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Norwegian Wood - HaandBryggeriet

Not Rated.
Norwegian WoodNorwegian Wood

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

219 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 219
Hads: 317
Avg: 3.93
pDev: 12.21%
Wants: 48
Gots: 26 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
HaandBryggeriet visit their website

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.
View: Beers (38) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 219 | Hads: 317
Photo of doubleipa
2.35/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Didn't really know what to expect. Great, very smoky aroma, as expected. Huge, light-brown, mostly lasting head. Cloudy, brown color. That's were the good experience ended. This is like nothing else I've every had. It tasted plain awful. i couldn't drink very much of this. Huge dissapointment.

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Photo of Phoodcritic
2.62/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | 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.

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Photo of mothman
2.72/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured into CCB Snifter

Pours 1/2 finger of fizzy head that settles a bit. Good retention from there. Color is a dark chocolate brown.

Aroma: Lots or roasted malts with what must be the juniper berries. Has smoke near the end. Very malty with notes of chocolate. Maybe some other spices.

Taste: Fairly smokey and burnt. The juniper berries are covered up by the smoke here. It has some light bacon flavors with notes of ash. It tastes almost soured in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Very fizzy. Reminds me of drinking an amped up carbed be pop. Medium bodied with way too much carbonation. Ends very dry.

Overall, nothing I enjoyed too much. Not very drinkable and I am starting to like smoked beers more. This one just didn't work for me. It might be hard to finish this one.

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Photo of GRG1313
2.86/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Batch 100; Brewed Oct. 07; Best before Oct '09; Purchased at Park Lane in Lancaster Calif. Off the shelf well past "best before" date and tasted and reviewed same date.

Pours dark with a nice khaki head.

Nose is light smoke and bacon with chocolate and coffee undertones.

Mouthfeel is thin but has some character and appeal and is well balanced.

Flavors are all sweet dark chocolate and smoke. Decent light bitter acidic coffee/dark chocolate finish.

A year and a half past it's "best before" date the beer still has nice character and flavors. However, based on this tasting it shows that this one can take the aging but likely not improve. Would try again fresher.

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Photo of bark
3.07/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Batch #66, brewed in February 2007.

The colour is brown with a tint of red; the liquid is hazy. The two finger head is yellowish, compact and uneven. It builds a fine crater while leaving some lacing.

The smell is malty with lots of smoked favours. There are also some full bodied notes of gin and junipers. Some sweetness as well as dry-sour slightly chemical flavours (including some yeast).

The taste is strong, may I say demanding? At first, a very dry malty flavour is quickly replaced with a soap-like spicy flavour of juniper berries, lavender and a sour touch of citric acid. Then, notes of lightly smoked malt emerge. The thing is, I cannot find any sweetness at all in it, making the beers body quite weak. The strong aftertaste got dry and very yeasty notes, some gin-like flavours; almost no smoke at all. I remember the rather chemical sour-yeasty flavour (not 100% pleasant) from other Haandbryggeriet brews. Do they have a signature yeast strain?

The carbonation is medium strong; lots of small bubbles that tickles the mouth. The liquid is a little thick without getting any particular smoothness.

I must admit that brewing a beer with smoked malt and juniper berries is a quite daring task. Sadly, I think this beer is a little too much for me, making it hard to finish. And that is never a good sign.

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Photo of HomeBrewJunkie
3.1/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Norwegian Wood pours a nice dark brown, with a huge creamy head. The retention of this head is amazing. When exposed to the light I see a burnt orange color poking thru.

I imagine a smoldering piece of oak when put to my nose. Under the smokiness, juniper berries sweeten the nose. Some malt sweetness is present, but toasted and smoky malt is more prominent.

The flavor is similar to the aroma smoky and oaky. Acidy almost like liquid smoke. The smoke and wood take charge of this beer, and doesn’t give any slack to the other flavors. I get flavors from the berries, but they taste like they are smoked as well. Finishes dry almost as you are licking that smoldering piece of oak. However as it warms it grows on me. It’s a little sweeter now but the smoke, wood and acid like flavors are still very demanding.

Moderately carbonated feels good in the mouth. Not to thick and not too thin just right. Although I have yet to be won over, it’s had good mouthfeel.

I will leave you with this. If you are a fan of smoked and or woody beers I would give this a try. It overwhelms you with these flavors though. Personally I did not think this beer was all that bad. If you give it time it might grow on you too. Don’t be too quick to judge with this one let it warm up a bit.

