Michael | 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: Flanders Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Michael is a Flanders Red, made in memory of Michael Jackson. The Beer was Brewed in January of 2007, and aged in American oak and Sherry barrels since then. It is just over 6% alcohol, made with Organic Pilsner, Vienna and Munich malts and fermented with a variety of yeast and bacteria.

Released November 2009 & Fall 2012.

Added by msubulldog25 on 10-17-2009

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Reviews: 97 | Ratings: 262
Photo of BarrytheBear
1.85/5  rDev -50.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.5

Massively carbonated Michael...huh? More to follow...

Sweet and tart band aidy goodness....actually the highlight of this beer, which isn't saying much. However, there is a sneaking, crawling, feisty little headache blast that looms like the alcoholic cousin everyone simultaneously fears and reveres in an indescribable way.

And...our downhill journey begins....or continues. What is happening here? Something may have died and I'm not sure who to call.

Say it ain't so. The first HotD beer that I haven't enjoyed. Weirdly under carbonated despite the fluff in the glass. Like milwaukeeclassic huffing rubber cement in his punky, I'm a North Cackolacan sort of way. Headache upon headache, upon band aids gone wrong with an unpleasant finish not unlike inhaling the Great Salt Lake.

What an absolute mess.

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Photo of kojevergas
1.89/5  rDev -49.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with stylish label art and unbranded pry-off cap acquired at Sunset Beer Co in Silverlake and served into a flared stem-snifter/tulip hybrid glass in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. It was expensive as hell; I think somewhere in the $15-20 range. Reviewed as a Flanders Red because it identifies as such. "Barrel aged & bottle conditioned." 2012 vintage. 6.2% ABV confirmed.

Served cold - straight from me fridge. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours no head whatsoever; all we get is a tiny beige floater ring that recedes within 15 seconds. Pathetic. Weak looking. Zero lacing.

Body colour is a dull murky caramel-brown. Dark, nontransparent, and only quasitranslucent towards the bottom of the glass. Not much to look at overall, but I'm optimistic. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Nice oak and red wine (sherry when I look for it). Some mild sourness; lactobacillus is indicated by the clean clinical feel of it - it's certainly not the spontaneous wild character of something like lambic yeast and there's no funkiness. Some tartness. Maybe some green apple fruit esters. Malt is generic; this is dominated by the yeast. But the sourness and tartness are still disappointing for a sour/flanders red. The oak is the highlight here. Some tannins. Cherry. No hop character or alcohol is detectable. A clean pleasant aroma of mild strength.

T: Strangely, there's some oak derived vanilla here, which doesn't fit in at all - and the overdone sweetness clashes with the light sour and tart notes. And light they are; it needs much more than that. Quite unevocative - even reticent. Green apple, licorice, cherry, raisin. Lacto yeast, sure, and some acetic character. Medicinal from the late second act through the finish; ugh. Even the oak isn't particularly enjoyable. Boy did I waste a lot of money on this one; this is one of the worst flavour profiles for a flanders red I've experienced in the last year or two. Vinegary. Malts are generic and add nothing of interest. Not gestalt - or even cohesive. This is an imbalanced mess with no subtlety whatsoever, nor any well-executed complexity. Poorly built for the style. Very disappointing.

Mf: All over the place. Texture coarsens and dries towards the finish, but is smoother and wetter up front. Thickness is a trainwreck, with a syrupy medicinal character throughout. Texture comes off artificial and doesn't feel good on the palate. Poor presence. Sticky. Undercarbonated; it might even approach watery. Not soft at all, but scratchy and also mushy like a wilted raisin. Strangely acidic for a beer which has such restrained sourness. Doesn't suit the style at all, nor does it complement the flavour profile well.

Dr: I got taken when I bought this; Hair of the Dog disappoints yet again. This is the worst value beer I've ever purchased; little quality for the buck. Just downright bad stuff. Even the mere 6.2% ABV is noticeable. Hard to drink. Definitely wouldn't touch this stuff again - even if it was free. I'm shocked at how poorly executed this is. Might well be the worst Flanders Red I've ever had the displeasure of drinking. Avoid.

