Wulver | Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

BA SCORE
96
world-class
1,615 Ratings
WulverWulver
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
Ohio, United States
thirstydog.com

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
Ratings:
1,615
Reviews:
217
Avg:
4.35
pDev:
8.28%
 
 
Wants:
276
Gots:
411
For Trade:
77
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,615 |  Reviews: 217
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -13.8%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

No head but bits of lacing on a clear copper with amber hues body. Aroma of oak, wet towels, bourbon, caramel, red wine and molasses. Flavor follows with an excellent complex mixture including notes of vanilla, caramel, bourbon and oak with a nice balance between sweetness and boozy bourbon although not at all overwhelming boozy. The base beer is still well represented it seems. Light carbonation and medium to full, oily body. Very nice beer. Easy to drink for the style. Would love to come across this one again.

 517 characters

Photo of GRG1313
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of jaydoc
4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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.

 613 characters

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

at long last, i finally got my hands on this thing. just sitting there for the plucking, one single bottle, at thirsty pug in auburn, ny. what a treat and a score, especially for a colorado guy who has no access to this stuff. i wish more breweries did this kind of thing, there really isnt another beer like this out there, even the alesmith one doesnt have nearly this level of complexity and nuance. sure its sweet, rich burnt sugars and molasses notes in nose and taste, but its a lot more than that. the base scotch ale is earthy and peaty, plenty of smoke on it too, i wonder what the grain bill looks like here! has to be enormous. deep red in color, past copper to mahogany, with more head than expected. has that sweet barleywine smell, with raisin and toffee and plenty of bourbon. instead of bringing out sweetness in the flavor though, the oak seems to bring out the more earthy elements, smoke and char and peat and gritty whiskey. its insanely flavorful and huge, and the alcohol is prominent, especially as it warms up. thick to drink too, throat coating like cough syrup, and sweet, but this isnt the run of the mill strong ale. absolutely worthy of its position in the top beers here on BA, its one of a kind. would love to get my hands on a few more bottles to see how it ages, but it really doesnt need any cellar time. impressive to say the least, and it has made me a full on fan of thirsty dog!

 1,416 characters

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -8%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of Knapp85
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of metter98
4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is rather hazy brown in color and has traces of yellow near the edge of the glass when it is held up to a bright light. It poured with a short whit head that quickly died down, leaving lacy threads of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate to strong aromas of bourbon are present in the nose. Slight hints of alcohol are also perceptible once the beer warns up.
T: Similar to the smell, the taste is dominated by flavors of bourbon from the barrel aging process—vanilla really stands out in particular. Only hints of toffee from the underlying beer are perceptible.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a low to moderate amount of carbonation. Slight bits of warming from the alcohol are also perceptible.
O: This beer definitely tastes strong, but rather manages to mask most of the alcohol from the taste (except for the bourbon). It is a very nice beer to sip and savor.

 950 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

If rum is too sweet... If scotch is too smoky... If bourbon is too caramelized... If beer is too soft... Then this ale is for you! It hits all the right chords and does so on the back of a surprisingly drinkable finish.

Wulver pours with a medium-dark brown beer. Hazy as it is, the ale allows for ruby, garnet and rust low-lights to penetrate; giving the ale a soft and dim glow. As its initial creamy sand-stained head forms, it swirls into something more akin to coffee creme. Its light trailing lace is kept under wrap by the beer's enormous complexity.

Its aromas and all things of boozy sweetness. Unmistakable bourbon parlays into a rummy, scotch-like scent as its spice and wood character tickle the nose. The peated ale underneath is lightly smoky, densely scented with molasses and burnt toffee, and offering hints of walnut and chocolate. As the beer warms, a light vinous woody scent of sherry pulls forth.

The taste is highly malty as its molasses and toffee seems to fold in a honey character that gives the ale a praline-type sweetness. Nutty with everything from buttery cashews to robust walnuts and pecans and almonds to boot- the earthen taste is greeted with vanilla, caramel and light coffee. A mild chocolate underpinning pulls from the toasted grains and dives right into those booze-soaked tastes of bourbon, scotch, rum, and again... light sherry wine.

Its body is full, rich and round. As the malty sweetness of the beer wraps around the tongue and saturates the taste buds fully, a more dessert-like "sipping" session seems to override the need for drinkability. But the sweetness breaks apart just enough to let the dry toasted malt textures and spicy alcohols dry the beer considerably and seems to lighten the beer in a more friendly manner.

Wulver is a near-perfect wood aged beer. Where the scotch industry has used bourbon barrels for centuries, its no surprise to find all that wood-aged character playing out on a base beer that supports the wood seamlessly.

 1,998 characters

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)

 5,000 characters

Photo of SocalKicks
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of oline73
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Photo of emerge077
3.89/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of largadeer
4/5  rDev -8%

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

Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Photo of dmorgan310
4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of superspak
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass; no bottle dating, but was a recent release. Pours moderately hazy and cloudy deep ruby red color with a small fairly dense off white head with decent retention, that reduces to a thin lace that lingers. Light spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big caramel, toast, toffee, raisin, brown bread, vanilla, clove, oak, molasses, light chocolate, pepper, light roast, and toasted earthiness. Incredible aromas with amazing complexity and balance of malt and barrel notes; with good strength. Taste of big caramel, toast, toffee, raisin, vanilla, clove, oak, bourbon, brown bread, molasses, chocolate, light roast, and toasted earthiness. Lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, raisin, brown bread, vanilla, clove, oak, bourbon, chocolate, light roast, and toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity of malt and barrel flavors; with absolutely perfect balance of barrel/malt and zero cloying sweetness on the finish. Light-medium carbonation and full bodied; with a creamy, slick, and lightly syrupy mouthfeel that is fantastic. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an absolutely world class barrel aged scotch ale. All around insane complexity and balance of malt and barrel flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. Amazing.

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Wulver from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 1,615 ratings.
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