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Smuttynose Homunculus (Big Beer Series) - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Smuttynose Homunculus (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Homunculus (Big Beer Series)

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

381 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 381
Reviews: 166
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 11.95%

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian IPA |  9.37% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes/Commercial Description:
This hoppy, Belgian-style golden ale first appeared in early 2007 as the first edition of our Short Batch Series. At that time, we called it the Gnome, an homage to Brasserie d'Achouffe.

45 IBU

2011 - 9.9%

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 02-11-2007)
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Ratings: 381 | Reviews: 166 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of thagr81us

South Carolina

3.5/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from growler into a Mikkeller oversized wine glass. Poured a hazy red-orange with a one finger white head that subsided to a minimal amount slowly. Maintained excellent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, fruit, banana, apple, spices, floral, floral hop, earth, and earthy hop. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, fruit, spices, earth, earthy hop, sweet alcohol, citrus, and citrus hop. It had a medium feel on the palate with medium-high carbonation. Overall this was a decent brew. The aroma on this was very complex and had a lot going on. Unfortunately it might have had a little too much going on with not a lot of balance. The flavor however wasn’t as complex, but still had a pretty good bit going on. I just didn’t flow very well and the alcohol presence really took a lot of the enjoyment out of it for me. This could be a great brew if it were a little more balanced. Worth trying if you get the chance, but that’s about it.

Serving type: growler

04-10-2012 20:27:48 | More by thagr81us
Photo of gpcollen1


4.45/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growlered by hand out of a keg...cannot disclose where or when....just know that I am very glad I got my hands on it!

Pours a golden orange with a nice rising head that quickly goes away. Aroma is sweet and hoppy, light and sweet with a riding hard hops charging in in the end.

Hits your mouth with a light carbonation and rides in some loving hops. A gentle bitterness rides in early and ushers in some background sweetness that gently combines for a luscious finish.

Wish I could have this more often and absolutely love it. The ABV slides up on you and slings you down on the ground. Scary...AMEN!

Serving type: growler

09-06-2007 00:53:19 | More by gpcollen1
Photo of schoolboy


3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This certainly live up to the big beer name. My sample has 2012 marked as the bottle conditioning date. I guess it's ready.

It's a pretty golden color with nice natural foaminess. The aroma isn't huge, but it is big and sweet and gives a warning. The taste follows through with a malty hugeness, offset by yeasty and hoppy hugeness. It's properly balanced, but huge on all taste fronts. Perhaps the thing out of balance is liquid - this could be diluted significantly and still be flavorful.

The aftertaste lingers bitter on the tongue. Overall this is a appropriately big brew that works. I was hoping for a more delicate take on the style but this is brutal.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2014 16:23:36 | More by schoolboy
Photo of RonaldTheriot


4.64/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Smuttynose Homunculus has a thin, off-white head, a brilliant, very bubbly, gold-orange appearance, and a bit of splotchy lacing left behind. The aroma is of full, sweet, yeasty, spicy, bready malt, and the flavor is of all that, with distinct pepper and floral hop bitterness. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, and Smuttynose Homunculus finishes semi-dry, mellow, hefty, rich, and delicious. Overall, this is outstanding!


Serving type: bottle

03-20-2014 17:47:28 | More by RonaldTheriot
Photo of DoubleJ


4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

More Smuttynose in Southern California? That means another beer from this New England brewery to try. From a 22 ounce bottle with weird sperm-like artwork on the label, on to the beer:

The color is toasted gold and topped with a finger's thickness of creamy head. Retention on top is good, and several spots of it cling to the glass. The aroma is a festival of different notes. It combines the aspects of an American IPA with a rustic Belgian blonde. I can smell candied orange, leather, sweet potato, and a squirt of tropical fruit juice.

Flavor goes more in the direction of an IPA. It helps that orange dusted with sugar makes the dominate flavor to the beer, with smaller notes to compliment. The hops are "juicy", sweet grapefruit make their marks, but not to be forgotten are grassy notes, a moderate bitterness, and tree sap. This is built on a canvas of a full body with a sparkle of carbonation and much of the alcohol hidden well.

