Smuttynose Gravitation (Big Beer Series) | Smuttynose Brewing Company

305 Reviews
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Smuttynose Gravitation (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Gravitation (Big Beer Series)

Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States

Style: Quadrupel (Quad)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
This big, dark ale is brewed using a variety of Belgian specialty malts along with 200 pounds of raisin puree per batch. The resulting flavor is a viscous mix of dark fruit, rum, toffee and raisins balanced with aromatic fruitiness of the Belgian yeast.

25 IBU

2009 - 6.6%
2010 - 12.0%
2011 - 12.5%
2012 - 12.0%
2013 - 11.5%
2015 - 12.3%

Added by Oxymoron on 01-01-2009

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Reviews: 305 | Ratings: 605
Photo of Paymygasbill77
2.45/5  rDev -32.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.25

A- Poured from bomber that was bottle-conditioned in 2013. I poured the beer into a short yard glass. It pours a caramel brown with lots of carbonation. The head dissipates quickly.

S- straight raisins and alcohol. Nothing else.

T - Yuck! Raisins and alcohol with a bit of salt? Over time it does mellow out and allows some dark fruit to come through.

m- Chewy and thick with a slickness on the tongue. Some mild carbonation allows the beer to cut some of the thickness.

O- This isn't that great. I bet that it would mellow out and allow the flavors to marry after a year or so. If you decide to get this bottle, make sure you sit on it for a while before you drink it.

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Photo of DeFaz
2.11/5  rDev -42.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1.75

Appearance: Pours a light brown color with a medium head. Fair retention and decent lacing.

Smell: Alcohol (and a lot of it), raisins, figs, random fruit. Very (too) sweet smelling.

Taste: I'm new to quads, but this is simply disgusting. I appreciate the effort to make such a big beer, but the raisins go too far, the alcohol is 12% and tastes like 12%, and nothing is there to balance the over the top sweetness.

Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is pretty good, as the beer is somewhat sticky but avoids being too much so given the unchecked sweetness. Thickness is medium and carbonation is low/medium.

Overall: This is one of few beers that I simply have to dump out. As others have said, it is a mess. A 12% ABV beer can work only if there is balance, and the effort here to conceal the alcohol with the super sweet raisin and fig flavors creates an unpleasant experience. There are 80 proof liquors that don't taste this alcoholic.

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Photo of mentor
2.67/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I'm assuming this is the 2013 vintage. Thickly pours a thin light tan head over a cloudy dark copper liquid. Smells hay, belgian phenolic spicy, candi-sugar, fig, green raisin, green apple, oregano, pancake batter.

Tastes potently belgian yeast spicy, herbal, apricot & tropical fruity, with some light caramel. Ends with a peppery zip. Clean alcohol sting is drying and digs a small amount into the overly sweet malt. It's not cloying, due to the spicy and alcohol, but it's not far from it. Medium thick in the mouth with modest carbonation. Too much for this to be an abbey ale, perhaps a trippel in the malt profile?

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Photo of WVbeergeek
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Super sweet chewy beer, let it age. That's the short review. Appears a deep amber highlighted golden hue with khaki head forming thick head clings evenly to the sides of the glass. Aroma has deep fruit, think ripened apricot, figs, and in this beer's case loads of pureed raisin. A bit of alcohol on the nose, brightens things up a bit let's you know what your dealing with a big ass Belgian style balance out the sweetness I'm smoking a RoMa Craft Anthropology, Nicaraguan rolled big ass cigar to bring some earthy spice, black pepper, and leather into the mix it really let's the beer shine the contrast between dark earthy tobacco leaves and these dark fruit elements I speak of. Flavor of the quad is super sweet it just sits on the sides of the tongue, it's big chewy and flavorful in the back end be ready for some alcohol to add to the depth. This bottle I bought for $6.50 needs to be laid down for a year at least, it's still a bit hot and I believe the overwhelming layers of sweetness will mellow out. Body is big bodacious and heavily filled with residual sugars on the palate, it's big and definitely burns and warms your chest with each sip. Overall I suggest getting some 2013 now and sitting on it for future use, great beer now will only get better with some mellowing.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.24/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This poured a murky reddish amber with a thin head that fell fast to a thin ring, shimmering wet lace and alcohol legs. Little yeast floating on top. Very light in color for a quad looks more like a barleywine. Nose is raisin, dark fruits, plum, date, caramel malt, candy sugar, a quick glimpse of bread but really more cake like malt and alcohol. Has a very high abv. Taste follows the nose all the way. Raisin, butter and rum. Reminds one of fruitcake. It’s a little out of balance with no bitter at all and lots of booze. It’s immediately warming, medicinal and has just a bit of spice. Mouthfeel is thin and has a sticky fruit juice quality to it. This is a big sweet beer with not a lot of carbonation that finishes dry from all the booze. It was not unpleasant but I would call it an interpretation on the belgian quad.

