Smuttynose Gravitation (Big Beer Series) | Smuttynose Brewing Company

Smuttynose Gravitation (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Gravitation (Big Beer Series)
Liked This Beer
3.67 w/ 613 ratings
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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 613 |  Reviews: 308
Photo of Beerenauslese
3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear reddish amber, which is unusually light colored for a Belgian Quadrupel. Low head retention, just a fine ring of bubbles around the perimeter.

Smells malty sweet and boozy, with a little spice.

Tastes very sweet (cloyingly so) and boozy. It tastes like a (not very exceptional) port wine, maybe that is due to the raisin puree that is added. A tinge of hoppy bitterness in the finish.

Body is light, with little carbonation, gives this a flat mouthfeel.

Drinkability is low, due to the ABV of 12% and little else flavorwise going on. I'd have to say it does not live up to a Belgian quadrupel in flavor; only in the alcohol blitz which, unlike Belgian quads, is not matched by a diversity of interestingly complex flavors. Maybe it would be better for Smuttynose to just say it is a raisin beer, like Dogfish Head's Raisin D'extra--but that would not garner any extra points either. It begs the question: Why do people not like raisin beers? Are raisins too foreign an adjunct to beer?

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Photo of MbpBugeye
3.29/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Having just spilled this all over my bedroom and after finishing cleaning the place up, I poured this into my Chimay goblet.

A- The beer is much lighter than many quads. Its purpley mahogany. The head (which was foaming out of the bottle right after I dropped it) dissipated before I knew it. Im left with a pretty stagnant looking beer.

S- Well, my room smells pretty good right now. But in the glass this beer is pretty weak. Its g

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Photo of LordAdmNelson
3.15/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I wasn't super impressed with this one, which is a shame because I typically have really enjoyed the Smutty Big Beer Series. This one whiffs though at the style. Pours a murky dark brown with very little head that recedes to a small ring around the glass. Fruity aroma, big on the grape/raisin/date aromas, some sticky malt to back it up. Taste is a one note raisin flavor, largely unsupported by other elements. Where's the character? Sweet, sticky, one-note. Not exactly my expectation of a Quad, undercarbonated as well. This one should be pillowy, but it falls flat, just being sticky in the mouth. Ok drinkability, though it is very sweet, and ultimately not very interesting. I love the Smutty BBS, but this one misses.

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Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thick and brown, but this is not the best representative of my favourite style. A certain richness from the raisins, but not overly complex. Still good drinkability.Maybe this is unfair, but men should not consume raisins as it is not easy to get rid of the iron.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
3.94/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a slightly murky brown with little head. What head there is fades away to a very thin ring. Smells extremely fruity with cherry, plum, and raisin notes. The taste is similar, but with a brown sugar sweetness throughout as well. The mouthfeel is smooth, rich, and slightly sweet. Not bad, but a little simplistic.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From BeerAdvocate Magazine Volume III, Issue II:

A new Quad from the Smuttynose Big Beer Series of rotating strong beers. This one is brewed with 200 pounds of raisin purée per batch--WTF.

Rich mahogany with ruby hues and a beige head that fizzes (you can hear it) down to barely a ringed lace. Major fruity esters, boozy, strawberry-rhubarb jam, ripe plum, raisin and underlying malty tones in the nose with a hint of earthy root vegetables. Thick on the palate; vicious, chewy, slick and silky mouthfeel. Slight creaminess from a spritz of fine carbonation. Massive sweetness up front, cloying, with rich toffee, a ton of toastiness (perhaps a bit too much specialty malt?) and some dry chocolate. This is all overpowered by intense fruity esters and a massive raisin presence that gets real jammy at times. Spicy. Slight warmth. Medicinal too, which just tastes too much like cough syrup. At this stage, it's hard to finish, but we did and things due mellow as the beer warms.

We're major Smutty fans across the board, so it pains us deeply to criticize, but this is nowhere near a Belgian Quad. Unfortunately, everyone will compare this to a Quad, as that's what they call it on the label and they failed to mention the most unique ingredient used in the beer--raisin purée! That said, kudos for creating something innovative.

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Photo of asabreed
4.1/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber notched 2010 into a Samuel Smith 12 oz. nonic.

Appearance: Slightly hazy dark amber color, with not a lot of retention but a nice amount of spotted raindrops sidling the glass. The color, though, is awesome.

Smell: Hello raisins. Yet, the sweetness is also there through a good amount of phenolic almost Hefe sweetness, with some bubblegum and banana coming through. Also there's some nice earthiness and citrus, along with some strawberry and cherry for the fruit esters.

Taste: I like the super spicy nature to this brew, probably due to the yeast reacting with the massive amounts of raisins -- or what I assume is massive amounts of raisins. Alas, initial spiciness, with a good balance of citrus hops commingling with the raisin and vinous sweetness. Lingering hop sweetness with raisins on the back end. Also some phenolic presence as far as earthiness goes with banana on the finish.

