Bourbon Fred From The Wood - Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room

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Bourbon Fred From The WoodBourbon Fred From The Wood

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440 Ratings
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Ratings: 440
Reviews: 127
rAvg: 4.09
pDev: 12.96%
Wants: 245
Gots: 137 | FT: 18
Brewed by:
Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room visit their website
Oregon, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: jdense on 07-25-2009

Bottles (12 oz) released November 2011
Batch 2 bottles (12oz) released July 2012.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 440 | Reviews: 127
Reviews by Rifugium:
Photo of Rifugium
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Not sure where I first had this, but this review is for a 2011 bottle I acquired in Portland, and cellared until June 2014.

Prying the cap off gave a tiny hiss, indicative of the practically non-existent carbonation I expected. Poured into a HotD stemmed taster, a murky burnt orange color, with no head, and extremely low carbonation, with the tiniest of collars around the rim of the glass, which left microscopic strands of lacing. An interesting aroma, raisins, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, dried orange peel. A lot going on in the taste as well, but largely reflected the aroma: chewy caramel and brown sugar, raisin, heavily oaked bourbon still apparent even after years of mellowing, vanilla and dried citrus zest, with a candy-like sweetness. I'd imagine this was much boozier fresh, but the bourbon and overall higher ABV was pretty well-integrated at this point. Body was closing in on full, mouthfeel was slick, but the practically lifeless carb sort of detracted from the mouthfeel. I always know HotD brews are going to be low carb, but I still always wish there was just a bit more in there to liven up the mouthfeel. Still a good brew overall, but with a complexity in the flavor that might come off as messy to some.

More User Reviews:
Photo of NWer
4.75/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage.
Thanks Luke for getting these for me. What a treat!
Poured a very dark brown into my Hair of the Dog tulip (what else?)
Wonderful aroma of bourbon, caramel.
Generous head that retains well for quite a while. Any question of carbonation quickly evaporates.
Taste is sweetness and bourbon caramel and oak. Alcohol very present. A little rough around the edges.
Mouthfeel nice but again a little rough.
Needs time to smooth out and blend. The remaining nine bottles remain in my cellar for a year at least.

Update to include 2013:
Thanks to Harry for snagging these for me. Greatly appreciated.
Popped the cap and the bourbon aroma knocked me over. Filled my nostrils immediately and I was outdoors!
Poured into HotD tulip. Given its reputation for being flat, I didn't hold anything back. Into the bottom of the glass it goes and . . . . nothing.
Just sits there. No head. Maybe a few easily counted bubbles along the side.
Taste on the other hand not bad. Like sipping brandy but more fun. Sure miss the effervescence of the 2012 though. Better with than without.
Yet, a bad Bourbon Fred from the Wood is better than most strong ales of this type. I'm very glad I still have six more.
I knocked my scores down a notch on appearance and overall. There needs to be some price to pay for inconsistency.
Still love the beer though and eagerly waiting for the 2014.

Photo of kingcrowing
3.05/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

Pours a flat amber honey color with no head or bubbles its completely flat. nose is bourbon and malt and that's it.

Taste is very alcoholic and Bourbon, boost and sharp with a super malty and bourbon finish. But its so flat its really hard to enjoy.

Photo of ehammond1
2.68/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Bottle (2011)

Holiday Wine Cellar
Escondido, CA

(Aged for 6 months)

Surprisingly light in color--nearly clear, light auburn and amber, with some definite sediment, and zero visible carbonation and no head. This leaves the glass pretty clean down the glass.

The aroma is of old, sweet bourbon, some caramel candies, and an earthy, stinging element. Nice enough, but unspectacular.

The flavor isn't particularly interesting, complex, or good: bourbon and wood, though simple in flavor--the bourbon tastes somewhat cheap and thin. There's sweet caramel and toffee, and old, damp wood flavors, and a pretty high level of sweetness.

Thin to medium bodied with no carbonation.

Probably my least favorite Hair of the Dog offering yet, and price per ounce, this is one of the worst beers I've ever purchased.

