Doggie Claws | Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room

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Doggie ClawsDoggie Claws

Brewed by:
Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
Oregon, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
"a Barley Wine made in the West Coast style. Big malt and hops make this copper colored ale one of our most popular products. Produced in September and October and released in November, this Beer will improve for years to come. Alcohol: 11.5% by volume. IBU's 70"

Added by mattmaples on 10-12-2001

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Reviews: 551 | Ratings: 1,178
Photo of zeledonia
4.19/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage. Tasted 12 August 2012, reviewed from notes.

Looks dark brown in the glass, but light behind it reveals bright rusty tones. Half-finger of yellowish head, gone pretty fast, with a bit of lacing (not much). Looks are not its strong suit.

I know they HotD says this is hopped-up, but I don't smell it. Much more on the malty side, with plums and other stone fruit. The thing is, I like that. It's sweet, but not overdone; I'd say it's right at the perfect balance point. Some light citrus hops provide a nice complement. Bit of alcohol in the back.

Taste brings the malts, and the bitterness (though I think it's more from the alcohol than the hops). Plums soaked in maple syrup and topped with brown sugar. Sweet and delicious. The alcohol comes on late, with a bite but no burn.

Heavy, heavy, heavy. Feels like a weight on my tongue - a sticky, delicious weight. Carbonation had me worried at first, but picked up half-way through to breathe some air into the dog-pile.

An excellent barleywine. Though in my opinion, it's somewhere between a typical American and English. Maybe it's that they've faded since it was brewed, but I didn't get big hop character.

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Photo of arizcards
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 12 oz single from Holiday Wine Cellars in Escondido while visiting in February 2012. 2011 Vintage.

Beer poured a deep amber with a nice off white head.

Nose is citrusy with big bready malts.

Taste is very well balanced. Pilsner and Crystal malts form the huge backbone. Crystal comes out as the dominant flavor. The citrus hop bite balances off the sweetness in a near perfect way.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and chewy. A decent amount of carbonation keeps the beer lively across the palate.

Overall this beer is extremely smackable. Glad i picked it up when i had the opportunity!

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Photo of WillCarrera
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, 2011 vintage, poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a very murky dark brown color with reddish caramel highlights, produces a finger of creamy tan head, spotty lacing.

S- Sweet aroma of caramel, brown sugar, and booze. There's also a nearly equally powerful hop aroma that provides some nice resinous and fruity notes.

T- Flavor is more dominated by malt sweetness, although the hops provide good balance. Lots of caramel, brown sugar and sweet alcohol. Hops are very fruity and provide some tropical pineapple and citrus flavors. Finish is malty and sweet with some warm alcohol.

M- Full to medium bodied, smooth feel with moderate carbonation.

O- A dangerously drinkable, full-flavored barleywine, one of my favorites from HOTD.

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Photo of russwbeck
4.43/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A: Deep amber to brown pour that boasts a nice haziness and a few fingers of off-white head. Not a lot of carbonation, but nice retention and decent lacing.

S: Boozy aroma, dark fruits, a ton of caramel malts and hints of yeast. Very well blended, almost like it has been aged for a while, but it's very fresh.

T: Focused on the caramel malts, some roast seems to be coming through with booze to top it off. Certainly malt forward, as expected, the taste is really well balanced. Just a pleasure to drink.

MF: Heavy body, low carbonation, very dry finish. Hints of booze, but for 11% this seems to be really drinkable.

O: Fantastic beer. One of the better barleywines I've had (certainly one of the best ones fresh). It's so balanced and mellow, I'd definitely recommend it.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a Konningshoeven chalice. 2011 vintage.

A: A dark mud-brown beer, opaque and matte. Creamy off-white head. Heavy lacing makes up for a kind of ugly color.

S: Barleywine-like! Deep sweet malt base complemented by a heavy hop presence. Alcoholic and spicy.

T/M: Tasty! Layered, complex, and slightly citric. It's not as heavy as the ABV would suggest, but spicy-herbal-sweet. The honey and Amarillo balance perfectly. Slightly carbonated, mostly smooth. An excellent fruitiness varies between berries and grapefruit. Compelling. The finish is drying and moreish.

O: Highly recommended. An excellent beer and one of the better barleywines. Drinkable, interesting, hefty, and rewarding.

