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Wooly - Magic Hat Brewing Company

WoolyWooly

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
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 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 TMoney2591
TMoney2591

Illinois

2.6/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

10-25-2012 03:59:18 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of mckenziac
mckenziac


2.63/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams Boston Lager glass. Taken from a Magic Hat "Winterland" seasonal variety pack.

Appearance: Pours a translucent coppery-golden color. Has a large, fizzy head that dissipates slowly and leaves some spotty lacing.

Smell: Smells toasty with a slight piney note.

Taste: Mildly hoppy up front. Finishes toasty and bitter with some earthy hop flavors. This beer is really light on the spruce/pine flavors, especially given that it's the beer's main selling point.

Mouthfeel: Thin and watery.

Overall: A very unimpressive beer. A really sub-par ESB any day, plus the fact that it doesn't really deliver on the promised spruce flavors and aromas. Skip this one.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2012 23:59:15 | More by mckenziac
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 KajII
KajII

North Carolina

2.7/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

[Suggested Glassware: Dimpled Mug]

The pour was a clear medium amber with a large (2-3 finger) white fluffy head that mostly diminished, down to a thin puddled layer of residue and small collar with fair streaky lacing.

The aroma was very mild of a light grain malt, mild pine hops and an earthy cobweb yeast with notes of caramel, dust, a light spiciness and a just a very light hint of spruce tips.

The taste was a bit malty with a light caramel sweetness from the get go, and then became a tad bitter with a mild hoppy presence and a spicy wood taste towards the end. The flavor lasted an average time proceeding the swallow with a slightly bitter woody taste left behind to linger in the taste buds.

Mouthfeel was a little beyond light in body and dry in texture with a carbonation that was just past soft in intensity.

Overall this brew did not have a strong spruce presence in the aroma, but offered it up nicely with a woody bitter taste at the finish...

http://www.facebook.com/KAJIIsBeerReviews

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2012 18:50:34 | More by KajII
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 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 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 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 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 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 LXIXME
LXIXME

New Mexico

3.03/5  rDev -3.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2012 21:23:13 | More by LXIXME
Photo of leprechaunandfatman
leprechaunandfatman

Ohio

3.05/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2012 18:28:06 | More by leprechaunandfatman
Photo of Beaver13
Beaver13

Colorado

3.08/5  rDev -1.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-06-2012 01:03:25 | More by Beaver13
Photo of Shaw
Shaw

Florida

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

Bottle supplied by the brewery.

A pale amber/gold in color with a short head.

Bready and sweet aroma; however, I can't detect the spruce.

The spruce shows up in the taste, bringing a cleanser-like quality to the beer, along with earthy notes. The flavor strikes me as artifical, rather than being from actual spruce. That flavor, which I don't mean in a totally negative way, mixes with a hefty malt flavor like bread and biscuit.

Nice hefty body.

Overall a curiosity. My favorite spruce beer was made by the late Siletz Brewing Co. in Oregon with fresh spruce tips.

Serving type: bottle

11-20-2012 03:11:00 | More by Shaw
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 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 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 far333
far333

Connecticut

3.18/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2012 02:06:55 | More by far333
Photo of stxp
stxp

New York

3.18/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

appearance: slightly darker than pale straw, light amount of foam, sticky lace fairly transparent, bubbly

smell: clean, slight metallic, a bit of alcohol, spicy hop

taste: very balanced, a bit more hop than malt, lingering crisp taste, slightly lager-y

mouthfeel: slight bitter, exceptionally smooth, perfect carbonation

overall: clean and crisp, smooth, slightly malty but not too sweet, easy to drink

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2012 16:53:36 | More by stxp
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 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 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 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 mactrail
mactrail

California

3.25/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2012 03:51:56 | More by mactrail
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Wooly from Magic Hat Brewing Company
73 out of 100 based on 149 ratings.