The “Fred” Showdown – Hair Of The Dog Brewing Company

Portland Oregon’s Hair of the Dog Brewery brews a Golden Special Ale called “Fred” named after a beer writer and historian Fred Eckhardt.  Some times Hair of the Dog also does versions of their brews under the name “From The Woods” meaning they were aged on oak.  When down in Porland recently I was able to get my hands on a two bottles of Fed, one a Fred batch number 89 and one a Bourbon Fred From the Wood (2013).  Sadly my batch number 89 bottle was off and had flavours of tomato? (WTF eh).  Luckily I have also reviewed a bottle of vintage 86 also and will make my comparisons there.

Fred (Golden Special Ale)
Fred pours a cloudy amber colour with some sediment and an off white head.  The aroma consists of sweet malts and dark fruits.  The flavour is of sweet dark fruits, malts and a mild hops bitterness.  This beer really reminds me of a barleywine and I am a big fan of barleywines!  The alcohol content of this brew is 10% and the IBU comes in at 65.  This is a very good golden special ale even if it tastes more like a barleywine.  A style I love!  Batch 86 was brewed on January 31, 2012 and bottled on March 22, 2012.
Link to old review.

Commercial Description from Bottle:  Fred was created to honor beer writer and historian Fred Eckhardt.  Fred is made with Organic Pilsner and Rye Malts, Belgian candy sugar and a combination of intense Northwest Hop varieties.  We hope that Fred will inspire you to share your knowledge with others as Fred has with us.


Bourbon Fred From the Wood
Bourbon Fred poured a light brown with no head.  The aroma consisted of vanilla, oak, bourbon and lots of malts.  The flavour was of sweet caramel, vanilla, bourbon, oak, malts, mild tropical fruits, almonds and sugar with a hit of hops bitterness.  The alcohol content comes in at 12%.  I guess this is still considered a Golden Special Ale as it is a barrel aged Fred but it does not resemble Fred all that much anymore.  This is a full blown barleywine now and packs a punch.  Saying that this is an amazing barleywine and I wish I was aloud to purchase more than one bottle while at the brewery!

Commercial Description from Bottle:  Made with organic pilsner and rye malts along with Northwest hop flowers and Belgian candy sugar.  This beer is aged for at least 18 months in oak bourbon barrels.  It has the aroma of almonds and whiskey.  Mouth feel is full with toffee flavours backed by tropical fruits and Kentucky twilight.


The Winner is…..
This winner has to be Bourbon Fred From the Wood it is just that much more complex and really has matured well with the 18 months in Kentucky Bourbon barrels.

I was really bummed to have gotten a bad bottle of batch 89 and would love to know if anyone else experienced this problem? This bottle was purchase right from the brewery and stored in the same way as my Bourbon Fred was.  I am pretty sure it was nothing I did on my end.

Here is a photo of the bad bottle batch number 89.

A Side by Side Comparison of batch 86 and 89 show something is up.  Batch 86 looks less cloudy and is a lighter colour with an off white head.  The batch 89 bottle almost has the colour of the Bourbon Fred but has no head at all.

IMG-20130216-00344  IMG_00001666

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