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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User Reviews
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Reviews: 435 | Ratings: 957
Photo of MNJR
3.03/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Kind of a boring beer with not too much going on. Thin, lifeless carbonation, sweet maltiness with a prune or raisin-ish flavor resolving to a sticky, caramel aftertaste. For a dark lager it covers all the bases, but offers nothing special or rewarding enough to merit much consideration. It's drinkable, low ABV, plainspoken dark beer. Not bad by any means but needs a bit more attention to detail and less of a generic flavor.

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Photo of billybob
3.05/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

pours a very dark brown almost black with a one finger head and minimal lace. smells of roasted malt taste was same but weak and watered down and with a slight after taste. light mouthfeel. not something i would buy again from magic hat. i am sure the import style of this beer would be much better.

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Photo of jlandis
3.05/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

A - The beer pours a deep rich brown that could almost be mistaken for black. The head fills the pint glass perfectly to the brim (2 inches at first and then slowly fades to a few cm.)

S - The aroma is simple, but in its simplicity it places the style perfectly with a nice malty sweetness and hints of toasted nuts and chocolate.

T - The sweet malt takes an immediate pungent turn that is almost sickening, but then fades to a bitter roasted chocolate. I'm not sure what that pungent malt and grain flavor is in the middle, but its terrible! The beer finishes on a really tasty roasted chocolate that I love, so I'm inclined to take another swig and when I do I'm met with that terrible pungent flavor. At least they finish on a strong point that makes me come back for more.

M - Medium to light body with solid carbonation.

I need to remind myself not to pick this one up again. The fact that it finishes on such a strong note may leave me with the impression that it was a good beer, but the majority of the flavor is really off putting. It's sad, but my last few Magic Hat beers have really let me down.

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Photo of Pencible
3.06/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This poured a dark semi-opaque mahogany with moderate tan head. It smelled like bready yeast and cocoa powder, with some roasted barley and light lemon hops. It tasted like rusty copper hops with bready yeast and earthy chocolate, and a bit of burnt barley. It was watery with some carbonation, and had a metallic aftertaste. Overall this just wasn't a very good beer. Neither the scent nor the taste were clean at all or very enjoyable. The body was ok, but a bit weak. I don't have a lot of experience with this style, but I imagine this beer is a poorly executed attempt at it.

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Photo of bierslaaf
3.07/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours dark brown with almost no head. Slight lacing left on the glass. Coffee and roasted malt aroma with no distinctive hop present. Fairly low bitterness for a dark beer. Light body. I'd prefer this in summer. Flashiness lingers in the finish. Fairly average beer.

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Photo of jmvecchio1
3.08/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours more of a dark brown, slightly red color. A thick head accompanies the pour, but fades to a strong lacing that lingers.

The smell is very sweet and with malty notes.

The taste is malty up front, but quickly fades to a sweet caramel that lingers after each sip.

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Photo of thomasdidymus55
3.1/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

dark brown cola color that has a strong coffee or even chocolate smell with the same flavor of chocolate coffee and toffee. this beer has good carbonation and medium to good lacing and retention. This beer has quite a bitter after taste that stays on the palate. Definitely not a fast drinking beer. Not a big blackbeer fan and would not buy it again but I could drink another one.

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Photo of aaronh
3.1/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Dark chocolate body with a thin off white head. Body is very clear. Aroma has a hint of bittersweet chocolate but is otherwise very clean. Flavor is roasted malts backed by light biscuit note. A slight bitter edge appears on the finish and it gradually dries the back of my throat. Body is on the lighter side. Carbonation is a litle agressive and combined with the dry finish actually starts making me feel parched. I need a heavier beer after this! The flavor is nice - the finish is not.

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Photo of Minotaur
3.11/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Recently purchases so if retired - only recently as of 12/1/10

It pours - predictably - opaquely black but it is still think in appearance. A lingering tan head recedes to a ring and center cap of foam.

The aroma is roasty and just slightly sweet on the nose.

The flavor is dense, coffee-ground like and stout like. There is a stronger smoke and hop flavor than a traditional dunkel lager. There is bitter chocolate note with very little sweetness.

