SMUTTYNOSE BREWING COMPANY
Located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Smuttynose was founded in 1994. It gets its name from the Smuttynose Island, a small, rocky island that lies seven miles off the coast of New Hampshire. They produce year-rounds as well as seasonals. They also produce a line called “The Big Beer Series,” these beers are limited edition and can vary from year to year.
- Baltic Porter (100 Points)
- Durty (94 Points)
- Finestkind IPA (95 Points)
- Old Brown Dog Ale (91 Points)
- Noonan Black IPA (93 Points)
- Pumpkin Ale (86 Points)
- Rhye IPA (96 Points)
- Robust Porter (92 Points)
- Star Island Single (83 Points)
- Vunderbar! Pilsner (93 Points)
- Barleywine Ale (2013) (89 Points)
- Farmhouse Ale (92 Points)
- Gravitation (87 Points)
- Really Old Brown Dog Ale (89 Points)
- Rocky Road (93 Points)
BALTIC PORTER: 100 Points
This Baltic Porter is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Indigenous to northern Europe, Baltic Porters historically stem from the shipping of British porters to the Russian hinterland. Unlike their British cousins, Baltic Porters are often brewed with lager yeast, which is the tradition we follow. Big & bold, with flavors of coffee, dark fruit & raisins, this black beer is smooth as a chocolate swirl.”
My Description: This beer started off great and stayed that way the whole time. It begins with a good sized, dark beige colored head with an excellent retention level that left a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma is subdued but inviting nonetheless with notes of dark fruits and hints of alcohol. Baltic Porter is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. It’s impressive how smooth this beer is and the alcohol flavor is beautifully hidden. The flavor profile sets this beer to that world class level. Delicious dark fruit notes like figs blend cleanly with notes of chocolate, licorice, caramel, and some dark breads. The aftertaste is slightly bitter delivering a perfect balance. The texture is slightly creamy making for a great dessert beer. This beer has complex flavors and a big body without distancing itself from its lager roots, a true masterpiece. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with roasted lamb, potent cheeses, or tiramisu.
ABV: 9% Color: Black Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 3/10
DURTY: 94 Points
This American Brown Ale is released seasonally between January and March in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Big, Brown and Hoppy. Brown and hoppy; hoppy and brown – a rare pairing. But that’s the best way to describe Durty, Smuttynose Brewing Company’s new “mud season” ale. Take the caramelly notes of a brown ale, pair them with the hop aroma and flavor of a double IPA, and you’re right in this beer’s wheelhouse. Respected beer writers, bloggers and internet beer geeks have all praised Durty’s delicious balance of two styles. It has enough “oomph” to get you through the chilly nights and frosty mornings of early spring, but the light body and big hop flavor will awaken your tongue and senses for the coming warm weather. And at 8%, you won’t mind the extra mopping and snow cleaning that comes along with the seasonal thaw.”
My Description: Complex and highly enjoyable, this ale is brewed cleanly and the flavor notes work harmoniously together. It pours a good sized, beige colored head that lasts the whole way and leaves behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is robust and pleasant with a strong roasted presence accompanied by notes of caramel, nuts, and pine hops. Durty is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. This beer displays a great balance of flavors; there is a powerful malt backbone which is calmed by a smooth bitter aftertaste. Upfront, there are flavor notes of caramel, woodsy hops, brown sugar, and some nuttiness. This transitions nicely into an aftertaste that is not overly harsh with a lingering bitter note that forces you to take another sip. It also helps that the alcohol is completely hidden. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with spicy beef tacos, BBQ brisket, or roasted mushrooms with caramelized onions.
ABV: 8.4% Color: Deep Brown Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 3/10
FINESTKIND IPA: 95 Points
This IPA has an IBU of 65 and is available year-round.
Brewer’s Description: “The citrusy hop flavor coming from a mixture of Simcoe and Santiams is pleasantly balanced by a smooth bitterness from the Amarillo hops. Our IPA is dry-hopped and unfiltered. The lees sediment) that formon the bottom of the bottle are a natural part of this fine ale.”
My Description: Starting off with a bountiful white colored head, a healthy dose of lacing, and a retention that lasts the whole way, this beer is in the upper echelon of IPA’s. The aroma is a nice combination of citrus hops, wood hops, and floral hops that are accompanied by a sweet note; all the scents combined really work together to get you excited. The beer is medium bodied, crisp, and smooth. Up front you will taste some malt and citrus hops that lead into an aftertaste that is moderately high in bitterness with a welcoming sweet note. The finish is semi-dry with a lingering bitterness that is satisfying and enjoyable. This is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with burgers, chicken wings, or fish & chips.
