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

844 Ratings
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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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Ratings: 844 |  Reviews: 239
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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Photo of rpstevens
4.44/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to LilMatrix for this 12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Matt pours a dark mahogany that lets little light through, with a small tan head that fades quickly.

The smell is different each time I put my nose to the glass. At first I just smelled some malty sweetness but then you get a little bourbon and oak and lastly some very nice sweet apple, very inviting.

The taste of the beer is just as complex as the nose, starting with some smooth bourbon and booze and melting into a very interesting mix of light cinnamon and tart apple (strange because I still smell sweet apples??) The alcohol is present but welcome, a very nice warming sensation in the mouth and stomach after a few sips.

Not a lot of carbonation, just a smooth feel.

I would not drink more than one bottle in a sitting, definitely a sipper, but it is an excellent beer that I would love to revisit. I think this beer would get better and better with time and I would love to try it after a few years in a cellar.

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Photo of brdc
4.47/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had the pleasure of drinking this one at Browers. Poured into a snifter.

Dark brown, close to black, but it could be the lighting in the bar. Minimal tan head, dissipates and vanishes in less than one minute.
Nice malty aroma, as expected. Fruitiness, mainly apples, spices, chocolate, and an alcoholic note reminiscent of brandy come to mind.
Velvety on the palate, low carbonation, sweet and boozy would be a fine way to describe it, but will try to make it more eloquent.
Chocolate, port wine, apples, more alcohol bite although not unpleasant. Some spiciness, perhaps cardamom and cinnamon come and go. Some oak notes are present as well.
A great beer, but just short of spectacular. Perhaps some age could do it, but unfortunately I will probably never find out.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.22/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to younger35 for this bottle. Received from him in a trade at Dark Lord Day 2009.

G: Poured into an oversized snifter.

A: Cola brown coming out of the bottle, gathering into a near-black as it sits in the glass. Almost zero head. Faint swirls as the beer warms up and is swirled. This also creates mild lacing.

S: Caramel with lots of dark fruits and hints of green apple. Perhaps the tiniest bit of anise. Some hints of oak, as well as plenty of warming esters from the alcohol. Some yeasty sourness.

T: Smokiness is my initial impression. More of the tart green apple than was present in the nose. The same hints of oak are there as well. As it warms up, the apple brandy and oak tastes are coming out a bit more.

M: Medium bodied with very little carbonation. Not too many hints of alcohol.

D: A very nice sipper. Complexity increases as it warms up. An all-around very good brew.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.64/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Always a special occasion when opening any Hair Of The Dog beer, especially when it's one brewed for a special occasion--this time the 10th anniversary of Seattle beer store Bottleworks. This is from the B'works website: "When in doubt, always remember our Mission Statement: It's not about drinking to get drunk; it's about drinking fine, imported beers to get drunk!" I don't know if that's good beer advocacy or not, but it sounds good to me.

Pours a super-dark brown, bordering on black, with zero head. I imagine this is due to the aging and high alcohol content. Just a few bubbles cling to the glass here and there. Knowing this brewery, I'm going to assume this doesn't taste as unremarkable as it looks.

Wood, mint and tobacco roar up from the liquid into the nose. Something fruity arrives, as does a smack of anise, lending another exotic layer to an already interesting and enticing aroma. Just a slight hint of alcohol warmth too, although very much secondary to the prime aromas.

One single sip and this is right up there fighting for the #1 spot with a couple other HOTD favorites. Where to begin on the flavor impressions...a grapey/vinous flavor wraps its considerable presence around chocolate, wood, smoke, sherry, various tart fruits and black currant. Clings to the mouth nicely, and finishes with an amalgam of all the detected flavors. Smooth, rich, full of flavor, vibrant yet utterly well-balanced.

Because the flavor is enormous, it's probably good this isn't the thickest, chewiest beer on the planet. Its slickness and glide work well in delivering the flavors right up front and also keeping it incredibly drinkable. Slightly sticky but not at all syrupy--a rare beer of this size and flavor stature that doesn't seem at all filling or insanely rich.

