Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

Smuttynose Winter Ale - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Smuttynose Winter AleSmuttynose Winter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
83
good

489 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 489
Hads: 1,013
Avg: 3.69
pDev: 16.26%
Wants: 20
Gots: 84 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States | website

Style | ABV
Dubbel | 5.83% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 10-30-2005

Smuttynose Winter Ale is a full-bodied, amber beer brewed with a special Trappist ale yeast. Stylistically reminiscent of a Belgian Abbey Double, it features fruity aromas and flavor, balanced by soft Crystal hops. Warming, mellow & pleasantly complex, Smuttynose Winter Ale is your perfect cold weather companion.

30 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 489 | Hads: 1,013
Photo of donkeyrunner
3.31/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Wierd beer.

Pours a thin beige head with excellent retention that is still foamy at the bottom of the glass. Opaque red tinted brown color.

Smells of vingar-ish malt, grapes, and mild alcohol.

The taste is first sourdough bread then mineral water wierdness then a pleasantly unwierd malt extract flavor. Thin mouth and low but lively carbonation.

At first this tasted like a homebrew gone awry but it mellowed out and came together as it warmed up. I recommend this one out of the cellar instead of out of the fridge.

 523 characters

Photo of danronian
3.31/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance -Dark beer with a small head that quickly goes away, some lingering foam, but little carbonation rising from the top.

Smell - Roasted smell and somewhat sweet. Not a lot of smell coming off of this beer.

Taste - Smooth, somewhat sweet, but strong. The burnt, malty taste is prominent and fruitiness is secondary. Sweet finish that is pleasant tasting.

Mouthfeel - Smooth, with a lot of taste, and little carbonation. The after-taste is burnt and lingering.

This is a good beer that is warming, tasty, but not something I could drink more than one of a night. Good winter beer.

 591 characters

Photo of brewcrew76
3.3/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a clear amber with a thin with a thin tan head.

S - Dark fruit, raisins and a strong banana aroma.

T - Fruity with biscuit, raisins and banana. Some burnt flavors are present and not very enjoyable.

M - Medium bodied with decent carbonation.

D - Not bad but nothing special either.

 303 characters

Photo of JohnSki13
3.3/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchase over the winter along with a number of other beers. This is my first review of a beer. We’ll see how it goes.

Appearance – Poured into a pint glass. The beer is a deep mahogany/carmel color. Lacey head with a slight cream or light beige color. A medium amount of carbonation remains after sitting in the glass for a few minutes. A thin trace of the head remains as well.

Aroma - Sweet, malty aroma which is a bit of what I expected when pouring this beer. Not overbearing but definitely a strong presence. A slight scent of raisins and figs can be picked up in the ackground.

Taste – A sweet and malty aroma with a slightly burnt taste. Very mild hop presence with a slight bitter taste in the beginning of the sip. The malty flavors fade away leaving the hop and slight burnt aftertaste (This is not a bad thing). A balanced combination of flavors in this beer give this beer a complex but not overwhelming taste.

Texture – The carbonation catches the tongue and inside the mouth and sticks with the beer throughout the sip.

This beer is a bit on the lighter side of winter ales I have had but I tend to think a lot of the winter ales I have had tend to be a bit overspiced so this beer I enjoyed. The beer is a little bit much for a session beer but I can see myself having a few of these in one sitting.

 1,332 characters

Photo of mnrider
3.29/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 Oz. Brown Bottle. Has Freshness Date.

A: Pours a dark brown color with hints of red around edges. An off-white
head starts one finger high and quickly turns to a thin layer. Foamy lacing
slides down glass.

S: Light creamy caramel. Other light spices and fruits are mixed in.

T/M: Smooth and full bodied. Dark fruits are mixed with yeast and just
a hint of hops. Roasted malts are also present and somewhat create a
balance in the beer.

O: This Winter Ale is easy to drink and a good choice for the winter months.
However overall the beer is on the plain side and leaves me wanting a little
more on the taste side of things. Still worth a look.

