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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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1,081 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,081
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: 1,081 | Reviews: 536
Photo of Tupperwolf
3.26/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2005 'vintage'.

Pours a hazy mahogany brown; The head is very slow and small, so I begin to force-pour, which is my downfall. The head suddenly erupts. Look out!

After getting things stabilized in my Stone Old Guardian glass, I'm left with a two-cookie-thick yellowish head atop a hazy, dark brown body. The head leaves behind a sticky inch-thick ring that completely covers, then trails off in vertical lines down the side of the glass.

Alcohol, tree sap, slight cardboard earthiness - but none of this is really bad, mind you. These are merely notes I pick out amidst the burnt caramel malts and the explosive hops (which seem to need some time to mellow).

Distinctive grassy, grilled vegetable flavor, bready and slightly caramelly malts - blended all together with a bigass wallop of piney hops, more, perhaps even than Bigfoot '06. I like trying barleywines when fresh because the hops are still present - but I think this will be a bit better when mellowed.

The mouthfeel is very, very, very sticky. It's like someone took some honey and mixed it with water, so that you could drink it - but not very easily. I find this takes a very long time to drink not because the alcohol is overpowering or anything - it's definitely not - but because the mouth is so sticky that after you take a sip, it's easy to sit there for ten minutes without wanting to take another sip. You can still taste the last sip, so why go back for more?

Final thoughts - a tricky barleywine. It's good, but might be better later.

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

2002 bottling. This beer pours an attractive orange amber color with a 1/2 inch creamy head that sticks to the glass. Aroma is malty and spicy with a nice whiff of herbal hops. My first taste is a big blast of malt with notes of honey, caramel and winter spices, along with a hoppy bitterness in the finish. There is also a nice warming alcohol that made my face flushed after I had finished about half of the bottle. This beer was very warming and really hit the spot for me. My only regret is that this is my last bottle. I wish I had bought a case of this stuff instead of only 2 bottles. Maybe Doggie Claws will make it's way to NC.

Photo of bitterdestroyer
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

appearance: copper brown, slight head, tons of lacing of honey and ferment.

smell: fruit, floral hops, booze, and a sweet hint of honey

taste: powerful taste of hops and malt. nicefinish of booze and sweetness

mouthfeel: ok carbonation, slightly slick.

drinkability: not bad. i bit high in abv. wouldn't advise more than one w/o a good meal in your belly.

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

got this in a trade but lost my notes. so thank you to the one that sent this beer. poured a orangish brown with a slighty off white head. aroma hops and more hops, alcohol, grapefruits, pine. flavor, got to lot the hops and the burn of the alcohol, caramel, citrus and just a touch of malts and fruits. a very good beer.

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

Thanks to BeerBeing for the trade. 2004 bottling. Pours with moderate head, body is slightly hazy, ruby brown. Nose of piney citrusy hops. Complex malt.

Taste is an incredible balance of juicy citrus fruits, a pine cone or two, cherry, vanilla, and pineapple. At this stage, the malt is stronger than the hops. Mouthfeel is thick, heavy, and smooth. Obviously drinkable.

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

This beer pours a dark copper color with a very fine, thin head. Despite a careful pour yeast sediment dances around the glass, but doesn't present itself as sediment on the palette. The aroma is citrusy and spicy but diminished, at least compared to the flavor. The flavor is a nice punch in the mouth, full of citrus and spiciness, indicative of the Simcoe and Amarillo hops. Very pleasing, very balanced. 11% alcohol? You'd never suspect it... this goes down very easily. The mouthfeel is appropriate for the style - not to heavy, not too light. Very drinkable, as I mentioned, this goes down easy despite the alcohol content. Very good.

