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Smuttynose Stone Cluster's Last Stand - Smuttynose Brewing Company

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Smuttynose Stone Cluster's Last StandSmuttynose Stone Cluster's Last Stand

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very good

59 Reviews
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Reviews: 59
Hads: 422
Avg: 3.82
pDev: 29.32%
Wants: 16
Gots: 87 | 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

Old, new? It’s all the same, really. Cluster’s Last Stand defies the commonly  accepted notion that strong, hoppy beers are recent arrivals on the US beer landscape. Smuttynose has teamed up with Stone Brewing Company to recreate the original, post-Prohibition Ballantine IPA recipe. That’s right; strong, 60 IBU beer was brewed in the 30’s. How do we know? We read it in Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele’s excellent and well-researched book, “IPA, Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale.” The only difference  between this beer and more contemporary IPAs are the hop varieties: Cluster, Brewers Gold, Bullion and East Kent Goldings. None of these are trendy and we were a little surprised to find out that all four were readily available. The result is a rich, copper-colored ale with a strong, refined hop profile of spiciness with a hint of grapefruit.
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Reviews: 59 | Hads: 422
Photo of maximum12
1.9/5  rDev -50.3%

Thanks to Joe_Grizzly for this extra in a recent trade box that should really have exploded from the force of the hops contained within. 22 oz. doomed bottle split with my wife.

The pop brings foam fizzing right up to the edge of the bottle: these two breweries didn’t skimp on the carbonation bill. Fake tan orange. Smells orange too, and mango, sweet.

Cluster’s Last Stand is a pretty good name for a beer, but this brew falls to LCCD syndrome (least common collaboration denominator). Butter-sweet malts greet my palate. Sourdough pretzels, orange Tang, nasty earthiness which roars in mid-palate & drowns out everything else. I’ve let it warm up a bit to confirm, but doctor, the patient is dead.

Separately, these two breweries kick some serious IPA ass; together, I’m not sure their foot could reach my ankles. A collaboration gone seriously wrong. Drain pour.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%

Poured an orange body with two finger head that dies slow with lace ring.
Dry, citric hop aroma with some minimal grape and malty sweetness.
Mostly a textbook with a couple of nuances, sharp citric hops dominate taste profile with some floral earthiness and then there's a little grape (tropical fruit) and malt sweetness to add balance.
Finishes dry and worth trying as ABV is hidden and this is a dangerously easy sipper (I killed my draft in no time).

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Photo of RickS95
3.72/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a golden copper color. Reasonably clear liquid but still dark enough to keep most light out. The head is a dirty white up front, then invisible as it dissipates quickly, leaving just tiny bubbles around the edge.

Mostly piney resins in the nose, with some citrus and grass hiding in the background. The IPA scents are fairly gentle, allowing a bit of the pale malt to come through.

The hops are very prevalent, but kind of hide their indentity as I can't quite pick up all the flavors from the nose. No one flavor distinguishes itself from the hop side, so you can pick up the malt fairly easily.

Very bitter, but not a palate wrecker. There is no transition from sweet or citrusy to bitter, it starts off bitter and stays that way. It scrubs your palate clean with each sip, making it a good beer to have with dinner. Medium bodied.

This is a good collaboration beer, and a manly one at that. Nothing is ever over the top, stopping just short of it.

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Photo of MisSigsFan
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a golden yellow with a thick white head. The head dissipates quickly and leaves a bit of lacing. Smell is of orange and earth. A bit of pine as well. Taste follows the nose. Alcohol is hidden well. Mouthfeel is crisp yet a bit heavy. Easy to drink but it's obvious this can't hold up to the modern IPA. Overall a pretty good IPA. I have my doubts this is what the original Ballantine was like but I like it. Not something to go out of your way to get but it's a must try.

