Smuttynose Homunculus (Big Beer Series) | Smuttynose Brewing Company

very good
180 Reviews
Smuttynose Homunculus (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Homunculus (Big Beer Series)

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States

Style: Belgian IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.37%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
This hoppy, Belgian-style golden ale first appeared in early 2007 as the first edition of our Short Batch Series. At that time, we called it the Gnome, an homage to Brasserie d'Achouffe.

45 IBU

2011 - 9.9%

Added by Bierman9 on 02-11-2007

For Trade:
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Reviews: 180 | Ratings: 471
Photo of SFLpunk
2.63/5  rDev -32%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

First, not impressed with the label. Almost didn't buy it just because of the artwork.

22oz brown glass pry-top bottle. 2011. Pours a golden amber with thin white head that fades without a trace. Nose smells like sweet corn and corn husks with some amber malt mixed in and banana peel/leaf. There's flash of hops, but it's overtaken by "esters." Palate is fat, wide, slick and un-bounded. A seeming trainwreck of "Belgian" flavors: banana peel, caramel malt, fruitbasket, cloves and lettuce. Yup...lettuce.

Not impressed at all. It's like the yeast gave up the ghost. A syrupy mess of a Belgian tripel I suppose. (Reminds me of that first bottled batch of Gravitation where the yeast died before reaching the intended alcohol level.) Label is disturbing, beer is flat and viscous. I usually love the Smutty Big Beers, but this is headed for the drain. Sorry folks.

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Photo of msquared36
2.73/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Beer had big flavors but they were not balanced. Sweet fruit taste clashed rather than enhance. Also, somehow even with the big flavor, the alcohol was noticeable. This one was bottled in 2011, so maybe the age detracted.

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Photo of Sensaray
2.75/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours a clear golden color with half inch white head that dissipated fairly quickly. A light layer of white stays with this.

Fruity, but not too sweet belgian yeasty scent pour from this. Huge on the nose. Bubblegum and pears, a sense of alcohol, light citrus. Bit of hop character, but not much, was expecting maybe slightly more here.

Upon first sip, my immediate thought is malty sweet bomb, but then some bitterness comes through at the close. Has a good spice note. This bitter does not match this sweet. Off balance. Bit boozy for the flavors.

Light medium, smooth carbonation, dry finish.

Eh, was expecting better. Not very good. Change the hops! Or something. Leans too much on the malty side for me.

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Photo of bluejacket74
2.88/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 ounce bottle, 2011 vintage. Served in a tulip, the beer pours a hazy golden/orange color with about a half inch off-white head which sticks around for a little while. There's also a good amount of lacing. Aroma is fruity (but also light), the brew smells like pears, apples, white grapes, bananas, citrus, and a bit of peppery spice. The taste is similar to the aroma, but there's also some bready malt and a slight herbal/medicinal flavor noticeable. Unfortunately, I think this brew starts to taste worse and worse the longer I drink it. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and has a good amount of carbonation. I didn't care for this brew much at all, mainly because I didn't like the taste of it. I didn't think it was awful, but I didn't think it was exactly good, either. I usually like Smuttynose beers, but this one wasn't for me.

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Photo of DeFaz
2.89/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I know I've had some good Smuttynose beers in the past, but I have to say that after this one and especially after the Gravitation beer, Smuttynose and I are going to take a break, at least as far as their "Big Beer" series.

This pours a cloudy very light copper color with a medium head and average retention. Lacing is pretty good. The smell is unfortunately overpowered by alcohol, although when straining to see past the alcohol I find some nice fruit, including cherry and berry, and malt tastes, and it's clear there's some yeast being used here. The taste suffers from a lack of balance, with the alcohol flavor out of control. The yeast seems to offer some nice flavors, but the label on the beer says that it is "Impregnated with loads of hop character", and yet I find very, very little hop character here at all. By the way, don't drink this beer when pregnant or when looking for a balanced and flavorful beer. Anyway, it's OK--it's not well thought out, like the Gravitation beer, and I wish I hadn't bought such a large bottle of it. The mouthfeel is drying but spot on as far as thickness, but overall it's a beer I would try again as it needs to be reconstructed.

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Photo of jlindros
3.04/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Light fizzy head with hazy golden apple orange peach color.

Nose has dry musty malt, lactic like herbal hop musty, estery aroma and a bit of phenolic booze, slight plastic band-aid, light sweet malts and light fruit.

