Hell On Wood (Barleywine Style Ale Aged in Bourbon Barrels) | DuClaw Brewing Company

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300 Ratings
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Hell On Wood (Barleywine Style Ale Aged in Bourbon Barrels)Hell On Wood (Barleywine Style Ale Aged in Bourbon Barrels)

Brewed by:
DuClaw Brewing Company
Maryland, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.10%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
We aged a limited quantity of our award winning (Brewer’s Association of Maryland Governor’s Cup gold medal winner in 2006, 2007 and 2008) Barleywine, Devil’s Milk, in Kentucky White Oak Bourbon barrels to create a uniquely tempting new brew. Hell On Wood is medium/full-bodied and amber in color with a thin, persistent, off-white head. Its mesmerizing citrus flavors and aromas, accented by notes of charred oak, vanilla, and caramelized sugar, give way to a palate dominating hop finish balanced by smoky, bourbon character and a warming alcohol presence (10.6% alcohol by volume). There’s no escape; prepare to fall to the seductive power of Hell On Wood!

Added by oriolesfan4 on 03-01-2014

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 300 |  Reviews: 49
Photo of White_Whiskey
4.4/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of NeroFiddled
3.74/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

DuClaw Brewing Co. "Hell On Wood"
12 fl. oz. brown glass bottle, "PKG 01/15/16" and sampled on 04/25/17
$3.99 @ Total Wine & More, Cherry Hill, NJ

Notes via stream of consciousness: Nice label. Barleywine aged in Bourbon barrels? Sounds pretty good. Nice pour. Clear ruby-accented deep mahogany brown beneath a pillowy head of off-white. Aroma of coconut, wood, Bourbon, brown sugar, and dark bread. The head seems to be holding up well. Flavors mimic the aroma with some added chocolate fudge, burnt sugar, and light vanilla. Unfortunately the alcohol is right out there. How strong is it? Just 13.1% ABV? There's something wrong then, it shouldn't be this hot. Ahh, I just got some fruitiness from it as well, something like mango and apple - just the right amount. It's got a median bitterness, but that's not really needed as the alcohol takes care of that - bummer, it really hurts it overall, it's very distracting. But, I'll also say this, I don't feel the barleywine base itself is enough to support the Bourbon barrel aging. It might work by itself but I don't feel it's rich or malty enough to support the additional notes from the barrel. I don't think it was a good candidate, or was it? Did the barrel aging take a mediocre beer and 'improve' it? Medium to medium-full in body with a soft and smooth moderate carbonation. Disappointing overall.

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Photo of redgorillabreath
4.02/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Got a growler at the grocery after a sample. Enjoyed the heck out of this, although it's a one-and-done brew. No doubt that it's a barleywine.

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Photo of tillmac62
4.2/5  rDev +5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

No bottling date. Cloudy pour of dark amber with a healthy dash of garnet. Normal head volume. Retention and lacing are poor, but are acceptable for barrel aged barleywines.

Quite outstanding nose that delivers a strong bourbon burst right off the bat. Molasses rides underneath with a strong dose of caramelized sugar. These aspects form the base - bourbon over a richly sweet enticing substrate. A bit of smoky oak lies subtly underneath.

Medium body with an extremely slick and oily texture that actually gives a pseudo creamy effect on the palate. The carbonation / body balance is world class. The level of effervescence is surprising based upon the pour. The middle has just enough effervescence to free the complex flavor profile. The finish leaves a soft prickly sensation that enhances the body effects.

The flavor profile is quite outstanding and nearly makes the world class mark. Had the bourbon been a bit less intense, the complexity would be more pronounced. Like the nose, bourbon, molasses and caramelized sugar take center stage. The middle is the apex of molasses influence. After which, caramel forms the primary substrate coupled with a subtle mild bitterness. It is from here to the finish that the complexity of this beer fights its way through the bourbon to the surface. Rich notes of dark fruits (date, prune and black currant) emerge. Vanilla was subtle prior to the middle, but gains in intensity as the sweetness becomes "softer" via caramel. Near the finish, oak emerges with a very subtle note of smoky char. The finish is a slow sweet fade of bourbon, dark fruit and a slight alcohol astringency. Oak lingers.

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Photo of Greywulfken
4.3/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Been a while since I had a new bourbon barrel barleywine, and this one is a real treat. Ruby brown beer with a slim tan head that slims into a collar, dropping motes of lace behind. Rich brown sugar and molasses aromas rich with vanilla and bourbon barrel wood impressions. Flavors of sweet dates and soft chewy fruits, vanilla and wet brown sugar, with airs of bourbon lingering behind... Medium feel, soft and smooth, almost creamy... This was a really nice BBA barleywine - hits the sweet spot for me. Dangerously drinkable...