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Photo of claaark13
4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

jedwards on the hookup. Poured at cellar temp into a Hill Farmstead tulip. 2009 bottling.

A - Murky, chestnut brown with some very thick lacing. Sticks very well to the glass. Looks phenomenal.

S - Mostly malts with some hoppiness remaining. Sweet brown sugar. Not phenomenal at all.

T - Brown sugar atop malts, raisin and mild hops showing through, burnt sugarcane, sweet sugared raisin finish that turns bitter. Some caramel is also present in the middle. Really nice.

M - Thick with quite the bite on the tongue.

O - One of, if not, the best non-BA Barleywine I've had. Probably the best. Please, please put this in a barrel.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into HOTD tulip. 2011 vintage. Thanks Mike.

A: Pours a very deep ruby-brown color with a thin light tan head that faded into a wispy film leaving thick streaks and spots of soapy lace down the glass.
S: Sweet berries and dark fruits, caramel, sweet raisins, powdered cocoa, lots of vanilla. I get a few hints of leather and smoking tobacco as well.
T: Follows the nose but not as sweet as I was expecting. Hops are earthy and leafy, and I get a bit of the honey they talk about on the bottle. Caramel, raisins, dark berries and vanilla dominate, with chocolate, leather, tobacco, hops, sherry, and wood. Flavors are a bit buttery too. This is just a fine beer all-around.
M: Thick body, smooth and viscous mouthfeel, solid bitterness, with soft and easy carbonation.
O: One of the better barleywines out there. Fresh or aged, this is a fantastic beer. Cheers.

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Photo of Reaper16
4.32/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle -- 2009 vintage -- served into a tulip glass

Pours a murky shade of amber-orange. It's quite mucky looking in the center of the body, but the edges of the body look sorta' like an IPA if you hold the glass to direct light. There's next to no head on this bottle (I've heard there's some carbonation issues with the 2009 vintage, so this has me worried). There's a little wisp of a ring of off-white foam here that doesn't really lace.

The aroma is not very aggressive or complex, but it shows promise. There's notes of brown sugar right upfront, and like a sugar cookie component, too. Some light spices, nutmeg in particular. It's much weaker than it would have been fresh, but there's still some sweet-citrus hop notes here. Mostly oranges, which work well with the sugary smells that provide the backbone of the aroma.

The flavor of this 2.5 year old bottle of Doggie Claws is far superior to its aroma. Raw sugarcane and gingersnap cookies provide the base malt flavors here. There's somehow still a decent hop presence here. It lacks any bitterness, but lends sweet orange and apricot flavors to accentuate the caramelized, sugary malt flavors. This beer at this age doesn't taste hot, but there's some alcohol notes that work well with the perceptible good-oxidation. The finish of the beer is like if you squeezed an apricot over sugarcane.

The beer isn't really that carbonated. It isn't flat though, not is it watery. It's more like a light syrup than anything, which makes it feel in some respects like a liquor. Which is more or less what an aged Barleywine often tastes like.

Overall, this is a very nice Barleywine. It's smooth and deep and cohesive. I'm super impressed with how well Hair of the Dog beers react to the aging process. I wish I had more HotD bottles to subject to even longer ageing spells.

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Photo of PicoPapa
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap straight from the source. 2011 Vintage. Pours a dark, dark brown with an inch of head. Lots of lacing. Aroma is sweet with some toffee, dark fruits and earth. Taste echoes the aroma. Sweet toffee, dark fruits and earthiness. Warming alcohol is very present. Sweet, chocolatey finish. Not overly boozey and well balanced. Creamy mouthfeel. Overall, solid barleywine worth having again.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Magnum, 2004 Vintage, brought to DLD 2012 by yours truly.

A - Pours a rusty reddish/brown color, lots of sediment towards the end of the bottle, thin brownish/tan head, thin collar.

S - Sweet & smooth nose. Dark fruits, caramel, oak, burnt sugars, smooth booze, and light chocolate & honey. Really, a perfect nose for me and the age has really worked wonders on this beer.

T - Again, just simply stunning. Dark fruits, caramel, burnt sugars, light chocolate, and maybe some slight oxidation (if any at all). The booze is just perfect right now, ultra-smooth and rich. Finish is dark fruity sweetness and smooth barleywine booze.