Photo of objectivemonkey
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Really odd looking beer... pours a blood red mahogony with... I don't know if its some kind of odd floating sediment, but there is some kind of bubble-looking thing powdering the entire area of fluid, up and down glass. Also, poured with no head, just a few bubbles, and mysteriously grew a thin foam when I wasn't looking. Already have the idea that this is going to be a different kind of beer. Smell... lots of piney, floral hops, with brown sugar and the alcohol faintly underneath. Pretty nice smell; different, and good. Pretty thin, body, and the taste is a little more understated than what I was expecting, but still a very nice hop presence, I'd say sweetly piney with ... I don't know, there are really odd tones here, not in the bad, but in the interesting way. Also, those bubble things formed almost linear dot lacings down the glass, oddly geometric. The most flooring thing though was looking at the bottle and seeing 10.5%... I would have never guessed, the alcohol is masked so well. Which makes this a dangerous beer to have, cause I'd like to just keep on drinkin it... a good way to get toasted, really. I really like this beer, very creative. I always like when I try something that doesn't follow the mold.

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

Have had this on tap and in 12 ounce bottles this year (2006) and my experience is much improved. I will raise the rating...plums, brown sugar on the nose....very sweet maltiness...almost some hints of Belgian style malts...not as much hop presence out of the bottle as I tasted on tap...nice sweet, malty BW that reminds me some of Old Horizontal which is one of my personal favorites..alcohol is hidden...does not feel as big as it is...a dangerous brew in that regard as I found out after several on-tap 12 ounce samples...quite enjoyable..a little thin for a BW..

12-19-2002 (rating=2.3)
I anxiously anticipated sharing a big bottle of this with my brother on Thanksgiving of this year, and when all was said and done I came away incredibly dissapointed.

Orange in clolor...a tan head eats up 1/2 the snifter style glass...rocky...nose is sweet candy sugar along with citrus notes...also got aq sniff of plastic or something...highly charged up mouthfeel....this is too carbonated with too mcuh head...not a real thick mouthfeel either...taste is tart and citrucy...this almost tastes like a bad Belgian to me...I'm very very dissapointed...I love all their other beers and expected this to be truly special...what I got was well below average...not very complex either....pass on this one..

Photo of TastyTaste
2.68/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Dark rust color, hazy, with lots of visible sediment. Head is small, carbonation is fairly visible.

Smell: Dark fruit, sweet floral hops, alcohol, brown sugar, very nice.

Taste: Off flavor immedietly present. A melted plastic flavor hinders this flavor immensly. There is a nice amount of hops and malt, and I was excited to try this one, but the bottle is infected, skunked, or just has an odd flavor.

Mouthfeel: OK, but the taste really makes me dislike this beer in it's entirity.

Drinkability: Sans off flavor, this beer would be great. As is, I wouldn't recommend it.

Photo of brentk56
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours a cloudy copper color with a decent head that dissipates to a film and leaves some lacing

Smell: Rich resinous aroma, redolant of pine and alcohol

Taste: Tastes about right while you swirl it around in your mouth, with big caramel malt flavors, followed by a big dose of bitter grapefruit; increasing sweet and bitter flavors build after the swallow

Mouthfeel: About right for a barleywine, thick and sticky with low levels of carbonation

Drinkability: Nicely balanced barleywine with big flavor profile; very resinous

This is a barleywine that clearly improves wih age; I have had I fresh and I have had it with up to four years if age on it - I definitely prefer the aged version as the aggressive hopping mellows into a very nice blend

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

9-4-09 - 2003 vintage bottle review. Pours into my glass a deep hazy brownish red with a half inch of light tan foam. Aromas of intensely deep sweet caramel malts dancing with dark fruits. Hints of cocoa and marzipan...fruitcake?? Citric, piney hops in the background and these things are still kicking after all these years.

First sip is dense rich sweet malts swirling with caramel and dark fruits. Hints of dark sweet breads, raisins and a touch of molasses. Flows down with a good kick of hoppy bitterness with citric and pine resin flavors. Big, rich and falling on the sweet side....tasty barleywine that has aged quite nicely!

Mouthfeel is big, chewy and malty. A super dense rich barleywine that makes itself known with each sip. Overall, I enjoyed this vintage quite a bit and look forward to the others in my cellar.

12-22-05 - 2005 vintage bottle. Brewed with Simcoe and Amarillo hops along with dark wild flower honey collected on Mt. Hood. Pours from the longneck a deep dark murky brown with hints of red. Only a ring of small bubbles around the top of the brew...seems a bit uncarbonated. Hopefully this is not a bad sign! Aromas of deep caramelly sweet malts along with a big wet cardboard oxidized aroma...damn. Brash herbal, citrusy hops lie underneath but they are shadowed by the off aromas. The hops smell fresh and juicy.