 529 characters

Photo of IckyT2012
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of JohnTurano
4.01/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Gkruszewski
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Cpmitchno1
4.21/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Imperialjake
4.11/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of mynie
3.99/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aesthetically, this bottle art is actually a step up from DuClaw's usual offerings. It looks less like the logo for an off-brand Latvian motorcycle, more like one of the old "Pete's Wicked" labels.

Pours quite pretty for a high-ABV barrel-aged barley wine. Much more fizzy than I had expected, a bright cloudy amber-orange.

Smells very oaky and bourbony with just a little bit of hop bite and, as it warms, a very strong biscuity malt. I've never had the non-BA version of this, but I might have to try it; the base beer is more interesting the boozy. Still, it's an above average aroma, as BA BW's go.

Tastes like a bit of a vanilla bomb up front, very sweet, with much less booziness than the aroma had hinted at. The middle and back end are that of an aggressively sweet, very fruity English-style barley wine, where the hops take a back seat to gigantic malt complexities. This isn't the best version of the style I've come across, but it's quite solid. If nothing else, it deserves some credit for hiding its ABV so deftly.

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Photo of AngusOg
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Ohiovania
4.15/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of jaydoc
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of paulish
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of dbl_delta
3.9/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Undated bottle into pint glass. Pours a hazy brown color, with a thin off-white head. Initial impression is caramel, vanilla, orange, dark fruits, and bourbon - in roughly that hierarchy and sequence. Heat from the 13.1% ABV is pretty noticeable, but not such as to render it undrinkable. (Nope - not at all!) Mouthfeel is quite thick and sticky. Carbonation is nice and light. Finish is sweet and sticky.
I'm not generally a huge fan of barleywines, but I would revisit ths one. Might age well. Too bad I only got a single.

 533 characters

Photo of Ctb6582
4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of travelguy
4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of woodychandler
4.08/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

As I continue to winnow through the Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody, I am finding beers that I do not even remember purchasing! In fact, I have so many DuClaw beers hanging around that I am embarking on a horizontal tasting for the next few days. This should be interesting.

From the bottle: "Nothing can stop this unholy nectar, aged in bourbon barrels to add notes of vanilla, caramelized sugar & charred oak to its sensual fruit esters, big malt backbone & demonic hop presence. Surrender to the inescapable seduction of ... Hell On Wood!"; "Respect_the_Fluid".

Yeah, I'm getting into the big boys as this horizontal begins to wind down. The bottling date is 01/15/15, making it almost two years old. I helped it to celebrate its near-birthday with a Pop! of the cap, followed by a gentle pour. The Fluid had a milkiness that was unabating, so I finally just stopped trying to produce any clarity. Once I had a sufficient amount in the awaiting glass, I gave it a good swirl to raise a finger of foamy, light-tan head with moderate retention. Man, did the nose smell boozy & very evocative of bourbon. Color was a cloudy Deep Amber/Light Copper to Copper (SRM = > 13, < 17). Mouthfeel was medium, which was kind of surprising since I figured that it would be more solid. The taste was full of the toasted coconut flavor that I always associate with bourbon. I honestly prefer rye to bourbon, but I still appreciate the taste. I liked the way that this had mellowed in the nearly two years since it was bottled. There was some heat, but nothing like I felt on the earlier recent vintage Devil's Milk (this beer's base). Warming, the aforementioned caramelized sugar & vanilla began to become perceptible, but the bourbon flavor was really the star here. Finish was surprisingly semi-dry, much less hot than the earlier Devil's Milk, reinforcing the idea that this beer is an excellent candidate for aging. I really must keep my eyes out for more releases of this beer! I also recommend buying at least two - one to drink fresh & one to age. It might make for an interesting experiment.

 2,091 characters

Photo of zekeman17
3.67/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of chinchill
3.73/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle served in a Belgian snifter.
Pours with a murky copper-brown body topped by a thin, mostly short-lived head. Minimal lacing.

Powerful bourbon and bourbon barrel aspects to the aroma and only a little less pronounced and dominant in the flavor. Still, there's a strong barleywine base that is clearly evident in the flavor. There are vanilla, wood, dark soft and dried fruits, hops and, of course, bourbon, notes in the flavor. Good complexity.

Overall: Boozy, with a clear presence of the 10+% ABV. A strong ale for bourbon lovers.

 548 characters

Photo of seedyone
4.29/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Ratle n Hm, NYC. Looks fine, shallow head w/little lacing. Aroma is of honey & brown sugar. There is a big sweet element to the taste but a slight eppery burn that keeps aware that there is a 10.6 ABV within. Not my favorite in the genre but pretty damn good overall.

 278 characters

Photo of khmel
4.34/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of j0hnc2468
4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of deonreds
4.63/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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Hell On Wood (Barleywine Style Ale Aged in Bourbon Barrels) from DuClaw Brewing Company
4 out of 5 based on 300 ratings.
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