Fine on its own, and better consumed with a steak dinner. I can't wait to see what else Smuttynose has sent to the region!

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2014 06:01:38 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

3.44/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2012 bottling

Appearance: Pours a cloudy honey color with just an OK head that leaves some clumps of lace

Smell: Fruity (Juicy Fruit gum and pear nectar) and sweet with fusel alcohol tones

Taste: Fusel alcohol and spicy phenols jut forward to mask the fruit (the Juicy Fruit and pear tones detected in the aroma) and whatever hops that used to be detectable when the beer was fresh; very sweet, after the swallow, with a golden syrup flavor that becomes cloying, in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Overall: Perhaps this beer was better when fresh as the hops could have balanced out the other flavors; at this point, however, it is unbalanced and cloying; true Belgians (even hoppy ones) typically have more staying power

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2014 21:21:54 | More by brentk56
Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3

New York

3.35/5  rDev -13%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bomber.

Orange hazy appearance.
Thin head, that quickly disappears.

Strong Belgian yeast aroma.

Can taste the La Chouffe influence.
Not very hoppy, may have dissipated considering it is a 2013 bottle.

Overall, a decent beer. Not a huge fan of Smuttynose Big Beer Series, but they certainly captured the essence of Belgian Strong Golden Ale.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2014 19:33:16 | More by Eamonn-Cummings3
Photo of DeFaz


2.86/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I know I've had some good Smuttynose beers in the past, but I have to say that after this one and especially after the Gravitation beer, Smuttynose and I are going to take a break, at least as far as their "Big Beer" series.

This pours a cloudy very light copper color with a medium head and average retention. Lacing is pretty good. The smell is unfortunately overpowered by alcohol, although when straining to see past the alcohol I find some nice fruit, including cherry and berry, and malt tastes, and it's clear there's some yeast being used here. The taste suffers from a lack of balance, with the alcohol flavor out of control. The yeast seems to offer some nice flavors, but the label on the beer says that it is "Impregnated with loads of hop character", and yet I find very, very little hop character here at all. By the way, don't drink this beer when pregnant or when looking for a balanced and flavorful beer. Anyway, it's OK--it's not well thought out, like the Gravitation beer, and I wish I hadn't bought such a large bottle of it. The mouthfeel is drying but spot on as far as thickness, but overall it's a beer I would try again as it needs to be reconstructed.

Serving type: bottle

11-17-2013 00:39:37 | More by DeFaz
Photo of mactrail


3.45/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Plenty of foam in the Brewery Vivant tulip with a light orange amber color. Aroma of hot fruit and vodka. Fairly thin body. Tingly carbonation.

Very sweet and powerfully flavored. I wondered, "What is this?" after the first sip. Malty, hot, and alcoholic, plus a tangy sensation. The Belgian yeast adds some bitterness and just a little drying effect on the lips, but it stays pretty sweet to the end. I'd call it hot, sweet, and tart.

An interesting brew that will wake up the taste buds while it puts the tongue to sleep. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Bottlecraft in North Park. Smuttynose has suddenly started showing up in San Diego.

Serving type: bottle

10-16-2013 06:08:28 | More by mactrail
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.56/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle I brought to share at Tieman's tasting.

2013 vintage.

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy bone head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, yeast, and citrus-like hop aromas. Taste is much the same with yeast and citrus flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of yeast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with some interesting aromas and flavors.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2013 18:32:50 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of MistahBeah


4.36/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into an oversized wine glass

Pours a beautiful hazy orange. Sticky lacing on the sides of the glass from a bubbly off-white head. Mildly carbonated

Smells clean with a touch of Belgian yeast. Big orchard fruit esters, specifically orange and some sweet red apple and even a touch of banana. Some candi sugar and caramel. Hop presence is hidden by the sweetness but floral notes can be detected

Taste is big, juicy, and sweet. Tropical fruit kicks things off. Lots of orange, grapefruit, apples, bananas, even some pineapple. Caramel malts and some fresh bread. Acidity and bitterness are mild. Belgian yeast and sweet malts dominate. Hops come in on the back and are floral and maybe a little grassy. Aftertaste lingers for a while but is very pleasant