Low D-

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Photo of bishopdc0
2.4/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Shared a bottle with my wife, the beer is red but very cloudy. The nose is Brett funk seems somewhat unrefined. The beers tastes is unrefined, sweet malt with Brett funk, a very odd finish almost alcohol with a strange bitterness. This tastes like the first time I used Brett in a homebrew, a complete mess. Very unimpressed.

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Photo of jrallen34
2.57/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

I drank this from a 12oz bottle into a Rochefort glass.

The beer pours a murky ugly brownish water downed coca cola color that doesn't inspire much confidence that is futher let down by a non showing of a head or lacing.

The aroma appears to be in the right direction but just not there yet. There is a hint of sourness but it is somewhat spoiled by the creeping in of a piney alcohol.

The taste continues to disappoint. It is not sour in taste and just "off" in taste, I can't really describe it. There is a weird bitterness and tea like quality.

Michael Jackson is such a man to be honored but sadly this beer does not even come close to doing it. It should be avoided if you are a flanders fan and others should be sought out.

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Photo of Thorpe429
2.71/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Big thanks to Aaron for this one. Served in a Hair of the Dog tulip. Nose is pretty nice with a good level of acidity plus some baking oak and a fruit component. There’s some cherry along with mild dark fruits. Flavor ha the acidity and fruit down, but there’s way too much barrel character, as the tannins are nearly overpowering. Light-medium body.

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Photo of maximum12
2.71/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Big thanks to bfg75 for procuring a few HoTD bottles for me; this is the last survivor of that fine trade. I tip my cap to him, the bottle, as I pop it open. 12 oz. bottle from the 2012 batch split with my wife, who loved the last Flanders we had.

Faint hiss on the pop, & only nine microscopic bubbles greet the eye on the pour. Swirling raises no further breathe of air/liquid interaction. It is a very nice color of copper cut with mud. Nose is dominated by sherry & cherry, with a faint zing of vinegar.

Michael suffers from a lack of that thing most beer has: carbonation. What flavors exist fall flat as stale potato chips or dried Twizzlers. Sherry, muddled fruits, & a heavy hand of yeastiness. Drying oak wanders, shot through with cellar must. Sort of tart. Six ounces is more than enough; I'd have been fine with three.

Hair of the Doggie has been hit or miss for me, & this is a whiff. Flat, not very flavorful, & expensive. 0-3. Doesn't even touch mediocre, not a good beer.

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Photo of andrewinski1
2.77/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Thanks for this one, Derek! Poured into a small chalice. The color is dark murky amber. There is a large white head that settles nicely into a thin layer.

The aroma is tart candy.

The taste is sweet and malty, with a dose of dirt and funk in the finish. This is just a bit too sweet and the tartness isn't quite there. Instead there is just a dirty aftertaste.

The mouthfeel is average with sharp carbonation.

This just misses for me. It's a bit too sweet and I don't care for the aftertaste, but for some It will be just fine.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.84/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. A gift from ramnuts, who trucked it down from Portland in December. Thanks, Frank!

A: This one took a lot of crap for being flat when it came out. Not the case here. It opened with a nice hiss and even gushed slightly, though slowly enough that we caught it in glasses and didn't spill a drop. It's a clear amber body, with great, long-lasting carbonation (streams of bubbles up the center of the glass). Its ample 1" head lasts and lasts, leaving great lacing and a substantial cap the entire time.

S: Lactic sourness, tart dark cherries, tannins / cherry skins. Some caramel and brown sugar.

T: As the nose suggests, it's quite sour, primarily with cherries. Some lemon is found. Cherry skins and oak contribute a tannic bite. Sweetness comes from light caramel and brown sugar (I honestly expected more). There is a slightly acetic bite to the finish. I see from the description that this was aged in sherry barrels, but I detected no traces of that in the taste. Overall it's neither as polished nor as complex as I'd expect from a good beer in this style, especially from a brewer of Alan's caliber. I kept waiting for the flavor to "open up" and it never did.

M: It's light-bodied, with moderate carbonation (most came out in the pour). A slightly acetic bite that gives the beer the impression of dryness.

