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

864 Reviews

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

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Fred was created to honor beer writer and historian Fred Eckhardt. It is made with aromatic and rye malts and includes 10 different hop varieties.

10% alcohol by volume
65 IBUs.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-13-1998

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Reviews: 864 | Ratings: 1,806
Photo of RaulMondesi
4.4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Yeah buddy, is Raul sure feelin' this one. I assume when Kelis "brings her milkshake to the yard," it tastes like this. Thick(ish), smooth, a bit sweet, almost mead like...but heavenly. All kinds of heavenly. Like all of the Victoria Secret Angels at Raul's house for a sleepover "heavenly."


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Photo of BigJYoungblood
4.2/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very very good beer, very fruit flavor that does a very good job of hiding the alcohol flavor, although it is still there in the aftertaste. Pours a clearish gold with good lace. Very enjoyable beer and during a long day just one alone did me good, which just so happened to be how many I had. Purchased while at the brewery having a flight taster, was my favorite that was in to go bottles and not just a growler, Batch #89

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Photo of joe1510
4.49/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz Bottle
Liquid Solutions

Batch 67

Fred pours a hazy dirty copper with a great three finger tan head that lasts and lasts. The body glows with orange highlights when backlit and for some reason the head even seems to have a tint of dirty orange to it. A few tiny carbonation bubbles rise to the big dense head keeping it busy. Leaves sheet lacing down the glass after each sip.

This beer smells nothing like what I was expecting. The first thing that comes to mind is juicy but tart ripe green apples along with slivered almonds. Hmmm....interesting. Some caramel and semi-sweet pale maltiness lurk around in the back and there's a nice alcohol spiciness toward the end that adds a great complexity. Really interesting and delicious smelling. Makes my mouth water.

The maltiness comes through much more in the flavor than aroma. Caramel and toffee maltiness show through big along with a mid-palate leafy hoppy bitterness. The green apple tartness and quick but sharp nuttiness come through as well. This beer is as unique as it gets. Layers of complexity. The next sip never equals the last.

The mouthfeel is unbelievably luxurious and plush. Airy up front, creamy in the middle, and smooth as velvet on the finish. The carbonation level is perfect.

This beer goes down super easy but is without a doubt a sipper. I could drink it a little faster but with the sheer complexity I would be missing way to much.

Fred must have been a good man because the beer brewed in his honor is brewed with great care and unbelievable flavor. I'd love to see the recipe for this beer. It fits in no category but has hints of many styles. Another great beer from Hair of the Dog. Adam and Ruth are two of my favorites from this year.

Reviewed: 10/20/07

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Photo of facundoCNB
3.94/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a copper pour with some black sediment that's actually intimidating (from a homebrewer's perspective). almost like tea sediment. the aroma is all caramel with a hint of toffee, chocolate, raisins, plum, pecans. MY GOD this tastes like candied yams! is that even possible?? definitely getting a LOT of pecan, walnut, caramel, subtle chocolate, sugary sweetness.
full body, low carbonation, very much a dessert beer.
an awesomely sweet delicious beer. get it.

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Photo of TheGreatFozzini
2.84/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Was excited about the color, the smell was perfect
I got the zero carbonation version.
Taste was exactly as I had expected for a golden ale.
Warming but not overwhelming heat.
I'm disappointed, Nothing more to say.
Doubt I would shell out more money for another Hair of the Dog.

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Photo of JReites
1.08/5  rDev -73.5%
look: 1.25 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Batch 88 bottle poured into a goblet glass.

A- Very hazy orange color upon pouring. No head at all.

S- Very strong smell of dark fruits, sweetness, and an overall off putting aroma. Can't put a finger on what the smell is I am getting.

T- Very sweet with hints of dark fruits. Not sure what is going on with the taste, seems to be very confused flavors overall.

M- Very thick and syrupy with a strong, warm alcohol presence.

