Smuttynose Portsmouth Lager | Smuttynose Brewing Company

251 Ratings
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Smuttynose Portsmouth LagerSmuttynose Portsmouth Lager

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States

Style: Vienna Lager

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-26-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 251 |  Reviews: 225
Photo of rousee
4.77/5  rDev +31.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is one of the best pure lagers I have had in a while. At the brewery, they might even be a tad better--certainly fresher anyway. I have found through BA that I tend to prefer ales over lagers but this is a very worthy candidate in the lager category to eliminate that idea.

Gold with a hint of amber-small head. I am not drinking it fast enough to really leave too much lace but if I do, it is leaving some. I am thinking of this vs. Brooklyn lager and in my opinion--there is no comparison. I think Brooklyn lager is average and this is almost exceptional. I mean no disrespect to Mr. Oliver as I love his book and all but I gotta call it as I see it.

There is a straight-up malty taste. It is smooth--hints of sourness but subdued. Seems to fit the Vienna lager designation very well as I certainly think it is a good example of an American micro doing a great job on a European style. Specific flavors --just plain good malt and hops with more emphasis on the malty aspects. Smooth and very quaffable at 4.5% abv.

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Photo of beernut7
4.53/5  rDev +24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I have rarely sample an American lager of this quality. A nice deep amber hue sets this one apart as well as its not-so-light body. Malty sweetness is not overbearing adn is balanced well with mild hopping. Very flavorful brew and very smooth.

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Photo of Tomdee74
4.5/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

okay I have to say I am very sorry this is being replaced with star island single. This is probably my favorite lager I'm sad to see it go. Especially now with the warm weather coming this is a great warm weather beer. I encourage anyone to try this out as it is not being brewed any longer.

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Photo of RBorsato
4.5/5  rDev +24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hazy golden with a constant low off-white head, decent carbonation, and lace. Nice hoppy aroma at first but fades just a bit. Nice balanced flavor with a solid malt backbone ... lightly sweet. Medium-full bodied.

A solid Lager that I would put in the Dortmunder Export category.

Per Smuttynose website: VITAL STATISTICS:
OG: 1.048, TG: 1.014
Malt: Two-row US pale malt, carastan, special "B."
Hop Selections: Czech Saaz
IBU's: 15, ABV: 4.5%

Brewed in: 08/03
Tasted: 12/20/03

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Photo of putnam
4.47/5  rDev +23.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

At least as old as 10 months, and likely kept on a store shelf for most of that time, this beer is quite alive and good.

Some unsightly yeast flake-bouys rise on a tide of doughy mousse. A nice molten cream appears on top, then settles to a tightly packed sheet of irridesence. The color is medium honey.
Spicy resins and baked fruit basket appear in the aromas. The bouquet is deep and wild like the piney woods, only with a big steaming bowl of buttery, vanilla custard in the middle of it.
The first draft on the palate is medium-bodied and gripped with dry hop tannins. Pickled, spiced lemons join the second; tart red apple seeds, the third.
Fleshy, as yielding as ripe fruit, and organized around an axis of gas, this is a beer that rewards big, grasping gulps with more flavor. I like it that "lager" can be this charged with flavor. I don't think it should be the rule, but why not lager-"down" the hops-inflated scenery of the American ale landscape.

My girl's in line for a flu shot. I think I'll have to save some ounces of this for her, seeing as how she was the one who grabbed it.

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Photo of heinekenike
4.43/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

So far my favorite from my BOMC.

The color is orange brownish, like a Harps; and this was surprising because it looked very clear in the brown bottle. Has a rich smell, a strong but not overwhelming alcohol whiff.

As stated, I love the taste of this beer. I don't know what beer to to compare it too, but to me it's halfway to a double bock. It tastes like the ABV would be higher than 4.5, but since it isn't I'll rate it high on drinkability. A great beer.

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Photo of bewareOFpenguin
4.42/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As lagers go, one of the better ones. Pours well with an Autumn like hue. I could taste the hops, but without any bitterness. An excellent beer when you intend to drink a few.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.4/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Smeared pale gold color with a small compact whitish foam sitting atop for a brief stay. Minimal, lonely spotting lace.

