Howl | Magic Hat Brewing Company

957 Ratings

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 Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 957 |  Reviews: 435
Photo of Bung
3.64/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Blushing Monk Asheville. A very nice near black pour with a highly contrasting white head. Aroma is mild, roast/burnt malt and nut. Taste has the same, with some dark chocolates, smoke and ash. Thinner body than I would like, just a tad on the watery side. Finish is quite clean and dry. Drinkability is very high, especially with the abv. Aroma and flavor is a bit subdued compared to ones I've had that I liked more. But, I'd say this stuff was pretty good, especially for Magic Hat, which has some pretty mediocre brews.

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Photo of July2Nov
3.64/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: The label says, "Dark as Night" and there is truth in that advertising! Only wish the foam on the head was a bit bigger, but it did retain a slight lace around the lid, which is always a plus in my book.

Smell: If you like coffee, (and i would gather there are many out there who do) then this beer is probably made for you! Deep scents of coffee are all throughout this one. Also has sweet caramel notes in it as well. Very nice!!!

Taste & Mouthfeel: The nose is never wrong, because this one indeed has a big coffee taste to it, along with a chalky bite and some dry-roasted maltiness. The mouthfeel on it tends to be a bit acidic which brings this one down a notch.

Drinkability: If you like your beers dark and with a coffee flavor, then run for this one. The upside on this one, far outpaces the buy with confidence, but beware: the howl sometimes bites back!

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Photo of RTEdmunds
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured from 12 oz bottle into a pint glass.

very dark, with a nice creamy looking (albeit smallish) head.

smells malty and roasty. can't really detect hops in the aroma.

tastes smokey and sweet. light on the hops

feels a bit thin, with average carbonation.

overall a pretty good brew.

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Photo of cbutova
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Haven't had many schwarzbiers, but they seem decently straight forward. This one reminds me of Left Hand Milk Stout from what I remember. Pours a pitch black color with a light tan two finger head that retains decently, nice and creamy. Leaves medium lacing behind. Smells of sweets, roasted malts and chocolate, strong nose but not a great one. Tastes of roasted malts and chocolate. Mouthfeel is moderate with a bit of creamyness to it, leaves a sweet grainy taste on the tongue. The carbonation is a bit much, really throws the beer off IMO. No alcohol warming at all. Drinkability is decent, the taste is not bad, the mouthfeel kind of throws this one off, great price, no bad flavors to kill this one, can be sessioned, probably won't buy this one again specifically.

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Photo of Vashtar
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very dark! Beautiful head.

Smells like nice burnt wood

Tastes the same. Kinda odd. Not too bitter.

Mouthfeel of jello. Soft. Dry finish.
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Photo of clayrock81
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a blackish body with a tan head that died slowly on top of a malty aroma of roasted/coffee malts along with some bready/herbal sweet malt smells. This beer has a mediumish body that goes down smooth and finishes slightly dry. Has a mild taste that mixes roasted/coffee malts along with some sweetness. Goes down easy although a little dry/rough for a schwarzbier.

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Photo of nathanmiller
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of larryi86
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle date 2/2010 poured into a pint glass

A- A dark brown, almost black, with a three finger tan head.

S- Roasted coffee and malts with a hint of chocolate

T- Very closed to the smell, a little weaker though.

M- Smooth, but light and watery.

D- This easy to drink and seems prefect for a cold night. I am not sure if I got a bad bottle or something but I felt that it tasted watered down compared to the look and smell. If it was not so watery I feel the taste and mouthfeel would be 4's.

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Photo of northaustin
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a clean black with two fingers of rapidly disappearing brown head. some stringy and spotted lacing.

smells of mild roasted malts with a basic two row overdose in the back. pretty good

tastes awesome. full bodied and full of roasted malts. tastes kinda like a regular stout but thinner. the only black lager ive had that i liked.

mouthfeel: smooth and silky goin down and leaves your throat coated and your cheeks semi dry and sticky.

drinkability: highly sessionable. a tad light but still full flavored for what it is. worth a try.