Cheers!

 663 characters

Photo of hchinaski
3.28/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Enjoyed on tap @Wonderland.

Pours a nice dark brownish with a good head, average time to dissipate.

Couldn't pick up a whole lot of smell Some malts and sweetness with a tad of spice.

Decent taste, not extremely complex, but not too heavy on the malts, slight burnt aftertaste.

Good mouth, very smooth.

Very drinkable, hides the alchohol pretty well, considering the abv. while not my favorite winter selection, i could definitely session this one.

 455 characters

Photo of TimmyL
3.28/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a tulip
A- Nut brown in color, tan head, average lacing.
S- A little light, nothing spectacular.
T- Sweet malt taste. Honey, some brown sugar, caramel. Slight bitter finish.
M- Lighter than I would expect.
O- Decent. Would have again but wouldn't seek out.

 276 characters

Photo of Mit
3.28/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a-pours a nice cloudy dark amber colour. Minimal to no head.

s-very belgian smelling. Nice sweet malts followed by a smokiness..

t-lighter than a usual belgian. Still sweet but it def has a bitter edge that keeps the sweetness from overpowering. Some fruity notes, dates, figs...molasses

m-def good for it's abv.

d-really drinkable. The bitterness keeps you coming back to this beer.

I was on a winter beer bent this year and this was one of the nicer ones that I tried.

 476 characters

Photo of iceball585
3.27/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark reddish brown color, cloudy, very thin tan head that quickly dissolved to a thin ring

S- Dark fruits, caramel malts, dark chocolate, hint of spices

T- Roasted malts, dark fruits, spices, cocoa, toffee, brown sugar, alcohol

M- Medium body, low/medium carbonation, smooth, fairly oily finish

D- Worth trying

This beer has a decent auroma although it is slightly lacking in flavor. There just isn't really a lot going on in this beer.

 444 characters

Photo of changeup45
3.27/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Winter Ales are not my favorite style but this was alright. Poured a dark amber color, small off-white head and some lace. Slightly sweet fruity, vanilla aroma. Somewhat spicy tasting with a sweet maltiness and some fruit. A decent, warming, winter brew.

 254 characters

Photo of JWU
3.27/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

12oz. bottle poured into a tumbler glass.

A- a very cloudy amber with a thin light tan head.

S- yeasty fruity esters, with some light candy sugar sweetness.

T- Certainly a belgian yeast here. Some yeasty funk, very light fruitiness, and sweetness.

M- light to medium, light but fizzy carbonation. A metallic dryness on the end.

O- Okay, but nothing special. Smutty certainly does better beers.

 399 characters

Photo of kiddynamite920
3.26/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle to tulip glass.

A: A very dark brown with a tan head around two fingers thick. Holding it up to the light reveals a deep red, yet you really can't see through this one.

S: Sweet and fruity, a touch of bready yeast. Not really getting anything that hints at winter or typical seasonal ingredients. Very slight spice notes.

T: Dark fruits are present along with some cocoa nibs. The winter spices are more evident on the palate, which is nice. Finishes a bit bitter.

M: Carbonation has just a bit too much bite and the beer itself is a bit thin.

D: The beer doesn't lack decent flavors, it just seems an elementary stab at a winter ale. Thin and over carbonated for a dubbel.

 687 characters

Photo of speakorspasm
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Sam Adams perfect pint glass.

A: Color is a deep rich reddish brown. Head is small and makes a quick exit.

S: Smell is spicy and rather sweet. There's maybe a hint of cocoa backing it up. Very inviting.

T: The taste follows the nose closely. Spicy-sweet malts open backed up by a sweet cocoa/coffee backbone. There is a slight biscuity feel as well. None of the warming alcohol notes you might expect, even though it clocks it at a stout 6.8 abv. Overall, the taste is pleasant but lacks any real complexity.

M: Light carbonation here. Actually comes across as remarkably light, given my expectation for the style. I'd really like a bit more heft here. Still, it's a pleasant beer and the lighter mouthfeel fits the less-complex taste.

