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

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

699 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 699
Reviews: 223
rAvg: 4.48
pDev: 10.71%
Wants: 1,365
Gots: 132 | FT: 13
Brewed by:
Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Brewed using two Munich malts, two Smoked malts and two types of Belgian candy sugar. It was aged in 33 year old Bourbon barrels and Apple Eau de Vie barrels for about one year.

First release: February 2009 (a.k.a. 'Bottleworks X')
Second release: November 2010
Third release: October 2013

(Beer added by: msubulldog25 on 01-27-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 699 | Reviews: 223 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of teamizm
4.33/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Roodie for sharing this as well to Brian at Blue Palms for allowing us to crack this one open in the bar.

Poured into a goblet and allowed to warm up for about 10 minutes.

A - Dark, mahogany brown, almost espresso like with less than a finger head that disappears.

S - Amazing. Chocolate, maple syrup, tobacco, coffee, brandy. Just super complex and really the most amazing part of this beer.

T - Smoky, maple syrup with toffee and chocolate notes. Sweet red apples and some brandy notes as well. It taste amazing, but it smells just a tad better than it tastes.

M - so carbonation, very smooth.

D - Not too much of an alcohol burn on this one despite the 11.5% on this one. Excellent rainy day beer (exactly when I tried it - on a pouring Saturday evening in LA).

Love it fresh and can't wait to try to aged.

Photo of roodie
4.38/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage, received in a trade from jamdugan. thanks! shared with teamizm and Brian from Blue Palms.

A: pours a dark brown, almost black with scant tan head. head disperses quickly. no visible carbonation.

S: wow, this beer has a lot going on. plums and figs, maple syrup, and some dark chocolate.

T: taste is even more complex. besides the dark fruits and the maple syrup, hints of graham crackers and some spiciness, somewhat like a ramen noodle spice packet. hint of carbonation on the tongue.

M: syrupy, lingers on the palate. chewy. no heat experienced here

D: this is certainly a sipper and having split it with 2 others was perfect. would I drink another? yes, but on a different night. planning on aging one for a year or 2.

Photo of jdense
4.4/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle enjoyed at HOTD Tasting Room, $15, 12.1.2010.

Dark brown not black body, flat as a pancake no visible carbonation, minimal lacing. Nose is very complex, apple, smoke, some barrel notes, caramel, burnt brown sugar, noble hops. Taste mirrors the nose, brown sugar, plums, prunes, candy sugar, good dose of smoke as it warmed, with the ripe apple from barrels constantly present and balancing the other 'deep' flavors. Mouthfeel is medium full, good effervescence despite lack of visible carbonation, not sticky. ABV well hidden, a sipper to be sure. A very complex beer to be savored. Highly recommended.

EDIT- Shared a 2009 vintage at HOTD compliments of Dr. Will, his Ohio guest and John Michaelsen, $25, 7.27.11. The barrel aging and bottle conditioning gave this world class beer a really sublime feel, the apples were mellowed and the brown sugar had subsided. My observation at the bottom of the glass, 'this is a beer worth waiting in line to buy' says it all. Awesome, upped overall score to 4.5 from 4.0 previous review.

Photo of oregone
4.72/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally had to crack one open...
A: Deep mahogany with hints of murky red at edges. Decent head for HotD, settling into a haze of fine bubbles on the surface.
S: Complex. Ripe apple, smoke, bourbon and barrel notes, tobacco leaf, continually unfolding.
T: Rich barrel notes with the bourbon a mild component. Smoke and tobacco, raisin, dates, some faint dried apple, etc. Very complex and delicious.
M: Thick but not cloying. The light carbonation refreshes as it coats.
D: I would love the opportunity and excuse to crack a couple or few of these. Alas, far too limited.

A great brew. Worthy of the hype and the HotD label. Complex and certainly to be savored.

Photo of OakedCanuck
4.45/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured this 12oz bottle into large wine glass. It poured a blackish purple with almost no head retention. Only a little bit of non sticky lacing. The smell was overwhelming, in a good way. Lots of apple, dark fruits, pepper, sherry, and alcohol. This is an incredibly complex beer with many different flavors to pick up. Dark fruits (currants, raisins, plum), green apples very strong, tobacco and smoke, vanilla, cherries, and pleasantly black licorice. This medium to heavier body beer had alcoholic heat with a slick and semi dry mouthfeel. This beer is going to get even better with some age on it and I'm looking forward to it. A delicious, complex brew.

