Norwegian Wood | HaandBryggeriet

very good
225 Reviews
Read the review
Norwegian WoodNorwegian Wood

Brewed by:

Style: Smoked 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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 225 | Ratings: 336
Photo of bmaggot
4.99/5  rDev +27%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is quite an experience.
Being very fond of smoky smell and taste I can certainly say that this beer successfully embodies everything that can be felt by burning a fire in the woods. With generous dash of juniper.

Deep amber with huge head that decreases slowly.
Majestic smell of cold burning wood and juniper.
Tastes as it smells with addition of sweetness.

 364 characters

Photo of osusullins
4.89/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I have had this on tap and out of a bottle. One of my favorite smoked beers.

The beer pours a hazy brown with a tan head. Not much lacing.

The nose of this is wonderful. You can really smell the smoke, but it is nicely balanced by the juniper berries. Sweet and smokey like the best bbq. I think what sets this beer apart from other smoked beers to me is that the smoke smells authentic. Not like that liquid smoke smell. It smells specifically like hickory to me. I could sniff this bouquet and get hungry easily. This beer goes well when paired with all smoked meats.

Speaking of smoked meats... that is exactly the flavor that my palate pulls from this beer. Like the best carbonated beef jerkey you ever tasted. I absolutely love it. The hickory smoke flavor is evident immediately and lingers in the mouth. The berries give both a sweetness that comes in the middle and a very subtle tartness on the backend that is balanced throughout by the smoke. Light bodied, not heavy at all. I could drink this all day. The taste lingers just long enough to not be offensive. Very nice beer. Again, this is by far my favorite smoked beer.

 1,136 characters

Photo of beerking1
4.89/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

An AWESOME beer. Combines a subtle smoked character (wood type unknown) with a fairly strong juniper character. All of this is backed by a medium to full body and a great balance.
Slightly cloudy, but this adds to the mystery of this unusual beer.
I highly recommend this beer.

 277 characters

Photo of soulgrowl
4.8/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: This beer certainly has an amazing head, a poofy, rocky, pearly, parchment-colored thing with great retention despite lots of activity. Body is a thick, smoky orange - dare I say burnt sienna?

Smell: Powerfully spicy and herbal, a wild concoction of evergreen, marjoram, fennel, carraway, leather, and wet autumn leaves. Maple syrup, brown sugar, Johnny Walker Red Label, cherries, and burnt cedar round out the malts, providing an earthy foundation to the earthy top notes. Smoky, earthy, piney, earthy, fruity, earthy.

Taste: Mmm. Somewhere between Arrogant Bastard and Hitachino Nest Classic lies this ale (both gustatorially and geographically). Very spicy, herbal hops with notes of grass, thyme, and lemon brush up against a woodsy, earthy backbone reminiscent of wheat toast, honey, cocoa, whiskey, and pecans. Juniper berries provide a bold, overriding gin-like spice that combines with a kick of alcohol for a beer that tastes stronger than it is - in a good way.

Mouthfeel: Frothy and lush, brisk and dry.

Drinkability: This is a dangerously drinkable and delicious beer. I will have to keep my eye on this brewery because this one hits it out of the park.

 1,182 characters

Photo of MarcGetty
4.8/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A few weeks ago I was at Tria in Philadelphia on a Friday night ans spied Norwegian Wood from Haan..ggagga..not-gonna-work-here-anymore in Norway, described as a smoked beer which piked my interest. I'm a huge Rauchbier fan and just had to try it.

Two very expensive bottles later and I was hooked.

Yesterday I ventured out to Wayne's Beer Yard to purchase some. Like most beer in Pennsylvania I had to buy an entire case of it. Over $200 USD for a case, but I went for it anyway.

The beer I acquired has a beautiful logo on the front (see the lit match hidden in the far corner?) with a note that it is from "Batch Nr 70 brewed in March 07 and good until March 10. Ingred: Water, hops, yeast, malted barley, and juniper.

I tool one of the two twelve packs to a friend's house to sample amongst three BAs. Two of the three of us were very impressed with the beer. I used a tall 0.5l Schlenkerla Rauchbier glass.

