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.

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Reviews: 286 | Ratings: 368
Photo of seh410
3.24/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Appearance: Yellowish-brown colored, sort of reminiscent of honey in color. It pours with two fingers of thick, bubbly, foamy white head that quickly reduces in volume within 30 seconds down to about a half of a finger's worth.

Aroma: Spicey and yeasty with fruity/estery alcohol coming through and some hints of carmalized toast and funk

Taste/Mouthfeel: Tastes a lot like it smells: lots of spice and fruity sweet alcohol up front, followed by hints of carmelly malts and finally a bitter hoppy finish. Medium mouth feel, nice carbonation.

Notes: Not really drinkable to me. It's a little too heavy on spice, bitterness and alcohol for my personal taste. Interesting to try though.

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Photo of tchenery
4.4/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer couldn't look any better than it does. I poured it into a snifter and the head is voluptuous and the carbonation is very active. It is a lighter color than I imagined, just a rich yellow/orange color. Very "beer" looking in the typical sense.

It smells of maybe some pilsner malts, some roasted toasted to it, maybe some Eastern European hops, Saaz perhaps. Very subtle but inviting smell.

First taste I noticed texture more than anything, it's very smooth. It has a nice raisiny bock flavor with a bit of an alcohol warming at the end. Little bitterness other than what might be paired up with the warming sensation.

I like almost anythign Smutty does and this doesn't dissapoint. It's definitely true to the series of BIG beer, but it's very enjoyable as well.

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Photo of adamette
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Live review. Poured from the 1 pint 6 oz. brown bottle that I bought at the Willoughby Hills Heinen's a few days ago for $5.99 into my Cooperstown Beverage Trail pint glass. No observed "best by" date but a mark on the bottom of the label reports: "bottle conditioned in 2010."

A 5 inch superfluous head although I only allowed for 3 inches. After I cleaned up the spillage I observed a golden yellow slightly cloudy body but not the "eye pleasing russet brown color" mentioned on the left side of the label. Anyway, I still like the look of this beer. 4.0

S Somewhat distant sweet malt and minimal hops smelled by me. It is not unpleasant, however, and provides more intrigue than a standard lager. 3.5

T Nice malty, high hop levels in this variation of a lager that really works. Being from the Cleveland area I am used to the state of Great Lakes Dortmunder Lager. This beer reminds me of that but this one is more sweet, a bit softer and more approachable. I also taste the warmth of the alcohol but that is not a bad thing. 4.0

M Maybe the best part of the beer's presentation for me. The feel is a nice, thick, slightly syrupy. That along with the nice warmth of alcohol and it is clear that this beer is certainly "big." 4.5

D Quite good for all of this "bigness" going on. 4.0

Notes: I can certainly see how this is the #1 rated Maibock here on BA although John John Dead Guy Ale impressed me more within the style. I can certainly recommend this beer from Smuttynose, none the less.

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Photo of mlazzaro
3.66/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Hazy light brown color. White head is holding nicely.

Smell is subtle, but what I can smell is appealing.

Roasty lager. I feel like I can taste wheat which would explain the haziness as well. Taste good. Really interesting, it a bit hard to accurately describe because I haven't had too many beer like this one.

It didn't say on the bottle, but I am not surprised to see that this beer was 8.7% ABV. It was drinkable, but the alcohol was quite noticeable.

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Photo of ThreeDimesDown
4.59/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very nice brew from Smuttynose from start to finish. Pours a slightly hazy burnt gold color with a big fluffy white head.

The nose is blended nicely with light spice, banana, cakey malts and farmhouse funk. No ingredient overpower another.

The taste follows the aroma, with additional light fruit hints and sweet caramel malts.

Creamy even with very active carbonation that gives it a crisp finish. ABV% hidden and almost non-detectable.

This beer is a real treat and damn near perfect!

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Photo of ianjsullivan
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

ST: 1 Pint 6 fl ozs bottle

A: The label promised russet brown and the reviews seemed to indicate a brownish tinge. However, mine came out on the darker tinged golden side, cloudy with a head that hat one minute retention. When held to the light the beer was cloudy gold, though one could see through the glass, with steady carbonation. The bubbles were small and pleasant. As it sat, the beer took on a bit of a darker color.

S: In the first whiff, aromas from the hops are prevalent. Citrus and some pine quickly give way to sweet malt, a tinge of honey, the smell of a backed cake, and spice with a nutty elements.

