Norwegian Wood - HaandBryggeriet

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Norwegian WoodNorwegian Wood

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BA SCORE
88
very good

311 Ratings
THE BROS
81
good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 311
Reviews: 217
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 10.18%
Wants: 48
Gots: 23 | 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: 311 | Reviews: 217
Photo of ChrisCage
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a reasonably clear rusty brown/orange color, and there appears to be an abundance of fine looking carbonation. The head is most impressive, being slightly beige in color, but super dense, super thick....three fingers worth and the retention is absolutely wonderful, settling to a layer about 1.5 fingers in thickness...lacing leaves a little to be desired unfortunately, not really leaving behind any sustainable foam on the glass as I drink it, but it gets better as it warms I find...otherwise a very nice looking brew.

S- There is a whole lot going on here in terms of smoked qualities. I immediately picked up on smoked meat...a rich gamey sausage to be exact. There is also essences of campfire, an herbal cedar wood smell, and smoked peat. Aside from the variations in smoky aromas, there is some sweetness in the middle and some modest leafy/herbal bitterness on the finish.

T- This beer took several sips for me to determine what exactly I tasted outside of the smoke flavors. Charred wood comes to mind, but there is some herbal earthiness that really shines. The aforementioned meaty quality is present as well, and there are tastes of medium rare steak. The finish is of subtle hop and juniper spiced bitterness. It is also reasonably clean tasting for a heavier style of brew in my opinion.

M- Solid medium body, with crisp, albeit fine carbonation. The smokiness really takes my mind out to sitting around a bonfire and roasting wieners. The flavors are smooth on the finish and stick to the palate after the swallow.

O- I was a little unsure about how I'd perceive this brew at first but the more I drink it, the more I really am enjoying it. It's unique, has some balancing spice/malt/smokiness that really blend well together in this recipe. It's definitely not a brew that I could drink many of in a sitting, but it's refreshing and makes for a very enjoyable pint!

Photo of alpinebryant
4.27/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a clear copper with nice head retention and some light lacing. Really great looking pour for a smoked beer. I do not recall having a smoked beer that looked like an old ale.

Aroma is of smoke, peat, roasted malts and some residual sweetness.

Taste is fantastic. Great oak presence mixing with some bitterness and perhaps some spruce? not sure, but there is some piney presence mixing more with wood than anything else and "I like it. I like it a lot..."

Mouthfeel is extremely smooth and low carbonation. Overall I cannot imagine this being hard to drink for anybody. Its refreshing which most smoked beers are probably not in this category and extremely enjoyable.

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

I like the picture someone supplied for the brewery page..now that's a craft brewer..looks like someone's barn..

Pours a cloudy dark burnt orange, a lot lighter in colour than most smoked beers. lot's of head formation so pour aggressively at your own risk.

Almost has the aroma of smoked fish, but without a whole lot of fishiness. I know that doesn't make sense, but that's what I'm picking up. Almost a mossy smell as well that may be from the juniper twigs.

Nice..smoke doesn't overwelm the other ingredients until the finish. Slightly toasted malts, tea-like herbalness from the hops. ABV makes itself known soon after, but only in a fleeting moment. Finishes quite dry, slightly smokey, and with just a hint of juniper twang.

Smooth, get's a touch astringent toward the late-middle.

Very good smoked beer...too bad I'd have to take out a 2nd mortgage to drink Haandbryggeriet's product on a regular basis.

Photo of NilsFrisk
4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is amber colored with a tan head, most of it disapears, but a little bit of it sticks.
There is a scent of old coins in there, along with hops, amber malts and a nice juniper tone.
It tastes very nicely and ballanced of amber malts, hops, smoke and juniper, and it just feels great, full and creamy body with moderately low carbonation, just the way i like it. Not a beer to drink lots of in one go, but could definetly drink this one pretty often!

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

Poured into my tulip glass...

Pours a deep and rich clear mahogany brown color with some coarse 1 finger head that is not retained much at all. No lacing to speak of. A swirl kicks up more bubbles and slathers the sides of the glass in a thin film. No legs develop, though.

