Wulver | Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
96
world-class
203 Reviews
WulverWulver
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
Ohio, United States | website

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Spider889 on 12-16-2011

BEER STATS
Reviews:
203
Ratings:
1,577
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
8.28%
 
 
Wants:
274
Gots:
410
For Trade:
84
User Reviews
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Reviews: 203 | Ratings: 1,577
Photo of McUbermensch
2.92/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter at a tasting.

I had hyped this beer up and it was one of the beers I was most looking forward to trying. The appearance was a little light and pale for a beer of the style. The nose had faint vanilla notes that were hardly detictable. The taste was lacking as well, it seemed watered down and lacked any complexity. Mouthfeel was watery and thin. If I hadn't seen the bottle opened I would swear that this beer was cut to serve more people. Maybe it's because the night started with a big barrel aged stout but I found this beer lacking in every category. I would try it again just to see if I was given a bad bottle.

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Photo of BeerVikingSailor
3.13/5  rDev -28%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Smell was overwhelming oak, and a bit boozy...as it warmed, went downhill...very astringent finish....feels like Jr High Wood Shop was making out on my tongue!!

I am local to the area...so this should be a "homer review"...but this was over-oaked in the bourbon barrels, as the acidity and astringency were a bit much for me...not a bad bad beer but at $6 a bottle ...not worth it - if this were a wine, TD would lose on this one...too much oak!! Bourbon flavor was nice, and good vanilla notes as well...

Overall not a bad BA beer, but not digging the wood and too long in the barrels....

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Photo of bobhits
3.24/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 3.75

After just kinda not liking the effort to make this product seem premium that the gold foil does, I managed to cut my finger opening this one. I haven't a clue how I managed that but sure enough removing the foil cut my finger. So thumbs down on the packaging.

Pours a coca cola like color, very cloudy and dense. Next to no head or lacing.

The nose has some toffee, vanilla, oak, and of course bourbon on it.

I get what the bottle claims. Caramel, oak, vanilla....it's pretty straight forward, not much in the world of hops. Not much bitter balance. A pretty sweet beer made sweeter with the barrels. Nothing is wrong, but nothing gives this one that extra something either.

The mouth feel is where this one goes to hell. Just flat as it can be. Kinda runny, just not good. A 12% beer needs either body or carbonation. This has neither.

At these prices this is a no go for me. I will say make sure you drink this one on the colder side, it isn't an imperial stout that can be had at 60-70 degrees and still be wonderful. It needs to be in the 40's.

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Photo of ajm5108
3.39/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The bourbon definitely dominate the palette, overshadowing mostly all of the other flavors. Labeled as a wee heavy, you'd be hard-pressed to define it as such when compared to other brews of the same style. That's fine, of course, but there isn't experimentation or playfulness about its take on the style, it ends up tasting like most generic bourbon aged beers, which is to say, like watered down bourbon. It isn't bad by any stretch, it is a totally fine beer, just rather boring.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.49/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Heard great things about this for years...

BOTTLE: Gold foil covers the black & white branded pry-off crown cap. Brown glass. 12 fl oz. Boasts a classy black label design replete with gold font. Cost was $7.19.

Served cold into an oversized snifter and allowed to warm over the course of consumption.

HEAD: None. Just a pale khaki/off-white colour floater that fizzes away inside 10 seconds. No lacing.

A poor show in general, but forgivable at this ABV. When the glass is tilted, a boozy brandy-like clear film is left on the sides of the glass...one might say the beer has "legs."

BODY: Deep dark opaque auburn-black. There's an abundance of plainly visible yeast.

Appears aptly carbonated. It's not great looking, but the legs it leaves when the glass is tilted, and the floating lees have me curious to try it.

AROMA: Brings the style's signature thick malty core to the forefront, with notes of heavy black and dark malts, black strap molasses, and rich dark caramelized sugars. The bourbon character isn't as vivid or expressive as I hoped, and the barrel notes don't seamlessly melt into the base like you'd find in any great bourbon barrel beer. But the bourbon barrel is definitely noticeable, with notes of marshmallow, vanilla, and barrel sugars. I find no rich white oak, toasted coconut, etc., but the bourbon character is nice for what it is.

