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

Not Rated.

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,657 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,657
Reviews: 845
rAvg: 4.08
pDev: 11.76%
Wants: 370
Gots: 298 | FT: 22
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: 1,657 | Reviews: 845 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of PDXHops
4.86/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12 ounce bottle from batch 54(!) courtesy of jsilva, poured into an oversized snifter. I see Fred has been reclassified as an American Strong Ale somewhere along the way, probably the right choice considering its hybrid nature.

A cloudy body with a mysterious color that's somewhere between gold, apricot and amber. A modest head reduces to a thick collar of bubbles and a skim of foam, but the retention is surprisingly tenacious from that point. The delicate streaks of lacing are an unexpected surprise as well.

Even at 6-ish years old, citric and leafy hop notes are to be found in the nose, along with a healthy dose of fruitiness- peaches, pears, apples. Complex sweet combo of candi sugar, cake batter, pale malt and buttered toast with brown sugar. Hints of clove, black and white pepper and other more vague spices. My wife's opinion: "This is what beer should smell like". No arguments here.

Shockingly bitter at this age and with a surprisingly lively carbonation that slowly dissipates, leading to a lengthy smooth and satisfying finish. It's damn near impossible to capture every single flavor attribute; let's just say it's every bit as tasty as it smells and then some. Insanely rich and delicious. A purely decadent drinking experience. Fred's a great beer fresh, but outrageous with a few years of age. Highest recommendation.

Photo of jdg204
4.85/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Abe's Cold Beer in Bethlehem finally brought me to my very first Hair of the Dog brew and I coudln't be more excited. I'm a big Barleywine fan and my brew hero Brenkt56 was a huge fan of this brew, so I was ready to go!

A: Hazy caramel tone with a creamy white head that lasts the glass and leaves plenty of lacing.

S: Caramel, vanilla, toffee, and some piney hop aromas.

T: Begings with a fantastically balanced caramel, toffee flavor with a hint of fruit. Then a variety of hops flavors emerge taking the bitterness in a complimentary directions (pine, citrus, and smoky) but never anything too extreme. Incrediblely balanced flavor for a brew of this strength.

M: Full bodied and a load of carbonation, warm all the way down from the mouth to the belly.

D: WOW, this was an incredible brew, a must try for all beer fans. I've had some hyped beers in the past but despite all the praise I think this one is actually underrated. I've been waiting a long time for the Barleywine that topped Bigfoot and I've finally found it. I'm offically a Hair of the Dog fan and I've got Adam in the fridge so more is on the way. Can't recommend this one highly enough, try it now!

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

Served out of normal 12oz bottle into snifter. I've had many many of these, so I have a feeling for the consistency of the brew.

A - Light/pale brown, very clear (especially considering bottle conditioning), effervescent. Huge head in general that lasts, foamy and white.

S - Fig, sweet malt, spice. A bit of fruity hop on the nose but not much. A pleasant smelling beer that does not have any major standout smells.

T - Holy god. Every bottle of Fred is better than the last. Sweet malt on the front, mixed with some rye spice and then a flush of blended hops. Lasting spice, sweetness and slight bitterness at the end. A slight bit of alcohol depending on vintage, but less than you'd ever expect from a 10% beer.

M - Viscous, but not TOO thick. You know you're drinking a special, strong beer, one that makes you stop and savor it rather than chugging it. Satisfying is the best word to describe.

O - One of the better beers I've ever had and one I will continue going back to as long as I live in the PNW. Fred smells wonderful, tastes wonderful, feels wonderful. It's one of those brilliant beers that seem few and far between and deserves more credit than it already gets.

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 mzwolinski
4.85/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've been thinking back fondly on this beer ever since I drank it 2 days ago. I would have thought of it as more of a Belgian trippel than a barley wine. A slightly hazy copper/bronze in color, with a medium-sized head. Aroma is yeasty with a zesty orange-peel component and heaps of spices and floral hops. But the flavor is where it's really at. Undergirded by a sweet maltiness, this beer has layers upon layers of spices (corriander stands out), citric hops, floral hops, and the rye seems to really add a lot of "pep" to this beer. Tingly finish. Alcohol warming is detectable, but at just the right level to add a bit of depth and balance the citric, tangy qualities of the beer. Medium-bodied with a dry finish. I love it!