Mouthfeel: For as massive as this brew is, the carbonation isn't overdone or extremely watery, and though seemingly cloying initially, the burst of carbonation and spiciness makes it not as sweet and cloying as it seems to be early one.

Drinkability: A damn tasty sipper, one that's more spicily balanced than anything. This isn't authentic, of course, but it seems like they don't want it to be with the raisins, and that combination with the yeast yields pretty awesome results. Undoubtedly, I'd hope, this would hold up well for a few years, and if I can find it, I'll be snagging at least another bottle or two to cellar for sure.

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Photo of weeare138
4.49/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Goodnight Irene's...
Appears a hazy opaque dark russett with a small white head. Scattered bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of brown sugar, prunes, figs, vanilla, ripe bananas, caramel, raisins, and merlot wine.
Taste is of the aromas with flavorful punches of caramel, ripe fruit, plums, raisin bread, and a fortified wine. This one is seriously the beer equivalent of a port. Great stuff.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, sticky, juicy, sugary, and syrup like in the swallow. A bit of booze found in this one. I could only imagine what an aged sample would complex in 5, 10, even 15 years. Grandiose!

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Photo of babaracas
3.89/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a fairly clear ruby color with thin off-white head, couple of blobs of lace. Smell: dark brown sugar, raisin, date. Not particularly complex but it's pretty intense. Taste: caramel, raisin, date, plum skin. Raisin definitely shows up along with a semi-tart plum skin. Again pretty straightforward but good, and not all that sweet which is a bonus. I'd be happy with a little softer feel. May 2010 release.

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Photo of augustgarage
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Courtesy of ShogoKawada (always there to fulfill my Smuttynose fix! - thank you sir).

Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Trappist Westvleteren goblet. 2009 vintage.

Falu red body which glows like lava when held to the light. A thin buff collar fizzes gently while faint patterns swirl around the center of the glass. Light sandy lacing, delicate viscous legs.

Figs, dates, prunes, atop dark malt and roasty/nutty syrup aromas.

Excellent flavor follows the nose closely, but adds brown sugar, a decent level of hops (grassy, earthy, and slightly bitter), and finishes malty, somewhat sweet, and with significant alcohol. At times, the latter seems like it is a cover for the lack of yeast, but isn't solventy...

Medium bodied, delicate carbonation, not quite as effervescent as I would prefer for the style - but not bad.

Flavor-wise this reminds me more of a dubbel than a quad (of course the sneaky ABV says otherwise), but still a solid Belgian-influenced beer (if not quite on par with their farmhouse ale).

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Photo of BlackBearForge
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gravitation poured into a glass is a deep brown that glows ruby when back lit. A small head forms initially and falls very quickly leaving little lacing, all as can be expected for a 12% ABV beer.

The aroma is a mix of alcohol and dark fruits like dried figs, dates and ripened plums.

The flavor is an intense but mellow blend of the aforementioned figs, plums and dried dates all in a dark malt redolent of spicy raisin bread soaked in rum. Alcohol is very prominent and with the clove spiciness of the yeast provides quite a bit of heat.

Mouthfeel is medium heavy, smooth and low in carbonation.

Quite the big beer and definitely not something to knock back quickly. This beer is meant to be sipped and savored. I like it but this is definitely a beer you have to be in the mood for.

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Photo of garbercury
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this brew a few times and finally got around to reviewing it. Poured from a 650 bottle into my Maudite snifter.

A--Deep amber hue with a little bit of head and lacing.

S--eh, kind of a medicinal smell to it, not great.

T--Nice, some sweetness you want from a good quad. Candi sugar and raisins are the big flavors to me.

M--good feel to it, solid.

D--I like this beer. I also like that I can get a bomber of this at my local bottle shop for 6.99, not a steal but good buy for a solid quad.

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Photo of generallee
4.47/5  rDev +21.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 1 pint 6oz bottle into a chalice. The label gives a nice description of the beer and the year it was bottle-conditioned in (2009) but there is no mention of its ABV%.

Appearance: Its body has a deep warm reddish color with a small light tan head on top. This slowly fades to thick ring with a wispy thin island of foam in the middle. This makes some slick lacing on the glass.

Smell: There are lots of fruity and yeasty notes that offer hints of raison, dried apricot, caramelized malt and alcohol.

Taste/Palate: Its big full body has full smooth texture with lots of dark dried fruit notes, apricot, musty and bready yeast as well as dark caramelized almost chocolaty malts. There is an overall sweetness like Belgian sugar with a low hop presence.

Notes: Belgian Strong Dark Ales and Quadrupels are two of my favorite styles and this one did not disappoint.

