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

Not Rated.
MattMatt

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
99
world-class

727 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 727
Reviews: 230
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 11.21%
Wants: 1,390
Gots: 131 | FT: 14
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:
Beer added by: msubulldog25 on 01-27-2009

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 727 | Reviews: 230 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Azurescens
4.77/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle, 2010 batch poured into snifter at Brouwer's on 4/14/11

A: Pours a very dark brown with no visible carbonation or head. Looks nice and thick with some dark red hues through the edges when swirled in my glass.

S: Big sweet bourbony and malty aromas, some apple and dark fruit as well, perhaps dates and some alcohol.

T: This is absolutely fantastic. Incredibly smooth, a hint of smokiness with smooth bourbon, dark fruit and sweet apple from the Eau de Vie barrels. Very little heat is detectable for an 11.5% barrel aged strong ale. The flavors combine ridiculously well with each other, this is a true masterpiece of a brew. Definitely way up there, one of my all time favorites.

M: Amazingly creamy and smooth. A slight tingle on my tongue from the little bit of carbonation that is in here. The slightly syrupy mouthfeel coats my entire mouth with tons of great flavors that linger for a very long time. Near perfect.

O: Incredible, so many great distinct flavors that combine in total harmony with one another. Every little sip goes a very long way, packing gobs of delicious flavors. Great warming feel in my stomach as I savor each sip. I love this beer. I would definitely drink a glass of this before going to sleep every night if I could. This is heaven in a glass, what more can be said? Please keep brewing this Alan, I want more!

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500th review. Big thanks to ipa247 (Jeff) for this one. 2010 2nd release version. Poured into a Darkness snifter. Shared with schen9303.

A: Standard pour yields a .5 finger off-white fine head with moderate retention that dissipates into a thick ring around the glass. Beer is an opaque dark brown. Lacing is spotty and patchy with moderate cling and nice legs. An attractive beer overall.

S: Nose is apple puree and brandy. Nutty backdrop. Caramel, toffee, and brown sugar. Aromatic, sweet and very complex.

T: Opens sweet apple brandy and brown sugar. Spicy cinnamon and nutty notes towards the middle with a moderate helping of booziness. Caramel and toffee come in towards the middle and end, further sweetening things. End is sweet brown sugar and some dark over-ripe fruit. Finish is spicy with a sweet, nutty, aftertaste. Very impressive. An oustandingly tasty beer.

M: Medium to full bodied and moderately carbonated. Slightly pricky and spicy in the mouth but goes down warm and smooth. Finish is sticky and messy with an aftertaste that lingers. Pleasant and spot on for its style.

O: Probably the best HotD beer that I've had to date, Matt is really impressive. Incredible taste and solid in every other aspect, this one is definitely worth seeking out.

Photo of airohead2001
4.02/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Waiting a long time to try this one. I have pretty high expectations.

In terms of appearance, this beer looks disgusting. No head, no lacing, no legs. Just dark brown oily grossness - distinctly reminiscent of the stuff that comes up in a nasogastric tube lavage during a small bowel obstruction.

Smell is good - booze, vanilla, oak, and nuttiness.

Taste is outstanding - sugar, vanilla, chocolate, and mild roasts. Good stuff.

Mouthfeel is very oily. Sort of weird.

The taste and smell were outstanding, but the appearance and mouthfeel were pretty poor. Overall, a good beer, but not something I would go crazy looking for in the future.

Photo of glazeman
3.54/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle split with airohead2001. 2010 version.

A: Dark, dark brown in color with almost no head. A vigorous pour yielded about 12 bubbles total. There's not even a crown after 1 minute.

S: The smell has a lot of caramel followed by a little cinnamon and a little apple. There's a touch of tobacco smokiness at the finish mixed with a little alcohol.

T: There's a lot going on in the flavor profile here. The start is quite sweet caramel apple. In a strange way the middle is a mix of brown sugar type sweetness and, barrel aging, and smoky malts impart a barbeque sauce style flavor in the middle. The finish lends itself more toward the smoked oak with some pear in there as well.

M: I would have liked a little more carbonation, The viscosity was appropriate.

O: Overall this is a very unique beer. I enjoyed the originality of it, but I'm doubt I will seek it out again.