D: It's a good Flanders Red, but after thinking about it, I prefer Oude Tart quite a bit more. I enjoyed drinking it, but it's nothing to write home about.

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Photo of Rutager
2.9/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

2012 bottle. $18.59 from Chuck's 85th st.

Appearance. Pours a very hazy orange amber. No head, very still ...fuck.

Smell. Cherries, sweet malt and lots of wood, fruity phenolic alcohol, and a bit of red wine vinegar.

Taste. Leather and sweet malts, cherry and tannic wood, partially fermented dark fruits.

Mouthfeel. On the lower side of full bodied, slightly sticky, next to nothing for carbonation. Again, fuck.

Overall. Never again, HOTD. I think I have one or two more of your beers in the cellar, but after that I'm done. Between this and the recent batch of flat Doggie Claws, I feel completely ripped off paying such stupid amounts of money for flat (or virtually flat) beer. Too bad since Matt was one of the better beers I've had. Oh well, there are plenty of consistent great beers out there to spend my hard earned cash on.

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Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
2.91/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

Well this is officially the worst Flanders Red that I have ever sampled. Not malty like a Flanders Red should be. Not sour... heck, not even much of a light tartness. Tasting alot of oak barrel. Mouthfeel is watery and overall impression is bland and unwhelming. Sad that this beer is a tribute to such an awesome historical beer figure as Michael Jackson. Were you trying to insult the poor guy by brewing this beer? It was not much of a tribute. That is for sure.

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Photo of t4h2c0
2.95/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

slight sour nose with a little sherry and oak, pours ruby in color with minimal head, slightly carbonated. Slight sour in initial taste with big oak flavors. There is a slight sherry flavor to the beer but it is abrasive to the palate. Very light and watered down. Any good flavors fade out quick and leave a tea-like taste in your mouth which equals a bad aftertaste. Hopefully some time in the bottle will improve this beer but unfortunately it doesn't seem like there is much room for improvement. If this beer was sour all the way through I would like it a lot better.

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Photo of thebigredone
2.97/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to jjheinrichs for sharing,

The pour from the bottle produces an incredibly ugly looking beer, opaquely cloudy and reminiscent of unpasteurized apple cider.

The nose reminds you that this is a beer, smells like your typical Flander's, but a bit lighter.

Taste is decent, a little vinegar, tartness, some fruit, and a bit of oak. Fairly light on the flavors.

Overall, a subpar beer from HOTD. With their quality issues, who knows if this beer was actually supposed to taste like this. Not something I would have an interest in trying again.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.23/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle.

A small hiss when I popped the cap, it pours a very hazy dark reddish brown with a very fine layer of foam that shrinks quickly to an island in the middle and a ring around the glass. Ha, that little bit of foam is sure sticking around so I'm kind of impressed.

Lots of sourness greets my nosebuds with grapes leading the way along with some dark cherries. Now there's an oaky aroma that brings some notes of vanilla and a very light hint or 2 of some funk. An interesting and good nose.

The taste is weird. I don't know of another way to put it.

I taste the grape tartness and a very sherry like flavour, a medium amount of "funkiness", light malt sweetness, and then...a strange spicy, like in hot, taste. It isn't overly present, thank goodness, but it is something I'm tasting that doesn't work for me at all.

Fairly light bodied with very light carbonation and it finishes tart but not really very tart, more like tart and then it turns very bitter.

Drinkability? This drinks much stronger than I thought would be the case for a 6.2%abv brew and darn it, the flavours just don't work for me. This isn't a brew that I'd seek out again but it is worth a go if you have the chance.

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Photo of FtownThrowDown
3.25/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Another bottle split courtesy of Unclejedi. This guy always floors me.
Pours a very murky, reddish brown in color. Actually looks like a little bit like rusty water. Not too appealing visually to be truthful with you.
Smell is tart and a bit floral. There's more of the tart character in the flavor. This is very smooth in regards to mouthfeel. There's a strong oak flavor in the finish of the beer. It's a decent beer, but I honestly had higher expectations for this beer.

