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Norwegian Wood | HaandBryggeriet

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Norwegian WoodNorwegian Wood
Very Good
344 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

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Ratings: 344 |  Reviews: 229
Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.53/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Probably my favorite brewery in the whole wide World, I saw this today at the Bottle Barn and jumped for joy!!! First off, all their stuff is wicked expensive here in the states. This is no exception at $8.49/500ml bottle. Yikes!!! Pours a beautiful ruddy amber. A finger of creamy smooth head settles into a thin blanket of light tannish head. Leaves wonderful lacing. Well carbonated. Interesting notes on the nose - yes, juniper, but I get the whole bush, not just the berries. A sort of bark-ish scent way in the back. Some tart cherry notes, also. Very interesting and unique. Flavor is kinda crazy. Huge, tangy malt character, fortified with a bunch of the juniper flavors, cover you like a blizzard. This quickly is overtaken by a windstorm of smoke - it's like a Winter campfire of sorts. This malty, smoky middle carries for a while until and into the finish, which is long and only a trace hoppy. There's an off bitterness in the finish I can't place, but don't really like. All-in-all a good, and very unique, beer but not close to my fave from these great brewing innovators.

What I like most: The beautiful pour.

What I like least: The off bitterness in the finish, and the complex yet competing flavors.

Verdict: Not quite worth the hefty price tag, but if you see it you should try it for its unique qualities.

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Photo of berkey
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Label has batch NR 142 printed on it. 1 pint 9 oz bottle poured into a tulip glass and reviewed 11/11/10. From the description on the label it seems this beer is somewhere between a Rauch and a Sahti. I have to say I'm intrigued...

Body is a muddy brown color with some slightly ruddy highlights. Forms two fingers of dense, well retained, khaki-colored head.

Aroma is very fruity and spicy from the start. Can't say I'd identify it as juniper if I didn't already know but there is a very distinct berry or cherry scent. Beyond that there's a fleeting chocolate character that rapidly transitions to clearly defined but not overly assertive woody smokiness. The deeper I sniff the more the smoke becomes a dominant player.

Flavor is sweet and pleasant on the entry but not as intensely fruity as the aroma. From there the flavor segue ways into subdued nutty and unsweetened chocolate but overall the flavor profile is slightly thin mid palate. The smoky flavors are intact but limited to the aftertaste for the most part. There's something potpourri-like in here as well. Unique and pleasant.

Body is a little thin but the somewhat low carbonation seems appropriate somehow. Another solid, interesting, and enjoyable Scandinavian beer. Just wish the prices were as easy to swallow as the delicious beer is.

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Photo of July2Nov
3.67/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bought at Tamura's in Kailua, HI for $8.99

Appearance: Poured a murky, hazy dirty light brown color. Half inch of head that disappeared as soon as it settled.

Smell: Salty, Peppery and Smokey!

Taste & Mouthfeel: I'm thinking this would go great with a fish dinner, because this beer is just what the nose sniffed it out to be. Medium in body and pretty much one noted (if that one note includes: smoke and salt). I can't get the image of liquid beef jerky out of my head. While that might be an exaggeration, the smoke flavor really does come out, but not to the extent where its unpleasant. There is a sweetness to the end of it that provides a balanced yang to the ying of smoke.

Drinkability: My first smoked beer and I'm very intrigued by the style. This is a sipper to experience the nuances of the style. Good!

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Photo of ZacharyJ
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours a huge head. About half the standard pint glass at first. Dissipates to about a quarter inch that stays steady through out the drink. Consistent lacing all around. Deep amber color.

S- Smokey. Plain and simple. Smells like a nice camp fire...

T- ... And tastes like one too. Hints of meat and jerky can be found.

M- Very relaxing. Like a good crackling camp fire. Great beer to sip on after a hard day at work, or before bed.

D- Certainly not a bad drink. But one pint is all I could do in a single sitting. Great beer to share if you can find another smoked beer lover.

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Photo of tronester
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish brown with a medium creamy tan head. Smell is sour cherries, and a hint of alcohol. Taste is oatmeal up front, with a hint of tobacco smoke in the middle, and a leathery, earthy finish. Mouthfeel is smooth, slightly high carbonation. Good drinkability. An interesting beer with a unique taste that I would get again.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Opaquely thick as paint appearance in the hue of a dark rusty, cherrywood, ruddy, reddened, brown. Compacted and tightly foamed crown of dark beach sand sits with might and height. The cap of frothy thick foam settles slowly to a super thick skim that never leaves its place. However, little to no lace decides to stick as most of what shows slides back into the murky skim.

Wonderfully smokey aroma with a calm tone and presense about it that really speaks to its complexity and craft. Unlike most other smoked brews that are perhaps overtly meaty or bacony, this has more of a well placed amount of actual grains and wood than meats. Freshly wholesome and cereal grainy with just the right amount of light smoke puff to it. Light nuances of chocolate and a lighter yet berry sense buried underneath.