Photo of jeonseh
4.05/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 1 from 2011. Poured into a GI tulip. Part of NWI tasting group New Year's Day

A - Chestnut with light brown hues. Looks slightly like maple syrup. As expected for this one, no carbonation or head

S - Boozy up front with brown sugar, bready malt, dates, and a slight lemon peel finish

T- Sweet beer with brown sugar, candied dates, malty, bready, and sweet bourbon kick. Finish is candied dates as well as a light lemon. Very flavorful throughout.

MF - Flat beer which is what I've heard about this batch. It is thick and syrupy which actually works with the flavors in the beer. There is a thick, syrupiness that lingers and coats the tongue. It definitely could have used some carbonation.

O - Solid beer with lots of flavor. It was definitely thick and flat. This is definitely a big, bready and malty beer that is loaded with bourbon sweetness. Worth tracking down

Photo of timc100
4.26/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25


Murky, dark gold/blood orange. Decently hazy - absolutely zero head, just some bubbles.

Huge whiskey aroma - surprisingly dominated by peat and smoke. Pronounced bourbon as well - toffee and some caramel and sweet maple syrup. Very whiskey driven.

Taste defined with incredibly rich toffee, maple syrup, boozy-caramel, barrel-vanilla, some dark fruits and slight notes of lighter tropical fruits that blend with the vanilla/toffee. Nice whiskey-boozy heat on it as it goes down.

Flat. Zero carbonation. However, though it is not ideal it does not detract from the beer that much. It smells, drinks and feels like a rich malty spirit.

Pretty one-dimensional and abrasive fresh, however delicious - interested to see how it ages. Also - the sweet maple syrup component is interested given no additive.

Photo of MrVonzipper
4.13/5  rDev +1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Looks like a caramel-molasses but obviously slight less viscous. But very viscous. Zero head.

Real nice nose with bright caramel, butterscotch, honey, bourbon and dark fruit.

Flavor follows the nose very closely. Tastes young and old. But real nice wide range of sweet flavors like caramel, honey, dark fruit, bourbon and butterscotch.

Mouthfeel is very full bodied and viscous like a syrup. No carbonation.

Overall I'm glad I got to try it. If this was carbonated properly it'd be an absolutely amazing beer.

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

A cognac of beers. Chocolate and vanilla, like that Sam Adams beer. A sipper, rich ingrediants and worthwhile seeking out. Complex bourbon aroma.Good looks as well.Buffalo tasting.Superior barleywine.Only the best from HOTD. Booze is well hidden, I did not realize it was a 10 plus.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.48/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Steve for this one. 12oz. bottle poured into a brandy snifter. Reviewed from notes.

Pours completely flat. No head, no lace, but thick legs. Beer is a deep, clear caramel-goldenrod. Not impressed.

Nose is bourbon heat, sweet caramel, and brown sugar. Some toffee also. Very aromatic and robust. Solid.

Opens very sweet. Caramel, brown sugar, and toffee. Some pineapple in the middle with more brown sugar. Bourbon barrels peak through towards the end, adding even more sweetness and richness. Finish is boozy with a a toffee aftertaste. Very heavy. Nice. Super rich.

Medium bodied with no carbonation. Syrupy and filmy in the mouth and hot going down. Warm finish with a slightly sticky aftertaste. As expected given the lack of carbonation.

This beer has a lot of potential. Its complex with a well integrated flavor profile that's just downright tasty. However, the lack of carbonation really hurts this one. Still worth seeking out though.

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

on-tap at the taproom

appearance: served in a wicked awesome HOtD tulip, hazy medium caramel-amber body, 1/3" creamy beige head, creamy retention

smell: a bathtub full of bourbon, vanilla, sticky caramel, dark fruits, wood

taste: interesting discrepancy from on-tap and bottle reviews for this one - definitely a fierce beer, but quite tasty i thought. An abundance of bourbon, wood, chew caramel, vanilla, raisins and dates, brown sugar

mouthfeel: syrupy and sweet, carbonation issues not present on-tap

overall: good stuff, went back the next day for another hit

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Kate the Great snifter. 2011 bottle.

