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

very good
127 Reviews
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Bourbon Fred From The WoodBourbon Fred From The Wood

Brewed by:
Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
Oregon, United States | website

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Bottles (12 oz) released November 2011
Batch 2 bottles (12oz) released July 2012.

Added by jdense on 07-25-2009

User Reviews
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Reviews: 127 | Ratings: 451
Photo of Dan3279
3.87/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured the 12oz bottle into my DFH snifter and for a second I thought I had a glass of unfiltered apple cider. The aroma was mellow with bourbon upfront and hints of oak and raisin. The taste was good but it immediately felt off with the lack of carbonation. After taking a mental adjustment and taking it for what it is I enjoyed the beer. Bourbon and oak dominate with the flavor upfront with a nice mellow lingering flavor of dark dried fruits. Overall I am glad that I got to try it but be warned about the lack of carbonation.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.61/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Lightly chilled bottle into a glass. Courtesy of ramnuts. Thanks, Frank! Also opened by writerLJBerg at another occasion where I didn't take notes. Thanks, Luke!

The bottle being reviewed has a few months of age (end of Feb 2012).

A: Pours a completely still, hazy, maroon body.

S: A nutty bourbon character greets the nose first, followed by evident sherry oxidation. Some aromas of burnt caramel, oak, and a soft apricot nuance are noted.

T: There are some pretty good elements here. While nutty bourbon is evident, it does not obliterate the base beer, particularly its citrus (apricot and grapefruit) and oxidation (sherry and a touch of soy). Some burnt caramel and candi sugar give the beer an additional sweetness. Oak with ver light vanilla.

M: Surprisingly, this beer has no heat for something of its size. It's completely still, but it has enough heft and richness where that isn't a total killer. There are times when the citrus, sweetness, and flatness remind me of old orange soda, though.

O: It's decent, but not amazing, and I can't see where it is going to get better.

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Photo of b3shine
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle to snifter. Looks decent; typical of a strong ale, only a bit lighter. Smells good; woody, bourbony, and malty. Tastes very good; just different. Like a BB quad meets a BB strong. Mouthfeel is good too, just different. Overall, a good brew worth trading for if it's available.

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Photo of Scrumtralecent
3.86/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to leschkie, Kurtis is awesome. Poured from a bottle into my HotD tulip.

A - Looks quite still. No head to speak of, just some trapped air bubbles. But pretty much looks like liquid caramel, light brown haze. Not the most appetizing look, but it is just appearance.

S - A soft bourbon nose is at the forefront. Little candied sugar and plenty of oak mixed in there. Not much of the Fred elements are shining through however, mostly barrel. A good year and a half barrel aging will do that however. As it warms, that oak really comes through, feel like I'm in a barrel room.

T - Considering what Fred is, this tastes like a whole new beer. The bourbon comes together with that candied Belgian sugar to create a darker sort of sweetness. The bourbon is very soft and mellow, not making much alcohol burn. The oak leaves a lasting impression on the backend, creating a musty and earthy lingering taste. I for one like it.

M - Not really any carbonation to speak of. Pretty still, and creates a more coating feel to the beer. Other than that, pretty drinkable.

O - I had a Fred the night before to remind myself of it, but this felt like a different beer. I enjoy the barrel aging of HotD, and appreciate that they take their time with it. But this one could have used a little more carbonation. But that's really my big knock on this one. The bourbon was at a low level but well integrated into the flavor, and the oak was nice and full which gets lost with beers not aged in barrels as long. For what this is, a nice beer.

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Photo of beerbiatchMD
3.48/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle into a wine glass.
Bottle date 2011
Thanks dsgolovin for the bottle!

A: deep amber and copper in color. Pretty much no head but a few bubbles form around the rim.

S: sweetness up front with vanilla, honey, and bourbon. Also a bit of oak, medicinal. Also get a hint of fruit, maybe sour cherry. Decent nose but significant sweetness/maltiness predominates.

