Hair of the Dog Brewing Company of Portland Oregon has been making age-able craft beer for 20 years. Fred is one of his regular beers that’s loaded with hops, rye malts and Belgian candi sugar. Brewmaster, Alan Sprints, makes several barrel-aged versions of this beer.
Bourbon Fred From The Wood 2013 was aged at least 18 months in oak barrels. I’ve aged this bottle conditioned beer for another year in my cellar.
It pours a hazy brownish orange with no head at all. The nose is alive with bourbon, toffee, cooked sugar, apple and vanilla from the wood. There’s a fruity floral aroma mixed with sweetness reminiscent of Applets and Cotlets.
The first thing I’m aware of on tasting is nearly no carbonation. Low carbonation is not unusual for the heavily aged beers of Hair of the Dog. Brewmaster Alan Sprints expressed his thoughts on carbonation when he wrote, “Beer is more than bubbles.” Get your bubbles expectations set and you’ll love this beer.
The taste is rich and warm. It’s sticky sweet which keeps the flavors happening in my mouth. There are wild cherry and floral notes, with an almost brandy liqueur sweetness. Not boozy, even at 12% ABV, Bourbon Fred has a wonderful complexity that doesn’t point to beer but more toward Port wine. The finish is long, remaining on the back of my throat for a full minute.
Bourbon Fred From The Wood 2013 is a sipping beer for when you have time to savor your drink and reflect on life.