Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

Hell On Wood - DuClaw Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hell On WoodHell On Wood

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

33 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 33
Hads: 237
rAvg: 4.01
pDev: 8.73%
Wants: 15
Gots: 46 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
DuClaw Brewing Company visit their website
Maryland, United States

Style | ABV
American Barleywine |  10.60% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: oriolesfan4 on 03-01-2014

We aged a limited quantity of our award winning (Brewer’s Association of Maryland Governor’s Cup gold medal winner in 2006, 2007 and 2008) Barleywine, Devil’s Milk, in Kentucky White Oak Bourbon barrels to create a uniquely tempting new brew. Hell On Wood is medium/full-bodied and amber in color with a thin, persistent, off-white head. Its mesmerizing citrus flavors and aromas, accented by notes of charred oak, vanilla, and caramelized sugar, give way to a palate dominating hop finish balanced by smoky, bourbon character and a warming alcohol presence (10.6% alcohol by volume). There’s no escape; prepare to fall to the seductive power of Hell On Wood!
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 33 | Hads: 237
Photo of Jeffreysan
4.82/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

12 oz bottle, 2013 edition, poured into a goblet

Appearance: Pours a beautiful, completely opaque, deep, dark, amber color, speckled with orange and red highlights, and an eighth of a finger of white-colored head that quickly dissolved away into an extremely thin halo of foam that gripped the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Delicious! Lots of bready toasted malt and candied sugar as well as aromas of bourbon, oak, a touch of clove and vanilla. There’s quite a bit of dried stone fruit as well, such as raisins, prunes and apricots.

Taste: Delicious! Tons of toasted malt and candied sugar and boozy alcohol up front, not clashing, but complementing each other, followed by quite a bit of dried stone fruit as well, such as raisins, prunes and dates, hints of oak clove, caramel, toffee and vanilla. Finally, more bourbon comes through at the finish. Absolutely delicious!

Mouthfeel: Slightly chewy, and extremely smooth as there is no carbonation what-so-ever. With an ABV of 10.6%, there is a very pleasant alcohol warmth on the palate.

Overall: This is an excellent barley wine!! I really like the pronounced malty presence, mixed with dried stone fruit, toffee and boozy alcohol. I’m definitely getting some more of this!! (1,245 characters)

Photo of thedoubler55
3.73/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a nice darker amber in color, with a good amount of transparency, a nice off white head at the top, and some good lacing around the glass.

S: Sweet on the nose, bourbon is present, with nice hints of malt and caramel throughout, hints of oak as well.

T: Just like the nose, bourbon and oak is present giving it a more smokey flavor, but the sweetness is well balanced with everything else.

M: Medium bodied, mid amount of carbonation, sticky.

O: Overall a great beer, Duclaw is definitely stepping up their game in the recent releases. This was a good barley win and well balanced, great flavors. (614 characters)

Photo of Omnium
3.74/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Eh, its a barelywine. I'm still not a fan.
Woody tones were nice, but still its too chewy and over the top. I'm biased against this style so take this with a grain of salt. (172 characters)

Photo of JayQue
4.05/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Great Barleywine. Poured a hazy reddish amber color into a pint glass. Medium size cream color head with average retention. One or two bands of thin lacing.

Aroma is oak and bitterness. Pretty good. Flavor is fantastic!!! Everything you would want in a Barleywine. It is bitter, hoppy, a strong oak presence, some caramel malt with some minor aspects of vanilla, toffee and bourbon.

Mouthfeel is a little harsh, rich, a bit boozy but not much, with a lot of sweetness to balance things out.

A great strong beer for one of our rare snow days in Tidewater VA. Looking at beach shows on the Travel network and feeling very mellow from the beer. (650 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.76/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle into a teku.