This is not the as smooth as it should be due to the lingering burnt malt taste. however it is offset by a creaminess that allows it to be quite drinkable and have a medium to thick mouthfeel.

I believe this is an interesting beer but not overly representative of an English dunkel. It leaves a stronger coffee or smoked porter impression.

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Photo of WastingFreetime
3.12/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours out jet black, one finger tan head that fizzled out into nothing in less than a minute, body is somewhat thin and watery, smells of roasted malt notes first and foremost, mild weak bitter chocolate tones and that's really all I get out of this one...tastes of mild roasted malt tempered with a finish of spiced hop tones, overall I just wish the body was a bit more robust on this one for my comes across as only a forgettably average schwarzbier, there are worse and there are better brews than this one.

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Photo of UWDAWG90
3.14/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased as part of a mixed 12-pak. Serving from a 12oz bottle.

A - Jet black typical of German black lagers. Good carbination with an aggressive poor recieved a two finger tannish head. Bubbles tight and good lacing lasting throughout the glass.

S - Definitely smells like coffee and the malts come through nicely. However, there is something in the background that smells sour. Did not discern this immediately but grew as the beer warmed.

T - Roasty... is the best word to describe this beer. Like roasted coffee beans and malt. Not heavy at all. Bitterness at the start, finishing smooth.

M - Appearance hints at something heavy but very light. Carbonation keeps it crispy and very nice.

D - Could drink this all night and seems to get better as it warms except for the sour smell.

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Photo of MrHungryMonkey
3.18/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nose is malty - bread crumb with soft melanoidin-like aromas. Soft diacetyl notions. Smells okay.

Pours deep caramel/brown with some clarity through the darkness, mild head. Looks pretty good.

Creamy smooth with fairly thin body. Good bit of chocolate roast, also a soft, sweet, buttery diacetyl flavors and slick/soapy mouthfeel. Soft caramel and toast. Soft sourness. Tastes okay. Feels pretty good. Pretty good drinkability.

Would be better without the diacetyl.

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Photo of tone77
3.2/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of malts, some notes of coffee. Taste is rather mild, roasted malts and little else. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has average drinkability. Overall not a bad brew, but less flavorful than other beers of this style.

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Photo of wahhmaster
3.2/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a 0.5L Krušovice-branded pilsner glass.

Appearance: Pours a jet black color with a medium-sized tan head that dissipates slowly leaving spotty lacing.

Smell: Has a sweet malty smell to it with a bit of a strange tea-like smell in the background.

Taste: Starts light with a bit of sweetness balanced by a touch of hops. Finishes with a strong roasted malt flavor. Interestingly balanced.

Mouthfeel: Has nice body to it but way too much carbonation.

Drinkability: An average schwarzbier. Makes sense for their winter pack though. It's got that full-bodied roasted taste you expect from most winter brews but is also light, crisp, and refreshing.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.21/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color with deep reddish hues when held up to the light, smallish tan head that fades fast, leaves a light cap on top though, not too much lacing on the glass but there are some patches.

The aroma is pretty much all roasted malt with a slight metallic taste, not picking up any hops in the aroma.

Taste is pretty much similar to the aroma in that it's primarily roasted malt, has that tinge of metal which I'm not a fan of, carbonation is good for the style although maybe a bit too lively, slight burnt malt in the aftertaste, the bitterness isn't really from any hop presence (which is lacking) but from the burnt malt.

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Photo of taigor
3.21/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap poured into pint glass.

A - Poured black, almost non-transparent color with medium head that slowly dissipated leaving a lot of lacing around edges of the glass.

S - Malts predominate right away, with hints of caramel, dark chocolate and oatmeal.

T - Malts and caramel sweetness upfront followed by dark chocolate, coffee bitterness later on.

M - Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

D - Ok, very good for winter season and abv is low.

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Photo of ImusBeer
3.23/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I'll try to update this later since when I tried this I had a bit of a cold.

It arrived in a 22oz mug, very black with a dark tan head and some thin lacing while I drank.

The only real thing I smelled was smokeyness from the roasted malts. The taste only added to the smoke and roasted malt aromas.

The mouthfeel as really thin, some bitter bite at end. A nice beer not very heavy nor too smokey, I could have had another.

