Smuttynose Zinneke (Big Beer Series)
Smuttynose Brewing Company

Smuttynose Zinneke (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Zinneke (Big Beer Series)
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Belgian Strong Dark Ale
Ranked #229
Ranked #21,447
3.83 | pDev: 11.23%
Smuttynose Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States
Very Good
Smuttynose Zinneke (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Zinneke (Big Beer Series)
Notes: Belgian-style stout, partially aged in bourbon barrels.

8.4% abv 50 IBU
Malts: North American 2-Row, Carawheat, Munich 10L, C-120, Chocolate,
Roasted Barley, Brown Malt
Hops: Magnum, Glacier
Mojo: Dark #2 Belgian Candi Syrup
Reviews: 115 | Ratings: 412 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of BlackBeerPirate
3.66/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Taste: stone fruit, black currents, Belgian yeast tangy tart notes, dark toasted malts. Same with the nose. Reddish Mahogany hue, semi clear, tan head not much lace. Medium body. 46 IBUs

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.14/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Smuttynose Brewing Co. "Zinneke"
"1 Pint 6 fl. ozs." brown glass bottle. "Bottle-conditioned in 2012"
$7.99 @ DeCicco & Sons, Brewster, NY

Notes via stream of consciousness: Wow I didn't realize this was so old. In fact, my concern was to drink it and write a review just in case Smuttynose goes under. The cap came of with just a light hiss, perhaps it's lost some gas over the years, and I could see as I was pouring it that it's absolutely clear. I don't know how clear it was to begin with but I imagine that when I get to the last pour I'll find the yeast tightly sedimented. It's black beneath a short head of creamy tan foam. When held to the light there's just a slight glimmer of mahogany coming through at the base of the glass. Unfortunately the head has already dropped to just a collar, something that I certainly wasn't expecting. Maybe my glass isn't quite "beer clean". Moving on, the aroma expresses roastiness, dark chocolate, Bourbon, caramel, light oak, some minor dark fruit, and a hint of clove. That probably sounds big and bright but it's actually not, and the first three notes basically make up the brunt of it. On to the flavor... you can usually expect a beer to taste the way it smells - not always but usually - and this is no exception. The flavor is of course fuller but I'm not finding anything new in it except for some additional golden caramel and a bit of candyish sweetness. It's not as roasty as the aroma suggested it would be but there is a light bit in the finish. The oak is a little fuller though and that helps to balance it in the end with just a light touch of alcohol as well. It's not that bitter, it doesn't seem to have the 50 IBUs it once had, but there's enough to keep the sweetness in check along with those other things I just mentioned. Overall I'll say it's impressively balanced. How much of that has to do with age I'm not sure, but I'm guessing it's a fair amount. Of course you can't go back in time and taste a fresh bottle so I'm just going on memory in saying that. In the mouth it's medium bodied with a bit of a dextrinous edge, and very smooth with a limited carbonation - that's got to be due to gas lost over time. It's not bad but it's not what it once was. I've now poured the remainder of the bottle and there's clearly some heavy sediment in the bottom. I'm not generally one to support cellaring beers, at least not for this long, but in this case it seems to have worked.
Review# 6,250

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Photo of TheDoctor
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Service: Bottle
Bottled: 2017

Pours thick pitch black with a couple quickly-gone fingers of tiny-bubbled khaki head that ends up a ring/film. Okay retention; little lacing. (4)

Greasy, fatty roasted nuts, some bourbon barrel, light spice, a little oxidation. (4)

Follows the nose. Rich roast and dark fruit elements intermingled, with some black pepper, wood and subtle alcohol warmth. (4)

Full bodied, warming feel with light carbonation, well-hidden alcohol. (4)

This is a good beer that (I assume) has aged very well. Thanks a ton, KC!
It pours nice, especially considering its age. The aroma and flavor are both a nice blend of roasty stout flavors and Quad-like fruity yeast flavors. There is a really familiar nutty smell that is not quite candied nuts, but definitely caramelized and fatty. I can't put my finger on it, but I like it. It is definitely well-made and has some nice complementary elements.
I think that the barrel probably is a little better and more present fresh, but at the same time the yeast got pretty interesting with age. The oxidation comes through a touch more as it warms, but all in all its a nice beer made even nicer by having it on the first wintery night. (3.75)

