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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 238 | Ratings: 822
Photo of John_M
4.52/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap during the big wood festival at brouwers.

The beer pours the expected dark brown color with good head retention and lacing. The nose is as intense on tap as it was out of the bottle, with prunes, apple brandy, licorice, chocolate and coffee. As the beer warmed (I really think they were serving this beer too cold at Brouwers) I got additional chocolate, as well as some more apple and vanilla. Flavors replicate the nose, except this beer really smoothed out and became very creamy after it warmed a bit. I actually found it a bit astringent and angular initially, but with time and warming, the beer dramatically improved. As with the bottle version, the mouthfeel is very rich and full, and was just exceptional once it warmed a bit. Drinkability is pretty good, though the alcohol and sweetmess really make this a sipper. Also, after having this both in bottle and on tap, I really think this beer needs time to show it's very best. It's delicious now, but I think in a year or two, will turn into a real gem. Regardless, this is a very impressive beer from HOTD.

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Photo of tmoneyba
4.42/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle sample shared by alexsdad06. Poured a hazy brown color with an average off-white frothy head that mostly lasted with fair lacing. Heavy woody, pine, citrus and dark fruit aroma. Medium to full body with smooth texture and soft carbonation. Heavy bittersweet flavor with a heavy complex bittersweet finish of medium to long duration. Standout complex brew.

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Photo of photomike
4.64/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Big ups to Vorlagen for trading me this one.

Pours a very deep but clear brown with no head whatsoever. Very small patch of bubbles. Nice legs. Note that this was poured much colder than it should have been.

Despite the temperature, the room filled with the scent of boozy apple brandy as soon as the cap was popped. As it warmed, scents of vanilla, oak, butter, brown sugar and tobacco came out. Wonderful stuff.

Flavor is complex and amazingly tasty. Lots of apple and vanilla flavors. Slightly buttery and woody with some tobacco and wet leaf flavors. All kinds of character from the barrels is present, with bourbon taking the back seat to the apple eau de vie. Why isn't more stuff aged in apple brandy/eau de vie barrels?? Very smooth with a nice heat to it. I get the feeling that this is going to peak in the next 3-6 months or so. Incredibly tasty.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Slick and oily without being overly full-bodied with light effervescent carbonation. Viscous but not chewy.

I never wanted this beer to end. Astounding stuff. One of my all time favorites.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.64/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Been wanting to crack this bottle for a long time.
Pours a very dark brown in color. A very vigorous pour gives some bubbling and a slight reverse cascading head as well. The vigorous pour releases an absolutely wonderful bouquet of a nose.
Smell is malty. Plenty of oak, brandy, dark fruit and heaven in the nose.
Taste is more of the same. Plenty of barrel aged goodness. Lots of brandy, oak, some slight vanilla and charred flavors as well. There's a bit of fruit coming through as well.
I was worried about the lack of carbonation that appeared on the pour, but it's perfect for this beer. It's there and it's just enough. Super viscosity and thickness that coats the side of the glass. Very full and smooth in the mouthfeel as well. I could drink this everyday. Must seek out more bottles of this, it's that good.
If you have the chance, it's worth the effort of tracking this one down.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle at 55 degrees.

Pours dark mahogany, with translucent edging, and a reluctant ascention of the tiniest bubbles ever seen in a beer. Very nitrogen-like in appearance, with a quarter inch head of biege that finally revealed itself after an exagerated pour. A partial skim coat remained for the duration as well as smeary lacing.

Aromatics lead off with fudge-smeared leather, burnt tobacco, dark chocolate, bourbon, and Kahlua-soaked figs. Shades of dark rum, toasted raisin, apple skins, and brandy follow through.

Full bodied with a slick, oily mouthfeel. An oil spill on crushed velvet.

The palate is lush, decadent, rich, and complex. A melange of chocolate syrup, brandy, char, old leather, bourbon, smoke, and rum-soaked figs.

