Smuttlabs Winter Ale - Aged In Red Wine Barrels | Smuttynose Brewing Company

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Smuttlabs Winter Ale - Aged In Red Wine BarrelsSmuttlabs Winter Ale - Aged In Red Wine Barrels

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States

Style: Dubbel

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ElGallo on 02-19-2014

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 10 | Ratings: 48
Photo of angrybabboon
3.82/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Consumed 8/27/15... I meant to drink this about a year ago. Oops.

A: Dark brown with some rich garnet highlights, ruby around the edges - somewhat murky, but with some clarity - pours with a very large, fluffy, tan head - gradually fades to a medium sized, dense, solid cap that leaves sheets of lacing

S: Red wine, wood, and chocolate - the wine barrel-aging stands out first, with some deep, red wine, some straight-up grapes, and lots of wood - dark fruits and berries - Belgian yeast, with some yeasty funk, old basement, clove, and an above-average phenols - some light acetone as well - lots of chocolate, including dark chocolate, cocoa, and Tootsie Rolls - bready base, with some cooked biscuits, caramel sweetness, molasses

T: A Dubbel with touches of red wine, works surprisingly well - red wine, dry grapes, raisins, dark fruits, dark cherries, dark berries - lightly tart - woody, with some oak - Belgian yeast funk, with some spice, some clove, a touch of banana, and some phenols - somewhat earthy - cocoa and Tootsie Rolls - sweet overall, with sweet malts and some candi sugar - bread crust, biscuits, caramel, molasses - finishes with some lingering sweetness

M: Medium body, very smooth, finishes mostly dry with some lingering sweetness

O: It's a grape flavored Tootsie Roll pop

Dubbels often have a raisin-like flavor and sweetness, so aging one in red wine actually makes sense as an idea. I like what Smutty did here, and I hope to see it again.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.74/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bottle into a shaker pint, the beer is a very dark, ruby highlighted brown coloring, with a tall, frothy, bubbly, off-white head. Aromas of dry and fruity red wine characteristics forward, with an underlying chocolate and caramel backbone. Richly sweet and dry, blending nicely on the nose. The flavors are an interesting blend of rich, roasted sweet notes of chocolate, caramel, and toffee, with a balance of dry grape and berry red wine notes. Smooth, slightly slick bodied, with a rich sweet and roasted chocolate and dry red wine aftertaste. The finish is smooth, dry, and with a lingering wine flavor. Interesting brew.

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Photo of Seanniek91
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%

Served from a 375ml bottle into a Fantome tulip.

Pours a murky garnet with two finger bubbly white head that left some nice lacing. Smell is chocolate, mint, dark stone fruits, light oak. Taste is similar with light tannic notes from the barrel, mint, chocolate, light tart plums and dark berries, and light oak. Mouthfeel is moderately carbonated, medium bodied, a little tart, but smooth.

I was really pleased with this one. The base beer is not even noticeable, but the new beer here is very unique and great!

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Photo of wedge
3.63/5  rDev -4.2%

Totally random find at Bestway in Greensboro. Deep mahogany with a tan head that starts out large but settles to a pool of creamy bubbles. Instant red wine barrel in the nose followed by cherry, sherry, and more subtle nutty chocolate. Flavor is borderline tart, but backs off at the last second. Smooth red wine tannis, spice, oak, port, and a general, mellow fruitiness. The malt flavor is low-key and exists mostly as a bready, nutty aftertaste. Mouthfeel is nice and fluffy yet finishes dry and slightly tart. Pretty interesting and very easy to drink. Kinda sorta Dubbelish, but then the wine takes over. I wasn't expecting something so refreshing.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12.7oz capped bottle poured into a globe.

A: Dark garnet color. Creamy, fine bubbled tan head retains very well at a good inch and a half in height. Plenty of spotty and clumpy lacing.

S: Bready and crusty. Big waft of brown cocoa. Brown molasses. Vinous with a touch of booze. Lots of red berries, currants, and cherry. Candi sugar. Oak. Yeasty with clove and some light medicinal smells.

T: Very fruit-forward. Cherries and red berries abound. Vinous. Good tartness with some acidity. Malts begin to take hold. Toasted crust, mild woody roast. Bold flavors of unsweetened cocoa begin to wrap themselves around everything. Woody vanilla and oak. Earthy yeast, mild medicinal/clove flavors. Orange peel? Could be the hops too, as they lend a good dose of bitterness. Finishes with red berries, red wine, and a strong nutty cocoa flavor.

M: Medium bodied. Mildly acidic and tannic. Creamy and silky. It wants to let its heft sit on the palate, but the fine and sharp carbonation bubbles whisk it away.

O: A very good beer overall. Great complexity, and the tart, vinous fruit flavors play very well with woody and chocolatey malts. A great sipper. I'd love to see 750ml cork and cages, I think this would age well.

