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 Kinsman
3.67/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Excited to try a new (well sort-of new) addition to the Big Beer Series. Pours a bright glowing orange with a slight bit of haze to it and a solid inch of frothy white head.

Aroma starts off with some bready and grainy malt backbone before the yeast notes start to come in. Lots of fruity esters and just a bit of clove and white pepper spice. Hops add just a touch of grass and floralness but not as much as expected.

Sweet, fruity, malty, hoppy... these are all words that could describe the variety of flavors coming across the palate. Toasted grain sets up the malt backbone on which the yeast and hops battle for flavor supremacy. Hops add some herbal and slightly citrusy character and yeast add some green apple and berry like fruitiness. Definitely a bit of spice coming from the yeast as well but not as strong as some Belgian style ales. Finishes with a good kick of hoppy bitterness and warming bite from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy, much more so than expected but I think it suits this beer well. Overall, I have a tough time with Beligan IPAs. I like hops and I like Belgian yeast character but I'm not so sure I like them together. That being said, for what it is, Homonculus is a fine example of what a Belgian IPA should be. Hoppy and yeasty with just enough malt to keep it all in line.

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Photo of DrJay
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear gold with an off-white cap of fine and soapy bubbles. Good head retention with some streaky lacing. Grassy, slightly citrusy, aroma with notes of grain and fruit, not-quite-clove spiciness, and bread. More of the same in the flavour, but with more honey-like sweetness and moderate, grassy/orange peel bitterness and spice that lingered in the finish. Medium bodied with moderate carbonation, decent texture, mild alcohol warmth/flavour and dryness. Pretty solid overall and rather enjoyable.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.13/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle served in my Spiegelau tulip. Bottle conditioned in 2011 notched on the label. Pours a dull, burnt orange with a hazy clarity and a half inch frothy, bright white head that quickly disperses towards the edges leaving a creamy band around the edges and a soapy skim across the surface. Light fruity esters initially hit the nose (melon fruits); however, there is also a suggestion of candi sugar and a slightly herbal/medicinal quality towards the back. Taste consistent with nose - all the aromas present in the nose nicely coalesce. Fruit and candi sugar is a bit more prominent and there's a light herbal bitterness that comes out at the finish. Mouthfeel is light-medium with an assertive carbonation and a slightly oily texture. All and all, I really dig this brew - not at all what I would expect from a Belgian IPA (less hoppy and more fruity); more of a Belgian Strong Pale ale in the Duvel family in my opinion. The alcohol on this is dangerously well-hidden - I didn't realize it was 9.90% until a slight buzz ensued. The flavors also seem to be much more prominent as the brew warms. This is one of the best additions to Smutty's line-up in years in my humble opinion.

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Photo of Jmamay22
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up on a whim unaware Smuttynose had a new release due.

Pours a hazy amber with just a thin collar. Lots of fruity esters in the scent, which I enjoy. Really makes you think of a Belgian brew on steroids. Slightly phenolic.

Taste is semi sweet with a tart hoppy finish, but again the fruity esters dominate with hints of apple. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with tight small bubbles of carbonation. I really enjoy the strong yeasty fruity scent and taste, but it may be overdone for some.

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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 Brad007
3.72/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark golden color with a one-finger head. Could be a bit brighter.

Spicy with a good dose of citrus in the nose. It's most certainly a belgian ipa.

Another flavor dimension joins the pack: sweet. That's right. Malt is a bit too sweet for this style. The hop bite remains though.

Wow, this one is warming! At 9.9%, it's still quite hot. This hurts the overall feel.

A decent example of the style. It doesn't hit ALL of the right notes but it's still worth a try, especially if you're a fan of the other Smuttynose Big Beers.

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Photo of Chaney
4/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this into a Cigar City snifter because I could.

A: Extremely cloudy dark orange (Halloween-ish) color, with about a half finger head that subsided very quickly.

S: I got banana mixed with grass actually. I know some bitterness will hit my palate soon though.

T: Easy drinker, and once again, I definitely got banana daquiri and then some. Some bitterness on the afterbite, but the grass played a role in that.

M: Low carbonation, but still mildly prickly. The lacing was subtle, but still present.

O: I still consider Houblon Chouffe to be the pinnacle here, but this one was pretty good... especially for the low price!

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Photo of JizackFH
4.62/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at the Smuttynose Takes the Taps event at Rattle N Hum on 8/2/11.

Review taken from notes.

A - This beer pours a nice golden yellow color. It has a nice sized white head on it. the head has decent retention, and it leaves some specs of lace behind on the glass.

S - The smell is great. I am getting a big banana smell right away. There are spices and other tropical fruit smells there too. Also, There is a nice hop presence and some yeastiness.

T - The taste starts off with some clove spiciness and a nice hop presence. There is a big banana flavor here that sort of floats between the background and the foreground. There is some yeastiness here, as well as some tropical fruit flavors. The finish has a dryness to it.

M - This has a medium body and nice carbonation. It has a nice smooth feel to it. There is some hop bitterness, as well as some spiciness and a touch of dryness in the finish.

O - There is good drinkability here. I could easily drink a few of these in a sitting. It goes down smooth and has a nice big bold flavor. I really enjoyed this one, and it is probably one of my favorite belgian style IPAs so far. I recommend trying it.

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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 ILiveOffHops
3.8/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This Belgian brew, formerly 'The Gnome', pours a deep golden color. Strong carbonation, but settles quickly. Minimal head...a ring with a thin head covering the surface of the beer. Decent lacing. Strongly phenolic- in a great way. Is this La Chouffe? Alcohol is seriously hidden. Medium body, and pretty highly carbonated. Overall, a tasty Belgian from Smutty.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

In a tulip glass this beer was a bright golden color with a small white head.