Appearance - Murky bright amber. Not a hint of a head. The slightest puff of air when I cracked it open, but that's it. Leggy and sugary.

Smell - Bourbon, oak, and fruitiness. Apples and a peach aroma that was missing from other treatments. It gets more intense as it warms. A touch of acidity as well. Reminiscent of Fred from the Wood.

Taste - Sugary, for sure. Masks some of the flavors. Pale palts and tons of fruity flavors. The bourbon is a little more subdued here, but the oak is more intense. That slight acidity is interesting and blends with a hop bite to really cut the sugars.

Mouthfeel - Yeah, it's flat as hell. It would be so much better with a slight tingle of carbonation. As it stands, it's a sweet, flat, sugary sipper.

Overall - Could be so much more. I would love to try a 2012 bottle of this. Warming and delicious., but just a touch too sweet and too flat to be great.

Photo of beerhan
4.15/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Bauermj for this want.

2012 edition, 12 oz bottle

A-pours a hazy amber with no head initially followed by an intense one finger white head.significantly less sediment than normal Fred.

S-overwhelming bourbon aroma with some oak and caramel.

T-very strong nutty taste with a mild bourbon kick with almost some pineapple coming through.

M-compared to regular Fred, this rendition is nearly flat. Very nice medium low carbonation and a syrupy body.

O-a treat to drink, would love to try this again. Very different than most barrel agreed beers I have tried before but then again hair of the dog is just very different.

Photo of thagr81us
3.95/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to dprouty for sending me this one along with a Hair of the Dog tulip in a recent trade! Served from bottle into a Hair of the Dog tulip (proper!). Poured a murky red orange with an extremely minimal (almost none existent) off-white head. There was no lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, candi sugar, vanilla, sweet alcohol, and caramel. The flavor was of sweet malt, dark fruit, candi sugar, vanilla, sweet alcohol, wood, and sweet candy. It had a medium feel on the palate with very little carbonation (made it feel much thicker). Overall this was a fairly good brew. This one really didn’t show its true ABV due to all the sweetness going on, but you could definitely tell this one was a heavy-hitter. The lack of carbonation really hurt this one in my opinion as it made it VERY thick feeling and not a huge treat for the palate compared to the other components going on here. Glad I finally got to try this one, but doubt I will seek it out again.

Photo of hopsbreath
4.06/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip at Hair of the Dog, this bad boy comes in deep slightly cloudy toffee with a very minimal wispy white head. I can't even begin to explain how excited that little bit of head makes me! The promise of carbonation in a massive Hair of the Dog beer thrills me to no end! The thin spotty lacing that shows up is a pleasant surprise. Anything resembling lace is not expected in a beer this big. Off to a great start!

When I reviewed regular Fred from the Wood, I commented on how wonderful the huge hit of coconut was in the aroma. I miss it in the Bourbon version, but the pure top shelf Kentucky Bourbon aroma is quite nice in its own right. Beyond the big liquor smell, I can't really pick up on anything else other than a little wood but even that is expected in the Kentucky spirit.

It was served chilled so it took a little palming of the glass to warm up. Once it did, more than just the raw heat of the Bourbon came out. BFFTW is an extremely sweet beer. Sugar Daddies, cocoa nibs, burnt toast, and a touch of vanilla compliment the liquor from which the namesake comes.

What an extremely viscous and chewy beer. If not for the minimal carbonation, this would be hard to finish a glass of. Should this ever see the inside of a bottle, I hope it carbonates to this level. Very good on tap.

Honestly I preferred regular FFTW to the Bourbon version. This comes in a little more one dimensional and not as complex. Than again, that's all the more reason to bottle this beer and give it time to develop more character. That being said, even at the $7.50 price per 12 ounce pour in the tasting room I would say that this is worth every penny. Nobody makes beer exactly like Alan Sprints. His beers are truly world class and deserve the respect they receive. Unique, original, and delicious, I will be buying bottles of this for further development if given the opportunity.