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Photo of adamette
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Review from notes. Enjoyed by me 11 28 09. Poured from the ¾ pint bottle that I was offered at a Birthday party last night by my friend Chuck. Thanks Chuck. No observed "best by" date. Price sticker on side of 6 pack was $7.99. Poured into a tall, clear weizen glass.

A Dark brown body that has a mahogany glow in front of direct light under a light brown, creamy head that actually had better retention than I thought it might. 4.0

S Dark roast malt and even some chocolate notes. Good smell. 4.0

T Dark roast malt carried right over into the taste which has many qualities in common with a light porter. It lacked depth but a pleasant taste none the less. 3.5

M Light which I am sure is on par for the style but not much to my liking. 2.5

D Pretty good. I could see having a few of these. 4.0

Notes: A nice surprise from Magic Hat and the first one of their beers that I find myself actually recommending to others. Bravo!

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Photo of weasbri
3.67/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark beer with red highlights and a thin head that fades quickly.
Lots of roasted malt aroma.
Plenty of chocolate malt in the flavor which pretty much takes over. There is some hop bite trying to break through, but it gets smacked down by the chocolate roasted malt.
A tad thin on the mouthfeel, but that keeps it on the lighter (drinking, not color) side of things.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.67/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

Magic Hat Howl is brewed in the style of a Schwarzbier, or Black Lager. It was their Winter Seasonal until 2012, when it was replaced by Heart Of Darkness. No bottle date, but I have seen a great deal of this lately, albeit in low-turnover stores. I wonder if this was brewed at all for this winter or if it's an old batch.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a pint glass. Served north of 52º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a fizzy sudsy light brown head over a dark reddish-brown body with heavy sediment. Carbonation is moderate, retention is average at best and lacing is very light with no cling. Appearance is not much of a draw for this beer. 3

(Smell) Medium toasted grain, lightly roasted barley, a touch of coffee. Some mild earthy hop blends and a generally clean lager aroma with very mild acidity balances the aroma. Potency is medium. In terms of black lagers go, it's a very nice-smelling Schwarzbier, nothing super-deep but it doesn't go for that, either. 4

(Taste) Flavor is a notably less pronounced than the aroma with a very light malt profile. Some toast, a touch of roast, but mostly mild lager notes. Some mild residual sweetness for a slight hint of body doesn't really drain the palate. Drinkability is high, although I'd have preferred a beer more similar to the aroma. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) Carbonation is very mild, some mild air and a drop of body gives this some substance without ravaging the tongue. The body is medium+ for the style and light/medium overall. Alcohol is well concealed. The textures work quite well for this beer, the limited carbonation profile does accent the beer without overshadowing the subtleties. 4.25

(Overall) This is a very drinkable but otherwise kind of ho-hum beer with limited pronunciation in roast and sweetness, but it kind of works well for it, and is appropriate for the style. You can go lighter body and heavier body from here, but this seems to be a pretty solid standard for the style. 3.5

Magic Hat Brewing Company's
Howl Black As Night Lager

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Photo of acurtis
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled and brought home growler from Magic Hat. Very dark brown with small head and good carbonation. Aroma of roasted malt, coffee and nuts. Light body but very smooth. Super drinkable. This was my 2nd favorite of the 12 or so beers on tap at Magic Hat. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So there are two new Magic Hats in the store as I pass through the other day, and I decided to grab one of each. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 02/13/2010.

The pour was darker then I would have thought. Nice dark brown in color with a medium reddish glow around the sides and the bottom of the glass. Nice two finger head rises quickly but then fades leaving behind only a small amount of lacing. Aroma is light at first but grows on me. Dark malts, roasted, hints of light chocolate and peat. Intresting, totally dark and forboding but light at the same time. Full feel for a lager for sure, and very nice as it rolls across the tongue and settles in. Rich, dark flavor, smokey with a cut of burnt caramel thrown in. Dark fruit? Something cutting it a bit for sure. Smooth, creamy and easily sessionable, no issues here at all.

Overall a very solid little lager and probably one of the better offerings I have had from MH recently.

