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Norwegian Wood - HaandBryggeriet

Not Rated.
Norwegian WoodNorwegian Wood

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BA SCORE
88
very good

301 Ratings
THE BROS
81
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 301
Reviews: 215
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 10.18%
Wants: 46
Gots: 18 | 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: 301 | Reviews: 215
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
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%
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
3.54/5  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.

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...

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

A : Pours a light brown with a huge head that never seems to go down. Leaves good lacing on the glass when it does.

S : Roasted malts along with some smoke. There's also some notes of juniper berries

T : There's a nice, not overpowering, smoke flavor that melds well with the juniper berries. A little bit of tartness to it.

M : Medium body, good carbonation

D : Great beer. Definitely one I would love to drink again.

Photo of Beaver13
3.67/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

16.9 oz bottle. Batch 100, brewed 10/07, best by 10/09. Pours a murky light brown with a huge big bubbled rocky fizzy light tan head that retains well and leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is complex - toasted chocolate malts, dark fruits, smoke, wood and a little alcohol.

The flavor is bready chocolate malts, dark fruits, fruitcake and spices with a decent bitter finish. The mouthfeel is medium with lots of sharp carbonation.

Overall, an interesting and fun beer. It tastes interesting, but doesn't quite align with my tastes.

Photo of merlin48
4.12/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pours a cloudy copper body with a fluffy beige head that subsides into spiderweb lacing. Lovely aroma has notes of caramel, funky juniper berry, and subtle campfire smokiness. Medium body and carbonation. Taste is complex and quite interesting. Smoke is more evident in the taste than the aroma, lending an outdoor smokiness. Assertive bitterness seems to derive from the hops profile. Caramel malt sweetness is easily apparent though understated. The juniper berries add an odd earthy herbal character, much like a good gin. Mild roasty notes add to the complexity. A very interesting and worthwhile experience that is also an enjoyable sipper.

Photo of scruffwhor
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer even looks smokey, rust with dark shades of copper and ruby. The head is a light tan right after the pour tahst recedes a on the quick side after a couple of sips. Can't see any bubbles through this thick looking quagmire. When you smell the beer sitting stgnantly, you get the earthy juniper berries with a touch of nuts. But when you swirl the beer, you get a big whiff of smokey malts that have a touch of caramel. This is one unique tasting beer. Herbal berries,very smokey malts giving notes of toasted nuts and mixe with the taste of a campfire. Snokey palate with a touch of dark sweetness. Good sipper.

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

Isn't it good!

Batch 86. Poured into a Beatles Rubber Soul pint glass. I mean, if you've got one, is there really another choice?

Brown and somewhat cloudy with a thick cream colored head. This has a spicy, floral nose, presenting more spice than smoke, somewhat unexpectedly, with a nice roasted malt aroma in the background. Flavor starts off a mix of spice and (understated) smoke, with a fruity follow. Lingering malt and herb flavors. Complex and nicely balanced.

Carbonation was a bit heavy at the start, but mellowed a some as it warmed for a nice mouthfeel. Each sip gets better. A good tasting, interesting beer.

Freshness label suggests it will last a while--I'll have to hunt down some more and see how well it ages. But for now...this beer has flown.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle, Batch NR 86, brewed August 2007, best before August 2009. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours dark brown/ruby red with an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. The aroma is smoky and spicy, it smells like smoke, wood, spice and a slight fruity aroma that I assume is from the juniper berries. The taste is the same as the aroma, it's smoky, spicy, herbal and a little bit fruity. Aroma and taste are both very nice. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a little bit creamy with some lively carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and easy to drink. If you like smoky beers, then I think you'll like this one. I'd definitely buy this again.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer pours a thick antique white head that takes up the full glass. Soon it slowly melts into a deep brown body with an amber glow and strong waves of micro bubbles glide past the sides of the glass. The head last and last through the beer.

S- The light yeasty perfume note gives way to a roasted malt note with a soft marshmallow hint to it and a soft smoky note that increases as the beer warms.

T- The taste of soft smoky dark roasted malt has nutty flavors and some caramel malt notes. There is a nice taste of fresh cream that fades to a spicy hop finish with a slight bay leaf quality to it and a faint juniper berry note. There is a soft band-aid note at the finish but it is pleasantly smoky and not over the top.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a soft alcohol heat that adds a nice warmth to the malt.

D- This beer has a nice balance of smoky dark malts and hops with some nice support from a fragrant yeast strain.

Photo of Boilermaker88
3.92/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a mug. Rewarded with a dark brown brew topped with a creamy light tan head that had good retention and a satisfactory amount of lace.
The nose is well-smoked, smelling of alderwood ala Alaskan's famed smoked porter. Has a mild peaty aroma underneath the campfire notes.
The taste is pretty good though I'm not too terribly fond of the bite the juniper imparts. The smokiness does a good job of holding its own. After spending a day working under the fallout of the recent Sierra Madre/Arcadia fire, I can say that this brew's lingering finish reminds me of breathing in and tasting the ash. The feel was medium-bodied and a bit slick.
Overall, an interesting beer; nicely smoked with a kind of weird tart kick to it. Worth a try.

