Sunday, February 19, 2012

Shaun Pops an '09 Hair of The Dog Doggie Claws - Why HOD is Awesome

Well it's the cold dark winter Doldrums out here in Seattle. The sun is starting to stay up longer but spring is a long way away and the grey is starting to weigh on your soul. It's perfect weather for something strong, hearty and special to bring you out of the funk while sitting in front of your full spectrum light. I rummaged through my stash and found a 2009 Doggie Claws Barley-wine from Hair of the Dog. Perfect!

Aging beer can be a bit of a crap shoot. Especially with something that has a hop profile important to the balance of the beer. Lucky for me Alan Sprints knows what he's doing over at Hair of the Dog. And somehow knows how to make my favorite barley-wine from fresh to 3 years old.

I popped it open and it was well carbonated. It had a small head with nice lacing as I roll it around the glass. A deep golden caramel color. Hazy.

The nose has whiffs of caramel and a slight tart hoppiness. Mmm...

Sip...just perfect. A sweet malty treat that has sugary overtones with a thick malt mouth-feel. Then a refreshing hop kick that keeps things tightly in control. The carbonation helps wrap everything together as if Alan wrapped it in a bow and set a timer for 2.5 years and it just went off today.

Taking a deeper drought and rolling it around my mouth. I let the sensations develop on my tongue. The front and the sides light up immediately. Then after I swallow the middle and the back light up. How does he do that?!

It's so perfectly balanced. It's a strong intense world class complex beer that you can drink a bottle of without getting burnt out on it. I've done verticals of this beer with older vintages and past 3 years the hops start to fade and it starts to get a little sweet for my taste. So I recommend 3 years and younger if you don't like it too sugary. Or better yet buy 4 or 5 bottles yourself and drink one each year to see when you prefer it.

Pros: brilliantly balanced world class barley-wine that you can drink all day.

Cons: um...

Verdict: drink it fresh or less than three years and it's just a perfect barleywine

5/5 on the Mark-o-meter. It's that good...

1 comment:

MJS said...

The Mark-O-Meter: I'm dying for one now. So good. Great review. I would probably like it 3 years or younger. I'm sure it would, ahem, taste just as good in CHICAGO.