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

Copper-colored pour, with a big 4" off-white head, bubbles constantly streaming. Strong melon and light citrus aroma, with a little sweet malt. Taste is a powerful honey and raisin sweetness, with a rich bready flavor. Hop bitterness is noticeably restrained, aside from a tingle on the back of the tongue. Intersting near-Belgian yeasty quality; tastes like its being held back by the malt sweetness. Head and lacing are unusually long-lasting and creamy. Drinkability is exceptional for such a big beer; rye taste comes out as the beer warms. This is a very deep beer, one you could have a dozen times and still find something new with each sip.

Photo of MisterClean
4.84/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From bottle, though I should have reviewed when I was there in July.

A - Lots of head, as it practically burst out the bottle. Pours a nice golden copper, with white head. Leaves a nice lacing too.

S - Malts, flowery hops, and slight alcohol. The combination of the two leaves the beer smelling like a rose.

T - Um, excellent. Lots of rose flavors and very malty with a little bit of alcohol.

M - Well-balanced, just excellent again.

D - Although these were very expensive beers ($4 for a 12oz retail), they are well worth it as they are so tasty.

Photo of Pahn
4.84/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle into Duvel tulip. Batch #74.

Appearance: Free pour yields a one and a half inch fluffy white head that dissipates steadily into a long lasting quarter inch froth. Pours a hazy, dark red orange and leaves occasional lines and dots of lacing.

Smell: After a few minutes trying to place it, I realize that this smells a lot like J.W. Lees, which is a very good thing. Deep malty sweetness, along with some interesting caramel/raisin notes that are difficult to describe. Also some faint herbal hops, and various sweet and sour fruits all playing quietly in the background.

Taste: Basically, tastes like a hoppier, more carbonated J.W. Lees. There's some decent hop bitterness (though on the low end for an American barleywine), lots of deep malt, rye, some sourdough breadiness, fig, caramel. Alcohol heat is subdued at first but catches up to you. Amazing mix of bold flavors and subtle background notes. Excellent. I'm trying not to give out inflated ratings, but this flavor is flawless, and I can't think of any way to change it to make it better.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, moderate carbonation. Mild tannic character. Close to sugary at times. Mouthfeel is the least interesting aspect of this beer, but there's no particular flaws here.

Drinkability: This is my kind of beer. I would never refuse it if offered, and would order it over most other beers.

Wow. Somehow this beer has close to the depth and flavor of a 10-yr old J.W. Lees, but it's less than a year old. It's somewhere between a good American barleywine and an amazing English barleywine. I don't know if it's that this beer is simply masterfully crafted, or if it just hits all the notes that are important to me. Either way, I highly recommend buying it if you see it.

Photo of gkatsoris
4.82/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: HUGE THICK HEAD!!! It took 5 minutes (literally) for it to come down; WOW! The color is a nice oak brown. It is cloudy, murky and there are a ton of bits and particles floating around in the glass; I am both afraid, and excited.

S: Alcoholy, hoppy, lots of raisins. Hints of molasses, honey and malts.

T: Delicious!! Malty, sweet and smooth!!! This is the most balanced barleywine I have ever tasted. There is no taste of alcohol at all; absolutely balanced.

M: Smooth and creamy. Rich and Velvety. Perfect carbonation.

D: This actually warmed me like a brandy. I can't believe I only have 2 bottles. Again; Wow!!!!

Photo of bort11
4.81/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Solid punch to the face from JohnGalt1 and the Fight Club BIF.

12 oz bottle, batch #71, poured into a Ommegang flute. The head and to think about it for a few seconds before it decided to show itself. A quarter inch light tan froth that recedes quickly and leaves some spotty lacing. Color is a hazy caramel brown/orange. Small bits of sediment float by.