Feels medium bodied and very carbonated. Sweet and juicy

Overall a really great beer. Definitely true to Belgian IPA-style. Complex and highly drinkable. Lots of sweet fruit flavor with just the right amount of hops to prevent this from getting too fruity. Very nicely done

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2013 00:42:31 | More by MistahBeah
Photo of Isoruku


4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow, what a find! Homunuculus is a complex Belgian that gives you a slap in the face, then a big kiss! The flavor is a blend of malt, chocolate and citrus notes with a very smooth overall mouthfeel. Lingering and pleasant aftertaste. High ABV makes this a beer that demands your attention. Fun to drink and a kick-ass beer!

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2013 22:25:17 | More by Isoruku
Photo of Crazy4LegMoose


3.7/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Hazy orange hue with 3 fingers off white head. Leaves good lacing down the glass.

S: Big fruity esters in the nose. Hints of orange citrus flavors and faint aromas of bananas.

T: Smooth fruity flavors up front that is finished with a good hop bite and bitterness. Hints of banana bread and orange zest up front that blends into a good citrus hop bite that leaves a slightly bitter finish on the palate.

M: Medium body beer with good creamy carbonation.

O: Quite good. Nice hoppy with an interesting banana bread malt backbone. Very well balanced and unusual flavor combinations.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2013 23:06:15 | More by Crazy4LegMoose
Photo of asaharyev


3.74/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pour: About an inch of fluffy white head that dissolves rather quickly. The body of the beer itself is very hazy, deep goldenrod in color.

Aroma: Belgian yeast is apparent, with a nice funk and sweet wheat notes. A light presence of banana and citrus - lemon, lime, and orange.

Taste: Smooth and sweet with that funk from the aroma making itself known. Fades into a citrus bitterness with a dry finish. There's a bit of vegetable flavor as I go along, but not necessarily in a bad way.

Overall: Smuttynose simply refuses to make a sub-par beer. This is another very good brew from them, and I'll likely try it again in the future.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2013 22:59:57 | More by asaharyev
Photo of BrandonOakes


4.04/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I am not a huge fan of high ABV beers. This is acceptable. Not too strong, but still strong. I bought a bottle of this mainly for the name and didn't think to read too much into it. Yes, my own fault, I was in a hurry before work. I could have one of these every once and a while and while it is still quite tasty, I enjoy having a few beers, and by the feel of this so far, this would be a beer I could have one over a good deal of time. Delicious as a beer, but for my drinking preferences, I would like it a little weaker. Still a damn good brew. Sorry if this was a bad review. It was my first full out review and now that I read this, it was more about my preference to drink than the beer itself. I will have to re-do this again.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2013 04:08:32 | More by BrandonOakes
Photo of BarryMFBurton


3.81/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After an unsatisfying Belgian beer experience earlier today, I’m hoping Smuttynose can pick me back up again.

A: Dark, hazy goldenrod body with a thin white head, lacking in retention and lacing. Looks like a heavy beer.

S: The nose is rich with candi sugar and syrupy malt, brimming with scents of toffee, molasses, vanilla pudding, and a strong note of banana candy. A brandy-like alcohol scent lies beneath, warm and robust.

T: As expected, the most prominent flavor of this beer is the sugary malt backbone, a syrupy profile of sorghum molasses, peanut brittle, and maraschino cherry. A wheat bread yeastiness flavor fills in the gaps in the palate, while stone fruit flavors finish it out, giving this a juicy apricot aftertaste.

M: I’m pleasantly surprised that the texture of this beer doesn’t match the palate, i.e., it’s not syrupy. Has a medium body and a noticeably frothy retention.

O: For such a big beer, this is quite drinkable, and it’s not just the texture I’m talking about – the taste of this beer is balanced, creating a bold yet inoffensive blend of flavors. Enjoyable, overall, and that’s all that really matters in the end.