Photo of northwestmark
5/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Congratulations Alan, this is a top 10 beer in the world type beer! So complex. There is obviously a little more carbonation than the Matt X and I think in two years this beer will be perfect.

Appearance- Dark, sticky, slight bubbles around the edges.

Smell- Smoke, Caramel Apples, Bourbon, Vanilla, Chocolate.

Taste- So complex. Taking small sips and allowing the beer to warm brings out more and more flavors with each sip. We noted vanilla, brown sugar, both barrel flavors were evident, but bourbon more so, a sweet syrupy chocolate body and smokiness lingers on your tongue in the finish.

Mouthfeel- A slight bit thinner than the Matt X, but I'm guessing that a couple years of age will change that. Carbonation is a little better than the Matt X and I think this will be perfectly carbonated within one to two years. The current carbonation is actually acceptable for a beer of this viscousity.

Drinkability- Slightly hot right now. But still smooth enough to enjoy immediately.

In closing- If you can get this beer grab some and cellar it for the next few years to come. This beer beats the pants off of other big beers I've tried like Dark Lord, Darkness, Firestone 13 etc.

Photo of hopsbreath
4.93/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I first met ramnuts when I ordered a case of Sculpin and posted a thread in the North West forum inquiring "who in Portland wanted a couple bottles at cost". He was actually the first local BA to respond to the thread and the only one to give me his address to deliver the bottles. I showed up at his house with a couple bottles in hand and expected $20. He in turn gave me the $20 and a bottle each of '09 Doggie Claws and Bottleworks X Matt. My reaction was something to the tune of "no...don't...stop...murder", and proceeded to take both bottles home with me. My original plan was to review Matt as my 100th. The weekend after I hit my 99th review Cascade had Bourbonic Plague and Vlad the Imp Aler on tap. There went the whole 100th review reserved for Matt and I then planned on using it for my 200th review. Today while I was waiting in the line outside HotD for the release of the new vintage of Matt with ramnuts and my wife TulipSnifter, I decided to crack the different vintages side by side and tap out some reviews. So all back story aside, thanks Frank. Misty and I loved the hell out of our little vertical tasting tonight. On to some reviews!

Bottleworks X

A: Deep plum-brown with a small ring of sandstone froth and little bit of wispy bubbles across the cap greet me upon the pour. No lacing but none is expected. 4.5/5

S: My wife and I just went to Clear Creek Distillery yesterday and sampled their Eau de Vie which was one of the barrels Matt was aged in. I believe because of this, I can better pull out the essence of the fruit spirit. Its a rather sweet yet clean apple heat that really shines in this beer. Classic Bourbon is easily quaffable as well. Rich tobacco and leather are all over this. Fantastic. 5/5

T: Milk chocolate, more of the sweet apple heat, a lovely touch of campfire toasted marshmallow, and a hint of vanilla are all the flavors that I can easily identify coming through the rich, complex layers. The finish is long and sexy. Wow...oh...wow! This is THE definition of catching lightning in a bottle. Exquisite. 5/5

M: We have a touch of carbonation which is just enough to prickle up this super silky liqueur like drink. Residual sugars make this a bit of a sticky finisher but I do not mind in the slightest. 4.5/5

D: Simply mind blowing how easy this is to drink. I have to make a concerted effort not to drink this too fast. Its really hard not to simply drink right through my six ounces and not bother with a review. This is without a doubt my favorite HotD beer to come out of a bottle to date. Brilliant. 5/5


A: This has the look of a muddied french pressed coffee with cantaloupe highlights. Those highlights extend to the thicker, darker, and denser "glass ring" of foam (when compared to the BWX) that sits above the body. Very good looking although different from its older vintaged patriarch. 4/5

S: There exists more of the aggressive bourbon essence in this beer. The leather is still there but the Apple Eau de Vie is so much harder to pick out. Still very nice. 4.5/5

T: There's the sweet apple I was looking for! Along with the apple is the unmistakable heat from the bourbon barrel as well as the wood. Sweet chocolate and vanilla are almost cloyingly strong. Hopefully a little time will help sort out the flavors better similar to BWX because right now, they're not as distinct. Still quite good. 4/5

