Hell On Wood - DuClaw Brewing Company

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Hell On WoodHell On Wood

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very good

229 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 229
Reviews: 34
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.53%
Wants: 15
Gots: 44 | 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!
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Ratings: 229 | Reviews: 34
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

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More User Reviews:
Photo of PeterParker
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark ruby red with barely a head to it.

Smells sweet. Candied fruits, malty goodness. Burnt sugar. Touch of booze. Smells very enticingly sweet.

Taste is sweet, yet not as sweet as the smell though. Some sugary fruit and alcohol. Lots of bourbon flavor. Really good. Mostly on the back end but so nice.

Smooth and thin with almost no carbonation. Bit of a warmth in the aftertaste.

This is a very good barleywine. Top of the line in my opinion. Definitely getting a lot of the bourbon barrel character. Really like this.

Photo of Jeffreysan
4.82/5  rDev +20.8%
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!!

Photo of gillagorilla
4.06/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

Photo of tone77
3.42/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a cloudy medium brown color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of bourbon, fruits, malts. Taste is alcohol, bourbon, sugar, more alcohol. Feels medium bodied and boozy in the mouth and overall isn't a bad beer, but a bit to boozy for my liking.

Photo of rankandfile
4.19/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

The mouthfeel was a bit watery for a bourbon barreled barley wine style but yea, I love just about all things bourbon barreled. and I may have been spoiled by the Bourbon County 123 but this is some great stuff for the price. The price kind of reminds me of the halcyon days when nobody seemed to know the awesomeness of GI Bourbon County and I was still buying bombers of it in March.

Photo of rjp217
2.86/5  rDev -28.3%
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.

Photo of smakawhat
3.77/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

Photo of DrDemento456
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

Photo of vincehayter
2.81/5  rDev -29.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.75

Boozy, strong, sharp hop edge. Bourbon notes come through clearly. Not really my thing though, but I was glad to try it.

Photo of themind
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Photo of justintcoons
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Ruby red / garnet with a short, loose head that dissipates quickly. Good clarity with low carbonation.

Booze, toffee, burnt sugar, charred oak, and molasses. Some fruity esters.

Much better than the nose lets on. Rich caramel, candy sugar, and cherry. Lighter notes of toffee. Hints of molasses, red grape, and slight chocolate. Subtle notes of charred oak and vanilla. Some booziness present.

Medium bodied, silky, smooth, and warming.

At about $3/12 oz bottle, this Bourbon Barrel Aged Barleywine is a steal! Malty, sweet, and damn tasty.

Photo of WesMantooth
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
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.

Photo of JayQue
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Photo of MightyMan
4.26/5  rDev +6.8%
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!

Photo of teromous
4.26/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

Photo of thedoubler55
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

Photo of stuppy
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Copper, fairly good clarity, decent cream head when poured, fades to a light head mostly around edge of glass.

Aroma: Strong Bourbon nose up front. Sweet caramel malt. Vanilla. No hop aroma detected.

Flavor: sweet Caramel Malt, some molasses or dark sugar, strong vanilla, oak, bourbon. med high hop bitterness, medium high alcohol in finish. It goes malt sweetness, barrel, hop bitterness, then bourbon in finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body (a bit thin for a barley wine), medium carbonation, high alcohol warmth.

Overall: Strong Bourbon aroma and flavor, maybe a little too much that is overpowering the rest of the components (might be because very young). Very boozy. Will have to see how this ages over a year or more. I do like that it comes in 12oz bottle(and only $1.75 per bottle that can't be beat).

12oz bottle
bottled 2-14-14.

Photo of Cylinsier
4.46/5  rDev +11.8%
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.

Photo of dank203
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
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

Photo of Durge
4.09/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of chefhatt
4/5  rDev +0.3%
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

Photo of corby112
3.4/5  rDev -14.8%
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.

Photo of Darkmagus82
4.21/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Photo of Axnjxn
4.09/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

Photo of DIM
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

a: Dark caramel colored brown; served with a thin head.

s: Woody bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar, and caramel.

t: Sweet and delcious. Sugary caramel and vanilla with a hint of oaky tobacco. Sugary, boozy finish.

m: Gently carbonated and a bit watery.

o: Good stuff, sweet but not cloying. Glad I got to try it.

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Hell On Wood from DuClaw Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 229 ratings.