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Photo of miketd
3.28/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle in a trade at Ratebeer. Pours a nice dark red... almost brown, with a small beige head. Aroma is fruity and tart with barrel, vinegar and spice. Flavor was a little off - Fruity and slightly sour, but had a buttery quality that reminded me of Gargamel. This one might need to sit awhile. Palate was ok, but a little thin. Not a bad beer and I might give it another go soon.

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Photo of rhinos00
3.3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received this as a very generous extra from avalon68. Thanks Frank! Split with pecorasc. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into tulip glasses.

A- Pours a light, burgundy color. Semi-cloudy. Produced a fingers width of white, soapy head. Reduced to a thin ring around the glass.

S- A hodge podge of aromas that seemed to work quite well. There was a prevalent sweet orange, dark cherry aroma along with a subtle acetic character. Plenty of oak to go around with a tiny bit of alcohol in the finish.

T- Much like the aroma, but nowhere near as successful. The presence of oak barrel is constant that is noticeable from beginning to the end. Would not be too bad except that it had a really "raw" characteristic to it. Also picked up on some oranges and dark cherries. Finished with oak and slight bit of tartness. Lot of different components going on here, just never meshed well together.

M- The only carbonation felt was a bit of prickliness on the throat as the beer was swallowed. As the beer sat on the palate, it was extremely flat and lent a thicker feel to the beer.

D- Given the lack of cohesion, this was one was a little hard to drink. I had to motivate myself to take the next sip each time...not exactly what you are looking for in a beer.

Overall, I admire the work that went into making this beer, but it's a shame this was made in honor of Michael Jackson, as it this was a big let down. Maybe next time...

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Photo of cosmicevan
3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes from 8/24

Thanks to hannont for hooking this one up...shared with the local group in a HotD horizontal. poured into a HotD taster.
2009 vintage

a - pours a maroon orange with proportional creamy head that hung out. murkly. looks nice. the bottle was a bit of a gusher.

s - smells great. as soon as the bottle opened, i could smell the flandery goodness. upon closer inspection it was actually SUPER oaky. the oakiness is rather intense and is a bit odd. from a distance this one smelled great, but up close not as wonderful.

t - again, a bit odd. super funky. don't really love it. not awful, but not great. just funky and acidic. spontaneously fermented funk.

m - oaky on top of flandedrs. fizzy and carbonated.

o - overall interesting. glad to taste it but won't be seeking it out. the oak dominates bringing a big vanilla on the flanders. might be a better beer if not put in the barrel.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.37/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes. Thanks to FalconA for sharing! 2012 release.

A: Pours a reddish/brown/orange color with a few bubbles forming initially, but are gone very quickly. No real head or lacing.

S: A little bit of dark fruit, some cherry, and oak.

T: The oak was rather prominent, a bit of vanilla mixed in with the tart fruits. Slight musty flavor and a bit of caramel.

M: Extremely low carbonation, bordering on flat.

O: A bit of a letdown. Flavor was ok, not as assertive or tart as I was hoping. The lack of carbonation was what really killed it for me though.

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Photo of raveskdr
3.42/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big big thanks to Jon for this one. He is crazy generous with pulling out monster bottles.

A - Wispy head that dissipates very quickly. Being in the bottle 3 years (and being from hotd), no shocker there.

S - Great smell. Sour, vinegar, and dried fruits dominate.

T - Oh boy. Very, very vinegary. Just a really lackluster shot at making this style sour.

M - Feels fine in the mouth, but the vinegar taste makes it tough to drink too much of this one.

O - Nice to be able to try, but the people have spoken on this one. Even Michael (God rest his soul) would have thought this was average.

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Photo of younger35
3.42/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Received this brew from the chewy man out in the great state of Oregon. Home of 2 of the greatest breweries in the world; HotD and Deschutes. Lucky bastard ;) Drank from my Stone India Pale Ale flute.

