Smuttynose Maibock (Big Beer Series) | Smuttynose Brewing Company

very good
286 Reviews
Smuttynose Maibock (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Maibock (Big Beer Series)

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States

Style: Maibock / Helles Bock

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.70%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
We brew our Maibock to be hugely malty & subtly finished with a variety of continental hops, with an eye-pleasing russet brown color. Prosit!

2007 - 7.0%
2008 - 6.2%
2009 - 8.4%
2010 - 8.7%

Added by Bierman9 on 04-30-1998

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 286 | Ratings: 368
Photo of Vdubb86
3.47/5  rDev -13%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a pint glass

Thought since it was the top rated maibock that I personally had access to, I needed to get around to trying it at some point in time. The appearance is much more pale and pathetic than i would have expected, but it is a lager so I don't know what quite to assume. The aroma has some floral hoppiness and some citrus on what is a rather delicate malt nose. The flavor is good, it's tastes like a regular old lager that any individual would enjoy drinking on a hot summer's day. This beer is refreshing and light, but it doesn't remind me of the Maibock I've had in the past and truly enjoyed. This is a simple lighter lager that seems to have very little imagination and isn't really something that I would consider purchasing ever again. Honestly I'm unsure of why it's rated so highly.

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Photo of obywan59
4.42/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice golden yellow with a 2 finger head in my Whitbread half pint mug. The head recedes quickly leaving virtually no lacing.

Waaay malty in the aroma with a touch of apice and citrus from the hops. Spice bread fresh from the oven.

Starts off sweet, but bitter hops soon rise. Not to overpower though, as this is quite balanced, and for a change, the sweetness of the malt lasts to the bitter end, so to speak. The Abv is occasionally apparant.

Feel is medium full, with plenty of carbonation, especially upfront.

Overall, a great drinker. The ABV is on the high side for a maibock, but the beer is well-balanced Worth another try.

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

Bottle shared by Lunch. Thanks for leaving half of the bottle for me even though I hit my threshold and fell asleep.

The beer is fairly hazy and light orange in color, with 1/2" of creamy, white head that leaves some good lacing on the glass. The aroma brings malt, light caramels, floral notes, and subtle spice. The flavor is malt forward, with a healthy floral presence, and caramel malt flavors. The finish brings some hop bitterness to round things out, though malt flavors take over once again, lingering on the palate between sips. Alcohol content is hidden well. The sweet nature of the style precludes me from wanting a second helping. Overall, a decent beer and a solid example of the style. Recommended.

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

Poored lighter in color than expected - a light to moderate gold - into my pilsner glass. I received 2-3 fingers of off-white head which reduced to a thin 1/4" persistent layer while drinking. The smell was mild and a little fruity. Reminded me of apples and white grapes, but with a hint of sweet alcohol aroma.

But the taste is where this one really earns its stripes. It has a rich mouthfeel, which I did not expect from the light color and fruity aroma. The flavor balance is spot-on in my opinion. Not too sweet, not too bitter. The fruit flavors are a little more on the dark side than the aroma hinted at, but that's to be expected for a maibock. And the finish is perfectly clean. There is absolutely no lingering bitterness or sappy sweetness, but instead it results in a surprisingly refreshing dry finish for such a powerful beer. As other reviewers noted, there are some noticeable alcohol fumes in the flavor, as might be expected from a beer pushing 9%abv. But not in a degree that turns me off. Just enough to give it a slight warming effect.

This beer is quite versatile. It's strong enough to warm you on a winter night, but also refreshing enough to enjoy during the summer months. This is the best I've ever had from Smuttynose - hands down! Definitely worth a try!

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz (2010) into a Delirium Tremens tulip.

A brimming, fluffy head forms with a gentle pour and retains well. Beneath is a clear, goldfish-amber body with a healthy dose of carbonation rising from the laser etched glass bottom. Nose is full of floral hops and fruity yeast esters of apple skin and white grape juice. Hints of vanilla and pilsner malt blend well with a semi-boozy presence in the background. Satisfying beer so far...

Taste matches the aroma, but with a heftier booze presence and the continued theme of fruit esters takes a decidedly tropical turn. Hops kick in with a minty, herbal characteristic while the malts are sweet and slightly nutty. Mouthfeel is spritzy with carbonation and smooth on the tongue despite the medium-heavy body. Overall, a terrific Maibock from Smuttynose...I gotta try and brew one of these, and soon!

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Photo of claspada
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aromas begin quite floral from the hops with some sweet and biscuity malt. As it warms you get some more notes of spice from either the yeast or the hops, not quite sure.

