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

FredFred

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

1,414 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1414
Reviews: 820
rAvg: 4.11
pDev: 11.92%


Brewed by:
Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Fred was created to honor beer writer and historian Fred Eckhardt. It is made with aromatic and rye malts and includes 10 different hop varieties.

10% alcohol by volume
65 IBUs.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-13-1998)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,414 | Reviews: 820 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of abeeronthebeach
abeeronthebeach

Washington

4.09/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Staw gold haze. Head had disappeared by the time my glass arrived.

S - Floral hop aromas blend with the fruitiness of plum.

T - Sweet plum, belgian yeast, mild malt and grapefruit.

M - Easy drinking with moderate alchohol

O - Good, but not particularly memorable.

Serving type: on-tap

04-22-2014 00:36:28 | More by abeeronthebeach
Photo of portia99
portia99

Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Been collecting the Fred variations for quite a while to eventually have as a set to celebrate the life of my cat, Fred, after he passed away - sadly, after 15 great years, that time has arrived. At this point, the quality of the beer is rather inconsequential, but worthy of review as part of the memorial.

Batch #69 (bottled 9-26-07 according to the HotD website vintage listing) poured into a Harpoon gold rimmed 100 Barrel series glass.

A - Bottle opens with a firm whisp of carbonation, which isn't a given after 7ish years in the bottle. An even pour results in a clear, deep amber colored body with ample carbonation steadily rising from the bottom of the glass. Two fingers of pale creamy colored head with a dense, pillowy consistency and good staying power. Mild soapy lacing left on the glass as the head slowly falls to the surface.

S - Malty base up front, buttery caramel and toffee character, spicy rye, yeasty bread-like aromas, honey, biscuit - very complex malt profile. Mild Belgian-y yeasty twang also. At this point in time, the hops have virtually disappeared in the aroma - not surprising.

T - Definitely malt forward here too. Rich caramel and toffee take the lead with a honey-ish sweetness, a bit of lemon iced tea, very bready and yeasty character, tons of rye whose spiciness overpowers any bit of hops that still remain. Noticeable booziness that doesn't get in the way at all - plays off the malt nicely, perhaps dulling the sweetness a bit and creating some balance.

M - Medium body with a smooth, yet tingly mid-level carbonation. Yeasty, fruity/estery, iced tea, warm booziness, traces of vanilla...nice balance. Devoid of hops after 7 years, but not at all out of balance.

O - I have had this before, quite a few years ago, but long enough that I don't remember previous tastings or have anything to compare to. After 7 years in a bottle, this is still quite good...bordering on great. The American Strong Ale style is quite diverse and could result in beers that hardly resemble each other except for area of origin and alcohol content...with this said, it makes it very difficult to have an expectation of a beer prior to trying it. I find this beer to be fairly unique in flavor and aroma. Would love to try more recent vintages to compare, but at 7 years old, batch #69 is holding up well and a pleasure to drink.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2014 23:18:05 | More by portia99
Photo of SportsandJorts
SportsandJorts

Michigan

3.78/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: a dull golden color. a big, 3 fingers, creamy white head that fades slowly and leaves a lacing on the top and sides. hazy and murky, and just shy of opaque

Smell: huge spicy rye aroma hits me right away.some earthiness to it along with citrus. moderate amount of sweetness and a string booziness. one of the smellier beers i've had.

Taste: opens up with a mix of earth and spicy rye. middle plays out with a mixture of sweets and citrus. I get hints of dark fruits, and a definite caramel/toffee flavor. a good amount of citrus peeks out occasionally. good strong bit of alcohol

Mouthfeel: sticky and bitter rye. little alcohol astringency but still warm. moderate bitterness and a full body

Overall: a good beer. great rye character but missing a little bit in the rest. i'd prefer a bit more citrus and a bit more sweetness. but overall a pretty good beer.

Serving type: bottle

04-09-2014 01:03:44 | More by SportsandJorts
Photo of 57md
57md

Pennsylvania

4.04/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Batch 90.

Poured a copper color with a healthy dose of sediment. This offering is both effervescent and extremely live yielding a huge head that lingered on and on. The nose is malty with a hint of something else that is difficult to place.

