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Norwegian Wood | HaandBryggeriet

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Norwegian WoodNorwegian Wood
Very Good
346 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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Ratings: 346 |  Reviews: 230
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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Photo of drabmuh
3.9/5  rDev -1%
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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Photo of jwc215
3.62/5  rDev -8.1%
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 glid02
4.12/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Brick Store.

Pours a slightly hazy brownish-amber color with a one-finger slightly off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of bright and crisp smoked malts - think ground sausage and salmon wrapped in bacon and leather - with smoother caramel malts backing it all up.

Tastes similar to how it smells although the flavors don't pop quite as much as the smell intimated. Smoked malt flavors kick things off and sweeten a bit midway through the sip. A light bitterness comes in shortly thereafter with slight wood-y notes and carries through to a mildly bitter and crisp ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I didn't have a probem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall this smoked beer ranks right up there with the best from Schlenkerla and the juniper adds just a hint of earthiness that's well served here. If you're a fan of smoked beers then this one is well worth a shot.

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Photo of tubacharlie
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
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!

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Photo of Parrotbeak
4.02/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Slightly cloudy amber with a two inch, creamy, off-white head that remains.
Smoked malts up front on the nose, with some sausage and a little barbeque. There's a very faint sweet aroma here as well.
Taste is more smoke, with the same sausage and barbeque. Not as intense as I hoped, but still quite nice.
Mouthfeel is just a bit flat, lacking a level of carbonation I'd prefer. Slightly watery, with a medium-light body.
Good drinkability. I really like these smoke ales, and this is another one that didn't disappoint.

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Photo of farHillsBrewer
4.52/5  rDev +14.7%
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.

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Photo of brc
3.92/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 142. Bit of a gusher.

Pours a dark chestnut, quite opaque. Settles to a light tan head with nice lacing.

For all the stuff that went in here, the aroma is really dominated by yeastiness. Toasted grain and meaty aromas behind. As it settles, the bacon aroma starts to take over.

Well, you can't miss that this is a smoked beer. It's not too heavy on the bacon, though - there's plenty of toast as well. There are layers to the flavor, including some cola/spruce (the juniper, I suppose?) and dark sweet cherries towards the finish. The flavor sticks around quite awhile, finishing dry with some lingering smokiness.

Very filling and creamy. Tasty and satisfying, but not built for drinking in large quantities.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.55/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

500ml bottle purchased as a single at Julio's, Westboro, MA. Batch NR 70, Brewed Mar 07, best before Mar 10.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, it's a foamer, 1" clear red brew, 4 1/2" beige froth. Head is down an inch in a little bit, with random large chunks of lace here and there. Aroma is smoky and effervescent. Taste is somewhat muddled at the front, sweet and spices battling it out. Smoke comes on in the middle, then a quick peek of chocolate at the close. Mouthfeel is maybe a bit too prickly, and drinkability is alright. Doesn't come together very well, but is an interesting brew for sure.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
3.85/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - a dark caramel/brown color. Lots of pale mocha foam, two fingers at least. Doesn't lace much sa the head recedes, I don't know if the shape of the Belgian glass has anything to do with that or not. Even after several minutes, it still has a thin solid cover and a good foamy ring around the collar.

Aroma - roasty, smoky malt. Basic, and good.

Taste - a dry, toasty malt, hints of nuts and coffee. Good smokiness on the swallow, a mellow level that is tasty without going totally ashy or Liquid Smoke. The beer without the smoked malt I imagine would be a decent toasty brown ale. The juniper adds a green prickliness. Better blend of flavors with warming, so give this a little time.

Mouthfeel - pretty well-carbonated, a touch of smoothness, on the lighter side of medium body-wise.

Drinkability - interesting. Kudos to the hand-smoking efforts here. I'd have it again.