M: Moderate feel is not as heavy as expected. A surprising amount of carbonation livens this up on the palate. Again this is a slightly sticky beer...but again I'm not complaining! 4/5

D: What an insanely wonderful beer! I'm sitting on some more for a later date. If this turns into what the BWX vintage did, its an intoxicating treat to look forward too and watch progress! If you can get only one bottle of HotD beer, Matt is the one! Try it if you can. 5/5

Photo of TulipSnifter
4.7/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottleworks X

Appearance: This vintage is dark brown. There are larger bubbles around the rim. Bubbles dissipate. Looks pretty heavy.
Smell: The smell is sweet but not overpowering. There is a little bit of a bourbon smell but there is no alcohol burn.
Taste: A little smoke, some bourbon, and quite a bit of sweet caramel. Very smooth.
Mouthfeel: Heavy body, lightly carbonated, but very smooth.
Drinkability: Very nice and easy to drink.

2010 Matt

Appearance: Dark brown with a ring of tiny bubbles that stay intact.
Smell: Very vibrant. I smell some apple and a little more heat than the Bottleworks vintage, not bad though. I guess the alcohol smell has tamed with the age of the older vintage.
Taste: Absolutely wonderful. Apple, sweet with a little heat, and the perfect amount of smoke. There is a little bite but nothing time won't take care of.
Mouthfeel: Carbonated! Lighter, crisper, and very fun to drink. It seems to have a little more bite because it's still young but some aging will probably take care of that if you want it a little smoother.
Drinkability: Great! It doesn't feel so heavy right now at this stage. The lighter, thinner feel makes it easier to drink but you will probably be able to get more nuances once you let it settle for a while. Both are still wonderful. Matt is wonderful!

Photo of boMD
4.63/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

To start, YIKES! This beer is just so, oh so good. I have had the 2009 vintage three times. Unfortunately I had missed it on tap during Zwickelmania of 2009. But I had it the first time just a couple months after the initial bottle release. Again at the 16th anniversary dock sale, and just recently a third time.

After about a year and a half, the carbonation has subtly taking affect, and the brandy barrel aged qualities have created a nice dominance.

A near black pour with a thin khaki head. Smelled of booze and smoked grains. Soft, low bodied palate. Smokey and robust with a red meat character. Dark fruits and big cherry and caramel apple notes. Low bitterness but with noticeable alcohol flavors similar to port wine. Finished spicy with a smoked liqueur flavor.

Photo of alcstradamus
4.65/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

OK, I finally decided to crack open my last bottle of this now that it is nearing 2 years of age. I reviewed this over a year ago (original review text and update below), and I felt that it was a beer that was on the verge of greatness but didn't quite get there because of a watery flatness. Upon pouring my latest bottle, I was still greeted with no head and it appeared that not much had changed. However, once it hit my palate the SLIGHTEST bit of carbonation was present, and boy did it make a world of difference. This beer is now exactly what I thought it could be. A world class barrel treatment on an already world class beer. I don't think there is much room for improvement now either, as the alcohol heat is warming but not distracting and the flavors mesh extremely well. If you are still holding onto a bottle, drink it now and be in for a treat.

Original review text from August 2009:

Can't believe I got this as an extra....thanks Derek!

Pours near black in color, I gave it a pretty hard pour and didn't really even manage to get the slightest of heads, although a collar of bubbles did rise eventually.

Apples are the first thing that comes out in the smell, with a wave of oak/bourbon rushing in behind it. Massive, boozy nose on this one, but luckily no rubbing alcohol heat to go with it. The slightest hint of fudge and caramel in the background.

Very odd and unique flavor here, a product of the unique barrel aging used to make it I'm sure. Complex as hell....with chocolate, apple skin, bourbon, oak, vanilla, and alcohol heat being the most recognizable (not in that order though...this one is pretty hot). I think this one would benefit from a bit more carbonation, it is amazing but doesn't quite mesh together enough to get a 5.

Mouthfeel is fairly flat and medium bodied. More carbonation could make this one of the best beers I've ever had.

At this high of alcohol content and having this much booziness, drinkability is fairly low in terms of volume of beer...but this is just so complex and challenging that I can't put the glass down and I am seeing it disappear before my eyes.

