Smuttynose Homunculus (Big Beer Series) - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Smuttynose Homunculus (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Homunculus (Big Beer Series)

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very good

174 Reviews

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Reviews: 174
Hads: 451
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 20.21%
Wants: 21
Gots: 43 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Belgian IPA |  9.37% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 02-11-2007

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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 174 | Hads: 451
Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.63/5  rDev +19.9%
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!


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Photo of DoubleJ
4.09/5  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!

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Photo of brentk56
3.46/5  rDev -10.4%
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

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
3.37/5  rDev -12.7%
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.

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Photo of DeFaz
2.89/5  rDev -25.1%
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.

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Photo of mactrail
3.45/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev -7.3%
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.

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Photo of MistahBeah
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
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

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Photo of Isoruku
4/5  rDev +3.6%
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!

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Photo of Crazy4LegMoose
3.69/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

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Photo of asaharyev
3.74/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

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Photo of BrandonOakes
4.05/5  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.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.81/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.9/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.06/5  rDev +5.2%
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.

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Photo of dar482
3.9/5  rDev +1%
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.

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Photo of BrianJohnson
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
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.

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Photo of smallbatchbrewer
4.38/5  rDev +13.5%
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.

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.84/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.65/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Photo of tdm168
4.02/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of thecheapies
3.97/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a hazed lemon amber. Bright finely-composed head sits atop in thick cap format. Had good height immediately after the pour. Laces in tiers.

Heavy citrus hopping with an orange and pink grapefruit character. Sweet cake malts balance the aroma. A little dank, with hints of exotic fruit. Nearly Belgian in the yeast presence.

Wait, I thought I knew the style... now I don't (thought it was a double IPA). Tastes like a well-made Belgian IPA. Belgian pale yeastiness and a creamy, almost caramelized, malty sweetness. All of this swashbuckled by lemony citrus hops and a dose of booze. Almost tastes of Sorachi Ace. A little pepper, a little dill, a wee bit of pine sap. Resinous and oily for a Belgian IPA, but damn tasty that way.

Wet feel with a crisp carbonation. Drinks okay, as it is pretty strong.

A lovely surprise. A beer that's really easy to get along with. Recommended.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.18/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Smuttynose Homunculus
2012 edition

LOOK: Mostly clear deep golden color. Small white cap forms but disappears quick.

SMELL: Belgian yeast, candi sugar and herbal hops.

TASTE: Richly flavorful and quite hoppy, this ale has an authentic Belgian Strong Pale/Ipa characteristics. Cotton candy, candied orange peel, finishing with sappy pine and earthy bitterness.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium to full bodied, strong carbonation. Finishes crisp and citrusy.

OVERALL: A tasty Belgian style ale with a generous addition of bright American hops. Brewed in homage to Brasserie D' achouffe, this is a fine ale that belongs in company with some of the giants of the style. A good choice for the big beer series.

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Photo of JeffreyJDavis
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber into a Westmalle Chalice on New Year's Day 2013. Bottle I think was pretty fresh, with a July 2012 store dating.

A: Poured from a mildly disconcerting spermatozoa labelled bottle as a cloudy golden apricot color with a finger or so of frothy fizzy head which dissipated almost immediately with no lacing. Good looking on the pour, only average after it had settled.

N: Wow this is a hoppy estery yeast banana bomber. Was pretty intrigued by how aggressive the hop and yeast profile smelled and couldn't wait to get into it.

T: Apparently this beer (originally called the Gnome) was modeled somewhat after Houblon Chouffe, which is one of my Top 5 global favorites. If it's intended to be a Houblon Chouffe clone, this gnome is on steroids. The Vanguard and Goldings hoppiness is turned up to 11 and much more up front in the flavor profile. You might think it would blow out the flavor balance, but it's pretty much perfectly offset by a yeast and ester wall that holds its own. I get a little maltiness and banana and citrus in the mix, but the hops and yeast are the main elements for me. It's unique, and bitterly aggressive, but I like it!!

MF: Carbonation is solid, which masks the 9.4% ABV well and makes this beer surprisingly drinkable. I would describe it as a light to medium body with good creaminess, very refreshing and drinkable.

Overall this is a nice beer, even though it may take a bit of adjusting to. I can't remember what I paid for it, but I imagine it compares well with other big beers or true Belgians in terms of value. I would definitely buy it and session it again.

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Smuttynose Homunculus (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 174 ratings.