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Smuttynose Stone Cluster's Last Stand - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Smuttynose Stone Cluster's Last StandSmuttynose Stone Cluster's Last Stand

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

370 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 370
Reviews: 53
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 11.05%
Wants: 17
Gots: 70 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  8.30% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: johnnnniee on 07-28-2013

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 370 | Reviews: 53 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of churchillps
4.42/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of ConorGolden
3.55/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of RonfromJersey
3.31/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Burnt orange, a bit murky, lots of carbonation in the body, but a rapidly decaying head that converts to an oil slick with in minutes.

Floral aroma, but weak and unimpressive.

Solid semi-sweet beginning. Earthy hops. Good big bitterness with a snap.

Prickly medium mouthfeel.

An interesting curiosity. Been there, done that, moving on.

Photo of ZEB89
4.1/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Roberto11232
4.07/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of bigbluebeerguy
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of brewqueno
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of deonreds
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of webweb2
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Brad007
3.53/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

I've read about this ale and figured I'd finally pick it up.

Pours a cloudy reddish-blonde hue with a big, frothy head into my glass. I didn't realize how strong this was.

Lots of pine bitterness in the nose. Relatively fresh. A hint of buttered bread underneath.

Pine tar on the tongue followed by bitter citrus and buttered bread at the back of tongue.

Bitterness dominates the mouthfeel and it stands out with the use of clusters.

I've seen this beer and Ballantine IPA mentioned in the same breath. I believe the Cluster hops are just one thing in common. This is an old school IPA, perhaps a DIPA in the eyes of some. Worth a shot.

Photo of Didier
3.88/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of jmalko
4.12/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Jeysun23
4.5/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of brentk56
3.39/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Appearance: A nice bubble show produces a two inch head; the liquid underneath is hazy and honey colored; spotty lacing abounds

Smell: Caramel and dough tones forward, with vegetal, earthy hop tones; just a touch of pith

Taste: Doughy with with a tilt toward the caramel, up front, with vegetal, earthy hop tones building; there is a touch of stone fruit and pith in the middle but the finish brings a return to the sweeter malt tones; surprisingly, the assertive balsa wood bitterness is what lingers in the aftertaste; very bitter but not particularly flavorful

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Can't say I much care for this and if this is what the Ballantine IPA tasted like, it is no wonder that macro lagers took over

Photo of kojevergas
2.88/5  rDev -24.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

BOTTLE: 650ml brown glass. Generally appealing label art. Branded pry-off pressure cap. Best by: 03/05/15.

Reviewed live as an IPA, as Smuttynose's website identifies it as such (specifically as a post-prohibition Ballantine IPA recreation). Expectations are average; I like Smuttynose but Stone's involvement always makes me suspicious.

Served cold into a pilsner glass.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1 finger wide. Off-white/beige colour. Decent creaminess, frothiness, fullness, and consistency. Nice (~3-4 minute) retention. Leaves an uneven coating of lacing on the sides of the glass as it recedes.

BODY: Standard for an IPA: clean copper colour of average vibrance. Translucent and transparent. Clean, with no visible yeast particulate or hop sediment.

Appears well-carbonated. Very average looking for the style, with no stand-out characteristics. There's nothing egregiously wrong with it.

AROMA: Has more tropical leanings than I anticipated given this is a recreation of a Ballantine brew. Tangerine, melon, clementine, orange, orange zest. It really overdoes it on the caramalt, which concomitantly brings way too much sweetness into play. Thankfully, though, the hop profile seems robust enough to check that malty sweetness with enough bitterness. Pale malt is also present. Some floral character.

I find the fruitiness raw and bit rindy, with an undeveloped young feel to it. It's nicely zesty, though.

Aromatic intensity is below average, but it's not a reticent aroma.

To style, no overt booze, yeast character, or off-notes are detectable. Fortunately, it's not soapy or anything. Suggests a slightly imbalanced brew with some nice fruity tones.

