Home > BeerRevues & Perspectives, Brewery Tours, Off the Beaten Beer Path > BeerRevue: Smuttynose Wheat Wine

BeerRevue: Smuttynose Wheat Wine

Smuttynose Brewing Company has always been one of my favorite breweries, since our first visit to Portsmouth, New Hampshire 7 or 8 years ago.  What a beautiful little New England port town – lots of shopping and restaurants.   But I want to talk about Smuttynose’s  2010 Wheat Wine Ale.

As a long time Smuttynose fan, I’m ashamed to say that until this year I’d never heard of this 2005 Great American Beer Festival gold medal winner (GABF); but then that’s how Smuttynose seems to fly in this industry – under the radar, doing their New England thing, and making consistently great beer.

Having already tried a number of their specialty beers, including Gravitation, MaiBock, S’muttonator – all instant favorites – this one had me at the name.  Wheat Wine – could be a wheat beer, could be a barleywine, could be malt liquor. Not a clue, but it sounded different, and I’m a sucker for originality.

Wheat Wine Ale is actually a barleywine and wheat ale hybrid.  A style that is, in fact, recognized by the American Beer Association.  The color is a beautiful dark pink amber, and the aroma is deliciously rich. As for taste, this beer captures the full flavor of a barleywine, but the wheat ale seems to cut the thick sweetness of a traditional barleywine.  Considering the Wheat Wine Ale’s alcohol falls around 11-12% ABVs, I found it surprisingly smoother, maybe a little lighter, with lots of caramel and fruitiness.

I personally didn’t notice any stand out qualities from the wheat ale, except its mellowing, and somewhat drying impact on the heavy sweetness of the barleywine, and it brings a bright crispness to the overall quality of the beer; plus it has a clean filtered look and finish of a fine imperial ale.

If you’re a craft beer adventurer, then there’s really nothing to think about; but if you do need further convincing, then here are three very valid reasons to try this beer:  1) It’s a unique hard-to-find style, 2) it’s a GBAF gold medal winner, and 3) it’s brewed by Smuttynose – so seriously, what are you waiting for?

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  1. April 2, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Hey SimpleP!

    We’re big Smuttynose fans as well! I haven’t seem this one yet. The Big Bottle beers are hard to find in Philly/South Jersey. Luckily, I’ll be vacationing in Maine for a week this August with the family, so a stop in Portsmouth on the way home is a must (and a stop at Allagash in Portland is also on the itinerary)! I plan to stock up for the fall.

    Nice review! I’ll look for this one. 🙂

    Cheers!
    G-LO

    • April 3, 2011 at 7:15 am

      G-LO

      Thanks so much for the nice comment. I loved Allagash, rather small and unassuming in a remote industrial area of Portland. Not far away, a great bar to visit for lunch or a beverage is the Great Lost Bear. A must for beer lovers, and came recommended to us by our tour guide at Allagash. Also in Portland, Sebagos is a great brewpub – food and brews are excellent. Have a fantastic trip and I hope you find and enjoy a bottle of wheat wine!

      Cheer Beers,
      Paula

    • April 3, 2011 at 8:20 pm

      Thanks for the Portland recommendations! We won’t be going until August, but my mouth is already watering for lobsters and good New England brews. It’ll be the kids, the wife, and I, so I’m hoping that I can squeeze in these two minor excursions. My neighbor and co-blogger, The Wookie, has also recommended some dining stops for our trip and he has placed an order for a case of Smutty. Good thing we bought that not-so-mini minivan. 🙂

  2. Dan
    April 4, 2011 at 5:00 am

    Hi SimpleP,

    We’re just starting out in craft beer tasting down here in New Zealand 🙂 We’ll definitely be keeping an eye peeled for this (although I don’t like our chances).

    Great review and awesome blog! Keep up the great work.

    Dan

    • April 4, 2011 at 7:24 am

      Hey Dan,

      I hope you get a chance to try it. Been hearing great things about the beer developments in New Zealand – on my list of places to visit. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your beer journey!

      Cheers beers!
      Paula

  3. April 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    Hi Paula

    Fantastic review! I have never ventured down the Barley Wine or Wheat Ale path, however your review leaves me more than tempted!

    I will surely be visiting your blog again.

    Cheers!
    Chris

    • April 5, 2011 at 6:35 am

      Hi Chris,

      I sure hope you get a chance to experience some good barley wines. They are beers to be sipped, savored and enjoyed. As for wheat wines, considering this is a GABF winner, it must be a good representation of the style, but I’ve since had some that are much different, yellow in color, lighter in flavor, taking on much less barley wine and more wheat beer characteristics. Because the style is unique, I think we’ll start seeing more and more brewers making it, so will be interesting to see their various interpretations. Many thanks for visiting and for the nice comment. Do come by again!

      Cheers beers!
      Paula

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