Wailing Wench | Middle Ages Brewing Co., Ltd.

very good
306 Reviews
Wailing WenchWailing Wench

Brewed by:
Middle Ages Brewing Co., Ltd.
New York, United States

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by HappyHourHero on 10-23-2003

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Reviews: 306 | Ratings: 454
Photo of Sammy
4.05/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Over-the-top Very hoppy and bitter and assortment of hops. good brew, something newer at the brewery at this time. A winner, very drinkable, with some carmel & significant malts .Grapefruit in there, even bitter astringent, perhaps from rinds.This is a big winner hopped up ESB for them.
Had about two years later on cask and got juicy grapefruit hops in taste and aroma. Nice darker colour.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured out with an explosive amount of head, I tried pouring slowly into two glasses and got no where with it... So I gave it some time to settle and eventually I got to look at the nice yellow body this beer has. The smell of yeast, malts and hops all show up in this one. The taste was quite nice, it had a really nice balance from start to finish. The mouthfeel was drinkable and easy to put down. Overall this brew wouldn't have gotten my attention without the girl on the label, but I'm happy to have got a bottle. It's enjoyable.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Complex, aggressive, and balance are the quentessential halmarks to the success of this larger-than-life beer. Resiny hops and intense maltiness take turns battling for attention.

Pouring a dense mohogany color, the beer carries a medium haze while releaseing the carbonation that ammounts to a thick and froathy foam stance of ivory-white froath. Lacing is evident all along the glass.

Aromas of deep malts resemble Cracker Jack candies, peanut brittle (without the peanuts), nearly scorched caramels, toffee, barley malt, medium buttered toast, walnuts, and light chocolate. Hoppy counterparts include citrus piths, grapefruit, pine resin, and orange marmelade. All swirl with a varying scent that alternates malt/hops with each visit to the rim of the glass.

Flavors favor the malt sweetness first, with the caramel and brown sugar hitting the tongue with a rich and bready sweetness reminescent of sugar cookies and toffee. Grapefruit, orange, and pine flavors accompany the sweetness at mid palate, but then as the malts weaken a bit, the hop flavors turn to a resiny bitterness with elements of fresh cut grasses and sharp citrus pith growning late.

Rich and bold throughout, the early dense creaminess fades nicely into a toasty dry mid palate that welcome the dryness and bitterness from hops to usher in a malty-dry finish with the light linger of oiliness into the aftertaste.

The strenght of malt, alcohol, and hops; but in superb balance imediately remind me of Stone's Arrogant Bastard Ale except with a less pronounced in-your-face resiny hop bitterness. Still, a delightful beer for those who prefer strength and balance.

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Photo of brentk56
3.35/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a very cloudy chestnut color that almost looks dirty; on top of the liquid sites a huge, rocky head and as I refill the pint glass, I am mindful to give this one a careful pour lest it come out all foamy; plenty of lacing, however, but you have to let it sit awhile

Smell: Butterscotch dominant, with some grapefruit pith underneath; also some fusel alcohol sneaking through, in a rum soaked raisin sort of way

Taste: Opens with a caramel fruitcake element, so suited to the winter season; after the swallow, the alcohol comes through with whiskey tones; there are clearly some pithy hops in there, too, but they are overshadowed by the other flavors; also, the Ringwood yeast buttery flavors are just annoying

Mouthfeel: Medium body, but over-carbonated; plenty of warmth on the finish

Drinkability: Just too many negatives here, between the fusel alcohol, the Ringwood yeast and the overcarbonation

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.45/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (Courtesy of Hogtownharry): Poured a clear light brown color ale with a small foamy head with low retention. Aroma of citrus hops is dominating. The taste is also dominated by the citrus hops but is lacking in malt balance. Body is about average with no alcohol noticeable. This beer while lacking in malt balance IMO is still very enjoyable.

