Norwegian Wood - HaandBryggeriet

Not Rated.
Norwegian WoodNorwegian Wood

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BA SCORE
88
very good

309 Ratings
THE BROS
81
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 309
Reviews: 216
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 10.18%
Wants: 48
Gots: 21 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
HaandBryggeriet visit their website
Norway

Style | ABV
Smoked Beer |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Sigmund on 06-17-2007

Brewed with smoked malt, munich malt, crystal and chocolate malt, and spiced with juniper twigs and berries.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 309 | Reviews: 216
Photo of Phoodcritic
2.82/5  rDev -28.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

I cannot easily evaluate the quality of this beer, because I didn't find it to be drinkable. Most of this $9 bottle went down the drain. I've enjoyed a few beers that claimed to be smoked; clearly I don't care for one where the smoke dominates everything else.

Photo of Scandahoovian
4.36/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Upon opening, a steam-like, tan haze swirled around inside and just escaping the mouth of the bottle. I expected it to begin foaming, champagne-like, which it did, but not immediately as I had expected, catching me off-guard. The foam was wonderfully effervescent, somewhere between brown and tan, and created a huge head with a frothy top. Happily, the foam died down before I became impatient to drink the beer. A distinct, butterscotch, chocolate and smoke smell wafted up in a fairly full manner, though not quite as much as I would have liked. The butterscotch and mostly chocolate taste was definitely pleasant, too, but also a little bit less than I had hoped for; however, the mixed-in smoky flavor was fantastic. I have had only a few smoky beers, and in all the smoke taste seemed separated from the rest of the taste and kind of industrial or cigarettey. This smoke was clean, like that of a hardwood fire, and subdued but not faint like what would emanate from a hearty fire in the hearth of a well ventilated chimney. A slight flavor of the fire's wood was mixed in with the smoke. Along the way, there were periodic, faint hints of subdued lambic fruitiness, perhaps from the juniper berries, though not discernibly juniper-like. Too bad. The field was a bit or watery than I had expected, based on the richness of the head. Also, though the beer poured a kind of orangey-brown with lots of bubbles, the effervescence wasn't really discernible. I suppose the bubbles were just too small, so it made a neat appearance, but didn't add to the experience in the mouth. Overall, this was a more than pleasant beer, with a superlative smokiness to it.

Photo of bmaggot
4.99/5  rDev +27%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is quite an experience.
Being very fond of smoky smell and taste I can certainly say that this beer successfully embodies everything that can be felt by burning a fire in the woods. With generous dash of juniper.

Deep amber with huge head that decreases slowly.
Majestic smell of cold burning wood and juniper.
Tastes as it smells with addition of sweetness.

Photo of psoriasaurus
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had some norwegian wood for this one for quite a while and finally had the opportunity to pick one up today. Pours a beautiful, deep mahogany with a hardy, rocky, creamy head. Nose is not what I expected - the smoked malt is definitely subdued... this beer has the nose more of an imperial brown ale in that it is a slightly sweet caramel chocolate nose rather than a smoky one. Not surprisingly, the taste follows suit. A little less smoke than I was hoping for, but nonetheless an elegantly crafted smoked beer. It's definitely a different spin on the style, with the complex array of spices and malts up front and the smoked malts riding caboose. All in all, it is a highly enjoyable beer, perfect for a cozy winter night indoors.

Skål!

Photo of Tone
3.91/5  rDev -0.5%

Pours a cloudy, brown color. 2/3 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and decent lacing. Smells of roasted malt, sweet malt, slight hops, smoke, hint of coffee, hint of chocolate, and a hint of yeast. Fits the style of a Smoked Beer. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with a high carbonation level. Tastes of strong smoke, roasted malt, slight sweet malt, slight hop, and slight chocolate. Overall, decent appearance, good aroma and body, but the high carbonation level is unappealing.

Photo of 57md
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Copper. Some smoke on the nose but it is not super potent. Smokiness in the flavor profile as well. Aside from the smoke, the rest of the flavor is pretty unremarkable.

Photo of doktorhops
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Time for some Norwegian Wood, which would sound a bit X-Rated were it not for the novel by Haruki Murakami with its title based on The Beatles song "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)". HaandBryggeriet are actually a Norwegian brewer, so I guess in this beer the reference has come full circle (as this brew is smoked with actual Norwegian wood).

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: A pleasing hazy deep auburn body with a massive 3 inch tan head that soon settles to a thin lace on top. HaandBryggeriet are (for me) renowned for their explosive heads - their Kreklingøl ruined my last keyboard (which is why I always open beers in the kitchen now). 7/10.

