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 Sammy
3.62/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Decent shwartzbier.
Slightly bitter and well balanced.Black body with quick dissipitating foamy head. Mild roasty aroma. Carbonation is right there and it is appropriate. Decent roastiness, mild coffee. minimal alcohol, this sessionability is appreciated.

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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 kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: single finger head with nice circumferential lacing on a very black body with light passing through

S: sweet, little roasted malts. Nothing overwhelming here.

T: More roast in the taste which is semisweet and very smooth. Cocoa notes.

M: medium to full body and moderate to high carbonation. very smooth

Overall this one is very drinkable. The taste isn't amazing but its a nice beer to enjoy without any off-putting flavors.

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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 metter98
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is very dark amber (near black) in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. Dark amber colors are visible around the edges of the glass when it is held up to the light. It poured with a thin yet dense tan head that has good retention properties.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of chocolate, coffee and roasted malts in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and has some notes of malty sweetness and hints of hop bitterness.
M: It feels medium-bodied, creamy and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There are some hints of dryness in the finish.
O: Given its low alcohol content, this beer is very sessionable and packs in a lot of flavor.

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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 brentk56
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours an coffee color with a nice tan cap; the retention was solid and it left a few strands behind

Smell: Roasted malt, with black bread and coffee elements

Taste: Opens with a roasty, burnt bread character that is joined by charcoal as well as some sweeter caramel elements by mid-palate; after the swallow, the flavors balance out, bringing on a hint of chocolate in the finish, though there the charcoal lingers in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Although this is a little sweet for the style, I really enjoyed the balance in this beer and it is one of the few beers from this brewery that I would seek out again

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Photo of oriolesfan4
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Gotta love the appearance of this one.. deep black with a hint of redness in the light.. off white head. Smell it a bit roasted coffee smelling.. reminds me a lot of an oatmeal stout. Taste is very smooth with a nice mouthfeel. Nothing too prominent in the particular tasting notes, just some nice maltiness and some of the roasted flavors. Pretty heavy bodied as well which was a surprise, certainly not one to pound down. Nice of MH to mix it up for a winter seasonal, not my favorite but a solid beer in their mixed pack.

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Photo of emerge077
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark and ruddy, scarlet highlights glint off the sides in the light. Sticky tan foam that has that nice reverse cascade effect when poured.

Roasty aroma, coffee and unsweetened bakers chocolate. Fairly mild and mostly malty.

Pleasant roasty flavor, again more coffee and dark chocolate, slightly creamy. Body was a bit thin with lower carbonation. Roasted barley and husky grain in the background, some low level bitterness also. Overall not a bad Schwarzbier, a style I usually look for fresh on tap at local brewpubs.

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Photo of zeff80
3.95/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, black as night color with a one-finger, tan head of thin foam. It left little to no lace.

S - It smelled of roasted malts, coffee and hints of chocolate.

T - Very good roasty flavor with touches of coffee, chocolate and caramel. The was also a floral/citric hop flavor.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A light-bodied beer that is very easy-drinking.

D - This is a pretty fine schwarzbier. Great roasted flavor.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.58/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to gr8134 for sharing this. Served in a snifter.

Pours dark brown with a good head and a nice cap and collar on the way down. The nose is faint roast and a good amount of coffee. The taste is similar, though the coffee forces through a bit of added bitterness. The feel is quite light without too much roasted character. Overall, this drinks fairly well and is quite impressive coming from Magic Hat.

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Photo of oberon
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into my Moncshof schwarzbier pokal a deep chocolate color with a ruby tinge,a thinner but well sustained light tan colored head atop.Chocolate aromas really stand out with a roast uderneath.Earthy and dry on the palate with some roasted coffee notes intertwined with unsweetened chocolate,again not much sweetness to be had here.Much dryer and more earthy than most I have had of the style but I like it.

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Photo of jlindros
3.8/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"Take the world for a spin, don't let the world spin you" the infinite wisdom of the Magic Hat caps. Well, I'm starting to go through and review the Magic Hat beers, since it was the company that got me into craft beers. Next up is the winter seasonal, a schwarzbier!

