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

Not Rated.
Doggie ClawsDoggie Claws

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1,061 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,061
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
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Ratings: 1,061 | Reviews: 534 | Display Reviews Only:
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!

Photo of kmpitz2
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours an interesting dirty straw color with a 2-finger head that falls to a quarter inch over top. I'd like a little darker beer here. The nose is very hoppy...even after 3 years. Nice citrusy orange hop. Big malty base giving me hints incredibly strong bread, caramel, and figs. I dig it. The flavor is all about the malts. Raisin sweetness overlayed with bready character dominates. A light hop carries through on the bitter, but not a lot at all. The feel is moderate to thick with a light carbonation. Very good feel. This beer gives no hint of its alcohol. Very easy to drink even though it has a robust flavor. I like ti. Very good show.

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

Thanks Chris! 12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. It pours a hazy medium orange color with one finger of head. There is minimal lacing on the glass. The smell is slightly sweet, with lots of pale malt. There is a great hop aroma. Very citrusy, with some piney hops as well. The taste is very strong, lots of sweet malt, and a good dose of alcohol. There's a nice hoppy finish that has lots of citrus character. The mouthfeel is nice and thick. The drinkability is a little low due to the high alcohol. Overall, a good American barleywine.

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

(Served in a snifter)
A-This beer pours a deep brown with a mahogany hint and a gentle carbonation. The head is a thin wispy tan that last for a bit

S- This beer has an intense floral hop nose with some earthy resiny notes. There is a nice malt character along with the hops, more caramel to brown sugar aromas. Very nice.

T- The sweet caramel tastes are quickly followed by a burst of fresh vibrant hops. Some roasted malts come through and a nice warm alcohol finish last almost as long as the hop bitterness.

M- This has a nice velvety mouthfeel with a gentle alcohol warmth. No astringency from the hops.

D- This is a leader in American barley wines and it is ready to drink now. The amazing aroma has fresh hops and great malty notes. This is a must try brew.

Photo of Viggo
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served in a 1.5 liter bottle, took an eternity to finish seemed like. Pours a very hazy orange/light brown with a small head that lasted the whole day. Very strange colour, had some proteins floating around in it. The smell is sweet, fruit juice, nectarines, orange. Taste starts off very sweet but then gets easier, sweet and sour, lots of fruit apples, peaches, mandarin orange. Was very smooth and creamy, had perfect carbonation, very pleasant and I would definately try this one again. Thanks for the opportunity to try this one sammy.

Photo of Sammy
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A all-day 1.5 litres 2001 Edition bought at The Foodery in Philly. Cloudy hazy orange colour with proteins particularly at end. Creamy with lasting head. Mandarin orange. Bit oxidized, which store warned me of the risk of that disapeared into the overall flavour.
Had the 2004 edition which was very good but not as great an experience. Thanks to Joe McPhee. Had 2004 again a few weeks later and orange hit me right this night.

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

I was glad to see this rare tap offering at the BTAH in NYC this past week. It poured an inviting hazy shade of light orangy amber with a thick tiny bubble head. The nose was a pungent melange of hops and more hops. Intricate and well developed lacing. This is a pleasantly strong and full flavor BW. "Yowza, yowza, yowza" came the description from one of my duly impressed table mates! Loads of malt, hops, flavor, complexity, alcohol noted but in check, very fine stuff. Seek it out on tap if you have the chance.

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

12oz bottle from who knows where, maybe VA trip Summer 2004.

Poured into a Rapscallion glass, formed a 2" beige head over the clear, effervescent, bright copper brew. Head is static, regenerating itself for quite some time before finally dwindling (10+ minutes), and lacing is heavy, foamy ,and impressive, especially for the style. Aroma is sweet malts, coupled with some vinous fruitiness. Taste is somewhat sedate for what I was expecting. Light sweet notes, passing through dim fruitsville, and then closing down for the night at a crisp slightly hoppy note. However, mouthfeel and drinkability bring us back to the land of awe. One of the most drinkable 10% brews I've had in a long time. Age has done this one good.

Photo of beercollector
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a sipping beer. It pours a dark brown with a good lasting off white head. It has an alcohol up first on the nose and then carmel.

It is creamy medium bodied beer with soft carbonation. It is rich and malty, moderately sweet and a nice balance between the hops and malt.

Photo of Gaisgeil
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, vintage 2003.

Pours a gorgeous but cloudy deep amber in color with a thick and creamy head with excellent retention, bravo! Nose is deeply flowery, but also quite bitter, lots of hops going on here, I can see that already, also quite a heavy alcohol profile as well, strong stuff. Taste is quite bitter and strong to begin with, not much of the fresh flower smell that was in the nose, just lots of bitterness. The malt is nice, a bit of caramel, smooth but is absolutely annhilated by the hops, but this pretty much goes to style. Finish is actually more malty than anything, but a little on the weak side once the alcohol strength subsides. Speaking of alcohol, this one doesn't hide it, you definatly taste and feel that 11.5. Drinkability suffers, 12 ounces is way beyond enough for me, was difficult to really want to drink the full serving size, not because it's bad but because of this brew's strength. Gargantuan.