Aromas of peated and smoked malt, a light berry sweetness, a healthy gin-like dose of juniper that reminds me almost of a gruit. The juniper is inviting, and gives way to hints of vanilla and chocolate that round out the aroma. The flavors follow, with the smoke and juniper really starting to take over the flavor a little bit. There are notes of citrus in the flavor that do complement the berry sweetness nicely. Caramel, vanilla, and chocolate come through in the mid-palate. The smoke comes back later on in the palate to round it out, but in doing so, it snuffs out the other more delicate flavors in the profile.

The feel is surprisingly creamy. It comes through with a medium texture and a good feel overall. A sipper, as it is so rich, this is a gnarly beer. Not a beer I would return to, just given my own personal tastes, but a great one to try.

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.

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

500ml bottle. The label depicts a nice story about Norwegian farms formerly being required to make their own beer. A local ordinance that I could totally get behind.

This beer pours a cloudy, sparsely sediment-strewn dark copper hue, with two fat fingers of tight fizzy off-white head, which settles soon enough, leaving a few ambitious streaks of lace around the glass as it lazily sinks away.

It smells of heftily smoked, meaty dark caramel malt, mildly fruity wild berries, and some equally dense earthy spiciness. The taste is like a barely restrained Islay malt - woody, peaty, seafaring - a mite bit lesser in intensity, yes, but better for it, for this otherwise straight-up Speyside fan, with a bit of understated sweet black fruitiness. There are softer flavours about, thankfully, with some tart fruitiness and earthy hops showing up amongst that pungent woody character.

The carbonation is on the soft side, the body medium weight, and generally smooth under that obsequious, yet thankfully thin blanket of acrid smoke. It finishes off-dry, the malt still pushing through the charred wood, with booze and hops doing their damnedest to make it seem otherwise.

Quite a challenging, and yet still well-made smoked ale - the relatively laid-back nature is refreshing, to a point, and this would likely be a perfect pairing for any kind of food that has itself seen fire, particularly in any sort of grungy campsite.

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

Nice beer. Light copper. When pouring into my pint glass, the head was ridculously big - it took up almost the whole glass.

Mild smoked malts, vanilla, cream, raisins and a bit of spice. Citrusy hops.

Peaty, malty, smokiness. Light chocolate, vanilla, citrus and even hickory are noticeable in the taste. Light gin like presence from the juniper berries.

I thought this would be a bit more carbonated, but it's actually quite smooth and it works. Slightly acidic as it hits the back of the throat.

Nice, mild smoked beer. Not very overpowering; nicely blended and enjoyable.

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle into a NB Globe. Purchase from Wilbur's for around $6. Batch 232, brewed 26.06.2009 best 26.06.11. So towards the end of its life.

A: Amber in color with a light tan head, right at 1/2 an inch. Quite dense head that sticks around nicely. Slightest amount of haze. A few bubbles lazily moving through the glass.

S: Smoked malts are the first thing that jump out of the glass, not insanely pungent like a Islay whisky, but there is definitely some smoke in this one, think nicely smoked meat. Some caramel and just a whiff of vanilla. Also just a bit of juniper, but again faint, probably a lot more present when first bottled.

T: I really like this, very well balanced for a smoked beer. Nice amount of smoke and caramel that blend and intermingle into this amalgamation of sweet smokiness. Just a faint hint of hops and a slight amount of juniper, pretty faint though. Finish is surprisingly clean and devoid of smoke. This is damn tasty.

M: Creamy body that is on the heavy side, medium carbonation, and fairly sticky. Really enjoyable.

O: Definitely a beer that I'm pissed I didn't buy another bottle of. This works perfectly between smoked malts and sweet malts, a touch of herbal flavors, and just a hint of bitterness. Very enjoyable beer on a cold rainy spring day. Spot on.

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

A - Pours a cloudy amber colour, finger of head with solid retention and no real lacing.

