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

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Reviews: 180 | Ratings: 471
Photo of Sammy
3.83/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Recent bottle. A lot is going on in this. Pours unfiltered look, milky orange golden with a small retained head. Somewhat sweet slightly funky aroma. Easy mouthfeel, yeasty sweet with a hop bitter finish. A little orange juice. Brett aftertaste. Understated carbonation, aided drinkability.IBu 75 a little surprising.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle I brought to share at Tieman's tasting.

2013 vintage.

Pours a murky honey orange with a foamy bone head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, yeast, and citrus-like hop aromas. Taste is much the same with yeast and citrus flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of yeast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with some interesting aromas and flavors.

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Photo of metter98
3.87/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is clear deep golden yellow in color and has a light amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a half finger high white head that died down but consistently left lacing on the surface and a very thick ring of bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of herbs and spices in the nose along with hints of citrus from the hops.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell and has some hints of sweetness throughout. There is a moderate amount of bitterness, which particularly stands out in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied and rather crisp on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation. There is dryness in the finish.
O: Although the alcohol is relatively well masked from the taste, this beer definitely tastes like it packs some punch and is one that needs to be slowly sipped.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.65/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Belgian have traditionally found their beers to be complex enough without the exertion of hops. American microbrewed hoppy ales have generally celebrated a yeast-neutral taste. But the imperial Belgian-style IPA can't have it both ways. Sure the fusion of both becomes a total train wreck... but so does cubism art- and does so in the most beautiful of ways.

As the beer pours a bright and slightly clouded, amber-orange hue, the abundance of carbonation erupts to build a creamy eggshell-white head that retains stubbornly and decorates the tulip with intricate patterns of lace. With a classic look of Belgian pale ales and trippels, the beer suits is Belgian influences well.

Strong and zesty aromas spring to the nose with a plethora of citrus and tropical fruits that are lead by apples, lemons, and apricots. But there's the foundation of bready and honey malts that support the sweetness and welcomes a peppery wine-like note heading into taste.

Its racy taste starts with malt sweetness that's somewhat cracker-like but is trailed by honey and thinned caramel. Fruit components come from a few different directions- first the esters set in with apple, pear, and apricot but then the more acidic lemon, grapefruit, and orange fruits from hop contributions come in to solidify the middle palate. Thereafter, the beer merges with a quivering sweetness, fusion of fruit vibrancy, and deeply resinous bitterness to close the taste in its extended finish.

Medium-full in body, the beer's ample carbonation gives rise to the fruit acidity and lightness of malt to give a somewhat "airy" feel to the semi-malty ale. But as the carbonation subsides, its sweetness recedes and paves the way for spicy alcohol, pepper, and light astringency to merge with alcohol warmth for a long spicy pang in the beer's lasting memory.

This is a wonderful Belgian-style IPA that rivals the likes of Flying Dog Raging Bitch and Stone Brewing Company's Cali-Belgique. But the brewer's notes hop that it falls in the conversation of Achouffe. For that to happen, the beer has to better explore its more complex, earthy, and rustic roots. But its a fantastic beer even with its simplified taste and texture.

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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 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 Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a lightly hazy deep blonde color ale with a nice big foamy head with OK retention and minimal lacing. Aroma consists of sweet Belgian malt with some dry hops. Taste is unfortunately overwhelmed with sweet Belgian malt with some dry hops though somewhat hard to discern considering the sweetness level. Some fruity ester was discernable but again overshadowed by sweetness. Body is quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Not bad but too much sugar upfront in that one.

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Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into tulip glass, 2015 vintage bottling. Pours slightly hazy/cloudy bright orange color with a 2 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big lemon zest, apricot, orange peel, pear, apple, light banana, bubblegum, pepper, clove, light caramel, candi sugar, bread, floral, grass, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Damn nice aromas with great complexity and balance of citrus/earthy hops, fruity/spicy yeast, and pale malt notes; with great strength. Taste of big lemon zest, apricot, orange peel, pear, apple, light banana, bubblegum, pepper, clove, light caramel, candi sugar, bread, floral, grass, and herbal/yeast earthiness. Fair amount of earthy bitterness and yeast spiciness on the finish; with lingering notes of lemon zest, apricot, orange peel, pear, apple, light banana, bubblegum, pepper, clove, light caramel, candi sugar, bread, and floral/grassy earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Damn nice complexity, robustness, and balance of citrus/earthy hops, fruity/spicy yeast, and pale malt flavors; with a great malt/bitterness/yeast spice balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, fairly crisp, and lightly sticky/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent Belgian IPA style. All around great complexity, balance, and robustness of citrus/earthy hops, fruity/spicy yeast, and pale malt flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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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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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 TheManiacalOne
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap 10/2/11 at Doherty’s East Ave Irish Pub in Pawtucket, RI, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep gold color, with a large off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is contains Belgian yeast, floral hops, light caramelized malts and some fruit.

