Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale (Big Beer Series) | Smuttynose Brewing Company

very good
608 Ratings
Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale (Big Beer Series)

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States

Style: American Barleywine

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.60%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
First brewed in England, these potent, malty monsters were frequently aged before being put into small bottles and sold as strong beers or even medicinal tonics. The American version has been blown up with more alcohol, larger bottles and more hops.

Smuttynose Barleywine straddles these two branches of the barleywine tree. When you taste it, you’ll notice deep, rich caramel malt flavors, balanced with hop bitterness. Fruity hop flavors act as a garnish for its amped-up but classic flavor. For a more refined experience, tuck a few bottles away for a year or two. The alcohol will mellow and the hop aromas will fade into the background, leaving the luscious malt to shine on its own.

65 IBU

2007 - 11.4%
2009 - 11.1%

Added by UncleJimbo on 02-04-1999

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Ratings: 608 |  Reviews: 356
Photo of Bung
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. Orange/amber pour with a thin layer of white bubbles.

Aroma is quite hoppy, pine and light citrus. You have to search for the caramel/malt a bit.

Taste is more balanced, caramel apple with a heavy dose of citrusy hops. There is a nice malt backbone there. Finishes pretty dry with pine bitterness.

Medium bodied, not overly sticky. A little more prickly than I would like. It is a bit boozy, but not overly so. Definetely warms you up though.

A solid version of the American version.

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Photo of BeerNinja007
3.94/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber, $5.59 at Beverage King in West Lebanon NH. Bottle-conditioned in 2009.

Thick murky golden brew. Dense rocky head builds slowly to 1", then fades even slower to a thick carpet and tons of lace. Aroma is massive. Mainly spruce, lemon rind, caramel, and shortcake, with tons of nuances, some fruit/ berries, some florals. Taste is much fruiter and less sweet than I expected. Big strawberry note up front, then hops and big malts take over. Spruce and lemon linger long in the finish, accompanied by a bit of alcohol burn. I'm still tasting it a few minutes later. This is a full, heavy bodied brew, a meal in itself. Mouthfeel is thick but dry, a little resiny. Lemon rind in the finish seems to emphasize the alcohol burn, which is unfortunate. Maybe a bit more sweetness, like half way to Gravitation (raisin paste), would help. Although it has its flaws and is a little rough in some areas, overall it is another solid offering from Smutty's Big Beer series.

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Photo of johnnnniee
4.04/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 Vintage
Sampled on a what the hell kind of day.
Pours a slightly cloudy orange amber color with a big fluffy white head that recedes quickly but never really disappears. Smells of sweet fruit and citrus hops. Slight touch of alcohol and oranges and apricots come to mind. Taste is hop bitterness right away but almost instantly gives way to some sweetness. Fruits and light brown sugar and caramel lots of hints of citrus mid way through finishing with a long lingering orange apricot and bitter hop finish. Full bodied, sweet sticky almost syrupy mouthfeel, medium level of carbonation. I enjoy this beer every year, its a touch on the sweet side, but I enjoy the hell out of it.

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Photo of bcastine
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber 09 vintage poured into a Portsmouth Brewery Tulip

A: Orange hue with 1 finger head that slowly dissipates to the edge where it remains throughout the session. Leaves spotty lacing down the glass, a sticky one.

S: Huge bouquet of American hops. Pine, fruit and alcohol.

T: Tongue is immediately meet with a hop bitterness that quickly fades into malt sweetness with the hops returning at the end. Great balance of hops and sweetness, near perfect. Nice warming effect from the alcohol, not hot but very smooth sipper.

M: Nice level of carbonation, not cloying in the least bit but its a sticky one.

D: An easy one to drink for the style and ABV. Quite complex so invites the next sip. If you like SN Bigfoot you will find this equally enjoyable. A much better American Barleywine then the B+ rating would indicate.

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Photo of CharlatanSin
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the bomber into a tulip. Smutty never lets me down.

A: Very pretty. Pours a truly radiant hazy orange/red. The pour creates a large but fizzy off-white head that fades quickly but laces very nicely.

S: Outstanding. The fruitiest American barleywine I've smelled yet. Sharp, sweet fruit. Mango, pineapple, and similar. A nice pine hop compliment. A little spice. Mouthwatering.