To style, this aroma suggests a sweet heavy thick beer without ever betraying its high ABV.

Getting back to the base beer, I pick up on notes of praline, toffee, faint pecan, and hints of raisin as well as some kind of vague dark fruit - maybe prune?

Aromatic intensity is moderate. No off-notes, overt hop notes, or yeast is detectable. Those hoping for a traditional wee heavy aroma may be a bit let down; the toffee isn't prominent, and British malts aren't in the fore - but the bourbon is exciting, and the beer isn't overcaramelized judging by the aromatics. Still, some chocolate malts, roast, or more interesting bourbon notes might elevate this.

TASTE & TEXTURE: The bourbon takes on a different dimension in the taste than it did in the aroma, bringing a mellow genuine vanilla character to the flavour profile that introduces itself in the early second act and stays through the finish, lingering even into the aftertaste. Unfortunately, there's still no oak or wood to tie the whole build together, but it's a cohesive beer nonetheless, with toffee, molasses, treacle, and praline combining to form a sticky syrupy core that sort of glues all the other constituent notes together...raisin, prune, caramel, marshmallow.

It's a gooey chewy beer, and uses that attribute as one of its key strengths, embracing the wee heavy mouthfeel in full. And 'heavy' it is, bringing plenty of body, weight, and heft to the palate without ever feeling too filling. One of its key strengths is accomplishing that full-bodied weighty presence on the palate without ever coming off cloyingly sweet; this is not a saccharine beer. Maybe the bourbon helps smooth out the edges in terms of malty sweetness. Hoppiness is rightly minimal in presence, letting the malts do the talking. It's aptly carbonated for the style, with a texture that walks the tightrope between smooth/coarse and wet/dry, approximating dried raisin and tar all at once without ever dragging on the palate, feeling rough or scratchy, or exhausting the drinker.

And the booze? What booze? Yes, there's some pleasant warmth in the stomach, but this drinks like it's about 9% ABV at the max.

Like the aroma suggested, ultimately the bourbon presence is disappointing and inexpressive - at least compared to that found in style paragons like Founders' Backwoods Bastard. Those hoping for rich white oak, toastiness, or coconut will be let down. But the barrel sugars play with the base beer's sweetness, and the bourbon barrel never overwhelms or eclipses the base - it just sits comfortably alongside it. Unfortunately, the bourbon doesn't melt seamlessly into the base, and the two don't play off each other to the extent that would be ideal.

Depth of flavour is above average. Flavour duration is moderate, as is flavour intensity. It's nicely balanced, but could use some dialing in. I find it well-executed for the style, with plenty of likable characteristics. But it's not a gestalt build, and there's no harmony of texture and taste.

OVERALL: While it has plenty to offer the discerning drinker in terms of complexity, Wulver never surpasses either the best traditional examples of the style or the best American examples of the style (e.g. Founders' Backwoods Bastard), instead hesitating between the two approaches to a wee heavy. More commitment to the bourbon or more commitment to the traditional British malts and toffee is needed, but Wulver tries to have its cake and eat it too, to its detriment. Worth trying, albeit at its high price point, but not a world-class entry in the category. Makes me excited to try more Thirsty Dog beers!

High B- (3.49)

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Photo of stakem
3.57/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This was a cask offering filled with cherries. Served in a nonic, the brew appears a dark amber with orange clarity aroubd the edges. A white filmoif head quickly receeds leaving spotty lace on the glass.

The smell is muted with caramel and toffee malt sweetnes. A touch of vanilla is also present. Some dark fruit character almost like current and brown sugar with an alcohol inclusion mix things up and get somewhat medicinal with a mild herbal hop inclusion.

The taste is very sweet with earthy pitty cherries. Somewhat medicinal coupled with vanilla and caramel/toffee sugar quality. Some alcohol and earth into the aftertase with faint hop addition to break up the sweetness.

This is a medium bodied brew with a light kiss of carbonation. Not bad but nit something I would have again in any quantity larger than a couple ounces. Its an interesting change of pace for the style but too sweet and medicinal for me to really dig.