Taste starts with sweet malts, light bitter fruity hops, but more phenolic and esters, light plastic, Belgian malts, bit of yeast, chewy malts, touch salty, little doughy malts, hint of bring and bitter hops, fairly bitter overall.

Mouth is med bodied, dec carb.

Overall pretty bleh, probably the only Smuttynose beer I've not enjoyed at all. It just wasn't done right, phenolic, plastic, band-aid, a bit estery, boozy, the hops didn't come through well either.

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Photo of chrisgn
3.06/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I really enjoy the Belgian Golden style and La Chouffe and Duvel and some of my favorite beers. This beer is listed as a Golden Ale on the bottle and Belgian IPA on BA. To me it seems more like a fruity tripel. Tropical fruit seems to predominate in both in the aroma and taste. The flavors are very rich and the mouthfeel is thick and a bit sticky. General I like the beers that are drier and spicier with a little less on the tropical fruit. The alcohol and sweetness comes through more than I would like.

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Photo of emerge077
3.14/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bright saturated orange, fluffy white foam on top. Lasting foam and lacing around the edges, the swirling skim in the center eventually breaks up. Very high clarity, jewel tone orange.

Vegetal and green aroma, seems a bit too young actually. Like a brewpub beer that rushed through the fermenting process. Some clove spice and sickly sweet overripe fruit.

Pretty smooth, a heavy Belgian yeast presence with lots of clove and pepper phenols. Sweet and syrupy feel, with little to no bitterness. IPA? Not really. Sweet cantaloupe and more clove. Feels pretty heavy, not all that easy to finish a bomber. Honestly not one of Smuttynose's better BIG Beers.

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Photo of champ103
3.2/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a beautifully hazy golden/orange color. A small bubbly white head forms with poor retention. Light lace is left behind.
S: Pale malts, bread/biscuit, some sweetness, some light spice.
T: Like the nose a big bready sweetness. Some fruits, yeasty spice. Lots going on, but nothing much meshes well for me.
M/D: A medium body and carbonation. Fairly smooth. Not hard to drink. Though a slow sipper.

Not bad, but fairly average. Really no hops to speak of for any sort of IPA. Pretty much an average Belgian Strong Pale Ale. Not something I am going to revisit.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.24/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark, translucent peach fuzz orange with canary yellow edges. Lacy coral reef left by a thin crescent head. Lots of sperm reference in both bottle art and beer description - not what I want when I'm about to ingest something.

Aroma is citrus must? Musty citrus? It's nice whatever it is.

Taste is more musty orange and unbittered grapefruit juice citrus with a big gooey malt presence. Not sneaky strong BSPA like a Duvel but a very load and bawdy. Some breadiness emerges from the malt goo as it warms.

The sweet malt goo became a bit much for me to latch onto. Arguably my least favorite Smutty big bottle.

Bottle says "share some responsibly with your gnomies." So I did.

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Photo of Damian
3.26/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Drank on-tap at the Publick House, Brookline, MA

Poured a cloudy yet bright, golden amber with a tight, one-finger, khaki-colored head that quickly faded to a ring of lace. Sporadic streaks of lacing clung to the sides of the glass.

The aroma was very faint initially, with only a slight indication of citrusy hops. It was not until almost the end of the drink that the aroma really came forth. Citrusy hops became quite apparent along with solvent-like alcohol and a hint of spice.

The taste was similar to the nose in its later stage. A touch of sweet malts and Belgian candi sugar came through up front before the hops and alcohol took over. The hops were quite strong and citrusy with obvious notes of orange peel and grapefruit. The spiciness was also quite intense (yet more akin to that which is usually found in a traditional IPA rather than a Belgian-style beer). At 9% ABV, I definitely expected a noticeable alcohol presence but it seemed quite overpowering in this beer. The alcohol flavor was rather potent up front and it intensified as it moved along the palate. As the beer warmed, the alcohol became progressively stronger and toward the end of the drink, it was astringent, solvent-like and practically intolerable.

Mouthfeel was medium/light with a lively and intense carbonation.

All in all, it seems that "intense" is a good word choice when describing this beer. This is definitely an American take on a style known for its smoothness and subtle nuances. In my opinion, it has nothing on the "real" gnome.

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Photo of VncentLIFE
3.27/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Still working through the extras of a trade with johnnie about a month ago!

Pours a yellow-orange with no head. I gave an aggressive pour, and got very little.

Smells is full of nice Belgian yeast. Hints of alpha acids, citrus fruits, and slight bittering hops. Belgian IPA?

