Smuttynose Wheat Wine (Big Beer Series) - Smuttynose Brewing Company
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Ratings: 688 | Reviews: 465 | Display Reviews Only:
3.65/5 rDev -4.9%
Dried apricot orange with a faint reddish blush. The sandlewood colored cap is a tight collection of tiny bubbles that persists nicely, especially given the ABV. It's also an admirable leaver of lace in unbroken, sandblasted sheets. I haven't had enough wheat wines to know what they ought to look like, but this one looks great to me.
The beer smelled pretty good from several feet away, but for some reason it doesn't smell quite as good when I get up close and personal with it. Its biggest negatives are a lack of power and a lack of any complexity whatsoever. Its biggest positives are a tangy orange fruitiness and a complete lack of alcohol. If it improves with warming, I'll nudge the score accordingly (note: it doesn't).
Smuttynose Wheat Wine is good beer that I'm not tempted to wax poetic over. I've yet to have a version of this style that I thought came anywhere close to the best barleywines. Whether that has to do with the inherent qualities of wheat versus barley or whether it has to do with brewers' inexperience with a relatively new style, I couldn't say.
At an estimated 18 months of age, the alcohol has, I'm guessing, settled down considerably. It's still a presence though and is borderline in terms of masking/flavor contribution. There's a definite warm spiciness present that doesn't quite reach the threhold of being considered hot. It has the effect of slowing me down by forcing me to take small sips; never a bad idea.
The flavor is reminiscent of orange liqueur. It isn't smooth enough, however, to remind me of Grand Marnier or Cointreau. Cane sugar was added, but the little yeasties must have been unusually efficient with this particular batch because residual sweetness is at a minimum. Or maybe it's simply that enough hops were used to balance things out and the ABV is high enough to keep things dry.
Medium toast French oak chips were used as well. I do pick up more than a hint of bourbon barrel-like vanilla, so I'll have to credit the brewers for that particular addition. While this is a fairly enjoyable big beer, it isn't an especially complex one. It isn't as if one has to probe each and every mouthful for hidden flavors, because they simply aren't present.
The mouthfeel is a highlight for me (along with the appearance). It's full and sticky and comes oh so close to syrupy on the finish. A laid back amount of carbonation contributes to all of the above. Even the somewhat harsh alcohol (that is starting to numb my tongue) can't ruin my enjoyment of how this beer feels in the mouth. It certainly gives it a good effort though.
In the end, the unmasked alcoholicity of Smuttynose Wheat Wine has worn down whatever enthusiasm I had during the first third of the bottle. I thought that I gave it enough time to rest, but it looks like another 18 months wouldn't have been out of the question. While it might improve a fair amount over that time, I don't believe that it will ever be great beer.
11-29-2006 22:58:47 | More by BuckeyeNation
4.22/5 rDev +9.9%
Bottle Conditioned in 2006 according to the bottle. Pours a slightly hazy dark amber orange color, with ruby highlights. One finger head with good retention falls into a ring around the glass, with a touch of lacing.
Aroma is hugely alcoholic. Almost like taking a whiff of rubbing alcohol. There is a slight hint of banana up front, and a decent amount of piney hops in the middle, with a touch of caramel in between. Smells interesting, but I have to dock it a point for that huge alcohol presence.
Flavor is quite malty, with the wheat playing harmony. Semi-sweet malt flavors of caramel, toffee, and raisons are prevalent up front, with a slap of hop flavor and bitterness on the finish. Alcohol again is hot and quite forward. Slight banana flavor makes me wonder if this was brewed with a hefe yeast, or a standard ale yeast. Mouthfeel is creamy and full. Drinkability is decent, but a bit hampered by the alcohol.
Another "big beer series" winner from Smutty. This is the only wheat wine I've eve come across, so I can't compare it to others, but I do enjoy the beer completely. Others may taste the beer as it is... hot and boozy.... but I taste potential. I think this one will age very well. There is enough of a hop presence, and enough alcohol, to let this age for quite a while. I think I'll buy a few more bottles and let them sit for a couple years. It really is a great beer, and will only improve with age. I'd hope to see some of the wheat characteristics come through with age, once the hops and alcohol subside a bit. But highly recommended in any case. Smuttynose rarely disappoints. And at only $3.69 a bomber, this is one of the best bang for you buck beers out there. Simply can't beat it for the price.