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Photo of Lone_Freighter
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes, this one was poured into a tulip and a snifter there weren’t any significant changes between the two. The appearance was a nice dark brown close to black color with a decent one and a half finger white foamy head that dissipated at a decent pace. The lacing left in the wake was sticky and somewhat thick. The smell had Belgian spices up front with a decent fruitiness running underneath. It seemed to have leaned towards a light plum and raisins with some light apricots even thrown in there. After a bit of warming, a sweet booziness starts to appear (bourbon - I guess) along with some light chocolate, caramel and vanilla. The taste took all of those flavors and combined them to add a decent woodiness about it. On the palate, this one sat about a medium in body with a fairly decent sessionable aspect about it. The carbonation seemed right on for a big Belgian stout. Overall, this was a pretty good Belgian stout to me.

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Photo of papposilenus
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

From a 22oz bottle, the 2012 bottling, served in a tulip.

Pours a nearly impenetrable molasses-black with inexplicable yellowish-green highlights and a finger-and-a-half of rough, bubbly, mocha foam. The head holds for a couple minutes before settling back to a thick ring with some dense islets. Due to a weird trick of the lighting, it looks like it might actually be pulsating but I think we're just going to go ahead and ignore that.

Nose is old, wet, punky wood and cinnamon, basement floor, damp, mouldering carpet and gingerbread. So, anyway, wow, that's different. We may sometimes say that a beer smells of 'barrel' but this bad boy actually smells like the barrel itself, an old, discarded barrel that's been out in the woods partially covered with leaves for a few years and, when you roll it over, there's bugs and stuff under it. Just saying.

Taste starts out largely following the nose but leads into some warm, rich, yeasty fruits, figs, bourbon-soaked raisins, blackberries and cherries, red wine, vanilla, dusty, unsweetened-chocolate-roasted-malt, with licorice and pipe tobacco. The sodden, earthy oak character persists throughout, finishing with a slightly sour, acerbic pucker.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, medium-plus bodied and brightly carbonated for the style. The alcohol is well hidden but it's still a sipper.

Overall, well, I was initially put-off by the sensation of drinking drip-water that had collected in a tarp under the wood pile but, as the beer warmed up, I warmed up to the beer. This is from Smutty's 'Big Beer' portfolio and 'big' in this instance refers more, I think, to complexity and character than to abv. I honestly don't know whether this is a very good beer or not - I can't help thinking it spent too much time in the wrong barrel? But, hey, I don't know how to make beer; I only know how to drink it. And drink it I did.

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Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.55/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My local Go-to Beer store "Brewtopia" in Keene, NH surprised me today. A collection of "cellard" or aged brews from the Smuttynose Big Beer series, one of my all time favorite line of local craft beers. I've been enjoying the Big Beer series since 1998. The Zinneke is a 2012 vintage.This review is from 1/27/2017 So, 4.5 years old!

Pitch black liquid, totally opaque. A fizzy, dark tan foam cap appears and spreads out quick. Major fizzy activity remains in the middle of the glass, bubbling up like a gyser from the Belgian yeast bottle conditioning.

Massive bourbon cask aroma, heady chocolate and dark fruits with sweet Belgian candy under that. Awesome, robust nose. Coffee and cream pop out a bit later. As the liquid warms to room tempratutre or slightly less, caramel and sweet milk chocolate aroma's kick in, becomes sweeter with blueberries and black berries making an impact on the already impressive nose.

The feel is still very zippy still, with a nice crisp bite. Zesty effect with a long, oily feel from the heady malt and aged bourbon barrel enhancement. The alcohol, bourbon cask and large, earthy hop effect gives it a very dry finish.

The flavor has big time complexity. The malt itself comes in with bitter bakers chocolate, cream, coffee and nuts. Belgian yeast provides a funky, dark fruity edge, the heat is pretty high which blends with the rather up-front bourbon cask infusion. A zesty, dry-earth hop thing makes for a very excellent balance. The hops have mellowed into their own but still remain very bold. Toasted oak wood and chared chocolate seems to hold it all down. There are many factors that contribute to this brews big complexity. Yet, balance of all flavor's seems right on for the style. The Belgian yeast is not super impressive, giving a fruity, earthy taste, but it seems just about right to harmonize with the rest of what is essentially an American Double Stout.