Finishes with lingering burnt caramel, boozy undertones, and fudge bits.

Quite a beer. Definately in my top 5 strong ale/Barleywines.
Sweetish, boozy, and strong. A real sipper.

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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.

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Photo of mcallister
4.82/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Amazing beer to say the least. Pours a very deep chestnut with some red bricking around the edges. Hard pour yeilded a small white head. A five otherwise. Opaque and endless.

Apple, oak, bourbon, red currants, date and caramel, smokey with other dried pitted fruit aromas. Amazingly complex and arousing.

One of the better beers I've every tried. What i really like is just the style with the barrel aging and the complexity and depth of the beer. The apple comes throgh with some berry type flavors a lingering smokiness and chewy caramel date nougat on the forever finish. Hints of milk chocolate, red currant, pitted fruits and a bit of toffee. Thick and creamy and oh so delicious.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.56/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

aka bottleworks X

IIRC, this is a blend of apple brandy barrel-aged adam and a bourbon barrel aged strong belgian style ale... er, or something like that.

i have a sixer of these left, they're six months old, therefore it's time to test one out.

the beer pours dark, not much head exists but enough to know the beer has bubbles. a spidery wisp sits atop the brew. nose is huge.. it's salty, oaky and leathery with equal parts bourbon and sherry. with warmth, i pick up honey crisp apples and tobacco. first sip is viscous as a dark lord, perceptually.. but not really. the body is thinner. the flavor is bigger though. first is the apple brandy.. totally noticeable in the first sip. understandably so a huge booze rush follows. the beer finishes with chocolate and cherry notes, a hint of smoke, and a lingering finish which harkens back to the tobacco element.

how many words have i used to describe this beer? i'd be hard-pressed to answer 'enough' given the continued complexity of the liquid i'm sampling. this beer brings beer to a higher level. this beer justifies the inflated bottle price. this beer is one of the few that can claim to deliver a depth of flavor which matches top-shelf spirits and $800 bottles of wine.

alan sprints is the shit.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.05/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark ruby lovely chestnut head
lacing lingers, has been said

Aroma malty, fruity, oak
hints of berries, maybe smoke?

Taste is strong and nice and clean
but it's not the best beer I've ever had from HOTD, NawwhatImean?

Mouthfeel sweet, a little prickly
Drinkability, is somewhat iffy

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.22/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, one of a modest amount I picked up at the 'Earth Day' Dock Sale last April; it's held down the back corner of the fridge since then, patiently awaiting tonight. A nice day of late-summer warmth and office-sponsored golf (the par-3 course at Edgefield) ends in a snifter-sized pour of Matt as a nightcap.

A: Brackish ebony, a deep and dark murkiness that at first seems a bit lifeless, then magically springs to life with a roil of carbonation and a gauzy swirl of tan film. Creamy rim-hugging band and small flecks dot the glass. Held to light late in the pour, there's plenty of dusty detritus hanging around.

S: Aroma of cocoa and caramel-wrapped apples, a sweetness like maraschino cherry, with a hint of tartness (lime?). Dried tobacco amidst a bourbon char. Hops are there, but are hard to distinguish behind drippy malts. Full and fragrant, smell-able from 3 feet away.

T: In the same way the appearance was dull for the first few seconds, so the flavor was an abrupt turn-off. Then a creeping, coating chocolate, followed by molasses and a grape-like fruitiness. Barrel oak follows, a charred vanilla and a dose of herbal hops. Ends a little 'off' for me, an odd medicinal (cough syrup) backing.

M: Fantastic mouthfeel from the start: luscious, chewy, fully coating. Enough warmth, without bragging about its 11.5% alcohol too boisterously. Lip-smacking malts, carbonation is there - but where?

D: Tough call here: an amazing brew, replete with varied flavors and tantalizing aromas. Will I have this again? Fortunately, yes. Will I place this in my upper echelon of 'must trys'? Certainly. Is it 'drinkable'? Well, that's debatable; definitely a wonderful sipper, but a few ounces go a long way. Find a lover of fine beer and share a bottle...

