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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502 Ratings

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Ratings: 502
Reviews: 288
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 16.3%
Wants: 26
Gots: 37 | 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:
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 added by: Oxymoron on 01-01-2009)
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Ratings: 502 | Reviews: 288 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a chalice. Deep reddish auburn color, fading into orange around the lower meniscus of the glass. A thin layer of light tan foam forms on the surface, leaving spotty bits of lace strewn about the sides. Foam dissipates soon, leaving a glassy surface with a thinly broken veil across it.

Rich aromas of moist banana bread, walnuts and pecans, dates. Wow, this is really something... need to let it warm up to fully appreciate.

Equally rich flavors, some velvety maltiness and dried fruits like dates, banana, sultanas. Nutty almond, walnut, and pecan flavors too. Feel is rich, medium bodied with lower carbonation. Dry finish with lingering toffee and raisin/sultana flavors. Not at all cloying. Alcohol does creep up a bit, leaving a warming sting. This eventually limits drinkability, but it's likely best shared anyway. $7 bomber is a deal.

Photo of angelogarcia3
4.88/5  rDev +34.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Smuttynose Gravitation Quadrupel is a fantastic beer with a noticeable raisin aroma. Served at Tap & Mallet of Rochester in a 8.5 oz glass had a very thin head and a deep burgundy color. On the nose the first aromas are of raisins, and molasses. At 12% ABV the first taste warns you that this is a high alcohol beer. Soon afterwards, the flavors of raisins, molasses, and a hint of honey lull you into a false sense that the alcohol is not that high. This beer in the mouth gives you a slight effervensce and syruppiness. I really love this beer!

Photo of drpimento
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served with a nice, tan, thick, foamy head that subsides after a bit to a ring and islands. Color is a hazy dirty copper. Aroma is malt, fruit, yeast, caramel, toffee. Flavor is massively malt/fruit sweet with a little bitterness and very little carbonic tang. Body is full, round, lush but carbonation is kinda flat. Finish is like flavor with a big alcohol warming factor.

Photo of jayhawk73
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown color w/ a thin one finger cocoa head. The head quickly goes down to a sliver. Decent lacing on my snifter glass as well. This beer isn't a black hole, and you can see the carbonation swirling around when held to the light. In the nose I get caramel malt, raisin, date, fig. Pretty tasty smelling, although not quite in the realm of the best in style. The thing I'm missing in this brew is belgian yeast- it's like a gaping hole in an otherwise solid brew. Taste is the same as the nose, with the raisins and figs really coming out. Slight alcohol burn on the aftertaste, but I like that in big beers. Mouthfeel is a little on the thin/dry side for what I'd like, but it's not bad. Overall, this is a pretty decent brew. Definitely not a world class Quad, but I enjoyed it. Cheers.

Photo of obywan59
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle. Bottle conditioned in 2011. Drawing on the label of Icarus falling.

Thick reddish-brown. Carbonation bubbles clinging to the side of the glass before rising up to the 3/4 finger fizzy head that soon totally recedes, now looking more like a wine than beer. No lacing. Different.

Initially, the combination of the Belgian yeast and the raisins reminded me, strangely, of hotdogs. After the beer warmed, the aroma settled down to rich dark fruit and alcohol with some light toasted malt.

Very sweet. Dark fruit, especially raisins. Grapey at times, and rather vinuous. Not cloying to me, but then I heeded the warning of other reviewers and allowed the beer to warm.

Sticky and syrupy to the point of dryness. Almost astringent. Very warming.

Definitely better at room temperature. Full flavored and full bodied. The 12% ABV demands; SIP ME! Personally, I think the raisins meld perfectly with this Belgianh ale. As Emeril would say: Kick it up a notch!

Photo of MoreThanWine
4.2/5  rDev +16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gee, I don't know why this scored so lowly. Poured a 2" caramel colored head. Thick deep hazy amber and burnt umber brown body with slow moving carbonation. Smells of caramel and dried fruit. Taste is caramel plus toffee, lots and lots of toffee, but no dried fruit like the smell. Medium long finish. The higher alcohol is evident but not overdone to me. Maybe this isn't as complex as Belgian quads but I still really enjoyed it.

It seems my sample performed quite differently from other reviewers. Fresher, or reformulated maybe?