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Photo of neenerzig
4.29/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into one of my pint glasses out of a 22 oz bomber, this beer pours a fairly cloudy/hazy, medium copper color with a golden hue and a nice white head that is about 1/2 to 2/3 inch thick when first poured along with a somewhat steady stream of little bubbles rising to the top of das beer's surface. Settles to a nice thick ring lining the inside of the glass along with some good sized clusters of film foam layers on the beer's surface along with some pretty good lacing too. Aromas of some caramel, malty sweetness and a nice load of citrus, earthy hoppyness. Has a nice, fresh, floral, citrus hop flavor upfront that gives way to some oh so slightly toasted bready, caramel malt sweetness that gives way back to the hoppy flavors that are going on here. Weird in that regard. Never quite had that in a beer that I can recall before. Cool though. Has a crisp, yet smooth and somewhat frothy, slightly oily/syrupy, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate to heavy carbonation. Easy to drink in the was good beer outh to be, a bit too easily drinkable for an ABV of 8.3%. A very good, solid effort here that is quite enjoyable.


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Photo of sourd
3.25/5  rDev -14.9%

12 oz on tap at the beach club

light orange, like a proper nuevo style double ipa

smells like a mango...not mango scented hops, an actual mango.

boozy...tropical boozy

thin and boozy, stickier and stickier as it comes to temp...relatively dry for the style. not a lot of residual sweetness

a slightly above average new style dipa (dirtwolf, sucks, chillwave, etc...). not quite ready to play with the big boys, but close.

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Photo of neurobot01
3.99/5  rDev +4.5%

Some of the flavors that popped into my head while I drank this: butterscotch, shallots, lavender. Suffice to say, it's a pretty unique beer. If it were an American barleywine out of FFF, I'd have an easier time wrapping my head around the flavor profile. Nonetheless, pretty good, and manages to avoid being overly malty for my tastes (not a given when an East Coast brewery is involved).

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Photo of JAFoley
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

A - Hazy golden amber body with bubbly white head. Good retention and lacing.

S - Tangy sour citrus fruits

T - Fresh citrus and floral hops upfront. Not overly bitter. Sugary caramel malts come in but recede quickly leaving you with a hoppy aftertaste.

M - Medium body with moderate/high carbonation. Sticky and syrupy.

O - Really great brew. Love to see the Stone brewers connection. I'm really glad to see such a quality beer being brewed in my home town.

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Photo of RobbDogg
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Orange/Amber pour with a thin head. Lacing is light. A scent of fresh hops and light fruit. Flavors include an original hops pop, pine, lemon, and faint berry. A little malt makes for a well balanced beer with some bitterness on the finish. Drinkable and enjoyable.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.32/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On-tap 10/20/2014 at Doherty's Ale House in Warwick, RI, served in a snifter glass.

A: The beer is a deep amber color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is a nice blend of floral hops, fruity citrus and caramelized malts.

T: The taste starts out with sweet flavors of citrus and caramel. Then a strong piney hops bitterness comes in. The malt character is hearty and creates a good balance. The after-taste is slightly hoppy and slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

O: Very tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, good kick, good representation of style, this is a very good IPA to drink for a long time.

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Photo of HamdenHector
3.96/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: hazy; copper colored; less than a 1 finger off white head that receded quickly to a thin collar; nice lacing;

S: ripe fruit - oranges, strawberries;

T: earthy up front; citrus (mostly lemon) at mid-palate - a little tart; earthy again at the finish; light bitterness at the finish;

M: medium bodied; moderate carbonation;

O: enjoyable; doesn't have the hop wallop that many current IPAs have, bit it is definitely a hop forward beer;

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.96/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Best by 3/5/15. 8.8% ABV per the label.

Pours a hazy orange with a foamy tan head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus fruit, citrus zest, and slight herbal hop aromas. Taste is much the same with citrus fruit, citrus zest, and grapefruit juice flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer that is tasty and easy to drink without any real alcohol presence despite its higher ABV percentage for the style.

