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

Not Rated.
DaveDave

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

41 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 41
Reviews: 26
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 10.55%
Wants: 351
Gots: 9 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  29.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

This beer was produced in 1994, and won first place at the 1998 Toronado Barley Wine Festival. The strength was achieved by taking 300 gallons of Adam and freezing it three times, leaving only 100 gallons.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 02-10-2007)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 41 | Reviews: 26 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by hrking:
Photo of hrking
4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Floydster for this share at the Belgianfest at the Carlsbad Pizza Port. I had a generous 3oz pour. This beer was another one i've been wanting to taste for awhile and it was way cool. Strong alcohol nose so I let it air out a little. First sip was an experience and the vanilla jumped right out with a strong alcohol burn that quickly diminished with another sip.So if you took a creamy vanilla flavor and added some cocoa and some oxidation with and alcohol burn of 29% you get the picture. Most like a Utopia. Thanks again to Kyle AKA Floydster for this generous share. Also seaoflament and rallison who were there as well! Awesome Thanx! Ha I remember posting on here for this and people said I would never get to even taste it...FACE....Thanks Kyle!

hrking, Mar 30, 2009
More User Reviews:
Photo of ygtbsm94
3.91/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Finally had the opportunity to taste this little sucker!

Appearance was flat as expected with slight hint of carbonation when pouring. The aroma was sweet and malty with lots of brown sugar, toffee, and caramel; a little booziness on the nose even after 19 years. The taste was kind of like drinking a port/chocolate wine with some figs on the side. After the first couple of sips the the booze fads and turns into more tobacco, caramel, and dark fruits. This thing really coats the mouth and lingers. Overall, I finally got a chance to try this and it was kind of what I expected; just a little bit of an over hyped beer. A cigar probably would have enhanced this beer but I will never get a chance to find out.

ygtbsm94, Apr 23, 2013
Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

It took 3.5 years and 840 reviews to get here but I'm finally at the top of the mountain. A HUGE thanks to Mike for providing this one. A beer that I truly never thought I'd see, much less taste. My gratitude to you knows no bounds and I'm very honored to get the chance to try this beer. Again, I can't thank you enough for the opportunity.

12oz screw top bottle. 2oz. pour appropriately into a Hair of the Dog taster.

Pours flat. Pitch black with no head but huge, thick, oily legs. No lace either. Average given the style and age.

Nose is astoundingly aromatic. I can smell it as I'm pouring the godly liquid into the glass. Notes of sweet soy sauce, chocolate, molasses, fudge, dark fruit, and a mild booziness that washes over the senses. I'm shocked at how good this is.

Opens sweet and fudgey. Bitter and dark chocolate, dark plum, sweet soy sauce and big, bolod booziness that makes its presence felt but isn't overwhelming at the same time. Booze and molasses on the finish with a sweet, syrup and fudge aftertaste. Incredible complexity and the heat has really mellowed with age, allowing all the different characteristics to reveal itself in this beer.

Full bodied with no carbonation. Oily, slick, and one of the richest beers I've ever known. Boozy and smooth going down with a slightly hot finish and a sticky, syrupy aftertaste. This tastes like it could be 15-16%. Again, I'm shocked by how smooth and utterly drinkable this is.

A part of me didn't want to like this beer given the likelihood that I'd never get the chance to try it again. However, in all honesty, Dave is the most coveted beer for a reason. Incredibly complex and rich but with the body to show it all off. The booziness is present but only serves to enhance the flavors rather than cover them. A sipper for sure but one I could happily sip on all night long. Amazing.

SpeedwayJim, Jan 13, 2013
Photo of tendermorsel
3.9/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Usually I don't review small samples of beer but considering the insane rarity of this beer I made an exception. I never imagined I would get a chance to try this beer.

