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Wooly - Magic Hat Brewing Company

WoolyWooly

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BA SCORE
73
okay

149 Ratings
THE BROS
74
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 149
Reviews: 43
rAvg: 3.13
pDev: 17.89%


Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
A Coniferous Concoction Pine for this Extra Special Bitter whose medium body and spicy hoppiness harmonize with flavorful, aromatic spruce tips.

40 IBU

(Beer added by: GilGarp on 10-11-2012)
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Ratings: 149 | Reviews: 43 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of ocelot2500
ocelot2500

Arizona

3.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Pours a hazy light copper color with a tight, white head that leaves little bits of lacing.

Smells light fruit notes and some bready malt.

Tastes of the bready malt with some light sweetness. Malts lead off with bread and a little grainy sweetness. The sweetness blends into a little fruitiness. This is in turn ends with a bit of lemon zest.

Mouthfeel is medium-light with a slightly smooth amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is nothing worth mentioning. An overall light profile leaves me bored.

Serving type: bottle

05-01-2013 02:29:37 | More by ocelot2500
Photo of micromaniac129
micromaniac129

Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I was disappointed with this beer, nothing seems to work.
The color is a hazy amber with a lingering little foamy cap. Almost no carbonation bubbles.
The aroma was biscuit malts, raw grain grassy hay. No spruce aroma that I can find.
Taste was bland. Some malts. Towards the end I think I taste is spruce. Maybe a herbal medicinal taste I don't know.
A dry bitter finish.
Boorrriing.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2013 11:06:58 | More by micromaniac129
Photo of y2jrock60
y2jrock60

Pennsylvania

3.3/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Light orange with a thin head that dissipates quickly only leaving behind a slight amount of lace.

S- Very sweet up front with a hint of toffee. The spruce makes an appearance, but it's not overwhelming.

T- Very malt forward and grainy like a traditional ESB. There is a slight sweetness and caramel flavor in the middle of the profile. That then fades away into a slightly tart and dry bitter finish. The spruce is definitely present at the finish giving it the bitterness you don't normally find in an ESB.

M- Medium-light bodied with moderate carbonation. It starts out sweet then finishes tart and dry.

O- A unique seasonal twist on a traditional English beer. The first time I tried this beer I didn't care very much for it. I thought the spruce and bitterness were too overpowering for the style. A friend said it tasted like dish soap, which I agreed with at the time. However, after giving this beer another chance I actually came to appreciate it for what it is. The base of this beers is a traditional ESB, which you pick up at the beginning, but it fades away into a seasonal twist. It has a tart and dry bitter finish from the spruce. It's not overpowering, I think an ESB is a perfect showcase for spruce, if you added it to a pale all I think it would be dominated by the hops.

If you have the opportunity, give it a try. I wouldn't run out to the store specifically looking for it, but it's a nice seasonal beer with a unique twist.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2013 05:18:24 | More by y2jrock60
Photo of emerge077
emerge077

Illinois

3.18/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Spotted this in the singles section, hoping it's relatively fresh. Fall seasonal... neck has a string of random numbers: K1826 1 1325 556K. According to Freshbeeronly, that's October 18, 2012, with an extra 6 at the end. Huh.

Hazy orange color, one finger of foam, lasting skim that remains unbroken for quite awhile. Spotty lace around the edges of the glass, some visible rising carbonation.

There is a little dry herbal spruce spice in the aftertaste, but it's masked by a general watery soggy grain flavor. As it warms there's some low level crackery malt, but it's pretty mild overall. Light bodied, a little thin. Nothing special, but if you love spruce beers give it a try.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2013 00:33:29 | More by emerge077
Photo of wingman14
wingman14