Aroma is pale and bready with a whole grain cereal/breakfast bar/flour kinda smell to it. Vienna malts are the prevalent feature here underscored with a light dashing fruityness and grassyness.

Flavor sits well and long with a Vienna malt bready flavor and fashion. Drying out lightly as it goes into the finish leaving whispy notings of grassy spices, wheat germ, and dusty breadcrust flour. Quite nice actually, it grows on ya with every sip and begins to manufacture itself proudly onward to enduce more sipping and/or gulping. Which this becomes really easy to do as the exceptional drinkability is well handled behind its bold medium body and snappy, yet soft and yielding carbonation which is surrounded in its charming Vienna malt character. Smoothly combined with its effortless craft and solid taste, this beer is world class sessionable stuff for a Vienna lager. Nice stuff!

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Photo of tmitch75
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Monthly club selection for May.

Hazy light amber color, ample creamy white head drops quickly to a thin layer. Pretty sticky lacing.

Bready cereal smell with a nice caramelly sweetness and light but pleasant floral hoppiness.

Sweet caramel flavor dominates up front with floral and lightly citric hops. Damn tasty.

Light to medium body, crisp and clean.

A damn good sessioner, one of the better Vienna Lagers I have had.

Tasted on 6/11/08.

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Photo of miskatonic
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this on draught the other night. A very well done and highly drinkable beer, it poured a rich golden color with a thick head. A very malty nose, but not overly so, nice hop aroma, as I would expect from a Smuttynose brew. The mouth feel is very full and the beer starts very dry, with nice hop bitterness for a lager. The maltiness of the nose is extremely well balaced on the palate, and blends with the hopiness well and creates a slightly spicy taste on the tastebuds. The finish is very clean and crisp and just as dry as the start. This is an extremely refreshing and well crafted lager and is an excellent example of the Vienna style. A well balanced dry, smooth, slightly spicey lager.

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Photo of dreadnatty08
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy, medium light amber color with plentiful just off-white head. Aromas are very hop leaning with touches of floral and spicy saaz hops, lightly toasted bread, and some earthy grain notes. On the palate, the vienna and munich malts make quite a punch with their bready and toasty dominance and the floral hops in the background. It is a wonderfully balanced lager with medium high carbonation, smooth, medium body and a crisp, lightly bitter, dry finish.

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Photo of BillyBrew
4.3/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A great bitter lager.

Hazey copper colour with lace and swirls that last. Heavy hop-oil nose. Strong hop-oil bitterness over a thick sweetish malt base. Bitterr-crisp, medium body with lagered smothness and slight carbonated edginess.

Great meeting of bitterness and lager. Strong flavor and nose. A pleasure. Enjoy. Cheers!

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Photo of coachdonovan
4.28/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Glad I grabbed one last bottle before it disappears forever. I was first introduced to this beer via a beer of the month club years ago. Both in bottle and on tap at the Portsmouth Brewery, it delivers one of the most crisp, balanced lager flavors I've ever come across. I was very disappointed to hear that it will be replaced by Star Island Single (Belgian pale ale). This lager was a perfect companion for the grill in the summer months and was scary-sessionable. Sorry if this review feels more like an obituary, but I'm just sad to see that Smuttynose is ditching it. We need MORE lagers, not less!!

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Photo of StevieW
4.23/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rated against all beers this is good, rated against other lagers, this is excellent. Copper to rusty orange color, with a smooth, full, nicely formed beige head. Creamy hop bubbles poke through the foam. Very inviting rich malt smell, slightly toasted bread smell. Taste is well balanced, very sweet malty start. Good hop bite slips by the tongue, but doesn't linger. Rich medium bodied lager, no traces of watery finishes of so many others. Could be my new favorite lager.....yep it is. I'm becoming a big fan of the smuttynose beers.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before 11/07 consumed on 6/22/07

AP: A robust pour provides us with a sparkling, vibrant gold color with tiny bubbles and good carbonation making a two-finger, frothy and cotton-white head color and texture. There is some minimal lacing left around the glass for a bit.