Serving type: bottle.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.83/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle best by 3/15/15 poured into a pint glass
A: Slightly hazy orange/light brown color with a one-finger head
S: Citrus, tropical fruits, caramel and a hint of pine. Nice blend
T: Fairly dry, moderate bitterness, some generic citrus/pine/herbs
M: Medium-bodied but nothing remarkable
O: Decent for the style but nothing memorable

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.87/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best By 03/05/15

A: Pours a golden orange color with 2 fingers of head that retains for a good while

S: A nice mix of citrus and piney hops balanced by a light sweetness and some maltiness

T: Follows the nose. Balanced from the start, with the mix of citrus and pine from the hops riding right alongside the lightly sweet caramel maltiness. Alcohol extremely well hidden by the sweet and bitter notes. Finishes with a very light bitterness

M: Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Soft, but firm

O: Extremely drinkable and quaffable for being 8.3%. So very well balanced and rounded that it keeps you coming back for more, despite the lack of any relative complexities. Definitely worth a try, if only for the history of the recipe

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Photo of Roguer
3.79/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Beautiful clear, just slightly hazy orange and copper brew topped by a nice, firm, off-white head. Very good retention, and big flat lines of lacing.

Grapefruit, orange, and pine hop aromas shine through, riding a wave of caramel malt and wheat bread. Very straight forward and direct IPA aroma.

Flavor reflects the aroma. Very bitter and dry up front, followed by a barely sweet caramel malt and grain presence, and finished nicely by bitter citrus peel. A bit of pulpy tangerine and floral notes lighten and sweeten it up from mid to finish.

Lively and bright feel, medium-light, with an oily retention.

This is an old fashioned, straight forward, bitter IPA with a classic profile. Mostly dry hop flavors.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.85/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint, the beer is a hazy, caramel-copper coloring, with a fluffy, light, off-white head, and a steady flow of carbonation bubbling throughout the body. Aromas of tangerine and orange peel forward, with pine and resin to follow, and a subtle biscuit backbone. Very balanced and fruity nose. Flavors are caramel tangy sweet forward, with a citrus blend not far behind. Orange peel and tangerine lighten everything up, but there is a pine pitch and bitter hops resin characteristic that heavies up the palate a bit. Dynamic taste profiles. The beer is robust, but remains on the light side in mouth thanks in part to the carbonation. The aftertaste is more of the bitter, piney, sticky hops character, but the citrus has some lingering power, too. Dry, bitter, slightly astringent finish. Good beer!

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Photo of Flounder57
4.05/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on draft in a tulip at the Union Brewhouse in Weymouth.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a copper color with great clarity and vision of bubbles coming up through the glass. Nice frothy awesome lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Floral, herbal, citrus, tropical, caramel and bready malts. No sign of alcohol. This beer smells great too.

Taste: Balance, balance, balance. This beer tastes as food as it smells and is balanced on top of that. Love it. Need another sip.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, slight booze, medium to full bodied, slight tingly bitterness, and medium carbonation.

Overall: Pretty awesome DIPA. Balanced and deceiving. What else would you want? I know I want more of this soon.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.71/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle pours a dark brown with orange hues and a small amount of head. Minimal lacing. The aroma is pine and floral hops. A hint of citrus and maybe vanilla. The taste is piney hops and a bit boozey upfront. Some floral bitterness with a bit of oak. Some bready malts as well. Finishes with some more piney hops. Floral aftertaste. Medium bodied. Decent but I prefer the recent Ballantine IPA offering over this one.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.02/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a copper color with a white soapy head that leaves sheets of lace. The aroma has pine, woods, tea and a faint lemon citrus. The taste reminds me of a modest barleywine or a rather large ipa. Pine, grapefruit pith, and tea meld with brown sugar, toffee and caramel. Full bodied, big assed brew. Overall, this tilts the tide towards modern Double IPA territory from a classic English barleywine. Kind of an Albatross but that's not a bad thing.

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Photo of ErockRPh
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%

This beer is a collaboration brew based on the Ballantine's IPA recipe in Mitch Steele's IPA book. This tastes nothing like the typical West Coast IPA, but it is fantastic. The nose is catty, with lots of black currant and some lavender floral notes. Flavor is resin, with some fruity currant notes and a bit of floral hops. The malt is on the light side, but some bready Munich notes provide the right balance. Bitterness is sharp and sticky, but fades nicely on the finish leaving you wanting another sip.

