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

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

Style: American Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed using two Munich malts, two Smoked malts and two types of Belgian candy sugar. It was aged in 33 year old Bourbon barrels and Apple Eau de Vie barrels for about one year.

First release: February 2009 (a.k.a. 'Bottleworks X')
Second release: November 2010
Third release: October 2013

Added by msubulldog25 on 01-27-2009

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 238 | Ratings: 822
Reviews by CrellMoset:
Photo of CrellMoset
4.44/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle courtesy of uhwutur8, picked up at the original release, poured in to a tulip.

Appearance: Pours a smoky, woody charcoal, opaque to even direct light save for around the edges, where it's reduced to a vaguely translucent cherry copper amber. An aggressive pour became more aggressive when the head seemed slow to form, though even that didn't coax more than half an inch out. It seemed for a time that there would be no head, before a sudden late surge of effervescence burst forth from the depths, though it didn't rise with enough quickness to actually result in the formation of any crown. It instead rose at approximately the same level at which it dissipated at the surface, resulting in a thin, delicate collar, breath of snow on the surface, and nothing of note on the side of the tulip. Subsequent sips, however, do save this one's score by leaving nice dashes and patches of snow dripping and dotting up and down along the sides of the glass.

Aroma: Can I get this in an air freshener please? Easily this beer's best attribute, the nose is absolutely brimming with aromatic barrel notes and spices and ripe with sweet fruits. From a base of mellow and mature smoky malts mingling with cocoa, toast, and molasses, this one evolves in to a symphony of fruity and spirit-like overtones, from the obvious influences of the Apple Eau de Vie (or, more properly, Eau de Vie de Pomme) barrels - contributing pure cider tones as well as a nice sherry-like liquor tone - and the bourbon, the latter of which is remarkably mature and sublime, its faint spicyness and refined profile interacting beautifully with the barrel sugars and lighter malt sugars of the base beer. Just fantastic.

Taste: A fantastic flavor profile on this one, though not quite up to par with the nose. The base beer is sweet, though not by any means cloying - there's enough toast, dark toffee, molasses, earth, and fat, thick, dark smoke to counteract the brighter caramel, honey-like Candi sugar notes, and bready Munich malts, not to mention the slew of fruit sugars concentrated in this one. While we're on the topic, the array of fruits represented here is remarkable - from the obligatory apple to, in order: pears, apricots, peaches, lychee fruit, cherries, dates, figs, and white raisins. The whole thing is amplified by the "cane syrup" factor, or that which naturally accompanies all canned fruits from my childhood. The barrel notes - a faint amount of wood, though plenty of vanilla and less coconut - mingle with an impressively faded quantity of alcohol, all the more impressive given the 11.5% as well as the harsh overtones associated with the spirits here generally.

Mouthfeel: Very low, almost non-existent carbonation doesn't too much for a beer that's already quite sweet. Honey-like in its thickness, this one is marginally cloying at points, like a liqueur, though the alcohol spice and barrel notes keep it interesting enough that it's not a sugary mess.

Drinkability: Maybe I'm just growing curmudgeonly in my old beer age. This beer straddles a very interesting divide, showcasing both deep, smoky, dark toastiness as well as bright, green, fruity overtones. As a genre-blending experiment, it succeeds - I've never had a beer quite like this, to be sure. And not to sell it short - it succeeds on several other levels too, least of which is the divine nose and the masterful blending and complexity of the mouth. But I still require lift, head, lace, et al - this one had its procedural defects, and though they're not glaring, they do take their toll; it was a little difficult to finish those essentially flat final few sips. Of course, all that being said, this was still a pretty damn awesome beer - it's not every day you're going to get this many flavors and aromas out of a single 12 oz. bottle. Here's (three years late) to Bottleworks 10th Anniversary and to HotD for a great brew.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of timc100
4.8/5  rDev +8.6%

Absolutely stunning product.

Per most HotD BA releases there is very minimal carbonation, but there is a very slight, soft fiz that works very well. Pours out very dark brown. Has the appearance of a dark old ale.

Fantastic aroma. Apple brandy, bourbon, rich sweet smoke, dark malt, old ale musty quality - like an attic and leather. It is very rich and drier.

The palate follows suit and the finish is strong. Great balance of bitter and sweet. Get the nice apple brandy and bourbon whiskey booze. Has the great old ale quality, smoke, some dark wood and leather.

With adam from the wood as the best HotD beer I've had, and one of my favorites of all time. 94

 674 characters

Photo of FondueVoodoo
4.16/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at Apex in pdx with @montrealbcr and @rutager

53 characters

Photo of maximum12
4.04/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to nate321 for knocking the off my longest-running want, as well as sending an overall killer box. 12 oz. bottle, 2013 vintage, consumed while my wife is off watching comedy, or something.