Photo of fiver29
4.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Miketd. Thanks Mike for sharing this one! Pours black with no head. Aromas are complex with oak, vanilla, brown sugar, and some dark fruit. Heavy mouthfeel with little carbonation. Flavor is wood, wine, apple, candi sugar sweetness, licorice, and finishes with some alcohol. A very nice brew and worth the hype. Thanks Mike for sharing!

Photo of Verecund
4.44/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Second batch, 2010, opened on March 24, 2011. I originally planned on holding onto this for some time since it was hot at a tasting in January, but I was lucky enough to receive a second as an extra from a very generous BA.

The color of fine wood, Matt pours a dark auburn or sienna with, as expected, almost no head or lacing.

A beautiful, decadent nose. Sweetened cocoa, molasses, and a tiny bit of smoked malts give way to bright green apple brandy, sherry, and whiskey. While the description is a mess, Matt isn't. It's rich and dark with wonderful green apple and dark fruit complementing all the best things about Adam - tobacco, earth, and sweet molasses.

Trying to describe this one is exhausting. It opens sweetly, with green apple and a stronger whiskey note on the front of the palate. Tons of toffee, molasses, and candied sugar join mid-palate, along with some balancing leathery maltiness and peat. Amazingly, Matt somehow manages to avoid being cloying, drying out mid-to-late palate. I remember this one being "hot," but, truth be told, it's warming without being distractingly boozy.

Low carbonation, sticky and syrupy, like a liqueur. It feels big.

What a beer, truly unlike any I've had before. This is probably my favorite barrel-aged HotD offering to date. It's not without its flaws, but it's a decadent beer fit for commemorating whatever you have worth commemorating. Truth be told, I struggled to finish the bottle - it's a bit cloying, rich and drinks hot enough to warrant splitting.

Photo of inflatablechair
4.52/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This is the 2010 batch, about 4 or 5 months after release.

If I had to do a one-word review, it would be "complex." Of course, that doesn't say anything about how damn good this beer is, so thankfully I have the chance to expound.

Appearance: A dark reddish-brown that is translucent at the edges. Minimal caramel-colored head which dissipates after 10 minutes or so in my Delirium tulip.

The aroma on this beer is decadent. Vanilla and/or caramel are most readily apparent, but there's also fruitiness of the dried stone fruit variety, as well as a faint whiff of apples. The combination of barrels used gives a slight impression of caramel-covered apples. I had to knock a half-point off, though, because after taking a sip, the alcohol rears its head in the aroma with a strong solvent character.

The taste is less sweet than I expected from the aroma; there is a definite hop character in the aftertaste, but not much bitterness. Bitterness would have definitely been out-of-place in this beer. I think the alcohol cuts through any sweetness and helps to balance it, thus redeeming the occasional solvent aroma.

The taste is also where the smoked malts become evident, but just barely. I might be trying too hard to convince myself that I'm tasting smokiness, but I don't really think so. There is an apple character, too, but it's closer to apple skins than anything distinctly fruity.

The finish is remarkably clean, given the relatively viscous mouthfeel. Carbonation is just right, which is to say it is quite low. Not flat by any definition, but low.

Overall, this is one of my favorite beers of the last year or two. I actually do want another one, but I also don't want to be hungover tomorrow, so I will reluctantly abstain.

Photo of DaveJanssen
4.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Split a 12 oz bottle 3 ways, poured into red wine glasses. The bottleworks X batch. Reviewed evening of 3/20/2011.

Ar: Smoky, but more pleasant than other smoky beers (significantly less meaty), rich and dark, roasted spicy wood, pine smoke qualities, apple sweetness, smoked evergreen

Ap: beautiful maroon/mahogany brown, low head, clear

T: Smoked wood, slightly more meaty than aroma but still less than any other smoky beer i've had, sweet rich apple, heavy dark sweetness, spicy wood, milder at first, becomes stronger/much better with warmth, very smooth bourbon, full, difficult to review, everything works very well together and individual characters are tough to pick apart, chocolate, heavy dark fruit sugar, long aftertaste, pine/smoke milder than in aroma, not caramelly, lingering apple liquor, smooth and not cloying, smoke helps the balance, very smooth charred wood