Update 8/31: I have not stopped thinking about this beer since I drank it. Originally, I submitted a 4.2 A- rating (changed the drinkability to a 5 on this update), but I want to stress that the ONLY reason this didn't get an A+ was the lack of carbonation. The flatness played a factor in every characteristic of the beer....but what I drank unquestionably had the potential to be one of the best beers ever to grace my lips. I now have a couple more bottles that I will crack down the line....and I am holding out hope that one of them has even a smidgen of carbonation so I can experience the true beauty of this beer.

Photo of djbreezy
4.72/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a tulip at Hair of the Dog in Portland, OR. BA user squaremile was kind enough to purchase a bottle and share it with me on my first visit to the brewery and tasting room.

appearance - dark and oily, not much head or lacing

smell - smoke, tobacco, apple, brandy

taste - hugely complex but carefully crafted, smooth notes of smoke, tobacco, apple, brandy, sugar and malts individually punch the senses

mouthfeel - thick and smooth, light carbonation (just right)

drinkability - what an amazing beer to try, complex, unimaginable, creative, one of the more memorable beers i've had

Photo of Elendinn
4.95/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served in a bottle and poured into a tulip snifter at the Hair of the Dog tasting room.

A - virtually black; when held up to the light, the edges appear a murky brown, like an old, leather chair.  No head or lacing to speak of.

S - smoke, bourbon, and apple are dominant -- a wonderful, liquor-like aroma.  Very enticing.

T - malt, molasses, and bourbon whiskey up front, with an apple finish that makes for a very smooth and balanced flavor. The bourbon becomes more prominent as the glass progresses, but never too boozey.

M - very little carbonation -- creamy and smooth.  Full-bodied, but not quite syrupy.  Pretty much perfect for the style.

D - not meant to be consumed in excess, this beer is exactly as drinkable as it ought to be -- sip, appreciate, and lose yourself in this masterfully-crafted brew.

Photo of Arbitrator
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. A very generous gift from the ever-awesome ramnuts. Thanks so much, Frank.

A: Pours an oily, impenetrable black in the glass, although lightening at the edges shows that it's a translucent mahogany-chestnut color. Great shade. It has low carbonation, with just a half-finger of light brown head and milky swirls adorning the brew. No lace; none really expected.

S: Green apple, tobacco, leather, smoke -- it's even peaty. Rum-soaked raisins, oak, earth, and a touch of chocolate.

T: Apple, from the brandy barrels; lots of tobacco, leather, and smoke up front. Peat-like, giving an overall impression of scotch. Rummy raisins, oak, vanilla, bourbon/caramel (relatively restrained against the apple brandy). Reminds me of cognac in parts. The finish is lightly hot with the spirit components really coming out in an apple-bourbon-brown sugar blend. Breathing out afterward is all tobacco and leather -- again, peat comes to mind.

M: Massively full-bodied. Tough to swirl around in the mouth, it's so thick. Carbonation is quite low, but it accentuates the flavors. It's a bit underattenuated, or at least it seems to taste sweeter than Cherry Adam. Still, excellent.

D: This is a perfect special occasion beer. I slightly prefer Cherry Adam to this one, but Matt is definitely up there.

Photo of HopHead84
4.83/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a large creamy light brown head that takes a very long time to recede. When it finally recedes it leaves a generous amount of lacing on the glass.

Lots of apple brandy, smoke, and peat. There's a nice level of apple brandy character from the barrels. Belgian candied sugar is prominent, as well as tobacco and leather. I'm not a smoker, yet I feel like I should be holding a fine cigar.

The alcohol heat is prominent but really complements the complexities of Matt. Peat, smoke, apple brandy, and tobacco combine for a stellar sensory sensation. Subtle oak notes and chocolate round out the complex flavor, as well as sweet Belgian candied sugar. The booziness is more apparent in the finish, but not as prominent as in the bottled version. Notes of apple, smoke, chocolate, and peat linger on my palate for a very long time, as well as some sweetness.

Full bodied with a medium level of carbonation. The beer has a low level of carbonation.

Simply amazing. Undoubtedly my favorite Hair of the Dog beer.

Another bottled consumed on 11/6/2009 with dyan and largadeer and poured into a snifter:

The beer has shown a drastic increase in carbonation. It's at a perfect upper low level of carbonation and I couldn't ask for more from the style. The increased carbonation makes for an improved head and presentation. Booziness has died down to a perfect level. I can't imagine this beer getting better. It's wonderful right now.
Appearance +.5
Taste +.5
Mouthfeel +.5

Bottle consumed 6/30/2010

This has been aging at 55 degrees since the release and it continues to improve, displaying a beautiful balance of apple brandy, leather, smoke, chocolate, and tobacco. This is aging wonderfully.

