1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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.
very good

290 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 290
Reviews: 211
rAvg: 3.93
pDev: 10.43%
Wants: 42
Gots: 17 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
HaandBryggeriet visit their website

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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Norwegian Wood Alström Bros
Ratings: 290 | Reviews: 211 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MunchkinDrinker
3.85/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Dark opaque brown with a thick tan foamy head and plenty of lacing.

S - Smells like a campfire. Smokey with a citrusy undertone. Almost sweet. Very pleasant.

T/M - Carbonation hits first, but is quickly replaced by a strong strong smoke flavor. A light piney/citrusy flavor peaks right as you're swollowing before the smoke finds its way back to the top.

D - The smoke is powerful, and does make it hard to get through.

MunchkinDrinker, Aug 01, 2009
Photo of augustgarage
4.08/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 500mL bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass. Brewed in November, 2007 - best before November, 2009.

Liquid is cordovan with falu red highlights. Very dark, but good clarity. A short-lived tan head is quick to dissipate leaving behind a very thin ring sustained only by the high carbonation.

Aroma is of roasted malt, and savory wood smoke, and a hint of brine or wildflowers. Subtle.

The flavor reminds me of a good dark lager, with toasted black bread and cleansing hop tartness. Coriander and juniper berries are present as well, but play a supporting role to the lightly smoked malt centerpiece. The finish is long and complex with roasted rye, wheat, and malt notes along with crisp botanical spice, a woodsy sweetness hinting at anise. Flavors intensify and become richer and more stratified as the liquid warms.

The mild astringency of the malt and smoke combined with the benign warming from the alcohol leave the impression of a freshly extinguished fire in your mouth. The juniper and hops dance around the edges thanks to the effervesence of this light-bodied brew.

A unique, mouth-watering concoction that would pair well with properly prepared salt-cod, rakfisk, wild game, and wild greens.

augustgarage, Jul 17, 2009
Photo of ffejherb
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1pt. 9oz. bottle into small pilsner glass on 6/10/09. Thanks to FooFaa for sharing.

A - Poured a cloudy reddish copper body with over a finger's width of bubbly beige head that retained quite well and left some patchy lacing around the glass.

S - Meaty and smokey with somewhat of a charcoal character and lots of earthy hop notes. Aroma is burnt, charred and reminiscent of hot dogs on the grill, but not the cheap-ass ones... gourmet dogs!

T - Lots of meat and smoke with a charred, burnt malt character and plenty of earthy, herbal hop bitterness.

M - Medium body with a pretty lively effervescence and a syrupy texture. Mild bitterness on the palate with an astringent finish.

D - One of the meatiest beers I've ever had for sure. Isn't it good, Norwegian Wood? Yes it is.

ffejherb, Jun 12, 2009
Photo of SuperSpy
4.22/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass.

The beer is a very dark, cloudy amber. The head is more than an inch thick and has the popping, crackling sound of a soda. Very little lacing as the head dies down.

Lots of smoke in this one. Other than smoke there are no other discernible aromas, even as the beer warms, but that's not surprising.

The taste has some sweet malt, with a hint of molasses or brown sugar and of course plenty of smoke. The smoke is not overpowering and honestly is very, very well balanced for a smoked beer. Although I've had better smoked beers, I haven't had many that had such a good balance of medium body and non-overpowering smoke flavor that I would be able, and want, to drink more than one.

SuperSpy, May 31, 2009
Photo of JamnesCameron
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured in a snifter to get a nice nose full of smoke. Smoke is definitely there.

Appearance is hazy amber.

Aroma is definitely smoke. BBQ in a glass.

Smoke is evident in the taste, but not overpowering. Some malt comes through. Cannot taste the juniper.

Mouthfeel was good overall...not too thin or syrupy.

Drinkability was good. This would be awesome with ribs. But I could not drink more than one at a sitting.

This would age well. May buy a few to lay down and try this winter and next spring.

JamnesCameron, May 25, 2009
Photo of MADhombrewer
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Cloudy cooper, with a big fluffy, off white head.

S- Smells like bacon, and an old campfire. Very smokey. I can smell some hops in there as well.

T- It tastes like bacon, with a little malt sweetness. I can taste the juniper berries, but that taste is small. My girlfriend thinks it tastes like a bacon wrapped date.

M- Mouthfeel is a little thin for me,but ok.

D- I love bacon,and this was great until about half way into it, then it got a little too much for me.

