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Smuttynose Homunculus (Big Beer Series) - Smuttynose Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

176 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 176
Hads: 460
Avg: 3.86
pDev: 20.21%
Wants: 21
Gots: 42 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Smuttynose Homunculus (Big Beer Series) Alström Bros
Reviews: 176 | Hads: 460
Photo of avalon07
3.63/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a tulip glass. Had an orange color and a cloudy consistency. There was an inch of foamy, fairly long-lasting head. Average lacing.

S: A somewhat underwhelming aroma of hops, yeast, and some light fruit.

T: Tasted of hops (a moderate amount, but more than you might find in a typical Belgian IPA), malt, light fruit, some yeast, and a grassy quality. Not the most interesting of flavors. Also, the grassiness is off-putting.

M: A highly-carbonated beer with a smooth, silky finish. Medium-bodied.

O: This is a beer with some good attributes, but is too uneven to really be wholly successful.

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Photo of lovindahops
4.03/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Finally got the chance to get a couple bottles of homunculus. I am a huge smutty fan so I am expecting big things from this brew. Poured into my harpoon tulip

A-homunculus pours a brilliant orange with a hazy appearance. Glowing colors help magnify a superb fluffy white head of foam with massive spider web lacing all over the edges of the glass. Great beginning on this one

S-massive tangerine, Belgian spice, delicious sweet malt, and bubble gum in this. Some herbal components and orange corrieander peel top this off for an enticing scent profile

T- a sting from the massive Belgian flavors is positioning this big time tasty. Mango and tangerine flavors bundle excellently with the Belgian yeast and spices. Very herbal as belgian sugared candy is the best way to describe the flavors. Im impressed with this belgian ipa profile

M- the flavors take over and even prickle you mouth with flavor

O- I absolutely loved smutty's delivery for a Belgian ipa. So much going on with the tropical properties trying to counter the Belgian spiced onslaught. Let me just say this is great fresh!!

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Photo of smcolw
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a solid but quickly dissipating head. Very cloudy with a yellowish brown color, rather unusual. In bright light I see a lot orange. Lots of webby lace on the glass.

This may be the closest I've ever smelled to pure alcohol (like vodka or moonshine). Beyond the alcohol is a small whisper of malt.

The taste is far more balanced. Moderately sweet toasted malt at the start and even in the swallow. Yet, the aftertaste has a healthy contribution of peppery and citrusy hop. The alcohol is almost undetectable. Shocking! Full bodied and highly carbonated make for a great combination.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a snifter, the beer is a bright, vibrant, opaque copper-gold coloring with a filmy ring around the surface. Aromas of funky fruit and spice typical of Belgian yeast, with pineapple and melon blending with coriander and lemon zest. Smells smooth and tasty. Flavors are smooth and rich, with a slightly sour undertone that uplifts the malty backbone of fruit sweetness. Hops are light, and used as an accent of pepper spice and a slight bitterness to the palate. Very tasty, and the beer has a solid, rich mouthfeel. The aftertaste is rich, with the tropical fruit sweetness becoming more syrupy, with a sutble roasting. Clean, smooth finish with a subtle dryness at the very end. Solid brew.

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Photo of JayQue
3.85/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I always think I am missing something when I hold a Belgian IPA for a long time. I'm sure I am missing out on hops. This beer is pretty good "as is" whether it was held too long or not. Pours an apricot colored, hazy color with a very small delicate white head that fades fast. No real lacing on my Chimay goblet. Smell is very mild, some fruit (apples and pears) and a hint of alcohol.

Tastes pretty good, especially if you have the patience to let it warm up. Once again pears and apples, a hint of Belgian yeast, a little sweetness, balanced by mild hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel is rich and smooth. There is a hint of warming alcohol, but not enough to keep you from gulping it...gotta read the label for that!!!! It is a slow sipper at that high an abv.

Overall a nice slow sipper with enough flavor to satisfy. I may buy one of these fresh and compare it. I'll bet the hops profile makes it more interesting than my year or older bottle that I just reviewed.

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Photo of ralree
4.07/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Slightly cloudy, gold, nice white head, wonderful lacing, decent retention. A very nice looking beer.

S: Extremely fruity/citrusy. Rich hops in there too. Toasted malt with sticky caramelized brown sugar.

T: Extremely intense flavor - hops and alcohol come out in full force to attack, backed up by a really sweet malt (almost cloying) and tangy fruit ends up in the background, but it's still strong compared to most flavors. Very interesting flavor. Toasty flavor is in there, but it's rather hard to detect with the sweetness.

M: Thick, chewy, syrupy - more like a stout than an IPA for sure. Sticks to your mouth, holding the flavors in after swallowing. This is about what I expected.

