Wet Willy Scotch Ale | New England Brewing Co.

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Wet Willy Scotch AleWet Willy Scotch Ale
Very Good
320 Ratings
Wet Willy Scotch AleWet Willy Scotch Ale

Brewed by:
New England Brewing Co.
Connecticut, United States

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-01-2008

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 320 |  Reviews: 157
Photo of andrewinski1
4.13/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from my brother for Christmas. Poured into a tulip. A very light tan solid head rests atop a perfectly caramel colored clear body.

The aroma is a nice bready toast aroma. The malt is really the star of the show here. There is a little bit of buttery aroma as well, but it took me a while to find it and could be perceived as a nice addition to the complexity; it is appropriate for the style.

The flavor is mildly sweet and very malty. Almost no hop presence is detected. Toffee and caramel are dominant flavors, and the beer only hints at a touch of burnt sugar. Very nice with the subtle flavors.

A nice smooth mouthfeel for the high ABV. This is very smooth and drinkable. Love it.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
4.35/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a hazy orange to light brown in color with a light tan head. In the aroma, peat, caramel, and a small roast. In the taste, dry peat, dry caramel and a small sweet earthiness. A small bite, but mainly smooth and a light to medium bodied mouthfeel, with a semi dry earth and almost sweet pear in the aftertaste. Nice small fruit and nice dry caramel and malt, quite nice.

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Photo of robwestcott
4.08/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks to alpinebryant for this one.

poured cold from the bottle an opaque maple syrup rose hued brown to a dogfish head shaped pint glass with a nice long lasting foamy tan head with good lacing.

aroma of dark nuts, brown sugar and a bit of bourbon (?).

scotch whiskey forward, big bodied and full of heat, burnt brown sugars, dark fruits, caramel. super complex brew.

thick, smooth, creamy, sweet, medium carbonation, lots of heat.

drinkable - yep, wish I had 2.

to me thus seems a bigger bodied, more rounded backwoods bastard.

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Photo of CliffBrake
4.2/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Medium to dark hazy amber color with modest head and good lacing.

Nose is of roasty malts and caramel. The taste is very reminiscent of scotch whiskey - caramelized malts lead the way, backed by fruity flavors - banana and apple, and a capping hop bitterness. Vanilla and a round, creamy mouth feel are probably contributed by oak chips used in fermentation. Well constructed.

A fascinating beer - well balanced but quite bold and unique. It tastes like a bit like a brown or strong ale aged in whiskey barrels. Well worth seeking out. I am glad I have another bottle to check out after some cellar time.

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Photo of GbVDave
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle into two pint glasses. Thanks to HollyAnn for the assist! Extra special thanks to Ineedabeerhere for this from our latest trade.

2010 Vintage

A: Pours a hazy, bright amber color with a bubbly, off-white head. Retention is ok with nice lace left behind. Carbonation is quite lazy.

S: Smells of caramel malt, apples, mild citrus, and alcohol.

T: Just as above with an emphasis on the alcohol flavor. A touch of white grape in the finish?

M: Sweet and slick with a quickly creeping solvent alcohol quality that tickles the nose and tingles on the tongue.

D: I didn't realise this was packing 10% until I took my first sip and made the realization that this beer is strong, and they made no effort to hide that fact. Good show!

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Photo of ms11781
3.6/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 vintage. 500ml bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a dark orange/amber color. A creamy off white head that sticks around for a bit before dying down to a thin white cap that hangs on until the end.

A malty sweetness followed by smoky notes dominate the nose here. Some alcohol is present as well. Maybe some dark fruit, but I'm not sure as it didn't seem to show up each time.

Almost immediately alcohol consumes the palate then malty and smoky flavors take over. Caramel, oak and now I finally understand exactly what people mean when they get a smoked peat flavor. Another boozy kick finishes out each sip.

Mouthfeel leaned towards the fuller ends of of things and was a bit oily for me. Definitely some heat as well.

This is a one and done for me. 10%ABV seems low on this one. Not entirely tough to drink but definitely a sipper that won't leave you wanting more - in one sitting anyway.

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Photo of ThreeDimesDown
4.32/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Cellared for about a month on a recommendation from a guy who was present during bottling.

