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
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 489 | Hads: 1,013
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

Photo of zinklesmesh
4.37/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Practically the perfect winter beer. Pours a nice caramel brown. Minimal head. Smells like dark, dank malts. The taste is big and smooth and delicious. Roasty, chocolatey, tasty malts with a little bit of balancing hop crispness. Warms me with every sip. Kinda reminds me of some Samuel Smith beers.

 299 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 RexBrewman
4.37/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from bottle into stein. Wonderful frothy head. Color chocolate.
Nice spicey, nutty aroma. Taste has a slight sweetness. Smuttynose winter ale is a bit lighter than most winter/Christmas ales. I really enjoy the flavor. It is one of a few winter ales that I'll have seconds of in one sitting.

 298 characters

Photo of Myotus
3.49/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured at 48°F from a 12oz bottle (best by date 20Apr15) into a chalice. Cosumed on 06Jan16.
LOOK: Pours with a half fingers worth of khaki foam that halves itself after a minute. Dark brown in color with an amber tint. Rising bubbles are very small and very subtle in quantity. Lacing is thin and moderate.
SMELL: A bunch of mild aromas: caramel, figs, black cherries, plums, and cloves.
TASTE: Mild black cherry, fig, and prune flavors enter initially. Mild caramel flavors follow immediately as black cherry flavors grow stronger. Subtle clove and bitter hop flavors enter lastly as all previous flavors persist, except for black cherry, which continue to grow stronger.
FEEL: Somewhere between full-bodied and medium-bodied. Carbonation is high. Goes down rough due to the carbonation. Finishes with a mild dryness.
NOTE: Too much black cherry sweetness and carbonation for my liking. I can understand how someone else would like this, but this just isn't my glass of beer (because tea and cups are overplayed).

 1,018 characters

Photo of Whiteturtle
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle. Best by 3/10/16

Eyes: Tan and tawny. A thick 2 finger head. Definitely reminiscent of a belgian dubbel. Head slowly dissipates like a belgian. Carbonation concentrates closer to the glass as the head recedes.

Nose: Bubblegum, pear, cinnamon, cardamom, and allspice. Fresh baked bread. An earthy beechwood smell dominates the rim of the glass. I also get caramelized raisins (if such a thing exists, which if it doesn't I call dibs).

Tongue: Burnt sugar, pumpernickel, and allspice dominate the cheeks first. A heavy cereal grain malt finish. Very little hop presence (the crystal hops are a very mild hop, perfect for this blended style of beer). I'm not getting the funky belgian kick, even with the trappist ale yeast they use. With a touch of warmth notes of almonds, fudge, and nutmeg open up.

Cheeks: When you see that a beer is shooting for a blend of christmas ale and belgian dubbel, you expect a heavy full-bodied beer. This is pretty light, and the spices are pretty faint. I definitely understand why a lot of people compare this to an amber ale. My bottle says 7.5%, if that's true then it is masked very well.

Overall: You really have to let this beer warm up to taste the spices *if you have had smuttynose before, you probably know to let their beers warm up*. The belgian dubbel/christmas ale blend idea is a good idea in my eyes. One could see how those two styles would create a tasty fusion. If you're looking for a solid winter ale that's not loaded with booze and holiday spices, then this is your beer.

 1,560 characters

Photo of TigerSoul
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This one was on offer at The Office, on fresh draught, served in a pint glass. Nice deep color, not too much foam. First sip was puzzling in that I had understood this was not one of the (many) seasonal winter ales with added spice, fruit or other such flavoring, but it had a definite "added flavors" (especially of spice) character. It was still enjoyable however, Smuttynose typically do not disappoint. We enjoy visiting Portsmouth, NH from time to time and although there's plenty more competition these days, Smuttynose holds up very well with their wide range of offerings. This is a good winter ale to enjoy at the end of the evening, in front of the fire, even with dessert.

 683 characters

Photo of ilthik
3.64/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark, rich and a little bit sweet with a lingering spiciness. More of a porter than an ale by the look and the feel of it. Not as much of the "winter spice" as other seasonals, but a very enjoyable beer nonetheless.

 215 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 pat61
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Pours dark amber to chestnut under a 1” head that dissipates down to nothing but leaves good lacing. S: Fruit, malt and hop aromas T: Fruit, dried fruit, and biscuit balanced by a touch of hops on the finish. F: Medium body and fine soft carbonation. O: A nicely balanced beer with a mild Belgian character.

