I stopped by Hair of the Dog Brewery in Portland, Oregon the other day and picked up a bottle of Doggie Claws, their Christmas Ale. It’s a Barley Wine made for aging.
2014 Doggie Claws pour muddy brown with almost no foam. The lack of carbonation is something that brewmaster Alan Sprints is unconcerned by. He once wrote, “Beer is more than bubbles.” The aroma has strong sweet malts, blackberry, a bit of cherry, and orange zest from the hops. The taste is sweet caramel, syrupy malts, big floral hops, with dark fruit, molasses and orange. It has almost no carbonation, that some will find off-putting. I don’t mind the lack of carbonation. There are a lot of malts and hops (70 IBU), but the malts win out in the body and hops in the finish. It’s 11% ABV and has a long finish.
Alan Sprints states on the bottle, “Doggie Claws is made with Organic Pilsner and British Crystal malts. I used simcoe and amarillo hops along with dark wild flower honey collected on Mt. Hood.”
I’ve tasted a number of vintages of Doggie Claws including 2004, 2005, 2010, and 2012. The 2014 Doggie Claws has the same flavor profile as other vintages and should age the same way.
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