1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Norwegian Wood - HaandBryggeriet

Not Rated.
Norwegian WoodNorwegian Wood

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

296 Ratings
THE BROS
82
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 296
Reviews: 212
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 10.43%
Wants: 42
Gots: 18 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
HaandBryggeriet visit their website
Norway

Style | ABV
Smoked Beer |  6.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Brewed with smoked malt, munich malt, crystal and chocolate malt, and spiced with juniper twigs and berries.

(Beer added by: Sigmund on 06-17-2007)
View: Beers (34) | Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Norwegian Wood Alström Bros
Ratings: 296 | Reviews: 212 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Bung
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Foggy amber pour, with a large whitish foam head. Earthy aromas of raisin, sweet malt, slight red berries and peat/smoke. Poured into the dimple mug and the lacing lasted strong throughout the entire beer, but was not as sticky of a mouthfeel as this might indicate. Flavor has some malt, light red fruit, prune and smoke. Maybe juniper berry, but I really have no idea what juniper berry tastes like. Solid medium body but finishes very clean with not much lingering good or bad. There is a creaminess to it that works really well with the flavors. I thought this was a little dopplebock-esque, with all the good comparisons that might come with it.
Unique, drinkable and worth trying. For sure one of the best of this style I've had.

Photo of tjsprague
3.78/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Haandbryggeriet Norwegian Wood

I've had smoked ales before that tasted too much like smoked meat. This was a perfect balance of smokiness and beer. It's not the kind of beer that you could drink all night, but perfect to warm you up. To me, there was only a hint of juniper flavor which was complementary to the smokey taste. It is definitely unique amongst the smoked beers and the best I've had yet.

The beer had a nice body, not to thick but just right to go along with the smoke flavor. Hops were not really present in the taste nor was it overly malty. All of the flavors melded well and neither the smoke or the juniper were overpowering.

It's worth a taste.

Photo of pangea001
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Cloudy dark amberish-brown. More amber around the edges.

Smell: Smokey and sweet. Maybe a bit of spice somewhere in there.

Taste: Smoked sausage. There's a sweetness there that grows as it warms. No outright juniper, perhaps it's there to temper the other flavors?

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a slightly fluffy feel. Pleasant carbonation.

Drinkability: I probably wouldn't have more than one of these in a night. Which isn't to say it's not drinkable. I'm enjoying this beer.

Overall: I received this beer as a Christmas present. It's the first beer of this style I've had and I'm enjoying it. I've got another Scandinavian beer to try later. Word.

Photo of Redwood21
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

ok, this beer seems overall decent. the head doesn't last long enough to get a 4.0 and the flavor is pretty solid. the aroma is definitely spicy but not overly so. the beer is overall a good solid representation of the style, which is why a solid 4 is what i gave most. the drinkability is right up there with this style

solid

good

beer

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

A - A dark, reddish brown body, appears to have good clarity with some ruby colored highlights. It pours with a large and dense, white head that sticks around for a while and leaves heavy rings of lace in its wake.

S - Strong, earthy, meaty smokiness; reminds me of Bamberg. Some caramel maltiness, chocolate, and herbal notes just barely manage to peek out from behind the smoke.

T - Toasty brown malt up front that is quickly overwhelmed by smoke and the flavor of caramelized pork. Roasted malt comes up in the finish along with mild coffee and some hop bitterness.

M - Medium body, high carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - This beer is all about smoke, and for some people that is going to be a turnoff. For others, such as myself, the smoky complexity of this beer is deeply satisfying. My only complaint would be that the advertised juniper character doesn't really come through.

My natural inclination would be the pair this with smoked pork since that is basically what it tastes like. I would be a bit concerned that pairing smoked beer with smoked meat would be too much, and I might opt for grilled pork loin instead.

Photo of BretSikkink
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark brown with a hefty dose of orange highlights, tons of carbonation leaves the head towering above the rim of the glass and about three inches tall - despite a super-controlled pour. Not much lace, but that head is a keeper.

The smoke component definitely catches the nose right off, leading the charge up the nostrils with very little else to register.

I like the flavor; there's a ton of smoke, but it's pleasantly mild and allows notes of flowers and spiciness to make this more fun to drink than your average rauchbier.