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Photo of Axnjxn
4.01/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Sam's in Durham. Poured into a pint glass.

Pours a cloudy amber color with a slight head. Not at all what i was expecting a quad to look like. Smell is traditional quad... dark fruits, not too huge but complexity is apparent. Taste follows suit, dark fruit - plums, grapes. No alcohol present, extremely impressive for 11.5%. I quite dig this one. Feel is appropriate, medium bodied with medium-low carbonation. No problem drinking this one.

Overall a very good quad that is taste appropriate. If youre in the mood for a complex belgian style, this one wont disappoint.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.41/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

2013. Poured in a tulip, the beer is an opaque, bright, orange-amber coloring with a thin, frothy, big bubbled, off-white head that settles into a filmy coating. Aromas of booze, toffee, and biscuit, with some rich berry and old world fruit highlights. Flavors are bold and rich, with a date and raisin sweetness that overpowers most of the spicing. Only hints of all spice sneak through, and barely. The booze overpowers all of the flavors, and deadens some of the palate. Slick and smooth in mouth, the beer comes off a bit muddled, both with flavors and feel. The aftertaste is richly sweet and slightly warming, with a smooth, mid-lingering finish. Not bad.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Appearance – Pours a brownish amber color with a small cream colored head. The head fades relatively quickly to leave a light level of lace on the sides of the glass

Smell – The aroma of the brew is heaviest of a toasted grain and malty smell with a good dose of darker fruits of raisin, fig and plum. Along with these aromas are notes of yeast and candied sugars and a moderate amount of orange and clove, which all all are mixed with a boozy smell produce a sweet and warming aroma overall.

Taste – The taste begins with a big lightly toasted malt flavor and a good showing of lighter sweet flavors of raisin, plum and cherry along with a rather strong flavor of a sweet tangerine. As the flavor advances notes of some buttery toffee, yeast, as well as some flavors of alcohol start creeping their way into the taste profile. The yeast bring with it some flavors of spice as well as a banana flavor bringing the more characteristic Belgian character to the brew. The maltiness fades slightly more toward the end (but still overall remains rather strong) with the boozy flavor becoming more intense and taking on an almost rum like flavor.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is thick and creamy with a carbonation level that is on the slightly lower to average side. The combination of thick and creamy body as well as lower carbonation suit this big, sweet, malty and boy brew quite well.

Overall – Quite a potently sweet and big beer. Rather tasty, but nothing too exceptional.

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Photo of Flounder57
3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle was poured into a large Duvel snifter.

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger head that reduced to a thin layer. It is a reddish brown haze with slow moving bubbles coming up through the glass. Spotty lacing on the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: spicy yeast, malty, bready, raisins, plums, dates, and figs. Can't wait to try it out.

Taste: Really sweet and malty. All the dark fruits above with some bready notes and spiciness.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, tingly hop bitterness, full bodied, low to medium carbonation, warm boozy alcohol, and a little chewy.

Overall: A nice American take on a quad. Very comparable to those Belgian versions and look forward to more of this in the future. Might have to get another to store for a few years.

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Photo of C20Percent
3.8/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Bottle conditioned in 2011

A: Pours a caramel color amber with a little slightly bubbly tan colored head. Beer poured creamy. Not see thru at all. Can't really tell if it's bubbly or not. Not much complexity other than the nice color. Decent appearance overall.

S: Toffee malts. Dark fruits. Slightly yeasty. Maple syrup. Really nice. Smells nice an Old Ale. Digging it.