ABV: 6.9% Color: Hazy Orange Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 7/10
OLD BROWN DOG ALE: 91 Points
This American Brown Ale is has an IBU of 15 and is available year round on draft and in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Old Brown Dog has been cited as a classic example of the “American Brown Ale” style of beer. Compared to a typical English Brown Ale, Old Brown Dog is fuller-bodied and more strongly hopped.”
My Description: I really enjoyed this beer; the quality stood out, the flavors worked really well together, and it was delicious from start to finish. It has a good sized beige head that fades rather quickly but never disappears; there we be some head left to the very last drop. The aroma is nice and mild with notes of roasted malt, dark fruit, and toffee. The flavors of this beer were slightly complex. At the front of your mouth you will taste some roastiness and dark fruit like plums and raisins. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with a hint of malt and definitely dry. Overall, the beer is medium bodied and smooth with a lower carbonation level, which makes this beer easy drinking. It is refreshing, best served around 50°F, and pairs nicely with roasted duck, lamb chops, or BBQ chicken.
ABV: 6.5% Color: Brown/Amber Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 3.5/10
NOONAN BLACK IPA: 93 Points
This Black IPA/American Black Ale is released seasonally between February and May in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Noonan (the beer) looks like an ordinary porter or stout, until you get the pint up to your nose. You can’t avoid the big whiff of piney, herbal and citrusy American hops, but there’s virtually no roasted character. Ponderous, huh? When you take a sip, you’ll notice that the beer doesn’t taste a lot like a porter either. Instead of the expected astringency imparted by dark grains, you’ll find a depth of caramel malts and more American hops. Don’t worry that’s by design; it’s also what we love about the beer.”
My Description: This is a nicely done Black IPA; the flavors combine cleanly with each other, the hop notes take center stage, and overall it’s just a great beer. It pours a large, beige colored head with a great retention level that holds the whole way and leaves behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is strong with coffee and pine hop notes taking the focus. There are also notes of citrus hops, bread, and a hint of chocolate to make this aroma very pleasing and a great indicator of the flavor to come. Noonan is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. Just like the aroma, the taste of this beer is also strong with many different flavors. Pine hops dominate the flavor profile accompanied by notes of coffee, leather, some roasted malts, and hints of dark chocolate and caramel. The aftertaste is moderately bitter and lingers slightly. This beer is smooth and very easy drinking. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with rich cheeses, hearty beef stew, or grilled pork chops.
ABV: 5.7% Color: Black Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 6/10
PUMPKIN ALE: 86 Points
This pumpkin ale has an IBU of 35 is released seasonally in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “We brew our ale with the addition of pumpkin to the mash, along with traditional spices to create a delicious American original.”
My Description: This ale is made with quality and the flavors of the season are nicely represented. It has a good sized, off-white colored head that slowly dissipates to a thin film that holds the whole way producing a good amount of lacing. The aroma is pleasant and intriguing; there are fragrant notes of malt, pumpkin, some breadiness, hops, and a spice that I couldn’t put my finger on. It is medium bodied with a higher carbonation level and a crisp finish. This beer has a nice balance and the pumpkin pie flavors are present but don’t dominate the overall flavor profile. There are also notes of earthy hops and as the beer warms up, cinnamon and clove become more noticeable. The aftertaste is on the bitter side with a lingering hop taste in your throat. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with honey glazed ham, smoked turkey, or a pumpkin pie.
ABV: 5.8% Color: Orange Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 3.5/10
RHYE IPA: 96 Points
This IPA is released “now and then” in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “In craft beer, there are almost as many bad rye puns as there are bad hop puns; Smuttynose is happy to spare you from more of either. Instead, we’ll tell you about our new Big Beer, Rhye IPA. We brewed it because we like drinking hoppy American-style beers and we wanted a chance to brew with rye. The rest, as they say, is history. The result is a 7% hoppy IPA, with rye spiciness and big hop character. This beer will really get under your armor…”
My Description: This beer is smooth with clean flavors that work harmoniously together. I also feel that the rye addition works marvelously with the hops selection. It begins with a very large, off-white colored head with a great retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind a noticeable amount of lacing. The aroma is very aromatic with Citra hops written all over it. There are notes of stone fruits, tropical hops, and some citrus hops; this beer smells fantastic. Rhye IPA is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The way this beer is mashed it makes it very drinkable but thins out the body a bit, however not enough to affect it negatively. The flavor profile is well executed and slightly complex. Rye spice undertones and a malty body hold up notes of pine hops, bread, and some grassiness. This transitions into an aftertaste that is moderately bitter with a lingering rye and pine hop note. This beer is delicious and an easy choice for an IPA with rye. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with beef jerky, smoked ribs, or a spicy Thai dish.
