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Doggie Claws - Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room

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Doggie ClawsDoggie Claws

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BA SCORE
93
outstanding

1,079 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,079
Reviews: 536
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 398
Gots: 254 | FT: 19
Brewed by:
Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mattmaples on 10-12-2001

"a Barley Wine made in the West Coast style. Big malt and hops make this copper colored ale one of our most popular products. Produced in September and October and released in November, this Beer will improve for years to come. Alcohol: 11.5% by volume. IBU's 70"
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,079 | Reviews: 536
Photo of BARFLYB
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz 2009 vintage silver capped into a tulip glass watching Damages. This was 'cellared' in my basement for all of three days, I could not wait.

A melted copper penny shine with some reddish outlines, This looks quite different from Fred. With about five ounces poured my tulip exploded with a caramel, off white, creamy colored mass of foam that made noise and was active, almost like molten lava. Fingerprints of lace around the base of the glass.

I've had a 9 year aged version of this and this semi fresh version is much bolder with ripe hops bursting out west coast style. Smells of grapefruit and some papaya. Citrus blast indeed, doggie has a sweet caramel touch with slight chocolate and bread from the malts. The malts come out with big warming as well as some alcohol.

Doggie digs it's claws with grapefruit mixed with some booze and some semi dark fruit action. The flavor is just so rich and something that i'm enjoying alot. Light sugar mixed with a little more caramel rounds out the sweetness with a small candi like vibe. Some molasses and brown sugar adding to the sweetness. The chocolate is real minimal or perhaps im imagining that. A big toastiness from the malt addition with a splash of alcohol.

This stuff really is a marvel on the mouth. When cold the citrus hop burst does it's thing without wrecking the tounge, or palette. With warming the malts do their thing and claws becomes a more sweet barleywine with the hop bite fading, but never fully. An above medium bodied beer that may have a bit to much carbonation, I like it, but it's huge, but I think it works. I've heard of complaints on carb on this vintage, but not from me.

Insanely drinkable, while the alcohol is noted and felt, I just kept picking up my glass. I did not care for Fred at all (perhaps it was the added rye) but doggie has a style all of it's own, this is the bomb. It's not far off from any other well crafted American Barleywine in taste, smell, feel, but this is damn good and just a pleasure. I thought this would be a boozy mess at this semi young age, but I was surprised at the complexities and togetherness of this beer.

Photo of TheJollyHop
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Juicy citrus aroma, oanges and other acidic fruits, lightly toasted raisins, and ample floral scents. Toffee and sweet grain complement the nose as well. The aroma is not cloyingly sweet which is a nice change of pace from the barleywines I have tried, except for stone.

Deep amber light brown pour with an off white head. The inner circumference of the snifter glass is doused with cloying lace.

Tropical fruit (pineapple) sweetness with some resiny woody character. Caramel and raisins make their presence known upfront, some bubblegum sweetness as well, while a brief explosion of bitterness enters and backs off leaving a soft, sweet lingering flavor. Strangely, lemon citrus is quite noticeable at the end and while it was pleasant at the beginning, became a little much and subsequently hindered drinkability and taste. Overall a mellower version of Stone's Old Guardian. Very well balanced

Smooth and creamy with some nice weight on the tongue along with being tongue coating. The beer is medium carbonated and alcohol heat is noticeable but under control and subtle; well masked for an 11%.

The lemony taste is a little too powerful and is the only complaint I have with this brew,

Photo of TheMadJack
4.57/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had the 2003 on tap at Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena. Poured into a Saison Dupont glass. Review prepared from notes.

A: Murky reddish brown with a very thin, cream colored head.

S: Green apple, green grapes, pine, toasted rye and crackery malts.

T: BIG toasty, woody, grainy, bready malts which rise up to punch you in the nose (literally) at the finish, complimented by tart, fruity hops. Green apple and berry flavors round it out.

M: Weighty and slick. Coats the mouth evenly. The flavor experience involves the entire mouth at once, playing across the tastebuds, roof and cheeks.

D: This is a powerhouse beer with an impressive ABV, but I just can't get enough of them. Despite the challenge and strength of the flavors and character of this beer - which are hallmarks of the style, anyway - I'm giving this one a high drinkability score.