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Photo of Domingo
3.2/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Norwegian wood smoked with juniper berries? Sounds like it's worth a try.
Pours a reddish-brown color, that's more red than brown. Not sure why, but I expected this to be pitch black...even though rauchbiers typically aren't. It's a little cloudy, but light makes it through.The head on this is HUGE. I poured about 1/2 of it into a glass and with each subsequent pour thereafter the head comes back and takes up 2/3 of the glass.
Smells like smoke up-front, but then I start to get a minty herbal flavor. Reminds me a little of a smoky spruce beer.
The taste is smoky like a rauchbier, but the jumpier berries give it a medicinal aftertaste that's really bitter. It's a novel flavor at first, but after a few sips, I was getting a little sick of it. It does have a little bit of a gin kick in there between sips, but that strong bitter smoke is just too much.
Mouthfeel is thick due to the huge head that keeps forming. Really pretty heavily carbonated.
I have to say that I just didn't care for this. I'm actually learning to like rauchbiers, but this weird variant didn't do it for me. I finished about 3/4 of it and poured out the rest. If you really like smoked beers, this is probably worth a try. If not - avoid this. Everything about this beer is pretty strong, and somewhere I wish there were some more subtle characteristics.

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Photo of Wadsey
3.2/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Batch 285 with a bottled-on date of 25.05.10.  Poured into DFH signature glassA: 

A: Enormous off-white head that dissipates leaving generous lacing.  The beer itself is deep amber, bordering on light brown.  Initial pour was clear, but sloppy second pour resulted in sediment and haze.

S: Smokey barbecue and salted pork with a subtle, general fruitiness. Could that be juniper berries?

T: The general fruitiness asserts itself surprisingly in the front, then smoke quickly smothers it. The  appealing barbecue and pork aspects of the smoke are somewhat lost in the taste. Instead, it is ashy, salty and slightly burnt. Thankfully, these qualities subside the quicker I sip.  Something akin to a spicy brown ale threatens to emerge but never quite makes it. Finish is oddly minerally, almost metallic. 

M: Carbonation is slightly higher than medium and the body of the beer is medium. Dry beer.

D: Norwegian Woods rates well in Appearance, Smell and Mouthfeel, but it simply does not deliver on taste, so drinkability suffers. I do not think I need to revisit this beer. 

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Photo of Goldfish19
3.31/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

~ Purchased this bottle from Big Z Beverage in Huntington, NY. Batch 86. This beer pours a dark reddish brown with a light tan head. There is a powerful smokey aroma up front. It is so potent that it blocks other flavors from breaking through. The taste is similar to its smell. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a little syrupy.

Overall, I found this beer to be a little boring and one-dimensional. Worth a try if you like smoked beers. ~

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Photo of John_M
3.35/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

What a very odd beer.

The beer pours a brownish amber color with outstanding, pillowy head retention and OK lacing. The beer looks very impressive. On the nose, this beer is a complete mess. I know it's billed as a smoked ale with junniper berries, but the combination is not attractive. There is the noticeable smoke and gin aroma, along with an underlying hint of chocolate. However, the combination of smoke and gin gives this beer a sandlewood, dish soap aroma. It's not the least bit attractive. Thankfully, the beer on the palate is nothing like the nose, consisting primarily of milk chocolate, coffee grounds and a hint of licorise. There is also a hint of the gin flavor, but it's very light and not at all obtrusive. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a soft, long finish. While the abv. is fairly low, it's very difficult getting by the aroma on this beer. I literally had to hold my breath every time I took a sip, which is not how I want to enjoy a beer.

This was an interesting beer, but have no plans to ever purchase it again.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.38/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours an effervescent, dark reddish body with a small, fizzy off-white head.

Smell: Intensely smokey, meat-laden nose with hints of wood and fire-roasted juniper berries.

Taste: Dark caramel flavor and sweetness that's smothered with a ton of smokiness and wood. Mmm, thick-cut bacon. Charred juniper berries and mint. Christmastime potpourri blend. Hint of yeast. Finshes dry, with an herbal bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Well carbonated, kinda fizzy actually.

Drinkability: I hope you like your beers smokey!

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.4/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Expensive at $7.99 a bottle, but the novelty/promise of a Norwegian smoked beer with a classy label got me. Pours a muddy deep brown, with a thin light-tan head made of very small bubbles. Small ribbons of lace appear as the beer disappears.

Roasted grains and a musty presence in the aroma remind of a Scotch ale, but the woody/smoke element gives a unique slant to this beer.

Flavor is very much smoke, a little peat, more smoke, wood, and smoke. I suppose it would pair well with bacon. That's right, pair it with bacon. Apparently this is brewed with juniper, but you have to really use your imagination to sense it amidst the smoke haze. It's not as robust as expected, partly due to the light, fizzy mouthfeel. Finish has an astringency that somewhat reminds of soap.

This is good and interesting, but not great and legendary. I expected a bolder, more complex character; has its problems along with its positive attributes. Looking forward to their Russian Imperial Stout.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.45/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with a nice ruby color around the edges. Very nice half inch head forms on the pour.
Smell has a some well done smokiness in it. Taste is campfire smoke. There is just a hint of spice coming through. I am mostly getting smoke in the taste. Well carbonated and crisp on the mouthfeel. It's not a dominating smoke flavor, it's subtle and compliments well.