M - Medium to full body, rich and smooth, light carbonation, creamy finish.

O - Wow, this one even surprised me! I must say, this beer is drinking off-the-chain right now. If you have a 2004 (or so) bottle, open it and enjoy. Glad I have more! :D

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Photo of pmarlowe
3.66/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage. Tulip glass.

A: Pours an extremely dark, opaque, red-tinted amber with a finger and a half of dense beige head. Some nice swaths of lacing and good retention.

S: Lots of plum juice at first, which mellows out more as it warms, revealing honey and floral notes, and caramel and crystal malts.

T: Similar, quite dry up front and with a moderate amount of bitterness, which is cut at the back end by lingering honey sweetness.

M: Honey smooth, medium-full body and medium carbonation. Goes down easy and alcohol is almost completely hidden. Slightly sticky mouthfeel.

O: Overall, an OK beer but not overly enjoyable. I can see a barrel treatment doing wonders for this beer. I remember having one with a few years of age on it, and that seemed to mellow and integrate the flavors much better. It seems to be in a bit of an awkward stage 6mo out or so.

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Photo of inlimbo77
3.92/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Doggie Claws 2011
12oz bottle
Pinochio's snifter

A: Pours a very murky, orangey reddish color. There is some carbonation, as I see bubbles drifting off the bottom of the glass, but very thin ring of bright white around edges. Second pour gave me a tad more, with a thin off white label. Alcohol feet, check. Not tons of lacing initially.

S: They said it was hoppy fresh, and even after a very months it still has good aroma. I get some nice pine and fruit notes. Maybe a little overripe peach hints? In looking at the bottle, definitely pulling the Amarillo telltale signs. But the big player is the malt bill. Sweet, bready malts. Pulling some of those toffee notes.

T: Impressed that up front I am getting that hop bitterness on the front of the tongue. Lots of that fresh pine character. West Coast DIPA like actually, minus the fruit. It actually over powers some of the barleywine notes I was hoping for, caramel and toffee etc. The malt bill is pleasant though. I don't taste the booze but there is a little warming throat and you do feel it. A very hoppy barleywine.

M: It's full but not as big and chewy as I was expecting. Again, it's like a big malty west coast DIPA.

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Photo of Impfan
4.35/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very nice deep copper pour with a ridiculously blooming head that takes up most of the glass, and takes forever to recede. Aroma of stewed red and brown fruits with a resinous background. Taste of caramel, toffee, candy sugar, resin, plum, cherry, kumquat, date/fig, and even a bit of kiwi. Very resinous, almost endless finish. Body is somewhat syrupy, but not overly so. Definitely one of the better barleywines I’ve sampled.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.49/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into my new Kate the Great tulip. 2011 vintage thanks to hopsbreath.

Appearance - Dark body with a reddish hue in the light. The one-finger head just fits in the glass. Good retention and, surprisingly, some lacing. Not bad for an 11.5% barleywine.

Smell - When it's cold, it just smells like caramel malt. Really boring. A it warms, it definitely develops into some fruit flavors and a substantial hoppiness. Lots of alcohol, though. Big whiffs give a slight burn in the nose, even.

Taste - Caramel malt, some fruitiness, and definitely alcohol. Hops come through all the way. Faded grapefruit and a bitter finish. The finish is almost earthy, but the hops are a touch too bright for that characterization.

Mouthfeel - Despite the alcohol flavors in the smell and taste, it's quite smooth. It hardly even warms, which is strange. Hoppy bitter finish masks how sweet and syrupy this is. Not easy to drink, but doesn't drink like an 11.5% beer.

Overall - I really wanted to like this more, but it definitely lacks some complexity. Sweet, boozy, and a little uninteresting.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.03/5  rDev -26.5%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

From 12oz bottle to Bruges hyrid glass on 4/7/12
*From notes

-- Thanks to SirRuss for this one --

Vintages 2010

A: First off, I popped the cap, put the bottle down on the counter to grab a glass, and by the time I came back, it had oozed all over the place, soaking my bills, magazines, etc. God damnit. I ended up losing almost half the bottle. As for color, well it's a dirty shade of cloudy piss. One of the ugliest beers I've ever seen. Overly bubbly white .75 finger head and no lacing or real semblance of a collar.

S: Figs, sugar plums and some seriously candied hops.