Photo of hopsbreath
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Review is taken from notes. Sampled February 12. This one has a gold cap, 2008 vintage, 12 ounce bottle. I bought two. One for me and one for my wife.

This started out as a beer that I was not impressed with. Color is medium tan and opaque. Very little pop sound with little head formation with a vigorous pour. Concerns start to swirl.

The smell begins the redemption. Sweet fruits abound! Some honey dew or cantaloupe exists and I don't care what people say about honey fermenting there is a honey smell still there.

The taste is great! Complex sweet malts, cantaloupe like sweet fruits, and damn it the honey is there! I actually had to go back to the bottle to see if it said anything about honey because I was unaware of what exactly went into this barleywine. For the record, Alan did indeed use honey in this one and yes the flavor still lingers.

The mouthfeel was smoooth. The carbonation is extremely low. Some people do not like low carbonation but I do. This may have been a little under carbonated for my taste but still worthy of a 4.0 in the category. The liquid itself is thick and luscious as it glides across the palate.

I did not realize this was an 11.5% until I went to place the bottle in the recycling box after consumption. The whole time I was thinking it was probably in the 8%-9% range. This is really well done for that much alcohol and easily could be trouble for an unassuming consumer. I might suggest it when the ubiquitous "good beer choice for girls" topic crosses the forum next time. My wife certainly liked it.

Overall I have to say this was one of my more enjoyable beers during my recent trip to Portland. At $4.99 in a Whole Foods I have to say it is a worthy investment and not hard to find. Oregonians have it made!

Photo of Thorpe429
4.67/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a nice dark caramel with a fairly nice tan head. Not too much lacing.

S: Loads of caramel and brown sugar alongside bits of alcohol, and then even more sweetness and a few fruits.

T: Very strong sweet malt presence, without being completely overdone. Plenty of brown sugar and caramel. A few ripe fruits.

M: Pretty full mouthfeel with little carbonation and just a bit of alcohol heat.

D: Very, very drinkable, especially for the style. While I did enjoy this one slowly, I could have consumed it a lot faster. A beautiful sipper that I'd love to always have on hand.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.62/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm having the privilage of drinking the '06 vintage (3+ years old) and must say that it's giving me quite an education in Barleywines.

The beer opens with a very quiet hiss, making me worry about the lack of carbonation. No real worries, as the beer pours a thin blanket of foam forms on the beer and holds true for the session. Deep mohogany and ruby in color, the beer carries a moderate haze (carefull not to pour the heavy sediment present in the bottle). Light lacing and legging all throughout the session. This is the look of a truely well-aged Barleyine.

Insane aromas of malt and fruit conduct an assault on the nose even as the beer is being poured. Deep, deep caramels, toffees, and molassas wrap around a sherry and rum aroma. Fruitcake esters of apples, cherries, nuts, figs, raisons, dates, plumbs, and prunes all make a sweet and sturdy impact on the nose. Hops provide only an herbal element that blends well into the intense malt profile.

Flavors are much the same but with a much smoother, lighter flavor than the nose suggests- I expected much more intensity. Emphasis falls on the sweet fruits and malts while a mild hop bitterness helps the beer fade into a rather balanced finish.

The beer never displays the heavy, viscous, chewy textures that today's Barleyines do. But a sweet start shows remarkable attenuation for such power in taste and aroma. This allows for a dry and evaporative finish. By no means does this beer finish dry or crisp but it is remarkably easy to drink compared to common Barleywines.

This is undoubtedly one of the best Barleywines... no, beers.... that I have ever had. Thanks Slayer3604!

Photo of bonkers
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this from Dunt in a BIF. I poured from a 12 ounce bottle. It is murky, muddy orange with a slight white head. The nose was sweet and flowery. The flavor was a home run. The honey brought out a real nice sweetness to balance out the hops, it finished long and sweet. The alcohol was not noticeable. The body is full and it has a chewy mouthfeel. This beer is dangerously drinkable, a very good barley wine.

Photo of rpstevens
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. The pour yields a huge foamy sticky cotton candy head that only allows me to pour half the beer. While I waited for the head to settle the beer slowly gushed out of the bottle, forcing me to pour it into a second glass. The beer is a beautiful hazy deep orange/amber color with glowing edges.