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

A 500 mL bottle with the Capone's price sticker still on it.

A: The ale pours with a large head (over two fingers) that is full of big bubbles that are quite quick to recede. The head, as it recedes, doesn't cling to the glass. The body of the ale is a deep mahogany color, lightened by spots of ruby red. Port colors emerge when the ale is held to light.

S: The aroma is defined by smoke. The Norwegian version of rauchbier is not a meaty as the German one. The wood is stronger, adding more of a charred element that conspires with the juniper berries to create a pleasing nose.

T: The ale is bold, pulling no punches with its profile. The smoke from the nose has subsided. In it's place, the juniper steps up with a slightly tart, fruit flavor that is somewhat dry. The smoke has not fully disappeared, instead it has melded with the malts to create a peaty flavor that throws off chocolate bits. The finish is dry with a unique tartness that is fruity and not funky.

M: The mouthfeel is all over the place, lots of bold flavors with the smoke and juniper creating a distinctive flavor that far surpasses the other gruits that I've had.

D: The moderate abv is good for sipping. It's the strong flavor profile that brings you back to this ale though.

Photo of JonathanL7890
3.74/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 16.9 oz bottle.
Color was brown , a bit murky. Quite a bit of white head.
Aroma was smoky , more of a fireplace smoke and not a beechwood or alderwood smoke.
Taste was smoky but not overpowering. A slight hop contribution but not much. I couldn't detect the juniper berries.
Mouthfeel was fair. Not as silky as I had hoped.
Drinkability: it was a unique smoke beer and I'm glad I tried it but I wouldn't seek it out again.

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.

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

Poured a deep amber color with some ruby hues. A large cream colored head sat on top with decent retention and no lacing.

Smoke in the aroma dominates, but there is a light fruit aroma as well as some spice and a little hop.

The taste is interesting. The juniper berries really take a back seat to the big smokey malt. There is also a slight bitterness on the finish which I really enjoyed. The other profiles in this beer are not big enough to carry the smoke.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a nice moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is moderate. Fairly low alcohol makes for easy consumption, but the smoke may overwhelm as there is nothing else in this beer to compensate for it.

Photo of geexploitation
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a huge tan head and murky, slightly russet-tinged hard brown body. The aroma is quite interesting: lots of smoke (beech- or alderwood perhaps?), some creamy caramel malt tones, and a light fruitiness with a bit of zing to it. Very cool. On the palate, significant bitterness and smokiness throughout, although both are most pronounced in the finish. Very dark-roast coffee hits the palate midway through. Flitting along behind everything is an understated fruitiness that I would assume is coming from the juniper berries -- it's quite a welcome addition, as it keeps things from being all dark, hard flavors and instead rounds everything out. Mouthfeel is surprisingly light but overcarbonated. What a unique, interesting, and tasty beer. A smoke-lover's dream but with an extra dimension added with the juniper. Wonderful stuff!

Photo of Gmann
4.18/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a hazy chestnut brown color with a huge dense light brown head. Disappated into a 1/4 inch fluffy cap, very nice. The smell is of bready malt, very light smoke, and a kind of rusty metallic spice twang (juniper?). The taste is strong with smoke and burning wet wood, a herbal almost fruity flavor follows and I must assume this is the juniper. These flavors are well supported by a nice nutty malt backbone. The feel is moderate with very prickly carbonation, probably too much carbonation. Finishes with a malty sweetness and some toasted/roasted bitterness. A very nice smokey brew. I am finding myself to be a fan of these types. The carbonation is a bit strong and the flavors would stick out more with softer carbonation. One or two of these is all I could probably drink in a sitting as the smokey flavor might get cloying after a while. Looking forward to drinking this by a fire.

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....

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

This beer pours an orangish brown color with an extremely tall and thick head that foamed up to the top of the glass very fast. I had to wait for the foam to go down before I could pour some more to fill the glass. Oddly enough it didn't have as much lacing as I would have expected. The beer had a very nice roasted malty base underneath a very smokey aroma. The taste wasn't as smokey as I would have imagined from the aroma but it was still quite smokey. It had a very deep roasted malt base followed by a very woody and smokey flavor finished with a very roasted barely aftertaste. Very interesting and I really enjoyed it. The mouthfeel was very smooth and warming which made for a very drinkable beer. Definately worth a try if you can find it.

