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

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1,704 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,704
Reviews: 854
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 12.01%
Wants: 377
Gots: 305 | FT: 19
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 08-13-1998

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,704 | Reviews: 854
Photo of BARFLYB
3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased at De cicco's in NY, It sure beats paying $9 a bottle in PA. Batch 75

A- HOTD Fred looks very thick coming out of the bottle. Once in the glass it has a interesting color of bright gold that shines. Some hints of bright bronze as well. A hard pour yielded no head whatsoever, just some sparse bubbles on the top, no lacing.

S- A interesting sweet barleywine here. I was expecting a big amount of hops being a american version but not so much. Big sweet maltiness jumps out as well giving off caramel and some alcohol. Some fruit such as plum and orange. Not much hop aroma.

T- Reminds me of DFH olde school, only better. The malts rule giving off a big sweetness but im not really picking up on the hop addition, which I thought would dominate. Don't get me wrong, they are there but not up front. Big fruity taste with the above mentioned plus some candi sweetness. Some syrup flavor as well.

M- A good step above medium bodied and while were at it, this one is a thick beast. Not much bitterness, very sweet and goes down smoothly with minor alcohol taste, the alc is hidden well. A good amount of carb felt. This one engulfs the mouth and lets it's presence known.

D- I took my time with this one and enjoyed it very much. A smooth sipper that demands time be put into drinking it, I would not have it any other way. Now I need to try some other's from this brewery.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.96/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, Batch 66,

A: Pours a burnt orange, with a thick cap of white foam, which lasts for the whole glass until the very end, limited lacing.

S: Smells of lemon zest and musky yeastiness.

T: Very thick fruity taste, lemon, pear and apple, with a nice warming alcohol in the end. Taste is reminiscent of Dogfish Head 120, or a strong Belgian, very sweet, but has a definite earthy hoppiness to it to keep it balanced.

M: Thick, syrupy, viscous.

D: An interesting barleywine, not a hop bomb, but a beer with a wide mix of flavours which makes it interesting to drink.

Photo of Billolick
4.27/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle, "Batch 68", pours cloudy dark orangy amber, yeast expelled into the glass, yeeha, I love yeast. Typical medium tan head, tiny bubble film, and spotty, fine lacing left behind. Toasty nose, with some burnt orange notes. Buttery smooth, tasty and finely crafted brew, 10% truly nowhere in sight, except the center of my cranium. Caramel, vanilla, honey notes, warming and yummy. High qualiity and a must try all the way. No bargain @ $4.99 a bottle, but worth it for the high brow suds experience.

Photo of yourefragile
4.22/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch 78, 12 oz bottle.

Clear light golden color with a thin off white head. A few dots of lacing and a thin film. Aroma has honey, grass, light pepper, honeydew; overall fairly sweet. Medium thick, syrupy body with low carbonation and light alcohol in the finish. Sweet flavor with light malt and bread underneath candi sugar, melons, honey and clove. Always a treat, this bottle was a little sweeter than I remembered, but still smooth and balanced.

Photo of billab914
4.02/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 76 poured from a 12oz bottle into my CBS snifter. It poured caramel brown in color with a thin white lacing scattered across the top of the beer.

The aroma has some sweeter caramel and malty flavors to it at first. I get some candied orange like flavors to it as well giving it kind of a fruity, zesty citrus flavor. A little bit of an herbal like spice comes through as well.

The taste shows a little more of the sweeter, malty, caramel flavors to it up front. In the finish some bitterness comes out with a little bit of an orange citrus flavor to it. Nice balance of malty sweetness and citrus bitterness to it.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side with carbonation being below average. Overall it was a pretty good beer that I really enjoyed. it had a nice range of flavors to it and managed to stay relatively balanced overall. very enjoyable beer to sip on this evening.

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.36/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is my second HotD beer, thanks to Bryan (BA...spdyfire83). Adam is my highest rated beer, but I did not dare to assume Fred would match that. Let's see...batch 79. It's been in my mini-fridge for ~8months

Fine looking beer! Medium-deep copper goodness, clean and clear. HUGE foam upon even a gentle pour. Barely off-white. Settles to a soft, somewhat rocky pillow. Nice presentation.