T: Immediate sweet syrupiness up front with brown sugar, molasses, and dark fruit. The sweetness then recedes to an oaky bourbon flavor but still remains pretty malty/sweet. Aftertaste is gentle and mostly sweet without any bitterness. Not really any alcohol heat, which is surprising considering the 12% abv.

M: Very thick, smooth, really no alcohol heat. No carbonation really at all.

O: A well made ale that I'm certainly glad to have tried. However, it's a bit sweet for me. I would recommend it but feel like the sweetness is overpowering and the balance isn't where it could be. It seems close to a barley wine to me. It's amazing that the alcohol is so well covered. This could be a dangerous beer because of that.

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Photo of billshmeinke
3.15/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Thanks to NCbeerfan.

Murky amber/golden color. No real head to speak of.

Spicey oak dominates the nose with undertones of flimsy one vitamins and a touch of what I want to call butter.

Tastes of sweet caramel and esters with some minerals, earth, and maple syrup.

Mouthfeel is simultaneously thin and syrupy. Kinda weird. Almost no carbonation too. Shows NO booze.

Interesting, but I don't think I'll be trying to snag any next time around.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.53/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to ArchEnemyBrew for sending me this bottle! Thanks Hollis!!!

reviewed 12/06/12; Vintage 2012!

poured into Hair of the Dog Tulip.

Appearance: murky brown bodied beer thats not quite opaque. Orangish red glow around the edges when held up to light. Nice big head on this beer! 2 fingers of white head that is loaded with small bubbles. The head is creamy. Lacing is thick and sticks all over the glass. The beers head drops down to a thick cap and never goes away! 5.0

Smell: Big bourbon and wood / earthy notes. Brown sugar and caramel. This beer has a huge nose! Smells awesome! 4.5

Taste: This beer tastes really similiar to the nose. Lots of wonderful bourbon notes. Its abundant with sweet bourbon, woody, oaky, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and toffee. Its got dark fruits elements of raisins and figs. The dark fruits are fairly subtle and show up in the middle of the drink. Beer finishes with more sweet bourbon, wood, maple, and vanilla! Rediculous just rediculous! 4.5

Mouthfeel: High end of a medium bodied beer and moderate carbonation. This beer is perfectly carbonated. This beer is so drinkable and smooth for how big it is! No boozey finish in this beer! 4.75

Overall: This beer is awesome! The 2011 Bourbon Fred from the Wood was not carbonated and the beer seriously suffered from it. The beer is now properly carbonated in 2012 and it made all the difference in this beer! Wow. Its seriously world class! Between Bourbon Fred from the Wood and Matt I really dont think you are going to find a better American Strong Ale in the USA! Hair of the Dog Brewing Company knows how to make some of the best most unique beers! I consider them to be the top 3 breweries of the West coast! 4.5

Overall Score-4.53
Original (first review) 1/19/2012

An awesome extra from Beerdy! Thanks again Brien!

vintage 2011 poured into oversized snifter.

Appearance: This beer honestly looks just like apple juice when you hold it up to light. Murky brown bodied beer with absolutely no head. 3.0

Smell: Malts, dark fruits, brown sugar, oak, and huge bourbon notes. This is beer is right up my alley! Smells great! 4.5

Taste: Hmm, thats not what I expected. Man the bourbon is huge! It covers up the malt profile and its almost like drinking straight bourbon. There is some vanilla, oak, raisins, and lots of toasted coconut. Also a mildly sour aftertaste that you get after taking a shot of straight whiskey. Impressively, there is not much of a whiskey burn at all. 3.5

Mouthfeel: Full bodied beer with no carbonation. Very syrupy and thick. It really needs some carbonation. 2.5

Overall: Its amazing how this beer changed after it got thrown into a kentucky bourbon barrel. I see absolutely no resemblance to the non-barrel aged version of Fred. Really thought I was going to love this beer, but it did not happen. Its middle of the road for barrel aged American Strong Ales. 3.0

Overall Score-3.48

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Photo of sweemzander
4.56/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. 2011. Another huge thank you to Jason for this bottle!

(A)- Pours a hazy caramel-like amber color. Not much head formation at all, but some tan to transparent bubbles did form.

