Doggie Claws is the winter/Christmas seasonal from Oregon’s Hair of the Dog, a barleywine but with HotD’s typical flair. For example, the label says the beer was made with "dark wild flower honey collected on Mt. Hood."
It’s a little thing, I know, but it’s flair. It’s also 11% alcohol by volume.
This was the 2007 brewing of the beer, one I had earlier in the year—I know, a late review.
Appearance: Translucent (cloudy?) deep amber, bordering on an orange-brown. Full, generous head is off-white, dense, and leaves a nice lacing on the glass. There’s residue at the bottom of the bottle (chunky). [Note: This beer is bottle conditioned.]
Smell: Fragrant—sweetly floral hops (lavender) and the cloyingly honey-sweet nose of a good, malty barleywine. Alcohol with a brandy-ish character and some sort of green wood note.
Taste: There’s that fresh floral character again, reminds me of lavender but it could be clover—strong from wild flower honey? Malt is rich and dark syrup sweet and it draws it out into a long, dry honey finish. Hops are nicely balanced into this, not letting the malt get too overwhelming in cloying sweetness, but really bringing out the honey notes. There’s definitely an oaky brandy character there too… alcohol packing a bit of a punch at the end.
Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, with that complex sweet structure I noted that finishes long and dry… mouth ends dry with an alcohol note and a touch of heat.
Overall: Magic from Hair of the Dog.
On BeerAdvocate, it scores and overall grade of A-. RateBeer is effectively down right now so we’ll just have to be content with BA.