Smuttynose Gravitation (Big Beer Series) - Smuttynose Brewing Company

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Smuttynose Gravitation (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Gravitation (Big Beer Series)

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566 Ratings

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Ratings: 566
Reviews: 304
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 15.66%
Wants: 31
Gots: 53 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Quadrupel (Quad) |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Oxymoron on 01-01-2009

This big, dark ale is brewed using a variety of Belgian specialty malts along with 200 pounds of raisin puree per batch. The resulting flavor is a viscous mix of dark fruit, rum, toffee and raisins balanced with aromatic fruitiness of the Belgian yeast.

25 IBU

2009 - 6.6%
2010 - 12.0%
2011 - 12.5%
2012 - 12.0%
2013 - 11.5%
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 566 | Reviews: 304
Reviews by jpro:
Photo of jpro
3.39/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at dd Peckers -

Wow, this brew looks pretty nice in the glass: deep mahogany with a light tan / off-white head. Looks pretty delicious -

Aroma was not quite as full as I was expecting. Some light touches of sweet malts, raisiny, figs, sweet!

Taste was very complex, but from what I could glean: dark fruits, black cherry, raisins; finish was molasses and maybe a touch of maple syrup in the long-lasting, sweet finish.

Mouthfeel was pretty full-bodied, mouth coating and sweet (see maple syrup finish above!)

Probably not something to drink a lot of in one sitting, but definitely a nice and interesting change of pace. Very pleasing -

More User Reviews:
Photo of jtierney89
1/5  rDev -72.5%
look: 1 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

Pours a hazy deep amber almost brown. Thin yellow/greenish lace of head. Big offensive nose right off the bat. I feel bad for everyone else in the restaurant. Massive rum raisin nose with detectable alcohol. Prune juice like sweetness on the nose as well. Some nail polish. Other dark fruits in the mix most noticeably plums.

Slight effervescence. Sticky fruit juice like mouthfeel. Thinner than you think it would be. Raisin and caramel sweetness up front. Rides into sweet plums and other dark fruits. The malt body gives up near the back of the tongue and alcohol burn takes over. Lots of heat on his one. The alcohol cuts some of the sweetness on the plus side but still very cloying. Just picked up a slight Belgian candy taste.

Very sweet, very little balance in the form of alcohol. Disgustingly out of balance. The flavors would be good and could work well together if it could be a bit more subtle like an actual belgian quad, but this beer has some serious balance issues and body problems. Also it tastes more like a port than a beer. And a really bad and cheap port at that.

This thing comes nowhere near being in style with a Belgian quad. It should be called Belgian style nail polish due to abundance of detectable alcohol. Overly cloying, tongue slapping, and a step away from being a malt liquor with grape flavoring.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
3/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume III, Issue II:

A new Quad from the Smuttynose Big Beer Series of rotating strong beers. This one is brewed with 200 pounds of raisin purée per batch--WTF.

Rich mahogany with ruby hues and a beige head that fizzes (you can hear it) down to barely a ringed lace. Major fruity esters, boozy, strawberry-rhubarb jam, ripe plum, raisin and underlying malty tones in the nose with a hint of earthy root vegetables. Thick on the palate; vicious, chewy, slick and silky mouthfeel. Slight creaminess from a spritz of fine carbonation. Massive sweetness up front, cloying, with rich toffee, a ton of toastiness (perhaps a bit too much specialty malt?) and some dry chocolate. This is all overpowered by intense fruity esters and a massive raisin presence that gets real jammy at times. Spicy. Slight warmth. Medicinal too, which just tastes too much like cough syrup. At this stage, it's hard to finish, but we did and things due mellow as the beer warms.

We're major Smutty fans across the board, so it pains us deeply to criticize, but this is nowhere near a Belgian Quad. Unfortunately, everyone will compare this to a Quad, as that's what they call it on the label and they failed to mention the most unique ingredient used in the beer--raisin purée! That said, kudos for creating something innovative.

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.95/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A pretty beer in a goblet. Reddish/brown color with a modest size white head. An aroma of raisin bread, fruity, and a whiff of alcohol. A taste of dark fruit, and bready, making it a fairly chewy beer. A little too much on the sweet side, but still a nice beer.

Photo of generallee
4.47/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 1 pint 6oz bottle into a chalice. The label gives a nice description of the beer and the year it was bottle-conditioned in (2009) but there is no mention of its ABV%.

Appearance: Its body has a deep warm reddish color with a small light tan head on top. This slowly fades to thick ring with a wispy thin island of foam in the middle. This makes some slick lacing on the glass.