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Photo of billab914
3.45/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 500ml bottle into my Surly glass. It poured a deep, caramel brown color with a thin, frothy white head to it. Pretty decent head retention, with a little lacing.

The juniper really jumps out at me in the aroma giving it some big herbal flavors. I get some sweeter, malty flavors coming out in it as well. The smoked malt gives it a nice, smooth smokiness and seems to bring everything together. The smokiness is very nice, the juniper is a little strong for me though.

The taste has a strong herbal, juniper and sweet malty flavor to it. The smoke comes through in the finish and again seems to bring the flavors together. I find myself really liking the smoke, but again the juniper just really doesn't do it for me. It feels a little sweet and herbal side in the finish.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being above average. Overall it was a pretty drinkable and flavorful beer, but the juniper just really isn't my thing. It felt a little too sweet and herbal to me, but I really did like the smoked malt in it.

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Photo of tigg924
3.47/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, cloudy, light brown in color, moderate carbonation

Smell: smoked malt and faint florals

Taste: light smoked pale malt, sweet florals, earth, and some charcoal

Mouthfeel: light bodied, slightly watery, smoky with a bitter backbone, moderate carbonation

Drinkability: I like the mix of of the smoke and sweet florals. I wish the malt here was a tad less pale and the florals were a bit more present. This is an interesting beer, worth picking up. Not sure if I would get this again, but certainly worth the try.

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Photo of joemcgrath27
3.47/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - very hazy burnt orange brown, decent head that you could hear as it fizzled away quickly with no real lacing
S - odour of yeast, herbs, peat smokiness, bready and with some aparent alcohol
T - wood and tobacco smoke, mild but building fruitiness, herbal and leafy towards the finish with some alcohol heat
M - over the top carbonation, spicy and somewhat dry with a lingering feel similar to a cigar
O - interesting in that it has the tart fruity characteristics of a belgian and/or juniper berry flavoured pale ale, but with a mild yet rich smoke to it, the juxtaposition generally works but not a brew where I'm looking to crack a second, well worth a try though for the uniqueness alone

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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.

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Photo of bonk0076
3.48/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

16.9oz bottle

Apperance - Hazy mahogany in color, this beer poured an ambitious beige head that takes a bit to settle.

Aroma - Dominated by smoke and meat smells. With a little bit of pine beneatht it.

Taste - Strong smoke taste up front. Jerky, as well. Juniper is very faint.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel, with a nice hoppy finish to balance out the smoke.

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Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500mL bottle - Batch 72
Bottled April 07 Best by Apr 10.

Pours a medium chestnut brown with some orange hues. Thick & creamy tan/orange head that thins, but maintains. Decent lacing on the glass.

Aroma is very smokey and woody with just a hint of spice.

All smoke upfront leading into some woody flavors and just a hint of juniper. The base beer is overpowered. Finishes dry.

Medium body, high carbonation.

Overall, a decent smoked beer. I tremendously enjoy rauchbiers and smoked porters, but this guy fell just a bit short. It's quite one dimensonal, and I will esily pass this over for my beloved Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen....

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Photo of Sigmund
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle, bottle conditioned. Brewed with juniper and smoked malts. Dark brown colour, creamy head. The aroma is dominated by smoke (beechwood?) and oak. The flavour is very smokey and woody, with notes of hickory and tar. Dry finish. Smoked beer fans will probably be more excited than I was.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Probably my favorite brewery in the whole wide World, I saw this today at the Bottle Barn and jumped for joy!!! First off, all their stuff is wicked expensive here in the states. This is no exception at $8.49/500ml bottle. Yikes!!! Pours a beautiful ruddy amber. A finger of creamy smooth head settles into a thin blanket of light tannish head. Leaves wonderful lacing. Well carbonated. Interesting notes on the nose - yes, juniper, but I get the whole bush, not just the berries. A sort of bark-ish scent way in the back. Some tart cherry notes, also. Very interesting and unique. Flavor is kinda crazy. Huge, tangy malt character, fortified with a bunch of the juniper flavors, cover you like a blizzard. This quickly is overtaken by a windstorm of smoke - it's like a Winter campfire of sorts. This malty, smoky middle carries for a while until and into the finish, which is long and only a trace hoppy. There's an off bitterness in the finish I can't place, but don't really like. All-in-all a good, and very unique, beer but not close to my fave from these great brewing innovators.

What I like most: The beautiful pour.

What I like least: The off bitterness in the finish, and the complex yet competing flavors.

Verdict: Not quite worth the hefty price tag, but if you see it you should try it for its unique qualities.

