Wulver | Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

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203 Reviews

Brewed by:
Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
Ohio, United States

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

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Reviews: 203 | Ratings: 1,578
Photo of smanson56
4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark amber color into a snifter glass. Lots of bourbon in the nose. The taste hints of vanilla and some sweetness along with the great bourbon flavor from the barrels. A nice Wee Heavy Beer.

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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 NoYouDidnt
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into teku glass. Quickly dissipating head. Just a bare rim around the glass. Dark color with slight ruby color in the light. Fairly strong bourbon smell in the nose. Little vanilla, caramel, dark fruit. Little funk in the aroma as well. Up font on the taste the sweetness, the dark fruits. In the middle the barrel character and dark malts. A little coffee aftertaste. Mouthfeel a bit carbonated. Overall tasty. Glad I have another one. Pick this up again NYD.

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Photo of Myotus
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured at 43°F from a 12oz bottle (no date) into a thistle.
LOOK: Pours with a half fingers worth of khaki foam that shrivels into a line after 20 seconds. Copper in color with a ruby tint. Rising bubbles are both small and very small in size and subtle in quantity. There is a few white, sand grain sized particles sitting at the bottom of the glass. Lacing is thin and barely existent.
SMELL: Strong aromas of caramel and black tea entangle with mild vanilla, molasses, fig, raisin, prune, and bourbon aromas along with hints of oak.
TASTE: Strong caramel and mild vanilla flavors enter initially and are immediately followed by strong black tea flavors. Mild flavors or bourbon, molasses, figs, raisins, and prunes along with hints of oak enter lastly as caramel and black tea flavors persist, but vanilla flavors grow stronger.
FEEL: Full-bodied and highly carbonated (the first disappointing feature of this brew). Goes down rough, but syrupy. Ends with a hint of dryness.
NOTE: One of my favorite styles well executed. I do not like bourbon too much and even though it was well perceived in the taste, it was incredibly well-balanced with the other flavors. This being said, I still have yet to try a Scotch Ale better than the one from Save the World.

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Photo of rodmanfor3
4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The nose on this beer is all booze.

The taste follows. There are some nice sweet notes present, but they are subtle. The barrel and the strong alcohol heat dominate the flavor.

Overall, very nice for the style.

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Photo of zac16125
4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Thirsty Dog Wulver
12oz bottle into a tulip
No bottling dates

A: Mahogany with amber hues when held to light. Small tan head dissipates quickly and leaves essentially no lacing. 4

S: caramel and candied sugar, tons of barrel notes with charred oak and bourbony vanilla. Very nice 4.25

T: like the nose there's tons of barrel notes, charred oak, vanilla; base beer characters are mostly sweet Malts but pair nicely with the barrel characters; subtle scotch like peat characters 4.25

M/D: full bodied, carbonation low but appropriate, ABV exceptionally well masked and drinkability is excellent 4.25

O: really nice beer, one of the best Wee Heavys I've ever had 4.5

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Photo of svenness
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No bottle date found

L: Thin white head dissipates quickly, dark reddish-brown, fairly clear
S: Booze, oak, marshmallow, toast, caramelized sugar, cocoa
T: Bourbon, Raisin, vanilla, molasses, medium sweetness
F: Medium body, smooth, delicate, low carbonation
O: Besides in the nose the alcohol is nicely hidden in this beer, the lighter than expected body and sweetness was a nice surprise

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Photo of Budinetz
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 12 oz bottle into a snifter. Bottle date is unavailable as it is hard to decipher due to the code on the bottom of the bottle.

Pours a beautiful rusty, Crimson color with a light tan head that does not last very long. Head retention is non existent. Very little lacing is visible around the glass as I sip.

Smells of rich caramel, vanilla extract and a subtle alcohol note.

Tastes of sweet molasses, brown sugar, bready malts, vanilla, Madeira.

Feels slick in the tongue with a slight burning sensation from the high abv. It is somewhat masked by the sweetness of the brew but still there. Fairly low carbonation, so not a lot of prickliness on the tongue.

Overall a pretty awesome brew by thirsty dog. Top three wee heavy brews I have ever had. I have a few more in the cellar so I'm hoping they age well.