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Photo of nickd717
4.67/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle via trade from adamharbaugh on BA - thanks for this awesome beer! Shared at a tasting with some BAs and my girlfriend, who is becoming quite the beer enthusiast herself.

A - Dark brown with reddish hues and a small off-white head.

S - Caramel, dark fruits, bourbon, wood, smoke, and even a hint of tartness.

T - Malt-heavy with caramel, toffee, vanilla, prune, fig, black cherry, bourbon, roast/smoke, chocolate, apple, and some mildly tart barrel notes. Incredibly complex and tasty.

M - Medium-full and smooth with long-lasting flavor and some alcohol warmth.

D - Well, this is obviously meant to be a sipper, but drinkability is very high considering that because it's so damn good.

Overall, this is a phenomenal beer. Hope I get a chance to try it again.

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Photo of tpd975
4.5/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

provided by fishingnet

A: Pours a nice rich brown hue with a nice tan head. Nice retention and spotty lace.

S: Simple aromas of oak, smoke, apples, and black cherries.

T: Apple up front, tobacco, along with nice blast of fresh oak. Subtle smoke, with dark cherries, and a hint of sourness.

M: Medium in body, smooth, great carbonation.

D: Great, really is a beer worthy of the acclaim.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.84/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

What a fucking incredible beer. Alan%2C you're a genius%2C and John%2C thanks for splitting this.%0A%0AA%3A Dark reddish brown with a thin beige head that disappears before you can say Jack Robinson. It looks almost like a liqueur.%0A%0AS%3A Holy fuck. The combination of brown sugar%2C honey%2C smoke%2C apples%2C bourbon and vanilla just smells decadent. Incredibly rich with toffee. Alcohol and a little oak appear as it warms up. Despite being restrained%2C the apple eau de vie just adds so much! The mellow bourbon character is gorgeous. Rich%2C with a little milk chocolate%2C creamy in character. After a while%2C rum soaked fruits and fruit cake appear. Just incredible.%0A%0AT%3A Rather difficult to describe because it's so wonderfully integrated. Everything that I described on the nose is replicated%2C opening up with brown sugar and candied apples%2C moving onto a smooth bourbon and vanilla mid palate. Mildly smoky that adds a lot of complexity and depth%2C especially the way it interacts with the vanilla. Rich%2C rich RICH! Fruit cake%2C cognac and brandy cross the mind. Long lasting finish with a mild heat%2C along with flavors of apple eau de vie%2C vanilla and bourbon. The complexity is off the charts and the beer is so well done%2C you're not left admiring it for it's components%2C but how the whole is so much better than the sum of its parts%0A%0AM%3A Incredible. Rich%2C creamy and decadent with all the flavors integrating really well. Soft%2C moderately viscous%2C full and rich. A true treat.%0A%0AD%3A As rich and complex as this is%2C it is something I could drink an awful lot of. I could nurse a 12oz bottle over a few hours and not feel the need for anything else. An incredible beer.%0A%0ANotes%3A This is a cogent%2C evolved beer. I remember in my early days of being a BA%2C I'd get excited about big beers with big flavors%2C usually unbalanced. Now%2C when I find beers that are find the ability to be delicate while massive and nuanced while complex%2C rich and over the top%2C I but shed a tear of joy. An exceptional beer in every way.%0A%0A**Edit 12 Jan 2013**%0A%0AThanks to Brian and GT%2C I have a couple of bottles. This batch is incredible. After a little time left open to breathe%2C it comes alive%2C with smoke%2C bourbon%2C apple eau de vie%2C toffee%2C leather and a vague hoppiness. The smoke is a bready%2C wet grass smoke character%2C smoldering%2C if you will. The palate is on the sweeter side%2C but damn%2C is this perfect. As much as I love this out of the bottle%2C it's a whole another beast on tap. Exceptional. Original scores stand. %0A

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Photo of miketd
4.4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from josephselander. Thanks man! Pours nearly black with almost no head. Aroma is of wood, chocolate, caramel, fruit and some booze. Kinda wine like, I don't get bourbon. Flavor is rich chocolate and smokey with vanila. Some tobacco and wood with alcohol burn. Big bodied and smooth. This one was worth the hype.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.67/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to msubulldog25 for this brew.

