Left Hand Snow Bound Winter Ale

RATINGS: 354   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.33/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 258   ABV: 8.6%
Fight cabin fever! Made with Rocky Mountain water, malted barley, hops, yeast, honey, orange zest, and other spices.

Editor’s Note: beginning in 2006, Snow Bound became the name for Left Hand’s strong winter seasonal beer made with honey and spices. It was previously known as XXXmas Ale. Below is the original XXXmas Ale description for reference.

XXXmas Ale is a spiced strong ale, using all natural ingredients to give it its festive nature. We brew this beer from a relatively high initial gravity to give it strength and body. This is (in our opinion) appropriate to a winter beer, and it helps to balance the numerous spices added. Honey is also added to increase fermentable sugars and give additional sweetness. Northern Brewer and Saaz hops are used sparingly, to allow the spices to evidence themselves. We add ground nutmeg, whole cloves, crushed cinnamon, orange zest and chopped ginger to spice the beer. Carbonation is kept low to accentuate the flavor of the beer and spices. It’s like a liquid cake. Brew water is relatively soft.

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ClarkVV's rating

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 10/20
ClarkVV (6839) - Boston, Massachusetts, USA - JAN 18, 2008
Draught tulip at Sunset Grill on 11/17/07
Deep chartreuse-tinted mahogany with some light tan notes on the edges. Clear, with a fleeting chestnut head that leaves little/no lacing.
Ginger and dry nutmeg are strong in the nose, with wisps of chocolate malt nuances on the edges and powdery cocoa mixing with ginger again on the finish. Excessively clean smelling, with little in the way of wholesome or rich malts. Just some passing sugariness and mostly an array of spicing. Not particularly hoppy, and no real yeast suggestions break through (no fruitiness). Definite alcohol sharpness emerges with breathing, on the finish. No flaws, medium strength of aroma.
After two relatively successful Left Hand beers before this one (the smoked goose and the warrior), I was really hoping this would prove to have the same softness of palate (relatively speaking) as those. It certainly did not. Extremely hard, crystal malt-like structure shows hard candy-like sugariness, with too much reliance on spicing to add flavor. Way too much ginger, creating too much astringency and meatiness. Powdery cocoa notes followed by soda water-like flavors on the bland finish from the loose carbonation. Alcohol warmth further dries things out. Like a really, really poorly done Anchor OSA clone with too much alcohol. Difficult to finish.

alexsdad06 (10640) - West Chester, Ohio, USA - JUN 24, 2014
Bottle at home from backlog notes 07. Pours a clear reddish brown color with a small off white head. The aroma and flavor have caramel, honey sweetness, all kinds of spices, cinnamon, cloves, citrus, ginger, mild biterness, the sweetness and crazy spices are a bit much.

rarbring (2295) - Linköping, SWEDEN - JAN 19, 2014
Overall: Mince pie, Christmas galore.
Note: Bottle 650 ml. Reviewed 2014-01-18.

ads135 (4923) - Omaha, Nebraska, USA - NOV 21, 2013
A pretty decent winter ale. Its been awhile since I’ve had a new, decent Christmas Ale. Peppery, citrus, with nice amounts of spice.

onceblind (10320) - Denver, Colorado, USA - JAN 22, 2013
Pint at The Rackhouse Pub, from a 2008 keg for a tap-takeover. Clear dark brown with a thin beige cap. Spicy and malty nose like nutmeg and cinnamon with an odd candle-wax tone and earthy sweet maltiness. Flavor was much the same and not as full bodied as I had hoped. Earthy sweet with some nutmeg and cinnamon, potpourri, and some candi sugar, maybe some apple and a little toffee. Slightly boozy sweet finish.

fletchfighters (1553) - AUSTRALIA - AUG 6, 2012
bought at Left hand. 2008 keged version aged for a year A-- A dark reddish brown color. Got a very large head (3 fingers) on the pour that stayed very nicely and left a good lacing on my pint glass. S-- Every Christmas spice you can think of is in this. Do get an alcohol smell in it as well. T-- Lots of spice in this puppy. Nutmeg, cinimmon, clove, candied sugar, orange, and on and on and on. M-- Spices then the alcohol in the mouthfeel. it is OK at start but gets tiresome. D-- for a $5 dollar growler I am not complaining but it is a tiresome beer. Too much going on and early on too spice driven. Once it gets air the spices calm down a bit. Good effort but one 750 is enough.

PhillyCraft (7716) - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA - JUL 10, 2012
On tap at Pour house a couple years ago, 08 vintage. Deep crimson black pour, small head/lacing. Notes of chocolate malts, cinnamon, dark cherry, hops, and a little ginger hidden in the back end. Medium to full bodied with minimal carbonation. Ultra warming.

dnstone (3485) - Kansas City, Missouri, USA - MAY 2, 2012
Holiday spiced, cinnamon and ginger. Deep brown in color with descent head. Tastes like a ginger bread house! Notes: GABF visit a few years back

DrSilverworm (9671) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - MAR 11, 2012
22oz bottle, with yellow-bordered label as pictured. This has got to be at least a couple years old. Thin to minimal off-white head. Clear dark brown color. Few dots of lace. Nice honey and cinnamon aroma. Spicy taste, hint of booze. Lighter carbonation.

Enjoyit (3809) - Vadum, DENMARK - JAN 20, 2012
Dark brown of color with a beige head. An aroma of nuts, cinnamon, spice and sweets. A flavor of sweets, nuts, spice and weak cloves.

oobawa (1656) - Tennessee, USA - MAY 7, 2011
Brown with red tinges, and a modest but promising head. Smells like a damned shaker of nutmeg, though, which worries me greatly. Snow Bound tastes like a beer you’d want to drink exactly twice during the winter; any more and your blood might turn into egg nog. Sneaky potency, though, as the only sign of the beers elevated ABV is the growing fuzziness of my brain. Most assuredly an after-dinner beer, perfect for drifting off on the couch as the Lions lose again. (12/7/08)

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