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 Crazy4LegMoose
3.69/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Hazy orange hue with 3 fingers off white head. Leaves good lacing down the glass.

S: Big fruity esters in the nose. Hints of orange citrus flavors and faint aromas of bananas.

T: Smooth fruity flavors up front that is finished with a good hop bite and bitterness. Hints of banana bread and orange zest up front that blends into a good citrus hop bite that leaves a slightly bitter finish on the palate.

M: Medium body beer with good creamy carbonation.

O: Quite good. Nice hoppy with an interesting banana bread malt backbone. Very well balanced and unusual flavor combinations.

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Photo of asaharyev
3.74/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pour: About an inch of fluffy white head that dissolves rather quickly. The body of the beer itself is very hazy, deep goldenrod in color.

Aroma: Belgian yeast is apparent, with a nice funk and sweet wheat notes. A light presence of banana and citrus - lemon, lime, and orange.

Taste: Smooth and sweet with that funk from the aroma making itself known. Fades into a citrus bitterness with a dry finish. There's a bit of vegetable flavor as I go along, but not necessarily in a bad way.

Overall: Smuttynose simply refuses to make a sub-par beer. This is another very good brew from them, and I'll likely try it again in the future.

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Photo of BrandonOakes
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I am not a huge fan of high ABV beers. This is acceptable. Not too strong, but still strong. I bought a bottle of this mainly for the name and didn't think to read too much into it. Yes, my own fault, I was in a hurry before work. I could have one of these every once and a while and while it is still quite tasty, I enjoy having a few beers, and by the feel of this so far, this would be a beer I could have one over a good deal of time. Delicious as a beer, but for my drinking preferences, I would like it a little weaker. Still a damn good brew. Sorry if this was a bad review. It was my first full out review and now that I read this, it was more about my preference to drink than the beer itself. I will have to re-do this again.

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Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.81/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After an unsatisfying Belgian beer experience earlier today, I’m hoping Smuttynose can pick me back up again.

A: Dark, hazy goldenrod body with a thin white head, lacking in retention and lacing. Looks like a heavy beer.

S: The nose is rich with candi sugar and syrupy malt, brimming with scents of toffee, molasses, vanilla pudding, and a strong note of banana candy. A brandy-like alcohol scent lies beneath, warm and robust.

T: As expected, the most prominent flavor of this beer is the sugary malt backbone, a syrupy profile of sorghum molasses, peanut brittle, and maraschino cherry. A wheat bread yeastiness flavor fills in the gaps in the palate, while stone fruit flavors finish it out, giving this a juicy apricot aftertaste.

M: I’m pleasantly surprised that the texture of this beer doesn’t match the palate, i.e., it’s not syrupy. Has a medium body and a noticeably frothy retention.

O: For such a big beer, this is quite drinkable, and it’s not just the texture I’m talking about – the taste of this beer is balanced, creating a bold yet inoffensive blend of flavors. Enjoyable, overall, and that’s all that really matters in the end.

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Photo of cjgiant
3.53/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: cloudy dark golden, head with some retention and lacing
S: malty notes of candy corn
T/M: notes of cola in an effervescent start. Hints of orange and juniper. Sort of earthy aftertaste; somehow reminiscent a little bit like citrus+toothpaste.
O: initially I liked this beer, even if a little malty for me. But as I analyzed it more, it lost some of its luster.

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Photo of rlee1390
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A-Cloudy deep orange, two finger light and fluffy head, tries to leave some lacing.

S-Grass, lemon, coriander, orange, slight hops.

T-Starts with malt, lemon, orange and citrus. Grass coriander, mild bitterness. Balance is a tad off because of the alcohol heat.

M-Medium bodied, well carbonated, tad thick, alcohol heat.

O-The only big knock on the beer is that is doesn't need all the alcohol. Toning it down and letting some more hop character through would improve it greatly.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.06/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

on draft at bottle revolution in raleigh.

pours a hazy golden beeswax color with a slight head. smell is hoppy and yeasty. taste is big on the hops but also on some sweet malts. this is a very sweet IPA. a bit thicker than most. good flavor profile, a lot going on here.

overall not your normal IPA, but that's ok. its good all the same. one is enough though.

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Photo of dar482
3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This pours out in a very cloudy amber orange color with a big white head.

The aroma is quite huge of citrus, tropical fruits, with lots of bready malts. It has that Belgian yeast fruity ester than lots of spice notes. You definitely get the sense that this is similar to the La Chouffe yeast strain because of the fruity pop.

