1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

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

Not Rated.
Doggie ClawsDoggie Claws

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,063 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,063
Reviews: 534
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 10.82%
Wants: 398
Gots: 251 | FT: 18
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: faernt on 11-16-2004

"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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,063 | Reviews: 534 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of emerge077
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

Photo of BeerTruth
4.51/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to whoever sent this one, I apologize for completely forgetting.

2006 vintage.

Pours a murky chesnut hue with a hint of amber. No head at all with this one, but a few bubbles make an outside ring. Needless to say, no stickiness present either. Smell is a pleasant bouquet of caramel, fresh flowers, cider, and dark fruits. Strong apple aroma in the nose with a hint of cinnamon. A vanilla sweetness scent as well. Smooth caramel apple sweetness up front with a drying wood flavor midway. The label says simcoe and amarillo hops were used, but the year + of aging has seemd to quiet these down a bit. Aftertaste is a semi-sweet molasses with some brown sugar flavors as well. Mouthfeel isn't as heavy as I had anticipated, but that's what I like about it. Medium body with a absent carbonation. So slick and smooth on the tongue, very enjoyable. I have no clue where the 10.5% abv. has disappeared, but I have another one I plan to drink on New Year's Eve '08. When I first looked at this beer I became worried, but at first sip I knew this was going to be a damn good beer. Wow...

Photo of mikesgroove
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

Photo of LittleBreeze
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 Release

Sneak one and cellar the rest.

Good news is this will enhance with age. Bad news is in its current form it is pretty damn good.

Head is thin. Color is golden with orange highlights. Swirls with nice lace pattern.
Initial aroma is sweet, buttery and citrus....grapefruit. Taste is sweet...a little fruity...nice hop finish.
11% is hidden well. IMO this one goes down just a bit to easy.

One of my favorite barley wines of the year. I could use a few more. ;)

Photo of sinistermadman
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


Pours an orange-amber color while yielding a nice, creamy head. Generous lacing on the side of my glass. Crisp, earthy malt aroma with some subdued hop notes as well. Nice! Taste is so soft and delicate. Caramel and faint chocolate with a mild residual sweetness (wildflower honey collected on Mt. Hood apparently doing its part). Stellar! Mouthfeel is flawless. Quite smooth but semi-full. This is pure joy to drink. Alcohol never intrudes. Quite the drinkable brew.

I am kicking myself for not making the trip to the brewery a few weeks ago to get the barrel aged stuff. Maybe a bit to uninvolved for some barley wine aficionados, but to me this strikes a perfect balance between complexity and drinkability. Cheers to Alan for a great brew.

Photo of ElGordo
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage, freshly released this past week. Poured from the 12oz bottle into a Maudite snifter. Body is a deep garnet color with dark orange highlights, topped by a very thin, off-white head. Strong hoppy aroma is balanced by a sweet, slightly dark malt with a hint of caramel. Palate is initially sweet from the malt, with the piny hops emerging mid-palate to provide a bracing bitterness. The sweetness continues on the finish, along with a good bit of warming alcohol and a hint of nutty flavor.
Body is thick and a touch creamy, but fairly still and devoid of carbonation. The alcohol on the finish is pretty intense and leaves a sticky, hoppy residue on the tongue. This is a highly enjoyable vintage of this beer, and a definite improvement from the past couple of years. I'm looking forward to seeing what a few months of aging will do for it.

Photo of rsyberg01
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

S - 12 oz. bottle, '06. Much gratitude towards sneagrams13 for this delectable treat.

A - Pours a deep copper. Head is beautiful, the entire process takes about three minutes, the head rising alone takes about 20 seconds then reduces to a patchy surface on the beer.

S - Fruit that I cant describe. Seems to be a light fleshed fruit, something tart yet sweet. Toasty caramel, good amount of spice..nutmeg, alcohol burn a wee bit.

T - Sweet but not cloying, fruity, almost vineous, caramel, hop profile is perfect, somewhat of a dry finish with a touch of sweet to polish it all off.

M - Coats the palate well with the dryness of the finish evening it all out. Mighty Fine.

D - For being the abv it is I gave it a 4 because the flavor isnt taxing, though over 5 or 6 of them it would be, but then again why the hell would you drink 5 or 6 in one sitting unless you're Alan Sprints and can do so without flinching.

Photo of Wasatch
4.44/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. 2006 Vintage

Poured into a chalice a cloudy copper color, nice carbonation, no head, no sticky lacing afterwards, but a couple of tiny islands. The nose is malty, hoppy, good dose of caramel. The taste is pretty sweet, hoppy as hell, malty, with some caramel notes. Nice warming effect from the ABV, but hidden pretty well. Medium body. Very drinkable, another great beer from HOTD.

