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.

489 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 489
Hads: 1,013
Avg: 3.69
pDev: 16.26%
Wants: 20
Gots: 83 | 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 jamie2dope
3.99/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was never really all that interested in trying this beer, as I tend to gravitate toward the Belgian examples of this style, but the other night there was nothing very interesting at the store up the street, and the label art is quite charming. Pours a average looking chestnut brown color, with little head, but a nice looking ring lace around the glass. Smell had brown sugar, chocolate, various spices, and a bit of fruity alcohol. Taste was largely characterized by fruits, mainly plums, cherries, strawberries, with a backbone of malt and chocolate. Mouthfeel is in the middle I would say. Not too much hop usage, but the little that is there helps to balance the malt. This is one of the more drinkable Dubbels I have tasted in a while. If I was to have it in a blind tasting, I would probably guess that this came from Belgium. Another very good beer from Smuttynose.

 875 characters

Photo of trekbiker3000
3.75/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A nice brown color but very little head. The aroma was sweet and carmel-like. A complex taste of sweet, bitter and toasted malt. The aftertaste is a definite smoky malt taste. This is a full bodied brew with a nice even carbonation. The aftertaste lingers in the mouth with the smoky malt flavors. A good beer to serve on a cold day, but the complexity of flavors and smoky aftertaste make this too much of a beer to have more than one or two.

 443 characters

Photo of LittleBreeze
3.45/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Maple brown. There isn't much of an aroma but I do pick up hints of spice.

The taste is a slight bit of spice. Cloves, maybe a bit of nutmeg and brown sugar.

Crisp beer with a very nice finish. Nothing extreme or spectacular. It is just a very nice beer to relax with.
I'll have a few more this winter.

 304 characters

Photo of BeerLover48Fan
4.77/5  rDev +29.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Chestnut brown in color with one finger of creamy pale mocha colored head which falls quickly leaving no lace.

The scent is almost imperceptible to my nose at first but I finally get a very mild belgian yeast and some cloves.

Taste is sweet and nutty to start, with a touch of spice - mainly cloves - to follow and a nice yeasty sour finish. There's a mild smokiness here as well which I'm really enjoying.

Rich medium mouthfeel with light tingly zesty carbonation.

Drinkability is very good.

This beer seems to have characteristics of a brown ale, a winter warmer, and a belgian dubbel but doesn't strike me as being distinctly any one of the three. Whatever it is it exhibits typical Smuttynose quality and is quite delicious. I'll be buying more.

 759 characters

Photo of cokes
3.83/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Muddy sienna with a modest beige topping.
The nose is weak, but what does appear is solid, with squeaks of dark breads, raisin pudding, fruity yeast esters (a la bruised pears), and dried pine needles.
It begins with a grainy bread notion that sails past carob and cocoa powder as a green apple tartness grabs hold, nearly to it detriment, and then segues into kiwi and date. A slight mineral quality wells up with a nod towards limestone, as this finishes with trace roasted flare-ups, and a parting shot of lime peels. Some vinous qualities arise as it approaches room temperature.
Fairly light bodied, and although the carbonation level pushes towards harsh, it drinks well enough at this point. All told, it's a decent US version of a dubbel.

It should be noted that this bottle is over three months past it's "best by" date. Fresh, I thought this to be a rather one-note brown ale with the vaguest traces of Belgian-ness. Mostly carob and roastiness, verging on chocolate, with little else. Quite astringent too.
The fruitiness has emerged and made this a better beer with a little time, but with the green apple tartness rearing up-- even though what it has added is generally pleasant so far-- I think it will likely go downhill quickly with additional time.

 1,275 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.77/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a light brown color with a thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramel, brown sugar, chocolate, some Belgian yeast, a little spice and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty with flavors of Belgian yeast, caramel, spice, tart fruit and a little chocolate. The hops presence is mild but complimentary. The after-taste is bready and slightly sweet.

