Woolly Bugger - Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Woolly BuggerWoolly Bugger

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BA SCORE
89
very good

81 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 81
Reviews: 34
rAvg: 4.02
pDev: 7.46%
Wants: 9
Gots: 19 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BDTyre on 01-03-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 81 | Reviews: 34 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by hopsolutely:
Photo of hopsolutely
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Drinking this 2013 bottle fresh, thanks to its LCBO release. Definitely a "sipping beer", as befitting its >10% ABV.

Pours an oily chocolate coloured amber with limited head and no lacing. Low carbonation level on this beer despite the decent sounding seal when the bottle was uncapped. Malt forward aroma includes brandied plums with toffee and barrel notes. Not as much complexity as I'd expected from this brewery given the depth of Pothole Filler, so perhaps expectations were too high? Flavour has a nice bitterness in the finish that complements the alcohol heat. Barrel tannins and brandied fruits round out the body after the initial caramelized malt sweetness passes.

Very glad to have tried it, but also glad to have only purchased this one bottle.

More User Reviews:
Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.11/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

Photo of chickenm
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of BGDrock
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
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

Photo of MJ63
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of JonnyBeers
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of biboergosum
4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

Photo of jmccraney
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of MontereyBay831
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of joemcgrath27
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of Rutager
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.64/5  rDev -9.5%
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.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

Photo of pudoo
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of papat444
3.4/5  rDev -15.4%
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.

Photo of spinrsx
4.01/5  rDev -0.2%
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.

Photo of RedAleMan
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%

Photo of liamt07
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of mattsander
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of gervanbeer
3.92/5  rDev -2.5%

Photo of SebD
4.04/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Photo of JasonLovesBeer
4.16/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

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!

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Woolly Bugger from Howe Sound Inn & Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 81 ratings.