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Photo of oline73
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a growler into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a reddish dark amber with two fingers of thick, off white head that fades to a small layer on top of the pour and leave some lacing. 4

Smell: Sweet and malty with dark fruit and brown sugar. I'm picking up some warm alcohol with each whiff. 4

Taste: Just about what I would expect from the smell. Not too sweet, but I am getting brown sugar and dark fruit from the malt. The finish is bitter from hops with some alcohol and more dark fruit. 3.5

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation and a finish that is slick. 3.5

Overall: The bitterness in the finish is a bit much, but I'm a fan of this beer. The warm alcohol is a welcome addition to the other flavors. 3.5

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Photo of Thorpe429
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Chapter House in Ithaca last weekend.

Pours a tawny color with a single-finger tan head and a good bit of lacing as it goes down. Thin collar throughout. The nose carries a good amount of brown sugar plus a nice bit of citrus. Smelling this, I thought this was an ESB. Maybe so, just a very strong one. Probably more properly classified as an English Strong Ale. Flavor brings a slight bit of diacetyl and some malty sweetness. Moderate fruitiness. The hops really don't come through until the finish, which is fairly bitter. Classic ESB-type profile. Really well done.

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Photo of oberon
4.38/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to my mother in law bringing down some NY beers from Buffalo just in time for the Rose Bowl,anyways what a pour deep amber with a huge fluffy head that takes its time to settle leaving globs of lace.Aromas of citrius,pine and some butteriness in there,pretty well rounded.Big citruisy hop flavor up front but there is some great balance with a lightly sweet maltiness that kicks in late to make this a hop accented brew with a huge maltiness that almost keeps up.Mouthfeel is very creamy and how drinkable for 9% I have it nearly gone in less than ten minutes.I have been drinking a few west coast IPA's and hop tilted brews and this east coaster is the best in my opinion.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.55/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

First thoughts: Wow. As in WOW! Lots of beautiful hops.
Second thoughts: Hmmmm, it can't sustain itself, it'll destroy the palate.
Final thoughts: It holds up. It changes as the palate dulls, but in the end the combination of deeply caramelized malt, grassy/minty/piney/floral/citrusy hops, and buttery yeast is really nice. I drank a whole bomber and loved it straight through!

Middle Ages Wailing Wench pours a clear, deep-chestnut body with a crimson-orange glow. Here and there highlights tend towards gold, but for the most part it's almost headed to becoming a dark beer;) The frothy tan head holds remarkably well, and leaves even better lace throughout the entire glass. Very nice!

In the nose the hops rise up to meet you with notes of grass, pine, citrus, and flowers. It's quite refreshing and exciting! Beneath that, a darkly caramelized and toasty malt resides.

The flavor is both bready and hoppy upfront, with a spiciness that's reminiscent of rye; and some grassy notes make their way in as well. Notes of citrusy hops flitter to-and-fro and here-and-there with orange, grapefruit, and pineapple all checking in. It's also peppery, grassy, and spicy, yet it lands back on it's feet at the swallow with a dollop of sweet malt that brings us back to the beginning. From there a smear of buttery yeast hits the palate and gently melts as the bitterness ushers us into a bone-dry finish that lingers with a bit of pine-resin intensity (but not necessarily the harsh, resinous character that's normally found). The fruity and buttery bell of Ringwood yeast rings solidly throughout, and its supple fruity edge is more than welcome with a note of apricot and pear that seems to lend balance to the whole thing!

REALLY NICE! I wasn't expecting such a remarkably drinkable beer, but they've certainly pulled that off. Very nice!

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a mug glass.

A: The beer is a bright reddish brown color, with a foamy off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The first thing I got out of the smell was tea. There was also a significant amount of hops and caramelized malt.

T: Flavors of caramelized malt, dark fruit, tea & hops hit you all at once when you first begin sipping. The hops bitterness ends up winning out remains in the after-taste, but there’s a faint underlying malt sweetness that sticks around as well.

M: Crisp, but not quite the smoothest beer, medium body, medium carbonation, clean & dry finish.