Smell: There are lots of fruity and yeasty notes that offer hints of raison, dried apricot, caramelized malt and alcohol.

Taste/Palate: Its big full body has full smooth texture with lots of dark dried fruit notes, apricot, musty and bready yeast as well as dark caramelized almost chocolaty malts. There is an overall sweetness like Belgian sugar with a low hop presence.

Notes: Belgian Strong Dark Ales and Quadrupels are two of my favorite styles and this one did not disappoint.

Photo of Billolick
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bomber bottle, 2009 notched on the label. Pours very dark mahogany with a fairly quickly departing medium khaki head. A gentle swirl reveals strands of stringy lace. Nose is of ripe fruits. One sip reveals the oncoming problem with this beer...its sickly sweet, yikes...notes of sweet jam, and sugary malts. Usually a fan of the style but this lacks the interest and balance of the all stars of the style. The fact that I tried some Southampton Abbot 12 this afternoon did not bode well for this selection. Another sip confirms my feelings, too sweet for my liking. Doubt I would give this one another try

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for jwc215 for sending this bottle to me.

The beer pours reddish-brown with a tan head. The aroma is brown sugar, dark fruit and caramel malt. The flavor is heavy on the raisins and is very sweet. There is also a lot of vanilla in the flavor. Other dark fruit is apparent as well. The beer is very sweet overall but doesn't really have any of the Belgian character you expect from a quadrupel. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. A pretty good beer, but not really a classic quadrupel.

Photo of Kraken
3.35/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed February 19th

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a 16 oz pint glass. Firm pour results in a 1/4 inch of off-white/tan head. Head fades quickly and leaves a spotty lace. Color a deep robust, but clear red.

Nose- Sweet raisins and figs. Some grape and apples come through. Lots of dark fruit.

Palate- Whoa lots of raisins. Very sweet. Smooth. Lots of interesting coco, some candied apples. Floral qualities, tones of vanilla. Slightly cloying.

Mouthfeel- Sticky, mildly cloying. Smooth.

Drinkability- Good, however one is more then enough

Photo of far333
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Slightly hazy, ruby copper colored with a thick and frothy inch high head that settles out slowly.

Aroma of sweet malt, brown sugar, toffee and ripe fruits.

Flavor is rich and sweetish, just shy of cloying, full of overripe pear and apple, some banana and marshmallow, followed by light brown sugar and plum. Slight metallic tinge in the finish, notes of Belgian yeast, followed by a light alcohol warmth.

Moderate carbonation, even mouthfeel, fairly full. Fairly drinkable, but very rich.

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Super sweet chewy beer, let it age. That's the short review. Appears a deep amber highlighted golden hue with khaki head forming thick head clings evenly to the sides of the glass. Aroma has deep fruit, think ripened apricot, figs, and in this beer's case loads of pureed raisin. A bit of alcohol on the nose, brightens things up a bit let's you know what your dealing with a big ass Belgian style balance out the sweetness I'm smoking a RoMa Craft Anthropology, Nicaraguan rolled big ass cigar to bring some earthy spice, black pepper, and leather into the mix it really let's the beer shine the contrast between dark earthy tobacco leaves and these dark fruit elements I speak of. Flavor of the quad is super sweet it just sits on the sides of the tongue, it's big chewy and flavorful in the back end be ready for some alcohol to add to the depth. This bottle I bought for $6.50 needs to be laid down for a year at least, it's still a bit hot and I believe the overwhelming layers of sweetness will mellow out. Body is big bodacious and heavily filled with residual sugars on the palate, it's big and definitely burns and warms your chest with each sip. Overall I suggest getting some 2013 now and sitting on it for future use, great beer now will only get better with some mellowing.

Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Leon's Full Service in Atlanta.

Pours a slightly hazy dark brown color with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of dark malts with good amounts of sugar-coated dark fruits - raisins, prunes, and figs. Also present are hints of toasted malts with even lighter hints of grainy cocoa powder.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet dark malt flavors with hints of grainy toastiness kick things and are joined quickly by large amounts of dark fruit flavors - raisins, prunes, and figs, as in the aroma. Near the end of the sip very slight hints of chocolate flavors work their way into things before fading out into a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without any problems and could have another.

Overall this isn't quite up there with the big boys as far as the style goes but it's a solid take. Worth a shot.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a chalice)

A- This beer pours a dense glowing auburn body with a yellowish-tan head that bubbles away even with the support of a slow motion sea of microbubbles.

S- The woody banana ester aroma finishes with a big circus peanut finish that grows into a hair perm aroma as the beer opens up.