T: Very nice. Definitely a hop bomb, but seems a bit better balanced than some other American barleywines I've had. The taste follows the smell, except the fruit is toned down a bit, and there's more of a caramel malt presence.

M: Very thick, with low, lazy carbonation. Coats the mouth.

D: A great American barleywine, and yet another top-notch beer with Smuttynose. One of my top couple of breweries, especially at the price point.

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Photo of rpstevens
4.24/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a Portsmouth tulip. The beer pours a glowing orange with a copper center. There is a one finger white foam head that quickly fades to a tight cap, leaving some slight bubbly lacing on the walls of the glass.

The smell is incredible. Pineapple, sharp lemon zest, grapefruit and sticky pine cone hops. The hops are intense and strong, but they are backed by a candy apple sweetness and a nice caramel malt.

The taste follows the smell nicely, with tons of juicy almost-bitter-hops hitting the tongue first and foremost. The hops come right to the point of being bitter, right where a nice imperial IPA would take it, and they become overly juicy and citrus sweet. The citrus sweetness is followed by that same candy apple and caramel that was in the nose, very balanced finish. Mixed with the sweet notes is an alcohol sweetness that really compliments the other flavors well.

The beer is well carbonated, full bodied and very crisp. The juicy hops and sweet malts balance nicely and mask the high abv very well. The beer finishes nice and dry, without ever being too bitter or too sweet. This is very drinkable.

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Photo of Metalmonk
4.2/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glowing orange-y red color, almost candy apple red; hazy with a thin light-tan head that lessens to a skim and leaves tiny dots of lace on the glass.

Nice strong citrus rind in the nose, very topical-fruity with pineapple jutting out most. Candy-like, indicating a bold sweetness. Bright.

Wow, speaking of bright, this flavor is almost glaring. Prickly pineapple and sugar-glazing sit up front, while deeper in there's tart citrus rind, full-on lime, spicy alcohol (kept well in check, even at 10%), light cinnamon and caramel much further back, and a tag-team of rind and fresh sticky pine in the finish. While this all sounds extremely hop-centric, it's the malt sweetness that brings just as much character to the tongue. Somehow, amazingly, impossibly, Smuttynose has avoided a total tooth-rotting sugar disaster here. It has balance and grace despite the bright bluster.

Not incredibly heavy in body, this has a snappy, zesty texture. Very little stickiness, although it's there, and considering the style, it ought to be.

Not a mindblower, but remarkably balanced despite a wild hop/sweet mutation. This is interesting, and reminded me of Bearded Pat's barleywine by Bluegrass Brewing Co. (Kentucky). That too needed aging, and I think next time I see this I'll do my best to let it sit in the cellar a year or two. (This was from the 2009 bottling.)

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

2007 vintage bomber poured into my large Gulden Draak tulip, Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale is dark garnet with a light tan head leaving pretty lace.

Smell is really robust, big malt, nutty and very spicy, with a light sweetness.

Taste is pretty big, classic barleywine taste of gingerbread malt, nice spiciness but smooth and well integrated, indicating cellar time well served.

Mouthfeel is sticky, medium bodied.

Drinkability is good, a nice barleywine that has aged well and is a good representation of the style. Nothing particularly distinct about it, but well done.

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Photo of jlindros
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Part of our central New England Beer Advocate Meetup #2.

A: Light fizzy head fades quickly, bright hazy orange red color.

N: Hoppy! Some sweet malts, slight boozy, sweet fruit, some orange peel.

T: Still hoppy! One, if not the, hoppiest barleywine I've ever had. Chewy hops, chewy malts, some sweet malt flavor, spicy hops. Very bitter and hoppy, almost an aged DIPA. Citrus and ping with a little boozy character. Some tangerine flavor as well.

M: Semi medium, chewy, decent carbonation.

F: Semi sweet, malty, long bitter spicy and chewy hops, some pine, a little orange peel lingering, and hot, a little too boozy overall.

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Photo of Parrotbeak
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cloudy, red-orange color with a thin white head that disappears quickly.
Smell is overripe fruits (grapefruit, in particular), with a lot of hops and some malts behind. Some spice, and alcohol as well. Interesting...
Taste is sweet, spicey malts, with some hops coming in quickly after. Mild, overripe, fruity character follows, with a sweet, sharp, bready malt character coming in at the finish. Alcohol fairly assertive.
Mouthfeel is flat, but a little bit of carbonation can be detected.
Decent on drinkability. The sweetness and alcohol make the bottle a little bit difficult to finish.