This was served as the last beer in a set of HOTD beers during a special tasting in the world famous Ebanezer's pub cellar. Alan was in town discussing his beers and Chris was generous enough to pop his personal bottle of Dave for us to try. It goes with out saying but... Thanks Chris.

less than a one oz pour into a small tasting glass.

no carbination at all. totally flat. dark brown maple syrup colored. quite a bit of alcohol on the nose but actually suprisingly smooth on the pallet. extremely sweet and syrupy mouthfeel. dried fruits (raisins apples figs) were present in the taste. Not particularly drinkable due to the syrupy nature. I don't know if I would want more than 3-4 oz of this one.

Pretty good stuff but considering the fact that this is probably the most hyped/rare beer in the world it did not blow my doors off. Simular to the the SA Utopia's that I have tried minus the heavy wood character that they typically have. Maybe a bit smoother too.

Overall I am glad I got a chance to try this especially with Alan there talking in depth about the beer. Would I spend 1000$ for a bottle?? Not so much.

tendermorsel, Sep 10, 2010
Photo of pester
4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

pester, May 02, 2014
Photo of rallison
4.97/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Floydster. Damn. You are a truly great man. Thank you for a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The infamous Dave. The clear bottle with the twist off cap. The 29% monster. The 15 year old white whale. And so on..like any of this is news to anyone in the beer scene :p

Flat, oily, dark brown appearance. Super viscous. Huge legs (if we want to get into wine terms). This is beer? Just barely.

Sweet, candied caramel and drunken dates on the nose with a surprisingly restrained alcohol presence given the 29%. Very inviting, in a warming way.

Burnt sugar, rich dates, warming alcohol and a huge maple syrup presence in the taste (in the good way, not the Triple Bock way). Oak notes, light oxidation (of the complementary sort - think port or sherry sort of oxidation), awesome.

Thick, rich beer. And thick. And rich. No carbonation (did you expect or want any? No, I think not). Alcohol warmth, and then some, at the end. Alcohol burn is much more mellow than on Utopias (and, given that this is 29% vs the 25% or so of Utopias, quite impressive). Night cap? Yes, and an awesome one at that.

Drinkability? Are you going to have a full pint of this? Probably a bad idea. Of course, Kyle mentioned that, at one Toronado BW fest (late 90s I think), this was on tap for 6 ounce pours. Apparently there were a few more fights than usual that year. That said, for 29%, this drinks exceptionally well. There is alcohol warmth, and a slight alcohol burn, but, again, given the ABV, it is incredibly smooth and mellow.

Wow. Yes. This beer is that good.

rallison, Mar 30, 2009
Photo of largadeer
4.48/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Alan.

Appearance: Turbid dark brown, no carbonation, no head. Looks oily and viscous.

Smell: Woody and earthy. Leather, tobacco, almost spirituous. Raisins and light soy sauce. Oxidation has treated this one kindly. It has a quality not far from a dry sherry.

Taste & mouthfeel: On the palate, Dave shows much of the same character that it does in aroma; prominent tobacco and leather, dried fruit and woody tannins. Rich and full-bodied. Sweetness is surprisingly restrained for such a massive beer; it hints at caramel, but ends on a semi-dry note. Beyond a slight warming in the stomach, there's no trace of the 29% ABV; over a decade of age has tamed this one to the point where the 10% ABV beers I tried beside it tasted hotter. Remarkable stuff, completely unique in the craft beer scene at the moment, and surprisingly very mellow and drinkable.

largadeer, May 19, 2009
Photo of cbutova
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

cbutova, Nov 20, 2011
Photo of rbrefbeerman
5/5  rDev +14.7%

rbrefbeerman, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of Maltzilla
4.65/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The Whale of Whales! Pours out flat, syrupy and dark reddish brown . . . like blood draining away from the site of a sacrifice. :-P The nose had some strong sherry and boozy tones, it definitely lets you know this is not a beer to be taken lightly. The palate reveals further alcohol heat in a brief punch, followed by phenomenal combinations of old port-like flavors: dark fruit, caramel, vanilla. Oak and tobacco follow in the back palate. Strong mouthfeel and its definitely a "sipper" as far as drinkability goes.

