Woolly Bugger - Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company
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Ratings: 64 | Reviews: 31 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Agent1:
British Columbia (Canada)
4.14/5 rDev +3%
I have always been impressed with Howe Sound. Simply put: they are easily one of my favorite breweries in Canada due to their experimental nature and quality brews.
Appearance - Impressive. Super shiny, creamy head. Almost a lemon meringue appearance. Glossy and sticky. Great head retention for a barley wine. Nice orange ruby brown color. Overall, quite nice.
Smell - Lots of northern hops on the nose. This is a slight turn off. Not bad, just spells a bit too much like an IPA versus a barley wine. A nice spicy toffee aroma, very typical of an English barley wine. Butterscotch, slight nuttiness, tropical fruit and brown sugar. Very rich. Alcohol cuts nicely.
Taste - Toffee, roasted marshmallow, caramel, butter, mango, almonds, wood (most likely from the barrel aging), bitter chocolate and northern hops (it lists nugget and I feel it may have been used a bit excessively). Slightly citrusy. More citrus than most barley wines (more along the lines of an IPA as far as hops go). Tangy. Lots of special B malt is noticeable. Chocolate malt, too. Very sweet and jammy, like red wine. Alcohol is nicely hidden given it's at 11% abv. Does not offend.
Mouthfeel - Full and thick. This is not the heaviest barley wine I've had, but it's still rather chewy and thick. You can feel this all over the mouth. Dark and rich. Syrupy and smooth. Nice carbonation and may be one of the standout features.
Overall - A nicely balanced, traditional Barley Wine done well. This may not be the best I've had in this style, but it is tasty and delicious, nonetheless. Personally, I would like to see one of two things:
1) Less boil time of hops, or less nugget hops added as a whole, or
2) A different variety of hops (maybe German or English hops instead of nugget)
I look forward to aging my other bottle and seeing how this develops over time. I most likely will wait at least another 6 years to try this again. Very solid attempt.
06-18-2013 04:08:09 | More by Agent1
More User Reviews:
4.11/5 rDev +2.2%
375 mL bottle from the LCBO. First beer from Howe Sound that wasn't a massive bottle. -25 outside, so a barleywine is just the ticket.
Poured into a tulip. Chocolate caramel, with a good sized head of off-white head that survives as a pretty impressive layer with loads of lacing. Great looking brew.
Nose is malt-forward, with notes of candied peach and cherry, brown sugar, toffee and red wine. Faint citrus hops.
Tasty barleywine indeed, with loads of malt, candied fruit and caramel sweetness, and a hoppy red-wine finish.
Lighter bodied than I'd expected. Tannin-like puckery quality, and mild carbonation.
Solid barleywine where the hops get some play towards the finish.
01-03-2014 04:58:33 | More by JohnnyBarman
3.8/5 rDev -5.5%
Appearance: dark red/brown, almost opaque, like dark mahogany; full, dense, almond coloured head
Aroma: loads of dark dried fruit, mostly prunes, some raisin, cherry; touches of caramel, chocolate
Taste & Mouthfeel: getting those dried fruit flavours, but it's cut by alcohol and fairly intense hops that rapidly take over and make for a clean, dry finish (almost palate cleansing); prune flavour has the most breakthrough, but it's almost more about the hops, surprising and interesting; over time it balances out nicely, the bitter notes necessary to cut the syrupy sweetness and in the end providing a pleasing contrast of start vs. finish
Overall: great stuff, could have been overwhelming quickly, but well crafted to manage the strong flavours - which are really quite simple
03-30-2014 14:18:45 | More by BGDrock
4.23/5 rDev +5.2%
375ml bottle, with some particularly difficult to read script below the label title, which describes what the hell a 'Woolly Bugger' is, at least in fishing terms.
This beer pours a somewhat murky, dark red-brick amber hue, with a teeming tower of puffy, loosely foamy, and generally bubbly beige head, which leaves some decent cobwebbed lace around the glass as it slowly sinks away.
It smells of bready, and kind of biscuity caramel malt, a hard water minerality, muddled black fruit, a touch of crystalline brown sugar, and earthy, leafy, and perfumed hops. The taste is more bready caramel malt, this time with a touch of savoury, leafy spice that points me towards gingerbread or zucchini loaf, peppy dark fruit - in the vein of musty figs and dried cherries - edgy grassy and earthy hops, with a growing alcohol insurgency.
