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Smuttynose Winter Ale - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Smuttynose Winter AleSmuttynose Winter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

939 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 939
Reviews: 479
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 11.44%
Wants: 14
Gots: 53 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 939 | Reviews: 479 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of codewarrior
3.42/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz from a mixed 6-pack, poured into a tulip pint. Bottle reads best before April, 2011.

Again from a mixed 6 from Wegmans. Get a lot of milage out of mixed 6-ers, for better and worse.

L: Dark brown and clear with 1-finger of head, looks a might thin and possibly under-carbonated, but not offensively so in either department.

S: Sweet with booze, touch of orange in the back, lots of booze in there as well.

T: Malt-bomb on a stick, booze-forward with huge sweetness behind. Fades into a lingering maltiness. Pretty straight-forward, good every-day kind of beer, but not much more than that.

F: Under-carbonated to my taste, and a touch thin. But again not offensively so in either department.

D: Good, not great. Easy drinking winter beer here.

Photo of jporf911
3.42/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pub glass. Bottle notches indicate Best Before April 2011.

Appearance- 3.5 out of 5. This beer pours a foamy dark reddish-brown reminiscent of Pepsi-Cola. Held up to the light, it appears more mahogany. The foam, however, quickly fades to leave a half-finger of head and lackluster carbonation bubbles. It's almost like the winter lethargy from long, cold days of darkness has demotivated the bubbles as they struggle to float like moose in freezing water. Pretty average overall.

Smell- 4 out of 5. A rich canvas of scents greeted my nose as soon as I cracked off the cap. Once the beer warmed up a bit, fruity esters (red apples and raisins, mostly) cinnamon and vanilla, and malty cereal grain wafted up. It's almost like bottled fruitcake without the unidentifiable chunks of gelatinous goo and social stigma. The hops are faint and herbal. I'm excited for the first sip.

Taste- 3 out of 5. The first sip isn't so exciting. It's decent but nothing to rave about. A disconnect exists between the intensity of smell and taste with similar notes that are unfortunately weaker on the tongue. On the plus side, there are a ton to explore: bread crust, caramel-apple, cinnamon, and vanilla, especially. The roasted malt is balanced by mild hops that briefly bite the back of the tongue before leaving a noticeable lack of aftertaste. Not bad, but not as strong as I would like. If a Belgian Ale had an illegitimate affair with a bottle of water, this would beer would be the result.

Mouthfeel- 3.5 out of 5. Mostly medium by rather thin for the style and the identifiable tastes, which is a little disconcerting. That thinness may reflect the the significantly below-average ABV. Dubbels are usually between 6.5 to 9% alcohol; whereas, this one is only 5.1%.

Drinkability- 3.5 out of 5. It's like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale with Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you're at the bar or the beer store and want something decent and affordable to fight off the winter blues, then this would be good for a session because of the lower ABV; however, if you want intense taste and fulfilling feeling, go for a traditional Dubbel or an actual Belgian Strong Dark Ale. On the other hand, if you dislike the sweetness of those styles, this beer may be a good middle ground for you.

Overall, a C+.

Photo of JayS2629
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Deep mahogany with a medium tan head that leaves a creamy sea foam lacing.

S- Rich sweet malts, caramel and toffee, woody toasted nutty hints, faint hints of chocolate and vanilla. Faint spices.

T- Sweet malts, biscuit, caramel and toffee notes, hint of ginger, and very faint chocolate. Earthy, herbal hops is nicely balanced with a fruity banana like finish.

M- Medium bodied, nice tang, very well balanced.

D- Very easy to drink. A nice simple, clean, and uncomplicated but sophisticated beer. A great example to introduce unititiated folks to craft beer.

Photo of BrianOhio
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%
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.

Photo of Daniellobo
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fair winter ale, with a nice flow to it.

Presentation: 12 oz brow capped bottle. Label offers a 50's? 60's? photograph of a lady holing presents under a snowstorm. It has an vaguely notched "best before" side scale, maybe May 2011s. Served in a tulip glass.

A - Ruby brown pour, good ecru head, fair retention with good surface memory, and some lacing.

S - Pleasing if a bit subdued and uncomplicated nose, malty with a nutty and remotely spicy insinuation.

T - Nice malty sense, caramel, toffee, not much if any spiced insinuation here.

