Bourbon Fred From The Wood
Hair Of The Dog Brewing Company / Brewery And Tasting Room

Bourbon Fred From The WoodBourbon Fred From The Wood
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American Strong Ale
Ranked #24
Ranked #2,897
4.13 | pDev: 12.59%
Hair Of The Dog Brewing Company / Brewery And Tasting Room
Oregon, United States
Bourbon Fred From The WoodBourbon Fred From The Wood
Notes: Bottles (12 oz) released November 2011
Batch 2 bottles (12oz) released July 2012.
Reviews: 133 | Ratings: 468 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of npolachek
4.12/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Solid red color. Tastes of bourbon as well as rye. Almost like a bourbon in a beer. Tastes are complex with some earthiness and raisins. Mouthfeel is smooth.

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Photo of Radcpa
4.31/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Reddish amber appearance with little head. Aroma is a very strong bourbon with a slight fruit. Taste is also a strong bourbon with the smooth taste of alcohol. I recommend aging for a year or so.

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Photo of stevoj
3.46/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Jeremy, side by side with Fred from the Wood.. Medium Amber, flat pour. Woody, boozy aroma. Taste too is dried dark fruit, raisins, tobacco. Not as big as expected, and no comparison to FFTW.

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Photo of joe1510
4.25/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz Bottle

2017 Bottling

Huge thanks to Phil for the bottle! Bourbon Fred from the Wood isn't the prettiest of beers. It's a muddied rusty red with some orange highlights, opaque. It looks a lot like unfiltered apple cider. It's also still, which is a little concerning. Not a bubble to be found.

Whew. That's some rich, potent smelling, complex smellin' beer. Let's start with the bourbon aspect. It's well integrated. Plush notes of caramel, marshmallow, oak, and a whisper of coconut. Golden raisins, toffee, butterscotch, and brown suger make up the nearly neverending malt profile. This stuff smells like a rich dessert.

Holy shit, this beer is good. Complex and delicious. Toffee and golden raisins get it movin'. They got an incredible amount of expression from the bourbon barrels; huge caramel, damp oak, toasted coconut, cotton candy, and a healthy dose of pecan. Brandy macerated cherries pop up here, butterscotch pops up there along with a rich sugar quality, sorghum. This beer almost borders on liquid stollen. There's sweetness present but the tannic barrel and booziness cleans it up.

If ever there was a beer that possibly does better still than not, it's Bourbon Fred from the Wood. As a matter of fact, it fits so well that I forgot it was still until I got to this here mouthfeel portion. The weight sits between full and moderate. A little sweetness hits upfront before being sucked dry by barrel tannins and a clean booziness. A barely noticeable numbness gathers on the tongue after a few drinks, I can't tell if it's alcohol related or hop related, probably alcohol. This beer is a sipper for sure, based on the size and ample barrel presence.

Hair of the Dog makes some great beer. This one is no exception. I'm assuming they failed on the carbonation aspect but it's not a noticeable flaw, actually it works. This beer is hugely complex and hugely delicious. What a great combination of flavors. Bourbon Fred from the Wood is a perfect example of why Hair of the Dog has always so fascinated me. It's unique, but old school. Powerful, yet nuanced. Really great stuff. Thanks again, Phil!

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Photo of Lingenbrau
4.32/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2017, from the bottle.

I'm a bit nervous as Bourbon Fred From the Wood's cap is popped. Nothing. The most vigorous pour, and still completely flat. It's opaque rust colored body reminds me of dark tea saturated with honey. As one would expect, no head, no lacing.

My fear tightens a bit with the first whiff. Though enjoyable, the bourbon smells of peated scotch and slightly acidic...sour. A caramel sugary presence lays underneath, but not much else.

My fear suddenly subsides. The bourbon is absolutely the dominant variable, but wonderful notes of nutty toffee, golden raisins, oak, and a light smoke blend turn skepticism into absolute joy. And to top it off, delicious bursts of wildflower honey and ginger bring this to euphoric.

