Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hair Of The Dog Fred


"Fred" is described as a "Golden Special Ale" on the label, but RateBeerAdvocate consider it a barleywine. I didn't know this until I took a break to write my text review, but I wish I had known that going into it because I was expecting something in the Belgian strong pale ale style or something similar. Anyways, this is the last of the three beers by Hair Of The Dog I got while in NYC over a month ago. I'm not sure I understand the hype about this brewery.

3.6
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Chad9976 (630) - Albany, USA - MAY 24, 2011
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass (leaving most of the yeast in the bottle).

Appearance: Beautiful shade of dark amber/orange. Definitely hazy. Forms a surprisingly large, white, frothy head which retains and laces very well for such a potent beer.

Smell: Non-citrus tropical fruits, flowers and Fruity Pebbles cereal. Very light and perfumey.

Taste: I wasn’t sure what to expect with this beer. The bottle describes it as a "special golden ale" which lead to believe it would be something like a Duvel, only stronger. As soon as it hit my palate I knew it definitely wasn’t in the Belgian strong pale ale category. Fred is like drinking thinner, carbonated honey. It is extremely sweet with notes of vanilla, spiced rum, and plenty of hops. It begins with noticeable bitterness, but nothing too absurd. The middle and second half are rich and sweet like syrup and honey and the finish contains a strong alcoholic presence. Between the rich sweetness and bitterness, this beer definitely lingers and dries out the palate.

Fred is definitely a very robust beer, but it’s not a delicious one. Sure, the sweetness is appealing, but it’s cloying, especially as it warms. An acquired taste this beer is.

Mouthfeel: Thick, soft, and sticky with a strong aftertaste of dry bitterness and syrupy sweetness.

Drinkability: Straight out of the fridge, this beer isn’t exactly quaffable, nor is it a sipper. It’s right there in the middle. As it warms and the palate begins to wear down the taste buds and it does becoming difficult to drink in more than a sip at a time. The 10% ABV is very prominent in both the taste and the potency.

Overall, a strange beer, but a good one. Not what I would consider a barley wine (as classified by Rate Beer and Beer Advocate), but it’s hard to peg it down as anything else. I liked it, but one is good enough for me.

Grade: 7/10