It had a sweet malt aroma. Some fruit, mainly banana. Spice.

I really liked the taste. Yeasty bread. Banana, with a little citrus. Some clove. A nice hoppy finish.

A little on the crisp side. Refreshing. A very nice Belgian IPA.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
3.94/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a 1.5" off-white head. Hazy raw sienna yellow in color. Mild malt smell as well as a little dried fruit. Medium rich and malty body, a little hint of dried fruit, banana, and spice. Better than many American-clamed Belgian styles but still not quite up to actual Belgian strength. Fairly long bitter finish. Cool people-sperms on the label.

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Photo of celticfutblclub
4.09/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22er into a pint glass

bunch of dude sperms on the front nice touch. comes out golden. thin white head sits atop keeps itself pretty well. good lacing. nose is lemon yeast clove pepper and bread. complex and inviting. taste is big clove yeast bread malts and sweet malts round out with lemon and pepper. great dry strong hop finish on this with moderate carbonation. this is one damn fine belgian ipa. go get some.

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

Poured into a La Fin Du Monde tulip a nice amber gold with a finger of solid head that leaves streaky lace.

Nose is bright Belgian yeast, lightly spicy clove, grain, and a touch of alcohol and a dash of bubble gum.

A sip is big clove and Belgian yeast, sweet grain, and a bit of an estery alcohol presence. Medium to heavier body for the style, lighter carbonation.

The alcohol is there, but really well disguised behind a sweet body. Overall a pretty nice BIPA, but not really blowing me away in any regard.

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Photo of OtherShoe2
4.5/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a slightly hazy medium orange with a slight skim of white foam. Slight lacing.

Some yeast, toasted malt, and fruit (peach nectar) in the nose. Maybe a little honeysuckle. Good, but a bit mild. Still, it works.

I was worried. I saw this as having the potential of being a pine cone. I was wrong. Wonderful balance here. The initial part of the sip gives you some malt and a touch of boozy over-ripe peach (not browned/bruised, but you know it is only a matter of time before it turns on you-type fruit). Something tart in there, with a little tingle too. Still, not overly sweet. As the body of the brew clears from your palate, the bitterness starts to come in, as if it was held back by surprisingly subdued chemical alcohol. As the bitter and the booze clear the palate of any fruit or sweetness, you get a medium-mild bitterness -- no hop oil, no grapefruit or pine cone, just clean bitterness. The fruit comes back a bit at the very end, but just slightly. Balance, complexity, and even at 9.9%, the booze is so well hidden that you just keep reaching for the glass. A very very rare 5.0 from me.

Now I'm getting picky. I would have liked just a touch more carbonation -- but that is my preference. Tiny bubbles are rising in the pint, so it still has some zip.

Overall, this is a good one. They balanced it great, they got the flavor just right. And the label is hilarious. Some Belgian IPAs are a bitter hop death bombs. This is so drinkable that you'd want to session a 9.9% beer. Oh, you have to try this.

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

This has seriously got to be one of the weirdest labels I've seen in a while, looks like Smutty is having some fun with it though.

Pours a golden orange color with a thin head, fades at a fast rate, doesn't leave any lacing on the glass whatsoever.

Smell has a strong fruity ester aroma, even dominates over the hops which also has a good representation, sweet malt melds in the background.

The alcohol is much stronger than I would have imagined it to be judging from the aroma, definitely has a bit of a bite to it, the fruitiness couples with a citrusy hop bitterness to create the dominate flavor, light sweet malt balances things out a bit.

Not sure I'd say this is a Belgian IPA, especially since I think it needs to have a bit of age on it to mellow out. I'd give this 6 months in the cellar and it'll be for the better.

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Photo of beancounter
3.55/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 Bottling.

A-Dark golden and hazy with numerous small quick bubbles.

S-Bready/yeasty and fruity

T-Tart fruitiness and alcohol with noticeable bitterness upfront and on the back of the tongue with a bready aftertaste. Do I taste band-aid in here as well?

M-Medium to thick (for a Belgian style ale)

O-I just didn't care for this interpretation of a Belgian IPA. The bitterness dominated to the point of drowning out the other flavors.

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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 MrHurmateeowish
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle purchased at Shaw's in North Hampton. Pours a hazy/murky yellow-amber body with virtually no head to speak of. Smells fruity and spicy, with orange, apple and pithy notes. Fruity for sure, with orange, peach, apple, pineapple, notes. Low in carbonation, medium in body. A little more carbonation would help this a bit (maybe I got a bad bottle?) but apart from that, this beer is truly awesome. Tastes like nothing else I've tried.

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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 JamesRobbins
3.74/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer has a hazy golden appearance; a consistently pleasant grapefruit smell; a dynamic taste which proceeds from subtle honey to sweet grapefruit to a final alcoholic tinge; and the mouthfeel starts out crisp and ends creamy.

Overall, this beer does a very nice job of hiding it's substantial alcoholic constitution: One is left with a consistently pleasant and fruity smell and taste in conjunction with a hospitable mouthfeel in the process of getting markedly crunked.

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Photo of SABERG
4.17/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sevred in a modified tulip from a 22oz bottle.

A - Nice deep gold color, gentle carbonation continues throughout our time together.

S - Butter toffee, lemon grass, light malt, and citrus. Nice nose complex enough to keep you thinking.

T - Honey early, then some malt, balanced with sweet. Some more sweet and little hops. A little apricot at the end, and some more sweet.

M - Feels is not slick, but not tight eather. Interesting that there is a slight dry finish. All in all a pleasant feel.

O - As belgian style blondes go she is a touch to the heavy side. But whats not to like! I appreciate the work Smuttynose continues to do.


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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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