D: The lighter feel of the beer makes this a smooth, downable brew. Normally A Dubbel is something to sit with, to sip and to ponder... I can just drink these. I guess whether that's good or bad depends on the situation.

* Overall, this is a decent beer that I'm happy to be drinking. Really nothing amazing given the number of great beers that fit within this style, but nothing wrong with going local.

 1,163 characters

Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Smuttynose just hit Milwaukee so I was excited to try this. Not sure what style this was when I bought it, but obviously turned out to be a dubbel. The body is deep chestnut and ruby red with beautiful clarity/ The head was made up of very fine carbonation activity. The wonderful Belgian phenolic aroma was evident as soon as the pour began. Fruity spiciness filled the nostrils quite well. The taste was very "dubbelish" with its dry, semi-sweet maltness. A small amount of hop bitterness shine through. It seemed a bit too spicy even though I doubt any additional winter-type spices were added. The mouthfeel was a little harsh off the start. Although the dryness is always welcome in a dubbel, it seemed a bit cloying. I believe this would be great after a year in the cellar. I will definately save a 6 pack for next winter. Overall, good, but not yet conditioned to its finest.

 883 characters

Photo of BrianOhio
3.25/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour is a very dark, almost cola like look. Only when you hold it up to a light do you see a mahogany hue. Head is maybe 1 finger and dissipates quickly.

First wiff and I was like what, is this a Belgian Ale? I wasn't expecting that type of a malty aroma from a winter seasonal.

Flavor definitely reminiscent of a Trappist, but the nice surprise for me is not the overly sweet finish I tend to find in Belgian Ales. The hops, while not over powering, provide a really nice balance that I prefer of something in this style.

Overall I'm on the fence, but right now I'm liking this more than I did at the start of this review. After trying this single, I think a 6 could be in my future. A nice beer.

 700 characters

Photo of LeRose
3.24/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from 12 ounce bottle into SA perfect pint.

The beer poured a somewhat muddy brown with a small beige colored head that did not hang around very long.

Aroma was very muted - no spice notes, mostly caramel, and mixed dark fruit - figs or dates, cherries, plum. Sweet malt.

Taste - things started to unravel a bit. Predominantly dark fruit, some sweetness and initially not a bad tasting if somewhat nondescript brew, lacking the spice notes of a dubbel. Then got a faint taste of cardboard suggesting some oxidation had taken place. Hopefully not the entire six pack has this odd flavor and I can give the beer a better score after further sampling.

Feel is rather thin for a winter ale and the carbonation seemed a tad high. Nice level of sweetness, not sticky at all, but thin.

Overall, I will need to revisit this review if the rest of the six pack turns out differently. I did not think this beer was true to a dubbel. It seemed very fruity and lacking in the spices and mouthfeel I'd expect from the style. The oxidation taste was not quite off-putting but definitely present. Disappointed in this offering.

 1,122 characters

Photo of mklinger
3.23/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a shaker pint glass. A 1 inch head formed of tan with hints of orange & dissipated quite quickly. The beer is a deep red color, not brown but red with brown highlights. A bit hazy with good visible carbonation.

Lots of caramel sweetness in the aroma mixed with some dark fruits and a hint of alcohol. This smells like a stronger beer than it is -- odd that. No real hop aroma to speak of.

Sweetness and again a bit of alcohol in the first taste. Also some lingering hop bitterness -- just to balance out the sweetness some. This beer drinks quite dry though. Mouthfeel is surprisingly thin for a Winter Ale (though not so much thin for a dubbel which this is described as). I really don't get much Belgian yeast character out of this as you'd expect for a "dubbel". Slight astringency on the finish.

Enjoyable though not exceptional beer. A session winter ale?

 875 characters

Photo of PorterLambic
3.23/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark brown with orange highlights. Somewhat opaque. Big tan head displays decent retention nd leaves a thick film behind.
Smell is roasted malt, wet cardboard and a hint of hops.
Taste is malt, peat, hops and cocoa.
Slightly warming, slightly dry. Medium body and effervescence. Pretty good as a brown ale but nothing really makes it special for winter. There should be more body or some spices or something, anything to make it stand out.