The mouthfeel is close to awesome, but a little more than required. There's a real need to sweep the smoke off the palate when you're talking about brewing with juniper, but since the berries don't really come into play anyways, I would shoot for a sturdier mouthfeel.

I like it, but probably won't return for another.

Photo of gmcfarre
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

1 pt .9 oz bottle poured into traditional pint glass
Batch 100 - Brewed 10/07 - Best Before 10/09

A - Pours a fairly opaque, ruby-tinted milk chocolate brown color with a massive 2+ inch light tan head. Lacing sticks a bit as the rocky head ever so slowly disappears.

S - As the label suggests, this brew presents strong smoke and juniper flavors that actually compliment each other quite well. Sweet dark roasted malt flavor.

T - Smooth sweet dark fruit and caramels flavors are quickly joined by a strong, earthy smoked flavor. Some chewy toffee and roasted malt taste as well. Juniper shines through, but not as loud as I might have thought. Finish is high on roasted smoke flavor and sweetness.

M - Expressive carbonation with a fairly light body given the darker color. Smooth on the palate with a smoky dry finish.

D - A slightly different take on a smoked beer that may be very appealing if you like that kind of thing. If smoked beers aren't your thing, this still might be worth trying as an entry to the flavor, but it would be best to share the larger sized bottle. Alcohol is not much of a factor.

Photo of corby112
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Serving type: bottle.

Pours a dark brown with a foamy beige head. Aroma dominated by smokey malts and wood. Also contains hints of fig and dark fruits. Flavor again is domnated by smoky/ woody maltiness that is nicely balanced with fig, spice and dark fruit. Very complex and tasty!

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle, batch 86, brewed 8/07. Pours a dark murky brown with a light tan head. Aroma of spices and spruce. Flavor of spices initially, some sweet fruitiness, and smoke in the finish. An interesting and tasty beer!
Appearance: 4/5
Aroma: 7/10
Palate: 4/5
Flavor: 8/10
Overall: 15/20
3.8/5

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

Pours with a five+ finger, thick light tan head that fades slowly and leaving traces of lace. Cloudy deep amber color, yeast left in bottom of bottle. Good carbonation, medium bodied. Smoky, caramel nose. Flavor is sweet, woody and smoky with some caramel. Pricey at $11.50 for a 500ml bottle from Tully's Beer and Wine Wells, Me.

Photo of Viking
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, hazy, harvest orange color. Has a big, creamy head with excellent retention and bits of residual lace on the glass.

Aroma is very smoky, with hints of burned wood (like the remnants of a campfire the next morning), a bit piney, and a faint fruity sweetness.

Very smoky flavor, as well. Lightly woody, with a bit of cherry-like tartness. Malt flavor, like a light caramel, begins to come out as the beer warms.

This brew is very smooth, and almost creamy and chewy.

Very interesting and tasty beer. I'll definitely have to try more from this brewery (assuming I can find more).

Photo of oberon
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have had a few Haand beers and came away impressed and have wanted to try this for awhile.Poured into a 22oz nonic a slight hazed russett brown with a huge blooming light tan head that went over the side even with a gentle pour,aromas were of hard wood smoke,juniper,and cherry,almost like burning cherrywood.Smooth mothfeel, it glides down easy.Flavors as expected have some real smoke attributes along with almost a phenolic-like clove spice to it,there is a sweet fruit element as well.A nice drinkin brew,I like smokey beers and this has the smoke and a little more to offer,quite good.

Photo of Ljunkan
4.45/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

50 cl bottle from Vinmonopolet, Oslo, shared with Bananaman.

A very special and cool beer!

Pours a dark red/brown color with a small, but nice, foamy head.

Smells of smoke, burnt wood (almost like an old campfire), berries & juniper needles. Very nice smelling-beer imo.

Taste is of smoked malt, burnt wood, some berries and juniper needles, notes of some malty sweetness. A very special taste overall.

Mouthfeel is good, though it's a bit thin, but I like it anyway.

Overall a very unique beer!

Photo of Bananaman
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wow! A really unique beer from Haandbryggeriet. Very interesting, thanks to Ljunkan for sharing this one.

Dark deep red/brown color with a nice white head.

The smell is really brilliant! Seldom have I smelled such a fantastic beer. Some smoke with lots of berries, smells almost when you put spruce on a campfire.