The pour is on the left side of Hair: carbonation consists of a few startled bubbles that escaped the carbonation reaper, very dark brown. The nose is a screamer: like standing in the middle of a raw leather factory with bourbon nose plugs. Huge nose. There's brown sugar, molasses, underneath. One of the most aggressive aromas on a beer that I can recall & it's amazing.

Matt is the kryptonite of subtle. If possible, the brown leather comes on even stronger in the mouth than in the nose, dominating to the point of drowning some of the lovely subtleties that peek out of the aroma. After the cat-o-nine-tails to the taste buds, the barrel shoulder its way in: supremely sweet vanilla, slow burning bourbon. No wood to speak of, surprisingly. Heavy hand of sugar pushes this into sweetness overload, & the caramel that loads up the back end catapults it off the cliff. As with many HotD beers, could have used some carbonation to keep it a touch lighter; I'll enjoy my 12 oz. of table syrup, but I'd have enjoyed it a lot more if it weren't beginning to dry into a concrete block in my stomach.

So glad I got to try this. The lack of carbonation really hurts the last couple of categories, but you can't have everything. Especially with HotD, I suppose. Still a very good beer.

 1,486 characters

Photo of StrongRepublican
4.71/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2010 bottle poured into a HotD branded tulip.

A: Pours incredibly dense without a trace of head; viscous in appearance, thick and slightly oily; dark, burnt caramel color.
S: Deep sweetness, caramel/toffee, big malt, slight amount of peat, vanilla/charred oak, hints of alcohol.
T: Massive malty sweetness, lots of woodiness and vanilla, burnt sugar, molasses, dark candied fruits, subtle jam elements, hints of roasted nuts/peat.
M: Very light carbonation - surprising after four years in the bottle. Velvety smooth and slick, viscous and dense.
O: Another incredible offering from HotD, no one does high gravity beers that age as gracefully! I only wish I had another vintage bottle, but I'm excited to crack the 2013!

 721 characters

Photo of Hootie159
4.6/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Deep caramel brown with no head. Maintains an oily film on top. Deep smell. Bourbon oak, tobacco, stone fruit. A very intense apple. Bourbon flambé. Some smokey fig. Candi sugar sweet. Smooth and tart. Some resiny stick. Just a great sipping beer.

 248 characters

Photo of tectactoe
4.57/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Super-huge thanks to Jeff for opening this one; this has been a HUGE want of mine for a while now. 2010 vintage. Matt pours out of the bottle looking thick and viscous; a dark mix of brown and almost-black edges. Even a rough pour produces nearly no head, just a thin, tan ring that hugs the glass before vanishing forever, leaving the top of the brew bare.

I could smell Matt as soon as we cracked open the bottle. Once we finally poured it into our glasses, the aroma filled the room. You could smell it without even leaning in towards the beer. And warmth only aided in the robustness, drawing out even more flavors, more power, and more depth. It was absolutely incredible.

I'll try to do this beer justice by listing out some of the many things noted in the insanely complex aroma. Black cherries, figs, oak, vanilla, bourbon, tart apples, brown sugar, toffee, plums, tobacco, mild char and smoke, and some underlying sweetness throughout. Just amazing, seriously. Each successive whiff brings out new nuances you weren't getting before. One of the best things I've smelled in a while.

Like many Hair of the Dog brews, the taste contains a commanding alcohol warmth up front; just to let you know that it's not messing around here. Big, boozy apples up front with a compelling combo of boozy-warm and lightly-tart. The fruit character is actually pretty huge and contains more than just apple; cherry, grape, plum, and sugary dates also make an appearance.

The initial, mild tartness from the fruits quickly fades into the boozy abyss as the malts rumble in and unleash the sweetness. Toffee, caramel, brown sugar, heavy flavors of wood and dry oak, sherry, and Hair of the Dog's signature tobacco/leather finish. Make no mistake about it, this beer is HUGE. It's robust, commanding, and a slow sipper if there ever was one, even at "only" 11.5% ABV.

Matt's presence on my palate is also huge; thick, chewy, viscous, oily, and sticky, and you'll be tasting Matt long after you've swallowed. Left over oak, booze, and fading dark fruits will coat your mouth for days if you forget to brush. Just an incredible beer when all was said and done. I can't thank Jeff enough for cracking this one. If I ever had the chance, I'd buy as much of this as I could afford.

 2,269 characters

Photo of t2grogan
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Schlais
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a very deep dark brown color with a minimal head that doesn't leave any lace. Pours more like a wine or spirit than beer.

