Hair Of The Dog Bourbon Fred

Hair Of The Dog: Bourbon Fred From The Wood (USA: Barley Wine: 12% ABV)

(2012 Edition, Drunk 2013)

Visual: Reddened bronze. Off white head of tight bubbles.

Nose: Thick caramel. Rye. Bourbon. Candyfloss. Orange sherbet and orange sorbet. Vanilla. Mint chocolate hard boiled sweets. Marzipan. Honeycomb.

Body: Creamy. Orange liquore. Lemon sherbet. Thick texture. Apricot and ginger bread. Light bitterness below.  Toffee and treacle. White grapes. Choc mint and choc orange. Crystallised fruit sugars. Fruitcake.

Finish: Chocolate mint and chocolate fondue. Tangerine. Candyfloss. Sweet grapefruit. Fudge. Light oak. Honey. Rye crackers. Raisins. Liquorice.

Conclusion: I had to review my Fred tasting notes on drinking this, so to confirm my thoughts. This beer is very different to that one.

Not entirely different, but where that was thick, this is thicker still and creamier. This is sweeter, with the hop bitterness soothed away to toffee and fudge flavours then choc mint sweets and orange liquore. While the bitterness is nearly gone the hop flavours are not. The apricot, sweet grapefruit and fruit sugars all call to wise hop usage.

It is still amazingly complex, but in more bourbon led ways an so much sweeter that it is in danger of becoming sickly later on. I feel bad criticising it as it is glorious, but it does lack the subtlety of implementation that the raw Fred has. There is a bit more booze feel from the bourbon.

Of the two the raw unaged Fred is the best, this however is still bloody nice. The mix of thick creamy and treacle heavy body don’t in any way hide the light sorbet flavours or the chocolate sweetness. In fact the mix of texture and fruit makes it almost like a trifle, or more appropriately some more refined chefs top dessert drenched in fine booze. There is a blend of fruit sugar and jelly confectionary but with class and style.

So, it does have flaws. Over sweet. Alcohol is noticeable. The cheaper Fred is more subtle and better.
Let’s ignore that for a moment. Let’s instead look at the sheer range it brings. This is Hair Of The Dog. Their worst is better than many breweries best. The beer shifts over time, heavier fruitcake coming out and more oak.  Let it play with heat, cool, time and food and it rewards your efforts taken with more flavour.

Perfect? No. However I would have to be some sort of heel to hold the fact that the Brewery that made this also made better beers against it. It is a rewarding sugar shock of complexity. A flawed gem from a great brewery.

Background: Ah memories, despite the fact I picked this up at a bottle shop this still reminds me of good times drinking in Craftheads bar where they had a great amount of Hair of the Dog Beers.  This is the third and final beer I brought back from Japan, and yes it is a USA beer, I can justify it as HOTD beers are like hen’s teeth over here. This was going to be review 900, then I found Hair Of The Dog Matt and that stole that position. As you may guess, I absolutely adore Hair of The Dog Beers. I am not sure if I am becoming biased on their beers or if they are just that darn good. To aid the memories of Japan I drank it while listening to the third FLCL OST Album.