I drank this at room temp, but I think it could have used some fridge time. Very interesting beer, though!

MADhombrewer, May 22, 2009
Photo of WesWes
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark brown color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a decent malt scent of roasted, crystal, and peated malts. The smoke aroma is mild with a nice roasted dryness. The taste is good as well. It has a very smooth, peated flavor that's balanced with crystal and roasted malts. There is a slight Juniper berry taste up front, but it fades quickly with the smoke overcoming it. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with good carbonation. This is a tastey beer. I've been wanting to try it for awhile.

WesWes, May 10, 2009
Photo of spratmi
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a very dark ruby brown color with a thick amber three finger head. There was some amount of thick foamy lacing throughout the tasting.
S: The smell was dominated by a strong malty sweetness with a hint of smoke.
T: The initial taste was strongly dominated by a deep smoked wood flavor - there was almost an ashy note to the smokiness, but in a good sense. A sweet malty flavor mingled with a dry bitterness and a very slight hint of berries. I also noted a hint of bittersweet chocolate. The beer had a lingering bitter smoky finish.
M: This beer had a medium but very carbonated mouthfeel with a bitter dry finish.
D: Good drinkability with a complex flavor and interesting finish.

spratmi, May 02, 2009
Photo of Yetiman420
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pulled out of my suitcase and consumed in a 10 oz clear plastic cup. Shaken up quite a bit and lots of carbonation on the pour.

Appearance is rating once the beer settled to a chocolate milk light brown with a 1/2 finger tan head.

Aroma is sweet, malty, with some sourness. Next couple of pulls detect smokiness. Aroma is unique and attractive.

Served on the warmer side and picking up mostly light smoke and malt from the flavor. Too much carbonation is impacting the flavor of this beer.

I keep coming back to the aroma - trying to pick up the berries and my mind is telling me I smell them way off in the distance.

This one would be easier to understand and appreciate under the category of a smoked beer.

Yetiman420, Apr 28, 2009
Photo of avalon07
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown color and a thick, cloudy texture. There was a half inch of creamy, long-lasting head and some good lacing.

S: Strong aroma of smoke, wood, malt and possibly some chocolate.

T: The taste was very strong with smoke, to the point it almost overwhelmed the other elements. Also tasted of malt and a tinge of fruit (the junipers advertised on the bottle?). Reminds me more of a rauchbier than anything else.

M: A decent amount of carbonation and a super dry finish. Medium-bodied. The smokey aftertaste can be a bit much.

D: While drinking this beer is an unusual experience, it is definitely drinkable. Certainly NOT for everyone.

avalon07, Apr 27, 2009
Photo of stumac
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

this brew pours up an opaque reddish brown color with dark peach edges and a nice off white head. the nose is smoked bacon, smoked ham, smoked pork, burnt wood. the taste is a lol rough on the edges, I get very smoky pig products, subtle malts, slight hop bittering, no juniper twigs though, medium body, high smooth carbo. A decent smoked brew

stumac, Apr 01, 2009
Photo of orsulacp
3.83/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown body with hints of ruby under a fluffy light tan head. The nose has smoke, but not much and a powdered chocolate smell and a little bit of vanilla. There is a nice spiciness at first then some chocolate with a hint of caramel sweetness. All of the flavors really blend together well, spicy then bitter then sweet with a little spiciness left behind. It has a nice tight carbonation that makes the flavors open up a bit more. It is like a Palo Santo light, and that is a good thing.

orsulacp, Mar 28, 2009
Photo of John_M
3.43/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

What a very odd beer.

The beer pours a brownish amber color with outstanding, pillowy head retention and OK lacing. The beer looks very impressive. On the nose, this beer is a complete mess. I know it's billed as a smoked ale with junniper berries, but the combination is not attractive. There is the noticeable smoke and gin aroma, along with an underlying hint of chocolate. However, the combination of smoke and gin gives this beer a sandlewood, dish soap aroma. It's not the least bit attractive. Thankfully, the beer on the palate is nothing like the nose, consisting primarily of milk chocolate, coffee grounds and a hint of licorise. There is also a hint of the gin flavor, but it's very light and not at all obtrusive. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a soft, long finish. While the abv. is fairly low, it's very difficult getting by the aroma on this beer. I literally had to hold my breath every time I took a sip, which is not how I want to enjoy a beer.

This was an interesting beer, but have no plans to ever purchase it again.

