Smuttynose Gravitation (Big Beer Series) - Smuttynose Brewing Company

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

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BA SCORE
82
good

566 Ratings
THE BROS
75
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 566
Reviews: 304
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 15.66%
Wants: 31
Gots: 54 | FT: 3
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
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 AwYeh
1.3/5  rDev -64.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1

2010 vintage, poured into snifter

A: Pours an opaque, purplish-brown color, with just the faintest lacing of head which dissipates almost immediately.

S: Rum raisin dominates the aroma, which otherwise consists almost entirely of dark fruits. I get just a bit of white grape. Alcohol makes itself known as well.

T: Sweetness and booze are nearly all that I get out of this beer. It's so hot that it's harder to have a mouthful of this than it is a large sip of rough whiskey, and the flavors that I do get are almost only those of raisins and sugar.

M: Medium-bodied without any kind of carbonation, with considerable heat showing through. May be the hottest beer I've ever had.

O: I'm finding it extremely hard to enjoy this beer, which brings to mind Smuttynose's wheat wine, which similarly tasted of alcohol and sugar. Putting the raisin flavors aside, this tastes and feels more like a flat rum and coke than a beer.

Photo of deeznuts420
1.84/5  rDev -49.5%
look: 2 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

another american quad that falls short on all levels. the appearance was very light colored for a quad. looked like a watered down barleywine brownish red with no head at all. smell was very sweet cherry like that i knew right away was gonna be cloyingly sweet with some booze. taste and mouthfeel was cloyingly sweet, cherry like alittle raisiny and thin mouthfeel. the only thing i find good about this beer was the high alcohol. sort of a weak ass troegs mad elf

Photo of Beefytits4
2/5  rDev -45.1%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Belgian yeast is disgusting, beer suffers

Photo of Chico1985
2.06/5  rDev -43.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Thanks to atremains for sharing this.

I'll keep it short and sweet because I didn't write down a full review at all. Smelled and tasted of fruit punch that had been spiked at a high school prom. Highly medicinal, tart dark fruit. Boozy and not very enjoyable, missing the excellent balance and complexities of the Belgian quads. Mouthfeel is way too thin for the style as well. The price is low at least. Smuttynose is usually stellar and I know quad must be a tough style to brew. I did have this right after Speedway Stout, I would give it another shot.

Photo of kojevergas
2.08/5  rDev -42.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.75

"This is what blowing it looks like." - Will McAvoy, The Newsroom

Quadrupel - one of my favourite styles, if not my favourite style when properly executed.

I nabbed this 650ml bottle at an Austin, TX grocery store; I believe it's a 2014 vintage. Reviewed live as a quadrupel per the label. Expectations are above average given the brewery.

12.3% ABV.

Served cold into a goblet and allowed to warm over the course of consumption.

HEAD: ~.5 fingers wide at best. White colour. Plump and soft-looking, with sufficient creaminess and thickness. Leaves light lacing as it recedes. Retention is average - ~2 minutes.

BODY: Oddly, it's a dark copper with orange and gold hues. Translucent; nontransparent. The colour is just plain wrong for the style...

It's not a good-looking quadrupel by any means. Lacks the long-lasting delicate soft head and the darker plum colour of the best beers in the style. I'm skeptical already.

AROMA: Yeast attenuation is completely off; this is way too sweet judging by the aroma. Booze, prune, raisin, grape, caramelized date...this is at best an overly sweet, syrupy approximation of the style. I'm anticipating a sticky cloying brew with no delicate or subtle notes whatsoever.

Aromatic intensity is high...too high for the style. Where's the subtlety?

At least there're no overt hop notes or off-flavours.

TASTE/TEXTURE: Boozy, sure. Has a weird grape emphasis with subsidiary notes of boozy rum-soaked dates, prunes, and raisins. Lacks the delicate fig and plum you'd expect in a good example of the style. The alcohol presence is obnoxious, and it's way too sugary and sweet, with a strange copper malt emphasis and an odd lack of any discernable Belgian character...did they even use Trappist yeast? The attenuation is way too low, and the heavy candi sugar presence doesn't help at all.

There's no subtlety to the flavour profile whatsoever; it's plain and straightforward, with a shallowness unbecoming of a good quadrupel. Lacks any delicate spicing or fragile dark fruit. It's a bit jammy in its presentation of fruit flavour, an unfortunate characteristic amplified by its sticky sweet feel on the palate.

It's not fragile or delicate in its texture at all, and instead offers only off-putting thickness and overcarbonation. This suffers from far too much thickness, heft, and weight on the palate, coming off overbearing. Has a figlike chewiness, to its detriment. Too full-bodied. Syrupy, even. Its viscosity is an even bigger problem than its lackluster flavour profile.