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

Poured from 22oz brown bottle into a clear oversized wine glass. 2009 vintage. Purchased at Market Street Wineshop (Charlottesville, VA) for $5.99.

A: Amber-ruby hue with healthy 1-finger beige head with average retention for ABV and scattered lace formations.

S: Resin and honeysuckle are the strongest aromas with some orange and pine too. Malt is poorly represented but there is some mild sweetness, but alcohol is prominent with rosy aromas.

T: Alcohol is pretty quickly apparent but reasonably mellow for as big as it is. Malt is huge and contributes caramel sweetness. But hops take the day with resiny, citrusy, earthy, and prickly bitter flavors. Aftertaste is woody and earthy with equal parts malt and hops.

M: Medium-full body with low carbonation and good coating quality. The body is such that the malt and bitterness linger and project the flavor another step.

D: Pretty drinkable but high alcohol content for sure. I think this is going to be a malty beast with 3-4 years on it.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
3.58/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

One of the last Big Beer Series Brews that I haven't had. Pours a deep orange with some chill haze but some decent bubbles. Nice off-white head with sticky lacing.

A boozy pine cone for a scent. Just a tad over-hopped.

More of the same. Nice deep malt flavor with a kick of alcohol. Citrus fruit and booze dominate, with orange peel soaked in alcohol being the big flavor up front, with nice sweet toasted malt and then a big hop bitter citric kick in the end. Tone the hops down just a smidge boys and you have a true winner here. Once again a Big Beer that they over hopped.

Fuller-bodied, but there's plenty of carbonation here.

Overall, I dug this, but not the best of style I've had. Very close, but just a touch flawed. Still. worth trying.

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Photo of silentjay
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a reddish copper decent head and lacing, nice stream of bubbles and kinda cloudy.

Smells like Orange Juice a couple of weeks past its "drink by" date. very citrusy but with a boozy twang. Malt comes through a bit, but im expecting tons of hops based on the scent.

Taste has more malt than the smell. Orange juice flavor does come through, but its more in the background than it is in the nose. The flavor comes in shifts, its first bitter hops, then sweet malt, then citrusy hops. Very complex.

Mouthfeel is ok. kinda prickly going down, more carbonation than i expected in a bottle-conditioned beer. not a bad thing, per se, but does make me take smaller sips.

Drinkability is hindered a bit by the prickly mouthfeel, but is good because of all the different aspects that you notice with each sip. not a beer to "down" but a beer to contemplate.

I don't normally like Barleywines, but they are growing on me and this one helps. I enjoyed every sip of this beer, especially for $6.49 a bomber. I will visit this one again and I am impressed, again, with Smuttynose.

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Photo of Pahn
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into a wine glass.

Appearance: Moderate pour yields a 1/3 inch off-white head that dissipates steadily and leaves lots of bars of lacing. Color is opaque amber. Good splotches of lacing throughout.

Smell: Out of the bottle there's a sweet smell of sugary malt and grapefruit hops. In the glass there's some caramel, grapefruit, and other fruits. Huge, inviting smell with notes of pear, apricot, mango, and maybe some plum and other fruits.

Taste: Follows the nose, with lots of fruity esters (pear and apricot mainly), grapefruit and piny hops with a strong bitterness (especially at finish), and a mild, sugary caramel malt. There's more tropical fruit, hops, and subdued caramel than any sort of roasted malt character. Mild alcohol warmth at the end. Overall, it's definitely sugary but not cloying. Not as deep as some other barleywines, but the fruit/hops balance is complex and nice.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a sticky finish. Juicier than it is creamy. The bitter, sticky finish isn't great, but isn't bad.

Drinkability: Heavy, but very refreshing. ABV catches up with you quickly, but it's a tasty sipper. Will happily buy more.

At $4-$5/bomber, this beer is a great value, comparable to Lagunitas Olde Gnarlywine. There's a lot of flavorful hop influence and great tropical fruit notes. Sugary, but doesn't go too far. One of the better Smuttynose beers I've had.

