Howl | Magic Hat Brewing Company

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978 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: 978 |  Reviews: 437
Photo of Arithmeticus
3.62/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured chilled in large dessert glass

A: solid black; good sized head drops down pretty quickly; black; good carbonation
S: toasted grains, doughy malt
T: nice balance of (prominent) toasted grains, (prominent) malt, and (light) hops; semisweet; not bitter; not complex; very drinkable

Not bad; good sessionable beer

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Photo of Mavajo
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly opaque black with obvious ruby highlites. Average tan head that retains reasonably well and leaves light to moderate lacing.

Nose is mostly roasty with subtle coffee. Taste brings the same as the nose with a certain earthiness. Not a particularly strong taste. I actually found it a bit boring at first but it got better as it warmed. Mouthfeel is probably medium overall but lighter than it looks. Medium carbonation. This beer actually tastes and feels a good bit like a porter, but with a bit more carbonation. Fairly drinkable.

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Photo of OatmattStout
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

good beige head that had a mix of large and small foam.

nose was mild and got some sweet lagery grains

taste is nice and toasty roasted malts with a finish of chocolate powder. had a nice creamy mouthfeel. some residual sweetness and candied fruits.

all around a good beer and really the only magic hat beer i really like.

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Photo of thedrewski86
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass, almost black w/ ruby highlights. 1/2" tan head, reduces to a film that lingers. Fairly consistent lacing. Faint smell, earthy and roasty. Taste is raisin, caramel, malt in the front and a little hop in the aftertaste. This almost reminds me of New Belgium's enlightened black ale. This is nothing strong but it's very drinkable. I like it.

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Photo of ommegoose
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Looks to style for a schwarzbier. Near opaque. One finger of head to start, but holds to a full sheet across the top. Decent retention and some lacing.

Nice cocoa powder aroma from the nose of the bottle. Seems promising.

Bittersweet chocolate flavor. Pretty dry, not much sweetness to the beer at all. Finishes with mild roasty flavor and light hop bitterness. It's a pretty simple beer.

Light bodied and carbonation is a little busy. Fine overall.

This is a pretty nice try at a schwarz. Has the dry, slightly roasted malt down. It's not a strong beer, and very easy to drink.

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Photo of Clydesdale
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a deep, dark, nearly opaque brownish-black. The tall, light brown head has a dense, frothy texture and very nice retention. Lacing is rather attractive.

S: Sweet, roasted black malts for the most part. Hints of dark fruit and molasses. A mild herbal hop background is also present. Light nutty and cocoa notes.

T: Roasted, moderately sweet black malt flavor up front. A bit of creamy/lactic character. Light notes of dark fruit, herbal hops, nuts, and cocoa.

M: Medium bodied, with fairly creamy carbonation. Just a touch watery, with a medium-dry finish.

D: A pleasant, somewhat surprising schwarzbier from Magic Hat. Easily drinkable and nicely flavored. A solid representative of an underrated style.

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Photo of BigPlay1824
3.63/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pilsner glass

A: pours a deep brown amber color with a nice amount of creamy brown head which disipates quickly, leaves a nice amount of lacing
S: nice deep woody malts with a slight sweetness

T: hmmm quite different from the scent, much more coffee malts and no sweetness whatsoever

D/M: intense carbonation tingle, drinks heavy but is smooth on the pallet, lack of good taste hurts drinkability

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Photo of Bung
3.64/5  rDev -0.5%
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 -0.5%
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 -0.3%
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 -0.3%
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 -0.3%
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 -0.3%
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 -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of larryi86
3.65/5  rDev -0.3%
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 -0.3%
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 -0.3%
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 MichaelProcton
3.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Super-classy, opaque blackish-brown with a thick, airy cocoa brown head on top that hangs around for a good while. The nose is shockingly sweet, and I can't get past that. Maybe that's the chocolate they're trying to impart. That chocolate shows back up in the flavor, though there' a lot more balanced roastiness, like a touch of just burnt coffee. The mouthfeel is light, though there's a sharpness given by the high level of carbonation. All in all, a good beer, if not one that stands out much.

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Photo of zotzot
3.66/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of weasbri
3.67/5  rDev +0.3%
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 +0.3%
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 +0.5%
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 mikesgroove
3.68/5  rDev +0.5%
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 +0.5%
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 +0.5%
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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Howl from Magic Hat Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.66 out of 5 with 978 ratings
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