S - Hints of tobacco and old leather with sweet dark fruit, rich plum, and raisin. very deep and complex, loads of richness all over.

T - Some bourbon, dark fruits, getting a lot of raisins, caramel brown sugar. Some apple in the finish.

M - Medium light body with moderate carbonation. This is surprisingly light but still very, very good.

O - Glad I had the opportunity to try this rarity. This one lived up to the hype. Really great beer and another good one from Hair of the Dog. I was worried it would be past its prime but it's still drinking great. Hope they release this again.

 722 characters

Photo of newk340
5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.49/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep dark brown pour without much head and dark garnet highlights. Just a few bubbles on top. Aromas of dark malts, apple and a nice smoke character with chocolate accents. A lovely melange of scents coming off of this one...rich, great depth, awesome.

First sip brings rich dark malts with smoke flavors. Chocolate and dark fruits abound and intertwine with each subsequent sip. Caramel and licorice accents. A bit of an oaky barrel on the way down. Immensely tasty.

Smooth, medium body that's not overly heavy. Just an incredibly tasty brew that is a great treat and thanks to Scott for graciously sharing this one at a tasting at my house. Would love to have it again someday.

 681 characters

Photo of bulldogg915
5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of oddlandf
4.3/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of gregmoscetti
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of NWer
5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of warnerry
4.45/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle at HOTD

Pours deep brown with only a thin ring of beige head. Aroma has lots of caramel, brown sugar, cherries, green apple, vanilla, oak, some deep roast and some booze.

Taste is initially sweet and boozy, but the complexity eventually comes through. Lots of brown sugar, raisin and fig, cherries, tart apples, vanilla and oak. The bourbon presence is really complementary and doesn't dominate at all. A bit of noticeable alcohol, but relatively mild. A bit warming on the finish.

Very smooth mouthfeel, and somewhat sticky sweet. A little bit of bitterness on the finish prevents the sweetness from getting out of hand. A warm finish.

As far as big, sweeter boozy beers go, this is one of the best I've had. Very complex and enjoyable. As it warms, the apple really comes through.

 798 characters

Photo of Callmecoon
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%

Photo of tjthresh
3.84/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle in a snifter. Pour is dark opaque brown with zero head. The liquid is viscous enough to cling nicely to the sides of my glass though. The noise features quite a bit of smoke. In the background I can pick out some oak, tobacco, and a bit of the apple brandy. The flavor is pretty complex, and I can easily say that I've never tasted anything quite like it. You get plenty of smoke, smooth oaky vanilla, and wonderful apple brandy. The mouthfeel is full and viscus, but for the most part flat. Matt is great, but I really with he was carbonated.

 559 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of chossboss
4.25/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Prospero
5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of standardcherry
4.73/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

12oz bottle of the 2010 vintage. Thanks for this one Andy!

A: This is a nice one. A black/slightly purple-ish body with a tiny light brown head.
S: Big sweetness. Maple syrup/brown sugar. Apple, vanilla, oaky tones and chocolate. A bit of roastiness and bourbon.
T: Wow. So much going on in here. Apple brandy flavors, caramel, vanilla, raisin. A tiny bit of soy sauce. Notes of oak and chocolate. Finishes with a savory/sweet smoked ham flavor. This is weird but so damn good. Tiny amount of boozy hotness in the finish, but overall the alcohol is extremely well hidden.
M: Full bodied with light carbonation. A tiny bit of burn.
O: This is one of my favorite beers. So complex, so much going on. Alan Sprints needs to make this one again soon.

 751 characters

Photo of kingcrowing
4.2/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into an acbf tasting glass.

Pours a very dark brown with a small and thin light brown head. Nose is sharp, boozy and sweet.

Taste is very sharp an pretty boozy, with a sweet finish. Mouthfeel is creamy and syrupy, quite tasty and drinkable though!

 268 characters

Photo of dogfishandi
4.44/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

enjoyed this at an awesome bottle tasting with a few local BA's. 12oz bottle split 4-5 ways, poured into a snifter.

pours out a deep dark brownish slightly red color. almost no head, but nice color.

lots of aromas of dark fruits, raisons, figs, molasses, maybe a little apple and a hint of smoke.

wow, big flavors in the taste. what really stand out for me is maple and molasses. also lots of dark dried fruits, raisons, prunes, figs, maybe some apple and hints of bourbony alcohol and smoke. definatly on the sweeter side.

big, thick, chewy, meaty body, almost syrupy, but definatly in a good way. carbonation towards the lower side.

a great beer, so many complexities. i can only hope ill get the chance to drink this again.

 731 characters

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Matt from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
4.42 out of 5 based on 822 ratings.
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