Long, sweet notes of dark fruits and chocolatey malt blend perfectly from more bitter, earthy and dry hops as time goes on. With 22 oz's of this beast, it's very important to have a long session with some slow sipping !

I have personally aged many of the Smuttynose Big Beer series offerings in the past; including the Imperial Stout and Baltic Porter with great success. It's always a pleasure to pop open a great beer that has been layed down for an extensive amount of time, and be able to compare how the aging affects the overall experience from the fresh versions. I could see this one being excellent with even longer aging.

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Photo of Atlas1
4.21/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I love every Smuttynose beer I've ever had. No reason to think this will be any different. Also, really happy to see Smutty in Texas these days. I enjoyed it plenty when I lived in DC, and missed it sorely upon moving back to TX in 2008, but it's great to see it on the shelves here now.

Pours a mellow brown color. Appears kind of thin. No head or lace. The nose is pleasant, delivering notes of sweet malt, fig, prune and other dark fruits. Some vanilla, and a faint coffee scent as well. Taste is delicious, again with sweet chocolate malt flavors, dark cherry and vanilla. A slight bitterness in the finish provides a nice touch. Mouthfeel is smooth and balanced.

Another fine beer from Smuttynose. It's almost past stout season here in TX (this is listed as a Beglian Strong Ale by BA, but the brewery calls is a Belgian stout), as the heat begins to settle in for the summer, but I'm glad I grabbed this today. Tasty stuff. Cheers.

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Photo of KTCamm
4.04/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

4/6...pours dark black, no foam, very still. Soft chocolate malt, some figs and raisins. Light licorice too. Cherry fruit taste, backed by a sweet chocolate milk flavor. Slick mouthfeel. Dark fruit, raisin plum in the background. Barely any carbonation. Quite interesting.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
3.72/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2012 Bottle. Very smooth. Nice chocolate and vanilla flavor. Maybe a bit too carbonated if that is a thing. Short finish. Not bad, but not great either. Middle of the road bourbon barrel Belgian stout.

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Photo of SawDog505
3.72/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a 16 oz snifter at almost room temperature bottled in 2012. Pours almost black with a tan 2 finger head, that settles rather quickly into a nice layer of foamy bubbles and unfortunately not leaving much on the glass.

Smell prune, chocolate, clove, vanilla oak, bourbon, hard candy, and banana bread.

Taste follows with chocolate at first touch, clove, caramel, vanilla, oak, banana, and bourbon.

Mouthfeel is medium, mild carbonation not a problem here, on the dry side, and a sipper that doesn't waste much time in the glass.

Overall if I reviewed this when it first came out, the score would have been worse. Not because of the beer. It does seem it held up well in the cellar. It seems more balanced and complex. One I will say the cellar helped.

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Photo of mrfrancis
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours an extremely dark brownish amber with a thin, creamy khaki head that dissipates quickly.

S: Subtle aromas of roasted grain, black cherry, dried blueberry, molasses, dark chocolate, vanilla bean, spice, caramel, and coffee bean present themselves on the nose.

T: The entry is gentle and sweet, unveiling pleasant notes of vanilla bean, roasted grain, caramel, molasses, black cherry, blackberry, dried blueberry, black currant, lightly roasted coffee beans, dark chocolate, toasted oak, and spicy Belgian ale yeast. Around mid-palate, mild notes of lemon rind, pungent herbs, and grass from the hops make an appearance. The finish is mostly roasty and sweet, with dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, vanilla bean, molasses, spice, and herb notes riding a mellow swell of alcohol on the swallow.

M: Luscious and full-bodied in the mouth with a silky, smooth texture, this ale is pleasantly creamy and filling. Carbonation is discreet, but still displays enough of a presence to keep this ale from feeling flabby. Alcohol is extremely well-integrated and really only becomes detectable on the finish. This is very easy to drink for an ale of this strength.

