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Wooly | Magic Hat Brewing Company

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162 Ratings

Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company
Vermont, United States

Style: Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
A Coniferous Concoction Pine for this Extra Special Bitter whose medium body and spicy hoppiness harmonize with flavorful, aromatic spruce tips.

40 IBU

Added by GilGarp on 10-11-2012

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 162 |  Reviews: 43
Photo of gkob
2.5/5  rDev -20.6%

Photo of BrianCuoz
3.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of AndrewMichael
3/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Adkins1203
2.75/5  rDev -12.7%

Photo of RudnicsMEB
3.75/5  rDev +19%

Photo of Strangeclouds
3.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of Mattyb79
3.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of UnoMasBelgian
3.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of wingman14
3.48/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a light orange with and off white head that fades fast. Smell is not very strong but it is mainly the spruce and a sweet malt. The taste starts with the spruce, not overpowering, but still the main focus to the beer. A nice sweet malt starts, but a bitter finish with a dry aftertaste with not much spruce. A nice smooth medium mouthfeel, an easy drinker if you are a fan of the taste. Not something I could have many of, but still a nice beer. Overall a good beer, not overpowering, mostly focuses on the spruce, but a good flavor.

 538 characters

Photo of tfsimpkins
1.25/5  rDev -60.3%

Photo of Jadjunk
3.19/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

"A Coniferous Concoction". Wooly ESB is brewed in the style of an Extra Special Bitter with spruce added. Available exclusively in the 2012-2013 Magic Hat Winterland Variety pack. No bottle information and no bottle date.

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle to a pint glass. Served north of 55º Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours an airy, crisp foamy head. Body color is a mildly hazy golden amber with an abundance of spritely carbonation. Head retention is below average. Lacing is thin but consistent. Appearance is decent, although a bit more energetic in carbonation and short lived in head quality, both contradictions to my impressions of the style. 3.25

(Smell) The aroma is peculiar, very reminiscent of lemon shandy beers. A meager pale malt profile, tart lemongrass, lemon zest and a hint of prickly spice is a strong contrast from the more robust and smooth profile of an ESB. Spruce is hardly notable- I get hints of pine-like characters but far more citrusy zest- I think that the latter would have done much better for the style. Potency is high. 3

(Taste) The flavor is not too similar to the aroma, as the spruce finally settles in. There's a soft piney malt blend up front and the malt body is still a very mild player in the flavor, offering some subtle sweetness on the soft finish but not enough to balance the herbal tartness of the spruce. The dragging finish is slightly dry with a tart grassy lemon note and some residual sweetness. Despite the spruce character, this is an easy-drinking ale that avoids harsh notes. The spruce was better underdone than overdone but it's not particularly interesting nor anything quite like an ESB. 3.25

(Mouthfeel) Carbonation is soft with a mild slickness, some tart characters from the part spruce-part lemon piney resin. Mild resinous-dry finish. Body is light/medium for the style, light overall. Alcohol presence is low+. I'm more used to a hard water character in these beers, but this one is relatively clean drinking and finishing despite the mild lingering spruce/lemon character. 3.25

(Overall) This is an example of a harder-to-classify ale, but ESB was most certainly not a close match for this beer. I can't say I'm completely familiar with spruce, but this beer had a far more lemony-citrus character and less piney character than expected, with a moderate-at-best malt profile and very little hop character either. I'd more likely label this a "Spruce Shanty". Good drinkability and an okay beer, but I probably wouldn't seek this out again. 3.25

Magic Hat Brewing Company's
Wooly ESB with Spruce

 2,578 characters

Photo of Trent
1.12/5  rDev -64.4%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Sampled this beer as part of a Magic Hat mix pack that included #9, Encore, and Heart of Darkness.

Overly herb / pine taste that bites and lingers. My taste in beer, while not deft and refined, is extremely broad and highly tolerant.

And I'm incapable of finishing this beer.

 279 characters

Photo of Selderkin
3.75/5  rDev +19%

Photo of Falcone
2.5/5  rDev -20.6%

Photo of EighthElement
3.75/5  rDev +19%

Photo of wayngrove
3.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of BlurryVisi0n
2.9/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Served in a pint glass.

Appearance: A deep darker gold with a tiny tint of haze on the body, heavy bubbles on the bottom and a white head that is maybe 1/3" off a hard pour. Does settle pretty quick.

Smell: Light hop scent, slight rosemary maybe thyme.

Taste: Spruce, yeah maybe, but feels like I am having liquid rosemary. Hops are strong but the "spruce" offsets the bitterness.

Mouth: Carbonation comes off medium to heavy. After taste of this brew is a little light, it leaves pretty quick and kinda happy it does.

Overall: Recently picked this up in a variety pack, and easily the weakest one of the group. I don't hate it but it's easily specially acquired taste. Have one on me...Salud!

 703 characters

Photo of Jason
3.23/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

12oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

LOOK: Nearly clear amber, thick two fingers of head

SMELL: Biscuity malt, mild spruce resin, ripe fruit, faint diacetyl

TASTE: Moderate sized body, wet, grainy, grassy, twang of spruce, light hopping, slightly biscuity, dried grass, watery, very dry

Not as complex as I though it would have been, a little out of balance but since the spruce is not that agressive the dryness actually helps in the area ... sadly it leaves the beer a in a lackluster state. A good stepping stone for anyone that has not had a spruced beer before and perhaps even an extreme beer.

 608 characters

Photo of mrskunk
3.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of nheinzie57
3.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of DenverLogan
2.92/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Capped bottle...small poof with cap pop.
Pours amber in color, clean...nice head of various size bubbles...lace begins early in a Stone snifter glass.
Why am I first thinking of an aroma of #9 apricot brew...it it psychological...aahh...or something in the Magic Hat yeast...uh...uh...rich aroma of tropical fruits, ripe fruits, old sneakers...slight citrus, non-spicy herbs, uh...apricot...no no no...why do I keep thinking of apricot.
Modest carbonation and mouthfeel.
Flavors of light malts, light tropical fruit rinds, slight cream of tartar, minerals, kumquat. Lacking in malt, hops, or typical English or American ESB qualities, which doesn't mean it's bad, just misnamed. Damn, I guess it's that Magic Hat house flavor that permeates some of their beers ...Number 9, #9, #9...oooh, where was I?!!...mineral flavors, light malt...a feeling of there's something flavorful there, but not much body there...uh...I'll give it 5 minutes...
OK...there's flavor but I can't call it satisfying, as an ESB lover or not.
OK...took it to my qualified beer taster and she said, toilet bowl cleaner. Now, friends, I'm not agreeing with that, but, it shows lack of great taste. Really, this is not what I would crave to quaff after work, or before...or during work, unless it was really bad work but hey, that's a 4 letter word and I'll conclude by saying, flavorful, but not in the combination I think accurate for the label ESB = Extra Special Bitter, or for anything fully satisfying in a beer. I feel bad to say this as I don't regularly rate beers in this category, but knowing this category, this is off and not especially tasty.

 1,629 characters

Photo of chefhatt
3.5/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured this into a pint glass, it has a light red color body with a very small head to it. The smell is earthy pine with some fruit coming through.
The taste has a very light citrus hop flavor with a malt backbone coming in on the finish. the mouth feel is nice, a little after taste on the back of the tonuge, overall it is a nice,easy drinking beer.

 353 characters

Photo of Focusf111
3.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Photo of shohen
3.25/5  rDev +3.2%

Photo of bigfnjoe
3.5/5  rDev +11.1%

Wooly from Magic Hat Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.15 out of 5 with 162 ratings
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