Maltzilla, Jul 14, 2010
Photo of Thorpe429
3.51/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Hair of the Dog stemmed tasting glass alongside Hair of the Dog Adam and Eve.

Pours is as expected. Essentially black and a bit viscous with no head. Maybe some slight legs on the sides of the glass. The nose has smoke, soy, molasses, tobacco, booze, and a hint of dark fruits. The soy really creeps to the front.

Flavor is very similar with a lot of soy and residual sweetness, though not much booze. Tobacco and smoke in the background. Medium-full body.

It's basically super Adam, and is quite intense. I didn't think it was all that fantastic, and honestly if you took away the notoriety of it, I wouldn't pay $10 for a glass of it; I'd much rather have Utopias, particularly aged Utopias.

Thorpe429, Apr 07, 2013
Photo of AgentZero
4.18/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Guess I should finally get around to reviewing this EPIC beer. First off, cheers to GrumpyOldTroll for extending the invite which ended up nicely coinciding with my 35th birthday. Big shout out to jbuddle, my homie Sean9689 who made the trip with me from Chi-town, my Asian Brother SpeedwayJim, dtmets84 and Cosmicevan.

Consumed on 1/12/13, review from notes.

A - Like Evan said, this looks like a bottle of worcester sauce, with its clear glass, slightly too-wide neck, and screw off plastic cap. The beer is exceptionally dark black/brown with shades of purple in there. No noticeable carbonation to speak of, the beer is pretty still. Not the prettiest beer around, but for something that's near 20 years old and as big as it is, it's fine.

S - The shocking thing about how this beer smells is the booze. Some booze comes off the nose, but not nearly what you would have expected from 29%. Guess the years may have mellowed it. It's surprisingly complex, with a lot of dark fruit, burnt brown sugar, molasses, and slight cocoa. The tiniest bit of soy sauce aroma is present, which I feel detracts a little bit, but it's not bad. There are some nice earth tones in there as well.

T - Well, color me impressed. It starts out sweet, with a slight bit of soy sauce which I was expecting. It then delves into some nice burnt brown sugar and dark fruits, which was quite nice and pleasant. The thing that really one me over was the great earthy tastes, leather, and hint of nuts. Really well done all around with all the flavors blending together well and yet managing to stand out individually. Throw in a little bit of syrupy cocoa on the end and we have a winner. There is some heat, but nothing that would make you guess 29%, more like something in the mid-teens. Entirely too drinkable.

O - Full bodied, very smooth, not much in the way of carbonation.

O - I was expecting this to be a disaster and to taste like garbage. I can honestly say this beer exceeded expectations. Was it the best beer I've ever had? No. It was however, a great beer and one that is pretty unique. It's enjoyable to drink, goes down surprisingly easy, and has a lot of nice complexity and flavors. Thrilled I got to try it, and it truly made for an EPIC beer, tasting, and event.

AgentZero, Mar 15, 2013
Photo of BucketBoy
4.04/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Dave, courtesy of GrumpyOldTroll, and shared by forgetful, ygtbsm94, Thorpe429, Huhzubendah, yourefragile, and johndoe8. Thanks for the experience, gentlemen. Drank side-by-side with Eve, Adam, and Golden Rose.

L - Black oil with a deep garnet hue when held to the light and legs that go for days in my Hair of the Dog tulip snifter.

S - Molasses, 60% chocolate, concentrated roasted dark malts, even a touch of burnt sugar butterscotch, hints of sweet tobacco, light earthen ash, and the slightest bit of favorable oxidation.

T - Much like the nose, with more emphasis on the tobacco, roast, and burnt sugar. The alcohol is so low-key right now, and helps the flavors pull together. Delicious old ale and truly special!

M - Flat and smooth, with a touch of heat still, but not too much. Well enough.

O - An experience! A dream come true - thanks everyone!