Ohio

3.49/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light orange with and off white head that fades fast. Smell is not very strong but it is mainly the spruce and a sweet malt. The taste starts with the spruce, not overpowering, but still the main focus to the beer. A nice sweet malt starts, but a bitter finish with a dry aftertaste with not much spruce. A nice smooth medium mouthfeel, an easy drinker if you are a fan of the taste. Not something I could have many of, but still a nice beer. Overall a good beer, not overpowering, mostly focuses on the spruce, but a good flavor.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2013 01:22:27 | More by wingman14
Photo of Jadjunk
Jadjunk

Georgia

3.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

"A Coniferous Concoction". Wooly ESB is brewed in the style of an Extra Special Bitter with spruce added. Available exclusively in the 2012-2013 Magic Hat Winterland Variety pack. No bottle information and no bottle date.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a pint glass. Served north of 55º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours an airy, crisp foamy head. Body color is a mildly hazy golden amber with an abundance of spritely carbonation. Head retention is below average. Lacing is thin but consistent. Appearance is decent, although a bit more energetic in carbonation and short lived in head quality, both contradictions to my impressions of the style. 3.25

(Smell) The aroma is peculiar, very reminiscent of lemon shandy beers. A meager pale malt profile, tart lemongrass, lemon zest and a hint of prickly spice is a strong contrast from the more robust and smooth profile of an ESB. Spruce is hardly notable- I get hints of pine-like characters but far more citrusy zest- I think that the latter would have done much better for the style. Potency is high. 3

(Taste) The flavor is not too similar to the aroma, as the spruce finally settles in. There's a soft piney malt blend up front and the malt body is still a very mild player in the flavor, offering some subtle sweetness on the soft finish but not enough to balance the herbal tartness of the spruce. The dragging finish is slightly dry with a tart grassy lemon note and some residual sweetness. Despite the spruce character, this is an easy-drinking ale that avoids harsh notes. The spruce was better underdone than overdone but it's not particularly interesting nor anything quite like an ESB. 3.25

(Mouthfeel) Carbonation is soft with a mild slickness, some tart characters from the part spruce-part lemon piney resin. Mild resinous-dry finish. Body is light/medium for the style, light overall. Alcohol presence is low+. I'm more used to a hard water character in these beers, but this one is relatively clean drinking and finishing despite the mild lingering spruce/lemon character. 3.25

(Overall) This is an example of a harder-to-classify ale, but ESB was most certainly not a close match for this beer. I can't say I'm completely familiar with spruce, but this beer had a far more lemony-citrus character and less piney character than expected, with a moderate-at-best malt profile and very little hop character either. I'd more likely label this a "Spruce Shanty". Good drinkability and an okay beer, but I probably wouldn't seek this out again. 3.25

Magic Hat Brewing Company's
Wooly ESB with Spruce
3.2/5.00

Serving type: bottle

02-23-2013 23:13:35 | More by Jadjunk
Photo of Trent
Trent

Michigan

1.1/5  rDev -64.9%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Sampled this beer as part of a Magic Hat mix pack that included #9, Encore, and Heart of Darkness.

Overly herb / pine taste that bites and lingers. My taste in beer, while not deft and refined, is extremely broad and highly tolerant.

And I'm incapable of finishing this beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2013 23:11:46 | More by Trent
Photo of BlurryVisi0n
BlurryVisi0n

New York

2.88/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Served in a pint glass.

Appearance: A deep darker gold with a tiny tint of haze on the body, heavy bubbles on the bottom and a white head that is maybe 1/3" off a hard pour. Does settle pretty quick.

Smell: Light hop scent, slight rosemary maybe thyme.

Taste: Spruce, yeah maybe, but feels like I am having liquid rosemary. Hops are strong but the "spruce" offsets the bitterness.

Mouth: Carbonation comes off medium to heavy. After taste of this brew is a little light, it leaves pretty quick and kinda happy it does.

Overall: Recently picked this up in a variety pack, and easily the weakest one of the group. I don't hate it but it's easily specially acquired taste. Have one on me...Salud!

