Gowanus Brewery

Smuttynose Wheat Wine Ale – Reviewed by Jeremy
February 24, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: beer, review, strong ale

This Smuttynose Wheat Wine Ale is my first wheat wine and I have to say I liked it more than the more-popular barley wine-style beers I’ve tried. In the interest of full disclosure, this bottle actually had dust on its shoulders when I picked it up earlier, so any shortcomings are probably the result of sitting too long on the shelf. That being said, the beer smelled great with a sweet nose that was almost raisiny, and definitely malty. Oddly, there wasn’t any hint of hops up front. It tasted sweet and bitter, but much less so than, for example, Brooklyn Brewery’s Monster Ale, a barley wine-style beer that just about knocks your teeth out. Both the nose and flavor pack a mean alcoholic note that, unlike everything else, appears not to have mellowed over time. The Wheat Wine Ale was red and amber and slightly cloudy. It was viscous and slick, with little carbonation and less head. Overall, I think this would be really good after a huge spicy plate of pasta or a big steak as a sipper, but it’s too intense to drink without that sort of company.

This is one of Smuttynose’s Big Beer Series, so the recipe is subject to change from year to year. There are some notes, though, at the Smuttynose site regarding earlier versions of this brew. It’s interesting to note that this beer is probably, unless the recipe’s really changed since then, dry hopped and I noticed barely any hop characteristics. Plus, it has medium toast French oak chips, which I didn’t look out for but makes sense after the fact. The first batch, brewed in 2005, also had pilsner malt, golden promise, cara wheat, wheat malt, cara hell, and cane sugar. It called for warrior hops for bittering, liberty for flavoring and aroma, and horizon for dry hopping. And the alcohol by volume was 11%.

The BJCP doesn’t seem to have a category for wine ale specifically, but it would probably fall under Strong Ales. See other reviews at Beer Advocate and Rate Beer.


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