Norwegian Wood pours a dark brownish-red color with a lot of head when first poured. The caramel colored head quickly dissipates leaving a small ring of head throughout the rest of the beer.

If you look into the bottle you can see quite a bit of yeasty sediment which can be poured out if you so choose. Many of my fellow Schlenkerla Rauchbier fans love to do get every last drop of the sediment out of the beer.

Not much of a smokey smell as you would expect, in fact, overall the smell is quite muted. The flavor is quite strong and pronounced which is interesting for a beer without much going on in the aroma department.

The taste is the absolute strong suit of this beer. Smokey, caramel, with a few notes of fruit. Absolutely terrific. Not over powering, not meek and mild, just right.

Even with such a bold taste the beer remains quite drinkable. Having two or three glasses with some snacks is ideal and unlike some bold beers which you tend to nurse, Norwegian Wood remains friendly glass after glass.

I highly recommend that you try this beer if you can. However, don't splurge for a case unless you are one of the rare folks that know and love Rauchbiers as you may be disappointed.

 2,115 characters

Photo of JohnnyP3
4.75/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a 0.5L bottle labeled as batch 243. Brewed 14.09.09. Use by 15.09.11.

Pours a gorgeous copper, a little cloudy, with an awesome crowning head at least 2-fingers in width. The head does not budge. Wonderful lacing on the side of the glass. Very promising to say the least.

Smell is definitely smokey and I can detect the juniper berries used to spice it. Almost a "juicy" smoke smell with some smoked meat aroma thrown in. Maybe even a little smokes salmon thrown in?

Taste definitely does not disappoint! A delicious wet smoked taste that exhibits excellent balance. Can taste the juniper that adds a delightful spice to the overall experience. Overall delivers an earthy, charred wood, smokey, tour-de-force--a smoked beer lovers dream. The smoked quality also blends nicely with some sweet malt tastes.

Mouthfeel is amazingly smooth and seductive considering the amount of carbonation that appeared to be bellowing forth when I poured this beer. Just enough carbonation to keep it crisp and versatile with some cheeses, for example.

Drinkability is outstanding. A pleasure to savor the flavors as I drink, imagining this beer being brewed on a Norwegian farm using traditional process. Kudos to HaandBryggeriet for a winning recreation of this traditional Norwegian style.

 1,292 characters

Photo of flowerysong
4.6/5  rDev +17%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Background: This recreation of a traditional farmhouse ale from Norway is brewed from wood-smoked malt and spiced with juniper branches and berries.

Appearance: Opaque medium brown, foams enthusiastically and the tan head exhibits great retention.

Smell: Spicy pine scents from the juniper, subtle smoke seems to grow in intensity as you take additional sniffs. Hints of dark malt and slight dried fruit aromas.

Taste: Smoke may seem subdued in the nose, but it comes through here with a vengeance. Hefty wood smoke flavour is the first and last thing you taste. Vague fruitiness sliding into juniper comes through in the middle. A hint of meatiness is almost gamy; slight sour yeast character. Besides the smoke, the long finish also contains a resiny reminder of the juniper.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and medium-bodied, high carbonation and a tongue-coating tingly sensation from the juniper resins.

Drinkability: I love this beer. It's bold and assertive, with sufficient complexity to keep the beer geeks happy.

 1,013 characters

Photo of mverity
4.54/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

 386 characters

Photo of farHillsBrewer
4.52/5  rDev +15%
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.

 332 characters

Photo of aforbes10
4.5/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Walnut brown with hints of red. nice little off white head. Laces well, but quickly. Smells awesome, like hickory chips and gin. Makes it smell like Bacon in Alaska. Flavor is light at first, but quickly becomes a smokey blast, very complex. I can taste the juniper berries under the smoke, but its the smoke itself that carries the beer. Full of woody goodness with a simple pale ale backbone. hops still distinguishable. Medium to light bodied. Highly drinkable if you like the whole smoked beer thing.