(S)- Lots of leather, fig, honey, tobacco, and a large dry oak barrel character. A subtle musty oxidation funk, but it fits this quite well.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. A big leather and tobacco component with an evenly large oak profile too, but balanced together with sweet toffee and caramel/fig. A little subtle spice note on the end.

(M)- Despite being flat in the carbonation level department, this is another great example of the excellence of making an expertly balanced barrel aged beer. Superb ABV integration and smooth as hell with practically no burn despite being 12%.

(D)- Alot of reviewers are knocking this one down a bit for its flatness, but to really be honest with you, it does not bother me one bit somehow. Despite the flatness, this beer just works and does not lose a single step for me. Yes, it could improve with a better carbonation level, but it just simply does not bother me that this is flat.
As I said earlier, another great example of expert barrel aging while still being balanced, complex, and well integrated together.

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Photo of koopa
3.84/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle received in a trade from a very generous repeat trade partner thanks!

Appearance: Hazy burnt sienna to caramel colored with no head or lace.

Smell: Lots of bourbon, rich caramel, vanilla marshmallows, and traces of sweet orange.

Taste: Same concepts found in the nose but a bit more homogenized.

Mouthfeel: No carbonation but due to the thickness of the mouthfeel it is not as bad as expected with this style.

Overall: Could have been a pretty decent beer if not for the obvious carbonation issues.



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Photo of caskstrength
2.24/5  rDev -43.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Ahhh....another flat HoTD release. At least I know this one's going to be flat. I'm so excited, I can barely contain myself. 2011 (the flat batch, if I'm being vague in any way)

Pours a flat, fairly intense dark orange color. Looks kind of interesting, except for the carbonation thing.

Smells are bourbon fruitiness. Apricot stands out the most. Smells pretty good, bourbon soaked fruits, musty oak barrel too. Alan knows his way around the barrel, no doubt.

Beer juice for the taste. Bourbon aged apricot beer juice. Not a favorite beverage of mine, in general. Desperately needs something to lift it off the tongue and balance the barleywinesque heft.

Mouthfeel is horrible, unless you were hoping for apricot beer juice. Sort of chewy, would have been fun to see how that worked with some bubbles.

Another HoTD failure. At least it was announced ahead of time. Equivalent of around 30 bucks for a four pack of this. BAs are suckers sometimes, aren't we?

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Photo of ArrogantB
2.86/5  rDev -27.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

12oz bottle thanks to dsgolovin, appreciate it. Like most people have noted this is completely flat and the beer really suffered as a result. Dark murky orange color. Aroma of bourbon, oranges, strange yet interesting. Tasted like vanilla and oranges, booze, not bad but the lack of carbonation made it seem like juice with booze in it. Overall, disappointing.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
3.77/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Matt (starrdogg) for sharing this one.

The beer pours with no head, hardly any if an all carbonation at all. Has a reddish look to the body, very shiny in the light, not hazy at all.

The smell has a nice dose of bourbon with some sweeter notes and some raisin notes with plenty of sweet fruits on top. Some oak in the nose as well, but the bourbon is most prominent with the fruity notes.

The taste has plenty of raisin, plum, molasses, sweet sort of watered down bourbon, straw malts, some spicy tastes as well. There is some more bourbon notes at the back of the palate. Definitely sweet, not hot at all. Pretty nice but not overly notable.

The feel is smooth and medium, not nearly as hot as I thought it would be and also not as thick as viscous, it actually feel like a 6% beer. Not much carbo at all, which is not great for this beer since it isn't thick.

Overall, this is good but not great.

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Photo of starrdogg
3.84/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Big thanks to locke459 for this one. Served alongside regular Fred (Batch 77).

Pours a completely flat reddish-brown. Smell is awesome - fantastic mix of oak and bourbon with hints of booze and raisins. Taste is a very nice sweet bourbon flavor with raisins factoring in as well. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied but completely flat. Overall, this is a great smelling, very nice tasting beer, but it suffers from its lack of carbonation. I liked it, but I'd take regular Fred over it any day.

