Smuttynose Gravitation (Big Beer Series) | Smuttynose Brewing Company

306 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: 306 | Ratings: 607
Photo of kculrich
4.1/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 2.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a 22oz bottle, bottle conditioned 2013, served in a tulip.

Pours a reddish-yellowish-amber, sort of like fig preserves or maybe pee the morning after you get sucker-punched in the kidneys. There is no head, so nothing to talk about there. Lots of busy-busy, big-bubbled carbonation which suddenly stops, leaving the glass looking like a Jello shot. Shit, I'm scared.

Smells nice, though. Plums, acorns and tobacco. Here's one I haven't used before: sexy crotch. It smells like those jeans you're wondering whether to put in the laundry and you remember you got laid last week and drove back from Rhode Island wearing them. So, a little like dried spunk, sweat, and a woman other than your wife. Or, at any rate, how I imagine that would smell. Jesus. Moving right along...

Actually, it tastes really nice. Maybe I'm just super-suggestible but it tastes like the fig preserves I said it looked like and the plums I said it smelled like. Lots of nice warm fruits, the figs and plums, cherries, walnuts, dried leaf-tobacco and caramel creams. I think I'm going to add points here just because I was expecting it to taste like crap and, in fact, it's really, really good! No trace of the faint copper I detected in the nose and then forgot to write about when I got started about the dirty jeans. Super clean finish.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, no more than medium-bodied and, while there's not much carbonation left after the (apparently) overly-enthusiastic pour I subjected it to, there's still enough to keep it easy-drinking. There's no abv stated on the bottle and, I think, that's just about right because I can't actually taste any alcohol.

Overall, this was an excellent quad! And one of the things that made it so excellent was that I thought it was going to suck! Point of clarification: I don't think this is the same raisin-purée-mess that Todd subjected himself to back in 2010 or, at least, there's no mention of raisins on the label today. It just says that it's abbey style that they've 'tinkered' with and 'tweaked,' whatever the fuck that may mean. It's too bad because I bought this bottle for somebody and then decided to drink it myself after I saw the ratings and it turned out to be fucking awesome. By the way, I drank the whole bottle while I was writing the review, in case you couldn't tell.

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Photo of biegaman
4.1/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer's colour will gravitate towards various tones of red, brown and purple depending on the angle at which it's observed. Hold it right into the light and a beaming, alarming shade of ruby emerges. After swirling, thin strands of head circle one another in the center of the glass, their motion is hypnotic, like a voodoo tribal dance that circles a fire. Its poor strength is absolved by the fact that its lace tears like running streaks of mascara.

As of the first moment I smelt this beer my mind turned to one thing and one thing only: this beer. Specifically, to the dark fruits, the caramelized brown sugar, the vanilla bean, the clove-like spice, well-worn oak barrels, the dark caramel - all the wonderful things that comprise this aroma. I get remnants of a whole host of liqueurs, Grand Marnier, port and brandy chief amongst them. This smell is timeless.

But if my nose (and now my tongue) can be trusted with geography then this was inspired more by England's strong ales than Belgium's. The candied cherries, the port-like sweetness, the sticky toffee pudding taste, the splash of sherry-like alcohol, the graceful warming come room temperature - this all points to the UK in my mind. Greene King and Fullers came to mind sooner than St. Bernardus or Rochefort.

That's not say there isn't a little taste of Belgium, too. Although this yeast is untypically modest there are still some earthy, clove-like spices that make their way through. The taste of dark fruits (plums, raisins) and sweet malts could be argued either which way as far as style guidelines are concerned. The alcohol (listed as 6.6% in some places and 8.5% in others) gives an added complexity but drinkability is unusually quaffable for a Quad.

Apart from the flavours the brewery has already stated to be expected - dark fruit, rum, toffee and raisins - I would also add a few others: rhubarb and pumpkin pie, dark caramel, hearty root vegetables, vanilla-bean mochachino, distilled wine grapes, port and calvados soaked wood. The 200 pounds of raisin puree becomes especially noted in the aftertaste which lingers with a slight metallic tinge and remarkable likeness to prune juice.