Yes, there is no carbonation, but it works. The smooth and slightly syrupy body are exactly what that flavor needs as a platform to take away all other distractions. It is sweet, but comes close to balanced thanks to a touch of smoke and a soft hop spice.

Proof that you should never judge a book by its cover, nor a dog by its jowls, Bourbon Fred From the Wood is just phenomenal. I'm not gonna lie, if I ever get this again, that lack of pressure relief will scare the shit out of me. But I'll trust it, just like I have trusted everything else from Hair of the Dog. Cheers!

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Photo of metter98
4.01/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle at Hair of the Dog Brewing Company, Portland, OR

A: The beer is somewhat hazy caramel amber in color. It poured with just a few specks of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate aromas of vanilla, oak, and toffee are present in the nose.
T: The taste follows the smell and is very toffee-like, with notes of vanilla from the oak.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and a little sticky on the palate with no carbonation.
O: This makes for a nice dessert beer and is something that needs to be slowly sipped.

Note: 2011 vintage

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.4/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The Batch 1 Version; 2011. Poured into a beautiful HOTD tasting glass at the brewery.

A: Dark brown with very little head. A nice stationary rim around the glass.

S: Bourbon, oak, vanilla, caramel, toffee.

T: Follows nose with a sweet, oaky booziness. Vanilla, coconut, malts from on high. Brown sugar, a bit of dark fruit, too. As it warmed, the tastes kept enhancing.

M: Medium with low carbonation.

O: One of the beer highlights of my Portland visit. This is a celebration beer, to be sipped with friends. Damn fine stuff.

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.62/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 Vintage= Batch 1
Let's face it, this is not a pretty looking beer as it pours into the glass. A murky thin lake water with basically zero carbonation. Aroma provides a strong, boozy, sweet, rich charred oak, and sooo much charred oak. Flavor follows nose well with some added caramelized candy and fruity esters. The bourbon is solid, but it can distract from the yeast notes and spice of the rye that the base beer so eloquently conveys. Mouth feel isn't overly hot. Mid body that drinks very easy for its ABV. Quite flat.

Overall, pretty dang good. Probably not one I would go out of my way to hunt down, but certainly worth exploring if given the chance. I would prefer the base beer to this, but a nice change of pace.

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Photo of Beersnake1
4.6/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a '13 poured from fridge temp to a taster. Haven't had it fresh, so I don't have that to compare this to. Pours a nice hazy golden color, with zero carbonation (as seems typical with HotD beers). Getting a ton of bourbon on the nose, with a lot of dark fruit and caramel. Taste is nice and sweet, and a bit boozy. The bourbon comes through nicely. Amazing stuff!

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Photo of Goblinmunkey7
3.74/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

2011 vintage.

Appearance: Clear rusty copper. Deep reds and browns with a mild orange tint. No head to speak of, but barrels do that (this might also be the batch with a carbonation issue). Still with a tiny bubbly collar. No lacing.

Smell: Still loaded with bourbon 3 years later. Huge vanilla and toffee notes. Some coconut and a deep wooden barrel. Malts are massive and sweet. Caramelized malts hit a wide range of sugared sweetness. Caramel, toffee, butterscotch, and even a hint of molasses. Deep coconut. A touch of oxidation has crept in. So much butterscotch and coconut. Sweet and incredibly boozy. Some mild hints of what were slightly earthy hops. Alcohol spiciness. Bready. Sweet.

Taste: Sweet caramel bourbon. Deep rich sweetness. Malts push an underlying bready element. Layers of butterscotch, coconut, and vanilla. Bourbon and alcohol are softer than the nose would indicate. Crazy sweet. Pushes toffee and deeply caramelized sugars. Vague earthy hints in the back with an alcohol spiciness. Brown sugar, lots of it. Some kind of fruit...plum maybe...or fig...I'm not sure. Warming and subsequent sips push a raw, slightly spoiled sugary flavor on the back. Small sips are key. Slightly vegetal at room temp. Sips like a sweet malty bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Slightly slick and smooth. No carbonation. Medium pushing right up on full body. Clean as can be.