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2013 23:31:18 | More by BarryMFBurton
Photo of cjgiant

District of Columbia

3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: cloudy dark golden, head with some retention and lacing
S: malty notes of candy corn
T/M: notes of cola in an effervescent start. Hints of orange and juniper. Sort of earthy aftertaste; somehow reminiscent a little bit like citrus+toothpaste.
O: initially I liked this beer, even if a little malty for me. But as I analyzed it more, it lost some of its luster.

Serving type: bottle

08-09-2013 00:18:24 | More by cjgiant
Photo of rlee1390


3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Cloudy deep orange, two finger light and fluffy head, tries to leave some lacing.

S-Grass, lemon, coriander, orange, slight hops.

T-Starts with malt, lemon, orange and citrus. Grass coriander, mild bitterness. Balance is a tad off because of the alcohol heat.

M-Medium bodied, well carbonated, tad thick, alcohol heat.

O-The only big knock on the beer is that is doesn't need all the alcohol. Toning it down and letting some more hop character through would improve it greatly.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2013 17:11:20 | More by rlee1390
Photo of Axnjxn

North Carolina

4.08/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

on draft at bottle revolution in raleigh.

pours a hazy golden beeswax color with a slight head. smell is hoppy and yeasty. taste is big on the hops but also on some sweet malts. this is a very sweet IPA. a bit thicker than most. good flavor profile, a lot going on here.

overall not your normal IPA, but that's ok. its good all the same. one is enough though.

Serving type: on-tap

07-25-2013 22:19:23 | More by Axnjxn
Photo of dar482

New York

3.88/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This pours out in a very cloudy amber orange color with a big white head.

The aroma is quite huge of citrus, tropical fruits, with lots of bready malts. It has that Belgian yeast fruity ester than lots of spice notes. You definitely get the sense that this is similar to the La Chouffe yeast strain because of the fruity pop.

The flavor follows with a big malty body of cracker or biscuit malt. There's then some lemon, grapefruit, apple, and apricot. The end hits then with some spicy notes. There is also a hint of alcohol in the back of this beer.

This is an interesting complex beer that is actually quite big for the style. A really big La Chouffe or Houblon if that helps describe this beer.

Serving type: on-tap

07-25-2013 16:20:12 | More by dar482
Photo of BrianJohnson

South Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a nice golden color but with less head than I expected from a Belgian-style brew because these brews (Dubbels, Tripels, etc.) generally have a very thick head. No matter. Smelled like a Belgian beer - with a very fruity, sweet aroma. Tasted exactly like I expected. Really a very good beer. I was very impressed with this one. If I didn't know it came from Smuttynose, I would have guessed that some order of trappist monks had brewed it somewhere in Europe.

Serving type: bottle

05-11-2013 19:35:29 | More by BrianJohnson
Photo of smallbatchbrewer

North Carolina

4.39/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Chose for a very stressful day. I have a hefty interview this evening. I needed to unwind in between, poured off 8oz from a bomber to keep me sane. i'll finish the rest later. Golden spice. I can taste candy and toffee. What a nice bubbly mouthfeel as well. Certainly packs a punch at 9.37% but even at room temperature right out of the conditioning closet, only on the last part of the finish does the warming quality of the booze mellow into the mix.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2013 19:56:20 | More by smallbatchbrewer
Photo of TheBrewo