The flavor profile is mostly malty with a touch of citrusy sweetness and a dry bitter finish. The alcohol is present and not entirely pleasant given the body is thinner than expected in a beer of this style.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2014 00:55:34 | More by 57md
Photo of ChrisL24481
ChrisL24481

New Hampshire

4.24/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured a cloudy orange, copper-ish color with QUITE the head. Very carbonated as expected with a bottle conditioned ale. Head slowly dissipated with lacing left all the way down the glass. Aroma and taste were great. Toffee, caramel, candied sugar...excellent malt flavors. Medium body, smooth; a sipper, but goes down easy. Overall, very flavorful and delicious; would love to have some to age.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2014 23:41:46 | More by ChrisL24481
Photo of Stevedore
Stevedore

Wisconsin

3.88/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle, Batch 88. Poured into a Kuhnhenn snifter today, 3/27/2014. Thanks John for sending me this one.

App- Very hazy dark orange body. Certainly not "golden" as the "Golden Special Ale" descriptor would have you think. Despite a careful pour as dictated by the label, there is a ton of sediment/floaties suspended in the beer. People give Heady shit for having floaties, but Heady looks like its filtered sparkling clear compared to this beer. To be honest, it looks gross. Like jello. I can't make myself rate the appearance higher than 2. Luckily it doesn't count for much. Pours with zero head, lacing looks like individual sugar particles clinging to the glass.

Smell- Intense bready caramel and toffee sweetness, candied sugar, fruity peach and citrus notes, a little bit of leather, quite a bit of alcohol as it warms up. Complex and a pleasure to smell.

Flavour- Very heavy on the sweetness and booze. Rye bread, caramel, honey, toffee take the forefront here and it's quite sweet. Not much sugary dryness here. Sweetness is complemented by notes of peach and apricot flavours on the palate that linger for a while, but don't contribute much bitterness at all. Good bit of booze.

Mouthfeel- Full bodied, low carbonation, quite resinous yet not very bitter at all, just quite sweet. Not a particularly dry beer. Booze is apparent, but not unpleasantly so and certainly not a surprise with HOTD.

Overall- Interesting beer, aside from the gross appearance. The sweetness is not overwhelming but certainly a major component. The esters or hop varieties that contribute the fruitiness is welcome in adding more complexity to the sweetness. It's not my cup of tea and I won't be coming back to this, but it is certainly an interesting beer to try.

Serving type: bottle

03-28-2014 00:07:57 | More by Stevedore
Photo of dionito
dionito

Washington

3.59/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

This is really unfortunate. I picked this two days ago from Whole Foods and it is 100% flat. No head, no bubbles, no nothing. Taste is still ok, but I can only imagine how good this beer might be with the balance of carbonation. mouth feel is syrupy and overly sweet taste, but you get the hop bitterness and malt. I'm very disappointed, though. I was expecting this to be a great experience, which hasn't been. I'll try to pick another bottle soon enough.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2014 00:19:04 | More by dionito
Photo of artoolemomo
artoolemomo

Oregon

4.11/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance- Pours up a good amount of head which looks to have equally good retention. The head is a fluffy, pure cotton-white while the body is a pale to medium amber which appears as a golden, pale amber in the light. Spots of lacing, some wisps.

Nose- This is dominated by hops which already makes it different from Hair of the Dog's high gravity beers. Lots of citrus which ranges from orange to lemon to grapefruit. Light notes of cherry, peach, and apple. Very fruity and very well rounded. Not in your face but still quite delicious. Slight grain on the nose- maybe the rye? Swirling doesn't show much.

Taste- Reflective of the nose as it shows bunches of fruity esters from the hops on the front. Orange, lemon, grapefruit, touches of peaches, hints of apple and cherry. Some spice on the finish (coriander) that mixes with pine and resin. Slight notes of rye. Reminds me a little bit of Lagunitas Sucks actually. Very clean and crisp tasting with all of the hops working in almost perfect balance together. Very little bitterness and quite reminiscent of the newer imperial IPAs. Maybe a little bit of earwax from the bitter side of the hops. Some honey and floral notes. Suggestions of caramel. Really good beer that has flashes of greatness. Not quite there but this scores well in every category: presence, complexity, and balance. I'm surprised I've missed out on this so far but I'm glad to be drinking it now. Some linger but a bit of dryness as well. Pretty enjoyable.