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Photo of soco7tyx7
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I will admit that I, at first had some trouble with this one. At first I thought it was just an insanely hopped BW with not much to bring to the table. After a 22oz over a few hours, I learned that I was wrong and that this BW is quite complex! This is what I got:

A - A hazy ruby copper with a 1 finger light tan/off white head with a subtle amount of lacing

S - A sweet citrusy pine resin, some booziness, and a solid ever present apricot/peach aroma

T - Had to search for it but I discovered a bitter sweet chocolate right up front with a sweet syrupy fruity malt in the body, with a finish that is dominated by a resinous grapefruit that lingers with some intense bitterness. Among all this, the alcohol is certainly present

M - Smooth up front with a sort of thin body. Sticky for sure with some heat in the finish

D - It took me a while to get through my first glass but by the second, I found myself enjoying this ale quite a bit. It was, for me, intense and at first a bit overwhelming. I had a hard time identifying the flavors/aromas, which made it intriguing. A complex BW for sure

Note: If one finds this one to be too much, try it with some white cheddar cheese-its or just some sharp takes the edge off of the bitterness and makes it easier to drink

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Photo of augustgarage
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to ShogoKawada for yet another Big Beer!

Not vintage marked, but I presume this is the '09 release. Poured from a 22oz bomber into a snifter.

Hazy international orange body shot through with small glowing orbs of amber. A respectable soapy sunset/beige head settles to a gossamer layer on the surface, which shift like clouds viewed from orbit. A dense collar persists.

A touch of pine and grapefruit comes through in the aroma which is quickly followed by toasted brown sugar and a wave of malt. The alcohol adds a touch of fruit, but is surprisingly restrained.

Hops, dry bread, toffee, and walnuts build the base of flavor. Very faint banana, along with brandy, and apricot stones mid-palate. The finish is very dry, somewhat bitter, and almost astringent, though I can detect no roast malt. Lacks a little complexity, but there are some hints that this might develop with some age.

Somewhat thin for the style, which is surprising considering the ABV. Moderate carbonation, and warming...

Not a spectacular example of the style, but well made and highly drinkable none the less.

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Photo of rapidsequence
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle from BeerRun in Cville. $5.99. The little mark is between 09 and 10, but I think its probably a 2010.

Appearance: Slightly hazy, but bright orange amber. Short lived head and some lacing.

Smell: Big and rich sweet caramel maltiness. There's an almost peachy fruitiness. Big whiffs burn a little from ethanol.

Taste: Lots of sweet and caramelly malt flavor. Again, some boozy burn, but not unpleasant. There's a pretty hefty dose of hoppy bitterness on the end which is a nice contrast to the malt load. Pretty tasty.

Mouthfeel: Pretty full and chewy. Nice resiny hops coating at the end. Damn good.

Drinkability: This is a really solid and affordable barleywine. Decent aroma and flavor complexity and big mouthfeel. I really like it.

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Photo of yesyouam
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Smuttynose Barleywine is a hazy, copper ale with big, foamy, off white head that has outstanding retention and lacing. As soon as I popped the top, I smelled something warm, sweet and bready. Dipping my nose in the glass, there's a strong aroma of hops: grassy, spicy and fruity with a note of orange peel. It's pretty full bodied, very smooth and slick with a very quick, dry finish. It tastes a little sweet at first; then it gets resiny and finally quite bitter. There are flavor notes of wood, spice and orange peel. It's solidly American and really pretty complex. It kept my attention.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.92/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had on-tap at Track 84. Half pour served in a stange. Color was a hazy burnt orange/caramel with a quarter inch loose, off-white head that dissipates into a swirl of foam. Lots of citrus off the nose - oranges, sugar and some aromatic hops come out as the brew warms up a little. Taste is interesting - candied citrus with some light hops bittering coming out at the finish. Mouthfeel is medium-light and evenly carbonated. An easy drinking beer with a well-hidden abv (too well-hidden - glad I went for the half pour). I have to say though that I prefer the body and malty complexity of English Barleywines over their American counterparts. However, this is a solid brew and well worth trying. Smuttynose has become my go to brewery for quality brews at a very reasonable price.

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Photo of Casey10
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this one up today. Really a nice brew glad to try this.

A - Nice, Dark murky orange brown slight head with nice lacing.

S- Loved this grapefruit with sugar powers through.