The smell is blast of citrus hops, orange peels, lemon zest and grapefruit. The citrus hops are quickly balanced by a honey sweetness, very interesting.

The taste matches the smell very closely. The citrus hops are very pronounced, oranges and grapefruit, but fleeting. The taste quickly moves to the caramel and honey sweetness. The finish is juicy citrus hops, but not very bitter, more of a sweet citrus. As the beer warms the flavors blend together nicely and the finish becomes nice and crisp.

The beer is medium to heavy bodied, the high carbonation really makes the flavors move. The alcohol is well hidden by the citrus and honey sweetness, but it does warm the stomach after half a pint in a very welcoming way. This is a very smooth and drinkable barleywine, the honey sweetness is interesting and makes this beer stand out from the crowd. Another great beer from HOTD.

Photo of davexisxrabid
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Doggie Claws 08 poured into my Bruery tulip.

Poured a copper mahogony color with minimal head and retention. Looks oily on top. Left yeast in the bottle. Light visible carbonation.

Aroma of pine with a sweet and sour smell. Kind of a cooked caramel malt smell, like when grains are steeping.

Very nicely balanced flavor. Really mellow, no alcohol heat but with a good sweetness of light brown sugar with a nice slight bitterness. Really good; the hops have mellowed out and aren't mouth puckering and in perfect balance.

Light lingering flavor on the palate but not heavy. Full bodied and lightly carbonated, a delicate balance done right.

Awesome drinkability. I could drink these all night til I puke on myself. Hopefully I wont...

Photo of ClockworkOrange
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 12 ounce bottle - 2004 vintage. Uncapped and poured into my shaker glass. The ale appears a mildly cloudy dark hazelnut color with about a finger of light tan foam. The flavors and aromas consist of prunes, molasses, rich toffee, bitter burnt demura sugar, caramelized bready grains, graham crackers, dark cherries, some bittersweet chocolate, earthy hops. Approaching full bodied with nice carbonation. Even after 5 plus years in the bottle, I'm still getting some pleasant alcohol warmth in the back of my throat. Really nice overall, gets sweeter as it warms.

Photo of ShogoKawada
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

thanks, augustgarage! Always keeping me rolling in good beers. 2009 into Chouffe tulip.

A- Amazing clarity, great amber coloration, slightly off-white head that is thick and creamy. 2 fingers and going nowhere fast. Lacing is pretty nice, too. Pretty fantastic barleywine pour.. one of the best head's I've ever seen on a ~12% beer.

S- Hoppy, for sure. A bit boozy, a bit fruity (fresh sweet fruit, though). ナツミカン (natsumikan)! That's what it is. Thanks, google.

T- Fruity citrus... tangerine. Bold, sweet malt backbone dominates for the most part. Pretty sweet but not syrupy in the least.. really digging this.

M- Smooth... impossibly so... a bit of a hop bite, but not scathing. ABV is nowhere to be found. Wow!

D- I really like it. A top-tier barleywine. Really impressed at all the great flavors and total lack of visible ABV. Worth seeking out!

Photo of garbercury
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Pigwings6 for the generous extra!!

Vintage 2007 served in pint glass...

A--Nice deep orange-red, some lacing and head.

S--Smells great, faint hops but you can really fruits and caramel in this one.

T--Oh yeah, first beer I have tried by Hair of the Dog, wont be the last. Hops have mellowed and it has really made this a balanced beer, caramel notes, toffee, all working in concert with the hops, awesome.

M--silky smooth.

D--The high ABV makes this a sipper, but what a great sipper, very solid brew!!!!

Photo of augustgarage
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage. Poured from a 12oz bottle into my snifter.

Mahogany body, rather dark with rust and vermillion highlights. Perpetual thin desert sand head leaves behind lacing like a sparkling field of stars.

Alcohol is strong in the aroma, with suggestions of light cognac, candied orange, whole cloves, and as a bridge into the malt aromatics, syrup-coated fruitcake. The malt is bready and potent, but this young example is still full of spicy hops with hints of citrus and pine.

Myriad flavors parade across the palate: a faintly vinuous sherry note, lots of fruit (stewed peaches, nectarines, dates, prunes, cherry, bitter orange, etc.), lipton tea, and more. Dark bready malt spreads out mid-palate and leads into a complex hoppy dry heat in the finish (though there is a residual sweetness as well).