Mouthfeel- Between light and medium bodied with healthy carbonation and nuances of syrup on the texture. Maybe even a little slick or oily but in a good way.

Drinkability- Very easygoing and gives no indication of its 10% at all. Very accessible for a strong ale as well. It retails for about 5 bucks, which seems reasonable to me. This is definitely a beer I will be drinking again.

Overall- Just short of being great. Another example of why Hair of the Dog is the best brewery in Portland. Moreover, you don't have to stand in line or go to the brewery to drink this- you can buy it in a store! A must try and one I will be drinking again.

Serving type: bottle

03-15-2014 05:17:56 | More by artoolemomo
Photo of StJamesGate
StJamesGate

New York

4.11/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

on tap at the brewery, Portland

Hazy deep gold with white film that’s steady and trails.
Sugar and orange peel nose.
Lots of sugar cookie, a bit of rye spice, fair whack of citrus, melon and kumquat.
Fruit punch finish and dry linger.
Medium, chewy, slight oil.

Very fruity for a golden ale. Rye is subtle, the hops are significant. A style bender in the best way.

Serving type: on-tap

03-10-2014 18:41:12 | More by StJamesGate
Photo of buzzardman
buzzardman

California

4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma: Sweet malt, brown sugar, fig.

Appearance: Hazy dark amber, nice two finger off white head that settles to a covering.

Flavor: Sweet malt, brown sugar, raisin, fig, bitter hops. Very much like an america style barleywine with the amount of hop flavors.

Mouthfeel: Full body in but not quite heavy, Syrupy but not thick, some alcohol warming.

Overall: Good beer, would buy again. Maybe age some for a year and see where the flavors go. $5.99 for 12 floz

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2014 17:56:27 | More by buzzardman
Photo of Bosoxfan20
Bosoxfan20

Missouri

4.38/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A- Deep golden with a billowy white head of 2.5-3 fingers. Good staying power and clings oh so well. Very clean looking until I got greedy and attempted to get the last drop before a portion of the sediment hit my glass.

S- Pilsner malts, sweet confection candy, spice of rye, and a mixture of both bright and dark fruits. Fruity esters. A lot going on here and it seems to work.

T- Impeccable balance. A healthy does of sweet malts and intense hopping, accompanied by a soft booze character. Toffee, wood, and spicy grain.

M- full body, yet easy drinking for the abv. Syrupy and creamy. Alcohol settles in with a bite towards the finish.

O- No clue how to classify this beer, but it really doesn't matter. It's a strong ale that goes hard to the paint with intense flavors and complexity.

Pair with lamb, braised pork belly, or flavored cheeses. Serve at cellar temp and age if possible.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2014 03:24:12 | More by Bosoxfan20
Photo of PPOmaha
PPOmaha

Nebraska

3.2/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

Batch 85

Aroma: molasses, brown sugar and some sherry notes. Spicy hop aroma in the background.

Appearance: dark golden to orange with some debris from bottle conditioning.

Flavor: sweetness: raisin and fig. Hop flavor is still prominent though. Some paper and sherry.

Mouthfeel: highly carbonated and slightly lingering sweetness in finish.

Overall: not the best bottle I've had. Slightly oxidized and more dark malt character than I remember. Still a good beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2014 03:17:23 | More by PPOmaha
Photo of hreb
hreb

Washington

3.78/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Batch 89. 12oz bottle served in pint glass. Beer is relatively pale in color (which is to say dark orange), and very muddy looking, texture-wise. Sediment retained in the bottle. Pours fairly syrupy, with zero head. Rich aroma suggesting a barley wine: ripe plums, raisins. Flavor is refreshingly bright, suggesting both golden caramel, and a little bit of hop flavor, which was completely absent from the nose. Oh, and it's totally flat?! Or very nearly.

The interesting thing at work is here the way the spiciness of the hops plays off the flavors of the grain. I don't detect rye in particular, but there's definitely some tasty grain presence all up in my face. That particular combination is superbly executed, but between the color, the sweetness, and the lack of carbonation, I can't help but wonder if I'm drinking someone's failed homebrew. I expect the lack of carbonation is really divisive when it comes to grading this beer, or this batch anyway. I'm not really digging it but maybe it will grow on me.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2014 02:53:07 | More by hreb
Photo of wisrarebeer
wisrarebeer

Wisconsin

4.2/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Batch 78. Brought back by PurpleCloud from Portland, OR. Thanks bro!!rnrnGreat beer all-around. Unique, tasty, full-flavored and definitely unique. Somewhere between a tripel and saison in taste. With an ABV that is definitely present and quite noticeable.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2014 03:43:30 | More by wisrarebeer
Photo of PicoPapa
PicoPapa

Connecticut

4.08/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Orthodoxkardia for this one.