O: While I would like to have seen greater head retention and felt just a tad more carbonation in the mouth, this is still a very likable Belgian strong dark ale. The spiciness of the Belgian yeast is not overdone, instead merging smoothly with the sweet, roasted malt and mild hop aromas and flavors this ale presents. In the end, this is an admirable, sophisticated take on an incredibly complex Old World style that could be a total grand slam with a couple of very minor tweaks.

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Photo of pat61
4.29/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L: A bright deep dark brown column sits under a persistent clingy sudsy 3” tan foam cap that looks like somebody stirred it up with an egg beater.
S: Fruit, chocolate and coffee aromas.
T: Starts as a nice chocolate sweet moussey foam that dries to a mild coffee flavor with long lingering chocolate aftertastes with dried fruit highlights. Finishes chocolaty and slightly sweet but pleasant. Nothing harsh or burnt. Nice separation of flavors between the foam and the body that merge as the body incorporates the foam.
F: The Belgian yeast shines in the rich creamy texture and the medium to medium full body.
O: Not a lot of bourbon barrel character but a good Belgian style stout.

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Photo of donnyowens
2.91/5  rDev -24%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Belgian yeast with a stout just doesn't work for me. the two tastes are in opposition and cancel themselves out. somebody may love this just not me.

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Photo of nickfl
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Small head, dark body. Aromas of dark malt, plums, raisins, and some vanilla and whiskey. Lots of oak and cola notes with a bit of burnt malt lingering in the finish. Medium thick body, average carb and a fairly dry finish. Not bad, but it's a mediocre base beer with a less than stellar barrel treatment, not something that really needed to be made or that I would drink again.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.16/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

BOTTLE: Brown glass. Branded black pry-off pressure cap. Decent label art. 650ml.

Acquired: at an Austin, TX bottle shop.

Reviewed live at low altitude in Austin, TX. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

Vintage: November 2014.
ABV: 8.7% ABV.
Style: "Belgian style stout."
Serving temp: Cold. Allowed to warm over the course of consumption.
Serving vessel: Tulip.
Expectations: High (given the brewery).

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Half finger wide khaki colour. Okay creaminess. No lacing sticks to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Retention: ~20 seconds.

BODY: Opaque solid black colour. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Generally appealing. Not unique or special.

AROMA: Belgian yeast is evidenced. Dark malts, black malts, unrefined sugars. No hop profile is detectable. I find no alcohol. Mild roast.

Aromatic intensity: mild.

Suggests a somewhat thin but still interesting stout with mild Belgian influence.

TASTE: Dark malts, schwarz malts, unrefined sugars. The Belgian yeast is noticeable but not prominent, and I think the mouthfeel is a bit thinner as a result of the higher attenuation. It's not real intricate or subtly executed, nor is it well-layered or gestalt in its build, but I do like it, and it's decently balanced. There just isn't a whole lot going on considering the style.

As it comes to temperature, I pick up on some raisin.

Depth of flavour: Merely average.
Flavour duration: Average.
Flavour intensity: Below average.
Flavour amplitude: Nice.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, undercarbonated, medium-bodied, and of mild weight and heft on the palate.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

Complements the taste nicely, but doesn't feel custom-tailored to the taste by any means.

OVERALL: Drinkable, but pedestrian. A swing and a miss from Smuttynose. I wouldn't buy it again, but I appreciate what they were after. Worth trying, I suppose, but not one of Smuttynose's best offerings.


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Photo of utopiajane
3.2/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Pours dark brown and clear with honey tones around the edges and a ruby tint can be found when the light hits it right. Tan head of reluctant foam that fell fast. Mild nose, a little roast and faint dark fruits. Cherry, a touch of candi sugar, a fleeting hint of bourbon, again all very mild. Nothing belgian or yeasty on the nose at all. Taste is smooth. Rolling soft malt and no carbonation at all.This definitely needs some bubbles. Roast is mellow, dark fruits dried and sweet. A touch of spice finishes this one with a trace little bit of bitterness and a breaddy with molasses malt to linger. Nothing really belgian on the palate either.

With the proper carbonation this beer may have been very different on the palate. The malty flavors were good but they fell flat with the lack of body.

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Photo of BeerAndGasMasks
3.86/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown with a moderate tan head into the glass. Roasty smell and flavor that hits you like a stout should. While enjoyable, it probably would improve with age.