 504 characters

Photo of Mitchster
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

$7.99 for a1pt .9fl oz bottle. 6.5% ABV. Pours out to a hazy very dark brown, forming a modest dark tan head with poor retention and absent lacing. Lots of dark sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Nice little yeasty beasties. The aroma is nice and rich with smoke and caramel, maybe a little sour milk with swirling. Mouthfeel is bright with a medium dense body. The taste opens up with plenty of smoke. I like my smoked beers smoky, and this is very smoky. I love it. It has a big malt body in the middle, followed by a little earthiness. The juniper doesn't stand out and the bitterness is mild, so it leaves plenty of lingering malt in the aftertaste. A hearty brew. I really enjoyed this, but I'm not convinced it's worth the $8 price.

 741 characters

Photo of Ljunkan
4.47/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

50 cl bottle from Vinmonopolet, Oslo, shared with Bananaman.

A very special and cool beer!

Pours a dark red/brown color with a small, but nice, foamy head.

Smells of smoke, burnt wood (almost like an old campfire), berries & juniper needles. Very nice smelling-beer imo.

Taste is of smoked malt, burnt wood, some berries and juniper needles, notes of some malty sweetness. A very special taste overall.

Mouthfeel is good, though it's a bit thin, but I like it anyway.

Overall a very unique beer!

 506 characters

Photo of magictrokini
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

 647 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
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.

 975 characters

Photo of Travlr
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared with Michael, Michael and Darrell at Pizzeria Paradiso. Chestnut colored without much head or lacing. Aroma reminiscent of the leather straps that old fashioned barber chairs used to have. Taste has some dark fruit and cherries, progressing to beef jerky then finishing with barbecued bacon. Nicely complex.

 321 characters

Photo of tubacharlie
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
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!

 1,059 characters

Photo of BlackBeerPirate
4.42/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Taste: robust, smoked woody malt, unique notes of earthy spices and dry finish. Dark amber color with a smoked bacon nose, Medium to full body. Large head. Made Juniper berries. The smoked aroma is King

 202 characters

Photo of Bananaman
4.39/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wow! A really unique beer from Haandbryggeriet. Very interesting, thanks to Ljunkan for sharing this one.

Dark deep red/brown color with a nice white head.

The smell is really brilliant! Seldom have I smelled such a fantastic beer. Some smoke with lots of berries, smells almost when you put spruce on a campfire.

The flavor is pretty smoky too with lots of different notes of bitter berries, prety malty too. And there are some nice hoppiness to that balances all of it.

 475 characters

Photo of IPAcraig
4.38/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I picked up this gem in Atlanta last fall based solely on my fondness for The Beatles song of the same name. This bottle is from batch number 70 that was brewed one year ago, March 2007.

A very good looking beer. A very dark ruby body with a extremely massive brown head.

Smells as advertised, malted barley highlighted with piney juniper berries. It also has a nice citrus character. No smoke is noticeable.

A nice smoked character in this beer, it is more than just a hint but not overpowering. Again this beer has hints of pine and grapefruit, though not from hops. There is a very nice roasted presence that compliments the smoke. I really like this beer. It has some very interesting and unique flavors.

Prickly carbonation and a light lively body.

A very unique experience and I perhaps lack the palate to adequately describe this beer. Nonetheless this was a highly enjoyable brew. This is better than just good Norwegian Wood.

 939 characters

Photo of Scandahoovian
4.36/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Upon opening, a steam-like, tan haze swirled around inside and just escaping the mouth of the bottle. I expected it to begin foaming, champagne-like, which it did, but not immediately as I had expected, catching me off-guard. The foam was wonderfully effervescent, somewhere between brown and tan, and created a huge head with a frothy top. Happily, the foam died down before I became impatient to drink the beer. A distinct, butterscotch, chocolate and smoke smell wafted up in a fairly full manner, though not quite as much as I would have liked. The butterscotch and mostly chocolate taste was definitely pleasant, too, but also a little bit less than I had hoped for; however, the mixed-in smoky flavor was fantastic. I have had only a few smoky beers, and in all the smoke taste seemed separated from the rest of the taste and kind of industrial or cigarettey. This smoke was clean, like that of a hardwood fire, and subdued but not faint like what would emanate from a hearty fire in the hearth of a well ventilated chimney. A slight flavor of the fire's wood was mixed in with the smoke. Along the way, there were periodic, faint hints of subdued lambic fruitiness, perhaps from the juniper berries, though not discernibly juniper-like. Too bad. The field was a bit or watery than I had expected, based on the richness of the head. Also, though the beer poured a kind of orangey-brown with lots of bubbles, the effervescence wasn't really discernible. I suppose the bubbles were just too small, so it made a neat appearance, but didn't add to the experience in the mouth. Overall, this was a more than pleasant beer, with a superlative smokiness to it.