O- Honestly I was looking forward to finally trying a beer from Hair of the Dog. I could not drink more than 2-3 sips of this one. Same goes for the rest of the people around when we tasted it. Poor flavor and hard to tell if this was still good. Have heard of problems with consistency with this beer, would try it or other HotD again, but only if offered as a sample. I am definitely not willing to pay full price for a bottle or draft of this or others until trying something better.

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Photo of mattsander
4.25/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured almost dead flat, hazy copper in color. Not especially good looking but it obviously wasn't treated well on its trip to me.

S: Rich grainy malts, sweet & spicy, red licorice, apricot and plum, peach cobbler, fruit salad. Perfumy. Very nice, I could smell this all day.

T: Deep and decadent malt character, caramelized fruits, nice English/Scottish yeast esters. Juicy, sweet and satisfying. Very easy to drink.

M: Full bodied, juicy and sweet. Not overy sticky or syrupy, great balance.

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Photo of bcm75
3.33/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.25

Overly loud hiss of carbonation when bottled was opened. After an extremely careful pour I was still left with a good solid 5 fingers of head in my tulip. It was an extremely thick head that didn't even begin to dissapate for 20 minutes. This beer is way, way over-carbonated. Flavors and aroma are nice but this issue ruins it.

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Photo of Hoptometrist
2.11/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Served from the bottle (Batch 88) into a globed glass

A- Poured a dark hazy orange color with zero carbonation, no head, nothing.

S- Big dark fruits (figs, dates), rye, honey, and tons of sweetness, cardboard, slight wet dog aroma. Not a great aroma

T- Pretty muddled, lots of sweetness, honey, graininess, rye, and marmalade. Some cardboard notes.

M- Very low carbonation, syrupy, fuller bodied, big alcohol warming. Drinks pretty flat overall.

O- I was excited to try a beer from Hair of the Dog but had heard bad things about carbonation issues and have avoided buying their bottles for that reason. This is my first bottle from them and it might be my last. Too much money to spend on unreliable quality issues. Their beers sounds really interesting, maybe I will catch some of their beers on draft sometime. Could not drink more than a couple of ounces of this.

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Photo of GilGarp
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Batch #86. Twelve ounce bottle served chilled into a goblet glass.

Fred is a medium amber color, darker than expected, though part of that could be down to a hazy appearance. The head is thick and has great retention. The beer looks active in the glass with a look similar to fermenting beer in a carboy. As it starts to settle, a perfect sheet of lace is left behind.

Aroma is sweet and hoppy like a barleywine or old ale. There seems to be some tropical fruit, maybe pineapple, which helps to lend a freshness to the beer.

Flavor is strong and assertive with a huge malt body and big complex hop profile. It has sweetness from the malts up front with caramel and toffee but little or no roast. The hops give a lot of bitterness but also some interesting flavors. Tropical fruit, citrus, and pine all come through. It finishes fairly dry with a lingering alcohol. It's not hot but I imagine it might have been close when it was fresh.

Mouthfeel is medium plus in body and nicely bottle conditioned.

Overall another exceptional Hair of the Dog ale. Not quite as good as Adam but still a very special beer.

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Photo of ubenumber2
4.12/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bottling into a tulip type glass , very hazy beer yellowish with an orange hue to it , huge head that goes down to a nice 1 finger head after a bit , spotty lacing

The smell is sweet and a little spicy with a hint of plums , raisins and brown sugar

The mouth is heavy with lots of carbonation to it

The taste of this beer just doesn't match up to the smell of it , its not bad by any means. Starts off spicy and sweet but ends off with a punch of alcohol at the end that just doesn't fit in with the rest of it

Overall it's a good beer with a great smell just a little off balanced in the flavor for me. The over powering alchohol at the end. I would like to get some and let it age for about a year and see how it levels out

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Photo of woosterbill
4.48/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle from batch 75, poured into a Fantôme tulip.