My 1900th Review

Poured into my Westy chalice a thick black color, some carbonation, really no head, but there is some oil slicks left behind. The nose is malty, with lots of bourbon/whiskey notes, some chocolate as well. The taste is malty, sweet, lots of bourbon/whiskey notes, and a nice touch of chocolate, a slight tartness/sour note. Full body, the second I opened the bottle I got a good whiff of the bourbon/whiskey, ABV is there, but not to up front. Very drinkable, this one is definitely a sipper, does go down smoothly. Thanks Brian!

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

Big thanks go's out to JohnGalt1 for the bottle. You rock tobes!

Pours a deep blackish brown with some ruby highlights, but cannot see through it. A light tan watery head is produced by a vigorous pour and retains for a couple minutes leaving minute lacing.

Nose is very complex. Huge bourbon barrely notes, some apple, and an almost flemish tartness come out in the nose.

Wow. A very tasty beer. Big chew malty sweetness. Great bourbony alcohol and huge vanilla oak notes. Not catching alot of the apple, but it is there. A uniquely dry finish for a beer of this magnitude and style. There is a noticeable hop bitterness on the finish, and any hop flavor actually shows up the most in the aftertaste. Flavors linger FOREVER after each sip. Magnificent barrel aging.

Mouthfeel is FANTASTIC on this beer. A nice creamy chew viscous feel REALLY strikes the right chord with this brew. Excellent. Carbonation seems odd, and typical of previous HOTD issues on the poor, BUT a head does rise if it is summoned hard enough, and on the palate the carbo is right where it should be for this beer.

Drinkability is pretty solid. The abv shows up, and is complimented well by alcohol and oak flavors, but still doesn't seem as high as 11%. By the styles standards, quite drinkable.

Overall a very impressive and unique beer from HOTD. A very tasty barrel aged concoction. Love the barrel profiles and the mouthfeel is just incredible. I really would love to have a few more of these, but one cellared bottle will have to suffice for now. I think this one definitely has great aging potential. If you have the opportunity to get your hands on some of this beer, get a few. Excellent beer.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.73/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Pours brown with no head. Aroma of bourbon, oak, and rich malt. Flavor of sweet apple, bourbon, and roasted malt. I don't get chocolate or smoke. Decent, but not great to me. Palate is a little light despite the bourbon. This beer is as I had expected it to be--good but not as great as the hype suggests.

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Photo of Floydster
4.72/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle acquired in a trade with SuzyGreenberg, thanks again for sending me this one Ben, also had this on tap in May poured by Alan himself at the brewery, reviewed from notes, poured into my Dogfish Head snifter, color is a nice dark brown with some dark red around the edges, 1/2 inch creamy light tan head, sticks around for a few minutes, some lacing at first, aroma is amazing and consists of lots of oak, booze including both brandy and bourbon, green apples, roasted caramelized malts, vanilla, cream, bourbon, brown sugar, light cocoa, honey, and an unbelievable toffee scent, begins with a mellow boozy flavor mixed with smokiness and some candied fruits, mildly roasted malts in the middle with some of the apple flavor coming through, great brandy-like finish that is warm but not hot, lots of vanilla and chocolate following closely behind, aftertaste lingers with a great amount of oak, warms up with molasses and complexity with different fruits coming to the surface, love the finish on this beer, warming, slightly sweet, roasty, creamy, and malty mouthfeel, super complex, medium to full bodied, just the right amount of carbonation which was on the softer side, taste lingered for up to ten minutes at times, great aftertaste, drank this whole bottle quite easily but do not know how much more I could really do, alcohol is hidden very well considering what this is and the booze that are present are not super hot but more complimentary, very smooth, nice sipper and I cannot wait to have another next winter, this is one of the best Hair of the Dog beers yet and that is saying a lot, makes Adam even better than it already is, I look forward to seeing how this cellars, highly recommended

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Photo of Overlord
3.97/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to a great trader!