Medium-bodied, very well carbonated, smooth, lightly tannic, and just a touch sticky (though this suits the style).

Robust, well balanced, with a nice complexity and a well integrated ABV - an excellent take on the style, which seems to drink very well young (a nice change of pace compared to the über barleywines that require years of aging to obtain any semblance of balance).

Photo of billshmeinke
3.18/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Vigurous pour into pint glass. 2009 bottle.

A: Deep honey, amber in color. Bits of yeast floating about. absolutely no head or lacing. The tiniest bit of foam on top.

S: Brown suggar, candy apple, caramel and honey. Also, some tropical fruity hops. Good nose.

T: Mostly follows smells. Quite sweet. Barley, brown sugar, candy apple, honey.

M: I saw some reviewers saying their bottle had low carbonation, but mine was a total dud. Almost literally 0 carbonation. I'm usually not one to complain about this type of issue. I even enjoy the low levels of carbonation in Port Brewing/Lost Abbey's barrel aged offerings, but this was undrinkable. Maybe it was just a problem with my bottle or the particular batch, but I couldn't finish it.

D: This beer had a lot of promise based on smell and taste, but the carbonation issue ruined the beer for me.

I really hate to bash what many consider a good beer, but it was completely unenjoyable for me. And at $6 a bottle it makes me a little angry.

Photo of russpowell
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks to googzoid10 for this, cheers Greg!

2009 bottle spewed a bit as it opened, opened a murky tea color with 1 finger plus of sand colored head, plus floaties. This was a gentle pour mind you... Average head retention & lacing

S: Much pine & some caramel, plus apple & cinnamon

T: Pine & grapefruit, & a bit of booze up front & a touch of whisky smokeyness & toffee sweetness. Boozeyness, grapefruit & leafy hops dominate as this warms, along with apricot & figs. Finishes a bit rough, looking for more smoothness please ( I'm sure time will take care of that)

MF: Medium bodied, over carbonated, pretty warming. Body isn't really holding up to the hops, seems a bit thin once warm

Drinks alright, but this sucker needed at least another 8 months I'm thinking, live & learn...But if your looking the hop smack it probably will fade soon

Photo of Brent
3.43/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A little disappointed in this one. Sampled during a tasting that featured several outstanding Russian Imperial Stouts, so perhaps I was a bit jaded by the time this one came to my glass, but overall I found it a bit lacking for a barleywine. A strong ale, perhaps, but not enough horsepower or depth (despite the abv) to be interesting in this category.

Photo of DanOLeary
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

edit: I see reports of lack of carbonation, this bottle (with a blue cap) was low to medium and seemed quite appropriate for the style.

Aroma: Strong notes of dark fruit in the nose, raisins and plum are forefront with alcohol spice following this up with an almost cooling sensation in the nose. I detect a bit of citrus hop aroma but this could be confused with the alcohol, which is certainly expected and welcome for the style.

Appearance: The beer is just dark enough where you can't quite see through the middle of your glass, but moving outward the appearance blends from a deep red to a translucent mahogany brown with small bits of sediment in the bottom of the glass. Being a bottle conditioned ale this is not unexpected. Head pours a full two fingers at first but fades fairly quickly to about a centimeter of off-white foam blanketing the top.

Flavor: There is so much going on here it's hard to know where to begin. You're hit with more dark fruit as it transcends through the nose; raisins and plum of course but there's also some caramelized fruity sweetness as well. There is expected and warming flavors of alcohol that provides a bite toward the end of the malt sweetness that borders on maple syrup. The plum flavor comes back in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Full body with light to medium carbonation. The alcohol presence almost stings the mouth with it's warming effect while the body is nearly that of syrup. The malt profile, while somewhat sticky also comes off nearly grainy and chewy through the middle. There is a sweetness left behind on the lips in the end and warmth in the throat.

Overall: The alcohol presence in this beer is unmistakeable and could be interpreted by some as being "hot". Though I believe it is backed up so well with malt complexity and fruity sweetness that a balance is nicely achieved. Though I'm sure it's there hop bitterness is not entirely detectable through the malt and alcohol complexity. Full flavor, supple mouthfeel and a nicely balancing aroma, this is one to seek out if you're looking to experience Barley Wine Style Ale's.

