Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws Vintage 2012 Review

Alan Sprints of Hair of the Dog Brewing Company in Portland, Oregon has been making beer for 20 years. The glass in the photo proves it. Sprints made Dave, which made news for recently selling for $2000 a bottle.

The Christmas beer from this distinguished brewery is called Doggie Claws. I’m reviewing a 2012 a year later. Most of Hair of the Dog beers are made for aging and Doggie Claws is no exception. It’s a bottle conditioned barley wine that comes in at 11% ABV. Sprints says, “Doggie Claws is made with Organic Pilsner and British Crystal malts. I use simcoe and amarillo hops along with dark wild flower honey collected on Mt. Hood.”

My bottle poured reddish brown with no head at all. Very low carbonation, for this bottle at least. It smells sweet with toasted malt and dried dark fruit aromas. On tasting, it is deep and rich with notes of brown sugar, oak, vanilla, and cloves with lots of hops and a bitter finish that shows off it’s 70 IBUs. The alcohol is well-incorporated with only a slight burn on the throat when swallowing. It has a long finish.

At the Hair of the Dog 20th Anniversary Party – yes, Santa was there – I tasted 2004 and 2005 Doggie Claws poured from a magnum. It held up very well. The tasting profile was very similar to the 2012. Which says to me, age this beer for a year or two and then enjoy. No need to wait 10 years!

If you are a fan of barley wine you are going to enjoy Doggie Claws.

Question: What are your thought on Doggie Claws? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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    While it's difficult to picture Santa as a young man, he was once. He met the future Mrs. Claus one snowy night when she offered him a winter ale that she brewed herself. It was love at first sight - for both the Mrs. and her winter ales. With Santa's growing fame, his favorite brews became named after his favorite day - Christmas. Santa now travels the world each year to spread the joy that began in a stable in Bethlehem two millennia ago.

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.