Pours a thick, oily looking deep brown with some ruby amber tones to it when held close to a bright light source. I read that some other folks had heads on their beer. Mine had none. An increasingly aggressive pour produced some bubbling, but this is clearly a beer modeled after the Lost Abbey production line.

Smells like smoke, molasses, and ... apples! Wow, a boatload of apples in the smell.

Taste is more complex. The smoky, not-quite-roasted-malt characteristic carries over from the smell. The fruit component is really, really surprising. Not just apples, but some berries, some candied fruits ... and there's a ton of alcohol heat. Too much. It's distracting. Glad I have a few bottles to sit on for a few years. A bit of brown sugar/molasses to the flavor, and maybe the barest hint of a woodsy/tannin flavoring.

It's a complex beer, but I'd be lying if I said the dominant characteristic right now isn't an alcohol heat. The mouthfeel is nice and thick, but it ... needs ... carbonation. Drinkability suffers as a result.

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Photo of gford217
4.87/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle courtesy of some very generous Pac NW traders. Poured into a snifter.

Pours dark mahogany out of the bottle and settles in almost completely black in the glass with hints of amber showing through the edges. An aggressive pour produces a small bubbly head that forms a solid ring and leaves good lacing.

The aroma takes some time to open up as it warms. It's generally sweet with the red apple peels being the dominant aroma initially but with some bourbon and vanilla as it warms. There is sweet caramel as well as hints of smoked malts and chocolate.

The taste is stunning. It's got so much going on and yet everything comes together in a perfectly balanced package. There is the initial sweetness of the apple brandy which gives way to the caramel malts of the backbone. The finish has a touch of sweetness but with a wonderful boozy, smoky finish that just clings to the palate.

The mouthfeel is near perfect. It's full bodied with minimal soft carbonation and just coats the palate completely. Absolutely decadent feel.

Well, when you take one of my favorite beers (Adam) and start playing around with it, you start to wonder if they should just not mess with a good thing. Well, in this case, the end product is a near-perfect beer that has a complexity that is unrivaled by almost anything else out there. World class.

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Photo of Sean9689
4.32/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

**I was able to taste a more recent batch of Matt (2010 release), which I enjoyed quite a bit more then the first batch (Bottleworks X release). Firstly, there was perfect carbonation (compared to the X release, which was flat). The booze was there, but not quite as up-front as the previous version. Just a couple of small observations and overall, a better beer.

Poured from 12oz bottle into Duvel tulip.

A - Brown in color with very little head present. There is some lacing though, once you tilt the glass from side to side. The brown is clear though, as you can see a small amount through the glass. Small bubbles are visible along the edge of the glass, but really nothing much to note.

S - Lots of sweetness going on here. Some fruits, sugars, malts all hitting your nose all at once. A big whiff puts the smell in your nostrils for a good amount of time even while the glass is away from your nose. There is some alcohol burn but really not a lot considering the ABV on this beer.

T - Apples, bourbon, oak, sweet sugars and vanilla. Very little alcohol detected here, which is impressive. A full-creamy finish, very rich. Lack of carbonation takes away from the taste.

M - Medium bodied. Very rich. Pretty much flat, which is disappointing for me.

D - A sipper for sure, but I do like this one. I don't know if I'll try to score another through trades, because I'm disappointed that it's basically flat.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.72/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big, big thanks to the kind BA who sent this one my way. I had been dying to get a hold of it and finally chose last night for the night to use it as a night cap. Served chilled down to cellar temp and poured into a pint glass, this gem was consumed on 05/31/2009.

