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Wooly - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

43 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 43
Hads: 161
Avg: 3.2
pDev: 17.81%
Wants: 2
Gots: 4 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Wooly Alström Bros
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Reviews: 43 | Hads: 161
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.97/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

forget what everyone says, this is absolutely delicious. it is an elglish style bitter, a mild one at that, but that is the base upon which a generous spruce addition is infused, resulting in a full bodied, seasonally perfect, refreshingly yummy winter ale. the nose is really piney, both oily and sappy, which could also be aided by the strong hop presence for the style. rich but not sweet malts, bordering on amber in color and taste temper the intensity of the spruce, but they work well in tandem. finish is crisp and akin to a christmas tree. my brother said its like drinking a hippie, but i didnt think so (who am i to say?). the low alcohol and fuler body make this a nice winter session beer, and the carbonation is upbeat too, which helps the cause. overall i like this a lot better than the winter seasonals that came before it, i think it shows a nice inventive side on the heels of the dandelion summer brew. top quality i thought.

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Photo of brentk56
3.61/5  rDev +12.8%
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

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Photo of emerge077
3.18/5  rDev -0.6%
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.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
2.63/5  rDev -17.8%
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.

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Photo of TMoney2591
2.61/5  rDev -18.4%
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.

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Photo of mactrail
3.29/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.1/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of Jason
3.23/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

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Photo of plaid75
3.63/5  rDev +13.4%
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.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.11/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

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Photo of DrinkSlurm
3.38/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3/5  rDev -6.3%
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.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.04/5  rDev -5%
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.

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Photo of leprechaunandfatman
2.99/5  rDev -6.6%
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.

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Photo of BeerLover99
2.91/5  rDev -9.1%
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.


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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.26/5  rDev +1.9%
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

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Photo of Treyliff
3.14/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

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Photo of GilGarp
4/5  rDev +25%
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.

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Photo of far333
3.18/5  rDev -0.6%
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.

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Photo of shand
3.88/5  rDev +21.3%
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.

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Photo of chefhatt
3.5/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

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Photo of ocelot2500
3.12/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.19/5  rDev -0.3%
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

 2,578 characters

Photo of Shaw
3.1/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of KajII
2.68/5  rDev -16.3%
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...


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Wooly from Magic Hat Brewing Company
76 out of 100 based on 43 ratings.