Norwegian Wood | HaandBryggeriet

BA SCORE
88
very good
340 Ratings
THE BROS
81
good
Read the review
Norwegian WoodNorwegian Wood
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
HaandBryggeriet
Norway
haandbryggeriet.net

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
340
Reviews:
227
Avg:
3.93
pDev:
10.18%
 
 
Wants:
53
Gots:
28
For Trade:
0
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 340 |  Reviews: 227
Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
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 GRG1313
2.86/5  rDev -27.2%
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 UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Shikimon for sharing this one at Wowcoolman's tasting.

Batch 432. 2160 bottles produced.

Pours a murky dark orange with a foamy bone head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, smoke, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with smoke and char flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of smoke bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is very smoke forward but doesn't show any juniper from what I can sense.

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Photo of spycow
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.29/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

with this brew, i double down on my position that these guys are among the best in the world, the very best, and these is nothing else like this out there at all. nice cloudy pale brown to amber color, and a two inch off white head that continues to rise over the rim of the glass, slowly, methodically, and with no intent on resting. aroma here starts with some light campfire smoke and dry mature wood ready to be thrown on to said fire, with a cocoa note, a wild yeast and dry bretty twang, dried fruits like raisins and figs, and a little fresh lemon zest as well, lots happening here. the flavor is well rounded too, with the smoke leading the way but not defining it by any means, wood and citrus swirling around mature but mild bretty weirdness, wild, not so cultured as what we are used to from american brewers, and not without a malt presence beyond the smoked aspect, with chocolate and maybe some wheat in here too. a slight botanical note, piney maybe, sage or tea too, nice with the curious wild complexion. bone dry and insanely effervescent and without any acidity despite the yeast driven nature of the whole thing. bitter smoke and woodsy vibes to finish, just amazing beer thats drinkable for days and madly interesting. these guys dont get one fraction of the love they deserve from the beer geeks. come on guys, this is some special sauce here!!!

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Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of Knapp85
3.82/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This brew poured out as a nice looking dark brown color with a tan colored head on top. the head settles quickly and doesn't leave much on the glass at all. The smell of the beer is smoked for sure, plenty of burnt smokey aromas in this one. The malts are in there too which is nice. The taste of the beer was pretty good, the beer didn't taste salty like most smoked beers seem too to me. THe juniper was a little difficult for me to get from the taste here. The mouthfeel was pretty good, medium bodied with a creamy feel to it. Overall not a bad Smoked beer, worth trying.

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Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of nmann08
4.75/5  rDev +20.9%

Photo of metter98
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is hazy amber in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a finger high beige head that slowly died down but never completely faded away.
S: Smoky aromas are evident in the nose, which also has some hints of juniper berries and twigs.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell; the smoky flavors stand out yet these are well balanced by the underlying malts.
M: The beer coats the mouth, is smooth and feels medium-bodied on the palate with a light amount of carbonation.
D: It's relatively easy to drink this beer because the smokiness isn't overpowering. I would definitely try this again because of its unique taste.

Note: Batch 232, Brewed 6/26/2009

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Boy can this brewery spring some serious wood! It seems they are firing on their largest cylinder with this Smoked Ale.

This beer pours with a very froathy ruby/mohogany color, medium haze, and very creamy head of lightly tanned color. Leaving little lacing behind, this beer takes on a very malty/froathy Dopplebock appearance.

Aromas of obvious smoke is balanced (or an attempted balance) by toffee malts, spicy rye-like grains, and dark stone fruits of dates and figs.

Flavors take over where the aromas leave off. Sweet malts of molassas/toffee mix well with the dehydrated cherry, date, fig, prune fruits just before the full brunt of the smoke/campfire tastes set in. Once they do, the beer takes on an oaky, smokey, and meaty (melanoidin and unami) character that leans on soy sauce and sweet barbque from early palate on. Even a bold nutty and mild chocolate character persists after the fruity start. Delicious and appetizing.

And like Dopplebocks, this beer begins creamy and weighted but soon evolves into a malty dry, but still froathy, texture that leaves very little sweetness on the tongue. Instead, the fleeting malts, medium smoke, and sweet alcohols contribute to a long but dry finish.

This is a very nice Smoke Beer that shares a lot of commonalities between a true Rauchbier and a Dopplebock.

Thanks again Mikeyv35!

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Photo of biboergosum
3.97/5  rDev +1%
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 brentk56
4.09/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a cloudy dark mahogany with a massive head that descends without leaving much in the way of lace

Smell: Campfire smoke, with just a hint of smoked bacon, but plenty of other elements underneath, such as chocolate, licorice and, as the beer warms, juniper berry

Taste: Smoke is all over the opening, and it takes a while for the ash flavor to make way for the other elements I smelled in the aroma; by mid-palate, all of the complexity is in full swing, with the chocolate, licorice, apple and juniper blending in very nicely; after the swallow, the flavor profile dries out with a hardwood finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body but way too much carbonation

Drinkability: As much as I enjoyed the flavor and aroma, the mouthfeel is a major detraction from drinkability

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.7/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a dark amber color ale with a large dirty white foamy head with good retention and some light lacing notes. Aroma consists of smoked malt with some light tart fruit notes. Taste is a complex mix between some tart fruit notes with some smoked malt with light dry caramel malt notes. Body is about average with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Well put together and quite original.

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Photo of zeff80
3.88/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a burgundy color with ruby highlights. It had a two-finger, head of white, bubbly foam that left minimal trails of lace.

S - It smelled of smoke, wood and bacon.

T - It tasted smoky with some roasted malts. Very little hop presence.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A very dry finishing beer that is medium bodied.

D - This is a pretty good smoked ale. Not over the top with smokiness. It had just enough.

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Photo of zestar
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of olradetbalder
3.5/5  rDev -10.9%

Photo of mothman
2.72/5  rDev -30.8%
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.

 777 characters

Photo of nickfl
4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A dark, reddish brown body, appears to have good clarity with some ruby colored highlights. It pours with a large and dense, white head that sticks around for a while and leaves heavy rings of lace in its wake.

S - Strong, earthy, meaty smokiness; reminds me of Bamberg. Some caramel maltiness, chocolate, and herbal notes just barely manage to peek out from behind the smoke.

T - Toasty brown malt up front that is quickly overwhelmed by smoke and the flavor of caramelized pork. Roasted malt comes up in the finish along with mild coffee and some hop bitterness.

M - Medium body, high carbonation, and a dry finish.

D - This beer is all about smoke, and for some people that is going to be a turnoff. For others, such as myself, the smoky complexity of this beer is deeply satisfying. My only complaint would be that the advertised juniper character doesn't really come through.

My natural inclination would be the pair this with smoked pork since that is basically what it tastes like. I would be a bit concerned that pairing smoked beer with smoked meat would be too much, and I might opt for grilled pork loin instead.

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Photo of oberon
4.02/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

 592 characters

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.94/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of dcmchew
4.1/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of billab914
3.45/5  rDev -12.2%
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.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.38/5  rDev -14%
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 BuckeyeNation
3.95/5  rDev +0.5%
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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Norwegian Wood from HaandBryggeriet
3.93 out of 5 based on 340 ratings.
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