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Photo of kingcrowing
3.05/5  rDev -22.8%
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.

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Photo of robbrandes
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a tulip.

pours a slightly murky copper/brownish. rumors of undercarbed are greatly exaggerated; this baby is flat as a fritter. nose - holy oak bombs batman! some bourbon and alcohol coming in behind.
taste - very sweet front end. caramel, maybe brown sugar. it'd almost be too much if the oak finish didn't clean things up with a dry burst at the end.
lack of carbonation is so disappointing. this beer would be epic with even a hint of body. i've force-carbed it at home and it moves from good to great.
excellent beer, in spite of the carb issue, glad i've got some to lay down and age.

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Photo of waltonc
2.44/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 1 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Picked up this bottle last week at Hi Times. Pours pond water flat. Like a juice. Very disappointing to see this is devoid of any carbonation. The label should have provided a warning. Smell is dominated by oxidation. Behind that are layers of bourbon, vanilla and brown sugar. But the nose is really dominated by the smell of a beer that has not aged well in spite of this being a new release. Taste is slightly more balanced but this beer still tastes like a horribly aged, improperly cellared brew. Again, notes of bourbon, brown sugar and vanilla are present as well. Body is fairly thick and entirely uncarbonated. Overall this is an extremely disappointing beer. Regular Fred and FFTW are so much better.

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Photo of nanobrew
3.44/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Tried on 12/22/2012, this is of the most recent batch. This beer was released flat/little carbonation. I knew this ahead of time, and overall though it was fairly decent, but the carbonation would help, and maybe make it worth the $12.50 price tag. Luckily i got to sample it in the OTM tasting room.

A - reddish, dark copper. Very few bubbles around the edge, no head or carbonation bubbles throughout the beer

S - The predominant smell is of oak, it is almost overpowering, along with the smell of alcohol. There is also the smell of the bourbon, along with notes of toffee, dark caramel and molasses.

T - The oak is not as strong as in the nose. The beer comes through way more and along with the bourbon. There is a good amount of sweetness in this beer. The alcohol I feel is not over powering at all. I was happy overall with the taste, only if there was some carbonation.

M - The large amount of sweetness and no carbonation make this a thick beer. It drinks more like a cognac or bourbon due to the lack of carbonation, similar to Utopias.

Again, I wish this beer had carbonation. I feel like it would then have been more enjoyable. Overall I thought it was okay, and it grew on me as I continued to drink it, however, the 4oz I had were enough.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.67/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Was not a huge fan of this beer, regular Fred is way better. At the time of this review, this beer is the #23 top beer on the beeradvocate.com "Top Beers - American Strong Ale" list. Fun.

Beer is dark amber / hazy with low carbonation, low head, thin wispy white bubbles, no lacing looks OK.

Aroma is a mixture of bourbon and bourbon, with a little oaky fruitiness from the barrel and from the yeast I assume.

Beer is light to medium in body and really sweet, very bourbony, very strong, alcohol cuts through immediately, leaving a dryness on the palate, strong throughout. A decent beer but as stated before this is like Fred if you put a shot of bourbon in it, not as complex as advertised.

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Photo of Thorpe429
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by drabmuh. Served in a SAVOR wine glass.

Pours a moderately-dark caramel color with a short off whiter head and a thin collar. The nose has bourbon and some slight oak tannin. Heavy malt and light caramel. Flavor is a bit more integrated with a touch less tannin. Medium body with low carbonation. Pretty good, but the bourbon takes over the base beer and is a bit too one-dimensional.

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

Bottle shared by drabmuh. Thanks Matt.

Served with Adam, Adam from the Wood, Cherry Adam from the Wood, Fred, Matt, Doggie Claws '05.

The beer is a murky copper/brown/orange hue with virtually no head. The aroma brings bourbon, oak, subtle fruit and spice. Good flavor, slightly tannic. Smooth bourbon taste with low carbonation. A tasty brew. A bit less sweet than regular Fred, which is nice. Like the other beers in this lineup, this is suitable for slow sipping and savoring. Overall, very good. Something I would definitely enjoy having again.

