Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hair of the Dog Adam Clone Tasting

I got the beer really cold before applying 10 PSI with the carb cap.It has been a year and a half since I last posted thoughts on my attempt to copy Hair of the Dog's Adam.  It never carbonated (one of the risks of bottle conditioning a high alcohol beer), but through the magic of a carb cap I can pump some pressured CO2 into a bottle before serving.  I've been meaning to adapt the technique from this recipe (boiling down past the target volume and then topping back up with water post-boil) to make a 100% Maris Otter English barleywine.  It seems like a simple recipe would be a good way to actually gauge what the long concentrated boil is accomplishing without specialty malts complicating things.

HotD Adam Clone

Appearance – Viewed straight on it is deep, dark, impenetrable blackness, but held up to the light the edges are clear amber/red. The head is light tan, and composed of really fine bubbles. Decent retention leaving some lacing down the sides of the tulip.

Smell – Aged doppelbock: prunes, bready malt, and light chocolate. There is some subtle earthy smoke, but nothing too aggressive.

It is amazing how much a little carbonation improves my Adam Clone.Taste – The spicy smoke helps to cut through the residual malt sweetness (it does not have that really strong iodine-bog flavor that some peat smoked beers get). There is a mild balancing bitterness as well, but even when fresh it never tasted as sharp as the 66 IBUs would suggest. There are some pleasant dark fruity oxidation flavors, but no cardboard (or worse). The smoke character reminds me of a lightly bourbon barrel aged beer, providing some of those same notes that a charred barrel brings.

Mouthfeel – Thick and coating body (almost sticky) with moderate-low carbonation.

Drinkability & Notes – This one has aged into a beauty, complex, but still drinkable. The bitterness and smoke make it easier to drink than most aged German beers that head toward cloying as they age.  This is about as close as I could imagine getting to the original, great recipe.  I'm down to my last six-pack, sorry to see it so low when it is drinking so well.


  1. This sounds like an incredible clone of an incredible beer. I've docked this one away to do for next year...

  2. So how does one bottle condition high gravity brews? HoTD has amazingly great beer and with his new brew house pub eatery it looks even better.

    I hope myself to brew up a Fred, Adam copys someday

  3. I've been able to coax several beers 10% or stronger into bottle conditioning, but for some reason this one just didn't work. Pitching an alcohol tolerant strain at bottling is a good idea. An actively fermenting starter is the best option, but for this one I used rehydrated dry yeast.

  4. How does the HoTD copy compare to your take on a "real adambier"? When you made Double Secret Probation you were curious how they would taste against each other.

  5. That would have made for a good double tasting. That beer is smokier, drier, and less malty/bready. This beer is bigger/rounder and more complex. Two interesting beers.

  6. Can you use a wine yeast to do the bottle conditioning?

    Batch Sparging

  7. Wine yeast can certainly work since it is alcohol tolerant. I often use it for sour beers. I would suggest rehydrating it first to ensure it is ready to go when you pitch it.

  8. About your carb cap: I am guessing that's a water bottle, not a soda bottle? All the soda bottles I found have the short tops that do not work with the carbonator. Damn shame.

  9. Yep, water bottle. I've used soda bottles other times though without issue. I don't buy it that often has Coke/Pepsi gone to those "green" shallow caps?