Photo of dardan
4.2/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Had to try two, just to make sure. The issue with the lack of carbonation is unfortunate, but most everybody seems to be aware by now - it's still delicious.
A: clean, dark brown/amber, no sediment
S: malty, dark fruit, and caramel,
T: well balanced bitterness, malty, thick syrupy, dark fruit and caramel,
M: thick, smooth, lack of carbonation is the big detracting factor,
D: as noted, we had two to make sure - the alcohol is subdued and we quickly finished both bottles; it's really that good.

If you get the chance and don't mind a flat beer, this is well worth the time. For those of you back East (US), it comes off as very similar to the Thomas Creek Up the Creek Extreme IPA.

Photo of RedBrewer83
4.13/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aggressive pour into goblet...

A: Pours a dark amber with hints of chocolate brown. Very viscous with absolutely no head at all...seems completely flat.

S: Huge fruit and malt aroma, lots of floral honey, sweet pears and just a hint of floral citrus hops.

T: Tons of fruit, pears, apples, honey, sweet citrus tangerine, lemon peel, caramel malt, booze comes through in a big way as well. Very complex and layered...very nice.

M: Heavy mouthfeel but very smooth and just a faint hint of carbonation, reminds me a lot of the JW Lees bw's. Booze detracts just a touch as it is a bit hot in the back of the throat.

D: This is a sipper for sure, take your time and enjoy the complexities. However at 11.5% it is fairly drinkable.

Photo of Beertracker
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

HOTD Doggie Claws (2004) is reknown for its bold, assertive flavors as a young beer, but let's see how it has held up after five years of cellaring? This vintage of Doggie Claws pours up with a modest effervescence that creates a tightly bubbled, beige colored head that blankets the murky, dark copper-ruddy brown body. DC's kind of an ugly mutt and not known for its social graces anyway. The aroma showcases a bigtime sweet grainy character with notes of burnt sugar, caramel-swirl bread & fireweed honey. The hops have become more subdued offering a complex grassy, herbal notes interlaced with a tinge of fruitiness (dried orange, grape seed, oroblanco) that barely escapes the huge sweet toasted maltiness. The flavor is quite multi-layered with a caramel & honey sweetness upfront followed by a firm toastiness (graham crackers, gingerbread snaps) with barely a hint of chocolate. The hop bitterness is still very firm creating a balanced, but chewy finish. This dog's strength becomes more evident towards the finish, but never becomes rabid. Very complex stuff! I'd have to report that this bottle-conditioned barleywine has held up remarkably well over the seasons and is certainly a testament to the American craft brewer's spirit. Don't turn your back or the Claws will bite you!

CHEERS! Beertracker

Trader's Note: Many thanks to beerhandy for this fine elixir.

Photo of Shakujin
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Doggie Claws

Appearance: Bottle, Alot of foam with some decent staying power and thick lacing. Very fluffy. Dark brown with orange highlights, looks thick, like a belgian type thing. Carbonation is coming in streams of tiny bubbles.

Smell: Right from when I opened this I was getting a strong hop smell, upon closer inspecting the hops are citrus and are complimented nicely in the aroma by a sweetness. Like a grapefruit with some sugar on it, or some of those grapefruit gummies. Mals and yeast smells are in there but faint.

Taste: Fantastic. My first impression is a Belgian double mixed with a westcoast IPA, and mixed well. Even though I got a bit of smokeyness in there but only picked it up the first time so might have been a fluke. Digging into the flavors the sip starts with a quick sweet malt, crystal maybe, then the fruity-ness of pears combined with a strong bitter citrus hop which it finishes on.

Mouthfeel: Think double, only a bit lighter.

Drinkability: This beer is quite drinkable, its light enough that I feel as though I would easily drink a few pints, and at 11% thats saying something. Really though the sweetness, the alcohol, and the bitterness are balanced, and blended very well. An excellent beer although more than two in a row probably is not the best idea.