BucketBoy, Apr 06, 2013
Photo of bmwats
4/5  rDev -8.3%

bmwats, Dec 31, 2013
Photo of cosmicevan
4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

big thanks goes out to GrumpyOldTroll, jbuddle, Sean9689, SpeedwayJim, AgentZero, dtmets84 for sharing in the greatest day of beer that i have ever been a part of. huge thanks to mike for providing this bit of unobtainium.

notes from 1/12/2013

consumed from a hair of the dog walk the dog taster glass.

a - the bottle itself is somewhat of a site. clear glass with a screw top...like a bottle of worcester sauce. the label is a rather simple black and white with the logo pictured and this text:

Dave was produced in 1994 as an experimental high alcohol Beer. Time has smoothed out the flavor and created a mellow blend of malt and alcohol. Enjoy this testament to the Brewers Art as you would a fine Spirit and think about good things. - Alan Sprints - Brewmaster.

the other side of the label says:

Hair of the Dog Brewing Company is dedicated to providing the Beer lover with new and unusual Beer styles. To learn more about Hair of the Dog Brewing Company and our Beer styles please visit us at www.hairofthedog.com

the beer poured still into the glass. deep purple with some maroon highlights when held to the minimum light available in the room. wasn't expecting much in the looks department for a beer this big and this old.

s - the nose is intense and matured over the extended time that this beer sat in my glass. dark fruits, licorice, nuts, prunes, alcoholic heat, nutmeg, brown sugar.

t - the taste was similar to the nose...i was rather surprised to still get so much heat considering the age...but did not feel like a 29% beer. surprisingly drinkable. dark fruit crossed with nuts and a big helping of brown sugar. feels like a strong ale, actually reminds me of batch 9k a bit but hotter.

m - like liquor...leaves a tingle in my mouth. extremely drinkable, especially at 29%. it was pretty amazing and rather warming. feel is so smooth and the booziness is nice.

o - overall, wow...where does one begin? for what this is, the insanity that surrounds it and the incredible desirability, it is the king of beers (sorry bud) to try for the ticker...and in the world of ticking and "whales" many will tell you honestly that very rarely is something of this stature worth what you have to give up to get it...but you can't really know until you go for it and in the world of beers that get hunted, this was surprisingly drinkable and tasty and a hell of an experience compared to the many disappointments. this is a case where the inability to get this beer boosts it up to even more legendary levels, but the core reason that everyone seems to want to try this is very evident when experiencing the beer...and it's just that...trying dave is an experience unto itself. dave is like nothing else. an almost 10 year old beer that drinks like liquor and has crazy complexities and yet it is still considered a beer. trying this is akin to sampling utopias...a unique experience like no other and one that can be polarizing depending on what you like. i have the empty bottle that has a few eye droppings of dave left in it and in the week since i've tried the beer i regularly unscrew the cap and sniff the bottle with the remnants and it takes me back to this crazy experience and the day that followed.

cosmicevan, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of emmasdad
4.97/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Another from the old notebooks. I just missed this one at the 1998 Toronado Barleywine Festival and thought I would never cross paths with it again. Much to my surprise, however, I was wrong. I was fortunate to finally get to try this one at the brewery 3 years later. After sampling a few beers with Alan, he pulled a bottle of this one out and poured us each a sample. Poured a beautiful brown color, with just a hint of light brown foam. Huge aromas here: bourbon, vanilla, oak, dark fruit (plums, raisins), port, sherry and alcohol. On the palate, especially as it warmed, the flavors came out nicely. Lots of bourbon, alcohol, dark brown sugar, sherry, oak and chocolate. Truly an amazing beer...the best I have ever had.
Postscript: At the time, Alan offered to sell me 12 oz. (plastic vinegar) bottles for $15 a piece. At the time (2001) this was beyond comprehension to me and I passed....still kicking myself today.

emmasdad, Jul 22, 2010
Photo of Chico1985
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Chico1985, Dec 09, 2011
Photo of eggs
4/5  rDev -8.3%

eggs, Apr 28, 2014
Photo of HopHead84
4.8/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A beer I never expected to try, graciously poured for Largadeer and myself by Alan Sprints.