T: Very concentrated amount of residual sugar and overall sweetness. Toffee and caramel dominate the fore to mid. Alcohol washes over the back. Even two years in, this is still hot. And considering the "Secret of the Ooze" that happened upon opening, I do not detect any signs of infection.

M: Overcarbed to the max. Like a viscous soda pop.

O: There is absolutely no excuse for exploding bottles. It's a sin I lost so much of this to the counter. And it isn't the first time I've had an issue with HotD beers. I simply wish they could find a consistency to their products. Now you know why it gets a 2 overall.

As for their Doggie Claws, it's a nice beer that's got a bunch of warts. If they'd take the time to touch this up and give it a bit of TLC, this could be great. As it is, it's just ok.

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Photo of azdback
3.8/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage, poured into a Bruery Tulip. Beautiful, clear, light ruby red or coppery brown. Crazy carbonation leads to a large three finger head that is bright white and quite thin. The head lays down pretty quick and becomes a bit more thick and luscious as it gets smaller. No lace on this one at all.

Smell is very sweet of caramel and butterscotch. I think I even smell some wood or barrel but I don't think this one is barrel aged. I also get quite a lot of alcohol.

Taste is just as sweet as the smell. I am tasting caramelized sugar, there is some kind fruit pith, that lambasts the tongue but in a good way. The alcohol is almost non present.

Mouth is crisp but smooth. Carbonation is round to spritzy. The body is balanced and the finish is long and dry.

Overall I did enjoy this. I had a little higher expectations for it but am very thankful to matttYCE for the chance at this. A must try for any beer geek.

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Photo of Treebs
3.91/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle served in a Deschutes tulip. 2011 vintage. Big thanks to mfavoino for hooking me up with this guy.

A: Pours a murky dark brown color that resembles a dull penny. A thick head forms on the pour. Light tan colored and about two fingers in height. It takes a while to die down, but it leaves thick sheets of sticky lace on the glass.

S: Definitely on the hoppier side of the barleywines I've had. They have a slight resin smell to them with some residual burnt sugars and a malty sweet ending.

T: The taste is just as hop forward as the nose. Resiny and grassy hops are the main hop flavor profile with a nice pale malt and whole wheat bread crust malt backbone. There is a nice flowery sweetness and a green bitterness on the finish. The booze is barely present.

M: Medium bodied with above average carbonation for the style. It makes it easy to drink and with a ton of flavor this is nice.

O: An easy drinking and flavorful barleywine is always great. The booze isn't noticeable at all and the flavors are pretty solid. I've got another one in the cellar and am excited for what a year or two will do to this as I'd like to see the carbonation die down and the hops ease back a bit.

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Photo of brystmar
4.07/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2007 vintage.

Nice pour, still has head with reasonable retention. Aroma is interesting and complex: surprisingly hoppy, tons of malt, toffee, caramel.

Sweet, hoppy, caramel-y, boozy, then slightly hoppy again to finish. This one aged quite well, really enjoyed it.

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Photo of Gyle41386
4.02/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage. Will update with a fresh bottle. Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

The pour is a red-orange color and almost still. There's just a tiny foam covering and ultra-thin rings with each sip.

Lots of sweetness in the nose. There are light traces of citric bitterness that lead me to believe this beer has a pretty sizable hop presence when fresh, but it's overpowered by honey and caramel. A side-by-side tasting may need to be done in the future.

There's more to the flavor than just sweetness. Sure, the caramel, honey, and citrus (I'll call it orange) are all dominant up front, but the finish is herbal and bitter. It reminds me a lot of a malt-heavy double IPA. Time has obviously removed a lot of the heat from the alcohol.

Body is medium-full. There's practically no carbonation left, giving it a slick, sticky, syrupy texture. Lasting flavor is herbal bitterness. Some good flavors in here. Curious to see how an aged bottle would compare to a fresh one. All in all, a solid drinking experience. A pleasant intro to Hair of the Dog.

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Photo of billab914
3.92/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage poured into my CBS snifter. It poured a darker orange brown color with just some trace bubbles scattered around the edges of the glass.

The aroma has a rich malty profile to it with both caramel and toffee really coming out. The honey is also pretty evident, giving it a bit of a floral sweetness. I get a little bit of a hoppy, grapefruit, citrus rind quality as well.