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Photo of PartyBear
3.78/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Lively out of the bottle, lost a tiny bit when opening. Pours a lovely dark chestnut colour with a medium sized creamy tan head, and an abundance of carbonation. The nose is heavily malty with clear notes of chocolate, caramel and some brown sugars. There is also a smokey, peatlike aroma coming through the sweetness. The flavours are noticeably accented by the smokiness from the wood, with dark chocolate, a bitter peatiness, and some subtle sweet fruits from the berries. The mouthfeel is quite light, and the texture has a rough quality to it. Really interesting beer, thoroughly enjoyed it. It's different and well worth finding.

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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 demcorhip
3.71/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another brew raided from the choas which is the basement beer "cellar". Looks great, dark brown, almost opaque, with a great two finger pale tan head with killer retention. Nice, thick and sticky lacings.

Nutty toffee, bacon, and a touch of bitter evergreen resin. Quite an interesting aroma, will be interesting to see how this works.

Interesting, some smoky bacon in a bottle here. Nutty malts and toffee are almost immediately overtaken by a slightly sweet, meaty smokiness. Wish i had this to have with the smoked ribs I ate Sunday night, it could have stood up to them. The juniper has really taken the back seat, and shows up with a mild yet complimentary numbing bitterness that hints at resin and pine.

Nice mouthfeel. Thick, almost meaty, yet smooth. This makes no excuses and is fairly smoke forward, yet the richness of the malt and smooth thick feel make it work.

Not the most drinkable style for my taste, and it will take me a while to get through this, thanks to the complexities and substantial body. But I certainly recommend this to fans of smoked beers, this is much more interesting than a run of the mill smoked porter. Im glad i picked this one up, and may again someday...

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Photo of mwilbur
3.63/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 16.9 oz bottle into shaker pint glass.
A: Pours a dark cloudy amber-red color with 1 inch light tan head. Decent retention.
S: Pleasant smoke aroma. Many smoke beers are over the top with the smoke aroma. Here it is still the dominant aroma, but soft and blends well with roasted malt notes. I don't smell the juniper...or anything else though.
T: Smoke, roasted malt, and hint of juniper berries. I go back and forth on whether the juniper adds or subtracts (and distracts) from the overall taste profile.
M: Soft feel. Light body. Taste lingers only briefly. Mild hoppy finish.
D: Certainly an interesting beer and one to at least try once. A very pleasant, well-balanced, and easily drinkable smoke beer. Good sessionability. I was anticipating this to be more complex than it ended up being.

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Photo of bonk0076
3.48/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

16.9oz bottle

Apperance - Hazy mahogany in color, this beer poured an ambitious beige head that takes a bit to settle.

Aroma - Dominated by smoke and meat smells. With a little bit of pine beneatht it.

Taste - Strong smoke taste up front. Jerky, as well. Juniper is very faint.

Mouthfeel - Medium mouthfeel, with a nice hoppy finish to balance out the smoke.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.58/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume II, Issue III:

Apparently a re-creation of a traditional Norwegian smoked ale, brewed with smoked malt, Munich malt, crystal and chocolate malts, and spiced with juniper twigs and berries--sounds a bit like Finnish Sahti.

Pours quick and foamy, so be gentle. Hazy tawny color with a beige foam head. Aroma is yeasty, smoky and meaty with toasted wood and soft fruitiness. A little tart up front, with a smoked tanginess. Forest fruits beneath, dried apple and earth. Biscuity here and there. Charcoal, dusty-malt husk and ash toward the finish (which is dry and lingers with much smoke and wood).

The addition of juniper twigs and berries is rather subtle, which is probably a good thing as one can get carried away with junipers. Regardless, this beer is not for non-smoke ale lovers. This is all that and a bag of smoldering embers. That said, this is a "split a bottle with a friend" beer as it's rather hard to finish an entire one, and we're smoked beer lovers.

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Photo of Brandt
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this beer poured a strange brownish color with a good tan head, two fingers or better.

the aroma was a nice smooth smoke character with hints of dry maltyness

the taste was quite smokey with a good woody flavor in there as well. there are hints of malt and a touch of betterness here but mostly just a smooth smoke flavor

this one finished with a med body and a good lingering smoke flavor on the pallet. a really nice smoke beer that is very drinkable.

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Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.63/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: It pours murky light brown/redish, with a large, off-white head that stays for quite some time. Faint lacings.