First sip brings a strong sweet caramel, raisiny maltiness upfront clouded again by the cardboard-esque off flavors. The hops still come through strong with a big herbal, citric bitterness all the way through each sip and on the way down. I really wish I could be tasting the full potential of this brew right now...as I'm imaging in my head it would be lovely. As of now...it's nearly undrinkable.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with little to no carbonation. Goes down smooth but the flavor just kills it. I'm hoping that the bottle I have in the cellar will not be as problematic as this one. I'll report back when I open it. In it's current state it's unfortunately not drinkable in the least. Damn. Thanks to weefisheads for the bottles..I'm gonna cross my fingers for the second one. A: 3 S: 3 T: 2.5 M: 3.5 D: 2.5 - Overall 2.8 C

Photo of pikemark
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up at the foodery.

Says 2004 on the label, so I guess they store their barleywines a year before selling them.

Poured a dark chestnut, not as amber as I would have thought for a barleywine. The lacing was very evident as well as the roasted caramel smell. Hoppy for sure, but not as hopful as the bottle boasts.

The taste was coffee and sweet at first and then the hops hit you full force. Finished with a very phenolic aftertaste, very apple-ish. The mouthfeel was very very thick and creamy and not as thin as say a Sierra Nevada.

As a barleywine fan I must say this one is very cool. Cant say I would pick this one as my top, it made me pass out, but for the style it is very different.

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

Bottle says vintage 2004.

This is truly one of the most beautiful beers I have had the privilege of drinking. Sitting in my little Spaten mug this beer displays a spectrum of color running from the edge of the glass to the center. On the outside, it's gold, then a glowing burgundy and finally a dark brown in the middle. Truly a wonder to behold. The head is slightly golden and mildly persistent.

The smell is primarily big barley, a bit of alcohol and a well fitting citrus orange. Very nice.

The flavor is extremely dynamic and surprisingly dry like a stout but the citrus flavor is still there with a great warming from the alcohol in the finish. The malt flavor starts out strong in the beginning, but then gives way to the dryness and citrus. Very fun to drink and just sit back to watch all the flavors wiz by.

The mouth feel is a bit thin for my liking but I think that it augments the varieties of flavor quite well. I don’t think the flavor would be as dynamic if it was any thicker. Even the carbonation seems well paired with the flavor.

This is an awesome beer. Highly recommended.

P.S. Finished off the decanted bottle out of principle and the yeast added a smooth nutty taste, much like a Belgian. Didn't expect that.

Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2004 Vintage.

The beer poured into the glass crystal clear medium to deep amber with an almost tan head that was huge and moussy and everlasting to lace the glass from top to bottom.

The aroma was strongly citrusy with with a resinous grassy presence and a strong malty backbone. The higher alcohol phenolics coupled with the strong hop presence in the aroma tickle the nasal passages and almost cause a sneeze. The alcohol phenolics cause a spicy chracter of pepper and caramel malt resides in the background.

The flavor was malty, very, very malty with a strong caramel malt flavor coupled with a very strong bittering and a nice citrusy hop punch in the stomach. The hops flavor was grassy and resinous and of course citrusy. The balance between malt and hops was well achieved and well done with good complexity and a nice alcohol flavor. The flavor was fruity with predominantly raisin and some peachy flavor.

The finish was dry with an definite alcohol presence coupled with a well achieved malt/hop balance long, and pleasant, into the aftertaste. The body was full and the carbonation was high which kept the body from being viscous, but it was well done nonetheless. This 2004 kicks the 2002 in the teeth, either the beer does not age gracefully, or the recipe has changed. Based upon the color and flavor alone, I would say this recipe is far superior to the one utilized in 2002.

12 ounce bottle. Thanks weefisheads!

Photo of OldSock
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – 12 oz bottle dated 2004 from Sam’s. In my snifter it is dark brown, in fact much darker than most barley wines. The head is creamy and tan with great retention and sticky lacing.