Poured a clear burnt Sienna color with an eggshell white head. The one finger thick head dissipated to a skin that stuck around for the duration.

Notes of caramel, vanilla, oak and a hint of spice (cinnamon). Very subdued nose.

Taste is bigger, with some nice complexities. Caramel and toffy malts with a bready malt backbone. Black cherries, brown sugar sweetness, and nuttiness. The only presence of hops detected was in the slightly bitter finish. Alcohol warmth is well balanced especially for the %.

Mouthfeel is medium and smooth, almost creamy.

Overall a very nice brew, lots going on but balanced out well.

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Photo of tchaos
4.16/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a snifter at Mellow Mushroom in Brandon. New England Brewing does not have a huge presence in FL; therefore, this beer was new to me.

A - Pours a hazy, deep copper with a one-finger off-white head that diminishes into fair lacing. Moderate carbonation can be seen. Expected this to be clearer for the style.

S - Very faint hops; predominantly deep, earthy malts, with a bit of sweetness and alcohol also present. Aroma develops exceptionally well as it warms.

T: Rich, nutty malts and dried fruit pervade. Less alcohol comes across than the 10.0% ABV would suggest. Some hop bitterness in the middle, before a touch of sweetness that gives way to a lightly dry finish. The hops were a pleasant surprise, as was the restrained sweetness (vs. for example, Old Chub -- http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/2681/14712)

M: Smooth and full, with moderate carbonation. A bit of warmth on the finish from the alcohol.

D: This is a very inviting scotch ale, from a drinkability perspective. The slight bitterness from the hops help balance the sweetness from the malt, which results in a clean finish. Each sip encourages another.

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Photo of flexabull
4.07/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of gn0sis, thanks again!

Pours a deep amber/brown color with a good white head.

Aromas are nice. Sweet caramel, oak, and coconuts.

Taste is malty sweet, but not overly so. It's about right for the style. Nice coconut notes, light oak, and boozy sweet. Finish has hints of earthy hops, and a nice alcohol warmth.

Mouthfeel is ok, but it seems a little thin, I'd like beers of this style to be thicker.

Drinkability is good. Very solid example of the style, with more body this would be really good.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.79/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased from Grand Vin, 500ml bottle.

A nice deep red colour, I get close to a 2 finger head of foam with some good lacing.

I'm trying to pull out the aromas but it's kind of tough. Very mild nose of some fruity and malty sweetness. A really light nose for a big brew.

The taste is much bigger. Sweet malt that has a light dark fruitiness to it, vanilla, an unusual liquor kind of flavour that strikes me like scotch, and a decided bitter feel close to and in the finish where I get a lot of warming. Hmm...I don't I've evr had one of this style that tastes like it. 2nd pour and the beer turns a bit hazy.

There's plenty of body here with lightish carbonation. A good feel and good drinkability once I got used to the taste. I've decided, me likes!

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Photo of robhunta
4.27/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - lighter amber brown than expected, but still looks nice, clear, good head, dissipates and leaves bigger bubbles around the glass

S - First scent I noticed was actually scotch, which is good, has a sweet malty aroma, then when the beer first hits my mouth I reallyt smell the alcohol/scotch flavor

T - delicious sweet scotch flavor, good malt flavors

M - I bit sticky, but thats expected for this malty brew, nice smooth mouthfeel, some warm alcohol feel too

D - Great dessert beer

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Photo of silentjay
3.81/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours lighter than expected and murky brown with a spotty off-white head that laces okay.

aroma of caramel, vanilla, nougat, butterscotch (i guess this is aged in barrels? doesn't say so on the bottle after some research i find its aged with oak chips.) and plenty of booze. they definitely went for a Scotch character with this scotch ale. not bad.

kinda odd flavor. comes on a bit strong, then fades to almost nothing until it comes back for a warming boozy aftertaste. has some hints at wonderful flavors but goes watery in the middle and has little flavor overall. bit of a let-down from the aroma.

again, a bit watery with very little carbonation. some nice booze heat hits at the end and lingers softly.

drinkability is good. alcohol is not harsh (just pleasantly warming) and flavors definitely aren't detrimental. bad part is that the flavors are kind of weak. not what I was expecting. not worth the premium price tag for me.