Photo of sholland119
4.43/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to unclejedi for pulling this out of the magic cooler. Had this one on 7/5/10.

A-Pours a murky dark brown, with very mild carbonation. Some bubbles but no head or lacing. That's ok with me for this style.

S-Awesome aromas. Brown sugar, bourbon, vanilla provide the sweet notes with an undertone of molasses and a bit of leather.

T-Taste is equally deep and complex. Caramel and vanilla, raisins and brandy with some peatiness as well. Excellent. Alcohol is, amazingly, well hidden.

M-Nicely rich and tongue coating. The light carbonation really works well here.

D-Could have had more, grateful to have shared one.


Photo of kingcrowing
4.22/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into an acbf tasting glass.

Pours a very dark brown with a small and thin light brown head. Nose is sharp, boozy and sweet.

Taste is very sharp an pretty boozy, with a sweet finish. Mouthfeel is creamy and syrupy, quite tasty and drinkable though!

Photo of Jmoore50
4.28/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was consumed during Lakers-Celtics game 6 tasting. This beer flew under my radar on terms of hype and buzzworthy beers, but my buddy James got hold of one and shared it. Good beer, different and well crafted.

The bottle opens with no pop or fizz, just silence. It pours with some tan bubbles, but they leave fast. The beer is colored pretty dark, has a dark leather brown heart with lighter cocoa edges.

It smells of sweet apple, brown sugar, booze, oak.

The beer is perfectly carbonated for the tastes. It has a very low carbonation, but because of the strong liquor tastes it blends everything perfectly. Great base beer, with hints of brown sugar, alcoholic booze, strong notes of apple brandy and bourbon, oak and earth. The barrel is great, not too strong but still very much there. The apple brandy threw me for a little bit of a loop, it is obviously apple and it almost stands out like a sore thumb from the rest of the flavors. Great blending from the brewers though for it is balanced very well.

Mouthfeel for an Old Ale/Strong Ale is perfect. Little carbonation that lets the flavors blend well. Delicious sipper of a beer that should be enjoyed by whoever gets the chance.

Photo of ChrisPro
4.85/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12 oz bottle, Bottleworks X (2009) had at Brouwer's on 5/20/10.

Bottle pours super dark brown with very little head; a slight slick of oil floating on the surface. No head whatsoever.

Aroma was incredibley complex: Vanilla, slight smoke, cherry and dark grape, molasses and brandy.

Flavor was even better with a beautiful rich caramel molasses sweetness with some slightly tart fruit and a bitter smoky roasted finish.

Mouthfeel was a super thick oil with hardly any carbonation, but I prefer it this way. I could sip on this for hours.

Overall, this was an incredibly complex beer with so much going on. At the same time, it is a single cohesive brew that is the epitome of barrel aging and blending. This is easily one of the best beers I have ever had and is worth the hype. I will for sure have another the next time I'm in Seattle.

Photo of mothman
4.7/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Original Bottleworks X Bottle

Huge thanks for Josh (alleykatking) for sharing this long time want with me at DLD. Review from voice recorder.

Poured into Duck Rabbit snifter.

Pours very little head. What is there is a light tan. Color is a deep robust mahogany brown with a ruby hue to it. Very nice looking beer.

Aroma: Rich and sweet. Some booze off the top with brandy showing, but hotd makes a person enjoy it since it isn't so hot. Lots of dark dried fruits here. Plums, raisins, and black cherries present. A decent amount of oak showing well. Has some sweet malts that bring a caramel flavor to the table. I am really enjoying this one.

Taste: In the taste I get some chocolate that I didn't pick up as much in the nose. The wood and brandy flavors show predominately but well done. Again, lots of dark dried fruits here. A lot more the plums showing for me. Sweet and malty with caramel. Finally, as it warms I get some tobacco flavors that add yet another layer to this beer.

Mouthfeel: Very warming and smooth. I enjoy how HotD makes beers of this style that the abv shows, but in a good way. Medium to full bodied with a lower amount of carbonation.

Overall, this was a definite treat to have. Lots of great flavors here and they all worked well with each other. The barrels that were used were awesome, but really didn't detect very much of the apple flavors. Thanks Josh for sharing this one! It was very drinkable!

