Wulver | Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

217 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: 217 | Ratings: 1,609
Photo of mothman
4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Light tan head. Caramel brown color.

Very oaky. Caramel and toffee. Sweet. Malty. Oaky with vanilla and some whisky.

Medium bodied. Warming. Ends malty.

Overall, solid, but not sure how this is top 250.

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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.


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Photo of LAp
4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours an amber-cola color - translucent with suspended yeast - with a 1 finger off-white to tan head. The nose is raspberry compote, sweet red wine (almost port or even rose), with hints of speyside scotch on the backend. The raspberry flavor is perhaps overly saccharine, like a raspberry simple syrup. The palate follows the sweet vinous qualities of the nose, leading with a touch of malt, but closing with a sweet bourbon, almost white-wine finish. The palate is far thinner than I had anticipated before I'd opened the bottle, but entirely consistent with the foreshadowing of the nose and palate. Ultimately, this beer falls on the lighter, thinner side of the Scottish Wee Heavy spectrum. It has far more in common with a barrel aged Innis & Gunn than with Backwoods Bastard or Gravedigger Billy. Overall, this beer is disappointing given the price and buildup. It's not a bad beer by any means, but there's nothing remarkable here either.

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Photo of k8kruk
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: A glimmering red with a bit of brown and tons of sediment. Virtually no foam or lacing.

S: Smells of spice and dried fruits with a hint of smoke and some booziness.

T: Tastes of burnt caramel, sour fruits, spice, spoke and a solid helping of bourbon. It's boozy, sweet and reminds me of Skullsplitter. Dried fruit, vanilla and sweet cream. Yummy! And strong.

F: Sticky, thick and substantial but creamy and filling.

O: The flavor is out of this world. Sweetness and bitters are well balanced and the bourbon aging rounds out this sophisticated brew.

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Photo of gopens44
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Head started out thick, fuzzy and beige, falling back to a thin layer on top this dark, translucent ruby beer.

Nose is big bourbon with a little sweetness coming through. Beyond that I could swear there's something maple-ish.

First swig carried a slightly tart vinous thing, but after that the taste follows the nose with big bourbon, but more along the line of purely in taste with almost no heat. Beneath bourbon there's sweet dark fruit.

Medium bodied, slick finish on an otherwise dry tongue that battles through a pretty sweet aftertaste.

Yep, it's good.

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Photo of Kasabear
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Scored this bottle over a year ago, kept it in the basement and today is the day. Kinda wish I had one at time of purchase for comparison..
Let's start with the look of the label.
Kinda classy looking showing off the 11 month aging logo along with signatures of the master brewer and who ever approved the bottling.
Even tells the perfect temp to serve at. 43' .
I start a bit cooler and let it warm as I sip the glass.
Look is good but all dark bourbon ales are dark and pretty. Head does not hang around long just like all bourbon barrel beers.
A bunch of sediment in the bottom of my class.Like a bunch. I like that.
Smell is fantastic. Sweet like bourbon without the 90 proof. Very nice.
Taste is dried fruits, vanilla, just a touch of booze.
Mouth feel is a hanger on'er and pleasant.
Overall a great sipper on a cold night.
As it warms up it gets even better.
12 percent will get you there quick.
I may need a good IPA to sober up.
Great job Thirsty Dog.

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Photo of martinpfal
4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Definitely raises my eyebrow at thirsty dog. Probably the first i have tried of their beers and this one is impressive. Look is dark Amber (like a Coke or Pepsi) with even less head. Smell of bourbon sweetness but the taste is just not there as much as I was hoping. I believe this is a scotch ale and it sure has the taste there with that sweet maltiness and added bourbon aging (11-months per the side of the bottle). Surely one for me to seek out again!! Touché Thirsty Dog!

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Photo of Biggtriksta
4.9/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I am finding that this is one of my favorite styles of beer - barrel-aged wee heavy/scotch ale. While I think that Backwoods Bastard has this one beat just by a bit, both are exceptional. I'm a huge fan of bourbon-infused, bold beers with hints of vanilla and caramel.

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Photo of Thomas_Wikman
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L - Amber-brownish color with some bubbles. Head was a bit thin.
S - A nice sweet bourbon vanilla smell, but a bit boozy
T - I loved the taste, distinct bourbon, sweet, raisins, vanilla, and despite the ABV 12.00% hardly any alcohol taste.
F - Creamy, goes down easy, a bit too carbonated, but I didn't mind that,

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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!

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Photo of GuitarIPA
4.12/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L - Amber, brown with a foamy off white head and nice lacing
A - caramel, bourbon and booze
T - pretty much what I've come to expect from barrel aging - caramel, vanilla, bourbon flavors
F - medium body, sweet - but not too much, well carbonated

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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 Slack
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Amber brown and clear. Razor thin head and minimal lacing.

Aromas of sweet malt, booze, bourbon, vanilla, and maybe dark fruit.

Taste follows the nose, bourbon, sweet malt, vanilla, oak, and a mild booziness.

Mouthful is medium and creamy with medium carbonation. Semi dry finish.

This beer hits almost every mark for me. The bourbon is not overwhelming, the flavors are easy to distinguish and not imbalanced. This is easily drinkable and definitely recommended to try.

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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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Wulver from Thirsty Dog Brewing Company
4.35 out of 5 based on 1,609 ratings.
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