Photo of claaark13
4.02/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 bottle sent by jedwards. Poured at cellar temp...maybe a little warmer...into a Hill Farmstead tulip.

A - Pours a light ruby color, bubbles more than any head. It does stick to the side of the glass. Looks nice, but so very still.

S - Strong oak with a darker tone of woodiness to it, if that makes sense. Caramel and toffee are evident. There is some sweetness coming through, almost like some sort of fruit. A bit too much of something odd attached to the woodiness.

T - Light, smooth bourbon moves to a nice caramel flavor. There is underlying sweetness that doesn't dominate. The finish provides a little bit of dryness, and there seems to be the slightest amount of heat far into the finish. The flavors aren't very complex, but I like them a lot. Very smooth, and it is like it takes all of the favorable flavors from the barrel without showing the heat.

M - Seems on the thicker side of medium, but that's hard to tell with the lack of carbonation.

O - I'm not sure if I can truly say that the lack of carbonation hurts this beer. I don't think it does. The flavors are great, the mouthfeel is somehow appropriate. The aroma lacks a little bit, although potent. I'll happily take more of this.

Photo of Rutager
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Another beauty brought to the tasting by Boozecamel last weekend.

Appearance. Pours copper-gold and very still. We were warned this would be the case but it's half expected from the brewer anyways.

Smell. Toasted wood and bourbon, raisins and caramel, and some light toasted coconut. Someone suggested cat pee and I did get that too. It's amazing how perception can change when someone plants a seed like that.

Taste. Big caramel and burnt sugar, old dank wood, bourbon and some molasses and honey.

Mouthfeel. Full body and no carbonation. Luckily this beer gets away with the lack of carbonation better than others.

Overall. Very nice despite lack of carbonation. Thanks again Phil!

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.15/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Bottle: Poured a deep brown color ale with almost no head and no lacing – pretty much flat. Aroma of Kentucky bourbon with some vanilla is pretty powerful with distinct alcohol ester and loads of brown sugar notes. Taste is an unbalanced mix between strong notes of bourbon with some loads of brown sugar notes and some light vanilla. Body is full with almost no carbonation and loads of alcohol ester is discernable. Too boozy and too sweet for my taste – probably the type of beer that could be split four ways for a 12oz bottle.

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.18/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to Chris and Adam for this bottle!
2012 Vintage poured in to tulip.

A -Murky/swampy brown/orange in color with a small amount of cream coloured head.

S - Bourbon, vanilla and oak dominate the nose with a slight bready/candy sweetness in the background. The base beer is completely drowned out by the barrel aging, but this is still an excellent nose.

T - The barrel qualities are dominant, as the nose suggested. Bourbon, toasted oak and vanilla flavours are noticeable up front and throughout. Traces of the base beer show up in the finish with some floral notes and a sweet candy-like flavour.

M - Medium body with some chew. Light carbonation.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.29/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2011 Bottle picked up at the most recent dock sale by inflatablechair and buckeyeboy... Thanks a ton fellas. Poured into my Delerium goblet. The bottle did hiss slightly when I capped it, but the beer pours (as advertised) completely still. Slightly hazed deeep reddish amber... very pretty... looks thick and boozy... no head, no bubbles, no lacing... just good looking brew.

Wow .... nose shows big everything... bourbon... caramel... brown sugar... vanilla... wood... even hints of coconut and maybe some dark cherries.... very very complex.

Damn... this is one huge brew... tons of bourbon and wood... thick vanilla caramel without being too sweet.... toasty wood and coconut... quite a bit of EtOH on the finish... Thick and oily... mouth coating with no carbonation at all.... burns down the gullet like a nice swallow of bourbon.

This is damn good... some bubbles would help quite a bit... but this is a sipper like no other... I am very impressed.


Photo of Lorianneb
4.08/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 vintage poured into a teku glass on 5/25/14. Thanks to jrocco2021 for this beer

A- pours dark amber with no head. A few bubbles around the rim. No lacing

S- straight up bourbon nose. Could smell the booze as I poured it. Vanilla, brown sugar, dates

M- flat, but it doesn't kill the experience.p, although some carbonation would definitely make it better. Slick on the tongue.