D: Goes down slow - not one to try to drink quickly for a few reasons: you'd be very drunk very fast, you'd be overpowered by sweetness, and you'd feel extremely full. This one is better for sipping by the fire (or in the hot tub). Not something I would have with most foods (except maybe some cheese and crackers/bread).

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Photo of McNealc31
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hazy gold with a fluffy white head, the fruit from the Belgian yeast is very noticeable in the aroma. At first, fruit dominates the flavor as well, with orange, apricot, and banana. Even a bit of bubble gum. Hops flavors come through after the fruit with a peppery jolt, leading to a dry and somewhat bitter finish. The aftertaste is similar to butterscotch candy. Some heat comes from the 9.9% ABV, but not overpowering.

Very tasty. If they keep this is a yearly, seasonal release beer, I can see it get very popular

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Photo of ghostwalker
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Golden body with a light frothy finger of white head.

Nose has the Belgian funk and a light clean graininess.

Flavor is big alcohol on a clean malt backbone. Euro-hops are on the finish in moderate quantity.

Warming, stripping, slick.

Overall is pretty good. It drinks dangerously easy for such a big beer. Clean malt and crisp hops make it almost quaffable.

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Photo of Beejay
3.3/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: A pale apricot color, crystal clear with plenty of white head on top. The head starts to collapse into itself and form a rocky moonscape as it sits.

S: Very sweet at first. Some light spice notes, as well as a honey character. Clove and some fruit notes, peaches, apricot, and perhaps a little orange peel. Definitely some bready character, and perhaps a little tropical fruit in the finish as well as a hint of booze.

T: Nice belgian character rounded out with herbal hops bitterness. Sweet and bready, Some raison notes, as well as clove. The fruit flavors are more diminished than the smell would lead you to believe. The bitterness comes out in the finish with some herbal notes. The finish has a bit of booze in it.

M: I think it feels a little thicker than it really is. Carbonation is about medium, lacking the typical Belgian carbonation may perhaps be why it feels a little thicker.

O: Overall I like the malt and Belgian character, but the hops seem to fight it a little. The mouthfeel seems a touch of. All and all I like it, but I think it could be smoothed out a bit.

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Photo of thagr81us
3.5/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

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Photo of SickGnar
3.8/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Rich, dense, almost dark golden. Not really hazy, but less than clear. Just a few tight bubbles rising to a small white head with a cappuccino froth look. Alright retention and some decent lace. Second pour from the bomber does get a bit of true haze.

S: Floral, estery, somewhat restrained fruit. Soft apples & pears, some light tropical fruit hints, and a bit of citrus from the hops. Hops are also spicy and a bit herbal. Spice is tied ta bit to the whiff of alcohol. Light hint of phenolics. Really nice background doughy malts with fair to big sweetness. Spicy alcohol increases & gets more of a bite as it warms.

T: Starts off sweet, doughy, floral, & fruity. Sweetness is a mixture of honey, candi-sugar, & sugar cookies. Just a hint of light crystal. Very rich doughy aromatic malt – sweet bread dough with great depth. Floral & fruity esters struggle a bit to emerge from all the sweetness. When they do the effect is thick mountain laurels in bloom and juicy ripe apple. As sweetness diminishes in the middle the yeast and hop notes really come out to play. Mild phenols, lots of -spice – both softer “pie” spices & sharper pepper-like stuff. Spices & alcohol give a bit of mild heat. The pepper leans a bit to white, and along with a yeasty, earthy, musty note it gives a bit of funk. Bitterness is firm, but not overpowering – and it lingers long in the finish. Hops are mostly herbal with some citrus & spice, and then resin in the end. Alcohol is clearly present but never gets out of line.

M: Medium plus body with CO2 a touch under-matched but adequate. Most of texture seems to be from tannins with just a few sugars and dextrins. Soft & smooth at the start. Then you can feel the alcohol thinning it out. Alcohol & hops take it firmly drying in a refined manner. Alcohol warming as expected. Feels potent.

D: Way more a BGS than a BIPA. Mislabeled on the BA I’d say. This one walks a line between pleasant & aggressive. Starts off with sweetness, fruity & floral, warm & rich doughy aromatic & sweet malts – kittens and rainbows and everything nice. Then in comes the bitterness, earthy/yeasty/funk, herbal/resiny/spicy/peppery/phenolic high octane mix. Careful - this one will quietly & calmly kick your ass. It is one fairly pleasant and very potent beast.

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Photo of Luigi
3.53/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an light orange and hazy. Large foamy white head with plenty of lacing around the glass. Head retention is good as a blanket of foam stays with the ale till the end.