S: Smoke notes give this brew a burnt sesame oil aroma, followed by toasted pine, hints of pepper, and a thin malt base, expecting little but smoke in the flavour now - a bit too much for my liking. 6/10.

T: The flavour, thankfully, is delightfully sweet, smoky and nutty. There is a dry Juniper berry finish and more nuts than you can poke a squirrel at. The burnt sesame oil flavour lingers on well into the aftertaste and is right on the border of being overbearing. 9/10.

M: Mid to light(ish) bodied with a classic HaandBryggeriet explosive carbonation that strangely does not give me the hiccups like most fizzy drinks. Perhaps a touch watery is the biggest criticism with this beer. 5/10.

D: Well this is quite a departure from any other beer I’ve ever had. Even a Rauchbier like Schlenkerla Urbock tastes different to this Smoked Beer. I give it big points for being so far out there and unique, and despite it being a bit watery/gassy, I fully endorse this brew - if like me - your tongue is seeking new challenges in the beer world. One of the best HaandBryggeriet brews so far, and I would recommend this first before you attempt to topple the tipple (Odin’s Tipple). 9/10.

Food match: The sesame oil smoke in this brew made me long for fried egg noodles in sesame sauce.

Photo of skipxtracer
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Had this on tap at Amundsen Brewery in Olso. Pours amber, no discernible head or lacing. A nice drinkable smoky beer. A lot of effervescence but with tiny bubbles. Leaves a buzz in your mouth like a well made Gewurtztraminer. Taste is smoky of course but the malts really come through. Fun beer.

Photo of Bouleboubier
4.01/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(batch 561 - poured into a balloon)

A: somewhat hazy auburn colored liquid, bit of sediment does cloud it up a good bit toward the end... tall, open, frothy/sudsy foam on the pour; retains exploded texture and volume as it recedes... looks wild and rustic altogether; a frothy cap remains till the end... with the rest of the sediment poured in, it becomes remarkably opaque, nebulous

S: floral, sweet smoke... dark, toasted malt... moderate campfire quality to the smoke later emerges, ahead of the floral notes... the intensity of the aromas very much die down with the addition of the sediment...

T: bold, hard-hitting smoked embers, backed by an equally bold seedy, herbal flavor... moderate toasty malt backbone, however, nearly absent of sweetness... so, in essence, it's mostly woody, earthy, smoked, dried vine/stem-like vegetation with a mildly biting, enlivening bitterness... bit of a phenolic, wild culture funk on the edges?... alcohol fairly well hidden, tiny touch of bubblegum and the skins of the juniper berries real late in the aftertaste

M: frothy and dry; not a terrible degree of roundness to the body, but it's not thin or sharp... no heat or burn in the aftertaste outside of what the smoked grain provides... altogether soft and float-y

O: for smoke beer lovers, this is actually a real treat... out of the bottle, it doesn't look as pretty or drink as clean and muscular as it does on draft... I'd suggest really taking care to not pour out too much lees

Photo of Luk13
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Brown pour with fluffy brown head. Aroma is smoked wood and intense sesame oil. Taste is nutty and smoked malt and wood Lively carbonation. Body is slightly richer than most traditional smoked. Also, it is not a meaty smoked, it leans more toward campfire and nuts. Decent smoked but not on par with the traditional version such as Schlenkerla's. 3.5

Photo of mverity
4.54/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared. Pours a creamy looking brown with thick creamy tan head that lasted really well. Sticky lacing and thick legs. Creamy mouthfeel from medium carbonation and rich body. Aroma is light smoke, caramel malt sweetness, and some faint earhty/floral hop. Taste was fantastic! Rich caramel, smoke permeates through everything, but well balanced. Really glad I got to try this one.

Photo of EspressoGuy
3.6/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml- batch 488- best for 20.06.14
a:brown with hints of copper
S: deep rich moka; lots of milk chocolatey goodness... but over a short time it does fade to a more muted aroma
T: wow- a smooth brooding smoky moka taste; there's a high mellow bitterness throughout; finish is a bitter stickiness, like salted liquorice; not at all an aggressive smoky beer; the taste is very together and balanced;
M: medium carbonated; medium body
O: the character that was so strong when I first opened and tasted the beer soon faded. Still it's a very appealing beer well-balanced beer but not as amazing as I originally thought it would be. I

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Shikimon for sharing this one at Wowcoolman's tasting.