11-16-2006 01:35:41 | More by phisig137
4.18/5 rDev +8.9%
22oz bomber with classier than average label art. This beer is a balance of big flavors. Floral herb aroma hops,tangy fruitiness,bright wheat,barley malt caramelized sweetness, alcohol presence in nose and taste and a fine bubble bottle conditioned carbonation that adds to complexity and mouthfeel. Bright tasting for a barley wine and un-like any I have ever tasted. No one element of the flavor stands out as this is a balance of all the supporting characters. One weak link would bring the whole beer down. This is a beer that I'm not sure I would have liked in my youth(10-15yrs ago), but is just the type of challenging beer I now seek. Another excellent brew from Smuttynose.
11-08-2006 04:34:03 | More by mshallah
3.83/5 rDev -0.3%
I noticed another Smuttynose Big Beer release at Downtown Wine & Spirits last week. This one is a Wheat Wine, which is a style I've never had before. I let it warm to around 45º F and served it in my New Belgium glass.
Appearance: Pours a lightly hazy amber. It's topped by a one-finger, off-white head that quickly thins to a sudsy film that slowly fades to a ring. Lace is low and sporadic.
Smell: Very aromatic. Tart fruitiness, floral hops, and spicy and peppery alcohol in the background.
Taste: Lightly fruity with sweet malts upfront. The malts run throughout and provide a nice backbone. There is substantial hop bitterness in the finish that mingles with spicy alcohol. The aftertaste is a light citric tartness.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, low carbonation, with a lightly oily texture.
Drinkability: High alcohol, but it's very warming, which is nice on a cool night like tonight.
Overall: This is my first Wheat Wine, so I'm not sure how it compares to other examples of the style. I enjoyed it.
11-06-2006 03:24:05 | More by EPICAC
4/5 rDev +4.2%
Pours cloudy amber-orange with a creamy tan head that leaves sheets of lacing.
Smell is sweetly fruity with a piney resinous hop character.
Taste is dominated by dark fruit and alcohol, lending a brandylike character. Caramel malt base is syrupy and bready at the same time. An unusual brew here. An understated earthy nuttiness. Finish has a resinous hop blast with lingering hop bitterness and warming alcohol.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied with generous hop oilyness.
Overall I found this brew interesting. Flavor profile isn't as balanced as I would prefer. The alcohol sweetness is a little overpowering. Still, this is a tasty offering that is recommended. Let this one warm a bit to get the fullest flavor.
11-05-2006 18:50:17 | More by Blakaeris
3.43/5 rDev -10.7%
Poured a deep shade of hazy reddish copper with a thin ring of tan head.
Has a big sweet molasses and malt smell with a bit of herbal hoppiness and a strong alcohol smell.
Taste has a strong sweet mixture of dark fruits, molasses, and alcohol. A bit of juniper bitterness, but not quite enough to even it out.
Mouthfeel is heavy and very warming.
A bit to harsh with alcohol lowers the drinkability although the flavors are quite good, definitly a sipper.
11-05-2006 18:39:57 | More by bashiba
3.65/5 rDev -4.9%
The cap popped with a weak hiss. Crystal clear amber with an orange hue. A vigourous pour resulted in a thin head that quickly fell to a ring. Just a bit of spotty lacing initially. Crackery malt aroma, some caramel, with a floral and powdery hop aroma. Toffee and faint alcohol were present as well. Ripe tropical fruit became fairly strong as it warmed. Moderate bitterness with a malty start, a bit crackery, fruity (a bit of citrus, very mild ripe berries). Caramel at the mid. Towards the end, alcohol really moved to the front and lingered through the finish. Lighter bodied than I expected, quite dry, with low carbonation that resulted in a flat mouthfeel. Not bad. I enjoyed it, but wasn't overwhelmed. Still, this is a solid beer.