TASTE: The abovementioned rindy raw hop bitterness dominates, to the beer's detriment, with plenty of tropical fruit and zesty character in there as well: tangerine, melon, orange, clementine, orange zest. Hopwise, it also has some floral notes and maybe a bit of overly bitter grapefruit. Lime emerges more and more as it warms. Heavy on the pithiness and bitterness.

It has too much caramalt, which lends the beer too much sweetness towards the end of its second act. Otherwise, the beer is imbalanced in the other direction (i.e. it's overly bitter on account of the overhopping). Pale malts fill out the body nicely but lend little in terms of flavour.

It's uneven structurally and imbalanced throughout, but I do find myself drawn to some of its flavours - particularly the clementine. It does veer briefly into that stale orange juice character you usually find in older IPAs, which I despise.

It's an unpleasantly aggressive brew, and suffers for it. If this is an authentic recreation of a Ballantine IPA, consider me shocked - I had no idea beer was this aggressive back then. But I suspect the overhopping is all Stone's doing, and that this isn't really authentic (regardless of what Mitch Steele has to say on the matter).

Average depth and duration of flavour, with an unexpectedly high flavour intensity. It's the opposite of mellow, and is hard to enjoy as a result. It's complicated for an IPA - which is to say it has plenty of complexity, there's just not much order or focus to it.

I can't say I care for it much, but it does have attributes I appreciate.

TEXTURE: Overcarbonated to the point where it's biting - an unpleasant characteristic especially alongside its overaggressive hop bitterness. That aggressive edge is manifested in the texture as much as it is in the taste, with an unwelcome coarseness emerging in the mouthfeel. Wet but unrefreshing. Medium-bodied but too weighty and thick on the palate. If it had more depth of flavour, its heaviness might be warranted.

Overall, this texture fails to elevate the beer or accentuate any of the constituent notes in the flavour profile (or at least any of the pleasant ones), but it suits the taste decently in a general sense. Some custom-tailoring is needed.

OVERALL: I'm not a big fan of the hop profile showcased here, nor do I think it's an authentic recreation of Ballantine's IPA (but take that with a grain of salt, as I never tried Ballantine's IPA). The whole Ballantine IPA recreation premise does fit Stone's ruthless marketing focus, though, and I don't think it a stretch that Stone - more a marketing company than a brewery - would take advantage of older drinkers' awareness of a historical recipe to ship product. (For the record, other recreations of Ballantine IPA put the ABV much lower than 8.3%). With that in mind, it's nowhere near as drinkable as it should be if it's truly 8.3% ABV. Far from a great brew in the style, and far from Smuttynose's best brew, but I'm not unhappy I tried it once. I've had worse and I've had better, but this is ultimately an average brew. I wouldn't recommend it to friends, and I won't be buying it again.

C

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.74/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Aroma tangerine, oranges, floral,faint dank & grassiness, hint caramel. Taste lemon & orange zest, herbal, floral, grass, biscuit. Nice!

Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.27/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a light golden amber with a frothy white that hangs around a little and leaves some nice lacing.

Smell is pine and citrus vying for dominance with some subtle floral notes and underpinnings of musty earth giving it a dank aroma.

A bitter punch of resinous pine and bitter citrus up front with a faint malt middle and some ghost like biscuit notes. It finishes with a dry oily floral hop coating. This was not love at first sip but was enjoying it thoroughly half way down the glass. Not the greatest IPA but very good and unique. This one Stands Alone.

Photo of mjc3151
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of utopiajane
3.54/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured attractively enough and had minimal nose. Candied citrus peel and some malt sweetness. Drank mild;y too. Fruity and with some sweet hop herbal. No alcohol on the nose or on the palate. This tastes fine. Light caramel and grapefruit. Earthy and has plenty of citrus flavor. A very unobtrusive bitter finishes this one quietly. It was good but nothing really stood out about it or made it unique.

Photo of Mersh
3.6/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of earljones199
4.09/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of luvbier
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Brewlinson
4.02/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Lefty_P_Hand
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of stadmo1
3.92/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

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Smuttynose Stone Cluster's Last Stand from Smuttynose Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 370 ratings.