M: Smooth and very crisp, medium body, medium carbonation, clean and dry finish.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not very filling, decent representation of style, it might not be your prototypical winter seasonal, but it's still a pretty nice beer. I could certainly drink quite a few of these in an evening.

 786 characters

Photo of tempest
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Clark's Ale House.

I nice mellow dark Belgian.The flavor isn't too rich or complex, but it's fairly spot on for the Belgian basics. Just sweet, fruit, candy and malt flavors. It's at least as good as Leffe Brune/Brown. If you can find it for a reasonable price, I recommend it.

 290 characters

Photo of Fugazme
4.05/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks brewfan!

Tea-like in appearance with an 1/8" head... Nice cap... murky.
Great swirl. Very nice looking.

Caramel nose with a touch of alcohol. Piney... chocolate and licorice... very sweet... last whiff had a bit of maple.

Creamy smooth palate... the beer glides over the tongue well with a tickle of carbonation on the top of the mouth and back of the throat.

Sweet all over in flavor... maple, cramel-malty... some nice dried fruit.

Very nice beer.

 472 characters

Photo of sethmeister
4.08/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz into pint glass (I made the mistake of assuming this was a winter warmer; else I'd have decanted it to a chalice)

Chestnut brown in color with one finger of creamy pale mocha colored head which falls quickly leaving no lace.

The scent is almost imperceptible to my nose at first but I finally get a very mild belgian yeast and some cloves.

Taste is sweet and nutty to start, with a touch of spice - mainly cloves - to follow and a nice yeasty sour finish. There's a mild smokiness here as well which I'm really enjoying.

Rich medium mouthfeel with light tingly zesty carbonation.

Drinkability is very good.

This beer seems to have characteristics of a brown ale, a winter warmer, and a belgian dubbel but doesn't strike me as being distinctly any one of the three. Whatever it is it exhibits typical Smuttynose quality and is quite delicious. I'll be buying more.

 889 characters

Photo of Phatz
4.2/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a very attractive amber color with a modest head and little notable lacing. A tan halo is left around the edge as the beer drops in the glass.

Smell: Dark fruits and a Belgian yeast element. Sweet rich plum pie and grape jelly, caramel and a earthy attribute accompanies some spices in the nose.

Taste: The taste follows in suit with the aromas. Dark fruits, pie Belgian yeast, bread, pudding, caramel and spices. Simple and tasty. It is not large on any front, just approachable and quaffable all around.

Mouthfeel: Very active carbonation is light and lively on the tongue wile a chewy caramel center thick and viscous slide smoothly through the mouth.

Drinkability: This easy drinking brew is one that will sneak up on you. Increasingly quick to disappear from my glass, it kept beer drawn to my mouth like a magnet.

Hope this is helpful.

 883 characters

Photo of rarevos
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into goblet.

A: Pours an opaque garnet with a finger of fluffy, off-white head. Clings to the insides as it recedes, and leaves a foam blanket (solid).

S: Pretty subdued, but you can make out the peppery Belgian yeast, the ripe and juicy plums, a bit of dark cocoa powder,

T/M: Pretty mild, with a wheaty, bready presence, some burnt caramel, some dark fruit, and cocoa powder. Finish is lightly bitter and a little metallic with a sharp edge. Mouthfeel somehow manages to be both syrupy and tingly.

D: Was nice to see a brewery do a winter ale that's not just a cinnamon & nutmeg bomb, and this is pretty solid. It's a nice stab at the style, but it obviously won't displace Chimay Red or Westmalle in the Dubbel camp. Pretty good.

 755 characters

Photo of
3.53/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle

Clear, brown/copper color. Large, creamy, light tan head.

Sweet aroma, mainly molasses. Coriander and clove. Cotton candy/candi sugar. No hops yet.

Taste quite different. Nicely bitter, herbal/grassy in character. Sweet is 2nd layer of taste - carmelized sugar and raisins. Cedar? Pepper at finish.