Appearance: Pours a murky copper color. The head is two fingers high, and pale yellow in shade. With a creamy texture and good retention, it caps the beer off very nicely. There's also plenty of lacing left on the glass. Even with the murkiness, this one looks damn good. (4)

Smell: Initially, I pick up the base barleywine strongly - notes of caramel, candy, and mild hops come through very well. It takes a while for the bourbon presence to come out, but it does appear with some nice vanilla qualities. Having said that, it remains subtle throughout. DuClaw played it safe with the barrel in my opinion (then again, I did have Sucaba a couple days ago...), but it coalesces with the base barleywine quite well. (3.5)

Taste: This has more barrel presence than the nose suggested. It starts off with some caramel malts, along with a hoppy touch. The aforementioned (citrusy/piny) hop touch lasts throughout the flavor profile. Past the mid-taste, though, it gains a massive vanilla flavor. Oak barrel qualities gradually sneak up on the aftertaste. Its citrus/vanilla combination works pretty well - it's like drinking an orange cream soda that's about 200% more badass. Booziness is perfectly hidden. (3.75)

Mouthfeel: Wow, this beer is very soft on the palate, with the decent carbonation aiding its utter creaminess. By no means is it the biggest feel on the planet, but it still feels oh so nice. Very little alcohol pricks the tongue, too. A very nice sipping beer. (4.25)

Overall: Devil's Milk is probably the best of the countless (and usually mediocre) six packs DuClaw makes. Whomever decided to stuff that beer into bourbon barrels AND also put it into six packs deserves a raise. Seriously, is there another barrel-aged barleywine available in six packs out there? While this beer won't be giving Sucaba any fits, it's a fantastic value in the world of barrel-aged beers. Definitely worth buying, and worth aging. (3.75)

3.76/5: Dear Duclaw...less Serum and more of this! (2,015 characters)

Photo of sharkfin_24
4.21/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Enjoyed this interesting, flavorful beer yesterday. It starts out smooth and refreshing, but definitely has a "fruity" after note that seems to fill your nostrils as well. An easy drink for having a higher ABV, and definitely something to be enjoyed in the colder weather. (277 characters)

Photo of rjp217
2.86/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Unfortunately this bottle was pretty oxidized after a year of aging. There was some caramel and bourbon notes but overall it was pretty flat with no heat. (154 characters)

Photo of smakawhat
3.77/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. Bottled Jan 15th 2015.

Creamy light tan head, with a very off white appearance, about two fingers and slowly falling to a bubbled collar. Body color is a simple amber orange, slightly cloudy but for the most part quite clear, with a real nice orange and lemon tone.

Real nice aroma. Good tropical hop fruit notes, hints of thick oak and a bit of maple syrup and controlled sugars. Hints to a bit of vanilla and fruitcake like aromas, slight hint of salty brine strangely which is real interesting. Some milk chocolate comes out with some time as well. Real developed aroma going on here, and not even boozy, this is very impressive.

Palate leaves some discerning flavors much behind. A bit of a wet and chalky mouthfeel, really doesn't bring much of a hint that this is barrel aged. Slight mild caramel note in the mid palate with a washing grainy finish. Slight fruity hop angle comes in the aftertaste even with an oily feel of hop and soap. Slight buttery oaky notes round out with a bit of cheap booze flavor, but none of the burn.

This has got some really good qualities but it's just not tied together well. There's a great beer here just screaming to get out but it's just not happening. Lots of potential on this. (1,292 characters)

Photo of Axnjxn
4.09/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a quad glass. almost exactly 1 year old.

Pours a dark amber red with a slight head. Smell of vanilla and dark fruits with a load of caramel as well. taste is quite smooth actually...ooh! didnt have this fresh as i knew it would be a booze bomb, but the year of age has done this well. quite sweet with a lot of toffee up front. i then get some sweet bourbon notes but its not overpowering. surprised how tasty this is honestly. carbonation is correct with just a mild bit...right for the style in my eyes. body is medium.

overall a very solid BBA barleywine. (579 characters)

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.21/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Served on tap in a chalice glass

Appearance – The beer is served a golden amber color with a billowy white head of one finger height. The head has a decent level of retention, fading over time to leave a decent level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – Just like its non-barrel aged brother (Devil’s milk) the aroma of the beer is heavy of sweeter aromas of caramel and toffee. Mixed with these smells are some aromas a lightly floral and earthy nature, but these are rather light overall. Some oaky and woody flavors as well as a moderately strong dark fruit aroma of cherry and fig are there mixing with a bit of a boozy smell nicely, creating a rather warming smell overall.