D: Tasty, and not filling, but doesn’t go down as easy as I would like. However, it’s still a good beer.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Transparent dark titian with a crimson influence that becomes apparent with backlighting. A darker DIPA one is not likely to find. A dense mass of golden ecru foam occupies the top half of the glass and looks as if it won't give ground willingly. It isn't nearly as sticky as it looked immediately after the pour and doesn't deposit as much lace as I had hoped.

Wailing Wench has a quintessential DIPA nose of brown sugary, caramel-drizzled, candied white grapefruit. The Middle Ages butteriness is present in spades, but it becomes more of a butterscotchiness in this case and adds rather than detracts. That characteristic sets it apart from most of its peers and it's a better nose because of that distinctiveness.

This is a different DIPA to be sure. The flavor profile is slanted too heavily toward malt, with caramel, and even carob, occupying too large a percentage of my taste buds and denying them their hoppy fix. That isn't to say that this Wench isn't hoppy, it's just to say that she isn't hoppy enough. The bitter citrus pith doesn't have a chance to stand out given the abundant caramel malt and the (now more bothersome) diacetyl. If I was the brewmaster, I'd bury the diacetyl under a withering hop onslaught.

I feel as if I've being too hard on WW. Although it fails to follow my preferred path for hoppy beer in general and DIPAs in particular, it's still a pleasant enough experience. The body is no more than medium in heft with a slightly slick mouthcoating and a low degree of carbonation. It's fairly well-cloaked for 9%; I would have guessed lower. As it warms, however, some fusel alcohols do become noticeable.

Wailing Wench definitely does not 'scream with hops' as the fetching, cleavage intensive, redheaded serving wench on the label claims. If it did, I'd like it more than I do. As noted, it's still good stuff and I'll have fond memories once it's gone. Thanks to HappyHourHero for the bomber.

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Photo of billab914
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Dogfish snifter. It poured a deep mohoghany color with a creamy off-white head just covering the top of the beer. The head scattered across the top after a minute or so, but left some decent lacing. I liked the color a lot.

The first thing I notice in the aroma is the hoppy, citrus flavors coming through. It's not nearly as bold as say a DIPA, but it's noticeable. It also has a pretty big malt presence to it with some toffee and caramel coming through. Very flavorful but also relatively balanced aroma overall.

The taste shows off a lot of hoppy and malty flavors as well. A moderate hoppy, grapefruit,citrus comes through along with the malty, toffee flavors. It has just a bit of a roasty flavor to it as well. It finishes on the bitter side with more of the grapefruit coming out.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being a bit below average. Drinkability is pretty good, it had some nice flavors to it overall. Everything came together and worked pretty well. It showed off some nice hoppy and malty flavors throughout drinking it. Very enjoyable beer overall.

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Photo of smcolw
3.7/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Light brown or deep brown amber--clear. One-finger head that has great stability. Nice sticky lace

Sweet brown sugar and caramel smells. Second whiff produces the bittering hop, a seemingly high-alpha hop.

Think overhopped brown ale, very flavorful, but with strong ingredients rather than full flavors. Nice body with an appropriate amount of carbonation. Slightly sweet with a good bitter kick which is the aftertaste in spades.

This reminds me of extreme beers. Not much balance here, but the flavor is explosive in a balanced way. You want malt, here it be. The hops are lip puckeringly present. Smooth, this isn't, but flavorful it is to the n-th degree.

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Photo of mikesgroove
3.26/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Was looking for something big the other night and this one proclaimed to be screaming hop, so I had to try it. Bomber served cold and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 01/23/2010.

The pour was very nice, rich looking dark amber in color with a towering head of off white that just peaked out above the rim of the glass. Settling down gently it left a good bit of side lacing along the glass and a nice, dark menacing look to it. Aroma is a bit muted, definitly not screaming anything. Caramel malts up front, light touches of bready tones, hints of an earthy, piney hop presence, but nothing huge about it at all. This carries over almost exactly into the flavor. Caramel and bready tones dominate here from the very first sip. Light touches of hops come in towards the finish, with a slight drying to the palate and a little bit of a bite, but nothing sharp or striking about it. Really full feel though, almost chewy as I sip on it, and that may have very well been the best part. Alcohol was fairly well hidden and it had the potential to be a creeper.