T - Nice real grapefruit taste puckering really wonder what this would be aged though rather like.

M - Stinging citrus smarty like almost resinous.

D - While this is good fresh, will it be better aged perhaps. Given the strong ABV and the bitterness I find the drinkability to me above average for know. I will make sure to revisit though.

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Photo of CHADMC3
3.92/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The body pours a copper to walnut brown body beneath a couple of finger tan head that leaves a sticky lacing in its wake with a thin layer atop the beer.

Immediate aroma includes pine and floral hops but as the beer warms the fruity esters and sweet caramel malt begin to appear.

Similar to the aroma, the pine and floral hops dominate the palate upon the pour. As it warms the sweet malt and fruit characters resembling miscellaneous citrus step forward.

Thin to medium in body with medium carbonation, yet very smooth despite the abv.

Good brew overall, some characteristics outside of what one may expect of an American Barleywine, but quite tasty.

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Photo of steve8robin
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Glad to find this one released finally...

A: Looks good. Medium copper with a slight muddy appearance. Small off-white head that quickly fades

S: I can smell this brew while I was pouring it. Very strong hoppy / grapefruit scent right upfront with a slight brown sugar backend. Very good smell.

T: Good. Doesn't bring a lot of new elements to the table. Hoppiness upfront with with a slight grapefruit backend. Candy sugars are well hidden in the flavor. Good, but not great.

M: Perfectly smooth. Good carbonation feel. Awesome!

D: Goes down very easy despite the bold hops.

All in all, this is a decent brew. I'd definitely recommend this for people who enjoy American Barleywines. It has hops upfront with a slight sweetness hidden in the mix.

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Photo of TK5150
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2009 bottle held over for release this year.

A- Pours a slightly murky orange with a small off-white/beige head.

S- Grapefruit, orange, mango, apricot, peach, tangerine, brown sugar, and alcohol all up in your face. Smells excellent.

T- Mirror of the nose. This is one hoppy delicious american barleywine. A little caramel shows up as well. Some green apple appears in the aftertaste. Fantastic. Haven't had a bottle since 2007, and boy have I missed it. I remember slightly more apple back in the day, but this stuff is still amazing. If not the best barleywine around, by far the best value.

M- Slightly thin, but good enough. It is 11.1% alc/vol remember, so it is plenty attenuated.

D- Damn delicious. The fact this is such a big beer hurts the score somewhat here.

Overall one of my favorite beers, especially for the price. Incredible barleywine. And at less than $5/bottle, I will be buying plenty of this while I can.

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Photo of indiapaleale
4.37/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pour - super rich orange and golden in color with a nice sized fluffy off-white head. This looks potent and viscous as its got some legs and some nice lacing.

Aroma - oh man, this is what I was hoping it would be...hoppy! Such great grapefruit and other citrus notes along with a nice whiff of alcohol. Smells like a super portent Double IPA right now.

Taste - lots of fruit flavors like pears, apples, graprefuit, grapes, tangerines and oranges. Combine all that estery goodness with a nice big malty backbone, a kick of alcohol and a dry tart finish and you've got yourself an excellent and deliciously fresh American-style barleywine.

Overall - excellent. I love it fresh and I can't wait to compare it to a bottle with some age. Super hoppy and delicious right now with the warming quality that makes it perfect for a cold winter night but the hoppiness that would be great on a nice summer day as well.

Would I buy more of it? - absolutely. I'll be buying a few bottles later this week.

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Photo of Proteus93
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Hazy sunrise orange-golden hue topped with a modest white head, about half a finger tall. Some spotted lacing around the glass.

S + T: Big, sweet, and malty with plenty of hops kicking it up a notch. Some very pleasant esters adding to the mix, with flavour dominated with the bitter-kicked malts. Almost pick up a note of 'vanilla ice-cream flavouring' for lack of a more precise description. I find myself sipping at it more and more quickly with each sip. Quite tasty!

M + D: Rather medium bodied, with a fair bit of alcohol warmth on the throat, in addition to a little prickle of carbonation right on the very finish that adds an interesting touch that I find myself enjoying. A big brew, but one that is very inviting to drink. Hopefully, I'll have the opportunity to treat myself to another bomber, at least!

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Smuttynose Barleywine Style Ale (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.97 out of 5 based on 608 ratings.
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