M - Light to medium body with small carbonation albeit providing a somewhat crisp finish.

D - Uncomplicated but it drinks pretty well.

Notes: Nothing to rave about or to seek out in and of itself. But it is unremarkably pleasing.

Photo of Kinsman
3.86/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

One of my favorite winter seasonals, a simple and approachable ale without the price-tag that goes with most dubbels.

Reddish-brown chestnut colored body with bronze highlights underneath a semi-sticky ivory colored head.

Aroma is notably sweet with a caramel-toffee like malt presence and some fruity hints. A slight bit of spice, but not as strong as many dubbels.

Lots of different flavors greet your palate, with a strong fruit presence and some malty sweetness that provides a caramel-apple flavor which is balanced out with a pleasant clove-like spiceness.

Lower ABV than a typical dubbel, but then again Smuttynose doesn't consider this to be a true dubbel. Still, there is a solid medium-body mouthfeel that, combined with dark appearance and yeasty spice flavors, gives it a bit of a warming feel perfect for the season.

Photo of rlee1390
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Dark black with about 1/2 finger foam head that dissipates but leaves some lacing.

S-Cinnamon, Vanilla and some chocolate flavors.

T-Very sweet and spicy. The hints of cinnamon come through along with vanilla.

M-Medium bodied with light carbonation.

D-Very drinkable a great winter beer.

Photo of bucklemyshoe
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Notes from 12/11/2010:

12 oz. bottle at 42* into a pint glass.

A: This pours a completely cloudy dark-brown color with a finger of light khaki head.

S: The nose shows notes of roasted nuts, caramel, toffee, cinammon, and some chocolately undertones.

T: The taste is of dark fruity and roasty notes with caramel, toast, and banana mixed in.

M: While this is not necessarily sweet, it leaves a sticky mouthfeel with a medium body.

D: What a delicious beer and quite similar to Sweetwater Festive Ale.

Photo of Pencible
3.41/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: This poured a cloudy dark copper with moderate tan head.
S: It smelled like banana nut bread and copper hops, with some vanilla and roasted barley.
T: It tasted like copper hops and roasted barley, with some banana and nutty malt and bread crust and a bit of vanilla. It had a clean and bitter aftertaste.
M: It was fairly thick with some carbonation. Nice full body.
D: This was not the best tasting beer, but it had great body and was easy to drink. The hint of vanilla was nice, but it was overpowered by the metallic taste. That left the beer drinkable but not recommended. I would also have never guessed the style as a dubbel. Seemed more like an standard brown ale, to me.

Photo of hustlesworth
4.27/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- deep dark garnet red when held up to the light, topped with a big belgianese looking tan head. there's already a splattering of lace where the foam (whose surface is becoming increasingly rocky and pitted) has begun to recede. should hold longer for the low abv.

S- toffee and caramel, sugar coated nuts, funky and fruity cherry banana yeast, tart berries, damp wood, a touch of roasted grain, and a bit of peppery spice. some orange, herbal and piney hop aromas as well. if they used a trappist yeast strain, i'm betting it's chimay. a little more power behind the aroma would be even nicer.

T- more roasted malt and hop flavor then i would have expected. nutty, burnt, woodsy, and hoppy blend very nicely together and the hops are laid back enough so as not to be the center of attention. if anything were to stand ahead, i would say it's the roasty toasty malt character and tart fruity flavors, especially in the finish. herbal bitterness kinda creeps in then too, with fruity banana and pepper yeast chillin in the back.

MF- tight fizzy carbonation and a toasty nutty mouthfeel give a solid score to this one and while it's not totally full bodied, it's husky enough to stand against some other high abv versions of the style. coating and resinous on the palate.

D- i don't think i've ever had a 5% dubbel before, but i'm not disappointed with this one. it has some of that belgian flavor and some of that american flavor and a little bit of something mid-atlantic. this one ain't a sipper, and i'm tiltin my tulip up like a champ. definitely worth a try and very unique among the winter ales available to me.

Photo of loren01
2.3/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Apperance is great, pours a dark reddish brown color good sized head, nice lacing.
S: I'm really trying here but it doesn't smell like much of anything. Maybe caramel sweetness in there??
T: Slightly sweet fruity flavor up front, earthy toward the end.
M: Medium bodied, good amount of carbonation.
D: Nice apperance and mouthfeel but where is the smell/taste with this one....very bland beer.