T: Toffee, buttery. Very warm. Some breadiness. Some dark fruits -- raisins or cherries. Pretty good flavor. Again, alcohol is very warm, and that is the finish. Flavors are all up front. But, overall pretty good.

M: Heavy body. Creamy. Little bit of a bite -- cutting the mouth a bit. Medium carbonation. Just okay.

O: The alcohol is not very well managed. This is a big, warming beer. The aromas are great. The flavors are good up front, but the finish is biting. But, overall, a pretty good beer.

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Photo of deeznuts420
1.84/5  rDev -49.6%
look: 2 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

another american quad that falls short on all levels. the appearance was very light colored for a quad. looked like a watered down barleywine brownish red with no head at all. smell was very sweet cherry like that i knew right away was gonna be cloyingly sweet with some booze. taste and mouthfeel was cloyingly sweet, cherry like alittle raisiny and thin mouthfeel. the only thing i find good about this beer was the high alcohol. sort of a weak ass troegs mad elf

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Photo of thecheapies
3.85/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pulled out my Westy glass for this.

One of the lighter quads that I've seen. Light chestnut amber with good clarity. A few small particles sit at the bottom of the glass. I almost mistook them for bubbles. Thin ring of foam is all that's visible. No boasting carbonation or lacy after-effect.

Tinny Maraschino cherry, clover honey, treacle, mushroom-like umami, tea, some caramel sugar candy sweetness. Hints of plum and clove. Maybe just the slightest brush-up of cinnamon, or cinnamon apple? Not bad.

More of that thin cherry flavor paired with honey. Very reminiscent of Troegs Mad Elf and Weyerbacher Quad. Not quite as brandied as the latter. More complex than the former. Candi sugar, clove, raisin, cinnamon apple, red tea, caramel, white chocolate, and a nice dose of alcohol. Missing, for me, are the unctuous dark fruits and bready malts. Only mildly phenolic. I would describe the yeast performance as 'unplugged'; quieter, but tasteful. Provides more and more complexity as it warms. Still an oddball.

I would have expected a lot more stickiness. Not to say the beer was particularly sweet, but only a light smack of tack. Upfront, there's a prickle from the carbonation, but it smooths out in the body. Feels almost oily. Carbonation keeps working hard, a bit amplified for the style. An exciting beer, in feel. Dance-y.

This quad is very approachable. Not your standard bouquet or flavor profile, but still unmistakably Belgian in influence and complex and portly. I'd like to try this side-by-side with Weyerbacher's to see which one I like better. This one's a lot easier-going, in a good way.

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Photo of Sludgeman
3.44/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

Bottled condition in early 2013. Stamped with an 11.5% ABV. Purchased for $7.99.

A - Pours a deep amber color, slightly opaque, half a finger beige head that quickly dissapates. Low carbonation. Cannot swirl the head back up.

A - Some barnyard funk and sweetness.

T - Malty raisins, syrup, faint whiskey, a clear metallic taste.

MF - Minimal carbonation, slick and smooth.

O - An average brew. Warming, still a little hot. Would probably benefit from a year or two in the cellar.

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Photo of wil19b85
4.11/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bought this at the Hunger Mountain Coop in Montpelier, VT. This one was bottle conditioned in 2011. Which puts it at a whoopin 12.5%. MmmmmYup.

A - When I poured it, it had a nice head that dissipated pretty quickly. Keeping in mind that this is a Belgian style quad, the color is right on par. Very dark brown. When held up to the light its almost muddy looking.

S - Very malty (shocker?), definitely picking up some caramel notes as well as vanilla.

T - Serious malt. Definitely a boozy taste. I almost always relate that boozy taste to earthiness. I'm not sure what it is that makes me tie the two together but I guess everyone is different. In comparison to other quadruples, such as rochefort 10, it definitely lacks the sweeter notes that hide the booziness of the brew.

M - The initial taste is fantastic. It's really a pretty good beer. On that note... the initial after taste is not something I'm too excited about though. It's fairly bitter but still very tasty.

