Norwegian Wood | HaandBryggeriet

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Norwegian WoodNorwegian Wood
Very Good
348 Ratings
Norwegian WoodNorwegian Wood

Brewed by:

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.

Added by Sigmund on 06-17-2007

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 348 |  Reviews: 231
Reviews by tubacharlie:
Photo of tubacharlie
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The scent of evergreen boughs and hops hits the olfactory right away when decanted.

Good three-finger tan head, reflecting the red-brown color of the slightly hazy brew.

Rich maltiness with a smoothly melded hop presence and creamy texture on the tongue. After a full introductory swig, the last bit of liquid in the bottom of the bottle was swirled around to release the yeasty sediment, then added to the glass. This resulted in a cloudier, more fragrant beverage with more complexity as the yeast and juniper involved the entire palate and nostrils. An exuberant explosion of flavors ensued, with pleasing results.

Smoked fiskesalat with some garlic potatoes and brown beans would go down real easy with this traditional brew, made of peat-smoked malt and juniper berries.

This was labeled as batch no. 142, brewed March 08, best before March 10. Further aging would not hurt this beer though, in my opinion.

Interesting label note: at one time in Norway, every farm was required to brew its own ale. Not sure if they were required to drink it though!

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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 oberon
4.02/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I have had a few Haand beers and came away impressed and have wanted to try this for awhile.Poured into a 22oz nonic a slight hazed russett brown with a huge blooming light tan head that went over the side even with a gentle pour,aromas were of hard wood smoke,juniper,and cherry,almost like burning cherrywood.Smooth mothfeel, it glides down easy.Flavors as expected have some real smoke attributes along with almost a phenolic-like clove spice to it,there is a sweet fruit element as well.A nice drinkin brew,I like smokey beers and this has the smoke and a little more to offer,quite good.

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

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue III:

Apparently a re-creation of a traditional Norwegian smoked ale, brewed with smoked malt, Munich malt, crystal and chocolate malts, and spiced with juniper twigs and berries--sounds a bit like Finnish Sahti.

Pours quick and foamy, so be gentle. Hazy tawny color with a beige foam head. Aroma is yeasty, smoky and meaty with toasted wood and soft fruitiness. A little tart up front, with a smoked tanginess. Forest fruits beneath, dried apple and earth. Biscuity here and there. Charcoal, dusty-malt husk and ash toward the finish (which is dry and lingers with much smoke and wood).

The addition of juniper twigs and berries is rather subtle, which is probably a good thing as one can get carried away with junipers. Regardless, this beer is not for non-smoke ale lovers. This is all that and a bag of smoldering embers. That said, this is a "split a bottle with a friend" beer as it's rather hard to finish an entire one, and we're smoked beer lovers.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch #70. Brewed March '07

Pours into a Tripel Karmeliet chalice an extremely hazy opaque dark brown with three fingers of khaki foam on top that slowly falls. Aromas of smoked malt upfront reminiscent of a dying campfire. The meaty quality is there along with an underlying yeast and juniper spiciness. Very earthy overall.

First sip is robust smoky malts with toasted caramel and cocoa accents. Earthy yeast tones meet up with spicy juniper berry and pine flavors. Mellow sweetness throughout that ends with a spicy finish. Tastes authentic and has an old world feel to it. Tasty smoked ale.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and crisp. Solid spritzy carbonation. Goes down easy. Overall, I found this to be an interesting, tasty brew that I would have again!

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.91/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a very nice beer, one I would want to drink again. It was a pretty red/brown color with a thick tan head. The head proved to be very sticky and retained well. I thought the aroma was a little muted. It had a smoky/peaty aroma with a whiff of gin. Taste-wise, the juniper berries were right up front, a litttle sharp, with the smokeiness coming in later. Finally a little bit of hops at the end. Fairly dry beer, but felt good. Ready for more.

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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 mverity
4.54/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared. Pours a creamy looking brown with thick creamy tan head that lasted really well. Sticky lacing and thick legs. Creamy mouthfeel from medium carbonation and rich body. Aroma is light smoke, caramel malt sweetness, and some faint earhty/floral hop. Taste was fantastic! Rich caramel, smoke permeates through everything, but well balanced. Really glad I got to try this one.

