Hell On Wood
DuClaw Brewing Company

Hell On WoodHell On Wood
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Barleywine - American
Ranked #94
Ranked #6,771
4.02 | pDev: 9.95%
DuClaw Brewing Company
Maryland, United States
Hell On WoodHell On Wood
Notes: 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!
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Reviews: 63 | Ratings: 348 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Treyliff
Treyliff from West Virginia

3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a tulip
Bottles on 2/14/16

A- pours a clear, deep amber color with a ruby hue, one-finger foamy off-white head reduces to a ring around the edge

S- faded citrus and piney hops, orange zest, caramel, fruit cake, brown bread, toffee, oaky bourbon , cherries

T- orange marmalade and citrus zest up front, followed by sweet malty notes of caramel, fruit bread and toffee. Mid-palate starts to bring out some oaky bourbon notes, which adds a hint of vanilla. The finish gives more bourbon, caramel and some oxidized hops

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that continues into a slightly warming finish

O- this one has well up quite well. Zesty citrus hops still sticking around with some nice barrel notes

Nov 20, 2020
Photo of beertunes
beertunes from Kiribati

3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to DonnieT79 for this one, from NBS BIF #11. 12oz can, dated 2/21/19, poured into 14oz teku. poured a lightly murky dark mahogany color with 1-1/2 inches of tan head that had great retention and lacing.

Semi-sweet malts at the front of the nose, with some wood and bourbon in the background.

Pretty similar on the tongue, just better expanded. The malts still dominate, and a touch of hops show through, then the barrel aspects round things off nicely at the finish.

The body was a touch lighter than I anticipated, but was smooth, held great carbonation throughout the pour, and had a medium finish. Much drier than i expected.

Drinkability was great, I would drink a lot of this if it were local to me.

Overall, an excellent example of the style. A must-try for most beer drinkers, and an absolute must-try for fans of the style. Great beer.

Apr 04, 2020
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Zraly from Virginia

3.48/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice dark ruby color but quite a bit of sediment in the pour. Booze on the nose. Lots of dry citrus and sweet undertones. Earth and alcohol in the finish. Rather inexpensive for a reasonable entry into the barleywine category.

Feb 21, 2020
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CharlesForbin from Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Best served not too cold. You can smell this was aged in bourbon barrells. Cloudy appearance. I'm not the spice that others have mentioned. At first the 13% alcohol is present but fades with suseqent sips. I label this a "blizzard" beer (keeps you warm while watching a snowstorm outside). I always have a case in my basement for the winter. Excellent take on the style!

Dec 08, 2019
Photo of Mongrel
Mongrel from Maryland

3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Damn - it’s spicy! Lots of peppery rye spice, followed by some soothing plum and orange marmalade. The prickly, spicy feel keeps this from becoming too sweet, but also stops it just short of feeling luxurious. A livelier brew than I expected given the abv, with bright fruit flavors like lemon continuing to pop out. Some fig and vanilla on the finish. Pretty tasty and drinkable.

May 08, 2019
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ovaltine from Indiana

4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The first thing I got when I popped the top was ripe, succulent cherries and rich toffee. The pour reveals a hazy brown beer that has a foamy tan head that dissipates relatively quickly, and has that “sizzle” sound as it does so akin to a sour.

So I’m thinking a barleywine sour. That’s logical.

The nose after the pour has ripe fruit and toffee aromas, and there’s also a significant boozy note. Maybe Brian did send me a canned Utopias.

The taste is led by ripe cherries that are a bit sour, but not “a” sour, and the toffee flavor is staking out significant territory in this beer. The booze is not nearly as significant on the taste as it was on the nose, so I guess my canned Utopias theorem has been scuttled. Crap.

Did I mention I’m doing this live without a net? It helps the beer warm and release the flavors.

I know this, because I’m a true professional.

The more I taste and savor this, the more I think it’s a heavily hopped barleywine. The fruit is really forward, but the toffee notes are equally formidable. I’m saying this is an 11%-12% barleywine, and I’d rate it in the 4.25 range.

Apr 22, 2019
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Joe_Tool from New Jersey

3.03/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled on 2/14/14. Dark basement kept undisturbed. 50*F into a pint with sediment left in the 12oz bottle. Mild carbonation and very slight haze. Insignificant head with some lacing. Deep amber color. Smell is sweet caramel.

This one has improved over the years. Unfortunately, it's only improved to "ok". Too sweet for a 4yo "English".

Dec 29, 2018
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Bruno74200 from France

4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This strong bourbon barrel aged barleywine does the job allright;
Dark amber colour, no head
Bourbon brings some vanilla and coconuts.
Big toffee and big big boozy presence

Nov 06, 2018
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Gajo74 from New York

4.09/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber brown color that is turbid, yet clears up, visible carbonation and floating sediment. Luscious looking foamy head, retains well and yields a creamy film and lace.
Complex bouquet of aromas that open with citrus and followed by dark fruit, vinous grape, raisins and plum. Lots of caramel and maple syrup sweetness, as well as a strong biscuity malt aroma that evokes a sense of sticky ness. The bourbon barrel emits an oaky and vanilla like aroma, yet, it’s not so boozy.
The taste, on the other hand, does open up with a moderate alcohol, bourbon like, burn that is lightly spicy and smoky. Sweet flavors evoke caramel, maple syrup, vanilla, raisin, brown sugar, molasses, and chewy sticky malt. As boozy as this one starts off, it settles quite nicely midway, and highlights other flavors. In particular, some mild hops bitterness begins to develop, along with a grapefruit rind finish. Vinous flavors develop, evoking a full bodied red wine, grapes, plum and figs.
Full bodied with a moderate carbonation. Once the alcohol spice and burn mellows out, this one evolves from a supper to a dangerously drinkable brew.
A big complex brew all around. A nice Barleywine to knock back and a bargain at $3 for the bottle.