 1,660 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.36/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Comes out of the tap a barely transparent mahogany-honey brown with a cream-white, fine-bubbled head. Rich, malty, smoked-wood aroma has an undertone of barbecue. Smoky, barbecue-like flavor is malty wit hints of spice, caramel and even sweetness. Tingly, lively texture rounds out a very tasty and distinctive beer.

 316 characters

Photo of Oakenator
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

 397 characters

Photo of pokesbeerdude
4.35/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle into a NB Globe. Purchase from Wilbur's for around $6. Batch 232, brewed 26.06.2009 best 26.06.11. So towards the end of its life.

A: Amber in color with a light tan head, right at 1/2 an inch. Quite dense head that sticks around nicely. Slightest amount of haze. A few bubbles lazily moving through the glass.

S: Smoked malts are the first thing that jump out of the glass, not insanely pungent like a Islay whisky, but there is definitely some smoke in this one, think nicely smoked meat. Some caramel and just a whiff of vanilla. Also just a bit of juniper, but again faint, probably a lot more present when first bottled.

T: I really like this, very well balanced for a smoked beer. Nice amount of smoke and caramel that blend and intermingle into this amalgamation of sweet smokiness. Just a faint hint of hops and a slight amount of juniper, pretty faint though. Finish is surprisingly clean and devoid of smoke. This is damn tasty.

M: Creamy body that is on the heavy side, medium carbonation, and fairly sticky. Really enjoyable.

O: Definitely a beer that I'm pissed I didn't buy another bottle of. This works perfectly between smoked malts and sweet malts, a touch of herbal flavors, and just a hint of bitterness. Very enjoyable beer on a cold rainy spring day. Spot on.

 1,302 characters

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.34/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazy, but pleasant enough murky red colour, with a fine but filmy head of slightly orange-tinged white. Speckled and insubstantial lacing forms when tilted, and the body looks a little thin. Not bad, but I've seen better.

Nose, ooh, now there's something wonderful. Big smoky notes, but tempered and pleasantly savoury. No meatiness to the smoke, more of a rustic charm, which melds pleasantly with the hearty, all-grain bread notes and a sparkle of something brighter and slightly crisp and fruity. Very pleasant indeed.

Taste is also excellent. Very big and pleasant smoky characters, but blended really nicely into a toasty grain flavour, that sinks towards roasted bitterness on the back. The transition is almost seamless, giving a very smooth ride through a plethora of smoky, roasted flavours. Some brightness coming through as well, although no particular flavours are distinguishable here—it just gives a lift to the palate.

Feel is very light, which in some senses works to the advantages of the palate; but there's enough depth here to support more.

Very nice brew all up. I love the smoke character blending so well with the malted grains—it really works the character into the beer to give a suggestion of how this would have been done in the past.

 1,286 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
4.32/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle, Batch NR 86, brewed August 2007, best before August 2009. Served in a nonic pint glass, the beer pours dark brown/ruby red with an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. The aroma is smoky and spicy, it smells like smoke, wood, spice and a slight fruity aroma that I assume is from the juniper berries. The taste is the same as the aroma, it's smoky, spicy, herbal and a little bit fruity. Aroma and taste are both very nice. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a little bit creamy with some lively carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and easy to drink. If you like smoky beers, then I think you'll like this one. I'd definitely buy this again.

 682 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Norwegian Wood from HaandBryggeriet
3.93 out of 5 based on 336 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.