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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 tigg924
3.47/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: 1/4 inch head, cloudy, light brown in color, moderate carbonation

Smell: smoked malt and faint florals

Taste: light smoked pale malt, sweet florals, earth, and some charcoal

Mouthfeel: light bodied, slightly watery, smoky with a bitter backbone, moderate carbonation

Drinkability: I like the mix of of the smoke and sweet florals. I wish the malt here was a tad less pale and the florals were a bit more present. This is an interesting beer, worth picking up. Not sure if I would get this again, but certainly worth the try.

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Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to piginapen for sending me this bottle.

The beer pours a hazy dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is meaty smoke with some charred wood, ash and burnt malt. The flavor is smoke, roasted malt, chocolate, juniper and dark fruit. The aftertaste is extremely smoky. Thin-medium and slightly watery mouthfeel. Low-medium carbonation.

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Photo of olradetbalder
3.5/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of avitallo
4.21/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of magictrokini
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First off, I love smoked beers, especially those like the Aecht Schlerenka variety where the smoke is strong. Pours dark brown with nice red edges. Thick head that last the whole way down. Not much lacing. Beautiful campfire aroma. Great mix of wood with the juniper showing through. Oily mouthfeel with enough carbonation to smooth it out. Long, earthy finish. The taste is spectacular. Wood, smoke, and bacon. The malt is rich and hearty, but maintains a pleasant dry quality. Good mix with the chocolate malt gives a bit of sweetness, but not too much to overtake the smokiness. I love this beer. If you're going to go smoked, go the whole way.

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Photo of OompaMentor
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

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

My second time trying a bottle of this brew...and still I like it quite a lot. This one pours a deep red color with a small, but long-lasting head. It's actually fairly clear in color, but if you swirl the sediment in the bottom of the bottle (and add it to your glass), it becomes a bit cloudy like a hefeweizen.

The aroma is a mixture of smokiness and mild tart/sweetness...and maybe a bit of phenolic (weizen?) peculiarity as well. The flavor seems to hit the tongue with smokiness first, followed by some fruity/tart flavor...maybe that's the juniper? The smokiness reminds me quite a bit of the best Bamberg brews, but the rauch character isn't as omnipresent as the Schlenkerla brews, possibly not as much as the Spezial brews either. There's a bit of tartness in the flavor which I've had in some other smoked brews. I'm not sure if it's a result of the smoked malt or possibly the yeast, but whatever it is...I like it. Whatever the case, I think this brew is catered more toward those who like a somewhat heavy smoke flavor in their beer. If that sounds like "you", then give this one a try!

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Photo of chickenm
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of doremite
4/5  rDev +1.5%

Photo of glid02
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a slightly hazy brownish-amber color with a one-finger slightly off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of bright and crisp smoked malts - think ground sausage and salmon wrapped in bacon and leather - with smoother caramel malts backing it all up.

Tastes similar to how it smells although the flavors don't pop quite as much as the smell intimated. Smoked malt flavors kick things off and sweeten a bit midway through the sip. A light bitterness comes in shortly thereafter with slight wood-y notes and carries through to a mildly bitter and crisp ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I didn't have a probem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall this smoked beer ranks right up there with the best from Schlenkerla and the juniper adds just a hint of earthiness that's well served here. If you're a fan of smoked beers then this one is well worth a shot.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a tulip glass)

A- This beer pours a thick antique white head that takes up the full glass. Soon it slowly melts into a deep brown body with an amber glow and strong waves of micro bubbles glide past the sides of the glass. The head last and last through the beer.

S- The light yeasty perfume note gives way to a roasted malt note with a soft marshmallow hint to it and a soft smoky note that increases as the beer warms.

T- The taste of soft smoky dark roasted malt has nutty flavors and some caramel malt notes. There is a nice taste of fresh cream that fades to a spicy hop finish with a slight bay leaf quality to it and a faint juniper berry note. There is a soft band-aid note at the finish but it is pleasantly smoky and not over the top.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a soft alcohol heat that adds a nice warmth to the malt.