Taste has a nice smoothness all around as it has a darkened but fresh, wholesome center of cereal grainyness to it. Bready, just a bit sweet, doughy, and a few notches more of roastyness with dark fruits and berries layered in. Dusted late with a chocolate powder cake and a light smoked wood ascent adding a slice of tang along with it. Actually quite mild and very easy to drink.

Body is a mild medium with an overall tone of bready fluff and favorably grainy texture thats smooth and freshly wholesome. Nearly cask-like in tone with a very well placed airy balance allowing the roasty sweetness to lay groundwork for the smoke to air about and add a super fine tangy element to its character.

Enjoyable! Hell yes to the Norwegians for this wonderful smoked beer. I really liked all its balanced parts. Everything fits very well together with nothing to over the top with a very fresh, wholesome, craft, and subtleness that I found to me very much to my liking for a smoked beer.

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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 cbutova
3.8/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On at Blind Tiger NYC.

A- Brown with a small light tan ring and cloud. Some sticky sure hut only a few spots of lace.

S- Smoky cocoa, leather and some oak. Roast malt, raisin.

T- Roasty malt stout with a prevalent smoke note. Hops are pretty heavy for the style. They lend earthy and even citrus hints. Oak finishes this nicely. Dark fruit heightens as it warms.

MF- Moderate body with high carbonation. Slight sting. Neither overly creamy or watery. Dry. Slight bitters.

DB- Good stuff, becomes fruity at the end. Many nice flavors that balance fairly well. I think I would prefer less fruit but it is still a good beer.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.02/5  rDev +2%
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 Xul
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a slightly hazy amber with two fingers of foamy off-white head. Retention is very good as it takes quite a while to recede.

S: Lots of smoked malt up front, taking on both a smokey bacon quality, as well as a charred wood quality. Juniper berries are light but clearly evident, along with some faint sweet, bready malts.

T: Smoke is strong up front again with charred wood opening things up before a smoked meat character comes in and takes over. Juniper berries and a general herbal quality come in on the mid-palate and rise above the smoke, before giving way to a burnt, smokey finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate to high carbonation, feels lively on the tongue.

D: Very balanced for a smoked beer, the flavor never becomes overwhelming.

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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 BeerForMuscle
3.72/5  rDev -5.6%
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 Reaper16
3.63/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500mL bottle - best by March 2010 - served into a tulip glass

Pours a cloudy burned caramel sort of color. It was pouring out of the bottle as a lighter shade, sort of yellow, but it ended up turning much darker. Odd. The head was one finger in size and sort of dusty in color.

You certainly get smoke in the nose of the beer, though it is pretty light. This is no rauchbier. There are slight whisps of juniper and generic herbaceousness. Mostly I smell sweet amber malt. Perhaps it is because this beer is a few months past the "best by" date but there isn't much going on in the aroma.

This is the rare smoked beer that opts for a balanced approach. The smoke serves to highlight the malt sweetness. The juniper is there, but only faintly. This beer has the tendency to very in taste from sip to sip, which is intriguing. Pretty tasty though not as sharp as I was hoping for. The finish is nutty and sweet.

The mouthfeel works well. It is a medium-sized body with adequate carbonation. Pretty even-keel throughout. The balance of the beer makes for an exceptionally drinkable example of the style.

This is a nice beer. I wish it were more assertive, though. This beer would work best when paired with food.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
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 jikvig
4.21/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a high foamy head on top of a gloudy red/brown colour.

Nice malted aromas, coffee and juniper on the nose.

Rich in flavours, got alot of aromas going for it. As I said, juinper and coffee is present, also some chocolate, licorice and even some burnt coffee beans on the back end (you know, more raw than coffee). Bitternes very aggresive in the beging, but is smoothening out after the inital start. Complex

This is a really interesting beer, with a modest nose and a powerful taste. Adding the wild growing herbs to the mix absolutely adds a sting to the whole mix. Norwegian Wood never tasted as good as this.

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Photo of TMoney2591
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
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 JohnnyP3
4.75/5  rDev +20.6%
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.

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Photo of skullsplitter
3.95/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I had this as the Publick House in Brookline last night. It was a little difficult to give an accurate description of appearance because it was pretty dark by the time I had this drink.

The appearance was a fairly murky brown tea-like color. There was little to no head and lacing was virtually non-existent. From what I could tell there was a very light carbonation.

The smell was quite pleasing. It's been years since I had a smoked beer so I can't really compare it to anything else. It was very light with hints of charcoal and perhaps a little peat. I didn't really get the hint of fruit esters. The smoke smell was never overpowering so I would have expected to pick up something.