A: Clear deep copper body under an inch of dense tan foam. Great retention, solid lace. Amazing - particularly for a vintage beer this strong. Just stunning, really.

S: Wow. Caramel, dark fruit, spice, oatmeal cookie, and some floral (hoppy?) notes. Again, wow.

T: Sweet caramel and toffee up front, followed by more caramel and finally some spicy, bitter, boozy intensity on the finish. Delicious.

M: Creamy, full-bodied, and almost prickly with the heat and bitterness. Quite a mouthful, and enjoyable in its intensity.

O: What a beer! This is not for the faint of heart, as even with a few years on it Fred packed a serious punch in every way. I particularly loved the complexity of sugars in the aroma. I just wish I'd bought more than this one bottle!


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Photo of fox227
3.22/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 1 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

For awareness purposes, I want to report what I've read from others in that this batch, 89, and others, have not been carbed, leaving a totally flat beer that gives the impression of a beer that has been poured more than two hours before. This isn't small head, this is zero foam. What happened? This seemed like a good beer, with flavors of candied sugar, toffee and caramel, but no life for these elements to become enjoyable.

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Photo of nrb1
2.36/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I had the same issue - 2 bottles totally flat. Not a hint of carbonation. No head. This is from Batch 88. Bummer. Will try to find a couple of bottles that are in better shape. Also have a couple of bottles of Adam, same batch. Hopefully not with the same problem.

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Photo of JandJMD
3.62/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I don't consider myself qualified to complete a full review, but will do so since there seemed to be an issue with what seemed to be an otherwise good beer.

It poured with absolutely no head. No carbonation at all. Completely flat. There were no signs that there were an issue with the cap or bottle, so not sure what went wrong.

It was a dark orange/brown. Kind of hazy. The taste was overly sugary sweet. Molasses and caramel flavor. Really strong sugar taste. Not really much alcohol flavor for 10%. Really malty on the finish after the sweetness fades.

Would like to have a good bottle of this. Seems like it should be a good beer, just a bad bottle.

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Photo of beagle75
4.26/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a tulip glass.
Batch 81

A: Clear, medium golden color with over two fingers of voluminous and persistent white foam head. Moderate clumped lacing remains on the glass and effusive sheets of bubbles rise in the column.

S: Lightly toasted grain is clean and very honest. The rustic quality of the smell evokes just-milled base malt, and lots of it--exactly like a visit to a working brewery. Fruit is weak but bright, a combination of pear and delicate lemon. No alcohol is detected.

T: Begins sweet, with big pale malt that is paradoxically refined after the rustic smell. The cleanliness, on the other hand, parallels that of the smell, lacking any characterful input from yeast. Things get interesting into the middle as the flavor sweetens further to become truly dessert-like. There is a definite boozy thread that develops mid-way through the flavor profile, well-timed alongside emerging herbal bitterness. Whatever fruitiness is present appears similar to the pear from the smell, but is short-lived. The finish maintains the characteristic cleanliness of the rest of the profile with a sleepy-but-moderate bitterness that has shows staying power.

M: Thick viscosity, very smooth--even slick--on the palate, with low carbonation.

D/O: I did not expect or want to like this beer; strong blond beers never seem to measure up. This well-aged bottle of Fred was able to win me over, representing well the learned opinions of those few who reported that this beer might even exceed the excellence of Hair of the Dog's other signature strong ale, Adam. Something--namely Belgian abbey yeast--seems absent, although it is not missed. A strong burst of yeast-derived metabolites would only distract here. As it is, this beer is a focused and decadent beast of a malt-bomb. Although the official derivation of the name honors craft brewing royalty, I like to think that is also gives a nod to Fred Armisen and his Portland-inspired humor.

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Photo of Seanniek91
4.49/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served from a 12oz bottle into an Allagash chalice. Batch number 86. Cellar temp.

Appearance- Slightly hazy orange/copper with thick off-white head that shows no sign of leaving. Incredible lacing follows.