The flavor follows with a big malty body of cracker or biscuit malt. There's then some lemon, grapefruit, apple, and apricot. The end hits then with some spicy notes. There is also a hint of alcohol in the back of this beer.

This is an interesting complex beer that is actually quite big for the style. A really big La Chouffe or Houblon if that helps describe this beer.

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

This beer poured a nice golden color but with less head than I expected from a Belgian-style brew because these brews (Dubbels, Tripels, etc.) generally have a very thick head. No matter. Smelled like a Belgian beer - with a very fruity, sweet aroma. Tasted exactly like I expected. Really a very good beer. I was very impressed with this one. If I didn't know it came from Smuttynose, I would have guessed that some order of trappist monks had brewed it somewhere in Europe.

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Photo of smallbatchbrewer
4.38/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Chose for a very stressful day. I have a hefty interview this evening. I needed to unwind in between, poured off 8oz from a bomber to keep me sane. i'll finish the rest later. Golden spice. I can taste candy and toffee. What a nice bubbly mouthfeel as well. Certainly packs a punch at 9.37% but even at room temperature right out of the conditioning closet, only on the last part of the finish does the warming quality of the booze mellow into the mix.

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Photo of TheBrewo
3.84/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

We pour a brew of golden pumpkin orange. It holds a one and a half finger head of soapy white bubbles, leaving spotty lacing as it recedes at a quicker pace. An aggregate of fat leftover bubbles remains for the remainder of the tasting. A chill haze permeates the beverage, with no sediment noted. Carbonation appears light to moderate. The aroma pits bright lemony malts against metallic, sweeter pale malts with a brush of liquid caramel. Phenols are strong and medicinal, with hearty fusel booze, orange peel zest, ripe berry sweetness, light banana esters, and a mustiness of aged cheese. Our first impression is that the flavoring fit very well to the style, with big juiciness of flavoring, and boldness of Belgian components, just as was seen in the nose. As we sip, pale Belgian malts, banana esters, clovey and medicinal phenols, citric hops, lemon pulp, and the bright sweetness of raw honey start us off. The middle comes to a peak with enhanced phenolic pop, along with orangey juiciness, wet citric hops, mineral, and Belgian yeasty muskiness. We finish alongside a final pale malt wash, further sweetness of banana esters, peppery spice of alcohol, that continued vein of citric hops, and bittered puck of Belgian yeast, medicinals, and faint buttery diacetyls. The aftertaste breathes of cool malts, big banana esters, light vanillas, bittered citric hops, hop stem, mustiness, Belgian yeast and pale malts, and drying chalkiness. The body is medium, and the carbonation is medium, with contributory prickle. There is nice foaminess, cream, and froth to each sip, with decent slurp, smack, pop, and glug. The mouth is initially coated with soft bubbliness, but this gives way to light astringent dryness via those Belgian malts, yeast, and booziness. The abv is fine, and the beer drinks easily.

Overall, the thing we liked best about this beer was how well it represented the style. This was noticed at just about every turn throughout the tasting. The aroma possesses every required component for the style, but remains on the mild side, even with warmth. The flavoring, on the other hand, gave juiciness and depth through its Belgian base, while giving nice balancing sweetness and pucker of the hop bill. The flavoring gives equally to the experience, and this beer fits well among the other delicious beers in the Smuttynose “BIG BEER” series.

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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 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 thecheapies
3.97/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a hazed lemon amber. Bright finely-composed head sits atop in thick cap format. Had good height immediately after the pour. Laces in tiers.

Heavy citrus hopping with an orange and pink grapefruit character. Sweet cake malts balance the aroma. A little dank, with hints of exotic fruit. Nearly Belgian in the yeast presence.

Wait, I thought I knew the style... now I don't (thought it was a double IPA). Tastes like a well-made Belgian IPA. Belgian pale yeastiness and a creamy, almost caramelized, malty sweetness. All of this swashbuckled by lemony citrus hops and a dose of booze. Almost tastes of Sorachi Ace. A little pepper, a little dill, a wee bit of pine sap. Resinous and oily for a Belgian IPA, but damn tasty that way.

Wet feel with a crisp carbonation. Drinks okay, as it is pretty strong.

A lovely surprise. A beer that's really easy to get along with. Recommended.