Overall I am not sure what to make of this one. If it did not label itself o be soo hoppy I might have liked it a little more, but it set a bar I dont feel it reached.

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Photo of Jason
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Beeguy for the sample ...

22 oz brown bomber with no freshness date.

A- Big froth, lots of tan colored head and the retention is superb. The bronze tinged brown hue shows some clarity.

S- Faint buttery note and thick malt sweetness resembles cake batter. The hop aroma is quite fragrant with floral and citric tones.

T&M - Big rush of floral, sticky herbal and citric hops. Very malty with a solid body and lush crispness. Tad buttery with more herbal hop flavor in the middle. Warming alcohol and a dark fruit flavor linger throughout after each sip. Bitterness kicks in middle to end with a slow tingle and a earthy dryness.

D- Big time fall / winter ale. Sipping brew all the way. Warming and flavorful and a easy paring with some mild goat cheddar.

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Photo of tdm168
2.54/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Hoyt for bringing this one back from NY with him.

Pours a deep copper-amber with thick, dense, foamy white head that has great retention. The nose is very faint; it smells like of very faint hops and a little like wet dog. The taste has some faint maltyness up front followed by a moderate hop bitterness. There are some off notes here - diacetyl, cream, yeast. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, moderately carbonated, and finishes dry.

The off flavors and weird smell really ruined this one for me. The malt and hops don't shine through, and each sip is another dimension in odd, yeasty flavors.

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Photo of ejimhof
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark orange with a thick head.

Smell: Lots of hops in this.

Taste: This is probably the hoppiest strong ale I have tasted. None of the sweetness of high alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Smooth but with a constant hop bitterness.

Drinkability: Good but not something I would drink all night.

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Photo of Billolick
4.08/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle, no freshness dating to be found. Pours a heady shade of dark auburn, quite clear, raising a tan head. This leaves a lot of stringy lace as well as sheets of lacing. Sweat, malty and resiny nose. So far so good! medium bodied. Creamy, buttery mouthfeel. Notes of vanilla, maple, leather, just a wee bit thin on the malt, but comes through with a resiny, pine finish. Strong, flavorful, complex and well crafted ale. Well worth seeking out.

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Photo of jwc215
3.93/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours slightly hazed dark chestnut brown with a thick tan head that slowly descends. Trailing lace sticks to glass and the head retention is good for the abv level.

The smell is of citrus and floral notes - pretty robust. Some caramel lies in the back, as does fruity alcohol.

The taste is of bitter, leafy hops at the start. Caramelish malt, even slightly tofffeeish/chocolatey malt backs up the hops. Even overruns it at times, esp. as it warms. Alcohol is a bit raw and sharp, but doesn't interfere with the flavors. I don't know about "screaming" with hops - If that's the case it's "screaming" with malt too. The aroma is better, IMO, but not enough to warrant a higher score on one or lower on another. Certainly it's different than expected from the aroma. It's more leafy floral, with only subtle hints of citrus. The hop bitterness seems a bit off and weaving, but the overall taste, I have to say is solidly good. There is also some diacetyl, giving it a slightly butterscotch-ish character. But, while perhaps keeping it from greatness, certainly doesn't interfere in the overall taste. It has a dry, bitterish finish.

The body borders near full - but I would say it is more medium. I suppose I could be convinced either way, and decided that the benefit of the doubt works, as a nice flavor clings in a long finish and the carbonation level is just right.