11-04-2006 01:40:04 | More by DrJay
3.85/5 rDev +0.3%
11/1/2006 $4.99 22 oz. 10.70% Bottle conditioned in 2006.
Pours a slightly hazy orange/brown suffused with burgundy that is adorned by a quarter inch of tight tan foam that settles slowly.
Candied fruit dominates with marachino cherries, brandied pears and lychee dominating. Caramel apples and alcohol are detectable as well.
Rather weak, thin mouthfeel precedes a beer that is brimming with vibrant fruit flavors. Pear and lychee dominate the landscape with notes of candied apples present as well. This is somewhat onesided, with all of the flavors leaning towards the fruit spectrum of things. Alcohol is detectable towards the finish, and slightly distracting. A tasty beer, though not overly complex.
11-01-2006 23:59:54 | More by cbl2
4/5 rDev +4.2%
My first Wheat Wine, sweet. Pours a nice reddish color with a small white lace heading. Also many champaigne like bubbles rising to the top. Smell contained some sweet honey, ripe red fruit...im thinking strawberry, and a certain cream taste as well. Mouthfeel was medium bodied, and pretty damn easy to drink. Alcohol is hidden particularly well with this beer. While it is similar to Barleywine in many ways, this beer still has a personality all its own. I really enjoyed this bottle, and I think i will be going back for more in the near future.
11-01-2006 21:54:35 | More by jamie2dope
3.6/5 rDev -6.3%
Bottle Conditioned in 2006
This is my first time trying a Wheat Wine so I'm not really sure what to expect. Smuttynose is one of my favorite breweries though, so here goes nothing!!!
Poured an ever so slightly hazy, but still pretty clear, light amber with reddish tones to it. Creamy, off-white, half-inch thick head with good retention. Not much lacing to comment on however.
Smells flowery and floral, lots of barley aromas not unlike many barleywines, sticky sweet caramel, some hop spiciness, very mild alcohol fumes.
Taste is lots of alcohol, lots of barley, sticky sweetness ala caramel and toffee, some wheat is detected but seems covered up by all the other stronger components of this beer. Very complex. Finish is pretty hoppy and with much alcohol burn. In fact, this brew is very harsh. But seems like it would be fabulous with a couple years under it's belt.
Mouthfeel is airy, fluffy, and rolls around on your tongue. Mild carbonation.
Drinkable this beer is not. It is just too harsh at this point in it's life to be drinkable. It needs to mellow out.
I plan on buying a few, cellaring them, and opening one each year and see how these babies age. All the great flavors and complexity is there, just the alcohol bite is too much at this point.
10-30-2006 01:35:33 | More by Doomcifer
3.68/5 rDev -4.2%
Bottled in 2005
appearance: The pour gives a low, off white head that soon recedes to leave behind a thin ring around the glass. The beer is a medium amber, aged copper-like color. Some more head retention would be nice, but this is the norm for many high ABV ales.
smell: Right away, I'm surprised by how similar the aroma is to that of a bottom-shelf screwdriver (the drink, of course). As I search for other aromas, it's hard to get it out of my mind at first. After some focused sniffing, I do find aromas of tropical fruit (mango, unripe passionfruit), lightly toasted malt sugars, muscadine/scuppernong grapes, a hint of spicy wheat, and a moderate ethanol note. A light Americanish hop aroma hides in the background. Some further searching reveals notes of honey dipped crackers and dried sour berries.
mouthfeel: The carbonatoin is low and smooth, and the body full and slick. It takes a somewhat unpleasant astringent turn after the swallow.
taste: First up are flavors of citrus and other tropicals alongside a somewhat slick, but clean wheat and toasted malt sweetness. A definite ethanol note comes fuming out after the swallow. Light to moderate hop flavor and bitterness. A few seconds after the swallow, the alcohol and hops give an astringent feel on the tongue. The flavor is not as complex as the nose led me to believe it might have been.
drinkability: A nice wheat wine, but I find it difficult to finish a bomber given the alcohol presence and astringency on the tongue. Something is missing here, especially on the tonge, and the ethanol needs to be toned down alot (I don't say that very often).
Received way back in the day from, I think, ppoitras in BiF 24...and cellared since then.
