Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Howl | Magic Hat Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
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.

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 435 | Ratings: 956
Photo of zander4dawin
3.28/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A black beer with a thin head that dissipates rapidly. Smells like black rye bread and chocolatey. Roasted malt taste and a light body. Aftertaste lingers, chocolate and roasted malt coats the tongue. Stings the palette a little bit. Easy to drink. Overall a good beer, not disappointed.

 287 characters

Photo of jrallen34
3.29/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle drank from into a pint glass...Pours dark brown with a really nice head. Three fingers of light tan head, good retention and lacing, fluffy...A mostly dead and boring aroma, I pull plums that are lightly spiced, not bad, just not strong enough...The taste is basically the aroma, light spiced dark fruits, not offernse but just too boring. A blank finish has me wanting more.

Not something worth trying, but if you're at dinner and in a pinch like me its ok.

 471 characters

Photo of bob3701
3.3/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a fizzy white head that did not linger long with minimal lacing. Very clear very dark brown in color but could see through my glass. Nice roasted aroma a little more bitter in taste then I was expecting. I think the are better black lagers out there but this one will do and I thought the lable was pretty cool.

 315 characters

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.

 463 characters

Photo of cjgator3
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle

A- Pours a black color with light tan head.

S- The aroma is slightly roasted grains with a little bit of sweet chocolate notes as well.

T- The taste has a little bit of sweetness up front with some roastiness from the malt in the finish.

M- The mouthfeel is between light and medium bodies wih a good amount of carbonation.

O- Overall, not bad but not something I would purchase again. I would prefer more hops in a beer like this.

 448 characters

Photo of mtstatebeer
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle. Pours an opaque black color with a decent fizzy light brown head, decent lacing. Aroma is caramel and roasted malts, coffee, and a hint of earthiness. Flavor is roasted malts, wood, nutty, and earthy hops. Mouthfeel medium, well carbonated, kind of chalky at the end. Pretty good beer, good for the style.

 320 characters

Photo of Drazzamatazz
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured in SA Perfect Pint.

A: Poured a dark brown with a clump three finger head that quickly faded to a small cap. A little bit of hang on the glass.
S: Malted oats as well as a little bit of chocolate. I know it's not my glass....but it almost a vague soapy smell.
T: Smooth smokey-ness along with burnt sugar. Very malty and seems to be getting a bitter chocolate bite as it warms up. Again, is that lavender? What's wrong with me.
M: Decent body, I'd say medium to low carbonation.
D: Pretty easy drinker for a winter brew. Maybe a little bit lower ABV then I'd like on a cold winter night, but nothing too challenging here.

 630 characters

Photo of DosBeerigos
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

C. Clear, for a very dark beer
H. Black
N. Strong Coffee, light smoke, and hints of chocolate

Well this is the second, Black Lager that I have reviewed for the site. The first was the Dixie Voodoo Black. So ill compare the two. If you read that review the Dixie it was clean, crisp, and water-like. Howl, has a TON more flavor. It is smokey as expected from a deep black beer, but has a great settling almost sweetness to it. If I could compare it to a person; remember that gothic chick that was in high-school. Well she seemed dark and probably smoked ciggs cause she thought it was "cool". Well then when you got to know her and passed all the black clothes and make-up, she was sorta sweet, but yet still dark. Yep that's this beer. So if your into all that dark stuff I would recommend this beer. It has grown on me throughout the month since I was shipped 12 of these bad boys from the "beer fairy" up north (they may make a special appearance some time soon...stay tuned!). Well you cant go grab this one, but if your nice I may share my final three with you! Check it out next winter season, for sure!

 1,110 characters

Photo of mercyfulfate
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 Oz Bottle Into a Kona Brewing Pint Glass.

A: Not quite 'black as night' as the label claims. Dark brown into a light black. Very little head, but stays around. Good amount of lacing.

S: Smells of roasted malts, faint hint of chocolate in the background.

T: Tasted a little lighter than I expected. Getting the tastes of some dark roasted malts and a wee bit of chocolate.