T: The citrus from the hops are present on the tip of the tongue. By mid-palate, the sweetness of the malt comes forward along with some spice. The finish has syrup-sweetness with a nutty spice that lingers though does not overbear. There is some taste of alcohol that stays in the back of the throat and warms the blood.

M: Starts lighter and crisp but quickly changes to a heavier syrupy creaminess.The steady carbonation stops the beer from being too heavy.

D: It is a Big Beer series for a reason. It has 8% abv and some syrup heaviness, it is is not meant for multiple consumption. However, the finish it relatively clean making the beer smoother than expected.

Overall: I am happy with this beer and sometimes that is the best reason to buy a beer or not to buy a beer. Am I happy that I spent my money to drink this beer? That is the main question and the rest is just hammering out the details. This beer offers great flavor and manages to avoid becomes sticky sweet. Considering the cost, I only paid $5.99, and the quality, this is a beer to buy. I think I would have had more fun with it in the spring with some cool breeze and I would have enjoyed trying it when it was a bit fresher, however, that will have to wait until next year.


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Photo of Cyberkedi
4.14/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear amber with a decent white head - about average, but acceptable. Aroma is strong and mainly fruity, with a malty undertone and a hint of caramel. Malty flavor has a firm fruity component, mainly pear and banana, with a touch of caramel and quite an alcohol nip, as well as a whisper of honey sweetness. Texture is slickly smooth with just a little tingle, and leaves an edgy finish.

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Photo of jampics2
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz of love from Smuttynose into an oversized glass. Looks great - a light caramel beer with some orange and yellow highlights fills the glass. The head is white and tight, and it leaves excellent lacing. The carbonation is visibly active. Like beer in high def!

Smell is a wonderful mix of caramel, baked bread, and flowery hops.

Taste is light toast, sweet malt, and a decent earthy and flowery bitterness from the hops. Doughy and delicious. Some noticeable alcohol.

Mouthfeel is sparkling and medium-light. Finishes clean and refreshing. I liked this - a good example of the style. This one didn't run away from Smuttynose. Nice one! Would buy again.

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Photo of mentor
2.29/5  rDev -42.6%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Pours a 7 finger yellowed head over a murky straw colored liquid. The meragnue-like head had a lemon-yellow tint to it. Smells of lightly honeyed toast with aromatic hops. Light caramel, biscuit malt, and a tiny dash of clovey phenolic. I'm very very sensitive to that phenol and I can't imagine anyone else would be able to detect it. It's standard that I get a dash of it in maibocks and octoberfests.

Tastes strong malty of vienna. Comes across a bit worty. The phenol comes through in the flavor and acts to counter some of the thick malt sweet. Floral hop flavor is mild (clover honey) and hop bitter even more so. The finish has a spicy heat that I think is from hops, though could be from a very clean alcohol. DMS rising retronasal in the aftertaste is off-putting.

I'm not digging this one, as it's just too dry and has a few flavors I consider off. Md-thick with moderate carbonation.

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

Maibock pours a light golden amber, very clear, with a huge frothy white head and minimal lacing.

The aroma has fresh baked bread and a clean grassy scent with faint hints of lemon and caramel.

The flavor has a big clean caramel malt backbone with a fair amount of residual bitterness on the finish which is a touch dry and a nice contrast to the initial sweetness. Some fruit flavors make an appearance, mainly banana detected by me. Alcohol is present and notable but makes a pleasing warmth on the roof and in the back of the mouth.

Mouthfeel is nicely medium, full, smooth and creamy. Carbonation is nicely done and creates no harshness.

A big nice clean and malty beer, very nice and very drinkable.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a vibrant hazy, gold color with very active and "angry" carbonation. (yeah, it's a beautiful thing!). One fingered creamy white colored head that sticks to the sides of the glass like cotton candy.

S - Mostly dominated by a spice infused lemon, apricot bisquity malt aroma with mild amounts of pepper and honey.

T - Rich and vibrant tastes of honey, vanilla, biscuity malt, bready in character, and a little toasty. The malt also has some caramel character and has a slight hopped, bitter finish (but ever so slightly).

M - Very subdued, smooth, thick bodied, no carbonation on the tongue, and leaves an aftertaste coating in the mouth that includes caramel, toffee, and very mild lemon.

D - Very high, regardless of whether or not one likes a German style of beer.

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

Poured from a bottle into a Stange glass. Beer is amber and mostly clear. Carbonation is high and steady and forms a thick white head of small and medium bubbles that leaves some lacing on the glass. Looks great.

