1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Smuttynose Winter Ale - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Smuttynose Winter AleSmuttynose Winter Ale

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

952 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 952
Reviews: 482
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 11.44%
Wants: 14
Gots: 54 | 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
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 952 | Reviews: 482
Photo of elgiacomo
3.41/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle best by April 2011. Served at cellar temp.

Pours hazy reddish-brown with a large foamy light beige head that leaves lots of lacing behind and holds a light foamy cap.

Aroma is quite yeasty, some bread, toffee, dark fruit underneath, maybe a bit of cardboard/oxidation as well. Gets a bit better as it warms further. Good strength.

Flavor is dark fruits, cherries, candi sugar, toffee, caramel, hint of chocolate, some bread & yeast, rather sweet, mildly hopped.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, a bit creamy, medium carbonation.

Solid brew, didn't care much for the aroma but the flavor makes up for it.

Photo of prdstmnky
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Best before date: June '11

Pours a dark brown with some orange / amber hues, 1 finger of tan head that doesn't hang around long. Lots of malt sweets in the nose, maybe some spices too that I cant place. Picking up lots of flavors - roasted nuts, caramel, toffee, apples, black cherry, cinnamon, even some dark chocolate...seems to all balance out well. Medium bodied and adequate carbonation - not a style I really care to drink more than one of in a sitting, but the lower ABV certainly makes this Dubbel fairly drinkable (though maybe not exactly a Dubbel).

Photo of sweethome
3.6/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep amber/red. Hazy, unfiltered look. Nice off-white head. Sweet nose suggests big maltiness to follow. Some fruitiness in there too - apricots or other dried fruits. Almost like a fruitcake.

Full mounthfeel on entry. Quite sweet. Lost of hop flavor mid-mouth and plenty of bittering employed to attack the sweetness.

While I agree it is not to Dubbel style - is it meant to be? I don't think so. I'd call it an americanized dubbel. Fruitness from the yeast is present, but in the belgian-style.

Some raisin or plum flavors evident, but always balanced by a fruity hop bittering. The hops don't lend itself to style.

A unique winter warmer, lacks warming punch, but plenty of festive flavors.

Photo of PorterLambic
3.23/5  rDev -12%
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.

Photo of Natural510
3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle, best-by date May 2011.

Pours a dark, dense brown with thick amount of light-tan head.
Scent composed mainly of sour fruit, caramel and brown sugar.
Flavor a mixture of sour, sweet and tart. Tartness from yeast comes forward, with the malt sweetness kicking around in the background followed by a sharp hop bite.
Full in the mouth, as in appearance, so that element is not a problem.

Overall, I'd say this needs work. The ingredients to not marry well together, and it is too hoppy for the style. Perhaps some age with the yeast and hops to mellow would do it some good...

Photo of nezelrac
3.51/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

From 12 oz bottle

A - very attractive reddish brown with deep golden highlights; pale off-white head with little persistence

S - nose seems a bit reticent; hints of spiciness from the yeast and some gentle malty notes as well as dried stone fruits and a maple notes

T - deliciously malty; some spice; subtle layers of malt; pretty four-square

M - excellent! smooth malty palate with pleasant carbonation

D - very drinkable, but not terrible exciting

I don't think I would have picked this out as being a dubbel, but it is a good beer nevertheless

Photo of billab914
3.67/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into my Pumking chalice. It poured a murky, dark brown color with a thin head barely covering the top of the beer.

The aroma has a decent malty profile to it with some caramel, toffee and bread notes to it. It has a little fruitiness to the malts as well. A bit of the yeast spice is present, but it's not overly spicy at all. Decent aroma overall.

The taste starts out with some of the yeast spice coming through. Midway it starts to show more of the bready, malty, caramel, toffee flavors to it. In the finish some more of the yeast spice comes back along with a very moderate bitterness. I get some chocolate coming through in the finish and lingering for a bit after.

The mouthfeel is a little heavy, but good for the style. Carbonation is moderate. Drinkability is decent, the yeast spice and the malty sweetness worked pretty well as a Christmas seasonal. It wasn't the best Dubbel, but it was a pretty good holiday seasonal in relation to all the other spice bombs. Pretty enjoyable beer overall.

Photo of TheHoppiest
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a pint glass. Pours an ochre-mahogany color, sunsetting toward the bottom of the glass. A 1/2" of off-white head slowly reduces.

Malt, grain and grass aromas hit first, followed by faint toffee/caramel.

Mild bitter up front starts this beer, with a bit of coffee/toffee taste in the middle, overlaid with a grainy malt. Ends slightly bitter and dry. The beer starts to sweeten as it warms.

Medium bodied, mild and smooth.

Easy drinking enough, and a welcome respite from the abundance of spiced beers offered for this time of year.

Photo of aepb1
4.05/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Creamy off-white head, dark brown body

S- Malty sweetness, fruits, with a nice bready undertone

T- Dark sugar, creamy winter spices, malty body

M- Full-bodied and creamy with good carbonation

D- Mouthfeel makes me think of winter and it's a great seasonal

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

A: Dark mahogany with ruby tones. small off-white head that fades slowly and leaves some light lacework on the glass.

S: Sweet roasted malt aroma with some light spice and candied fruit.

T: Big toasted malt flavor upfront. Carmel sweetness and bready notes. Hints of ripe dark fruit, brown sugar, and spices. The trappist yeast is present but light. Light hops as it finishes as well.

M: Medium to full bodied, ample carbonation

D: This is a good winter ale from Smuttynose. For me, it wasn't the best interpretation of a Dubbell. The belgain yeast seems to get lost. But a solid offering, nonetheless.

Photo of AwYeh
3.17/5  rDev -13.6%
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.

Photo of deaconoflove
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Ap. Very dark golden brown with minimal head.
Sm. Sweet, nutty and malty with faint chocolate and maybe some laid back spice.
Ta. First thing is butterscotch and malt, then balanced with hops and a lightly bitter finish. Very good.
Mf. Light and fresh, but smooth and filling.
Dr. yessiree, it's very drinkable.

Photo of Mit
3.28/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

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.

to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Smuttynose Winter Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 952 ratings.