Overall a good representation of the style, was an "educational" experience.

Thanks to Skyhand for the bottle!


Photo of beerceller99
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2003 from the cellar.
Beautiful clear garnet hue with a light brown head. Strong smell of caramel, raisons ; think cinnabon roll. Medium bodied with a full mouthfeel. Taste is a strong raison, roasted pecans, figs, dates with a pleasing alcohol finish.
The intense flowery hop essence of a fresh sampling is gone, but the classic old ale flavors have emerged in good form. Exceptionally drinkable.

Photo of santoslhalper
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Appearence: Desipte what the bottle says, it pours a dark ruby with floating yeast chunks with a giant beige head.

Smell: The smell is incredibly hoppy and complex with a spicy alcohol back to it.

Taste and Mouthfeel: The taste is also incredibly hoppy. The hops are floral, earthy citrusy and so much more. Odd focus for a Barleywine, but it works really well. The malts are present but not incredibly obvious, and the alcohol is very powerful. The mouthfeel is thinner than I'd hoped.

Drinkability and Overall: This is a wonderfully unique barleywine. The hops are crazy but they work. In a few years this one will be an absolute gem. But still, it's a breath of fresh air even when young.

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

Pours a deep red amber color with a dense, creamy tan head. Great retention.
Roasted sweet malt aroma. Brown sugar, red fruit and fresh floral/citrus hops.
Wow! Big complex flavors. Rich roasted malt, dark caramel, toffee,chocolate and some charred red fruits. Finishes tangy with a lingering licorice and fresh hop bitterness. The alcohol was noticeable but well integrated.
Semi full bodied with a full round mouthfeel. Seemed to have a smidge too much carbonation but it sure helped lighten up the feel.
Great flavors and well hidden alcohol. This is a sipper and a real belly warmer. Great stuff.

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

Big thanks go out to weefisheads for the opportunity to sample this beer.

Note: I was seriously bummed as I sat down to see the bottle spilling it's contents profusely out. I'm not sure what happened as all I did was pop the cap and set the beer down on the table. I don't think I shook it or anything crazy like that. That being said, I was able to rescue most of it.

Appearance: Muddy, tea-like, and amber in apperance. Ridiculously huge creamy, fluffy tan head. I see little hop flecks floating in the beer...I am mezmerized.

Smell: Like a huge IPA. I'm very intrigued. Very pine-like with mild citrus notes. None of the dark fruits or alcohol notes that I've come to be familiar with in drinking barleywines. Still, this smells like a pine wonderland!

Taste: Like an IPA. Some pine bitterness kicks off the set, a hint of apples or peaches in the background, and then some alcohol and more pine to finish. This is truly a great taste. Again, I keep thinking "IPA".

Mouthfeel: Thick and creamy with a dry finish. Leaves a little bit of the pine hops on the back of the palate.

Drinkability: Alcohol is hidden well and I'm sure this would be dangerous to drink more than one. Still, it would be enjoyable to try. This is great!

Thanks again to weefisheads for this lovely beer!

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

Hazy, translucent orange topped by a fluffy, eggshell head that leaves thick lacing behind. Smell is pure candy–caramel and candy apples. Also solidly present, oranges, spice and honey. Hints of vanilla and cherries. The smell was intoxicating. First taste–yow. Searing hops, even after two years in the bottle. Spiced apples intermixed with vanilla and cherry. Mouth-drying, bittering that makes you want to suck the skin from the inside of your mouth. Grapefruit pith finish–amarillo hops in full effect. Beautifully balanced. Tightly knit, aggressive carbonation, makes your tongue feel like it's being electrocuted at times. Otherwise, it's full and smooth. Even silky at times. ABV is disguised well but obviously creeps up on you slowly and powerfully. Perfect for a winter's eve. Tasty stuff.

Photo of mikeys01
4.44/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick and creamy light tan head blankets the Doggie Claws. Aroma is a mystifying mixture of grassy hops and vinous funky grapes, with a hearty helping of sweety toasty malt, toffee, and a bit of yeast. Crystal clear in its depths, colored like a burnt orange autumn sunset, well carbonated. Although young, this barleywine is loaded with complexity, and I wish I had many more than this single bottle to savor over time. Taste is a curious blend of fruity and herbal hops up front, late harvest grapes mingling with sharper pine. You’re soon transported to a sweet caramel malty playground with just a bit of bread popping up in the toaster. Finish brings out a bit of spice, warm alcohol, and a fresh, sweet hoppy finish. Nicely put together barleywine all around, full bodied without being overly syrupy sweet. Thanks to weefisheads for this one!

Photo of Quaffer
3.91/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not available here in Wichita.

Appearance: This beer was a very hazy, amber-orange color. The foam erupted as soon as the liquid hit the bottom of the snifter and rose up to fill the majority of the glass. It was coarse and as it settled, became fluffy and web like. The bubbles clung tightly to the glass. Thick rings of lace were left behind in this brew's wake.