In addition to its painful lack of any intricacy or nuance whatsoever, it lacks a harmony of texture to taste. In fact, the mouthfeel distracts from the taste.

OVERALL: An overcaramelized simple grape-bomb with few redeeming characteristics, Gravitation is a (purported) quadrupel that just shouldn't have made it to market. The discerning drinker will find it off-putting, and finishing the whole bottle will be a trying experience. Perhaps the worst beer I've had from Smuttynose to date, and a flat failure of an attempt at a quadrupel. Boozy to the point that it's difficult to drink; hell, if you told me this was rum barrel aged for a couple months I might believe you. I haven't had a quadrupel this bad in quite some time.

Not a bad way to murder a diabetic...

D (2.08)

Photo of DeFaz
2.11/5  rDev -42%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.75

Appearance: Pours a light brown color with a medium head. Fair retention and decent lacing.

Smell: Alcohol (and a lot of it), raisins, figs, random fruit. Very (too) sweet smelling.

Taste: I'm new to quads, but this is simply disgusting. I appreciate the effort to make such a big beer, but the raisins go too far, the alcohol is 12% and tastes like 12%, and nothing is there to balance the over the top sweetness.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is pretty good, as the beer is somewhat sticky but avoids being too much so given the unchecked sweetness. Thickness is medium and carbonation is low/medium.

Overall: This is one of few beers that I simply have to dump out. As others have said, it is a mess. A 12% ABV beer can work only if there is balance, and the effort here to conceal the alcohol with the super sweet raisin and fig flavors creates an unpleasant experience. There are 80 proof liquors that don't taste this alcoholic.

Photo of Willibomb
2.17/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

A- At this point I was optimistic, as this beer has a very interesting color with hints of amber and purple.

S- It has a clear raisen smell, which is not great, since raisens stink and smell a bit sweet for a beer. This was the dominant scent, with no hop freshness. Even for a Quad, it is loaded with a sweet aroma right up front. This beer is certainly not trying to blur the catagory.

T- Right from the start, it gives you a boozey hit of excess malt/raisen flavor, which turns to a adjunct-like alcohol finish which did not impress me. It can be noted that there were no hop flavor at all, not just diminished or overshadowed, but completely not present. This is the first QUAD that has made me physically cringe from the transition to the after-taste.

M- Aside from the taste, it has a decent mouthfeel, but there again, I barely remember it after the taste. This beer has a body that makes it very smooth in your mouth for a high gravity beer. This is in fact a very BIG beer as far as malt (8.5% not too high gravity)

D- This beer has NO drinkability. I might enjoy it as a gimmick or in a taster, however a 64 oz growler to split between 2 is completely rediculous. We were covered in sticky malt, and frowns as we couldn't handle the sugar shock for more than about 2 pints.

In summary, a QUAD should have a lot of malt, but the key is to balance that power with flavor and complexity. Aside from tasting like prune juice, this beer is NOT complex. While I appreciate the extreme take on a beer, and the daring attempt to make raisens cool again, I just did not like it at all. It reminds me of my friend who tried to homebrew with berries, and he did not cut back on the malt... it just tasted defective.

Photo of ThreeWiseMen
2.27/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Wiseman Zach brought this back from his trip to Boston last month.

2009 vintage poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Body is brownish red (mahogany), bright, and clear (need to hold it to light). A ring of khaki-colored foam sits on top and drags a bit of lacing. I'd actually like to see something a bit murkier/more mysterious, but it looks pretty nice overall.

Smell: Big-time fig, accompanied by molasses, honey, brown sugar, and other sweet aromas. This is cloyingly sweet. Echh.

Taste: Fig, brown sugar, and raisin come through the strongest. Flowery esters and earth come through in the finish. Not sweet enough to be called cloying, but it's close. I'm not liking this one too much.

Mouthfeel: Syrupy ("greasy," says Jorge), full, super malty and sweet... just a mess. If it weren't for the low carbonation, this would feel just like a dessert wine. Aftertaste is sweet, yet oddly bitter - just unpleasant. Boo.

Drinkability: I was able to finish my 6oz. serving, but I didn't want anymore. This is the worst quad I've come across so far.

Photo of saccro
2.34/5  rDev -35.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

This beer has that old soy saucy type flavor from being around too long, so I can't do a serious review of it. There's a touch of spice in the taste, but overall the beer is just WAY too sugary sweet and not very complex. Pretty bad. Oh man, I just tried it again. It's so cloyingly sweet. The mouthfeel is pretty in par with quads, but suddenly you're hit with the overwhelming sweetness. Did I mention it was too sweet?

Photo of PDXHops
2.37/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bomber poured into a LaChouffe tulip. 2010 bottling, says the notch on the label (Why don't they always notch out the labels?).