Although this is labeled a Belgian Quadrupel it reminded me (and arguably might more accurately fit the description) of a well-aged English Old Ale. Regardless of what the label says, whatever the brewery was aiming for they couldn't have missed their mark. A savory, fruity, flavourful, lip-lickingly sweet mid-range strength beer this certainly is - and that sits mighty fine with me whatever style it's considered. I'd buy it again.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.1/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap tonight at Rustico in Arlington, VA at their Smuttynose Rare Beer event. Poured into a snifter. 2009 vintage.

a - Pours a deep darkreddish brown color with one inch of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident.

s - Smells of cherries, malts, bready malts, and dark fruits. Little bit tart and a little bit sour.

t - Tastes of slightly sour cherries and dark fruits, as well as light bread. Really enjoying the sour notes that have come in the taste.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation.

o - Overall a very good beer. Very tart cherry now, especially in the taste. Not sure how it is fresh, but this batch is tasting awesome. Had 2 glasses of it and would like to try it again.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.11/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a nice Amber with a slight white bubbly head that quickly dissipates.

Smells of spice, clove and cardamom, sour yeast, bread, and dark fruit :raisin, fig, plum.

Taste fellows the nose some spice bitterness with notes of clove and cardamom. Then, a slightly breads malt middle gives way to rich, dark fruit notes : fig, raisin, plum. It finishes dry and crisp, very drinkable and delicious.

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Photo of currysage1
4.11/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Into a pint sized snifter.

Pours a deep dark garnet red topped with a khaki, crackly head, slowly disperses down to a slight covering.

Smell is of warm caramel, fresh figs, slight alcohol twinge,

Taste has alot going on, decent amount of residual sweetness, some cocoa, the caramel, again with the slight alcohol, but very well hidden, raisin, definate sucking on a penny flavor.

Feel could be a bit thicker, but not too off base, carbonation keeps the sweetness at bay. Drinkability is very good, not sure if I would want another in one night, but I'm enjoying the hell out of this one.

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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 bonbini26
4.12/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ the Ginger Man 4-10-09

A: dark ruby red/brown color, a little cloudy with a small white head and intermediate lacing

S: Sweet, sugary, raisin with some belgian yeast

T: Dominated by sweet, sugary burnt raisins, with a spicy Belgian yeast at the end with other spices such as licorice and clove

M: Smooth and rich, very nicely balanced

D: Pretty easy drinking given the alcohol content, I think I actually like this one better than Dogfish Rasion D'etre

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Photo of ericlawton007
4.12/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark ruby, almost opaque brown pour with little head or lacing. Smell consists of cherries, which is also te dominant flavor found in the taste. I would like to taste more of the belgian style yeast in the beer, as the tartness of the cherries overtakes it. Excellent drinkability and overall, another great big beer from smuttynose.

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Photo of Ratman197
4.12/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber from Half Time poured a clear reddish amber with a lasting amber head. Aromas of carmel, toffee, plum, raisin, pear, banana and light spice. Palate was medium to full bodied and smooth with a dry finish. Flavors of toffe, carmel, dark fruit and light spice with a smooth dry warming lingering toffee finish.

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Photo of saintwarrick
4.12/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a brownish rust red with a sawdust yellow head. Nice aroma on this one, some rum raisin and dark fruits, very pungent and sweet with brown-sugar covered dates and figs. Taste follows that, sweeter for the style but not cloying, a little booze is detected, but nothing over the top as this is a very drinkable brew for a quad, some maple syrup in the taste as well. I like the sweetness here as this gives the brew a little character and separates it from other less worth brews.

This is a fine crafted quad, drinkable but strong while bringing something different to the table.

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Photo of ZAP
4.12/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Amber brown color...