T- The dry toffee, honey malt and woody yeast esters have a circus peanut note and dried fruity flavor in the finish with a bitter and some what brassy character that lingers. There is a fusel alcohol that really grows as the beer opens.

M- The medium-full mouthfeel has an alcohol warmth that is full and lingers at each sip.

O- This beer has a big yeast character and some nice malt support with a full alcohol heat that is not harsh but dominates.

Photo of Brenden
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is a rosy red-brown, garnet-hued, really, with not just red but a bit of fiery orange swirling around in the highlights. A nice, frothy head forms on top with good hold and stick, leaving a bit of itself behind as it falls.
The aroma is as sweet and candied as I would expect a quad to be, though not as complex as the greats. The dark fruits, caramel, and candied sugars elements are all here with the alcohol, but a quad is typically stronger. There's also a touch of cocoa. What I'm interestingly not picking up quite as much of is the Belgian yeast. There's a touch of spiciness that does add to the Belgian character.
The taste follows suit, though a bit more complexity pulls through, with all the sweetness well complemented by the light spiciness and a bit more roastiness. After a bit, caramel and cocoa fall off and the fruits element dominates, raisin and plum being huge in this one. Alcohol hangs on the whole way through.
The mouthfeel is about what I'd expect, though a bit heavy. This is a sipper for sure. Otherwise, it starts nice and crisp and, with moderate carbonation, leads to a billowy smoothness toward the finish.
Obviously, at 12% this is a bit much to chug, but it's a nice slow sipper. I love Smuttynose and have loved the Big Beer series thus far. This isn't one of the all-time great quads, but it's still very good.

Photo of CloudStrife
3.88/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2013 notched on the label.

A: Pours a cloudy orangish ruby with a half finger off white head. Actually a decent amount of carbonation in the brew. Not really much lacing. Head dissipates to the edges in a minute or so.

S: Certainly pulls together for an overall belgian aroma. Lots of the raisin and fig come through. No doubt a boozy background. Malt comes out more as the brew warms up.

T: Pretty dark brew if dark were a flavor. Loads of malt and dark fruits. The belgian yeast is pleasant providing some banana qualities. Alcohol doesn't come out as much as I expected but its still there. Not too sweet.

M: Thick mouthfeel with low carbonation. Has a heavy feel to it but that can be expected with these ingredients.

Overall glad I picked up a bottle of this and can imagine it sitting well in the cellar. A little less complex than some of the authentic belgian quads but still a very big beer.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.42/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2010 Vintage.

A: Pours a dark ruby color with a very small head that dissipates quickly and no lacing at all.

S: Lots of dark fruit, mostly raisins, some bready malt, and a bit of alcohol.

T: Heavy on the dark fruit, especially raisins again, which makes sense since raisin puree was added. It is rather sweetm but also is still rather hot, with a slight burn as it goes down. There is a little brown sugar, a little spice, and some bread.

M: Full bodied with low carbonation. Very sweet and still hot. I feel like the alcohol is coming out the longer I drink it, warming my stomach. Drinkability quite low.

O: It was ok, the alcohol presence made it very difficult to drink, and got worse as it warmed. The flavors were ok, the raisin puree overpowered a lot of it I think though.

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Another new winter Big Beer!! last February was the Baltic Porter, which is the king of Baltic Porter's IMO. The lable is nice with classical, biblical scene of an Angel floating downward, perhaps he's decending from heaven?

22 oz. Bomber

This is a deep, dark mahogony color with a amber glow in direct light. Spazy, tiny bubbles are tough to see, but there there. A moderate sized head, creamy but very active and it doesn't hang around long. This Quad is totally missing that wonderfully fluffy, Belgian Head with ultimate retention qualitites. The yeast; it seems is just not holding up it's end. The head becomes very spread out and which makes it look a bit flat.

The nose has a boozy heat right off with really sweet fruits like dates, raisins, blueberries, and then throw in some brown sugar. The malt smells heavy and sweet, but not very complex and a bit dull on the nose.

This is a big, sweet malt bomb. Hands down, it's not very complex, most of the flavor's are big, juicy sweeet dark fruits, very grapey. The malty body is heavy, cloying and slick, it's totally missing that refreshing Belgian snap. The yeast should deliver balance and mucho flavor, but in the end, this yeast just does not cut it. It can't even compete with a true Belgian Quad yeast strain. The hops are also very mundane and hidden by the big malty sweetness. This Quad needs more balance.

I'm a bit dissapointed in this Quad, and that's only because it's a "style" that has soo many amazing versions, usually ultra-complex but only a few American Quads even come close to the real deal Quad's of Belgium.

