Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

Norwegian Wood - HaandBryggeriet

Not Rated.
Norwegian WoodNorwegian Wood

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

220 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 220
Hads: 318
Avg: 3.93
pDev: 12.21%
Wants: 49
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 (37) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Norwegian Wood Alström Bros
Reviews: 220 | Hads: 318
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.

 620 characters

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.]

 915 characters

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.

 296 characters

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

 563 characters

Photo of cincyfan90
4.01/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: A nice dark color that gives it a thick and viscous appearance; maintains a nice off white head.

S: Barbecue, charred wood, subtle coffee

T: A complex evolution of flavor notes displays barbecue smoke, and dark chocolate. Smooth carbonation aids in presenting the flavors.

 277 characters

3.94/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. ½ Pint glass. Enjoyed on apr´12.Inviting pours orangish red in color. Yellowish froth creates a thick layer crown. Involving smokiness both in flavor & aromas. Juniper touch to the nose. Mildy maltiness & low bitterness. Slightly spicy palate, smooth sensation. Notes of resins & wood linger in to the aftertaste. Flavorful, well balanced, smart beer. A delightful beer suggested as session beer in cold weather despite its ABV. I´d really enjoyed it very much.

 478 characters

Photo of Duff27
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Feb '09 bottle

Thin off white head on a medium brown body. Head recedes to a collar around the glass.

Tangy fruits from the nose.

More fruits that turn to smoke at the very tail end. "Very Sahti-ish". Minimal alcohol presence.

Still well carbonated for being 3 years old.

Pretty unique beer here. I found it more similar to a style akin to a Sahti than a smoked beer....this may be attributed to its age but like I said earlier, still enjoyable.

 450 characters

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

500ml bottle poured into tulip 22/3/12

A glows a reddish amber with a loose light tan thumbs width of foam that ends up looking soapy leaving random lace

S smokey yet a little fruity, a little licorice and spruce, smells pretty earthy with some faint hops

T leather and tobacco work well with the spicy juniper, pretty unique when you add on what I smell, not overly smokey but its hard too miss

M medium-full with just enough bubbles, very long aftertaste of twiggy char

O interesting stuff unlike any other brew I can think of, no booze detected is pretty impressive too

this one has been elusive to me other then at a beer fest but I wasn't taking notes, pretty glad I was finally able to grab a bottle its good stuff

 728 characters

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a dark red brown amber. Two finger medium off-white head that dissipates relatively quickly, leaving nice lacing. Aroma is intense smoke and peat with an almost metallic element, probably from the peat. Taste is neutral malt, smoke, light peat and understated dark and light fruit. The finish is dry and smokey, but mellow. Medium bodied. Well done. Not quite as sweet as some of my favorite smoked beers, but I like the flavor progression and taste of this. The peat in the finish is a little bit of an off flavor for me, but overall this all works.

 590 characters

Photo of Knapp85
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured out as a nice looking dark brown color with a tan colored head on top. the head settles quickly and doesn't leave much on the glass at all. The smell of the beer is smoked for sure, plenty of burnt smokey aromas in this one. The malts are in there too which is nice. The taste of the beer was pretty good, the beer didn't taste salty like most smoked beers seem too to me. THe juniper was a little difficult for me to get from the taste here. The mouthfeel was pretty good, medium bodied with a creamy feel to it. Overall not a bad Smoked beer, worth trying.

 575 characters

Photo of mindspin315
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big tan head over a deep amber/mahagoney body teetering on brown. Head doesn't stick around but a bit of alcohol legs and lacing do. Tiny carbonation bubbles are visible on the side of the glass even with such a dense looking body.

Smoke is at the forefront and the most noticable aroma, but it isn't overpowering in anyway. The smokey notes blend with a nice touch of dark berry fruitiness, whole grain/rye bread, and chocolate. Yeasty esters and floral jasmine flowers too.

A touch of light smoke upfront fades a bit and sits in the back of the tounge through the finish. Smooth drinking, palate isn't overwhelmed by anything. Finishes slightly thin. Chocolate and caramel malt sweetness goes from the middle trough the finish. Light smoke, caramel, pepper, and faint dry pine bitterness in the finish and aftertaste. The pine and bitter aspect are a result of the use of juniper berries.

First beer I've tried by HaandBryggeriet. I will be definitely trying some of their other offerings now. A well crafted smoked beer, with everything in check.


 1,064 characters

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.34/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazy, but pleasant enough murky red colour, with a fine but filmy head of slightly orange-tinged white. Speckled and insubstantial lacing forms when tilted, and the body looks a little thin. Not bad, but I've seen better.

Nose, ooh, now there's something wonderful. Big smoky notes, but tempered and pleasantly savoury. No meatiness to the smoke, more of a rustic charm, which melds pleasantly with the hearty, all-grain bread notes and a sparkle of something brighter and slightly crisp and fruity. Very pleasant indeed.