John_M, Mar 20, 2009
Photo of peabody
3.8/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours out a slightly cloudy darker ice tea with one finger of off-white suds. No lacing to speak of.
Smell is smokey wood chips and caramel malt. Slight spice but mostly wood.
Taste is smokey wood. Reminds me of sugar cured ham. Anise and licorice with burnt wood. Almost a coffee flavor. Aftertaste of caramel malt and sugar toffee. The bitterness and the sourness must be from the juniper berry.
This is just an OK beer. Could be much better with not so much burnt wood.

peabody, Mar 19, 2009
Photo of brentk56
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy dark mahogany with a massive head that descends without leaving much in the way of lace

Smell: Campfire smoke, with just a hint of smoked bacon, but plenty of other elements underneath, such as chocolate, licorice and, as the beer warms, juniper berry

Taste: Smoke is all over the opening, and it takes a while for the ash flavor to make way for the other elements I smelled in the aroma; by mid-palate, all of the complexity is in full swing, with the chocolate, licorice, apple and juniper blending in very nicely; after the swallow, the flavor profile dries out with a hardwood finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body but way too much carbonation

Drinkability: As much as I enjoyed the flavor and aroma, the mouthfeel is a major detraction from drinkability

brentk56, Mar 03, 2009
Photo of farrago
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very dense head, surface looks like rolling hills of off-white, little lacing and while it starts off over three fingers deep, steadily evaporates downwards. Very dark red-brown color, only if you hold the glass close to a light does the transparency become evident. In the nose it's easy to finger all the smokiness but it's not a one trick pony, behind this lays medicinal witch hazel, cocoa powder fried in butter, campfire ashes, peat moss, cinnamon stick and a touch of caramel and toffee for shock absorption, very light squeak of mixed black fruit scents. Medium-bodied, if you could turn your mouth into a fire burning oven, this is what it would taste like. A metallic cave water, tar and Lapsang Souchong tea leaves keeps it aggressive. The carbonation acts like a thin jet stream through the palate, not steadily stirring the pot but creating turbulence. Piney juniper berry influence. Otherwise, the fruit element is very low, likewise no citrus of note. Anise seed and dried strips of game, less chocolate or caramel. Clean finish with expected big inner mouth perfume. A very good curiosity, couldn't drink more than two in a sitting.

farrago, Feb 24, 2009
Photo of Rainintheface
4.05/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: dark amber with ruby, cloudy but bright (if that's possible) 2 finger off-white dense foamy head. great lacing and moderately high carb

S: mild smoke, berries, bacon and faint hawaiian pizza

T: berries, smoked bacon and Canadian bacon

M: moderate body, crisp carbonation, dry with a bit of sweetness. Fantastic mouthfeel

D: I'll certainly have again. The berries and smoke play well together

Rainintheface, Feb 14, 2009
Photo of tmoneyba
4/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from River's Bend.

Poured black color with a large frothy brown head that was mostly lasting with good lacing. Moderate roasted coffee and dark fruit and woody smoke aroma. Medium to full body with a smooth texture. Solid dark roasted flavor with medium bittersweet finish of moderate duration.

Solid complex beer.

tmoneyba, Feb 13, 2009
Photo of JohnQVegas
3.98/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle into stein.

Pours chocolate brown, kind of murky, with a huge, fluffy tan head. Some visible effervescence around the edges of the glass.

Nose is quite smoky, with an organic peatiness around it, raisin and dark fruit underneath.

Taste has lots of dark fruit (raisins) and cocoa up front, some brown sugar as well, with the peaty smoke coming in about midway and really coming out around the finish. Finish is juicy, smoky, just a hint of smoked sausage, echoes of raisins and brown sugar wrapped in smoke. Really nice. Smoke contributed to the beer without totally wrapping up the entire character like some rauchbiers.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, light carbonation.

Drinkability is really rather high for a smoked beer - I could have drank more than one of these, and the sweetness in this coupled with the smoke would make this an absolute grand slam with pulled pork barbecue.

JohnQVegas, Feb 08, 2009
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.

Bung, Feb 04, 2009
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.

tjsprague, Jan 26, 2009
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.

pangea001, Jan 10, 2009
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




Redwood21, Dec 29, 2008
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.

nickfl, Dec 08, 2008
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.

BretSikkink, Dec 06, 2008
Norwegian Wood from HaandBryggeriet
86 out of 100 based on 290 ratings.