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Photo of Sky
3.64/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very strong. I expected this however it was a bit strong for my taste. I am a very big bourbon fan so I decided to give this a shot. Strong rich coffee sent with a similar bite to the tongue. Heavy in abv and you can tell. I feel like one or two of these 12% would knock me out. Not my favorite, but doable.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.68/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a snifter.

2.75 A: Deep brown color. Just a thin skin of head formed during an aggressive pour and fell just as quickly as it formed.

4.0 S: The bourbon and barrel mix extremely well with the base beer. Big leathery component with molasses, melon, plum, raisin, and caramel. A touch of smokiness, a bit of roast, vanilla, oak.

3.75 T: Taste is like the nose. Leather, molasses, plum, raisin, caramel, smoky peat. Roast vanilla, oak. I'd prefer it to be a bit thicker and perhaps a bit sweeter, but it's still pretty good.

3.0 M: Heavier medium body. Undercarbonated by about half of what I'd want. Lightly creamy, which I imagine would be improved with more carbonation.

3.75 D: Pretty good beer. Only complaint is that I'd love some more carbonation.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.71/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Bottle pour at Woodshop 8 held at The Hermosillo in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a clear brown with a foamy beige head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, caramel, toffee, bourbon, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with toffee and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a low level of carbonation with an almost flat mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a barrel aged presence that is slightly better in the aroma in my opinion.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
3.72/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

2015 Bottle served cold in a snifter glass.

Appearance: great bottle presentation with the gold foil and bottle art, really classy. Poured a fairly thin deep ruby with a small head that sank to nothing. Nice small bubbles and some carbonation visible. Lots of sediment floating in the glass from the bottle.

Nose: dark fruits right as the bottle was opened, tons of barrel character, vanilla, oaky, coconut, sweet and malty, very ripe fruit to point of turning alcoholic before rancid

Taste: Thin mouthfeel, cola (weird, I know), sweet cherries, raisins and other dark fruits. The Barrel qualities are a bit more hidden in the taste over the nose. The beer is fairly sweet and has a warming alcoholic finish.

Overall: I'm conflicted here. This is rated as the highest Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy on BA but from where I'm sitting it isn't worth the nearly $7 per 12oz bottle. I would go for a Founders Backwoods Bastard over this one any day of the week. The barrel character is lacking, the weird flavors and thin mouthfeel really detract from the barrel aged Wee Heavy experience for me. It's a good beer but, IMO, there are certainly better examples out there.

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Photo of 57md
3.76/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a brownish copper with less than a finger of tan head that enjoyed some decent retention. The nose has soft but distinct bourbon notes. The malt profile is weak for the style and the body is also too thin to properly balance with the bourbon flavors. The bourbon almost completely takes over on the finish and this offering ends up tasting like a shot rather than a beer.

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Photo of von_kaiser
3.79/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

not understanding the world-class rating, BA's. opaque, puce appearance w/ a finger-nail of head that i'm still in disbelief existed. scent is borderline sour(!)......must be a wee-bit heavy on the yeast (brett)? taste is a barrel forward BUTTERscotch bomb (not in a good way). mouthfeel is kind-of-a carbonated-stale whatever you want to call it...but leaves the tongue pulsating. O: bad batch? crazy preceeding ratings? who knows! just going to say that you can afford a six pack of dog dookie for the price of a single of this.

Cheers!

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.81/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #79 (Aug 2013):

A malt bomb to say the least. Very sweet to start, and the bourbon seems to make it even more sweet—not to the point of being cloying, though the bottle would be better shared. The Wee Heavy seems to be lost a bit or perhaps just clouded over by the bourbon barrel character. A good sip regardless.

STYLE: Wee Heavy
ABV: 12.0%
AVAILABILITY: Limited

LOOK: Dark tawny brew, thin lacing

SMELL: Boozy, caramel, woody, brown sugar, cake batter, rose water, earthy

TASTE: Thick maltiness, smooth, creamy, sweet, alcohol, warming, woody, brown sugar, mildly peppery, mineral, wood tannin, bourbon, faint vanilla, sweet finish

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Photo of schoolboy
3.81/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I called this a wee too heavy. I had one that I bought around Christmas, I think, and it sat for around four months in my fridge. That should not have done much one way or another to the taste. It might have allowed the hops to die down.

