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

Not Rated.
Doggie ClawsDoggie Claws

Educational use only; do not reuse.

540 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 540
Hads: 1,115
Avg: 4.13
pDev: 11.38%
Wants: 392
Gots: 260 | FT: 17
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 540 | Hads: 1,115
Photo of emerge077
4.17/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sample courtesy of Kmpitz2...

Poured with a generous amount of frothy, creamy foam. Tawny orange/brown body, hazy with yeast. Aroma was nice, some spruce and sweet dried apricot, mixed with some subdued yeast esters. Taste followed the aroma with a big malty toffee body. Alcohol was hidden enough not to interfere, but definitely present. The bottle was shared, but I would happily drink one of these as an occasional treat.

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Photo of zeff80
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 Edition

A - Very good looking barleywine. A clear, dark amber color with a large, tan head of foam with some big bubbles of carbonation. Nice retention that receded to leave some sticky lace.

S - Spicy aroma with some pine-like hops. Also, a good balance of sweet maltiness in the nose.

T - A malty barleywine that isn't overly sweet. Again a good deal of spicy/bitter hop character matches the caramel malt goodness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied beer with a slightly dry finish.

D - This was really quite good. It's no surprise that Hair of the Dog made a good one, though.

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Photo of oberon
4.39/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is becoming a annual thing for me to drink Doggie Claws during the holiday season.2006 bottle, poured a lighter amber with chunks and floaties thruout my snifter a thin quick to fade head atop.Oh man the aromas are just killer when the cap was popped first thing I noticed was a big piney aroma after I poured the big honey malt notes came thru even overpowering the pine but damn what a great balance.This is young and if I had the will power to hold one I would but I cant,as is the hop flavors really hit home with a great honey and caramel malt profile and thru it all the alcohol stays in check for awhile the burn comes thru after it warms a bit.Its big its brash and its kick ass the hop burps come later and I love it,another great Doggie Claws from HOD, 2004 maybe the greatest beer ever made though.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.23/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 Vintage 12ox bottle poured into a Goblet

A – Poured a very nicer and very full deep caramel brown with tons of thick foamy tan head dripping down the sides of the glass, literally dripping. Lots of sediment coming out of the bottle and much of it residing on the bottom of the glass when it was empty. Great retention and tons of side glass lace. The color was pretty much opaque as well. Could not have really asked it to look much better, very nice, and good to see the carbonation holding up after a couple years.

S – The aroma was very sweet, almost sickingly so. Lots of caramel and sugar was apparent and very strong up front, with a slight hint of alcohol in the middle of it. Not very strong, but still a hint of some mellow alcohol tones in it. There was a slight smell of earthy and grassy type hops that tried to lighten it up, but were beaten back by a sugar malt assault. Towards the end I started picking up some slight notes of what seemed to be cola, which I thought was interesting.

T – The flavor was very robust and pronounced, with a thick sugar front that dominated from the first sip. The alcohol had defiantly mellowed as it was hardly detectable in the flavor. The overall flavor seemed to have a very mellow feel to it. Very sweet with lots of sugar and caramel. The distinctive hop finish I find in all of the HotD brews was there, but it had quieted a good deal, but still contributed a nice dry finish and a bit of an undercutting grassy note as well. Very nice aged barley wine this flavor was very nice.

M – Very full bodied and creamy. This was defiantly not a lighter barley wine but was more of the thick syrupy kind, much like a good few year old Bigfoot. Very filling and very nice carbonation.

D – This was an awesome sipper, albeit pretty strong and lended itself very well to a nice night in front of the fire. The flavor was very full and filling, but it was still easily sippable and made for a very nice night. Very well rounded, although I really couldn’t see having more then one in a sitting, that ABV will catch up to you.

Overall I thought this was outstanding. I have had a lot of really highly hopped barley wines recently and it was nice to get back to the thick malty monsters. I thought it held up very well for the age, and easily had a few more years in it. Would love to see what other flavors come out in a couple years and will have to try and get a hold of a few others to find out. Definitely recommend this one, a classic good brew.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.47/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage (Blue cap, in case anyone cares)

A: The pour is amber in color with a short lived khaki head that is initially about a finger high.