Taste – The taste begins, just as the Devil’s Milk does, with a very sweet and malty taste with plenty of caramel and toffee sweetness matched with a good showing of a bready nature. As the flavor advances some of the fruit flavors that were detected in the nose come to the tongue with some cherry hitting the tongue. Here is where it diverges slightly from the Devil’s Milk, with some flavors of oak and wood coming to the tongue. Again however sweeter tastes later come, with a good lot of candied sugar and a bit of some lighter fruit flavors of orange and pear. A bit of hop flavors also come to the tongue; consisting mainly of a floral and citrus nature. Some more boozy and oaky flavors joint the flavor profile in the end and with a light earthy flavor coming to the tongue, leaving one with a rather sweet and lightly hopped flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel- The beer was average in thickness and creaminess with a carbonation level that is average to lightly below average. The lower carbonation is very appropriate for the sweet flavors of the brew, but a slightly thicker body may have accentuated the wood/oak flavors of the brew better.

Overall – Very Similar to Devil’s Milk in nature; just with some hints of wood and oak and maybe a hint more of booze. If choosing between this and Devil’s milk and this and if they are at the same price, then choose this, but if you have to spend much more, save your money and just go with the Devil’s as they are not all that much different. (2,221 characters)

Photo of Durge
4.09/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A rusty mahogany colored barleywine with just a tidy white ring along the top edge of the pour and modest touches of lacing that ultimately slip away. The aroma brings clean bourbon celery wheat malt. Nice and not overdone at all. The flavor is more intense with no doubt bourbon featured right up front but still giving a balanced result with sweet maple malt and grassy edges. Sweet bourbon is the main theme though and it works nicely with a slight warming to the belly. The body is just short of full with a near syrupy feel, a bit cloying but the carbonation is active enough (very fine but lively enough) to help dissipate that effect. Overall this is more of a sipper but as bourbon brews go it's a very nice effort. (723 characters)

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

I poured this into s glass, it has a dark oak color body with a small thin lace. The aroma has slight bourbon aroma to it. The taste has a sweet bourbon flavor up front. It also has a little hop to it. The bourbon is gives a bite to it.
The mouthfeel is smooth and the body is a little thick
overall it is a good beer that imo needs a little aging. A (351 characters)

Photo of DrDemento456
4.25/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A - Very carbonated stuff bubbles encasing the side of my pint glass with a solid 1/4 inch of opaque colored head that sticks around forever. Color is quite a hazy amber brown color deep shade. Pretty.
S - Plenty of oak, bourbon, and English toffee like smells. Smell is quite good not a single whiff of ethanol. Love me a sweet beer.
T - Quite hoppy and slightly bitter oak, bourbon goodness, and a mildly sweet finish. Doesn't have too much bourbon which is nice. The bitterness does round out a tad when warmed. Good.
M - The carbonation boosts this beer to a medium drink ability really rounding the high octane ABV.

Overall great beer really fills the void of not finding many bourbon barrel aged Barleywines after loosing Heavy Seas Bourbon Barrel Aged Below Decks (had a place I could buy bombers for 9 bucks) May grab a couple more four packs before its gone. (869 characters)

Photo of Bone53
4.13/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit

Appearance: Clear burnt orange color with a one finger light beige head. An outstanding looking brew

Smell: Sweet malt (caramel, brown sugar), with a woody, vanilla Bourbon character. The warmer it gets, the more my nose picks up the alcohol.

Taste: caramel malt, burnt sugar, slight molasses, vanilla, oak, bourbon, and also some nice hop characteristics. It's sweet upfront then mellows into a nice aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, but quite light for the style. Slight bitterness

Overall: This is my first DuClaw offering, and I'm really enjoying it. I would recommend this as a starter BA barleywine. Although not quite as prominent in flavor as some higher rated beers in the style, this gets the job done at a reasonable price ($15 six pack). I will return to this again as a budget barleywine (875 characters)

Photo of themind
4.1/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Well what can I say, it's good. It's not Sucaba but it's good. If you are a barley wine fan...and a BB fan this beer is a good substitute for the harder to acquire big boyz in the field. Has that classic barley wine taste with a touch of BB to compliment. Overall I would buy this beer again and even have confidence sharing with a fellow beer snobs.