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Photo of tango22
4.13/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

On tap at 3 Crow, Rockland, Maine. Dark ebony brown, with creamy lingering head. Fruits, licorice, toffee, and subtle fruity yeast, smooth start, middle, and finish. 8.7% ABV, but not so's you'd notice it while drinking.
MMMM, good! Smooth. Tasty. Chewy. Very drinkable, especially during this snowy cold winter here on the Mid-Coast.

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Photo of AJacob81
4.04/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bluth frozen bananas in the nose; star anise, clove cigarettes, and a hint of mocha on the palate. Interesting, ultimately successful experiment w subtle bourbon barrel characteristics. What I expect from a Belgian-style stout. Would drink again.

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Photo of farrago
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours a thin dusting across the surface, almost not sure if it’s there, same situation with the lacing, more or less nonexistent. The liquid is a pure brown color, fairly clear and transparent, curiously there’s a decent amount of beads with tiny, active bubbles. The nose mixes roast and sweetness, cocoa and coffee beans then cola and vanilla, some banana notes in there and has an herbaceous side as well. Medium-bodied, the carbonation has prickle during the mouth entry and then trails off. Vanilla, chocolate, cherry fruit makes it seem like a soft drink. Has that dough and banana element here too. The roast is mostly present as an aftertaste. Pleasant enough, not too sweet, overall though it comes off as flat-footed and one-dimensional.

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Photo of CHickman
3.86/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Rattle-N-Hum in NYC, pours pitch black color with a small tan head that faded and left good foamy lacing and rings as it went down.

Smells and tastes of roasted malt, molasses, floral hops, syrup, toffee, dark sweet fruit, dark chocolate, burnt coffee, herbs, brown sugar, chocolate milk, red wine, dark fruit and oaky notes or a booze backbone. Flavor was much better than the nose, it had interesting complex malt flavors with some earthy notes that seem almost hoppy, along with nice wheat bread aspects.

Pretty thin for a stout, it's smooth with almost no carbonation and a slightly bitter malty aftertaste that had a sweet caramel taste which lingers. Overall pretty good and very easy to drink. A nice hybrid, this Belgian style stout was smooth and hid the ABV quite well.

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Photo of silverking
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

It pours pitch black with a cola rim. Razor thin beige head with poor retention. It appears lifeless.

A- Aromas of coffee, plum, cherry, chocolate, molasses, and lightly burnt toast. Really complex, rather enjoyable.

T- Tastes of herbal hops and dark coffee. Bitter finish. The alcohol is hidden well. Leaves a burnt taste is the the mouth.

M- Surprisingly light. Low carbonation.

O- the aroma was definitely the most impressive aspect of this brew. Lackluster appearance and mouth feel hurt the overall score.

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Photo of bnes09
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%

Dark color with a finger of head. Weak retention with some lacing. Flavors of mild coffee and rich Belgian chocolate. Aggressive, earthy, herbal hop presence. A little off balance. Medium body. High carbonation. Finishes with smooth woody, bourbon tones. Not the best barrel aged stout I've had but not the worst either.

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Photo of babaracas
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very dark brown, opaque in the glass, two fingers of creamy light brown colored head, a few rings on the glass. Smell: cocoa, plum, brown bread, red grape, caramel, bourbon-y booze sweetness. Taste: dark brown sugar, prune, chocolate note, toasted brown bread, plum skin, vanilla note, earth and berry in the finish. Barrel-aged quad-y. 2012.

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Photo of KYGunner
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Gorgeous ebony color pours under a thick, cloud like head of brown foam. The color is radiant and the head had moderate retention.

I get dark fruit on the nose, chocolate malt, creme, molasses and maple. It seems to change as its warms.

Really good oatmeal stout character with strong chocolate malt and what I perceive as toasted oats. Relatively dry this has some creamy qualities. I get a little barrel personality but it does seem to crop up at times. This has more chocolate features with a touch of caramel.

The feel is dry but has a duplicitous creamy side. Some alcohol heat hits the chest but for the most part it's easy to drink.

The barrel characteristics are not abundant enough to really raise the score. I enjoyed this but had you told me this was a breakfast stout I'd fallen for it.

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Smuttynose Zinneke (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 412 ratings