S: Great caramel and brown sugar aromas to the nose. Surprisingly, still a fair amount of hop content. I pick up some grapefruit and tropical fruit aromas. Sweet and malty, and excellent.

T: Caramel, molasses, and brown sugar provide a nice sweet base. Some definite fruitiness in the form of pineapple, grapefruit, tangerine, and peaches. A slight warming alcohol feel comes into play as the beer warms up.

M: Medium to full in body with a moderate carbonation and smooth feel on the tongue.

O: One of Hair of the Dog's best beers. I look forward to it each year.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass.

Big thanks to hannydawg for sharing this bottle!

2008 vintage. Let me just say that I am firmly against dressing dogs up for the holidays (or pretty much any other time, as well). That said, this stuff pours a very lightly murky russet-amber topped by a half-finger of off-white foam. The nose comprises ruby red grapefruit, pine, mild menthol, and toffee. The taste brings in more of the same, though the toffee is much more pronounced, giving some more balance to the proceedings, and the alcohol stabs through quickly, smartly, and shortly. The body is a straight medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and an oily feel. Overall, a very nice barleywine, a nice side-by-side with the thicker and maltier Fred from the Wood. Good times.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2002 - cellared, and then stored refrigerated and upright, for a year or so...

The yeast was clearly compacted at the bottom of the bottle and it poured a crystal-clear (I could see my fingerprints through the glass), glowing orange body beneath a massive head of rocky bright-white foam. It was a bit effervescent after 3 years in the bottle, and the rising bubbles helped to maintain the head, It kept a solid, creamy surface covering down to the last sip; and left some very nice sheets of attractive lace at the outset.

The nose was hoppy and fruity, or perhaps just loaded with fruity hops (Centennial, Cascades, etc.)! I can't imagine what it might have been like fresh, as it was still pretty damned hoppy three years later! There were notes of pineapple, grapefruit, apple, and tangerine; as well as some pine and mild spice over a grainy maltiness.

It was crisp in the mouth with a medium body and lively carbonation that perked up the tastebuds and 'scrubbed' the palate but didn't burn.

The flavor was very much as the nose suggested, with its fruity and piney hops brazenly tromping here and there across its lightly sweet and bready malt base. The bitterness level was kept restrained for a West Coast barleywine (or has it just softened that much?); and it was superbly balanced. More spiciness came through in the flavor than the nose; and its alcohol was present but far from obtrusive.

As I have no experience with a fresh bottle of Doggie Claws, I can only assumed that this has mellowed considerably; and that's not necessarily for the better, but it was quite good! I enjoyed it immensely, and with the exception of its alcoholic kick, I could easily have partaken of at least one bottle more. This is a beer that you sit down with, kick back, and enjoy while contemplating your utter insignifigance in comparison to the ever expanding universe... and then you think, "Yeah, but I've got an awesome brew at hand dude"!!! Rock on Doggie Claws!

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Photo of jlindros
4.36/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Tap at the brew pub.

Big foamy head, fades slowly, nice lacing, murky auburn reddish color.

Nose big sweet candy, sweet reddish caramel malt, big crystal malt and toffee buscuit, , mild fruity esters, hint herbal hop background, hint of booze.

Taste big caramel, like caramel sugar daddee candy, toffee, toasty reddish malt, mild herbal spicy hop in the background, hint of booze warmth with fruity esters, candied fig and date, finish little sticky, mostly dry, hint more booze, long caramel toffee candied creams.

Mouth is thicker, creamy chewy like caramel creams, nice carb, hint of booze.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.37/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2006 release, acquired from Viggo courtesy of Birthday Club 2, so a big Thank You goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color, with no head and no lacing which can happen with this type of beer when it's got some age one it.

S: The aroma is of brown sugar, caramel, bourbon, alcohol and a decent amount of hops.

T: The taste is sweet up front with flavors of caramel and brown sugar, there's a strong alcohol burn that follows along with a toned-down but complimentary hops presence. The malt character is very hearty. The after-taste is sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium-to-heavy body, very little carbonation, finish is sticky.

D: A little tasty, goes down ok, not too filling, strong kick, decent representation of style, I've certainly had better barleywines, but I have a strong feeling that this beer would be much better fresh.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.42/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into 20cl Beer Sommelier Antwerp Beer Passion Weekend stemware in low altitude Los Angeles, California. This is the 2011 version. My label displays ABV as 11%. Acquired at Wally's Wine in Westwood, California. Reviewed live. I'm excited for this one; I'm really into barleywines and am in the mood for a good one.