Photo of Overlord
3.77/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This (apparently) unfiltered barleywine ale is overly sweet, but at least it ain't an alcohol bomb (my biggest pet peeve with any barleywine-esque product). Nice fruit flavoring, with apple, cherries, and a host of others I couldn't put a name to rounding out an ale that's surprising flat and watery. I've had a few different vintages of doggie claws, and it's a remarkably inconsistent product.

Fairly drinkable. I wouldn't say it is an attractive beer (murky, actual bits of fruit/yeast floating about ... at least in the one I tried), but it's good.

Photo of FtownThrowDown
2.7/5  rDev -35.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Aged in a magnum bottle. Pours a cloudy golen hue with some red hints to it. Very nice large white head sits atop. I’m having trouble contrasting the smell and taste to anything else. Stone’s Double Bastard comes to mine, but this has a bit of vinegar on the back side. For being aged, this still has quite a bit of alcohol present. A different style of barleywine to say the least. There is quite a bit of smoothed out hop presence in the taste. I’d have to say that I think this is past it’s prime. Still drinkable, but would have been better at maybe 1-2 years, IMO.

Photo of grub
4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle. 2006 vintage.

pours deep reddish copper colour with no head, even from an aggressive pour straight into a pint glass.

aroma is great. alcohol. huge malts. caramel. slightly burnt roastyness, but not in any way unpleasant. hints of smoke. oaky vanilla. bit of tangerine. ripe dark fruit.

taste is great. still that hint of burnt roast, and still liking it. alcohol. tons of malt. nice caramel sweetness. medium bitterness level. bit of resin and pine. very light grapefruit. bit of tangerine. some ripe dark fruit. hint of smoke.

mouthfeel is good. nice big body. almost completely non-existent carbonation. would have been better with just a little more to bring it to life. i had been warned that this one suffered in the carbonation department, so i was babying it, trying to coax a little more life from it. over the last 6 months i've resuspended the yeast in this bottle many times, hoping that they might chew on it and bring out more carbonation. looks like it had no real effect though, since it seems as flat as other reviews have noted.

drinkability is great. even with the lack of carbonation i still enjoyed this one. well balanced. make no mistake, this is a big beer, but it was nice to kick back with a glass of this as the sun went down on the lake and sip on it into the evening.

Photo of weeare138
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 bottle...
Appears a deep chestnut brown with a dark beige head that slowly fades into a mild cap. Scattered lacing is left around the glass. Moderate amounts of CO2 rises near the top.
Smell is of caramel, vanilla, toffee, cherries. roasted nuts, and light oxidation that's welcomed.
Taste is of the same aromas with vanilla, caramel, and brown sugar standing out among the flavors.
Mouthfeel is chewy, full bodied, syrupy, and sugary with moderate sweetness.

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

2004 vintage poured into a Dogfish Head oversize snifter (love this thing). Looks like an english barley reminiscent of Thomas Hardy's. Cloudy, musty, earthy feel reminding of dirty water. Completely opaque and dark russet in color. Head of is white small, fades quickly and leaves bubbly lava traces abroad.

Huge delicous nose also with a TH feel. (Alright). Toffee malt aromas ooze from the snifter, thick and creamy of molten toffee to be exact, like at a candy factory or a world of sweets. Although the aromas aren't overly sweet they are pleasant. bursting with dried fruits led by smyrna fig, golden raisin, mollasses, maple, hints of caramel, cherry, Very little in way of alcohol aroma. This is one sexy smelling BW.

This is my kind of beer. The finish on this is unbelievable and makes it very difficult not to keep sipping. It's like a milk chocolate covered toffee candy. Thick, chewy, somewhat rugged mouthfeel but it's very nice. Basically the same flavors as what was described as in the nose but with more of a brown sugar taste than the mollasses. RS is moderate on the coating mid palate but increases on the finish. Alochol is very well hidden. Some slight bitterness on the finish as well. A damn good BW indeed. Now for a distributor in Ohio to pick this brewery back up again.

Photo of Cascadia
4.07/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2006 vintage

A- nice dark golden/amber color, rich head and nice lacing.

S- smells big, lots of malty goodness and hop aroma coming through. Also a little bit of yeast in the nose. Smells great, though.

T- tasts big too. Yee doggie. Tons of hops and very warming down the gullet. great on a cold winters night, which it is not today, but glad I have a few bottles aging to try this winter.

M- good mouthfeel, stong carbonation and good head. So far this is a really nice winter warmer beer. I'd love to try this on tap.

D- for a barleywine, it's very drinkable, but there's no way I'd have more that two in one night. The 11.5% ABV will bite you in the ass if you're not carefull.

