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Norwegian Wood - HaandBryggeriet

Not Rated.
Norwegian WoodNorwegian Wood

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

219 Reviews
THE BROS
81
good

(Read More)
Reviews: 219
Hads: 314
rAvg: 3.94
pDev: 9.14%
Wants: 48
Gots: 26 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 219 | Hads: 314
Photo of RblWthACoz
3.76/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark clouded brown with a good sized tan head that stays. Nose is smoked, yes. But definitely not overdone by any means. Smells like smoked meat. Flavor is smoked, but not a kick in the mouth, thankfully. You get a lasting smoke that has meat character to it. I don’t feel like I get much juniper berries like the label implies. But hey, what do I know. Feel has a pretty full carbonation to it that really takes over the mouth. Liquid is well bodied. Overall a good drink. Not an overpowering smoked beer at all. Still seems a bit one-sided and not extremely complex. And for the price, I feel like I should be getting a whole lot more. (651 characters)

Photo of objectivemonkey
3.66/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Into an imperial pint glass, pours a dark russet brown, approaching black, ruby to blood red hues around the edges, a (too) massive tan head forming quickly, requiring numerous pours, very airy too.. eventually settling to a manageable half inch and getting much more creamy. The lacing is pretty nice too... yhar, it good.

The smoky aroma is obvious, but the rest takes its time to come through, what with the massive head, but once out the berries peek through. And if its possibly for an aroma to smell 'dry'... well, this one does.

The best I can describe this taste is as follows; a burnt marshmallow over an autumn campfire, minus the marshmallow, dipped lightly in gin. Plus some bark. If that sounds gross, clearly you're a pansy, cause this is a delicious brew. Its a bit dry, a slightly sour feel to it, a little meaty even. Then I notice some caramel malts mutter its greetings through the middle. There are some odd things at work in here, but I like it.

The mouth is a bit odd though, dry as expected but also too carbonated, leaving the already medium body feeling a bit thin. Later the carbonation backs off, and thickens up a bit. Overall, it was a bit much at first and then later, but through the middle of this beer it was a very enjoyable journey, and would recommend trying it. But paying $8 for this, one and done. (1,339 characters)

Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle to a small glass, the liquid is a hazey brown and has excessive carbonation. The head is way too big of light tan and leaves little lace.

The smell is interesting, lots of smoke and a slight gin and alcohol aroma. The Gin scent comes from the berries.

The taste is good, with in the style, and my experience is limited, the beer seems to taste good, as far as most smoked beers it is good but I would not chose this one regularly because of the berries.

The mouthfeel is ok a bit this and way too much carbonation.

The drinkability is not that great as it is a bit strange.

Prosit, MK (611 characters)

Photo of Zorro
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

$6.99 at Jubilation in Albuquerque, it is a little pricey.

Murky dark reddish brown colored beer with a decent tan head that doesn't fall.

Wow did some one order a Rauchbier? Quite smoky smelling from a distance. A little sweet and pretty strongly spiced with juniper berries and smoke. For some reason there is a fairly strong vanilla aroma.

The taste begins very dry, very spicy and very smoky. This is a beer that doesn't suffer from lack of flavor. Very woody and smoky if you like dry smoky scotch you will love this. Juniper shows up mostly as an after taste. Not quite up there with German Rauchbier but this is a beer dominated by the smoke. This does lack subtleties, this is smoke and juniper berries and dry and that is all.

The mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability will be decided here on your like or dislike of strong smoke flavor in a beer. This is a beer that has smoke flavor in spades and if you don't like that you will have a hard time drinking it. I like a smoky beer so I love this. (1,004 characters)

Photo of HomeBrewJunkie
3.1/5  rDev -21.3%
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. (1,283 characters)

Photo of flowerysong
4.6/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Background: This recreation of a traditional farmhouse ale from Norway is brewed from wood-smoked malt and spiced with juniper branches and berries.

Appearance: Opaque medium brown, foams enthusiastically and the tan head exhibits great retention.

Smell: Spicy pine scents from the juniper, subtle smoke seems to grow in intensity as you take additional sniffs. Hints of dark malt and slight dried fruit aromas.

Taste: Smoke may seem subdued in the nose, but it comes through here with a vengeance. Hefty wood smoke flavour is the first and last thing you taste. Vague fruitiness sliding into juniper comes through in the middle. A hint of meatiness is almost gamy; slight sour yeast character. Besides the smoke, the long finish also contains a resiny reminder of the juniper.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and medium-bodied, high carbonation and a tongue-coating tingly sensation from the juniper resins.

Drinkability: I love this beer. It's bold and assertive, with sufficient complexity to keep the beer geeks happy. (1,013 characters)

Photo of GbVDave
4.2/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16.9oz bottle into a 20oz imperial pint.

Batch # 72 Brewed : Apr. '07 Best Before : Apr. '10

A: Pours a cloudy, reddish-brown, dark-amber color. Getting it all in the glass takes a while due to the huge head on this. It eventually settles down and turns into a 1/2 finger cap of smooth and creamy foam.

S: Smoke and roasted malt are front and center, but also there are hints of hops, chocolate, and juniper to keep things interesting.

T: Smokey and burnt malt and bitter hops. The juniper adds a nice spicy zing to this. Not an extreme "gin" type of juniper flavor, just a perfect amount of sass to make things really interesting. There is also a teeny, tiny dark chocolate covered tart cherry flavor as well. Just about perfect amount of smoke, not too strong, not too weak.

M: Peppery and spicy with some smooth malt to even things out.

