into pint glass nice half inch head. Appetizing black red. Slight malty smell. The taste of chocolate is much stronger than the smell. excellent chocolate malt to go with the contrast of a lighter lager mouthfeel. A very new easy drinking smooth feel for so much flavor. I enjoyed this alot.

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Photo of Eiik
4.52/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: it's a lager but it doesnt pour like a lager, it's a little bit lighter. and the head on it has a really nice dark brown color.

S: Has a very nice roasted almost coffeish smell to it.

T: Very good taste, coffey, carmely taste at the begining the at the end it goes to that good roasted flavor.

M: Just melts in your mouth.

D: Not as heavy as normal lager. so it makes it quite easy to just enjoy and drink along.

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Photo of luis_dibiase
4.5/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

great beer my first time having it my friend brought me a case when i ran out of my usual beer I opened up a bottle and took a sip it was delicious. It has a nice cream flavor to it nice black charred look and taste. great for watching the game and sipping on a hot day haivng a b.b.q my review overrall outstanding. unfortunalty its not for sale in my town i have to drive a ways from here.

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Photo of InebriatedJoker
4.5/5  rDev +22%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

HOWL - Winter Seasonal (cool evil eyes label ).

Poured from 12oz bottle -best by date wasn't stamped .

Poured dark motor oil black, one finger head that dissipated quickly leaving behind a thin tan lacing.

Smell was of burnt coffee with toasted malts.

Taste - Burnt coffee, mild toffee ,roasted malts, maybe a hint of vanilla.

Drinkabilty was very good-This is one of the easiest brews to drink I have ever had - I would definitely recommend this and will be headed to the store to find some more before it's season is over.

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Photo of fitzy84
4.44/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Had in the holiday pack. Black appearance with some amber in the light. Small, patchy lacing with a very thin head. Aromas were quite good. Burnt coffee smells mixed with some sweet malts. Really delicious, milky taste to the drink. Burnt bitterness follows, but the malts really made this an incredibly pleasant drink. Mouthfeel aids in the taste sensation by giving a creamy texture and light, slightly airy feel to the drink. Overall, a fine drink for my New Years.

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Photo of ZAP
4.42/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

drinks like a schwartzy...this is going down fast....good hits of dark cocoa and coffee on the taste and aroma...lighter bodied but doesn't feel watery...just easy drinking and flavorful...exactly what a schwartzy should be....Not tremendously complex but also has hints of caramel....very well done.

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Photo of mempath
4.39/5  rDev +19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

dark as coal. some lacing.

sweet, smokey, sticky nose right off the bat.

some true chocolately malty hoppy art going on here in true balance. my second favorite non-hopbomb MH offering.

for all the suggestive notes going on, this isn't thick and sticky in the mouth. tastes great. a very drinkable winter brew.

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Photo of kindestcut
4.38/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The Magic Hat Howl pours midnight black with a tan head. Malty aroma with a faint metallic smell, not so much that it is unpleasant.

The beer is roasty, not unexpected for a schwartzbier. There is very little graininess that I have found in some black lagers. The mouthfeel is nice, with a slight creaminess and active carbonation.

I really like this beer. It's light yet dark and flavorful. One of the better schwartzbiers I've enjoyed.

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Photo of Pecafaced
4.37/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass

A: Definitely dark as night. A very dark beer with a wonderful creamy head. Like some darker beers this one was unfiltered and had some chunks of yeast floating, but that did not detract from the overall appearance as they eventually settled to the bottom of the glass.

S: Dark roasty, chocolate/coffee aromas. Not overpowering like a RIS but just enough to let you know of its presences.

T: Initial taste of that coffee flavor and then a really clean finish at the end, probably due to the lager yeast. Very low in alcohol content so you don't get that burn which comes with most winter seasonals.

M: Very creamy and smooth. Went down almost a little too easy!

D: A very drinkable winter seasonal beer. A nice variation of the style. The low levels of alcohol make it a beer that you could have a few of and not be too buzz to actually enjoy the flavors.

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Photo of bpw28
4.37/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Clear deep brown (about a 35 SRM), three finger tan shaving cream head, very nice lacing.

Smell: Clean cocoa notes, coffee undertones, pipe smoke, wood fire, very pleasant earthiness, burnt sugar, light herbal scents.