10-19-2006 04:30:51 | More by blackie
3.98/5 rDev +3.6%
Pours a light amber color with minimal head, settling into a frothy ring. Aroma is subtle, sweet grains and just a little fruity.
Taste is dry pale malt with some fresh fruity hops. Lots of citrus tastes, fresh oranges with a toasty malt base. A little candy flavors, mild butterscotch and caramel. Barest hints of strawberry, honey or possibly mango but overall the finish is quite dry with no flavors of alcohol.
Mouthfeel is medium but slick with alcohol; can't taste it but you can feel the bite on the tongue and the warming of the gullet on the way down. Missing a lot of what I would call wheat characteristics, this is the first of this style that I've tried. It's more than just an American barleywine, although it is very similar in style. I like it.
09-16-2006 07:00:27 | More by assurbanipaul
3.2/5 rDev -16.7%
Served at between fridge and cellar temperature in a Duvel tulip. 2005 edition.
Appearance- Pours the color of orange blossom honey, rich and slick. No head at all, save for the O-ring clinging to the edges.
Smell- Beautiful aromas of sweet, flowery hops, spearmint, peppermint tea, and apricots.
Taste- A barleywine-style hop attack at the sides of the tongue, with some floral notes buried within. The malt backbone is sufficient, yet overcome by the hops in the end.
Mouthfeel/Drinkability- Soft in the mouth, with just a hint of cutting carbonation... the alcohol shows some balls here, while the ingredients struggle to maintain their relatively decent balance. This bomber is one that should be enjoyed with at least one other enthusiast.
09-15-2006 05:02:21 | More by yelterdow
4.05/5 rDev +5.5%
2005 Bottle. Poured into Duvel Tulip.
Aggressive pour produced a small bubbly white head. The head fell to a thin lace and maintained well. The carbonation is lacking, and the bubbles are moving in slow motion. High thickness on this one, folks. Now onto the smell, it has a sweet mild earthy maltiness about it. Very sweet, and suculent. Sweet, but not overly sweet. Small amount of hops and alcohol, along with trace amounts of spice. Smell is tangy and pretty sweet overall. Now for the taste. The taste is very unique, and it took my brain a few seconds to comprehend. Upfront has a strong wheat blast, very wheaty, direct and straight to the point. Soft fruity phenols(Strawberry/Melon) blend perfectly together with the wheat. As the hops come in last and produce an herbacous balancing bitter. The perfect hops were used for this beer, the herbal flavor of them accents the wheat nicely. The flavor never loses its sweet wheat flavor, it stays with the sip until the very end, and then continues to linger. The finish is dry, earthy, and mildly bittersweet. Almost no noticible traces of the alcohol. A slight warming going down but that's about it, not rough at all. Mouthfeel is dry and semi-coating, and these are very drinkable dispite the 10.7%abv.
This was my first Wheat Wine, and I definitely enjoyed the use of bringing the 2 different styles together. Part Barleywine, part Wheat Ale, equals a lovely beer. Just like this one. Highly recommended. Much thanks to Bill for the sample.
09-03-2006 20:44:03 | More by HoustonTX
4.28/5 rDev +11.5%
Bottled in 2005. I think blitheringidiot sent me this, thanks. Pours with an inch of foam, which quickly recedes, but leaves some nice lacing. Smells tart, and a little grassy.
I've kept this at 65-70 degrees since I got it over six months ago. This seems to have aged it quickly, judging from recent reviews. Tastes very wheaty, with none of the harshness I've found in other wheat wines. There is the slightest hint of strawberry/melon type fruit flavor, and no hint of the 10.7%ABV.
Full mouthfeel, with a long finish. This is the most drinkable wheat wine I have yet tasted.
08-30-2006 03:12:52 | More by Sephiroth
4.03/5 rDev +4.9%
This brew looks and smells like a barleywine, yet its flavor profile shows off something completely different. Pours a clear copper with no head and very little lacing. Mostly sweet-smelling, strawberries mixed with citrusy hops and caramel. Not as thick or sticky as its barleywine counterpart; it seems the wheat may thin and lighten the body. Esters run wild initially, yielding to some soft wheat notes with touches of orange peel throughout. Mildly spicy and a bit tart towards the finish, which leaves very little taste or flavor in the mouth; this surprised me, as I expected a long, lingering finish. Nonetheless! Now that I've tried a few of this style, I can say this is not the best I've had, but still pleasant and enjoyable. Watch out for the booze though!