M: Full, low carbonation, clean long end, rich and very smooth, well balanced, a great sipping beer

O: Delicious, i like the aroma better than the taste, i really like the evergreen smoke notes

Photo of MrFootstones
3.76/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottleworks X February 2009

Pours flat, mahogany on the edges, opaque brownish black in the center with thin wisps of bubbles on top reminiscent of wood grain

Smells of smoke, hotdogs, cured meat. If I really reach I get vanilla, oak. Vanilla and apple come forward with warmth

Smoke, apples, vanilla, charred oak. Significantly better as it warms. Rich and sweet malt character, yet it finishes dry on the palate with just the charred barrel character lingering. Pretty complex.

Rich and velvety on the palate. Not too heavy. Minimal but acceptable carbonation.

This beer was pretty off putting to me initially, but as it came to room temp it really opened up. Tasty beer. I enjoyed the bottle of the new batch more. Not sure if it's the age or batch variation.

Photo of KeefD
4.18/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

Huge thanks go out to Knifestyles for hooking up this long sought-after want! 2010 bottle. Pours a cloudy dark brown color, almost black in the tulip glass with zero bubbles or lacing. This one looks flat. Amazing aroma. Loads of dark chocolate, fudge brownies, maple syrup, a touch of smokiness, and lots of dark fruit with a slight burn of alcohol in the nose. Wow, this is one of the best smelling brews I've come across. Taste is right on par with the aroma. Chocolate is front and center, then it's backed up by a syrupy maple-like sweetness, brown sugar, with maybe a touch of herbal hops on the finish, but there's no bitterness whatsoever. This is outrageously sweet, but damn, I like it. More fudge and a nutty, creamy finish. YUM! The only downfall of this beer is that it's completely flat. There was a slight hiss when I popped the cap, but there's really no carbonation which detracts from the creamy, silky mouthfeel. If this had bubbles, it would be an A+ winner all the way. The 11%+ alcohol is almost non-detectable, and well hidden. I sipped this one over the course of an hour and enjoyed every drop. Smells great, tastes great, but give me some carbonation!!

Thanks again, Chris!

Photo of joshuaseresse
4.79/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm reviewing both vintages of Matt in this review. Tasted both Matts side by side. First judged will be Matt (Bottleworks X.) Thanks to msubulldog25 for this gem. Shared with the La Crosse tasting group during our epic battle of the 12 ozers. Poured into a snifter:

A - Pours dark brown almost hard black. Hardly any carbonation. Very small lacing. Murky bubbles and slight clouds of foam in the middle.

S - Nice smokey smell and apple brandy. Really a nice boozy heat thats just awesome. Little bit of apples, cherries and caramel which are just delicious.

T - Really nice and sweet from a variety of apples. Bourbon and brandy that mix together very well and provide a nice heat. Reminds me of Adam but better (go figure.)

M - Really smooth and a bit hot but aging very nicely.

D - I found this one more brandy forward than bourbon forward. I really liked this one a lot, better than the new Matt. This one is aging really nicely and I'm so happy to have another bottle in my cellar.

4/5/5/4.5/4.5

Now reviewing 2010 Matt. Shared by brian23456. Thanks for providing this one to test side by side with the other Matt. Poured into snifter:

A - Way more carbonation. Color is quite like the Bottleworks X in that it is deep brown and black with nice hues or caramel brown around the edges. This one has a thin foam cap that dies to a foam ring around the edges. Lacing is pretty good.

S - Brown sugar, caramel and oak. More bourbon forward than brandy as seen in the 09. Nice heat bite from the barrel. A bit smokey and leathery, but awesome nonetheless.

T - Really creamy, caramel and brown sugar. The bourbon and brandy mix nicely together. Also getting a bit of smoke and leather, with a bit of apple and peat.

M - A bit thicker than the 09. Creamy carbonation. Heat but not hot from the booze.

D - This one was more bourbon forward than brandy forward. I was impressed at the level of carbonation in this but still liked the 09 a little bit better. Great beers to try side by side (you'd be amazed at the difference.) Wonderful brews and a great treat.

4.5/5/5/4.5/4.5

Photo of DaveHS
3.85/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2009 Bottleworks bottling.

A-Pours dark maple syrup/ruby port color, with almost no head. Some big brown bubbles, no lacing.