Smell – Perfume like alcohol up front with a light citrus hop and toasted malt backing. A good barleywine smell, adds a bit of floral complexity, but doesn’t stray far from the standard formula.

Taste – Definitely alcohol warming with lots of great flavor. At a year old this beer has great balance, if anything it leans towards the malt side. The malt has a slightly roasted edge, something that many barleywines do not have. The hop presence is enough to balance the big malt sweetness, but it does not add too much complexity aside from some citrus. There is a bit of dark fruitiness, but not enough to be more descriptive than that. The alcohol fusels, particularly in the aftertaste, are unwanted, but are not too intrusive to the overall experience.

Mouthfeel – Full mouthfeel, but with too much carbonation for me.

Drinkability & Notes – The fusels take away from what is otherwise a sip-able barleywine. This is a solid effort, but there are lots of better choices out there for American Barleywines.

Photo of clvand0
3.75/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From notes. Pours a cloudy orange color with a small head that falls fast and doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. The aroma has a lot of US hops and a backbone of pale malts. The flavor has a lot of alcohol and a lot of sweetness as well as a lot of citrus and pine US hops. Very complex and interesting, but not really my thing. The mouthfeel is thick and the drinkability is not so great because of the higher alcohols.

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

appearance: A careful pour creates a short lived, light khaki head. The beer is a slightly cloudy mahogany due to some sediment sneaking into the glass. It looks wonderful.

smell: There are plentiful green, piney, oily hops, that despite their age still show plenty of fresh character. A nice amount of dark, fruity sweet malt provides some balance. Some ethanol spikiness is felt in the nose, but it is well masked considering the beer weighs in at 11.5%.

mouthfeel: The beer is medium high in carbonation, and the bubbles are small. Body is on the lower end of the heavy spectrum. The carbonation may be a little high, but I'm not complaining.

taste: The wonderful interplay of dark, sweet fruitiness provided by the malt with those awesome hops first noticed on the nose makes for a great barleywine. The beer is big on bitterness, and is thoroughly complex and interesting. The ethanol is expertly hidden, and first appears in the aftertaste as it warms the stomach. A big bitterness lingers into the finish.

Split a 12 oz. bottle with dirtylou.

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

Received in trade from GClarkage... what a treat!

This was a deep murky brown ale with a 2½ finger head... almost a muddy chestnut brown. The head was quite foamy and rather fizzy, dying down to a ⅛ inch layer of foam that lasted.

Aroma was DAMN complex. Strong musty malt, heavily fruity, sweet, with bittering hops and alcohol. So many layers, like an onion.

Flavor was likewise very complex. There was a heavy malt kick that was lightly roasted, along with caramel and toffee notes. This was well hopped and bitter, but not over the top... well balanced.

Mouthfeel was excellent... strong and chewy, smooth and silky, and very warming. VERY warming indeed.

Drinkability was very good as well, but the 11.5% takes away a bit. I don't think I could have two of these, and it is so strongly flavored I would not want to revisit it too often. I like GClarkage's idea of buying some more and aging it. Maybe I can talk him into sending me another and letting it sit another 2 - 3 years or so.

Photo of lou91
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 vintage in September 2005. I thought this beer would pour still so I gave it a good high pour and ended up having to gulp a big mouth of foam to keep it from spilling on my lap. I knew this was going to be good because even the foam was tasty – nice malty sweetness with hints of chocolate and great multiple hop flavors. It was a deep brown color and smelled like a west coast barley wine should – hoppy as hell. The taste reminds me so well why I love the style. Rich, sweet malty and hoppy all in a big rich high alcohol package. The taste lingers on and on, totally coating your palate making sure nothing can compete with this hop monster. Ledger’s in Berkeley.

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

bottle split with blackie

appearance: muddy brown with heavy amber highlights, minimal head with streaky off-white lacing

smell: dark fruit, plum, fig, alcohol, mild pine/citrus hops definately present in the nose

taste: Quite impressed after the first sip. Strong bourbon like alcohol is present. Dark fruits overpower the hoppiness. I dont see the comparisons to an imperial IPA, perhaps due to this bottle having about 10 months under its belt. Certainly one of the finer barleywines I have come across.

mouthfeel: very smooth, nice hop/malt balance though I bet the hop profile has subdued since the original bottling

drinkability: wish I had more than 6 oz

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

Poured a dark chestnut brown with a tight foam rubber head. I didn't get any lacing.