Overall this is a great take on a Belgian Quad. It's to be expected that its going to be boozy and malty and high in alcohol. If it weren't... then it wouldn't be advertised as a quad! All in all I'd say its a pretty tasty brew. But if I'm looking for a delicious beer thats the same style.. I'm just going to go out and buy a 12oz Rochefort 10 and not worry about spending the extra bucks on a bomber. Wish I picked up the bomber of Zinneke instead of Gravitation. But alas, it was still pretty damn tasty.

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Photo of Etan
3.82/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle from the 2013 release.

A: Pours a murky light amber with a small light tan head. Lighter than most quads.

S: Rich raisins, toasted grain, cloves, anise, slight marshmallow.

T: Deep fig and raisin, fusel alcohol, brown sugar and multigrain bread, estery spice, a bit of licorice.

M: Between medium and thick-bodied with light yet palpable carbonation. Not quite as effervescent as its Belgian brothers.

O: Could stand to be a little drier like the classic quads, but this doesn't taste bad at all.

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Photo of CloudStrife
3.88/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle poured into a snifter. 2013 notched on the label.

A: Pours a cloudy orangish ruby with a half finger off white head. Actually a decent amount of carbonation in the brew. Not really much lacing. Head dissipates to the edges in a minute or so.

S: Certainly pulls together for an overall belgian aroma. Lots of the raisin and fig come through. No doubt a boozy background. Malt comes out more as the brew warms up.

T: Pretty dark brew if dark were a flavor. Loads of malt and dark fruits. The belgian yeast is pleasant providing some banana qualities. Alcohol doesn't come out as much as I expected but its still there. Not too sweet.

M: Thick mouthfeel with low carbonation. Has a heavy feel to it but that can be expected with these ingredients.

Overall glad I picked up a bottle of this and can imagine it sitting well in the cellar. A little less complex than some of the authentic belgian quads but still a very big beer.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle-conditioned in 2013

A: Pours a slightly hazy amber/mahogany color with almost zero head

S: Lots of fruity, spicy Belgian yeast along with a hint of alcohol and sweet bready malts. Nicely complex

T: Starts off with some dark fruits, spicy yeast, and alcohol. Moves into sweet malts with more fruitiness from the alcohol. Again, fairly complex

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation

O: Nice and complex for an American-brewed quad, with decent drinkability right now. Definitely see this one getting better with age as the alcohol mellows and the maltiness can shine more. As always with the Smuttynose big beer series, the bombers are priced very nicely, so you might as well get a few and throw them in the cellar

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Photo of smcolw
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Dark amber and quite cloudy. Small, but steady head. Good ring lace.

Too much of a dishwasher smell to give a fair review. But let's see if we can get past that. My I initial impression is of beer that emphasizes the malty and the Belgian yeast flavors. Strong alcohol finish.

First impression is the presence of the Belgian yeast, strong and potent. Highly carbonated, with a round, almost skim milk consistency. Very much like the traditional Belgian Pale Ale. The finish is mildly sweet with a strong alcohol presence.

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Photo of ksimons
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2013

A-a clear orange, amber color with a fingers worth of cream head that quickly disappears to leave a layer of lace

S-sticky malt, raisins, caramel, spicy Belgian yeast, and rum soaked fruit

T-taste is similar to the smell, getting a lot of caramel malt, raisins, spicy yeast. The 2013 bottle says its 11.3% ABV which is definitely noticeable, but not too overbearing

M-medium body, light carbonation, sticky mouthfeel

Overall not as good as some quads I've had, but has a nice blend of flavors and the alcohol isn't too in your face. I like it.

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Photo of rfbenavi80
4/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle received in a trade. Bottle poured into a snifter.

A- Pours a very deep, almost what one would call an Autumnal burnt orange color with an extremely small amount of cream colored head that did not linger at all, dissipating to a thin ring around the edge of the glass.

S- Rum soaked raisins hit you in the face immediately. Other dark fruits are in the mix also, black cherries come to mind. Spicy Belgian yeast combined with insane amounts of candi sugar, and rich Belgian Specialty Malts give this one a rich, sweet smell with some alcohol considering the ABV.

T- Follows nose well. A rummy, raisin flavor is dominate. A nice rich, full beer here with lots of intense sweet flavors going on. A nice blend of spicy Belgian yeast, candi caramelized sugar, and rich dark fruits.