Appearance- Pours a semi dark reddish orange with almost no head what-so-ever. After a few seconds a bright white collar forms along with a thin weak cap and maybe a touch of lacing here and there.
Smell- Slightly sour and funky with not a whole of lot of barrel influence, but there are some. Notes of apple cider vinegar and soured cherries coupled with tart green apples and pears. Not necessarily super sour smelling, but all the keys are there. Slightly vinous and tannic as a bit of deep dark raisin shows from the Port barrels. Some light caramel tones hide in the background as well.
Taste- Wowsers, not what the nose leads you to believe. Before I hash into the details, this beer reminds me 100% of Brouwerij Verhaeghe Vichtenaar. Has that more sweet than sour aspects. Very earthy and malty as the Vienna malt really shows, especially in the aftertaste. Plenty of leather and dirt as the sweetness slowly works its way in. It's light but sweet. The barrel is more influential in the taste than the nose as it adds a bit of light vanilla and the deep tones of the Port. Definite pear and apple tones but the bits of sour just aren't here yet. The finish is earthy with hints of tobacco and more of that dank leather.
Mouthfeel- Medium to heavy feel with a bit of residual sweetness and almost no carbonation to speak of. Maybe a touch of warming in the finish as well.
Drinkability- This beer just isn't quite there yet. It needs some time to let everything sort of mellow and let the yeast/bacteria do its thing. It needs some of the sour and maybe once that happens this thing will perk up a bit. Not bad by any means, just needs time to tighten up a bit. Thanks much Jason!

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Photo of starrdogg
3.45/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Jon for sharing this one. Review #100!

Beer pours a hazy reddish brown with a nice white head. Smell is nice, mix of vinegar, sour and acidic. Taste comes up way short, however. The flavor has an interesting flanders red type taste up front, but it finishes very bland. It is not very sour at all, has a little vinegar up front, but nothing to follow it up. Mouthfeel is light-medium bodied with high carbonation. Overall this is a decent beer, but falls short of expectations.

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Photo of ArrogantB
3.46/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not surprisingly this beer was a real gusher. It is cloudy red in color and smells not only sour but woody, tart, and a little plastic. The taste is odd, sour fruit but not really reminiscent of a flanders red. This almost reminds me of sui generis from Avery. Its kind of thin and the barrel seems to dominate the flavor but its still not a bad beer. It just doesn't seem to fit they flanders red style very well.

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Photo of zhanson88
3.46/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks go out to JohnGalt1 for including this one in a trade. Thanks Toby! Poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: As I popped the cap on this beer it came out a gusher. Luckily I was prepared and had a glass in hand. This beer is a hazy, bottle conditioned looking, deep burnt caramel color with 3 fingers of off-white head. Head retention is ridiculous and lacing is very nice.

Smell: Very interesting. I get some funk, acidity, and oak up front. Lighter notes of fruit, mainly tart cherries. After reading some previous reviews of this, I think the fruitiness has faded quite a bit in the last year. I mainly just get funk and vinegar character.

Taste: Tart up front with funk and slight vinegar notes. Lightly acidic. It turns a touch sweeter with tart cherries and oak on the back end. In my opinion the barrel aging muddled this beer a bit, because I can't really pick out a defining quality. Not to say that this beer is bad, because it isn't.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Light bodied, and pretty nice carbonation that isn't over abundant despite the fact that it was a gusher. Still this is an interesting, unique beer that I am happy to have tried. Overall pretty good, as is expected from HotD.

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Photo of JAXSON
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear copper/orange pour, bottle was a gusher. Nose is bright, lactic acid, salt, red berries, metallic. Decent amount of sugars. Flavor is metallic and lightly sour, light red fruits. Light and bright compared to many beers of this style, but too many off flavors to really enjoy. This is typically not a style American brewers do well, possibly overall one of the least enjoyable styles out there because there are so many huge misses. This wasn't a huge miss, just mediocre.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz singler, from brewery


I'll reiterate that this beer is horribly overpriced, though I was kind of forced into purchasing it via the anniversary pack. It's not particularly offensive, but its very weak for a flanders red. My bottle was actually nicely carbonated and had a lovely garnet body. Woody, muted tart cherry, vanilla, oak. Not something I would pony up for in the future.

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Michael from Hair of the Dog Brewing Company / Brewery and Tasting Room
3.74 out of 5 based on 262 ratings.
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