The pour was near spot on for the style. Rich looking dark caramel brown with a light, modest looking layer of lace and foam on the top. Smooth, elegant streaks running down the side of the glass throughout the session really made it have a smooth, very nice look to it. Rich, perfect aroma of toffee and butterscotch. Smooth caramel notes and a light earthy grain. Just the right touch of a boozy note added on top of an otherwise flawless execution of the style. Wonderful notes of toffee and chewy candy like flavors just ripple across the tongue. Wonderful blend here of sweet malty flavors with an almost chewy flavor to it. Quite intense I have to say. Mellow, light carbonation but no where near flat, this is exactly how I want an old ale to be, and it showed. I could have sipped on this one all day as once it reached up to room temperature it was perfect.

Overall a big, big winner here. This was quite simply one of the best of the style I have ever had. Not even a touch hot either, this one will surely live up to the hype for anyone who can track it down.

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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.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.18/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served lightly chilled around 55ºF / 13ºC
A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass just produces a fat-one-finger thick, nicely browned, dark tan colored head. The beer is quite dark, almost black really with perhaps a touch of brown to it. When held up to the light the beer shows brilliantly clear, deep, dark ruby highlights. The aroma is quite smoky, phenolic even; the smoke character doesn't have the richness that I associate with beech-wood (Rauchbier) or alder-wood (Alaskan Smoked Porter) smoked beers, instead it is a little thin, though really this might be because the smoke is not nearly at the same level as those other smoked beers. The smoke here combines with a distinct fruitiness that reminds me of raisins, prunes and even some brandy like notes along with a touch of warming alcohol. At times the alcohol can be quite noticeable in the aroma, especially after I have started to drink the beer. The fruit character becomes very rich and interesting if you concentrate on the nose for a bit. There is also a touch of roast malt character noticeable after a bit as well. Not a bad nose, but the up front smoke character is a little thin and sharp at times, though it does have a nice underlying richness.

The beer is creamy and viscous feeling with only a faint carbonation that supplies a very soft prickle. The beer is fairly sweet, which accentuates a dark, concentrated fruitiness, but both of these are offset somewhat by a sharp malt influence. Roast grain notes provide a burnt-bitterness to the finish, perhaps a touch of acrid notes as well as a touch of burnt acidity. The smoked malt is a bit fainter than it even was in the nose, but it does provide a subtle smokiness that provides some richness to the beer as well as a hint of sharp smoke phenolics that is just noticeable at times. The rich fruitiness is the most noticeable part of the flavor; notes of prunes, raisins and roasted berry notes are all quite noticeable. Subtler fruit notes of caramelized apples, a touch of dates as well as some not so subtle rich, Brandy-like fruitiness. Alcohol is evident, but donesn't get past supplying a nice warmth and a bit of spiciness. While rich feeling on the tongue, the beer isn't overly heavy and in fact is a bit more drinkable than might be safe.

For a beer that has a fairly middling aroma to it, the flavor has turned out to be quite nice. This is definitely a sipping brew and I am really enjoying the rich, concentrated fruitiness here that is just supported by roast malt notes and a hint of smokiness. After a slow start, this ends up being quite an enjoyable brew.

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Photo of largadeer
4.82/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewery.

Appearance: Dark brown in the glass, semi-hazy and nearly black, with two fingers of lasting tan head.

Smell: Incredible apple brandy aroma with smatterings of bourbon, smoke, tobacco, vanilla and toast. Complex and utterly intoxicating, this has to be one of the best smelling beers I've come across.

Taste & mouthfeel: Big juicy apple flavor with bourbony vanilla and caramel right beside it. Flavors of maple syrup, smoke, caramelized sugar and tobacco appear mid-palate. Fairly hot, but pleasantly so, with a rich, full body. Smoky-sweet finish. Remarkable complexity on display here, and I'm amazed at how harmonious it tastes given the unusual blend of apple eau de vie and bourbon barrels with such a smoky base beer. My new favorite Hair of the Dog beer.

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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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