Malty sweet aroma. Pretty good. Its overall a little weak.

Beer is medium body and leads off with a mild malt sweetness and finishes completely clean in the back of the mouth. Carbonation is nice on the palate and carries the subtle flavors through the palate. Beer has a grain based bitterness on the back of the palate the grows. I am still thoroughly enjoying this beer and would definitely have it again. Very awesome.

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

Love the growler. Makes life wunderbar.

This is a fabulous maibock - if you know what maibock can/should offer.

Gorgeous thumb of head topping a hazy, true amber composition. Gifted a streak or two of lacing.

Mucho malty waft. Overtones of musty sour and post-storm funk. Real eau de rustic farm.

Malt wallop with a lazy phenolic tang. Wants to scream band-aid, but luckily only a faint murmur. Underneath the malt malt, supported with artisan metallic sweetness. Substantial and welcoming on the tongue. Hearty and satisfying going down.

Wow, I would drink this anytime, especially on draft. What an insanely drinkable, not at all ridiculously overdone maibock. As close to a bullseye as any domestic version I've had.

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Photo of yesyouam
3.25/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Smuttynose Maibock is a lively, hazy, light golden lager with a creamy, off white head that has great retention and leaves thick lacing. It smells malty-- a little sweet and bready or pretzely. It's medium bodied and very smooth with a pretty crisp finish. It tastes pretzely and peppery. It's a little fruity and a little wooden. There's no sweetness. The alcohol is certainly apparent in the taste. There is an odd phenolic note. This is not something I would really drink on purpose. I used most of the bottle for a marinade.

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Photo of drewba
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a monster head, a quarter inch head remains throughout. Minimal lacing. Beautiful light golden color.

S - Bright, sweet, floral aromas come out nicely.

T - Very light roasty malt, apricot, peach, white grapes. Hops are piney, floral and very mellow. The beginning has a sweet burst of flavor and ends with those nice mild hops.

M - Quite bubbly with a medium body - I was expecting this to be very thin like other maibocks I've had in the past but thankfully this wasn't the case.

D - Incredibly drinkable - carbonation is spot on. It is a bit astringent, but the sweet burst in the center helps balance this out and keeps you coming back for more.

This would be an awesome beer for a BMC drinker, they could identify that its lager, but would be introduced to a ton of flavor and a noticeable, but not intimidating hop profile. Plus, at 8,7%abv, your buddies will finally understand why you only need to drink a few beers to feel the alcohol.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Joe for sending this one to me in a recent BIF.

A: A very nice looking pour on this one. A vibrant orange color with a fluffy white head and some mild lacing.

S: There is a nice bready malt character to the beer up front along with a light floral hoppiness. A bit of citrus and herbs as well.

T: A surprising sweetness to the flavor with plenty of caramel, bread, and maybe a bit of floral honey. Light citrus and even more floral character.

M: This seems to be right in the middle of the road in terms of body with plentiful carbonation.

D: Definitely on the bigger end of the maibock spectrum (but I suppose that's to be expected from a beer in the "Big Beer Series"). That said, a good beer, but nothing overly exciting.

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Photo of bum732
3.67/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale golden yellow, decent head with ok lacing. Smells of doughy malt, slight floral and herbal notes. Tastes of sweet doughy malt, moderate bitterness with a kiss of herbal. Moderate body and carbonation.

A solid maibock, i had the Berkshire maibock before this and much preferred that, had more flavor. I thought this beer was a little to agressively hopped as well. Not bad, but probably wouldn't try it again.

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

A-poured into my new La Chouffe goblet, the beer has about an inch of white head that disappears quickly. The color is an orange yellow with visible carbonation bubbles

S-the smell is big! Floral, sweet, malty, boozy

T-is sweet and malty, but finishes with a touch of hop bitterness. The two don't really blend together so you have two distinct tastes which is interesting.

M-medium carbonation and a medium to big body. Leaves you with some alcohol warming and some bitterness on the tongue

D-very drinkable and good, the hops are a bit different but I would definitely drink this again

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Photo of Manoftyr
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Poured from 22oz bomber into stange glass.

Appearance-Pours a pale golden-orange into the glass, a big fluffy off-white head rises and slowly bubbles away, some rather thick lacing is left behind.

Aroma-I smell lemon-zest upfront which I assume is from a combination of the yeast and malt, I like it. Following that is of course the typical maibock profile I.E. a load of sweet, biscuity, buttery Munich malt.