The flavor is pretty smoky too with lots of different notes of bitter berries, prety malty too. And there are some nice hoppiness to that balances all of it.

Photo of soulgrowl
4.83/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: This beer certainly has an amazing head, a poofy, rocky, pearly, parchment-colored thing with great retention despite lots of activity. Body is a thick, smoky orange - dare I say burnt sienna?

Smell: Powerfully spicy and herbal, a wild concoction of evergreen, marjoram, fennel, carraway, leather, and wet autumn leaves. Maple syrup, brown sugar, Johnny Walker Red Label, cherries, and burnt cedar round out the malts, providing an earthy foundation to the earthy top notes. Smoky, earthy, piney, earthy, fruity, earthy.

Taste: Mmm. Somewhere between Arrogant Bastard and Hitachino Nest Classic lies this ale (both gustatorially and geographically). Very spicy, herbal hops with notes of grass, thyme, and lemon brush up against a woodsy, earthy backbone reminiscent of wheat toast, honey, cocoa, whiskey, and pecans. Juniper berries provide a bold, overriding gin-like spice that combines with a kick of alcohol for a beer that tastes stronger than it is - in a good way.

Mouthfeel: Frothy and lush, brisk and dry.

Drinkability: This is a dangerously drinkable and delicious beer. I will have to keep my eye on this brewery because this one hits it out of the park.

Photo of watchnerd
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a bottle at City Beer in San Francisco.

Dark and thick, almost as dark and thick as the Deschuttes Abyss.

Lots of roasted malt flavors and it definitely tastes smoked. If it had a thicker mouthfeel, one could mistake it for a porter.

Doesn't have a strong hope note and the juniper berries are infused in a very subtle amount, mainly imparting a bit of tang and dryness. To be honest, I would have known 'something' was in there, but couldn't have identified it as juniper berries had the label not told me so.

A very enjoyable beer for the winter and fall, but not exactly a hot summer BBQ beer.

Photo of IBUnit63
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 86 brewed 8/2007, BB date 8/2009. From 500 into that Riedel Vinum Cab glass...

Pours a deep, wicked dahhhk chestnut body with a copious, yeasty, frothy, cappucino-foam 2-finger head with very good lacing. Great first impression.

Mild sarsparilla tone with strong carbonation zing. Lots of oak character in malt with what seems to be exceedingly piney hops but may be an effect of the juniper berries. Juniper berries? OK, I can see that...but what the hell is this?! It's pretty damn good...that's what it is, Jake...

This is very austere - first thought is a single malt Scotch barrel-aged taste - and then I remember the juniper berries. A little slate and spent charcoal drives the smokiness with a fair amount of earth and hop pine in tandem. Juniper berries add a nice bite to this. Sturdy.

The woodiness of the malt and aging as well as the juniper and piney hops drive this to be a light-woody-rustic effort that is very hearty on one hand but by no means feels heavy. The finish is nicely splintery, if that can be a good thing.

This is a great ski lodge beer. Very woodsy and dry but quite comforting.

Photo of lightindarkness
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A deep cola colored brown body with an attractive one finger off-white head slowly settling to a thin layer over the beer.

Light warm earthy smoke on the nose with a mildly sweet roasty malted background. No particular characteristic is overly strong, but overall very pleasant.

Taste is also pleasant, though particularly mild. A splash of sweetness up front, followed by watery malt, then building in flavor to an earthy herbal bark taste and some mild smoke. Roasted grains lay a thin base for the middle, with a faint tart sweetness on the finish. Lingering smoky aftertaste. Not overly flavorful or stunning, but a good tasting beer.

Nice lighter creamy medium body with soft carbonation tingle on the center of the tongue. Drinks smooth and finishes slowly, fading over a few seconds.

Nicely drinkable with pleasant taste and feel. Not outstanding in any particular dimension, but a solid brew. Smoke is mild and adds to the character.

Photo of Wasatch
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice one-finger creamy off-white head, which leaves some sticky lacing behind. The nose is malty, with some yeast, with some grassy notes and corinander. The taste is malty, sweet, yeasty/grassy, with some smoky notes, nice touch of corinander. Medium body. Drinkable, this is a tasty brew, recommended.

Photo of YankChef
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a U.K size guiness pint glass

Appearance: slightly Hazy amber brown with tints of rust. Initial 3/4 inch thick head that is pillowy and fluffy and slightly offwhite beige.