The appearance was of root beer. Nothing too special in the aroma - booze and sweet malts.

The taste was sweet and not too boozy. There were little hops or yeast tastes, I expected some. The aftertaste was also sweet.

It definitely is a sweet, boozy thing. Not something I really need to do again.

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Photo of nickapalooza86
3.86/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep amber in the light, brownish amber to the eye, very slight layer of head.

Smell is bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit, toffee, oak and a little caramel

Taste is vanilla, oak, bourbon, toffee, caramel, raison,

Mouthfeel is a little lighter then I expected. Wish it was a little less carbonated, and a little fuller mouthfeel. Alcohol is no where to be found. Dry

It is a good not great beer. Backwoods this is not. Mouthfeel makes it feel like way less ABV then 12 if it did not say on the bottle I would have guessed around 8.

My sister in law got this for me while in Ohio and she said it was pretty pricey, doubt I would grab it again but if you see it give it a try.

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Photo of SportsandJorts
3.87/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: pours a strong mahogany, hints at black through the thick of things. a two finger tan head with good retention and a big streaky lacing. mostly opaque due to the dark color but some clarity along the corners.

Smell: huge whiffs of whiskey and vanilla. covers up a sweet backbone of toffee, caramel, hints of dark fruits and some tobacco to peat.

Taste: opens up with whiskey, notes of wood and strong vanilla. the taste starts sweet and remains so for a bit with caramel, toffee, and raisins. the sweetness dies down a bit but doesn't completely leave as the finish is earthy, peaty and tobacco-y.

Mouthfeel: thick, chewy, sticky. strong alcohol warmth and linger.

Overall: man there is a lot going on with this one. I usually like beers nice hot and fresh but this one is a bit much. almost spot on with the look and feel but I think the flavors just need some time to get along beer and mellow out a bit. next time I plan on putting some years on it.

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Photo of tectactoe
3.89/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Big thanks to Kevin for this gem. It's got a dark and seductive, caramel colored body with some decent edge clarity; the middle is too dark-hued to be translucent. Over the course of a few minutes, the creamy, beige head settles down to a sifting skin that quietly sifts across the top of the brew. No lacing, but the beer has some nice legs that show up when tilting the glass.

Whoof... The aroma is straight up whiskey, at least right away. I'm talking Jack & Coke, hold the Coke and double down kind of whiskey; drop by drop, through ten feet of sugar maple charcoal. A sturdy, yet underlying malt body can be found beneath the heavy liquor and oak; faintly sweet with hints of caramel, toffee, and a touch of dark fruit.

I'm pretty stoked to find out that the booze isn't nearly as hefty on the palate as it is on the nose, or this would have been one tough mamma jamma to trudge through. Some "dark" sweetness jumps out first and lays the groundwork; burnt brown sugars, caramel, and mild date-like fruits topped with a light cocoa powder covering.

Now imagine all of that being fed to you on a dry, oak slab. Barrel notes are heavy; strong wood and heavy oak with a faint reminder of vanilla. Bourbon/whiskey is of course present, but again, not so overpowering like the aroma made me think it would be. It does get boozier with warmth, but never reaches unapproachable levels, though the nose remains boozily-stringent. Heavy bodied with a lightly sticky mouth feel and reasonable carbonation.

Very nice barrel aged Scotch Ale that drinks pretty nicely. The bourbon pounds its chest and flexes hard in the aroma, yet still shows you that it has a softer side when you finally decided to take a sip. It's like when you find out that the 240 pound, weight lifting, muscle head jock cries whenever he watches the Notebook. Get your Kleenex ready, bro. Thanks again, Kevin.

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Photo of papat444
3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle says it was aged 11 months in bourbon barrels.

A bit of peat in the flavor as well as some caramel sweetness. Mouth filling but found the body a bit too mellow, lacked a little complexity.

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Photo of Igotmypistola
3.92/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Wanted something big tonight. since i've had bourbon county the last 3 nights, thought i'd give something else a shot. 12% and according to the bottle, best served at 43 degrees. and so i do as i'm told..