ABV: 7.7% Color: Orange Caramel Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 6/10
ROBUST PORTER: 92 Points
Using Cascade hops, this Porter has an IBU of 45 and is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “This is a smooth and very drinkable beer, characterized by its well-balanced malt and hops, plus subtle notes of coffee and chocolate.”
My Description: This porter is definitely robust, which means that it is a bit sharp, some call it harsh, I call it powerful and delicious. It has a big and fluffy beige colored head that leaves some crazy lacing and the head will retain all the way to the last sip. The aroma smells fresh with fragrant notes of roasted coffee, semi-dark chocolate, with a hint of hops. The aroma is strong and a proper indication of what is to come. The beer is medium/full bodied with a normal porter carbonation level. Boom, robust means a big and bold taste. There will be flavor notes of coffee, chocolate, with a taste of burnt malt. The aftertaste is moderately bitter and dry with a strong swallow. It’s good but you have to like that strong, robust taste. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with beef stew, BBQ, or chocolate desserts.
ABV: 5.7% Color: Dark Brown Sweetness: 2/10 Bitterness: 4.5/10
STAR ISLAND SINGLE: 83 Points
This Session Ale is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “This medium-bodied golden ale features a slight residual sweetness from Honey Malt and hints of citrus and tropical fruits from the unique Belgian yeast it is fermented with, leaving a crisp dry finish.”
My Description: This is designed to be an easy drinking beer that you can drink a lot of because of its relative lower alcohol content and crisp body. It has a decent sized, white colored head with a good retention level and good lacing. The aroma is mildly spicy and grainy with an apparent note of citrus. It is roughly medium bodied with a higher carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. It is a nicely balanced beer with some citrus flavor and a touch of malt up front which transitions into a faint aftertaste with just the hint of bitterness. It is a good enough Session beer but the flavors were just too faint for me to really enjoy it. It is best served around 42°F and pairs nicely with sauteed shrimp, a light salad, or a chicken sandwich.
ABV: 4.7% Color: Pale Gold Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 2/10
VUNDERBAR! PILSNER: 93 Points
This Bavarian Style Pilsner is released in Summer months in 12 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Made for taking a break from the Sturm und Drang of modern life, this elegantly refreshing pilsner was created with German malt balanced with the spicy tang of Czech Saaz hops. The bread and biscuit flavors of the grain are topped with the floral character of the Noble hop, which may just get you to shimmy into your favorite lederhosen, bust into a quickschuhplattler and loudly proclaim, “Das ist Vunderbar!” Prost!”
My Description: This is a great everyday Pilsner that you could sip and enjoy or chug a few back. It begins with a large, bright white colored head that lasts for a while and leaves behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma has clean noble hop notes accompanied by some pale malt notes. This beer is medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavors are very clean in this beer with a subtle citrus background with pronounced Saaz spice hop notes that satisfy. The aftertaste is minimally bitter and not harsh at all. This beer is simple, delicious, and addicting. It is best served around 40°F and pairs nicely with almost everything.
ABV: 5.2% Color: Straw Sweetness: 1.5/10 Bitterness: 2/10
BARLEYWINE ALE (2013): 89 Points
Part of their Big Beer Series, this American Barleywine is released randomly in 22 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Though individual examples of this style vary widely, barleywines are characterized by their full body, pronounced residual malt sweetness, fruity esters and, in the case of American versions especially, distinctive hop character, with a flavor profile that can lean towards the sweet or the bitter, or somewhere in between, and a color ranging from amber to deep copper. Barleywines tend to age nicely, especially bottle-conditioned versions, and have become quite collectible. Our Barleywine is rich and malty, with hints of fruity esters and a well-hopped finish. Enjoy this hearty ale with fresh fruit and ripe cheese on a cold winter’s night, or lay it up and savor it with a friend for a special summer treat.”
My Description: The alcohol notes are highly evident in this ale, I’ve had stronger barleywines that hid the alcohol better than this beer. However, it is still a really good barleywine and a pleasure to drink. It begins with a large, tan colored head with a really nice retention level and it leaves a remarkable amount of lacing for this style of beer. The aroma is pleasant with notes of citrus hops, alcohol, caramel, and some herbal hops. Barleywine Ale is full bodied with a lower carbonation level and a dry finish. There is a malty backbone but alcohol notes dominate the flavor profile. There are also notes of dates, herbal hops, citrus hops, and hints of yeast esters. The aftertaste is moderately bitter and the heat from the alcohol can be felt going down your throat. You cannot drink this beer quick, it is only made to sip. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with baked ham, strong cheeses, or a cigar.