T: The taste starts out with a nice burst of hops bitterness. Then some flavors of Belgian yeast, bananas, spices and citrus come in. The malt character is hearty but not too heavy and creates a good balance. The after-taste is slightly bitter.

M: Crisp and smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is clean.

D: Tasty, goes down very easily, not too filling, well-disguised kick, good representation of style, this is a very nice beer to drink for a long time.

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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 ChainGangGuy
3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle conditioned in: 2011.

Appearance: Pours a hazed, deep golden-orange body with a tallish, foaming, white head that flattens out in the time taken to settle into the nearest chair.

Smell: Sweet-scented, sugary nose with some hint of pepper-infused alcohol, white grapefruit juice, distilled florals, incisive pils malt, stone fruit, and a bit of banana, with a low, underlying funkiness there.

Taste: Sweetish, tangy taste of a full pilsner backbone. Generous portion of candi sugar. Lightly floral, very vaguely earthy and with a solid citric, grapefruit and bitter orange taste from the variety of hops used. Hint of funky Asian pear. Pinch of coarse ground black pepper. A few slices of banana, subsequently smashed. Sweeped under the rug of sugars is a hint of phenolics, though it is a bit more noticeable as the beer warms.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium-plus carbonation. A bit tongue-coating, like a drink of half-n-half.

Overall: Perhaps more sweeter and candyish than needed for a Belgian IPA. Instead of IPA meets Tripel, it's a slightly-more-hoppy tripel. Maybe it's just me. On a sidenote, I'm most letdown by the puerile, lowbrow label, especially when held against their previously more classier labels.

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Photo of billab914
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into my Stone nonic pint glass. Golden amber in color with a thin but bubble white head to it. Decent head retention and lacing on the glass as I drank it.

The aroma has a pretty big crisp fruit flavor to it. I get a lot of banana mixing with some notes of grapes and apple. The Belgian yeast adds some clove like spice to it. The hop character is more reserved then I anticipated after reading the label, but some citrusy notes do peek through.

The taste starts out with a sweeter, crisp, delicate fruit flavor. Midway I get more of a tartness to it with some banana and clove spice coming in. Towards the finish it gets more bitter with some of the earthy, herbal hops coming out.

The mouthfeel is medium bodied with carbonation being moderate. Overall it was a pretty decent beer, but the estery flavors seem to dominate a little too much for me. It's still pretty good, but the hops and other flavors could have shined a bit more.

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Photo of smcolw
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a solid but quickly dissipating head. Very cloudy with a yellowish brown color, rather unusual. In bright light I see a lot orange. Lots of webby lace on the glass.

This may be the closest I've ever smelled to pure alcohol (like vodka or moonshine). Beyond the alcohol is a small whisper of malt.

The taste is far more balanced. Moderately sweet toasted malt at the start and even in the swallow. Yet, the aftertaste has a healthy contribution of peppery and citrusy hop. The alcohol is almost undetectable. Shocking! Full bodied and highly carbonated make for a great combination.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap tonight at the Rustico in Ballston in Arlington, VA at their Smuttynose Rare Beer night. 13 oz. goblet.

a - Poura a hazy bright orange brown color with one inch of white head and moderate carbonation evident. Some spotty lacing and no head retention.

s - Smells of Belgian yeast, bananas, spices, and cloves. A lot of spices in the nose.

t - Tastes of spices, bananas, Belgian yeast, and fruit. More bananas than the nose, but a lot of spice again.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation, smooth and easy to drink.

o - Overall a pretty good Belgian style beer that is heavy on the spices. Nice bananas in the taste as well. Would give it another shot.

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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 johnnnniee
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep golden color that borders on amber, good sized fluffy white head sticks much lace. Smells of lemon and pepper with a spicy earthy twist. Citric and spicy with a herbal earthy bitterness. Taste is sweet fruity malt up front earthy bitterness comes in then a spicy yeasty flavor. Finishes sweet and fruity with a hint of warming alcohol. Medium body with a spirited level of carbonation, sweet sticky mouthfeel. I like this beer. Great tasting Belgian style brew.

