Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Magic Hat Howl

Brewery: Magic Hat Brewing Company
Location: South Burlington, VT
Style: Schwarzbier
Brewery Website
Rating: B

Today's tasting is Howl, Magic Hat's winter lager. This dark schwarzbier is completely opaque mahogany in color. The foamy head is brownish-tan in color. The nose detects roasted barley, lager malt, a faint wininess, caramel and peanuts.

On the palate there is a big roasted flavor that has bittersweet cocoa along with roasted peanuts and peanut butter. Lager malt notes are here as well, but are hidden under the roast. There is a bit of hops here with herbal and pine notes. There is a bitter kick, but it seems to be more of the coffee ground variety than a hoppy punch. As things settle down the roasted character evolves a bit leading to some grilled corn/veggies notes. The Howl has a body that is a bit on the heavy side for a lager and has some chewiness. The finish is long with big roasted grain notes.

Magic Hat's Howl is truly a porter in lager's clothing. My only complaint is that the roasted character of this beer is a bit too one-sided. I wish there was a bit more of a hoppy twang to provide some counterbalance. If you like big roasted beers, Howl will definitely feed your fix. The question is whether it suits your taste enough to have you going back for more.

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