Tag Archives: Rogue

Howe Sound Woolly Bugger Barley Wine

At, 11%, 75 IBUs, brewed with pale, crystal, cara, chocolate and special B malts, and seasoned with nugget, fuggles, and golding hops, the Howe Sound Woolly Bugger barley wine is a highly complex, highly refined, must-see-for-yourself beer. It is thick, with bits of sediment/pebbles floating in the bottle; not to worry, decant it finely and enjoy the character it bestows.

– Kamran


While not a huge fan of barley wine, and having not yet tasted one that really floats my boat, the Howe Sound Woolly Bugger blew me away. The beer is bursting with flavour, both on the nose and the palate; each individual sensation is distinct, yet well integrated, and highly pronounced. On the nose, there is a rich chocolate caramel sweetness that mingles with delicate hops — particularly the fuggles (reminds me of the Anchor Christmas Ale) — and a red wine-like acidity. The alcohol presents itself with a slightly citrus sourness that deftly complements the rich sweetness of the malts.

The beer is profoundly sweet, but the malty sweetness is balanced by robust hops, and enough IBUs to instill a crisp finish. At 11%, it is slightly heavy and the malt sticks to the sides of your cheeks. Since the flavours are so well endowed, you really can’t drink too much; one is perfect. This is currently the best barley wine I have tried, though I never got a chance to taste Driftwood’s highly regarded ‘Old Cellar Dweller’. Rogue, however, makes a close second.

Nose: 22
Body: 20
Taste: 23.5
Finish: 21.5

Kamran: 87 pts.


Without a doubt, Howe Sound Brewing’s Woolly Bugger is one of the best barley wines I’ve had to date. With an 11% alcohol content and 75 IBU’s, this beer packs a pleasant and complex punch with the wide variety of malts and hops contained in the bottle. And while generally I’m not a huge fan of beers with fuggles hops (such as the Innis and Gunn Canada Day 2011 release), the mix of fuggles with other varieties was a nice counter balance to the malts. This beer had an ability to constantly keep your palate guessing as to the flavours and an ability to leave you wanting more; a feeling some barley wines lack.

On the nose, the malty sweetness is quite prevalent as in any barley wine, yet the fuggles hops really cut through to my sense of smell. Surprisingly hoppy, the floral aroma is very inviting when mixed with the malty sweetness. The body is thicker than I anticipated, but it still allows for easy drinking. In terms of taste – having been sitting in my cellar aging for over  six months – the tones of chocolate were noticeable through the sweetness. As well, the hops was adding to the rich complexity that Kamran and I both enjoyed. The finish had a flash of bitterness on the tongue with a lingering sweetness and a chocolate taste that seemed to stick to the cheeks and back of the tongue. It even had the similarity of an alcohol taste like a cognac from what we could derive.

This beer is best enjoyed alone and at a cool temperature, and is one of the only barley wines I could recommend as a session beer if the occasion arose seeing as I could easily have a few in a night. So if you happen across this beer in a store, buy it and enjoy!

Nose: 22.5
Body: 23
Taste: 22.5
Finish: 21.5

Tristan: 89.5 pts.


Final Average: 88.25 pts.

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Beer Reviewer’s Lament

Unfortunately, we have all-but-lost one of our contributors. Our friend, James, has gone to England for an indeterminable amount of time. As a result, he, of course, will not be able to join us for tastings, or even access the majority of (Vancouver Craft) beers that we will be imbibing. James has agreed to continue contributing as a solo reviewer, guest writing on some of the beers and spirits he may taste there.

In a way, this may benefit the site. We have not been entirely productive, especially in the last few weeks, and a major cause of this is in coordinating three people — both for tastings and reviews. From now on, since there will just be the two of us, Tristan and myself,  you may confidently expect a higher level of activity and enthusiasm. At least until July 4 when I leave for Europe.

Rather than saving drafts and publishing only once all reviews have been written — a feature which has certainly slowed us down — we will now post as soon as one of us has written our review. This should give you something to engage yourself with, as well as indicate that another review — written by the other person — will arrive soon. With two people rather than three, the game of catch-up should be quicker, and we will more easily be able to motivate each other.

Thanks for visiting the site, and expect plenty of reviews to come soon!

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Rogue Dead Guy Ale

Rogue Dead Guy Ale is an awesome session beer. This Maibock is rich in malt aroma and flavour, it is a hearty beer that goes down smooth and sweet with a light hops finish to round it off. Rich copper colour when poured, along with an almost opaque body, with minimal head. While it comes in either 6 packs or tall boy bottles, it is not a cheap beer. However, this Oregon import is definitely worth a try. This beer is part of the reason why Rogue Brewing is well regarded by us.



To me, Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale is a richer, maltier version of Phillips’ Blue Buck. Basically, if you were to trade the hop levels of one of the beers, you’d end up, more or less, with the other. Both are incredibly well balanced session ales that may be enjoyed regularly, often, and over the course of a night; you don’t want just one! They are so well balanced in regards to malts and hops, lightness and darkness, and lightness and heaviness that they are equally suitable for just about any occasion; you could drink it while playing beer pong, sip and enjoy it on tap, or pair it with just about any meal.

Craft brewed in Oregon, Rogue’s Dead Guy Ale has a subtle, but pleasant nose, a medium-body that is simultaneously rich and easy-drinking, a fine balance of flavours on the palate — though I’d personally prefer the hops pumped up a bit, à la Philips Blue Buck — and a long, consistent finish.

While it’s not the best beer in the world, I would, without hesitation, recommend the Dead Guy Ale to anyone and everyone, because, put simply, it appeals to the masses. It has something for everyone, whether an IPA enthusiast, a Stout connoisseur or anything in between!

Nose: 21
Body: 20
Taste: 20.5
Finish: 21

Kamran: 82.5 pts.


A solid beer in my books, this malty nosed beer – with traces of a hops and fruity aroma – is a beer that most people would really enjoy. It balances the sweetness of the malt with some hops and caramel notes in the flavour. It does have a bitterness to it that I find keeps the beer crisp and primed for a session ale. Compared against the Phillips Blue Buck, I would have to agree that they are well contrasted. The finish is solid for this ale, a smooth fresh malt with a zip of hops at the end. A crowd pleaser to be sure, even if my score seems to be a little low.

Nose: 21
Body: 19.5
Taste: 19.5
Finish: 20

Tristan: 80 pts.


I can’t really say anything bad about Oregon. No sales tax, beautiful scenery, great pizza (Flying Pie, anyone?), and enough beer to fuel UBC’s engineering force for an entire undergrad stint (victory laps included). Rogue definitely makes a road trip to Oregon a worthwhile investment, as they always seem to produce something worth trying, and the Dead Guy Ale is no exception.

Right out of the bottle, a nice, subtle caramel smell entices you to try a sip. As you do, you’ll notice a smooth, lightly carbonated ale which doesn’t leave you feeling bloated or heavy, giving it a pretty high drink-ability factor. The taste is not my favourite, but the slightly bitter citrus overtones provide you with a flavour to grab onto without the intensity of an IPA. The bitterness stays with you throughout the finish, leaving you with a slight, but enjoyable, tingle on your tongue. This is definitely a beer you could enjoy in spades.

And you can’t go wrong with that bottle either.

Nose: 20
Body: 23
Taste: 20
Finish: 20

James: 83 pts.


Final Average: 81.83 pts.


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