Overall: Fred is a big dude.

Like every HotD beer, this is burly as hell. Sweet but complex and quite the sipper. Well played. For a catch-all style, this is hard to beat.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.83/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pour is a murky pale brown with no head. Nose is strong bourbon and wood with a good bit of caramel and some hints of dark fig and fruits. Nose is more sweet, less bourbon. Caramel and lots of toffee, a bit of slightly charred wood and notes of bourbon. Flavors are a bit more muted than the nose. Full bodied, sticky and chewy, with virtually no carbonation and a soft clean finish.

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Photo of BierJager89
3.34/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 1 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Glowy ambery orange, with almost no head.

S: The smell, don't smell it. It smells awful.

T: Earthy note, oak, vanilla, caramel, some fruity notes, some mustiness.

M: Medium bodied and overly smooth. Flat.

O: Dont smell it. Taste it and you'll be happy.

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Photo of AgentMunky
2.89/5  rDev -30%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a FIrestone Walker tasting glass. Vintage 2011.

A: Golden amber. No carbonation. No head.

S: Stinky and unpleasant. Very strong kitty litter.

T: Hm. Interesting. Funky and weird. Sugars. Funky yeast. Molasses. Dryish, Belgiany influence.

M: Dry and sour.

O: This is deep and interesting and complex, but is not very good. I would give it another try, but as is it's awfully disappointing.

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Photo of Lorianneb
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 vintage poured into a teku glass on 5/25/14. Thanks to jrocco2021 for this beer

A- pours dark amber with no head. A few bubbles around the rim. No lacing

S- straight up bourbon nose. Could smell the booze as I poured it. Vanilla, brown sugar, dates

M- flat, but it doesn't kill the experience.p, although some carbonation would definitely make it better. Slick on the tongue.

T- bourbon up front. A bit boozy. Brown sugar and vanilla. Sweet. A sipper for sure

O- overall, a very nice beer. A boozy sipper by the fire

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Photo of portia99
3.99/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

3rd and final in my series of Fred beers to celebrate the life of my recently departed cat, Fred.

12oz bottle (2011 vintage) poured into a gold rimmed Harpoon 100 Barrel series stemmed glass.

A - Pours rather muddy, medium amber in color, and practically devoid of any head. Only a thin ring of bubbles for a collar shows any sign of life in this beer.

S - Bourbon up front with a firm intensity, rather boozy overall. I wouldn't have called it as accurately (nutty would be my description), but the label says almonds - and sure enough, I'd say they are right. Toffee, caramel, hints of rye, estery, brown sugary sweetness...and more bourbon...this one is shaping up to be a serious sipper.

T - Bourbon for sure, although somehow this is rather devoid of heat, even at 12%. Definitely sweet, more than the regular and simple "Wood" version. Fruity and estery, much more so than other versions. Still sweet, but a bit subdued by the other flavor character shown. A bit of molasses layered through toffee and caramel sugary flavors. Not sure if it is the bourbon, but the sweetness is much thicker in this version, trending towards cloying.

M - Near still for carbonation which I am not much of a fan of...body is medium high - a bit of life would have probably kicked this up a notch too. Quite sweet and sugary (need to brush my teeth after this one). Boozy and bourbony. I get a lasting sugary coating on my lips that on every lick gives an almost crème brulee burnt sugary impression...this can't be a bad thing!