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2013 03:51:21 | More by BlurryVisi0n
Photo of Jason
Jason

Massachusetts

3.21/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

LOOK: Nearly clear amber, thick two fingers of head

SMELL: Biscuity malt, mild spruce resin, ripe fruit, faint diacetyl

TASTE: Moderate sized body, wet, grainy, grassy, twang of spruce, light hopping, slightly biscuity, dried grass, watery, very dry

Not as complex as I though it would have been, a little out of balance but since the spruce is not that agressive the dryness actually helps in the area ... sadly it leaves the beer a in a lackluster state. A good stepping stone for anyone that has not had a spruced beer before and perhaps even an extreme beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2013 02:50:22 | More by Jason
Photo of DenverLogan
DenverLogan

Colorado

2.89/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Capped bottle...small poof with cap pop.
Pours amber in color, clean...nice head of various size bubbles...lace begins early in a Stone snifter glass.
Why am I first thinking of an aroma of #9 apricot brew...it it psychological...aahh...or something in the Magic Hat yeast...uh...uh...rich aroma of tropical fruits, ripe fruits, old sneakers...slight citrus, non-spicy herbs, uh...apricot...no no no...why do I keep thinking of apricot.
Modest carbonation and mouthfeel.
Flavors of light malts, light tropical fruit rinds, slight cream of tartar, minerals, kumquat. Lacking in malt, hops, or typical English or American ESB qualities, which doesn't mean it's bad, just misnamed. Damn, I guess it's that Magic Hat house flavor that permeates some of their beers ...Number 9, #9, #9...oooh, where was I?!!...mineral flavors, light malt...a feeling of there's something flavorful there, but not much body there...uh...I'll give it 5 minutes...
OK...there's flavor but I can't call it satisfying, as an ESB lover or not.
OK...took it to my qualified beer taster and she said, toilet bowl cleaner. Now, friends, I'm not agreeing with that, but, it shows lack of great taste. Really, this is not what I would crave to quaff after work, or before...or during work, unless it was really bad work but hey, that's a 4 letter word and I'll conclude by saying, flavorful, but not in the combination I think accurate for the label ESB = Extra Special Bitter, or for anything fully satisfying in a beer. I feel bad to say this as I don't regularly rate beers in this category, but knowing this category, this is off and not especially tasty.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2013 05:17:05 | More by DenverLogan
Photo of chefhatt
chefhatt

Pennsylvania

3.5/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this into a pint glass, it has a light red color body with a very small head to it. The smell is earthy pine with some fruit coming through.
The taste has a very light citrus hop flavor with a malt backbone coming in on the finish. the mouth feel is nice, a little after taste on the back of the tonuge, overall it is a nice,easy drinking beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2013 03:49:13 | More by chefhatt
Photo of Mit
Mit

Ontario (Canada)

3.33/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

a-golden colour with a strong head.

s-slight earthy citrus smell....crisp...

t-citrus flavor dominates...very earthy...I found it reminiscent of ginger ale actually...

m-thinner as per the 4.5 abv.

o-I like this...def good...will look for this in the spring. I think it will be nicer in the spring or summer.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2013 01:45:48 | More by Mit
Photo of Treyliff
Treyliff

West Virginia

3.13/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A- pours an orangish-gold color with a small white head that reduces quickly, but leaves a thin layer skimming the top with no lace.

S- toasted grainy malt with some fruity notes

T- some fruity notes follow the nose, grainy malt profile mid-palate, the finish is dry with a little bit of piney hops, perhaps assisted by the spruce. Seems to be lacking more of a malt profile that by would expect of the style.

M- medium-high carbonation, light body, creamy finish. The finish us pleasant but its too carbonated for an ESB.