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Photo of number1bum
4.34/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light brown, copperish sort of color with one finger of light beige head. Keeps a thin, bubbly lace with minimal stick.

Smell is rather delicate for a beer of this strength, but quite nice. Soft caramel with a modest sweetness to it, and a nice buttery, almost toffee-like aroma as well. Subtle earthiness as well. Very nice.

Taste is also more restrained than I might have guessed when I read the 10%. It has a nice caramel flavor but it's not overly sweet at all. Has a lightly toasty, bready quality to it, and a buttery flavor as well. Not quite like a butterscotch flavor because it's not that sweet. Subtle bitterness in the finish with an earthy flavor as well. This is incredibly smooth and there is not even a hint of alcohol detectable.

Mouthfeel is a very smooth medium-full body, quite clean in the finish. A bit lighter than I would have guessed given the ABV, and smoother as well with no alcohol burn or bite.

This is a definite success by New England, taking a style that I don't typically care for that much and making it a delightful sipper. I say sipper because I know the ABV, but if it wasn't on the label I would never guess it the way it drinks. That's a testament to how smooth and balanced it is. A really nice beer to sit back and savor on a cool evening.

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Photo of cbutova
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 "vintage".

A- Murky red-brown with a very small head that leavs a creamy ring and some spotty lace.

S- Very buttery with dark fruit and caramel as primary aromas. Some bread notes in the background.

T- Starts out with a good amount of dark fruit and caramel and upon swallowing turns into a piece of toast slathered in butter. I remember burping and it tasted like morning toast afterward. A malt bomb. Some oak and vanilla type notes going on.

MF- Moderate body with a fairly oily feel rather than creamy. Carbonation fairly high and some warmth from the alcohol.

DB- A malty butter bomb, quite unique and filled with diacetyl. I really don't mind it but I could see some people ripping this apart. Very impressed by the fact that it is single malt, must have a beast of a yeast.

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Photo of far333
3.36/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Caramel and ruby colored with a beige head that settles out quickly. Very low aroma of caramel and metallic note. Flavors of caramel and toffee, some vanilla, a bit woody, maltiness is offset with firm bitterness. Finishes with some grassy hop notes and mild phenols. Mouthfeel is a tad slick, but finishes tingly, slight warming of the cheeks. Tasty beer, but not too complex, was expecting more.

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Photo of stakem
3.97/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle freshly picked up at the brewery care of Dan. The new bottle format includes a maroon shrink wrap collar/sleeve around the cap that matches the label. Poured into a snifter wet willy appears a hazed copper color. 2 fingers worth of creamy yellowish stained head appear and retain fairly well. A webbing of lace clings to the glass.

The aroma of this brew includes hop character that is both fruity and citrus-like reminiscent of orange rind. There is a little bit of smoked malt character hidden beneath the hoppiness. In the back of the aroma is a scent of vanilla that blends with the hops to create a very smooth sweet smelling scent that is very enjoyable but quite unlike the standard scotch ale nose. As it warms, the fusel character to the alcohol becomes more apparent with a slight sting to the nose.

The taste of this brew has a bold presence of fusel alcohol and a bold bitterness from herbal hops upfront that lasts long into the aftertaste. Midway through the taste there is a vanilla smoothness along with caramel malt sweetness and some fruity suggestions. The smoked aspect of the malt is faint in the background.

This is a full bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. It feels viscous and almost gluey in the mouth reminiscent of the feel of a roggenbier that has a huge portion of rye in the grain bill. I don't know what it is about this brew...I like it but it is outside the box. Right now it is safe to say that it is a bit hot and could use some time to mellow out and blend the flavors. Once the boldness of the hops and alcohol chill out there could be a spectacular scotch ale hiding within.

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Photo of Chico1985
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to cbutova for sharing this 2010 vintage..err..bottle.

Pours a super-hazy red/brown, small off-white head. Retains well as mostly a cap leaving some lacing.

Smell is a little hard to describe, reminds me of something I can't pinpoint. Pure wood/oak, buttery sweet malts, freshly cut grass. Strange but very intriguing.

