A life just as ordinary

Just like you, but different

Beer – #944 – Wild and Woolly – Sooty Albatross

Wild & Woolly Sooty Albatross. A smoked IPA! Deliciously presented in a paper bag, because the beer is in a green champagne bottle, and they couldn’t figure out how to protect the beer from the sun, and it’s brilliant!

(literally) bags of dirty

This is the 750ml bottle size of beer that has brew with a 90 IBU. Tops out at a larger 9.5% ABV and 285 calories a serve size, this would be about 5.6 standard drinks.

Brewed by Wild & Woolly in the style that would be a Smoked and they are in Wellington, New Zealand

Woolly is the man that’s been to work

As a general rule hops and smoke don’t get along, but this huge peat smoked IIPA is an exception.

Sooty Albatross uses 9% peat smoked malt, along with (literally) bags of dirty, resiny US Chinook hops to make an unlikely but delicious marriage.

All this piles on top of a big base of surprisingly un-sticky NZ malt balanced off with a whole heap of hop bitterness.

So, What could possibly go wrong?

Hoppy like IPA on opening this, and that’s quite a hiss. Oddly, I thought it smelt more of chocolate than smoke too. but also something a bit vaguely rotten, which wasn’t a signal of impending greatness.

It’s very very lively with a 60/40 head to beer ratio that just stayed in the glass. The head is full and fluffy and not very noisy but is lovely just off white colour. There is a lot of it 🙂

Aroma is somewhat dank hops.

Peat is very obvious on the first sip here, really noticeable on the tongue and palate too, it might be subtle but it’s really loud and boisterous.

It doesn’t die down either, the peat is like the low thud of  bass music, and I’m pretty sure that I’m not a fan of Chinook hops in this way, they’re a peculiar bitterness that does not sit will with the addition of the smokiness, they clash and don’t combine to elevate.

It is interesting if ultimately not quite successful.

As it warms I began to enjoy less and less that after-lingering taste.

What I do like though, it’s a bloody magnificent beer to pour, it’s cloudy hazy and forms a fantastic head, that’s always bonus point.

A lovely beer to get as a gift from the son who I admire and resepct more than he knows or understands,  keep going Bob* you’ll do things
*Bob isn’t his real name, it is a long story.

The pdubyah-o-meter rates this as 7 of its things from the thing. It’s ok. audacious and daring and you have to be near the edge or you’re taking up too much space, this then a remarkable swing at something daring and different that just does quite come off. I don’t like the hops particularly and I don’t think that the smoke does any favours with them.

The double dip review

  • Where did I get it? This was gift, but I’ve seen them in limited numbers in really good places like my local Liquorland in Forrest Hill, give Todd a call.
  • Am I enjoying it? Not so much.
  • Would I have another? Not enough to go looking for one.
  • Would I share with a friend on a porch and set the world to rights? No, this is a bit of a calamity really, it’s a lovely presentation and that, and a brilliant idea but it ends a bit of a disappointment.

Music for this:  ”Jon and Roy ” and ” The Road Ahead Is Golden ”    on Spotify 

on and Roy is a Canadian three-piece folk rock and reggae band from Victoria, Canada. Reggae which I wasn’t quite expecting.


The classic smoked beers hail from Bamberg in Franconia, Germany. These are made using malt that has been smoked over beechwood. The insistent smokiness may be applied to any lager style. In North America, the same technique has been used to make smoked porter. Whiskey malt beers are made using peat-smoked malt.




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