Smuttynose Winter Ale - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Smuttynose Winter AleSmuttynose Winter Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

479 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 479
Hads: 964
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 7.55%
Wants: 14
Gots: 60 | FT: 2
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 479 | Hads: 964
Photo of wedge
3.74/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, dark ruby color with a small tan head. Light spicy malty aroma - pepper, banana, clove - very herbal. The flavor is similar to the smell - spicy with phenolic notes all over a light sweet maltiness. Fairly full bodied with active carbonation.

A nice winter seasonal. A belgian style beer in a mixed 12...I wasn't expecting that, but what a great idea. Perhaps a bit high in the phenols but the spicy quality balances it out. They should kick up the complexity and move it to the Big Beer series. (505 characters)

Photo of GnomeKing
4.24/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

At first this looked almost black, but as I got to the end of the glass, I realized it was a deep brown/amber...almost like gingerbread. The gingerbread appearance wasn't surprising, because it has a cakey sweetness with spices that reminded me of gingerbread. (Think of cinnamon and other flavors your mom bakes with.)

The mouthfeel was a tad thin, and there wasn't much head or lacing, hence the 3.5s for mouthfeel and appearance.

The flavors are really nicely blended and tasted great even on the final sip, by which point the beer was almost warm, since I was sipping slowly. This was perhaps the best winter warmer style beer I had this season. Triumph's Winter Wonder was great too, and similar in many respects, so I'd like to drink the two head-to-head to make my final determination. (798 characters)

Photo of jakester
4.27/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I got this as a single at Union Jack's on the Manatawny. I drank it in a goblet. Best before date clearly notched on the label.

Pours a pretty clear ruby red with brown tints around the edges. A light tan head forms on top, then quickly vanishes to a scant ring around the glass. No real lacing.

Aroma is big malt combined with spices like nutmeg, cinammon, and cloves. There is also a detectable yeasty, musty smell there; some nice Belgian funk.

First flavor is a smoked malt character, quickly followed by dark, sweet caramel malt. Then you can taste cinammon and nutmeg and cloves(?). It's fairly sweet, with a lingering smokey/spicy aftertaste. Hop character is very low.

Mouthfeel is medium to full, with a lingering sweetness. Carbonation is low to medium. Finish is a long oily slickness, pleasant.

I guess this is a Belgian Dubbel. It fits the criteria, but I don't remember having one like this. It IS a very good winter ale, however. Very malty, the spices meld with it really well, and a low hop character. And I swear, this has smoked malt in it, a nice touch, to say the least. Highly recommended. (1,127 characters)

Photo of WanderingFool
4.17/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smuttynose Winter Ale pours a clear, dark ruby color into the glass with a small tan fizzy head on top. The foam dissolves quickly to a thin ring around the surface leaving a few spots of lace behind.

The sweet malty aroma has some notes of cherry and spice (clove? nutmeg?) mixed in. Sort of reminded me of cherry cough syrup. Each sip of this medium bodied beer gives a firm carbonated punch to the tip of the tongue. From there it flows smoothly over the palate releasing all its flavor. The taste is rather sweet. Like the aroma, there's a good amount of cherry and sweet malt with some spice, bubblegum and a hint of hops mixed in. Some of the malty sweetness lingers on the palate when the beer is gone.

This is a good full flavored beer. It's more sweet than spicy like other winter ales, but has a good balance of flavor. (835 characters)

Photo of CharlesRiver
4.09/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle from one of my favorite breweries. Best before date is April of 06. Pours out a reddish-amber color with very little head that does not last. There is one tiny stream of bubbles that makes it way to the top.

Smell is candy sweet with hints of malt, spices and some hops in the background. From the first sip, the one big suprise is the smokey notes. Cherries, dates and malt dominate. A hop ending with some spices round it out nicely. Very low carbonation level. The smoke notes are something I did not expect at all.