O- it's pretty clean and easy to drink (except for the high carbonation), but doesn't really drink like an ESB.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2013 02:21:14 | More by Treyliff
Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
BurgeoningBrewhead

Pennsylvania

3.53/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 12oz bottle into narrow pint glass. Crystal clear gold with a thick foamy head that shrunk to half its size and then stuck around for a bit, leaving some sticky lacing. Smells hoppy and sour. Taste is crisp and clean up front, with a nice pinch finish of hops. Upon exhaling through my nose after my first sip, a faint essence of spruce or pine is noticed. Not outstanding, but easy to drink and tasty.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2013 04:22:41 | More by BurgeoningBrewhead
Photo of Scutt
Scutt


2.7/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Color was great at the first pour, but as it sat it became almost mudded in appearance. the smell was good, but uneventful. No indication of the flavor to come.... or was it? smooth feel on the tounge and has an almost cleansing feel and a tast was taste leaving you wanting anouther sip. But alas the flavor was not what i wanted it to be. I see a beer with a spruce mention in the flavor and i do get a hint but not the kick that i was wanting, neh NEEDING, Over all it makes me want anouther beer but this one will not quench the thirst.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2013 01:58:42 | More by Scutt
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

2.63/5  rDev -16%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Pours a hazed, copper-amber body with a one-third-inch, white head.

Smell: Under-toasted biscuit tops, a flash of bitterish herbs, and only the faintest blip of spruce on the radar screen. A little dull from an aromatic standpoint.

Taste: Shaky biscuit maltiness, minor toastiness, and very lightly caramelized sugars. Doesn't quite yield any lemon, any herbiness, and just a should shrug-equivalent of spruce character. Modest bitterness. Dry, seemingly unclean finish. Pretty dull tastewise, too.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Overall: Without the spruce, standing alone as an ESB, it doesn't fare too well, really. Add the spruce gimmick, it's not much better. Lackluster offering.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2013 15:52:43 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of BeerLover99
BeerLover99

Illinois

2.93/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: shiny orange gold, finger white head,
solid lacing

S: light spruce, hint of lemon peel and grassy

T: same as nose, chalky mild bitter finish

M: light/med body, light oil/semi-dry mouth

O: LOVE ESBs, but just not this one. Don't think
I would buy it again, nor would I recommend it.
Also really enjoy the ancient British/Celtic recipes,
but this one needs some more body and blending
of nose and flavor.

OK; NOTHING SPECIAL!

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2012 18:30:11 | More by BeerLover99
Photo of Hopfenpeter
Hopfenpeter

Maryland

3.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pored a slightly hazy medium gold and produced a small finger high white bubbly head, which dissipates into some lacing.
The smell is of citrus fruits and tart.
Tasting the beer, the front is a tarty bitterness, which is subdued by fruit flavors like grapefruit, orange and lemon and lime. The middle has a more malty core, whle the Irish has a good bitter hop character. The tarty flavors a present throughout the tasting.
Overall the beer fits the ESB character, it is a good enjoyable brew!

Serving type: bottle

12-27-2012 04:50:37 | More by Hopfenpeter
Photo of mattkoon
mattkoon

South Carolina

3.48/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this wooly esb from magic hat is a milder take on the esb style. the look of this beer is golden with a slight haze. the smell is earthy with a little bit of piney citrus. wooly is hoppy with a bitter kick at the end. i do however, feel like it is milder than others esb's that i have had, which isnt a bad thing. it is a lot more drinkable than some others. so i guess it all depends on if you want a really hearty esb, or if you want something that you can drink and enjoy while you watch the game or just fat-around. i like this one ok over all.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2012 22:29:37 | More by mattkoon
Photo of silverking
silverking

Florida

2.95/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A- It pours a slightly hazy light amber with a fluffy white head. Head retention is decent, and lacing is equally decent.

S- Piney, Caramel, citrus.

T- Piney, to the extreme of being soapy. It literally tastes like a christmas tree. There is a mild bitter finish with lots of, you guessed it, piney notes. The finish comes across as dry. There are some mild citrus notes as well.

M- Light, and yet mildly oily. Carbonation is moderate.

O- The thought was there, but it doesn't taste like beer. It's just a collection of strange flavors.