Pours out a murky dark amber with a smallish head that quickly reduces into a small collar of foam. No lacing.

Very sweet nose. Plenty of dark fruit, raisin, apple and some cloves, but lots of general sweetness as well. The first wave of flavor is nothing but sweetness. It's followed up by the fruit again and a little tobacco, but the sweetness dominates to a degree that limits enjoyability. Not too much in the way of "Belgian" flavors. Mouthfeel is rather smooth and oily- a bump in carbonation might be a welcome addition here.

Overall impression: Cellar-worthy? I'm not too optimistic. It doesn't taste "raw", just really sweet. I'm not tasting lots of potential here. Still, I may tuck aside a bottle or 2 to see if I can prove myself wrong (review to be updated if that's the case).

Photo of angrybabboon
2.38/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Review adapted from notes taken 5/21/10

Appearance: Reddish brown with a nice little head and some lacing

Smell: Lots of sugar, grapes and raisins, caramel malts and some alcohol

Taste: I must preface my comments by noting that I had this beer at a BA event months prior to this bottle. I thought it was bad, but I attributed my inability to taste anything but sugar to the possibility that my taste buds were off because I had too much to drink. So I bought a bomber. And the scary thing is that I wasn't far off. Gravitation is insanely sweet. It is disgustingly sweet. More than anything else, this beer tastes like grape jelly that was blended into sugar water. There are some malts, and there are even some herbal hops in the background, but mostly this just tastes like bad jelly.

Mouthfeel: Heavy and sticky with some carbonation - would be good if the taste weren't so bad

Overall: Despite the bad taste and the high ABV, I've definitely had more undrinkable beers

This beer was a big disappointment for me. After all, I love Smutty, and I never could have expected that they could produce something bad. But this is not a good beer. It's not a good representation of the quad style, and it just tastes like nasty grape jelly. Still, it's better than drinking a Corona.

Photo of drseamus
2.39/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A: Dark garnet body with a nice white head.

S: It smells a touch sweet. Good amount of dark fruit. Nice malt.

T: Woah momma. Sweet just begins to describe this. There are some fruits but it is way too sweet.

M: Medium bodied and possibly the only redeemable quality.

D: I can't drink this.

Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.4/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a La Fin Du Monde tulip glass. Beer emerges a dark fig color with no head to speak of. Looks like prune juice mixed with tea.

Aroma is sickly sweet and raisiny and really quite figgy. Dark fruits, alcohol, sugar, caramel malts, molasses. Very medicinal, like rubbing alcohol or that stuff that kills warts.

Sickly sweet flavor profile. More of the figs and a sort of plum jam feeling and taste. Cloying. I feel like I have received a cavity from this beer due to its sweetness.

A 22oz bottle is impossible to finish: I doubt I could even finish a 12oz'er. Sweet, cloying, sticky, chewy; like a liquefied jam. Not enjoyable and not acceptable. I need to see my dentist, STAT.

Photo of ShadesOfGray
2.41/5  rDev -33.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Westvleteren chalice. Pours a very solid/cloudy dark brown color with a small and light creamy head.

Aroma is very stong of raisins. Extremely sweet smell along with some booze.

Flavor is close to the verge of raisin overkill. Reminds me of Founders Bad Habit Quad. Candi sweetness, boozy...and just overall sweet. Mild complexity and smooth.

Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.44/5  rDev -33%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

2.44/5: I don't like it: too damn boozy and too damn undefined in its flavor

Photo of Paymygasbill77
2.45/5  rDev -32.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

A- Poured from bomber that was bottle-conditioned in 2013. I poured the beer into a short yard glass. It pours a caramel brown with lots of carbonation. The head dissipates quickly.

S- straight raisins and alcohol. Nothing else.

T - Yuck! Raisins and alcohol with a bit of salt? Over time it does mellow out and allows some dark fruit to come through.

m- Chewy and thick with a slickness on the tongue. Some mild carbonation allows the beer to cut some of the thickness.

O- This isn't that great. I bet that it would mellow out and allow the flavors to marry after a year or so. If you decide to get this bottle, make sure you sit on it for a while before you drink it.

Photo of ryan1788a5
2.5/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

22oz bomber poured into a Chimay goblet.

A: Deep, clear red-brown. Very thin off-white head sputters out almost immediately. Wouldn't expect this from a bottle conditioned Belgian. Light patchy lacing.

S: Plum, cherry, and blackberry jam. Vinous grapes and alcohol. Extremely faint hint of Belgian yeast and spices.

T: Cherry and jam sweetness opens. Belgian yeast follows up with faint hints of cinnamon, spices, and earthiness. Sweetness builds again and becomes cloying. Plum esters, an overpowering taste of vinous grapes, and a hefty dose of alcohol destroy the mid-palate. Finishes very sweet with vinous tastes and a touch of chocolate.