A: Pours a half finger head of nice fair cream, good thickness, and decent retention (considering the high ABV anyway). Colour is an extremely dark copper; nontransparent and solid. No yeast particles are visible. Appears adequately carbonated. I'm looking forward to it, though I do note that it seems a bit dark for a barleywine.

Sm: Strangely hoppy - unexpected for a barleywine. Biscuity bread-like notes. Maybe some toasted malt and/or raisin. Dark honey is also present, particularly on the finish - which is lovely. I'd say the honey is dominant, and next in line hops. A moderate strength aroma, but a subtle and intricate one that makes me excited to taste it. 4.0-4.5

T: Nectary. The delightful honey foundation is near-perfect in its subtlety, not intruding on the delicate balance, and not too bright and open; clearly they didn't just add honey the way you might in a honey blonde. It's a dark honey, and reading the label and discovering it's wild flower honey doesn't surprise me. An excellent and unique choice.

The hops are nearly perfectly balanced, giving the open a very interesting character that doesn't at all clash with the balance in a structural or flavour-wise sense.

Light candied sugar manifests mostly on the climax, giving it a bit of body but also thinning the third act a bit. It's not a favorful tradeoff all around; I think they could do with reducing the quantity of candied sugar used a bit.

No yeast comes through, nor does any alcohol - an impressive feat considering the hefty ABV.

It does seem hoppy for a barleywine, but the honey does well to hide the bitterness.

The only troublesome bit is the third act, which has a strange bitter feel to it and is thinner than the first two. It's a minor qualm, but throws the structural balance off to a degree.

It could do with more complexity in its flavours, but what's there is nice and I imagine she'd age nicely. I like it, though for the style it's a bit strange.

Mf: Smooth and wet, but a touch thick. It lumps on the climax, which doesn't bother me - though the thinness of the third act afterwards is (as aforementioned) a problem. It could do with more thickness and coarseness all around. Moreover, the finish is too slick and zips right by.

Dr: Quite drinkable for its hefty ABV, and uniquely honey-centric for the style. I like that they're experimenting, but I think the hop content should be reduced, the honey quantity increased, and the crystal malts omitted.

This one would likely age well, in part because the hop flavour would die down. There doesn't seem to be much yeast in the bottle, so I don't know that the ABV would creep.

Best paired with a good plain bread, like baguette.

Serve in a glass that really lets the aroma out; it's quite pleasant.

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

First had: on tap at their brewpub
Also have bottles of this for later consumption.

Poured a nice brownish amber with a small cap of tan head that retained fairly well. Sweet caramel and brown sugar in the nose, with some fruitiness and distant hop tones. Sweet and thick with dark sugars--caramel and brown sugar--notes of raisins and red wine, with an obvious alcohol kick, and a touch of citrusy hops. Smooth and nearly full-bodied, very drinkable. Great barleywine.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.03/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber with a thicker creme head. Nose is a tight citric hoppy tone. I think the best way to describe it is definitely "tight". Flavor is hoppy, yes. Nice fruity thing going on there. Doesn't seem to be much dimension to it though as it's basically fairly straight forward. Minor brown sugar on the back side is about all else I can add. Smooth feel with a nice carbonation. This is nice, yes. I would go for this again (though the price is a bit too high IMO), but it wouldn't be the first barleywine I would go to.

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Photo of russpowell
3.93/5  rDev -4.8%
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