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Photo of Stinkypuss
4.18/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Smuttynose Homunculus
2012 edition

LOOK: Mostly clear deep golden color. Small white cap forms but disappears quick.

SMELL: Belgian yeast, candi sugar and herbal hops.

TASTE: Richly flavorful and quite hoppy, this ale has an authentic Belgian Strong Pale/Ipa characteristics. Cotton candy, candied orange peel, finishing with sappy pine and earthy bitterness.

MOUTHFEEL: Medium to full bodied, strong carbonation. Finishes crisp and citrusy.

OVERALL: A tasty Belgian style ale with a generous addition of bright American hops. Brewed in homage to Brasserie D' achouffe, this is a fine ale that belongs in company with some of the giants of the style. A good choice for the big beer series.

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Photo of JeffreyJDavis
4.32/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber into a Westmalle Chalice on New Year's Day 2013. Bottle I think was pretty fresh, with a July 2012 store dating.

A: Poured from a mildly disconcerting spermatozoa labelled bottle as a cloudy golden apricot color with a finger or so of frothy fizzy head which dissipated almost immediately with no lacing. Good looking on the pour, only average after it had settled.

N: Wow this is a hoppy estery yeast banana bomber. Was pretty intrigued by how aggressive the hop and yeast profile smelled and couldn't wait to get into it.

T: Apparently this beer (originally called the Gnome) was modeled somewhat after Houblon Chouffe, which is one of my Top 5 global favorites. If it's intended to be a Houblon Chouffe clone, this gnome is on steroids. The Vanguard and Goldings hoppiness is turned up to 11 and much more up front in the flavor profile. You might think it would blow out the flavor balance, but it's pretty much perfectly offset by a yeast and ester wall that holds its own. I get a little maltiness and banana and citrus in the mix, but the hops and yeast are the main elements for me. It's unique, and bitterly aggressive, but I like it!!

MF: Carbonation is solid, which masks the 9.4% ABV well and makes this beer surprisingly drinkable. I would describe it as a light to medium body with good creaminess, very refreshing and drinkable.

Overall this is a nice beer, even though it may take a bit of adjusting to. I can't remember what I paid for it, but I imagine it compares well with other big beers or true Belgians in terms of value. I would definitely buy it and session it again.

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

Poured from 22oz bomber into a tulip.

Appearance: medium golden hue with a moderate haze and a strong effervescence. Head is two fingers of frothy ivory foam. Quite nice.

Smell: sweet malt with a little bit of pear and a fair amount of green apple. There's also a little bit of funk around the edges, which is quite nice. I like it.

Taste: malty sweetness up front, along with a hit of funk which is notably stronger than in the aroma. This then morphs into a string bitterness at the end, which is interestingly well-rounded in that it seems to hit everywhere on my tongue at once. A bit of an unusual experience, but I like it.

Mouthfeel: medium body plus a big carbonation mean this beer has great creaminess. Very satisfying.

Overall: I like this take on a Belgian-style IPA. Bitterness is stronger and more omnipresent than other examples of the style, which adds a nice dimension to the whole experience. I would definitely have this again.

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Photo of zac16125
3.95/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into a tulip
no born on date but label from the beer store says 8/6/12

A: Pours a crystal clear golden amber with just over 1 fingers width of slightly off white colored head. Takes a fair amount of time to dissipate down, leaves decent amounts of patchy lacing down the sides of the glass.

S: A big estery belgium yeast banana. Some clove and white peppery spices. A little bit of funk and a touch of alcohol.

T: Initially there is tons of spice upfront, big clove notes. White and black pepper. I also get sweet malts, a little bit of hop bitterness, a hint or orange, some banana and bubblegum on the backend.

M/D: Medium bodied, somewhat syrupy, pretty heavy carbonation. Great job of masking the ABV. Drinkability is fair.

O: Overall, pretty nice, I enjoyed this beer. From start to finish the hop profile is pretty weak, and this comes off more as a Tripel or maybe Belgium Strong Pale than a Belgium IPA. Of course at this point this beer is months old, so it probably had a stronger hop profile early on. Im not complaining though, I really dig a spicy Tripel-esque beer.

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Photo of rfbenavi80
3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a brilliantly clear golden yellow with 2 fingers or white fizzy head that quickly goes away to a ring at the edge of the glass. (the second pour into the glass is not a s clear as the first)

S- Spicy Belgian yeast up front. Slight earthiness. Lots of fruity hops, mango and papaya come to mind.