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Photo of tdm168
4.02/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - cloudy, hazy orange with a huge, pure white head that has fantastic retention

S - apricots, rind, Belgian yeast, spicy alcohol

T - apricot, orange juice concentrate, orange rind, yeast, alcohol in the finish

M - medium to full bodied, warm, dry, juicy

This is a pretty decent BIPA. It's incredibly fruity and juicy. The alcohol is ever present but it doesn't take away from the drinkability. The yeast is present but seems to work well with the intense, complex fruitiness. This is worth a try for sure.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.16/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours nicely. No head. Mild nose. Nice tangy profile mixed with a mild dough edge. Full and consistent ride. Smooth feel. A very good American interpretation of this style. Had this and many others at Mugs Belgian shindig and this was clearly the winner for me.

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Photo of Billolick
4.3/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled several of these and even took notes (!) at the Blind Tiger in NYC, p0ured kind of flat unfortunatly, cloudy dark apricot, leaving just a smidge of lacing, nose is Belgian yeastyness, and fruits and flavor notes were of more fruits, bananas, yeast and the expected crisp and spicy and resiny hops. Alot of interest here, respectable take on a style I love, looking foward to more of this from Smutty and hopefully lots of other American and Belgian brewers.

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Photo of jwc215
4.04/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Blind Tiger, NYC, poured into a tulip glass:

Pours hazed golden with a thin white creamy head that lasts and leaves a bit of lacing.

The smell is of pink grapefruit rind, citric and spicy with some pepper, coriander and pale maltiness.

The taste is of pink grapefruit and herbal/floral bitterness. A sturdy malt backbone balances bitterness. Black pepper overrides some potential complexities. Leafy, drying finish.

The feel is a bit shallow from mild carbonation. Still, it's a bit creamy.

A nice, interesting American interpretation of the style. A good sipper with a great America meets Belgium aroma.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.98/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Smuttynose Humunculous, A Belgian-style Golden Ale. From The Smuttynose BIG BEER Series. Brewed and bottled by Smuttynose Brewing Company, Portsmouth, New Hampshire. "After years of gestation our highly regarded hoppy Belgian style ale, "The Gnome" has been reborn as Homunculus. Impregnated with loads of hop character, balanced with malt sweetness & fruit esters derived from the Belgian yeast, this Golden colored ale is ripe for the picking. Share some responsibly with your gnomes."

No, I'm a big boy, I'm taking this one down by itself. Weird label image, little sperms with human faces (brewery employees, I assume), all headed to one big nucleus. What is it supposed to say? Who can tell us? Does anyone really know?

Clear, bright golden hue, beautiful white head.

Soft and spicy aromatics, citrus notes, fruit, lemon, orange, pear, even. A little hit of pepper.

Taste: Outsized fruit at the start, juicy malt, small hops. Bright, buoyant, and lively. And then along comes the booze. Rises high, Gets all up in there. Bright and boozy, but flush with flavor, to boot.

Nothing on the label spells out the alcohol quotient, but it feels big. And it dwarfs the other flavors. Not as balanced as I'd like, not something I'd really reach for again and again.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a snifter, the beer is a bright, vibrant, opaque copper-gold coloring with a filmy ring around the surface. Aromas of funky fruit and spice typical of Belgian yeast, with pineapple and melon blending with coriander and lemon zest. Smells smooth and tasty. Flavors are smooth and rich, with a slightly sour undertone that uplifts the malty backbone of fruit sweetness. Hops are light, and used as an accent of pepper spice and a slight bitterness to the palate. Very tasty, and the beer has a solid, rich mouthfeel. The aftertaste is rich, with the tropical fruit sweetness becoming more syrupy, with a sutble roasting. Clean, smooth finish with a subtle dryness at the very end. Solid brew.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.56/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a tulip. Beer is orange, mildly hazy, thick off white head, off white, lots of lacing, moderate to high carbonation.

Aroma is sweet, yeasty, a little grassy, cascade / noble hop aroma. A little estery.

Beer is a little solventy, strong sweet and little bitter. The yeast is winning in this beer. I drank the 22 ounces but it was a little dry, not bitter enough and the hops were a little grassy. It is an OK Belgian IPA but not a repeat for me.

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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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