Taste isn't very big. Slick citrus feeling accompanies a subdued Belgian yeast. I guess there's some hops in there somewhere, I feel them make an attempt at balancing things out, but they fail.

Becomes insanely boozy, in a bad way. feels like im exhaling after shooting Wild Turkey.

I guess I was expecting something big from their Big Beer Series. There's just an overall lack of everything. Yeast and hops are there, but um not really.

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Photo of Beejay
3.3/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: A pale apricot color, crystal clear with plenty of white head on top. The head starts to collapse into itself and form a rocky moonscape as it sits.

S: Very sweet at first. Some light spice notes, as well as a honey character. Clove and some fruit notes, peaches, apricot, and perhaps a little orange peel. Definitely some bready character, and perhaps a little tropical fruit in the finish as well as a hint of booze.

T: Nice belgian character rounded out with herbal hops bitterness. Sweet and bready, Some raison notes, as well as clove. The fruit flavors are more diminished than the smell would lead you to believe. The bitterness comes out in the finish with some herbal notes. The finish has a bit of booze in it.

M: I think it feels a little thicker than it really is. Carbonation is about medium, lacking the typical Belgian carbonation may perhaps be why it feels a little thicker.

O: Overall I like the malt and Belgian character, but the hops seem to fight it a little. The mouthfeel seems a touch of. All and all I like it, but I think it could be smoothed out a bit.

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Photo of nmbr0ne
3.3/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served into a tulip glass from 22oz bottle.

Appearance: Golden orange color. The beer is really clear and transparent. I can clearly see my fingers on the other side of the glass. There is a decent presence of lacing that is left over from the small white head that disappeared almost immediately.

Smell: The overall aroma is a combination of citrusy hops and yeast. I expect this since it's a Belgian IPA. The hops overpower the yeast.

Taste: It has a very bitter hop taste. The bitterness during the finish is really overwhelming, which prevents me from enjoying this beer to the fullest extent.

Mouthfeel: It is a very thin beer. Almost watery. It's really easy to drink. I like the mouthfeel because in addition to "drinkability," it has a sufficient amount of carbonation that is pleasant.

Overall: It's not my favorite beer but for the style that it is suppose to be, I find it a bit sub-par. It's decent, good maybe, but it leaves something to be desired.

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Photo of stakem
3.31/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bomber split with friends and poured into a couple snifters. The brew appears a hazed golden with a frothy off-white cap. A full wall of webby lace sticks to the glass. A light swirl revives more than a finger of yellowish stained head.

The smell is full of herbal hops, somewhat veggie-like and mixed with some hints of dirty melon. Some citrus and fruit/floral notes
come along for the ride mixing with candied orange candy. A bit of spicy yeast like clove and pepper fill out the rest of the void.

The taste is hebal with hops. A mild candy sweetness is present before mixing with some dirty melon flavor and herbal to grassy biterness. More sips reveal some earthen elements mixed with sulfur.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. It is lively in the feel but lots of strange yeast aspects clash with the bitternesss that keeps this from being that enjoyable. I dont know what it is about belgian ipas but something always seems to go strange with them.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
3.37/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a bomber.

Orange hazy appearance.
Thin head, that quickly disappears.

Strong Belgian yeast aroma.

Can taste the La Chouffe influence.
Not very hoppy, may have dissipated considering it is a 2013 bottle.

Overall, a decent beer. Not a huge fan of Smuttynose Big Beer Series, but they certainly captured the essence of Belgian Strong Golden Ale.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.38/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed on 4/9/09. On tap at Blind Tiger. Pours a cloudy orange with a small white head. Aroma of tangerine jelly candies. Flavor of sweet citrus, candi sugar, and some yeast. Ok, not great.
Aroma: 7/10
Appearance: 4/5
Flavor: 7/10
Palate: 3/5
Overall: 14/20

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a burnished golden with a decent head that eventually fades away to nothing. Good clarity. The beer has a sweet Belgian nose with some spicy herbal hops on the finish. Nice. The taste, in a sense, is similar to the aroma. The problem is that things are a bit out of balance here. The sweetness is mostly lost, and there is a slightly acrid bitterness, and the hops seem a bit of a mismatch here. I'm craving a fruity note or some sweetness- instead I get entirely too much dry herbalness, a bitterness that seems a bit too astringent, and a bit of acrid sourness. Not my favorite beer from this quite good brewery.