Smell- Very strong fruit aromas of peaches, green grapes, apricots, and citrus fruits. heavy caramel malts and light booze are also prominent.

Taste- Belgian candy sugar, apricots, and rasions are the dominant flavors I'm getting. Carmel and earthy tobacco notes are light, but still there. Finish is mildly boozy with nice hop bitterness. Well balanced between malty/sweet and hoppy. Hops linger for a while.

Mouthfeel- Thick and resinous. Ample enough carbonation. Smooth and mildly hot. Clean finish with a mouth cleansing bitterness.

Overall- With the moniker of "Golden Special Ale", one might believe this beer to be a light crisp ale, butin my mind, it has more wheat wine qualities to it. Phenomenal none the less. Would love to try their variations or older vintages.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
4.34/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: bright gold with round juicy glow, a touch of haze, cottony white head, decent snail trails

S: floral bouquet, hard candy.... really hits you.... strong medicinal alcohol aroma, permeates the mucus membranes, opens them up, but reigned in and complemented well with the honeyish, turbinado syrup tones.... overall, pretty baller-bold

T: strong, smooth, phenolic, hot, with odd under-/over-ripe honeydew.... a slick hybrid between an old school type Amer strong (Yards Tavern Ale?) and a spicy Belgian strong golden (Duvel, but with a different, smoother spice)

M: round like its glow.... tiniest gummy-chewy texture... buffered desiccant effect from medicinal alcohol.... has some substance, has something to say

O: the funky melon thing really sticks out, the most memorable thing about it aside from the honey-nectar like body (like an ice-wine or a Moscato?).... I could tear through a few of these

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Photo of chinchill
3.62/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. cellared bottle from 2008.

Poured amber and more-or-less clear. Although bottle conditioned, the aromatics seem similar to a barrel-aged beer. Some of that is the suggestion of brandy in this high ABV ale. Also smells a little fruity. Has a medium-full body with some harshness from the alcohol.
Taste: very strong flavor; no style on bottle but "imperial barleywine" seems appropriate. Mildly bitter.

O: an extreme ale that seems a little over the top and with the high ABV a bit too obvious. Rough and unrefined in contrast with an aged Firestone DBA that preceded it.

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Photo of Axnjxn
3.82/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle batch 87

As i was first cracking the top open on the bottle, i could hear a loud "pop" sound. Obviously, this beer was massively carbonated. Slowly poured it into a Tulip glass and the head was massive. Pours a dark golden color with a massive white head that slowly dissipates. Smell is amazing - fruity and sweet. Tropical fruits dominate the nose. Taste is intense! extreme carbonation and tang is all you taste at first, then you get a taste of raisins and apricots. Its much less sweet than the nose would leave you to believe. However, a very bitter finish detracted from this beer. Body is on the heavy side of light with extreme carbonation.

overall this beer doesnt mess around. It has a massive flavor profile that seems to be just too over the top for me. i cant quite tell what it is.

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Photo of 4000qtrap
4.97/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Source/Serving: Bottle

S: Wow, this is a BIG nose. Lots of hops, malt, and yeast too. Wow. Fresh lillies, honey, spearmint, caramel, rye bread are all in your face. A nice toastiness and also fruit heavy which is super complex (banana, tropical fruit, guava, pineapple). Light ginger, tangerine, and vanilla. Lively and zesty overall. Rye spiciness and Belgian spiciness are moderate, along with apple cider,

T: Ginormous flavor profile, wow, this is massive. Fairy sweet up front, but not as sweet as it should be given how malty it is. Syrupy and thick, but the worried expectation of cloying sweetness is never met - more of a mouthfeel indication than a sweet taste per se. Confusing to the brain. Hops are evident from the get-go with mint, herb, fresh flowers, but are clean and not oily or resiny at all. Body is over the top heavy, practically a shake. The middle is syrupy caramel/toffee/toasted bread malty but really only slightly balanced to the sweet side due to a soft, fortifying bitter balancer. For how heavy this beer is there is a ton of juicy fruitiness and liveliness, really a study on how to make a heavy beer light - very well done. Belgian spiciness/fruit and the rye notes are all evident but in the background, more of a foundation flavor. Incredibly smooth, creamy, almost slick. Finish has a nice dryness, but the alcohol is not at all hot or really very present - very well done. The sip ends with smooth clean mint, heaps of caramel, brown bread, more floral and importantly some rye grittiness (which is good) and pithy bitterness, cleansing the palette and keeping you fresh for the next sip.