Batch 432. 2160 bottles produced.

Pours a murky dark orange with a foamy bone head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, smoke, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with smoke and char flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of smoke bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is very smoke forward but doesn't show any juniper from what I can sense.

Photo of Oakenator
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours an amber color with a hint of red coming through. Slightly cloudy. Good head is nice and thick initially then lingers well. Some nice chunky lacing on the glass wall.

S: Smoky, burnt, roasted, malts.

T: Nice layering. Juniper berries up front to middle with a really nice lingering in the mouth of the smoky, roasted malt flavor.

M: Mid bodied - nice pop off the tongue.

O: Enjoyable.

Photo of leaddog
4.29/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours a dark amber with a finger of bubbly head.

Smell - Smoke like a campfire, smoked malts, spiciness, wood.

Taste - Warm smoky malts reminiscent of a campfire. Similar flavours to lapsang souchong tea. Hint of juniper and spice.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth body.

Overall - A unique smoked beer by HaandBryggeriet. I really like the level of smokiness - reminds me of nights by the campfire. Very well executed.

Photo of Jwale73
3.76/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

500ml bottle served in an SA Perfect Pint. Batch 432 printed on the label. Pours a translucent amber with a fizzy, 1.5 inch, butter-colored head that sizzles and pops as it slowly recedes into a creamy, 1/8th inch cap. Nose is difficult to describe - herbal and spicy, some citric acid and just the merest suggestion of smoke towards the back. Taste expresses smoked malt, but it doesn't come across as being overly meaty. There's also an acidic presence (must be the juniper berries), as well as a slight medicinal character towards the finish. Mouthfeel is light-medium with a prickly carbonation, a slightly oily texture and an astringency that stimulates the salivary glands along the sides of the cheeks. Overall, I find myself pleasantly surprised at how much I like this beer, despite Smoked Beers not really being a style favorite. Definitely a good way to accustom the palate to the style without being assaulted by smoked meat.

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a dark amber color ale with a large dirty white foamy head with good retention and some light lacing notes. Aroma consists of smoked malt with some light tart fruit notes. Taste is a complex mix between some tart fruit notes with some smoked malt with light dry caramel malt notes. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well put together and quite original.

Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.84/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

If this beer is anywhere near as satisfying to me as its musical namesake, I’ll be happy. Cheers.

A: Translucent, ruby-red body; tan, fizzy cream head that only lasts for a minute. Minimal retention looks like powder over the body, with very little lacing.

S: Hickory, smoked-cured meats, campfire, pepper, and sweet maple come headlong in a tumult of deep, roast-forward malts – a gripping, full smell. It doesn’t lay waste to the subtlety of the nose, though, as smoked beers are wont to do: there are spaces for apple butter and a light herbal character to rest. Still, this nose is mainly smoke.

T: The palate lives up to the smoke-and-juniper description on the label – if you’re thinking char and herb tastes, that is. It begins with a malty, crackling smokiness, tasting of bacon, fig, burnt toast, cedar, almond, and smoky char bathed in semi-sweet chocolate. There’s lots of dark complexity, but the chocolate comes through with intensity matching the smoke, drawing attention to the sweetness of the palate. And then the herbs: juniper and mint bolstering a bevy of lemony hops, tastes that I didn’t think I’d be getting in a beer this dark. They’re certainly welcome, though. Finishes with a toasty, tannic bitterness.

M: Slightly astringent via that hard water character that can only be found in beers produced in Europe; I’m convinced I won’t be able to find that texture in the United States. And as far as European beers go, this one is pretty thick: medium carb and medium body.

O: The chocolate in this beer is keeping me excited for each sip; it’s a taste I haven’t found anywhere else. And beneath all that, it shows nice play between bright herbs and bitter smoke. Just goes to show the skill at which Haandbryggeriet operates: every beer I’ve had from them has been complex and satisfying.

Photo of beergoot
3.77/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Batch 209
Brewed feb. 09
Best bef. feb. 11

Poured a nice reddish-brown color with a good off-white head. Definite smokiness to the smell along with some grain sweetness. Taste nicely combines sweet, malty grain flavors with smoke. Mouthfeel comes across soft and light.

Despite being sampled about 19 months after the "best bef." date, this beer brought out a nice combo of smoke flavor with a gentle malt sweetness. I didn't catch any of the juniper berry component of this beer. This beer would be a perfect introduction to someone who is curious about smoked beers but my be a bit leery about being overwhelmed with some of this style's bolder examples. I was a bit surprised that such a relatively light body still packed such a wonderful flavor. Not too big...not too little...A fine beer...