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Photo of ksimons
3.4/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A-a hazy amber orange with a ring of white head around the top

S-bready malts, warm sugar, yeast, and a hint of alcohol

T-Similar to the nose, but with even more candy sweetness and then ends with a hop bitterness. The two flavors don't ever really mesh, it goes from very sweet to a citrus bitterness

M-medium body, light carbonation

Overall easy to drink, especially for 9%, but the sweetness is too overwhelming for me

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Photo of Gosox8787
3.42/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Presentation: 22 oz. bomber served chilled into a Sam Adams pint glass.

Appearance: Golden yellow in color. A small, fizzy white head emerges and dissipates pretty quickly.

Aroma: Big banana and clove notes are noticable at first smell. Some spicy hop notes are there as well and assert themselves after the initial sweetness. A bit peppery as well.

Taste: A quick flash of banana and clove before an outslaught of bitter hops. SOme fruity esters are present as well, but he big, bitter hops dominate and make this a bit overwhelming. Not balanced or pleasant.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, maybe a bit heavier than I am used to for the style, but crisply carbonated.

Overall, an interesting take on a Beglian IPA. The hops really don't provide an citrus or fruit here though, just unpleasant bitterness. The Belgian beer behind the hops is not bad, but there is just no harmony here. Not something I am likely to buy again. One of the only Smuttynose Big Beers I was dissappointed in.

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Photo of mactrail
3.45/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Plenty of foam in the Brewery Vivant tulip with a light orange amber color. Aroma of hot fruit and vodka. Fairly thin body. Tingly carbonation.

Very sweet and powerfully flavored. I wondered, "What is this?" after the first sip. Malty, hot, and alcoholic, plus a tangy sensation. The Belgian yeast adds some bitterness and just a little drying effect on the lips, but it stays pretty sweet to the end. I'd call it hot, sweet, and tart.

An interesting brew that will wake up the taste buds while it puts the tongue to sleep. From the 22 oz bottle purchased at Bottlecraft in North Park. Smuttynose has suddenly started showing up in San Diego.

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Photo of Reagan1984
3.45/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Fairly bright gold/brass colored beer with a fairly aggressive bright white head. Sticky spider web lacing remains in the glass.

The aroma is spicy, fairly sweet and thick with Belgian yeast notes. (hints to over sweetness to come)

Typical Belgian IPA notes here. Spice, Fruit notes and some hop bitterness. The spice comes forward and doesn’t meld too well here in my opinion. Sometimes the sum of the parts is greater…. Here it’s not really. There is a slight candied sugar presence, but not as strong as the nose hints.

Body was slightly thin vs. what I expected.

I wasn’t a big fan in the end. Just didn’t work for me.

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Photo of brentk56
3.46/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

2012 bottling

Appearance: Pours a cloudy honey color with just an OK head that leaves some clumps of lace

Smell: Fruity (Juicy Fruit gum and pear nectar) and sweet with fusel alcohol tones

Taste: Fusel alcohol and spicy phenols jut forward to mask the fruit (the Juicy Fruit and pear tones detected in the aroma) and whatever hops that used to be detectable when the beer was fresh; very sweet, after the swallow, with a golden syrup flavor that becomes cloying, in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation; some warmth in the gullet

Overall: Perhaps this beer was better when fresh as the hops could have balanced out the other flavors; at this point, however, it is unbalanced and cloying; true Belgians (even hoppy ones) typically have more staying power

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Photo of wrycon
3.47/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance is slightly muddled, but overall clear. Gold in complexion. Short head is somewhat thin and dissipates quickly. Smells quite yeasty, with a hint of funk. Picking up some wheat and citrus. Hmmm... Tastes heavy and flat to start with a thick, almost banana flavor. Minor carbonation carries the middle through a sharp and yeasty blockade. Ends semi-sweet and hot with more of that thick banana flavor. Wondering if this would be better given more time.

Like it? It's OK

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Photo of oberon
3.49/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a large tulip glass a slight hazed medium golden with a nice blooming white crown that left globs of lace as it settled ever so slowly.Spiced phenols and overripe citrus fruit mainly in the nose,the phenols are the main component and that kinda turned me off a little.Medicenel and tropical citrus fruit hop flavors with spicy phenols in the background.while the phenolic flavors are held in check somewhat,the beer lacks a whole lot of complexity in my mind.

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Smuttynose Homunculus (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.87 out of 5 based on 471 ratings.
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