An interesting take on a "winter ale" from Smutty. It is great to see someone trying something new with this style. (654 characters)

Photo of sinistrsam
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured a dark copper-orangish almost pink with a very clear and clean body, followed by a meduim white head which lasted a good while.
I got my nose in there a good ways and really only came away with some sweet fruits, maybe candy sugar and mild hops. Nothing I would seriously compare to a true Dubbel in intensity, but a good try nonetheless.
The taste was more of the same. Sweet and sour fruits, raisin, candy sugar and malt, mild hops, finishing dry. Some alcohol.
This was refreshing and clean, a good try at a Dubbel. I have to make an obvious statement here that might not seem so obvious. This is a Dubbel style, made by a good American craft brewery, and it's their take on the style. They're not trying to be, lets say, a trappist, but brew in the style, which I feel a lof of the people I see review miss. Maybe I'm letting Smuttynose off easy, but I applaud the try, and although I have yet to get something outstanding from any of their brews including the Big Beer series, I'm continually impressed with their effort and creativity in their takes on traditional (and non-traditional) beers. (1,117 characters)

Photo of gbarron
3.51/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Overall, a nice representation of the dubbel style, but nothing spectacular. Didn't know what kind winter beer it was going to be until I tasted it. A beer I like but not something I will really seek out again next winter.

Appearance - medium brown, perfectly clear. Ruby. Head pours bubbly, not long lasting and not thick. Medium high carbonation, which is appropriate for the style. No Brussels lace.

Nose - sweet aroma, little hops. Smell of candi sugar, raisins. All sorts of bubble gummy-fruity esters.

Taste - a little bit of bitterness up front, can't place the hops, but probably noble. Lots of sugary sweetness, but not overwhelming. Notes of raisins, currant, rich fruits. Aftertaste of banana, clove, more bubble gum. Alcohol very present but blends right in.

Mouthfeel - spot on for a dubbel. Thin, tickles the tongue with the co2. Any more thickness and you could only have one.

Drinkability - well, I could definitely have more than one of these at a sitting, but the alcohol would be too much. Would prefer this as part of a winter sampler rather than a whole six pack. (1,099 characters)

Photo of whartontallboy
2.77/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours out a slightly translucent brownish-red with a thin head of tan bubbles that disappears pretty quickly and with minimal lace. After that, the head is gone. For good. No bubbles at all.

Smell is bubblegum, banana, cotton candy, sugars, and a little bit medicinal.

Flavor is sweet, slightly phenolic, with bubblegum flavors and lots of banana coming through. Not the typical complex-dark-fruit-sweetness that I've come to expect from a dubbel. There's a decidedly toasty/bready malt flavor that sneaks through on the back end, but as I drink it, the lack of carbonation and complexity start to remind me of drinking a really flat cola. It was something of a struggle to finish it.

Overall: A disappointing offering, and I have loved a lot of Smutty's stuff. The phenolics, dead mouthfeel, and cloying sweetness of this one are just kind of off-putting. Not epically terrible, but I wouldn't give it to a good friend. (932 characters)

Photo of NEhophead
3.72/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fizzy, light brown head that fades to a whispy sheet after a moment. Spotted lacing with average strength. Glowingly clear auburn with garnet highlights.

Sour fruit esters: apple, orange, cherry. A touch of candied, sugary sweetness. A distinct corriander spice. Gentle whaffs of noticable alcohol.

Moderately sweet, candied sugar malt profile. Fig, raisin, plum, and lightly soured fruit: cherry, apple, and orange. A wave of alcohol spiced with pepper and corriander, adding a nice kick to this dubbel's sweetness. Finishes dry with a powdered sugar aftertaste.

Medium bodied; powdery, dry on the palate.

A rather drinkable dubbel; not too sweet, the sour qualities and spices are well placed. Not the best version of the style, but a nice change of pace for a winter offering. (791 characters)

Photo of Matthew
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've always enjoyed smuttynose's beers so decided to give their winter ale a try. Pours a dirty copper color with a medium sized head.
The aroma of this beer is not very strong but you can definately pick the characteristics of belgian ale yeast. Some banana and other mild fruitiness.
Pretty mild tasting considering the style. The flavors that are true to the style are mild as they are in the nose. This is still a pleasant tasting beer and I enjoyed drinking it. (469 characters)