 312 characters

Photo of arizcards
3.43/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a single from TW Arrowhead in late December for $1.79. Best by 5/11/15.

Beer poured brown with a tan head that dissipated quickly.

Nose is pretty non-descript, your base malt nose.

Taste is OK, carmelized malts and crystal hops lend this brew to be more of an American amber style than a Belgian Dubbel. I am not catching the usual flavors imparted from a Belgian made Dubbel.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and more creamy than smooth.

Overall this is a serviceable brew but nothing special. Glad I had the opportunity to try it.

 545 characters

Photo of beyah
3.98/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance- Deep amber color1 finger of head which dissipated quickly, leaving moderate lacing bend.
Aroma- Smells a little Belgian figs and burnt sugar
Flavor-Has a Dubbel like flavor and warming a little caramel flavor and Belgian as it warms up
Mouthfeel- Moderate body, just right for the style
Overall- Nice domestic interpretation of a Dubbel

 349 characters

Photo of Caveworm
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Smuttynose Winter Ale - Smuttynose Brewing Company. Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, this has got a 1.5 finger thick head with sheer lacing, and a very dark brown transparent body.

The smell is that of astringent malts. No hops are noticeable in this discipline of the review.

This brew's taste is quite similar, with a rich malt element cutting through the mix. I can't really pick up on the fruits mentioned by others.

A smooth and crisp mouthfeel was given by this "Smutty".

Overall, a 3.75 for Smuttynose Winter Ale - Smuttynose Brewing Company. I may or may not buy this again.

 613 characters

Photo of DrewsBrews450
4.21/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Dark red body with a tan head and spotty lace.. A/T toasted malt, syrup sweetness, slight chocolate, earthy bitterness lingers on the back on the tounge.. Smooth body.. Great beer that I could care less what the style is or what it is trying to be, it's just a great beer.

 272 characters

Photo of Dawn30
3.85/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a nice deep dark amber color. Not a lot of lacing and not a lot of head but tasty. A difference in abv. BA says 5.8. Bottle says 6.4?
Some spicy notes but not bad overall

 177 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 microbrewlover
3.39/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

This brew pours a dark brown, almost black with red highlights when held up to the light. There is a two finger off white head some of which remains as a collar and light lacing.

The smell is heavy roasted and sweet malts and some spices and maybe a raisin smell in there as well.

The taste mostly follows the nose with sweet and roasted malts dominating. There are some spices on the back end along with some spicy, hoppy bitterness. The beer goes down smoothly and leaves some hop oil on the tongue after swallowing. There is a warming effect that comes in a few minuets after swallowing.

Overall this is a well balanced hoppy and malty Dubbel. I don't normally care much for this style but I would drink this again.

 722 characters

Photo of 29mikoyan
4.24/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Somewhat similar to a Dark Belgian Ale. Nice malt mouthfeel. A taste of dried raisins that fades into dark espresso and then into Belgian chocolate. This is definitely a nice winter warmer. I would recommend this beer for when you are sitting in front of a fire in a lightly dimmed room.

 287 characters

Photo of shabbtastic
3.5/5  rDev -5.1%

Nice color and body. Lacing is very visible and stretches what is now half way down the glass.

The label is excellent. It shows an old style setting from the late 50's early 60's enjoying a walk in the snow carrying what looks like a couple gift boxes of scotch. Looks like my aunt but that's besides the point.

Back to the beer. It definitely tastes better as it breaths a little and gets a tad warmer, like most of the Dubbel styles.

The nose is a bit boozy with little hints of cherry.

The feel is full and complex with tastes of fig and malt.

Overall a great beer with an original label.

 601 characters

Photo of mirp1
2/5  rDev -45.8%

Nobody gave this beer a narrative review. Not a good sign. Smuttynose can make good beer, I've had many of them. However, if their winter offering is a 5.83% "Trappist Ale" that nobody will take the time to write anything about, that tells you something. This may be due to Smutty fans not wanting to badmouth their brewery, which is admirable and understandable. However, a belgian dubbel for the cold season at 5.83% was a mistake. They would have been more honest to make a diet cola instead. What a waste of kettle space. Yes, session beers are in, but not for the winter, and certainly not belgian dubs. The caption shows "warming, mellow,pleasantly complex." Yeah, warming. Should have been released as a brown ale, a bad one at that. You have to nail holiday/winter beers. Did you really think that this would stand out, or didn't you care? The Monks are crying tonight. Sorry.

