Friday, December 30, 2011


Doggie Claws 2011, a Barleywine by Hair of the Dog Brewing Company.

12 ounce bottle served in wine glass. 11.5% alcohol by volume.


I love a good barleywine. I love Doggie Claws. I've had it many times in the past. As I took tasting notes this time around, I felt that I was catching a different flavor profile than I had before.

I was (and am) unsure about the flavors I was noticing.* Am I noticing particular flavors right now because I'm drinking beers that are heavier in flavor and body? Has my taste evolved to where I am discovering nuances that I couldn't before? For instance, why am I noticing notes of cherry in so many dark and bold ales right now?

Or, is the 2011 version just different enough from past vintages to be noticed?


The pour is a dark brown body with half a finger of white head.

The nose is molasses, dark fruits, and a hint of mint.

The flavor is molasses, brandy, chocolate, figs, cherries, and a hint of mint on the finish. As it warms, I believe the mint grows in strength. In fact, I'm thinking mint M&Ms, even if the association is still rather faint and fleeting.

The alcohol is just on the cusp of being too much. Fortunately, it isn't. Some restraint has been shown as it sits right on the threshold.

As expected, this year's vintage is excellent. Some time in the beer cellar would make it even better.


*Here is what I noticed two years ago, in 2009.

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