Caramel/butter/toffee malty madness. Aftertaste is, flat out, buttery biscuits on a Thanksgiving table. Buttery popcorn. It does fade some letting more flavors shine...big grassy notes along with some light and dark fruits. Mouthfeel feels a tiny bit thin for 10% but I won't knock it since it uses a single malt. Booze is there but mostly only in a warming way.

This was a strange and interesting take on a Scotch ale. Butter taste will probably be over the top for some but I enjoyed it for the most part.

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Photo of Arenbeer
4.3/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

550ml Bottle poured into a DFH Snifter Glass. This a fresh 2010 vintage

A- Pours a real nice murky dark reddish brown with a real small less than 1 finger head that disappears instantly leaving just some bubbles in the glass. Being 10% it leaves some nice feet on the sides of the glass as well.

S- Really sweet caramel malts with a huge amount of oak and wood. Definitely some vanilla and alcohol notes. Smells great!

T- Really smooth caramel malts up front mixed with some alcohol sting on the tongue. But after it goes down you get a real nice oak and vanilla flavor that coats the throat real nicely. Almost has a spicy side as if there was cayenne pepper in this but I'm certain there isn't. Mostly likely from the alcohol.

M- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation even though it doesn't show it and a nice wet finish with a slight sting on the throat from the alcohol but makes it enjoyable.


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Photo of Pahn
4.55/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

500ml bottle into Duvel tulip. 2010 vintage.

Appearance: Free pour yields a bubbly and frothy one and a half inch bone white head that dissipates steadily without leaving much lacing. Pours a translucent light amber/orange, and leaves spotty but sweeping and copious lacing that doesn't go away.

As a sidenote, I really like the presentation in the bottle as well. The wax-like plastic + seal over the cap is a nice touch, and I'm partial to those sleek Pliny shaped 500ml bottles.

Smell: Sweet malt, faint herbal/effervescent aroma, and wood (like straight wood; like smelling an unfinished cabinet or sawing a piece of oak in half). Gets a little boozier with warmth, but with the booze comes a huge array of malt notes; caramel, almond, some Bailey's and other liqueur-like aromas. Really excellent.

Taste: Again, sweet malt and subtle but distinct oak, followed by a hot alcohol finish that quickly gives way to a long vanilla oak aftertaste. Warmth does the same thing to the flavor as the aroma, bringing out lots of great malt flavors, though the beautiful (and somewhat restrained) oak notes stay strong throughout.

This is great stuff. I could be persuaded to give 5s for both smell and taste. The only reason I'm not doing so is that I think maybe it could be a little better, somehow. Maybe.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, maybe on the lighter side. Juicy, with a moderate, perhaps greater than expected level of carbonation. The lighter body really lets these flavors shine. They might feel a bit more natural in a thicker, creamier beer, but I like how the light body provides such a sharp focus for the flavor.

On the down side, the finish occasionally gets a little chalky, which is the closest thing to a flaw present in this great beer.

Drinkability: Hot, but a flavorful sipper. Consistently good flavors, but more than enough depth and complexity to be actively interesting if you pay attention.

As is probably clear from everything above, NEBCO impresses me with their brewing skills once again. This is a great Scotch ale. I could drink quite a lot of this.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.87/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500mL bottle. Pours a murky as hell light brown. Medium sized head. Lots of lacing. Interesting aromas of booze and caramel apple. Taste is only slightly boozey. Caramel and malt flavors. Nice warming alcohol taste. Almost has a barleywine characteristic to it but maybe I'm crazy. This beer does a nice job of balancing the 10% Abv but not being abusively boozey. Worth picking up.

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Photo of steve8robin
3.63/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Glad to find this one at the local beer store. Heard a lot of good things about this brew. Let's give it a go. 2010 350ml bottle...

A: A murky deep ruby / bronze mix with a huge 2 inch off white head that fades at a slow pace. Very good.

S: Get some scents from here with the glass on the table. I take my tulip glass to my nose. I get some bready rye, sugary malt, and hints of booziness upfront. I get some caramel and some apple in the middle. Not much on the backend. Good.

T: I get some breadiness upfront blended with a boozy bite. Some floral caramel with a hint of apple. A little watery on the backend. Decent.

M: Medium bodied with a very nice carbonation. Clean and heavy on the finish. Good.