The taste begins extremely rich; very malty and sweet. Toasted and bready malts slowly lend to the equal spiciness from the hops; I am guessing they used Saaz or Tettnanger hops based on the spice notes. There are some lesser earthy and floral hop flavors and a little alcohol bite in the finish as well. A nice balance between the sweet bready malts and the bitterness and spice hops.

The mouthfeel is quite full with nice ample carbonation. Not too sweet or bitter with a nice dry finish. Overall this is one of the best in this particular style I have ever had. I am not a fan of lagers in general as well so coming from me that is a great complement to Smuttynose. Their BIG BEER Series has been a huge fan of mine for a long time; they are all stellar, especially the Baltic Porter. Highly recommended.

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Photo of billab914
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into my Southern Tier glass. It poured a gold like color with a big fluffy white head filling the top two inches of the glass. The head faded to a thin layer but remained through drinking it and left some moderate lacing.

The aroma has a nice mix of grassy, peppery, herbal hops and grainy, bready malts. I get a little alcohol to it as well. Pretty nice mix of flavors, it felt relatively balanced as well.

The taste also has a lot of the herbal, peppery, grassy hop flavors to it throughout the beer. Some big grainy, bready flavors come out as well and lead into some sweetness in the finish. Again a little alcohol is present, but not too bad and seems to fit with the style.

The mouthfeel is on the heavier side for the style with carbonation being above average. Overall it was a pretty good beer with some very interesting flavors. It had a nice balance to it which definitely helped the drinkability out. It was probably the biggest version of the style I've had, which was apparent at times with the alcohol showing through though. Overall it was pretty good beer.

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Photo of beancounter
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours deep gold with a generous head. A few slow to medium bubbles.

S-Sweet breadiness.

T-Malty sweetness with a noticeable alcohol presence. Some subtle fruitiness and spice balanced by a moderate bitterness.

M-Silky smooth with a medium body.

O-This is a very nice beer. The alcohol is a bit more dominate than I prefer, but overall a very drinkable "big beer" from Smutty.

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Photo of DrinkingDrake
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured out a vibrant golden orange. A large amount of head with tons of large bubbles. A lot of carbonation. Nose has a mild hop zest, earthy. A large amount of malts a caramelized honey sweetness with a metallic note. The taste is all malt with a lot of sweet wort flavor. Caramel and sweet bread with a light spicy tang at the end. I'm taking big sips because of the sweetness but the alcohol is present in the aftertaste for sure.

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Photo of steelerguy
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Straw colored, hazy, 1 finger head that fades to a lacing, and moderate carbonation. This should be a clear beer, especially if lagered for awhile.

S - Lots of light malt, straw and lemon grass like aromas.

T - Like the aroma, packs a good deal of malt, the noble hops add a lemon like bitterness. Ends with an alcohol bite, but I like this in a Maibock.

M - Moderate body, the alcohol warmth and carbonation clean it up at the end leaving you ready for the next sip.

O - Good example of German Maibock from a great American brewery.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice, light amber, golden in color with a light bit of haze to it. Off white head, maybe an inch and a half creeps up the sides and sits down on top for a while. Good carbonation can be seen constantly reinforcing it on its way.

Light caramel, bready notes are highlighted here. Sweet with a light undertone of some herbal hops peeking though. A light touch of dark fruit perhaps? Possibly but a sweet, caramel malty lager type aroma is what is predominant here. Smooth, easy flowing flavor. Caramel, and toffee, hints of buttery like notes persisting now as it comes up in temperature. Fades smoothly, leaving a creamy and sweet flavor on the tongue that snaps back with a nice hop bite at the finish.n Nice carbonation never lets it get too heavy or over zealous in any way. Very drinkable, in fact really could not get enough of this one. It's a style I see far too little of as of late, and would relish the chance to touch base with it again.

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Photo of Jesse13713
2.52/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Pours a golden straw yellow. Very well carbonated. A cloudy, opaque orange-yellow. Laces to the glass quite well.

Smell - Grassy and earthy overall. A bit unwelcoming.

Taste - Some wheat and grass tones. Quite alcoholic tasting. Full of hay, straw and light berries. I feel like a horse.

Mouthfeel / Drinkability - Quite alcoholic tasting and a bit unbalanced. Light bodied and easily drinkable. Very natural tasting overall. It was okay overall, but just wasn't one of my favorites at all.

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Photo of weizenbob
4.21/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This 22 ounce bottle was received in trade with umfskibum. Thanks Josh. The label indicates that this was bottle conditioned in 2010 but does not provide a specific bottling date. I popped the cap off the bomber and poured into a pilsner glass.