Light to medium in body. Medium + carbonation. A bit dry.

Very drinkable. Reminds me of Anchor OSA a bit (2006). Not as spicy, though. A hoppy brown ale with spices.

 492 characters

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

Pours an deep orange hued mahogany color with a full finger tan head that is keep alive by visible soda-like carbonation.

The spicy malt influence in the aroma is not over done (unlike some winter warmers that I've recently tried.

The mouth doesn't feel as effervescent as it looks, which i tend to enjoy. It has a medium body and a light bite from the hops. Well done... i was almost gun shy to try this one because of some recent experiences.

Some nice lacing present. The flavor is malted and balanced. It ends nice and clean, without lingering. The 6.8% is buried but not lost. Not offensive...i will actually enjoy finishing this one.

 650 characters

Photo of BuckSpin
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 11oz bottle in a small snifter

Lively, beautifully classic Belgian nose of spices like clove, nutmeg, pepper, its yeasty, raisins and dark caramel, grandma's fruitcake soaked in your grandfather's whiskey nip, crisp, sharp, a little sweet, inviting...a great nose.

Color is an intense deep, warm crimson or cherry stained mahoghany, slightly orange, just beautiful in its lite murkiness as a vertical parade of bubbles rise carefree from the glass center. The head was a short 2 fingers of crisp, active, mixed dark ivory hued foam that lightly crackled, danced, then faded to a filming cover with solid curtainesque lacing. So far this beer is delighting every sense it can without using one's tongue...very nice.

Its creamy & smooth initially, a light spiciness, bittersweet in a pleasing mascerated fruit way, an odd sweetness and bite like when you 1st tried your neighbor's rum balls at a party (but weren't supposed to because of all the booze in them which is why you had to). Its lite but nicely balanced against the bittersweetness. There is a rising of the malted barley on the palate, then a slightly mild yet syrupy sweet finish and a little warmth on the teeth as a echo. The aftertaste coats the mouth with malts and subtle sugars to help balance the warming of the alcohol.

Damn, what a little find this is! I wish I would have been drinking this all winter! It was very easy to drink as well. I knew that a Dubbel was a very atypical choice for a winter seasonal, but this is quite a nice beer. Some nice cheddar would be great with it. This will definitely become an annual part of my winter cellar, and I highly recommend this little sleeper. A great bang for the buck for those Belgian fans. Definitely check this out.

 1,763 characters

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

The beer pours a hazy ruby red color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a pale and crystal malt scent along with a fruity Belgian yeast aroma. The taste is good. It has a dry, hoppy flavor that is laid over a malt bill of Belgian pale and crystal malts. It's robust with some roasted notes. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a fine seasonal brew. It's tastey and highly drinkable.

 483 characters

Photo of velo343
3.98/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Poured from the bottle into a tulip glass. Very dark, almost opaque brown with a deep red tint. A pillowy, snow white head, tons of lacing.

Smell - Lots of phenols, most notably cloves and bubblegum. Dark fruits, like plum, figs, and raisins also come through strongly.

Taste - A classic dubbel flavor, but a bit subdued. Some caramel flavor, raisins, a very mild hop flavor behind the sweetness. Fairly thin mouthfeel.

Drinkability - Not quite as strong flavors as many other dubbels, but still pretty good. Very smooth and easy to drink.

 563 characters

Photo of objectivemonkey
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber bordering on burgandy, with lots of lacing and pretty nice light tan head, down to a thin film. With the aroma and taste, its quite malty, yeasty, biscuts, fruits and clove, a little honey perhaps, everything a good dubbel should have, but, as 'winter ale' would imply, it leans a bit more on certain spices that give it that warmer quality. There is a mild warming, good body, really a good beer and a easy quaffer.

 435 characters

Photo of BeerBelcher
2.9/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This beer was pretty good...reminiscent to me of a rather spiced version of Dead Guy Ale. I wouldn’t call it very "dubbel-ish," but still, I would recommend this beer.

