Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

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Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
Ranked #2
Ranked #443
4.38 | pDev: 8.22%
Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
Ohio, United States
Notes: We made this beer specifically for bourbon barrels. The result is our most acclaimed bourbon barrel beer. Bourbon barrel aging and specialty malts create flavors of vanilla and caramel that blend in perfect balance.
Reviews: 242 | Ratings: 1,673 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Franziskaner from Missouri

4.21/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Deep brown in color with little penetration to light due to a murky complexion. There’s a fingernail of brown around the rim. The nose is vanilla, a wallop of malt, and bourbon. I’m tasting a lot of vanilla, dark, sticky and chewy malt, and bourbon.

Dec 13, 2020
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sulldaddy from Connecticut

4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Im sampling a cellar temp 12 oz bottle poured into my snifter. The bottle was picked up at a bottle shop in West Virginia about a year ago and has been in my cellar since that purchase.
The beer pours a clear deep mahogany color with minimal fizzy beige head foaming up about 1 cm and quickly fading to an edge layer and some scattered wispy islands.
The bourbon nose is huge on this beer right from the pour, with vanilla hits, black cherry, toffee and brown sugar all mixing together. There are some fusol alcohol notes too, this is a big beer. No hop presence on the nose.
First sip reveals a medium bodied beer with sort of creamy texture and very soft spacious carbonation. Beer is a sipper but is also gentle on my palate.
Flavor is also all malt from start to finish. I get toffee and brown sugar mixig with some bourbon notes and some dark fruit, like cherry or raisin notes. Again some warming booze comes through after each swallow. I dont get any hops on this beer and it is most definitely a sipper. A very nice malt forward sipping wee heavy.

Jun 19, 2020
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larryi86 from Delaware

4.41/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle poured into a tulip

A- Brown with ruby red red highlights and small off white head.

S- Bourbon, figs, toffee, oak, a little earthy, molasses, slightly earthy.

T- Figs, dark fruits, caramel, some toffee, bourbon, oak, some molasses, a little earthy.

M- Smooth, full body.

O- A very tasty and easy to drink Wee Heavy.

Apr 29, 2020
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stortore from Illinois

4.15/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into a snifter. Unsure if 2017 or 2018. Had 12/20/18.

Pours a dark amber, a little cloudy, with a quarter inch quickly dissipating head and some spotty cling. Aromas of caramel, figs, malt, smoke, char, bourbon, some oak, raisins, toffee, some molasses and dates, a hint of cherries. Flavors of malt, caramel, some bourbon- more as it warms, raisins, some figs and toffee, light vanilla and oak, a little brown sugar. Smooth, a good medium body, well carbonated.

A great barrel aged example of the style, with really good barrels and a terrific aroma. Very good flavor, but had this on tap about six months earlier, and thought it had a better, fuller flavor. Combining to bolster this rating. Certainly worth a purchase.

Jan 30, 2020
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Buck89 from Tennessee

4.47/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a tulip glass. A muddy rust-brown color with a thin tan head that quickly settled. Aroma brought rich vanilla, bourbon, oak, caramel, and toffee. The taste did not disappoint; there was a rich caramel malt presence balanced nicely with the barrel notes and a subtle floral hop presence. Full bodied but not sweet with a gentle warming on the finish. The barrel was very well-integrated and complimented the malt without stealing the show. This one lived up to the hype for me.

Dec 07, 2019
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jrc1093 from Connecticut

4.35/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

No bottling date visible

Pours a murky brown body with bright red highlights when held to light; around a finger of pillowy, off-white foam recedes quickly to an expanding frothy collar and sparse islands of cap; no lacing.

Aroma (with a slight chill) opens with unique tones of malted milk balls, fresh roasted peanuts, cocoa powder, and wisps of raspberry jam; as the beer warms, more expected notes of caramel, rich bakers chocolate/cocoa, vanilla bean, and bourbon start to overwhelm, with lighter tones of coconut husk and candied dark fruits.

Taste brings cacao nibs and deeply toasted oak at the forefront effortlessly flowing into notes of plum and bourbon-tinged coconut husk; bright dark fruits continue to course stealthily through the profile alongside a semi-sweet vanilla and bourbon barrel char.

Mouthfeel features a medium-thick body marked with a wispy prickle of mild carbonation; tight, slightly syrupy but semi-creamy texture across the mid-palate, while a touch of booze fades lightly into the finish; warm, tingly swallow.

The nose leaves an impression of an almost stunning, seamlessly structured depth, informing of what's to come: a stunning profile toned with a natural decadence to the senses, and balanced on the palate nearly beyond reproach; More simply put, a top-notch wee heavy with brilliant barrel integration.