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Photo of bum732
3.23/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

S: Light coffee roastiness, light toffee notes, faint cocoa

L: Dark brown with a tan head, decent retention and lacing.

T: Light roasty malt, semi-sweet. Medium-low bitterness leading to some roasty dryness.

M: Medium-light mouthfeel, medium carbonation.

Ok beer, fairly bland. Carbonation is a bit high for style and a little biting.

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Photo of ozzyCobblepot
3.23/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I dont know what a Schwarzbier is, but this seems like nothing more than a less bitter American Porter.
A: Pours a very dark brown beer, with red on the edges. The head does not cling well but forms a nice, foamy ring around the glass. S: Doesn't smell particularly distinguished, but I do pick up coffee beans and dark chocolate notes.
T: More coffee, bit of a nutty flavor. Deep toasted malts follow off a slightly sweet note. Not much of a hops or bitter taste to speak of.
M: Good carbonation you don't exactly expect given how opaque the beer is. Smooth, medium bodied. Nothing wrong, but nothing memorable about it.

A fine winter brew. Nothing particularly great about it, but there are no real problems with it either. Basically a safe bet, and I one I'll forget tomorrow.

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Photo of mtnbikerpa
3.23/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from 12 ounce bottle with freshest by date of Jan 10 on back label Magic Hat style. Poured very dark with almost no carbonation leaving no real visible head. Some malts and a considerable amount of dark fruits in the smell. Pretty drinkable black lager. Malts profile flavor is pretty smooth. Nothing to exciting here. I could drink a few of these with no problem and enjoy them.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.24/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a standard pint glass. The beer is a coffee black, with brown coming through when held to the light. A smallish cream colored head dissipates to thin cream film, then nothing. Little lacing. The beer smells of burnt malts. Tastes of bitter chocolates, burnt malts, with a very slight smokiness. The mouthfeel is watery and light.

Overall, This isn't bad, but it just feels too watery. The slight smokey flavor is a nice finishing touch to the burnt, bitter chocolate, but I'm glad i bought only one bottle.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Howl begins with a solid to dark brown color, a quick lightly tanned head that fades to an intermitten film and holds true. Some lacing along the way. Fairly clear but with the dark color, hard to tell.

Aromas hold a good amount of roast and nuttiness. Maltiness goes from caramel to roast without a bridge between the two. Light coffees and burnt cocoa seem a bit agressive. No hops.

Flavors of caramel quickly turn to molassas and then to burnt molassas (over caramelized sugars), and eventually into moderate coffee notes and walnut nuttiness. A good mix of malt character gives good variety but still seems empty.

Body is medium with the roasty, toasty notes and lingering sweetness giving an impression of higher weight to the body. Medium-light carbonation also adds to the weight of the beer.

I'm not sure if a Schwarzbier is what Magic Hat is shooting for; the beer is too sweet and doesn't finish with the powdery dry, yet clean finish that make Schwarzbiers so great. This is a roasty Vienna lager that might be better suited for the Fall season- think Halloween.

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Photo of nick76
3.26/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The appearance is dark brown with a medium head. The smell is a little off with a tiny bit of funk to go along with roasted malt, coffee, and molasses. The taste is like the aroma. The palate is average for the style. Overall this is a strange beer that grows on you as it warms.

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Photo of madjr80
3.27/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a perfect pint glass straight from the bottle. A dark coca-cola like color with little bubbles. Some hints on coffee grinds and chocolate. Very little hop character, but true to the schwarzbier style. Not great head retention as expected, but not terrible either. At 4.6 abv, it is could be a decent session brew, however, it feels a bit on the heavier side on the way down.

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Photo of FickleBeast
3.28/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Smuttynose pint glass

A - Pours black, with a brownish tinge around the edges when held up to the light. Head is massive and fills the pint glass

S - some malt sweetness, roasted malts, slight vegetal hoppy aroma.

T - husky, grainy, decent amount of sweetness. Lingering bitter aftertaste is a bit off-putting

M - astringent roasted black malt bitterness, moderate body

D - not bad, but not particularly noteworthy either. Could be good to have a few of these tailgating

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