3.86/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We pour a brew of golden pumpkin orange. It holds a one and a half finger head of soapy white bubbles, leaving spotty lacing as it recedes at a quicker pace. An aggregate of fat leftover bubbles remains for the remainder of the tasting. A chill haze permeates the beverage, with no sediment noted. Carbonation appears light to moderate. The aroma pits bright lemony malts against metallic, sweeter pale malts with a brush of liquid caramel. Phenols are strong and medicinal, with hearty fusel booze, orange peel zest, ripe berry sweetness, light banana esters, and a mustiness of aged cheese. Our first impression is that the flavoring fit very well to the style, with big juiciness of flavoring, and boldness of Belgian components, just as was seen in the nose. As we sip, pale Belgian malts, banana esters, clovey and medicinal phenols, citric hops, lemon pulp, and the bright sweetness of raw honey start us off. The middle comes to a peak with enhanced phenolic pop, along with orangey juiciness, wet citric hops, mineral, and Belgian yeasty muskiness. We finish alongside a final pale malt wash, further sweetness of banana esters, peppery spice of alcohol, that continued vein of citric hops, and bittered puck of Belgian yeast, medicinals, and faint buttery diacetyls. The aftertaste breathes of cool malts, big banana esters, light vanillas, bittered citric hops, hop stem, mustiness, Belgian yeast and pale malts, and drying chalkiness. The body is medium, and the carbonation is medium, with contributory prickle. There is nice foaminess, cream, and froth to each sip, with decent slurp, smack, pop, and glug. The mouth is initially coated with soft bubbliness, but this gives way to light astringent dryness via those Belgian malts, yeast, and booziness. The abv is fine, and the beer drinks easily.

Overall, the thing we liked best about this beer was how well it represented the style. This was noticed at just about every turn throughout the tasting. The aroma possesses every required component for the style, but remains on the mild side, even with warmth. The flavoring, on the other hand, gave juiciness and depth through its Belgian base, while giving nice balancing sweetness and pucker of the hop bill. The flavoring gives equally to the experience, and this beer fits well among the other delicious beers in the Smuttynose “BIG BEER” series.

Serving type: bottle

03-13-2013 02:22:08 | More by TheBrewo
Photo of BEERchitect


3.63/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Belgian have traditionally found their beers to be complex enough without the exertion of hops. American microbrewed hoppy ales have generally celebrated a yeast-neutral taste. But the imperial Belgian-style IPA can't have it both ways. Sure the fusion of both becomes a total train wreck... but so does cubism art- and does so in the most beautiful of ways.

As the beer pours a bright and slightly clouded, amber-orange hue, the abundance of carbonation erupts to build a creamy eggshell-white head that retains stubbornly and decorates the tulip with intricate patterns of lace. With a classic look of Belgian pale ales and trippels, the beer suits is Belgian influences well.

Strong and zesty aromas spring to the nose with a plethora of citrus and tropical fruits that are lead by apples, lemons, and apricots. But there's the foundation of bready and honey malts that support the sweetness and welcomes a peppery wine-like note heading into taste.

Its racy taste starts with malt sweetness that's somewhat cracker-like but is trailed by honey and thinned caramel. Fruit components come from a few different directions- first the esters set in with apple, pear, and apricot but then the more acidic lemon, grapefruit, and orange fruits from hop contributions come in to solidify the middle palate. Thereafter, the beer merges with a quivering sweetness, fusion of fruit vibrancy, and deeply resinous bitterness to close the taste in its extended finish.

Medium-full in body, the beer's ample carbonation gives rise to the fruit acidity and lightness of malt to give a somewhat "airy" feel to the semi-malty ale. But as the carbonation subsides, its sweetness recedes and paves the way for spicy alcohol, pepper, and light astringency to merge with alcohol warmth for a long spicy pang in the beer's lasting memory.

This is a wonderful Belgian-style IPA that rivals the likes of Flying Dog Raging Bitch and Stone Brewing Company's Cali-Belgique. But the brewer's notes hop that it falls in the conversation of Achouffe. For that to happen, the beer has to better explore its more complex, earthy, and rustic roots. But its a fantastic beer even with its simplified taste and texture.

Serving type: bottle

03-07-2013 07:13:24 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of tdm168

North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - cloudy, hazy orange with a huge, pure white head that has fantastic retention

S - apricots, rind, Belgian yeast, spicy alcohol

T - apricot, orange juice concentrate, orange rind, yeast, alcohol in the finish

M - medium to full bodied, warm, dry, juicy

This is a pretty decent BIPA. It's incredibly fruity and juicy. The alcohol is ever present but it doesn't take away from the drinkability. The yeast is present but seems to work well with the intense, complex fruitiness. This is worth a try for sure.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2013 00:05:33 | More by tdm168
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Smuttynose Homunculus (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 381 ratings.