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Photo of WVbeergeek
4.27/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Murky ruby amber big tan head leaves thick patches of lacing throughout the glass. Aroma: Loads of citrus hop character mild pine cone accents some would say it smells like you should clean your floor with it, but I say it's a great hop aroma. Malts are solid and try to shine through in the citrus explosion but the yeast truly makes its mark with a bready dough tone. Taste: Alcohol very evident not overbearing but damn you know it's there all that alcohol tone is blended within copious amounts of citrus piney hops with rich robust malts that give a fruity edge to the already complex flavor. Mouthfeel: Full bodied good stuff evenly carbonated no complaints for this beast of a beer. Drinkability: In your face with citrus, loads of malts to balance all of those hops west coast b-wine at it's best.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into snifter, 2012 vintage bottling. Big crack upon opening, very highly carbonated. Pours lightly hazy/cloudy ruby red color with a 2-3 finger foamy light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty foamy lacing clings around the glass, with a large amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big tangerine, grapefruit, citrus rind, pine, pepper, floral, grass, caramel, toast, brown sugar, raisin, honey, herbal, and floral earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of hop and malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big grapefruit, orange zest, citrus rind, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, raisin, honey, floral, grass, pine, herbal, and floral/toasted earthiness. Fair amount of earthy floral/pine bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of grapefruit, orange zest/rind, pine, caramel, toast, toffee, brown sugar, raisin, honey, floral, herbal, and floral/toasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice balance and complexity of citrus/pine hops with dark malt/honey flavors; with a great malt/bitterness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a moderately slick and fairly sticky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent barleywine. All around great balance and complexity of malt and hop flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: clear, light amber color, with voluminous head, puffy, lacey, creamy in color.

Aroma: sweet, sugary, and full of yeast, putting me in mind of a Belgian tripel, perhaps, spicy and fruity (grapefruit, peach, orange).

Flavor is full and hot, it's a charging rhino in the mouth, crashing down the gates, hoppy, tingly, tasty, with abundant malt and an air of ancient mysteries. There's an enormous alcoholic presence, that only widens, eventually conquering the palate.

Quite an unusual barleywine, this one, a unique flavor profile, and possessing incredible substance and staying power. Doggie Claws is a dream in a bottle!

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Photo of mdfb79
3.57/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

From 6/12/10 notes. Thanks to nimbleprop for sharing this one. Vintage 2005.

a - a murky orange brown color no head light carbo

s - Smells of sweet fruit, caramel malts, and bready malts.

t - Tastes fruity malts, caramel malts, and swet fruit. Also some booze in the taste.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Some sediment in the beer.

d - This was an ok barleywine, but it was very sweet. It also had a lot of sediment in it, which I didn't really enjoy. Wouldn't look to have a vintage this old again, but would try a newer year.

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Photo of drabmuh
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Amyliz4, thanks Amy.

Beer is brown and mostly clear with a thin pathetic head of tiny bubbles that somehow leaves some lacing on the glass.

The aroma of the beer is about what you'd expect except louder, sweet caramel malt and lots of alcohol, not burning though.

Beer is medium in body and really sweet at lead off. The follow up is strong and more candied sweetness, mild bitterness on finish. This was pretty much exactly what I expected from the beer, so that's another way of saying I wasn't disappointed.

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Photo of mdaschaf
4.37/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to FalconA for sharing.

A: Pours a hazy ruddy brown color with a large tan head on top. Very slow dissipation with streaky lacing down the sides.

S: Wow, surprisingly hoppy, would not guess it a barleywine if I didn't know. As it warms there is some citrus fruit, caramelized sugar, brown sugar, and a little bit of alcohol.

T: Initially very hoppy, just like the aroma with some nice citrus fruits, but as it warms a bit of caramel and toffee come out, a bit if sugary/sweet malt, and a little vanilla.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation. Rather smooth, slightly warming, but a bit booze kick is missing, a good thing.

O: A very nice (and hoppy) barleywine. Can only imagine what happens to this beer over time. Can see it being a very interesting beer to vertical.

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Photo of mothman
4.22/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage into snifter

1/4 finger khaki head. Good retention with some lace rings.b Color is a bronze hued orange, rustic colored.

Aroma: Very sweet and citrusy. Pine hops, with a grapefruit citrus. Caramel and toffee malts. It is hoppy, but still has a nice malt backbone. Has a nice warming alcohol flavor.

Taste: A bit more malts here. Toffee and caramel again. Kind of bready. The citrus is still there, but it is balanced. A bit more alcohol shows. Some pine shows, but no where near as much as in the nose. A nice balance for this one. Spruce pine ftw.

Mouthfeel: Bitter, creamy, smooth. Medium to full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. A bit boozy. Ends warming, dry, but fairly clean.

Overall, a really nice bwine. Lots of awesome flavors here. Even after a year it still shows some nice citrus and hop flavor and balances out the malts well. Fairly drinkable for the high abv.

