Norwegian Wood | HaandBryggeriet

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Norwegian WoodNorwegian Wood
BA SCORE
3.94/5
Very Good
Norwegian WoodNorwegian Wood
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
HaandBryggeriet
Norway
haandbryggeriet.net

Style: Smoke Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed with smoked malt, munich malt, crystal and chocolate malt, and spiced with juniper twigs and berries.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#12,904
Reviews:
231
Ratings:
350
pDev:
10.15%
 
 
Wants:
52
Gots:
29
Trade:
0
 
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User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 231 | Ratings: 350
Reviews by bark:
Photo of bark
3.07/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Batch #66, brewed in February 2007.

The colour is brown with a tint of red; the liquid is hazy. The two finger head is yellowish, compact and uneven. It builds a fine crater while leaving some lacing.

The smell is malty with lots of smoked favours. There are also some full bodied notes of gin and junipers. Some sweetness as well as dry-sour slightly chemical flavours (including some yeast).

The taste is strong, may I say demanding? At first, a very dry malty flavour is quickly replaced with a soap-like spicy flavour of juniper berries, lavender and a sour touch of citric acid. Then, notes of lightly smoked malt emerge. The thing is, I cannot find any sweetness at all in it, making the beers body quite weak. The strong aftertaste got dry and very yeasty notes, some gin-like flavours; almost no smoke at all. I remember the rather chemical sour-yeasty flavour (not 100% pleasant) from other Haandbryggeriet brews. Do they have a signature yeast strain?

The carbonation is medium strong; lots of small bubbles that tickles the mouth. The liquid is a little thick without getting any particular smoothness.

I must admit that brewing a beer with smoked malt and juniper berries is a quite daring task. Sadly, I think this beer is a little too much for me, making it hard to finish. And that is never a good sign.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of SABERG
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle dated 19-06-2015 into the test glass
A - Tawny copper colored, steady carbonation feeds a resilient cap of off white.
S - Smoked grains, a bit of toffee, juniper, spring tobacco
T - Some charred cherry, pine, sweet smoked malts, herbal and autumnal,
M - Medium in body, well carbonated, semi sweet, with a well constructed finish
O - A delight, with some age a well rounded flavor profile.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Batch 70, brewed March 2007; Sampled January 2008
Smokey aromatics greet my nose as I pour this brew into my glass. It is very well carbonated and easily produces a tan crown of froth that is a full five fingers in height (including almost two-finger above the rim of my glass. The smoke is definitely the dominant characteristic of the aroma; the smoke is a mix of salt, meaty umami, smoked cherry, smooth phenolics and perhaps a hint of plastic. The aroma is pretty appetizing, but it is very hard to smell anything other than the smoke.

Still well carbonated the beer foams just a bit as it hits my mouth. It smoothes out considerably as the beer flows across my tongue and even picks up some chewy texture and almost creamy quality to it by the finish. The beer has a smooth, hearty smokiness to it up front, but picks up a touch of sharp esters and phenolics towards the finish. Up front the smoke character melds in with the malt sweetness so well that the sweetness is not overly noticed, but instead makes the smoke seem quite appetizing. Somehow the smoke balances this up front note in the finish with a bit of sharper phenolics, but there are also some dry, lingering, toasty grain notes in the finish as well. Touches of berry notes seem to be in the flavor as well, though it seems very hard to pick them out underneath the smokiness. The smoke combines quite well with the heft of this brew; it is just enough to be chewy, but not so much as to make this anything near a sipping brew.

An interesting idea, but it seems somehow not all that well executed. The flavor is wonderful if you like smoked beers (which I do), but I really wish more of the juniper could have come through. In the end it is a bit one dimension, especially considering I was hoping for a smoked beer with something else going on. Still this is a tasty brew and one that I am certainly enjoying.

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Photo of leaddog
4.29/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours a dark amber with a finger of bubbly head.

Smell - Smoke like a campfire, smoked malts, spiciness, wood.

Taste - Warm smoky malts reminiscent of a campfire. Similar flavours to lapsang souchong tea. Hint of juniper and spice.

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth body.

Overall - A unique smoked beer by HaandBryggeriet. I really like the level of smokiness - reminds me of nights by the campfire. Very well executed.

 462 characters

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

A 500 mL bottle with the Capone's price sticker still on it.

A: The ale pours with a large head (over two fingers) that is full of big bubbles that are quite quick to recede. The head, as it recedes, doesn't cling to the glass. The body of the ale is a deep mahogany color, lightened by spots of ruby red. Port colors emerge when the ale is held to light.