Taste is also excellent. Very big and pleasant smoky characters, but blended really nicely into a toasty grain flavour, that sinks towards roasted bitterness on the back. The transition is almost seamless, giving a very smooth ride through a plethora of smoky, roasted flavours. Some brightness coming through as well, although no particular flavours are distinguishable here—it just gives a lift to the palate.

Feel is very light, which in some senses works to the advantages of the palate; but there's enough depth here to support more.

Very nice brew all up. I love the smoke character blending so well with the malted grains—it really works the character into the beer to give a suggestion of how this would have been done in the past.

 1,286 characters

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

'07 bottle. Pours a deep cloudy orange muddy color with a highly carbonated overly active head.

Light smoke, milk chocolate, juniper, pine, earthy and musky aromas. Different.

Damn nice in the mouth. Much more smoke, tannic on the finish. Juniper, dark rustic breads, burnt raisins, milk chocolate, earth, pine, with a perfume like flavor deep into the long long finish.

 372 characters

Photo of tobelerone
3.69/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An odd looking beer: cloudy, dark orange/brownish color with a small head that quickly dissipates, leaving a thin off-white band on top. Not much lace.

Aroma is lightly smokey and sweet; fruity with a touch of booziness underneath.

The taste is pleasant enough, with hints of gin character coming from the juniper berries, good smokiness that’s not over the top, and a general sweet maltiness. No hop presence at all. Nicely woody.

Low to medium carbonation on a medium bodied beer with a touch of creaminess in the mouthfeel. Lightly lingering aftertaste with smoke and traces of juniper.

An interesting brew but not good enough for me to go back at the 10 dollar price tag this fetches around here.

 706 characters

Photo of GilGarp
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Brewed 6/26/2009.

500 mL bottle served cool into a goblet.

Norwegian Wood is a redish amber color with good clarity seen on the pour. Head is thick at first but settles quickly to a skim layer.

Aroma is really pleasant but is surprisingly not smokey. It has more of an orchard fruit and mellow sweetness than expected.

Flavor is more intense than the aroma would lead you to believe. It still manages to be balanced with bitterness from the juniper and sweetness from the caramel malts. The smoked malts are well judged so you can tell it's there but it doesn't dominate the palate.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly over carbonated for my tastes.

Overall a really nice beer with a good story of the history behind the style.

 737 characters

3.71/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16.9oz bottle to snifter. Brewed Oct 07. Best by Oct 09. Sampled 8/10/11, well past the date.

A: Loud pop upon uncapping. On the pour, a large four finger khaki colored head erupts and rapidly deflates. Fizzy, foamy and loosely compacted. The body is a murky chestnut brown with copper highlights when backlit. No lacing.

S: Burnt caramel, with a doughy and meaty quality. Soy sauce, possibly some tobacco. Lightly roasted malts and a beautiful smoke contribution.

T: Hearty bread. Lightly woody. Open fire smoke. The juniper berries are no longer detectable. Signs of oxidation.

M: Medium body. Very lively carbonation. Mineral-like texture at first but a little thin once the effervescence starts to fade.

O: Despite this beer being consumed nearly two years after the brewer's recommendations, it held up fairly well. I'm interested in updating this review with notes from a fresh bottle.

 897 characters

Photo of nezelrac
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - hazy mahogany/amber; scant, fine-beaded, white head; no retention or lacing to speak of

S - woody and smoky malt with subtle yeastiness behind; some dark toast, burnt caramel, and grilled apricot

T - malt then smoky wood; hint of licorice/juniper; caramelized sugar; good length; woody parts linger appealingly

M - lean and firm woodiness; no astringency from the wood/smoke

O - gentle rauch; very good; quite enjoyable

 427 characters

Photo of bonkers
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I poured from a bottle into a SA perfect pint glass, light amber pour with a medium white head, no lacing. The aroma is light smoke, wood. The obvious flavor is smoke, hints of oak, salt, finishes smokey. The body is medium, good carbonation. A solid smoked beer, could not taste any juniper, never a good thing not to be able to taste a listed ingredient.

 356 characters

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

Appearance. Pours a hazy red-brown with a huge, foamy off-white head that lasts a while.

Smell. Smokey wood, belgian yeast, and a little caramel and juniper berries. Slightly sour.

Taste. Smokey wood, baker's dark chocolate and juniper berries. Much nicer than the smell!!

Mouthfeel. Medium body with pretty strong carbonation.

Overall. Nice tasting beer. The smoke isn't overdone and the juniper berries are a nice addition. Good stuff.

 441 characters

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

On draft at The Farmhouse Tap & Grill.

Pours a hazy orange brown with thick off-white head that takes a while to settle down. Nose is rather odd. Smells like coffee with a lot of cream in it. Can't really nail down the aromas on the one.

Palate is bright and gripping with bitterness. Smokiness is understated and comes across more like barnboards than smoke. Very earthy and dry. Carbonation is frothy and keeps things moving.

Notes: Excellent balance, but a very mild smoke beer.

Edit: After reading the description, I think the odd aroma I couldn't hit was juniper.