A: A nice frothy 1 finger head rises up like it's lording over the glass. It's a pretty dark colored head but fades pretty quickly. Super dark brown roasted malt color that doesn't let any light through. It almost looks black except the touches of color shining through. This beer is NAAAATTT blAACCKKK!

N: The nose hits you right away with smoked malt, but not overly smokey. Some light roasted and chocolate malts hit you as well. I get some charred wood and light smoked porter aromas. There's even a slight fire roasted log aroma, they should patent that.

T: Wow, taste starts right away with smoked malt as well, almost bacon fat like taste. Actually pretty tasty. It quickly adds some roasted malts and caramel sweet malt flavors. Perhaps some maple flavor would really add here, but it's not there. It's still a little lighter than I would expect for the flavors, almost as if it was watered down, even though its not. Slight creamy dark malts and a little bitter spicy hop flavors round off the taste.

M: A little spicy perhaps from hops, medium body with good carbonation.

F: Finishes very smoky and pretty dry. The lingering smoke doesn't go away, it really gives you the feeling that you were sitting around a campfire all night trying to eat the smoke. Slightly bitter as well, but its hard to tell if that's from some random hops added or just the charred quality of the roasted/smoked malts.

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Photo of chinchill
3.82/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A very dark brown, rather than black beer. Opaque, with a thin but durable tan head.

Aroma of dark roasted malts and spicy hops, with hints of dark fruits, chocolate and spices. Aroma is a tad too earthy. The flavor is a bit stronger than the aroma suggests, although there is little flavor from hops. Not unpleasant light hint of charcoal/smoke. Finishes with a long-lasting, roasted malt aftertaste. Taste improves and gets richer with warming.

M: Medium to medium-light body and carbonation.

O: good.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 12/13/09 at Doherty's East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a short beige head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of roasted malts, coffee, lager yeast, some dark fruit and a touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with a dark roasted malt character followed by flavors of coffee and dark fruits. The sweetness isn't too heavy despite the maltiness and there's a decent balance. The hops presence is mild but complementary. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, slightly filling, mild kick, good representation of style, if you're in the mood for the style this is a good beer to drink for a while.

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Photo of mactrail
3.31/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark, grainy beer with burnt malt flavors.

Plenty black and a nice head. Not as smooth and mellow as you might want in a low-alcohol dark beer. Not much of a nose. Tastes of Black Patent malt, rather strong on the charcoal and hint of sourness. Very light body but a nice feel on the tongue. Faint hint of malt. Quite low on the hop scale but bitter aftertaste creeps up.

This is more of a watery stout. Not particularly pleasant but might be a thirst quencher.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.41/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: bottle from Pinocchio's beer garden, Media, PA

Poured into a Klokke Roeland globe, coffee brown and nearly opaque with a pinky-finger of tannish head that receded to a patchy layer; small blotches of lacing here and there. Light aroma of dark roasted malts and grains. A little on the metallic side. Up front, the taste is a mixture of sweet molasses and roasted malts, turning mid-palate to a bitter coffee with lots of graininess, and a bit of smoke. Medium mouthfeel, and quite dry. Nothing great, but not too bad overall.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a rather dark brown body with a half inch layering of ecru foam that left a modicum of thin lacing on the way down.

Smell: Predominately earthy nose with notes of roasty coffee, oven-toasted nuts, and baker's chocolate.

Taste: Roasted grains with a light sweetness and some slight a chicory flourish to it. Lesser hints of unsweetened chocolate and chopped walnuts. Spicy hops with just a touch of dried citrus lingering there as well. Light bitterness. Earthy, drying finish with a sustained taste of walnuts.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: All in all, it's a decent, if average Schwarzbier. Nothing to Howl about, but nothing to thumb your nose at, either.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark walnut brown that should be see-throughable once the sun rises higher in the sky. Slices of burnt orange appear at the edges and an attractive chunk of oatmeal colored foam appears up top. Sudsy rings of lace decorate the glass in fine fashion.