M: Once again pretty light. Makes it a pretty easy beer to drink.

O: Not a bad black lager. On par with some of the other darker brews from Magic Hat. Willing to buy again.

 567 characters

Photo of whtguitarguy
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is one of the better Magic Hat brands out there. Pours to a dark reddish brown, very little head. Nose is like an amber ale with hops and roasted malts. Mouthfeel is medium and slightly coating. Flavor includes notes of coffee, chocolate (roasted malts), and nuts with a slight barley character.

 300 characters

Photo of MoreThanWine
3.33/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a 1" light mocha head with moderate life. Dark burnt umber brown color, black enough. Smell is very mild, just a little roasted malt. Taste is like a very weak porter: roasted malt, coffee, chocolate. Body is quite light, I'd even call it watery. To me this is OK but it's not a standout.

 295 characters

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

I had out of a 12 ounce bottle. IT's extremely dark brown, almost black. Good foamy tan head and excellent lacing. Nice smokey, burnt scent with a hint of cinnamon.

It's a very burnt tasting porter/stout. Thick. Hasa very mild chocolate taste. Rough on the tongue. Not smooth, a bit sour.

 289 characters

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.

 546 characters

Photo of twaddlac
3.36/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark maroon, brown, with fawnish tan head that dissipates from a small head to a somewhat sticky lace. The bubbles are normally graded.

S- Strong toasted malt, dark coffee, slightly smoky. Overbearing toasted malt smell.

T- Bitter with strong toasted malt. Speculatory cascade hops, add a slight bitterness instead of floral quality. Aftertaste of dark cocoa.

M- Medium to heavy body, medium carbonation.

D- Good beer, may be able to drink a sixer in one sitting. A bit bitter, but nothing that takes away from enjoying this beer.

 538 characters

Photo of punkrkr27
3.36/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Near black pour with mahogany highlights at the edges of the glass and a small, dense, tan head. The aroma is very modest with light notes of roast, very soft spice, fresh bread and a distinct noble hop twang. The flavor is also very gentle with a fair amount of roast, a little cocoa and soft spice and finishing clean with a mild noble hop bite. Medium, creamy body with soft but plentiful carbonation.

 404 characters

Photo of jsprain1
3.37/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A- Calling it black as night (as their label does) is a stretch, but it sits comfortably in the very dark brown category. Head is one finger cocoa, retains at a slick, minimal lacing.
S- The aroma is pleasant and reasonably assertive with dark caramel, a bit of cocoa, and this aroma that is sort of earthy.
T- Taste is dark caramel, with aa bit of cocoa in the finish. The faintest of espresso in the finish.
M- I gave the flavor a four, but that is optimistically rating it for what it would be if the mouthfeel left it on my tongue long enough. Very thin and not much carbonation just makes the beer flow too quickly.
O- A good tasting and smelling beer that needs to add some body and/or carbonation for me to want to come back. Simply too thin.

 749 characters

Photo of Ezone024
3.38/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

never been big into magic hat i've only ever liked the HIPA but a friend brought over some of the black as night. it's pretty legit.

pours out black as night, you can't really get anything from the look because it's so black.

it smells metallic with hints of carmel

the taste gives off a good balance of toffee and a light hops background.

light alcohol content makes it a good beer to drink alot of. it has a really good warming feeling.

apparently this beer has been retired but this is from a new pack, so they must have just discontinued it. but you can still get it at your local beer spot.

 602 characters

Photo of TheBrewo
3.38/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A hard pour reveals a color of deep reddish brown, with a three finger tan head that lingers, leaving thick horizontal lacing. When held to the light, unfiltered particles float near the bottom of this otherwise murky brew. The aroma is composed of generous malt, mild citric hops, and a stale yeasty scent. There are also hints of grape, conjuring thoughts of comparison to some characteristics of a dark wine. The taste begins with a bitter burnt malt flavor. This is quickly replaced by an even grainer taste, specifically of barley, that peaks, and flows through cleanly to the finish. Accompanying this are faint notes of tin and dark chocolate flakes. The brew is medium to heavy bodied, has medium carbonation, is neither entirely creamy nor watery, and leaves the mouth on the dry side. For the style of a schwartzbier it is a bit thick and heavy, making it more of a sipping lager.