08-16-2006 00:57:23 | More by IrishRedRock
4.25/5 rDev +10.7%
Bottle conditioned in 2005.
Found two of these lonely boys at Stateline Liquors in Elkton, MD a couple months back...thank you to all those who passed it up.
A dark mahogany color with two full fingers of white head...a full finger remains for quite a while and what recedes leaves some decent lacing.
Very inviting aroma...candied fruit (cherries mostly), and carmelized malt.
The taste is quite warming...still a dominating hop profile, as the bitterness still wins out over the sweetness, but just barely. Citrus flavors abound, with even some melon showing up.
Alcohol is there, but only as it warms to room temperature and simply reminds you to respect this one.
Fairly thick mouthfeel and the carbonation is nice.
A fine time draining the bomber...can't wait for this years release to try side by side with this run.
Another great big beer from the folks at Smutty.
08-10-2006 00:15:40 | More by warriorsoul
3.9/5 rDev +1.6%
Bottle Date 2005, Sampled July 2006.
Pours with a brilliantly clear, ruby tinged, amber color and is topped by a frothy, dense, three-finger thick tan colored head that has some definite staying power to it. The aroma has candied malt notes to it mixed with some noticeably hop notes that just seem to add to the candied note. A touch of citrus & herbal hop notes rounds out the dominant notes of caramelized grain, toffee, and an ample fruitiness that is characterized by sweet plums. It is quite interesting how the wheat notes have played out in the aromatic components in this beer; this is much lighter than your typical Barley Wine, not nearly as darkly caramelized (if that makes sense), instead there is a large sweet grain note that is just caramelized, especially when compared to a typical Barley Wine.
An solid bitterness leads from the get go, it is quite well balanced by a sweet malt note as well. Actually though this beer is certainly hop dominated; it takes on a menthol like note in the middle that lingers on and mixes with the astringent bitterness in the finish. The beer is quite light, which seems to be the signature of the wheat as opposed to a lack of gravity or alcohol. The light, yet amply sweet, wheat grain character adds just a touch of tartness and combines with the menthol note just so.
Interestingly enough, even after about a year, this could use some more time in the bottle. Perhaps a bit more age will perk up the malt complexity and mellow the hops a bit more. As it is though, this is quite tasty and I certainly could do with a few more of these in my cellar.
07-14-2006 04:13:41 | More by Gueuzedude
3.5/5 rDev -8.9%
Wheatwine contents naturally lend themselves to a lack of headcap. This is no exception with a pour that settles to a zero cap and an offering of caramel hued orange auburn containing no rising bubbles.
Sweet notes of toased malts meets a sugary, honey aplle aspect.
First swigs: Centers on a honey and grain peppery flavor. Some red apple infuses with some cherry. Heat is detectable. Dry dusty finish follows a dry ginger ale vanilla sweet.
Feel is medium bodied and criply densely carbonated.
Last swigs: Dry vanilla meets grain short pier walk. Nice attempt.
07-08-2006 04:19:27 | More by blitheringidiot
4.15/5 rDev +8.1%
Tainted orange color with a smear of light brown. Glowing, thick hazed body. Thin and patchy ivory capping of loosely placed bubbles that don't last. A thin collar persists though as lacing sticks in stocky webbed strings with lots of thin little fingers.
Aroma is quite nice, reminiscent of a aged barleywine with a penitrating, soft heat of dark citrusy wax and syrupy juices. Orange, peach, tangerine, pineapple, melon, all make for a nice marmalade mix on the nose.
Taste is more flattened and dulled with a pale wheat sweetness bringing a soft, medium tone of orangey-apple pancake syrup. Somewhat bready and beefy, warmth is prevalent, welcome and lasting in the throat. Hints of pineapple tropical gum and wheaty sugars also make some tiny slidings into the play of flavor. But mostly simple, yet satisfying, with a dulled sweetness of tropical fruit tang, wheat based sugars, and a good amount of heated warmth to cap it off to let ya know you're drinking something with some girth to it.