S - Reminiscent of a dunkelweiss with cloves, nutmeg and bananas, followed by an earthy wooden smoke.

T - Although the smoke and peat flavours are present, they're quite subtle and overpowered by cloves and bananas, with some burnt sugar and caramel on the finish. Much like a dunkelweiss, and the smokeyness could certainly be ramped up a bit.

M - No complaints in this department, medium bodied, smooth and finishes with a touch of dryness.

O - Overall, a pleasant experience, though nothing mindblowing. Simply put, a tasty ale that has the potential to be outstanding, but comes across as just above average.

Photo of MrKennedy
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottled shared between 3 and poured into a 7oz glass.

Great foam retention, a beige colour sitting about half a centimetre above for pretty well the whole tasting. Amber-mahogany colour.

Earthy aroma, occasionally strong smokiness will come through, then die down, then come through again. A little intriguing.

Complex flavour, dominated by smoke middle and relatively strong late.

Mouthfeel is solid, well matched to the strength and the style.

Overall a solid brew, interesting to try.

Photo of NEhophead
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16.9 fl oz brown bottle, served in a goblet.

Batch 232; brewed June 26, 2009.

A hazy, two-toned deep tea in color beneath a foamy, off-white head.

The peat-smoked malt aroma is full and commands attention. Beneath the thick layer of smoke is a complex coffee, buttery malt profile. Notes of black pepper and light clove.

Again, the peat-smoked flavors are the star here; however, the underlying complexities should not be overlooked. Soft caramel with notes of tea; a surprising citrus quality lightens this beer just a bit. The juniper berries add a touch of spice in the finish and provide a mild bitterness. Notes of smoke-laden caramel and coffee in the aftertaste.

Medium in body; remarkably smooth. The carbonation is skillfully kept in check.

A wonderfully flavorful and balanced smoked beer. Although I probably wouldn't drink this all night, I certainly wouldn't turn down a refill.

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. 

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

Here is an engaging beer...historic, interesting, and exciting. It's a deep brown color, quite clear, with a fizzy white head (moderately stable). The aroma has a smoke and wood scent, along with a spice and malt quality. Firm bitterness in the flavor. The beer has lots of woody, tannic astringency. It's a beer with a considerable bitterness, although not a hop bitterness...perhaps contributed by the juniper twigs? Slightly smoky, although not as much as I expected. Nice body. Not a great beer, and certainly not my style, but very interesting.

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.

Photo of zeff80
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a burgundy color with ruby highlights. It had a two-finger, head of white, bubbly foam that left minimal trails of lace.

S - It smelled of smoke, wood and bacon.

T - It tasted smoky with some roasted malts. Very little hop presence.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A very dry finishing beer that is medium bodied.

D - This is a pretty good smoked ale. Not over the top with smokiness. It had just enough.

Photo of metter98
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is hazy amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige head that slowly died down but never completely faded away.
S: Smoky aromas are evident in the nose, which also has some hints of juniper berries and twigs.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell; the smoky flavors stand out yet these are well balanced by the underlying malts.
M: The beer coats the mouth, is smooth and feels medium-bodied on the palate with a light amount of carbonation.
D: It's relatively easy to drink this beer because the smokiness isn't overpowering. I would definitely try this again because of its unique taste.

Note: Batch 232, Brewed 6/26/2009

Photo of OtherShoe2
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours deep amber with a decent head that dissipates. Light lace.

You get smoke and some nettles up front. Pine and smoke and malt. Great.

Smoky and sweet malt, with nice toasty backbone, leading to dried grain and light bitterness. Good complexity and flavor, wih nice smoke in the finish.

Medium body with appropriate carbonation.

Real drinkable, even if you are new to the style. Nice balance and not cloying. Very good brew.

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

Somewhat cloudy, amber orange colour with a moderate but short lasted off-white head.

Mild fruity aroma with light smoke notes. Good but simple.

Smoked and fruity with a hint of malt and silky charcoal.

Medium body with moderate carbonation.

A nice smoked beer with enough smoke to be present and some good yeasty notes.