Photo of jmz62565
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy dark amber mahogany with a medium tan head with no lacing. Good color,but the heads alittle small. The smell is light with some dark fruit and alcohol. The taste is rich with creamy roasted malt,bread yeast,dark fruit,and alcohol. The m/f is heavy and all the flavors mix pretty well. This is a quality beer from one of my favorite New England breweries.

Photo of asabreed
4.1/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber notched 2010 into a Samuel Smith 12 oz. nonic.

Appearance: Slightly hazy dark amber color, with not a lot of retention but a nice amount of spotted raindrops sidling the glass. The color, though, is awesome.

Smell: Hello raisins. Yet, the sweetness is also there through a good amount of phenolic almost Hefe sweetness, with some bubblegum and banana coming through. Also there's some nice earthiness and citrus, along with some strawberry and cherry for the fruit esters.

Taste: I like the super spicy nature to this brew, probably due to the yeast reacting with the massive amounts of raisins -- or what I assume is massive amounts of raisins. Alas, initial spiciness, with a good balance of citrus hops commingling with the raisin and vinous sweetness. Lingering hop sweetness with raisins on the back end. Also some phenolic presence as far as earthiness goes with banana on the finish.

Mouthfeel: For as massive as this brew is, the carbonation isn't overdone or extremely watery, and though seemingly cloying initially, the burst of carbonation and spiciness makes it not as sweet and cloying as it seems to be early one.

Drinkability: A damn tasty sipper, one that's more spicily balanced than anything. This isn't authentic, of course, but it seems like they don't want it to be with the raisins, and that combination with the yeast yields pretty awesome results. Undoubtedly, I'd hope, this would hold up well for a few years, and if I can find it, I'll be snagging at least another bottle or two to cellar for sure.

Photo of Metalmonk
4.45/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Looks like a winner. Color is a deep caramel brown with a reddish shade, and the head is a thick crackly light brown monster, though it halves quickly and then hangs around as a thin skim, but not before throwing a bunch of lace on the glass.

Aroma melds dark fruit (raisins, figs, dates) and an obvious Belgian yeast strain, while offering sweeter, brighter fruit aromas (cherry), chocolate chips and something recalling fresh-baked cinnamon rolls.

Tastes as wonderful as the appearance and smell hint it will. Take all the noted impressions noted above in the aroma and then add a warming but hardly cloying alcohol to all of that. The yeast is incredibly well-incorporated. It's pretty much the make-or-break factor in the character of the flavor here (it "makes" it, no doubt), while the dark fruits, chocolate and sweet fresh dough have a killer all-night bash on top of the yeast. Late arrival brown sugar also makes it presence known. Raisins, young and plump, ride through in the finish. Delicious.

Mouth is tingly and airy, a nice complement to the high-ish alcohol content and dark color, as well as the lightly tart finish. Thankfully not over-carbonated despite plenty of bubbles, which, in this case, works toward the beer's flavor rather than against it.

Rich but balanced, well-made and quite a treat. I never read reviews of beers I'm reviewing until after I've reviewed myself, but looking at the composite "B" before I headed in and comparing that with what I'm tasting, I'm wondering if this is just a particularly outstanding batch, if it's aged just the right amount of time (although this is fairly young, bottle-conditioned just this year) or if that whole "everybody's palate is different" thing is truly the bottom line for interpreting Gravitation. As far as I'm concerned, it's yet another great beer in the Smuttynose Big Beer Series. Don't skip it!

Photo of cokes
2.68/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Dark and seemingly clear crimson purple with a tall stack of tan head that recedes gradually to a collar.
Big prune aroma, with equally sweet notions of molasses, brown sugar, with a dusting of carob and toasted grain to provide token dryness. No yeast-derived esters, or anything especially "Belgian" about the nose. Sniffed blindly, I'd almost certainly guess it was a dopplebock.
And I doubt the taste would change my guess.
Wave after wave of prune jelly, caramel nougat, and molasses lap across the tongue. This is colossally sweet. Once the mouth is generally desensitized to the gooey maple syrup and dark raisiny fruits, some carob and toast notions materialize, but so do raspberries, and blackberries, but more emphatically, adding to the malt maelstrom. It lingers and cloys, ever sweet and syrupy, with no notable hop contributions, and a likeminded Sherry alcohol bloom on the swallow.
Grippy, sticky, tacky, and cloying. This is all kinds of sweet. And while it is off-balance, a bit of dexterous carbonation could help offset it flaws. Alas, aid never arrives. CO2 is nearly flatlined.
One could almost create this at home with equal parts prune juice and Log Cabin Syrup and a couple ounces of fortified wine. Then muddle in a box or two of raisins.

