709: Wheat Wine Ale

709: Wheat Wine AleName: Wheat Wine Ale
Brewery: Smuttynose Brewing Company

Country of Origin: United States
City & State: Hampton, NH
Style: Wheat Wine

Alcohol Content (ABV): 10.8% (The book says 11.4, but 10.8% is printed on the bottle.)
First Brewed: 2005
Price: $4.99 (Landed this bottle in a trade, but he informed how cheap it was. For a beer with that high ABV and this limited, $4.99 is a steal!)

Tasting Notes
Lacking the familiar hoppy aromatics of an American barleywine, it’s the malt of this hazy ping and burned-orange hybrid that shines on the nose. After the first sip, which is silky and sensual on the palate, a complex swirl of vanilla and apricot emerges.

Ricky’s Thoughts

This beer sounds amazing. Holy crap. Vanilla? Apricot? When I read “wheat wine” I immediately think barleywine. Why is wheat wine two words and barleywine one word? Also, BeerAdvocate calls this beer’s style Wheatwine, as one word… I’m confused!

A buddy of mine back east sent us this bottle in a beer trade. It’s been a long time since he sent this, but it has been sitting, relaxing and aging in our fridge. I am really excited to try this one. Smuttynose, since the trade, has started to show up on shelves in Arizona. But nothing from their Big Beer Series. These guys actually brew a lot of different beers. I like their name and labels, too. Plus, this beer promises vanilla and apricot! I hope it’s good.

Cheers to whatever you are drinking today.

In the Glass: This isn’t as dark as I expected it to be. But then again, I am not sure why I expected it to be dark. I just keep going back to barleywines. I love barleywines… The sweeter the better, though. Not a fan of the American hoppy barleywines. Which is weird… Because I like hops! Anyway, this beer has a nice brown color to it. Almost pinkish in the glass. There is a thin white head, and hardly any lace whatsoever. It looks like something I could order with a meal and sip on for hours. At 10.70% ABV, it might really be a sipping beer. Let’s see what she smells like.

I hope that isn’t my legacy with this blog… “Ricky? Yeah, he always said, ‘Let’s see what she smells like.'”

Nose: It’s somewhat sweet, and if I didn’t know any better, I would think it was a barleywine. A sweet English-style barleywine, that is. No hop aroma whatsoever. I am not, at least cold, getting any vanilla or apricot notes. But again, this has been in the fridge for the last month or two. I bet some of those notes come out as the beer warms up. I am ready to drink. Cheers!

Flavor: Whoa. That is REALLY good. It is sweet, that’s for sure. Holy cow. Even cold this is amazing. I took a big drink, too… I want to save as much as I can for as long as I can. There is a bit of booze still left over, but that comes at the end. I might be getting a small hint of vanilla in there, but nothing that would make me say, “This beer tastes like vanilla”.

I am not getting any apricot, either. But then again, I don’t know if I know what apricot tastes like! Or smells like, for that matter. Anyway, this is a really enjoyable beer that, like I said, would make a good sipping beer.

Mouthfeel: The mouthful is somewhat thick, and leaves a nice coat of sweetness on my tongue. Almost oily. Which keeps the flavors hanging on for dear life. Which I like! I think my favorite is the finish, though. The flavors just keep coming, and I am getting an almost barrel aged flavor toward the end.

Aftertaste: This is where I get the vanilla hints that I was referring to. Not like vanilla ice cream, or anything, but a nice burnt sugar/vanilla flavor. That is what I think tastes like barrel. I am going to let the rest of the beer warm up.

This is a REALLY good beer, and I am glad that it was on the list and that we were able to procure a bottle. If you can get this beer, or any beer from Smuttynose, I highly recommend it. This beer is simply delicious. Cheers to whatever you are drinking tonight, and if you happen to be drinking a Wheat Wine Ale, I hope you like it as much as I do!

Wheat Wine Ale – The bottle says: “The Smuttynose Big Beer Series: big beers in big bottles, release seasonally in very limited quantities.”

“Smuttynose Wheat Wine Ale is a unique hybridization of two well-known beer styles, combining the rich, voluptuous taste of a rational barleywine with the subtle, tart flavors of an American what ale, topped off with a healthy dose of crisp, herbaceous hops.”

Rating: 4.5/5

Sheryl’s Thoughts

Hey, we are doing a list beer today. Ricky said this one sounded good. The bottle actually says that it was a gold medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival. That’s promising, right?

The beer is kind of a dark burnt orange color in the glass. It looks somewhat thick, with not a lot of carbonation. It had hardly any head when I poured it out into the glass. I’ll tell you what it does have a lot of, though… calories! According to ratebeer.com’s estimate, there are 330 calories in just HALF the bottle. That’s a lot of calories. Good thing I went to the gym today. The beer smells kind of boozy and just a little bit hoppy. I hope it’s not too hoppy. I’m getting sick of so many IPAs. I know all the hopheads are cursing me right now. Anyway, let’s move on so we can see what it tastes like.

It does taste just a hint hoppy to me, but not a lot. It is kind of what I would imagine a “wheat wine” style beer would taste like. It has a bit of a barleywine hint to it – the hoppy kind of barleywine, not sweet. The sweet ones are better, IMO. It tastes big and boozy. I just looked at the bottle and it’s 10.8% ABV. It actually took me a while to find that on the bottle. It’s not on the label, but printed directly on the bottle instead. Weird.

Slightly hoppy, very boozy, rich, with a bit of a wheat taste to it. It’s hard to explain the taste, since most wheat beers are NOT this boozy, and have more of a citrusy taste to them. This beer is pretty decent, if a different sort of style. I like it, but I’m not sure if it’d be high on my priority list to try again.

Rating: 3.5/5

708 bottles of beer on the wall…

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