RateBeer
overall
96
99
style
Brewed by HaandBryggeriet (Norway)
Style: Traditional Ale
Drammen, Norway

bottled
common

on tap
available

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 846   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.67   EST. CALORIES: 195   ABV: 6.5%
COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
Once, every farm in Norway was required by law to brew its own ale. All of that ale had a natural smoky taste because the malt was kilned by fire, and most of it was spiced with juniper berries. Norwegian Wood, a recreation of that traditional style, is made by the "Hand Brewery" - four guys brewing in their spare time, on an absurdly small scale.


3.4
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
FlacoAlto (3891) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JAN 24, 2008
Batch 70, brewed March 2007; Sampled January 2008
Smokey aromatics greet my nose as I pour this brew into my glass. It is very well carbonated and easily produces a tan crown of froth that is a full five fingers in height (including almost two-finger above the rim of my glass. The smoke is definitely the dominant characteristic of the aroma; the smoke is a mix of salt, meaty umami, smoked cherry, smooth phenolics and perhaps a hint of plastic. The aroma is pretty appetizing, but it is very hard to smell anything other than the smoke.

Still well carbonated the beer foams just a bit as it hits my mouth. It smoothes out considerably as the beer flows across my tongue and even picks up some chewy texture and almost creamy quality to it by the finish. The beer has a smooth, hearty smokiness to it up front, but picks up a touch of sharp esters and phenolics towards the finish. Up front the smoke character melds in with the malt sweetness so well that the sweetness is not overly noticed, but instead makes the smoke seem quite appetizing. Somehow the smoke balances this up front note in the finish with a bit of sharper phenolics, but there are also some dry, lingering, toasty grain notes in the finish as well. Touches of berry notes seem to be in the flavor as well, though it seems very hard to pick them out underneath the smokiness. The smoke combines quite well with the heft of this brew; it is just enough to be chewy, but not so much as to make this anything near a sipping brew.

An interesting idea, but it seems somehow not all that well executed. The flavor is wonderful if you like smoked beers (which I do), but I really wish more of the juniper could have come through. In the end it is a bit one dimension, especially considering I was hoping for a smoked beer with something else going on. Still this is a tasty brew and one that I am certainly enjoying.

3.6
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Finn (4710) - Tromsø, NORWAY - JAN 24, 2008
Bottle 0,5 l at Tromsø Ølfestival 15 Aug 07. Dark golden colored. A tanned creamy head. Hoppy and fruity aroma. Juniper? Carbonated. Strong malty and fruity flavor. Dry bitter aftertaste. A bit unbalanced.

3.1
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
DonMagi (5595) - bantervile, Bedfordshire, ENGLAND - JAN 23, 2008
Bottle massive thanks to ang at cgarvieuk’s piers party jig. Aroma is citrus hop and smokey malts, pine also. Taste is smokey and pine and soap. Alright but not as good as expected.

3.3
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
cgarvieuk (17647) - Edinburgh, SCOTLAND - JAN 23, 2008
UPDATED: JUL 5, 2010 Bottle at home with Tom ... Hazy copper brown ...woody slightly smokey hop with lots of pine notes in nose ... smokey malts over drying bitterness in linger some roast malt ...3.1 bottle on train ... brown ... smokey woody malt nose ... light smokey malts ... defiite juniper berry ... roast malts ... quite nice ... 3.3

4.1
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
DavidP (1747) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - JAN 22, 2008
Bottled shared by Blake. Salty, wood smoke and dry caramel in the aroma. Lots ’o smoke! Pleasant juniper berries come out in the flavor alongside chocolate malt, grassy hop bitterness & wood char - dry finish with char & dry malt. This is really good.

3.6
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
MIBRomeo (2570) - Wisconsin, USA - JAN 22, 2008
Pours a dark brown w/ a HUGE fluffy light tan almost off white head w/ good lacing. Definite lightly smoked aroma almost peaty then hints of salt very meaty. Nice full well coated palate. Smokey pork like flavor w/ light dry wood on the finish and a light sweet note in there too. Pretty good actually.

3.9
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Guerde (1221) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - JAN 21, 2008
(bottle thanks OSLO) Pours dark brown with a large off-white head that lasted for awhile. The aroma is smoked pork with a light fruitiness. The taste is fairly sweet initially, then turns salty, and is followed by a large dose of smoke that really lingers on the finish. Medium mouthfeel, but could definitely be thicker. Not too bad.

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
sthlm (1255) - Minnesota, USA - JAN 21, 2008
[Bottle] Pours really dark red with a big light tan head. Aroma has a lot of yeast, some smoke, light fruitiness. Taste is slightly sour up front, followed by yeast and then the smokey malt with a light bitterness. Medium-thin mouthfeel with a really long smokey finish. A very nice, smokey beer, but could stand to be a little thicker.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
MI2CA (1340) - Noblesville, Indiana, USA - JAN 21, 2008
500ml - Batch 70 brewed 03/07 best before 03/10 - Aroma of barley, mixed berries, light smoke and cedar. Pours a deep ruby red with a huge pillowy brown head and great lacing. Flavor is a lot smokier than aroma. Malty with a touch of berries. Interesting. Palate is a little thin but still sticky. I really like these "tradition ales" and the uniqueness they usually represent.

3.5
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
alexanderj (3423) - Branson, Missouri, USA - JAN 20, 2008
Bottle courtesy of golubj. Poured a ruddy reddish brown with medium to large off white head. Aroma was smokey, meaty and woody. Flavor was much of the same with a bit of acidity and tartness. Didn’t pick up too much on any fruit or berries. Some pretty good aspects to this beer.


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