Photo of Vdubb86
4.14/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Stella glass

The appearance is a cloudy mostly brown with shades of red and a tanish half finger of foam on the surface. The smell is rather nice considering that this beer is technically supposed to be past it's prime (March 2010). The smells are mostly a nice roast with a deep chocolate aroma and slight trails of smoked malts. The flavor is pretty damn good, it starts out with a malty sweetness and finished with a decent amount of peat smoke on the tongue. The first sip was much better than the following ones, resulting in the ratings that are seen before you. The mouthfeel was on the watery side IMO due to the flavors on hand. The beer is rather drinkable and I must admit I really enjoy this beer.

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

Pours a nice deep red with a good head and good lace. The aroma is earthy and smoky with a mild funkiness and some smoked meat. There is some wood and fruitiness and a mild sweet aroma in there as well. The flavor follows but it's nicely bitter compared to other smoky beers I've had. There is some sweet smoke and plenty of woodiness and a fair bit of earthiness in there as well. Delicious.

Photo of rand
3.93/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

From bottle to pint

Pours out an opaque caramel-orange with lots of vibrant carbonation and suspended yeast. Smoky fumes are immediately noticed, and upon a deep whiff, dominate the bouquet. There's a bit of a hop twang in the backdrop, maybe some bready malts, but mostly this smells like a cozy campfire.

The taste follows, but it's a bit more layered than the nose. The smoky overtone is definitely the strongest characteristic, but reducing the profile to simply 'smoky' doesn't do it justice. There is a tangy sweetness, presumably from the juniper, and it blends well with the sweetbread malts. Aside from the typical beer flavor-profile, the ale is framed with holiday spice, accentuating its woody smokiness. Everything is well balanced, quite unique and tasty and drinkable. The moderate ABV works here - a strong alcohol bite would combine with the smoke to overwhelming, but the alcohol is barely noticeable. Finishes smoky and relatively dry.

It could be that I'm drinking this a week before Christmas, but this really has a warm, holiday feel to it. The smoky aspects are distinct, but they don't overwhelm, and the layers of flavor and spice are reminiscent of a winter warmer, although not quite as dense and bogged down. Good stuff, my first from HaandBryggeriet.

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

"I once had a girl or should I say she once had me. She showed me her room isn't it good Norwegian Wood," The Beatles,

500 mL bottle,

A: Pours a vey dark brown, with a frothy white head, solid lace,

S: Smoke, juniper, herbal, as it's described, an enjoyable scent.

T: Smoke, wood, mesquite, tree bark, lots of good flavours, very woody and rustic.

M: Medium-bodied, smooth, nice mouthfeel.

D: Solid beer, the smoke was not as upfront as I thought'd be, very tasty.

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.

Photo of berkey
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Label has batch NR 142 printed on it. 1 pint 9 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass and reviewed 11/11/10. From the description on the label it seems this beer is somewhere between a Rauch and a Sahti. I have to say I'm intrigued...

Body is a muddy brown color with some slightly ruddy highlights. Forms two fingers of dense, well retained, khaki-colored head.

Aroma is very fruity and spicy from the start. Can't say I'd identify it as juniper if I didn't already know but there is a very distinct berry or cherry scent. Beyond that there's a fleeting chocolate character that rapidly transitions to clearly defined but not overly assertive woody smokiness. The deeper I sniff the more the smoke becomes a dominant player.

Flavor is sweet and pleasant on the entry but not as intensely fruity as the aroma. From there the flavor segue ways into subdued nutty and unsweetened chocolate but overall the flavor profile is slightly thin mid palate. The smoky flavors are intact but limited to the aftertaste for the most part. There's something potpourri-like in here as well. Unique and pleasant.

Body is a little thin but the somewhat low carbonation seems appropriate somehow. Another solid, interesting, and enjoyable Scandinavian beer. Just wish the prices were as easy to swallow as the delicious beer is.

Norwegian Wood from HaandBryggeriet
88 out of 100 based on 311 ratings.