Matt is an absolute mindblower, especially if you're into big American strong ales. ***Thanks to my main HOTD hookup msubulldog25 for looking out for me yet again. Cheers, Brian!***

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Photo of hoppymeal
4.77/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours amber brown to black in color with zero head, a skirmish of bubbles around the edges. A decent yeast ring still in the bottles bottom.
Aroma is strongest of apples, both sweet and tart. Some tart apples and hay, as well as some sweet apple pie with spices. Brandy like booziness in the aroma as well. Strong deep chocolate and some yeastiness in the aroma as well. Taste is very strong of apple brandy, absolutely delicious. The apples mix with sweet chocolate up front, though the chocolate keeps more to the background. Some spices come in mid taste, cinnamon? The brandy takes the fore front in the finish with a nice spicy, peppery heat on the tongue and throat, with some wood, and oak notes. Mouthfeel is fairly full, the sweetness would be somewhat cloying if not for the apple and the heat. Low carbonation, spicy, peppery alcohol on the tongue and a drying finish. Extraordinary beer, unique flavors that come together very well. Not sure if this was done partly in brandy barrels, but the apple brandy flavor is strong and very nice. Can't wait to see what some age does to this as it mellows and the flavors have time to blend together.

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Photo of abfraser
4.47/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark rudy brown. Pours pretty flat and looks relatively thick. Not a super attractive looking beer.

S: Gorgeous. Wonderfully nice tart apple liqueur. Nice oaky aromas, with tons of dark fruit. Not nearly as smoky as the regular Adam, which I like given the other characteristics.

T/M: Dark fruit and apple flavors are prominent. This really tastes like a liqueur to me, with lots of mouth-coating acidity and sugar. Nice big caramel malt backbone. Full-bodied. This is an awesome beer.

D: Despite the abv and intensity of the flavors this is a very drinkable beer for me. I'm glad they put this in 12oz. bottle, though

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Photo of waltonc
4.59/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split a bottle with abfraser on a Saturday morning before JoeySchlitz's wedding.

A: Uneventful appearance. Dark brown cola color without any head.

S: One of the best smelling beers I've had. Tart apples, sweet caramel and dark fruits. Really rich, complex smell that is hard to put into words.

T: Same characteristics as the smell - the tart apple is outstanding, and meshes perfectly with the sweet dark fruit qualities. Slightly smoky, but not overly so. Very sweet. I'm not picking up any hops.

M: Fairly thick body and very low carbonation. Good job of not making this syrupy though.

D: Not sure since I'm only having half a bottle, but this is terrific. A dessert beer and one of the better brews I've had.

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Photo of brentk56
4.64/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a clear dark brown color without much of a head; not much lacing, either

Smell: Caramel with dark fruit galore - figs, dates and prunes

Taste: All of the dark fruit from the aroma arrives up front, with a leafy bitterness developing by mid-palate; the bitterness increases after the swallow, but there is plenty of dark fruit flavor to match its intensity; tobacco flavors appear in the finish, as well

Mouthfeel: Full body with low carbonation

Drinkability: Really interesting flavor profile; very creative and certainly an exceptional beer; just wish there was a bit more carbonation

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Photo of paco1029384756
3.9/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours very dark brown with a small light tan head and a thin ring of lacing.

Scent of fruits, oak, some sourness, and strong alcohol, but it almost compliments the scent.

Taste of oak, tobacco, earth and a hint of cinnamon with that same strong alcohol. It's a tasty brew and pretty complex, but it seems like something is missing.

Mouthfeel is heavy bodied and powerful, but nearly flat.

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

12oz bottle in a snifter

Appearance: Pours a deep, darkmahogany/burgundy with ruby-amber edges, not much head or lacing

Smell: Apple wood, brandy, sweet malt, vanilla, light gentleman jack whiskey, dark fruits (dates, raisins, and figs), caramel, toffee, oak, earth, leather, and a hint of smokiness

Taste: More sweetness, apple wood, brandy, malts, vanilla, light gentleman jack whiskey, dark fruits (dates, raisins, & figs), caramel, toffee, peat, oak, earth, leather, and a hint of smokiness

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, almost a bit oily. Thicker than I expected, almost like a RIS.