The aroma can be judged in two ways: is this really a Belgium IPA? The bottle just says golden ale. This would imply a Belgium strong golden ale, like Duval. So I think I will judge it based of the aroma matched the description. The aroma is full of sweet fruit. White grapes and orange. Hops are more citrus than pine like. The yeast brings a distinctive Belgium character to the ale. Alcohol, certainly brings sweetness to the nose. Maybe should have been toned down a bit.

The flavor is full of sweet and sour fruit notes. Not a very bitter hop, because the booze is not masked as well as I would like. Full of citrus and almost white wine flavors. Again the booze taste just is not hidden as well.

Medium bodied with a semi-dry finish. Something you would want to take your time one because of Alc. %.

Overall, I do not know what to think of this Ale. The Belgium characteristics are all there. Just tone down the sweetness a little bit.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.56/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a tulip. Beer is orange, mildly hazy, thick off white head, off white, lots of lacing, moderate to high carbonation.

Aroma is sweet, yeasty, a little grassy, cascade / noble hop aroma. A little estery.

Beer is a little solventy, strong sweet and little bitter. The yeast is winning in this beer. I drank the 22 ounces but it was a little dry, not bitter enough and the hops were a little grassy. It is an OK Belgian IPA but not a repeat for me.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.9/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a cloudy golden orange w/ minimal everlasting head and lace patches. Strong spicy and citric hop aroma, as well just a good aroma of orange. Getting some solid wheat/yeast as well as touches of sugar and funk. Light bodied but fuller mouthfeel from the yeast...yes, there is an orange citric vibe but I get a real crisp, hoppy beer that has a sour/funky tropical edge. I'm alos getting a spicy, bready beer that somehow maintains this light body and fruit taste (along with candi sugar and caramel sweetness) yet has a somewhat "hot" finish - the ABV kicks in out of nowhere and just packs an almost medicinal, boozy finish at the last second. This is a great beer, I love the mix of hops and citric twang against this sturdy sweet malt base and then quite frankly a high ABV that can get you in trouble. Not as complex as a Belgain triple but doesn't mean it's a great beer (and as a sidenote: here in VA it's $6 - a similiar beer - Allagash Hugh Malone which was stacked right next to it is $14 - in this economy a $6 bomber that can deliver the goods is mighty nice).

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Photo of Sammy
3.83/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Recent bottle. A lot is going on in this. Pours unfiltered look, milky orange golden with a small retained head. Somewhat sweet slightly funky aroma. Easy mouthfeel, yeasty sweet with a hop bitter finish. A little orange juice. Brett aftertaste. Understated carbonation, aided drinkability.IBu 75 a little surprising.

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Photo of champ103
3.2/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a beautifully hazy golden/orange color. A small bubbly white head forms with poor retention. Light lace is left behind.
S: Pale malts, bread/biscuit, some sweetness, some light spice.
T: Like the nose a big bready sweetness. Some fruits, yeasty spice. Lots going on, but nothing much meshes well for me.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. Fairly smooth. Not hard to drink. Though a slow sipper.

Not bad, but fairly average. Really no hops to speak of for any sort of IPA. Pretty much an average Belgian Strong Pale Ale. Not something I am going to revisit.

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Photo of bluejacket74
2.88/5  rDev -25.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 ounce bottle, 2011 vintage. Served in a tulip, the beer pours a hazy golden/orange color with about a half inch off-white head which sticks around for a little while. There's also a good amount of lacing. Aroma is fruity (but also light), the brew smells like pears, apples, white grapes, bananas, citrus, and a bit of peppery spice. The taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some bready malt and a slight herbal/medicinal flavor noticeable. Unfortunately, I think this brew starts to taste worse and worse the longer I drink it. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and has a good amount of carbonation. I didn't care for this brew much at all, mainly because I didn't like the taste of it. I didn't think it was awful, but I didn't think it was exactly good, either. I usually like Smuttynose beers, but this one wasn't for me.

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Photo of jondeelee
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Homunculus opens with a nose that is exactly in line with the Belgian-style Golden Ale that it is: heavy on the banana and clove aromas, with touches of spicy black pepper resting just beneath, and tangible whiffs of pineapple, pear, cherry, and apple fruit esters rounding out the sugars. The nose is slightly more pineapple-based than I normally prefer, giving the brew a fruit cocktail-like overtone. Subtle wheat field notes do help ground the sugars.

On the tongue, the beer opens with a whang of banana and clove, but a split second later these are joined by pear, black pepper, white grape, and apple fruit esters, as well as a good spicy layer that helps further shape the overall effect. The pineapple is thankfully largely gone from the mouthful, replaced by a rind of grapefruit and lemon from the hops, which also contribute a nice buzz to the soft palate (45 IBUs). Toast crust and biscuit bring the beer back to earth. The aftertaste is a continuation of the main mouthful, the hops lingering for far longer than do the sugars, and lasts for a good while, though at the end it does take on an unfortunate taste of dandelion-stem. Mouthfeel is medium-light to medium, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is good Belgian fare, presenting many of the common flavors of the style, but ramped up in typical Smuttynose Big Beer style to not-normally-seen levels. Even with these larger flavors, the beer manages to be fairly well balanced on the tongue, with only a fairly strong alcoholic kick (the result of the 9.9% ABV) marring what are otherwise great flavors. Worth trying.