First thing i think.. and i keep thinking it.. is bourbon coca cola.. seriously. lighter mouthfeel, same color, very carbonated. like a jack and coke. i thought it would be a bit darker. i can see right through it. not much of a nose on it at all. the flavor profile is pretty nice though.

Was expecting a bit more from it honestly. but a very nice drinking brew. not that i'd trade for it, but if i saw it on the shelf i may pick a 4 pack up.. i'm waiting for it to warm up and see if more of the nuances come out..

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Photo of BlushingMonk
3.93/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours dark amber with a light frothy head that quickly dissolves into nothingness. There is a delightful bourbon nose that invites the first sip which is sweet with a watery mouthfeel. I really wanted this to have more body. As expected, caramel, vanilla, toffee, and dark fruits bathe the tongue, but it's a bit flat and the experiences vanishes too quickly in the mouth. Being so close to Founders I have no choice to compare this to Backwoods Bastard. Wulver falls short. It's a good beer, but for the money, I expected more.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
3.94/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thirsty Dog : Wulver

LOOK: Pours a deep amber color, with a white head and decent retention.

SMELL: Fruit, malt, bourbon, oak. Strong aroma of mass amounts of sweet malts.

TASTE: Rich maltyness gives way to a full on bourbon flavor and dry oak. Suggestions of brown sugar, peat, molasses. Caramel flavors abound. Impressive bourbon flavor growing as it warms.

FEEL: Full bodied ale, well carbonated, oaky tannins in the drying finish.

OVERALL: A sturdy barrel aged scotch that can stand up to any occasion. A fine beer from Thirsty Dog. Would make a compliment to any pint glass or snifter.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a muddy dark brown color with a half inch of light tan head. Lots of lacing. The aroma is sweet With some Bourbon, vanilla, caramel malts, dark fruits and maybe a hint of butterscotch. The taste is raisins, figs and prunes with vanilla and caramel in the background. Light Bourbon presence throughout but it's not in your face. Oaky, vanilla finish with more of the dark fruits and caramel malts. Mild amount of alcohol warmth. Lighter than expected mouthfeel. Lightly carbonated. Kind of wish there was more of a Bourbon presence but it's still a really good beer. Overall, worth grabbing again.

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Photo of NCalement
3.96/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a very dark ruby brown color. No head really with little to no lacing. Looks rich a good

S- Bourbon, molasses, dates, vanilla, brown sugar and alcohol. Its very smooth and bourbon forward. Not much oak.

T- Bourbon, lots of bourbon. Vanilla, sweet malts, caramel, and dark fruit flavors. Has a nice alcohol burn at the end. Small amount of tobacco on the back end.

M- Viscus and smooth. Rather velvety and rich. Leaves the mouth burning slightly from the booze. For the style its rich a dank like it should be.

O- Very good barrel aged wee heavy. Not the most complex I've had but it accomplishes the bourbon forward flavor that I like in the style.

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Photo of neurobot01
3.98/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 vintage into a snifter at (approximately) 43ºF.

Look: dark brown with a hint of garnet, ring of slightly off-white head.

Smell: Coke, vanilla, malt. Very little bourbon, no alcohol heat.

Taste: a ton of wood, not much sweetness. Surprisingly strong alcohol burn given the mild nose. Closest comparison is straight whisk(e)y—NOT other BA beers.

Feel: fairly thick, little carbonation, a bit dry.

Overall: given the reputation of this beer, I'm definitely disappointed. But, maybe BA wee heavy just isn't my style. Of Backwoods Bastard, Shaggin' in the Wood, Heidbanger, and Ride the Lion, I only really enjoyed the last.

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Photo of chinchill
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz undated bottle (thanks BH) served in a Belgian snifter after warming to a temperature a bit higher than the recommended 43F.

Pours fairly clear but the dark red-brown body is nearly opaque in the glass. Semi-durable tan head leaves decent lacing.

Aroma ripe and dried dark fruits, bourbon, fainter baked grains. Good baance for a barrel aged brew.

Flavor: similar to the aroma with a touch of added vanilla and some wood notes that appear in the finish and aftertaste. Moderate sweetness.

Feel: light carbonation; medium-full body; admirably smooth with well hidden alcohol but some inevitable warming.

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Wulver from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 1,577 ratings.
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