Fruity aroma. almost like a dubbel or quad, except that the fruit is more of pear, peach, persimmon than apple. Maybe some white grape. Alcohol is present. Spicy. Crap, 10 hops? Nah, I don't think I can pick all of them out. Saaz I can predict, but the others would be difficult for me

Malty, some peat in background of the flavor profile. Mostly, though, it's fruit and hops. Rich flavors. Light biscuit does well with some spicy rye malt. Alcohol more pronounced.
The feel is odd. Bubbly, but also a bit syrupy. The alcohol thins things out, but I think diminishes the hops' bitterness.

Quite a nice beer

Photo of DoubleJ
3.45/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I see that Belgian candy sugar is used; does that make Fred a Belgo-barleywine? Enough of the stupid remark, bust out the Old Guardian glass and opener and get on to the beer:

It's magnificent looking; a darker shade of gold, tiny bubbles that are clearly visible from a few feet away, a thick creamy top that seems to last forever. That's the good news! The bad news is that something seems to have gone awry in the nose. It's most resemblant of sweet honey and a good amount of astringency. More time allows the astringency to calm and bring a little note of hop leaf. A little better, but still rough for my liking.

I think we have a Belgo-barleywine, or at least an attempt. If you love sugar, then you will get your fix here. It's very sweet overall, yet finds a way without ever being cloying. Sugar sweetness is obvious, little notes of mandarin orange, leaves, and a hop cone or two. Some of the 10% alcohol is felt/tasted in the form of ethanol. It's a big and firm bodied beer (and one that leaves sticky residue around my lips, which I like a lot), so take this easy.

Hair of the Dog throws a change-up at the barleywine style. It's not bad and certainly different from the diet of fastballs that we're all used to seeing, but sometimes a good 93 MPH heater gets the job done better than a slightly better than average change on the outside corner.

Photo of rab53
2.79/5  rDev -31.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Originally had this beer years ago (batch 48) and rated a 4.5.

Revisited this evening (batch 93) and was thoroughly disappointed.
Flat, sweet, boozy. Almost every HotD bottle I've had in the past year has had major carbonation issues.

Photo of tempest
3.99/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch #62 purchased in May from a store that didn't know what they had.

It's a bit of a gusher, but that bottle conditioning makes for a heck of a head. The aroma is a touch simple, mostly just like sweet, alcoholic malts. The flavor open up more with the spicy rye coming through over fruitier and light caramel malts. It's also like there's some earthy root flavors with the rye. It's almost like a strange mix of perfume with lemon, orange, and toffee. There's a balancing bitterness that makes a mouthfeel and drinkability worth mentioning. Tastes a bit like some American-made English barleywines, but the rye puts this in it's own dimension. Definitely an unusual beer, give it a try. It'll give you plenty to think about.

Photo of smakawhat
2.34/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Poured from the bottle into a Hair of the Dog tulip glass.

Lifeless pour. No carbonation, just a gooey orange apricot glow out of the bottle, filling with an orange and a screeching lifeless faint tan collar on the edges. Nothing going on here.

Aroma is sweet malts and honey. Hop aroma hinting toward spiced pine, with some clove esters a bit. Sugary. Sucrose, and lots of syrup

Palate hints at what could have been. Flat flat lifeless body. Palate fills with a bit of woody hop and pine, but is overtaken by sugary syrup and sucrose thickness. Lifeless and overly sweet.

Remind me to never drink bottle Hair of the Dog ever again, I'll stick to the brewpub where the beers actually shine. This is a disaster, basically drinking liquid sucrose with a bit of hop bitterness.

--- Old review look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4 | Final 4.3

Fred consists of very yellow almost lemon yellow opaque appearance. A good solid head that doesn't seem to dissipate too quickly.

The nose on the beer is quite surprising. An overwhelming sense of tropical fruit, specifically mango, and sweetness. Tastes of a sweet sugary honey, but not of heavy alcohol that linger in aftertaste.

An enjoyable beer but depending on your preference for fruit you may not care for it.