The pour manifests four fingers of fluffy caramel hued head. Retention is moderate. Spots of lacing touch the glass. The beer is a vibrant golden shade and very clear. Carbonation is very active inside the glass.

The aroma is giving off a lot of grassy hops and wet hay. There is a strong and distinct odor of bread dough. A strange squash-like scent lingers. Alcohol is also well noted. I've not smelled a beer like it, though I'm not really digging the less conventional qualities of the aroma.

On the other hand, the flavor is really something. A rich and complex malt profile unravels on my tongue revealing strong impressions of caramel on top of heaps of grain. Alcohol is well-noted on the tongue, but in a way that blends smoothly with the grains, recalling a fine spirit as much as a lager. Bitter hops are noted but remain in the background as a result of the big malty sweetness and high alcohol content. The finish is surprisingly clean. It is quite astounding to behold.

This is a full-bodied beer. The carbonation that looked so active through the glass does little to cut through the weight of this brew. The alcohol that is so noted on the tongue offers absolutely no burn on the way down the hatch, nor does it manifest itself in the nose as so many other high-alcohol beers do. However, it does contribute pleasant velvety qualities to the texture of the beer, but not to the extent that you would expect in, say, a high gravity stout. It is a very impressive balance.

My first impressions of this beer (sight and smell) were not terribly impressive, but this maibock delivered where it counts. The flavor is outstanding and the mouthfeel is really great. I've not sampled a beer like this, maibock or otherwise. Smuttynose's website indicates that this vintage is 8.7% ABV, and though this beer makes creative use of its alcohol content, it is not conducive to sessioning. But with a price tag of $5.19 (in Maine), this bomber is in fact a fantastic value. I would love to be able to buy this in 12 ounce bottles as that would be a perfect serving size.


The Two-Schlitz Scale™: (see my profile for an explanation)
I give two Schlitz for Smuttynose Maibock. Prosit!

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Photo of rdilauro
3.24/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured a golden amber with very little head. The aroma was far from appealing. I couldn't quite grasp what aromas and bouquet was coming through. It wasnt yeast or malt.
The taste basically followed the smell. It was a little off in taste. I sort of had a hint of an old apple.
As you can tell, this is not one of my favorite styles

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours clear gold with a white head that has nice retention - a beauty in the glass.

In the nose is grass, malt, persimmon, fresh cream, and caramel.

Slight sweet orange up front gives way to bitter orange/persimmon and spice. It has a nice dry woody finish drawing you back. A very lively carbonation keeps the flavors - grass, banana, butter scotch - popping and moving around. And, it has a nice caramel malt backbone to hang everything on. An excellent brew and very drinkable - subtle in all its goodness.

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Photo of berley31
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Poured with a moderate-large white, fluffy head that had excellent lasting ability, before finally dropping down to 1-finger size. Body is a light amber color, with very good clarity.

S: Grainy and bready aroma, with a touch of sweetness. Very low spicy hops in the background.

T: Toasty, bready flavor, with some sweetness that reminds me of Munich malt. Low, spicy hop flavor. Fairly dry finish, with moderate-low bitterness.

M: Medium-bodied, moderate-high carbonation. Touch of alcohol warmth.

D: A great example of a Maibock. Easy-drinking, quite flavorful.

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Photo of beergod1
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a large, yellowish foamy head and a Copper body. Light carbonation with small bubbles. Almost a spicy saison-like aroma with some sweet caramel malt hints. Nice thick sweet bready and caramel malt flavor- smooth, warm doughy malts as well with an underlying herbal and floral hop character. Very smooth mouth feel and palate with a clean doughy malt finish. Really nice. Thanx again goes out to D. Kurts

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Photo of KTCamm
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from Smutty's big beer series bomber into a pint glass.

Pours light amber with very heavy foam. Full white head. Grassy malt smell. Head is virtually unmanageable - begone!

Think malty taste, classic helles. Light fruitiness pokes through. Very even keeled. Smooth, light hop. Very drinkable.

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Photo of CooperEllis
3.27/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz into a 6oz wineglass for tasting split 3 ways.

Orange, thin white head, small bubble.

Good aroma lots of sweetness/dark fruit/apricot.

There is a bite of tart fruit, orange, little malt - carbonation is very evident in pushing the citrus to the fore, leaves a bit of bitterness afterwards.

