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Woolly Bugger - Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Woolly BuggerWoolly Bugger

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

37 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 37
Hads: 92
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 5.69%
Wants: 11
Gots: 18 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company visit their website
British Columbia, Canada

Style | ABV
English Barleywine |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BDTyre on 01-03-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 37 | Hads: 92
Reviews by BillHilly:
Photo of BillHilly
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

More User Reviews:
Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.11/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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. (686 characters)

Photo of chickenm
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of BGDrock
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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 (784 characters)

Photo of MJ63
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of JonnyBeers
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of biboergosum
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

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. (1,694 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (431 characters)

Photo of jmccraney
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of joemcgrath27
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of DaveBar
3.72/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at the LCBO at a discounted $4.50 for a 375ml bottle. Served at 4deg C in a tulip. 2013 edition

A- Opens well and pours a 1" light brown head that lasts for a few minutes until it films out. Very dark gold/brown color. Somewhat filtered but not clear

S- Caramel and toffee. Very sweet.

T- Sweet and sickly. Toffee and caramel present. Lots of hops here. Rye flavored. A hint of oak barrel at the very end.

M- Creamy but tart. Medium carbonation which is just right for this barley wine. Thick and rich

O- Nice brew. Had it but won't buy more. Don't get me wrong it's a nice blend just too thick and rich for me but that is the style.

Food Pairing

This nice brew went well with..... Beef lasagna with lots of noodles and tomato sauce

Enjoy (757 characters)

Photo of Rutager
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 bottle.

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. (563 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.66/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

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. (449 characters)

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (564 characters)

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (442 characters)

Photo of mtomlins
3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A nice example of the style, but I found it to be a touch on the thin side. Overall though, a quality brew. (108 characters)

Photo of pudoo
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of papat444
3.46/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

****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. (710 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (846 characters)

Photo of RedAleMan
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

Photo of liamt07
4/5  rDev -1%

Photo of mattsander
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

Photo of gervanbeer
3.92/5  rDev -3%

Photo of ludachris
4.21/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 Bottle. I can't remember the last time I had a barleywine. Sheesh.

The body is a deep and toasty reddish brown hue. It has clarity but it's still hard to see through because of how deep its colour is. The fingers worth of cream coloured head has some great retention to it. Thin legs of lace spot the glass.

This starts very soft and rounded. There's a deep dark fruit center; gooey figs and plums. Golden raisins and fresh strawberry jam have almost an equal presence. Toffee and brown sugar are at its edges. I'm in love its sticky strawberry jam character. Its ABV only asserts itself by amplifying everything that's going on. What a treat.

The taste is a bit surprising with boozy dry chocolate and rye bread making the first impression. Gooey figs and raisins are an undercurrent. Burnt sugar, almost like marshmallow, meshes with its dryness. The alcohol stays alive at the back of the palate long past the finish. Once the taste is gone, its warmth in your chest kicks in. For the most part, it's soft and unobtrusive with a subtle bite in the end.

Heavy and slick. It's carbonation level is perfect. There's a tender creaminess to it. The flavour comes quick and its body leaves fast. On top of its well hidden ABV, this is another characteristic that makes it easy to drink.

This has to be the most enjoyable English barleywine I've had that I can remember. Smooth, rounded, and well balanced. There's plenty of flavour and avoids being too boozy and too sweet. I drank the last drop. (1,506 characters)

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Woolly Bugger from Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 37 ratings.