Update: 2013 bottle notes 4.45 score

Oak, molasses, smokey, apples, chocolate, vanilla, toffee, caramel. An old ale at it's finest.

Photo of Reagan1984
4.58/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to Masterski for breaking out this bottle last night. This beer has been on my "want list" for quite some time and Alex was kind enough to break out this gem while we waited for his wife to return home.

Even after making a joke about an aggressive pour, Alex could not coax any sort of head on this beer. As close as he came is few wispy bubble on top of the pour. The beer was a dull brown color which did allow light in along the edges. Reminded me of a dark brown shoe leather. Certainly no lacing to be found.

Aroma was quite nice. Brown Sugar, vanilla and certainly a sense of the alcohol. In both the aroma and flavor there was quite a bit of fruit, but I'm not sure I would have picked out apple had I not known that this was aged in Calvados barrels. In either case, fruit was present and the aroma overall was excellent.

The flavor is a wonderful blend of the elements noted in the aroma plus a delicate smoked nature. The sense of smoke is not center stage and plays a role in adding to the complexity. However, this in no way tastes like a "smoked beer" The fruit, vanilla and brown sugar all meld to provide a wonderful flavor with a great deal of depth. Quite a bit going on here. While you can sense the abv, I would never guess this was as high as 11.5%. No heat from the alcohol.

Alex and I joked about the subtle carbonation. If there is a level just above "no carbonation" this is where this beer resides. A tiny pin prick. Medium bodied and definitely oily on the tongue.

I loved this beer and will have it remain on my want list. I'd love the chance to try this again. Excellent beer.

Thanks Alex.

Photo of MasterSki
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to tthomas for sending this to me many moons ago. I've had sips of this one a few different times, but it was time to crack my own bottle with Reagan1984 in town visiting. Served in a Darkness snifter.

A - Pours, with no visible carbonation. Somehow even avoids the big bubbles you get with other still beers like Bon-Chien Grand Cru or Lambicus Dexterius. However, after a little bit a few spots of lace appear on the sides of the glass and a faint wisp appears on the surface of the beer. Perhaps there is a hint of carbonation after all. The color is a dark woody brown color, but shows transparency when held to the light.

S - The initial smell is quite sweet and fruity, filled with sugar and apple brandy. There are also notes of smoked malt, and slight sherry-like oxidation. Bourbon adds a hint of vanilla, but is otherwise quite understated.

T - Taste is similarly excellent, with initial brown sugar and apple sweetness mixed with sweet liquors that slowly dissolve into light smoke and barrel tannins. Wonderfully integrated, without any dissonant juxtaposition between the many flavors. Flavor profile is reminiscent some of better Kuhnhenn brews. Surprisingly mellow for Hair of the Dog. Both taste and smell were closer to 4.75 for me so I bumped up feel and smell a notch each to make it work out.

M - There is slight carbonation - take note Tomme Arthur. This is about as low as it can be before it is still, but that slight bit makes all the difference. Thick oily body, with surprisingly little heat.

D - I was very tempted to drink Bryna's 4oz before she got home. This is one of the few Hair of the Dog beers where I actually could down a whole bottle on my own. The year has done wonders to take the boozy edge of this, and none of the potentially overbearing flavors get out of control. Highly recommended.

Photo of alleykatking
4.72/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split a bottle of this with Mothman at DLD. Oddly enough split another bottle later the next week with a buddy who brough it over. Review from notes....

A- Poured a black looking color. When held to the light you could see that it was a murky brown color. Little half finger light tan head pops up and dies just a quickly. Light light specks of lace on the sides of the glass.

S- This one has a huge apple almost brandy like aroma when it's popped. Light smokey malts in the backing mixes with a chocolate sweetness. Oak notes blend with a light bourbon burn in the nose. As this warms vanilla notes come out as well along with some sugared darker fruits.

T- This is a holy shit beer! A beer that you take a sip of and just say "holy shit!". Everything in the nose transfer to the palate perfect. Big brown sugary apple front on this. The middle of the beer dies down to oaky bourbon flavors with a hint of vanilla. The smokey ending on this mixing with some lighter darker fruits is a fantastic ending to this beer. Everything taste wise is just wow....amazing. It's hard to describe!