Nov 23, 2019
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VABA from Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Pours a dark color with a slight head and lacing
A-Aroma has generous Bourbon, caramel and vanilla hints
T-The taste follows the nose with a nicely balanced Bourbon, caramel and vanilla flavor
M-A medium bodied well carbonated beer
O-A very good Wee Heavy Ale

Jun 16, 2019
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TonyLema1 from South Carolina

4.18/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: deep reddish brown, not much head or lacing, but there’s more bubbles than expected
S: sweet
T: booze and malty sweetness some dark fruits
F: great mouthfeel, no booze burn
O: a wonderful sipper, wish the nose was better

Jan 23, 2019
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q33jeff from New Jersey

3.31/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5


Starting New Beer's Day off with a side by side tasting of Barrel Aged Scotch Ales.
Central Waters BA Scotch Ale vs. Thirsty Dog Wulver

Bottle to tulip glass.

LOOK: Murky dark brown (kind of ugly), small off white head, average retention. (2.5)
AROMA: prune, light berry, hints of oak and whiskey. (3.25)
TASTE: Cola, some light fruit and light whiskey. Sweet and tasty (3.75).
FEEL: I feel the whiskey more than I taste it. Low cabonation. Smooth sipping. (2.75)
OA: Not bad. clear loser in the side-by-side,
but I think the CW is very high quality for this style (3.5).


Jan 01, 2019
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MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

4.18/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12oz bottle into glass. No bottling date information found.
Deep brown colored body. Not much head, but there is a thin ring. No lacing.
Aroma is heavy with bourbon barrel, and roasted malts.
Taste is sweet bourbon barrel, with roasted malts that express caramel and vanilla.
Medium to silky mouth feel. Okay carbonation.
The bourbon barrel is a big part of the experience, but booziness does not intrude. Other flavors of dark malts and caramel blend in well.

Nov 12, 2018
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Bouleboubier from New Jersey

4.28/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

(12 oz bottle, no date shown... poured into a snifter)

L: clear, ruby-hued liquid; loose, spongy, off-white foam struggles to form on pour, ends up remaining only in honey-comb like, fish-eye collar... beer color is dead on, but collar looks suspect... last oz of bottle carried with it fair amount of speckled sediment

S: booze, bourbon barrel (char), berry-scented hard candy a la Belgian dark noel ale... vanilla scent slowly fades in, then stands out... bold inviting aromas, bit of a spicy coloring to the potent, but not overpowering booze

T: bit of a darker, maltier, more chocolaty base beer than smell suggests, and deliciously so... caramel, dried cherry, toasted wood in the finish... only delicate spicy booze lingers at the back... the bourbon influence is undeniable but falls just short of overpowering what's an fortunately-designed wee heavy; great balance, if a bit heady

F: marginally syrupy viscosity, some of the long drag in its finish likely lubricated by the strong booze... finish and afterglow nicely cut and 'dry'... by the last few sips, I do declare this was a stellar drop, wow

O: purchased cold at Top Hops in NYC; did lose chill in transit home... lovely bold flavors and the Scotch Ale base does seem to poke through more than other BBA examples on the market... damn does it grow on ya exponentially with each sip (probably the booze talking, haven't eaten yet today)... not an avid fan of BBA Scotch Ales, but this is one of the best - one of the better displays of malt density and layering... mmm

Oct 31, 2018
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Benish from Wisconsin

4.32/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured a viscous dark murky brown color. Very little head. Aromas of vanilla, dark fruits, and caramel. Very rich and heavy. The flavors were no different, there were tons of dark fruits, toffee, caramel with a hint of vanilla. The bourbon character was definitely there at the finish giving an added warmth and depth. Mouthfeel was full bodied with a rich and sticky finish. This was a spectacular brew! It drinks like a heavy barleywine. I loved every sip of this and one bottle was not enough.

Sep 08, 2018
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ovaltine from Indiana

4.59/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A milk chocolate brown beer fills my glass after an aggressive pour that yields a minimal tan head. The aromas hit my schnoz before I can lift the glass - HUGE vanilla notes, then booze from the barrel, and rich toffee notes. I am now ready to eat my own arm.

The taste has the barrel, of course, but the vanilla and toffee flavors bring this back before it can approach “booze bomb” territory. There’s also a creamy feel that adds to the entire drinking experience. Magnificent.

This is better than Central Waters BA Scotch Ale, IMHO, and also better than Backwoods Bastard, again IMHO.

Yes, I typed that.

Apr 16, 2018
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woemad from Washington

4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle received through the incredible generosity of WesMantooth. I presume it is a fairly recent release as there's no date that I can find, but I'm not too worried about a barrel aged 12% abv beer being too old. It's why I saved it for last from the three mighty boxes I received from Corey for NBS BIF #6.