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Photo of Maxwell
3.21/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

The beer pours out the color of amber mud, or maple syrup. Its sits in the glass as a deep, dark maroon, with a small fringe of sand-dune-white bubbles. In body, the beer is opaque and a cloudy muddle. Nothing of the other side of the glass can be seen, but a steady stream of bubbles can be noted. It’s not much too look at from a beer perspective, but from a wine perspective it looks like an aged red with nice brick coloring. On the nose the beer smells of blackberries, Syrah-based wine, soft oak, grape soda, and fruit punch. The more I sniff, the more I am reminded of fruit juice. As it warms, the nose takes a metallic twist that isn’t that pleasant. On the tongue, the beer tastes hugely of earthy oak tannin, fruity sweetness, and a touch of tart, vinous acidity. Bitter tannin definitely snaps at the finish, but not too aggressively. In flavor, this beer is all about the oak. Light berry sweetness touches at the start of the sip and then divulges into big old, roasty-toasty oak with an earthy vanilla flavor. The finish brings in more red wine, woody tannins, slight metal, apple juice, fruit punch, and grape juice flavors. There is a hint of musty cellar just as the sip begins, and that flavor seems to haunt the rest of the sip for me, suggesting slight oxidized sherry notes, especially on the finish as the beer warms. Overall, I am tasting little to nothing of the base beer, which is a shame. In the mouth, the beer feels on the plus side of medium in body, with a definite tannic structure. I almost feel like I am drinking cheap red wine. Snappy carbonation gives a crispness to the mouthfeel, which seems off with the style. I want this to be smooth and sultry on the tongue, and it shows hints of that underneath the carbonation, but in the end it is just too crisp for the style. Overall, I’m a little disappointed by this beer. In theory, Smutty’s Winter Ale should blend wonderfully with subtle oak aging, but I think they left this one in the barrel for too long, and I don’t think they matched up the wine type well enough. I think a nice, spicy Tempranillo, or earthy Cab Sauv would have done much better alongside the Winter Ales smooth, bready and spicy flavors. I’m not entirely sure of the wine type, but it tastes far too ‘new world fruity’ for the beer. In the end, the beer was lost to the barrel and wine. Great barrel and wine notes in this beer, but I want more beer! It was alright to drink for a cheap red wine perspective, but not as a beer.

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Photo of metter98
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: The beer is hazy dark brown in color and has bits of reddish hues. It poured with a quarter finger high beige head that died down but consistently left a thin head covering the surface and some lacing down the sides of the glass.
S: Light aromas of red wine are present in the nose along with notes of oak and hints of underlying caramel malts.
T: Like the smell, the taste has flavors of red wine from the barrel aging but tannins from the oak seem to stand out a little more prominently.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a bit tart on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: While you can definitely taste the red wine and oak flavors from the barrel aging, neither of these seem to be overpowering, it's difficult to discern any of the other aromas and flavors of the underlying beer.

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Photo of puboflyons
3.77/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

From the 12.7 fl. oz limited edition bottle. Sampled on March 3, 2014.

The beer pours mainly brown with some reddish hues and a pleasant little cream colored head that fades and laces.

The fact that this is aged in wine barrel is something I pick up in the aroma. There is this caramel malt and baking chocolate character, yes, but it is then superseded by the red grape or wine-like esters from the barrel aging.

Medium body but also smooth.

The taste evolves from start to finish. At first I get the same chocolate disposition as I do on the nose with a vague wine-like finish but the chocolate diminishes with each ensuing sip and the grape or wine-like character pulls forward. It results in a slightly tart finale.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.61/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Bert's
Pours a clear deep copper with light ruby highlights at the edges and a huge frothy tan head that persists forever. Aromas of caramel and brown sugar with bits of dark bitter chocolate and a touch of earth grape skins, vanilla, and a hint of sherry like oxidation. The flavor is brown sugary with a solid dark fruity presence that is just short of tart. Light chocolate, earth, and a touch of vanilla round out the flavor. Medium body with a light to moderate level of carbonation and a slick sweet mouthfeel. Kind of vinous and a shade dry. I love how the subtle barrel notes accentuate, but the base beer seems unable to shine through here.

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Photo of ElGallo
4.04/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Purchased 2/7/14 at the brewery in Portsmouth. $9 for a capped 375 mL bottle. Pours a dark reddish brown and looks just like the regular Smuttynose Winter Ale. Some head but not much really, and very little lacing. The nose definitely has some red wine and slightly sour/acidic notes to it. I had samples at the brewery before purchasing the bottle and asked what types of red wine barrels were used and was told "a variety." The taste has some wine characteristics to it, but they are very subtle compared to the nose, with some brown sugar, raisin, and mild tartness in there as well. Overall I thought this was a nice beer, and it was the first barrel-aged offering I think I've ever had from Smuttynose. Seems like the Short Batch series is slowly transitioning into "Smuttlabs," and I'm glad to see them keeping the experimental stuff going. I would say this beer is worth trying once, as it was flavorful and had some wine barrel notes to it. However, the cost of one bottle is the same as a six-pack of the regular Winter Ale, so I won't be stocking up on this. Hopefully the cost will come down a little when this hits retail soon. Cheers.

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Smuttlabs Winter Ale - Aged In Red Wine Barrels from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.79 out of 5 based on 48 ratings.
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