Norwegian Wood | HaandBryggeriet

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Norwegian WoodNorwegian Wood
Very Good
348 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 348 |  Reviews: 231
Photo of cosmonick
1.5/5  rDev -61.9%

Photo of doubleipa
2.35/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Didn't really know what to expect. Great, very smoky aroma, as expected. Huge, light-brown, mostly lasting head. Cloudy, brown color. That's were the good experience ended. This is like nothing else I've every had. It tasted plain awful. i couldn't drink very much of this. Huge dissapointment.

 294 characters

Photo of moshea
2.5/5  rDev -36.5%

Photo of Phoodcritic
2.52/5  rDev -36%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.5

I cannot easily evaluate the quality of this beer, because I didn't find it to be drinkable. Most of this $9 bottle went down the drain. I've enjoyed a few smoked beers; clearly I don't care for one where the smoke dominates everything else.

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Photo of mothman
2.72/5  rDev -31%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Poured into CCB Snifter

Pours 1/2 finger of fizzy head that settles a bit. Good retention from there. Color is a dark chocolate brown.

Aroma: Lots or roasted malts with what must be the juniper berries. Has smoke near the end. Very malty with notes of chocolate. Maybe some other spices.

Taste: Fairly smokey and burnt. The juniper berries are covered up by the smoke here. It has some light bacon flavors with notes of ash. It tastes almost soured in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Very fizzy. Reminds me of drinking an amped up carbed be pop. Medium bodied with way too much carbonation. Ends very dry.

Overall, nothing I enjoyed too much. Not very drinkable and I am starting to like smoked beers more. This one just didn't work for me. It might be hard to finish this one.

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Photo of RobertColianni
2.75/5  rDev -30.2%

Photo of GRG1313
2.86/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Batch 100; Brewed Oct. 07; Best before Oct '09; Purchased at Park Lane in Lancaster Calif. Off the shelf well past "best before" date and tasted and reviewed same date.

Pours dark with a nice khaki head.

Nose is light smoke and bacon with chocolate and coffee undertones.

Mouthfeel is thin but has some character and appeal and is well balanced.

Flavors are all sweet dark chocolate and smoke. Decent light bitter acidic coffee/dark chocolate finish.

A year and a half past it's "best before" date the beer still has nice character and flavors. However, based on this tasting it shows that this one can take the aging but likely not improve. Would try again fresher.

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Photo of WhiteLight68
3/5  rDev -23.9%

Photo of schlimenhaumer
3.06/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Served in a 500ml bottle at Cardinal in Stavanger, Norway. Batch 997 and bottle notes a best by date of 22 June 2018. Traditional Norwegian Smoked Ale with Juniper Berries.

A: pours a translucent ruby color with a thin off-white head that leaves spotty lacing. Notable sediment suspended evenly throughout the glass

S: caramel malt notes up front with a define smoky character. Some faint juniper in the background

T: similar to the nose, caramel and bready malt up front, followed by a bit of herbal bitterness (not particularly hoppy) with smoke character coming through on the long finish. A unique flavor profile, and I'm glad I got a chance to try this in Norway.

M: medium bodied with minimal carbonation; wet

O: an interesting brew overall, and a new style for me. My first beer from Haandbryggeriet if memory serves, and I'd certainly give them another try for unique brews and styles. B-

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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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Photo of HomeBrewJunkie
3.1/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Norwegian Wood pours a nice dark brown, with a huge creamy head. The retention of this head is amazing. When exposed to the light I see a burnt orange color poking thru.

I imagine a smoldering piece of oak when put to my nose. Under the smokiness, juniper berries sweeten the nose. Some malt sweetness is present, but toasted and smoky malt is more prominent.

The flavor is similar to the aroma smoky and oaky. Acidy almost like liquid smoke. The smoke and wood take charge of this beer, and doesn’t give any slack to the other flavors. I get flavors from the berries, but they taste like they are smoked as well. Finishes dry almost as you are licking that smoldering piece of oak. However as it warms it grows on me. It’s a little sweeter now but the smoke, wood and acid like flavors are still very demanding.

Moderately carbonated feels good in the mouth. Not to thick and not too thin just right. Although I have yet to be won over, it’s had good mouthfeel.

I will leave you with this. If you are a fan of smoked and or woody beers I would give this a try. It overwhelms you with these flavors though. Personally I did not think this beer was all that bad. If you give it time it might grow on you too. Don’t be too quick to judge with this one let it warm up a bit.