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Photo of weeare138
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a dark brown nearing black. A deep, dark ruby when held to the light. A thick, frothy off white head sticks around forever. Scattered streaks of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of roasted grain, cocoa, caramel, toasted nuts, and bready yeast.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with more of the cocoa flavor coming through, along with roasted grains running along the palate.
Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, chewy, with a toasted grain running along the palate.
When I picked this up, I thought it was going to be competition(and similar too) Sam Adams Winter Lager. I was way off from my preconceived notions of this being a mildly spiced dark wheat lager. I knew NOTHING of this beer ahead of time. What I found was a nice, mildly roasted Schwarzbier. MH doesn't have a whole lot of dark beers in their lineup right now...even the occasional ones. This actually reminds me a bit of a blend of Jinx, and Heart of Darkness. Too bad those ones went the way of the dinosaur and only make rare appearances at the brewery. More dark brews, please Magic Hat!

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Photo of baseballrock
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Black color with a light brown hue when held to the light.

S - Light hints of roasted malts. Plus some coffee aromas are very pleasant.

T - Balanced malt flavors. As I sip I detect some cocoa flavor. The taste is finished off by a bit of hoppyness the rounds of a better than average brew.

M - Light bodied brew, but as stated prior it is well balanced. The one thing that does stand out is the bit of Hop flavor, I find it nice in this beer.

D - A very good session beer.

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Photo of angelmonster
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a 2 finger beige head, body is black with very dark brown highlights. Head retention and lacing are good.

Smell is of dark dried fruits like raisins. There is also some roasted, smoked malts. No hops or alcohol are detected.

Taste is the same as smell, very raisiny. There is also some chalky bittersweet chocolate and roasted malts. Slight smoke and oak are in there. Hops are pretty low and alcohol is obviously not present since its not even 5 percent.

Mouthfeel is good. Carbonation is well balanced and head has a nice presence that adds to the medium bodied consistency of the beer.

Drinkability is good. Very sessionable beer of a style that I wish more breweries would make. Would drink again whenever I want a light beer

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours akin to Pepsi. Bigger frothy head is born. Head is consistent and leaves lightning bolt lacing patterns. I can barely see through this beer.

S-Smells like a Porter. Roasty and surprisingly quite smoky. Light chocolate as well. I think the smoke is the most noticeable aspect of the nose. Certainly more brawny than I was expecting. Actually a bit excited to try this.

T-Chocolate comes out more in the flavor. Underlying smoky character. Roasted coffee beans strictly in the finish. Good dose of coffee at the end to be exact. Definitely has more flavor than I expected.

M-Medium body with enough carbonation. Not too much lasting feel.

O/D-Better than I was expecting. A pretty good glass. Magic Hat will come up and surprise you every-so-often. Hard to find fault with this one.

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Photo of nrbw23
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a really dark brown with a bit of ruby highlights. Appears to be pretty clear but its also pretty dark. Head is a tannish color that has pretty much no lacing and lacing.

S- Smells of roasted malts with a bit of sweet malitness. A bit of chocolate, smoke and I'm not really picking up any hops.

T- Taste is smoky grain, quite a bit of spice, nutty and a very light amount of coffee.

M- On the lighter side of medium in body and carbonation.

D- Not to bad at all. Pretty easy to drink. A pretty simple beer.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got to have this up at the brewery before it was even released a few years ago. Kind of exciting I thought. The beer poured out really dark even for being a sampling glass. The light that could get through just gave off a red hue inside the glass. The head was thin but has a light brown color to it. The smell of the beer was a lot like a German Lager with some roasted malts and chocolate in the mix. The taste of the beer gave off a lot of chocolate and dark malt flavors, it had a good bitterness to it as well. The mouthfeel was on the lighter side which I thought was impressive. Overall this beer isn't bad, I got to have it again from the bottle and it was still pretty good.

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Photo of Transatlantic
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a hefeweizen glass and served with leftover holiday tamales.

A - Nice hazy chocolate dark brown color with a great creamy head. Lacing is quite good as well, leaving some chunks.