Aroma: yes SMOKE, big time woody smokiness that you would expect in a beer with wood in its name. Herbaceous spiciness as well, the juniper comes through as well. Even subtle aromas of caramel and chocolate.

Taste: The first sensation is a slight tingle that is akin to a peppery spiciness, but black pepper not chile as it is not overwhelming. Then there is a yeasty breadiness that follows and thats where the juniper and woodiness shines through as well. Very interesting.

Overall: A very interesting and unique brew... I can almost invision a farmhouse and burning fire as I drink it. I don't know much about Norway, but this beer is very telling about its beer culture. One of a kind, at least as far as I have experienced.

Photo of ohmybock
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My second time trying a bottle of this brew...and still I like it quite a lot. This one pours a deep red color with a small, but long-lasting head. It's actually fairly clear in color, but if you swirl the sediment in the bottom of the bottle (and add it to your glass), it becomes a bit cloudy like a hefeweizen.

The aroma is a mixture of smokiness and mild tart/sweetness...and maybe a bit of phenolic (weizen?) peculiarity as well. The flavor seems to hit the tongue with smokiness first, followed by some fruity/tart flavor...maybe that's the juniper? The smokiness reminds me quite a bit of the best Bamberg brews, but the rauch character isn't as omnipresent as the Schlenkerla brews, possibly not as much as the Spezial brews either. There's a bit of tartness in the flavor which I've had in some other smoked brews. I'm not sure if it's a result of the smoked malt or possibly the yeast, but whatever it is...I like it. Whatever the case, I think this brew is catered more toward those who like a somewhat heavy smoke flavor in their beer. If that sounds like "you", then give this one a try!

Photo of jjayjaye
3.73/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy deep dark orange amber color with a big foamy light tan head that resists fading. A good amount of sheeting Belgian lace left behind. The smell is really unique. Smokey, earthy, funky, and yeast with a tartness. The mouth feel is light-medium bodied, alive with a bright tingle of tart effervescence. The earthy roasted smokey taste with a little chalky NECCO wafer chocolate thing going on. I'm finding more and more to consider about this one. Definitely having a gas with it. I'm getting a little chest warmer with the 6.5% ABV...don't understand that. Hey, take one for a spin.

Photo of ph2001
3.53/5  rDev -10.2%
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.

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

Pint-.9 oz bottle from Batch 72 (April '07) with a freshness date, poured into a pint nonic glass yields a hazy brownish amber body stocked to capacity with wild rivulets of active carbonation feeding a gigantic hand's width of fine, fine-bubbled cappuccino foam. The silly-large head features outstanding retention as fat, fluffy pillows of foam that languish in the glass, leaving huge, obese swatches of lacing.

Smell is sweetly woody and smoky, with fragrant green juniper right up front and malty caramel lurking in the back. Lots of lingering aromas to be savored in the aftertaste here--if it were cologne, I'd wear it.

Taste is spicy with a light citrusy note and smooth, with a pleasantly-bitter burnt note of smoky caramel. The smokiness is subdued at first, but really builds to dominate the drink in a positive way, connecting the flavors together in a wonderfully flavorful, nicely balanced drink.

I never found the juniper twigs and berries in the drinking, per se, but I can smell and taste it in the aftertaste as I breathe, leaving me wondering if it is masquerading as the 'spicy' hop-note. Caramel is more pronounced, as is the smoke, as things warm up a bit.

Great drinkability.

Photo of dsa7783
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single bottle copped from State Line Liquors...
"Traditional Norwegian Smoked Ale with Juniper Berries" as per the description on the front logo sticker...
Nice appearance - a hazy, murky, deep, dark brown hue that strongly resembled a barleywine along with a humongous foamy and frothy head that exhibited adequate staying power and deposited a thin film of lacing around the glass...
Smell replete with malts, berries, and smoked duck...
Great smokey flavor along with a nice hint of roasted malts, bread and butter, and a strong suggestion of chocolate and mocha...
Taste was truly complex and different, very enticing...
Creamy, thick, mouthfeel along with a pretty good level of drinkability for such a complex brew...
Definitely worth a try...

Norwegian Wood from HaandBryggeriet
88 out of 100 based on 296 ratings.