Taste: Delicious clean roasted malt, clean coffee comes in stronger on the taste, light cocoa, earthy, slight wood smoke, caramelized sugars, light nutmeg & clove, piney hop backbone on the end. A medium body, great carb.

Final Thoughts: After having some magic hat brews in the past, I've don't think I've ever been more then "eh" with them. This is is great, but the body might be a little too heavy for the style (but I don't mind one bit.). I really lucked out for this one, it was just being put up on the shelf when I got it, and it is perfect for this deep fall very early winter time. Magic hat impressed me with this one, tons of flavor and you'll be able to drink a couple no problem. You've got to give this one a shot.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.36/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A vigorous pour into a pint glass yielded two fingers of tan head that didn't want to hang around to long. It is dark brown with ruby highlights. The smell is a combination of sweet and roasted malts. Chocolate and coffee are easily discernible. The taste is amazing for a schwarzbier. It is rich with roasted coffee and bitter chocolate. Most schwarzbiers are pretty bland, this beer is quite impressive on the nose and the tastebuds. I was writing this beer off as another mediocre Magic Hat, but this beer is a winner.


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Photo of bens0n
4.35/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This beer pours an opaque dark brown with an enormous amount of long-lasting, fluffy, creamy tan head that laces the glass with every slight disturbance.

It has a mild roasted coffee smell with some chocolaty undertones, but the roasted coffee is the most prevalent.

Up front its pretty bland, you can pick up on some of the malty goodness but the pinnacle of the flavor in this brew comes out at the end. It has a lovely roasted coffee taste and warms you up; which reminds you that this is definitely a winter seasonal brew.

This beer is not exceptionally thick, but the creamy head is what makes it go down so smooth, I could have easily downed the entire 6 pack in 1 sitting it was so drinkable.

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Photo of micromaniac129
4.35/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Magic Hat Howl is Schwarzbier. It's a combo beer in my opinion though.
It starts off pouring a deep brown/black with some ruby tints. A dense smooth head fades quickly to a lingering bead around the edges.
It smells of roaste malts with some hops coming through slightly at end.
It tastes of roasted malts, smokey like a porter or stoudt finishs with a lager bitterness, dry.
Like an Octoberfest style.
It feels thin in the mouth like a lager but not watery.
I could drink this beer all day no problem.
Take it to the mountains in fall with the leaves changing with crisp air and sunshine.

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Photo of thegodfather1076
4.35/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 12oz. bottle into a glass...

Presentation - Awesome label, artwork, and coloring as is always the case with Magic Hat beers.

Appearance - A deep dark brown almost black color with a very nice light tannish head that follows the beer nicely down the glass as it is consumed...

Smell - Rosted coffee and a dark chocolate smell are very pleasent and noticeable...

Taste - Can definitely taste the rosted coffee malts all the way through this beer with a slight hint of dark chocolate...Hops r just right and do not over-power the other flavors in this offering...

Mouthfeel - Much ligher than would b expected with a beer like this...Very smooth with only a slight carbonation

Drinkability - This beer is very drinkable for a dark beer because of its light attributes...

I really enjoyed this beer and would def buy again...A very nice light alternative to a porter with alot of the same flavor characteristics...

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Photo of JeffP4prez
4.35/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A = Quite dark and chocolaty with a soft creamy head.
S = Hints of the chocolate and even a bit of coffee
T = Much smoother than I expected, lighter in over all flavor as well - not at all heavy, as I expected from the dark color.
M = This beer had a very nice "feel", smooth, not real carbonated or bitter.
D = The dark color is deceiving, this beer is much lighter in flavor than its appearance might suggest. The smells of chocolate and the hint of coffee add to the mystery of this light dark beer. I certianly enjoyed my first Howl and it helped me warm up after an afternoon out in the snow.

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Photo of CaptJackHarkness
4.33/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Twelve ounce bottle, cap says " Undressing. Distressing or a Blessing?"

Pours a very deep shade of brown with large frothy beige/tan head. Head sadly reduces quickly though. Aroma of spiced coffee and Chocolate. Taste is Coffee and hops, perfectly balanced. Good feel on the tounge, warming and welcome.