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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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Photo of Warren2621
4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look: Deep amber with little head and little lacing.

Smell: Scotch, bourbon with sweet boozy toffee

Taste: Sweet bourbon presence and vanilla with a mix of raisins

Feel: Sticky sweet with very very little carbonation. Masks the alcohol heat well, brings the bourbon to the forefront without the burn

Overall: Comparable to a Backwoods Bastard but is naturally smoother with a more disguised alcohol burn. I like Backwoods more because I prefer the booze but this is totally excellent

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Photo of Czarkazm
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Body was initially a clear crimson color but when I poured out the remainder of the bottle with the sediment it appeared a more amber, rust color. The head was off-white and fluffy; swirling it up presented a darker, light tan color head. The smell was toffee, dark dried fruits, coffee flavored ice cream, coconut, vanilla, bourbon, honey sweetness, light booze. Mouth feel was nice and sticky, full body, but never cloying. Taste followed the nose. Lots of dark fruit, toffee, caramelized sugars, bourbon, vanilla, and oak. A great wee heavy that blends well with the barrel aging. Backwoods Bastard was my first ever barrel aged beer so it holds a special place in my heart, but is this one crafted slightly better? I'm not sure, but I'll have to bust out a bastard soon to know for sure. For the price point alone, I'll choose Founders, every time.

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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 Lazhal
4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Perhaps I made the mistake of trying the Rum barrel aged version of this beer before the bourbon barrel version, but I think the rum barrel just compliments the beer (and maybe the style) better.

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Photo of brandonlovesbeer
4.74/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Deep Amber in color. Very clear.

Awesome. Strong bourbon and vanilla.

Stong Bourbon. Boozy. But in an awesome way. Nice bite. Not a boring alcohol flavor like other Bourbon Beers. If you love boubon beers, you'll love this.

Mouth Feel:
It's not really thick and chewy. It's got a medium mouthfeel.

I loved this beer. It was awesome. Very Very comparable to Founders KBS.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a bottle into a snifter, the beer is a deep, vibrant, ruby-tinted caramel coloring with a halo of white head. Aromas of rich caramel, heavy booze overtones, apple, vanilla, molasses, wood spice, and earthy highlights. Flavors are extremely rich and heavy, with a solid dose of caramel, toffee, molasses, smoky highlights, wood spice, heavy booze overtones that build a solid warmth as you drink, and highlights of peat and earth. Very rich and very heavy, with a rich caramel, toffee, and boozy aftertaste. The finish is smooth, slick, and with a lingering booze and rich candy note. This is a good beer, and for all of the big and robust characters, surprisingly drinkable.

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Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Glorious! Hands down the best Wee Heavy I've had! Normally not my style but this bad boy has been expertly barrel aged and is so damn smooth its ridiculous!! Great back end barrel notes with a scotch front end

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Photo of Zonk
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown with a thin quickly dissipating beige head Smell is buttery toffee with a bit of caramel. Noticeable booze on the nose but not overpowering. Toffee and brown sugar notes, not cloying but definitely sweet. Bourbon flavors add o sweetness. Mouthfeel is probably the best part of this beer. Amazingly smooth. Overall a nice beer. A bit sweet for my taste though.

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

Pours a dark brownish color with some amber hue. Light white head dissipates quickly. Smell is thick with bourbon, oak, vanilla and some caramel. Taste is reflective of the bourbon barrel, nice flavor notes of vanilla and oak as well. Incredibly smooth and doesn't overpower with the 12% ABV. Very enjoyable beer.

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Photo of Hootie159
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Dark caramel color that looks reddish black until held in the light. Thin white head. Nice combo of bourbon and malt on the nose. Bourbon is balanced wonderfully on the taste. Getting a buttery caramel, toffee, and vanilla that keeps getting better as it warms. Wonderfully smooth. Mild carbonation and just oh so silky. Love this beer.