M: Medium bodied, syrupy. Under carbonated. Harsh alcohol burn.

O: Did not care for this one. Finishing it was an almost masochistic ordeal.

Notes: I've had this beer before, and I could swear it was totally different this time around (and this was after the recipe change and hike-up to 12% abv). This is an under- carbonated, cloying, boozy mess. And that's after about 8 months of cellar time too. The first time I had it I probably would have rated it a solid B+. I don't know if I got an off bottle or what, but this was pretty terrible. I might have to re-visit it, but I'm kind of dreading that prospect. This is the first beer by Smuttynose that I did not enjoy.

Photo of codewarrior
2.55/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

22oz Bomber (label indicated that it was bottle conditioned in 2010) into a Balloon.

Picked this up at Finger Lakes Beverage Center, and was quite excited to do so. My mistake. This beer is a quad that hits like a Donker.

L: Dark dark brown. Somewhat clearish for a quad. Little head, disspiates with no lacing.

S: Single-mindedly sweet. Seriously nothing else going on in the nose outside of its sweetness.

T: Very, very sweet and warm. Finish burns (more than 12% should ... this thing burns more than the Avery Demon Ales), cherry hints in the far back.

F: Way, way too thin for a quad. Doesn't feel like a quad.

D: Not all that enjoyable. Way too sweet, impossible to finish a glass. Drinks like the Sarafijn Donker from Bruwerij Achilles, or a super-sweet nut-brown ... neither of those are compliments.

Photo of DeutschesBier
2.56/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

I was definitely let down by this beer. I am not sure how it would age, but the alcohol burn of this beer was just too much to take. I love other Smuttynose offerings (especially the IPA), but this did not work for me. At first I enjoyed it, but then the harsh alcohol burn took control of the beer and ruined it for me. I am not sure if this is a bad batch or what, but I won't be seeking this beer out again.

Photo of AgentZero
2.6/5  rDev -28.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Shared with MasterSki over dinner with our significant others.

A - This beer looked blood red in the light at times, with some tinges of brown at others. No real head to speak of, dissipated to nothing and left the sides clean.

S - Raisins, dark fruits (different than raisins), a little burnt sugar and some candied sugar. Tons of alcohol, not sure if they are not trying to hide this or if they just screwed up, but there's lots of it.

T - Very, very boozy, it really dominates. There is a raisin taste, but not nearly as strong as it should be as it is overpowered by alcohol. Pretty sweet, with a little candied taste. I don't care much for this.

M - Almost full bodied, with low carbonation, not sure if that is helping or hurting the beer.

D - Told Alex to finish it off, I got through about half of one glass. Too hot, too bad tasting, just not a good beer. The search for the great American quad continues.

Photo of MasterSki
2.65/5  rDev -27.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Thanks to AgentZero for sharing. 2010 vintage, served in a Westvleteren chalice.

A - Pours with a quick-dissolving dime of foam that leaves an incomplete ring and a few bubbles. Initially a semi-transparent cherry red color, although later pours get progressively hazier.

S - Booze! I'm usually immune, but this has fairly present fusel alcohol and solvent notes. Once you get past that, there is fruity and spicy yeast characters, as well as some candi sugar, dark fruits, apples, and medicinal brandy.

T - Taste is a little more raisin-oriented, which shouldn't be surprising considering the volume of raisins added. There's some light mineral qualities, followed by a boozy solvent finish. Not as complex as the aroma.

M - Alcohol warmth galore. Low carbonation verging on syrupy, smooth medium body that seems a little undersized for 12%.

D - It was a struggle for Mike and I to finish this, although I eventually manned up and got the job done. Not something I would have again, although there is a serious dearth of good American quads.

Photo of mentor
2.67/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I'm assuming this is the 2013 vintage. Thickly pours a thin light tan head over a cloudy dark copper liquid. Smells hay, belgian phenolic spicy, candi-sugar, fig, green raisin, green apple, oregano, pancake batter.

Tastes potently belgian yeast spicy, herbal, apricot & tropical fruity, with some light caramel. Ends with a peppery zip. Clean alcohol sting is drying and digs a small amount into the overly sweet malt. It's not cloying, due to the spicy and alcohol, but it's not far from it. Medium thick in the mouth with modest carbonation. Too much for this to be an abbey ale, perhaps a trippel in the malt profile?

Photo of shizzdog
2.67/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Appearance: Dark Brown with thin head

Smell: Extra sweet malt with raisins

Taste: Cane Sugar, very sweet, raisins

Mouthfeel: Thin, Watery, hard to swallow

Drinkability: Moving on to the Rochefort 10, possibly spoiled by drinking quality beers on a regular basis.

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.

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