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Photo of brureview
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

I was not expecting to fully enjoy this beer- I was quite surprised.

Pours an amber color in a tulip with a 2F head.

The aroma was earthy, mild citrus, and piney which eventually faded.

The taste is citrus and pine.

The focal point of this beer is the finish. It's excellent: piney, hoppy bitterness. Tart and refreshing.
There is a bit of dryness to the finish.

The Bullion and the Cluster hops give the beer good bittering notes. The Brewers Gold and East Kent add to the finish. Yeast: White Labs WLP-001 American Ale (widely rumored to be the original Ballantine strain) I haven't tasted the Ballantine IPA, an inspiration to craft brewing.

One drinks this beer for the finish and mouth feel. Worth checking out.

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Photo of ColdOneKev
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

A - Slightly hazy copper with a fluffy white head, leaves moderate/heavy lacing.

S - Dank hops, some light biscuit coming through from the malt, very light citrus.

T - More malt than the nose led me to believe, spicy hops, and yes some chalk and metallic characteristics. Slight warmth from the ABV appears very late after the sip.

M - medium body, low carbonation. Dry finish. Bitterness tickles the senses.

O - Definitely a good English style IPA, or pre-prohibition, as indicated by the label. I see more of the Smuttynose contribution than Stone in this brew.

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Photo of babaracas
3.96/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber with a huge fluffy eggshell colored head that settles to a thick cap leaving big chunks of foam haphazardly behind. Smell: pine needles, floral, herbal and woody notes, with jammy sweetness. Taste: very resinous, jam sweet...orange marmalade but not as strongly orange, herbal finish. Oily and slightly boozy with a lightly sticky finish. Very glad the style has evolved to not just emulate this, but this is pretty tasty. I wonder if the original Ballantine was this well made as nostalgia seems to be explicitly driving every review of Pabst's recent remake.

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Photo of SABERG
3.78/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a recent bottle into a modified tulip glass.
A - Wild flower honey golden color, gentle carbonation, capped by a soft vanilla cap.
S - A fabulous blend of citrus, melon, and spring spruce. The nose shifts as the beer warms. Fresh
warm grass, and hints of lemon rise.
T - Soft lemon drop, light hints of rising sourdough, and finally those tropical notes close the deal.
F - Medium bodied, coats the palate, and lingers with oily resins. The feel is weighted to the finish.
O - The Cluster hop is such a treat, the body of the beer is straight down the middle, no real frills, no real risk.
Frankly a nice reprieve from the tropical, or piney behemoths out these days.

Cheers all

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Photo of smakawhat
3.98/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a Spiegelau IPA glass.

Bright red like orange, with some much lighter lemon yellow hue and highlights through a very nice clear body. Good ample but not overboard carbonation that rises from the bottom very slowly. Head is a bit fluffy and small, with light retention, but settles to a thick two finger cap, smaller than the three finger creation off the pour. Soapy puck and retention, with minimal lacing and no clumps.

Solid hop front. Spicy hop and hints of pine, with a bit of wood and weed like character. Some smoke like embers a bit and not much malt presence. Sort of reminds me a little of the 18th Anniversary by Stone but a little more fruitier on the hop angle and a touch of sweetness giving to orange/tangerine citrus as it warms up. Minimal but basic malt IPA presence presented.

Palate surprisingly lighter than expected, almost like a session IPA. Crisp and some hinting biscuit, but a lighter hop flavor than the nose indicates. Mild juice but fleeting of some tropical notes. Much of the distinct smoke and pine bent seems lost in favor of some small tangerine orange. Very big spicy and peppery like hop finish on the aftertaste, kind of fun.

It at first comes off like a watery session IPA but saves itself a bit with a very unique hop angle. A decent collaborative brew and IPA that I could drink again.

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Smuttynose Stone Cluster's Last Stand from Smuttynose Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 59 ratings.