T- bourbon up front. A bit boozy. Brown sugar and vanilla. Sweet. A sipper for sure

O- overall, a very nice beer. A boozy sipper by the fire

Photo of blackie
4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

draft at the brewpub

a: draft served in a super cool branded tulip at the brewery, medium amber in color with a cloudy haze, creamy coating head with good retention

s: loaded down with sugary complexity - raisin, honey, brown sugar, lovely bourbon pulls in vanilla and coconut, caramel, sweet alcohol

m: thick and syrupy, sweet fullness, smooth moderate carbonation

t: heavy caramel and dark fruits of raisin and fig, brown sugar, strong bourbon with vanilla and raw oak, big warming alcohol, rich and sweet

o: this one doesn’t hold back on the sweetness and barrel, and that’s something I dig, loved it


Photo of largadeer
3.78/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks, Kevin.

Dark, ruddy amber body. Completely still.

A lot of oak and oxidation on the nose, smells a lot like Fred from the Wood with light bourbon overtones. Oxidation lends an earthy sherry quality, nuttiness, and there's plenty of sweet pale malt from Fred balanced with the barrel.

There's more bourbon on the palate than the nose, along with plenty of oak. Caramel flavors are balanced by strong tannins and slightly nutty, sherry-like oxidation. Full-bodied, pretty much still though it isn't to the beer's detriment. Oak heavy finish, almost spicy.

Nice stuff, slightly more enjoyable than Fred from the Wood to me.

Photo of Gfunk720
4.01/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to whiskey for this bottle. 12oz'er out of my Lawson's tulip.

A- Pours almost like a apple cider. A murky brownish color, forms with a few bubbles on top. I could tell from the pour that this was flat as could be.

S- Smells of caramel, dark fruit, and toffee. It is very sweet, with hints of bourbon and vanilla as well. I get a little bit of heat, and some oak soury notes.

T- It is a sweet malty bomb up front, almost too sweet. In sweeps some vanilla, bourbon, and plum notes. There is a nice lingering oaky aftertaste with hints of rye and sherry.

M- Flat, flat, flat. This beer would have been better with just a bit of carbonation. The body is quite nice. The lack of carbonation though does make it seem a bit syrupy.

O- Overall, it's hard to hate any of the oak aged stuff from HOTD. However, this one was a bit off the mark. While I knew it wasn't going to be carbonated, it was just too sweet and syrupy. I think the carbonation would have helped a bit, but not saved it completely.


Photo of rlee1390
3.89/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A-Clear amber, not much carbonation, or head.

S-Bourbon, caramel, toffee and oak.

T-Bourbon, caramel, oak, cherry, charred. As it warms the balance improves.

M-Light and watery with hardly any carbonation.

O-Some carbonation would do this beer wonders, still good, but a batch without carbonation issues would be amazing.

Photo of doopiedoopiedoo
3.51/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Given to me by Jeffo to ease the pain after the reality of a poor 10k race result set in.

Year made 2011.

From a 12oz bottle into a snifter.

Comes out murky brown reddish. No head, no carbonation visible.

A huge bourbon bomb on the nose. Caramel, sweet smells of maple syrup and a strong wiff of alcohol.

Intense bourbon flavors, great oak, caramel and hints of vanilla. A slight bitterness that find a counter balance in dark fruits and very far away a tad of orange.

Flat as a pancake. There is a little bit ofcarbonation to be detected. It has a medium body and great full finish that leaves all the great flavors linger for a long time. This has all the characteristics of a barleywine.

The obvious lack of carbonation keeps this from being the epic beer it should be. Other flat beers have found it's way down my drain but I couldn't resist drinking this. The flavors are intense and I gladly would drink another one just like this but I would really really like to try this one with carbonation.

Thanks Jeff for helping me to recover and giving me the chance to try this. EPIC.

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Bourbon Fred From The Wood from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
91 out of 100 based on 440 ratings.