The carbonation is pretty low-key, just a heady frothiness throughout, the body medium-full in weight, and mostly smooth, just a mild alcohol tightness slowly evolving as things get on. It finishes on the sweet side, but in a tempered manner, the lingering caramel/toffee malt notes still facing enough musty, earthy hops, weak black fruit, and bristling alcohol to keep things just this side of sane.
Truly bang-on for the style, no truck or apology given for being veritably British, rather than the admittedly more sexy Yankee version - so, whatevs. Speaking of all things anglophile, I likes me my ESBs, and this seems very much like the imperialized, boozed up, doubled, however you choose to term it, example of such an imaginary beast. Glad I finally got to try it, without having to sacrifice suitcase/bar stool space on my imminent BC beer pilgrimage.
04-10-2014 04:39:09 | More by biboergosum
3.65/5 rDev -9.2%
187 ml bottle from the brewery, seeing how it is after 2 years' release, 29th month of life. Poured a brownish body without any head. Looks and taste like rich malt, slightly boozy aroma and there is alcohol warming in the taste, with a bit of booze in the aftertaste. Certainly hits its style, more British in experience, the hops have integrated giving it an understated citrus taste, overpowered by toffee and some butterscotch.
11-19-2012 01:02:10 | More by Sammy
British Columbia (Canada)
4.05/5 rDev +0.7%
Appearance. Pours a fairly clear, deep red-brown with half a finger of pale orangey-tan head.
Smell. Sweet caramel and butterscotch, a little bit of light fruits and berries and a drop of molasses.
Taste. Lots of toasted caramel malts, some dark berries, just a little herby hop bitterness and a hint of coffee. High alcohol is very well hidden.
Mouthfeel. Medium-full body with medium-low carbonation.
Overall. A very nice and mellow english barleywine. Great balance of subtle flavours. Will look forward to trying a vertical in a year or two.
12-31-2012 17:16:05 | More by Rutager
3.64/5 rDev -9.5%
Bottle: Poured a deep cloudy copper color ale with a rather large foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of dry caramelized sugars with light grainy cereal notes. Taste is dominated by load of dry caramelized residual sugars notes with some grainy cereal notes. Body is quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Interesting take on the English-style barleywine but sadly feels a bit short on the complexity front.
02-09-2014 04:10:26 | More by Phyl21ca
4.23/5 rDev +5.2%
Thanks to Rutager for this one. December 2011 release. Poured in to Bruery tulip.
A - Medium murky brown with a big amber glow around the edges. Half a finger of light brown head that receded to a think layer.
S - Big sweet caramel aroma up front, some toffee, raisins and hints of dark fruit.
T - Big sweetness up front with massive toffee, caramel and burnt sugar flavours. A good hop bitterness throughout. Some light floral and raisin flavours are present in the background. ABV is dangerously well hidden.
M - Medium body. Light to moderate carbonation.
06-29-2012 02:14:47 | More by TheSevenDuffs
4.23/5 rDev +5.2%
Poured into an Elysian snifter. Pours a slightly hazy medium caramel amber. Classic barleywine aroma of caramel malt, dark and dried fruit, slightly nutty and a hint of toasted malt. Flavor is a nice dry caramel, dried dark fruit, molasses, caramel and bready malt, light vanilla. Finishes with dry biscuit malt and grassy hops. Medium bodied with light creaminess. A very nice classic English barleywine. I hope to get another one to cellar.
02-20-2013 05:10:23 | More by LiquidAmber
3.4/5 rDev -15.4%
****December 2012 Vintage***
Thanks to FondueVoodoo for this one.
Poured from a 341ml. bottle.
Appearance: The body when held to the light looks blood red, ecru colored healthy head that recedes to leave a mound surrounded by a moat of sorts. Lacing slathered on the glass.
Smell: Rich and malty, earthy, alcoholic caramel if that means something to you.
Taste: Nothing at first which isn't normal but brown sugar, and caramel come finally. No complexity or depth, light flavor.
Mouthfeel: To its credit, alcohol is very well hidden. Very smooth.
Overall: Given the ABV and the style, i expected more depth which unfortunately i didn't get. Decent but there are much better representations of the style.