ABV: 10.6% Color: Orange/Amber Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 5/10
FARMHOUSE ALE: 92 Points
Part of their Big Beer Series, this Saison is available in limited quantities and available at different times during the year. Each release is slightly different, the bottle I reviewed was released in 2011.
Brewer’s Description: “Our Farmhouse Ale is an homage to traditional European beers brewed for quenching the thirst of farm workers, or “Saisonaires.” A unique Belgian Saison yeast is used to impart a mixture of spicy, fruity, & earthy notes along with lip-smacking palatability.”
My Description: If you plan on farming and drinking this ale, then I suggest you do so when the day is over because you’re going to end up scything your foot off; this is a strong beer but it is refreshing and the alcohol is well hidden. The head is good sized but fades quick and leaves some sub-par lacing. The aroma smells fresh and clean with a lot going on; you will get fragrant notes of Belgian yeast, banana, bubblegum, some tart and some lemon, with a touch of spice. It is medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level. The taste is somewhat complex with a lot of flavors going on. Up front you will taste some tart with a touch of sweetness. The aftertaste is slightly bitter and dry with earth notes, some pepper, and some spice. Overall, the flavors work well together, the beer is smooth, and the alcohol is minimal at best. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with sauteed mushrooms, grilled shrimp, or french fries.
ABV:9.3% Color: Hazy Orange Sweetness: 2.5/10 Bitterness: 2.5/10
GRAVITATION: 87 Points
Part of their Big Beer Series, this Quad is available in limited quantities and available at different times during the year. Each release is slightly different, the bottle I reviewed was released in 2010.
Brewer’s 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.”
My Description: This Quad is definitely strong and you will feel it. It has a normal quad head which is thin and beige in color. However, it dissipates rather quickly leaving no lacing. It has a huge caramel malt aroma with notes of Belgian yeast, dark fruit, and alcohol. It is medium/full bodied with a slightly lower carbonation level. Once you start drinking it, you will taste flavors of dark fruits, like raisins. This is accompanied by toffee notes, caramel malt, some sweetness, and an apparent alcohol presence. I was expecting to taste and feel the alcohol because this is a Quad at 12%, but this is much more intrusive than it needs to be. The beer is best served around 52°F and pairs nicely with gourmet cheeses, roasted duck, or lamb shank.
ABV: 12% Color: Mahogany Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 1/10
REALLY OLD BROWN DOG ALE: 89 Points
This Brown Ale is part of their Big Beer Series and is available in limited quantities and available at different times during the year. Each release is slightly different, the bottle I reviewed was released in 2010.
Brewer’s Description: “The color varies from rich, dark amber to a very dark brown. This style features fruity, vinuous & deep, malty flavors, giving it an almost port-like qualities. Sight acidity is not uncommon.”
My Description: This really old dog is really flavorful and really strong. The head is pretty decent but not big and fluffy, it disappears after a few minutes producing hardly any lacing. The aroma makes up for the lack of head because it smells great. It has a sweet base with notes of dark fruit, malt, raisins, dark cherry, nut, and some minor alcohol as well. The beer is full bodied and has a big mouthfeel. You’re definitely going to taste the dark fruits as soon as you start drinking it along with a roasted malt flavor that work well together. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with notes of chocolate. The alcohol will be apparent throughout the beer but it is not overpowering, it is just an added character to the beer. As the beer warms up, more fruit flavors develop as well. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with roasted duck, lamb chops, or desserts.
ABV: 10.9% Color: Brown, Mahogany Sweetness: 5/10 Bitterness: 3.5/10
ROCKY ROAD: 93 Points
This Stout is released in limited quantities in 22 oz. bottles.
Brewer’s Description: “Rocky Road is Smutty’s first dessert stout. An indulgent blend of marshmallow Fluff™ and chocolately cacao nibs in a full bodied, sweet stout beer that has been aged on amaretto soaked oak chips.”
My Description: This sounds like a novelty beer, but this is a nicely brewed stout that keeps those Rocky Road flavors in check. It begins with a large, dark beige colored head with an excellent retention level that leaves behind some lacing. The aroma is welcoming with notes of coffee, cocoa, vanilla, and faint marshmallow notes; this beer smells great. Rocky Road is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is enjoyable and nicely balanced, the sweetness from the marshmallow addition doesn’t ever set the beer to that cloying sweetness level. A dark chocolate backbone holds up notes of roasted malts, burnt sugar, and char undertones. This transitions cleanly into an aftertaste that is slightly bitter with lingering marshmallow notes. Overall, this is clean stout that is well executed. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with chocolate desserts, tiramisu, or smoked ribs.
ABV: 7.3% Color: Black Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 3/10