Smell is a malt bomb of sweet and juicy aromas. Banana and melon, spicy cloves and dark bread. Rich rye malts give it a tang. Taste is equally an explosion of sweet goodness. More bananas, caramel malts, ginger, brown sugar, oranges and passion fruit. Hops are more noticeable as it warms, but just adds to the spiciness.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. The last swallow has that tasty sediment grit. Damn this is good. Must get more.

Photo of DaveHS
4.8/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Batch 77, poured into a pint glass.

A-Pours a light amber with over 3 inches of thick, luscious eggshell white head. Leaves tons of sticky lacing.

S-Green apple, caramel malts, nutmeg, brown sugar, citrus.

T/M-This beer is spectacular. Lush, rich, and bursting with complex flavor. The bready sweetness of an English barleywine collides with the rich flavor profile of a Belgian golden ale. There are interesting fruit notes in this, particularly green apple. The flavor swells mid-palate, introducing a buttery flavor I have never experienced in any other beer. This is unique. The finish is lightly bitter.

D-An American micro classic.

Photo of Beerbuddha
4.77/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I too have to thank msubulldog25 for this incredible brew. It poured a nice orange color with a nice fluffy white head which lasted a nice bit. Great lacing as well. Had a nice aroma of fruits(oranges and lemons) and yeast. A strong lemon taste is present along with other fruits that I can't quite distinguish. The alcohol is present but not overpowering. Mouthfeel is heavy and the carbonation is mild. I was surprised to see it labeled a barleywine. I wasn't sure what kind of beer it was but that surprised me a bit. Great beer overall and I wish we could get some on a regular basis here in Louisiana.

Photo of happy5930
4.77/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass. Showed very little trace of head or lacing, but had tons of sediment. The nose was smooth with tons of sweet flavor. The taste was amazing, it practically exploded with hops and malt, sweet to the taste but packed a full 10% ABV punch. I highly recommend this beer, and will age my others for some time. Easy to drink, strong, but sweet.

Photo of xraided81
4.77/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 Vintage;
Pours a 4 inch fluffy off white head into a tulip. Pours a bright golden orange with a slight hazy cloudiness, persistent head.
S: Double IPA hop profile, aggresive west coast american hops shine through with sweet bready aromas from the malt creeping through as the beer warms up.
T: caramel, sugar, dark ripe fruits, dried oranges, candied pineaple
M: Effervescent persistent carbonation, medium mouthfeel, has the mouthfeel and body of a double ipa more than a barleywine.
O: this is the easiest drinking barleywine i have ever head, beutiful looking beer, that taste as delicious as it looks, if this was available in 6 packs i could easily put one down during a football game, and would proabably not remember much of the game, great beer cant wait to try bourbon fred from the wood

Photo of inanity
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of DCgolfpro
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of BDavidson14
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of OregonGrown7
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of alpenglocken
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of tbizzle0
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of RHVC59
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of swetsastonic
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

Photo of fsck
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

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

Poured into a snifter. Body is a clear and deep red amber with an appealingly creamy bit of head and some clouds of very fine bubbles nucleating throughout when swirled. For a barleywine this is very pretty. Smells deliciously sweet, with a solid caramel malt and vanilla presence and a little bit of golden raisin and golden syrup thrown in. Maybe even lychee. These are delicious barleywine smells.

Tastes like it smells, but not overly so! Sweet, malty and much lighter on the tongue than expected with a noticeable but very well balanced and refreshingly bitter hop presence. Some light warming spice to the taste. Mouthfeel is silky and creamy but not syrupy with carbonation more of a palate cleanser (very fine-grained) than a presence. Awesome characteristic for a stronger beer, and one I can't remember an equal to. Alcohol is there, but very well integrated and making this too easy to drink.

Overall, this is one of my new favorite sippers. If only it were easier for me to get.

Photo of 12owls
4.75/5  rDev +16.4%

Fred from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
91 out of 100 based on 1,657 ratings.