It's a sipper - something about it slows it down. Maybe it's from things going on that don't quite fit together. A solid brew nevertheless - bittersweet. Recommended for a slow drinking brew.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bomber.
Cast a dark crimson hue, with prodigious foam, creamy-toned, nesting on top, looking very nice.
Aroma, big, bold hops, dark fruits, with malty undertones, smells more old ale-ish than IPA-like. Unusual, actually, I've sniffed this before, but can't recall where...probably certain English ales. Rubbery. Buttery? Oaky. Vanillaish. Odd, but likable.
taste: smooth, easy-drinking, with a medium body, and a long, soft, fruity finish. I'm not getting the hops I expected, though...they aren't screaming in my mouth, that's for sure. Perhaps the ringwood yeast has taken over this beer? Just doesn't taste much like an IPA at all. the 8% listed on the label doesn't stand out in the least. As a tasty, smooth English-style ale, yeah, it's got it going on...but as a wild, bellowing hop monster, it doesn't cut it...at least not this bottle.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

11/21/05- Received via trade with Lostbearbrew.

Presentation- 22oz bottle with no freshness info. Poured into a standard pint glass.

Appearance- Brown-amber colored pour, a nice 3/4 inch head with acceptable lacing.

Smell- Strong sweeter burnt malt aroma with a good shot of citrus hops as well.

Taste- Caramel burnt malt flavor, kinda bready, with grapefruit and pine hops coming in later. Malt is the main taste here. Sweet malt.

Mouthfeel- Mid range carbonation level, sweet and sticky mouthfeel.

Drinkability- Can't even tell the abv in this one. Super easy to drink. Tasty. Thanks for the bottle Lostbearbrew!

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Photo of Gavage
4.26/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a copper / burgandy color with a large 3" fluffy head that sticks around a while. Nice lacing develops.

Smell: floral hops, grapefruits, hint of pine, and some sugary sweetness are pleasant and enticing.

Taste: this is one nicely hopped strong ale. Grapefruit and orange citrus, caramel, brown sugar, plums, light pepper, and a hint of alcohol. The mild pine and floral hop presence is just the right balance.

Mouthfeel: mildly heavy in body. Crisp from start to finish. Long aftertaste as the flavors remain on the tastebuds.

Drinkability: this is no way a session beer, but this beer beer you can easily drink but the well hidden alcohol can catch up to you. Find this one and give it a shot.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes to stegmakk and ampzilla for this one.

Pours a nice clean/clear dark amber color, nice carbonation, nice two finger tannish head, tons of sticky lacing afterwards. The nose is slightly sweet/bitter, malty, hoppy, grapefruit, and caramel. The taste is bitter, malty, hoppy, nice touch of grapefruit, and caramel. There is a slight dry finish. Medium body. Very drinkable, more of an IPA to me, but what do I know.

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Photo of tempest
4.37/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On-tap at the Blue Tusk. This keg was at least a couple weeks old, which actually made for an interesting drink.

A nice copper-red with thin white foam. Not a lot of head retention of lacing, but I think thats more a product of the Tusk's wet glassware. Subtle aroma of what English hops, fuggles probably. A little spicy, sharp, earthy with a hint of yeasty fruit in the background. Taste was great, but just a little low on hop flavor. The big English hops and ringwood yeast made for a delicious drink. Pretty good mouthfeel, but carbonatino was a touch low. Very drinkable. I think a couple weeks being tapped tamed this one just enough to increase drinkability. No off flavors, if anything, increased ringwood flavor and only the slightest touch of diacetyl. If I weren't ordering this at 1 in the afternoon, I'd have another one or two.

Update 6/9/06: Shared a bottle with a friend and wished I had more. The english hops rule in this beer, so much so that I'd call it a double english-IPA. Unlike any other DIPA or stong ale I've had.

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Photo of WesWes
4.13/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a dark amber color with a thick off-white head that eventually fades to lacing. The aroma is great. It has a nice malty scent surrounded by an intense floral hop arrangement. The Ringwood yeast adds a fruity aroma that helps balance the malts and hops. The taste is good. It is rich in malt complexity and piney hop flavor. It is really bitter, but finishes strong and goes down easy. The mouthfeel is good also. It is a full bodied beer with good carbonation. This beer drinks well. It has tremendous flavor and complexity. I love this brew!

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Wailing Wench from Middle Ages Brewing Co., Ltd.
3.96 out of 5 based on 454 ratings.
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