Wooly Bugger Barleywine 2013, 2014 – Howe Sound Brewing (BC Beer Bloggers Local Winter Favourites Part 2, #3)

BC Beer Bloggers Local Winter Favourites – This special review is part of a multi-blog collaboration between five BC Beer Bloggers (including a guest from over the mountains in Alberta) where we each chose our top three local winter releases and are blogging about them. Please take a look at the bottom of this review for the other links to see all the beers we chose in no particular order and bookmark these sites so you can check them often.
West Coast Beer Geek

Winter beers are often higher in alcohol content and darker in colour.  With higher alcohol content comes the opportunity to age beer and see how they change over time.  With this in mind I got my hands on Howe Sound Brewing’s 2013 and 2014 vintages of their “Woolly Bugger Barelywine”.


When I poured both beer side by side I did notice that the 2013 was slightly lighter in colour although both were a dark chestnut colour.  Much like the differences in colour the 2014 had a much more active and larger tan head than the 2013.


Woolly Bugger Barleywine 2013 Vintage

The aroma consists of dark fruits, big malts, caramel and molasses.  The flavour is of dark fruits, big malts, caramel, molasses, some sweetness, pine and hops bitterness.  There is a hint of alcohol but more present as warmth.


Woolly Bugger Barleywine 2014 Vintage

The aroma consists of dark fruits, sweet malts, caramel and some brown sugar.  The flavour is of dark fruits, big malts including caramel, brown sugar, sweetness, hops bitterness and pine.  This beer is still fairly hot with alcohol but it is still very drinkable.  It is obvious that this beer was fairly fresh with the high alcohol content.

Both Vintages of this beer come in at a big 10.5% alcohol by volume and an IBU of 75.  As both versions warm up the flavour builds and this is quite noticeable with the bitterness.  With a year of aging this beer looses a big chunk of its boozy nature and the malts take over.  Not every beer should be aged but when it comes to big winter ales like Barleywines it is almost better to buy a couple bottles and hold onto them for at least a year before consuming.

Commercial Description:  A rich, malty barley wine-style ale, with an intense the depth of flavour. Named for the Woolly Bugger wet fly, one of the most effective and widely used patterns in fly fishing. Brewed with pale, crystal, cara, chocolate and special B malts, Nugget, Fuggles and Golding hops, water and ale yeast.

Food Pairing as per brewery:  The malt & caramel flavours of this barley wine make it a great accompaniment with hearty meals and desserts and aged cheeses, nuts and winter specialties.

Awards for beer
2014 Bronze Medal in the North American Beer Awards
2013 Bronze Medal in the North American Beer Awards
2012 Gold Medal in the Canadian Brewing Awards
2011 Bronze Medal in the Canadian Brewing Awards

Participating Bloggers: be sure to check them daily, I’ll add in their links as they go up!

West Coast Beer Geek – A beer geeks perspective on craft beer, beer events, beer pairings and more.

Mike’s Craft Beer – Not for the weak of taste buds. Lots of great beer reviews, brewery reviews and events on this site.

Dennis the Foodie – Weaving a personal story of food and beer in Vancouver, BC. Very thorough food reviews, great photos and beer pairings.

Western Suds – An Alberta craft beer blog written by a craft beer enthusiast and ambassador for the growing Alberta craft beer scene.

Beer Rater – A beer guide without all the fluff, just some straight forward drinking advice.

How to stay tuned into what we are doing? Look for the hashtag #bcbeerbloggers as we will be using it a lot. Please engage us in conversations, enjoy our posts, try these beers and share our work if you like it.


Pannepooch Reserva 2013 – Hair Of The Dog Brewing Company

Limited Releaase

From Portland, Oregon’s Hair of the Dog Brewing Company and Belgium’s  De Struise comes their “Pannepooch Reserva 2013 Old Fisherman’s Ale” a Belgian Style Quadrupel in theory.  The Brewmaster from De Struise came to Hair Of The Dog and brewed a version of his Pannepot remaned Pannepooch Reserva”.  The beer pours a brown colour with red hues and no head.  The aroma consists of malts, dark fruits and strawberry jam.  The flavour is of sweet dark fruits, candied sugar, cherries, molasses, plums, tootsie rolls, strawberry jam, malts, and some alcohol.  The alcohol content comes in at 13%.  The beer was as odd as it sounds but at the same time it was amazing.  I would love to get my hands on another bottle but due to scarcity and cost I doubt that will happen.

Commercial Description:  “We’re actually releasing a couple of new beers this year […] I guess the most recent beer, the new beer, will be Pannepooch, and Pannepooch is a collaboration with a Belgian brewer De Struise from Oostvleteren in Belgium. I went to Belgium last year and brewed in his brewery, and he came to my brewery and brewed in my brewery. So we are releasing one of his beers that he made in Oregon. Instead of pannepot, we’re going to call it Pannepooch. It’s a Belgian abbey beer, a quad. It’s a fisherman’s ale actually, pannepot.”