The dark malty nose fits the style guidelines pretty well. It's probably hoppier than most, but isn't overdone. 32 IBUs worth of Apollo and Hallertau hops should turn this little lager into something to be reckoned with.

Howl is good beer considering style and ABV. Yeah, it could be bolder and more malty, but what do you expect at less than 10-proof? As expected, a moderate hoppiness balances what little sweetness is present. For those who care, the grain bill includes pale, crystal and carafa (which is a type of chocolate malt).

The flavor profile is dominated by bittersweet chocolate wafer cookies. Other participants include black coffee, caramel and citrus peel. This may be simple beer, but it's also nicely drinkable beer. The label indicates that it's best by the end of this month. Hmmm... tastes fresh as a daisy right now.

The body/mouthfeel doesn't quite keep up. All things considered, it's fine and dandy, but I'd need a fraction more heft, some light creaminess or better buried bubbles to go with the next highest number.

Magic Hat is one of those classic hit-or-miss American craft breweries. Howl is a hit that should appeal to just about everyone who likes good beer. Now watch them discontinue this winter seasonal in favor of a potato and licorice beer called Crazy Black Tater.

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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 billab914
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Sam Adams pint glass. Pours dark brown, slightly ruby colored around the edges when held to the light. Pretty decent head retention and a little lacing.

Aroma has a good amount of roasted malts with some coffee bitterness and a little burntness to it. The taste is roasty as well with all the flavors present in the nose, except it's has a little more chocolate flavor then the bitter coffee the aroma has.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly lighter then expected giving all the flavor that it has. It's light, smooth and pretty drinkable.

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Photo of Jason
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with a freshness date.

The color is not like they state "Black as Night" but it is pretty dark, good head retention like most of the Magic Hat beers. Hints of coffee, dark chocolate and charcoal in the nose. Big on smoothness with a light to medium body, roasty from start to finish though stays mild. Mild charcoal character is pleasant, maltiness lands dry. Hops a leafy and a little oily with a even bitterness. Dry end with a linger of roasted grain.

This does not make up for the fact that they killed of Heart Of Darkness a while back but I'll take this for now. Damn good stuff here.

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Photo of smcolw
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Moderate beige head which settles to a single layer of bubbles. Leaves some ring lace on the glass. The color is dark brown where light shines through only on the edge.

Smells dark without any burnt bitterness. Mild cocoa in the background.

Far more hop than the smell would suggest. The malt is also more toasted and biting. The brew is a bit watery with a decent amount of carbonation which doesn't help. Not a timid beer, it certainly has a strong flavor profile.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.58/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From 11/24/11 notes. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

a - Pours a dark brown, almost black color, with one finger of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of roasted malts, chocolate, toasted malts, and some burnt malts. Roasted notes dominate, but pretty nice.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, chocolate, light coffee, very light fruit, and some toasted malts. Again, pretty nice.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Pretty easy to drink.

o - Overall a decent schwarzbier; had this right after the Guinness black lager and this was very slightly better. Worth checking out, would probably have it again.

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.13/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appears dark black with cola brown edges when held toward the light. Large tan head rises above the rim of my glass, nice chunks of lace spread evenly around the sides of my Weihenstephan glass. Aroma is filled with dark roasts with semi bitter notes. Herbal grassy mildly citrus notes of hops in the bacground, with upfront coffee and dark bitter chocolate. Flavor has creamy chocolate and bitter coffee grinds blended nicely a really nice experience. Like drinking a big stout with a light body and alcohol content herbal hops blend in the mix as well. Heavy on the dark bitter roasts in the finish I like it minimal herbal hops are flowing with persistance. Mouthfeel is medium to lighter bodied with a nice even level of natural carbonation flowing creamy overall with a nice roasted malt bitterness left on the palate with each sip. Drinkability is great especially in the cooler months, I could love on a sixer of this whilst tailgating in the Burgh before the Steelers play down at Heinz Field. I could mix a few lighter beers into the mix and have a black and gold sampler this would be a good staple for the schwarzbier category.

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