Poured into a snifter, this didn't look like much to get excited about. Dull opaque dark brown color, a more russett color and visibly cloudy when held up to light. Kinda reminds me of unfiltered non-alcoholic apple cider. Decent, beige head for such a strong beer, but after a rough pour. Modestly short lived lace.

Whoa! Incredible nose to this! Vanilla, from the bourbon barrel aging was to be expected, and a little vanilla goes a long way with me in beer, whether or not actual vanilla has been added. Not to worry, though, because like all good barrel aged beers, that is balanced with other elements. Brown sugar, caramel, an almost-licorice thing I tend to get from Wee Heavies that I've never been able to figure out, it's all here and smell delicious together.

Flavor, wonderfully, goes hand in hand with aroma. This is rich and delicious. I may be drinking this in the middle of the day, but it would make a superb dessert or nightcap beer. Starts off like a great typical example of the style, then midway through the bourbon barrel flavors really kick in with an astonishing amount of depth of flavor without being overly boozy, somehow. Waiting for an alcohol burn is a wait made in vain! The flavor in general is more complex than even the nose. I get elements of dark fruit, pipe tobacco (not being pompous, I actually have smoked pipes extensively at one time, so I know the flavor), toffee, even cola.

Yes, this is a big-bodied beer, with a creamy, velvety mouthfeel.

Holy shit! I saved this for last because I expected it to be great, but WOW! I honestly can't remember the last time I gave a 4.75 to anything on BA (probably when I was still finding my way and was easily impressed), but I had to for the flavor of this. I'm actually concerned I will go through the type of depression normally reserved for returned astronauts when this is gone. I may have to move to Akron to be close to this beer. Thank you so much, Corey, both for this and all you dropped on my porch!

Apr 15, 2018
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Blogjackets from Ohio

4.68/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Luckily Thirsty Dog's brewery is not too far from home, so I have had many glasses of this beer at their tasting room (before it was even publicly called Wulver). Seeing the BBA Wee Heavy on the board means I'm drinking nothing else. Note: if you don't like bourbon don't drink this beer. The genius pairing of a wee heavy with bourbon yields at worst their second best beer (IMO the barrel aged Siberian Night is the best). The flavors are a malty mix of deep vanilla caramel that approach but never cross the line into bourbon overload. Take note that this heavy, malty, bourbony beer packs a wallop at 12 ABV. Despite 12% with a big bourbon nose, it's a real drinker. Not too boozy. Definitely on my list of beers in heaven. Here's hoping ;n)

Nov 28, 2017
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tjwarren from Ohio

4.4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

One word for this beer. Heavy. Not Wee Heavy. Just heavy. Very well done. Pretty close to perfect balance on the bourbon. The smell is Boozier than it turns out to be. A truly enjoyable sipper. One swallow at a time drives you deeper and deeper to relaxation.

Nov 26, 2017
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DIM from Pennsylvania

4.19/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured without much of a head; a vigorous swirl produced a few short lived big bubbles. As a result this was too still on the tongue.

Lots of sweet raisins, peats, bourbon, light heat, and vanilla in the aroma. Very robust and appealing despite the low carbonation.

Tastes almost as good, but this came across as a little too sweet and boozy at times.

This was very enjoyable, probably a little better than the backwoods bastard I buy a case of every year.

Nov 20, 2017
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russpowell from Arkansas

4.48/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a chill hazed chestnut with a thumb of tan head, much carbonation. Average-ish head retention & lacing, stays effervescent throughout the pour

S: Peatyness, booze, raisin & figs

T: Follows the nose, a touch of dryness, booze warmth & plenty of figgyness up front. Some dryness, more figgyness once warm, boozey peat notes as well, some brown sugar too. Finishes with booze presence, peat, dryness& figgyness

MF: Medium body, slight over carbonation, was hpoing for more body

Lovely Wee Heavy, not perfect, but flaws are miniscule

Nov 04, 2017
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.33/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: The tan head builds to half an inch, with the cola colored liquid underneath; scads of lacing drape down

Smell: Caramel, Bourbon, vanilla, and almond, with undertones of sweet cherry and toasted coconut

Taste: A sugary caramel tone flows from start to finish, with the vanilla and almond tones joining early; through the middle, the Bourbon builds, with toasted coconut and sweet cherry lingering into the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; some warmth

Overall: This is an aged bottle (at least two years, perhaps more) and is drinking beautifully; I would like to see more peat and less sweetness overall, but I enjoyed the bottle

Oct 20, 2017
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Hari46 from Ohio

4.77/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of the best barrel aged beers I've had.
Medium body
Strong mid pallet
Beautiful smooth finish w a lingering taste of bourbon.
Love it - would've paid full price but it was on sale, so cleaned out the store.