Photo of jameaterblues
4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes:
A- Dark amber almost brown in color. Frothy head...so big that the beer did not even fit in the pint....thick dense lace that follows the beer as you drink it down the glass.

S- Caramel and toffee, floral, and grapefruit notes. Musky dank undertone to a very dense sweet beer. Extremely complex, and I could probably pick out more scents if I had more experience.

T- Big sweet caramel flavors, with light toffee. Herbal hops create a savory sweet interplay....and a hint of cinnamon and ginger.

M/D- Really complex, light carbonation, syrupy and mouth coating....I can't wait to try it again next year.

Photo of RedHaze
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Year made 2005, purchased in Spokane, WA.

Pours a very hazy amber, with a very thick two finger head, that even after 15 minutes only fades to about a fingers worth of foam. The lacing is just one solid sheet of foam on the inside of my glass.

Smell; (once the foam settle enough) even after a year and a half hops are still very evident in the aroma, with some pine and citrus. Rich caramel and chocolate, with a mils touch of cherries. There's also a little vanilla and honey in the nose as well.

Taste; the piney and citric hops are present in the flavor, but they're a little more mellow than they were in the nose. Vanilla, honey and some hints of cinnamon wrap around caramel and chocolate covered apples. The finish has a bit of spiciness that I really like, and where the hell is that 10.5% abv? Oh wait, there it is, i can't read the clock across the room anymore.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and very creamy, with a dangerously high drinkability. As a matter os fact, the only thing that really hurts this one for me is the ABV. If I had more than one of these, I don't think I'd be able to walk straight, if at all.

Photo of kirok1999
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got from a trade with akorsak at Dark Lord day, thanks bro. 2004 vintage pours a dark honey with a very thin head that leaves legs of lace. Smells absolutely delicious, apple, chocolate, raisins, dark fruit, honey, vanilla, and the taste is even better. Perfect level of carbonation to match the slick mouthfeel. Sweet with a mild citrus hop level that blends wonderfully with the fruit malt base. This is one fine brew and I only have one left...sniff.

Photo of hoppymeal
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky light brown, a good amount of sediment, like unpasteurized apple cider, with a one finger cream head that slowly recedes. Aroma is big on the citrusy hops, tangerines, with some yeasty breadiness and sweet malty and caramel aromas as well. A booziness is evident, but not overly strong in the aroma. Taste is basically the reverse of the aroma. A big rich and sweet maltiness hits up front, very sweet caramel and raisin flavors. The citrusy hops come in middle to end of the taste and blend and balance the sweetness and linger with the richness into the aftertaste. Soft and full bodied, yet not overly cloying, a nice hoppy dryness in the finish. The alcohol is almost unnoticeable, incredibly balanced for its strength. An outstanding american barleywine, possibly my favorite hotd beer, the 2005 vintage is drinking wonderfully and probably will for the next year or two.

Photo of wcudwight
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Received in a trade.
Nice looking barleywine. Brown with some mahogany in color. Let's very little light through. 1/2" khaki colored head that quickly receded to a tight lace on top.
Mmmm the aroma makes me miss the holidays. Brown sugar and cinnamon toast. Deep rich malty smell.
This is a thick rich malty brew. Candied apples, lots of caramel and toast. Also has a nice nutty roastiness to it. A bit of a different take on a barleywine but a good take at that.
Mouthfeel is true to style. Thick, filling, with a bit of alcohol burn.
A slow sipper, but an enjoyable one.
2004 version.

Photo of ArrogantB
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2004 Vintage
I got this doggy in a trade with a generous BA who gave me a 2004 vintage; nice! The beer was poured into a snifter. The color was muddy-brown and red. The head was almost nonexistent save for a few white bubbles clinging to the side. The taste was a little chocolate and cocoa. The alcohol was prickly on my tongue. Very strong beer and good but I still prefer Bigfoot and Old Boardhead.

2/16/08 2007 Vintage

Thanks to vwcraig for the bottle as part of a recent trade. I wanted to re-review this as I have not had it fresh (or close to fresh). Nice appearance, hazy orange-red with a film of bubbles and a ring around the outside. The smell is immediately hoppy and awesome. I think I can almost smell the honey too but that may be the power of suggestion from the label. Slight hint of alcohol fumes but damn the smell is so good. I had to bump the smell score up a bit. The taste is very good and unlike any barleywine I've had. Super hoppy and the honey is detectable with a sweet flavor. Now I just need to find some for my cellar!

