Howl | Magic Hat Brewing Company

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980 Ratings

Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company
Vermont, United States

Style: Schwarzbier

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.60%

Availability: Rotating

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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 980 |  Reviews: 437
Photo of Sammy
3.62/5  rDev -1.1%
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 kylehay2004
4/5  rDev +9.3%
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 jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of acurtis
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
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 spycow
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of djrn2
3/5  rDev -18%

Photo of Knapp85
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
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 nmann08
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of oriolesfan4
3.88/5  rDev +6%
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 metter98
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
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 -11.2%
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 oline73
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of emerge077
3.83/5  rDev +4.6%
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 +7.9%
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 brentk56
4/5  rDev +9.3%
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 zestar
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of chinchill
3.82/5  rDev +4.4%
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 jlindros
3.8/5  rDev +3.8%
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 Gkruszewski
4/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.78/5  rDev +3.3%
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 oberon
3.88/5  rDev +6%
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 mactrail
3.31/5  rDev -9.6%
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 billab914
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
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 Thorpe429
3.58/5  rDev -2.2%
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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Howl from Magic Hat Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.66 out of 5 with 980 ratings