D: Doesn't fair as well as you would like here. The booze is not very well hidden, so ok here.

All in all, this is definitely a booze heavy brew. This is characteristic of the style, however, it is not very well hidden here. This is good to try if you like to taste the heavy booze flavors in your beer. If you like more balance, maybe not your best choice.

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Photo of begforme4484
4.55/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice brown with amber hues, minimal off white head that receded quickly. Spotty lacing on the side of the glass.

Some nice scents hit your right away. A profound woody smell with hints of chocolate laced in. It's toasty and smokey, with a touch of vanilla. It's all over the place in a good way, but still malt-centric.

Wow, a smooth vanilla oak flavor on my first sip, very nice. A nice sweet caramel effect in there, with a clean and slightly bitter hop finish. It's smokey, woody, and sweet all rolled into one, with a slight hop finish.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, smooth, and midly carbonated.

The drinkability is definitely a sipper, although, I can easily see myself consuming more than one.

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Photo of Gambrinus1184
4/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap in a fluted pint glass at Delaney's Tap Room in New Haven, Conn.

A: Muddled, brownish amber color with a deep chilled haze and visible viscosity. A one-finger head of dense, creamy white foam formed and faded around mid-brew.

S: Nice tobacco and roasted malt aroma with whiffs of ethyl alcohol, toffee and hop resins.

T: Big, sticky sweet and powerful malt blend up front, almost like a liquor. Chewy, roasted barley, tobacco and smoked peat blend with a caramel, toffee-like sweetness followed by big doses of drying alcohol and fairly aggressive, bitter herbal hops. Finish is big, sticky sweet and a little boozy.

M: Full-bodied ale with a whole lot of alcohol heat and some very chewy, lush malts to sip on. Hearty and enjoyable.

D: A cold-weather sipper category Scotch ale for sure. The 10% ABV is big, bold and very noticeable. Has the warming sensation of a glass of scotch with the sweetness and bitter touch to endear. A good, high-ABV brew for the malthead looking to stave off the winter months a while longer.

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Photo of SiepJones
4.82/5  rDev +23%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Snifter

A: Pours a deep brown, like a glass of apple cider. There is no clarity through the beer. A half inch of head sits on top of the beer, and once it dissipates it leaves a small ring around the edges of the glass.

S: Lots of scents: Malt, Peat, Toffee, Carmel, Vanilla, Oak.

T: Oak up front with a touch of Peat. Good malt backbone with a hint of vanilla on the finish. That combination gives the taste sweet Carmel/Toffee flavor (scent also).

M: Chewy mouth with just enough carbonation, and a touch of alcohol heat. Very well balanced.

D: As far as flavor/scent/mouth goes this is an excellent, very enjoyable beer, with many characteristics of Scotch. Unfortunately the high ABV is going to keep me from drinking more than two of these. Bummer.

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Photo of woosterbill
4.48/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Growler of the 2010 vintage into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours a hazy reddish-brown body topped by a perfect inch of creamy, sticky, dense tan head. Great retention and lacing by any standard - unbelievable for an 11%+ beer (which is where this year's version wound up; last time was the 10% listed on BA). Wow.

S: Whoa, this beer is an entirely different animal fresh compared to the aged bottles I've had from the last vintage. Yeah, there's the toffee/caramel/toasty/smoky malt, as well as the rich vanilla oakiness, but there's also a huge herbal hop presence. Some alcohol is noticeable, but it's by no means the booze bomb that a beer so big and so fresh might be expected to be. Excellent.

T: Opens with oak, then moves into a richly sweet malt body, and finishes with some bitterness and booziness. Big, bold, balanced, and delicious.

M: Full-bodied and rich with smooth, mouth-filling carbonation. The effervescence does a great job combating the stickiness. Perfect.

D: It's definitely on the big, boozy side of the style, but the bitterness and carbonation make this totally, seriously dangerous. Good thing I had help with the growler, or I would have been walking home from my friends' place.

Notes: What can I say? This is a crazy, unique, and delicious brew. One malt plus one hop plus a ridiculous amount of oak chips make for a stunning experience. I'll be buying as many bottles as I can find and aging them for years to come.


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Wet Willy Scotch Ale from New England Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 3.92 out of 5 with 320 ratings