S - A bit of a wet hay smell, but behind it is a faint smell of chocolate, coffee, and perhaps clove spice? Not great but not bad either

T - Incredibly refreshing and with stout like characteristics. The taste of chocolate and light coffee is there with a cracker like taste. Not really picking up much on any hops. I would say there IS a bit of floral hop presence but it's hard to lay it down.

M - Light bodied but tricks you into thinking it's medium bodied with it's taste. Carbonation is just right in the alley it's sparking.

D - It's very refreshing and PERFECT for the beer drinker who wants the taste of stout but without all the strong characteristics of a stout.

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Photo of MaxBrews
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

355ml bottle poured in my fluted pilsner glass.

Pour yields a fluffy 2 finger that dissipates at a moderate rate into a soapy lacing that clings to the glass. Color is black in the middle and very dark brown around the edges.

Aroma is faint, but yields chocolate, biscuit, and roasted malt. Very light toffee and vanilla bean.

Taste is mostly of roasted malt and hints of caramel and chocolate. I mostly got a roasted malt flavor from this beer and not much else. Which made for a beer that was as not as clean as I was expecting for a lager.

Mouthfeel is on the lighter side and carbonation is average. Absolutely no bitterness.

A pretty simple Schwarzbier or Black Lager. Heavy on the roasted malt which gives a slight perception of a stout, though lighter and cleaner. Still one could be fooled since this isn't a particularly clean lager.

So overall it tastes good even if its un-complex and not terribly interesting, thus making it well suitable to many types of cuisine. Light enough and low enough in ABV to be extremely sessionable. A good winter offering from magic hat and suits the season quite well.

Other looks of popular Schwarz's are Sam Adams Black lager and my personal favorite Saranac Black Forest.

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Photo of kzoobrew
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Would you be interested in selling?" another peculiar quote located beneath a Magic Hat cap.

Body could be easily mistaken for black especially in a poorly lit environment. When held to direct light the body is a clear deep mahogany. Head is a malted milk white, retention is decent a nice little cap is left perched atop. A thin sheet of very tight lacing encompasses the glass. Very nice looking brew.

A very pleasant roasted aroma is picked up first. Majority of the roasted notes are identifiable simply as roasted malt smell though a slight coffee present. Slight fruitiness and subtle hop presence picked up. Overall the aroma seems muted and subdues, very pleasant just leaving you with a desire for more.

Underlying sweetness through out. The roasted flavor is incorporated well without being overwhelming. Very subtle chocolate and toffee. Hops provide a combination of earthiness and citrusy flavors. Flavors are all very complimentary of the others, good deal of balance through out.

Light bodied rather crisp mouthfeel. Carbonation is moderate, finish is just less than dry.

Drinkability is excellent. This is not a beer I would normally reach for but is extremely easy to drink and rather enjoyable. Very smooth going down and there is nothing offensive about Howl at all. Solid session beer.

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Photo of ccampo
3.68/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle with freshness date on the side.

A - This is a lager?! This beer is a very dark brown color. I could not see through the glass. Big head that fades fast, but leaves a decent thin layer after a few minutes.

S - Roasted malt with a hint of booze. Virtually no hops in the aroma. It smells good, and it's definitely unique, but it didn't blow me away.

T - Roasted malt, with a slight hop bitterness. Finally, some hops! Not that complex really. Think of a much darker, much thicker american lager.

M & D - Smoooth. Here I am, not really that impressed with this beer, yet half the glass is gone in a few minutes. It is really, really drinkable.

This a simple beer, but I definitely am enjoying it. Goes down smooth, and rates up there with one of the top lagers I've tasted (Sam Adams reigns supreme). I would have liked more hops, but the roasted malt tasty nonetheless.


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Photo of BadBadger
3.69/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a moderately dark color. There was a pleasant, and rather subtle, aroma of fruity hops. The head was minimal, and what was there did not last for long. The taste was smooth, with a nice toffee (toffee not coffee) finish. Overall a rather pleasing beer which I would recommend giving a try.

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