Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Magic Hat Howl

Magic Hat Howl is a Black Lager typically known as a German Schwarzbier (Black Beer). This particular example is fermented with San Francisco Lager yeast, which is stylistic of California Common - A hybrid style that uses a particular strain of lager yeast capable of fermenting at slightly warmer temperatures than other lagers. For a Schwarzbier, this should be interesting...

Alcohol Content: 4.6
IBU: 32
Malts: 2-Row Pale, Carafa, Cara, Munich, Crystal
Hops: Apollo, Hallertau

Price: $14.00 for a 12-pack Magic Hat sampler
Medium: 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Aroma: A spicy noble hop character is revealed first and then overrun by hints of smokey, cacao or bittersweet chocolate, and other deep roasted qualities. The munich malt presence is only slightly clear at this point. A bit of a dark coffee nose to it as well, especially in each breathe I take - yuk.
Appearance: Very dark brown approaching black - when held up to the light its still as clear as a lager should be with some garnet tints. Poured for a moderately large, tan head that slowly dissipates but still covers the surface. Also, a small constant flow of bubbles like tiny geysers across the surface.
Flavor: Initially rich and sweet with a Munich malt presence followed by a bittersweet chocolate and smokey character. Roasted malt flavors hit about mid pallet and finishes a bit acrid/ harsh. The roasted profile clearly dominates over any Munich qualities. Bitterness is spicy and balances the malts well. Everything else feels clean, giving it a sort of lager crispness. Aftertaste consists of a lingering astringency with some residual chocolate-like sweetness and a small amount of drying.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and moderately high carbonation (acceptable). Bitterness feels "hot"- or perhaps the mid-end pallet altogether, thus not a direct result of the spicy bittering qualities. Increasingly acrid/ harsh throughout the session.
Overall Impression: Reminds me too much of a porter and perhaps does not fit the definition of a Schwarzbier appropriately. The aftertaste is slightly unpleasant and just doesn't cut it either. Drinkable but I wouldn't recommend a 6-pack - Variety packs suffice. I'm curious as to how the yeast strain plays a role in this one since much of the flavors were dominated by the malts and hops.

No comments:

Post a Comment