Shifting the balance of power
A Review of S'Muttonator by Smuttynose Brewing Co.
Posted on 4/30/2013 by Chops
In some ways, being a craft beer enthusiast is a lot like being a scientist. Based on research and data, you formulate conclusions about your topic of study. You compare notes with peers and then apply that knowledge until better knowledge presents itself. And much like with science, to be a true beer connoisseur, you have to admit when you're wrong. Today, I have been proven wrong. For years I have been confidently trumpeting the following statement: even the most mediocre of German beers are far better products than their American counterparts. I firmly believed that I would never find a stellar bock made in the states. It might be the Bavarian water, the regional yeast, whatever it is that makes German beers so unique and impossible to duplicate. Then I came across the Smuttynose S'Muttonator. This is an American made doppelbock deserving of world-class status. Just saying those words brings great joy to me because like a scientist, being proven wrong is a welcome and enlightening experience.

In the glass, this beer has a thick muddy brown coloration. It comes with a frothy tan head that has good retention, even despite the hefty 9.5% ABV. On the nose, I found a big malty caramel aroma that I can only describe as thick and earthy. I also found plenty of dark fruits, namely plums and raisins. There is also a strong nip of alcohol presence, but not enough to be a distraction. This beer is large, in charge, and beautifully announces itself as a big meaty doppelbock.

One sip was all it took. I set the glass down and shook my head in disbelief. This... is a fantastic doppelbock. The mouthfeel is silky smooth with a rich full body. The alcohol nip adds a tingly character and is enough to remind the drinker that this beastly brew is to be respected. That signature caramel malt sets up shop as the primary flavor and is subsequently complimented by an array of savory goodness. I found dark fruits, some mild chocolate, a touch of mocha, toasted brown bread, and a dash of spices. The hop profile is bold yet submissive and only asserts itself near the finish. The beer finishes clean and exits with a malty bitter aftertaste.

Overall, Smuttynose has nailed every aspect of a great doppelbock. S'Muttonator left me speechless and I couldn't help but giggle as I was jotting down my tasting notes. My white whale search was officially over. I had already discovered many great American bocks, but never one that could go toe-to-toe with the powerhouses of German brewing. S'Muttonator is now one of a handful of beers that I use to evangelize American craft beer. This, my beer loving friends, is what American brewers are capable of. Like it or not, the balance of power is shifting.

Needless to say, I can recommend the Smuttynose S'Muttonator to any and all beer fans. Actually scratch that, I can only recommend this beer to novices and casual craft beer fans. Drink it and experience the wonders of American craft beer. But for seasoned drinkers, this goes beyond recommendation. I flat demand that you seek out and experience the Smuttynose S'Muttonator. You need to see for yourself that world-class brewing is no longer bound by region.

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S'Muttonator by Smuttynose Brewing Co.
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