D- This beer has a nice balance of smoky dark malts and hops with some nice support from a fragrant yeast strain.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. The label depicts a nice story about Norwegian farms formerly being required to make their own beer. A local ordinance that I could totally get behind.

This beer pours a cloudy, sparsely sediment-strewn dark copper hue, with two fat fingers of tight fizzy off-white head, which settles soon enough, leaving a few ambitious streaks of lace around the glass as it lazily sinks away.

It smells of heftily smoked, meaty dark caramel malt, mildly fruity wild berries, and some equally dense earthy spiciness. The taste is like a barely restrained Islay malt - woody, peaty, seafaring - a mite bit lesser in intensity, yes, but better for it, for this otherwise straight-up Speyside fan, with a bit of understated sweet black fruitiness. There are softer flavours about, thankfully, with some tart fruitiness and earthy hops showing up amongst that pungent woody character.

The carbonation is on the soft side, the body medium weight, and generally smooth under that obsequious, yet thankfully thin blanket of acrid smoke. It finishes off-dry, the malt still pushing through the charred wood, with booze and hops doing their damnedest to make it seem otherwise.

Quite a challenging, and yet still well-made smoked ale - the relatively laid-back nature is refreshing, to a point, and this would likely be a perfect pairing for any kind of food that has itself seen fire, particularly in any sort of grungy campsite.

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Photo of GilGarp
3.9/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Brewed 6/26/2009.

500 mL bottle served cool into a goblet.

Norwegian Wood is a redish amber color with good clarity seen on the pour. Head is thick at first but settles quickly to a skim layer.

Aroma is really pleasant but is surprisingly not smokey. It has more of an orchard fruit and mellow sweetness than expected.

Flavor is more intense than the aroma would lead you to believe. It still manages to be balanced with bitterness from the juniper and sweetness from the caramel malts. The smoked malts are well judged so you can tell it's there but it doesn't dominate the palate.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and slightly over carbonated for my tastes.

Overall a really nice beer with a good story of the history behind the style.

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Photo of Metalmonk
3.4/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Expensive at $7.99 a bottle, but the novelty/promise of a Norwegian smoked beer with a classy label got me. Pours a muddy deep brown, with a thin light-tan head made of very small bubbles. Small ribbons of lace appear as the beer disappears.

Roasted grains and a musty presence in the aroma remind of a Scotch ale, but the woody/smoke element gives a unique slant to this beer.

Flavor is very much smoke, a little peat, more smoke, wood, and smoke. I suppose it would pair well with bacon. That's right, pair it with bacon. Apparently this is brewed with juniper, but you have to really use your imagination to sense it amidst the smoke haze. It's not as robust as expected, partly due to the light, fizzy mouthfeel. Finish has an astringency that somewhat reminds of soap.

This is good and interesting, but not great and legendary. I expected a bolder, more complex character; has its problems along with its positive attributes. Looking forward to their Russian Imperial Stout.

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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 augustgarage
4.04/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 500mL bottle into my Dogfish Head shaped pint glass. Brewed in November, 2007 - best before November, 2009.

Liquid is cordovan with falu red highlights. Very dark, but good clarity. A short-lived tan head is quick to dissipate leaving behind a very thin ring sustained only by the high carbonation.

Aroma is of roasted malt, and savory wood smoke, and a hint of brine or wildflowers. Subtle.

The flavor reminds me of a good dark lager, with toasted black bread and cleansing hop tartness. Coriander and juniper berries are present as well, but play a supporting role to the lightly smoked malt centerpiece. The finish is long and complex with roasted rye, wheat, and malt notes along with crisp botanical spice, a woodsy sweetness hinting at anise. Flavors intensify and become richer and more stratified as the liquid warms.

The mild astringency of the malt and smoke combined with the benign warming from the alcohol leave the impression of a freshly extinguished fire in your mouth. The juniper and hops dance around the edges thanks to the effervesence of this light-bodied brew.

A unique, mouth-watering concoction that would pair well with properly prepared salt-cod, rakfisk, wild game, and wild greens.

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Norwegian Wood from HaandBryggeriet
Beer rating: 3.94 out of 5 with 348 ratings