Norwegian Wood | HaandBryggeriet

very good
225 Reviews
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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

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Reviews: 225 | Ratings: 335
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 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 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 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 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.

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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.

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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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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 womencantsail
3.68/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for sending this one my way, Lee.

A: The pour is dark amber/light brown with a finger of off-white head.

S: Smells smokey (what a shocker). I pick up almonds and a mild saltiness. There are hints of dark fruits, particularly cherries, with some toasted malt, toffee, and molasses.

T: Amazingly, the first thing I taste is chocolate! There's plenty of toffee and some mild fruit notes. The smoke note is moderate; it's actually heavier on the wood than smoke. A touch of salt and some mild char.

M: The body and carbonation are both medium.

O: I've never had much luck with Norwegian beers or smoked beers, so I had doubts, but this was pretty good.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.3/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served in a Devil's Backbone willibecher.

It took me a while, but I finally got a second chance at this beer. It pours a translucent tawny amber (more toward the brown end of the spectrum) topped by over a finger-and-a-half- of cream-colored foam. The smell comprises smoked ham, roasted malts, light toffee, and wheat, though smokey notes dominate. The taste holds notes of everything listed above, though the smoke is toned down slightly, the toffee is joined bvy a light caramel, and the wheat is toasted. The body is a solid medium, with a lightly moderate carbonation and a slightly watery, smooth feel. Overall, a very nice smoked beer, one that I wish was easier to obtain on a regular basis.

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

A: This beer appears a medium to light copper hue with orange highlights. Upon popping the cap, the beer begins to ooze foam like a slow erupting volcano. The massive head eventually subsides, leaving a very stubborn 1/4 inch head with long lasting retention, yet no lacing.

S: A really complex aroma consisting of smoke, chocolate, candy, butterscotch, roasted malt, toffee.

T: The aroma is an accurate indicator of what flavors one might expect from this smoked beer. The smoke flavor is certainly apparent, though not as heavily pronounced as in most rauch beers. Overall, the beer is a bit sweet, with a tasty blend of butterscotch candies, toffee, and chocolate. The juniper berries are undoubtedly responsible for the floral / herbal flavors that contribute to the growing sweetness.

M: medium body with a sweet, somewhat sticky feel.

D: A tasty brew. I recommend sharing the bottle, as it's better in small quantities.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.76/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark clouded brown with a good sized tan head that stays. Nose is smoked, yes. But definitely not overdone by any means. Smells like smoked meat. Flavor is smoked, but not a kick in the mouth, thankfully. You get a lasting smoke that has meat character to it. I don’t feel like I get much juniper berries like the label implies. But hey, what do I know. Feel has a pretty full carbonation to it that really takes over the mouth. Liquid is well bodied. Overall a good drink. Not an overpowering smoked beer at all. Still seems a bit one-sided and not extremely complex. And for the price, I feel like I should be getting a whole lot more.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.72/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Had this beer at Euology Tavern, Philadelpia PA.

A - Nice murky brown body with a bubbly beige head.

S - Smells quite nice with scents of smoked wood and fire and some sweetness.

T - The taste is obviously very smokey and full of wood. I imagined the brewers putting chocolates onto a dry slab of wood and setting it all on fire.

M - This one was pretty medium bodied altho a little too carbonated I thought. Would have been smoother with less.

D - Certainly a fan of smoked beers, and this one was tasty and smokey but took me some time to finish the whole bottle.

Notes - Try this beer. Its smokey, old fashioned and uniquely brewed. Definately a potent taste burst, just have it in smaller doses.

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Photo of jwc215
3.62/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brewed Feb. 09. Best before Feb. 11.

Pours clouded caramelish dark amber with a thin tan head that stays. Some trailing lace slides down the glass with minimal stickage.

The smell is of smoked wood and juniper. The smokiness is strong, but not overwhelming, allowing a caramelish maltiness to come through, as well as a vague hop aroma. Interesting, smoked wood aroma...

The taste is of sweet caramel with smoked wood. Not quite to the point of smoked meat, as in the Bamburg brews, but close. There is a caramelly maltiness and vague hop touch. A unique smoked taste. A touch of juniper gives a gin-like touch in the finish.

It has ample, even spritzy, carbonation. Medium-bodied.

An "interesting" brew. On sweet side, but with balance. Notably, though not overwhelmingly, smokey. Sounded like it would be like a smoked sahti, but juniper comes across differently here. A unique brew - don't know that I would have it again for the hefty over $10 for the 500 ml bottle, but was interesting/creative.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.25/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle, 6.5% abv, smoked ale with juniper berries.
poured into my new favorite glass, a Brother Thelonious chalic.

Dark brown appearance, cocoa-toned, diaphonous head.

Aroma, smoky from the start, ....mmm, bacon-y...summer sausage...nice.

Rich & meaty...delicious..roasty, full bodied...hey, there's the berries, but dipped with chocolate. Very woody, like liquefied oak.

I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me....

Wood'n'fruit'smoke...isn't it good?...dee-dum-dee-doo...

Mmm, a complex beast, pegged into no particular category, but such a strange and remarkable brew.
Unique, tasty, but I won't spend $8 on another one...I'll leave that to you!

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Photo of Tone
3.91/5  rDev -0.5%

Pours a cloudy, brown color. 2/3 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and decent lacing. Smells of roasted malt, sweet malt, slight hops, smoke, hint of coffee, hint of chocolate, and a hint of yeast. Fits the style of a Smoked Beer. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with a high carbonation level. Tastes of strong smoke, roasted malt, slight sweet malt, slight hop, and slight chocolate. Overall, decent appearance, good aroma and body, but the high carbonation level is unappealing.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.9/5  rDev -0.8%
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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Norwegian Wood from HaandBryggeriet
3.93 out of 5 based on 335 ratings.
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