O - Overall, still quite good, but perhaps the weakest of the Fred variations. A case where barrel aging doesn't help the beer and perhaps takes away some of its finest nuances. The original Fred was the top of my list tasting these in succession. Tasting separately or between/behind/in front of other beers...who knows - may change the impression, but Fred - FftW, BFftW progression took a bit away each time (and I don't believe it to be from reduced coherency despite the 10%, 10%, 12% strengths of these beers. Regular Fred was supremely balanced and this almost by default had to diminish from there. All are great beers, but this BFftW is the least balanced and least flawless/most flawed of the bunch. Worthy of a sample for sure, but the original Fred, for me, is the way to go in the future...rarity doesn't pay off in this series.

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Photo of NCalement
4.21/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into A Westy XII glass.

A- Pours a flat amber red. Looks flat. Transparent, thin, and juicy. Looks like a heavy hitter.

S- Bourbon, leather, tobacco, vanilla, booze, sugar cane, raisins and maple syrup.

T- Wow. Lots of complexity here. Bourbon, vanilla, raw sugar cane, molasses, toffee, leather tannin's, tobacco, raisin, caramel and booze.

M- Flat. unfortunately it's just too flat. Has a nice viscus mouthfeel that hides the %12 abv well, but again its just... flat.

O- As always an amazing beer from HotD!! They are one of my favorites and although this beer is flat I feel that's the least of my concerns, when it taste this good!!!

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Photo of timc100
4.26/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25


Murky, dark gold/blood orange. Decently hazy - absolutely zero head, just some bubbles.

Huge whiskey aroma - surprisingly dominated by peat and smoke. Pronounced bourbon as well - toffee and some caramel and sweet maple syrup. Very whiskey driven.

Taste defined with incredibly rich toffee, maple syrup, boozy-caramel, barrel-vanilla, some dark fruits and slight notes of lighter tropical fruits that blend with the vanilla/toffee. Nice whiskey-boozy heat on it as it goes down.

Flat. Zero carbonation. However, though it is not ideal it does not detract from the beer that much. It smells, drinks and feels like a rich malty spirit.

Pretty one-dimensional and abrasive fresh, however delicious - interested to see how it ages. Also - the sweet maple syrup component is interested given no additive.

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Photo of maxcoinage
4.08/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle, 2013 Vintage , into snifter with an aggressive pour that left no head at all. color is a light mahogony, beer is fairly clear

You can smell the sweetness in the aroma, some bourbon, nuttiness, oak, maple

Taste is very sweet - raisins, toffee, vanilla, molasses, with some booze on the back-end

Mouthfeel - no carbonation, medium body, syrupy, warming finish

Overall - an enjoyable sipper that was fine for a cold winters evening, but it was almost too sweet. The hint of whiskey kept it somewhat balanced from the sweetness. this would be good to split with someone. would like to revisit it again when it's properly carbonated.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.06/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz 2013 release into a FW Teku.

Pours a hazy copperish red color with absolutely 0 head. The smell is very intense bourbon and maybe some caramely sweet notes too. Pretty much as i expected with the aroma. The taste is extremely big in flavors. Massive amount of bourbon and smoke to this one..wood is apparent on the finish. I get a lot of caramel , toffee and butterscotch too. Very much full bodied with absolutely no carbonation. Definitely a sipper.

Overall this is just another example of an extremely complex beer from HotD. I can imagine there being a lot of differing opinions about this one.

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Photo of mhksuccess
3.62/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour from a bottle into Lawsons snifter glass
pour was amber color and absolutely flat as a board
no head totally flat and no lacing
smell is heavy whiskey
and taste is similar flat whiskey and HOTT very HOTT
think if it had some carbonation would have been better
this is not up to the level that you would think

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Photo of Rutager
4.18/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Another beauty brought to the tasting by Boozecamel last weekend.

Appearance. Pours copper-gold and very still. We were warned this would be the case but it's half expected from the brewer anyways.

Smell. Toasted wood and bourbon, raisins and caramel, and some light toasted coconut. Someone suggested cat pee and I did get that too. It's amazing how perception can change when someone plants a seed like that.