Taste-Malty sweetness with honey and fruity lemon notes rounding out the back-end. Some hops round up towards the end balancing out the sweetness to some extent and giving off a dry finish.

Mouthfeel-Medium body with medium carbonation, somewhat sticky.

Drinkability-Now this is my kind of drinking lager; big, malty, tasty and superbly drinkable, buy yourself at least two bombers as one just simply isn't enough!

Notes-Maibocks are perhaps my second favorite style of German lager 'with eisbocks taking the lead' and this may just be the best Maibock I've ever had and, ironically enough, it's an American craft brew; go figure.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A late May Maibock tasting with Smuttynose vs. Berkshire.

First rule of brewing a bock beer--put a goat on the label. No exceptions!

Billowing, pillowy 2 finger white head. Translucent straw color. Good retention and a few lacey splashes but didn't last too long in 88 degree heat. Not Smutty's fault.

Sweet floral aroma. A big but gentle giant of a beer Smutty Maibock plays between thick, heavy handed malt and light and lively summery fruit esters. Same floral sweetness present in aroma manifests itself into taste.

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Photo of Kinsman
4.11/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A well-done Maibock, clean and simple.

Pours a clear amber body with darker red hues coming through. Capped by a rather larger, slightly off-white head.

Smell is definitely malty, a bit bready and caramel coming through. Also a very subdued hop aroma suggest traditional noble hops.

Taste is right up there with the best of them. Bready and toasted up front followed by a sweeter malt flavor. Overall, the flavor is almost all malt, with only the slightest hop flavor and bitterness.

Rater light and bubbly on the mouth. Plenty of carbonation in this one. Overall, a highly drinkable maibock, and shows the typical quality you can expect from Smuttynose.

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Photo of TK5150
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle.

A- Pours a hazy golden yellow with an off-white head.

S- Some light maltiness, with some spice and citrus in the form of mostly lemons (almost like a lemon/pepper marinade). Not much else going on though. Becomes more aromatic as I let it warm.

T- I remembered this tasting exactly like caramelized apples in '08 which made me love this beer. I no longer get that, but this is still mighty fine. I get mostly honey and caramel maltiness. Some spicy hops and lemons round out the finish. Sweet, but it has a lingering bitterness/acidity.

M- A heavy medium body with light carbonation which I enjoy.

D- This beer is one of the lighter/lowest ABV beers in the big Beer Series. I would not have more than one bomber by myself, but it goes down very easily.

I'm glad to say the Smutty Maibock is back to being great, after a short greatness hiatus. Last years was way too boozy. This years is much more balanced. I will be grabbing a few more of these to put in the cellar...these age nicely for a surprisingly long time given the low alcohol content.

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Photo of alkchrios
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

s. fruits and coriander...this beer smells almost like a belgian white.
a. copper in color gave way to a finger width head, translucent but almost red.
t. slight bitterness, definitely not as fruity as the smell makes it seem...also the smell is hops amounts more than the taste of hops.. this isnt a bad thing though i feel like the balance is very very spot on.
m. rather carbonated yet very smooth despite the abv. this is a great summer "sipping beer"
d. two or three bottles.... share with friends!


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Photo of Avagadro
4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured in to a German tumbler only to watch it explode with foam. After the pour, the off-white head slowly climbed over an inch above the rim of the glass. I am quite impressed with the vigorous lacing presented through a crystal clear, amber body.

S: honey and caramel are well presented in this subtle bouquet.

T: Smuttynose presents a dichotomy between sweet and bitter with this Maibock. The sweet honey/caramel body never really blends with the crisp spicy hop bite. I have to say that this a bit hoppier (in the nose and flavor) than is traditional for the style, but it is tasty nonetheless.

M: medium body with a touch of residue that even the heavy carbonation can't wash away.

D: This isn't necessarily a traditional example of the Maibock, but it is both tasty and interesting nonetheless. It may not be as bold as their barleywine or RIS, but is definitely worth your attention.

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Photo of avalon07
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a mug. Had a yellow-brown color and a cloudy consistency. There was an inch of foamy, long-lasting head. OK lacing.

S: A big odor of malt, with some sweet element as well.

T: Tasted of sweet malt (which dominates the flavor), caramel, and an acidic fruitiness. Very complex and easy to drink.

M: A good amount of carbonation with a super dry finish. Medium-bodied.

D: One of the most drinkable maibocks you're apt to find.

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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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