Photo of aforbes10
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Walnut brown with hints of red. nice little off white head. Laces well, but quickly. Smells awesome, like hickory chips and gin. Makes it smell like Bacon in Alaska. Flavor is light at first, but quickly becomes a smokey blast, very complex. I can taste the juniper berries under the smoke, but its the smoke itself that carries the beer. Full of woody goodness with a simple pale ale backbone. hops still distinguishable. Medium to light bodied. Highly drinkable if you like the whole smoked beer thing.

Photo of MarcGetty
4.8/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A few weeks ago I was at Tria in Philadelphia on a Friday night ans spied Norwegian Wood from Haan..ggagga..not-gonna-work-here-anymore in Norway, described as a smoked beer which piked my interest. I'm a huge Rauchbier fan and just had to try it.

Two very expensive bottles later and I was hooked.

Yesterday I ventured out to Wayne's Beer Yard to purchase some. Like most beer in Pennsylvania I had to buy an entire case of it. Over $200 USD for a case, but I went for it anyway.

The beer I acquired has a beautiful logo on the front (see the lit match hidden in the far corner?) with a note that it is from "Batch Nr 70 brewed in March 07 and good until March 10. Ingred: Water, hops, yeast, malted barley, and juniper.

I tool one of the two twelve packs to a friend's house to sample amongst three BAs. Two of the three of us were very impressed with the beer. I used a tall 0.5l Schlenkerla Rauchbier glass.

Norwegian Wood pours a dark brownish-red color with a lot of head when first poured. The caramel colored head quickly dissipates leaving a small ring of head throughout the rest of the beer.

If you look into the bottle you can see quite a bit of yeasty sediment which can be poured out if you so choose. Many of my fellow Schlenkerla Rauchbier fans love to do get every last drop of the sediment out of the beer.

Not much of a smokey smell as you would expect, in fact, overall the smell is quite muted. The flavor is quite strong and pronounced which is interesting for a beer without much going on in the aroma department.

The taste is the absolute strong suit of this beer. Smokey, caramel, with a few notes of fruit. Absolutely terrific. Not over powering, not meek and mild, just right.

Even with such a bold taste the beer remains quite drinkable. Having two or three glasses with some snacks is ideal and unlike some bold beers which you tend to nurse, Norwegian Wood remains friendly glass after glass.

I highly recommend that you try this beer if you can. However, don't splurge for a case unless you are one of the rare folks that know and love Rauchbiers as you may be disappointed.

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

Dark ruddy bronze with bright orange trim. A greater than optimal amount of carbonation has led to a massive golden beige cap despite a controlled pour. The foam is a wonderful color match for the beer and looks much better as it melts. Very little lace isn't a surprise.

Is the above style accurate? Shouldn't a Scandanavian farmhouse ale that is brewed with juniper twigs in the bottom of the mash tun be called a sahti? Smoked malt isn't typically a part of that style, but the early practitioners of the craft surely roasted their barley over open fires.

Good rauchbiers smell great. This offering isn't quite that smoky, but it's smoky enough to dominate the aroma with ease. Too bad the juniper berries aren't more noticeable. This is shaping up to be mighty fine beer.

Any beer with this much smokiness has to be considered a rauchbier, no matter how it was brewed or what else it contains. At least that's the way I would describe Norwegian Wood if someone was contemplating a purchase. Having said that, its smokiness is more along the lines of Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Weizen (moderate) than Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock (massive).

Things definitely improve with time and warming. The carbonation settles down, the flavor deepens and the body firms up a bit. Although I still can't appreciate the juniper twigs and berries, there's an underlying fruitiness (and a subtle spiciness) that makes this much more than a one-trick pony.

Keeping style in mind and appreciating some improvement by the bottom of the bottle, I'm still not able to pull the trigger on the higher mouthfeel score. Better quality bubbles, and fewer of them, would have gone a long way toward putting this attribute up with all the rest.

I've already used lyrics from 'Norwegian Wood' for another Norwegian beer (Nogne Pale Ale), so I couldn't very well use them here. I will admit, however, that one phrase keeps running through my head as I drink. And that is... 'yes, it is good'.

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

I picked up this gem in Atlanta last fall based solely on my fondness for The Beatles song of the same name. This bottle is from batch number 70 that was brewed one year ago, March 2007.

A very good looking beer. A very dark ruby body with a extremely massive brown head.

Smells as advertised, malted barley highlighted with piney juniper berries. It also has a nice citrus character. No smoke is noticeable.

A nice smoked character in this beer, it is more than just a hint but not overpowering. Again this beer has hints of pine and grapefruit, though not from hops. There is a very nice roasted presence that compliments the smoke. I really like this beer. It has some very interesting and unique flavors.

Prickly carbonation and a light lively body.

A very unique experience and I perhaps lack the palate to adequately describe this beer. Nonetheless this was a highly enjoyable brew. This is better than just good Norwegian Wood.

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Norwegian Wood from HaandBryggeriet
88 out of 100 based on 301 ratings.