Sunday, November 13, 2011

Smuttynose Winter Ale

Tasted Saturday evening after spending much of the day at the regional XC meet for the Midwest region and sitting in sampling homebrews at The Land of the Muddy Waters Homebrew Competition at Blue Cat Brew Pub. Big thanks to Chris Zook for bringing a six pack over to a micro-alumni-pre-party-pre-bars-night-out get together at my house.

Appearance: Rubied brown with a muddy turbid hue. The head is frothy cream and beige in color with bubbles varying in size, speckled throughout. Leaves a thin layer of wet lacing along the sides of the glass.
Aroma: Initially there is a strong presence of chocolate reminiscent of Swiss Miss, and of which remains prominent throughout the entire beer. Roasted barley carries out the second half in a very mild manner. Finally there is rich dark roasted fruity undertone, that more than likely is from the yeast attenuation.
Taste: The foretaste is again choked full of sweet caramel with a cocoa/chocolate malt character. Perhaps a bit grainy, but nothing to really deter from the overall flavor profile. There is a presence of toasted nuts (hazelnut?). Vanilla notes. Subtle spicing at the back half, of notes of ginger and light cinnamon (on of the best in balance with the malt). Hops provide a neutral bitterness to compliment the malt while drying the palate to leave a residual flavor of leftover cinnamon. Better it warms, there is an interesting resemblance at the end of the beer to...tootsie rolls!
Mouthfeel: Lighter bodied, though sufficient in a tacky coating over the lips. Carbonation is strong with a fine microbubble consistency, while not standing apart from the beer. The finish is dry and tannic though perfect in the aid of a crisp refreshing end.
Overall Impression: This is a fantastic beer to start out the winter months. It's not in the slightest overly spiced nor alcoholic (something I found to be hardly an issue). Extremely balanced and palatable while going down easy. Perfect for any occasion...Sipping, party's, dinner etc.


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