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Photo of esv
3.68/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a) Quarter inch, white head. Tight bubbles. Light lacing. Orangey. Not quite clear.

s) cotton candy, raisins, wine, malt

t) all of the above. medicinal. Big, blunt bitterness.

m) medium

o) Enjoyed it. Big, winey, malty beer. I guess I didn't think of belgian golden ales as being this big.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Bright tangerine orange with a translucent nature. Inside a fine misty rise of effervesce rises at its leisure with a slow steady pace. On top lied a peanut shell colored creamy head, modest in retention with a minimal lace.

S: The aroma was fruity with tangerines and apricots with a slight hint of dried bananas. Sweet malt combines with a slight muskiness.

T: The flavor was grainy, silty, with a dried musky fruitiness and a dry grainy base. Tart dry tangerines, earthy dried greenery, musky tones from the Belgian yeast really makes and defines this beer. Hay and musky citrus with a gentle glow of alcohol all come together on the close. Sweet malt, tart yeasty notes beautifully balanced.

M: Warming fruity esters on the inner cheeks, malty grainy character and silty feel on the tongue almost pilsner or maris-otter malting like covering the tongue with a residue silty dryness.

O: Smuttynose nails this one. Really hard for one across the pond to duplicate a Belgian style beer, but they pull it off with great yeast support and a Belgian graininess that is like silty liquid bread and makes this distinguishable. Very good enjoyment. Rare to experience a perfect balance of malt and yeast that is so forefront and showcased so strongly together however the supposed main focus of hops seem to take a back seat here. Warming alcohol, a pint is plenty, a big drinking experience.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #55 (August 2011):

“The Gnome” has been reborn in this Big Beer Series. Golden in color with a touch of haze and large carbonation bub- bles that yield a creamy white head. Soft, powdery funk in the nose. Musty orchard, light phenols, gum, pepper, sweet herbal and spicy notes. Fairly light bodied. Prickly carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel, as the beer warms on the palate. Tamed alcohol heat and spice. Quite malty and sweet. Bready, candied fruit, banana, some lemon, white pepper and lingering bubblegum. A bit rough around the edges, but overall a very complex and solid offering that offers a lot to discerning palates and fans of Belgian-inspired ales.

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Photo of ianjsullivan
3.59/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

ST: 22oz bomber poured into a wine glass. Bottle lists when the beer was conditioned, but it does not list an ABV.

A: It is a golden orange color and mostly clear, though there is a bit of haze. It has a thin white head (disappointing) which disappears quickly, but it does leave nice lacing with each swirl.

S: Rose, pine, banana, grapefruit, candy, and fruity esters.

T: Grapefruit, bubblegum, and piney hops dominate along with a strong alcohol burn and taste.

M: Heavy and dry.

O: Homunculus has lots of hop flavor, but it does not blend the alcohol well. The high presence of the alcohol in the flavor gets in the way of the better elements of this beer.

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Photo of wrycon
3.47/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is slightly muddled, but overall clear. Gold in complexion. Short head is somewhat thin and dissipates quickly. Smells quite yeasty, with a hint of funk. Picking up some wheat and citrus. Hmmm... Tastes heavy and flat to start with a thick, almost banana flavor. Minor carbonation carries the middle through a sharp and yeasty blockade. Ends semi-sweet and hot with more of that thick banana flavor. Wondering if this would be better given more time.

Like it? It's OK

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Photo of KDawg
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber into a tulip. Pours a hazy orange color with a small head

very citrusy aromas with navel oranges, citrus', a touch of spices and nectarines

full bodied with a really good feel. Very smooth with a creaminess to the feel and flavors of navel oranges, nectarines, and some pine resin

this is a really good belgian IPA. There is a touch of alcohol on the finish. Even with the slight bit of heat, this was really good

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Photo of plehnus
3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: Rose, funk, bread, Belgian spices; coriander.

Appearance: Clear golden-amber body, fluffy thin off-white head. Low carbonation.

Flavor: Spicy and bitter hops additional spices. Obvious alcohol, though not overly boozy. Lightly roasted malts.

Mouthfeel: Medium-heavy body with a spicy and bitter finish.

Overall: Strong beer, robust spices with a rich malt content that is somewhat overpowered by spices and hops.

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Smuttynose Homunculus (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
87 out of 100 based on 176 ratings.