T- Follows nose well. Belgian yeast is the a dominate flavor followed by maltiness sweetness with an earthy, fruity hop kick.

M- On the low side of full bodied with a moderately high amount of carbonation.

O- Not a home run of a beer, but good nonetheless.

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

Poured from a 2012 vintage 22 oz. bottle into a Smuttynose Big Beer Series branded snifter

Pours a hazy gold with deep amber accents. Two and a half finger fluffy bright white head Belgian yeast, spices, some mild funk, and herbal and grassy hops on the nose. Fruit notes, grassy, herbal hops, phenol alcohol, bready yeasty esters, white pepper and spice. Finishes fairly dry with yeasty, mild alcohol and spice. Fairly creamy mouthfeel with lively carbonation, light bodied. A very well done beer that will please anyone who appreciates Belgian-style beers.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.2/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the 22 oz. bottle marked Bottle conditioned in 2012. Sampled on October 22, 2012.

The pour is a cloudy golden yellow with a whole lot of foamy, milk shake-like head and a whirlwind of carbonation.

The nose is tickled with plenty of Belgian yeast, sweet malts, and a nice dose of citrus with an emphasis on grapefruit esters.

The body is about medium with a kind of astringent acidic character.

The taste compliments the aroma with its citrus zing, light pale malt character, yeasty note, clove, and a semi-lingering finish that in many respects reminds me of a Tripel. Easier to drink than I expected.

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Photo of NarrowG8
4.27/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Served in a Allagash tulip -

Wow, I found this very enjoyable.

A - Okay, looks like a typical belgian, nothing special, very hazy w/good head though.

S - smells like a typical belgian as well w/ notes of creaminess & clove

T - one of the best parts is the taste - Crisp, creamy, clove, I think some taste of dates

M - amazingly foamy

O - I would definitely have this again and think it is worth purchasing especially at it's price for a belgian style and thought it was a bit above average and the 9.37 ABV is not noticeable in taste but only within the good vibes, Cheers!

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.92/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 bottle

A: Pours a hazy golden sunrise yellow color with 2 fingers worth of bubbly head

S: Belgian yeast imparts some nice fruitiness, including apple, pear, and other light fruits. Also get a nice breadiness from the malts and some light hops

T: A little bit of a let down from the nose, as the hops take control of the yeast and make it a bit more bitter, earthy, and toned-down than fruity. The yeast and malt characters are still there, but the hops are in the driver's seat, making this one hoppy Belgian golden

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Creamy and smooth

O: I think this should be categorized as a hoppy BSPA rather than a Belgian IPA, but that might be a bit subjective. A good brew no less, but I would like to see the fruitiness shine a bit more and maybe just tone the hops down a bit (but not a lot). That being said, I'm pretty sure this is only the 3rd time Smutty has brewed this, so hats off to them

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Photo of DrDemento456
4.05/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up the 2012 version for 5 bucks (bargain!) at the House of 1,000 beers.

A - Damn nice hazy bright yellow and even though it's only a 1/4 inch of head the very sticky and vibrant.

S - Very hoppy with a nice hit of Belgium yeast and some sugary goodness. Also a tad vegital but hopefully not too much in the taste.

T - Hoppy and fruity with a sour vegital taste that isn't too cloying or skunky. Works pretty well actually.

M - Medium bodied I am actually quite surprised its well over 9%

Overall kind of fruity, kind of vegital (lager like taste), yet 100% hoppy this beer is good and quite unique. Worth trying if paying 5 bucks a bomber.

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

I had the 2012 Smuttynose Homunculus and 2007 The Gnome side by side at churchkey. I considered it an experiment in aging! The score reflects my review of the 2012 version because I liked it better. This was an ok Belgian IPA... honestly I just craved more hops.

A: Cloudy yellow colour and a good head on the 2012 while the 2007 faded fast. The 2012 gets a 4 and the 2007 gets a 3.5.

S: Malty with Belgian yeast; some caramel aroma too. The 2012 has some nice vanilla notes as well as some off vegetable aroma. 4 for both.

T: The 2012 is malty with Belgian yeast and a little bitter lemon rind. A woody sawdust finish. 4
The 2007 is malty with belgian yeast and some sour plum and brown sugar. 4

M: Reasonably foamy. Appropriate for the abv. 4. The 2007 version.... less so.

O: 4

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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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