Old Cellar Dweller Barleywine Style Ale 2013 – Driftwood Brewing (Aged 0 Year)

Winter Seasonal

From Victoria BC’s Driftwood Brewing comes the “Old Cellar Dweller Barleywine Style Ale 2013″.  This is a Winter 2013 Vintage opened up soon after release.  This barleywine is a very different animal than any other vintage that I have tried to date.  The beer pours a medium copper colour with a white head.  The aroma consists of malts, caramel, citrus fruits and floral hops.  The flavour is of big hops bitterness and pine with caramel, citrus, malts and big alcohol warmth. The alcohol content comes in at 11.6% with a high IBU probably in the neighborhood of last years 75 IBU.  Something happened this year with the barleywine it seems.  This seems more like a triple IPA than a Barleywine.  Don’t get me wrong this is a great beer but it does not really fit into its category.  Age this beer for a few months minimum to bring down the alcohol warmth present.

Commercial Description:  This intense concentration of malt and hops is delicious when fresh but can be layed-down for years.  Enjoy with care!


Le Terroir 2013 (Dry Hopped Sour Ale) – New Belgium Brewing

Lips Of Faith Series

From Fort Collins Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing comes their “Le Terroir 2013 (Dry Hopped Sour Ale)”.  The beer pours a copper/orange colour with an off white head.  The aroma consists of floral hops, malts apples, and a mild tartness.  The flavour is of a tart sourness, sweetness, apples and a hops bitterness.  The alcohol content comes in at 7.5%.  This is an amazing sour ale and I am happy that for the first time a lips of faith series beer is available in BC!

Commercial Description:  Le Terroir: French, meaning ‘from the terrain, soil, land, ground, earth.’  You may have heard it as a wine term speaking of the environmental conditions of the vineyard, the pH of the soil, even the slope of the land. But beer has it too, especially a New Belgium sour beer, which oozes terroir from the pores of the wooden foeders we age it in. They produce a base beer that’s golden-colored with a soft overripe peach aroma and just the right amount of tart. And after 3 years in the foeders, you can bet it has some nice earthy tones. Round out that fruity base with even more unique fruity hops like Amarillo and citra, and this beer may just have more terroir than your classiest wine. And with the hop burp, compliments of the dry-hopping, Le Terroir is definitely classy!


Fresh Hoped IPA comparison 2013 (Revisited)

Last year I did a comparison post between two great Fresh Hopped IPA’s from BC.  In honor of that I have brought both beer back this year for a repeat comparison.  The two beer being compared are as follows: Driftwood Brewing – Sartori harvest IPA and the Phillips Brewing – Green Reaper Fresh Hop IPA (last years review) both out of Victoria BC.


I sampled these two beer side by side out of IPA Glasses.

IMG_00001865 IMG_00001866

Unlike last year these two beer poured noticeably different colours this year.  The Phillips Green Reaper poured a dark copper colour with an off white head.  The Sartori Harvest poured a light golden/copper colour with a white head.  Regardless both looked very tasty.

Decision: Tied

The aromas continued with the trend of differences although both were obviously fresh hop IPA not regular IPA’s.  The Green Reaper had aromas of malts, citrus, mild grapefruit and a very fresh earthy floral hops.  The Sartori had aromas of Malts, lemon and mild floral hops.  Both smelled great but one was just a little better on the nose.

Decision: Green Reaper

The Sartori harvest flavour has had a huge change this year.  The beer tastes thinner I don’t know how else to put it.  The Green Reaper on the other hand seems to be quite similar to last years version.  the Sartori tastes of malts, caramel, citrus, with a pretty big wet hop and earthy note.  The Green Reaper tastes of strong hops bitterness, malts, pine, lime and some grassy notes.  This year it was hard to pick a beer that I liked more as they were almost on different sides of the spectrum of wet hopped IPA’s.  I almost want to say this is a tie as Sartori has changed so much and I am not sure if it was for the better.

Decision: Sartori Harvest

Hop Profile:
These two beer used very different hops varieties.  The Sartori harvest uses fresh Centennial Hops which gives off floral and citrus characteristics with a medium to high bitterness.  The Green Reaper on the other hand uses a fresh Cascade hops which has a low bittering value but has aromas of flowers, citrus, spices and grapefruit.  I don’t know if the harvest this year just didn’t have the oils that last years hop crop had but the hop flavour of the Sartori just wasn’t as prominent this year.  The Green Reaper was similar to last year where there was lots of flavour to the hops but not as much in the aroma.

Decision: Tied

Winner:  The Drinker!  Both beer are great as always and both were equal in my books.

Last year Sartori Harvest was the far superior IPA but with this years batch there just isn’t a big difference in the brews.  Both have very different aromas and flavours but neither are Superior to the other.  This is only my opinion though and you will have to make that decision for yourself.  At least with Green Reaper not being on the same status to many you can still find Green Reaper in Stores.  Sartori Harvest was sold out as it hit the shelves.

Last years side by side review