Sep 28, 2017
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NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

4.21/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. "Wulver"
12 fl. oz. brown glass bottle, production coded but without freshness dating
$2.17 @ Giant Eagle, Indiana, PA

Notes via stream of consciousness: Nice label, and I like the gold foil cap as well. Is this beer really worth it? Worth the gold foil cap I mean. I got it for just $2.17. Is it that good of a beer? And I remember having had Thirsty Dog beers before and they were just OK. So let's see. Typical appearance for a wee heavy Scotch ale... Scotch-style ale, I apologize. It's pretty hazy though, a hazy deep mahogany brown shall we say, beneath a short head of creamy khaki froth. The aroma is malty with caramel and dark sugar, perhaps even almost burnt sugar, and a bit of grain, but also darkly fruity. There's also some Bourbon and wood there but it's mild. The flavor is just a slight bit tart but with a lot of supple, sweetish caramel and brown sugar to balance it. The Bourbon and oak remain. Except for the fruitiness and the subtle tartness I think it's pretty much as I'd expect it to be. The fruitiness in the flavor, however, is much more than the style calls for. It's got a combination of juicy dark skinned fruits and dried dark skinned fruits, but there's also a sugary malt component that adds to that. As I sniff it again I get much more dark raisin, and in the flavor that's sticky sweet raisin. Not that it's too sweet, because it's not, but it is sweet. A moderate bitterness balances it and that's OK for the style. In the end it finishes mainly dry with residual notes of raisin and plum (did I mention those before?) and drying oak. So, in the end it's a little fruity but pretty much right on for the style. The alcohol makes an appearance but it's a background appearance and it doesn't really step forward. How strong is this? 12% ABV, whoah! I wasn't expecting that. There's a little bit of alcohol to it but nothing more that you might expect. But what about the Bourbon barrels? Well there's a bit of wood to it as well, so OK. Bourbon itself, there's a bit, and to be honest I think it takes the beer up a notch. It gives it another level. Looking back the lacing is pretty good but the head retention remains limited. Medium-light in body and gently crisp then smooth. Very nicely done and remarkably well balanced.

Aug 25, 2017
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TX-Badger from Texas

4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2015 bottle. Pours a very dark brown almost opaque in color with tan colored head. Dark fruits, fig, date, some light grains, and sweetness on the nose; follows onto the palate. Full bodied. Finishes with more dark fruits and a lingering sweetness.

Jul 04, 2017
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Radome from Florida

4.79/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Tasted from a 12 oz bottle in a snifter glass.

L - Dark copper or medium brown color with orange highlights. Slightly hazy. Light tan head is made up of miniscule bubbles that float in a thin cloud on the surface and form shitfing sheets of lace on the glass.

S - Super malty aromas of molasses, dried fruits, graham crackers. Over top is a strong bourbon whiskey character and light oak.

T - Strong, rich flavors. This is a malt-bomb of a wee heavy, with huge amounts of sweet malt, molasses, dates and raisins. Later in the palate is a strong bourbon punch, with some oak remaining after the swallow. The flavors go on and on, shifting and changing constantly.

F - Thick body with low but silky carbonation. Strong alcohol burn that combines with moderate hops bitterness to keep the beer from being too sweet. Nevertheless, the alcohol note is not out of place or excessive in a beer this rich.

O - It's as if a massive wee heavy had a shot of bourbon dropped into it like a boilermaker, except the flavors are blended and layered in a much smoother way than a mixed drink could be. A delicious, memorable beer.

Apr 16, 2017
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damndirtyape from Ohio

4.36/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, no date, served in a snifter glass.

Appearance: Dark amber. Translucent. Thin white ring. Some fine lacing that slowly slid back down the glass.

Smell: Bourbon, vanilla, caramel, toffee.

Taste: Very much like it smells. In fact, nearly identical to how it smelled. Very rich flavors. The bourbon whiskey flavor is a bit stronger at the finish. There is a Wee Heavy in with all this, and it is well blended with the bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Nicely thick, light carbonation, warming whiskey bite at the finish.

Overall / Drinkability: A very slow sipping beer. I think pairing the sweetness of a wee heavy with bourbon was a very smart move - this beer works out really well. It's a dessert all in its own right, but it's not cloying. Sweet, but not overpowering. The bourbon however, reminded me to slow down on this one and sip and savor. One per evening with a beer of this potency.

Apr 15, 2017
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aquabears from Connecticut

4.53/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sliiiiightly cloudy (clear but can see particulates in suspension), amber, deep red when the light shines through it. No head. Smell is heavy bourbon. Some vanilla, woody almost. Caramel. Taste is rich and sweet, creamy vanilla and caramel, nutty almost, bourbon, no real alcohol burn but there is definite heat. Oily and low carbonation, heavy body.

Apr 07, 2017
Wulver from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 1673 ratings