 899 characters

Photo of dacrza1
3.81/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

DATE TASTED: April 23, 2014... GLASSWARE: Kisatsky Tavern pint... OCCASION: Easter The Desolation of Smaug on spring break--thanks, Shan!... APPEARANCE: velvety dark amber red body; frothy, creamy off-white head; strong, cloudy lacing... AROMA: doughy, bready malts early; cinnamon, nutmeg and some floral pine resin too--with a hint of clove; a pleasure to breath in...PALATE: medium-bodied, creamy and lively--warming and substantial...TASTE: soft, rounded, almost nutty malted finish; buttery too; more subtle flavors of indistinguishable fruits than the aroma suggests, with the main influence on the taste buds being the malts... OVERALL: a solidly-built, easy-sipping ale that feels right on a windy, cold April night....

 727 characters

Photo of Honisbygonis
3.48/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Visual upon pour: dark reddish brown, with medium carbonation and nominal aroma

Taste: nice initial smack, "zingy" flavorful (w/o ingredient specifics, since not a HB judge) taste with CO2 dissolving effect, and aftertaste lingers adequately as you'd expect.

Not too wintry as of the sampling since a nice 80s spring day in the southeast.

Not outstanding, but stands true.

 375 characters

Photo of BradtheGreat7
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review taken from notes: Early December 2013

12 oz brown bottle with the usual Smuttynose odd labeling of random people or events. This particular label displays a woman strolling through the winter's snow all bundled up and seems to be enjoying gracing Smutty's winter seasonal bottling. Can't argue with that. I guess it takes a bit of respect to appreciate labels like what smuttynose slaps on their brews, but its really a part of what they are. An enjoyable yet appropriate winter labeling. Poured into a 12 oz Stemmed tulip. Belgian style!

A - dark amber color with hints of a near purple cloud effect to it. Creamy head pours quite large and its color fits perfectly with its dubbel colored body. Head thins out to a splotchy but still creamy ring of lace leaving pretty good stick though it disappears soon after it starts to stick.

S - lovely dark fruit aroma up front followed by some sweet caramel malt and Belgian style yeast while finishing with a straight out of Belgium spice in the back.

T - dark fruits, Belgian yeast and spices. Earthy character with some more on the toasted sweet caramel malts.

M - medium bodied and smooth. An easy drinker and highly session like dubbel. Wonderful texture that stays true to Smutty's quality and style. Just a great drinking dubbel for any winter occasion.

O - may I just say that I love dubbel's and I enjoy seeing an American brewery pull one off. Though this wasnt intended on slamming you with a massive Trappist inspired 8% dubbel. This is a creation of its own and one Smuttynose can be proud of. One we can sit down during the cold winter months and drink all night long with friends and family. Yes, a tasty treat during these brutally cold months but still allowing for a Cadillac of a brew. Easy going and flows perfectly. These were Smutty's intentions and I look forward to this for years to come.

 1,871 characters

Photo of Act25
3.69/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Fine example of American winter warmer, but only reminiscent of Belgian dubbel.
Lacks the fruit and aroma of the real dubbel.

A: Not the Belgian head, but still a great looking walnut body with a lasting, lacing head.
S: pecan and almond doiminate, over a caramel malt body. Finishes with pepper and spice.
T: Follows the smell, but stronger, bolder (yet not as bold a Belgian). A little too sweet and not drying enough, lacks the intensity and complexity. A cousin to Dubbel, not a dubbel ganger.
very cola like in the finish.
MF: Med to full body, elevated carbonation.

Not as zesty, pin-point, champagne like as the Trappists. But as good as any other US Winter Warmer like Widmer Brr.

Smuttynose does a consistently GOOD job, again. Consistent. Love this brewer.

 777 characters

Photo of mikalis
4.44/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

One of the best winter ales I've tried in a long time. Smooth mellow taste, very drinkable, no weird flavors like many winter ales these days. The only problem is it is disappearing fast along with the winter but this beer could work all year long. I hope they can repeat.

 272 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Smuttynose Winter Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 489 ratings.