10 January 2008

Smuttynose Winter Ale (NH)

I've been happy with the Smuttynose offerings I've tried before, and this one doesn't disappoint. The brewer says:

Smuttynose Winter Ale is a full-bodied, amber beer brewed with a special Trappist ale yeast. Stylistically reminiscent of a Belgian Abbey Double, it features fruity aromas and flavor, balanced by soft Crystal hops.

"Reminiscent" of a dubbel. After I drank this, I went to Ratebeer and Beer Advocate and found both have it listed a dubbel, with many complaints that it doesn't match the style. Would it score higher if it were categorized differently?

It pours dark brown or mahogany; it's head shows little retention. The aroma isn't particularly strong. I like the body, though: on the full side with soft carbonation. It tastes predictably malty with elements of brown sugar and, faintly, of cherries. It's sweet, but the finish pulls back dryly with just enough hops. Listed at 6.8% alcohol, it is quite drinkable, and a good match for a less than frigid winter night. I like this a lot.

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