09-16-2013 17:13:33 | More by papat444
4.01/5 rDev -0.2%
350ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for $5.55 - 2013 edition
Appearance - Brown colour with a decent size frothy beige coloured head. There is a low amount of carbonation showing and there is some nice lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for close to 3-4 minutes before it began to dissipate.
Smell - Malts, caramel, dark fruits, chocolate
Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste caramel and malts mixed with quite a bit of hops. There is also some dark fruits, chocolate, and some roasted/burnt notes.
Overall - I don't drink my barleywines fresh very often so this one has a lot more bitterness than I was expecting. Still very tasty and satisfying. Maybe just a touch too sweet - if I could change 1 thing. Seems like a great beer to tuck away in the cellar. I will pick up a few more bottles.
12-17-2013 01:33:22 | More by spinrsx
4.04/5 rDev +0.5%
Appearance: It has a nice murky reddish/brown color to it. It has a nice creamy beige head that dies down moderately slow and leaves light lacing.
Smell: The aromas definitely give out hints of sweet caramel, toffee, brown sugar, sweet dark fruit (Raisins and plums), buiscuity malts and grassy hops.
Taste: Like the aromas, it has a some sweet caramel/toffee, brown sugar, dark fruit, a slight nuttiness, some bready/buiscuity malts and a light grassiness.
Mouthfeel: It has a low carbonation with a nice overall balance and feel. The body is just a touch thin.
Drinkability: It's a very smooth drinkable beer accompanied by good flavors and aromas.
08-11-2014 23:10:53 | More by SebD
British Columbia (Canada)
4.16/5 rDev +3.5%
2013 bottle. This batch is pretty different from last year's I think.
A: Dark, dark crimson brown. Almost black. Huge head, light brown and nice and thick.
S: Far and away my favourite thing about this beer. Sweetness of caramel and vanilla, sweet red fruits like plum, raisin, cherry, and some orange-zest like citrus notes. Also an earthy side to it as well.
T: Heavy duty malts up front but not a lot to report taste-wise at first, then eases into plum, fig, and powerful hops. Hops are earthy and moderately bitter. Alcohol heat is quite prominent, as this is a pretty fresh bottle. Not harsh though, just leaves you warmed.
M: Thick and grainy
O: I think this year's batch is a step up from last year and I look forward to seeing how it develops. Not mind blowing for me but quite tasty and amazing nose!
12-03-2013 05:09:48 | More by JasonLovesBeer
4.18/5 rDev +4%
thanks to ArchEnemyBrew for this beer!
Vintage December 2012.
poured into Tulip glass.
Appearance: murky brown almost black bodied beer with red around the edges when held up to light. Two fingers of light brown head resulting from an aggressive pour. Drops to thick, but uneven cap.
Smell: Dark fruits, brown sugar, caramel, and toffee. Oatmeal note along with the malts as well. I could smell this all day!
Taste: The beer starts off like a scotch ale. Dark fruits and just a hint of smoke. Caramel and toffee notes that are not overly sweet. Its bready. Hint of molasses and leather. A nice dose of earthy hops that add a moderately bitter finish.
Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with moderate carbonation. Little bit of warming and "fruity" booze. Really nice drinking English Barleywine.
Overall: This beer has alot of elements of several big beer styles including, but not limited to Scotch Ale, Barleywine, and an Old Ale. Nice drinking EBW; I think the nose is my favorite part of the beer. The hops on the back end was a nice little surprise...the nose is al malt and I didnt think that any hop flavors would be found in the taste of the beer. This also has some serious cellar potential, I think it would hold up well with age. If I had another bottle I would probably stash it away for a while to let those hops fade away.
03-01-2013 07:10:59 | More by 4DAloveofSTOUT
British Columbia (Canada)
4.68/5 rDev +16.4%
On-tap at the brewpub. Awesome.
Deep amber with a very light tan head, ring of retention, great lace.
Caramelized raisins, figs, field berries and some alcohol in the nose.
Raisins, figs, blackberry, toffee & caramel with a solid bitterness and a hint of orange rind.
Slight residual sweetness with a slightly drying alcohol finish. A divine sipper.
Very well-crafted. Plenty of depth and not the least bit over-bearing. It doesn't seem boozy at all.
Probably the best English barley wine I've had. Very impressed.
02-03-2012 01:40:11 | More by Derek
Woolly Bugger from Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 64 ratings.