Photo of ToasterChef
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a cellar temperature bottle into a Smuttynose pint glass. A big, beautiful tan head of tiny bubbles rests atop a darker brown liquid. There doesn't appear to be a whole lot of carbonation rising within the glass.

Belgian candi sugar and some Belgian yeast make up the pleasant aroma. A touch of dark chocolate can also be detected.

Dark malts and a twist of sweetness give this dubbel a flavor appropriate for the style. It doesn't rank with the big boys form Belgium, but for a US made winter beer, I like it's flavor a lot. It isn't full of spices, nor is the alcohol noticeably strong. A slight black cherry astringency in the finish is welcome.

This is a beer with an above average body and medium carbonation. It has a touch of stickiness, but doesn't leave a large coat behind. In fact, I find that it goes down pretty easily. I look forward to this beer every winter.

Photo of myatomicpolygon
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It's time to check out Smuttynose Brewing Company's (Portsmouth, NH) Winter Ale. Brewed to keep you warm on those cold nights, the Winter Ale uses an Abbey yeast and crystal hops to create a unique spin on the Belgian Dubbel style.

Appearance- pours a deep dark amber into a pint glass with 2 fingers of foam that sticks around for a while with decent lacing and traces of red highlights when held up to light

Smell- toasty malts up front with a bit of bread, fruity esters, and Belgian yeast on the back end when it warms a little

Taste- really mellow and smooth with no spice or hop bitterness, just a touch of toasty malt and slight sweetness with a trace of fruity esters as it warms

Mouthfeel- medium bodied warming and pleasant

Drinkability- this one goes down pretty smooth and easy...and with its ABV at 5.1% and fair price-tag I could drink several of these in an evening

Overall- I like this beer and would happily drink it again. However, I think it's just too mellow and reserved to get high marks especially when compared to its cousins in Belgium

Photo of bishopdc0
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer appears as amber in color slightly darker then your average with a decent head and lace.

The nose is malty with a hint of nutty/pale maltyness.

The taste is malty caramel with a load of pale malt. It finishes with a slight citrus.

The mouth is light and is a very drinkable dubble but this also i think degrades its overall quality taste

Photo of ZeroSignal
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle

A - Pours a dark, dark amber with a light brown, tight looking head with excellent retention and lacing

S - Nose is malty, nutty, and slightly fruity. Malts have a caramel quality to them with a sweet, fruity smelling light side

T&M - Very creamy and smooth feeling. Lot's of "English Brown" character with a discernible nutty quality. Caramel malts with bits of dark fruit and tobacco. There is a bit of spiciness that I originally thought may be an alcohol warmth, but that's probably unlikely at 5%. Medium body.

D - Has a bigger feel then it's ABV would indicate. A sessionable winter ale/dubbel/english brown. I'd spend a cold night with a few of these.

Photo of ElijahCSkuggs
3.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tis the season to get Smuttynosed, Winter Ale style! And let's make it a 'double'!

Dark ruby red sporting a off white/tan head with skimming retention and alright fading lacing.

What the hell, beer. Smell already! The dark fruits and a hint of florals are way too hidden. I'm just struggling like a virgin here. I'm massively disappointed in this nose. I'll give it an extra point just because maybe I have something lacking on this end.

Slight dark fruits, melon?, raisins, nuts. It's tasty, creamy, slightly acidic, medium bodied and mighty good.

Drinkability is really damn good. I'm surprised by how big the gulps I'm taking are (slow down big fella...) and that's a testament to it's taste and feel. You'd be doing good if you give this one a go.

Photo of Augustiner719
3.99/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Sam Adams perfect pint.

Pours a nice deep reddish brown with a just off white head withbtiny bubbles. Really pretty. After looking at the style, I saw this was a double and I have to judge on it. Aroma was astringent and really soapy. Had a mild molasses and orange peel tinge. The flavor is clean, fresh and crisp, really perfect winter taste. Nice orange peel, plum, raisins and a little cola taste. The mouthfeel is spot on. Moderate carbonation and really great cleansing at the finish. Drinkability is really great. Nice low abv let's me have a few of these.

Photo of airheadmtrcycle
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Surprised to find out this is a dubbel. Dark brown with traces of red around the edges. Off-white to tan head that fades, but leaves some lacing. Subsequent aggressive pours created large heads. Nice looking beer.