The taste was sweeter than I thought it would be. Again, the very light smoky flavor was there along with some caramel and the light taste of the juniper berries. There were definitely some other flavors meshed with the aforementioned that I just couldn't place. Everything was blended very nicely and no one taste outshone the other. Very well balanced.

I found this to be somewhat lighter in terms of mouthfeel. I dare say it was somewhere along the watery lines which was interesting because it certainly did not taste that way. All in all a very strange consistency. Very sessionable. So much so that I had to remind myself of the price tag. I would definitely try again.

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Photo of Atricapilla
4.32/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Color is a light milk chocolate brown with a fairly thin dirty white head. Beer had fairly consistant carbonation. Aroma was heavily smoked, with a bit of grain. Flavor was fairly smooth; dominated by a thorough smoke, but not overpowering. Had a substantial maltiness and chewiness I had not encountered in a lot of smoked beers.

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

- Traditional Norwegian smoked ale with juniper berries. Batch 209. Brewed in Feb. 09. Best before Feb. 11. Consumed 5/26/10.

A: Poured a nice amber ice tea color with a rapidly evolving 4 finger straw-beige foamy head that cleanly slid down the glass walls leaving no visible lacing. Retention was fair, maybe a bit less so considering its initial state, leveling off to a spongy thin coating within a matter of 2, maybe 3 minutes tops. Effervesce was medium, composed of tightly bound micro bubbles rising at a moderate rate.

S: The aromatic appeal gets things off to a rather good start. Not quite as intense as an Aecht Schlenkerla it did provide a smooth beautiful offering of smoky goodiness. Freshly burnt ambers emit at medium strength along with soft hints of charcoal. The nose however quickly diminishes soon after the pour lacking any retention and would of easily garnished higher regards if I didn't have to rush to appreciate the intake. No real signs of the forementioned juniper berries perhaps covered up by the smoky nature.

T: Sweet grains are highlighted by a smooth smoky character. The juniper berries are there, but swallow to quickly and you might miss them. Fleshy berry skins, dry twigs and sweetly toasted caramel grains come briefly and quickly upon the initial sip but quickly succumb to a smoky appeal that gathers steam towards the finish. Smoky charred wood, burnt vegetation with a finish of silky ash all coming off very smooth and refined. There is a nice malty sweetness that is woven within the smoky flavors.

M: The mouthful is near full, almost like cough syrup with only a modest showing of carbonation. The real treat comes after the swallow with a silky ash coating the tongue.

D: Solid drinkability. The smoky malt adds nice highlights without being overbearing with a good tongue coating appeal. Overall good all the way around.

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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 Deuane
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to FooFaa for sharing a bottle of this.

A-Hazy, deep copper with a robust, light tan head that settled to medium cap and left nice webbed lace.

S-Mmm, mmm, smoky and earthy with a light sour twang. Very similar to a popular local meat product called Lebanon Bologna.

T-Smoke richness with an almost chewy quality. Full flavoured roasted malt with an earthy bitter finish.

M-Medium bodied with very nice lingering smoke character and mild earthy bitterness.

D-Well, it is not a secret that I am a smoked beer lover and this one surely is a well done smoked beer. Quite tasty with plenty of flavour and an accompanying, underlying bitterness that accents the smoked malt nicely.

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

Consumed on 4/11/10 at the Copper Mine Pub in North Arlington, NJ.

From notes....

Appearance: Pours a light iced tea with red and honey folds, a slightly buttery 1 finger crown, little retention or lace.

Smell: Solid smoke profile over fairly biscuit like malt.

Taste: Same as nose but less inspired.

Mouthfeel: Crisp medium body.

Drinkability: Goes down easy as its fairly well balanced.

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Photo of Kendo
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch # 72. Brewed April 2007, Best Before April 2010. Consumed April 29, 2010 (after putting it in the DBF in late March, so about 3 years in the cellar on this one).

A: Poured into a pint glass. Body is clear reddish-amber with a big (3+ finger) foamy beige head that snaps, crackles and pops as it settles (relatively quickly at first, then slowing), leaving no lace.

S: Smells mainly of smoke and peat and charred wood. "Campfire," my wife said and that's not far off. Also some sort of fruitiness, I think.

T: Mildly smoky with charred peat. Some basic malt foundation and a touch of some sort of spice. Slight bitterness at the back of the sip provides some balance, but the smokiness is still there.

M: Call it medium-bodied beer with active (maybe a tad too active), big-bubbled carbonation.

D: OK. Drinking it alone right now it's a tad bit too smoky; it'd probably be a better brew with some sort of grilled food, e.g., a burger, sausage, pork. . . .

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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.36/5  rDev +10.7%
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.

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Norwegian Wood from HaandBryggeriet
Beer rating: 3.94 out of 5 with 344 ratings
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