Smell: A very strong smell of sickly sweet, almost rotten, fruit right after the pour. This calmed down somewhat after awhile, but still remained the main component of the aroma. Huge amounts of raisins and dates combined with honey and molassess. It was almost like the smell was oozing thickly up my nose. Light amounts of alcohol and citrus hops in the background . . . way in the background.

Mouthfeel: Kind of thin for a barley wine, though it was a little buttery on the tip of the tongue. The high carbonation levels made it a little rough.

Taste: I was afraid the sweetness was going to be way overbearing due to what I detected in the aroma. While there was quite a bit of sweetness in the flavor, it was definitely not cloying, and it needed to be there to balance out the huge hop presence. Upfront was a strong caramel sweetness and a medicinal (almost like cherry cough syrup) flavor. In the middle was some light diacetyl that immediately got its ass kicked by a strong hops bitterness that punched through it and all the other flavors. The herbal hops lingered into the finish and well beyond into the aftertaste, where it seemed to get stronger. There was a reprise of caramel in the aftertaste as well, but this beer still finished on the dry side.

A really good beer, though the aroma was off-putting. I'm surprised that the hops flavor was still that strong after two to three years. I bet this beer was a punch in the face when it was fresh.

Thanks, Rob!

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

12 oz. bottle lightly chilled and served in a Thomas Hardy's snifter on Mardi Gras 2K5.

Laissez le bon temps roulez!!!

Appearance: Clear reddish orange topped by a huge and frothy yellowed head. Streamers of carbonation support a thick layer of foam that almost never faded. Splotches and fingers of foam were left on the side of the glass.

Smell: Wonderfully intense hop aromas, but not of the piney, citrusy, or noble sort: Peppery and brassy. Lots of fruity yeastiness akin to oranges and such. Caramelized sugars to boot. Damn.

Taste: Bitter orange marmalade/peel. Mildly sweet. Peppery hops flicker about the palate, dancing with some subtle alcohol flavors. Wow.

Mouthfeel: A little thinnish at times for the style, but still a hefty and chewy beer. Very well carbonated, perhaps too much stylistically.

Drinkability: Temperature is very important with this beer. Too cold and the fruitness of the malt/yeast is overpowered by the hops. Too warm and the hops get lost. Very nice. A "Belgian" take on barleywine. Quirky. Why didn't I buy more?

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

Phenomenal aroma -- fruit, spice, caramel and a sublime raw graininess akin to oats. There’s also a lush forest of hops that greets you from half a yard distant the moment the bottle is cracked. The color is carnelian sunrise in modest light, cinnamon-wood at greater depths. The Claws initially pours five fingers of head that takes some time to tame before it’s logistically feasible to drink and the presence of CO2 is notably high for a barleywine, though I didn’t find this intrusive. Eventually the head settles to a lumpy wash of sea foam. The body is so dense however, that bubbles must fight their way to the surface.

Doggie Claws is an uncommonly refined barleywine with the triumphant complexity of a Bach fugue. The malt platform is rotund and suggests a distant candied sweetness. The 11.5% ABV is noticeable in the aroma but is gracefully concealed to the taste. Simcoe and Amarillo hops invoke a fresh, green flavor that entreats the palate like a meadow of mythic wildflowers or an acre of forest in a bottle. The hops return when you belch for a special repeat performance.

Even at a relatively early date, Doggie Claws is eminently drinkable. In fact, it takes less time to drink than to wait for the head to recede. There’s no compelling need to age Doggie Claws as the bittering hops are already well contoured. But the possibilities for cellaring are enormous and this would no doubt make for a great buried treasure.

Photo of shapudding
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured out an unclear homebrewed iced-tea color, dark amber almost. Thick and creamy white head settled barely into a think layer. Yeasy and musty wine cellared scents, vineous- more merlot. Got some caramel scent after it warmed up. Very nice aroma. Highly carbinated for me. Dark and unsweetened black tea tastes, dark fruits and raisins, fairly dry aftertaste. Taste of fresh rosemary -like when you have the fresh sprigs and just grab one and bite into it. The taste is pretty hoppy for a barleywine, -one of my beerbuds tried it and said that it tasted more like a double ipa than a barleywine. Nicely drinkable, good flavors and I could sit back and knock a few away quite easily.

Had this one at FlatRock in Manyunk with some fellow BA's, good times!

Photo of beergeek279
3.57/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Served in the 12 oz. bottle into a tulip. The color is copper, much lighter than any other barleywine I've seen, with a clumping foamy white head. The smell is very strong apple sweetness with a touch of alcohol. The taste is a lot drier than the smell suggested, with a slight touch of apple sweetness and a very strong bitterness, with a good bit of astringency in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is nice and creamy. As for drinkability, I'll have this one but not really one I'd look for again.

Unfortunately, this is a fairly disappointing barleywine. Though it smells absolutely fantastic, the taste is not all that great. Maybe it was mishandled by the bar, but I got it at KClinger's and they seem to know how to take care of beer. A terrible astringency in the aftertaste ruins what could have been rather enjoyable....maybe if I find another at some point, I'll make sure this isn't a bad bottle, but for now, I won't really bother with this one again.

Doggie Claws from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
93 out of 100 based on 1,061 ratings.