Photo of BeerMeDatBeer
3.15/5  rDev -13%
look: 2 | smell: 1 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I was looking forward to trying this one out. Unfortunately, when I broke the seal, it smelled like a Keystone.

The taste wasn't bad for a quad ale. There are a lot of flavors at work, and it takes some time to sort them out. I liked the smoothness of the beer, as well as the taste. The beer works.

In terms of appearance, I don't like the Smuttynose labels at all. It looks like something a third grader could pull off with a half hour of time and the Paint application on his laptop.

Overall, I am not sure I got the experience I was looking for. Generally, I relish the taste of a good beer, but I also like the story that goes with it. By that, I like it when you can tell a brewery has had some fun and let the creative juices flow when putting together their product. This is why Stone products, to me, are enjoyable.

Photo of BeerLover99
3.1/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: deep copper/wood body, no head, and no lacing

S: big ripe fruit (raisins/dates/fig nose), malt
and big boozy smell

T: sweet ripe fruit, big malt,
long sugary/boozy mild sticky finish

M: med body, semi-dry/light sticky mouth

O: Usually LOVE Smuttynose and also
really enjoy Belgian beers, but this one just
didn't work for me. Too much sugar/fruit with
booze and not enough body.


Photo of Kinsman
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark and hazy chestnut red color with a nice thick and creamy head that leaves a good bit of sticky residue behind.

Strong fruity aroma with notes of raisins, toffee, and some cherry along side a considerable spice character that hints at clove.

Smuttynose certainly gives you plenty of flavor in this with a whole lot of raisin and toffee sweetness. Belgian yeast adds in a bit of a phenolic character. Rum-like alcohol presence in the finish but the booziness isn't as strong as I remember last years being.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy. Overall, Smuttynose makes a fine beer here but it's hard to compare this quad with the likes of Rochefort, St. Bernardus, and Pannepot. Still, at $6 a bomber its a nice bold and boozy beer to sip on for a while.

Photo of perrymarcus
3.4/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

bomber (22oz) served in a snifter.

pours a murky dark brown / chestnut tone while yielding a 3/4" beige head. moderate head retention and some lacing evident.

nose is bold enough, headlined by a big dose of dark fruits - primarily raisin with a little cherry and some candied sugar. decent aroma, nothing earth-moving.

taste is likewise sweet: dark fruits, caramel malt, and some spice. a bit overly sweet, though i wouldn't call the sweetness cloying. fairly boozy, especially in the finish. medium-full mouthfeel with average carbonation.

overall it's a an decent beer but an average american quad, and would probably fall to below average if you stack it against all quads (read: belgians). ok drinkability as it is moderately enjoyable, just doesn't compare to the kings in the style the rochefort 10s, abt 12s, or westys of the world.

Photo of SawDog505
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my Duvel VIJF 20 oz large tulip. Very attractive dark ruby, with a half inch of mellow off white head, minimal lacing. Crazy banana, clover, dark fruits, raisin mostly, hard candy, and some booze. Taste is all that and very pungent. Not a huge fan of style, but this is a solid version for my taste. I like this beer, but not easy drinking at all.

Photo of DirtyPenny
3.83/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to my sister-in-law and her boyfriend for sharing this 22 oz bottle.

A: Ruby red with mahogany or cherry wood highlights and an off-white head.

S: Is that... bubble gum? Sweet with notes of floral hops and cherry.

T: Still getting a modest hit of bubble gum flavor on the initial taste. Light rum qualities intermingled with raisin. This 2011 bottle has an ABV of 12.5%, and while it's not that prevalent when cold, it REALLY kicks into high gear as this brew warms. Slight floral hoppiness gets overwhelmed as room temperature approaches.

M: Heavy and syrupy. You could practically spread this one on a sandwich. Carbonation is moderate and feels a little much for the style.

O: Only my second quad. I liked it, but wouldn't want more than 4-6 oz at a time in the future, and the only other quad I've ever had (Brewery Ommegang's) was better. Definitely share this one with friends. Way too much to have on your own, especially given that it's only available in bombers.