S-Bourbon, vanilla, a touch of apple cider vinegar acidity, cotton candy, astringent booziness.

T/M-Thin and boozy, with almost no carbonation. Tons of bourbon character up front, with notes of cocoa powder and marzipan. Gets fairly boozy mid-palate, and finishes hot. This could use a little bit of carbonation.

D-The depth of flavor is there, but it's too boozy. Hurts the drinkability considerably, though this is still something everyone should try. I get the impression this is better fresh.

Photo of abecall98
2.47/5  rDev -44.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Just opened my Bottlewrks X Matt - about 2 years old now.

A - looks great. Pours dark, nice bubbly head, not lacing, but still looks great.

S - wow, from a foot away, this beers is noticeable. Very strong bourbon smell in the nose. Dark fruits, and burnt sugar finish the wiff, pleasantly.

T - The fruity sweetness is rather overpowering. Tastes a little past it's prime. The oak is noticeable, but the fruit flavors dominate, like dark plum. I'm a little disappointed, with such a great smelling beer, I expected more. It's not a good tasting beer. It's terrible. It could be improperly aged, it could in fact just not age well, or just be a bad beer. I don't know which of the above, I just know it was not good.

M - very thin. Could use more carbonation, and body. For Barrel Aged beers, this is the low end of the spectrum for mouthfeel. It's a shame.

D - ah, not that good. The beer is a tease. It smells so good and inviting. The taste is just a fruity mess. It's overly sweet, and not enough barrel to help balance it out. The beer was practically a drainpour, but I can manage a 4 ounce serving.

O - well, I'm glad to say I have ticked this bad boy, and the Bottleworks version of it at that. I just expected more from it. People talk up a lot of beers, and this just adds to the list of disappointments. Oh well, it was worth trying.

Photo of kfsv034
4.45/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2010

A - Pours mud brown with almost not head at all.

S - Alcohol, Chocolate, raisin, slight smoke presence and hints of vanilla.

T - Follows the noise Chocolate, Dark Fruits that transition into a appley character, alcohol is definitely evident

M - thin/medium bodied

D - This is good even at 11.5% i would definitely like another glass

Photo of trappistlover
4.1/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(courtesy of Daknole!). Pours near black with great aroma of bourbon and some fruit. Taste was sweet with noticeable alcohol. Full bodied and delicious! Thanks Dak! This was a real treat. I'd been wanting to try this for quite a while and Dak comes through.

Photo of Lothore
4.39/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours a dark brown hue with little to no head.

S- Prune, chocolate, caramel, hints of sour cherry.

T- Hints of anise up front, sweet brown sugar notes, lots of raisin and prune, sour cherries fade to a faint coffee finish.

M- Thick with medium-low carbonation.

D- An intensely interesting beer that leads to a deeply visceral experience. At first I wasn't quite sure the flavors meshed well for me but after sifting through layer after layer and enjoying it as it warms I have to say it's up there with some of the most interesting beers I have had the chance to taste.

Photo of koopa
4.44/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage 12oz bottle received in a trade with a generous BA thanks!

Appearance: Pours a deep chestnut brown with the faintest red highlights around the edges. The crown is non existent although the tiniest off white circle of lace has formed around the outside perimeter of the body.

Smell: Nice lightly charred smoky wood, apple, a delicious whiff of alcohol, and a hint of chocolate.

Taste: Same as the nose for the most part but the chocolate appears in the beginning, the apple takes over, then alcohol finishes.

Mouthfeel: Fairly full bodied and a bit low on carbonation but with the high abv and the flavor profile it works well!

Drinkability: Its a big beer for sure but its tasty as well!

