Few breweries make beers which ages as well as Hair of the Dog’s. They bottle condition everything from their IPA to the barrel aged barleywine. The yeast at the bottom of the bottle can be a little unsightly, but it’s doing good work. The live yeast keeps fermentation alive long beyond the brewery’s walls. This particular bottle of Fred from the Wood was filled in 2014 but it’s still tasting surprisingly fresh.
First off, this is a strong ale. The nose is full of warm bourbon on fresh fruit. The flavor is full of golden syrup, with a vinous undertone. It’s a dessert featuring whiskey and peaches. But the finish is dry and, strangely enough, salty. There’s a crunchy pretzel note that breaks up the sweet – like a sprinkle of sea salt on caramel. There’s not even a stale hops or oxidized malt, probably thanks to the yeast sucking up any left over air in the bottle to make more alcohol and esters – exactly what you want in an old beer.