Taste. Big caramel and burnt sugar, old dank wood, bourbon and some molasses and honey.

Mouthfeel. Full body and no carbonation. Luckily this beer gets away with the lack of carbonation better than others.

Overall. Very nice despite lack of carbonation. Thanks again Phil!

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Photo of Phobicsquirrel
4.9/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this at the pub in Portland. Very dark and little head. Smell of bourbon and sweetness, maybe some chocolate as well. First sip was amazing, a blast of sweetness and thickness of molasses (or close too it), and the bourbon wasn't over powering but was still very up front.

I had a few glasses and it is one great beer. I would compare it to bourbon country but with this one, I almost feel it is a bit better. However it depends on the mood I'm in.

Notes on the beer during the tasting:

Sugary Sweetness
Long Finish

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Photo of Holland
3.98/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.75

2011 version, I think it's batch 1.

A: murky brown to khaki colored beer with no head whatsoever, and no sediment visible even though its translucence changes with the angle. Looks viscous. Okay, after letting it settle in the glass and then pouring a bit there is a lot of sediment visible.

S: sweet, oak, sugar, malt, molasses, and fruits like apricot and raisin are quickly evident. Some burnt sugar is in there.

T: exactly like the smell, but fruitier and sweeter than expected. Also much less oak-driven than the smell.

M: terrible carbonation if there was any at all. Feels too heavy without any carbonation.

O: amazing that the flavors and their delivery did not suffer from the lack of carbonation. Does not taste like 12% at all. Excellent beer, but I'd love to try a carbonated version.

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Photo of papat444
3.91/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

***2011 Vintage***

Big thanks to Boozecanel for this one.

Poured from a 12oz. bottle.

Appearance: Pours a hazy, leather brown color. Zero head and no lacing really. Looks like a huge glass of spirit.

Smell: Soaked in bourbon, quite strong, bit of almonds.

Taste: Lack of carbonation doesn't seem to be affecting the flavor. Bit of dark cherries, bourbon & caramel intertwined, toffee, quite sweet, candi sugar.

Mouthfeel: Zero carbonation makes it different but flavor backs up the feel to salvage it.

Overall: Would have looked if it had conserved it's carbonation but overall the flavor makes up for it.

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Photo of jaasen64
4.2/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 2.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into HF sherry glass.

A- Pours a brownish orange copper color with some slight translucency. Beer appears perfectly flat in the glass with next to no carbonation (just a couple very small slowly rising bubbles) and absolutely no head whatsoever no matter how hard you pour it. Would probably be a nice looking beer if it had just a little bit of carbonation to it.

S- Toffee, caramel, molasses, sweet bourbon that inter-plays very nicely, hints of oak, creme-brulee, very dessert-like. All in all this has a fantastic nose, the balance between the bourbon and base beer is fantastic- being very dessert-like, pleasant smelling, but not overpoweringly sweet.

T- Sweet caramel covered toffee, rich molasses, touches of honey and vanilla, extremely well-integrated bourbon that balances perfectly with the beer and adds to the dessert-like quality, faint hint of citrus hops come out in the background and are slightly more pronounced on the finish adding a subtle complexity to the beer. This beer tastes fantastic, the more I drink it the more the subtle nuances of the complexity come out. Definitely a dessert beer, almost like drinking liquified creme-brulee.

M- Medium bodied, incredibly smooth for the abv, I could easily get drunk on this before even knowing it. Huge downfall is the lack of carbonation which adds a slight bit of wateriness to this beer.

O- If this beer were actually carbonated it would be fantastic, even without the carbonation it is still a great beer with nice complexity, a very good drink-ability, and fantastic nose. While this beer isn't over-poweringly sweet or cloying, it should be recommended as a dessert beer. Even being flat I would recommend anyone who loves sweet, complex beers to try this out.

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Bourbon Fred From The Wood from Hair Of The Dog Brewing Company / Brewery And Tasting Room
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 468 ratings