Bottom Line: Decent BB beer. (380 characters)

Photo of thecheapies
4.02/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown-red with maroon tones. Lovely collar formed, sudded over (my fault), and started solidifying. Looks great.

A lot of oak barrel in the nose. Apple, bourbon, vanilla, caramel, Calvados, dank citrus hop presence... warmth is this beer's best friend.

Yep. It's an oak bomb. That's not the worst thing in the world, but mind you, it's oppressive. Whiskey takes shotgun, with the barrel driving, and provides vanilla and buttery caramel. Big malty presence kicks in with dark dried fruits (raisin and date). Hoppiness is mostly leftover bitterness and some dank citrus. Hint of toasted marshmallow. Nice.

Sticky body at a medium-full gait. Nice effervescent levels in a 10%+ beer. Sips well. Good feel. Alcohol never oversteps its boundaries.

A good barleywine, for sure. I'd love to try the base beer. (811 characters)

Photo of Pencible
4.4/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: This poured a cloudy dark copper with a little light tan head.
S: It smelled like lots of oak and toasted coconut and caramelized barley, with some vanilla and candied oranges and honey wheat bread.
T: It tasted like sweet vanilla and candied oranges and caramel, with some roasted coconut and woody oak and honey wheat bread. It had a clean and sweet aftertaste with alcohol warming.
M: It was thick with moderate carbonation. Nice big body, built to last.
D: This was a great bourbon barleywine, with excellent scent and taste and body. The finish was a little hot, so it must be sipped. But worth it to savor, anyway. Could age a while, but nice fresh. Solid brew. (670 characters)

Photo of WesMantooth
3.58/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I am a little baffled by this one. An american style for sure, but much more english leaning than many. Aroma is kind of confusing. I thought it smelled a bit like cedar and hints of an Old Ale. Smell and taste burnt sugar and some hops. Dont taste bourbon really. Do get a ton of the barrel/wood flavor itself. Almost too much, which I usually say the opposite. I think it suppresses a lot of the other flavors. Does not come across strong for the abv. Overall I think it is good, but not great. Different and interesting for sure. (532 characters)

Photo of corby112
3.4/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours a hazy dark golden amber color with copper/mahogany edges and a half finger off-white head that immediately settles into a thin ring. Minimal spotty lacing left behind. Nice color but could use more better retention and lacing.

The aroma of this beer has a nice barrel presence that's nicely integrated into the base beer without coming across as overly boozy. Decent amount of spirit but not too bourbon heavy. There's some subtle charred oak along with silky vanilla bean, marshmallow and toasted coconut. Good barrel character but the bourbon is a bit weak for my preference. Underneath, there is some leathery malt, resinous hops and vinous fruit. Earthy and leathery malts stand out as it warms along with hints of toffee and caramel followed by raisin and fig sweetness. Overall, the nose is pretty nice with good balance and decent barrel integration, but the bourbon quality could be stronger.

Full body with a stronger barrel character that dominates the flavor. Not as complex or well balanced as the nose suggests with a really strong toothpick/charred wood flavor that overpowers the other notes. Some generic spirit and boozy heat but again, the bourbon quality is lackluster with bland flavor. Also, the smoother vanilla and coconut barrel notes found in the aroma are completely missing. Underneath, there is a nice leathery malt flavor countered by sweeter hints of toffee, caramel, burnt sugar and vinous fruit. After the palate adjusts these flavors stand out a tad more but unfortunately, the one dimensional barrel flavor overwhelm the barley wine characteristics. (1,594 characters)

Photo of MightyMan
4.26/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep translucent amber with light ruby highlights. Creamy one finger white head quickly subsides to a ring around the glass. Displays a little alcohol almost turning into legs running down the side of my Voodoo Barrel Room Collection snifter.

Smells like a warm sweet bourbon caramel candied apple. Delightful and inviting!

Taste is rougher than the aroma suggested, not necessarily in a bad, "rough" way, but in a rustic, palate gripping kind a way. I expected a chewy sticky sweet bite of that apple, but get a an instant burnt caramelized brown sugar, charred wood flavor shifting into a cidery vanillaish woodiness that quickly is overtaken by a lingering piney hop bitterness.