Photo of warriorsoul
3.83/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Decided to go with one of my favorite breweries for putting a little splash in my mug...Smutty all the way.
First tasted this beer at an awesome beer dinner at The Farmhouse in Emmaus, PA over the Thanksgiving weekend with my wife...was real glad to see Smuttynose on the menu.
Pours a clear rust amber with a half finger of off-white head...just a fine layer remains for the duration, producing some thin lace.
A nice mix of sweet malt, gentle spice and some molasses in the nose.
Taste is very enjoyable...all of the above finds its way into the flavor plus a nice smoked profile in the finish. Not sure of the abv, but there is not alcohol detected even as it warms to room temperature.
Mouthfeel is above average and the carbonation is a touch high...very easily consumed and one I will seek out on tap in the near future.
Another solid representation of the style from the boys up north. (898 characters)

Photo of mmmbeer
3.53/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hadn't heard of this when I saw it in the store so I had to grab 2 bottles. 12 oz., best by March '06. Pours a rusty red/brown with a small tan head. It looks crimson in the light. Smells of bubblegum, dark fruit, and spiciness, but overall not very strong. It has a fairly smooth, medium body and tastes Belgian with cloves and spiciness from the phenols along with some grassy and musty characteristics. The phenols are nice, but there's not enough other flavors behind them. Good, but needs refinement/more complexity. (521 characters)

Photo of NiceGuyMike
4.05/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Second bottle now and I have to say this is delicious. I was expecting a winter warmer and after the first sip I found myself somewhat confused. It kind of tasted like that "winter" flavor. It does have a nice alcohol flavor which I like in a winter brew. It also has a nice spicey flavor not found in many other types of beer. I did pick up on the belgian flavor which told me this was not a winter warmer, but something very good with a fruity pair flavor. I was figuring a dark strong ale, but a dobbel which is my favorit.

Anyway on with the review. Good, very good, delcious. Smooth with strong alcohol flavors. It does lack that caremel flavors of other dubbels, but this is excellent. I'm gonna have to make this a regular winter brew. (746 characters)

Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A bit of a mysterious offering from Smuttynose. No information, no style indication, no ABV indication. Very Belgian in its characteristics, but is really quite boring.

Cooper colored head, quickly dissipated leaving a relatively (flat) looking beer. Its smell is a little musty, slightly fruity. Pretty big malts keep this beer in tune with your run of the mill Belgians, a nice smattering of orange and sweet fennels.

I didn't really like this beer, but it is a decent beer. (483 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a one-finger cream head that fades quickly, leaving little lace. Nice clear red/amber color. Light carbonation and medium bodied. Nose has a malty/yeasty overtone. Starts with sort of sweet flavor but is complex with a little spice. You notice the yeast in the finish. $7.49 for a 6-pak 12oz bottles from Hannaford's Concord, NH. (335 characters)

Photo of NoLiberty
3.97/5  rDev +7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours into a dark amber to brown ale color. The head is frothy and tan colored, but settles into a pretty slim lacing.
The aroma is of light spice, subtle but sugary, almost Belgian-like in the nose.
The initial taste was smoky! Big flavor. A slight front of sweet, with a smoky middle, and a nice dry hop follow through. Definite strong alcohol presence and an overall roasted caramel character. Kind of reminds me of a woodstove.
The body is quite light for the flavor with good mouth fullness. A nice warming beer that I'd look for again. (555 characters)

Photo of waughbrew
3.44/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Drink by date of February/March 06. Thanks for the date!

Clear dark orange beer with a medium-sized head that is a mixture of big bubbles, smaller bubbles, creamy texture, and oily texture. Color is very attractive, but head and lacing could use some improvement. Aroma has a great combo of spiciness - peppery phenolics, alcohol, and continental hops. The yeast notes remind me of Unibroue and the hops remind me of Prima Pils. Flavor is some caramel sweetness with molasses and raisins. Nothing bad, but it doesn't mesh with the spiciness as well as it should. The feel is slick with some sizzle. The phenolics (a little band-aid) might have contibuted to a small headache that I got after drinking it on two occasions.

For me, doubles (or similar) seem to be the hardest profile to do right. Everything needs to fall right into place or else it ends up being a lackluster drinking experience. This is one that, while being a decent beer, fails to do much for me. (971 characters)

Photo of Gavage
4.08/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours a clear reddish copper color with a thick 2" head. Some spotty lacing develops.

Smell: the aroma is of dark fruits and some soft spices.

Taste: the flavor follows the nose, as dark fruits and spice like cinammon, clove, and pepper are clearly evident. Plenty of caramel and bitterness is quite up front too. Alcohol is slighty noticeable.