Nov 01, 2018
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JohnnyHopps from Indiana

4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - The beer poured a fuzzy copper color with an off-white head.

Smell - The nose brought to mind boozy apricots.

Taste - At the front, I noted a very fruity boozy presence. Notes of fruit cocktail, apricots, raisins, and nutty wood with drier hints at the finish. The beer is quite sweet, but not overly cloying.

Mouthfeel - The sticky booze clung to all parts of the mouth. There was definite viscosity.

Overall - Perhaps some age will mellow the sweetness. The beer drinks more like an English barleywine than an American barleywine.

Sep 29, 2018
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Eddieeight from Ohio

3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I like the idea of this brew better than I like the brew itself. Pours nice pretty Amber color like caramel. Smells sweet and almost like malt liquor. Taste is not as quenching as other barrel aged brews. In fact it's really dry and flavor of bourbon sweetens it. Overall I expected more but wtf would cares it's 13% let's get [email protected](€ed up

May 09, 2018
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jjamadorphd from Florida

3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Another DuClaw, another fantastic brew...

I really like this brewer. Anytime I can pull something new I never hesitate and I am so glad I pulled this off the shelf recently. What I find most amazing about this beer is that even at 13% ABV - you don't really smell it, you sorta taste it - both qualities being as such are a rarity, at least for me - yet, you definitely "feel" it as you partake and enjoy. I found it to be sweet to the nose, smooth and creamy on the tongue, and full of the distinct bourbon flavor you would expect. I dinged it on taste a bit since it had a tinny finish, but otherwise it was very good. I would definitely look for another one to age for a year or so and will be on the lookout for such moving forward.

May 06, 2018
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hoptualBrew from Florida

4.16/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Murky tea brown in color with off white head that falls quickly, tons of legs on the glass. Toffee, vanilla, light fig, raisin, oak, and boozy whiskey in the aroma. Same on the palate with the addition of a solid dose of bitterness and floral, spicy hops. Finishes sweet, bitter, and slightly warming. Just a really solid barleywine where the barrel makes its presence known.

Jun 11, 2017
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BJB13 from Maryland

4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Not sure of the date but I belive it's under six months old
12 oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

Couldn't do a proper review but I really enjoyed this and will revisit it.
I will say that the bourbon barrel character comes through, it is rather smooth and not overly boozy. The 13.1% ABV is not very pronounced so drink with care.
Great sipping beer!

Jun 03, 2017
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NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

3.74/5  rDev -7%
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.

Apr 25, 2017
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tillmac62 from South Carolina

4.2/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

Apr 13, 2017
Photo of Greywulfken
Greywulfken from New York

4.3/5  rDev +7%
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...

Apr 02, 2017
Photo of mynie
mynie from Maryland

3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
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.

Mar 01, 2017
Photo of dbl_delta
dbl_delta from Pennsylvania

3.9/5  rDev -3%
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.

Feb 20, 2017
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

Jan 10, 2017
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chinchill from South Carolina

3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

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.

Nov 16, 2016
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seedyone from New York

4.29/5  rDev +6.7%
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.

Nov 09, 2016
Photo of tigg924
tigg924 from Massachusetts

4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours hazy, orange-brown in color with 1/4 inch head. Taste is citrus hops, orange,toffee, sandalwood, light vanilla, and alcohol. Slick, heavy bodied. Hops add a dryness to the beer. Slight bitterness letting you know this is an American barleywine. Tasty, not overly complex, but glad I got a six. Will look for this again.

Jun 11, 2016
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scottfrie from California

4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle into snifter, bottled 2/14/14. Thanks StormKing47.

A: Pours a deep caramel amber with a thin wispy tan head that left delicate streaks of lace down the glass.
S: The nose is a complex blend of caramel, leather, anise, aged leafy hop resin, woody bourbon and oxidized notes of sherry and cardboard (in a good way).
T: Follows the nose with the flavors of the scents above, but I also get a touch of honey and brown sugar in the finish. Caramel hits up front followed by a maybe a touch butterscotch, then the bourbon hits along with hints of cocoa powder, dark chocolate and leather. I get flavors of anise and toast along with the honey and brown sugar in the finish which mix with the bourbon and linger after the swallow. Bourbon is flavorful and woody and still potent, but age has taken any heat out of it.
M: Surprisingly pleasant carbonation made up of find, tight, bubbles that froth up on my palate over the thick and viscous body. Smooth and chewy mouthfeel overall. The double digit alcohol is present it’s not warm.
O: A well-integrated and delicious sipper. Flavors are rich yet smooth. Thanks again for the bottle Josh.

May 16, 2016
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johnnnniee from New Hampshire

4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Mike at the Barleywine tasting.
Golden copper color, off white head. Big caramel great oaked vanilla notes. Medium body light carbonation. pretty damn tasty beer right here.

Apr 02, 2016
Hell On Wood from DuClaw Brewing Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 348 ratings