12oz bottle. Batch 89. Pours a murky light brownish orange with a massive, chunky head. 2+ inches. Fair amount of lacing. The aroma is hoppy tropical fruits, alcohol, yeast and funk. Kind of smells like a hopped up, boozey Pilsner. The taste is boozey upfront with some butterscotch and orange peel. Some clove and spice notes as well. Boozey at the end with some more bitter orange peel. Pretty sweet. Creamy mouthfeel. Pretty complex beer with alot going on. Plenty of Pilsner characteristics but with plenty of hops and alcohol burn. I don't think I have had many brews like this one. Overall, pretty damn good.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2014 02:31:29 | More by PicoPapa
Photo of JasonLovesBeer
JasonLovesBeer

British Columbia (Canada)

4.48/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 34 (bottled in 2000) drank Dec 28 2013 at the brewpub. What a treat to get to try such an old cellared bottle! No doubt this was a hand-picked batch that is a cut above many of the others.

I didn't take much for notes so these are a bit abbreviated but to the point.

A: Deep red with small but lasting head.

S: Sweet red fruits and red licorice. Delicious

T: Red fruit (cherry, plum), red licorice, vanilla perhaps?

M: Syrupy thickness, just awesome. Nice carbonation - gentle but there.

O: Stunning how this beer's stood the test of time. While the carbonation of Fred can be all over the map, Batch 34 is an outstanding example. I am not trained on off-flavours or oxidization but this didn't have enough of either to detract from the beautiful malty body that's developed.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2014 01:08:25 | More by JasonLovesBeer
Photo of Benish
Benish

Wisconsin

4.44/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter glass. No date on bottle.

Appearance: just as I was pouring, foam rapidly built up. It was thick like shaving cream, you could almost make stiff peaks like whipping cream. Had to let the beer settle a bit before resuming the pour. The beer had a nice hay golden color with bubbles fizzing up. Some sediment settled to the bottom.

Smell: tropical fruits and a little bit of pilsner malt. Very sweet and fragrant. The hops really shine through.

Taste: it's a mesh of sweetness and bitterness. Hops are aggressive in this; it taste almost like a double IPA. Taste sweet/bitter grapefruit followed by a malty sweetness. I know it's an American strong ale, but if I didn't know that, I swear I would assume its a double IPA.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied mouthfeel; while the appearance shows it's a bit over-carbonated, it's not.

Overall: It's a great brew. I'm a bit burnt out by IPAs at that time but with the significant amount of hops in this strong ale, it was still enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2013 21:31:26 | More by Benish
Photo of Kendo
Kendo

New York

4.24/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Batch Number 87. Consumed on 12/17/13 as I begin the chore of wrapping the year's Christmas presents. . . .

A: Poured from the bottle into a Piraat tulip/snifter-type glass. Body is dark golden at first blush, turning more orangey-amber when backlit. A modestly aggressive pour has yielded a large (nearly 3-fingers) off-white head that threatened to escape the top of the glass. Active carbonation fortifies the head, allowing it to only ever-so-slowly settle to a meringue-like hill of foam in the middle, surrounded by soap-bubble-like foam that coats the glass. Calling it lacing would be a mistake; this is foamy.

S: First impression is of the alcohol. Then I get candied fruit, sugar-coated oranges and Southern Comfort or Grand Marnier. Obviously a lot of malt went into the creation of this, as I also get toffee and caramel malt.

T: Pretty much follows the nose, with toffee, caramel malt, fruit (overripe canned peaches in syrup come to mind), some modest spiciness and booze (SoCo again is a thought). Finishes, however, with a good bitterness that seems tannic at times, as though this were aged in wood - young wood. That's quite a feat, given that I believe this has been in my cellar - and then my DBF - for quite awhile, so the hops should have mellowed quite a bit by now. Warming is noted in the belly pretty quickly; no surprise given the 10% ABV.