Serving type: bottle

12-25-2012 18:31:43 | More by silverking
Photo of ThisWangsChung
ThisWangsChung

Maryland

3.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a cloudy golden copper color. The head is a two finger offwhite color with a rather frothy texture and low retention. On the other hand, it leaves a level of lacing I only see out of IPAs.

S: Aromatically, it does come across like a non-hoppy pine aroma. It's not loaded with spruce, but I do notice it quite well. Other than that, though, it smells like an old IPA with stale hops and generic caramel malts.

T: Firstly, the flavor profile comes across like a generic ESB, hitting the basics of the style (bright fruit presence and weirdly tart caramel malts) without doing them brilliantly...then the wave of piny spruce comes (both from hops and added spruce); and honestly it kind of works, especially on the finish. It's not great, but it's actually quite okay - more than I was expecting.

M: Has a good coarseness to the texture which might be my favorite feature of this brew. The finish and aftertaste are pretty neutral between wet and dry.

O: Nothing wrong with this at all. There's no wow factor or 'zing', but I can't find anything bad with this. I wouldn't purchase this again, but I'd never refuse one.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2012 20:56:31 | More by ThisWangsChung
Photo of BEERMILER12
BEERMILER12

Maine

3.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours an amber color with 2 fingers worth of puffy head that retains very well

S: A mix of the usual MH yeast, some maltiness, and a big hit of spruce

T: Starts out slightly malty with a little of the MH yeast. Then comes the onslaught of spruce... woah. Tastes like I'm sucking on a spruce tree... The spruce leaves a bitter aftertaste which isn't that bad after the spruce is gone

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation

O: Way too much spruce to be enjoyable. It wouldn't be half bad if the spruce was just a compliment to the base, but it really overpowers the beer. I respect what MH was going for here, but again, just way too much spruce

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2012 08:07:23 | More by BEERMILER12
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

3.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A very attractive pour, with the crystal clear amber liquid capped by a couple of inches of foam; great persistence and residual lacing

Smell: Biscuity malt and pine, though rather hard to detect the spruce

Taste: Biscuity, up front, with the spruce much more apparent in the flavor than in the aroma; pine and tobacco flavors also come on strong in the aftertaste

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Not a bad tasting beer, but as an ESB it comes up short as it lacks the fruity character of the better examples of the style

Thanks, acurtis, for the opportunity

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2012 20:19:58 | More by brentk56
Photo of SouljaSaia17
SouljaSaia17

Massachusetts

3.85/5  rDev +23%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the first beer that I have had that includes spruce. And am always attracted to this companies cool labels.

A: Beer pours a light orange/gold color that has a very thin, soap white head that leaves no lacing.

S: Aroma consist of pine, spruce and some mild hops. Also, I get a bread-type character at the end.

T: Very nice flavor that jumps at you with generous amounts of spruce, followed by a little pine, some honey and hops. A dry yeast in the mouth is present at the finish.

M: Very dry mouth accompanied with those herbal flavors. Not too much carbonation, but a very tolerable beer.

O: I really enjoyed this beer, very unique in the aroma and taste. The spruce is nice and sweet, where I thought it would be a little over the top or to uncharacteristic of a beer. Quite simply, the best ESB I have ever drank.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2012 07:49:47 | More by SouljaSaia17
Photo of Apellonious
Apellonious

North Carolina

3.6/5  rDev +15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz from the Winter Mix Pack

A - Pours a semi cloudy orangish gold, with a half finger head that disappears quickly

S - Pine, bread, and some mild hops. That must be where the "with spruce" comes in.

T - Having a touch time figuring this one. I can detect a mild hint of the same flavors present in their signature #9, although more muted, on the finish. Definitely some biscuit qualities, and bitter hops.

M - A touch on the thin side, but it is very clean and crisp, especially for an ESB

O - A solid beer, but seems to be something.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2012 02:00:10 | More by Apellonious
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Wooly from Magic Hat Brewing Company
73 out of 100 based on 149 ratings.