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Photo of woodychandler
4.08/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Transcribed from undated notes:

My pour created a finger of deep-tan head with decent retention. The nose had a yeasty, musty odor with an underlying sweetness. Color was a beautiful ruby-red with NE-quality clarity. Mouthfeel was thick and creamy with a really sugary taste on the tongue, along with fruity esters of apples, grapes and bananas. Finish had a flavor and mouthfeel like cocoa powder. My housemate really dug it, but I found it to be a bit sweet.

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Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Leon's Full Service in Atlanta.

Pours a slightly hazy dark brown color with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of dark malts with good amounts of sugar-coated dark fruits - raisins, prunes, and figs. Also present are hints of toasted malts with even lighter hints of grainy cocoa powder.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sweet dark malt flavors with hints of grainy toastiness kick things and are joined quickly by large amounts of dark fruit flavors - raisins, prunes, and figs, as in the aroma. Near the end of the sip very slight hints of chocolate flavors work their way into things before fading out into a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without any problems and could have another.

Overall this isn't quite up there with the big boys as far as the style goes but it's a solid take. Worth a shot.

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Photo of mothman
3.9/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours 1/4 of beige head. Decent retention with some lace. Color is a burnt ruby hued red/brown.

Aroma: Grapes, plums, caramel malts, apricots, sweet toffee, dark fruits raisins, and a big oak flavor.

Taste: Big , sweet, rich, and malty. Tons of dark dried fruits, cherries, raisins, plums, vanilla, licorice. Some booze shines through here. Toasted malts, caramel, and toffee.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and warm. Medium to full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends malty with some heat.

Overall, a pretty decent quad. Good price on the bomber. Lots of solid traits coming from this one. Why a bomber though? Split it and you'll be fine, but a bomber solo on this one is way too much.

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Photo of jampics2
3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz into a snifter.

A big Quad from Smuttynose? Sounds interesting enough to warrant the $7.99 price tag. About the highest ABV brew you'll find in Ohio these days, dangerously rubbing up against the ABV cap's shins like a drunken, frisky cat .

Looks average at best. This beer actually has a decent color - brown with red highlights. But there's no sign of any carbonation. I don't expect nor want a milkshake thick head on a quad, but can a brother get a touch of film and light lace? This looks like brandy in my glass.

Smell is raisin and alcohol. Sweet and sugary, with just too bold an ethanol base. Not great, but there are a few elements of the quad - dark ripe fruit and some brown sugar - too.

Taste is also just lackluster. There's nothing Belgian about this, just a caramel and raisin bomb that is way too boozy. Some toffee, vanilla and fig as well, but all dominated by a burning fusel alcohol that lingers and just ruins it.

Mouthfeel is syrupy and not well carbed. Just not great, average at best, and finish is a frying pan over the head of stinging alcohol.

Gravitiation is it's name. Perhaps gravity really was at work here, and what went up (Smuttynose Big Beer Series) eventually fell back down. At any rate, I expect a bit more from these guys and just didn't see it here. A bit less focus on the raisins and a bit lower ABV would make this much more tolerable. It comes off like a homebrewer's poor attempt at a Trappist 10 or 12.

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Photo of kwjd
3.69/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown with very little head. Smell of raisins and dried fruit is very strong, with some of the Belgian yeast coming through. Flavour has lots of raisin and cherry, with maybe a hint of chocolate. Carbonation seemed to be a little bit weak for the style. Not one of my favourite quads, but still a really nice beer.

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Photo of farrago
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thin and very temporary layer of brown foam across the surface, ends up with an aggregation of large bubbles huddled against the glass sides, zero lacing. Amberish orange with as much brown to it as red, mild gauziness, the rims turn a glowing yellow. The nose is the joining of two opposite poles, on one side banana, molasses, butterscotch, caramel and fig, golden raisin, red apple, peach, red cherry fruit scents, then peat moss, black pepper, rye, dried straw and bitter coffee grounds, not much "lift" into your nostrils but does have good length. Medium and close to full-bodied, has the sweetness and and clingy qualities, just not the ability to sink deeply into your mouth pores. Molasses, brown sugar, caramel, milk chocolate distinct without getting too sweet, lemon and orange peel and apricot, peach, golden raisin, fig and date flavors likewise full yet not sugary. Ginger, cumin spices, tar, forest underbrush dry things out more, one might suggest that the weak carbonation hurts the sweetness, doesn't get the sugar zipping about. The thing is, it comes across as noncommittal, like it wants to go in a direction more decisively but then relents. Nothing horrible but there needs to be more flavor intensity as well as thrust through the finish.

