Howl | Magic Hat Brewing Company

958 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: 958 |  Reviews: 435
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 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 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 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 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 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 Gkruszewski
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Zaphog
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of atlbravsrno1
3/5  rDev -18.7%

Photo of thatoneguymike
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%

Photo of WoodBrew
3.55/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Black-as-Night...Hell to the YEAH! This beer is so black it could be Navy! Does Schwarzbier equal eight parts water, one part alcohol and one part coffee??? This beer, although tasty in a pinch, reminds me of stouts that several fledgling breweries make. There is coffee scents and taste....but not over powering. The low alcohol content makes this an easy session beer. After the pour a nice head forms on this beer and keeps throughout the salutation. Not the best....not the worst....ENJOY!

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.78/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours the deepest of dark reds with a fluffy tan head that sticks itself to the glass all the way down. Smells of cocoa and milk chocolate, grainy with some roast and dark fruits. Taste is cocoa powder with some dark fruits. Grainy malts with a hint of roast in there as well. Finishes kind of dry with a lingering roasted malt finish. Carbonation is high, very prickly and annoying. Mouthfeel is creamy and the body is medium. I'm confused by this one. Its a decent enough beer, although a bit less carbonation would have helped this out. Its labeled a Schwartzbier, but it reminds me more of a porter. Its a lot better than some of the beer Magic Hat has been trying to pass off lately. I'd enjoy another, but I wouldn't seek it out.

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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.

 1,138 characters

Photo of tdm168
3.98/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a half of an inch of brown, soft, dense, head that has great retention. The nose smells of roasted malt and faint coffee. The taste is similar to the nose. Tastes primarily of deep, roasted malt and coffee. There are very faint chocolate notes in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, and rich, and the carbonation gives it a little crispness.

This is a solid beer. It's definitely one of the better offerings from Magic Hat. I have this beer every winter.

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Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -18.7%

Photo of JAHMUR
2.5/5  rDev -32.2%

Photo of rolltide8425
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of chippo33
1.25/5  rDev -66.1%

Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of Billolick
3.7/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Growler filled up at Yorktown Beer and soda, Yorktown, NY, $9.99 (yeah my closest beer store now has 8 taps for fresh growlers)

Pours near black, moderate darker mocha head, goes to a thick collar and leaves ample thicker lacing.

Light chocolate and darker grains in the nose.

More chocolate, minor coffee note noted, dark grains, moderate sweetness. On the lighter side bodywise. Nothing special, respectable dark lager, easy drinker. Nice long finish, with lingering coffee grains and lightly bitter chocolate. More slightly better then middle of the road beer from hit or miss Magic Hat.

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Photo of Hopheadjeffery
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%

Photo of jwc215
3.44/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Best by end of January '10 notched on label.

Pours dark brown - not black - with a light brown/tan head that vanishes rather quickly to thin wisps. Minimal lacing sticks.

The smell is a bit pungent at first - with some roast, some fruitiness, some coffee and grainy notes.

The taste is of semi-sweet dark malt and grainy notes with roasted coffee. The light roast gives balance to the semi-sweetness. Tingly carbonation lends a dryness in the finish.

The carbonation is on the aggressive side - tingly/prickly, yet the body holds up to reach medium.

Not as dark or rich as it could be. Not as smooth as a lager should be either, and carbonation is too pushy. Yet it does have potential. Calming the carbonation and pushing up the malt character might help.

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Photo of Tone
3.97/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. 2/3 inch head of a pale tan color. Good retention and decent lacing. Smells of sweet malt, slight roasted malt, slight coffee, slight hop, and oatmeal. Fits the style of a Schwarzbier. Mouth feel is smooth and slightly creamy, with a low carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, roasted malt, oatmeal, slight coffee, and slight hops. Overall, a nice blend, body, and mouth feel.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.35/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Magic Hat Howl, winter seasonal

Dark brown color, ruby highlights, bubbling cocoa head, fizzles quickly.

Aroma: Sweet, cola-ish notes, some nutty tones...a bit of espresso down there. Bit creamy, too.

Taste: much the same from the nose. Fullish body, good balance, nice give and take between hops and malt, but not offering much different in flavor. A goodish winter warmer .(wait, fullish trips my spellcheck, but not 'goodish'?)...more like a dunkel lager. Not especially memorable, but drinkable.
don't think I would go for this one again.

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Howl from Magic Hat Brewing Company
3.69 out of 5 based on 958 ratings.
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