 447 characters

Photo of hophugger
3.22/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Deep, chocolate brown with decent tan head and minimal lacing. Aroma is of roasted malt, actually quite light. Taste is strong up front with malt and roasted malt. Also, a little alcohol burn as it settles in, and some dry spice at the finish. Mouthfeel is ok, carbonation is right on, and balance is good....

 309 characters

Photo of lowbrau
3.21/5  rDev -13%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Nice amber/ruby color. Very little carbonation. A fairly hard pour left a half finger of head that dissipated quickly. There is a strange sharpness in the smell that I can't quite put my finger on. Body was very weak at first, but came out more as the beer warmed. Hints of maple and caramel. Finishes very clean with little aftertaste. Very smooth mouthfeel, almost too clean. Heavier carbonation would be appreciated.

 419 characters

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.21/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance -- Pours a dark mahogany hue with one finger of sudsy khaki head.

Smell -- Toasted grain, caramel, burnt sugar, dates, earthy hops. Far more akin to a Scottish Ale than a Belgian Dubbel. Smells good, but it's not at all to style.

Taste -- Rich malty flavors up front with whole grain toast, brown sugar, dates, and some sweetness from the crystal malt addition. Belgian yeast is present, though not especially forceful in the flavor profile: mild earthiness and clove. Hopping is nice and gentle, lending some earthy/spicy character. Lingering flavors of toasted malt and hay. Again, tastes great, but nowhere near to style.

Mouthfeel -- Medium in body with ample frothy carbonation. At least it feels like a Belgian Dubbel.

Drinkability -- I really liked this beer. A lot. However, it's not really much of a Dubbel. The Belgian yeast is somewhat detectable, but it drinks more like a Scottish Ale with the toasted and caramelized malt flavors. Had it been called a Scottish Ale, or even a Winter Warmer I would've been glad to give this better scores. Still, it's a tasty beer that I would recommend highly.

 1,123 characters

Photo of cbl2
3.19/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Best by 3/06.

Appearance:

Pours a brilliant red-brown with a quarter inch of tan head that slowly settles.

Aroma:

Slightly sharp and bitter with an off-pumpkin pie aroma.

Taste/Mouthfeel:

Malty pumpkin sweet with an astringent finish. Body is thin and somewhat insipid. How is this a dubbel?

 312 characters

Photo of dank203
3.18/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

pours thick brown with off white head. aromas are a bit malty oily, a little dark fruit juice, some acidity. the flavor is really not very complex, a hit of roast with malty slightly caramelly notes and a definite hop presence. overally a slightly hoppy and spicy brown ale but nothing to really write home about

 315 characters

Photo of AwYeh
3.17/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dark, cloudy amber with less than a finger of off-white head.

S: Aroma is sweet and fruity, of plums and raisins.

T: Taste also features these fruit flavors alongside those of caramel and butterscotch, but without being particularly sweet. Not as intense of a flavor as I was expecting from a dubbel, but not bad. Rich maltiness and light bitterness also noticeable; the bitterness particularly on the finish. Nice balance of bitterness with traditionally sweet flavors.

M: Body is medium, creamy, with average carbonation.

D: One of these is good for me, but not a hard beer to get down.

 605 characters

Photo of HamdenHector
3.15/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3

A: opaque; cola brown with lighter brown at the edges; with a fairly aggressive pour, a 1 finger khaki head that receded quickly to a thin collar; no lacing;

S: more floral than anything else; a bit of dark fruit in the background;

T: dark fruit for a moment, then somewhat medicinal; mild bitterness at the finish;

M: medium bodied; moderate to high carbonation; lightly dry finish;

O: even after warming, not the aroma or flavor I would expect from a dubbel;

 464 characters

Smuttynose Winter Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 489 ratings.