Photo of Georgiabeer
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A truly exceptional beer from a great brewery. My favorite of their products that I've had. Batch # 69. Poured a beautiful hazy dark orange with little head, but excellent lacing. The smell had deep aromas of candi sugar, orange blossom honey, lemon zest, and brandied raisins. Wonderful. The taste is even nicer, with the sweet flavors being complimented by a great earthy, piney, hoppy bitterness on the finish. Big and on the sweet side like a barley wine, with additional flavors of sweet orange, fruitcake, sweet malt, and the same notes as were in the aroma. Mouthfeel is exceptional- smooth, creamy, and substantial. Excellent drinkability as well. It's definitely a sipper, but it is also immensely satisfying. Kudos!

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.16/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a goblet. Batch 81.

Appearance - Golden light amber body. Quite clear, but with some sediment suspended in the beer. Huge head that nearly overflows my glass. Great retention and great lacing.

Smell - Apples, pears, and other light fruits dominate. A huge light malt presence. Hops in the back, but they're not terrible aromatic.

Taste - Sweet and immediately fruity. Apples and pears again. The malt is fascinating. Slightly sweet and caramel flavored, but then earthy. A hefty hop bitterness rounds it out, although it seems a bit heavy-handed.

Mouthfeel - Well-carbonated and hardly any alcohol. Feels like a strong beer, but it isn't overly sweet or heavy.

Overall - A strange concoction. It really defines categorization. Reminds me of strong English ales with it's gigantic light malt bill. While I didn't find any aspect of it to be truly great, the beer is quite interesting and different. I found myself enjoying it more once I gave up trying to figure out how it was supposed to taste.

Photo of corby112
3.18/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy amber color with a nice sized white head. Aroma is dominated by the strength of alcohol. Also contains hints of spices and white fruits. Taste is very similar to the aroma in which the 10% abv is not masked very well at all. tastes of strong alcohol that is slightly balanced with golden apple and spices. The alcohol taste becomes less overbearing as it warms.

Photo of weeare138
4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appears a cloudy, amber with a small white cap that slowly fades into a gentle cap. Scattered bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of vanilla, cherries, plums, raisins, & sugar.
Taste is of the aromas with a silky velvet, prune merengue.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, sugary, yeasty, bready, and syrupy.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bought at Healthy Spirits, SF, and then carted back to Sydney to share with @LaitueGonflable and @thescotdownunder.

Pours a deep golden colour, slightly cloudy from sediment, with a huge an frothy head of just off-white foam. It's almost too much, with some excessive bubbling that almost makes it overflow with a pretty gentle pour. Looks good though, besides the logistics of the thing.

Big and rich nose. Masses of malt, with a boozy bent and a whiff of green hops to cut through some of the worst excesses of the barleywine. A bit of soda there as well, along with whiff of chlorine and saltwater which also leaven the rich, heavy sweetness of the brew.

Taste, however, is very firmly in the big, malty, sweet and heavy category. Rich and almost sugary, it melts on the tongue with flavours of dessert wine and toffee, with the booziness to back it up and make it a real sipper. I feel it almost needs something fresh, something lightly acidic to cut through it, but then I'm all about big malt-bomb barleywines, so I approve.

Yep, a big, unapologetic beer this one, with more than a whack of alcohol, but it's really quite suitable for the style and for what it's trying to do.

Photo of Zorro
3.9/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch number 45.

A unique looking beer, a cloudy golden orange color.

Smell is lots of malt and toasted grain with a mild perfume scent.

Taste is mildly sweet and fruity with a solid rye flavor to it. The Alcohol is noticeable and quite warming. The beer is mildly bitter having just enough punch to balance all that malt flavor. One puzzling thing is the sensation that this brew is salted, I don't know why that is.

Mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability is OK, but not really my mug of beer. This just seems to be a bit too sweet.

Photo of HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours dark golden with a frothy two finger head which lingers, and lingers, and lingers. The head leaves very heavy lacing on the side of the glass as it slowly dies. The white head almost looks like white cotton candy. Miniscule bubbles travel up the glass.

S: Smells like a sweetish nectar with coriander. The aroma of alcohol is present with a hint of ripened banana and honey.