S: Smoke, obviously but also some noticable caramell malt notes along with some chocolate.

T: First only smoke, but that's quickly balanced with both sweetness and dryness. There is chocolate, citrus and juniper. It feels a bit perfumed - that's the weak part of the taste.

M: The aftertaste is really long and holds a nice mix of sweet and dry. The body is full, and the carbonation is medium.

D: I've had "heavier" smoked beers earlier and didn't even finish them - I found them horrible.
This is a mild smoked beer that I actually enjoyed. Maybe it's time for me to try the more difficult ones again...

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Photo of Mitchster
4.47/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

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Photo of Travlr
4.42/5  rDev +12.2%
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.

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

500ml bottle bought online from Beermerchants.com

Poured a deep dark mahogany red colour. Creamy tan head poured small but quite thick then faded fairly quickly to wispy covering with thick edges... light carbonation... some thin lacing...

Aroma - Rich deep smokiness - smoked beach and oak wood, burning pine, quite sweet with treacle and molasses hints, leathery and earthy, dark fruits (raisins and dates), toasted bready malts, nut brown butter..

Taste - As with the aroma the smokey malts are to the fore, also some brown sugar sweetness, hickory, dried spicy fruits (raisins, sultanas), piney hop traces, also some toffee apple notes, toasted malt loaf, peppery, some nutmeg...

Feel - Quite smooth but not as rich as i was expecting... medium bodied... very quaffable for a 6.5% brew...

Overall - An excellent and quite complex smoked beer... well worth a try..

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

I am a general fan of smoked beers. This past year I spent some time in Bamberg Germany and tried about 25 versions (mostly very small breweries). As an aside, the well known Schenkerla was below average IMO, due to its simplistic overemphasis on smoke and only smoke, although the Urbock is certainly more interesting than their Marzen.

I have had this Norwegian Wood numerous times now and it never dissaopoints.

It pours a murky dark brown with a robust and fervent white head. It is a bit overcarbonated, so pour it hard into a big glass to release the "fizz" resulting in a more creamy and pleasant moutfeel (I reccommend this approach for most Beligians which I love but find over carbonated).

It smells like a campfire after someone through a tiny branch of green pine needles on it (yum), with a slight sweet chocolate note. The taste is more of the same but with less pine (probably juniper).

The mouthfeel is very nice and medium-heavy with a creaminess (if your hard pour it). The smoke lingers.

I have to say that the smoke seems much more prominent in this batch which seems to overtake the juniper bite I recall from past bottles. I still like it alot and it is better than most smoke beers (which I think highly of), but I liked the prior bottles even more, because they were more unique.

No smoke beer lover should not try this if they can.

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Photo of BeerSox
3.65/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle into nonic.

Turns out as a unique cloudy mahogany hue with a one finger tan head that settles to a cap.

Somewhat sweet, with a touch of toasty malts coming though, but most of the aroma is like the damp air at the beginning of winter when everyone is throwing logs on the fire.

The flavor is somewhat acerbic, with a lot of carbonation as well. The smokes malts are obvious, giving a dried and smoked meat characteristic, almost to the point where it's a little peppery. Full bodied.

An okay smoked beer, but after this one I would rather to back to a more traditional Rauchbier.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
4.17/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Batch #70. Brewed March '07

Pours into a Tripel Karmeliet chalice an extremely hazy opaque dark brown with three fingers of khaki foam on top that slowly falls. Aromas of smoked malt upfront reminiscent of a dying campfire. The meaty quality is there along with an underlying yeast and juniper spiciness. Very earthy overall.

First sip is robust smoky malts with toasted caramel and cocoa accents. Earthy yeast tones meet up with spicy juniper berry and pine flavors. Mellow sweetness throughout that ends with a spicy finish. Tastes authentic and has an old world feel to it. Tasty smoked ale.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and crisp. Solid spritzy carbonation. Goes down easy. Overall, I found this to be an interesting, tasty brew that I would have again!

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Norwegian Wood from HaandBryggeriet
Beer rating: 3.94 out of 5 with 346 ratings
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