Sunday, April 15, 2007

Fred From The Wood

Considering Fred is one of my favorite all-time beers, it's a little surprising to me that I haven't done a blog entry on it yet. I thought I would knock this one out now because next weekend the brewery will be having an Earth Day sale on cases of Blue Dot IPA and this beer; just incase anyone was interested in trying this elusive beer.

Brewery – Hair of the Dog Brewing Co. in Portland, OR
Style – American Barleywine
ABV – 10%
Serving Type – 12-oz bottle

The genesis of Hair of the Dog was inspired by two things (aside from Alan Sprints' love of craft beer): First, there was John Bickerdyke's "Curiosities of Ales and Beer", a 19th century book describing the drinking culture in England. Second was Fred Eckhardt, a well-known and much admired beer writer in Portland. With his help, Alan and Doug Henderson were able to recreate an extinct style of beer called Adambier. The first purchase of 'Adam' was made on August 23rd, 1994 by Mr. Eckhardt and Hair of the Dog was officially open for business.

Fred (the beer) was named in honor of Mr. Eckhardts contributions, not only to this brewery, but also to the brewing community as a whole. Fred From The Wood is Fred batch #64 that has been aged for six-months in new American oak barrels. This was aparintly inspired by the folks at who are doing something called the "Worldwide Masters Series". This is the first beer in the series, and from what I have seen in their message boards, it could be the last.

Glass – Dogfish Head Pint Glass

Aroma – There is a definite oaky aroma that dominates. In the background it seems malty and sweet. There is also just a barley perceptible hint of floral aroma.

Appearance – It pours with a huge, thick, fluffy, and stable off-white crown. The beer itself is a crystal clear dark mahogany color.

Flavor – On the front of my tongue it is malty and sweet with a touch of honey. It’s not until it gets about halfway through my mouth that I start to detect the oak and alcohol. It gets a little bitter in the back, but I’m not sure if it’s from hops or from the roasted malts mixed with the alcohol. Although I think there is a hint of floral tucked away in the back, so if I had to I would comedown on the side of hops.

Mouthfeel –Now this is what I call a full body. It feels thick but with out being oily. It finishes dry.

Final Thoughts – As with most beers, the oak-ageing seems to have mellowed this incredibly. It's not as complex as a regular Fred, but it is much "easier" to drink. Plus, I do love that oak flavor and aroma. When I first got this beer last summer it seemed more cidery than oaky, but aging it really seems to have helped it. Since this is probably going to be a one shot one-off, I'm really tempted to pick up a case of this stuff just to let it age next to my other bottles of Fred and Adam.


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