Smells of dark fruity sweetness. I pick up the Belgian yeast aroma and perhaps the malts. Tastes sweet, but not too sweet. The yeast is there as well as some alcohol which adds a little spice. It gets a little bit sweeter as I go and as it warms. It does warm me up a bit. After having a few more I grew to really like the taste.

The mouthfeel is creamy, moderate to full with some carbonation. Decent drinkability. I'll grab another as soon as this one's gone.

Updated after finishing the 6-pack. My favorite winter warmer this year.

On the border of being a little too sweet, but a little spiciness and alcohol save it.

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.77/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Never had this and apparently it's a dubbel so I poured it into a Chimary goblet.

3.5 A: Clear deep mahogany brown color. One finger of creamy/frothy hybrid light tan head. Retention could be a lot better, but this leaves a ring of creamy lacing.

4.0 S: Color me confused. It's called a winter ale, labeled as a dubbel, but smells like an English brown. Toasted malts are abundant with a formitable nuttiness. Dry and earthy with a touch of raisin fruitiness.

3.5 T: Taste is more like 3 units dubbel blended with 2 units English brown. This has the toasty nuttiness consistent with a good brown, but the yeasty spiciness and fruitiness of a dubbel (and the spritzy carbonation). Tobacco, raisin, and plum fruitiness. Clove and pepper yeastiness. Earthy again and dry overall. The problem is that the taste is overall too weak, which is a shame since it is tasty.

4.0 M: Lighter body. Moderate amounts of spritzy carbonation. Very creamy for how light and low in ABV it is, but I'd prefer a bigger beer and a nice warming.

4.0 D: A pretty good beer and probably the most sessionable "dubbel" I've come across, but need a bit of a boost in the flavor department. Would drink again.

Photo of HBeezley
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Basically, this is one of my favorite winter ales so far. Not at all something that will give you some awe inspiring session or blow your beer world away. But...sitting down, after a long days work, on a cold december night, this beer hits the spot. Just what I want to be drinking right now!

Photo of Brenden
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The color is a hazy brown with mahogany hues. The head rests at just more than one finger. Retention is good and some patchy lacing sticks to the glass.
Some sweetness with a grains backing is on the nose, and there's a weird spiciness going on. That could possibly be attributed to a light spicing combined with the Trappist yeast. There is a touch of dark fruits here as well. Interesting is the proper word, I think.
This is nicely malty, with plenty of toasty breads. The funky spice-yeast combination is a little off, though. Otherwise it's a good brew, but I think too much thought went into making it winter-specific. There's a touch of clove and a light nip of alcohol as well.
Carbonation is at a medium level, which works for this one, keeping it from being flat and bland without making it spritzy. The body is medium with a nice thickness to it.
I'll take another, but there are winter-specific beers I'd pick up first.

Photo of yeahnatenelson
3.21/5  rDev -12.5%
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.

Photo of IronCitySteve
3.56/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown with some faint reddish hues. Provides a nice thick tan foam head with some spotty lacing.

S: Some vague hints of caramel, bread and some cherries. Not a real stand out for a Dubbel.

T: A decent malt profile. Some caramel, dark fruit, cherries and bread.

M: Slightly sweet taste on the palate, very nice feel.

D: This is a low ABV Dubbel. Not overly complex but certainly enjoyable.

Photo of glid02
3.68/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Porter Beer Bar in Atlanta.

Pours a hazy purplish-amber color with a half-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of sweet dark malts with hints of raisins and figs.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Dark malt flavors kick things off and are not quite as sweet as the nose would intimate. Coming in shortly thereafter are moderate amounts of dark fruits - raisins mostly with hints of crisp figs - and slight amounts of spices. The spices fade out quickly, allowing the malt and fruits to carry through to a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall this beer just didn't have much of an identity, it just was. Not a terrible beer by any stretch but not worth seeking out.

Photo of Chickenhawk9932
3.73/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep mahogany with a tan head.

Roasted nuts, warm spice, and molasses in the nose - alluring and pleasing.

In the mouth is a Sting of spice up front followed by a nutty fullness (meaty) finnishing with bitter citrus and molasses = very nice. A very warming winter brew.

Smuttynose Winter Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 939 ratings.