M: Pretty close to full-bodied in weight, with a modest syrupy feel to it - which again is a surprise given the active carbonation. Somehow this beer pulls off a lot of different things all at once, even in the mouthfeel.

O: This is really good stuff. My only complaint is that I've got to go wrap presents. I'd rather sit in the family room by the fire and sip this over the next hour, focused on little more than this beer and some good tunes. Wish I could get this one again.

Serving type: bottle

12-18-2013 02:47:39 | More by Kendo
Photo of South2NW
South2NW

Oregon

4.21/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 90, 12oz bottle poured to snifter.

A: dark golden color, about a fingers width of off white head. Leaves light amount of lacing.

S: honey, dark fruits, maybe a bit of brown sugar?

T: honey and fruit sweetness up front, a nice bit of spice follows, hop bitterness in the finish. Bitterness lingers just a bit.

M: medium bodied, with high carbonation. Just a touch of burn from the alcohol.

O: very good beer. The 10% abv isn't too noticeable. Goes down easily.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2013 21:45:28 | More by South2NW
Photo of BastardKing24
BastardKing24

Oregon

4.16/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

$4.99 for a 12 oz and a 92 rating, I'm about to see what the hype is. Poured dark gold without any head. Hmmm so its flat? I dont know let me see then "Sip" yeah its borderline flat. Oh well at least its tastes ok.

Smell is a wonderful bouquet of flowery esters and fruit. Peach, apricot, wet hay, strawberry, some banana, just a really interesting complex smell, very unique.

Taste is very intriguing. Main flavor I get is golden raisin, in a big way. Never had a beer taste like this before. Other fruits come to mind, like apricot, pineapple, sweet syrupy goodness, but It's even more so because this bottle was not carbed well. Anyways, kind of belgian like, I dont know if from the yeast or hop combination or what, but its like a condensed belgian triple. Big flavor profile with a strong alcohol taste. It's pretty hot, more so than other 10% beers.

mouthfeel is slick and syrupy, hardly any carb on this one but I am enjoying it anyways. If this beer typically has more carb then I will give it a 4. Must be a bottle defect or yeast problem. This is ever so slightly carbonated to keep it from being all flat, but still needs more.

Over all this is a very unique beer and its way different than anything I've had before. My second Hair of the dog beer, as I have had Adam before. Looking forward to trying some of their other beers but I won't buy this again as it was a unique experience and I think thats enough, for 5 bucks.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2013 01:05:52 | More by BastardKing24
Photo of BeerlyLegal
BeerlyLegal

California

3.74/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Fred is my first taste of Hair of the Dog. Reminds me very much of a Belgium. Let me just start with the obvious.... Lots of alcohol going on. Everything from the taste to the high ABV (10%), Fred hits you QUICK. Maybe I should have eaten before hand...

Great golden hue, but....I dislike the thick cappuccino like head. You could blame my pore, but honestly I think it is what it is.

Overall its fairly good. Just above average. Worth trying more Hair of the Dog but not hooked yet.

Serving type: bottle

11-23-2013 04:59:29 | More by BeerlyLegal
Photo of superspak
superspak

Michigan

4.23/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass; Batch 79 bottled 1/21/2010. Pours moderately cloudy bright orange amber color with a 1-2 finger dense off white head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass, with some light streaming carbonation. Aromas of big peach, pear, apple, pineapple, apricot, golden raisin, floral, grass, light pine, herbal, bread, rye, honey, light caramel, and floral earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of hop and malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big pineapple, peach, pear, apple, apricot, golden raisin, floral, grass, light pine, honey, rye, biscuit, caramel, toffee, herbal, and floral earthiness. Minimal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of pineapple, peach, apple, pear, apricot, golden raisin, floral, grass, honey, rye, biscuit, caramel, toffee, herbal, and floral earthiness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of hop and light malt flavors; with a great moderately crisp hop/malt balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a slick, lightly syrupy, and fairly crisp mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a highly excellent blond barleywine! All around great complexity, balance, and robustness of hop and malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2013 04:56:13 | More by superspak
Photo of Sark
Sark

Montana

4.49/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 86

Appearance - Wow. Whirling carbonation just accumulates in a 2 finger head that looks as thick as heavy cream save that it's an off white color. The brew itself is a copper orange that cascades with a slight haziness.