Drinkability: Very good, I drank it a little young, would love to try it with a few years to it. Very enjoyable, but it drinks very slowly. A beer to contemplate.

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

Poured bottle into snifter and the smell of darkness came to mind. Very dark black, some highlights when held to light. Frothy mini head.

Smell was boozy, bourbon, apple wood, licorice, burnt sugar. A delightful smell to say the least.

Mouth-fell was thick and creamy coating the entire mouth. Notes of oak, dark figs, a little hot alcohol, chocolate notes. I just smoked a chicken with apple wood and I am getting similar taste from this brew as the smoke on the meat. No joke.

Overall , WOW what a brew! It was easy for me to drink despite being young with a high ABV%. Had to pick up two more of these after having tried one. Its worth the price and the effort. With age it will be a masterpiece. Bravo.

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Photo of ccrida
4.74/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On draught at Brower's for their 10th anny, this was by far my favorite beer of the night, and I just gave the New Beligum anny an A+ (reviews are from copious notes at the bar)! Served in a Leffe goblet, Matt is a dark ruby brown with a quickly dissipating, big bubbled tan head that leaves very light lace.

Smell is strong and bright, with a big blast of apple brandy and sweet, rich malts. The warmer this got, the more depth it picked up, and the better it got.

Taste is fantastic, and even more robust then the nose. Really nice smokiness, more sweet dark malts and apple brandy, with a slight touch of coconut. Surprisingly smooth, the time in the barrels really helped this round out nicely, and will make it hard for me to hold out on my paltry 2 bottles. Tons of complexity, this is my favorite HOTD of all time, and he has really put out some great beers.

Mouthfeel is very smooth, with an oily slickness and surprisingly lighter body.

Drinkability is very high, as it's a fantastic beer. In spite of it being a rare, expensive one off, it goes down very easy, and if I lived by Brower's I'd be drinking it until it was gone. Wow.

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Photo of Wetpaperbag
4.79/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Alright I get to pop the review cherry. I'm super excited to have this beer. Made the drive up to Bottleworks this morning, and fought the masses to get this. Plus my name is Matt so it is just extra cool for me.

A- When I was pouring this beer it looks like a dark walnut brown. But in the glass it is a very dark, almost black beer. The head is just some sexy lacing on the edge of the beer floating there seductively.

S- This smells AMAZING! The whiskey and the apple are very strong smelling, but yet they don't over power the other smells. There is a great oak wood smell that is dry and semi old smelling, yet rich and smooth. I'm getting some great dark fruits as well, mostly dates. The smokeyness is slight, and adds a great flavor. The alcohol smell is very faint, but is there none the less.

T- Complex! There is a lot going on in this beer, and it all seems to come in layers with the flavors being individual, yet they can blend together very well. Spiced apple cider, mixed with a whiskey taste almost reminds me of a spiked apple cider for a cold night. The malty goodness is there giving this beer a rich and luscious caramel chocolate malt ball taste. Dates and raisins are a taste that is present in the after taste and add another layer to this great brew. The smoke taste comes though as a nice subtle flavor that helps lift up the rest of the tastes, its not overpowering like some smoke flavors in other beers can be. Each time I taste this it just gets better and better.

M- The feeling of this beer is great. It isn't thick, yet the slight carbination that is there is just the right amount. This is very smooth and I love it.

D- Super easy to drink. I sort of have to hold myself back from just drinking this, but more of sip and slowly enjoy. I just want more and more.

This beer is amazing. Totally worth the drive up to Seattle. I wonder how much more amazing this will get with a few more months or even a year or two on it. But it is just amazing now.

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Matt from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
4.42 out of 5 based on 844 ratings.
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