T: Sweet, alcoholic, slightly bitter, a slight bight near the finish. Slightly fruity. Malty backbone that's nicely balanced by the hops. This tastes like a strong golden ale, not sure why it's called a Barley Wine on this site.

M: The beer has a not unpleasant sticky quality to it which coats the mouth and lips. Perfect carbonation and slightly creamy.

D: Very enjoyable and drinkable for a strong golden ale (barley wine, whatever).

Batch 1:

Consumed on 11/09/2009 with largadeer and poured into a snifter. Looking at my prior review I'm rather embarrassed at how bad it is. I really don't feel like writing a full review at this time so brief notes will have to suffice. The beer opened with a light "pop." Despite being nearly 13 years old, this barleywine has aged gracefully. The hops have essentially disappeared, leaving rich caramel and toffee, as well as complimentary oxidation. This is the oldest barleywine that I've had and I can't believe how well it held up. Layers and layers of caramel and toffee. Delicious.

Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a nice light, coludy orange color with a nice white cap.

S: Nose was rye, booze and candy. Citrus and floral notes.

T: Taste starts out hot but smooths out. Plenty of citrus, candy sugar sweetness and rye. Floral notes. Piney at times.

M: Mouthfeel is quite smooth but with noticable alcohol. Very good. A big body for sure.

O: Good

Photo of John_M
4.85/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch 42 consumed on 8/17/09 at the HOTD tasting event at Dyan's place. Was told this beer was roughly 8 years old. Wow. I believe it.

This beer was compared with batch 67 I believe. At least for me there was no comparison, either visually, aroma-wise or on the palate. Also, I've had this beer fresh on tap many times at the Horsebrass in PDX, as well as at the brewery. It's is flat out amazing how much this beer improves with a little time.

The beer pours a brownish honey color, with exceptional head retention and sticky lacing all around. The beer has a somewhat viscuous look to it, and in fact this beer is very rich and thick tasting on the palate. On the nose I get a lovely interplay of toffee, chocolate and butterscotch. You can tell right off you are going to be in for a treat with this bad boy. On the palate this beer is incredibly rich and full. Flavors generally replicate the nose, but I'm just amazed by how rich and long this beer is. There are just waves of flavor in this beer, and it has a finish that lasts nearly a minute. Drinkability is unbelievable in this beer. The alcohol blends seamlessly into the flavor profile, giving one the foolish impression that you could drink glass after glass of this nectar.

The years have been very kind to this beer and have turned it into a thing of absolute beauty. An absolute stunner and just fabulous stuff. It doesn't get much better then this.

Edit from 2/17/10: Many thanks to Nathan, who was generous enough to share yet another bottle of 42 with me. Not sure what I can possibly do to repay him for this... After having an entire bottle of this, I've upgrade my original score just a bit. IMHO, the aged version of this beer hovers very close to perfection. If I can choose a beer to have on my death bed, this might be it... butter, cream, caramel (by the gallon bucket) and chocolate, and then with just a hint of green hop in the finish.... the quality of this beer surpases what I could even imagine a beer to taste like when I was younger. Amazing. Incredible. Fred.

Edit from 5/9/10. Was fortunate enough to sample Fred 2 from a magnum at the PDX tasting at Todd's (hannont's) place. Although the beer had to be close to 15 years old, it was still incredibly fresh and delicious. It actually seemed a bit fresher and a bit less mature then the 42 I sampled a few months back, except there was also a nuttiness in the flavor profile that I didn't recall from the bottle of 42. Just a testament to the ageability of this great beer.

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.54/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a chalice)

A-This beer pours a hazy golden brown color with a nice creamy light tan head. It has a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles. Nice Belgian lace with each sip.

S- The smell of complex layer of hops is strong. Some notes of green fresh hops, piney resins, grassy hops and a bit of pineapple hops. There is a hint of pale malt that gives it a sweet smell.

T- Very smooth pale or light caramel malts that blend with a alcohol warmth and a spicy hop finish. The hops are very floral and the bitterness of the hops is very faint. Definitely fruity notes of apples or soft pears.