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Photo of pagriley
4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz into a snifter, unsure how old bottle is, but I would guess about a year

L - Pours thick and oily. Chestnut hue, almost no head despite very hard pour; just a thin rim of lacing
S - Bourbon prominent, notes of molasses, caramel and vanilla behind
T - Caramel, vanilla and a slight oak smokiness with waves of sweet bourbon over the top
M - lighter than I expected, with a touch of prickly carb that required a couple of swirls to knock down

Overall a delicious beer. I would put the Central Waters BB Scotch ale slightly ahead, but still top of the heap and one of the best scotch ales out there. Only complaint is I would have liked a bit more body and heft for a 12% brew

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Photo of JakerLou
4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark brown (like a root beer) with little to no head. Small amount of lacing.

Smells of caramel, coconut, and vanilla. It smells like it will taste sweet.

Taste is caramel, vanilla and some coconut. There is also a hint of dark fruit. I know this is a wee heavy but if I didn't know that I might think it was a Belgian Double or Quad. It doesn't have the bruised banana flavor but the dark fruit and caramel sweetness really reminds me of a Belgian.

Mouthfeel is smooth and silky.

Overall I think this is the best Wee Heavy I've tried. Founders Backwoods Bastard is good but I'd take this beer over BWB every day.

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Photo of kbwalters
4.48/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Look - 4.25 Pours a clear brown into a nice dark brown in the glass with 1 finger of light brown head that fades quickly to a ring. Low retention and lace is forgiven because of the aging.
Aroma = 5.0 Really terrific aroma, strong. Sweat caramel maltiness you’d expect with a scotch ale but it’s complimented perfectly with bourbon and vanilla notes. A little smokiness in there too.
Taste = 4.25 Terrific blend of a scotch ale (caramel and toffee maltiness) sweetness mixed with strong bourbon flavors and vanilla notes. There is some alcohol present in the taste.
Feel = 4.25 Full bodied with medium carbonation, smooth, really nice feel.
Drinkability = 3.75 Boozy, big and strong.
Overall = 4.3875 Huge score here for Wulver. Terrific BB scotch ale.

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Photo of Rutager
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Buschbeer sent me this one a while back. Cheers, man!

Pours a dark amber-brown with a half finger of khaki head. Big nose of bourbon, vanilla, toffee, coconut, and oak. Taste is pretty amazing. Smooth bourbon, toffee, toasted oak, a touch of coconut, vanilla, and smokey peat. Maybe a bit of chocolate too. As far as the style goes (which isn't one of my favs), this is some really great stuff ...despite the style!

Full body, a little sticky on the lips, medium-low carbonation, nice warming in the throat but none of the boozy astringency. Great stuff!

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Photo of angelmonster
4.03/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky brown body with a 1/4th inch off white head. Head retention is good and lacing is great.

Smell is of burnt brown sugar, caramel malt and charred oak. As beer warms, bourbon becomes more apparent. Hops weren't detected.

Taste is definitely a malt bomb. Biscuit malts, caramelized sugar, and burnt oak dominate the palate. Bourbon is definitely in there but isn't too harsh for a 12 percent alcohol beer.

Mouthfeel is medium heavy, carbonation is a tad on the low end. Head was present throughout the beer and added a nice amount of creaminess.

Overall beer was good but malt and sweetness were overpowering. Would have liked something to distract from the cloying sweet malt, maybe more barrel aging?

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Photo of matt_duthie
4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours with a two-finger eggshell head which keeps a nice 1/8" cap for quite a while. Circulating flaky sediment amidst the mostly translucent amber-copper beer, not awesome but not bad looking. Smells really good...bourbon,caramel, toffee, raisins/cherries, vanilla, oak and some wine-ish tannins...sweet sweet goodness. The taste follows pretty similarly, with sweet caramel malt and the vanilla and bourbon hitting first, with the dark fruits coming in through the middle (moreso as it warms), and a nice oaky dry finish that still has the delightful barrel flavors lingering for some time after swallowing. Nearly no bitterness or hop character, which doesn't really hurt here. Amazingly smooth and pretty thick mouthfeel with significant warming, but very little alcohol burn. A Scottish Barleywine (if only that were a style...) of very high quality. Hate that it costs so much, but ranks up there with Backwoods Bastard, even if they are significantly different in presentation and character. Very very solid brew.

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Wulver from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 1,578 ratings.
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