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Photo of yourefragile
3.72/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz 2011 bottle.

Pours darker than regular Fred, a dark crimson golden with a thin white head, no carbonation, and settles in a still murky liquid. Booze and bourbon dominate the aroma with vanilla, honey, clove, brown sugar. Nearly still body, silky smooth and thick, with a sticky, dry finish. Flavor is syrupy and sweet, following the nose but more bourbon, oak, tobacco and vanilla. Enjoyed regular Fred much more.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.48/5  rDev -11.9%
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.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from my cellar along side a regular bottle of Fred (Batch 7 - 05/13/98). Split with the fiancé, so why not do a comparison? Poured into tasters.

A - Pours a caramel brown, flat, and that's about it.

S - Bourbon, caramel, coconut, toasted bread, oak. The booze is on the hot side, but doesn't take away from the rest of the beer at all. Excellent sweetness of the base beer works wonders with the bourbon barrels.

T - More bourbon, light warming feeling from the booze, caramel, burnt sugars, and oak. Excellent and enjoyable all around. Again, the sweetness and bourbon are just outstanding.

M - This is where I'm disappointed. The beer is flat...not kinda flat, or a few bubbles, but totally flat. If this even had light carbonation, it would have worked wonders for this beer.

O - Outstanding nose and taste, but totally flat. It's a nice sipper and I would be head-over-heels in love if it had some bubbles, but hey, it's still not bad totally still. Would recommend, but if you are expecting bubbles, you'll be disappointed.

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Photo of HovsepJO
4.07/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this 2011 bottle at home after a long practice LSAT... which I scored exceptionally well on btw ;]

A: The appearance was a light muddy color. Looked a lot like apple cider... poured with clearly no carbonation what so ever. It looked okay but not beer like whatsoever. almost looked like juice at one point.

S: pretty satisfying at the nose. You can sense the vanilla and caramel almost instantly. there were hints of chocolate and brown sugar as well. great smelling beer. Probably my favorite part of the experience.

T: Very sweet but just enough. fruity vanilla caramel taste. it would have been absolutely holy if it had the bubbles.

M: Wasnt too crazy for it. Felt thick. Much like syrup. I wouldn't have mind the sweetness if there were some carbonation, but there was absolutely none. Beer would have been unreal if it had the bubbz.

O: 4/5


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Photo of jdense
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I waited a long time to do this review, and more importantly, drink this beer. Popped the first of my allotment, thanks much Beeraroundtown for helping hook me up!

Not a lot of head, a bit of uneven bubbles collecting towards northernmost side of glass, an occasional bubble stream rising quickly alongsides of semi-murky medium amber body. Fairly oak-inspired nose, pretty dry, not as sweet smelling as regular Fred, the barrel treatment dried this out nicely.

Taste is barrel forward, more so as it warms, melted heath bar, vanilla, some citrus notes from hops. no mistaking the base beer here, though you'd have a hard time picking up any rye notes until the beer fully warms, when the complexity onslaught ensues. A bit boozy, to be sure, but the clean malt bill, prolonged barrel aging sweetness and hop bill complexity mark this as Fred's big brother.

Mouthfeel is lighter than expected, certainly not too heavy, not sticky and a fairly dry finish.

The light mouthfeel made this an easy sipper,minimal effervescence and minimal stickiness, though it's still a bit boozy, surely a beer to be cellared and enjoyed later on

Wish I had a good cigar and setting by the fireplace-and I don't smoke!. I enjoyed this, but IMHO this could benefit from a bit more time.A nice last beer of the night, nice dry finish, more of an apertif than something you'd drink more than one of. Once again, this really needs to warm to fully appreciate.

In the end, it's never about the carbonation, it's about the taste, and this beer taste good. Looking forward to coming back and as I listen to this beer develop, and more importantly hoping I have the resolve to hide this for several years to see how the flavors progress over time.

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Bourbon Fred From The Wood from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
88 out of 100 based on 127 ratings.