S: The aroma is defined by smoke. The Norwegian version of rauchbier is not a meaty as the German one. The wood is stronger, adding more of a charred element that conspires with the juniper berries to create a pleasing nose.

T: The ale is bold, pulling no punches with its profile. The smoke from the nose has subsided. In it's place, the juniper steps up with a slightly tart, fruit flavor that is somewhat dry. The smoke has not fully disappeared, instead it has melded with the malts to create a peaty flavor that throws off chocolate bits. The finish is dry with a unique tartness that is fruity and not funky.

M: The mouthfeel is all over the place, lots of bold flavors with the smoke and juniper creating a distinctive flavor that far surpasses the other gruits that I've had.

D: The moderate abv is good for sipping. It's the strong flavor profile that brings you back to this ale though.

 1,257 characters

Photo of yeaprolly
3.71/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of farHillsBrewer
4.52/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Delightful all around and the last swallow was the best, sorry to see it end.
Dark-brown with substantial tan head.
Mellow,balanced amber malt with a strong smokey nose. Hints of dark fruit and bacon?, maybe hickory smoke. Distinct memorable smokey finish. Very drinkable for a smoke beer, my pint went down easy.
On Tap at Max's.

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Photo of shelby415
3.79/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of merlin48
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pours a cloudy copper body with a fluffy beige head that subsides into spiderweb lacing. Lovely aroma has notes of caramel, funky juniper berry, and subtle campfire smokiness. Medium body and carbonation. Taste is complex and quite interesting. Smoke is more evident in the taste than the aroma, lending an outdoor smokiness. Assertive bitterness seems to derive from the hops profile. Caramel malt sweetness is easily apparent though understated. The juniper berries add an odd earthy herbal character, much like a good gin. Mild roasty notes add to the complexity. A very interesting and worthwhile experience that is also an enjoyable sipper.

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Photo of Vylo
4.78/5  rDev +21.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of John_M
3.35/5  rDev -15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

What a very odd beer.

The beer pours a brownish amber color with outstanding, pillowy head retention and OK lacing. The beer looks very impressive. On the nose, this beer is a complete mess. I know it's billed as a smoked ale with junniper berries, but the combination is not attractive. There is the noticeable smoke and gin aroma, along with an underlying hint of chocolate. However, the combination of smoke and gin gives this beer a sandlewood, dish soap aroma. It's not the least bit attractive. Thankfully, the beer on the palate is nothing like the nose, consisting primarily of milk chocolate, coffee grounds and a hint of licorise. There is also a hint of the gin flavor, but it's very light and not at all obtrusive. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a soft, long finish. While the abv. is fairly low, it's very difficult getting by the aroma on this beer. I literally had to hold my breath every time I took a sip, which is not how I want to enjoy a beer.

This was an interesting beer, but have no plans to ever purchase it again.

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Photo of rypkr
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

L - tawny and murky light brown. Not what I was expecting. Head is the whitest I've ever seen in a beer.

S - apple juice. Mesquite bbq. Sweet.

T - smokey, dry, bitter. Potent. Both meaty and peaty smoke.

F - borderline flat. Not sure if intentional or not.

O - not my favorite smoked beer.

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Photo of Beaver13
3.67/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

16.9 oz bottle. Batch 100, brewed 10/07, best by 10/09. Pours a murky light brown with a huge big bubbled rocky fizzy light tan head that retains well and leaves a little lacing.

The aroma is complex - toasted chocolate malts, dark fruits, smoke, wood and a little alcohol.

The flavor is bready chocolate malts, dark fruits, fruitcake and spices with a decent bitter finish. The mouthfeel is medium with lots of sharp carbonation.

Overall, an interesting and fun beer. It tastes interesting, but doesn't quite align with my tastes.

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Photo of TrickkyGangsta
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark ruddy bronze with bright orange trim. A greater than optimal amount of carbonation has led to a massive golden beige cap despite a controlled pour. The foam is a wonderful color match for the beer and looks much better as it melts. Very little lace isn't a surprise.

Is the above style accurate? Shouldn't a Scandanavian farmhouse ale that is brewed with juniper twigs in the bottom of the mash tun be called a sahti? Smoked malt isn't typically a part of that style, but the early practitioners of the craft surely roasted their barley over open fires.

Good rauchbiers smell great. This offering isn't quite that smoky, but it's smoky enough to dominate the aroma with ease. Too bad the juniper berries aren't more noticeable. This is shaping up to be mighty fine beer.