Photo of seanbhudson
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE:
12 ounce bottle with 2009 date. Pours an orange/copper color with a small off-white head.
AROMA:
Moderate aroma of sweet alcohol, malt and fruit.
FLAVOR:
Sweet (but not cloying) caramel and honey. Lots of subtle complex flavors. A bit of cherry, orange, dark plum and apple. Some earthy/piney bitterness. Also hint of spice.
MOUTHFEEL:
Medium-full body with velvety smooth texture. Almost no carbonation.
DRINKABILITY:
Tastes more like a dessert wine than a beer. Very smooth.
NOTES: BJCP-American Barleywine

Photo of bargerking
4.72/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

08 vintage poured into a snifter.

A Pale ruby. Very thin head. Thin lace. Low carbonation. This is an 08 though...

S sweet and juicy. Faded hops. Hints of pear. Lots of candi sugars. Dominate honey smell.

T Very sweet. Kind of thick. A little burn going down.

M Tons of honey from start to finish. The aftertaste is even stronger. Not boozey at all and really sweet.

D Great and deadly drinker. Canttaste the booze at all. Really sweet though. If you like honey and Bwine, this is the best it gets.

Photo of sweetbrew82
4.22/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle into a snifter/ 2009 vintage

P: Light honey brown with barely a 1/4 inch of soapy head on top, as expected. I am aware of the carbonation issues with this year's bottle run but it doesn't appear to be totally flat, I'd say very low carbonation, though. Much appreciation to Alan for the upfront honesty about it, so leeway given on the appearance score.

A: Smells of sweet malts with tons of caramel and a touch of honey just exploding out of the glass. There's also a good amount of yeasty goodness under the big citrus hop presence that really smells delicious. I wasn't expecting this big of an aroma coming from a beer with almost no head, but I'm pleasantly surprised.

T: Flavor pretty much follows the nose with an incredibly deep malt bill that lays a rock solid foundation for the heaping amount of caramel to build upon. A smidge of honey is appreciated along with those yeasty phenolics and a sturdy citrus hop presence that is careful not to add too much bitterness and take the attention off of the sweet centerpiece. This is really delicious beer, even with this low a level of carbonation!

M: Obviously, the lack of Co2 fails to give this beer that creamy, chewy feel that I look for in barleywines. But, it still works pretty well with a glassy smoothness that feels slightly oily as it glides across the tongue and slips down the throat.

Notes: Seeing as how this is the first time I've had Doggie Claws, I am very impressed with the quality of this brew. I can just imagine how good this would be with more carbonation and some age on it. Even as is, this is a damn fine barleywine that I would be pleased to have around on the regular. Delicious!

Photo of biegaman
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer isn't much to look at. It is murky and utterly flat. Its colour, a muddied russet, is drab and dirty. Holding it up against the light brightens things up considerably but clarity is a lost cause and its head is beyond repair, neither bubbles nor a string outline can be noted. But let's not jump to any conclusions, not everything is about looks...

Smells matter too, and it just so happens that this beer smells perfect. The hoppiness, even after three years of aging, still smells about 20 stories high. It is a tsunami of lupullin that crowds your senses like a cloud of smoke. A flower-infused punch, the brewer surely shook the citric fruits off hundreds of branches and drained a forest worth of its resins.

The beer enters your mouth like a bull in a china shop. It is loud and obnoxious and shatters the taste buds. Sappy, sticky, resinous hops, citrusy and piercingly acidic hops, grassy and herbal hops - the beer has its fare share of bitterness. But it's more so resoundingly sweet; the wild flower honey is both obvious and outstanding and quite a compliment.

And the beer goes down your throat like a bull in a china shop as well. The sweetness is resounding, the hoppiness choking, the alcohol warming (if not, outright burning). This beer has no reservations about its strength, but it wears it well, with a suitable and supportive cast of flavours that include orange peel, green tea and the wild flower honey.

I still can't get my head wrapped around the extent of this hoppiness! The amount of citrusy zest still present after three years of aging is nothing short of phenomenal. And yet, I also marvel at how well proportioned and balanced the beer is; if I made a barleywine I'd want it to be exactly like this. I'll have to hire a spy to steal the recipe.

Barleywines (at least the obnoxiously hopped up ones) are an American original - they stand for freedom, rebellion against the system; they are solid, defiant, and supremely cool, the barleywine is the All-American icon of resilient individuality and freedom (at least according to this Canadian). And Doggie Claws is one of the best ones I've ever tried...

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Doggie Claws from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
93 out of 100 based on 1,079 ratings.