a while there it seemed like everyone was making a Brown IPA or a
really hoppy brown ale. Then everyone just seemed to stop. This is
actually a pretty rare style these days and when done right it’s a nice
treat. Such is the case with Smuttynose Durty – a “mud season hoppy
brown ale” according to the label. Big and bold at 8.4% ABV and 97 IBUs;
it definitely has a lot going for it.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It had a best by date of 6/29/2015 and cost $2.60 ($0.22 per ounce).
Appearance: Odd reddish/brown tint (though more red in the light). Pours
to a two-finger, ivory, frothy head that laces and retains very well.
Smell: Strong floral hop aroma; a hint of citrus. Sweet dark malt is noticeable as well.
Taste: The brown ale style is unique in that it has a darker malt
character to it, though it’s not as overtly sweet or roasty or fruity
like a stout or porter. Some can have confectionery syrup flavors, but
this one is more about the dark malt (North American 2-Row, Munich 10L,
Chocolate, C-60, and Brown Malt according the brewery’s website). Light
sweetness with a touch of candy flavor throughout the first half. It
turns on a dime into a hop bomb with intense dry/flowery bitterness
thanks to the Nugget and Bravo hops. It reminds me more of an intense
hoppy red ale or American Strong Ale (a la Stone Arrogant Bastard) but
without the astringency. Milk chocolate emerges right as it finishes,
but then the hops leave a bitter, starchy aftertaste.
Drinkability: There’s no question Smuttynose Durty is a big beer
considering its stats: 8.4% ABV and 97 IBUs. Though it is lighter on its
feet than you’d think. The mouthfeel is only medium in body with plenty
of carbonation to keep it self-cleaning. No cloying or sticky sensation
on the tongue, thankfully. The alcohol definitely imparts warmth which
lingers in the throat. A bold palette like this would probably work best
with a savory dinner. It’s not nearly sweet enough to work as a liquid