What is your favorite beer? That is a question I have been asked countless times over the years and it is not an easy question to answer. I generally give some long winded answer that doesn’t really answer the question. Most of the time at some point during that discussion I find myself bringing up one beer more often than any other, Adam from the Wood from Hair of the Dog Brewing.

Hair of the Dog Adam from the Wood (2015) bottle

During the 2011 release of Adam from the Wood I was lucky enough to grab a few bottles and every time I am in Portland I always have to make a stop at the brewery for a bottle or two.1 A few months back Hair of the Dog announced that they were not going to release Adam from the Wood this year but they are also releasing a version that was aged in rye whiskey barrels, instead of the bourbon barrels normally used for the release. Being a huge fan of rye whiskey I was extremely excited to get my hands on a bottle. I had to call in a few favors and trade away a few bottles but I was able to get a few bottles of each.

Finally the day has come and I get to open a bottle of the Rye Whisky version. I had heard reports of the bottles being flat and when I popped open the bottle there was barely noticeable hiss. I poured the beer into the glass and no head what so ever developed. The beer is completely flat. Not a great start but I am still excited to try it. It pours a dark brown that reveals mahogany edges when held to the light. The few random bubbles that appeared as I poured are long gone within a few seconds.

The aroma from the glass is a pungent and complex with all of the familiar aromas of a standard bottle of Adam: cocoa powder, molasses, raisins, leather and alcohol. There is also notes of smoke, brown sugar and a ton of influence from the barrel. Oak, vanilla and that rye spice I was really hoping for are all present. The aroma does not disappoint and it is one of those beers that I find myself sniffing over and over again in between each sip.

Hair of the Dog Adam from the Wood (2015)

As I take my first sip I find many of the same flavors represented in the aroma. A big caramel like sweetness reminiscent of many old ales is the first thing that jumps out at me. Then a wave of flavors including raisins, smoke, leather and a bit of a musty earthy flavor. The rye spice comes in later in the sip as I swallow. The rye is quite noticeable and lingers into the finish. As with its bourbon barreled-aged sibling this beer gets a lot of its character from the barrel. The oaky vanilla flavors along with the rye really separate this beer from the herd. The beer does have a noticeable alcohol presence but nothing to the point where I would consider it a large negative.

Hair of the Dog Adam from the Wood (2015)
BREWERY: Hair of the Dog Brewing Co.
LOCATION: Portland, Ore.
STYLE: Old Ale
ABV: 12.4 percent
IBU: n/a
PRICE: $12
AVAILABLE IN: 12-ounce bottles
Overall, I am really pleased with this offering from Hair of the Dog but it is not without its minor flaws. The beer has a bit of an odd mouthfeel that in a weird way is both syrupy from the sweetness and yet thin and a bit watery due to the lack of carbonation. I also think the alcohol is just a touch too noticeable but I am really knit picking at this point. The beer is a fantastically complex sipper that I recommend to anyone. I also love the fact that it comes in the approachable 12-ounce format as opposed to a larger 22-ounce or 750ml sizes. Will this beer be mentioned in the favorite beer conversations down the road? Probably not at this pointm but it could be after sitting for a few years. Based on the older Adam from the Wood bottles I have had this beer could develop into something really special once the flavors meld together a bit, the alcohol becomes a touch less noticeable and hopefully introduce a bit of oxidation. If the bottle would condition a bit more and bring in some carbonation this beer could really be something special.
89Overall Score
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