M- On the low side of full-bodied. Moderately low amount of carbonation. Huge amount of warming feeling from the 12.5% ABV.

O- Don't really understand the low score on this one. I think this is a solid Quad with an added bonus of the raisin puree. I think Smuttynose was simply playing with the dark fruit aspect of many a great Belgian Quads. That being said, this one is enjoyable to say the least. A must try? Maybe not, but a solid beer nonetheless.

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Photo of abrand
4.2/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber as an extra poured into a snifter glass

Pours a deep cola brown color with a small quick fading head that leaves a few bubbles on top. Pretty dark for a quad. Smell is sweet and full of sugar and raisins. Very pleasant smelling. Taste is very good. Nice sweetness up front with some bitter malts to finish the taste. Raisins and plums dominate the flavor. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and good carbonation. Overall I enjoyed this. Very good quad.

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Photo of andylipp
4.02/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a 2011 vintage bomber poured into a Corsendonk tulip, my standard taster.

A – Pours hazy opaque copper with a tan head that recedes quickly.

S – Sweet malts, candy sugar, dark dried fruits, some alcohol.

T – Liquid fruitcake. A sweet, treacle-y start and then the dark fruits whack your palate around a bit. A kiss of alcohol in the finish with just enough bitterness to balance it out makes this a wonderful sipper.

M – Coats the tongue with fruity, malty goodness. Just the right carbonation.

O – Is it “true to style?” Who the fuck cares, it’s delicious. Besides, the Quad style is a moving target. This 2011 edition is pretty big (12.5%!) but not as syrupy as the 2010 version thanks to the candi sugar. Also, while I found this beer to have a characteristic alcohol “hotness” when it was fresh (like many of the Smutty Big Beers), eight months in the cellar has done wonders for this brew in that regard.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4.2/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a hazy amber-brown with a finger of frothy tan-khaki colored head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of raisins and other sweet dark fruits and caramelized sugars with some dark caramel malts, candi sugar, Belgian yeast spices, and some booze.

T - Starts off with lot so raisins and other sweet dark fruits with some caramelized malts and dark caramel malts. Through the middle, some Belgian yeast spices come through alongside some vanilla, and candi sugar. The finish is a mix of caramelized sugars and dark fruits, with some Belgian yeast spices, and some booze.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth and a bit syrupy with a sweet and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Lots of dark fruit and residual sugar sweetness, but enough body and booze to provide some balance.

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Photo of BostonHops
3.28/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

bomber (22oz) served in a snifter.

pours a murky dark brown / chestnut tone while yielding a 3/4" beige head. moderate head retention and some lacing evident. nose is bold enough, headlined by a big dose of dark fruits - primarily raisin with a little cherry and some candied sugar. decent aroma, nothing earth-moving.

taste is likewise sweet: dark fruits, caramel malt, and some spice. a bit overly sweet, though i wouldn't call the sweetness cloying - although it comes close. fairly boozy, especially in the finish. medium-full mouthfeel with average carbonation.

overall it's an average american quad, and would probably fall to below average if you stack it against all quads (read: belgians included). wasn't expecting rochefort 10 here but even by american standards it's fairly middling.

(originally reviewed: 10-03-2011)

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Photo of elNopalero
4.3/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2011 and enjoyed in June, 2012.

This pours a cloudy tan-amber color with cottony, cloudy bubbles sitting atop it.

There are notes of caramel and raisins on the aroma, along with a boozy rum scent. I get hints of sweet cherries and candi syrup. It’s a rich aroma, full and forward.

The flavor comes through with notes of dark plums, almost like a thick, syrupy prune juice. The beer is full bodied, and it needs to be to stand up to everything going on. Flavor coats the mouth with the obvious raisin puree flavors and an evident booziness that is mellow (although I can imagine this running hot while young) and just to the side of sweet. Held up exceptionally well.

There’s a warming effect, especially as the beer opens up and is allowed to linger on the palate. It’s a wonderful, wonderfully complex brew, even if it dares defy styles.

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Smuttynose Gravitation (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.65 out of 5 based on 605 ratings.
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