Review Date 12/9/2004
Have you ever
had a Wailing Wench? I had one just this evening. What's that you say?
You're going to tell Barbara? Well, she already knows. She was there when I
bought the Wailing Wench. What? You think that I.....heaven forbid!
Wailing Wench is a beer, of course! But you knew that.
I wish you could see the label of this beer, but alas you can't. It features a buxom red-headed maiden, whom I think rather resembles my Beloved Barbara(TM), along with the slogan Full-bodied ale screaming with hops. And they're right about that, this beer surely does scream hops; as soon as you pop the cap you'll get a nose full of them.
Because this is an India Pale Ale (IPA), a special India Pale Ale. Of course, Middle Ages already has an IPA, their Impaled Ale . And it's a fine one, too. Many breweries would be happy to make even one IPA as good as Impaled Ale. Middle Ages has to show them up and do two.
The Wailing Wench is an Imperial IPA, a bigger bolder IPA with more alcohol, body, and hops. As Imperial stouts are to stouts, so Imperial IPAs are to IPAs. They are a recent phenomena, born and bred of the American tendency to try to do everything bigger and better than everyone else does.
Wailing Wench pours to a brilliant ruby-red color with a thick creamy head and an intensely hoppy, buttery nose. This is definitely a Ringwood ale, you get the distinctive yeast signature straight off. The palate is full and rich, with lots of chewy, very toasty English malt character. There's a touch of fruit in the middle, too, and a delightful creaminess. A thick layer of Brussels lace follows the beer down my glass.
But the yeast and hops really steal the show here. Wailing Wench is a sensory overload of intensely bitter, grassy hops. They hit you right away but grow stronger on into the finish, then linger for a while on the tongue after you swallow. There's plenty of that herbal, mushroomy, buttery Ringwood yeast character, too.
This is a very intense beer, and I like it a lot. A real lot. I already love Impaled ale, but the fuller, richer body here makes a great thing even better. Wailing Wench is sold in 22 ounce bomber bottles for about $4 each, and it's worth every penny. So take my word for it. If you have never had a Wailing Wench, you don't know what you're missing. Get thee hence and try one, posthaste.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.