The taste also shows a lot of the malty, caramel flavors throughout. The honey shows more in the finish with more of the sweeter, floral flavor. The honey almost gives it a bit of a wheatwine like flavor that I really like. The finish has some more bitter, citrus rind showing through and helping it balance it out.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied for the style with carbonation being almost non-existent. Overall it was a pretty good beer of the style. I really liked what the honey added to it and it was very smooth for the abv as well. Very solid beer, but it just didn't really wow me like some of the best of the style do.

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Photo of tewaris
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Doggie Claws
12 oz. bottle from 2011 sent generously by Ron. Thanks! 11% ABV. Poured into a snifter.

A good combination of malts and hops, Doggie Claws smells sweet and caramel like, yet floral-fruity at the same time... much like honey? Swirling lets the nuances of hops come forward and the pungent character of American hops is felt.

Taste is only moderately sweet and bitterness is medium but lingering. Age will certainly treat this beer well as the label claims. Having been on a barleywine kick for a while now, I find myself short of adjectives but suffice it to say that it's good. Notable and somewhat distinguishing features are: a sweetness that holds its own against hops that sometimes seem to overwhelm fresh American versions; strong citrus peel; and a floral character that is probably from honey. I am no expert on braggots but I have enjoyed whatever I have had, so I am certainly digging this floral sweetness. Hints of booze are only welcome.

The body is good but carbonation seems a tad high. Regardless, swirling and warmth will take care of it. I like this beer.

4, 4, 4, 4, 4

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Photo of Mar02x
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this beer pored in by Alan Sprints himself during the Alvinne Craft Beer Festival. What a fantastic moment.

A - A yellow beer with a white head.

S - A fruity hop scent; mango citrus.

T - There is fruity mango, pineapple, candy sugar, but the fluid is not crispy. Alan told me that it came because of the added honey. I didn't notice it though. I know it sounds stupid but I thought that I was drinking a Imperial IPA. Later I discovered it was a barley wine.

M - A soft carbonation and no real bitterness. This beer is beer lemonade!

O - A real nice beer, and so easy to drink. I know that I am nagging now, but a bit colder would have been nice.

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Photo of Drinkerofales
4.3/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours murky copper brown with red in the lights. A large light brown head forms and stays.

Smell is pungent hops, dark fruit, sweet roasted malt, toffee, and booze. Huge.

Taste is candied fruit, booze and roasted malts, hops are present as well.

Feels thick and creamy. While there is an alcohol presence, but it's not too to, just about right.

Nice beer, big and pungent. Gonna get some to age....


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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.54/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours a medium red-orange amber with a one finger fine to medium white head. Nice retention and massive lacing. Looks great. Fantastic aroma of herbal hops and sweet malt, light fruit. Wonderful complex flavor dominated by herbal and citrus hops with a solid sweet malt body and dark and light fruits and honey. Finishes nicely with malt and a hop kick. Creamy medium body. Very well made and tasty. This 2010 bottle was perfectly carbonated, no sign of the over carbonation reported by others for 2010.

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Photo of dogfishandi
4.38/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

thanks to youradhere for the extra!

2011 Vintage. 12oz bottle, fridge temp., darkness snifter.

pours a cloudy ruby red copper/ bronze color, love the color. big creamy, billowy light tan head. three fingers worth off the pour that settles to a solid fingers worth of retention. lots of thick sticky lacing, and lots of visible carbonation bubbles.

resinous piney hops with lots of sticky carmelized malt, some hot booze, a bit of raisony dark fruits and tobacco leaves. a bit of sweetness, carmalized sugar like, comes through.

great taste and a good balance, but still tons of malt. piney, woody, resiny hops are quickly overcome by tons of sticky carmalized malt, molasses, a bit of burnt sugars and tobacco. some nice sweetness that gets cut by the hop bitterness in the finish. warming going down, but no actual taste of alcohol.

big, sticky mouthfeel, a little sweetness on the sides of the palate after the sip, but mostly resinous hop bitterness that lingers. flows over the palate so smoothly. carbonation looked like it would be high from the pour but settled out nicely.

definatly one of the better american barleywine's ive had. similar to bigfoot only with some better complexities. i would love to try this aged or out of a bourbon barrel.

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Doggie Claws from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
4.12 out of 5 based on 1,178 ratings.
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