Smell - An unavoidable aroma even from 3 feet away. Dark fruits of cherry and plum, overtones of the hop profile that are supremely floral. Pale malts make up a solid base.

Taste - Extremely complex. Starting with the front there is a sweetness that reminds much of Belgian sugars and the malts follow suit right away, this is brought out more with a little sip of air. The yeasts come into the picture soon after giving a slightly astringent yet fruity profile. The finish has a bit of alcohol heat that complements the style. There is also a oak that comes from below.

Mouthfeel- medium/full bodied, quite milky feel and velvety smooth.

Overall - With all great beers come a great story. I was headed out to start a new job in Montana and was making a 3 day trip out of it. One of those nights I found myself in Portland and at a restaurant that was half bottle shop, half pasty eatery. I was trying a few brews before planning to spend the night in my car and after paying the tab the bartender hands me a bottle in a brown paper bag, "Wait a year before drinking this," he said. Almost 14 months later I finally allowed myself to unveil the identity, and it is easily one of the top brews I've ever tried.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2013 04:48:16 | More by Sark
Photo of jzeilinger
jzeilinger

Pennsylvania

4.26/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Being reviewed is a 2011 vintage.

A - Pours a vibrant amber gold color with amazingly active carbonation and a billowing, three fingered rocky head that takes forever to die down. No matter how gentle the pour, was difficult to keep the head from accumulating.

S - Honey toffee malt aroma, alcohol esthers, vanilla, & spiced rum.

T - Vanilla, spiced rum, honey malt, alcohol esther presence, and warming on the way down.

M - The generous amount of carbonation dissipates almost immediately when it hits the tongue and turns velvety smooth, full medium body feel and slick.

O - Sweet and boozy, a definite sipper, I would love to have a 2013 for comparison.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2013 00:12:19 | More by jzeilinger
Photo of magictacosinus
magictacosinus

California

3.66/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Finally found an opportunity to crack this open. Batch 87 - poured out of a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Well, I can safely say that this at least pours a beautiful beer in many respects - contains the very sort of showmanship I give high marks to pretty beers for. Cloudy, creamy, orange amber (sunset, really), complete with SEVEN fingers worth of a frothy, creamy white head that nearly overflows when poured to the top of the glass. And, this was when I was careful in pouring it as well. How does a 20 proof beer produce something of this monstrosity? The secret is the bottle conditioning, and this won me over in the process. Leaves behind tons of thick lacing, as well as an egg-white beaten head that's only found in few other beers I've seen, such as Orval. Does it taste the same, however?

Err... No. Still, contains some interesting things going on right here that make it different from your run-of-the-mill Belgian-style strong ale. Canned peaches, pineapples, pears, and raisins make up the main aroma, with tons and tons of caramel and butterscotch following soon afterwards. Contains a funky yeasty character but a rather dulled flavor throughout. I'd imagine this is a bit old at this point, but I wouldn't know with the lack of the bottling date. There's no bitterness here to speak of, but it's definitely funky and sweet in its own regards. I did expect a bit more, however.

The flavor is about the same, but I can definitely say with confidence that this bottle in particular is a bit old by now. What's left is mainly a yeast and malt stew, with the hops long gone and faded away. Notes of candied pineapple, peaches, pears, and green apple fill the tongue, only to be cut by intense butterscotch and caramel from the malts, with a faded citrus characteristic that is from the dulled hops. I'd imagine this is more impressive while it's fresh, but there's something underwhelming about it, especially in face of its high ABV. Then again, I can't TASTE the alcohol under the sugar, but I can definitely feel it. Definitely well carbonated - as creamy and world-class as any well done home brew. Gets progressively sweet as it warmed up - I had to pair it with fatty funky cheese and meat to cut it down a bit.

Not quite what I expected - I heard this was one the brewery's better readily available beers, but it's a bit too old at this point and I'd love to try it again fresh one day and give it a new review. It feels a little one-note at this point, and it's struggling to win my full attention. At least it paired extremely well with a handful of honey glazed nuts, but other than that, there's not much else I can go with this.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2013 05:59:44 | More by magictacosinus
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Fred from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
92 out of 100 based on 1,414 ratings.