M- Very creamy full mouthfeel with a slight alcohol warmth that is not to hot. I would guess higher than 10% though.

D- Very good complex beer with a nice hop addition. It taste like an American Golden Strong Ale. It has all the nice characteristics of a Belgian Golden but the hops are American strength. It is pulled all together and balanced which is very nice. Its not to common to find a beer with big alcohol and big malt that has big hops to balance. Well done.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch number 66

Pours a slightly cloudy dark amber with a huge bubbly head that lasts forever and leaves thick gobs of lacing all the way down. Smells of citrus, caramel. and a bit of spicy yeast. Taste is caramel malt, grassy, citrus hops, fruity esters mixed with a bit of alcohol. Has a bit of a Belgian flair to it, really interesting and flavorful. Thick body, lots of carbonation, sticky sweet mouthfeel. I thought this one was great. I wish I had more!

Photo of jdhilt
3.23/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Batch #51. Pours a five-fingered thick, creamy, white head that goes very slowly and leaves gobs of lace. Pour this very slowly. Clear amber color. Light-medium carbonation. Nose is distinctly alcoholic. Starts and finishes alcoholic and some bitterness. Lingering bitter aftertaste. $4.40 for a 12oz bottle.

Photo of biegaman
4.05/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch 63 - sampled 11/03/09.

Fully illuminated jack-o-lantern with a very polished tawny hue. The beer is quite bright and reasonably clear but not to say thoroughly transparent. It is polluted with either yeast sediment or coagulated proteins particles (a fairly inattentive pour leaves me unsure). As expected for the strength, there is no real head but a bold contour is always a positive sign.

West Coast brewers and hops certainly have a thing for one another; Portland, Oregon is most definitely situated on that side of the continent and their affliction for the lupullin is apparent from the first sniff. This has all the resiny, sticky hop serum that you'd expect along with the twist of a highly phenolic yeast that leaves the impression of bubble gum and pink cotton candy. Caramel and tea biscuits are never far out of the picture.

It's tough -perhaps impossible- to say what the aimed style was, assuming there was one. The rich maltiness and resiny hops imply barleywine but this definitely bears some resemblance (as much as most American beers are capable of) to stronger Belgian styles, notably the quadruple. I'd steer nearer to barleywine for the simple reasons that hops and malt have more influence than yeast.

Not to mention this is far more bold and aggressive than it is subtle and suggestive. That said, the contents of this bottle, having been aged over a couple of years, have mellowed substantially; most of the alcohol seems to have faded in that time too. Flavours of citric grapefruit, coconut, pine sap, bubble gum, vanilla, squash, and rich creme caramel seem as healthy as ever; they resonate on the palate for longer than a cold winter's month.

Like the dubious descriptors the brewery uses to describe the ale - true, wise, buoyant, joyful - I have a bit of trouble making sense of this beer. I also find warming has brought out disproportionately more alcohol than it has nuance; it's beginning to resemble homebrew in more ways than one. That being said, Fred is a tasty treat of a beer whatever the style.

Photo of Axnjxn
3.82/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle batch 87

As i was first cracking the top open on the bottle, i could hear a loud "pop" sound. Obviously, this beer was massively carbonated. Slowly poured it into a Tulip glass and the head was massive. Pours a dark golden color with a massive white head that slowly dissipates. Smell is amazing - fruity and sweet. Tropical fruits dominate the nose. Taste is intense! extreme carbonation and tang is all you taste at first, then you get a taste of raisins and apricots. Its much less sweet than the nose would leave you to believe. However, a very bitter finish detracted from this beer. Body is on the heavy side of light with extreme carbonation.

overall this beer doesnt mess around. It has a massive flavor profile that seems to be just too over the top for me. i cant quite tell what it is.

Photo of Wasatch
4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy brownish color, some carbonation, huge creamy tannish head, tons of sticky lacing throughout the drink. The nose is malty, licorice, toffee/caramel. The taste is malty, little tangyness, slightly sweet, lots of toffee/caramel. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is a slightly different barleywine, but very tasty, slightly complex brew, highly recommended.

Fred from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
91 out of 100 based on 1,704 ratings.