I usually adore Smutty's Big Beers. This is an aberration.

Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thick and brown, but this is not the best representative of my favourite style. A certain richness from the raisins, but not overly complex. Still good drinkability.Maybe this is unfair, but men should not consume raisins as it is not easy to get rid of the iron.

Photo of augustgarage
3.92/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Courtesy of ShogoKawada (always there to fulfill my Smuttynose fix! - thank you sir).

Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Trappist Westvleteren goblet. 2009 vintage.

Falu red body which glows like lava when held to the light. A thin buff collar fizzes gently while faint patterns swirl around the center of the glass. Light sandy lacing, delicate viscous legs.

Figs, dates, prunes, atop dark malt and roasty/nutty syrup aromas.

Excellent flavor follows the nose closely, but adds brown sugar, a decent level of hops (grassy, earthy, and slightly bitter), and finishes malty, somewhat sweet, and with significant alcohol. At times, the latter seems like it is a cover for the lack of yeast, but isn't solventy...

Medium bodied, delicate carbonation, not quite as effervescent as I would prefer for the style - but not bad.

Flavor-wise this reminds me more of a dubbel than a quad (of course the sneaky ABV says otherwise), but still a solid Belgian-influenced beer (if not quite on par with their farmhouse ale).

Photo of alovesupreme
3.58/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Split a bottle with drnknmnky and schroederm
Excellent head that sticks around for a long time with excellent lacing. Very red color for a quad, garnet hues that are unexpected but very pleasant.

Lots of cherries, with a woody oaky character.

Once again, lots of cherries, subtle alcohol notes and oak. Beer is a little to sweet but has a pleasant malty finish.

Very syrupy mouthfeel, thick and viscous for a quad. Carbonation was a little to prominant but a good mouthfeel overall.

All in all a good interpretation of a quad by a great brewery.Seems almost like a belgians interpretation of a double- bock. A little to sweet to drink a bomber alone but a good beer.

Photo of Rangermonk
4.25/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle, poured into an Imperial pint glass.

A- A very clear, dark red. Minimal head, with light lacing.
S - An alcohol background, warm. Rich fruits, brandy.
T - Fruit, burnt sugar. Slight alcohol warmth when you swallow.
M - It's thick. But it says it will be, in the description. I'm not sure you'd want a thinner version.
D - This is a sipping beer, after dinner. I couldn't see drinking more than a glass of it. But at ~12%, would you want to?

This is a nice beer. Definitely something to drink in a snifter, though, after dinner with a friend. An excellent dessert.

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.32/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a large tulip-shaped glass, Gravitation is almost black in color beneath a short head of densely creamy tan. When held to the light it reveals clear highlights of ruby and dark mahogany. The head retention is limited, as is the lacing. Normally, at 8.5% a little leeway would be given, but there's more than enough sugary malt here to keep it aloft, and to leave the walls of the glass coated in sticky lace. One factor that may be contributing, however, is its delicate carbonation. It's soft and smooth, probably below 2.5 volumes, and combined with the full body it's really nice. So there's at least that trade off. Appearance is probably the least important aspect of a beer anyway.

The nose is slightly limited as well, given its girth, but it expresses dark fruit, a hint of wine, milk chocolate, and delicate spice mixed with powdered cocoa.

The flavor is much fuller than the aroma lets on, and it's quite dense. The flavors are really supple, and far from over-done. They combine really nicely, and although that somewhat cuts down on the complexity wherein different flavors appear at different times in the mouth, this still works. You just have to pay attention because they're not just handed right to you. It's not bombastic, but still rich. It's mainly sweet and somewhat bready with brown sugar, gentle caramel, and hints of soft chocolate or cocoa. But it's also fruity with plum, juicy apple, raisin, some tropical fruit (suggestions of orange, mango, coconut) and some dark skinned bitterness. Delicate spices (very subtle clove, black cardamom, white pepper, and cinnamon - maybe even a caraway seed or two) balance it. Leafy and somewhat floral hops lay in the background (they sometimes appear herbal, but I think they just appear that way in conjunction with the malt and yeast). The alcohol is not at all noticeable; and the bitterness lays beneath the surface with just enough presence to keep everything taut.

As to drinkability, it's certainly impressive. It's readily accessible, if a little bit sweet at first, but then again, it is a kind of a sipper as well, and that sweetness IS balanced. The strength is present but not overwhelming; and it's rich enough and complex enough to keep you coming back to it time and time again. They could have easily gone overboard with this one, but instead they kept everything reigned in and focused, and that seems to be something that's kind of out-the-door with U.S. brewers these days. Superb!

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Smuttynose Gravitation (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 566 ratings.