Drinkability:

Photo of CrellMoset
4.44/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle courtesy of uhwutur8, picked up at the original release, poured in to a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a smoky, woody charcoal, opaque to even direct light save for around the edges, where it's reduced to a vaguely translucent cherry copper amber. An aggressive pour became more aggressive when the head seemed slow to form, though even that didn't coax more than half an inch out. It seemed for a time that there would be no head, before a sudden late surge of effervescence burst forth from the depths, though it didn't rise with enough quickness to actually result in the formation of any crown. It instead rose at approximately the same level at which it dissipated at the surface, resulting in a thin, delicate collar, breath of snow on the surface, and nothing of note on the side of the tulip. Subsequent sips, however, do save this one's score by leaving nice dashes and patches of snow dripping and dotting up and down along the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Can I get this in an air freshener please? Easily this beer's best attribute, the nose is absolutely brimming with aromatic barrel notes and spices and ripe with sweet fruits. From a base of mellow and mature smoky malts mingling with cocoa, toast, and molasses, this one evolves in to a symphony of fruity and spirit-like overtones, from the obvious influences of the Apple Eau de Vie (or, more properly, Eau de Vie de Pomme) barrels - contributing pure cider tones as well as a nice sherry-like liquor tone - and the bourbon, the latter of which is remarkably mature and sublime, its faint spicyness and refined profile interacting beautifully with the barrel sugars and lighter malt sugars of the base beer. Just fantastic.

Taste: A fantastic flavor profile on this one, though not quite up to par with the nose. The base beer is sweet, though not by any means cloying - there's enough toast, dark toffee, molasses, earth, and fat, thick, dark smoke to counteract the brighter caramel, honey-like Candi sugar notes, and bready Munich malts, not to mention the slew of fruit sugars concentrated in this one. While we're on the topic, the array of fruits represented here is remarkable - from the obligatory apple to, in order: pears, apricots, peaches, lychee fruit, cherries, dates, figs, and white raisins. The whole thing is amplified by the "cane syrup" factor, or that which naturally accompanies all canned fruits from my childhood. The barrel notes - a faint amount of wood, though plenty of vanilla and less coconut - mingle with an impressively faded quantity of alcohol, all the more impressive given the 11.5% as well as the harsh overtones associated with the spirits here generally.

Mouthfeel: Very low, almost non-existent carbonation doesn't too much for a beer that's already quite sweet. Honey-like in its thickness, this one is marginally cloying at points, like a liqueur, though the alcohol spice and barrel notes keep it interesting enough that it's not a sugary mess.

Drinkability: Maybe I'm just growing curmudgeonly in my old beer age. This beer straddles a very interesting divide, showcasing both deep, smoky, dark toastiness as well as bright, green, fruity overtones. As a genre-blending experiment, it succeeds - I've never had a beer quite like this, to be sure. And not to sell it short - it succeeds on several other levels too, least of which is the divine nose and the masterful blending and complexity of the mouth. But I still require lift, head, lace, et al - this one had its procedural defects, and though they're not glaring, they do take their toll; it was a little difficult to finish those essentially flat final few sips. Of course, all that being said, this was still a pretty damn awesome beer - it's not every day you're going to get this many flavors and aromas out of a single 12 oz. bottle. Here's (three years late) to Bottleworks 10th Anniversary and to HotD for a great brew.

Photo of seeswo
4.45/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottleworks X version poured at a recent Madison tasting.

Pours a slightly translucent dark brown. Smells of sweet figs, boozy raisins and a small amount of hops. A bit of smoke and maybe a touch of apple round it out. One of the more complex noses on a beer I have had. The taste is a crazy combination of mild hops (or other bitterness), rum raisins, dark fruit, smoke, apple, booze and vanilla. A lot going on in there. Feels like I could keep sipping it and get more flavors. Really heavy in the mouth with limited carbonation. Definitely a sipper, this is either a good sharing beer or a beer to be enjoyed in front of a fire, slowly, on a cold night.

Photo of womencantsail
4.29/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Paul (2010 release), appropriate Hair of the Dog tulip glass courtesy of Mihir.

A: The beer pours into the glass with an impenetrable darkness and a small khaki colored head.

S: A very sweet and complex nose here. Lots of caramel, toffee, dates, figs, raisins, and wood. There's a nice bourbon aroma along with lots of vanilla. Perhaps some black cherries, red apples, and even a bit of smoke/peat.

T: Not quite as impressive as the nose, but still damn good. Lots of caramel, bourbon, oak, and apple. There's a definite smoke flavor along with some mildly tart raisins and cherries. The alcohol is more pronounced here which is really the main pitfall.

M: The body is about as full as you can get with a fairly low, but smooth carbonation.

D: A bottle of this is plenty, but a real pleasure to drink. Sort of wish I would have traded for more than one.