Photo of morebeergood
3.95/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have a 2009 vintage bottle in my cellar, and since Sat night was a special occasion and a hurricane rolled into one, I decided to open it. Still a ton of carbonation left. Popped the cap, and the foam slowly crept to the top and just dribbled over the top. Poured into the chalice glass very slowly to avoid overflow. Crisp bubbly carbonation, like soda. Dark garnet ruby color. Good head and nice amount of lacing. The aroma just fills your nose with cherry. The taste was quite sweet. Flavors of dark fruit were striking - cherry, fig, plum, and raisins. Very sugary also, which took away from the mouthfeel a bit. It was thick and somewhat cloying on the palate. But overall I liked this beer. I remember when this beer first came out, people were saying this beer was too hot with the abv and needed some aging. After two years, it certainly mellowed out a bit without losing any flavor. This was a nice beer on a rainy night paired with a chocolate dessert.

Photo of mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap tonight at Rustico in Arlington, VA at their Smuttynose Rare Beer event. Poured into a snifter. 2009 vintage.

a - Pours a deep darkreddish brown color with one inch of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of cherries, malts, bready malts, and dark fruits. Little bit tart and a little bit sour.

t - Tastes of slightly sour cherries and dark fruits, as well as light bread. Really enjoying the sour notes that have come in the taste.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

o - Overall a very good beer. Very tart cherry now, especially in the taste. Not sure how it is fresh, but this batch is tasting awesome. Had 2 glasses of it and would like to try it again.

Photo of Brenden
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
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 prototypic
3.03/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Gravitation pours an interesting crimson stained brown color. It's a little hazy, but has really nice burgundy highlights when held to light. A light tan mass of bubbles collects on the surface, but rises no higher. It disappears quickly, and leaves very little evidence of its existence behind. At least the color is nice.

The nose is rather weak and could really use more strength. Caramel malts hit the nose first. They smell a little sweet. There's a hint of light spices and perhaps a little dark fruit. Smells like a little plum and raisin. That's about it. Not good for a Quad. I'm not getting any Belgian yeast. Alcohol seems to be blended pretty well for a 12% beer. doesn't smell awful, but it doesn't smell like a good Quad.

The flavor is a little better, but it is average at best. Especially for the style. Caramel malts seem to be the buys. They do taste a little sweet, and do a credible job of holding things together. A reasonably strong raisin flavor emerges. It works fairly well with the caramel flavor. Light spices and cherry are secondary. I'm not getting any Belgian yeast. Big miss there. Alcohol is also quite strong in flavor. It's a little warming, but the sheer flavor is just too much. Finishes boozy with a tangy dark fruit flavor.

Gravitation has a medium body that leans full with warming. Carbonation is very light. It feels quite smooth. Mouthfeel is easily its best feature. Nonetheless, it's boozy and goes down slow. A bomber is real challenge.

I've become a big fan of Smuttynose Brewing Company. Unfortunately, Gravitation is not one of Smuttynose's finer moments. In fact, it's their worst beer that I've encountered. The biggest problems here are the complete lack of Belgian yeast and the overbearing alcohol. Those aren't small mistakes when it comes to brewing a Belgian Quad. As a result, this is a very average take on the style. This one needs a bit of work.

Photo of ryan1788a5
2.48/5  rDev -31.5%
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 angrybabboon
2.28/5  rDev -37%
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 metter98
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is hazy garnet in color and has a slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin ring of beige bubbles around the edge of the glass. A close inspection of the surface reveals very delicate lacy patterns of bubbles.
S: The nose has aromas of raisins and notes of plums along with some hints of alcohol.
T: The taste has a light to moderate amount of sweetness. Flavors of raisins stand out however these are not overpowering because they balanced by the underlying malts. Some hints of alcohol are perceptible in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied on the palate and has a light amount of carbonation. No stickiness is noticeable, although the beer feels slightly thicker as it warms up. Warming sensations from the alcohol are present in the finish.
D: Surprisingly, this beer is very drinkable for the style and its high amount of alcohol content--the body isn't very heavy and the alcohol is well masked from the taste.