A: some of the best head retention I've ever seen.

Notes: This beer is a blast to drink. Find some and drink it. Its totally original, its intensity is uniquely awesome and amazingly smooth for the absolute flavors/aromas of the beer. Don't worry too much if you don't like sweet beer either, its really fairly balanced but uber-malty.

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Photo of yankeepride
3.61/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

This one was a little all over the map for me. If you hate super-sweet beer, then run to this one, and then run screaming in horror in the opposite direction. It poured almost flat, and the massive malt bill comes right out of the glass and smacks you. You get all sorts of fruit flavors; banana, cantaloupe, guava, and whatever else your nose is sensitive enough to pick up. However, the sheriff in this town is the Belgian candy sugar. It is so syrupy and sweet that it has a bit of a sticky taste to it. I picked up the slightest bit of hops toward the very end, but the sugar completely overwhelms all sense of balance. As my first HotD beer, it is clear these guys don't mess around, but this was just too, well, too for me to truly love.

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Photo of Oakenator
4.52/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Brownish to orange in color - really nice head at pour. Leaves a nice layer on top throughout consumption. Not much lacing (but not expected at this %). Some sediment.

S: Sweet, malts, some hops, sweet.

T: Sweet - Belgian candi sugar present in a big way. The hops age nicely on this one - it is a couple of years old.

M: Good body. Decently heavy as expected at 10%. Bite up front and lingering sugars on the back.

O: Very well done. Like what these guys are doing with beers that will stand the test of time.

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Photo of sleuthdog
4.36/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Batch 86 into Ballast Point tulip

Pour: Even pouring gently I got a huge four fingers off white pillowy head. Receded slowly leaving some lacing. A hazy golden orange with a lot of visible carbonation.

Smell: Wow is this one sweet smelling of toffee and vanilla. Butterscotch? Very bready and biscuit like with a note of some grapefruit and pine hidden in there. Alcohol is evident in the nose. Not distracting but definitely there.

Taste: The sweetness is off the charts with toffee taking center stage and some caramel, maple, honey and a candied sugar. Bread and biscuit for sure. More tropical at the back end than resinous hop but there is a bitterness to note way at the end in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full but very sticky and almost syrupy. Sticks to the lips and tongue for quite a while after the swallow. Not as carbonated here as the pour led on.

Overall: This is my first HotD offering and I'm impressed and enjoyed this one. Would like to try their others. There is a lot going on in this beer and this makes it somewhat confusing but at the same time enjoyable because it is so complex.

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Photo of Murrhey
3.14/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a standard pressure-cap 12oz bottle into a tulip glass in high elevation Libby, Mont. Batch 88. 10% ABV confirmed. Reviewed live.

A- Ridiculous head. Six-fingers thick of off-white creamy bubbles. Hazy orange-brown body with aggressive carbonation. Long retention, forms a mound of head in the middle. Fluffy, airy lacing.

S- Very fruity. Tropical fruit tones. I'm getting guava, pineapple and passion fruit. Fruity and floral hops. Some boozy notes to reflect the high ABV.

T- Bitter and boozy. Alcoholic esters, tropical fruits.

M- Creamy and warm feeling with a boozy after feel. Bone dry.

O- Not as good as the reputation would have me believe. Not impressed.

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Fred from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
4.08 out of 5 based on 1,806 ratings.
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