This beer is cherry-wood colored with a lot of fine head. The beer has a hoppy smell. Taste is very spicy, like Lakefront’s holiday beer (but not like a dubbel). Mouthfeel is a bit watery.

 361 characters

Photo of abcsofbeer
3.61/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle with a 06/07 drink by date. Pours a ruby-amber color topped by a two finger tan colored head. The lacing is nice and sheeted.

The aroma is not strong, but hints of fruit and sweet caramel.

The taste is very good with strong malts and mild hops. The taste is sweet with a very mild alcohol flavor. I also detect a bit of graininess. The MF is medium bodied and is both spicy and tangy.

 397 characters

Photo of Lnedrive14
3.67/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a medium brown with the slightest red hue. Small head of large carbonation bubbles. Spicey, nutty, malty. Alcohol is very well masked, i would have guessed it was closer to 5%. very creamy despite its watery appearance. fulfilling on the palate. bit of sweetness and very moderate hops.

 293 characters

Photo of lehows
4.2/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a rust amber color with a nice and bubbly off-white head. Nose is of spicy malt and faint hops. Big taste of spicy citric notes, some bitter malt, and fruit. Good carbonation and mouthfeel. Another wonderful brew from Smuttynose that hit the spot on a cold winter night.

 276 characters

Photo of Kudashov
3.7/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle in a pint glass .We have The The on the Hi-Fi . "Mind Bomb " is a great album . Johnny Marr is my guitar hero . As for the beer ...

A- Nice dark brown color with a two finger head . Very hazy , murky .

S- Raisins , fruit .

T & M - wonderful flavor and nice lacing on the glass after a few healthy gulps . Too bad Kappy's only had this one single . An absolute joy to drink . Another winner from Smuttynose . Pure pleasure drinking this . Too bad the Celtics are not as good as this . They are down by 10 as I review this .

D- No question . Great .

 574 characters

Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tilted dark with significant white head. Some brown flecks of spice including cardamon and allspice. More spice than yeast aroma. Not that strong alcohol. Medium mouthfeel, cross-style Belgian and winter warmer. Neither hits the spot of either, but certainly not unpleasant.

 274 characters

Photo of garymuchow
3.82/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Love the label photo.
The initial pour looked like cherry 7-up, but it darkened after the rest of the bottle emptied. Lighter fruity quality (like a light cherry, raspberry) with a definite malt quality (little like a cough medicine, but not bold or overpowering). Seems like some spices too, cinnamon, ginger. Head is kinda' small and disappears pretty quickly. Yet, in spite of virtually no head (beyond a brown ring and erratic smear) there is quite a bit of lacing upon consumption. Brown with ruby like red in the light. Not very clear.
Spices more evident in the flavor than the aroma and more dominant overall. Malt character noted, with the fruity tastes being rather muted. Dryness often noted in spiced beers. Mild bitterness that last well into a moderately long finish.
Rather filling carbonation. Medium light feel.
This reminds me a lot more of a spiced winter warmer than a dubbel. As the former it's alright (inflection up), but as the later it's less than I'd wish for. So how does a guy score that? Overall it a enjoyable beer. Give it a try.
Thanks JB.

 1,080 characters

Photo of ommegangpbr
3.94/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A winter dubbel!
What a concept!
Not a bad American version of the style, either.
Pours a mysterious, dark color that turns out to be a deep brown whenst held to the light. Some lacing is to be found on the glass with not a lotta head. For a style that tends to be very pretty in appearance this is only average.
The smell is inviting. Somewhat fruity and malty with some cola spikes here and there. The flavor is more so with prunes and black cherries thrown in for good measure. The mouthfeel has textures that could turn chalky but end up being interesting and enjoyable; a smokey kind of thing that also spills over into the flavor.
Quite nice. I am enjoying this more than I have some "authentic" Belgian dubbels.

 724 characters

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