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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Flying Dog Beer Review: Wild Dog's Barrel-Aged Horn Dog

Welcome to review number 2, featuring Wild Dog's Barrel-Aged Horn Dog, another fine beverage provided by Flying Dog Brewery for my reviewing purposes. The great thing is, you can only get this treat straight from the source. But thanks to the generous folks from Flying Dog, I got to sample it without flying all the way out to Colorado. Thanks again!

My buddy Dave was kind enough to assist me with his own review offering a second opinion.

Beer: Flying Dog Brewery's - Wild Dog's Barrel-Aged Horn Dog

Some words from Flying Dog: This is a completely experimental beer. We took our Horn Dog Barley Wine and aged it in used Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey barrels for 13 months to give us a BarleyWine with a very distinctive flavor. Being that it was an experiment, we brewed a very limited amount (725 12oz bottles to be exact) and they can only be purchased at the brewery.

Style: English Barleywine

Style Description from our friends at BeerAdvocate.com: Despite its name, a Barleywine (or Barley Wine) is very much a beer, albeit a very strong and often intense beer! In fact, it's one of the strongest of the beer styles. Lively and fruity, sometimes sweet, sometimes bittersweet, but always alcoholic. A brew of this strength and complexity can be a challenge to the palate. Expect anything from an amber to dark brown colored beer, with aromas ranging from intense fruits to intense hops. Body is typically thick, alcohol will definitely be perceived, and flavors can range from dominant fruits to palate smacking, resiny hops.

English varieties are quite different from the American efforts, what sets them apart is usually the American versions are insanely hopped to make for a more bitter and hop flavored brew, typically using American high alpha oil hops. English version tend to be more rounded and balanced between malt and hops, with a slightly lower alcohol content, though this is not always the case.

Most Barleywines can be cellared for years and typically age like wine.

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 7.0-12.0%


(In this case, the Horn dog boast a whopping 10% abv)






How was it served? From a bottle
Glass: Standard pint glass
Location of tasting: Dave's apartment
Reviewers: Bryon & guest reviewer - Dave

Bryon's Review

1. Appearance - Now here is a thick looking beer. Cloudy, dark brown, like a pint glass full of black coffee, with almost no head to speak of.

2. Smell - The Horn Dog smells like mulled wine, with hints of chocolate and roasted coffee. (A note on smell - I have a very limited sense of smell, that comes and goes, so my opinions on beer smells should be taken with a grain of salt...)

3. Taste - Wine meets coffee with undertones of chocolate (and raspberry?)... Very rich... An almost J├Ągermeister-like thick and sweet quality. This is a really good dessert beer, reminds me of cheap wine with chocolate and strawberries, but in a good way. Don't ask, it's a college flashback... I can also taste hints of oak, undoubtedly a result of the barrel aging process.

4. Mouthfeel - A heavy but smooth drink. Very lightly carbonated.

5. Drinkability - An interesting drink, but just too sweet for me to have more than 1 or 2 at a clip. But at 10% abv, that's probably a good thing. In my mind, this is a sipping beer, or as stated before, a dessert beer. Something good for a cold winter night, while you sit by the fire. Now don't get me wrong, this is a good beer. My aversion to more than 2 is more about the style than the beer itself.

This begs the question, "What does drinkability mean to you?" If you're looking for a beer that you'd have many of in one sitting, you're probably looking for a session beer, as good as this beer is, it's no session beer. Think of it as more of a special treat.

Drinkability Scale from 1- 10: A 7. (Would I have another? Yes, but probably on another night.)

And for a second opinion...

Dave's Review

1. Appearance - The beer is unique looking; thick as mud with no head and a color like moist coffee grounds. It's both inviting and intimidating.

2. Smell - There's a lot going on here, and it's all good. First impressions are coffee and red wine smells, and chocolate shows up in there as well. The background presents roasted, malty smells and is very inviting.

3. Taste - The taste is amazing and complex. It presents as a well aged tawny port, with hints of winter spice, coffee, and chocolate. Nutty and toasty, this is not a 'six pack beer' you can finish in one sitting.

4. Mouthfeel - Letting the beer wander allows the hint of alcohol to sneak through. horn Dog is smooth and heavy, with little to no carbonation, but the lack there of, does not leave one wanting.

5. Drinkability - The beer is very drinkable, but not in large quantities or consistently. I recommend everyone try one as this beer is delicious and I hope to have it again.

Drinkability Scale from 1- 10: 8.5

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