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Photo of stakem
4/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 offering care of both Joe and Brett. Thanks guys for the hookup on this one, unfortunately I don't know which one of you is responsible for this particular bottle but I am grateful to you both for allowing me the opportunity. Poured into my Hotd tulip care of Kegatron, thanks to you as well my friend!

Gusher warning here. The cap came off and I poured the brew carefully down the side of my glass. I only got a couple ounces into the glass before it was overtaken by a billowing yellowish stained tan head. What remained in the bottle slowly crept up, out and down the outside of the neck. It doesn't matter how careful you pour, the eruption of carbonation swirls the half inch of yeast that is on the bottom up into the brew and makes it transform from a clear golden to copper color into more of a clouded brown to amber color. A finger of yellowish tan head maintains a fingers strength throughout the entire duration with a constant stream of bubbles to the surface. Thick patches of lace stick all over the glass. When held to the light, a ridiculous amount of yeast trub lays on the bottom of the glass that includes some green hop break material. Thick chunks of yeast hang along the edges of my glass where the wall of the glass moves inward towards the base.

The smell of this brew initially had a bright citrus and fruited hop scent that was very reminiscent of something more accustomed to IPA territory. The bright hop character gives way to a yeasty quality along with toasted oats and grain that smells a bit burnt. There is a hoppy vegetative quality throughout that mixes with a lightly sulfuric yeast mixture which takes this brew in a unique direction. Across the back are some sweet scents like toffee.

The taste of this brew is as expected based off the aroma. It is a bold assault of hoppy bitterness that carries with it some resinous pine-like bite, along with fruity rind quality and more bitter fruitiness like grapefruit or orange pulp. There is a solid foundation of toasted malt that comes across like toffee. This brew is a constant struggle inside the mouth between sweet and caramel malts verse bitey aggressive hoppy bitterness. A yeast quality is present throughout the profile. The aftertaste is a constant struggle between sweet verse bitter with little to no alcohol impact for the listed 11.5%.

This is a medium to full bodied brew with an excessive amount of carbonation that is just way over the top. The sheer amount of yeast and carbonation that makes its way into the glass is quite distracting. However, for how over carbonated it was, instead of being prickly and bubblly inside the mouth, the overkill of yeast made it feel more thick and creamy, strange. As-is this was a solid take on the style, I hope my experience was just an off bottle or bad batch because I see this without the carbonation and yeast issue being a very solid brew. I will need to revisit this soon but let my review be a warning. I feel that my bottle literally could have burst if it was mishandled, there was that much carbonation.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.05/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Thorpe429. Thanks Mike!

The appearance is dark brown with a thin head that leaves just a little lacing on the glass.

The nose brings a heavy dose of sweet malt, along with caramels and alcohol.

The flavor is quite sweet, with flavors of toffee and caramel chews soaked in alcohol. A nice, slow sipper on a cold day.

Medium to full in body, with alcohol content masked pretty well, given the 11.5% abv.

Not as complex or wonderful as Adam, but a very good example of the style nonetheless. I would definitely drink this again.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Matt for sharing this beer at thirdeye11's tasting.

2007 vintage. The beer pours a murky orange color with a white head. The aroma is awesome, with caramel and piney hops. The flavor is pine and orange hops with a nice semi-sweet, caramel malt backbone. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.75/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12/29/04- Purchased at Plumpjack Wines in San Francisco, CA

2002 Version, aquired in a trade with Jetsbeer.

Presentation- 12oz bottle, vintage 2002. 10% abv..a bit less than later years. Fourth in the series that I have tried. Poured into my Anderson Valley tulip.

Appearance- Somewhat murky and rust colored pour. Huge chunky head. Takes a good 10 minutes to die down to a 1/2 inch constant. Incredible gobs and streaks of lace left behind.

Smell- More caramel malt than anything else. A touch of hops, but pretty slim pickins.

Taste- Very laid back and creamy caramel malt. A limited amount of hops as it's been 4 years since the bottling.

Mouthfeel- A bit dry, medium carbonation, creamy and pretty smooth. Maybe just a touch on the skim side.

Drinkability- Easy drinker, abv was not even sensed as 10%. Another nice brew in the Doggie Claws line. Thanks for the brew Steven!