D: What an interesting beer. The ABV is just right and everything just seems to fall into place with this one. Excellent! (981 characters)

Photo of sinistrsam
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a ruby brown with a large tan foamy head. Decent lacing throughout the time I was drinking it.
Roasted malt and smoke, maybe some mild dark fruits in the nose.
The taste was rather malty and sweet, with hints of roast, smoke, caramel, very mild hops. Very unique.
Starts sweet with biting carbonation and fades into a semi-sweet smokiness which coats thetongue and leaves a good aftertaste. Overall medium-bodied.
I was impressed with this beer but not overwhelmed; I guess I had never had a Norwegian beer, and certainly not this style. The price was pretty unreasonable, so maybe I'd feel better about it if I bought it myself. (642 characters)

Photo of Patrick999
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into an Ommegang chalice. Head is very nice and retains well. Appropriately enough, the color is a smoky caramel. I like the way this looks, so I'm going to give it a high score.

I think I actually get some grassy hop foremost in the aroma, maybe a singed hop, because there's the smoke coming in. Hey, this *is* a smoked ale...what did you expect? There's a little sweet aroma as well; I assume this is the juniper.

Taste - I've had Rogue's smoked ale and Alaskan Smoked Porter, and to me this has elements of both, though perhaps a closer cousin to Rogue's Smoke Ale. It's heavily smoked, but the smoke doesn't seem to weigh heavily on the palate. Very drying with the smoke, light hop and juniper, with a lingering surprisingly bitter, smoky aftertaste.

Drinkability is high, but you'd better be in the mood for a smoked ale. I'm drinking this by itself, but I can only dream of how well it would go with BBQ or smoked salmon. (941 characters)

Photo of Metalmonk
3.4/5  rDev -13.7%
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. (983 characters)

Photo of bark
3.07/5  rDev -22.1%
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. (1,327 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.38/5  rDev -14.2%
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! (534 characters)

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a reddish brown with a light tanned head that was big and tight. Light to medium smoke on the nose balanced nicely by a tang of juniper. The smoke is not overpowering and blends nicely with the fruity aromatic juniper. The taste is very dry and lightly spicy and smokey with an undercurrent of bitterness and a pronounced juniper finish. Once again, the smoke is relatively light and part of a harmonious whole rather than the dominant flavor. The mouthfeel is dry and tannic and medium bodied. The juniper bitterness and aroma really comes through. This unusual beer strikes me as being a good aperitif, similar in utility to something like Cynar. Very interesting, but a tad pricey. (691 characters)

Photo of ElGordo
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the 500ml bottle into a pint glass. Body is somewhere between burnt orange and dark brown, topped by a small khaki-colored head that retains quite well and leaves a bit of lacing on the glass. Aroma of alder-smoked malt, although not as heavy on the smoke as some other smoked beers. Palate is well-rounded, smoky malt forming a nice base but not shutting out all other flavors. A light fruity character from the mellow hops comes through mid-palate, along with a mild malty sweetness. Body is full but not too thick or sticky. Goes down fairly easy for such a strong, uniquely flavored beer. Definitely a curiosity, but in a good way. Try it for yourself. (668 characters)

Photo of beerking1
4.89/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

An AWESOME beer. Combines a subtle smoked character (wood type unknown) with a fairly strong juniper character. All of this is backed by a medium to full body and a great balance.
Slightly cloudy, but this adds to the mystery of this unusual beer.
I highly recommend this beer. (277 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle, 6.5% abv, smoked ale with juniper berries.
poured into my new favorite glass, a Brother Thelonious chalic.

Dark brown appearance, cocoa-toned, diaphonous head.

Aroma, smoky from the start, ....mmm, bacon-y...summer sausage...nice.

Rich & meaty...delicious..roasty, full bodied...hey, there's the berries, but dipped with chocolate. Very woody, like liquefied oak.

I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me....

Wood'n'fruit'smoke...isn't it good?...dee-dum-dee-doo...

Mmm, a complex beast, pegged into no particular category, but such a strange and remarkable brew.
Unique, tasty, but I won't spend $8 on another one...I'll leave that to you! (673 characters)

Photo of dgallina
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

1 pint, 9 fluid ounce brown bottle with added label marked bottled in March 2007 and best-before March 2010.

Pours a slightly-murky deep red / brown with an inch of tan foam that dissolves slowly. Leaves a finger-wide collar and plenty of lacing. The bottle was cellared upright and poured carefully to avoid too much yeast & sediment in the glass. Smells of dry wood smoke with a medicinal undercurrent from the juniper berries. Quite different from the strong, rounded meaty smokiness that's normally associated with the Franconian (German) smoke beers. The flavor is a surprise as well. Medium-dry wood smoke blends with deeply-toasted malts to create strong dry coffee and leather notes. These are somewhat balanced by cool minty & sour overtones from the juniper berries. Finishes dry with medicinal after-tones, inviting another sip. Body is light-to-medium, very crisp and quite clean for an ale. The juniper berries make this a bit of an acquired taste, but the beer is nicely balanced and worth a try for smoke beer fans. (1,031 characters)

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 1pt .9oz bottle ($7.99 at Whole Foods in Columbus). This looked like a substantial beer, dark red copper and hazy, with a thick 3D-ish tan head. The aroma was dark fruits (maybe juniper berries as described on the bottle) and rauchbier smoke. The flavor is dominated by the smoky malts, and the after-taste held a slightly bittersweet tang. Very tasty and long-lasting flavor, maybe it felt thick and coating due to lots of yeasties in the beer. Outstanding beer, very pricy, my first beer from Norway (to my knowledge). (534 characters)

Photo of Sigmund
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
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. (298 characters)

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