M- Medium heavy mouthfeel. Carbonation was a little lacking on the beer but still made it ok. Lighty chewy with some sips. It's kind of hard to describe the flaovrs left behind because everything is so well blended yet can be picked out. The alcohol warmed the throat and dryed the palate but in a clean way and not overly harsh.

D- This beer is great. Hair of the Dog knocks another one out of the park! This beer both times I have had it has been divine. It is a smooth sipper and I could drink on it all night like that.

Photo of Freethyhops
4.78/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I didn't think I'd ever try this one, so thanks Steve. selfishly I'm keeping this specialty to myself. I'm not even wasting the time chilling this one. Served at around room temp.

A- pours extremely dark. it seemed like a murky brown while pouring but in the glass it just looks black. when held to light it shows some nice burgandy like colours around the edges. the little bit of sand colored head reduced to a thin collar quite quickly. it's expected with a beer at this strength, especially after spending a while in barrels

S- the barrels are play a huge role in this one. the apple brandy really shines through the most though. there is so much going on in this beer but it's not a "mess" as a lot of beers with this much going on end up being. apple brandy and bourbon, woody and earthiness, the sweetness mixes with the lingering apple and almost smells a bit tart. there is also some light smokiness and chocolate. seriously probably one of the most complex aromas from a beer I've experienced.

T- the chocolate really got masked by the barrels in the nose too much, as it seems almost center stage at the front of this beer. it quickly melds into a load of different flavors. some sweet vinous flavors mix with the chocolate and finally some of that apple brandy that was so prevalent in the nose. the barrels really do most the work in the finish. woody, apple brandy and bourbon mix, and a substantial smokiness that mixes very well with the spirits. it seems like none of the flavors completely fade away and at the end it's just a fantastic mix of everything. and while staying on the sweet side throughout it's nowhere near cloying and has more bitterness than I expected. this stuff is so seriously good.

m- maybe the only non standout part of the beer. the viscosity is substantial though. the carbonation is borderline low but I think if it was much higher it likely wouldn't feel "right"

d- I will finish this 12oz serving in a very timely manner. it's a sipper, but it's so good that the sips are frequent and consistent. the big flavors didn't weigh on me as much as I thought they would, either.

after reading some of the earlier reviews, I think the year in the bottle has really done good for the "hotness" of this one. while their was a good amount of boozy flavors from the bourbon and apple brandy it didn't come off as just alcohol. the spirits seemed well defined, flavorful and were very enjoyable

Photo of emerge077
4.43/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to Jason for this! Served around 50º in a Duvel tulip.

Deep mahogany brown, with a burgundy red glint when backlit. At first it looked like there was no carbonation, then larger bubbles formed, and a subsequent skim crept up along the rim. Clumps of larger bubbles hung to the edge, creating a ringed collar around the outside. Flecks of spotty snowflake lace were left, pretty nice considering the high abv.

Aroma was like an Oud Bruin at first, vinous, wet wood & funk, then a wave of fruit crept in... black cherry, currants, muted oak spice.

Flavors of cherry skins, bitter unsweetened dark chocolate, and raspberry truffle upfront. Grand marnier and cherry skin aftertaste, fading into leather and red wine traces. Feel is full and supple, not much tangible carbonation. Very rich and sippable, fairly hidden abv.

Overall this was really unique and impressive, with so much layered complexity. Here's to 10 more years...

Photo of RedDiamond
4.88/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I'm glad I ordered Matt without asking how much it cost. Surely I enjoyed it more without knowing I was about to pay $18 for a single 12-oz. bottle.

But since Matt was brewed in honor of the two Matts who own Bottleworks and Brouwer's, it seemed appropriate to drink it at Brouwer's. And though I eventually endured some sticker shock, I have no regrets about drinking this beer. It's one of the best beers on the planet.

The smell alone is sublime, projecting notes of apple cured chewing tobacco, cherries, port wine and plum. The flavor blends notes of licorice, fig, vanilla, molasses, and woodsmoke while a distant glow of alcohol adds an ideal measure of heat. Just the thought of this exotic and seductive, motor oil-black ale has me drifting into a state of beer bliss. I can't imagine how high the gravity must have been to ferment out at 11.5% ABV while still retaining a plush body and considerable sweetness. But this is a rock solid beer that exceeds ordinary comparisons. It's pure magic.

Matt from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
99 out of 100 based on 699 ratings.