Category Archives: Haand Bryggeriet

Review of Haand Bryggeriet Haandbakk

Hello everyone.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying the Haand Bryggeriet Haandbakk concocted by the Haand Bryggeriet Brewery located in Drammen, Norway.

This bottle is vintage #10 and it was one of only 2,160 produced.

From the website,, we find an enticing narrative of how the beer was developed in 2006, but I chose to take the description straight from the label of the bottle instead.

The “Hand Brewery” has always been obsessed with the original Scandinavian brew – ale made by farmers – aged in wood, deep, dark, and invariably, naturally, sour.  So, when the boys got their famous hands on some wonderful oak barrels, everyone knew what would happen next…   

Sounds good.  Let’s pour and take a drink.

This beer came in a 16.9 oz. bottle and it had an ABV of 8.0%.

It poured a very deep burgundy/oxblood type of color with some nice ruby highlights shimmering at the bottom of the snifter.  From a relatively easy pour a very light tan, minimally sized head was formed.  It had some fairly large and loose bubbles, but the retention time was adequate enough.  The lacing didn’t look too bad either considering the style.  In fact, a thin ring of foam was left circling the liquid for the duration.

The aroma was spectacular.  Deep, dark sour grapes, black cherries and blackberries.  Very tart smelling with hints of oak and wood.  Very sweet and rich with just a touch of a vinegary relish.  It was very reminiscent of a red wine I thought.  Wonderfully balanced and detailed.

The taste announced a nice, pungent sourness and tartness.  More fruity goodness of blackberries, dark grapes and back cherries.  Again, a little bit of a vinegar savor along with a more prominent stab of oak and wood at the back of the palate.  Once the beer settled and opened up I began to notice a very light touch of yeast and bready malt.  A very exquisite taste.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  Extremely dry, and slightly “bitey”.  It began sharp, but became quite round and silky smooth as it was allowed to breathe and my palate adjusted.  The carbonation was medium to low and just a wee bit of warmth was felt at the back end.  An impressive amount of flavor was left behind after each swallow too.

Man, this was a gorgeous beer.  A beautiful sour in my opinion and one that shouldn’t be passed up if you have the opportunity to try it.  I was surprised at how easy it became to drink as I worked my way through the bottle.  I don’t know that I’ve had a sour that was quite like this one.  It just had some subtleties that really appealed to my taste buds.  Most notably the combination of the wood, vinegar and the tart blackberries.  I should pick up another bottle of this at some point this Winter to sip on and enjoy as the fireplace is flickering.  So, with that being said, try the Haand Bryggeriet Haandbakk if you can and let me know your thoughts.  I’m betting that if you like Sours…. you’ll like this one.

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone.  I really appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.3 out of 5
Grade:  A       


Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Country: Norway, Haand Bryggeriet


Review of Haand Bryggeriet Dark Force Reserva

Hello everyone.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying the Dark Force Reserva produced by the Haand Bryggeriet Brewery located in Drammen, Norway.

This will be my first from this brewery.  I’m really looking forward to it too.

The website,, didn’t provide any information regarding this specific beverage, but from the way I understand it’s just the regular Dark Force aged in Akevitt barrels.

Anyway, I’m ready for a sip or two.  How about you guys?

This brew came in a 16.9 oz. bottle with an ABV of 9.0%.

It poured….. black!!!!  A very smooth, creamy and well sized dark tan/mocha colored head sat atop the liquid.  The retention time was excellent and the lacing looked great.  Skims of foam hung onto the glass for a good long while.  A ton of clear alcohol legs were left on the sides after tilting as well.  A very, very gorgeous looking brew for sure.

The nose was very complex and outstanding.  Hints of roasted malt with a very, very light touch of smoke.  Dark fruits of plum and cherries created a slight wine profile.  A very interesting combination of wine, wood and roast.  A smidgen of funkiness and maybe even the most negligible dose of chocolate in there as well.  Very well balanced all the way around.  No one characteristic really out shown the other in my opinion.

The taste brought forth a significant jump in the sweet dark fruits.  Especially the cherries.  It revealed a modest amount of sourness and tartness as well.  Again, very wine-like with a roasted malt and woody/earthy backbone.  I found that the chocolate all but disappeared in the taste.  Only the most meager amount of alcohol and bitterness was savored.  An excellent flavor with this one. 

The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  Very dry and warming.  Slightly chalky, but somehow smooth at the same time.  The carbonation was a bit higher than expected, which was fine with me, and a lot of flavor was left covering the palate after each sip.

Man, this was a great and unique brew.  I would love to have another.  It’s definitely a sipper, however the drinkability is still very good.  It’s a very complex beer with subtle nuances throughout the entire experience.  It would be interesting to see how it changed with a little bit of age.  I think that it could provide a very pleasing occurrence for even the most advanced craft beer aficionado.  There is quite a lot going on here.  I’m sure that more advanced palates could decipher much more than what I could.  I would love to hear some other opinions regarding the Haand Bryggeriet Dark Force Reserva if you have tried it.  And if you haven’t tried it, I would strongly recommend that you do so.  It’s worth the time and effort to seek out.

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone.  I really am grateful to all of you.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.4 out of 5
Grade:  A              

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