There's then a little sensation of heat on the back of throat that warms up my chest and prompts me to stretch out my torso, roll my neck and limber up. It's like a shot of a muscle relaxer. Piney bitterness lingers on the tongue as if I ate a hop-o-honey. Nice.

I am enjoying drinking this beer, and the 10.6% in this guy is noticeable, but suiting both my palate and soul quite nicely this cool, wet evening in the mountains! (1,124 characters)

Photo of FatBoyGotSwagger
4.08/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The aroma is that of resinous hops. First taste an initial burst of hops that give way to a big sweet caramelized sugar flavor. There is a light bourbon flavor that hangs around which finishes hot going down... a sipper for sure. As it warms the bourbon heat is more pronounced and the hops reminiscent of candied pine. Notes of vanilla become apparent. So much going on it begs to be savored. Mouthful is chewy but the carbonation is enough to keep it enjoyable. The malt body begins to battle back the demonic hop presence which goes down smooth and it is potent at 10.6 abv. (577 characters)

Photo of Cylinsier
4.46/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12 oz

Pours deep hazy burgundy. No head.

Smells of oak, molasses, bourbon, brown sugar, and apple. Some maple in the finish.

Tastes of maple, apple, bourbon, oak, and floral hop. Honey sweet malts as well.

Full body with tingly carbonation on the roof of the mouth.

Rich, decadent sipper. Very enjoyable and worth seeking out. (331 characters)

Photo of teromous
4.26/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: It's a lighter shade of burnt-orange brown and hazy with good visible carbonation. The head is eggshell white with fluffy bubbles. Not much lacing, but a very good looking beer.

S: I pick up a little bit of pine, then some very faint caramel scents, and a hint of alcohol. There's a kind-of sweet orange smell to it as well. It smells good but it's very timid.

T: I'm instantly hit with a sweet alcohol flavor, without an alcohol sensation. I want to emphasize that it doesn't really taste like alcohol, but has that sweet flavor you get from alcohol. There's a bit of mellow pine bitterness but its extremely soft. This is followed by a faint oak flavor that does a very good job with the "pine flavor." The whole thing is extremely soft This is an amazingly approachable beer.

M: The mouthfeel on this beer is absolutely fantastic. I will say it again...fantastic. It is so smooth. It has just the right bitterness and sweetness to dance on the palate without destroying the dance floor. The carbonation is there to give it just enough presence without making it bright. It's amazing.

O: Overall I really enjoyed this beer and it was admittedly surprising to me. At first I thought I was going to have this rich bourbon flavored, thick bodied barleywine (which I would have welcomed). The name "Hell on Wood" brought mental imagery of a crazy rich imposing beer. Instead I was shocked to find a well balanced barleywine that was delicate like a well-administered orchid. The flavors marry perfectly, and it makes me wonder if this beer could even be aged to be as perfect as it is right now. I'll age some to give it a shot, but it will be hard to compete with this. (1,675 characters)

Photo of gillagorilla
4.06/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle poured into a Burley Oak snifter

A: A hazy and cloudy amber copper brown. Minimalist head that dissipates immediately with only a bit of a collar.

S: Slight bourbon and lots of sweet malts. There are even some nice hops in there with slight citrus notes and some pine.

T: Sweet but restrained. Not too boozy, only a bit of heat and a nice warming to it. Extremely drinkable. I actually like the booze/bourbon in this, compared to say that of BCBBW. Just sweet enough with a great barleywine flavor that is all malt. Sometimes the booze will hit just right and be quite strong.

M: Sharp and crisp. Nice carbonation.

O: I still need to try the regular Devil's Milk. but I am slowly warming up to DuClaw more and more. (734 characters)

Photo of dank203
3.88/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

actually a pleasant beer. aromas of sweet bourbon. it is sweet with a spicy note. and caramel malt, slight dark fruits. bourbon comes through with warmth from wood aging. really strong and warming but taste smooth and balanced. really powerful beer though, careful with it (272 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Hell On Wood from DuClaw Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 33 ratings.