2003 Version

Presentation- 12 oz festive bottle with no expiration date. Poured into my Duvel chalice.

Appearance- Nice four fingered head which took about 10 minutes to settle before I could drink. This was a good thing because it came directly from the beer fridge, Nice copper coloring and decent to above average lacing. If it had just a bit more lacing it would have received a 5.

Smell- Very strong malt scent. A very nice amount of floral hops. Lots of toffee and caramel also.

Taste- Wow! Huge toffee flaovred malt with a perfect mix of semi-bitter hops. Not to bitter, not to sweet. About the best barleywine I have had to date.

Mouthfeel- Perfect level of carbonation. Silky smooth while nice and chewy at the same time. Warms your tummy nicely.

Drinkability- Incredible except for that little 11.5% barrier reef. Actually, I'm not feeling it yet after one, but I'm sure if I had another, I would be. This is definitely my favorite winter beer to date and my favorite barleywine. A bargain at the $3.49 I paid for it. Think I am going to make a special trip up to SF just to buy another 4 or so to age. Awesome brew!

2004 Version-

Same appearance
Same smell
Taste is more toffee flavored and less hop flavored. There are still alot of hops in the taste, but they are more mellowed out. Almost brandy like or some kind of liquor like flavor.
Mouthfeel still as smooth and thick as ever.
Drinkability may be even better than the 2003 version. This guy will age into a caramel-toffee malt bomb I have a feeling, which will be a very good thing. Rating stays the same though.

2005 Version-

Appearance- Extremely cloudy in appearance. Looks like someone liquified a caramello bar and poured it into a glass. Deep milk chocolate in color. No light coming through this thick murky pour. Huge billowy white head and big chunks of lace.

Smell- The hops literally burn your nose hairs in this years HOTD. Lots of sweet caramel malt and maybe a bit of butterscotch.

Taste- Very raw. Needs a good year or more to calm down. Alcohol burning hops scorch your pallet leaving a sleak caramel and milk chocolate trail behind. Hops linger and linger.

Mouthfeel- Carbonation needs to calm down a bit. Thicker than the previous versions I have tried...even though it's down from 11.5% to 10.5%.

Drinkability- A year away from being another outstanding brew. Right now just to raw to be that drinkable. Still consider 2003 to be the class of this brew.

2006 Vintage....

Presentation- 12oz bottle, 2006 release, poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Burnt caramel brown color. The lightest of head on the pour. Maybe an 1/8th of an inch if that. Small light white rim forms. Fairly nice lace sheeting.

Smell- The scent in this years batch is very restrianed. Has a weird medicinal vegatal nose. Maybe a hint of orange marmalade as well. Very odd.

Taste- Well, this certainly makes up for the smell. Incredible caramel milky flavor. Grapefruit hops come into play in the swallow and aftertaste. This tastes like a classic English style one to me. The flavor is wonderful. Maybe some orange liquor like Drambuie flavor comes through as well.

Mouthfeel- Damn creamy and silky smooth. This is very close to cask style. Caramel and orange coating. Wonderful.

Drinkability- This years hits you fairly hard. The taste is totally different than years past. This still remains right at the top of the list for me per style. Another perfect dessert brew. Score big time for 2006!

2008 Version-

Pretty much online with each year. This year seems very very smooth. Equal caramel and hops. Cross between english and american style. Very silky. One of the better vintages right off the bat.

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Photo of billab914
3.92/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage poured into my CBS snifter. It poured a darker orange brown color with just some trace bubbles scattered around the edges of the glass.

The aroma has a rich malty profile to it with both caramel and toffee really coming out. The honey is also pretty evident, giving it a bit of a floral sweetness. I get a little bit of a hoppy, grapefruit, citrus rind quality as well.

The taste also shows a lot of the malty, caramel flavors throughout. The honey shows more in the finish with more of the sweeter, floral flavor. The honey almost gives it a bit of a wheatwine like flavor that I really like. The finish has some more bitter, citrus rind showing through and helping it balance it out.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for the style with carbonation being almost non-existent. Overall it was a pretty good beer of the style. I really liked what the honey added to it and it was very smooth for the abv as well. Very solid beer, but it just didn't really wow me like some of the best of the style do.

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Doggie Claws from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
92 out of 100 based on 540 ratings.