Any beer with this much smokiness has to be considered a rauchbier, no matter how it was brewed or what else it contains. At least that's the way I would describe Norwegian Wood if someone was contemplating a purchase. Having said that, its smokiness is more along the lines of Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Weizen (moderate) than Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Urbock (massive).

Things definitely improve with time and warming. The carbonation settles down, the flavor deepens and the body firms up a bit. Although I still can't appreciate the juniper twigs and berries, there's an underlying fruitiness (and a subtle spiciness) that makes this much more than a one-trick pony.

Keeping style in mind and appreciating some improvement by the bottom of the bottle, I'm still not able to pull the trigger on the higher mouthfeel score. Better quality bubbles, and fewer of them, would have gone a long way toward putting this attribute up with all the rest.

I've already used lyrics from 'Norwegian Wood' for another Norwegian beer (Nogne Pale Ale), so I couldn't very well use them here. I will admit, however, that one phrase keeps running through my head as I drink. And that is... 'yes, it is good'.

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Photo of schopenhauerale
3.75/5  rDev -4.8%

Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The wood and smoke is there in the tasting. That, and the juniper berries linger on in the aftertaste.Smooth drinker, with he smoked malt, leaving the bitterness for the very end. Pours cocoish colour with constant white head. Wood fire oven aroma. Worth a try for smoke fans.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours an amber color with a hint of red coming through. Slightly cloudy. Good head is nice and thick initially then lingers well. Some nice chunky lacing on the glass wall.

S: Smoky, burnt, roasted, malts.

T: Nice layering. Juniper berries up front to middle with a really nice lingering in the mouth of the smoky, roasted malt flavor.

M: Mid bodied - nice pop off the tongue.

O: Enjoyable.

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Photo of Zorro
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

$6.99 at Jubilation in Albuquerque, it is a little pricey.

Murky dark reddish brown colored beer with a decent tan head that doesn't fall.

Wow did some one order a Rauchbier? Quite smoky smelling from a distance. A little sweet and pretty strongly spiced with juniper berries and smoke. For some reason there is a fairly strong vanilla aroma.

The taste begins very dry, very spicy and very smoky. This is a beer that doesn't suffer from lack of flavor. Very woody and smoky if you like dry smoky scotch you will love this. Juniper shows up mostly as an after taste. Not quite up there with German Rauchbier but this is a beer dominated by the smoke. This does lack subtleties, this is smoke and juniper berries and dry and that is all.

The mouthfeel is good.

Drinkability will be decided here on your like or dislike of strong smoke flavor in a beer. This is a beer that has smoke flavor in spades and if you don't like that you will have a hard time drinking it. I like a smoky beer so I love this.

 1,004 characters

Photo of jagada
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of ohtheguilt
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of ppoitras
3.55/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500ml bottle purchased as a single at Julio's, Westboro, MA. Batch NR 70, Brewed Mar 07, best before Mar 10.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, it's a foamer, 1" clear red brew, 4 1/2" beige froth. Head is down an inch in a little bit, with random large chunks of lace here and there. Aroma is smoky and effervescent. Taste is somewhat muddled at the front, sweet and spices battling it out. Smoke comes on in the middle, then a quick peek of chocolate at the close. Mouthfeel is maybe a bit too prickly, and drinkability is alright. Doesn't come together very well, but is an interesting brew for sure.

 605 characters

Photo of Zachtheporter
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of drabmuh
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint. Beer is brown and completely hazy, forms an offwhite brownish head of big bubbles that falls away quickly to NO head and NO lacing.

Mild aroma of malt sweetness and a little bacon / smoke. I don't know what to expect.

Beer is medium bodied with some sweetness up front. Tastes really good. The smoke is subtle and comes up late and lingers with this bitterness from roasted malt in the back. Its like a smokey porter or something like that. Almost like a strong brown porter. Pretty good beer.

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Photo of brureview
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured a light caramel color with a 4 F head in a Mikasa tulip. The head resolves within a few minutes.

The aroma is light, smoke, spice, and roasted malt. I could smell the smoke just after opening the bottle.

The taste is wondefully smoky with a roasted malt flavor.

The beer finishes with a good bitterness and roasted malt/smoke.

Excellent beer! It's my first beer from a Norwegian Brewer. Wonderfully spicy, smoky, and with a pungent bitterness.

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Norwegian Wood from HaandBryggeriet
Beer rating: 3.94 out of 5 with 350 ratings