Overall, what we enjoyed most about this brew was its complex aroma and the clean follow through of the taste (with a great label to boot!). The apparent exhibition of grape in the nose and heavy barley in the taste make for a unique winter seasonal.

 1,142 characters

Photo of biglite351
3.38/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Quite dark, only a sliver of red around the edged. Tall creamy head leaving considerable licing.

S - smoaky malts, very nice and inviting.

T - smoaky malts, but that is about all. Not much deoth. The smoaky malts are good, but do not carry too far.

M - It is a lager so it is thin, but nice coating for a lager. slight tingle on the front of the tongue.

D - I usually go for stouts but this dark lager is quite drinkable.

 429 characters

Photo of htomsirveaux
3.38/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle tried 27 May 2010.

Served in a Lakefront shaker pint. Very large lively tan head. Well carbonated. Deep dark opaque espresso brown color. Aroma has a noticeable roastiness with an acidic twang. Sweet raosted chocolate maltiness. Finish is roasty sour with a touch of cocoa bitterness. Aftertaste of toasty bread and semisweet chocoalte, touch of cinnamon. Ethanol warming but mild. Medium to light body.


 428 characters

Photo of ajaxivan
3.39/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

An acquaintance of mine gave me a case of this for doing him a favor. This is something I wouldn't have bought for my self, here it goes.

A: Nice and dark with a good looking tan head.

S: Nothing to write home about, slightly sweet dark fruit, touch of spice with some chocolate.

T: The slight hop bitterness works well with the subtle smokiness. A little chocolate comes through with some spice.

M: A little thin, carbonation is spot on.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with this one. I haven't had many Magic Hat offerings in many years and this is not bad at all. I'm also not really one for lagers and this is a good change of pace for me. I would recommend this especially if looking for a beer with alot of flavor and low abv.

 742 characters

Photo of drawbackwards
3.39/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Nice pour...little head. i smell burnt & licorice. not too happy to start. nice mouthfeel pretty smooth. wow...this is some light stuff for the color. good taste though. i have to hand it to magic hat...they packed some flavor into this really light beer. you can drink this all night long, but i doubt you will hand one to your bud and say"bro, you gotta try this, it will knock your socks off". it's pretty good, not great, but good. the abv is appropriate for the feel on this one. i had this back to back with avery's new world porter. not a good move, cuz that one packs a whollop. if you pair this with a bad ass beer it will not stand. on it's own, you should have a pretty good time...

 693 characters

Photo of DaveBlack
3.4/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Brown and slightly cloudy, with maybe a finger's width of tan head with and OK amount of retention and some decent lacing.

S: Maltiness, almost exclusively. Slightly roasted malts, coffee, and maybe a slight pine aroma from the hops.

T: Wow, has a flavor that the aroma barely hints at. Deep malty flavor, lots of coffee and well balanced on the hops. The more I taste, though, the more i get a kind of medicinal flavor that is pretty off-putting.

M: Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Fells relatively light for the flavor.

D: It's a pretty decent beer, but the medicinal taste is throwing me off. Its light feeling body and deep roasty taste make it drinkable. I will certainly finish my six pack, but i don't intend to seek this beer out.

 763 characters

Photo of gabedivision
3.41/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Got this puppy BO-GO from my local Consumers. Poured into a Great Lakes pint glass.

A- Pours a deep brownish red with a nice fuzzy head.

S- Faint chocolate, malt and grain. With a funky off-coffee tone. Very light on the nose.

T- Chocolaty coffee hints with a bitter tones.

M- High Carb, med bodied. Very smooth and lager-y.

D- Good drinkability. Goes down smooth, nothing offensive about it, but nothing great about it either. For the price i got this at, i will probably go pick up another two, but for full price i would probably pass.

 546 characters

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.

 537 characters

Howl from Magic Hat Brewing Company
3.69 out of 5 based on 956 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!