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Photo of bamadog
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Cracked a bottle of this the other night out at beerman207's place. Review is from notes taken on 7/24/2010 and poured from the bottle to an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: Pour is a solid mahogany with some ruby highlights; starts with a thin and incomplete skim that fades to a thin ring around the surface; body is a little hazy and close to opaque; a little bit of carbonation is visible near the surface where a little bit of light manages to work its way through; really no lacing is left behind, just an oily coating that slides back into the drink.

Smell: Malts full of caramel and even hints of chocolate; sweet and ripe to overripe fruits that are dark, like figs, raisins and/or dates; slight presence of alcohol in the nose.

Taste: Quite nice! Lots of deep sweet caramel malts with hints of chocolate; lots of those sweet dark fruits as well that are very ripe and listed in the smell; definite presence of alcohol, but it blends fairly well -- not too bad for clocking in at 12%; bit of an apple-like acidity in the end and aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Body is of medium weight; leaves a very moist, sticky and thick coating all over the mouth; carbonation is still present, but it's softer in the thicker body; gums are left warm and tingly, and the belly is left quite warm as well.

Drinkability: Moderate at best because of the ABV and weight, but I really like the various aspects of this beer and Smuttynose's interpretation of the style. Kudos to them.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.47/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a St. Bernardus goblet.

Poor Icharus. This beer pours a foggy blood-amber topped by...well, there's not really a head here, more a mere rump congregation of disparate bubbles. And things begin not with a bang, but a whimper... The nose comprises raisins, figs, nutmeg, rye bread, and a pinch of brown sugar. If these smells were more pronounced, things would be better, but at least we're moving in the right direction now. These elements are all there on the tongue, as well, joined by a healthy booziness and some light cranberries. It's like biting into a slighty toasted Fig Newton that's been dipped in some schnapps. It's good, but not all that much in the grand scheme of quads. The body is a very heavy medium, bordering on a light heavy, with a light carbonation and a fairly chewy feel. Overall, a decent quad, but not very high above average at all. A disappointment, to be sure.

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Photo of muttyd
2.94/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

A - Ruby pour with little to no head. Almost looked like slightly soapy water. Not the best looking beer I've come across.

S - Rum, raisins, and brown sugar. Some band-aid & medicinal aromas peak through, but its pretty one dimensional. Smells very hot (as the beer warms up).

T - I know its used a lot, but this one really follows the nose. The overpowering raisin-y, almost cloying sweet sugary malty flavors dominate the beer. Not getting any yeast/bready aromas. Very boozy as well.

M - Creamy and very, very hot.

D - Not what I was expecting, not an ideal but rather mediocre quad. However, I find it rather enjoyable as I sit here after a long day at work.

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Photo of DeutschesBier
2.56/5  rDev -30.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

I was definitely let down by this beer. I am not sure how it would age, but the alcohol burn of this beer was just too much to take. I love other Smuttynose offerings (especially the IPA), but this did not work for me. At first I enjoyed it, but then the harsh alcohol burn took control of the beer and ruined it for me. I am not sure if this is a bad batch or what, but I won't be seeking this beer out again.

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Photo of ef88
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured bomber bottle into goblet.

A: Nice deep amber color to this, but very little head--it's off-white--and minimal lacing. A bubble or two makes its way up every now and then.

S: I'm not picking much up at all (I'll blame my olfactories, not the beer), but when I do, its mostly alcohol and a touch of sweet plum.

T: Malt, aforementioned plum which is contrasted with some toffee, and booze. Not bad at all.

M: W-A-R-M-I-N-G.

D: For a quad, I think I could have another 1 or 2, but there's no need to get greedy, right?

I cracked this open to psyche me up for the ordeal that will be reserving a crate of Westy's (I've never been more excited to wake up at 3am and make a pricey international phone call!...). I'm always going to have a soft spot in my heart for Smuttynose, so if you do too, then I recommend grabbing this.

7.5 weeks until Belgium (and hopefully a crate of Westy's)!

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Photo of maximum12
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Always happy to see Smutty bombers show up just across the border in Wisconsin, I grow more fond of this brewery with each new beer I try. Lots of good stuff & a few real standouts. Notch in the label notes this one was bottled sometime in 2009. Split with my wife.

Pours the darkest red I've seen outside a glass of port wine, it could nuzzle up to brown & be a kissing cousin. Smell is chewy raisins & sweet malt mixed with sugar cane.

Graviation dials up the raisin factor for sure. The raisin taste mixes up with the candied sugar to create a...contrast. Strong vanilla washes down in the wake of these two impressions, along with a slap of peppery alcohol. Really a pretty simple, quiet beer for the ABV. It does a number on my tonsils, coating them liberally & refusing to let go. I can taste this brew all the way into my palms. Dead flat after a few minutes, still as lake water in the mouth.

Good enough beer, but there are a lot of quads I'd reach for first, & plenty of Smutty brews, too.

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Smuttynose Gravitation (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
Beer rating: 53.8% out of 100 with 613 ratings
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