Photo of sommersb
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Tasted On: 09-19-2012
Freshness: Batch 432
Packaging: 500ml brown bottle, pry-cap
Glassware: Pint glass
Purchased: Single from Argonaut Liquors, Denver

The brewery website has a nice description about the history of this beer in Norway and the ingredients used. They say it is a recreation of ales all Norwegian farmers were compelled to brew by law!

Appearance: Dark copper-colored and cloudy beer, topped by a large off-white head. Excellent lacing and head retention in the glass.

Smell: Big smoked aromas here, reminiscent of a campfire, plus woody (oak) and earthy notes.

Taste: As in the aromas, the taste is dominated by smoke flavors. The website says they use imported smoked malts from Bamberg, the home of the rauchbier. The taste reminds me of meat as well, like bacon. Other flavors are from the juniper twigs and berries, used instead of hops, which impart some wood/piney characteristics.

Mouthfeel: Highly carbonated and having a body between medium and full. The finish features smoked meat flavors - not really sweet or dry, but balanced between the two. I think the edge smooths out as the beer warms up.

Overall: This ale reminded me of Yazoo's Sue smoked porter as well as the German rauchbiers. A slow sipper due to the intense taste, but a well-constructed beer I'm glad to have tried.

Photo of spoony
3.79/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

From a bottle into a snifter.

A-Copper and amber tones. Thin head of lighter colored foam dissipated, but never went away completely.

S-Campfire and wood. Smoke is very strong, but I found it pleasant. Just a hint of the junipers mentioned on the label.

T-Smoke and charcoal. Oak is there, too. A touch of yeast and malt, but I didn't get much juniper, which is probably OK since the smoke is plenty to handle.

M-Mothing special. Medium body with lighter carbonation.

O-After the overwhelming smoke subsided, I noticed some more fruit flavors and I started to enjoy it. My palate was probably blown out by the end, but I managed to finish most of the 500 ml bottle.

Photo of liamt07
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from ZorPrime, thanks Eric! 500ml into a tulip, batch 408, bottled September 30, 2011.

Reddish brown with a cream coloured cap. Good retention and a bit of lace. Nose has some smoked wood, caramel, toasted bread and some mild darker fruit notes that could be coming from the berries. Some earth as well. Taste has some heavily charred wood/bread, caramel and some herbal, fruity notes. Drying, with charcoal and burnt matches in the aftertaste. Medium body and a relatively low carb. An OK smoked beer, but doesn't really stand out for me as it's a bit harsher in some regards than I appreciate within the style.

Photo of askeladden
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is a beer that doesn't smell like beer: once opened, the aroma of smoke is extremely strong. Smoked salmon, smoked beer... It seems that Norway lies in the very deep hearth of this brew. I know that "5 should be rare", but a 5 for a smell like this is mandatory!

A - dark amber color, very opaque body. The foam is quite firm but not so thick.

S - read over. Wrapping strong smoked smell that reminds of a burning match.

T - smoked flavor above all. The juniper berries give a dry fruity taste.

M - it's 6.5% abv but the mouthfeel is not that strong. The alcohol is almost totally covered by the mixture of smoked and fruity flavors. It leaves a thin layer of aftertaste that lasts for several hours.

O - if you like the smoked aroma (as I do) drinkability is not an issue. Not for everyone though: either you'll love or hate it.

[I'm not a native English speaker but I hope you'll understand my review.]

Photo of zaphodchak
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thinnish offwhite head, and deep amber body. Some lace.

Incredibly pungent smoke, a bit odd.

Acrid, harsh smoke. Piney, almost, maybe tannic. It's like you're eating a popsicle, but it's just the popsicle stick.

Some medium carb, kinda coarse.

Decent but kinda harsh in terms of drinkability.

Photo of bruachan
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

it's been awhile since i review a beer, which is stupid because i drink plenty of good stuff

reddish copper color with merengue head and promising lacing to start

aromas are smoky and hoppy. the latter spicy and herbal

the smoke and juniper tandem magnificently. the spicy tang of berry melds well with the gritty smoke, as both ride the sweetness of a full-bodied brew. which brings me to my next thought...

even if 6.5% isn't strong, the beer is a mouthful. it's fun to evaluate what fun smoke it, other than just contributing awesome. it's spicy and earthy

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Norwegian Wood from HaandBryggeriet
88 out of 100 based on 309 ratings.