 1,283 characters

Photo of josanguapo
3.15/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From XXXII. In Bavaria glass. Watchig Game of Thrones 6x04. Another smoky beer, not of the worst ones but the smokiness still hides all and dont feel the juniper berries nor anything else much

 192 characters

Photo of Domingo
3.2/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Norwegian wood smoked with juniper berries? Sounds like it's worth a try.
Pours a reddish-brown color, that's more red than brown. Not sure why, but I expected this to be pitch black...even though rauchbiers typically aren't. It's a little cloudy, but light makes it through.The head on this is HUGE. I poured about 1/2 of it into a glass and with each subsequent pour thereafter the head comes back and takes up 2/3 of the glass.
Smells like smoke up-front, but then I start to get a minty herbal flavor. Reminds me a little of a smoky spruce beer.
The taste is smoky like a rauchbier, but the jumpier berries give it a medicinal aftertaste that's really bitter. It's a novel flavor at first, but after a few sips, I was getting a little sick of it. It does have a little bit of a gin kick in there between sips, but that strong bitter smoke is just too much.
Mouthfeel is thick due to the huge head that keeps forming. Really pretty heavily carbonated.
I have to say that I just didn't care for this. I'm actually learning to like rauchbiers, but this weird variant didn't do it for me. I finished about 3/4 of it and poured out the rest. If you really like smoked beers, this is probably worth a try. If not - avoid this. Everything about this beer is pretty strong, and somewhere I wish there were some more subtle characteristics.

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Photo of Wadsey
3.2/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Batch 285 with a bottled-on date of 25.05.10.  Poured into DFH signature glassA: 

A: Enormous off-white head that dissipates leaving generous lacing.  The beer itself is deep amber, bordering on light brown.  Initial pour was clear, but sloppy second pour resulted in sediment and haze.

S: Smokey barbecue and salted pork with a subtle, general fruitiness. Could that be juniper berries?

T: The general fruitiness asserts itself surprisingly in the front, then smoke quickly smothers it. The  appealing barbecue and pork aspects of the smoke are somewhat lost in the taste. Instead, it is ashy, salty and slightly burnt. Thankfully, these qualities subside the quicker I sip.  Something akin to a spicy brown ale threatens to emerge but never quite makes it. Finish is oddly minerally, almost metallic. 

M: Carbonation is slightly higher than medium and the body of the beer is medium. Dry beer.

D: Norwegian Woods rates well in Appearance, Smell and Mouthfeel, but it simply does not deliver on taste, so drinkability suffers. I do not think I need to revisit this beer. 

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Photo of ejimhof
3.25/5  rDev -17.5%

Photo of HumanCarBomb
3.31/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

~ Purchased this bottle from Big Z Beverage in Huntington, NY. Batch 86. This beer pours a dark reddish brown with a light tan head. There is a powerful smokey aroma up front. It is so potent that it blocks other flavors from breaking through. The taste is similar to its smell. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and a little syrupy.

Overall, I found this beer to be a little boring and one-dimensional. Worth a try if you like smoked beers. ~

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Photo of Synapstic
3.32/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

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 ChainGangGuy
3.38/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours an effervescent, dark reddish body with a small, fizzy off-white head.

Smell: Intensely smokey, meat-laden nose with hints of wood and fire-roasted juniper berries.

Taste: Dark caramel flavor and sweetness that's smothered with a ton of smokiness and wood. Mmm, thick-cut bacon. Charred juniper berries and mint. Christmastime potpourri blend. Hint of yeast. Finshes dry, with an herbal bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Well carbonated, kinda fizzy actually.

Drinkability: I hope you like your beers smokey!

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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 FtownThrowDown
3.45/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown with a nice ruby color around the edges. Very nice half inch head forms on the pour.
Smell has a some well done smokiness in it. Taste is campfire smoke. There is just a hint of spice coming through. I am mostly getting smoke in the taste. Well carbonated and crisp on the mouthfeel. It's not a dominating smoke flavor, it's subtle and compliments well.

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Photo of billab914
3.45/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 500ml bottle into my Surly glass. It poured a deep, caramel brown color with a thin, frothy white head to it. Pretty decent head retention, with a little lacing.

The juniper really jumps out at me in the aroma giving it some big herbal flavors. I get some sweeter, malty flavors coming out in it as well. The smoked malt gives it a nice, smooth smokiness and seems to bring everything together. The smokiness is very nice, the juniper is a little strong for me though.

The taste has a strong herbal, juniper and sweet malty flavor to it. The smoke comes through in the finish and again seems to bring the flavors together. I find myself really liking the smoke, but again the juniper just really doesn't do it for me. It feels a little sweet and herbal side in the finish.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being above average. Overall it was a pretty drinkable and flavorful beer, but the juniper just really isn't my thing. It felt a little too sweet and herbal to me, but I really did like the smoked malt in it.

 1,047 characters

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.

 540 characters

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.47/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - very hazy burnt orange brown, decent head that you could hear as it fizzled away quickly with no real lacing
S - odour of yeast, herbs, peat smokiness, bready and with some aparent alcohol
T - wood and tobacco smoke, mild but building fruitiness, herbal and leafy towards the finish with some alcohol heat
M - over the top carbonation, spicy and somewhat dry with a lingering feel similar to a cigar
O - interesting in that it has the tart fruity characteristics of a belgian and/or juniper berry flavoured pale ale, but with a mild yet rich smoke to it, the juxtaposition generally works but not a brew where I'm looking to crack a second, well worth a try though for the uniqueness alone

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Photo of zaphodchak
3.48/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thinnish offwhite head, and deep amber body. Some lace.

Incredibly pungent smoke, a bit odd.

Acrid, harsh smoke. Piney, almost, maybe tannic. It's like you're eating a popsicle, but it's just the popsicle stick.

Some medium carb, kinda coarse.

Decent but kinda harsh in terms of drinkability.

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