Hair Of The Dog: Fred (USA: Barley Wine: 10% ABV)

Visual: Dark hazy amber with an absolutely massive apricot and wheat coloured head that is very solid and lasting.

Nose: barley and cinnamon, syrup wheat and a hint of cloves.  Toffee and custard sweetness with a big dose of malt. Orange peel, mixed spices, fresh cream and vanilla. Finally light bitter hops and chives action. An eternally shifting menagerie of scents.

Body:  Sweet fudge, syrup and sherbet fresh. Touch of banana sweets, smooth yet bitter hops. A massive malt back and touch of strawberries in its frothy textured body. Chives, pineapple, custard and apricot with a touch of ginger. As the froth subsides the body smoothes massively.

Finish: Light bitter hops, toffee and greenery. Some light and slightly sweet liquorice. Grapefruit, bitter and oak. The bitterness grows over time. Hops and dry ginger.

Conclusion: Is there anything they didn’t manage to cram into this beer? A massive nose of mercurial shifting nature and a body that seems to want to encompass the entire flavour range a golden coloured beer could ever cover.

Calls effortlessly to Belgium strong ale, American IPAs, British blond ales and sweet barley wines and more in its influences. A masterful balancing act of all these without ever feeling haphazard or cluttered.

This really shown a true grasp of the craft, bringing in so many strong and seemingly contradictory elements with such panache and smoothing them together.

It would feel nigh Imperial IPA in its hops style if it was not for the smoothing and rich sweetness that counterbalances in. It’s oh so relaxing, with the alcohol subtly soothing you from under the flavour, and it enthrals with so much flavour for a long nights sipping. A fine counter balance to the claim that high alcohol beers would promote binge drinking, for you would never want to rush this.

Hair of the Dog again shows exactly what they can bring to the table.