S-Nice rich aroma that is heavy on the dark fruits (Black cherries, plums, red berries, black berries, grapes)...

T-Taste brings in a chocolate element....actually more of a sweet cocoa element....first thing that hits my mind when I drink this is chocolate covered cherries but that isn't quite right....more like black cherries dusted with sweet cocoa...also a pretty big red grape flavor....some brown sugar mixed in there as well

M-No heat or booziness...almost wish there was a little to add some real spicy feel at all...

D-This is quite enjoyable....borders on being a little too sweet but I like it..

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Photo of jdhilt
4.15/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a three finger light tan head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Deep ruby, almost black color. Medium carbonation and heavy bodied. Dark fruit nose. Flavor is sweet dark fruit, hops way in background. Brown sugar finish. Sweeter than the typical quad. $5.49 for a 22oz bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, VT.

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Photo of Gavage
4.15/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours a brown color with some softer mahagony highlights.Short 1/4" head lingers a bit.

Smell: caramel, brown sugar, and soft alcohol tones are easily detectable.

Taste: follows the nose as brown sugar, caramel, raisins, prunes, and warming alcohol are up front. A hint of chocolate shows up late in the finish. Bitterness balances out the sweetness.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Smooth from start to finish. Aftertaste is surprisingly short.

Drinkability: nice for the style but the one bomber bottle is enough for a session. Better to share this one with a friend. Great flavor - try this one.

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Photo of albern
4.15/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is a delicious, full bodied beer that is deceptively sweet and easy to drink. The 8.5 ABV is ridiculously well hidden. The beer pours an amber mahogany color with a decent off white head with some retention. Not much lacing going on. The nose has a little booziness one can detect, but other than that there are some phenols, cherry cola syrup aromas, some caramels, maybe a touch of florals.

The taste is really, really smooth. This is a full bodied sipping beer that is sessionable, but I don't think I would venture in that direction. The taste is full of raisins, liqueur sweetness, maybe some brandy flavors, maybe a touch of fennel. This is a complex enough beer with a mouthfeel that is quite light. There isn't much aftertaste and only the slightest throatiness on the very back end. This one is quite good.

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Photo of badgustav
4.17/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I'm quite impressed with Smuttynose's venture into the world of Quads. The color is redish-brown and has a lovely fruity nose. The flavor is very sweet for a quad, with a silky mouthfeel. I'm curious to spree what 6 months to a year do to this beer.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
4.17/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gee, I don't know why this scored so lowly. Poured a 2" caramel colored head. Thick deep hazy amber and burnt umber brown body with slow moving carbonation. Smells of caramel and dried fruit. Taste is caramel plus toffee, lots and lots of toffee, but no dried fruit like the smell. Medium long finish. The higher alcohol is evident but not overdone to me. Maybe this isn't as complex as Belgian quads but I still really enjoyed it.

It seems my sample performed quite differently from other reviewers. Fresher, or reformulated maybe?

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.18/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this one as an extra in a trade recently. One of the new big ones I had a chance to try. I had heard mixed things about this one but wanted to make my own opinion of it to be honest. Served at cellar temp and poured into a goblet, this one was enjoyed on 04/28/2009.
The pour was by far the best part here. Deep, dark, garnet in color with a nearly opaque consistency to it. Rich looking head on here, maybe two inches in total height that would just not budge for anything. This thing hung around almost the entire session, and when it did drop down it left soo much side glass lacing it was just insane. Rich, caramel malt led aroma was very sweet, almost akin to a wee heavy for me to be honest. It was very interesting how this one was put together. Some dark fruits, figs, prunes to be sure coming up as it warms, and some light and delicate spices work their way up toward the surface. Seriously nice touches here of earthy tones as I take the first sip. Very rich and smooth with a tremendous amount of sweetness and caramel malts. Great feel, very full with a nearly perfect carbonation level to it and the ABV all but off the map.
Overall I thought this was outstanding. Easily one of the smoothest and most drinkable I have run across in the style. I guess when taken into context it is a bit off from some of the big Quads out there, but I really feel that this was very, very well done.