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Photo of droobacca
4.32/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: very dark brown with a tan head that tries but fails to hang around

S: Cocoa smell with roasty toasty malt in there as well

T: Coffee and Cocoa nice divergence from most Magic Hat offerings

M: Medium cocoa with hops joining in towards the end

D: First Schwarzbier ive encountered, was surprised at first and a little taken aback because this beer followed a #9 in my evening so the dichotomy of the two was very interesting.

Overall i really was surprised and enjoyed this beer, not the best beer ive ever had, however i enjoyed the contrast between howl and #9. With some wintery mix falling outside this was a nice warm rich beer for a cold evening.

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Photo of udubdawg
4.32/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle

pours very dark brown, though far from opaque. Quite a bit of ruby highlights when held to the light. Took off a half point or so for the fleeting nature of the tan head.

Aroma has a bit of a roasted component right up front, coffee, touch of bittersweet chocolate. Light caramel behind, no alcohol, no burnt grain aromas. No fruitiness or diacetyl, very clean with a hint of minerals - perhaps from the water? Slight herbal hop character. Overall there is a perception of a little more sweetness than I prefer to the style, but it is hard to find an area where it is does not fit the style guidelines. Very nicely done so far; on to the taste!

Nice mixture of sweet, coffee and bittersweet chocolate roastiness, and a small amount of caramel flavor. Not a huge malt presence overall; to style. Again clean and with no off flavors, fruitiness, or diacetyl. Dries on the palate though there is a surprising amount of residual sweetness. I'd like to to be even slightly drier. No real hop flavor but a moderate refreshing bitterness.

medium light body, nice drying finish, though the carb level could be higher for a super high score. No astringency despite the decent amount of hops and quit a bit of roasted grains.

Overall this is one of the best of the style I've had. I'd be happy to drink this any day of the year. It doesn't seem particularly underattenuated but the amount of residual sweetness mixed with what could be a higher carb level keeps it from the upper echelon of my favorite beers.
Very well done.

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Photo of NuggetNectar22
4.31/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Great beer! Perfect for winter. Nice roasted, caramal taste.
There was a nice foamy head on the beer after I poured it. The smell is truly fantasic. The body is full, but not thick like a stout.

Magic Hat nailed it with this brew. Stay inside and drink a few of these to keep you warm during the winter.

Enjoy, Cheers!

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Photo of beerguru15
4.3/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I received the Winter sampler pack for Christmas and am enjoying the Howl, also known as Black as Winter Night beer tonight.

When pouring the beer it's defiantly as described..this beer is a really dark brown color that leaves a light tan head that lingers.

when smelling the beer you're presented with the pleasant smell of chocolate and some roasted malt.

When tasting the beer you're hit with a somewhat strong - but smooth taste of chocolate, malt and a little bit of coffee. Perfect for a stout and for a winter beer!

The mouthfeel on this beer is medium, the effects aren't as relevant but it does linger to a degree.

the drinkability part of beer is dead on, as it goes down really smooth and makes you want to go back for more. Plus with it being only 4.6, you're more than welcome to continue as it's not like most schwarzbiers in that category.

Overall I was quite pleased with this beer and found it enjoyable. This is a perfect beer to drink during the winter time and during the times where you just want to relax and have a beer in the cold weather.

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Photo of Daktyls
4.3/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

One of the reasons to love the season.

A: Pours motor-oil black with a very small tan head which dissipates to a nice fine lacing on the top.

S: Smells of roasted coffee beans and dark, bitter chocolates. A very faint aroma of licorice and dark fruits is present as well. Some roasted malts are also detectable.

T: Coffee, bitter chocolates and roasted grains are immediately present. There is also a slight smokey taste followed by some maltiness.

M: Quite a bit of carbonation here with almost a watery feeling on the tongue, which is a little discerning, but does not distract from the overall feel, which is still quite good.

D: Very drinkable, this has consistently been a "go-to" beer for my winter season. I look forward to it coming out each year.

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Photo of RedSpecial1
4.28/5  rDev +16%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark roasted color, and a small off white head which dissipated quickly.

S: Slightly roasted coffee notes, and a caramel maltiness, maybe even toffee.

T: Light coffee flavors with caramel and faint hint of vanilla.

M: Smooth as you first sip, but more bitterness comes out as it warms up.

D: Very smooth, could definitely be a good session beer in the winter months.

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Howl from Magic Hat Brewing Company
3.69 out of 5 based on 957 ratings.
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