Smell curls my nosehairs the alcohol is so prevalent. Could easily be mistaken for a tawny port at first whiff. A little more whiffing and I get some piney hops and cedar. Nice.

Taste is quite yummy with a bittersweet creme brulee flavor. Toffe, caramel, and sugary maple vanilla cream.

I'm going to store some of this to see what it is like in a year or three.

Photo of GClarkage
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
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.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
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!

Photo of warriorsoul
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a few of these at Shoreline Beverage on my most recent visit to Long Island...Shoreline is in Huntington and well worth the visit if you find yourself w/in 30 miles of this place...sorry, it's just the way I feel.
Pours a murky, dark brown w/ two full fingers of tan head...lacing thick and has great cling.
Aroma is real nice...sweet raisins and subtle cherries w/ no alcohol present.
Taste is very enjoyable...a tad sweet, but not overly so. Has a real nice malt backbone and although the alcohol does make an appearance as it warms up, it is not taking anything away from the overall enjoyment of this barleywine.
Mouthfeel is fairly thick and syrupy for its style and the carbonation is perfect IMO. I could enjoy a few of these in a session if the opportunity arose.
Real glad I picked up a few of these...will fight the urge and wait to try the other two in a year or longer.
Ignore the bad reviews...if you like the style, you will dig this offering from HOTD.

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

Presentation: Another one of those tall thin 12 fluid ounce brown bottles that has a classic Hair of the Dog label. The Doggie Claws has a picture of Churchillian Bulldog with a Santa Hat on. Labeled as “2002” and 10% ABV and Bottle Conditioned. Bottle label is exactly as that shown in the BA Avatar.

Appearance: Significant gun smoke once the crown cap is prized off. Looping pour into my Stone Old Guardian Barleywine glass had me thinking that was unsettled, but not so as this one had spent well over a week in my fridge untouched. Singed orange copper body is extremely turbid and murky. Massive dirty white cream colored head rises quickly in the glass to form a generous 2” thick covering which subsequently slowed my pour. Once relaxed and settled it stills looks like the Dogs Bollocks, the sludgy peach torso looks fantastic when held to the light and the head stays between ½” to ¼” minimum throughout which is impressive. Finely attenuated conditioning. The pour was curtailed before I had planned due to an intensive sludge lake that started to pollute the glass, I erred on the side of caution and left about ½” beer in the bottom of the bottle with this thick yeast sludge cake as I didn’t fancy a creating an unplanned Map of Japan in my trousers at work on Thursday. Great looks.

Nose: Initially had me reeling, but once I got used to it, there are many alcohol laden fruity aromas; tangerine, peaches, apples, pears, grapefruits, cinnamon, orange, rum & raisin, satsuma and many other exotic offerings including hints of pineapple too. Very complex fruity nose, but that is only part of it, for in the latter third an uppercut of spicy hops catches you unaware and dumps you on the canvas. A really knockout nose.

Taste: A 180° reverse of the nose, the spicy hops and cinnamon entrance the brew whilst the spicy alcohol builds and soaks the tongue, cheeks and throat in a complex mélange of ethanolic fruits, utterly brilliant!!

Mouthfeel: The carbonation takes the edge of this monster in the mouth allowing the fruits to soak the palate. However, once swallowed there is a real heat kick in the back of the throat. I reckon after 3 years that this is probably above 10% now – certainly feels like it.

Drinkability: A very appealing Barleywine, not the usual dark colored malty offering but a light colored coppery complex fruity affair that is just as good. A really nice take on the Barleywine Style that I found dangerously drinkable. Wish I had another and a day off work tomorrow.

Overall: A welcome & recent gift from my favorite PA BA for showing her around LA and SD some months ago. You’ll have to come again if you have beers of this quality hidden away…nice stuff; Cheers and Beers –e!

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Doggie Claws from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
93 out of 100 based on 1,081 ratings.