Photo of UnionMade
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up on my last trip back to CT to visit family.
Pours a clear, ruby red, topped with a quickly evaporating puff of foam. Just a tiny island of foam remains. Nice color, though. No head at all after a few sips.
Putting the glass to my nose, I'm immediately greeted with fruit, the kind of artificial fruit I associate with candy. Cherry, strawberry and banana, with creamy malt and a trace of roastiness. I understand they brewed this with raisins, though it comes off more like cherry candy. Maybe the yeast. Who can say? A whiff of alcohol comes through way up in the sinuses. I don't think I can light this on fire, so that's good.
The first sip comes off heavy and rich. Very dense for a beer, even of this strength. Tons of sweetness, the fruit immediate and dominating. The carbonation does a decent job of plowing though. Sludgy. Syrupy malt, a fruitiness almost like that red syrup they have at IHOP, that you pour on their pancakes. Don't get me wrong, that stuff is delicious. Name a red or purple fruit, and you can probably taste it in here. Plums, blueberries, you name it. Some spiciness from the yeast coming through and making an attempt at balancing the finish. I'm not really getting anything from the hops aside from a light floral note. The alcohol is mostly buried beneath the fruity sweetness. A nice beer, if a little one dimensional. I think this may have been better without the addition of raisins.
Exactly what I wanted when I cracked this bottle. Rich, thick and decadent. I wasn't prepared for such a syrupy brew, but I managed. What it lacks in dimension, it makes up for in satisfaction.

Photo of Gehrig
4.35/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on tap at the brilliant Blind Pig, on a very cold night after working a radio show.

One finger of off-white foam topped a rather cloudy reddish-amber body; moderate duration and modest lacing make this rather average, especially for a Quad. The nose is much better, rather vinous, but also with orange peel, bready malt, some dark chocolate, and dashes of ginger and pepper.

Excellent taste--full and complex without overwhelming. It's not a brash Quad, but is instead lively. Rather fruity and especially rife with grape, which adds a distinct and enjoyable sweet-and-sour dynamic. Some citrus emerges as well, with a bit of caramel and chocolate. The alcohol certainly protrudes in the second half, rendering this a bit of a sipper near the finish. Yet Gravitation is highly enjoyable, maintaining a good, steady effervescence combined with a smooth, malty texture, with more than ample flavor.

Terrific Quad, Gravitation is packed with flavor and enough complexity to impress. Well worth a go, it more than holds its own as a fine representative of the style. One of the best offerings from Smuttynose.

Photo of breweryaprntc13
3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark muddy, reddish bronze with a thin light tan head.

Alcohol smell, yeast aromas, dark fruits, plumbs, caramel malts, some graininess.

Complex, sour leads to sweet, mixes of sugary and caramel malts, alcohol notes, citrus hops, fruity finish.

Medium body, low carbonation, wet and rich.

Exciting mix of flavors, absolutely delicious, but too strong for regular consumption.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of acjohnst. Served in a tulip.

Pours a somewhat-strange purplish-red color with a bit of muddiness in there. Bit of a creamy head with some moderate lacing. The nose is actually quite nice with a good amount of sweetness, booze, and dark fruits. A bit of molasses there as well. The taste falls back a bit from here and doesn't offer all that much. A bit of alcohol. The body is fairly full with low-ish levels of carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good. Nothing really stands out in this one, though there aren't any glaring defects either.

Photo of DmanGTR
4.25/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2009 as per the bottle.

Poured a deep amber/brown in my St. Bernardus goblet, a brief beige head topped the liquid with no lace. Swirled and poured the sediment in as well, but it was quite clear before that. Aroma is very nice. Hint of cocoa, lots of caramel and deep dark fruit. Fairly complex, with notes of toffee, dates, and figs. Nice alcohol to balance the flavor and aromas. Beautifully carbonated, mellow and smooth. A medium bodied beer that leaves a light coating over the palate. Sweet finish that brings out the caramel. Hint of warmth from the alcohol. Very well made and it has aged gracefully.

Photo of corby112
2.73/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From notes:

Pours a deep, dark ruby red/chestnut brown color with mahogany edges and a two finger frothy, yellowish beige head. Decent retention, slowly fading into a thin ring. Minimal spots of lacing left behind.

Malty aroma with a very prominent dark fruit presence. Slightly tart with hints of raisin, date, plum and dark cherry.

Medium bodied with soft carbonation up front and an overly sweet, estery dark fruit flavor that is a bit cloying. Slightly earthy with sublte hops and spice as well as hints of raisin, grape and dark cherry. There's a prominent malt backbone that provides decent balance but this beer kind of reminds me of grape soda.

Smuttynose Gravitation (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 502 ratings.