The bottle has a screw top and looks like one used for soy sauce or some other type of condiment. The all white label looks rather old school...all around fantastic.

The beer pours very dark brown, nearly ebony, with dark red highlights. It's still, with no carbonation. A swirl yields nice legs and almost a string of pearls. The beer clearly has some body.

The aroma is interesting, to say the least. Notes of leather and tobacco are present, with some caramel malt. Amazingly enough, the oxidation is quite low, imparting subtle notes of sherry and soy sauce. I expected more oxidization from a beer nearly 16 years old. Other aromas are of vanilla and dates. Alcohol is noticeable but doesn't hint at anything close to 29%.

The flavor is infinitely complex, and definitely blurs the line between beer and spirit. Notes of smoke and leather are immediately apparent, as well as dates, and a hint of vanilla. The malt is toasted and caramel. The oxidation imparts notes of soy sauce and a sherry character that seems to add rather than detract from the flavor. I'm amazed at the low level of alcohol in the flavor. I wouldn't estimate this beer at half its strength. The only indication of the strong ABV is the warming effect I feel after the swallow. The beer is slightly sweet, but not at all syrupy as I expected. The finish is complex, being the culmination of all the aforementioned flavors.

This beer is full bodied with no carbonation. Knowing the high ABV, I was expecting Dave to be much, much sweeter than this. This is not a super dry beer, but it definitely leans toward the dry end of the spectrum. The mouthfeel is that of a fine brandy or port.

Alan said this took a few years to be drinkable, which I can believe, but I'm surprised how well this beer has held up over the long span of time since then. Dave is a remarkable beer and I count myself lucky to have tried it. This was a very memorable experience.

HopHead84, May 13, 2009
Photo of spycow
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

spycow, Jul 14, 2013
Photo of brian4beer
3.5/5  rDev -19.7%

brian4beer, Jun 08, 2014
Photo of Arbitrator
3.98/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Chilled bottle into a tasting snifter, shared by the ever-generous ramnuts.

A: Pours a nearly opaque mahogany color with a ruby tint at the edges. No carbonation -- expected in a 15-year-old beer with such high ABV, so I'm gonna give this a 4.5 anyway; its body is a stunning color.

S: Has a strong port or brandy-like aroma to it that breaks down into grape and fig burn. Tobacco, leather, smoke. A light caramel. Noticeable booze, but not as much as I expected for the ABV.

T: A lot going on here. This is really more of a spirit at this point. Smoke, tobacco, leather are strongest on the tongue. Progresses into a boozy port-like grape and fig flavor. Some caramel sweetness and a little anise/licorice. The finish is again tobacco, with a spicy / smoked pepper burn to it and a little soy sauce (oxidation). Huge burn again in the aftertaste (again, hearkening back to the spirit comparison). ramnuts joked that this still tastes too young...

M: Totally flat, but still chewy and viscous. Still kind of boozy, though.

D: I appreciate that this is something that pushes the boundaries of fermentation. I'd certainly try this again. In retrospect, $80 for this beer is totally worth it. It's like Utopias but less refined.

Arbitrator, Jun 01, 2009
Photo of dtmets84
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

dtmets84, Jan 22, 2013
Photo of bauermj
4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

bauermj, Jul 14, 2013
Photo of Sean9689
3.81/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Thanks to Mike (grumpyoldtroll) for finally getting to try this beer. The "Main Event" from our NYC Mega Tasting.

Pours a motor oil black, some bottles here and there but basically flat. Nose is sweet dark fruit, chocolate, and lots of barrel presence. Flavor is not as sweet as the nose, and even more booze with notes of bourbon, oak, chocolate, and tobacco. Full body, flat, lingering sweetness and alcohol.

Is it "worth it"? Well, it was an honor to be able to try his beer, so for me it was. I can't believe how well this held up after almost 20 years. Good stuff!

Sean9689, Jan 13, 2013
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Dave from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
95 out of 100 based on 41 ratings.