 572 characters

Photo of osusullins
4.89/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have had this on tap and out of a bottle. One of my favorite smoked beers.

The beer pours a hazy brown with a tan head. Not much lacing.

The nose of this is wonderful. You can really smell the smoke, but it is nicely balanced by the juniper berries. Sweet and smokey like the best bbq. I think what sets this beer apart from other smoked beers to me is that the smoke smells authentic. Not like that liquid smoke smell. It smells specifically like hickory to me. I could sniff this bouquet and get hungry easily. This beer goes well when paired with all smoked meats.

Speaking of smoked meats... that is exactly the flavor that my palate pulls from this beer. Like the best carbonated beef jerkey you ever tasted. I absolutely love it. The hickory smoke flavor is evident immediately and lingers in the mouth. The berries give both a sweetness that comes in the middle and a very subtle tartness on the backend that is balanced throughout by the smoke. Light bodied, not heavy at all. I could drink this all day. The taste lingers just long enough to not be offensive. Very nice beer. Again, this is by far my favorite smoked beer.

 1,136 characters

Photo of Pahn
4.13/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle into Duvel tulip. "Batch 100, brewed Oct. 2007, best before Oct. 2009" printed on the label on the bottle, which I neglected to look at before buying it yesterday (Oct. 2011).

Drinking in honor of Haruki Murakami's new novel, 1Q84, being released in America tomorrow. While Norwegian Wood isn't one of my favorite Murakami novels, the name of this beer still makes me think of the Japanese author more than the Beatles or the terra around HaandBryggeriet.


Appearance: Free pour yields a fizzy, 3 inch off-white head that dissipates slowly and rockily. Pours a semi-translucent dark ruby and leaves a few large arches of lacing.

Smell: Some smoke (campfire, rauchmalt), some dark fruit. Some noticeably sherry-like oxidation. Dominant is chocolaty dark fruit, with smoke and oxidation acting equally as background notes.

Taste: First sip: chocolate up front, with some grape. Smoke in the finish, with a long aftertaste of smoke and wood and surrounding ambiguous fruitiness. From the next sip on there's some rather prominent oxidation notes, but with the malty dark fruit and smoke it works really well.

The aftertaste on this beer is great; it just keeps going. Lots of fruity, musty, hard to classify flavors wash over the tongue. There's a persistent caramel malt sweetness in the background, along with subtle smoked malt and chocolate.

I'm missing the juniper unfortunately (I get wood from the branches it's brewed on, I think, but the berries themselves seem to have been lost to time). I'll have to pick up a fresh bottle and rereview. As is though, the beer is a real treat, honestly. Somewhere between a rauchbier and a mild BSDA that time has been kind to.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, maybe on the lighter side. Moderate to high carbonation, which compliments the dry finish.

Overall: Not to force a comparison too hard, but this beer is perhaps more apropos than I thought as a Murakami celebration, in that things didn't go at all as planned, but the beer was quite enjoyable regardless (Murakami novels are pretty unpredictable). It's also a great culture- and genre-spanning beer--at least aged like this--as it shares qualities with old barleywines and BSDAs, as well as rauchbiers.

Dropping the strained literary comparison, in short, I liked this beer very much, and found it to be greater than the sum of its parts. The smoke really works with the oxidation, and there's enough malty goodness in here from the Munich and crystal malt to deliver a very satisfying overall flavor. A nice surprise.

 2,546 characters

Photo of OutFox
4.2/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed a pint at Rattle N Hum

A - Dark almost reddish tint (it was dark in the bar and it was late so...). A white head with a moderate amount of lacing and retention.

S - Fireplace. Fukn fantastic. I love smoked beers. This one isnt as heavy on the smoke its quite balanced.

T - Same as the nose but moderate on the smoke. I get a lot of wood sort of taste. Really pleasant. Theres a good balance to this beer. Not over the top smoke.

M - Good carbonation and a really nice mouthfeel to this.

O - Fantastic. I love smoke beers and this is already becoming one of my favorites. Not over the top good balance, good beer.

 627 characters

Photo of canucklehead
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The smoke gets you first but once the beer opens up the other flavours meld together with the smoke to create a very nice smoked ale. Porter like notes on the finish and the beer tastes quite like Stone's smoked porter at times. The juniper berries are only a sideline to the main smoky profile but the beer has a pleasant balance that shows up after awhile. I have enjoyed everything from this brewer and this is no exception

 426 characters

Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.97/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 285 2010 Edition – Only 1080 Bottles

Pours a rather ugly cloudy dark orange/brown. An attractive tan head tops the brew. Plenty of wood in the nose with cherries, apples and smoke supporting. First sip is all smoke, wood, sweet malts, and ripe fruits – that actually are juniper berries. Great balance as this puppy is not overly smoked. A pretty unique beer from a great brewer. I wish Norway’s politics were as good as her beer.

 443 characters

Norwegian Wood from HaandBryggeriet
88 out of 100 based on 220 ratings.