This is very light on the palate, highly carbonated. Not really my cup of tea and I really didn't enjoy drinking it very much despite the fact that there doesn't seem to be any one aspect particularly wrong. The combination of the mouthfeel and the bitter aftertaste leave a lasting impression.


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Photo of JayS2629
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Rich, deep honey tone with a 2 finger creamy off white head that has nice retention and leaves layers of sea foam lace.

S- Toasted malts and dark fruits, plums, muscadines, honey, and floral earthy notes. Peppery bitter finish.

M- Medium balance, warming from alcohol and bitter finish. Slick and creamy. Medicinal tones.

D- Very flavorful and delicious, but the bitter notes, alcohol burn, and medicinal qualities make it a sipper.

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Photo of TheBrewo
4.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A hard pour reveals a three finger foamy head of gargantuan bubbles, which greedily cling to the side, leaving thick patterned lacing throughout. The brew itself is an initially translucent orange honey color, with visually low carbonation, that becomes cloudy when joined by the bottle's sediment. The aroma is fruity, with apple, orange, and plum as the highlights. The nose is otherwise filled with big, fresh malts, and the tiniest sting of alcohol. The taste's front is exhibited by the malts and fruit from the nose. This is quickly balanced by an enjoyable hoppiness that is both tart and appley. We end on a note that is rich in alcoholic character, which creates a spicy pepper flavoring that takes us into the aftertaste. The brew is medium to full bodied, deliciously creamy, and mildly coating, leaving the mouth satiated. While everything remains inviting about the brew, the abv keeps you from quickly draining your glass.

Overall, what stands out most is the well balanced flavor, between the big malts and the bitter hops. The flavors meld together to form an expertly crafted, creamy brew.

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Photo of beernooby
3.87/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: The head recedes quickly with some lacing. The beer is crystal clear with a red-gold tinge.

S: Very faint and light, and nothing remarkable - it actually reminds me of a pale american lager

T: There's a sudden fruity sweetness at the first, turning bitter near the end. It reminds me strongly of grapefruit. The spices are evident in the finish as are the hops, which both live a bitter sort of piney aftertaste on the back of the tongue. Overall it tastes like burnt toast and while the alcohol isn't entirely evident because the spices change it, it comes through as a general bitterness in the beer. It swallows smooth, but the aftertaste is what keeps it from getting top marks in my book.

F: The beer has an excellent feeling. Its level of carbonation is perfect and there's the faintest cream.

D: I enjoy the initial sweetness and it feels fantastic in the mouth... however, the grapefruit-like aftertaste will probably prevent my palette from probing too much further in to this peppery big beer.

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Photo of bucklemyshoe
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Notes from 10/06/2010:

2009 vintage. 22 oz. bottle at 42* into an Ayinger Weizen glass.

A: This pours a murky, burnt orange color with 2.5 fingers of "bottle conditioning head".

S: It consists of a fruity alcohol smell, toast, and some herbal/medicinal notes.

T: A lovely blend of bready malts, fruity booze, herbal flavors, and lager yeast. Nice.

M: It's creamy and memorable.

D: It's somewhat "hot" but still flavorful. It's a nice, creative version of a great style.

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Photo of emsroth
3.46/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle

App: Medium amber with a frothy head. A nice cap stays on throughout.

Smell: Honey malt with a touch of fruitiness. Sweet alcohol lingers throughout.

Taste: Not much up front. Warming, bitter alcohol in the middle. Ends with a touch of grape and a strong herbal flavor with noticeable bitterness. Lacking the sweetness I associate with the style.

Wonderful body and substantial carbonation.

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Photo of rapidsequence
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber,$5.85 from Pints O Plenty. 2010 vintage.

Appearance: This is a fine looking beer. Clear, light orange color (not the "Russet brown" claimed on the label, but that would be too dark). Thick white head with aboe average retention leaves some spots of lacing.

Smell: Malty and a little bit toasty. Some fruity notes, floral hops, and pretty obvious alcohol. Very strong malty aromas, like a barley-lager, or a lager-wine.

Taste: Again, malty and very sweet with toasted bread flavors and a little caramel. Quite boozy and the alcohol goes along with the hops to give a nice balancing bitterness. Finishes pretty clean with just a little toast and grain.

Mouthfeel: Soft and smooth. Pretty full for the style. I like the carbonation level-- its just right.

Drinkability: This is one of those beers that I bought without having an interest in trying it. What a great surprise though. Really tasty with some nice complexity. A little too much hot alcohol. Seems a little unfair to compare this beast to a run of the mill helles, but when you do, it really stands out.

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Smuttynose Maibock (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.99 out of 5 based on 368 ratings.
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