Photo of sisuspeed
4.64/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to glazeman and jamdugan for the bottles!

Poured into a Portsmouth tulip glass. Very excited to try this one. Body is a dark, murky, red-hued brown with a few patches of thin foam that float across the top. Still leaves some nice lacing on the glass.

Apple, caramel, sweet bourbon and vanilla on the nose. Oaky and chocolaty. A touch of smoke, leather and a little bit of booze. This is exceptional. An amazing aroma! Complex an decadent.

Chocolate, fudge, sweet bourbon booze and oaky vanilla on the tongue. Green apple and red grapes with just a touch of smokiness. Delicious.

Mouthfeel is rich, smooth and creamy. Perfect carbonation. Alcohol is warming, but not overdone. Body is thick without being too heavy. Perfect.

Drinkability is very good. Definitely a big beer, but I could sip on this all night. I'm amazed at how well it is already drinking. Not sure how long I'll be able to keep my other bottle in the cellar. A perfect beer for a cold winter's night. HotD has created a masterpiece. If you like stong ales, old ales, barleywines etc., this beer is a must.

Photo of abuliarose
4.92/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter, revealing luscious ruby and chocolate brown body under a thin film, some lacing. Looks pretty good for a strong ale. Smells absolutely delicious with a strong bourbon, caramel and slight creamy chocolate presence. Some pecans, calvados and toasted coconut as well. Really nice smells that go very well together.

Tastes fruity, smoky and slightly toasted with a nice vanilla oak richness to the malt. Sweet up front with vanilla and cacao nib. Clean lingering finish of date molasses. Boy do I like the taste! Perfect as an after dinner sipper or something to enjoy by the fire after a romp in the snow. Nice warmth after a couple sips but the alcohol is not at all assaulting. Mouthfeel is smooth with just a kiss of dryness in the middle, medium bodied and not thin but not syrupy. Not really carbonated, drinks more like a sweet digestif.

Overall I really enjoy this one. Wish I had a whole bunch of them.

Photo of domtronzero
4.57/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Clear very dark ruby brown with a fluffy, quickly collapsing, tannish head that lingers as a ring around the glass for some time.

S - Sweet caramel, bready malts, with a smoky chocolate aroma. Vanilla, subtle bourbon and a little bit of fruity aroma (maybe apples).

F/M - Rich smoky caramelly chocolate malts. Apples and vanilla in the end. Dry finish with a lingering smoky vanilla flavor. Moderate bitterness with medium full body and thick, viscous mouthfeel. Adequate carbonation, but still very rich and silky.

D - This is a big time sipper. Full of absolutely delicious flavors, and thick full chewiness. Perhaps one of my favorite beers lately. Absolutely world class.

Photo of 321jeff
4.59/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle from the November 2010 release. A huge thanks to waltersrj for making this happen!

Pours a deep reddish brown with no head but some nice legs as I swirl it around in my glass.

Aroma is amazing and quite complex. I am getting some dark fruits, bourbon, smoke, apples, and a good bit of alcohol.

Taste starts off with some sweet dark fruits and oak then moves on to more dark fruit sweetness and smoke, and finishes quite smoky.

Mouthfeel is thick and coats the whole mouth. There is next to no carbonation, but it's not really needed. This is incredibly smooth. Definitely a sipper and a challenging beer, almost more of a spirit than a beer. Very nice and I hope to be able to try it again someday.

Photo of yourefragile
4.54/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz 2010 bottle, shared by Jeff and split in snifters

Pours a thick, still syrupy looking dark chocolate brown with almost non-existent head or lacing. Aroma is an intoxicating blend of brandy soaked apples, vanilla, molasses, brown sugar, light smoke, etc. Very complex and strong; I've never smelled a beer quite like this in depth of aroma and nuance.

Flavor is extremely sweet and fruity with a stronger smoke presence than the aroma which gives the finish a light spiciness. Mouthfeel is very lightly carbonated with a thick, velvety lush mouthfeel bordering on syrup like. Vanilla and brandy dominate the sweetness in the front of the palate and the freshness of this bottle is apparent in the finish in it's booziness. Give this another year and it'll be perfect.

Matt from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
99 out of 100 based on 727 ratings.