nose: sour, musty yeast, herbal hops, butterscotch and caramel malted wheat and vanilla. The malt aroma is very buttery and sweet smelling. Oooh yeah!

flavor: Mildly sweet caramalized malted wheat with a pleasant butterscotch-like flavor that is balanced with a mildly sour yeast and hops. Overall the balance is good with every element recieving a noticable "tip o the hat" to the flavanoid receptors on the palate. As time goes by the sweetness of the malt and the butterscotch effect becomes more prominant. Overall, the big, smooth buttery malt is balanced perfectly with a sour-dough and bready yeast and zesty-herbal hop that is right on.

Feel: Medium bodied, crisp and lively on the tongue going down smooth with a mild dry effect. Did I mention this lager is smooth and pretty heady!!?? is.

DA: This is a highly drinkable lager. O.k that's an understatement, this is one of the most enjoyable lagers I've ever had. Period.

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Photo of QXSTER1
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Orange brew with wispy white quickly dissapating head. Initial taste is noble hops over a clean malt background. Hops cuts the sweetness and gives a full bodied mouthfeel and a pleasant, refreshing bite. I really liked this as a thirst quencher after a hot day at work. Not a wimpy lager and one I can recommend for summer refreshment.

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Photo of twelvsies
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

For a lager, this beer struck me as pretty complex. Basically an orange amber in color, with a little head on top, but that vanishes pretty quickly and leaves no lacing. Sweet smells abound. Toasted malt and buttery biscuits come to mind. Very appetizing. Taste is the same, nice and malty, nice and biscuity. Mmmmm. Feels smooth and creamy in the mouth and is very easy to drink, I think I'll have another. Very fun lager. Cheers.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.2/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

12oz bottle best before Oct 08

A: Crystal clear amber (and I mean crystal) with a thin white head with solid retention. As the head slowly recedes, it leaves a TON of lace and foam on my Sam Smith glass. Plenty of carbonation. Great!

S: Mild sweetness with a pleasant hint of butterscotch, mild hop earthy and leafy hop character

T: Excellent balance of lightly-toasted malt with a biscuit character to start things off with hint of hops to finish things up

M: Great carbonation but yet wonderfully soft on the palate. The finish is a tad dry

D: This is an excellent session lager, I'd drink it all day.

This is the beer that got me started on craft beer. One sip and I went "Why have I been drinking Yeungling all along?" I'm glad to know that a year and a half down the line, it still impresses me and yet disappointed that this one will be no more.

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Photo of granite
4.18/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into a pilsner glass.

A---It poured golden with orange hues and a thin white head.

S---Pilsner base malt and fresh baked bread.

T---All bread like malt forward then full on hop bitterness in the finish. It was very balanced and delicious.

M---Medium bodied, crisp and dry.

D---Reminded me of a German pilsner with a little bit of light crystal in the grist. It was very thirst quenching and this could be the best lawn mower beer ever brewed. Smuttynose does it again.

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Photo of MaineBeerMan
4.18/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Crystal clear amber orange hued beer with a white head that shrinks rapidly to a collar that leaves rings around the glass.
Sweet malt is the major aroma with a bit of fruitiness also. The flavor is quite well balanced between the sweet toasty malt and the bitter slightly earthy hops. Light to medium body with a dry bitter hop finish. Damned tasty beer I would definitely drink again, would make a nice session brew.

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Photo of Procrastinator
4.18/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. brown bottle is one of three I received through a beer-of-the-month club. Best before Oct 08 notched on label. Poured into Sam Adams "pint" glass.

Appearance: deep golden colored body with a dense creamy off-white head. Carbonation bubbles remain directly under a cap of foam and lacing never ceases.

Smell: floral and grassy hops and lightly roasted malts, cereal, sweet honey and caramel.

Taste: sweet caramel malts are immediately followed by grassy bitter hops. Very fresh tasting.

Mouthfeel: crisp and dry, but creamy and buttery in texture. Carbonation is very complimentary and balance is well done.