Mouthfeel: medium / heavy in body. Smooth with a light crispness at the start and finish. The flavors linger long on the tongue after swallowing.

Drinkability: nicely drinkable and overall a good winter beer. (581 characters)

Photo of IrishRedRock
4.07/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

If this is a Dubbel, it's a unique one. Pours a deep amber with ruby highlights. Nice herbal qualities in the nose, along with a heaping of winter spices - cinnamon, clove, a touch of caramel. Slightly acidic and bitter, with a flavor profile somewhat reminiscent of Anchor OSA. It's that piney, herbal hop profile. Spicy with a solid layering of hops throughout. Carbonation nips the tip of the tongue before fading into oblivious smoothness. A nice seasonal! One I'd certainly go for again. (492 characters)

Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%
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 beerluvr
4.17/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours with a light tan head that settles over clear dark reddish liquid tinged with brown. The nose is great, brown sugar, nutty maltiness, hops, fruitiness (very slight banana noted) and light spice. The taste leans towards hoppiness mixing with roast maltiness then some sweetness. The finish is warming, bittersweet and long. A nice surprise this one was! (358 characters)

Photo of ColForbin
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not knowing this was a dubbel, I poured it into an imperial pint glass. A crystal clear ruby read beer appeared with a huge slightly tan head. Pretty good head retention too, with nearly microscopic bubbles rising throughout the beer, and nice lacing as the head fades. Aroma is belgian spicy esters (coriander and clove, mainly), with a hint of hops (but more hops than one would find in a true Belgian). Not that the hops are out of place - they actually balance out the aroma nicely. Taste is quite complex - some licorice, more cloves, a slightly tart malty middle and a spicy semisweet aftertaste with some bananas and bubblegum mingly with a bit of hoppy bitterness. A slightly slick mouthfeel, leaves a bit of a coating on the tongue. Very tasty brew, and a good take on a spiced winter seasonal that probably contains no actual spices, making it much more subtle (and IMHO) and delicious than some of its more bold cousins (in the winter seasonal category, not the dubbel category). (990 characters)

Photo of Jcdolan
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Six pack of bottles poured into a cool glass mug.

Pours a see through brown amber color with a light fizzy head that disappears quickly.

Smells of an even mixture of malt and hops. Tasts of somthing different that I have never tasted before. Almost a mild fruit with some nice natural sweetness. Possibly a sugary cinnimon rasin taste?

This is a great unique beer that I would and will enjoy all winter. I can't wait to have these with some snowfall in the air.

Feels awsome in the mouth. Nice and smooth. Goes down cool and easy.

This is no doubt (562 characters)

Photo of Bierman9
3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Snagged a few bottles from Shag, one of the Smutty reps, at NEBF. Great vintage '50's photo of a wintery scene on the label. Pours a clean, clear, deep chestnut hue, with a short, fine, compact tan head. Bubbles mostly cling to the edge, and the carbo within rises slowly and sporadically. A bit of lace clings on the glass, but not a whole lot. Aroma has a light, fruity lean, with suggestions of candy sugar. Winter Ale has a solid, medium-plus body, and passes smoothly and easily over the tongue. Hell yeah!

Flavor has a very pleasing, malty sweetness (though never cloying) plus a light, candy-ish lean. Dark fruit notes abound, with a slight touch of "band-aid" lingering in the background. This, though, hardly detracts from the overall quaffing experience. Hoppiness is just an afterthought here, and the finish is dry and short. There also seems to be a smidge of spiciness present. All in all, a lovely new Smutty offering, especially something in a new direction.

Prosit!!!

Footnote: I originally added this to the BA database after sampling some at NEBF, yet before my own in-depth review. I thought it resembled a Dubbel. After reading the 1st review here on BA, I emailed Dave Yarrington last night for his style thoughts.

His reply:

"I was thinking it'd be close to a Belgian Double. I'm not too savvy at Belgian style guidelines, but that seems close to what the beer came out being. It will change through the winter as we dial in the recipe. Have you tried it yet? I didn't like the heavy phenolics. I've tried a different fermentation profile to help alter that characteristic. I'll know next week if it helped.

Cheers,

dave"

overall: 3.95
appearance: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4

856 (1,746 characters)

Smuttynose Winter Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 479 ratings.