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Photo of grayburn
4.18/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First off let me say that I consider this beer a belgian barley wine, this is not completely true to the quad style, but the belgian characteristics are strongly intact.
She pours a dark garnet with a minimal head that laces to the glass like nobody's business.
The smell and taste start with raisins and continue until they reach a malty crescendo that finishes with just a slight bitterness to prevent being cloying.
The mouthfeel is excellent, this is an after dinner sipping beer to pair with a fine cigar. Like I said before, this is a belgian barleywine, I could sip on this for quite a while.

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Photo of indiapaleale
4.18/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a beautiful dark amber color with an off white almost yellow head thats thin and leaves a nice lacing.

Smells of dark fruit, baked apples, cider along with some alcohol notes.

Taste is very complex and altogether delicious. Lots of sweet dark fruit, strong alcohol notes, cider, caramel and a great many other subtle flavors.

Very smooth and easy drinking. Excellent Quad from Smutty.

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Photo of grub
4.19/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle, purchased on a recent trip to buffalo. sampled june 11/09.

pours slightly hazy deep dark red, showing some great garnet hues when held to the light. a small dense dark tan head forms, dropping fairly quickly to a thin layer on top of the beer and leaving spotty lace behind.

aroma is great. loads of dark fruit - date, prune, raisin, plum. caramel and toffee. bit of belgian yeasty character. lightly toasted whole wheat bread. bit of cracker. light alcohol.

taste is pretty sweet. hint of roast. toasted multi-grain bread. bit of biscuit and cracker. caramel and toffee. bit of honey. sweet ripe dark fruit - date, fig, plum, raisin. just a hint of alcohol. low bitterness level. bit of chocolate. bit of belgian spice. at times it takes on an almost bock-like character, but this much sweetness would be out of place in most styles. still, it manages to stay just a shade to the good side of cloying, and certainly helps to keep the alcohol in check.

mouthfeel is good. fairly big body. just over medium carbonation level.

drinkability is pretty good. while a bit on the sweet side, it's fairly well balanced and hides its alcohol well. even approaching room temperature i'm not having any trouble finishing it. if they dialed back on the sweetness just a little it'd be really great.

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Photo of cjgator3
4.2/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle
2009 Vintage

A- 22oz bottle poured into a chalice. Pours a dark brown color with a light tan head that turns into a thin ring of lace around the glass.

S- The aroma is sweet malt, raisins and alcohol soaked fruits.

T- The taste is a lot of sweet malt and dark fruits with some alcohol in the finish. There is a surprising amount of smoothness for a beer of this strength.

M- The mouthfeel is light-medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation.

D- I'm enjoying this beer quite a bit. The alcohol is definitely there in the taste, but the beer is surprisingly smooth. Gravitation is a beer that I would definitely purchase again. Recommended.

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Photo of lilbug09
4.2/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

it poured thick and heavy. You knew that it would taste that way too. The head was tan and dispersed quickly - there was no lacing. Coloring was dark ruby brown.

The smell was malty, yeasty, and dark with lots of fruit no spice. Almost a slightly smokiness.

It was a smooth full feeling in your mouth. Some carbonation but not overwhelming.

I felt the booziness almost immediately. It was a good quad. I recommend it.

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Photo of sholland119
4.2/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours a murky brown with a purple tinge. No real head and little lacing.

S-Very nice. Sweet malt, caramel, raisins and brown sugar.

T-Nicely sweet on the front. Good caramel, brown sugar, candi sugar, nice sweet finish with a hint of fig.

M-Medium to a bit heavy bodied with carbonation a bit on the light side.

D-Very nicely drinkable. I had a bottle of this last year when it was too young and bland. This is more like it. Age has been good to this one.


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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 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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Smuttynose Gravitation (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
3.65 out of 5 based on 607 ratings.
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