Drinkability: crisp and tasty makes for an easy drinking brew. Alcohol never seems to rear it's head. Would love to try this on tap.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.17/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Single, 12 oz bottle copped from Total Wine and More in Union...
Most samples I've tried from Smuttynose are top-notch, so I was hoping for big things from this one...
Nice, bright-orange, light-amber and copper appearance with a minimal foamy head that soon receded and left hardly any lacing...
Great bready aroma with noticeable caramel and vanilla thrown into the mix...
Great, light-bodied, flavorful taste replete with vanilla, caramel, fresh florals, ginger, honey, and slight cloves...
Surprsingly creamy and rich mouthfeel for a low-ABV beer, which was pretty satisfying...
Decent drinkability as well made this a well-rounded, pleasing representation of the style...
Worth a try...

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Photo of meathookjones
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This poured out a hazy golden orange color with a tall off white rocky head that drops to big foam chunks swimming a top the beer. Decent lace is left as well. Very malty nose with a doughy scent as well as notes of toasted grain and grassy earthy hops. There are also hints of citric hops as well mingling about, very good aroma for a lager. Taste is fairly similar with a big bready malt flavor and a good amount of hops in there to even it out and provide a nice bitter finish. Very clean and delicious taste. Mouthfeel was about what is to be expected, medium with good carbonation. These are definitely easy drinking beers that are clean, crisp and refreshing while providing a great taste.

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Photo of demcorhip
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A coppery lager with a 1 finger off white head. Finely yet actively carbonated. Slightly laced, with a thick yet short collar rimming the inside of my pint glass.

Bready malts with a hint of creamier nuttiness. Bitter, grassy hops with a touch of lemon.

Malt flavours of toasted bread stand out, with a milder nuttiness playing a background role, adding a layer of complexity to this brew. A solid bitterness of grassy, lemony hops with much lesser hints of orange and grapefruit citrus fruits makes for a nice finish.

A crisp and refreshing well balanced, medium bodied lager. Slight emphasis on the grassy and bitter hops. Slight peachy, fuzzy mouthfeel from a good level of persistent fine carbonation.

Gotta find more of this one come summer time. A very drinkable, tasty, crisp and refreshing lager. Easily sessionable, with enough flavour and substance to keep anyones interest, and probably convert open minded BMC drinkers. Wished the bottom of my glass didnt come so soon. Will definately be drinking this one again!

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.13/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Brassy dark gold with a hint of ripe orange. The head looks magnificent; quality through and through. It's alabaster in color with thousands of tiny pits on a moonscape surface, and melts more quickly at the edges, giving a 'scoop of ice cream' look. Wide bands of thick lace have been deposited for my enjoyment (and have very nearly coated the entire glass by bottle's end).

The nose is straightforward, ultra-clean and very enjoyable. Its principal elements are fresh cereal grain and citric-floral hops. Leave it Smuttynose not to stint on the little green cones, not even in a Vienna lager. I don't love Saaz, but I can't imagine another European hop that would work as well. Perhaps the generous amount of malt rounds off the more pungent aspects of the Saaz personality.

Color me impressed. This is a beautifully balanced beer. The mouthfilling, teasingly sweet, buttered toast flavor of the malt is matched step-for-step by the lighter, brighter, spicy, lemon peel fruitiness of the Saaz. I realize that I use the word 'balanced' a fair amount, but I haven't had a beer this perfectly proportioned in quite some time.

On the tail end of the finish, hops outlast malt so that I'm left with a modestly bitter bite and a hoppy linger. I would have guessed at least double the stated IBUs (15). A quality mouthfeel is the one characteristic that, in my opinion, is most indicative of a top-notch brewery. On that front, these guys rarely disappoint. The beer is full for the style and is exceptionally smooth.

Portsmouth Lager is yet another fabulous beer from the best little brewery in Portsmouth. I'm impressed time and time again by Smuttynose, no matter the style. One of my magic lantern wishes (at the moment anyway, as this fine beer lingers on my tongue) is to live in the shadow of SBC. Since magic lanterns don't exist, I'll settle for distribution this far west.

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Smuttynose Portsmouth Lager from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.63 out of 5 based on 251 ratings.
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