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Wooly - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Not Rated.
WoolyWooly

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BA SCORE
73
okay

160 Ratings
THE BROS
74
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 160
Reviews: 43
rAvg: 3.14
pDev: 18.15%
Wants: 2
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
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:
Beer added by: GilGarp on 10-11-2012

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

40 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 160 | Reviews: 43
Reviews by mattkoon:
Photo of mattkoon
3.46/5  rDev +10.2%
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.

More User Reviews:
Photo of Beaver13
3.04/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle. Pours a clear reddish gold with a small off white head that quickly goes to a thin collar.

The aroma is sweet biscuity caramel malts, honey, some fruit and a little spruce that comes out as it warms.

The flavor is sweet bready malts that quickly is dominated by a big spruce bitterness. The mouthfeel is thin to medium bodied and a bit watery.

Overall, interesting one-dimensional spruce beer.

Photo of Jason
3.23/5  rDev +2.9%
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.

Photo of far333
3.18/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear honey amber with a frothy beige head that lingers long. Low aroma of corn. Flavors of honey malt, subtle floral hops, sharp bitterness, metallic notes, evenly balanced, piney spruce notes, somewhat subtle but noticeable and a bit reminiscent of cleaning solution. Crisp and dry mouthfeel, somewhat thin. Average beer.

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.51/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

Photo of LXIXME
3.1/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Medium to slightly bigger off white head settles into a nice lacing above a clear caramel golden colored beer.

Light piney hops mix well with a light caramel malt in an aroma that is quite nice but on the lighter side.

Almost burnt roasted malts dominate the taste with some slight hints of sourish hops skewing the dark malts.

A dryish aftertaste with some burnt like malt tastes staying around on this medium bodied ESB.

This beer has a almost burnt dark malt taste that is just a bit over the top for me, and as it sits it seems to become more prominent and to me less desirable.

Photo of GilGarp
4/5  rDev +27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle served cold into a goblet.

Deep redish amber color with great clarity. The head is thin but leaves nice lacing behind.

Aroma is sweet and malty with a nice piney spruce undertone.

Flavor is sweet, herbal, and piney with good balance.

Mouthfeel is medium-light in body and well carbonated.

Overall a good ESB but I'm not sure the spruce makes it better than it would be without.

Photo of Trent
1.12/5  rDev -64.3%
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.

Photo of Treyliff
3.14/5  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.

Photo of emerge077
3.18/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Photo of ocelot2500
3.12/5  rDev -0.6%
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.

Photo of wingman14
3.48/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

Photo of plaid75
3.63/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a light brass hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a light toasted malt and light grassy hop. Little to no spruce aroma detected.

The taste consisted of a crisp toasted malt with a balancing herbal hop. A bit of a thin malt bill however and no real trace of spruce.

The mouthfeel was toward the thinner side if the style.

Overall an easy drinking, clean ale.

Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.38/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bottle into pint glass. Pours a hazy copper burnt orange color with a small mount of head. Not much aroma to it...some slight sweet malts i suppose.
Taste is very malty and has that typical magic hat malty-ness; but out of nowhere you get a huge wallop of spruce/pine/rosemary. Its actually pretty good, and would compliment a good roasted bird dinner - like thanksgiving...
while not the best ESB out there, its certainly different and drinkable.

Photo of leprechaunandfatman
2.99/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear golden color with good head that takes a while to dissipate.
Smells hoppy with noticeable spruce, but the smell overall is very light and at times almost imperceptible. Should be much stronger.
Taste is light on flavor. A hint of hop and some pine. Finishes tasting almost like an IPA. Tasty but not nearly strong enough.
Light and almost bubbly in the mouth, very smooth and easy to drink. Not a bad beer overall, but the flavor, while good, does not assert itself enough. Nice addition to the Magic Hat Winter variety pack with room for improvement though.

Photo of SouljaSaia17
3.82/5  rDev +21.7%
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.

Photo of shand
3.88/5  rDev +23.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wooly has a great pour, a crystal-clear red-orange with a sizable head. The aroma is good, but seems a bit two faced. I'll stick my nose to the glass and get beautiful caramel malts with a big spruce hit, then I'll go back for another whiff and get sweet grains and wheat. It might be the spruce messing with me, because the spruce comes on strong right away. The spruce is backed up by some caramel and pale malts, and rounded out by some herbal hops. A little odd, just like Pistil was, but still very nice. The mouthfeel is light and well-carbonated, and the drinkability is good. Overall, Wooly is another unique, odd, and still drinkable beer from Magic Hat.

Photo of silverking
2.99/5  rDev -4.8%
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.

Photo of TMoney2591
2.61/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served in a Walter Payton shaker pint glass.

Can a brother get some Sam the Sham up in here?? This stuff pours a clear brass topped by a half-finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises puffed rice, funky wheat, and old greens. The hell? There's spruce in this? This isn't a year old? Hmm... The taste brings the spruce into reality, though unfortunately by drowning it in dry-tasting caramel bespackled with old leaves. Dammit. The body is a light medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a bone dry finish. Overall, this was just odd and sad. There's pretty much no ESB character, and whatever else is there doesn't come through as well-melded.

Photo of mactrail
3.29/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a light amber in the big tulip. Starts with a good head, but it dwindles down pretty fast. Hits you with the resiny, piney aroma which is rather pleasant.

Sharp and tangy mouthfeel with a light body. Bitter herbs on the tongue. The alleged spruce is right up front. Tastes more like rosemary to me. Sort of a buttery taste after a while. On the good side, it's crisp and refreshing. Bitterness keeps growing along with that resiny taste that seems to add to the bitterness.

I'll have to taste the Alaskan winter beer again, which is flavored with spruce that I remember more fondly than this. From the 12 oz bottle bought at Grapevine Liquors in Denver.

Photo of micromaniac129
3/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

Photo of y2jrock60
3.3/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Photo of DenverLogan
2.92/5  rDev -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.

Photo of scvance
3.36/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a clear amber color with a large white head. Excellent retention and cling. Medium to high in carbonation. Smell is similar to #9, slightly fruity, a little malty and a hint of citrus. Taste is very similar to #9 without the over the top fruit flavor. In wooly, the fruit is more subtle, there is a spiciness and citrus character to the hops that balance well with the big malty character of this beer. Overall very nicely done beer, I will be having more probably. I would call this #9's older more manly, less fruity brother.

Photo of FickleBeast
3.7/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic.

Pours a hazy ruddy amber brown color with two fingers of magnificent fluffy foam. Aroma is grainy, biscuity, with a hint of spruce.

First sip has a evergreen, spruce flavor profile with an extremely dry finish with little residual sweetness. Leaves you thirsty after taking a sip. Strong bitterness is present on the back end but though it is potent, it is not harsh or lingering. I think this beer suffers from a lack of malty sweet flavor. As soon as you swallow, the flavor disappears and you are left with a faint evergreen aftertaste.

This is an interesting brew, but not something that I'd find myself craving again. Really could use a touch more sweetness to round things out.

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Wooly from Magic Hat Brewing Company
73 out of 100 based on 160 ratings.