04/11/08 2002 vintage 10% abv

I was able to score a couple bottles thanks to a BA mentioning a store in CO that sells vintage beers. I was told this was past its prime but it was only $3 so I figured why not? The color is a light orange with a decent head that recedes but is still a one cm layer of bubbles. The aroma is instant oxidation but then lots of cherries and fruits, interesting. The body is kinda thin but the flavor is still good, dark fruits but the flavor seems to run from my palate. It gives you a good idea and then its gone.
This is still a good beer but I would agree that it is probably past its prime and I don't see it getting any better, just thinner.

Photo of lackenhauser
3.77/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2002. Hazy, off amber sort of color. Fairly carbonated. Malty aroma with a subdued hop presence. Label says simcoe and Amarillo were used. Good solid malt flavor. The hops are quite muted after almost 5 years. Still has a lingering bitterness. Somewhat creamy and sweet malty mouthfeel. Some astringency-alcohol or hops. Very enjoyable and drinkable 5 years later.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.39/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2006 edition. 10.5% noted on label. Thanks to msubulldog25 for this bottle.

Pours a coppery red, no head from the get-go. Some floaters despite a careful pour, but it seems Hair Of The Dog stuff isn't totally filtered, and that's fine by me anyway. A good bit of sediment stuck to the bottom of the bottle.

Aroma is pine wood, black cherry, red wine (can't say what style, I'm not that into the stuff), mint, red Twizzlers, molasses, and alcohol. I kept sniffing and sniffing, almost forgetting to drink. (Almost) This is a really great smelling beer, lots of depth.

Flavor is candied apples, wood, caramel, toffee, lots and lots of fresh-tasting hops, and cherry. The present but not dominating alcohol and the sticky finish bring to mind strawberry or cherry schnapps. Utterly delicious.

Mouthfeel is frustrating. It has a nice thickness, the stickiness being appropriate for the flavor and overall style...but there's such a lack of carbonation that it feels kinda wrong. I've made a couple homebrew batches that had carbonation problems, and that's what this feels like. I'm not sure this is what they were going for or not.

An extremely interesting beer, definitely left-of-center in a style category that is itself left-of-center. With a slight bit more carbonation (or, ANY carbonation), this would be a total favorite. As it is, it totally nails the holiday vibe they're going for...warming, fruity, desserty, liqueur-like, and different.

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

A 2006 Vintage, purchased directly at the brewery in Portland, OR.

Poured from a 12oz bottle, with no head. No noticeable carbonation. Color is of dark honey or copper. A slight honey taste as well. Woodsy smell. Not terribly bitter. Very smooth and sweet mouthfeel. I highly recommend this. I might have to pick up some more of this. I have a 2005 aging now, and plan on trying it later this year. The high quality and taste i've come to expect from HOTD brews.

Photo of Jessefive
3.84/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was a 2004, purchased at the Foodery in Phila, 1/07

The aroma was sweet and malty. Very thick body. The flavor was sweet and thick, with raisin, grape, fig, bread, and molasses. There was a very noticeable bitterness that balanced the sweetness nicely. Some alcohol in the finish.

As with most of the Hair of the Dog beers I've had, I would recommend and drink this again and again. I plan on trying to collect some vintages of this and cellering them for a bit.

Photo of rallison
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from 2006. Purchased from Hi Time Wine Cellars. Consumed at cellar temperature in a New Belgium goblet.

A: Dark ruby brown with almost no head. Just a bit of lacing and some swirls that stay around. Also, be careful with the pouring of this one. The sediment is not tasty on this one (and I almost always love the sediment), so stop pouring the moment you start seeing floaties come through. Then, take a look at the bottom of the bottle. Never have I seen so much sludge!

S: Nice roasty caramel malts. A bit of earthiness. Didn't really notice much of a hop aroma.

T: Definitely a sweet barleywine. Sweet caramel, a dash of dark fruit, some vanilla, a bit of alcohol burn at the end. All these flavors carried by some brandy flavor. Some hops in the back bite at you, helping to calm the sweetness.

M: Thick, sticky and a bit syrupy. Carbonation is almost non-existent, although it does work with this beer. The alcohol burn at the end actually kind of makes up for a lack of any real carbonation.

D: While quite enjoyable, you just couldn't drink much of this. Share a bottle with a friend, and you'll do fine.

A tasty barleywine. I'd be interested to see what age does to it. Recommended.

Edit: I note that a review below mentioned subpar capping of the bottles. This applied to my bottle as well - just pushing up on the bottle cap let air escape. It was sealed well enough to prevent oxidation, but this may account for the lack of real carbonation (which, as also stated, ended up working fine for this beer). However, as a result, I'd be a little hesitant to age this for a long time - some oxygen could seep in.

Doggie Claws from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
93 out of 100 based on 1,063 ratings.