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Photo of ph2001
3.54/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

16.9oz bottle in pint glass

this poured with TONS of head. a deep reddish amber color. smells smooth and hoppy, not really of smoke.

there is a nice swettness that is pretty mild. the smokiness doesn't really come into effect until the aftertaste, then it seems pretty strong, but nice. i don't really taste any of the juniper berries either. the carbonation was out of control on this one, could definitely be toned down a bit.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500ml bottle purchased as a single at Julio's, Westboro, MA. Batch NR 70, Brewed Mar 07, best before Mar 10.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, it's a foamer, 1" clear red brew, 4 1/2" beige froth. Head is down an inch in a little bit, with random large chunks of lace here and there. Aroma is smoky and effervescent. Taste is somewhat muddled at the front, sweet and spices battling it out. Smoke comes on in the middle, then a quick peek of chocolate at the close. Mouthfeel is maybe a bit too prickly, and drinkability is alright. Doesn't come together very well, but is an interesting brew for sure.

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Photo of aerozeppl
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottled April 07 Best before Apr 10. Batch 72 6.5% ABV

A: Cloudy brown color with 4 fingers of tannish head. Retention is very good with some lacing as well.

S: Smell is totally different. Herbal with a touch of smoke and meat.

T: Very herbal and flowery up front. Then the smoke slowly rolls in. Finishes with a very intense burst of juniper.

M: Med body. Hard to describe this one. Well carbonated but it doesn't feel like it is.

D: Never had this style of beer before so drinkability is a hard decision. I split the bottle and that is fine with me. A sipper I would say though the smoke is not overwhelming nor are the spices. Totally different and worth tracking down if you can.

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Photo of bigeyedfish
3.55/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

bottle courtesy of Amada's finest. poured into a pint glass.

a little bit of a gusher. some quick reflexes saved my three-day old crossword puzzle/coaster.

the body, once everything kind of settles from the aforementioned gusher is not really what i expected. a really dense mahogany/burgundy brown body that is almost impossible to see through; it's not an especially dark beer. it's just tough to see through. i honestly didn't know what to expect this beer to look like, but i don't think i expected it to look like this. the head is kind of dense, and pretty sticky within itself, but surprisingly lacking in the lacing department. kind of a yellow/off-white mixture, only a little bit darker. nice looking beer.

across the room you can smell this beer- it smells of berries. up close it's a lot of the same. the intermingling of smoke and juniper berries is awesome- the smoke is the first odor present, but it pretty quickly turns to an aroma of berries. really big smoke on the finish of the aroma, although with a hint of vodka aroma mixed with the smoke. probably the biggest aroma of any beer i've ever smelled. not sure if it's a good thing or not. stings the nostrils.

i'm not sure where this ranks in terms of smoked beers- i can't say the general style is one i'm well-versed in. even more, the scottish gruit/ancient herbed ale is one category that up until this moment, i did not know beer advocate even had. you really do learn something everyday. so it's tough to say if this is good or bad for a smoked beer- kind of like the first time you have a gueze.

as for the body, well, it most definitely tastes like it smells. i think if anything, it is a lot closer to scotch whiskey in respects to similar flavors than to any beer. it's kind of peppery, only if the pepper had been eaten off of a fern. there are juniper berries on the finish, but the initial flavor of smoke+pepper+ferns is more than dominant. there's even a slight hint of bittersweet cocoa, which is intriguing. a really intense beer. wow. yeah, really tastes like smoke. wow.

with all the flavor that this beer has, it's hard to remember that it's only 6.5% alcohol. but it does explain the lack of mouthfeel and carbonation. there's some light palate grip on the outer parts of the mouth, and some mild sensations on the finish, but not a whole lot. the flavor is kind of king with this beer. not room for much else.

drinkability? if this were a 12 oz bottle it'd probably be higher. so let's say this is a beer you split between two people (drinking from a bomber). well, it's pretty drinkable in that case. the smokiness is something you are shocked by and learn to appreciate over time. but a bomber by yourself? you need to really, really love smoke. if you're smoky the bear, this beer might be for you.

if you're not, and you're only mildly interested in smoky beers, well, this beer becomes less drinkable. after awhile it almost becomes a chore. between the huge aroma, the fact that there is still a half-finger of head at the end of the bottle of that the juniper berries and smoke make for a beer taste that kind of makes you grimace, well, let's just say it's better than average. but not by much.

i wish i had another bottle of this to split amongst friends- this is one of those beers that has to be seen to be believed. i'm happy i tried it, i now have new found appreciation for this style of beer, stone's smoked porter now seems a lot more drinkable and i need to make a more concentrated effort to drink more Scandinavian beers; but other than that, well, by default, this is my favorite beer that shares a name with a Beatles song. ha. i could end this review on a positive note. i just lost a buck. to myself. i once had a beer, or should i say, it once had me.

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Norwegian Wood from HaandBryggeriet
88 out of 100 based on 219 ratings.