Feel is medium bodied, well heated, smooth, and a low carbonation level seeps in with ease to let the sugars rise before the heat. Slight fresh spearminty pine oils float about the palate on the finishing warmth; late. A nice little addition to the flavors. Made me want more, and so I obliged to partake in some more.
The heat/warmth of this beer is mightily present. It'll hold ya back some, but not much, as this is a solid treat from the folks at Smuttynose.
07-08-2006 01:33:34 | More by tavernjef
4.55/5 rDev +18.5%
Courtesy of sulldaddy. I had been wanting to try a wheat wine, and he hooked me up.
22 oz bomber poured into a tulip wine glass. Moderate head, which is to be expected with a big beer like this. Recedes to a light lace. Color is a beautiful warm smokey amber color. Smell is quite sweet and malty. There is a alcohol warmth undertone. Taste is earthy and malty and a bit of honey. I definately can taste the wheat. Very vinious. Mouthfeel is warm and full with a pleasant alcohol burn. This is fantastic beer, everything that I expected for the style and more. I would love to get a few more bottles to celler and pull out for special occasions.
07-02-2006 02:47:20 | More by bort11
4.25/5 rDev +10.7%
Appearance: Medium orange body, head pours small, fades fast, leafes a thin skin of foam. Moderate lacing.
Smell: Lots of alcohol, sweet and caramely, but not a lot of wheat.
Taste: Alcohol and sweetness are big, but the softness added by the wheat is also very evident and pleasant. Slightly fruity, a little metallic, peppery, and minty (from the hops). Enjoyable and unique.
Drinkability: I like the style and the example. I just wish there were more available. Thanks to BeerBeing for the bottle.
06-27-2006 03:54:33 | More by TastyTaste
2.75/5 rDev -28.4%
Poured a Hazy very deep amber color with miniscule head. No lacing. Smell is fruity and a bit like sour wine, but not at all unpleasant. Taste is loaxded with alcohol which seems to overshadow any other aspect of this beer. Finished with a strong alcohol tang which is not at all enjoyable. Not my style of beer.
06-11-2006 19:55:20 | More by tgbljb
4.25/5 rDev +10.7%
Pours a beautiful orange/peach/amber with a small head that lacked retention. Snail-paced bubbles takes a sloth's walk up the sides. I'm looking at this thinking "barley wine".
An enjoyable perfumey aroma permeates the nose. Candied apples, sour cherry, stale red wine, cotton candy, all pulling against the strong essence of wheat and the supple, light sting of the hops, which helps give an earthy balance to the candy-like aromas.
As unusual as the flavor is, there is one element here that I cannot shake: Twizzlers. Has that artificial cherry sweet-and-sour candylike Twizzlers flavor down pat. Hops bittering helps offset the sweetness, and there's further balance with a wheaty finish and a velvety smooth mouthfeel. Seemed like a strange flavor at first. Went from weird to existential to sublime in a matter of sips.
A rich, sweet, candy-like beer, I would rate the drinkability lower than I really want to, as it's a pretty dominating sweetness. And with such a high ABV (11%), this is clearly one for slow sipping on special occasions only. But its spirit and uniqueness is undeniable.
06-05-2006 23:45:49 | More by Metalmonk
4/5 rDev +4.2%
Poured after a slight chill into a snifter. Unlike the recent Bell's wheat wines I had, this one had extremely little head nor much in the line of lacing from the ring. Isn't the addition of wheat supposed to help w/ ye olde retention issues? Oak brown slightly chill hazed.
Some ETOH and a bit of hops on the nose, but mostly just some roasted malts
Smooth and creamy, once you get past the big alcohol bite (so that's why the head didn't last and mine is getting red and warm). Loads of candied fruits with some apple and citrus. Caramel and bready tastes too.Finished a bit sweet, but went down mighty easy.
05-30-2006 18:13:53 | More by Dithyramb
Smuttynose Wheat Wine (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 688 ratings.